I MOVED TO Seattle in the ’90s during the heyday of its grunge music scene, when it was a much smaller city and the globally known companies founded here were still considered local startups. A lot has changed since then; the population has nearly doubled, and new hotels and restaurants pop up all the time. But one steadfast element is the region’s natural beauty; it shapes the city’s character and appeal. It’s what makes me happy every day to live here and what I like to impress upon anyone who comes to visit. Even a casual gaze across our urban landscape makes it stunningly obvious why it’s called the Emerald City — canopies of green weave around skyscrapers and homes, and the lakes and sound are a part of our everyday lives. On a clear day (yes, we have them … and more than you’d think), catching a view of the majestic mountain known as Tahoma or Mount Rainier, which is actually an active stratovolcano, is a breathtaking experience.
Within this lush metropolis are hundreds of worthwhile places to eat, behold, and stay. The Pike Place Market alone, an absolute must-see place for visitors, offers a seemingly endless skein of incredible shops, unique vendors, and delicious foods. This guide provides a taste of the spectacular environment and unique character of Seattle.
Where to Stay
Inn at the MarketA quiet boutique hotel with water views
The Edgewater HotelAn upscale hotel with a rock ’n’ roll past
W SeattleAn inclusive hotel highlighting new music
Four Seasons Hotel SeattleThe region’s most exceptional five-star hotel
Where to Eat and Drink
Glo’sA much-loved breakfast and brunch spot
Marination Ma KaiHawaiian-Korean fusion
Terra PlataSustainably farmed food from regional producers
Deep DiveAn underground bar with a carefully curated menu
What to Explore
West Seattle Water Taxi PierExploration and sightseeing on the water
Volunteer ParkAn Olmsted-designed park
Smith Tower Observatory BarSeattle’s first skyscraper with an elegant cocktail bar
Chinatown-International DistrictA self-guided cultural walking tour
The AMP: AIDS Memorial PathwayA hidden gem with purpose
Jason Plourde Writer
Jason Plourde has worked with various communities in Seattle. He was director of the LGBTQ nonprofit Three Dollar Bill Cinema for 20 years, has been an American Sign Language interpreter on stage and in academia, and was public art project manager for the AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway. He is currently a teacher in Highline public schools.