I’ve lived in Seattle for 7 years. I’m a foodie, I love coffee, but I also hate tourist attractions. When I travel, I want to pretend like I live in that city and do what the locals do. If crowded Pike Place Market doesn’t sound appealing to you and you’re planning on visiting the Emerald City, I’ve rounded up the recommendations I send to family and friends when they’re visiting Seattle.
But first… I want to address the most frequent thing people ask me about Seattle: does it rain all the time?
If you’re visiting from October through May, the rumors are basically true. It doesn’t storm or downpour or monsoon, it’s more of a constant, grey drizzle. If you’re visiting October to May: bring your rain jacket and comfortable shoes that can get wet. Also, bring sunglasses.
The very best time to visit Seattle? June, July, August and September. It’s sunny and usually around 78 degrees. The sky is the most saturated shade of blue you’ve ever seen, and the water around the downtown waterfront literally sparkles. Please visit during these months if you hate rain. Bring sunglasses.
The Best Coffee In Seattle
With all of the grey and gloom happening about 9 months out of the year, Seattle has gotten pretty good at its warm, caffeinated beverages.
Home to Starbucks, the coffee giant that everyone loves to hate, there really is coffee everywhere in Seattle. My first recommendation to visitors is the Starbucks Reserve Roastery on Capitol Hill. I know, it’s Starbucks—but this is kind of like Disneyland but for coffee. You’ll get a one-of-a-kind coffee experience that’s unlike any Starbucks you’ve ever been too, and be sure to grab a snack at straight-from-Italy’s Princi. I know you’re tempted to go the “first Starbucks” near Pike Place, but I promise this one is much better.
For a more of a cafe/espresso bar experience: Espresso Vivace, Stumptown, Elm Coffee, Slate Coffee, Milstead & Co., Storyville Coffee (on Pike Place)
Or just scroll through my list of must visit coffee shops in Seattle.
Where To Eat In Seattle
Joule, Walrus and the Carpenter, the Whale Wins, Serious Pie (for life-changing pizza), Taylor Shellfish Farms, Fonda La Catrina, Bateau, Salumi and Il Corvo (both only open for lunch on weekdays), any restaurant by Tom Douglas or Ethan Stowell – our local celebrity restaurant moguls
For Dessert or A Sweet Treat In Seattle
Bakery Nouveau, General Porpoise, Crumble & Flake, or Dahlia Bakery.
The Best Bars And Places To Drink Craft Cocktails In Seattle
No Anchor (just got a James Beard nod), Sun Liquor, Canon (fancy craft cocktails), Unicorn (if shots called “unicorn jizz” are your thing), E.Smith Mercantile Back Bar (tiny craft cocktail bar in a tiny store), Radiator Whiskey. If the weather is nice and you want to sit outside: The Nest At the Thompson Seattle, or M Bar.
Things To Do In Seattle
Shop at Moorea Seal, get a tour of the Theo Chocolate factory, go on a walk around Greenlake, take the water taxi from downtown Seattle to Alki, explore some cool exhibits at the Museum of Pop Culture, visit the Chihuly museum, go to the Flatstick Pub for mini golf + beers, if you’re into plants, the Volunteer Park Conservatory has badass cacti, wine tasting in Woodinville at Chateau St. Michelle.
Go Hiking Near Seattle
Summer is the best time to hike near Seattle. With the Olympic Mountain Range, the Cascade Mountain Range, Mt. Rainier, and plenty of inner city hikes, there are a lot of places to be active around the Seattle area.
Big Four Ice Caves — 3 hours drive from Seattle, about 2.5 miles round trip
Rattlesnake Ledge — 1.5 hours drive from Seattle, about 4 miles round trip
Little Si — about 2 hours drive from Seattle, 4.7 miles round trip
Wallace Falls –about 2 hours drive from Seattle, 5.5 miles round trip hike