Best of Seattle in 3 Days

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Advisor - Hailly Butler
Curated By

Hailly Butler

  • Seattle

  • City Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Outdoors

  • Entertainment

  • Sightseeing

city street with an old streetlamp
Curator’s statement

I am thrilled to introduce you to my hometown, Seattle, also known as the Emerald City, a dynamic metropolis where nature thrives at every turn. Situated between the majestic Olympic and Cascade mountains, with the beautiful Puget Sound on its shores and enveloped by evergreen trees, the city offers breathtaking views from every angle. This three-day itinerary will give you a delightful glimpse of the finest attractions Seattle has to offer.

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Day 1: Explore Downtown Seattle

Seattle beach

There’s no better way to kick off your first day in Seattle than with a delightful cup of coffee. Rather than heading to a nearby Starbucks, venture to Artly where you can witness a fascinating robot preparing your drink. My personal favorite is the oat milk matcha latte.

With coffee in hand, take a leisurely stroll to the renowned Pike Place Market — a must-visit attraction in Seattle. If you happen to be here during Spring or Summer, relish the delightful scents of the vast and beautiful bouquets of flowers. While exploring the market, don't miss the chance to savor a sweet or savory piroshky from Piroshky Piroshky. This family-owned business has been pairing traditional Eastern European foods with local Pacific Northwest flavors for over 3 decades!

After your market experience, make your way down to Pier 55 for a one-hour harbor cruise with Argosy Cruises -the captivating cruise offers stunning views of the city's iconic landmarks and the natural beauty of the Emerald city. Following the cruise, it's time for lunch! If you prefer a laid-back ambiance, head to the iconic Ivar's, high-quality fast-casual food. I highly suggest the Alaskan fish and chips. If you sit outside, beware of the seagulls — they're notorious food snatchers! For a more upscale dining experience, visit Elliott's Oyster House, a Seattle seafood institution for over 50 years!

After lunch, take a walk towards the picturesque Olympic Sculpture Park, where you can admire various art installations while enjoying breathtaking views of the Olympic mountains and Puget Sound. As you conclude your visit to the park, consider heading to Chihuly Garden and Glass, where you can admire Dale Chihuly's exquisite glass-blowing artistry while treating yourself to a well-deserved cocktail at the bar.

Finally, for a delightful dinner experience, head to Stateside, a restaurant offering delicious Asian fusion cuisine and an excellent ambiance to round off your first day in Seattle.

End your evening with a nightcap at Canon — this cocktail bar is listed among the world's top 50 bars, ensuring an unforgettable experience — I highly recommend making a reservation in advance!

Day 2: Brunch, nature, Ballard

Colorful Seattle

Begin your day with a scrumptious brunch at Portage Bay in South Lake Union. Don't miss their pancakes or french toast which includes the infamous breakfast bar, featuring a variety of toppings, including seasonal fruit, whipped cream, nuts and coconut.

After brunch, head to Discovery Park, an expansive 534-acre city park offering stunning views of both the Olympic and Cascade Mountains. The park boasts dramatic sea cliffs, old-growth forests, streams, tidal beaches and serves as a wildlife sanctuary — you might even spot a pod of Orcas on a lucky day!

Following your visit to Discovery Park, make your way to Ballard via The Ballard Locks — a an egineering marvel allowing boats to navigate between the Puget Sound and Lake Union/Lake Washington while also serving as a fish ladder for salmon migration. Treat yourself to lunch at Ray's where you can savor excellent seafood while enjoying water views.

Ballard is a vibrant and my personal favorite neighborhood in Seattle. Known for its rich maritime history, eclectic mix of shops, trendy restaurants and lively craft breweries. With its unique blend of modern amenities and charming historic appeal, Ballard offers a delightful experience for locals and visitors alike.
Once in Ballard, take the opportunity to visit some local breweries and indulge in a shopping spree on Ballard Ave. Great Notion and Reuben's breweries are must-visit spots for beer lovers!

Start your evening off at the Walrus & Carpenter Oyster Bar and then make your way to Staple and Fancy for dinner, make sure you make a reservation. I highly recommend their tasting menu which is truly delightful. If you still crave more after dinner, enjoy an after-dinner cocktail at Hazlewood or Percy's.

Day 3: Coffee, bikes, farewell

lake with sail boats

Start your day with coffee from Anchorhead Coffee and make your way to Sea Wolf Bakery in Fremont. Grab a few chocolate chip cookies to save for later — trust me, you’ll want them! As you enjoy your coffee and pastries, don't forget to visit the famous Fremont Troll Under the Bridge.

For an engaging experience, take a tour of the Theo Chocolate Factory and don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs! Afterward, rent bikes from Free Range Cycles and embark on a journey along the Burke Gilman Trail. Make sure you head east to bike alongside Lake Union and through the scenic University of Washington campus.

Depending on how far you’d like to bike, you can stop for lunch at Agua Verde for tacos and margs or venture a bit further to indulge in award-winning beers at Burke Gilman Brewing and authentic tamales at El Camion the onsite food truck.

After returning the bikes, soothe your muscles with a unique experience by renting a Hot Tub Boat! Following that, head to Westward for Happy Hour drinks and appetizers and then relish a James Beard award-winning dinner at The Whale Wins.

As it's your final night in Seattle, make the most of it! Grab some to-go beer from Fremont Brewing or wine from VNO Natural Wine Shop and then head to Gas Works Park after dark to marvel at the city's beauty and bid farewell to Seattle in style.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Cara London Todd's guide, Insider’s Guide to Seattle.

Advisor - Hailly Butler

Travel Advisor

Hailly Butler

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Seattle.