Visiting Seattle: How to Get Around and See the Sights

Planning a trip to Seattle? Here are some tips on how to get around and see the sights!

Getting around

Link Light Rail by SoundTransit

If you’re flying into Sea-Tac airport, getting into downtown Seattle couldn’t be easier! Simply take the Link heading north and get off at Westlake/Seattle station (about a 40-minute ride).

To ride Link, you can either buy a paper ticket or buy a reloadable ORCA card ($5 for card, and then add cash value in increments of $10). The card also works on other transit systems, like ferries and buses.

Starting September 2019, you can also use the ORCA card to ride the Monorail. In the meantime, you’ll need to buy a paper ticket to ride.

Riding the Seattle Center Monorail is a fun and quick way to travel between two points: Seattle Center (Space Needle; MoPOP, and more) and Westlake Center (Downtown).

Westlake Center station

going through MoPOP

Seattle Center station

Seeing the sights

Gum Wall in Post Alley

photo by Jennifer

This is disgusting! But I love offbeat and random stuff, so I just had to take part:

leaving my mark in the world with a chewed up piece of Hubba Bubba

Flowers from Pike Place Market

From Pike Place Market, you can get large bouquets of fresh, colorful flowers for as little as $5! They’re perfect for brightening up your hotel room. Or, if you’re a guest at someone’s home, they make a lovely gift for your host. These beautiful irises were 12 for $10 – a bargain!

The Seattle Great Wheel

view from the Great Wheel

Opened in 2012 at Pier 57, the Seattle Great Wheel takes riders almost 200 feet in the air at its highest point. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of Elliott Bay and the Seattle skyline as it rotates three times >>

Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Pier 66

Weekly cruises leave for Alaska from Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Pier 66. From the waterfront, you can take the stairs (or elevator) up to an observation deck that makes you feel like you’re on a ship! It’s another place to soak in views of the bay and skyline. And it’s free >>

And last, but not least:

Seattle’s iconic Space Needle!

Standing 605 feet tall, the Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. It has since become an icon of Seattle!

🎡

If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in other posts from my Visiting Seattle series, including:

  • Visiting Seattle: Glossier Pop-Up💄(closed July 7, 2019)
  • Visiting Seattle: Original Starbucks ☕️🍵
  • Visiting Seattle: Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) 🎸
  • Visiting Seattle: Ferry to Bainbridge Island
  • Visiting Seattle: Where to Eat 🍽
  • Spotted in Seattle…a little bit of Paris:

    J’aime Les Crêpes | Bainbridge Island

    This post is #6 of 6 in my Visiting Seattle series. Thanks for reading!

    Visiting Seattle: Where to Eat

    Starving in Seattle? I recommend you grab a bite at the following places:

    Breakfast:

    Off the Grill: Two 2 Two, served with warm maple syrup

    Athenian Seafood Restaurant & Bar

    1517 Pike Place (located at Pike Place Market)

    Seattle, WA 98101

    Website: http://www.athenianseattle.com

    Fun fact: The tiramisu scene in the movie, “Sleepless in Seattle” with Tom Hanks and Rob Reiner, was filmed at this restaurant!

    This was the view from our table upstairs:

    Elliott Bay and the Seattle Great Wheel on the Waterfront

    Lunch:

    The Madison Diner

    305 Madison Avenue N

    Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

    Website: http://www.themadisondiner.com

    The diner is an old steel train car brought over from New Jersey!

    Bleu cheese and bacon burger

    Dinner:

    Phở Bắc

    1809 Minor Avenue

    Seattle, WA 98101

    Website: https://www.thephobac.com

    Phở Tôm (Prawns) | photo by Jennifer

    spring rolls, egg rolls, grilled pork with salad and rice

    Snack:

    Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

    Concourse C at Sea-Tac Airport

    17801 International Blvd.

    Seattle, WA 98158

    Website: https://www.beechershandmadecheese.com

    Mac and cheese | photo by Jennifer

    We originally planned to visit Beecher’s at their Pike Place location, but the line was out the door! Fortunately, we got another chance to savor their cheesy goodness at their airport location before our flight home.

    So if you’re looking for tasty food in a fast-casual and family-friendly setting, these places are sure to please!

    🍽

    This post is #5 of 6 in my Visiting Seattle series.

    Visiting Seattle: Ferry to Bainbridge Island

    Only 35 minutes away from Seattle by ferry, the island and city of Bainbridge Island is a charming place to visit.

    Take a leisurely stroll through the historic downtown area and check out these shops and restaurants along Winslow Way and Madrone Lane.

    Ferry schedule

    The Madison Diner serves all-day breakfast

    Crêperie on Madrone Lane – I love that Eiffel Tower replica

    A scoop of Sabayon from Mora Iced Creamery

    Handcrafted soap by Pelindaba Lavender

    Lavender shortbread from Blackbird Bakery

    chocolate from Bon Bon Confections

    Have an extraordinary day! 🍨

    For more information:

    Bainbridge History

    Eagle Harbor Book Co.

    Japanese American Exclusion Memorial: “Let It Not Happen Again”

    Visit Bainbridge – official website

    Related post:

    Wednesday Postcard: Bainbridge Island, Washington

    This post is #4 of 6 in my Visiting Seattle series.

    Wednesday Postcard: Bainbridge Island, Washington

    Bonjour! This week’s carte postale is one I picked up during my recent trip to Seattle:

    photo on postcard by Robert McNeely

    The vessel shown on the postcard is named Tacoma. Read more about her here.

    The Washington State Ferries make over 20 round trips each day from Seattle (Colman Dock/Pier 52) to Bainbridge Island.

    For more information:

    Washington State Ferries – official website

    Until the next Wednesday Postcard, à bientôt!

    [Updated: June 2019] If you enjoyed this postcard, you may be interested in my 6-part series, Visiting Seattle

    Visiting Seattle: Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)

    I had been wanting to return to Seattle ever since the Experience Music Project, or EMP, opened in 2000. Over the years, the museum has gone through a few name changes. Today, it is the Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP, for short! And I finally got to visit!

    If you’re a fan of Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Prince, Pearl Jam, science fiction, horror, or fantasy films, video games, and music in general, MoPOP is a must-see when you’re in Seattle.

    It’s easy to get to the museum: Take the Seattle Center Monorail from Westlake Center and it will take you directly to the Seattle Center where the famous Space Needle is also located.

    Designed by world-renowned American-Canadian architect, Frank Gehry, you can’t miss the beautiful MoPOP structure – it’s massive!

    Watch the Monorail go through MoPOP in my 26-second video:

    It takes about three hours to see everything at a leisurely pace.

    Here are some of my favorites at MoPOP:

    “Ceci n’est pas un sweater”

    “This is not a sweater” with 70-yard sleeves by Japanese fashion label, Comme des Garçons

    “If VI was IX” guitar sculpture

    Jimi Hendrix Exhibit: Wild Blue Angel

    a print of Jimi Hendrix’s photo at London’s Royal Albert Hall

    Photos by Jennifer

    Nirvana Exhibit: Taking Punk to the Masses

    a form letter that Nirvana used to send to fans

    funny captions on photo that would become the cover to Nirvana’s second album, Nevermind

    Prince from Minneapolis Exhibit

    replica of motorcycle from Purple Rain | photo by Jennifer

    Pearl Jam Exhibit: Home and Away

    photo by Jennifer

    Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction

    photo by Jennifer

    space suit from the Mork and Mindy show (1980s)

    Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film

    Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic

    Judy Garland’s Dorothy dress from The Wizard of Oz

    Indie Game Revolution

    photo by Jennifer

    In the interactive Sound Lab, you can play drums, keyboard, and guitar. You can record vocals and mix a track, too!

    My 2 cents: Although it’s a family-friendly museum, visitors under the age of 16 might get bored. Otherwise, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

    Overall, I found MoPOP informative, entertaining, interactive, and fun!

    For more information:

    MoPOP – official website

    For fun:

    🎸Watch Jimi Hendrix perform “Foxey Lady” (Miami Pop 1968)

    🎸Watch Nirvana perform “All Apologies” (MTV Unplugged)

    🎸Watch Pearl Jam perform “Alive” (BBC)

    🎸Watch Prince perform “Purple Rain” ☔️ (NFL Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show)

    🎶 (Videos from YouTube | All rights reserved.)

    This post is #3 of 6 in my Visiting Seattle series.

    Visiting Seattle: Original Starbucks

    If you’re a coffee addict like me, then you’ll want to visit the “Original Starbucks” when visiting Seattle.

    Did you know there are two originals in town? One is the first store that opened in 1971 and the other is the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room that opened in 2014.

    I like one more than the other.

    1912 Pike Place storefront

    1912 Pike Place

    Skip the Original Starbucks on 1912 Pike Place.

    Go ahead, take the obligatory selfie at the storefront with the siren in all her topless glory. Just don’t wait in line for an hour to get inside, where it’s cramped and they sell the standard food and coffee drinks. It’s good stuff, but you can find ’em at any Starbucks.

    ⭐️ The much better option to get your “Original Starbucks” fix is to visit the upscale Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room on 1124 Pike Street.

    Imagine: Fancier food and beverage options in addition to standard Starbucks offerings you love. Ceramic cups and plates on wooden trays. Tables and chairs. No crowds. And no waiting in long lines.

    Sounds more inviting, right? Go ahead, luxuriate in there for an hour!

    pizze al taglio and an almond cookie from Princi bakery

    Princi bakery located inside the Seattle Roastery

    The best part is that you get treated to a show of coffee beans going through the roasting and bagging process in batches.

    There are currently five Starbucks Reserve Roasteries in the world. The original opened in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle in December 2014. Since then, Starbucks has opened Roasteries in Shanghai, Milano, New York, and Tokyo. (Opening soon in Chicago!)

    📸: All photos by Jennifer

    For more information:

    Starbucks Reserve – official website ☕️

    This post is #2 of 6 in my Visiting Seattle series.

    Wednesday Postcard: Seattle, Washington

    Bonjour from Seattle! This week’s carte postale is from the Emerald City:

    The Seattle Great Wheel is 175 feet tall and was built in 2012 on Pier 57.

    Until the next Wednesday Postcard, à bientôt!

    For more information:

    The Seattle Great Wheel

    🎡

    [Updated: June 2019] If you enjoyed this postcard, you may be interested in my 6-part series, Visiting Seattle