First Timers Guide To Seattle

When you think of Seattle, Washington – the city known for its lush green (the Emerald City), rolling mountains and the Pacific Ocean (another name given called the Pacific Northwest) – what comes to mind? 

Most people think of Seattle in these terms:

  1. Gloomy Weather
  2. Naturistic
  3. Scenic 
  4. Clean and Fresh
  5. Diverse
View of Seattle, Washington

I’ve learned that when you’re curious about visiting a different city, the first thing you have to do is to go out and experience it for yourself! 

1. Gloomy Weather

When it comes to the gloomy weather in Seattle, the overall temperature/weather is similar to London, England or Vancouver, BC in Canada.

Visiting Seattle during the fall, winter and even the start of spring tends to be varying in temperature. It tends to rain a bit all throughout the year with the colder temperature months lasting between October and mid March – that’s why winter temperatures tend to linger and you still have your sweaters on hand!

Seattle’s weather is known to have “cool summers and mild winters.” The best part about this state is seeing all four seasons!

2. Naturistic

The four seasons bring out the beauty of the city as well as the mountains, waterfalls, views, and forestry! 

Fall tends to be my favorite season of the year because it’s the coming of holidays. The fall foliage is very beautiful. 

Winter can carry some snow – it varies; from very light to being stuck at home. The snow-capped mountains are beautiful when driving from afar and people do hike during the snowy winters!

Spring welcomes the tulips and cherry blossoms.

Summer presents cool breezes and temperatures as well as perfect weather for the beach and trail/forestry walks. 

There are various waterfalls, hikes and trails to experience outside of Seattle! Whether you’re a beginner hiker or experienced, there is something to enjoy for everyone.

3. Scenic

Seattle is scenic for its mountains, water and lush green pine trees and forestry. You tend to see mountains from afar, sunrises and sunsets on the beaches, and even the blue water that houses the yachts and boats.

4. Clean and Fresh 

When you smell that air, you know it’s clean and fresh – not heavily polluted.

5. Diverse

Seattle is diverse in its culture and the people it welcomes with open arms. It is a melting pot of cultures here!

First Time to Seattle

My colleague/friend was visiting from the metro DC/Baltimore/Virginia area. Our company was hosting a summer event and they generously paid for those that lived on the East Coast to get together and have a fun time! 

For any friends of mine that live out of state or have never visited, I would make a plan of our days by listing what would be great to experience and take pride and joy in my hometown! The first on that list is Seattle!

Here are some places I recommend below for first timers to experience: 

Pike Place Market

The Famous flying fish and the abundance of flowers! The market first opened in 1907 and is one of the oldest operated markets in the area. It’s a big tourist attraction that houses a lot of vendors; from produce and seafood to paintings, handbags and flowers. One side of the market is filled with several sections of unique flowers – and the only market to house such a lovely sight!

Bouquets of flowers in Seattle, Washington
Bouquets of flowers in Seattle, Washington

Observation Decks

The Space Needle: a famous landmark! Whenever you think of Seattle - the Space Needle comes to mind. It was introduced at the 1962 World Fair and in 2018, the Space Needle underwent some renovations where the indoor observation deck is now made with a revolving glass door. Beautiful sites of the city can be seen with the gift shop and the SkyCity Restaurant. 

The Columbia City Tower: built in 1985, it was previously named the “Bank of America Tower.” It houses 76 floors – making it the tallest skyscraper/building in downtown Seattle. The observatory deck is on the 73rd floor. It encompasses a 360-degree view.

View of the Columbia City Tower in Seattle, Washington

Smith Tower: Built in 1914, it was the first in Seattle to be the tallest building in history until the Space Needle took over in 1962. To this day, it holds an amazing view on the 35th floor. They have “the Wishing Chair,” and they say if you sit on it as a single person, you’ll get married within a year!

Smith Tower in Seattle, Washington

Seattle Great Wheel

A famous attraction built not too long ago, they have nice comfy seats and epic views of the Seattle waterfront and city, day or night. You can even have pictures taken to remember the moment :) 

The Great Wheel in Seattle, Washington
View of Seattle, Washington at night

Parks

Olympic Sculpture Park: a 9-acre sculpture park that houses outstanding and monumental artwork. Open and free to the public!

Discovery Park: There’s a 4.4-mile easy trail loop around that provides a marvelous view of the lighthouse and water. 

park in Seattle, Washington

Chihuly Garden & Glass

Glass blowing at its finest! World-renowned glass blower, Dale Chihuly showcases his finest work. 

Chihuly Garden in Seattle, Washington

Museums

Seattle Art Museum (SAM): The Seattle Art Museum is famous for artist’s work that presents multiple eras and genres! The museum dates back to the 1930’s. 

Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop): Pop culture, science fiction and music; from Nirvana to the Seattle Seahawks!

Coffee Cafes

Seattle is famous for coffee and also, their latte art. After all, there is Seattle’s Best Coffee. While the Pacific Northwest has an abundance of coffee shops, here are ones to check out in the area.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room: The first Starbucks opened in Pike Place but this place showcases a wide variety – from ordering coffee and baked goods to a demonstration of various brewing methods! They refer to it as the “Willy Wonka Coffee Wonderland!” 

Jewel Box Cafe: Located in Northgate, I love this place for their coffee and big crepes! Savory or sweet – they have unique selections. It’s a nice place to grab a bite, hang with friends, study or work! 

Food and coffee at Jewel Box Cafe in Seattle, Washington

Retreat: Located in Greenlake, this place is super modern and very good. They serve a unique selection of healthy breakfast bowls, salads and brunch. Their famous beet root or Golden Lattes are superb! 

Rain Cafe: Located in Aurora, this place is great to study and chill with open booths! An Asian cafe and hangout, they have ramen burgers, sushi burritos, bubble teas, desserts and snacks and… they make decent coffee too! 

Food from Rain Cafe in Seattle, Washington
Seattle brunch

Brunch

If you are visiting, you have to venture to at least ONE brunch spot!

Lola: One of the few restaurants owned and founded by Tom Douglas – everything here is quite delicious hands down! They had closed down due to COVID but are now back in business!! Tom’s Favorite is a unique brunch dish with octopus and flavors – a- must-try and they have their made-to-ready doughnuts! 

Cafe Flora: Vegetarian and vegan – they serve a good Huevos Platanos and a Butternut Kale Scramble!

Portage Bay Cafe: They’re famous for their fruit bar! You either get french toast or pancakes and you can top it off at the bar. Their prickly pear mimosas are awesome! 

Food from Portage Bay Cafe in Seattle, Washington

Seafood

People are curious about Seattle’s seafood! 

Elliott’s Oyster House: A bit upscale –  they have some amazing oysters/seafood and drinks! The waterfront view is splendid. 

Ivars Salmon House: One of the best Ivar’s that I have been to that oversees the view of Seattle on the water. The restaurant atmosphere shows the totem poles and artwork around the restaurant and it’s one of the biggest Ivar’s I’ve seen to date.

The Crab Pot: If you love seafood boils – there’s about 4 varieties! They also have halibut and chips and crab cakes as other food items on the menu. 

 

The Crab Pot dish in Seattle, Washington

International District

The International District is home to the Asian culture and houses many dim sum, noodle houses and asian baked goods! 

Jade Garden: VERY GOOD DIM SUM! Although the service could be improved, the place is a spot to try and has incredible raves from those that come to eat here! You must come early or you’ll have to wait in line.

Maneki: One of the oldest Japanese restaurants in the area – you must try the Black Cod Collar Miso!

Mike’s Noodle House: It’s those noodles! They’re famous for their wonton noodle soup!

Hood Famous Cafe & Bar: Filipino baked goods, brunch and coffee! They’re famous for their ube cookies, however, they have 4 cute adorable cheesecake flavors: ube, white chocolate guava, coconut pandan and the calamansi mango. 

Oasis: bubble tea and snacks! People come here for a late night bubble tea run.

Uwajimaya: famous Asian Japanese market in the area. You can find your seafood, produce, Asian goods and the most appetizing deli items like sushi, sandwiches and poke bowls. It even houses cute little appliances like rice cookers and very nice bowls and tea cups. They also house a small little food court.

So whether you’re visiting for a day, a few days or a week or two, there’s so much to experience in Seattle! Enjoy your time in the Emerald City! 

Marielle

Hello! I'm Marielle. I was born and raised here in Washington -- and recently moved to Mukilteo! Writing has always been my strong suit as well as something that I enjoy doing and can brush up on, especially when it comes to things I love writing about. I am a total foodie and enjoy cooking and baking as well as new adventures

2 Comments

  1. Lorraine on January 25, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    Can’t wait to return to the Pacific Northwest after 33 year absence. Still locked up in Western Australia for now. Great article as I continue to plan. Thanks

  2. […] and parking space is limited. While some people make a day trip to Mt. Baker all the way from Seattle by waking up at 5 a.m., staying at Little Wolf Cabin is perfect for those like me who prefer to […]

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