How to Spend 24 Hours in Seattle

Downtown Seattle
Downtown Seattle | © Tiffany Von Arnim / Flickr
Samantha Ladwig

Seattle, Washington, is chock-full of activities. Its days are full of opportunities to explore scenic parks, locally sourced restaurants, and museums. And its nightlife is rich with breweries, speakeasies, unique movie theaters, and cultural events. It’s difficult to explore any city in just 24 hours, but below is a guide to navigating the Emerald City in only one day.

Morning:

1. Portage Bay Cafe

Bar, Cafe, Market, American

Portage Bay Cafe
© Jessica Spengler / Flickr
Grab breakfast at this lively joint located in the University District. The Portage Bay Cafe is a Seattle breakfast hot spot and offers a variety of locally sourced, organic foods such as Benedicts, breakfast burritos, hot sandwiches, and salads. Its breakfast bar, which customers visit to top their thick pancakes and classic french toast with seasonal fruits, nuts, and whipped cream, makes this restaurant a perfect spot to grab a morning bite to eat.

2. Washington Park Arboretum

Botanical Garden, Park

Japanese Garden in autumn, Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle, Washington.
© Greg Vaughn / Alamy Stock Photo
Then take a walk through the Washington Park Arboretum. The arboretum covers 230 acres and hosts 5,500 different plants from around the world, the popular Japanese Garden, and boasts one of the largest Japanese Maple Tree collections. The beautifully maintained park located in the Madison Park neighborhood is a joint effort between the University of Washington and the City of Seattle. While any time of year is a good time to visit, spring and fall are certainly remarkable for the color and grandeur on display from the myriad plantings and native species.

Afternoon:

Evening:

4. Dick’s Drive-in

Restaurant, American

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© nate bolt / Flickr

Sit down for a burger at Dick’s Drive-In, a Seattle fast-food institution satisfying both locals and tourists. Dick’s has been serving up cheeseburgers, French fries, and milkshakes for pennies to the masses since its establishment in 1954. It’s known primarily as a walk-up restaurant where customers order their greasy food from a window before taking it back to their car to devour, but its Queen Anne location, which sits across the street from the SIFF Cinema, offers some seating.

5. SIFF Cinema Uptown

Cinema, Movie Theater

Then catch a movie at the SIFF Cinema Uptown theater. The Uptown location is the original of the three SIFF Cinema venues, and it’s a film enthusiast hub. From its Cinema Dissection to Screenplay Competition, the Queen Anne institution works to bring filmmakers of all ages together not only to watch films but to explore them as well. SIFF Cinema is also home to the Seattle International Film Festival, the biggest international film festival in the nation. It’s no wonder locals praise the independent theater for its exciting and fresh movie circulation.

Night:

6. Kerry Park

Park

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© Tiffany Von Arnim / Flickr
Stop by the 1.26-acre Kerry Park, which lends some of the most spectacular cityscape views in all of Seattle. Perched on top of the Queen Anne neighborhood, the park overlooks everything from the Emerald City to Elliott Bay. Visitors can spot the colossal Mount Rainier during the daytime and the glowing Space Needle and Pier 57’s Great Wheel at night.

7. The Backdoor at Roxy’s

Cocktail Bar, American

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© My Aching Head / Flickr

Finish the day at The Backdoor at Roxy’s, a speakeasy lounge located in the Fremont neighborhood. As its name suggests, visitors can access the bar via the backdoor entrance behind Roxy’s Diner. The lounge offers everything from craft cocktails, pub-style entrées, and rich late-night bites. With occasional live music, this 1920s-inspired establishment is a perfect spot to kick back and relax after a long day.

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