Seattle is a bustling, growing city that boasts many amazing visit-worthy things, including a rich historical background, the birthplace of (good) coffee, absolutely amazing summers, and 22+ diverse neighborhoods to explore. If you live here, it is no doubt that your friends and family will constantly be making excuses to visit you. Playing tour guide with someone who has never experienced all that Seattle has to offer can be a daunting task, mainly because there is so much to see and you want to make sure they have the best experience. Here is my list of must-see places to bring your tourists- as well as where to eat/drink at each stop- to assure they’re just as impressed as you are with this city!
1. Pike Place Market
This is a unanimous choice for the number one spot you should take an out-of-towner. Overlooking the Elliott Bay Waterfront, Pike Place Market is one of the few authentic farmers markets in America, which started in 1907. Several blocks long, this market is famous for its flower market and seafood (in particular, the throwing of the salmon), but it is also packed with small local eateries and unique shops selling items you won’t find anywhere else. It is also home to the very first Starbucks Coffee shop, but you may want to skip the line to get in and take your guests up the block to the nearest one, as it is almost guaranteed to be a long wait!
Where to Eat/Drink Here: The Pink Door is a classic Italian restaurant located in the heart of the market. A romantic atmosphere and amazing food has made it a favorite among Seattleites. Be sure to make a reservation at least a week in advance as this place books up fast!
2. Gas Works Park
An industrial plant turned park located in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, Gas Works is a great place to take guests for a Lake Union waterfront picnic while also letting them see a bit of the city’s history. On a sunny day, the park’s one large hill is commonly crowded with people lounging on picnic blankets, watching seaplanes and boats cruise the lake, and catching a view of Seattle’s downtown towers and The Space Needle in the background.
Where to Eat/Drink Here: Fremont Brewing Company is a winner among day drinking spots in Seattle. The long picnic tables, massive patios, and flights of local beer make this the perfect stop to grab and drink after an afternoon picnic at the park.
3. Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill is a wonderfully multi-faceted neighborhood where Seattle’s gay community and Seattle University student population co-exist with older residents, upscale restaurants, historical mansions, shops, and a vibrant bar scene. Take out-of-towners here to show them everything from the rainbow crosswalks and authentic bakeries/coffee shops to a night out on the town. Drive them down the rows of stately homes and explore beautiful Volunteer Park. There is such a diverse array of things to do on “The Hill” that you definitely won’t regret taking guests here!
Where to Eat/Drink Here: There are many great Mexican restaurants in Seattle, but none are quite like Mezcaleria Oaxaca. This two-story Mexican restaurant offers sit-down, more formal Mexican dining on the main floor, but upstairs be prepared for rooftop margaritas on their open-air rooftop, which has plenty of seating and a taco truck (yes- a taco truck on the roof!).
4. The Seattle Great Wheel & Wings Over Washington
For those that aren’t scared of heights, The Great Wheel, located just off downtown Seattle’s waterfront, is a relatively new tourist attraction that allows you to get an incredible view of the city’s skyline and waterfront from a towering height. The line is never very long and moves quickly, plus you can purchase beer, wine, and cocktails from the ticket booth while you wait.
Inside the pier’s building is Wings Over Washington, a flying theatre (similar to Disneyland’s Soarin’ Over California) which takes you on an aerial adventure of the beautiful state of Washington, from the Olympic National Forest to Downtown Seattle. The most technologically advanced ride in the world, this is sure to awe you and your guests.
Where to Eat/Drink Here: Elliott’s Oyster House. This place is sure to impress even the snobbiest out-of-towner. The view of the water is excellent making it a festive place to slurp down oysters with friends and family.