Planning to spend 2 days in Seattle and need some itinerary inspiration? You’ve come to the right place – read on for all the best things to do, see, and eat in Seattle in 2 days!
Seattle often gets overlooked because of its reputation as being a grey, rainy city. But if you can get past that, you’ll discover that it’s a beautiful, green city, with a cool hipster vibe and plenty of amazing food. And, Seattle is the perfect city for a quick weekend trip – while you can certainly see some of the city’s highlights in one day, spending 2 days in Seattle is the perfect amount of time and will give you a good feel of the city.
I took my first trip to Seattle in 2011 (it was my first solo trip as well) and immediately fell in love! As it is only a 2-hour flight from San Francisco, I returned seven more times over the years – I just couldn’t stay away! As I’ve gotten to know the city even more, I’ve fallen even more in love with it, and found more things to add to my Seattle bucket list.
To me, Seattle has all those things that I love about San Francisco (good food and a hip, local vibe) but is more laid-back. It’s got all those amazing Pacific Northwest vibes that I adore (similar to those found in Vancouver and Portland!).
Yes, Seattle can be grey and rainy – but when the sun comes out, it is absolutely beautiful and there is no other city like it! And there are just so many things to do in Seattle, so many beautiful spots (and views), and so much good food that you’ll still have a great time, even if it rains!
Want to know how to spend the perfect 2 days in Seattle? Whether you’re visiting Seattle as a quick getaway or on the way to other destinations in Washington (like Leavenworth or Olympic National Park), keep on reading for the perfect itinerary and tips!
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When to Visit Seattle
If you know anything about Seattle, then you’ve probably heard that it’s rainy, grey, and gloomy. Unfortunately, there is some (ok, a lot of) truth to that – there is only an average of 150 sunny days a year, which means that the remaining 215 days are rainy and/or overcast.
The good news is that when they say that “it rains a lot in Seattle,” they are talking about that drizzly, it’s wet out there but not really rainy kind of rain – which is much easier to work with than the torrential downpour kind of rain. There are really only about 90 days of any measurable precipitation.
Yes, it does get grey and gloomy – but it’s really not that different than the summer fog in San Francisco (where I spent over 10 years living in the foggiest part of town).
That said, obviously, it’s much more fun and enjoyable to spend 2 days in Seattle during those 150 days of sunshine. The city really does get infinitely more beautiful – especially if you happen to visit when it gets super clear, because then you start seeing the majestic Mt. Rainier peek out from behind the skyline!
July and August bring the warmest temperatures and the most sunny days to Seattle. Temperatures usually average in the mid-70s Fahrenheit (but I have been in Seattle on days when it was almost 100 degrees). As such, this is also Seattle’s busy season, ushering in the most tourists and the highest flight and accommodation prices to reflect it.
Shoulder season is a better time to spend 2 days in Seattle – I have found that May is an excellent month to visit, because the temperatures are starting to get warmer and you get a fair amount of sun, but you aren’t dealing with hordes of other tourists yet.
The spring months are also a beautiful time to visit, as you will see cherry blossoms start to bloom throughout the city (they are supposed to be especially beautiful on the University of Washington campus, but I haven’t had a chance to visit when they are in bloom yet!). Seattle is gorgeous in the fall, because you can see the red and orange foliage.
Winter is by far the least popular time to visit Seattle. This is when it rains the most, and yes, it does occasionally snow, and the highs can dip down into the 30s Fahrenheit. However, I have visited in the winter twice – once, it poured the entire time, and the other time, it was sunny and mild the entire time! So, you never know.
I’ve still had a blast spending 2 days in Seattle in the winter, because there are still so many things to do – it is a perfect excuse to leisurely enjoy a cup of coffee in one of Seattle’s many excellent cafes, check out some of their museums, or hang out in a cool bookstore.
How to Get to Seattle
Most visitors arrive in Seattle via the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), commonly known as Sea-Tac. The airport is located about 13 miles outside city center, and offers flights to many major domestic and international cities.
It is a breeze to get from Sea-Tac to downtown Seattle via the Link light rail, which is a super convenient and cheap option to get into the city. Once you exit the terminal, use the pedestrian bridge to connect to the parking garage. From here, you will find signs leading you to the Link station.
It takes about 30 minutes to get to the stations in the downtown Seattle area – SoDo, Chinatown/International District, Pioneer Square, University Street, Westlake, Capitol Hill, the University of Washington, and the University District. It takes around 45 minutes to arrive at the last stop.
Trains run every 15 minutes from about 5am to midnight (with service starting later on weekends). A one-way fare costs $2.25-3.50 depending on where you go (for reference, a ticket to Westlake Station costs $3). You can learn more about schedules and fares here.
Another easy option to get to your accommodations is by ridesharing – both Uber and Lyft operate in Seattle. A trip to downtown Seattle usually costs around $35-45, but do note that it can be much higher during rush hour (someone just told me that they paid over $70 recently!).
Other Ways to Get to Seattle
You can also arrive in Seattle via train. This is a super scenic option of traveling in the Pacific Northwest – the views along these train routes are supposed to be unbelievable! Seattle is a stop along Amtrak’s Cascades route, which continues to Vancouver in the north, and Portland to the south. The trip takes about 4 hours in either direction. Seattle is also the end of the Coast Starlight route, which starts in Los Angeles.
Trains arrive at the King Street Station in Pioneer Square. From here, it is easy to connect to other areas in downtown Seattle and beyond via the Link light rail, King County Metro buses, or using Uber/Lyft.
Seattle is also served by Bolt Bus, which is a great option for travelers on a budget – fares start as low as $1 (you better book EARLY, though!). Bolt Bus provides connections to many major cities in the Pacific Northwest, including Portland, Vancouver, Eugene, Everett, and Olympia. Another budget-friendly option is to take FlixBus, which runs buses to Portland.
Seattle is also a popular port city for Alaskan cruises – many of these originate from the cruise terminal at Pier 91.
How to Get Around During Your 2 Days in Seattle
My favorite way to get around Seattle (like in many other cities) is to walk – I’ve found that Seattle is pretty walkable for the most part, and many of the city’s popular attractions can be accessed on foot. I’ve easily walked from Belltown to Capitol Hill (which basically covers the first day of this 2 days in Seattle itinerary) – it is a loooonog walk, but it’s doable and it’s fun to get those steps in (plus it gives you an excuse to eat all that good food!).
Seattle is apparently referred to as a hilly city – this sounded ludicrous to me, because I came from San Francisco and well, THAT is a city with hills. I never really knew what they meant until I ran a half marathon in Seattle – then you start noticing that Seattle is comprised of tiny little hills that have a gradual incline, all over the city. None of them are nearly as monstrous as the hills of San Francisco, though!
To reach the attractions located in some of the outer neighborhoods on this 2 days in Seattle itinerary (like Ballard and Fremont), you have a few options. The first is to rent a car – you can easily rent a car from many of the major rental agencies at Sea-Tac airport. I’ve found that you can get really good deals on cars on Hotwire – we once rented a car for 3 days for $60, including all taxes and fees!
The advantage of having your own transportation is that you have the flexibility to do whatever you want, whenever you want. You also have the option to take a day trip to some of the more beautiful nature areas and National Parks that are nearby, such as Olympic National Park and Mt. Rainier National Park. However, the major disadvantage is that parking is a giant pain in the ass in many parts of the city, especially the neighborhoods downtown – the one time we rented a car, we found this to be a HUGE disadvantage!
Luckily, Seattle has a relatively well-connected and easy-to-use public transportation system. It’s not as extensive as say, New York, but it does a relatively good job of getting you around.
One thing to note is that Westlake is the big transit hub in the city, and many of the transit options connect through here. Therefore, if you plan to rely heavily on public transportation during your 2 days in Seattle, then I highly recommend staying in accommodations that are close to Westlake.
Seattle has a few different public transportation options:
- Link Light Rail: You may have taken the Link to get from the airport into downtown Seattle. This also connects you to neighborhoods of interest on this 2 days in Seattle itinerary, such as Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square. A one-way fare is $2.25-3.50, depending on distance traveled.
- Seattle Monorail: This will connect you from Westlake to Seattle Center. A one-way adult fare is $3.
- Streetcar: Connects Westlake to the South Lake Union neighborhood. A one-way fare is $2.25.
- King County Metro Buses: This is the best transit option to get you out of the main downtown area. Express buses connect you to neighborhoods such as Ballard, Fremont, West Seattle, and the University District, among others. Fares range from $2.25-$3, depending on time of day and zones traveled.
- Water Taxi: Connects the Seattle waterfront (Pier 50) to West Seattle. A one-way adult fare is $5.75.
You can pay for transit on board, or with the Transit GO app, which allows you to pay for your fares using your phone. You can also use a reloadable ORCA card, which you can purchase for $5, and add value at ticket machines at the airport, at Link stations, and other locations throughout the city.
When you purchase an ORCA card, you can also purchase a one-day transit pass for $8 – this is valid for all the above options, except the monorail.
Ridesharing is available in Seattle via both Uber and Lyft. This is the most convenient option for getting around the city if you don’t have a car. These days, I mostly have relied on ridesharing to get around the city.
You’ll pay $10-15 for shorter trips. Longer trips (in terms of distance), for example from downtown Seattle to Ballard, will run you $15-20. However, it is usually the most efficient way to get to those places.
This is also the best option for getting around the city late at night and early in the morning, when public transportation options are limited.
What to Pack for Your 2 Days in Seattle
- As I mentioned earlier, the Pacific Northwest region, and especially Seattle has the reputation for being rainy. While most of the time, that just means it’s kinda misty and drizzly, sometimes it does pour. To be prepared, I’d pack a lightweight, packable, and water-resistant jacket that you can roll up and keep in your bag! I would recommend something like this one.
- The summer months are warm and sunny, with breezy evenings, so I would suggest carrying a cute cardigan like this or this…a denim jacket is a good choice as well!
- Winters are definitely chilly and rainy, so I recommend bringing a puffy down jacket. I have this one and love it so much – it’s warm, lightweight, packable, and water-resistant.
- And, speaking of the rain – an umbrella is a must at all times, except in the summer! Be prepared with a collapsible travel umbrella like this one!
- You will want to wear comfortable shoes during your stay in Seattle you will probably be walking a lot! The city is actually more hilly than you would think it is, so you will definitely want a pair of comfortable shoes. Allbirds makes my favorite travel shoes, and Rothy’s makes super cute but comfortable flats as well.
- In the winter, you’ll want boots that keep you warm and dry, because again, rain (and sometimes even snow). These boots are my favorite winter shoes!
- You’ll want to stay connected as you explore Seattle (and document all your memories!) and this power bank will help ensure that your phone never runs out of juice! I never leave home without mine, and it is a MUST on every single trip that I take – both in the US and internationally! If you’re from abroad, you may also need a power adapter to charge your devices – I always travel with this one.
- Seattle is a pretty green city, and makes a conscious effort to reduce the use of single-use plastic. Plus, the tap water is actually pretty good. Bring a reusable water bottle and fill it throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Where to Stay for Your 2 Days in Seattle
You’ll find no shortage of accommodation options, to suit any taste or budget. For the purpose of this 2 days in Seattle itinerary, I would suggest situating yourself in the downtown area – Westlake, Belltown, or Pioneer Square are all great neighborhoods to stay in.
Some favorite places that I’ve stayed in that I wholeheartedly recommend:
We stayed at Hotel Max on our last visit in Seattle and absolutely LOVED our stay! This boutique hotel has a fun vibe with a bit of an attitude, and is catered towards art and music lovers.
The lobby also doubles as a mini-art gallery, and showcases some fun pieces of art – there is even a Warhol piece behind the front desk. Each of the room doors are adorned with rock concert photographs. And, if you happen to stay on the fifth floor, the entire floor is an homage to Sub Pop Records, the iconic independent Seattle record label who has represented such greats as Nirvana (and the Shins, the Postal Service, and Band of Horse, some of my all-time favorite bands!).
One of my favorite amenities at Hotel Max was the nightly craft beer happy hour, featuring a complimentary brew by a local brewery. Our first night there, they had a blood orange IPA and while I usually don’t go for IPAs I loved this one! It was such a fun way to try some of the local beers that I might not have known about on my own!
Other amenities include: complimentary pour-over coffee from Caffe D’arte in the lobby in the mornings, and complimentary bike rentals to help you explore around town.
Hotel Max is just a few blocks from the Westlake station, which is super convenient for using public transit to get around town; plus, you are within walking distance of many of the highlights of this 2 days in Seattle itinerary, including Pike Place Market, Seattle Center, and Capitol Hill.
Compare rates and book your stay: Booking.com / Agoda
Disclaimer: I was hosted for a complimentary stay at Hotel Max. As always, all opinions are of my own.
The Moore Hotel
The Moore is my choice for a convenient, clean place to stay on a budget. Yes, the rooms are basic and a bit dated (it is a historic hotel after all), but they are CHEAP – and you are mere blocks from some of the most popular tourist attractions in Seattle, such as Pike Place Market.
I’ve stayed at the Moore a few times, and I have no complaints. The rooms are comfortable and clean, and did I mention that you can’t go wrong with the locations and price? You have two options here – a room with an en suite bathroom, or if you are REALLY on a budget, you can opt for a room with a shared bathroom (like a private room in a hostel kinda situation).
You are just a few blocks away from Westlake, so that means that many of the spots on this 2 days in Seattle itinerary are just a hop and a skip away! It’s a great choice for when all you need is a clean, comfortable place to rest your head at night, after a full day of exploring.
Compare rates and book your stay: Booking.com / Agoda
Other Places to Stay in Seattle
If none of the above options are your kinda place to stay, I’ve also heard amazing things about the following hotels:
- Hotel FIVE: While I haven’t actually stayed at Hotel FIVE, I’ve stayed at one of their sister properties (Hotel Rose in Portland). Hotel FIVE is located mere blocks from Pike Place Market, so you can’t beat the location! All of the Staypineapple hotels have a happy hour, where they serve some tasty snacks, including their super addicting pineapple cupcakes – they were sooo good and I had quite a few when I stayed at Hotel Rose. They also have free bike rentals to make exploring a breeze!
- Edgewater Hotel: The Edgewater is a luxury boutique hotel on the Seattle waterfront, with amazing views of the Puget Sound and beyond. The property has a homey but upscale vibe. It is also a convenient place to stay for exploring the city! Other amenities include free bicycle rentals, and a complimentary shuttle service.
- Green Tortoise Hostel: If you are REALLY on a budget, or just want the social aspect of staying in a hostel, then the Green Tortoise is for you! I’ve had several friends stay here and rave about it! It is conveniently located across from Pike Place, has complimentary breakfast, and has a range of social activities so you can easily make friends with other travelers.
The Perfect 2 Days in Seattle Itinerary
2 Days in Seattle Itinerary: Day 1 (Belltown, Pioneer Square, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill)
Psssst….wanna save some money in Seattle? If you plan on doing the harbor cruise, consider purchasing a Seattle City Pass. This gives you admission to some of the top attractions in the city mentioned on this 2 days in Seattle itinerary – the harbor cruise, Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and MoPOP – as well as the Seattle Aquarium. The pass costs $108, which saves you up to 45% of what it would cost you to pay for admission at the attractions separately. You’ll also get to skip some of the long ticket queues, and having extra time is of the essence when you are trying to see Seattle in 2 days! Extra cash + extra time…now I’m allllll about that!
Olympic Sculpture Park
Grab some breakfast in Belltown (Macrina Bakery is a favorite), and then start your 2 days in Seattle itinerary by exploring Olympic Sculpture Park. This is one of my favorite places in Seattle to go for a walk, and I stop by every time I’m in town! This is also one of the best free things to do in Seattle.
The nine-acre park is owned and operated by the Seattle Art Museum, and features both permanent and visiting installations. It also offers breathtaking views of Puget Sound, and is the perfect spot for experiencing the unique art and beautiful natural landscape of the area.
The park is a favorite of both tourists and locals alike, and is the perfect combination of vibrant public art, open green spaces, and waterfront views.
I highly recommend entering the park from the entrance on Western Ave., near Broad St., then checking out the sculptures and making your way down the hill. This will put you in the perfect place to continue along to the next stop on this 2 days in Seattle itinerary.
When you exit the Olympic Sculpture Park, you should find yourself on Alaskan Way. This is the street that runs along the Seattle waterfront and its piers.
Sure, it’s super touristy and full of kitschy souvenir shops and mediocre restaurants, and is sort of reminiscent of places such as Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and Navy Pier in Chicago. But, I promise you, you can’t go wrong with the views of Elliott Bay and of the Seattle skyline from here!
Stop by at Pier 66, which has some excellent views of the bay and city, and is one of the most Instagrammable places in Seattle. Then continue along Alaskan Way and head down to Pier 57, home of the Seattle Great Wheel. At over 157 feet tall, it is one of the tallest ferris wheels on the west coast (and used to be THE tallest until the High Roller in Las Vegas came along).
You can get a birds’ eye view from the top of the Great Wheel – you’ll get some spectacular views of the downtown skyline, the waterfront, Olympic Mountains, and Puget Sound. If you spend your 2 days in Seattle on the weekend and have a little bit of extra time, you might also want to come back at night – the wheel is covered in 500,000 LED lights and is illuminated in a light display on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights until 10pm.
This is also a great time to go on a sightseeing harbor cruise. One of my favorite ways to see a city is from the water, and Seattle is no exception! This will give you a unique vantage point of the city and its skyline, with plenty of photo ops! You will get gorgeous views of the waterfront, the Space Needle, and downtown Seattle, as well as the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges.
You can walk the waterfront as little or as much as you want, but the trail ends at the Ferry Terminal, located at Yesler Way. If you plan to take a ferry to one of the islands in Puget Sound (unfortunately, we won’t have time for this when trying to see Seattle in 2 days, but is highly recommended for a future trip).
From here, circle back to Pike Place, because that will be our next stop!
Arguably the most popular tourist attraction in the city, no Seattle itinerary is complete without a stop at Pike Place. By now, it should be close to lunch time and your stomach is probably growling – no problem, because you have many options for lunch here!
Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continually operating farmers markets in the United States, and is an absolute foodie haven. The nine acre historical district boasts hundreds of merchants, including produce stands, butchers, bakeries, seafood markets, flower vendors, craftspeople, and specialty food stores.
I just love browsing through the stalls and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of all the wares (it reminds me a bit of the La Boqueria Market in Barcelona in that sense). I also highly recommend you take this chef-led walking food tour, which lets you sample the food at the top 10 vendors (some of which are hidden gems that you’d never discover on your own!).
Pike Place is also famous for being home to the original Starbucks location (except, apparently it’s not the original). Unless you are a huge Starbucks superfan (or a collector of the Starbucks city mugs, because you’ll find one exclusive to the original location here), I’d suggest skipping it and heading to the Reserve Roastery in Capitol Hill instead.
Otherwise, you’ll encounter a GIANT line to get in…and the only thing special about this location is that the logo is different (the mermaid is nekkid and you can see her bewbies, *~*lulzzzzz*~*…sorry, just me being immature over here), and that there is a plaque inside commemorating the fact that it is the original location. Otherwise, it is just like ANY OTHER STARBUCKS and definitely not worth the wait to get in.
Pike Place is also famous for the fishmongers at the Pike Place Fish Company, who will throw the fish to each other whenever someone purchases one. You’ll find a crowd gathered in front of the stall (which is at the front of the market), just waiting for this moment. I happened to catch the action when walking by and while it’s entertaining…it’s not worth standing around and waiting for. Time is of the essence when you are trying to see Seattle in 2 days!
Ok, I promised you that this is a great spot to stop for lunch – Pike Place is home to over 80 restaurants. Here are some recommendations where you can satiate that hunger:
- Piroshky, Piroshky: You’ll find a line out the door of people waiting to get their hands on one of these piroshkys, a Russian pastry stuffed with a variety of fillings, both sweet or savory. You really can’t go wrong with anything here, but the smoked salmon is my fave. If you’re in a sweet mode, try the cinnamon.
- Beecher’s Handmade Cheeses: This is one of my first stops at Pike Place. The mac and cheese here is the BEST – but their cheese curds are tasty as well!
- Pike Place Chowder: You can’t go wrong with a bowl of chowder, especially on a gloomy day. They have lots of varieties of chowder here, from the classic (New England, Manhattan) to the unique (i.e. lime and coconut chowder). If you can’t decide, they have samplers here as well (choose 4 or 8). If you’re not in the mood for chowder, they have a selection of other seafood specialties here. Tip: it gets packed here – my suggestion is to get in line 10-15 minutes before they open at 11 so you aren’t waiting forever.
- Le Panier: I always stop for some macarons and pastries here! They also have some tasty sandwiches.
- Biscuit B*tch: Technically just a block outside the market, but it’s super popular and delicious – you can’t go wrong with a one of their biscuit sandwiches!
- Mee Sum Pastry: If you’ve got a hankering for some dim sum, this little takeout stand has some tasty stuff! They are known for their BBQ pork hom bow, which has char siu pork wrapped in a sweet bun. I liked their curry one as well.
- Rachel’s Ginger Beer: Not only do they have dozens of flavors of ginger beer, they also do cocktails and my fave – boozy floats!
- Daily Dozen: The freshly made mini donuts are always super addicting!
- Ellenos Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt like you’ve never had before. The yogurt here is super creamy and decadent, and basically like a dessert! They have some amazing flavors – my favorite is the lemon curd.
- Matt’s in the Market: I’ve never been here, but if you’re looking for a special occasion meal, this is where to go! It’s more popular for dinner, but they do lunch as well.
- Maiz: I haven’t tried it yet, but I hear it’s amazing! They specialize in Mexican street food made with corn – so think tacos, gorditas, sopes, and tamales.
- Oriental Mart: Another one that’s on my to-try list. It’s an unassuming mini mart, but is said to have some AMAZING Filipino food, which helped it earn an award from the James Beard Foundation.
Tip: While most vendors do accept credit cards, there are a handful that don’t so have a little bit of cash handy!
Stuffed? Good – now you’ll have energy to continue along on this 2 days in Seattle itinerary!
Before you leave Pike Place, be sure you stop by to check out the gum wall in Post Alley. It is a little bit tricky to find – go down the ramp that’s to the left of the main entrance, and look for the Market Theater sign. Once you get to the bottom of the ramp, go left into Post Alley. If you get lost, ask anyone who works at Pike Place – they’ll direct you to the right place. 🙂
The gum wall is one of two of its kind (the other is in San Luis Obispo in California), and is known as the second germiest attraction in the world (number one is the Blarney Stone). Yes, it’s kinda gross, but yes, it’s also super awesome and you must make a stop on your Seattle itinerary!
The gum wall kinda happened on accident – people started sticking their gum to the wall as they waited in line outside the box office at the theater here. More and more people just kept sticking their gum here, and no matter how many times they tried to clean it off, the tradition seemed to just stick (heh heh, pun intended). So, after a while, they just gave up and it was declared a tourist attraction in 1999.
In 2015, all the gum was cleaned off for the first time in 20 years, and over 2000 pounds (!!!) of gum were scraped off. Not long after, it was full of gum again – when I visited in 2016, it seemed like nothing had changed since the last time I was there!
I can never decide if I find it to be super gross, or super fascinating, but either way, I find myself having to make a stop here every time I’m in town because it is one of my favorite spots in Seattle to take photos!
Afterwards, make your way south towards Madison Street, and head towards 4th Avenue.
Seattle Central Library
I’ve started to really love discovering beautiful bookstores and libraries on my travels (the Lers Devagar bookstore in Lisbon, the Klementinum Library in Prague, and the Last Bookstore in Los Angeles are some of my favorites). One of my all-time favorite libraries is the central branch of the Seattle Public Library.
The building is striking as you look at it from the street, sort of resembling a futuristic diamond, and is an architectural gem. The 11-story steel and glass structure has won numerous awards since it opened in 2004, making it a must-see on this 2 days in Seattle itinerary.
The library was designed to be sort of a “modern information superstore” to transform the traditional library experience and present all media forms, not just books, equally and legibly. The inside design echoes this statement, with bold colors and type plastered throughout.
Guided tours are available (for groups of adults between 5-20, between Monday-Saturday 11am-5pm – you must request an appointment here), or you can take a self-guided tour and wander through the floors yourself.
Aside from walking through the floors and checking out all the reading rooms, be sure you make a stop at the atrium on the 10th floor, which has some breathtaking views of downtown Seattle and Elliott Bay. Also check out the curvy red walkways on the fourth floor, which is aptly named the “Red Hall.”
Afterwards, heads south towards Pioneer Square to continue along this 2 days in Seattle itinerary.
Pioneer Square is Seattle’s original neighborhood – much of the city’s history is centered here. It is full of charming brick and stone facades, and turn-of-the-century street lamps line the streets.
The neighborhood was the hub of pioneer life in Seattle (hence its name), and the city’s first industry, Yesler Sawmill, opened here in 1885. The city’s first landmark, a Tlingit totem pole, was placed here when a group of businessmen returned with it on a business trip to Alaska. You can still see it here today on the corner of Yesler Way and 1st Avenue.
After the Great Fire of 1899, much of the city’s recovery started in Pioneer Square, and the first buildings to be built were in this neighborhood. Today, the area is one of Seattle’s bustling districts, full of hip cafes, boutiques, restaurants, and more. This is also known as Seattle’s nightlife district, so if you’re looking to party, then this is where you’ll find the city’s clubs.
It is also known to be haunted, so you’ll even find ghost tours that go through the neighborhood.
One of the most popular things to do in Seattle that is in Pioneer Square is the Seattle Underground Tour, which takes you through the underground passageways built underneath the neighborhoods in 1890. These were the original streets of Seattle, and the tour will give you insight into how the city came out of the swampy grounds, and how new roads were built a few feet above where they once stood.
I’ve actually never done the tour because I was afraid it was going to be kinda cheesy – but I’ve had many friends who have done it and have raved about it! I definitely need to go on it on my next trip to Seattle!
A little hidden gem in the middle of Pioneer Square is the Waterfall Garden, a man-made waterfall and surrounding garden tucked into the site of the original UPS headquarters at 219 2nd Avenue South. You can hear the roar of the water from the street!
This is a little oasis in the middle of a bustling city, and if you need a little break, this is a perfect spot to stop with some coffee or snacks from one of the nearby spots (Zeitgeist is nearby and one of my favorite coffee shops in the city).
If you are an art lover, Pioneer Square is Seattle’s artistic hub and home to many of the city’s art galleries. The neighborhood also hosts a First Thursday Art Walk on every first Thursday night of the month, which is actually known as the first of its kind in the nation!
Pioneer Square is also home to Smith Tower, Seattle’s first skyscraper that was built in 1914. If you want somewhere to get panoramic views of the city that ISN’T the Space Needle, Smith Tower is one of the best spots. You get to ride up some historical elevators on the way to the observation deck, from where you can enjoy some epic 360 degree views of the city and beyond.
There’s also a speakeasy type bar at the Smith Tower, and it’s got some of my favorite cocktails in Seattle! Seriously though, you can’t go wrong taking in some epic views with a drink in hand.
Columbia Tower is also another place in the city for epic views, and just a few blocks outside of the neighborhood. The Sky View Observatory here is on the building’s 73rd floor, and at nearly 1000 feet high, is actually higher than the Space Needle. In fact, it is the tallest viewing platform in the entire Pacific Northwest!
Afterwards, head back north towards South Lake Union.
South Lake Union
This is the center of Seattle’s thriving tech industry and the fastest growing neighborhood in the city. Aside from beautiful waterfront views of Lake Union, you’ll also find an array of hip cafes, bars, and eateries.
South Lake Union is the home of both the REI (and its flagship store) and Amazon headquarters, the latter of which recently opened the new, ultramodern Seattle Spheres campus. The Spheres consist of three spherical conservatories, with lush botanical gardens inside. It is intended to serve as an ultra high-tech greenhouse – it’s kind of mind blowing that people actually go to work in a super cool office like this!
Tours are offered on two Saturdays a month – you will need to make a reservation here. This is the only way to see the gardens and conservatories inside the Spheres. Unfortunately, I seem to come to Seattle on the wrong Saturdays, on which the tours are not offered so I keep missing it, but this is so high on my list!
You’ll definitely want to explore the South Lake Union waterfront while you are in the neighborhood. Take a stroll through Lake Union Park. The park is also home to the Center for Wooden Boats, which serves as a living maritime museum dedicated to the craft of boat-making.
The museum offers various hands-on workshops, events, and boat rentals. On Sundays, they offer a Sunday Free Sail and rent free rowboats to visitors – spots fill up fast though, so get there early!
Be sure to check out the seaplanes taking off and touching down on the lake! South Lake Union is home to Kenmore Air, which offers sightseeing seaplane flights, and even flights to Victoria, BC – which also makes it the world’s smallest international airport! Taking a seaplane flight is another one of those activities that is on my Seattle bucket list – I am definitely taking this 20-minute seaplane flight, which flies over downtown, the Space Needle, and Elliott Bay, next time I’m in town!
One of the best ways to experience Lake Union is from the water – you can rent a kayak or canoe if you’re up for an adventure. I personally am comically awful at any and all rowing-related activities (ask me how I managed to paddle a kayak in circles for an entire hour, and rowed a rowboat into a tree), so I took a sightseeing lake cruise instead.
By now, your feet are probably tired, and this is a great activity that lets you relax (with cocktail in hand) while you take in all the views! My original intention for booking the cruise was because I wanted to see all of the floating houseboats on the lake – including the one that was featured in Sleepless in Seattle! Many of the homes are in private gated communities, so the only way to see them is by kayaking or on a boat, or while on a cruise. Since we all know about my lack of rowing ability, obviously, I ended up on a cruise.
Seeing the houseboats was super cool, but I think my favorite part of the cruise was all the views! I loved this perspective of the Seattle skyline from the lake, the views of Gas Works Park, and of the city’s drawbridges. I also loved that my guide pointed out various filming spots – like the building that was used as Sloan-Grey Memorial Hospital in Grey’s Anatomy. So fun!
After exploring South Lake Union, we will end day one of this 2 days in Seattle itinerary in neighboring Capitol Hill!
End your day in Capitol Hill, which has plenty of dining and nightlife options! This is my favorite neighborhood in Seattle, partially for the uber cool, hipster vibe, but mostly for the delicious restaurants and trendy cocktail bars – many of my favorites in the city are located in Capitol Hill!
Capitol Hill is also the LGBTQ neighborhood in the city, so you’ll see lots of pride flags in the storefront windows, and fun rainbow crosswalks on the streets. This is where you will find many of the LGBTQ hangouts in the city.
If you make it to Capitol Hill early enough, check out the Volunteer Park Conservatory. This botanical garden and conservatory is housed in a glass Victorian-style greenhouse structure, modeled after the Crystal Palace in London. It’s a great spot to escape for some peace and tranquility – and if it’s raining outside, it’s one of the best places to escape the rain!
Nearby the conservatory is the Lakeview Cemetery, which is the site of martial arts legend Bruce Lee’s grave. The neighborhood is also home to the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Also of note in Capitol Hill is Cal Anderson Park, with its fountain and long reflecting pool.
Shopaholic? I love browsing all the boutiques in Capitol Hill, and I’ve picked up some fun vintage clothing items from here. Book fiend? Make sure you check out the Elliott Bay Book Company – they have a well curated selection of local books, and it’s also a great place to stop by on a rainy day.
Coffee lover? Capitol Hill has some of the best coffee shops in town! My all-time favorite latte comes from Espresso Vivace; Victrola Coffee Roasters is another favorite in the neighborhood as well. There’s also the original Starbucks Reserve Roastery location – absolutely head over here instead of the original Starbucks location in Pike Place!
Even if you’re a coffee snob and you usually turn your nose up at the idea of drinking Starbucks coffee, it’s well worth checking out! The Reserve Roastery elevates the Starbucks experience, and you can get tasting flights. They also have specialty drinks, such as a whiskey barrel-aged cold brew, as well as cocktails (including espresso martini flights!).
By now it’s probably dinner time and you are probably hungry. Luckily, you have plenty of delicious options in Capitol Hill – I’m going to list my favorites here:
- Tavolata: Some of the best pasta that I’ve had outside of Italy! Ethan Stowell is a local legend and has restaurants all over the city, each focusing on a different aspect of Italian food. Tavolata’s focus is pasta, and it does not disappoint. The pappardelle and rigatoni are my favorites here! If you get here early enough (between 4-6pm), they have a happy hour, and it’s basically half off pastas!
- Oddfellows Cafe + Bar: This is a cute, cozy little spot and totally the epitome of a hipster restaurant! Oddfellows is a super popular brunch spot, but they have a solid dinner menu as well. Oddfellows serves classic comfort American food, using locally sourced, organic ingredients. There’s a focus on shared plates here; be sure to get some cocktails as well!
- Kizuki: A bowl of ramen hits the spot on a chilly, gloomy day, and Kizuki has some of the best in Seattle! The garlic shoyu tonkotsu ramen here is my favorite – it’s rich, garlicky, and delicious.
- Tacos Chuki: If you are looking for a budget friendly option in the neighborhood, you can’t go wrong with Tacos Chuki. You need to order the adobada pork tacos here – the meat gets sliced off the rotisserie, and it comes topped with some tangy guacamole and a pineapple.
- Rhein Haus: This biergarten has some solid German specialties, such as weinerschnitzel and bratwurst, and an extensive German beer selection to help you wash it all down. The atmosphere is super fun here and it’s a great spot to hang out for the evening – they have fireplaces and bocce ball.
- Ba Bar: Ba Bar has been a Capitol Hill staple for years, and specializes in Vietnamese comfort food. Anything broth-based, like pho or congee, are a good bet here (and perfect if it happens to be gloomy out). They are also open until 4am on the weekends, so this makes a great post-drinking meal as well!
- Kedai Makan: Kedai Makan is a bit of a hole-in-the-wall but serves up amazing Malaysian street food. The nasi goreng (a Malaysian fried rice) is amazing here!
- Taylor Shellfish: Oyster fan? Then you’re going to love this spot! Known as one of the best oyster purveyors in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll find an excellent selection of half-shell oysters here, along with other seafood dishes.
Got a sweet tooth? Check out these places for dessert:
- Hot Cakes: You can’t go wrong with a super rich, super chocolatey, melt-in-your-mouth molten lava cake. They are absolute HEAVEN. I’m not kidding when I say that they are super rich – but the cakes are absolutely delicious!
- Pie Bar: It’s a bar…with fresh baked pies! What a perfect combo. One whiff of the buttery scent of the pies baking the oven and you’ll be hooked. Everything I’ve had here has been incredible, but if they have the strawberry rhubarb on the menu, order it! Also try a pie-tini, cocktails that are inspired by pie flavors. I’ve recommended this place to many friends and they’ve all come back from Seattle singing praises about it.
- Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream: This ice cream is a local favorite, and features creative flavors made from organic ingredients and dairy from hormone-free cows. Favorites include salted caramel, honey lavender, and rose milk tea, but check out their seasonal flavors as well.
And here are my favorite spots in the neighborhood to grab a nightcap:
- Canon: My favorite bar in Seattle! Canon has also consistently been ranked in best cocktail bars lists, both nationally and internationally, and the accolades are well-deserved – the drinks here are creative, unique, and well-made. You’ll find unique combinations such as bacon, fig jam, and bourbon. I always have to make a stop here every time I’m in Seattle to see what new creations they’ve come up with!
- Needle & Thread: I haven’t actually gone here yet, but I’ve been trying for YEARS. It’s a super secret speakeasy – you must either make a reservation (which are hard to snag), or try to see if you can get in by calling on the payphone located at the entrance next to Tavern Law. One of my friends has been though, and said the drinks are amazing!
- Tavern Law: If you can’t get into Needle & Thread, you should definitely still grab a cocktail at Tavern Law. The drinks are solid and well-made here – they have a great selection of whiskey as well.
- Unicorn: This is a super whimsical carnival-themed bar. You can play arcade games (and win some X-rated prizes) and eat carnival fare (i.e. corn dogs) here. It’s kinda divey, but the atmosphere is super fun!
Afterwards, head back to your accommodations and rest up because day 2 of this 2 days in Seattle itinerary is going to be another jam-packed one!
Day 2 (Seattle Center, Queen Anne, Fremont, Ballard)
You will start off day 2 of this 2 days in Seattle itinerary by exploring Seattle Center, an arts, cultural, and entertainment center in the city’s Queen Anne neighborhood. Many of Seattle’s top museums and theaters, as well as the iconic Space Needle reside within the Seattle Center.
The complex hosts many performances, festivals, and sporting events. You can also find many public art pieces here, such as the popular International Fountain.
You can literally spend an entire day (or more) exploring all of the various attractions at the Seattle Center, but since you only are trying to see Seattle in 2 days, I will point out the highlights here. 🙂
Yes, it’s touristy AF, but visiting the Space Needle (or getting up close to it) is such an iconic experience in Seattle. This is Seattle’s most iconic structure, and you can pretty much see it from anywhere in the city. In fact, it’s a great way to orient yourself in the city – I can always tell which direction I’m going in based on which way I can see the Space Needle.
Anyways. The Space Needle (and the Seattle Center) was created as part of the 1962 Worlds’ Fair. Its futuristic design symbolizes humanity’s aspirations for the Space Age. The Space Needle stands at 605 feet tall, with a 502 foot saucer-shaped “top house” at the top, and a slender body.
To be fair, the Space Needle isn’t the tallest building in Seattle. But it is definitely the most distinctive, and one of the most photographed (if not the most photographed). It’s easy to see why – its unique design always stands out in contrast to the skyline and makes an interesting shot.
Should you go up to the top of the Space Needle? That depends. Some people argue that you can get a better view from the top of Smith Tower or the Columbia Tower, which I mentioned earlier on this 2 days in Seattle itinerary. If you went to the observatory at either of these on day 1, then I would skip the Space Needle.
Yes, I do think it’s worth going up to the top, if only because it is just one of those iconic Seattle experiences that everyone should do at least once. However, it is only worth it if you go up on a clear, sunny day – if it’s overcast, then it’s not worth it because you aren’t going to see much.
From the top, you can see panoramic views of downtown Seattle, Puget Sound, the Cascades, and the Olympic Mountains. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Rainier – those are the best days to go up to the top.
In 2018, renovations to the Space Needle were completed, and an upper level observation deck was added, with open-air glass walls. This gives visitors floor-to-ceiling views, as well as glass benches to sit on.
One of the new additions is also the Loupe, the world’s first rotating glass floor, where you can literally see Seattle at your feet (sort of like Skydeck in Chicago – but rotating!). This definitely sounds like it elevates the experience – I am looking forward to checking out the new features on my next trip to Seattle!
You can expect crowds at the Space Needle – I highly recommend booking your tickets online in order to save time! You can book a combo ticket for both the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass (which is the next stop on this Seattle itinerary) right on over here – this will help you bypass the long ticket queues at both attractions!
Chihuly Garden and Glass
You may already be familiar with glass artist Dale Chihuly’s work – his works are showcased in many museums and galleries all over the world. One of his most famous works is on the ceiling of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
Chihuly was born in neighboring Tacoma, and still lives in the area today. Chihuly Garden and Glass consists of eight galleries and three Drawing Walls that feature some of his most significant works.
There is also an outdoor garden that features his works against a backdrop of lush flowers, trees, and plants. A theater also puts on short videos about Chihuly’s process, and commentary about the inspiration behind his work. It also sometimes hosts lectures and demonstrations.
The highlight here is the glasshouse, which features an expansive 100-foot sculpture of cascading red, orange, and yellow florals. The 4500-foot space was inspired by Chihuly’s love of conservatories. The look of the flowers change based on the light that streams through from outside. It is absolutely breathtaking – I am always amazed by the glasshouse every time I stop by.
This is one of the places I have to visit every time I make a trip to Seattle. I have always been a fan of Chihuly’s work, and have always been blown away by his use of color and shapes. His best works are showcased here, I leave inspired after every visit.
MoPOP is short for the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly known as the Experience Music Project). It is dedicated to contemporary pop culture, and strives to make creative expression a life-changing force.
It is an interactive museum full of hands-on exhibits about music, movies, video games – anything pop culture (hence the name). There’s everything from an indie video game exhibit, another about tattoos, and several that are dedicated to Seattle music greats such as Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. There’s also a great sci-fi and horror wing, which is usually not my thing, but I found it fascinating!
At the center of the museum is the giant Timpin Guitar Sculpture, which is made up of over 500 musical instruments that tower up multiple stories. It’s cool to see all those instruments, of different sizes, shapes, and colors, but what’s even cooler is that you can listen to music played by the sculpture through a pair of headphones – awesome!
If you are a pop culture fan, then you will LOVE MoPOP! While there is a collection of permanent exhibits, they also have tons of rotating exhibits that are always changing based on what’s popular. On one of my visits, I got to see and sit in the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones which I found to be super cool!
At the very least, you need to also admire the outside of the museum, which is designed by Frank Gehry. The building is covered in thousands of panels that change color depending on the light and at what angle you see them at. It’s the perfect backdrop for all your Instagram photos!
After exploring the attractions at the Seattle Center, head north towards Ballard to continue on this 2 days in Seattle itinerary.
Ballard is one of Seattle’s trendiest neighborhoods, with lots of hip eateries, boutiques, and trendy bars. But because Ballard is a bit further out from downtown, it’s got a bit of a sleepy, laid-back vibe. It’s the perfect neighborhood to stroll through and explore on a relaxed afternoon.
The neighborhood was founded by Scandinavian immigrants in the 1800s, and you can still still see those influences today. You can find restaurants that serve traditional foods such as utefisk and lefse, and you can find Scandinavian trinkets in all the specialty boutiques and home decor shops.
Ballard is also home of the Nordic Heritage Museum, which has exhibits that tell the history of the neighborhood, as well as the heritage of Scandinavia.
A must-see in the neighborhood is the Ballard Locks, officially named the Hiram M. Chittendam Locks. This series of locks lowers the water levels of the freshwater Lake Union and Lake Washington, reverses the river flow, and levels it off with the water levels of the sea water of Elliott Bay. It handles the most ship traffic out of all the locks in the United States.
You can watch the ships go through the locks, or walk through the surrounding park and gardens. You should also check out the fish that try to go up the salmon ladder from the underground viewing windows.
A unique way to experience the locks is on a locks cruise, or by renting a kayak and kayaking through it. I recently got to go through the locks in a boat and it was such a cool experience – highly recommend it!
If kayaking’s your thing, they also offer tours of the area’s waterways, and through Golden Gardens Park.
Otherwise, Ballard is fun to explore just by wandering around. The main commercial streets in the neighborhood are Market Street, and Ballard Avenue. Here, you will find stylish clothing, home decor, and specialty gift shops in charming brick storefronts. The area is actually included on the National Register of Historical Places!
This area is also full of hip restaurants. As Ballard was once the center of the city’s maritime history, you can find some of Seattle’s best seafood restaurants here. Chinooks, and Ray’s Boathouse are supposed to have some of the best.
However, one of my absolute faaaaavorite restaurants in Seattle is the Walrus and the Carpenter, which is just a little bit out from the commercial center of Ballard. You must try allllll of the oysters here (go for happy hour, Monday-Thursday from 4pm-5pm), as well as sample the seafood-centered small plates!
If you are a craft beer fan, then Ballard is your neighborhood. Seattle is home to 174 craft breweries, the most in the nation (yes, more than even Portland), and you bet Ballard is home to some of the city’s best.
If you’re a beer fan, I suggest you take a tour of the breweries in the area – I’ve always loved doing brewery tours on my travels (especially on a solo trip) because not only do you get to sample different beers from the most notable spots, you also end up making lots of friends!
Otherwise, you can take a self-guided tour. Some of the top brews can be found at Stoup, Reuben’s (recently named one of the 10 best in the US), Populuxe (named Washington’s best small brewery in 2018), Maritime Pacific Brewing Company, and Hale’s Ales.
If you happen to spend your 2 days in Seattle on a Sunday, there is also a Farmer’s Market on Ballard Avenue from 10am-3pm. You’ll find everything from farm fresh produce, to arts and crafts (which make some excellent souvenirs), so be sure to browse if you happen to be in the neighborhood while it’s going on.
After you are done exploring Ballard, make your way over to neighboring Fremont.
Fremont is Seattle’s artsy, bohemian district, and the self-proclaimed “center of the universe,” according to a sign that stands in the center of the neighborhood. Much like Ballard, Fremont is full of unique independent shops, restaurants, and bars, with a laid-back vibe.
Fremont once used to be its own city, but was annexed into the city of Seattle in the late 1800s. You can still sense a bit of that individuality here, with its carefree, quirky vibe.
The neighborhood is known for its public art and one of its most famous sights is the Fremont Troll, who resides under the Aurora Bridge. The troll was created as part of a competition held in 1990, to help revitalize the area under the bridge.
The giant 18-foot troll sculpture, who also holds a VW Bug in his hand, was inspired by the trolls that are common in Scandinavian folklore. It is by far the neighborhood’s most popular attraction, and many tourists come here to snap a photo with the troll (myself included).
Some of the other public art pieces of note are the giant 53-foot rocket sculpture and Vladimir Lenin sculpture at 36th Street and Evanston Avenue North, and the aforementioned “center of the universe” sign at North Fremont Avenue and North 35th Street.
If you are looking for green spaces, then you’ll find plenty in Fremont. Fremont Canal Park is a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, where you can watch the ships go by. At the edge of the neighborhood is also Woodland Park, which is home to the city’s zoo.
Have a sweet tooth? Fremont is also home to Theo Chocolate, which specializes in organic, fair trade, bean-to-bar chocolate. Tours of the factory are offered, or you can stop by to pick up some sweet treats at the company store.
In the mood for some retail therapy? You’re in luck, as Fremont is home to tons of quirky, independent retailers. This is a great neighborhood to shop for some vintage goods, boho home decor, and unique gifts.
If you haven’t had enough craft brews after sampling all the ones in Ballard, well, Fremont has its own bar scene as well. Sip a beer on the patio at Fremont Brewing (arguably the most popular craft breweryin the Northwest), grab a hard cider at Schilling, get some Belgian brews (and fried) at Brouwers Cafe, or enjoy a brew while watching football on the telly at George & the Dragon.
If you spend part of your 2 days in Seattle on a Sunday, you absolutely must check out the Fremont Sunday Market! This is Seattle’s answer to a European style market, with over 200 vendors selling street food, antiques, vintage clothes, handmade jewelry, crafts, and more. The market has been run since 1900, and is continually held year-round. A great spot to shop for some unique local souvenirs, and to support local businesses!
Gas Works Park
On the outskirts of Fremont is Gas Works Park, one of Seattle’s most beautiful and unique green spaces and a must on your 2 days in Seattle itinerary.
The park stands on the site of what used to be a coal gasification plant for the Seattle Gas Light Company, which once provided gas and energy to the entire city of Seattle for 50 years. It is the sole remaining coal gasification plant in the United States.
After the plant ceased operations, it was turned into a public park. You can still see the remains of the plant today. Grassy green hills line the park, and the combination of the greenery and the super industrial ruins gives the park a super unique vibe!
Gas Works Park also has one of the best views of the city. Climb to the top of the hill for the best views. From here, you can see the Seattle skyline spread out from the distance, with the space needle at the edge of the view.
On a sunny day, you will find locals and tourists alike picnicking in the grass, flying a kite, or just enjoying the view.
It took me several visits to finally make it over to Gas Works Park, but it has quickly become one of my absolute favorite places to visit in all of Seattle!
If you’re like me and can’t get enough epic views, then lucky you – this next stop on this 2 days in Seattle itinerary has the best of them all!
If you’ve ever seen that view of the Space Needle perfectly positioned in front of the Seattle skyline on all of the Seattle postcards (or, you know, the opening credits of Grey’s Anatomy) and wondered where it was taken from, then you’re in luck because this is the spot!
Located on top of a hill in the historic Queen Anne neighborhood, you really can’t go wrong with the view from Kerry Park – it is picture perfect and quintessentially Seattle.
Ideally, you’ll want to time your visit to happen around sunset, on a clear day. Even better if you happen to be here on a day when it’s clear enough to see Mt. Rainier. Seeing the skyline against the orange sky, with the majestic peak peeking through is one of the most breathtaking sites in all of Seattle!
Even if you don’t make it for sunset, or come on an overcast day, it’s still worth coming – the view is still iconic and it will still make for an excellent photo op!
It does tend to get crowded, but you will still get an excellent shot if you’re patient.
Afterwards, head south to Belltown, where you will finish out this 2 days in Seattle itinerary.
Belltown used to be the super gritty, super industrial neighborhood in the city. It was not where you wanted to be. Today, it is the complete opposite – it’s hip and happening and it’s got nightlife galore. It’s a perfect place to spend an evening, which is why we will be ending this 2 days in Seattle itinerary in Belltown.
You’ll have plenty of dining options here – I’m listing some of my favorites for you below:
- Tavolata: Yes, I mentioned this earlier when I listed dining options in Capitol Hill, and yes, it’s worth mentioning again since there’s a second location in Belltown. You cannot go wrong with the pasta here – some of the best outside of Italy! If you can get here for happy hour (5-7pm), then even better…but it is still well-priced and still worth it otherwise.
- Sushi Kashiba: If you’re looking to treat yourself and you want some of Seattle’s finest sushi, then get the omakase here. Sushi Kashiba is helmed by Shiro Kashiba, one of Seattle’s legendary sushi chefs. Kashiba once trained with Jiro Ono of the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi, so you know that his craftsmanship is unparalleled.
- Umi Sake House: A good choice for solid, fresh sushi at good prices. It is an especially good value if you come for happy hour – they have both an early one (4-6pm) and a late night one (10:30-close). They have an extensive menu of happy hour specials, with everything from nigiri combinations to small plates.
- Serious Pie: Tom Douglas is a local legend, and you can’t go wrong with any of his restaurants. For a casual dinner, grab some wood-fired pizzas at Serious Pie, which has among the best in the city. The sausage is a favorite here!
- Dahlia Lounge: If you’re looking for a more upscale spot, then Dahlia Lounge has been a Seattle favorite for decades. Douglas serves creative Pacific Northwestern cuisine with a little bit of an Asian twist here. The crab cakes here are divine. Be sure to order some coconut cream pie for dessert!
- Black Bottle: A great spot to share some creative small plates over wine. Black Bottle has a sleek, chic vibe and some inventive dishes – favorites include the “blasted” broccoli and lemon ricotta cake. Try one of their flatbreads as well!
- The Pink Door: This is a wildly popular spot inside Pike Place Market. I haven’t been, but it has been on my list forever and all my friends who have been have raved about it! Unfortunately, it is popular and reservations are hard to snag. They serve fresh, seafood and produce-driven Italian food in a super fun, lively atmosphere – you can even watch a trapeze or burlesque show with your dinner!
In the mood for a nightcap? I’m going to leave you with these spots!
- Bathtub Gin: One of my favorite bars in Seattle! This speakeasy is kinda hidden and kinda tricky to find (don’t follow the directions, use the entrance in the alley between 1st and 2nd Avenue), but their drinks are well made, creative, and STRONG. The bartenders know what they’re doing here, and are fun to talk to. It’s a tiny spot, so it can get a bit packed at times. Order the dealer’s choice here – pick a spirit and if you’re feeling sweet or sassy, and see what the bartender comes up with.
- Shorty’s: Yes, it’s divey, but it’s super fun! They have a collection of old-school arcade games, including a great collection of vintage pinball machines. Definitely order one of their boozy smoothies!
- Rob Roy: It’s kind of clubby and loungey (not usually my kinda place), but you can find some of the finest cocktails in Belltown here. They have a well curated cocktail menu, featuring both classics and a rotating seasonal selection. They also have an extensive spirits selection, and also serve small plates.
- Zig Zag Cafe: This is inside Pike Place Market and is known to make some of the highest quality cocktails in Seattle. If you ask any bartender in the city where to go for the best cocktails (we have at several bars), they will all recommend this spot!
Have you ever been to Seattle? What would you pick for your 2 days in Seattle itinerary?
You might also like:
One Perfect Day in Seattle
Seattle Bucket List
Most Instagrammable Places in Seattle
Incredible Views in Seattle
The Best Places to Eat and Drink in Seattle
12 Things to Do in Seattle
2 Days in Portland, Oregon
The Ultimate Winter Guide to Leavenworth, WA
The Ultimate Guide to Olympic National Park
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Monday 20th of July 2020
This is such a great guide to Seattle! I live in Vancouver, BC so we try to do a little daytrip down almost every year :) I find new things in the city every time and its great! The Woodland Park Zoo and Museum of Flight are also both fantastic!
Monday 20th of July 2020
OMG!! You definitely give all the details on Seattle! We love Seattle and it is one of those wonderful places that you will need multiple visits to. It seems you just can't see it all in one visit!
Sunday 19th of July 2020
Seattle has always been on my bucket list! This guide is so detailed and makes me even more excited to visit it in the future. I especially want to see the Fremont Troll lol! Thanks for this guide!
Sunday 19th of July 2020
Spent a quick day in Seattle a few years ago and loved it! ☺️
Sunday 19th of July 2020
Seattle is beautiful, seems like a very relaxing place to visit or moreover a very good place to live! And this has been a very comprehensive guide.