Disclosure: This post was created in collaboration with InterContinental Hotels Group. As always, all experiences and opinions are my own.
Seattle is one of my favorite cities to visit, and I’ve been blessed with many trips there during all four seasons and with different focuses. It doesn’t matter what time of the year you go, you will love it. And yes, I even mean during the rain. I had to get that elephant in the room out of the way!
Most of my trips have been for a weekend, so I am well-versed on maximizing your Seattle adventures in two to three days. Being an extremely popular city, there are many wonderful Seattle travel guides with great information covering things to do and see and places to eat and drink. I’m sharing a weekend itinerary that includes some my favorites in the hopes that you too will be able to create your own Seattle weekend adventure. Trust me, it’s not hard!
Friday Night in Seattle
Arrive at the SeaTac Airport and hit the taxi, bus, or metro into Seattle. For the vast majority of this itinerary, you won’t need a car. The city is very walkable, although there are a few spots that will require transportation. Depending on the time of year and when the sun sets, I have two suggestions for activities on your first evening before you get dinner.
First up, you’ll need a ride, so pick your favorite form of transportation and head to the Dr. Jose Rizal Park (1007 12th Ave. S. in, Seattle, open 4 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.) and walk on the bridge on 12th Avenue South over South Dearborn Street and Interstate 90 in Seattle. Oddly, it’s a great spot for the sunset and fun for nighttime photography.
Afterward, head over to the Space Needle for a fantastic view of Seattle by night. It’s hotly debated whether to visit the Space Needle by day or by night. On a clear day, you can see the majestic Mount Rainier, along with the other mountains ranges and the water, but I think it’s pretty magical at night.
That gorgeous sunset will definitely spark an appetite for dinner! In my mind, you cannot go wrong by selecting a restaurant from Seattle chef icons Tom Douglas or Renee Erickson. I’ve eaten in several of their restaurants and have never been disappointed.
Saturday in Seattle
You’ve got the whole day ahead of you! My favorite way to start is at the famous Pike Place Market. If you visit in the morning, you miss a lot of the crowds and can enjoy walking through as the vendors are setting up for the day. You can pick up a coffee at the original Starbucks before the lines get nutty, and you can grab a delicious scone at the Three Girls Bakery, another market institution.
Now it’s time to burn off the scone and grab a Top Pot doughnut for your short walk to the Seattle Center. I realize that’s a lot of carbs, but it’s totally worth it. You cannot visit the Emerald City without one of these donuts! Seattle has a lot to offer from a food perspective. Being a port city, there are cuisines from Scandinavian cultures, Asian cultures, and Russian cultures, as well as an inordinate amount of fresh seafood. Your biggest problem during your Seattle weekend adventures is how to fit it all in!
When you get to the Seattle Center, you can go up to the top of the Space Needle again, or you can head straight to the Chihuly Garden and Glass, a museum dedicated to the works of Washington artist Dale Chihuly. This magical place also has one of my favorite views of the Space Needle! You can find Chihuly works all over the United States and around the world, but I think this permanent exhibition in Seattle is the best!
Next up is the MoPOP, or the Museum of Pop Culture, which is almost as fun to photograph on the outside as your visit inside will be! Formerly the EMP Museum, this spot is dedicated to contemporary popular culture, including music to which Seattle artist’s contributed volumes of material. Other focuses are science fiction and pop culture. There’s always a fascinating exhibition going on. Last time I was there it was all about “Star Trek.” I was in space geek heaven!
Now you’ve worked up an appetite for lunch! If you still want to stay in the Seattle Center area, you can find a wide variety of eats inside the Center itself. I really like the kebab at the Armory. Alternatively, I recommend heading over to South Lake Union for lunch at either El Chupacabra, a Mexican restaurant with outdoor seating, great drinks, punk rock roots, and a view of the Space Needle, or another iconic restaurant with outdoor seating in the same area, Duke’s Seafood & Chowder. You can never go wrong with chowder in Seattle.
After lunch, head to my other favorite museum, the MOHAI, whose full name is the Museum of History and Industry. I’m a history nut, and this museum weaves you through Seattle’s history via a lens of innovation and technology. In addition to being on the marina where you can enjoy water views, the building is stunning inside and you’ll just want to sit down and enjoy the space. I think this museum is a little off the radar compared to similar institutions, and you may not have heard of it, but I guarantee you, you will love it!
Sunsets in Seattle are nothing short of spectacular with the mountains, water, and city skyline. There are many places to see a sunset, but one of my favorite spots is Gas Works Park (2101 N. Northlake Way). It’s a public park built on the site of the former Seattle Gas Light Company gasification plant. There are plenty of leftover plant pieces that have been converted into art and things to climb on, play with, and take photos of. The park is on the water, so you’ll have beautiful views, picnic areas, bird-watching opportunities, and sports activities. It’s a unique place to visit, particularly for sunsets.
After sunset, you’ve got a tough decision to make: dinner! From Gas Works Park, you’re close to another Seattle food icon, Dick’s Drive-In, for a classic burger, fries, and shake joint! If you’re a burger lover, you’ll need to check this one off your list.
However, for something a little less casual, I’ve got a few recommendations. If you love Asian food, Vietnamese in particular, then make your way to the International District and make a beeline for Tamarind Tree Restaurant. It has one of the most comprehensive menus by region that I have ever seen, and I really enjoyed trying new dishes from the Hue region of Vietnam. More great options for Asian cuisine in the International District include Tai Tung Chinese Restaurant (655 S. King St.) and Pho Bac (1314 S. Jackson).
Given the access to fresh seafood, you’ll find amazing sushi in Seattle. I suggest Sushi Kashiba (86 Pine St. #1), Kisaku Sushi (2101 N. 55th St. #100), Maneki (304 Sixth Avenue S.), and Sushi Kappo Tamura (2968 Eastlake Ave. E.) for top spots for sushi and other Japanese food delights. And for great seafood restaurants, try Westward Seattle (2501 N. Northlake Way) for amazing oysters, and visit Lark Restaurant (952 E. Seneca St.) and Tilth (1411 N. 45th St.).
It’s your last night in Seattle, so go out with a bang with some tasty cocktails from one of the many really great bars, clubs, or restaurants in the city. My picks are Rumba (1112 Pike St.), Rob Roy (2332 Second Ave.), Sun Liquor Distillery and Lounge (512 E. Pike St.) and Zig Zag Cafe (1501 Western Ave.). But go easy, as you are flying home tomorrow!
Sunday Morning in Seattle
Ahhh, it’s Sunday morning already. How time flies when you are having so much fun and such good food. Did you partake of one too many cocktails last night? Do you dread the impending airplane food? I know the cure for that: Dimsum. Seattle has some mighty tasty dim sum that’s perfect for your last morning in the Emerald City. My go-to for great dim sum is Harbor City Restaurant (707 S. King St.), but I also really like Foo Lam Chinese Restaurant (7101 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S.) and Jade Garden Restaurant (424 Seventh Ave. S.).
Take a last stroll around Pike Place Market. Pick up that last bunch of flowers, a chunk of cheese, a jar of pepper jelly, or a filet of salmon before you head back to the airport and on your way back to chez toi (home). Food souvenirs are the best souvenirs!
That’s it! You’ve completed your Seattle weekend adventures a la Misadventures with Andi! Seattle is a very easy city to fall in love with. Whether you follow my itinerary or create your own, you really can’t go wrong. Now get out there and enjoy yourself!
How about you? Have you visited Seattle before? What are some of your favorite things to see, do, and eat in Seattle?