An Insider Guide to Seattle

Seattle is known as the Emerald City for the lush greenery, and famed for Starbucks, Nirvana and excessive rain. Look a little deeper though, and you’ll discover a lot more. Here’s our guide.

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The Main Attractions

Ask a local what to expect when you arrive in Seattle and there’s a good chance they’ll soon start talking about rain - and get onto coffee shortly after. In reality, there are about 152 days of rain per year in Seattle, but the payoff is worth the precipitation. From the iconic Douglas Firs to the Western Red Cedars and Japanese Maples, Seattle is a city of trees, and when those skies clear you can see all the way out to the 4,392m Mount Rainier, just under 100 miles away. But Mount Rainier isn’t the most iconic sight in the city - that’d be the big spiky structure that has dominated the skyline for decades; the Space Needle. Built in 1961, the Space Needle stands 605ft tall and is now home to the revolving SkyCity Restaurant 500ft up, as well as views over all of Seattle and far beyond. Green spaces in the city itself include the beautiful (and self-explanatory) Green Lake Park, the coastal Discovery Park, possibly the best spot to get great views of the skyline and mountains beyond, and the particularly fascinating Freeway Park, where you’ll find a mix of brutalist architecture and greenery. The culture continues in the museums of Seattle - including the quirky Museum of Pop Culture, the Museum of Flight and the museum to the Klondike Gold Rush - but of course, Seattle is best known for its music. Sub Pop Records is one of the most famous record stores and labels in the world, internationally renowned for their signing of Nirvana, Soundgarden and their impact on the grunge scene. When it comes to gastronomy, the best known food and drink in the city might be Starbucks - this is where the coffee chain originated - but the scene goes a lot deeper. The Pike Place Market on the Seattle waterfront is one of the oldest farmer's markets in America, and the mix of fine dining and casual, creative restaurants has made Seattle one of the best foodie cities in America.

Neighborhoods in Seattle