Located in the prized Pacific Northwest, Seattle is a city of grit and grace. Its grungy street decor and worn down houses mash perfectly with its gleaming skyscrapers and famed restaurants, bars, and markets. It’s a city that boasts water activities, mountain activities, city activities, and laid back neighborhood hangs. While you could spend months in Seattle and barely scratch the surface, this Seattle itinerary will highlight how to have the perfect weekend trip to Seattle.
A Weekend Trip to Seattle
For all information on transportation, where to stay in Seattle, and more details on navigating the Emerald City, make sure to check out The Ultimate Guide to Seattle.
Day 1 – Visiting Seattle’s Tourist Spots
With Seattle being home to some of the most recognizable attractions in the world, a weekend in Seattle wouldn’t be complete without visiting the famed tourist attractions. On your first day in Seattle plan to pay a visit to the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Pike Place Market, and Kerry Park.
Spending the Morning in Seattle
On your first morning in Seattle, get a taste for Seattle’s coffee scene while admiring the most famous view of Seattle. Start your morning early in the Queen Anne neighborhood at La Marzocco Cafe. Sharing a space with the radio station KEXP, La Marzocco is a big, lively coffee and pastry shop. Once you’re done with your coffee and pastries make the trek uphill, 0.7 miles, to Kerry Park. Kerry Park is one of the most famous parks in Seattle for its view of the city with Mount Rainier in the backdrop. It’s ideal to visit on a sunny, cloudless day. If your morning is cloudy and rainy, choose to visit the park at night instead. It’s just as impressive at night when the city is all lit up.
For tips on things to do if it’s raining in Seattle, read How to Spend a Day in the Seattle Rain… 6 Things to Do
Once you’ve finished your morning coffee and seen the impressive views of Seattle, head 1-mile down the hill from Kerry Park to the Seattle Space Needle – arguably the most recognized structure in the Pacific Northwest. Built-in 1962, the Space Needle was originally intended for the World Fair and was to be destroyed once the fair was over. It still stands today and now has an elevator that will take you to the top of the Needle with views overlooking the entirety of Seattle. The Space Needle is open Monday-Thursday 10 am-7 pm and Friday-Sunday 9 am-7 pm. Cost of entry is dependent on age but ranges from $32.50-$37.50
Once you’ve finished your trip to the top of the Space Needle head next door to the impressive Chihuly Garden and Glass. Chihuly is an intricate glassworks museum showcasing the talents of Dale Chihuly. Born in Washington, Dale’s artwork is shown around the world. The museum is open Monday-Thursday 11 am-6 pm, and Friday-Sunday 10 am-6 pm. The cost of entry varies on time and age but ranges about $32. You can combine the cost of the museum with the Space Needle for a cheaper value. Tickets to both can be bought in person or online before arrival.
Spending the Afternoon in Seattle
After you’ve seen 3 of the most famous sites in Seattle, head to the most famous landmark of all – Pike Place Market. Pike Place is the oldest, consistently run farmers market in America. Here you can browse the market and fill up on souvenirs, food, and drink. Read my guide, Everything to Know When Visiting Pike Place Market, for information regarding the market plus restaurant and bar suggestions.
If you have time left in the day once you’re done exploring Pike Place, next see the darker side of Seattle. Head to Seattle’s first downtown, Pioneer Square. Here there’s a tour – Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour – that will take you underground Pioneer Square where you’ll learn about how the city came to be, the great fire of Seattle, and how the community banned together to rebuild. Tickets vary on age, but one adult ticket runs at $22.
Spending the Night in Seattle
Once night falls there are many ways to entertain yourself – bars, restaurants, shows, and more. Begin your night in Ballard at one of Seattle’s best oyster bars, The Walrus and the Carpenter. The Walrus and the Carpenter do not take reservations so go early and put your name on the list, but still expect a long wait time. While waiting for your reservation, head next door to Barnacle, owned by the same people who own The Walrus and the Carpenter. At this cozy hole in the wall, you can enjoy apéritifs, wine, and small plates.
If you’re up for a nightcap after dinner, head around the corner to Percy’s & Co, an apothecary-inspired bar.
If seafood isn’t your thing, check out my post: A Foodie’s Guide to Seattle for more restaurant recommendations.
Day 2 – Personalizing Your Seattle Experience
When you travel to Seattle there are many different types of experiences you can have. There’s something for people who love wine, people who love beer, nature lovers, and city lovers. And this is what is best about the city! The possibility to do everything and nothing all at once. To enjoy the little moments and customize your trip to your liking.
Spending the Morning in Seattle
Whichever itinerary you decide is right for you, start your day out with breakfast! There are many places in Seattle to grab a bite to eat, and in fact, the Seattle food scene is one of my favorite things about the city. For breakfast, there’s the opportunity for quick bites to bottomless brunch and everything in between. If you’re looking for something “on the go” head to North Capitol Hill for takeaway pastries from Bakery Noveau. If you’re wanting something more savory and hearty, head downtown to Biscuit Bitch for famed homestyle biscuits and gravy. For a relaxed breakfast try the famous fried chicken sandwiches from The Wandering Goose in North Capitol Hill. And for a full-on bottomless brunch experience, head to the street-food inspired restaurant, Nue in Capitol Hill.
If You Like Wine…
If you like wine, then you’re in luck! Seattle has hundreds of tasting rooms in and around the city and an opportunity to make a short day trip to the wine region of Woodinville, a haven of over 90 wineries/tasting rooms. If you’re a wine lover I suggest one of two options. For the first option head down to the SoDo neighborhood, “South of Downtown”, where you’ll find an industrial-style wine tasting zone called SODO Urbanworks. Here you’ll find nine different wine tasting rooms (all connected and within walking distance of one another) and a few restaurants. My favorite tasting room in Urbanworks is Latta Wines.
If you’re looking to venture further out of the city and be in more of a vineyard type of setting, head to the small town of Woodinville. For details on visiting Woodinville and which wine rooms to visit, read my post on Woodinville Wine Tasting.
After spending the day wine tasting, there are a few restaurants in Seattle to suit wine lovers. The first, Purple Cafe and Wine Bar, is located in downtown Seattle, serves small plates, and has an impressively large wine display in the middle of the restaurant. Another good choice for wine lovers is the small and intimate Bar Ferdinand. Bar Ferdinand only serves wine and also has a small menu of small plates. Lastly, you could choose to head to the quiet neighborhood of Beacon Hill and start your night at the wine cafe Petite Soif. Not suitable for dinner, instead head down the street for dinner at Homer’s or Bar del Corso.
If You Like Beer…
If you like beer, a trip to Seattle can also be customized for beer lovers. While there are many breweries scattered throughout the city, you’ll want to head to Ballard for the highest concentration of breweries in a small distance. Ballard is a hip waterfront neighborhood north of downtown. Here you’ll find nearly a dozen breweries in a one-mile radius. My favorite breweries to spend time at are Stoup Brewing and Peddler Brewing Company. If your goal is to visit as many breweries as possible, perhaps the Ballard Passport Program is something you’d be interested in. You can find more information about the Passport Program here.
After brewery hopping through Ballard, I’d recommend one of two places for dinner. Head to Fremont for beers at my favorite brewery in Seattle – Fremont Brewing. For dinner, you can get takeout and have it delivered to the brewery. There are menus inside detailing which restaurants around the area offer takeaway food and delivery options. If you choose this option don’t miss the chance to watch the sunset at Gas Works Park. From Gas Works Park, Fremont Brewing is only a half of a mile away.
If you choose to visit Fremont, don’t miss out on all that the neighborhood offers. Read Best Neighborhoods in Seattle – Things to Do in Fremont.
Your second option would be to head to Beacon Hill, one of Seattle’s quieter neighborhoods. Here you’ll find Perihelion Brewery, a quieter and more intimate brewery with outdoor fire pits, which also serves great food. My preference is to go to Periehlion for a beer flight and munch on the side dishes. Then for dinner head to Homer’s or Bar Del Corso – both up the street. If you’re in the mood for a nightcap, Tippe and Drague Alehouse is located in Beacon Hill and is a simple and grungy hole in the wall bar serving tap beer.
If you choose to visit Beacon Hill, don’t miss out on all that the neighborhood offers. Read Seattle’s Most Underrated Neighborhood – Beacon Hill.
If You Like Hiking…
If you like to hike, then you’ve come to the right spot. With numerous hikes at your fingertips, Washington may be the best state to explore if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure. One of my favorite hikes in the Washington area is Lena Lake in the Olympic Peninsula. For everything you need to know when visiting Lena Lake, plus ideas for things to do that surround the hike read, Exploring Lena Lake, Hama Hama Oyster, and Bainbridge Island – A Day Trip from Seattle.
Another hike that I enjoy that brings you to an overlook of the San Juan Islands is Oyster Dome. You can make a day out of hiking Oyster Dome by also visiting Bellingham and/or Deception Pass State Park. For details on this option, read A Day Trip to Deception Pass State Park + Hiking Oyster Dome.
If Lena Lake isn’t what you’re looking for, some other popular hikes around Seattle include Colchuck Lake, Rattlesnake Ledge, Mailbox Peak, Lake 22, and more. I urge you to check out AllTrails for all the details you could need when choosing a hike.
When you get back to Seattle take the water taxi to West Seattle to eat at the Korean/Hawaiian fusion restaurant, Marination Mai Kai. It’s a laidback, self-service restaurant that has incredible views of the skyline. Grab a spot at a picnic table on the porch and enjoy the food.
For other hikes located around Seattle, read The Best Hiking Trails Near Seattle
If You Like Water Activities…
If you’re keen on water activities, there are many things that will entertain you in Seattle. You can rent kayaks and paddleboards from Mossbay to cruise around South Lake Union. Or if you prefer to be on land observing water activities from afar, there are many places to go. Visit Golden Gardens Park, a public park in Ballard where you can have a bonfire, play volleyball, or relax on the sandy beaches. Or visit Alki Beach in West Seattle where you can enjoy Puget Sound from the stretch of sandy beach.
When night falls choose a restaurant or bar that overlooks Puget Sound. If you’re looking for an elevated bar experience make your way to the top of the Thompson Hotel to have drinks at The Nest, overlooking Pike Place Market and the Sound. Or head to The Edgewater Hotel, the same hotel that the Beatles picture is taken of them fishing outside of a hotel window. The Edgewater overlooks the Sound and is a fancy option for dinner and drinks. Lastly, you could opt to take the water taxi to Marination Mai Kai, as mentioned above.
The best part about Seattle is that there is enough to do so that a weekend in Seattle can be totally customized to the experience you’re looking for. From incredible restaurants and bars, famous landmarks, outdoor activities, and more. A weekend trip to Seattle should be high on everyone’s bucket list.
If you’re planning on spending a long weekend in Seattle and you’re looking for day trips to take, read these posts for ideas on weekend trips from Seattle:
If you’re looking for more inspiration make sure to check out my Instagram page/highlight reel for more ideas on things to see and do in Seattle. Search the hashtag, #ppinwashington, or watch the highlights “Seattle Eats”, “Seattle Drinks”, “Seattle, WA”.