a citizen’s guide to Seattle

say hello to Seattle

Seattle, the Pacific Northwest's uber-cool hub where tech meets creativity. Delight in the city's pulse from the towering Space Needle, savour the vibrant food scene and tap your foot to the local rhythm. Stroll through Seattle’s vibrant neighbourhoods, kick back by the glittering Puget Sound and tune into the city's infectious indie vibe. Ready to jazz up your travels? Let’s dive into everything you should know to make your trip to Seattle an absolute blast!

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best time to visit Seattle

The best time to visit Seattle is from May through September. The sun's just right – not too sizzling, not too chilly. Clouds will spill such few raindrops they practically apologize for showing up – the perfect weather for a city trip. And the landscapes? They're just begging to fill up your camera roll and give your followers some serious love. Brace yourself for the summer crowd from June to August, it's quite the social jamboree. But hey, if you're more into serene, crowdless travel, better mark your calendar for May or September. Seattle rolls out the red carpet just for you. But nonsense aside, let’s have a look at some sassy stats. 

High season: June to August.

Glorious summertime in Seattle. Sunny skies, temperatures up to 25°C and daylight stretching its arms until 9 p.m. This is the time when Seattle truly struts its stuff. Take a twirl atop the Space Needle, picnic amidst the blooming buds at Washington Park Arboretum or savour those legendary panoramic views from Kerry Park. But remember, your fellow travellers also have this season on their radar, so book ahead and brace for the crowds!

Shoulder season: April to May and September to October.

Say hello to mild temperatures (usually up to 20°C), fewer crowds and a city popping with colourful foliage or blooming cherry blossoms. The city's less busy, making it the perfect time to meander around Pike Place Market, or perhaps embark on a whimsical ferry ride across the Puget Sound without jostling for space. And who can resist the charm of tasting some of the world's freshest oysters during the fall months? A foodie's delight, indeed!

Low season: November to March.

Now, it's true, Seattle gets a bit moody during these months with more frequent rain and temperatures between the cool 0-8°C. But don't let that get you down! This is the time to enjoy Seattle's vibrant arts scene indoors. Find yourself lost in the mesmerizing Chihuly Garden and Glass, or dive into Seattle's rich musical history at MoPOP. Plus, prices drop faster than the winter temps, making it a great time for budget-conscious travellers.

No matter if you're a sun-lover, a crowd-dodger or an artsy rain enthusiast, Seattle has a season for you. Pack your bags, plan that trip to Seattle and get ready to fall in love with this Pacific Northwest gem.

where is Seattle?

Seattle is nestled in Washington State, in the top-left corner of the USA's continental map. saying 'howdy' to its northern neighbor Vancouver that’s just over the border in Canada. With the beautiful waters of Puget Sound on one side and the Cascade Mountain pals on the other, Seattle's all about the perfect blend of urban cool and wild, natural beauty. So pack your hiking boots and bring your appetite for craft beer, because Seattle is serving up nature, culture, and a whole lot more!

getting around in Seattle

Getting around in Seattle is easy, thanks to the city's seriously efficient public transportation system. King County Metro is the superstar of public transportation in the Puget Sound region. It offers a variety of services like buses, paratransit, vanpools and water taxis. Additionally, it operates the Seattle Streetcar, Sound Transit Link light rail and Sound Transit Express bus service. Simply put, King County Metro has got you covered for all your travel needs in and around the city.

Our personal fave? The Link Light Rail – this gem connects you from the airport to downtown, Capitol Hill and even the University District in a snap. And when it comes to staying updated, just let your fingers do the walking with the super handy One Bus Away app and Google Maps. So go ahead, ditch the car – Seattle's got you covered, day or night. Happy travels!

1. South Lake Union

If Silicon Valley and a serene lakeside locale had a lovechild, it'd look a lot like South Lake Union. This tech-savvy neighbourhood is no wallflower, boasting Amazon's colossal headquarters, a multitude of biotech start-ups and enough bandwidth to set your Instagram alight. But amidst all the entrepreneurial hustle, South Lake Union knows how to chill out too. Gourmet eateries and stylish boutiques abound, and the Instagram-worthy Lake Union Park is a green thumb's dream in an urban jungle. Grab a latte, visit the uber-cool Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) and let Seattle's past and future narratives unfold. As dusk blankets the city, step out for a paddleboarding session or kayak your way under the stars. South Lake Union is the ultimate hybrid of the hi-tech and the zen, seamlessly blending work and play in a uniquely Seattle tableau. The cherry on top of the cake? Our citizenM South Lake Union hotel to rest your feet!

2. Capitol Hill

Bursting with avant-garde vibrance, Capitol Hill is Seattle's edgy cultural cauldron, brimming with all the grungy charm and eclectic energy you'd expect from a neighbourhood that birthed the likes of Nirvana. Infused with an irresistible Bohemian ambience, this colourful district is your one-stop shop for independent record stores, funky vintage boutiques and eclectic eateries serving up everything from artisanal vegan treats to world-class sushi. In between your gastronomical indulgences, take a moment to soak up the street art, sip a cappuccino at a cosy café and bask in the pulsating energy of the live music scene that keeps the neighbourhood's heart beating. A visit to Capitol Hill is like stepping into a lively, inclusive, and ever-evolving mural that never fails to surprise.

3. Belltown

Known for its trendy boutiques and dynamic nightlife, Belltown is the ultimate playground for the modern urbanite. The neighbourhood sizzles with some of Seattle's most acclaimed restaurants, swanky bars and artsy galleries, making it a haven for foodies, night owls and culture vultures alike. But it's not all concrete and skyscrapers in Belltown – the neighbourhood also offers a sweet escape from the urban bustle with the serene Olympic Sculpture Park, offering panoramic views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. All in all, Belltown is a veritable cocktail of cosmopolitan excitement and tranquil beauty, shaken not stirred, and served with a side of Seattle charm.

4. Fremont

Fondly dubbed the 'Center of the Universe', Fremont is a neighbourhood with a cheeky, quirky soul. Whether you're ogling at the peculiar Fremont Troll, scouting local treasures at the Sunday Market, or strolling along the picturesque canal, you're in for a delightfully unusual experience. Add to this the eclectic collection of vintage shops, bookstores, craft breweries, and diverse eateries, Fremont's eccentric spirit makes it an irresistible destination for those seeking a unique Seattle experience. To truly embrace the Fremont experience, mark your calendar for the Summer Solstice Parade, an annual festival that sees the neighbourhood bursting with creativity and community spirit.

5. Ballard

A maritime gem with Scandinavian roots, Ballard seamlessly blends its storied past with a buzzing contemporary scene. This neighbourhood is a tantalising brew of rich heritage and new-age sophistication, marked by its fishing docks, hip boutiques, historic landmarks and a thriving dining scene. As you traverse the cobblestone streets, the scent of fresh seafood lures you towards the bustling Ballard Locks, a testament to the neighbourhood's maritime charm. Not to be missed are the numerous microbreweries which put Ballard firmly on the craft beer map. Don't forget to take a moment to unwind in the serene embrace of the Golden Gardens Park, showing a sunset view that's nothing short of poetry.

6. Pioneer Square

A neighbourhood steeped in history and bristling with contemporary cool, Pioneer Square is the birthplace of Seattle and home of citizenM Pioneer Square hotel. As you amble through its brick-lined streets, you'll encounter a rich tapestry of 19th-century architecture, white-hot art galleries and trendy coffee shops. Explore the mysterious depths of the city on the Underground Tour, then rise to new heights at the Smith Tower, one of the oldest skyscrapers in the US. Add a dash of greenery at the Waterfall Garden Park, a hidden urban oasis that'll make you feel miles away from the city. Pioneer Square is a delicious cocktail of the old and new, making it an absolute must-visit for any Seattle sojourner.

It’s playful, it’s cool and a little unusual. We’ll start slowly, promise. But be prepared for some more out-of-the-box fun. Citizens, let’s dive into some of the must-dos when in Seattle.

Sky View Observatory - Columbia Center

Soar sky-high in the Columbia Center. The Sky View Observatory leaves you giddy with sweeping views of Seattle in all its glory.

Space Needle

Begin your journey with a cosmic leap into the Space Needle. Teetering at a thrilling 605 feet, it's your chance to flirt with the clouds and witness the Emerald City sparkle beneath you.

Museum of POP Culture

Next, let your inner geek frolic in the wonderland of the Museum of POP Culture, an eccentric assortment of exhibitions from your favourite movies, music and games!

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Leave reality at the door and immerse yourself in the fantastical world of Chihuly Garden and Glass. Colourful glass sculptures bend your imagination in a kaleidoscope of shape and colour.

The Original Starbucks

Get a caffeine kick at the mothership of all coffee shops – the original Starbucks. With a sniff of those fresh beans, you'll feel as revitalized as Seattle's coffee culture itself.

Pike Place Market

Plunge into the heart and soul of Seattle at Pike Place Market. From fresh seafood to artisan crafts, it's a cornucopia of local gems. Veggie-lover? Join a plant-based food tour. It’s the perfect blend of healthy, tasty and fun, without a hint of rabbit food in sight!

Treasure hunting at local markets

Support local farmers or go treasure hunting at one of Seattle’s coolest local markets., The University District Farmers Market, Ballard Farmers Market and Fremont Sunday Flea Market are your X marks the spot. Who knows what Seattle wonders you'll find?

Hot Tub Boat on Lake Union

Dip into a steamy adventure on Lake Union. These hot tub boats are your very own floating paradise, bobbing amidst picturesque city views. Don't forget your rubber ducky!

Pinball Museum

Flipper fans, unite! The Pinball Museum will ping you back to your playful childhood days with a whirl of lights and sounds.

Post Alley Gum Wall

For something unapologetically weird, visit the Post Alley Gum Wall. Leave your gum-sticky kiss on this offbeat landmark and join the ranks of chewy contributors.

Seattle Art Museum

At the Seattle Art Museum, ride the wave of creativity spanning across time and continents. It's an aesthete's dream come true.

The Triple Door

Dim the lights, elevate the mood. The Triple Door serves up an evening of high-calibre shows and performances to charm your senses, accompanied by a side of gourmet eats.

Jazz & Speakeasy

Time-travel back to the Prohibition era in a hush-hush speakeasy. Savour a craft cocktail while getting swept away by the smooth sound of jazz and the low-lit ambience.

Alki Beach

As the day unfurls, soak in tranquillity at Alki Beach. Build a sandcastle, take a leisurely stroll or just bask in the golden sunset hues.

Kerry Park views

For that picture-perfect Seattle moment, Kerry Park is the place to be. Click away and capture the skyline in its full illuminated majesty.

Seattle’s food scene

Let's spill the tea on Seattle's food scene, which, we promise, is as colourful as a summer sunset over Puget Sound. Think this city is all about Starbucks? Think again. The true star(ter) of the show is seafood – and we're not kidding when we say it's off-the-boat fresh. Your taste buds will throw a party with every bite of the buttery oysters, scrumptious salmon, luscious crab and indulgent lobster from top-tier joints like The Walrus and the Carpenter and Elliott's Oyster House.

And let's not forget the Pike Place Market – a little seafood kingdom where the catch of the day is an understatement. But the city's culinary creativity doesn't stop at the ocean's edge. Ever had a hot dog with cream cheese and onions? You'll find it here, all dolled up and christened as the 'Seattle Dog'. Plus, there's Canlis Salad – a legendary dish from the swanky Canlis restaurant that's just as posh as it sounds.

Seattle is also where the fast-food version of Chicken Teriyaki was hatched, the American-style Dutch Baby pancake grew up and Pho souped up its reputation. Cheese lovers, buckle up! Beecher's Cheese at Pike Place Market will make you believe in love at first bite with its 'World's Best' Mac & Cheese. It's all as delightfully unexpected as finding a Banksy artwork in your hotel room – which, by the way, can totally happen if you're staying at citizenM!

best coffee in Seattle

Who could do so much sightseeing without a nice cup of coffee? Seattle is the cradle of caffeine culture where every corner tempts with the scent of roasting beans. As the birthplace of the international giant Starbucks, Seattle's coffee scene is undeniably well-caffeinated, brimming with options for every type of coffee lover.

Espresso fan? Make your way to the industrial chic 'Espresso Vivace', known for its extraordinary attention to the art of espresso. For those of you seeking an eco-conscious brew, don't miss 'Seattle Coffee Works', which creates sustainably sourced, farm-to-cup coffee with a mission to make coffee better in terms of quality, sustainability and equity.

Looking for something a little more experimental? 'Slate Coffee Roasters' is where you want to be; their innovative brewing methods and a seasonal rotating menu make coffee drinking an exciting and complex sensory experience.

But remember. In Seattle, coffee is not just a beverage – it's the culture. You're stepping into a city where latte art is a competitive sport and the barista might just be a Q-Grader (that's the coffee equivalent of a sommelier). So grab a cup, pull up a seat and get lost (not shaky) in Seattle's unique caffeinated charm.

where to stay in Seattle

citizenM living room

lock in your urban adventure

In the heart of Seattle, you'll discover two slices of home-away-from-home perfection that blend high-tech comfort, edgy design and a hint of whimsy. citizenM Seattle hotels are more than just a place to lay your head – we’re a snuggly, artsy, friendly haven in the city of coffee and innovation.

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citizenM guest room

citizenM Pioneer Square hotel

Smack dab in the middle of historic charm at Pioneer Square, the first of our duo is a cosy cocoon of cool where XL king-sized beds wait to hug you after a day of downtown exploration. Our walls, a canvas for contemporary art, set the tone for your uniquely curated cultural journey.

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citizenM guest room

citizenM South Lake Union hotel

Then there's our South Lake Union gem, where you're tucked between tech giants and the twinkle of Lake Union's waters. Our XL beds here are so comfy you might mistake them for clouds, and our interiors are so slick that you'll want to Instagram every corner. Art here is not an afterthought, but a celebration of global and local talent that brings our space to life.

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