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Seattle Travel Guide: Everything You Should Know
Seattle, Washington Quick Travel Facts
- Best time to travel: June through October
- Time zone: Pacific Standard Time (PST)
- Noteworthy: Festival Sundiata (June), Seattle Pride (June) and Umoja Fest (August) celebrate Black culture
- Best for: Solo Travelers, Friends Trip, Family Getaways
Washington’s Black history dates back to 1845 when the Bush family arrived and settled in the area of Puget Sound known today as Bush Prairie. Seattle’s historic Black neighborhood, the Central District, is home to numerous thriving Black businesses for you to shop and support.
Today, art enthusiasts can enjoy the Seattle International Film Festival (May) and the Seattle Art Fair (July). Foodies will be in for a treat with the CHOMP! Local Food Festival (August) and Seattle Restaurant Week (October). Also, in October, the Earshot Jazz Festival and the Borealis Festival of Light, an exhibition of technology and light.
Play: Things To Do in Seattle
Wa Na Wari
Wa Na Wari is a center dedicated to Black arts, such as music, artwork and performances. Located in a home that has belonged to co-founder Inye Wokoma’s family for generations, Wa Na Wari means “our home” in Kalabari. When in town, be sure to check out their calendar of events to see what’s happening.
The Space Needle
As a Seattle icon and shining star of the city’s skyline, the Space Needle is a must-visit attraction. It stands 605 feet tall and is open year-round. Visit during the day for sprawling views of the area in all its splendor or at night to witness the twinkling city lights. See Seattle beneath your feet in the Loupe Lounge, where you’ll find the world’s first and only rotating glass floor. Visitors also can check out the Atmos Wine Bar, Atmos Café and Stratos VR bungee jumping experience.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
Located adjacent to the Space Needle at the Seattle Center, is a museum showcasing the work of iconic glass artist, Dale Chihuly. Chihuly Garden and Glass is comprised of eight galleries featuring unique collections and exhibits of Chihuly’s spectacular blown glass sculptures. The colorful works in the lush outdoor garden look particularly vibrant when illuminated by the sunlight and surrounded by plant life.
The Northwest African American Museum
Black travelers in Seattle must visit the Northwest African American Museum, an institution celebrating Black history and experiences in the Pacific Northwest U.S. Through exhibitions, events and programs featuring visual arts, literature, music and crafts, the museum aims to spread knowledge, preserve the history and legacy of people of African descent in the region.
Jimi Hendrix Park
Next to the Northwest African American Museum is Jimi Hendrix Park, a 2.5-acre park located in the Central District, where the legendary rocker grew up. Inspired by his legacy and music, and named in his honor, the park is a beautiful green space where community events, gatherings, performances and activities are held. Its crown jewel is the Shadow Wave Wall, an art installation consisting of over 105 feet of purple metal forming a walkway showcasing Hendrix’s signature and a timeline of his illustrious career. At the center of the Shadow Wave Wall stands an 11-foot engraved portrait of Hendrix.
Pike Place Market
No trip to Seattle would be complete without exploring, shopping and eating at “the soul of Seattle.” The Pike Place Market is a 110-year-old farmers market and is one of the U.S.’ oldest and largest continuously operating public markets. You’ll find a diverse group of more than 500 local small businesses. From restaurants and specialty shops to crafts and farm-fresh produce, there is something for everyone.
Gourmet: Best Restaurants in Seattle
This is a Black-owned eatery that aims to create a welcoming experience where everyone feels at home. Communion Restaurant is a family business run by Chef Kristi Brown and her son, Damon Bomar. The restaurant serves a unique cuisine that fuses Southern and Asian influences to represent the diversity found in the city, creating what the chef, herself, has dubbed “Seattle Soul.” Located in the building that once housed the Pacific Northwest’s first Black-owned bank, Communion Restaurant has been recognized as one of the best new restaurants in the world.
The Pink Door
One of the most popular restaurants in Seattle since 1981, The Pink Door offers a truly unique and memorable experience. Guests can dine on rustic Italian-American fare while enjoying cabaret shows, trapeze artistry, tarot card readings, musical performances or other surprises. During pleasant weather, grab a table outdoors on the rooftop deck for amazing views of Elliot Bay. There is also an option to stay inside and take in the ambiance of the hip and eclectic dining room with its bohemian, Old World charm.
This Black-owned restaurant has been serving up a taste of Trinidad for more than 20 years. It is the only Trinidadian eatery in the whole state of Washington. Owner Pam Jacob considers it her personal mission to educate locals about the culture and history of her home country and the Caribbean.
Having relocated to the city over 30 years ago from Trinidad and Tobago, she brought her authentic Trini flavors along with her. Now, located in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood, the menu of Pam’s Kitchen features delectable offerings prepared using traditional Trinidadian spices and lots of love.
Located in the Columbia City neighborhood of Seattle, Geraldine’s Counter is where you’ll find what’s widely considered the best breakfast and brunch in all of Seattle. The restaurant offers American comfort food, and locals and tourists alike rave about its friendly waitstaff, reasonable prices, and its undeniably incredible French toast. Geraldine Counter uses only the freshest, quality ingredients sourced from local vendors.
Scoop du Jour
Another local gem is Madison Park’s Scoop du Jour. It has been in operation since 1984 and is the city’s only Black-owned ice cream shop. It serves delicious frozen treats, including sorbet, ice cream and frozen yogurt.
They also serve hot food. Customers can’t get enough of the infamous Scoop Burger, which considered by many to be the best burger in all of Seattle.
Stay: Best Accommodations in Seattle
The Legacy House
The Legacy House has everything you need to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay. With a fully-equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, and private platform deck with views of Lake Washington. You’ll have everything you need and want. This Airbnb sleeps up to four people, making it perfect for families or small groups. Plus, it comes equipped with baby gear and board games.
Lotte Hotel Seattle
If luxury and convenience are what you have in mind, consider the Lotte Hotel. Located in the heart of downtown Seattle, the hotel is within walking distance of many restaurants, malls and attractions, including Pike Place Market. Guest rooms feature marble bathrooms, mid-century modern furniture and floor-to-ceiling windows with incredible views of the city’s skyline. Guests also have access to the Lotte’s world-class spa and the Charlotte Restaurant and Lounge, which serves delectable contemporary Pacific Northwest cuisine.
Urban Tree House
The Urban Tree House offers a one-of-a-kind, unforgettable stay that allows travelers to escape the noise and bustle while still remaining in the city. Situated within a serene maple and cedar-filled forest just ten minutes from downtown, this unique accommodation was custom designed with a contemporary, functional feel featuring large windows, high ceilings and exposed overhead beams. The private hot tub is the icing on the cake.
Get Away: Getting To and Around Seattle
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is Seattle’s main airport. Download the FlySEA app to check wait times and a directory of the airport’s stores, restaurants and other amenities. There are many US-based airlines offering flights to Seattle, including Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit and United. The most affordable flights to Seattle are those in December, January and February; however, be aware that prices spike around the holidays. Flights departing earlier in the week generally cost less with the most affordable day to fly being Monday.
Getting around Seattle is fairly easy. It is a very walkable city that includes bike lanes and bike-specific traffic signals; however, you should expect to encounter some hills. Staying downtown will afford you a central launching pad from which you can walk to most attractions. It is also very easy to get from place to place using either the reliable public transportation system, Uber or Lyft. Considering this, be aware that if you decide to rent a car, you will have to deal with the hassle of finding and paying for parking.
If you will be utilizing public transit, you can use the Puget Sound Trip Planner to plan your trip by bus, light rail, streetcar, train, ferry, water taxi and monorail. Purchase a reloadable ORCA card to pay for your travel on all forms of public transportation.
If you will be visiting many attractions, it is highly recommended to purchase a Seattle CityPASS, which includes admission to all of Seattle’s top attractions. The pass saves you money and time on entrance fees and enables you to avoid long lines at ticket counters or having to book in advance.