24 Hours in Seattle, Washington
Here are the sights to see, things to do, and places to eat to have the best day ever in Seattle.
Photo By: Matthew Mornick
Photo By: JOE HOLDSWORTH
Thought the Space Needle was the only way to get killer views of Seattle and the surrounding areas? Think again. Kenmore Air offers plane tours of the Emerald City starting at just $99 a person. For 20 minutes you’ll be flown around in a seaplane and enjoy a narrated tour with a bird's-eye view of everything from downtown and Lake Union to the sports arenas and the beautiful University of Washington campus. Kenmore Air also offers longer tours including a whale watching tour around the San Juan Islands and a scenic volcano tour around Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier.
Sonic Boom Records
Home to acts ranging from Nirvana and The Fleet Foxes, Seattle is a music town through and through. Named one of the best record stores in America by Rolling Stone magazine, Sonic Boom is the right place to pick up some vinyl in Seattle. Recently celebrating its 20th anniversary, this record shop has everything an audiophile could ever want. Located in the historic Old Ballard neighborhood they are fully stocked with LPs, CDs and cassettes. Sonic Boom also plays host to in-store performances that are for all ages, so if you’re traveling with your family, be sure to check one out.
Pike Place Market
Opened in 1907, Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continuously running public markets in the United States, and one of the most famous. You’ve undoubtedly seen the iconic "Public Market" sign blazoned in neon that lights up the open stalls of farmers and craftsmen below. Or maybe you’ve seen the videos of the world famous fish market, where fishmongers will toss your recently purchased seafood to one another before wrapping it up for you. Comprised of more than 500 small independent businesses, including local craftspeople, owner-operated specialty shops, Washington state farmers, produce stands, seafood stalls, eateries, restaurants, cafes, and bakeries, you could spend your whole day just wandering around this massive market. Recently it completed it’s first expansion in 40 years opening a new market front that made more space for artisans, a chocolate maker, and an on-site brewery. Boasting more than 15 million visitors annually, a visit to this famed Seattle staple is well worth your time.
Westward is a water-inspired full-service restaurant and bar located on the north shores of Lake Union in Seattle, WA. The approach is natural and continually evolving, reflecting the simplicity of great products, fresh ingredients and the changing seasons. The wood-burning oven is at the heart of the kitchen and is an integral element in the restaurant. Each seat has unique views of the lake and the city. A large deck, fire pit and beach area provide space to sit outside and sip cocktails in the summer or snuggle in the restaurant's wool blankets in the winter. The 150-foot dock provides boat parking or a place to tie your kayak or paddleboard while enjoying a meal or an afternoon whiskey. The menu includes imaginative, Northwest-influenced fare and delightful small bites.
Is there anything more iconic to Seattle than the Space Needle? If the city were to have a mascot this would definitely be it. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Needle towers 650 feet above the surrounding buildings. The 520-foot high observation deck offers a 360-degree panoramic view of Seattle and the surrounding areas. Through floor-to-ceiling windows, breathtaking views of the skyline, Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, and the Cascades Mountains can all be seen. The Space Needle is currently undergoing a massive $100-million-dollar renovation to add a rotating glass floor and other facelifts. But don’t worry, it is still open while under construction.
Puget Sound Express
See whales in the wild! Outside of Alaska, there is no better place in the US to see whales than the in waters near Seattle. Orcas, humpback whales, minke and fin whales — not to mention seals, sea lions and much more. Just north of downtown, family-owned Puget Sound Express runs half-day whale watching tours March through December, and they guarantee you’ll see whales. Their whale watching boats are the fastest on the West Coast, and feature comfortable indoor seating with large windows, outside viewing decks and a great gallery/cafe. Don’t miss their home-made blueberry coffeecake made fresh each day.
Shaker + Spear
Located in one of Seattle’s most vibrant neighborhoods, Shaker + Spear sits within Kimpton’s Palladian Hotel, right on the edge of Belltown. With richly detailed dishes and a neighborly atmosphere, this is where you want to go for dinner. Peer into the open kitchen as Executive Chef Carolynn Spence puts a distinct polish on casual comfort food and oceanic fare. Creating a menu with seasonal fish and shellfish along with a bounty of local ingredients, the burgers and pasta are as appealing as the refined seafood options. A must try is the whole crispy-fried snapper. Dressed with an aromatic basil lime fish sauce, and curled around a mix of arugula, basil leaves, shaved radish, and pickled red chilies, this dish is bright and tender with just the right amount of crispiness.
Knee High Stocking Company
Finish off your time in Seattle with a twist at one of the city’s pioneering craft cocktail bars, Knee High Stocking Company. The twist? Knee High is a modern-day speakeasy. Located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and marked with little more than a plaque, you must ring a doorbell to gain entry. Previously a notoriously difficult spot to get into, they recently expanded and can now seat 65, but reservations are still recommended. In addition to expanding their capacity, they’ve also expanded their menu. Serving Filipino-style American comfort food such as pork tocino sliders and spiced sans duck fat potatas bravas, the Knee High Stocking Co. is the perfect place to grab one last meal and drink in Seattle.