Have you ever fallen so in love with a city that you’ve already booked your return tickets before you leave? That’s Seattle for me. I’ve never actually lived there, but every time I visit, the seaport city feels like home. Even if it’s just a Seattle weekend trip, I find myself completely enamored.
I’ve suspected it’s the crisp ocean air, the vibrant local produce, the abundant blooms, or the verdant nature that makes me feel so alive while exploring the city. Or maybe it’s that every time I visit, I promise myself to spend more time in nature or by the water. Perhaps though, it’s the simple truth that Seattle has a bit of it all.
As the resident expert on a recent trip to Seattle, I was happy to play host and build an itinerary to highlight the wonders of the city in just a quick, 48-hour Seattle weekend trip. This is what we ate, where we stayed, and everything we saw on our most recent jaunt to the city. Get ready to book your tickets ASAP.
What to know about Seattle
When to Take a Seattle Weekend Trip
I’ve visited Seattle in spring, summer, and winter, and there’s something to be said about every season in the city. You’ll find beautiful blooms around the neighborhoods in spring, a bustling and vibrant city in the summer, and the coziest of weather in winter. To prepare, pack layers. While it might be chilly by the ocean in the morning, by the time the clouds clear and the sun comes out, you’ll be peeling off your coat. And if you want to soak up all the city’s goodness while’s steering clear of crowds, opt for the cold season. Trust me: Your bravery will be rewarded.
How to Get Around
When it comes to planning your Seattle weekend trip, structure your daily itinerary by neighborhood. Once you’re in a neighborhood, everything is a quick and easy walk away. Plus, going by foot, bike, or public transit is always a nice way to become familiar with a new city.
Where to Stay: Best Seattle Hotels
Thompson Hotel. I’ve stayed at a few places in Seattle, and the Thompson Seattle has been my favorite. It’s centrally located and just a block over from Pike’s Place Market, while also boasting incredible interiors that speak to the cozy weather iconic to the PNW. Get up early and grab a coffee down in the restaurant. And in the summer, be sure to spend some time on the rooftop bar overlooking the water.
Palihotel. Just a few blocks over from the Thompson, I’ve stayed at the Palihotel for overnight trips in town. The rooms are a bit smaller, but the restaurant and coffee shop downstairs are some of my local faves. Stake out the lobby for its cozy library vibes.
Ace Hotel. Like their locations in other cities, the Ace is always on my list of options anytime I visit. The interiors are slightly more hip and artsy than what you’d expect for a PNW lodging, but the location is close to many great shops and places to visit.
Grab a late breakfast / brunch at London Plane
I always come back to this beautiful spot in the city at least once on my trips to Seattle. Chances are, you’ve seen the stunning restaurant on Instagram, and it’s absolutely worth the visit. After enjoying a casual breakfast, spend some time browsing the selection of local goods that make the perfect gift or souvenir.
Explore the neighborhood
Between Occidental Square and the shops in the Pioneer Square neighborhood, spend a leisurely post-breakfast morning of exploration. We stopped and browsed at shops like Clementines and Flora and Henri which had an incredible curation of clothing and goods, as well as browsing the shelves at Arundel Books. Grab a coffee from Caffe Umbria and make an appointment and shop at Cassandra LaVelle’s new shop, Casa di LaVelle for a beautiful collection of vintage finds as well.
Head over to Pike’s Place Market
I love a great market and could spend hours wandering the stalls and exploring. But before you do, there are a few stops to see along the way. Depending on who you’re traveling with, stop by the Seattle Great Wheel, Waterfront Park, and the Seattle Aquarium if you’re traveling with kiddos.
Check out Pike’s Place
A truly iconic destination, the market is always worth a visit. You could spend as little as 30 minutes here or a few hours if you wanted. There are lots of restaurants and cafes in the market and adjoining streets that make it a great place to browse and eat at the same time. Grab a ginger beer and piroshki, some mac and cheese from Beecher’s, or a chowder and sandwich from Pike Place Chowder. Or, browse for fruits and cheeses and pack a picnic to eat on the pier overlooking the water.
I loved lingering around different stalls to learn what produce was in season and taking in the fresh fish market before doing some shopping. Yes, it’s a tourist attraction, but it’s one of those places that’s totally worth the visit.
Head out for dinner
The restaurant scene in Seattle is one of my favorites in the country, and if you only have a couple of days for dinner, don’t miss these spots.
Homer. The walk-in only restaurant came highly recommended from friends. When we sat down at the Homer bar for dinner, the conversations praising every single dish never stopped. We stuck to ordering several small and sharing plates and were absolutely floored by how well thought-out every flavor combination and ingredient choice was.
I walked away from dinner with so many new ideas for creating delicious and innovative vegetables at home. If it’s on the menu when you visit, order the raw apple salad and smoked shaved kohlrabi. And don’t leave without ending the night with their rotating menu of soft serve flavors for dessert.
Boat Bar. This very instagrammable location is more than just a beautiful scene for dinner. The food is absolutely delicious. Whether you get a selection of oysters to share with the table, the chicory and apple salad, or the roasted cauliflower, the menu created by Chef Renee Erickson is absolutely divine. Our one recommendation aside from everything else we shared? Get an extra order of frites and aioli. Just trust us on that one.
Frankie and Jo’s. Is there a more perfect way to cap off the evening? While vegan ice cream might not be your first pick, when it comes to this stunner of a sweets spot, you just need to trust. While there is a Salt and Straw in town which I love, I was more than impressed with the ice cream from Frankie and Jo’s. Their menu rotates with the seasons, and I promise that you would never guess the ice cream is vegan if you didn’t know. Try the Strawberry Milk and Chocolate Tahini Supercookie for the perfect nightcap.
Start the morning with a walk down Olympic Sculpture Park
There’s nothing better than fresh ocean air, and taking an early morning walk through the park with a coffee in hand is the perfect way to start the day. The path gives you a peek into some of the city’s gorgeous nature paths. It’s especially beautiful in spring or summer.
Head over to the Seattle Center
If you’re a first-time visitor to Seattle, walk over from the sculpture park to the Seattle Center. Comprised of the Pacific Science Center, Chihuly Glass Garden, Museum of Pop Culture, and the Space Needle, almost every box you could hope to check off is right in one spot. I recommend picking and choosing the attraction that would be the most fun for you. Having visited each location here, I would skip the Space Needle and visit the Glass Garden and one of the museums.
Late brunch at Oddfellows and shop the neighborhood
One of the most iconic cafes in Seattle, Oddfellows is located in the Pike Neighborhood south of Capitol Hill. Grab a coffee and a breakfast platter before heading out to the shop. The neighborhood has a great curation of shops to visit like Glasswing, Standard Goods, Station 7, and Chophouse Row which hosts a collection of local retail shops and food stalls.
Rest up and get ready for dinner
For your second night, I have two more dinner recommendations for you:
Conversation at the Thompson Seattle. Our dinner at Conversation was one of my favorite meals of our trip. Chef Kaleena Bliss approaches fine dining with an inviting approach to every ingredient used on the menu. Think local produce that highlights the flavors of the PNW paired with new techniques that kept us going back for more. The charred cucumber salad with tamarind vinaigrette and nettle pesto gnocchi were absolutely divine, and the miso eggplant and strawberry burrata were beyond delicious.
Willmott’s Ghost. I ended up grabbing dinner here after a canceled flight, and I’m glad it could double as an opportunity to check the Amazon Spheres off my list. The Willmott’s Ghost menu focuses on Roman cuisine with seasonal salads, fire-roasted vegetables, and a thick crust, Roman-style pizza that was reminiscent of the fluffiest focaccia. The bar menu was delicious — this would be a fun stop for a gal’s trip.
Make time for an early breakfast. Stop by General Porpoise Doughnuts or Union Coffee for — you guessed it— donuts and coffee before heading out to the airport. General Porpoise might be some of my favorite donuts. Go classic with the vanilla bean or switch it up with a lemon curd-filled donut. And Union Coffee is an incredible coffee shop that also features a stellar collection of wines. Get the rose cardamom latte and a bottle of wine to-go.
Have any recommendations to add to our Seattle City travel guide? Drop your tips and favorite spots in the comments!