The Local’s Guide to Seattle: Best Things to Do, When to Visit, and More!

Determining the best activities when you travel can make it hard to choose when you have limited time in the city, so that’s why I put together this local’s guide to Seattle!

locals guide to seattle

While Seattle more be a relatively small city when it comes to square mileage, it’s an action-packed city with a variety of things to do whether you want to go to the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, or one of the many parks.

This list aims to help you know where to stay in Seattle and what things to do. 

The Local’s Guide to Seattle

But why should you listen to me? I’m a solo travel blogger and I lived in Seattle for over 10 years.

I know exactly when the best time to visit is because I lived there in all the various seasons and I’ve explored everything from bars to tourist spots to the best restaurants. Learn more about solo travel in your 30s.

The Local’s Guide to Seattle: Quick Seattle Tips

  • First time visiting? I recommend Seattle Center and Capitol Hill
  • Want a quirky and interesting hotel? Check out Capitol Hill and Fremont
  • Best neighborhoods for city sights? Check out Seattle City Center, Downtown, or Pioneer Square
  • Looking for the best nightlife? Check out Capitol Hill or Belltown
locals guide to seattle

Exploring Seattle: Top Must-Do Experiences!

Chihuly Garden and Glass 

The artist, Dale Chihuly, was born in 1941 in the Pacific Northwest and studied interior design at the University of Washington.

locals guide to seattle

He’s a renowned artist that you’ll find to have created over 200 blown glass sculptures around the world. 

Chihuly Garden and Glass is adorned with hundreds of blown glass sculptures in all colors.

The glass pieces range in size, shape, and color. You’ll marvel at the talent that it took to create them. 

There’s this one walkway that’s glittered with beautiful glass sculptures and you feel as if you’re immersed in artwork.

The way the light plays off each sculpture is exquisite. 

Chihuly Garden & Glass is extremely Instagrammable and will provide a great backdrop for any photo you wish to take.

Most visitors’ favorite spot in the garden is the outside where the Space Needle is the backdrop with the accent piece being one of Dale Chihuly’s masterpieces.

Read next: 27 Best Restaurants In Seattle

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is a well-known spot in Seattle. It’s a bustling, lively spot that’s been the heart of Seattle for ages.

locals guide to seattle

From fresh produce to quirky shops, this place has it all. 

The market came into being in 1907. It could be said that the city of Seattle quickly grew outward from the market because of its great popularity even back in the 1900s. 

Here you’ll find the famous fish-throwing that takes place followed by calls for orders. 

You’ll find many artisans’ booths selling all kinds of wares from flower sculptures to sports memorabilia.

Pike Place Market even has a pig statue named Rachel, which many people love to take photos with.

Fremont District and the Fremont Troll

Fremont is a neighborhood that has a very hipster feel to it.

This neighborhood is also known for the Fremont Troll, a colossal sculpture lurking beneath the Aurora Bridge. 

locals guide to seattle

It’s quirky, it’s funky, and it’s a must-see for that perfect shot.

It was actually created because of a competition sponsored by the Arts Council in 1990. 

The neighborhood itself has a bunch of restaurants, shops, and boutiques fitting all preferences.

There’s even a gluten-free dairy-free bakery called Flying Apron.  

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie may be a little off the beaten path from Seattle, but it’s still within an hour’s drive.

locals guide to seattle

Located in the city of Snoqualmie, you’ll find the thundering Snoqualmie Falls. 

It’s a roaring and beautiful sight that reaches 268 feet in height.

The thunderous waterfall cascading down against a backdrop of lush greenery is simply breathtaking. 

You’ll be immersed in nature and it provides you with a slice of serenity when life is stressing you out.

Kerry Park

Kerry Park – the spot for the postcard-perfect view of Seattle’s skyline.

locals guide to seattle

Trust me, you haven’t seen the city until you’ve seen it from this vantage point.

It’s the kind of view that makes you pause, take it all in, and appreciate the beauty of this vibrant city.

Kerry Park is free to visit with just as great of a view as the Space Needle.

If you’re lucky you may even get a view of Mt. Rainier if the weather is clear.

Seattle Snooze Spots: Where to Crash and Live Luxuriously

Graduate Seattle

Nestled in the University District, the Graduate Seattle is an architectural gem, boasting a fusion of contemporary design elements and University of Washington touches.

The University of Washington’s color palette of purple is shown throughout this vibrant hotel in its furniture selection. 

From the moment you enter, you’re enveloped by its charm, with a lobby that marries contemporary aesthetics with vintage accents, setting the tone for an unforgettable stay.

The hotel’s layout seamlessly integrates communal spaces such as the Mountaineering Club and Poindexter Coffee with private retreats, offering guests the perfect balance between social engagement and serene solitude. 

The rooms themselves are havens of comfort, boasting comfy beds and Malin + Goetz toiletries. 

As for amenities, the Graduate doesn’t disappoint. Enjoy access to a 24-hour fitness center ensuring your wellness needs are met.

The valet, bike rentals, and pet-friendly hotel show their commitment to their guests. 

Hotel Theodore

Besides the vibrant cityscape, this boutique hotel is a testament to architectural finesse and modern elegance with its hand-crafted and custom-made touches.

Their eye for detail is superb as even their decorative accents are museum-curated.

Step inside to discover a world of amenities that elevate your stay.

With meticulously designed rooms with plush robes, snug slippers, and a Bluetooth speaker, every detail here is crafted for your comfort and pleasure.

The Theodore is made for business travelers with its meeting rooms and high-speed Wi-FI to accommodate your working needs as well as keep you refreshed with the 24-hour fitness center and Rider, their restaurant that creates dishes with locally sourced ingredients.

You could even partake in a craft cocktail for a great way to end the night. 

The attentive staff adds a personal touch, ensuring your every need is met with grace and efficiency.

There’s even a virtual concierge, Paige. 

This hotel is perfectly catered to everyone’s needs no matter what they may be. Nearby you’ll even find Pike Place Market and the Seattle Great Wheel – the Ferris wheel. 

Thompson Seattle

The Thompson Hotel is known for being one of the most stylish hotels in the city, where every facet is a celebration of design excellence. 

With its floor-to-ceiling windows as you enter, you’ll get an amazing view of Puget Sound.

Those fortunate enough to occupy the waterside rooms are treated to a mesmerizing view of Puget Sound in the morning and evening.

Even most of the rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and hardwood floors. 

A hallmark of the Thompson’s allure is its urban loft feel, where industrial-chic elements harmonize with upscale comforts, creating an inviting and sophisticated retreat.

The restaurant located onsite, Conversation Kitchen + Bar is proud to say its dishes are made with fresh products, farm-raised meats, and other high-quality ingredients.

You can feel comforted that when you’re traveling you’re still eating quality food.

Thompson is also affiliated with the Nest, one of the best rooftop bars in the city. It’s located just on top of the Thompson.

If you want the best vantage point of Puget Sound, this will be it.

Similar to Hotel Theodore, The Thompson also has the nearby Pike Place Market or Seattle Great Wheel nearby.

When it comes to service, the staff anticipates your needs and the service is superb.

No matter your need the Thompson is likely to have an amenity just for that as the amenities are numerous. 



CitizenM is one of the best hotel collections if you’re looking for something different, something hip and quirky.

The style of the hotel leans towards bold and artistic statements with just enough modern touches thrown in there.

The West Coast welcomed this avant-garde gem in 2020, marking its debut as the first in the region and setting a new benchmark for chic accommodation. 

Yet, what truly distinguishes CitizenM is its seamless fusion of technology and comfort.

Imagine controlling your entire room effortlessly via an iPad bringing a high-tech feel to your suite. 

Clean lines and sophisticated designs meet plush amenities, with every room meticulously curated to offer a sleek yet cozy retreat.

Beyond the aesthetics, these compact spaces are brimming with features—XL beds, mood lights, a power shower experience, and blackout blinds.

CitizenM is a bold, eccentric hotel filled with various prints that just feel inviting.

Even with the mix of different prints somehow it works and this avant-garde hotel feels inviting from the first time you enter the lobby.


Discover Seattle: Optimal Time to Explore!

The best time to visit Seattle is undoubtedly July to August if you’re looking for warmer and rain-free weather.

The weather ranges from 70 to mid-80s in July and August. 

If you’re looking for something cooler visit in June. This is when it may rain but you’re still likely to have some sunny days.

Typically, the weather in June has less rain than other months, but that doesn’t mean it’s rain-free all the time. 

The spring may have some sunny days but the whole May Showers bring May Flowers saying is accurate.

When it comes to the winter, you’ll find that the weather seems to switch off between an El Niño winter and a La Niña which is indicated in Seattle with more rain/snow but warmer or sunny but cold winters.