Seattle Flights and Travel Guide


General Information




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Seattle - Introduction

Seattle is located in the US state of Washington and is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest.

It is positioned on a narrow isthmus between Lake Washington on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. The city lies 183 km south of Canadian border and is the region’s economic cultural and educational center and a major seaport, handling trade with Asia and tours to Alaska.

Seattle was named after Chief Sealth or "Seattle", of the Duwamish and Suquamish native tribes. It was founded in 1869 and settled by the Europeans in the mid 19th century but the area has been inhabited for at least 4,000 years and was, at the time the Europeans came, home to the Duwamish Tribe.
Seattle is also nicknamed the ‘Emerald City’ as it enjoys trees and other flora in abundance. It is also hilly, and just like Rome, it is spread on seven hills. Seattle is the most literate US city, and home to some of the richest people in the world, including Bill Gates. It is considered one of the world’s most livable cities, after Melbourne and Montreal.

Seattle is the business center of the Pacific Northwest region. It is home of such giants as the Microsoft, Amazon, Nintendo, and Starbucks.

It is also the region’s cultural center and has a vibrant arts scene.

The most recognizable and easily spotted icon is the 158 meter high Space Needle, which was built in 1962 for the World Fair.

The Olympics and the Cascades are two mountain ranges that flank Seattle and visible from the city is the massive Mt Rainier towering at 4,392 m. There are two lakes close by and complete wilderness can be found just one hour’s drive from the city.

Seattle is also a music city. It was the hometown of the famous virtuoso guitarist Jimi Hendrix, and was the birthplace of grunge, a style of music popularized by Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Still today Seattle’s music scene is lively, catering to all tastes and covering a ranges of events, from stadium concerts to small club performances.


Next: Seattle Climate »

Seattle - Climate

Seattle has an Oceanic climate that produces mild and wet winters and pleasant but drier summers. Most precipitation falls from October to December and January to March. Temperatures throughout the year are comfortable moderated, as they are, by the Pacific Ocean and Lake Washington. The warmest and driest time of the year is summer, from June to August when average temperatures reach 24˚ C. Winters are never too cold and temperatures rarely drop below zero, thus there is little snowfall.

January average temperature 4 deg Celsius 152 mm rainfall
February average temperature 6 deg Celsius, 102 mm rainfall
March average temperature 7 deg Celsius, 94 mm rainfall
April average temperature 10 deg Celsius, 56 mm rainfall
May average temperature 13 deg Celsius, 33 mm rainfall
June average temperature 16 deg Celsius, 36 mm rainfall
July average temperature 18 deg Celsius, 18 mm rainfall
August average temperature 18 deg Celsius, 23 mm rainfall
September average temperature 16 deg Celsius, 46 mm rainfall
October average temperature 12 deg Celsius, 79 mm rainfall
November average temperature 8 deg Celsius, 135 mm rainfall
December average temperature 6 deg Celsius, 140 mm rainfall

Next: Seattle Getting There »

Seattle - Getting There


Seattle is served by the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) located in the southern suburbs of the city and is often affectionately referred to as Sea-Tac.
The airport is a major hub of domestic northwest and west coast carriers and also handles international trans-Pacific flights and direct flights from Europe.


Link Light Rail connects to downtown Seattle and operates from 5:00 am to midnight. The trip takes around 40 minutes.
A taxi will take 25 minutes and costs about $40.
Car rental is available at the airport.


Getting Around


An excellent and extensive bus network covers the city center. It also operates at night; however services after 8:00 pm are less frequent. Free buses are available in the downtown area between the Waterfront and 6th Avenue, and Pioneer Square and Battery Street, from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm.


The waterfront is served by historic streetcars or trams, popular with the tourists but less useful for commuting.


The elevated high-speed Monorail links downtown to the Seattle Center.


Taxis can be hailed on the street or ordered by phone.


Car rental is available. Traffic is not too hectic, and the city easy to navigate, but parking can be expensive. It is the best choice however for exploring the extensive wilderness areas outside the city.


Aside from the fact that it rains a lot, Seattle can be easily navigated by bike.

Next: Seattle Activities »

Seattle - Activities

Puget Sound Islands

The islands of Puget Sound can be reached by one of the many ferries from the Seattle Waterfront operated by Washington State Ferries.
There are several scenic islands a short ride away. Including Bremerton, 32 km from the city, that features the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Museum.
In about half that distance, the island of Bainbridge offers nice restaurants in a historical setting, and Vashon Island features an artist colony.


San Juan and the Gulf Islands

Located off the northwest Washington State shore a little further out are the islands of San Juan and the Gulf Islands. Although this set of islands form a single archipelago, Canada and the US lay claim to a number of each, hence the two names. Rugged landscape, unspoilt beaches, wildlife, and surprisingly sunny weather make them a boater’s paradise. The harbors are busy during summer, but remain totally uncrowded during the other seasons. Apart from boating, the islands are ideal for whale-watching and exploring primeval forests.


Olympic National Park


The park covers a region of Pacific Ocean beaches, ancient forests, glacier-capped mountains and a stunning variety of plants and animals, several of which are considered endemic, meaning that they occur nowhere else on earth. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as much as 95% of the park has been designated a protected wilderness area, in order to preserve its unique ecosystem.


Mount Rainier National Park


Established in 1899, this was one of the earliest US National Parks. It covers an expansive area of 950 square km, with the entire Mt Rainer volcano (4,392 m) within its boundaries. The lofty peak is also visible from Seattle.
The rest of the park is a beautiful wilderness, filled with valleys, waterfalls, wildflower meadows, old forests and more than 26 glaciers and has over (380km) of maintained trails.


Next: Seattle Attractions »

Seattle - Attractions

Space Needle

Address: 400 Broad Street

The Space Needle, towering 158 meters above the city, was built in 1962 for the World Fair and is Seattle’s iconic structure. At the top of the futuristic building are a restaurant and a revolving deck that offer magnificent views over the city and its surroundings. It is equipped with powerful telescopes that make the view even more spectacular.


Pike Place Market

Address: 85 Pike Street

Pike Place is among Seattle’s best known landmarks and is the oldest continuously working market in US. It abounds in fresh vegetables and fruits, health foods, herbs and flower stalls It’s also well stocked with lunch restaurants and bakeries.


Seattle Art Museum

Address: 1300 First Avenue

Seattle Art Museum, often referred to as SAM, is home to more than 25,000 pieces of European and American art. The building itself is remarkable, and was designed by Robert Venturi. It maintains three major facilities, SAM is downtown, SAAM (Seattle Asian Art Museum) is on Capitol Hill and the Olympic Sculpture Park can be found on the central Seattle waterfront.


Seattle Music Project

Address: Seattle Center, 325 Fifth Avenue North

At first the museum was envisioned as a Jimi Hendrix Museum, as Seattle was the prodigy’s hometown, but the project grew to embrace all rock n’ roll history. The museum’s biggest drawcard is still (the world’s largest) collection of Jimi Hendrix paraphernalia. Now it houses a large collection of memorabilia from other music legends and exhibits range from the first electric guitars from the 1930s to gems such as the original Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk jacket.

The museum features an interactive room, where visitors can try their hand at playing various instruments and turntables. It is also a major concert venue.


Seattle Waterfront


The Waterfront is just the place to go for a stroll, browse the eclectic shops, dine on fresh Pacific Northwest seafood or catch a ferry to the beautiful Puget Sound Islands.


Next: Seattle Events »

Seattle - Events


Date: July and early August
Location: various

Seafair is one of the premier US festivals and has been a Seattle fixture since 1950. It encompasses a large number of events and festivities, from parades to block parties, in various neighborhoods throughout Seattle, culminating in several city-wide celebrations. The festival includes the Torchlight Parade and Run, Seafair Cup hydroplane races, and the Blue Angels US navy flight demonstration.



Date: Labor Day weekend (beginning of Septemebr)
Location: The campus of Seattle Center (park)

Seattle’s huge music and arts festival takes place at the 74-acre Seattle Center, over the Labor Day weekend. The festival, held since 1971, presents hundreds of local and world-renowned performers. There are hundreds of live concerts, dance and theater performances, literary, visual and comedy events, arts and crafts market and a food bazaar, so there is plenty to hear, see and do throughout the weekend.


Northwest Folklife Festival

Date: Memorial Day weekend (end of May)
Location: Seattle Center

The festival showcases different cultures and brings together a program of ethnic traditional acts, including music, arts and crafts, and food market. There are workshops for the kids and folklore exhibits. Admission is free and a donation, rather, is requested.


Pike Place Market Street Festival

Location: Pike Place Market
Date: May

The Street Festival at Pike Place Market is a fundraising event that started in 1971, with the aim of preserving the beloved historic Pike Place market. In the beginning of the summer, the festival kicks off with live concerts, kids’ activities, food and craft stalls and beer gardens.


The Capitol Hill Block Party

Date: end July
Location: Capitol Hill neighborhood, Seattle

The festival showcases over 60 of the best Northwest and national independent bands. It boasts low ticket prices, three stages and 60+ bands during the two days each summer. It is a celebration of independent music and culture, thought, and progressive politics.
The festival is also open to independent craft booths, local non-profits, local pro-music politicians, and also raises funds for two projects: The Vera Project ( and KEXP (

Next: Seattle Etiquette »

Seattle - Etiquette

Tipping: tipping is widely used and expected everywhere in the United States and is an important social convention in the USA.

An appropriate tip is between 15 & 20% for good service, more for exceptional service or less for poor service. Leaving no tip will infer that the service was horrible.

As a general rule, tips are as follows:
Bartenders: $1 per drink if inexpensive or 15% of total
Hotel doorman: $1 per bag (if they assist), $1 for calling a cab
Food delivery: $2-5, 15-20% for larger orders
Taxis: a tip of 10-20% is expected in both yellow cabs and livery cabs
Full-service restaurants: 15-20% (some restaurants already include service charge, especially for larger groups, so check the bill)

Smoking: Smoking in public places is highly restricted. It is banned in the indoor sections of restaurants and bars, as well as train and subway stations, outdoor stadiums, and many other places. The outside areas of sidewalk cafes and restaurants are usually exempt from this rule.


Next: Seattle Safety »

Seattle - Safety

Seattle is a relatively safe city. Nevertheless visitors are advised to follow general safety rules. Remain in well-lit areas at night.
Areas to avoid at night include: Rainier Valley, the Central District, Delridge, White Center, Lake City, Pioneer Square, and Seattle Center. The downtown is safer than in most US cities. Valuables should not be left in cars as auto theft is a problem.

Travel within the US is generally safe but visitors are nevertheless advised to practice general precautions. Valuables should be left in a hotel safe. Expensive jewelry and watches should be kept out of sight. Avoid pickpockets and purse-snatchers by carrying purses across the shoulder and wallets in front pockets. Valuables should not be left in cars, especially those parked in the street. If necessary, leave anything loose in the trunk.

Due to the threat of terrorism, security checks at airports have been greatly increased. Allow enough time for connecting flights.
Medical facilities are excellent but very expensive. It is essential to secure good travel insurance before travel. Note that only emergencies are treated without prior payment. Treatment can be refused without evidence of insurance or proof of funds.

Emergency Phone Numbers

Emergency: 911 (Fire, Police, Ambulance)

The Seattle Police non-emergency number: (206) 625-5011

The City of Seattle Customer Service Bureau (General questions about city departments or services): 206-684-CITY (2489)

Next: Seattle When To Go »

Seattle - When To Go

The best period to visit Seattle is from April to November, but the most pleasant months are June through August, when temperatures are highest and there is the least chance of rainfall.
In mid-June the daylight hours last up to 16 hours.

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