Seattle is famous for coffee, and there’s certainly evidence of the residents’ love for it. Check out the “original Starbucks” (which has moved but still has its original vintage look) next to Pike Place Market as well as the abundance of independent coffee shops and roasters making their mark in the city. But book a flight to Seattle and you’ll see there’s more to Seattle than coffee. Pike Place Market itself, with its fruit, fish, cheese and flower sellers, is a feast for the senses.
For nature lovers, do not miss out on seeing the beautiful Puget Sound. Hop on a cruise for whale watching or head out to Bainbridge Island for a day trip. Ferry boats, a convenient way to travel and experience Seattle’s natural beauty, connect the numerous islands and shores throughout the waterways of Elliott Bay. Stay on dry land and walk through Seattle’s dozens of parks and enjoy the sight of sailboats roaming through the bay.
Finally, try shopping in the historic districts or attend one of the many festivals held year-round in Seattle. When you feel like taking a trip that combines both natural beauty and urban activities, Seattle is undeniably the place for you.
Seattle is famous for its rainy weather, but the city experiences plenty of sunny days. The warmest months are July and August, when temperatures tend to hover in the mid 70s. Breezes off of the ocean can make for windy days and cooler nights, even during the summer. Winters are cold and wet, and during the spring and fall, expect moderate temperatures and frequent afternoon rainstorms.
It generally rains a lot in Seattle but there is much less rain from April to October, and because the summer weather is mild, any time during this half of the year is pleasant. Summer is the most popular time to fly to Seattle and it stays light until 10pm in June and July. Book a flight to Seattle during summer to experience one of Seattle’s big, and primarily outdoor, festivals. During the occasional summer rain, there is nearly always something to see in the theatres and performance halls. From around mid-May to mid-September prices tend to rise, consequently cheap accommodations and cheap flights to Seattle around this time may be harder to find.
The rainy season runs from October to April, however, in February travelers and locals can enjoy the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Visit Seattle in February to see this five-day event that hosts entertainment for the whole family such as gardening fun, live music, food and wine. Florists, gardeners and designers all participate to put on a spectacular show of garden displays for visitors to view. There are also over 100 seminars hosted by gardening professionals who are on hand to share tips, tricks and ideas to jazz up your own garden. A slightly different event during the off season is Fremont Oktoberfest in Seattle which features the biggest beer garden in the Northwest with over 100 microbrews and craft beers on offer to taste and enjoy. This delightful and fun-filled event has attractions for all the family to enjoy such as the Oktoberfest 5k beer run, live Seattle Bands, a children’s area with horse racing and displays of the Texas Chainsaw Pumpkin carving.
The best time to book a flight to Seattle is approximately one to three months before you travel; prices tend to be lowest during this period, and there are often ample seats available. If you’re traveling on a route that has very few flights, earlier is better. In most cases, it’s best to avoid booking two weeks or less before departure, as prices tend to rise steeply at this point.
Seattle is one of the most popular northwestern hubs in the United States, so it’s a breeze to find a quick flight. From New York, a direct flight to Seattle takes approximately five to six hours. If you’re traveling from Miami, expect to travel for just under seven hours. The farther west your departure city, the shorter the flight. From Chicago the trip takes about four and a half hours, and from Los Angeles, flights last just under three hours.
The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport welcomes more than 45 million passengers per yer on more than 20 airlines. Most major U.S. carriers fly into Seattle, including United, American, JetBlue, Southwest, Alaska and Spirit. The city is a Delta hub, so it’s easy to find flights from the U.S. and around the world. A range of popular international carriers fly into Seattle, including British Airways, Emirates and Lufthansa.
No trip to Seattle is complete without an umbrella — rainstorms can come out of nowhere, even during a sunny summer day, so it’s best to be prepared. Or, do as the locals do and bring a hooded rain jacket to avoid losing your umbrella to high winds. Combat sea breezes with a light jacket during the summer. If you’re traveling during the winter, prepare for cold temperatures and rainy days with warm winter clothing. Another must-have is a pair of comfortable shoes, which can help you navigate Seattle’s compact, hilly downtown core.
Flights to Seattle will take you to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), also known as Sea-Tac, the city’s major airport. It is 10 miles from the city center.
There are several options for getting into the city. The Link Light Rail is a convenient choice, taking just over 30 minutes to reach Seattle. Shuttle buses are useful for those with a lot of luggage. There are also taxis and rental cars.
The Metro Transit system of buses, including electric and hybrid buses, is useful and tourist-friendly, though drivers do not carry change. Express routes are offered by some buses. Other options include the streetcar and the monorail, connecting with major attractions. The Washington State Ferries are a tourist attraction in their own right.
With its walkable city center and wide variety of attractions, Seattle is a traveler’s dream. Start your day by experiencing the local coffee culture. Stop in to one of the many independently owned coffee shops for a locally roasted blend, or walk down to the oldest operating Starbucks near Pike Place Market. Then, head straight for the market, where you can browse stalls of fresh flowers, shop for artisan foods or watch the famous fish-tossing tradition.
Close by, the Seattle waterfront offers a range of options. Enjoy a casual seafood lunch on a pier, or hop on a ferry to explore the bay or Bainbridge Island. If you’re traveling with kids, head for the Seattle Aquarium, where you can observe sea life through a 40-foot viewing window. A short walk away, the Seattle Great Wheel provides beautiful views from air-conditioned gondolas.
Check out an iconic Seattle landmark at the Space Needle, where you can ride an elevator to the top for spectacular views of the city and Elliott Bay. Nearby, the Chihuly Garden and Glass offers close-up views at gravity defying glass sculptures. If you’re visiting on a rainy day, stay dry with a trip to the Museum of Pop Culture, the Museum of Flight, the Museum of History and Industry or the Pacific Science Center. When it’s sunny, book a sailboat or seaplane tour to explore the beautiful coastline.
After a day of sightseeing, kick back at one of Seattle’s unique nightlife options in historic Pioneer Square. Culture-lovers can catch a performance of the Pacific Northwest Ballet or check out a brand-new musical at The 5th Avenue Theatre.