If you have the chance to spend a day in Seattle or any time for that matter if you have enough time during a layover in Seattle I recommend you take the opportunity to explore this gem of Washington State. I had never been to Washington State and this was my 42nd state so I knew I wanted to make the most of my day in Seattle. It is a place I grew up watching some of my favorite shows like Grey’s Anatomy and it has been on the top of my bucket list in the U.S. Destinations for a while.
I was so glad when I saw my layover from Alaska to Orlando stopped in Seattle, Washington and I knew I had to contact Alaska Air as soon as possible to see if I could have a longer layover to experience the city. Here is my travel guide to one day in Seattle, WashingtonRead more: One Day In Seattle: How To Have An Epic Layover in Seattle or Day Trip
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How To Travel To Seattle For A Day
When I knew I was going to have a layover in Seattle, I wanted to make sure I had a way to get into and out of Seattle easily.
How to get to Seattle Downtown from the airport? The best way I found to get to Downtown from Seatac Airport was by the Light Rail. I had an overnight layover so I did indeed book a place in the city.
The Best Ways to Get to Downtown Seattle from Seatac Airport
- Ride the Light Rail. If you don’t mind wheeling your luggage, this is the best and cheapest way to go. The ride takes 37 minutes from the airport to Downtown Seattle’s Westlake Center and costs USD 3 each way.
- Using Uber to go to Seattle from Seatac. This option costs about USD 60 when I look, but rates vary.
Is Seattle worth visiting for a day?
If you have never been to Seattle, Washington it is 100 percent worth visiting for the day. It is easy and cheap to get to from the airport and the city is walkable as well as connected by public transport. Seattle is ranked 8th in the country for most walkable city and gets a ranking of 74 out of 100 by Walk Scores walkability meter.
Also, the city just has a very cool vibe as you walk around, many amazing restaurants, and iconic sights, and there is something for everyone in terms of food. It is a foodie city, so if you have a long layover why wait in the airport versus enjoying a great meal at spots in Pikes Place Market?
10 Best Things To Do In Seattle For A Day
Experience Pikes Place Market
Start your day at Pike Place Market, one of the oldest and most famous farmers markets in the US. Here you can find fresh produce, seafood, flowers, crafts, and more. You can also grab a hearty breakfast at one of the many cafes and bakeries, or sample some local delicacies like smoked salmon, cheese curds, or mini donuts. Don’t forget to check out the original Starbucks store and watch the fishmongers toss their catch at Pikes Fish Market.
Where to eat in Pikes Place Market?
I enjoyed wandering the market at first until I found a few spots that grabbed my attention. First start on the street level from right underneath the Pikes sign, and head to see the Pikes
Must-visit spots in my opinion great for lunch Pikes Place Chowder for their New England Chowder, Piroshky Piroshky a russian bakery with their famous stuffed piroshky try it stuffed with salmon, and finally visit the first Starbucks in the world. If you don’t want to go around by Pikes Place by yourself you can take a Chef guided tour of Pikes Place Market. Book in advance because this foodie tour is a popular one.
Try amazing independent cafes such as Ghost Alley Espresso or Storyville Coffee in Pikes Place Market.
Don’t miss the photo opp with the Gum Wall in Post Alley
This is right next to Pikes Place Market and down the alley from Ghost Alley Espresso. Don’t forget to get gum, blow a big bubble, and then stick your piece on the gum wall which is almost the entire alley way.
Explore the Waterfront of Seattle
Next, head to the waterfront and enjoy the views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains.
You can ride the Seattle Great Wheel, a giant Ferris wheel that offers panoramic views of the city and the water. Or you can visit the Seattle Aquarium and see marine life from Puget Sound and beyond. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also hop on a ferry or a cruise and explore the islands and harbors nearby.
Visit The Top of the Space Needle At Sunset
Visit the Space Needle, a 605-foot tower that offers stunning views of the city skyline and Mount Rainier. You can also visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass, a museum that showcases the colorful and whimsical glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly. There are also combo tickets you can get for the Chihuly Garden and the Space Needle.
Take The Bainbridge Ferry For Epic Views of Seattle
One of the coolest things I did was also one of the most budget-friendly in Seattle. I decided to get a round-trip ferry from Seattle Waterfront after exploring the historic neighborhood near Pioneer Square. This round-trip ferry ticket costs $9.85 and the journeys are quite frequent check the schedule out here.
Seattle Underground Tour
After walking around Pioneer Square you may be interested to learn about Seattle’s Underground which is a popular tour that shows you the subterranean storefronts entombed after the city was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1889. This tour is a unique way to explore Seattle in one day and was highly recommended.
Enjoy The Vibrant Capital Hill Neighborhood
After soaking up some culture, head to Capitol Hill, a trendy and diverse neighborhood that’s known for its nightlife and food scene. Here you can find some of the best restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops in Seattle. You can also visit some of the quirky attractions on Capitol Hill, such as the Jimi Hendrix statue, the Volunteer Park Conservatory, or the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. Don’t miss one of the best bookstores, Elliott Bay Books for an original local bookstore.
Visit The Central Library in Seattle for its’ beautiful design
For dinner and drinks, head to Belltown, another hip neighborhood that’s close to downtown. Here you can find a variety of cuisines, from sushi to pizza to seafood. You can also enjoy live music, comedy shows, or karaoke at some of the bars and clubs in Belltown. Or you can relax at a speakeasy or a rooftop lounge and enjoy a handcrafted cocktail.
Take Ebikes For A Self Guided Bike Tour Through The City
I loved renting the e-bikes and taking them for a ride through the city to see the Amazon Spheres, Olympic Sculpture Park, as well as some of the public art around the city. The Amazon Spheres are open to the public on the first and third Saturday of the month (reservations are necessary and it is free of charge). If you don’t want to go around by the city by bike on your own check out this bike tour of Seattle.
Seattle travel tips
Is it safe to walk in Downtown Seattle during the day?
I felt safe walking in Seattle during the day, at night to be safe I took Uber to get home. I was warned around Pike’s Place Market at night there are more homeless people and petty theft at night.
Can I walk everywhere in Seattle?
While I walked many places I think it is a great option to look at taking public transit, the monorail, and e-bikes as it is easy to rent through apps. This way you can get around quickly. The public transit and cost of Uber were not too bad making it quite easy to get around without a car in Seattle as well as to and from the airport with the light rail.
When to visit Seattle
The best time to visit Seattle is summer hands down. I would go between July to September. If you want blue skies, temps in the 80s and 90s, as well as views of Mt Rainier from the city.
Where to stay in Seattle, Washington on a overnight layover?
Budget: Green Tortoise Hostel is located in the center of it all for the best price. If you are looking for a breakfast included with a view of Pikes Market and don’t want to break the bank this is for you. They also share about free walking tours, and a discount for the Seattle Underground Tour, and they have female dorms as well. The location is unbeatable if you only have a day in Seattle.
Luxury: I love Noble House Resorts and Edgewater Hotel is right on the water offering a luxury stay and experience in Seattle.
Seattle map of where to stay
Save This Guide For Your Day In Seattle
There you have it – a perfect guide for one day in Seattle. Of course, there’s much more to see and do in this amazing city, but this guide will give you a taste of what Seattle has to offer. I hope you enjoy your 24 hours in Seattle and come back for more! This is just grazing the surface and was my first time in the State of Washington and I already know I will be back.