Fora Favorites: Our Seattle Travel Guide

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  • USA

  • Washington

  • Seattle

  • Food & Drink

  • Outdoors & Nature

  • Arts & Culture

Seattle Space Needle on a sunny day
Fora’s Take

A synthesis of urban life and outdoor escapes, Seattle is a dynamic city that garners global attention. Jam-packed with noteworthy sites and eclectic, hidden gems, you’ll find yourself never wanting to leave the Emerald City.

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Where to stay

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Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

A stylish five-star stay in the heart of downtown.

Fora Perks
  • When you book Four Seasons with a Fora Advisor, you will enjoy exclusive Four Seasons Preferred Partner amenities. Your advisor will be pleased to give you more details.

Thompson Seattle

Luxury boutique hotel in a sleek glass building close to Pike Place Market with dramatic views of the Puget Sound.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out, whenever possible.

Fairmont Olympic Hotel - Seattle

Old school glamour and refined service meet at this central Seattle stay, with 450 luxe guestrooms and the gorgeous brasserie, the George.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Seattle's greatest hits

outside market place at dusk

Bucket list destinations like Pike Place and the Space Needle can be visited in an afternoon and are within walking distance of one another (for those who favor an easy stroll through downtown). The nearby Chihuly Garden and Glass museum offers Instagram-worthy shots of the Space Needle from afar. 

Also downtown, visit the city’s first skyscraper, Smith Tower, built in 1914. Ride the historic elevator to the 35th floor observatory.

Once the sun sets, make your way to the Capitol Hill neighborhood for the ultimate Seattle nightlife experience complete with burgers and fries at Lil Woody’s and live music at Neumos.

Where to eat & drink in Seattle

woman preparing coffee

Ancient Grounds: Coffee shop meets eclectic souvenir shop.

Artusi: Casual Italian fare and creative cocktails.  

Barolo: Italian restaurant with one of the best happy hours in town – runs daily from 3 to 6 pm and again from 9 to 10 pm. 

Bateau: Farm-to-table, sustainably focused steakhouse. 

Capitol Coffee Works: Because Seattle has more to offer than just Starbucks… 

Cloudburst: Get adventurous with brews like Happy Little Clouds, a “Bob Ross inspired bastardized pilsner” and Sorachi not Sorry, the “most polarizing hop in the world."

Frankie & Jo’s: Don’t let the plant-based label fool you; Frankie & Jo’s has some of the best ice cream in town.

Fremont Brewing’s Urban Beer Garden: Small-batch, experimental beers in a spacious, lush garden space.

Little Tin: Speakeasy-style tiki garden bar with extremely knowledgeable bartenders.

The London Plane: Incredibly cute bakery / restaurant hybrid that also includes flowers and home goods in Pioneer Square.

Mashiko: Seattle’s first sustainably focused sushi joint. 

Needle + Thread Bar: Pick up the old-school rotary phone tucked away inside Tavern Law Bar and sneak away to a bar within the bar. Needle + Thread has no menu – trust your bartender. Reservations are accepted.

Oddfellows: All-day, all-night café and bar with a no-fuss mentality. Go early to snag a spot in their dreamy patio space. 

The Pink Door: Italian meals with a side of burlesque.

Surrell: Upscale dining experience with a 9-10 course micro-seasonal tasting menu at the chef’s counter. Only available by reservation. 

Walrus & Carpenter: Tallboys, muscadet, piles of chubby oysters and smart plates are served in a lively, approachable space in Old Ballard.

Westward: Great place where you can dine right on Lake Union.

Get outside

mountainside covered in green pine trees

Mount Si: A moderate, eight-mile loop with 3,000 feet of elevation gain. Hikers will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the central Cascades.

Samish Bay Farm: Nice scenic drive where you can get fresh oysters and eat them on picnic tables on the water. Perfect spot following a hike in the area. 

San Juan Island: Scope out grey, minke, humpback and Orca whales. The shorter your stay, the more important it is to plan ahead.

Secret Beach: One of the few soft-sand beaches in the region, Secret Beach is nestled away at the end of 39th and E. Harrison. 

Snoqualmie Falls: Impressive – and popular – waterfall and two-acre park. Go early to avoid the crowds.

Twin Falls: A short hike and easy alternative to Mount Si, Twin Falls is a 2.5-mile trail with big rewards and beautiful views for relatively little work.

Wineries in & around Seattle

wine glass and bottle on a white block

Just 30 minutes from downtown Seattle, visit Woodinville Wine Country to discover four distinct wine districts with 100+ wineries in the beautiful Sammamish River Valley. For those looking to visit more than one winery, opt for Woodinville Wine Country’s Tasting Pass

For an indulgent experience, visit The Herbfarm for a nine-course, hyper-seasonal tasting menu and wine pairing.

Jaine Cottage (Woodinville): A relatively new contender to Washington’s wine scene, Jaine Cottage offers an elegant yet effortless approach to sustainable wine. Order takeout from Heritage Restaurant beforehand to enjoy during your tasting. 

Things to do in Seattle

view of Seattle Space Needle and Mt. Hood

Salish Sea Tours: Native-owned and designed catamaran tour sharing the history of the city and its Indigenous people. 

Go Beneath the Streets: Experience a side of Seattle you didn’t know existed – by trekking through the historical, catacomb-like passageways of the original, underground city. There are several guided tours available, but Bill Speidel’s is touted as the original version that brings you a time capsule view of the buried city.

Jimi Hendrix Park: Visit the community gathering space designed to honor the Seattle-born artist’s life and musical legacy. 

For your art fix, visit the acclaimed Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), a Frank Gehry-designed building filled with colorful exhibits. The always-free Frye Art Museum offers a beautiful contemporary art exhibition. 

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