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If you live in Western Canada or Western United States, Seattle is a great option for a weekend trip. Often the flight is less than three hours. That means you have ample time to explore the city in just two days.
Plus it is one of the most beautiful places in all of Washington state, so you have to visit it at least once!
Before you go
Before you get to Seattle, you have to take care of a couple practical items like booking your flight and accommodation.
Ideally, you would book a flight that leaves Friday evening after work to allow for an entire day exploring on Saturday. However, if that is not possible, you should be able to book an early morning flight. Preferably, you should book a flight that lands in Seattle by 9am on Saturday.
Getting up early to catch a flight on Saturday morning rather than Saturday afternoon will allow you to optimize your short weekend getaway. Since you only have a short time in Seattle on a weekend trip, it is essential that you get to the city as early as possible.
Seattle can be an expensive city. Especially if you want to stay in the heart of the city and be able to walk everywhere. The Hilton Garden Inn Seattle Downtown and Hampton Inn & Suites Seattle- Downtown are great options. The Hampton Inn & Suites is less expensive and offers a complimentary breakfast. However, it is a bit further away from most of the sights. This means it requires more walking or using public transportation than the Hilton Garden Inn.
All the main sights in Seattle are very walkable when you stay in the centre of the city. It is worth the extra money to stay downtown because you don’t have much time in Seattle.
Getting to your Hotel from the Airport
There are many ways to get from the airport to downtown. The most convenient is to get an Uber, Lyft, or taxi. All three of these options are located on the third floor of the parking garage. Don’t worry about getting lost because there are lots of signs to point you in the right direction.
The most expensive option is a taxi, and it will cost you approximately $45-$50 to get to your downtown hotel. Many taxis have a flat rate so be sure to be an informed passenger. Either ask your driver about the pricing or read the literature on the windows and seat backs in the taxi.
You can take the light rail from the airport to the downtown station Westlake. From there you can walk to your hotel from there if you are looking for a budget-friendly option. If you’re staying at the Hilton Garden Inn, the walk is only a couple of blocks. If you’re staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites, you will have to take the monorail then walk a few blocks from there. There are signs in the airport that direct you where to get on the light rail system.
Visit the Space Needle as early as you can. The Space Needle gets extremely busy, so the earlier you can get there, the less crowded it will be. Tickets start at $32.50. However, there are often packages you can buy that make it cheaper to visit it and other attractions. Here is the official Space Needle website to help you determine what ticket you should get.
I recommend either buying your ticket online early is you know exactly when you want to visit it. If you aren’t sure exactly when you will be arriving, there are ticket kiosks on the pathway to the entrance. Use them as they will save you standing in a long ticket line. You are also able to buy multi-experience tickets through the kiosks, so they are very convenient.
Once you’re up in the Space Needle, be sure to take your time looking around. Don’t rush your visit as there is lots to see. There is even a coffee shop and stools for you to enjoy a hot beverage while taking in the view. Be sure to explore every section of the Space Needle to get your money’s worth because it isn’t exactly inexpensive.
Chihuly Garden and Glass or Museum of Pop Culture
Both of these museums are exceptional and located steps away from the Space Needle. Chihuly Garden and Glass displays huge blown glass art pieces. It also has a garden that is a mix of plants and blown glass elements. It is gorgeous and well worth a visit. The entrance fee is $26, but there are package deals with the Space Needle that brings the cost down a little.
If blown glass isn’t your thing, the Museum of Pop Culture is a great alternative. It is filled with exhibitions ranging from Science Fiction movies and television to sports to music. There is truly something for everyone. The feature exhibit changes regularly. So even if you have been in the past, there will be something new for you to experience. The admission cost is $34 for an adult, so it is quite expensive. However, there are package deals with the Space Needle that bring the cost down a bit. This is a very popular museum, so be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time if possible.
The Space Needle and area will take you all morning and part of the afternoon if you take your time. Once you’re done, take the monorail downtown. Seattle is a sports lover’s dream city. Between baseball, football, and the soon-to-be hockey team, you can catch a sports game all year ’round. I recommend you grab some dinner downtown then go to a sporting event.
There are not a lot of food options near the football and baseball stadiums. So make sure to eat downtown if you don’t want to eat stadium food. Even for a casual sports fan, taking in a live game is always a great way to spend an evening! Baseball tickets are fairly inexpensive, so it is also a great option for travellers on a budget. Football tickets tend to be more expensive. You can normally get cheap tickets, but you will be sitting further away from the action.
Pike Place Market and the Harbour
Pike Place Market is a must-do activity in Seattle. It is a bustling market that is open every day of the week. It is home to a variety of vendors. You can find fresh produce, fish, hand-made products, and restaurants. Not to mention, it is home to the very first Starbucks (it always has a long line, so if you’re not a die-hard Starbucks fan, it is best to give it a miss).
Pike Place Market is the perfect place to get breakfast on Sunday morning. There are tons of small cafes that offer great breakfasts. There are also vendors that sell freshly-baked pastries. Vegan and gluten-free options are available for people with dietary restrictions.
After breakfast, walk along the harbour. There is plenty to see and do. You could go on a harbour cruise, ride the ferris wheel, visit the aquarium, or simply take a stroll and enjoy the sights and sounds. There are often street performers to entertain you as well.
This is a truly relaxing way to start your last day on your Seattle weekend getaway.
Seattle has an incredible history. Taking an underground tour is a great way to learn about how Seattle became the city it is today. On the tour you get to go underground to the original city streets. You learn how the streets that are currently in use came to be and the challengers early settlers faced. Tickets are $22 for an adult, but it is well worth the money. You can purchase tickets in advance online or walk up and purchase your tickets the day of. Tours regularly sell out. You may have to wait until the next tour if you buy your ticket the day of. There are a number of unique stores in the surrounding neighbourhood to check out while you’re waiting. Otherwise, the tour company has a pub attached to it’s office where you can grab lunch and a pint.
If you’re flight leaves on Sunday evening, this is the time when you’ll have to go back to your hotel and retrieve your stored luggage. Unfortunately, your time in Seattle has come to an end far too quickly.
If, however, you’re flight doesn’t leave until Monday morning, you can use your remaining time to either go to another sporting event, go to a local theatre performance, or check out the Seattle nightlife.
Downtown Seattle has a lot of nightlife to offer, so you will easily stumble your way into a pub, restaurant, or club that will suit your fancy. This last evening is yours to do what you wish with it. Soak up the last hours of your holiday and do whatever you enjoy most!
Seattle has a lot to offer, and it has something for everybody. While it is an expensive city, it has a lot of unique experiences to offer. The Space Needle is a piece of history that everybody should experience at least once in a lifetime. There are also a number of great museums to visit.
It is also a very walkable city. This makes it ideal for able-bodied travellers that like experiencing the local vibe by walking through various neighbourhoods on the way to their next destination.
If you live in the Western part of North America, Seattle is the perfect weekend getaway. You will feel like you’ve seen most of what Seattle has to offer and won’t go home feeling as if you missed anything.