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A Perfect Seattle Itinerary (3 Days for Culture Lovers)

If you’re looking to visit a cultural city filled with unique things to see and do, Seattle is the place to go. Our Seattle itinerary is going to tell you all the best things to do when visiting, how to get around, and where to stay.

seattle city guide

Between its coffee culture and lush greenery, it’s consistently ranked one of the best places in the US. It’s even been named a UNESCO city of literature and has a lot to offer to creatives. Get ready to read, drink, and explore your way through Emerald City aka Seattle.

How to Get Around Seattle

There are several modes of transportation in Seattle including bicycles and public transportation, which is good because the city is known to have congested traffic. With that said, traffic is worse during morning and afternoon rush hour and calmer at other times of the day.

seattle avenue

Here’s how you can get around Seattle during your visit:

  • Taxis and ridesharing: It’s easy to get a taxi or rideshare such as Lyft or Uber wherever you’d like around the city. All rides can be scheduled via an app on any smartphone.
  • Bike-sharing: The city is very bike-friendly and bikes are for rent throughout Seattle. You can find and reserve your bike on the Uber app or Lime’s bike-share service.
  • Car: As mentioned, traffic is less than desirable in the city. However, you can get around by car and rental cars are also available at the airport and throughout the city.
  • On foot: Since many of the areas in Seattle have so much to see and do close together, it’s easy to explore a lot of districts and neighborhoods on foot.
  • Link Light Rail: The train runs from very early morning to midnight or later. It has 14 stops including downtown and the airport.
  • Metro Transit: This bus runs in downtown and surrounding neighborhoods in King county. Times vary.
  • Seattle Streetcars: Conveniently navigate through the popular area of downtown on a streetcar. They run from morning to evening.
  • Seattle Center Monorail: This train goes from Westlake Center (downtown) to Seattle Center at the bottom of Queen Anna hill. It also runs from morning to evening.

Special tip: Public transportation digital tickets can be purchased on this mobile app.

Get the Seattle CityPASS to cover your transports costs and entry into most major attractions.

3 Day Seattle Itinerary

Travellers can easily spend a week in Seattle. These three areas are some of the most popular. And, the great thing is that you can explore on foot each of these 3 days in Seattle. There are so many activities to do in an area that you can easily spend a whole day.

No matter how much time you have for your Seattle itinerary, here’s how you can spend an unforgettable 3 days. Stay tuned for other ideas if your trip is longer.

Day One: Visit Pike Place Market

What better way to begin your Seattle itinerary than by visiting one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world? Pike Place Market boasts shopping, dining, and other activities for a fun-filled day.

seattle market

For breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner, there are tons of options including bakeries, cafes, and fine dining. If you fancy a coffee, beer, or cocktail, there’s also plenty of options for that!

For some book shopping in the area, we recommend these wonderful Seattle book stores:

Don’t forget to check out a couple of awesome Seattle museums located by the market:

Day Two: Visit Capitol Hill

This diverse hip Seattle district offers a delightful way to spend a day. Here you can easily wander around and come across tons of restaurants, bars, shops, and more.

capitol hill seattle

Our favourite thing to do here is to indulge in Seattle’s literary delights:

Capitol Hill offers cafes galore. These are some great ones worth checking out:

  • Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe: bookstore with a bright, airy cafe that’s named after Ada Lovelace, one of the mother’s of computer science and daughter of Lord Byron.
  • Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Capitol Hill: very popular spot serving various coffee, cocktails, and snacks. This isn’t the very first Starbucks but is certainly the most impressive in the founding city.
  • Espresso Vivace: local favourite, no-frills coffee shop serving top-notch java
seattle cafe

When the evening rolls around, there are several things to do. Check out a show at Paramount Theatre or live music as The Showbox or The Crocodile Bar. If you’re looking for fun nightlife, there are also a variety of bars and clubs.

Day Three: Visit The University District

Spend the third day of your Seattle itinerary in the eclectic University District. Get lost wandering around exploring historic homes and architecture while stopping at sights along the way.

seattle cherry blossom

The University of Washington campus is a great place to check out. There are over 600 acres of unspoiled nature including the iconic Spring cherry blossom. The university’s library also features a reading room that gives cool Harry Potter vibes with brass lamps, oak tables, and stained glass windows.

While you’re on campus, the Henry Art Gallery is one of a kind and well worth a visit. The Henry is the first to showcase new pieces by emerging artists and they feature contemporary, daring exhibitions. 

Spend the final afternoon and evening of your 3 days in Seattle exploring The Ave, a major street and commercial district by campus. 

seattle street

Other Activities

The list is endless for what to do in Seattle. If you have some extra time, a car, and an interest in other activities, here are some ideas.

  • Visit the Twede’s Cafe, the filming location diner on the Twin Peaks drama series. There are other shooting locations nearby, too, as well as the famous Snoqualmie Falls.
  • Spend time at Discovery Park, Seattle’s largest green space. You can find miles of trails, beaches, and stunning views.
  • Check out the Museum of Pop Culture. Pop culture comes to life at this Jimi Hendrix-inspired museum.
  • Go to the Space Needle, one of Seattle’s most iconic landmarks. Check out 360-degree views of the city from more than 600 feet high.
  • Walk around Pioneer Square, Seattle’s oldest neighborhood. Explore remarkable architecture, art galleries, bookstores, and cafes. Or explore the underground caverns below.
  • Take a coffee-making class at Seattle Barista Academy. This three-hour course is a short drive from downtown and teaches you the secrets of being a barista.
  • Taste wine at Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington’s oldest winery.
  • Attend a Town Hall lecture on science, culture, or civics.
  • Take a day trip to Mt Rainier for a hike

Read More: Fancy a day trip while in Seattle? Take a ride to the nearby city of Portland, Oregon.

seattle view

Where to Stay in Seattle

When planning a trip to Seattle, there are several areas to book your stay. Two of the most popular are Downtown and the University District. These two areas are about a fifteen-minute drive from the other. 

Downtown is the heart of the city where there is a lot to see and do including the Pike Place Market and views of Elliot Bay. The University District is close to campus and offers a laid-back feel, shopping, and cafes galore.

There are plenty of accommodation options around Seattle. Here are a few of the best ones.

The Alexis Royal Sonesta Hotel

The charming, historic Alexis Royal is located downtown in the historic West Edge Neighborhood. Right outside your room, you can find a spa, fitness centre, and The Bookstore Bar & Cafe. It offers stunning views of the city and is steps away from local attractions. Rates start at around $200 per night.

Palihotel Seattle

Across from Downtown Seattle’s Pike Place Market is the fun, contemporary Palihotel. This boutique hotel has cosy, eclectic rooms along with a restaurant and bar. Rates start at $155 per night.

Inn at The Market

Recognized by Travel + Leisure, Inn at the Market is the only hotel located in the Pike Place Market. It’s surrounded by Seattle’s vibrant life. The hotel has three restaurants and a rooftop deck with panoramic views. Rates start at around $200 per night.

Graduate Seattle

Away from downtown in the University District. Graduate Seattle is a historic hotel with art deco vibes within walking distance of the campus. It features a rooftop bar, cafe, and it’s pet-friendly. Rates start at $175 per night.

Other popular areas to stay in include Capitol Hill, the Pioneer District, and the International District.

There’s so much to see and do for a memorable time in Seattle. We hope this Seattle itinerary allows you to enjoy an incredible cultural experience!

For more cultural itineraries in the US check out:

The Ultimate Five-day LA Itinerary for Culture Lovers

24 Hours in Venice Beach, LA (Complete Guide)

A Guide to the Hudson Valley NY: Small Towns and Natural Beauty

New York Itinerary: 4 Days in the City for Culture Lovers

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