Seattle Travel Guide
In the middle of summer, Brandon told me to plan a family vacation for September. Having that kind of free reign over travel plans was really exciting for me! I love researching new cities and creating itineraries for my family – although I wouldn’t say I get to do it all that often. LOL We had been talking about going to Seattle for a few years so it was the perfect opportunity.
Also, I will include the prices we paid because so often people don’t talk about the money aspect. I’m always curious what the price of the trip averaged so I know if it might be a place I can afford. So hopefully by including some average prices, this post will give you an idea if Seattle is within your budget. You CAN travel within a budget for sure!
1.) Flights – I searched flights to Seattle (from Phoenix for us) in Google and it compared rates. I was able to book flights there for only $90 a person through Alaska Airlines. Brandon used his Southwest flyer miles to get us home for free.
2.) Lodging – AirBnB is probably my #1 travel company/app. The accommodations are nice, you can read reviews, the hosts give insider tips and places to eat, and you’re interacting with real people who want you to have a good time. We stayed at THE BEST little studio in Seattle (click here to see the listing). It was in the backyard of a family who lived in the suburban neighborhood about 20 minutes from the city, and their hospitality was unmatched. Christa, our hostess, gave us tips on places to eat, lent us a cot for our 3 year old son to sleep on, brought in a child’s squishy chair from her daughter’s room for Luke to sit on, encouraged Luke to jump on the trampoline and play on the swing set in their backyard, and her daughter played with Luke the whole time. It was really sweet, and Luke still talks about “his friend” who jumped on the trampoline with him each night. For the week our accommodations only cost about $450 – so for 5 nights that’s less than $100 a night. There weren’t any hotels in that price range!
3.) Rental Car – We rented through Dollar Car Rentals. I searched on Priceline so I could get a rate comparison and Dollar was the cheapest. We chose a “Volkswagen Jetta or Similar” option and they gave us a 2018-2019 Subaru Legacy. The car had a full touch screen, moon roof, driver assist, heated seats, everything! We couldn’t believe what a good value it was. The rental cost $250 for the week. If we had booked the rental car sooner (we booked the week before we were leaving), it would have been around $200.
**If you aren’t traveling with children and don’t plan to go to the national parks in Washington, then you wouldn’t need a rental car. The city sites are either within walking distance or easily accessible by Uber or the bike sharing businesses. Plus parking is a pain in the butt (and expensive!) so if you don’t absolutely need a car, I wouldn’t get one.
4.) Food – Some of the food spots were amazing and others weren’t. We went to Nue Seattle but weren’t that impressed; the food had a lot of interesting flavor combinations and was quite expensive. A few we loved: Marination Ma’Kai (OUR FAVE!), Portage Bay Cafe, the Athenian, Pike Place Chowder, LunchBox Burgers, Cloudy City Cafe, Mama Melina Restaurant and Pizzeria, Snappy Dragon Chinese. For food we spent about $500 and that is breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 3 people. We had a pb&j picnic for lunch for two of the days since we were hiking in the national parks.
- Pike Place Public Market: Go early if you want to get one of the iconic pictures with the neon signs. If you’re there around 8:30am the market hasn’t opened yet so the place is pretty empty. While you’re there don’t forget to eat at The Athenian, visit the famous Gum Wall, and stop in the original Starbucks just across the street. FREE unless you buy something at the market.
- Snoqualmie Falls: This is a beautiful waterfall that you can see from a visitor’s lookout or by hiking to the bottom. We took a picnic because the grounds of the lookout area are gorgeous with green grass, trees, flowers, and picnic areas. You also learn how they turn waterfalls into renewable energy. FREE
- City Pass to include the Space Needle, Chihuly Gardens, Science Museum, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Harbor Cruise, Woodland Park Zoo: This is a definite MUST! It costs like $90 a person (Luke was free) and it gives you access to a lot of places. If you go to just three things on the list it pays for itself.
- Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour: A lot of people told us to do the underground tour and they were right to recommend it. If you don’t you will miss a lot of Seattle’s history, which I felt like gave you some great perspective on the city. Plus the tour guides are hilarious so you get a comedy show along with it. This cost $20 a person and Luke was free.
- National Parks: We went to Mt. Rainier National Park which was about an hour and 45 minute drive from the city. While there, we hiked in the temperate rainforest to find an abandoned coal mine in the mountainside and explored a glacial lake. These sites were some of the highlights of our trip because we had never seen anything like it before. Access to the national park was $30 for all 3 of us for a week long pass. It was foggy and rainy the whole time we were there so bring your raincoat and sneakers/hiking boots. There is also Olympic National Park not far from Seattle and if you google it you will see that it would be a beautiful place to explore as well! It’s a little bit further than Mt. Rainier so we decided to go to the closer one this time.
All in all, if you’re looking for an adventure and a really clean/nice city to explore, Seattle would be a great choice! It is also perfect for families because there are a ton of parks and green belts! Almost every day we found a park for Luke to play at, and we also chose to take the monorail (only like $2 a person) and play at the science museum, in order to make the vacation just as fun and engaging for him as it was for us!! He’s been telling everyone that we got to go on a boat, a plane, and a train!
I took a million photos while we were there so if you want to see more go to my Instagram, but here are some of my favorites:
The Gum Wall was an entire alleyway full of gum. They have to scrape it off and start over every year. I’m not a germaphobe but this place grossed me out.
If you have any questions or are planning a trip – let me know! I’m happy to answer any questions!
Have you ever been? What was your favorite part?!