Seattle lives up to its Emerald City moniker best during the summer months. The city is awash not just in green, but in sunlight. In June, July, and August, Seattle gets even less rain than desert destinations like Phoenix, and it also enjoys some of the longest days in the United States. Make the most of them with our ultimate itinerary for summer in Seattle.
Day 1 - Downtown Seattle
Your getaway should begin with a no-holds barred exploration of the city you came to see. Dedicate your day one to discovering all the things to do in Seattle in summer.
Breakfast at Pike Place Market
The early bird definitely gets the worm at the Starbucks at Pike Place Market. Doors open at 6 a.m. so line up early for what will be a much-needed caffeine fix. Coffee in-hand, make your way to Daily Dozen Doughnut Company, where mini doughnuts are made right before your eyes then tossed in your choice of toppings: plain, cinnamon, powdered, or sprinkled.
PHOTO CREDIT: DAILY DOZEN DOUGHNUTS
Explore the Market
Make the most of your morning in the market by exploring its every corner. Pick up some fresh flowers, watch fishmongers toss salmon through the air, and even pick up a few Seattle souvenirs. Many vendors also offer samples so sticking around the market will keep you satisfied until lunch. Be sure to get a photo with the gum wall and the brass pig, two market icons.
Ride the Great Wheel
Alaskan Way unfolds below the market and along with it Seattle’s Great Wheel. You can walk to the waterfront from Pike Place so you’ll be sightseeing as you go. Along the way, check out Piers 62 and 63 and Waterfront Park for stunning Elliott Bay views.
Lunch on Alaskan Way
Since you’re on Alaskan Way, you’ll want to stick around for a waterfront lunch. Ivar’s Acres of Clams is a Pacific Northwest staple, serving some of the area’s best fish and chips and clam chowder.
PHOTO CREDIT: IVAR'S ACRES OF CLAMS
Tip: You’ll pass iconic Pier 55 on your way to the restaurant. A pit stop here is well worth it.
Alaskan Way is just a ten minute walk from Pioneer Square. Seattle’s original neighborhood, Pioneer Square showcases some of the most historic architecture in the city. From here, you could embark on an Underground Seattle Tour or visit some of the city’s landmarks. Ascend to the Smith Tower’s observation deck or check out the renowned Seattle Public Library. Pioneer Square is also just a stone’s throw from Chinatown, so if you’re wearing walking shoes you could stroll through the city’s International District from here.
Cocktails at the Skyview Observatory at Columbia Center
Before starting your walk back to Motif Seattle, take a moment to see Seattle from 73 floors up. From the Skyview Observatory at Columbia Center, you can see not only all of downtown but also the white-capped mountains on the horizon. The Skyview Observatory serves beer and wine, making it a great stop for a late-afternoon pick-me-up.
Dinner at Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails
The perfect summer day in Seattle ends at Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails. Take advantage of their happy hour specials, or settle in for more indulgent dinner and drinks. Sweeten the deal by stepping out onto their signature rooftop overlooking downtown.
Day 2- Day Trip
Since your first day was a crash course in Seattle, your second should be all about experiencing the greater Puget Sound. The Seattle ferry routes make it easy to see other parts of the state even if you don’t have a car.
Coffee and Pastries at Storyville Coffee
Summer days in Seattle are some of the longest in the country, but you’ll still want to make every moment count. Swing by Storyville Coffee on your way to the ferry terminal for your caffeine fix. This coffee shop has become a favorite among locals thanks to their signature blends and sweet treats like cinnamon rolls.
PHOTO CREDIT: STORYVILLE COFFEE
Summer in Seattle is best experienced on the water. Hop aboard one of Seattle’s many ferries with destinations to quintessential Pacific Northwest towns. Discover scenic Bainbridge Island via a 35-minute ferry ride. Take the water taxi to West Seattle. Journey to Bremerton. We won’t tell you which destination to choose. We’ll just tell you a day trip via ferry is well worth the time.
Sweet Treats at Shug’s Soda Fountain & Ice Cream
Step back in time at Shug’s, an old-timey soda fountain with some of the best treats around. Ice cream is the key to keeping cool in the summer, which is why you’ll want to go all-out at this popular spot. Try their signature Shugsicle or a NY Egg Cream, both ice cream floats with their house-made sodas.
Day 3 - Like a Local
You’ve explored downtown Seattle and the waterfront. You’ve visited another Pacific Northwest town. Round out your getaway by discovering the sights and sounds locals love.
Breakfast at Biscuit Bitch
Ranking among some of the best biscuits in the U.S., Biscuit Bitch has become a Seattle staple. Biscuit Bitch describes themselves as “Trailer Park to Table,” and this no-frills attitude appears in everything from the decor to the menu. Dig into their signature Straight-Up Bitch, or other hearty eats like the Bitchwich.
Peruse a Farmer’s Market
You might not know that Washington State is an agricultural wonderland. Come spring and summer, that means farmer’s markets pop-up all over the city where local growers sell their goods. There’s a market nearly every day of the week, so no matter when you visit it’ll likely be prime market time. Not only are these great places to get a bite to eat, but they’re also the perfect place to pick up souvenirs from local artisans.
Take the Monorail to the Seattle Center
The monorail is as Seattle as it gets--though it’s one mode of transportation you might have missed. Dating to the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the monorail connects the Seattle Center to Westlake Center in downtown. Reaching speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, the monorail runs on a raised track that weaves above streets and between skyscrapers. Once at the Seattle Center, ride to the top of the Space Needle and take in the views at its observation deck. Catch some sun on the grass. Splash in the fountain. Or brush up on pop culture history at the MoPOP Museum.
Lunch at Dick’s Drive-In
Consider Dick’s Drive-In the In-N-Out of the Pacific Northwest. Dick’s Queen Anne location is within walking distance of the Seattle Center, making it the perfect lunch spot. All Seattleites have enjoyed Dick’s at least a time or two, which is why it’s a must-eat for out-of-towners. Dig into 100% real beef burgers, hand-cut fries from Pacific Northwest potatoes, and old-fashioned ice cream.
Visit Chihuly Garden and Glass
Born in 1941 just south of Seattle, Dale Chihuly rose to fame in the late 1960’s for his glass art creations. His work appears in more than 200 art museums and collections worldwide. One of his most iconic pieces appears in his home state at Chihuly Garden and Glass. On sunny days, the light illuminates each of his works, creating a mesmerizing afternoon experience.
Happy Hour at Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails
Freshen up back at Motif Seattle, then treat yourself to an afternoon pick-me-up at Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails. Their happy hour specials are hard to beat, as are the views from the roof,. Get a preview of both on the restaurant’s Instagram.
Live Music (You’ll Find it Almost Anywhere)
Seattle is known as a music city. During your summer vacation, discover why that reputation is well-deserved. Bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam had their start here, but incredible music still abounds in venues of all sizes every night of the week. For live music alongside some of the best views in the city, stop by Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails’ Rooftop Concert Series.
Whether you’re heading home or to the next destination on the list, this is certainly a day that’s come too soon. Embark on one last Seattle experience before you’re off to the airport.
Before you head out of town, stop by the Starbucks Roastery in Capitol Hill. Immerse yourself in the world of Starbucks coffee by taking a peek behind the curtain. Since Seattle is a coffee city, this is a fitting end to your summer escape.
Wish You Could Stay
The side effect of the ultimate Seattle vacation is that you’ll wish it could last longer. Whether you stay for three days or three weeks, every day in Seattle brings something new. The summer sun is simply an additional invitation to explore. Looking for a sign to start planning your next Seattle escape? This is it.
Where Seattle gets social. By design.
Make your way to the fifth floor on 5th Avenue for downtown Seattle’s best rooftop happy hour hotspot, Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails — consistently voted among the best rooftop bars in America.
Come for the handcrafted cocktails, stay for Chef Adam Stevenson’s locally-inspired menu, featuring wild seafood, foraged mushrooms and the best of the Pacific Northwest.
And do come to play. Warmed by two gorgeous outdoor fireplaces and vibrant lighting in edgy urban patio style, you’ll want to start some mischief of your own with a little shuffleboard, LED ping-pong and a rotating cast of live Seattle musicians and DJs.
Open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner — and weekends for brunch. See what’s on the menu or reserve your table below.BOOK A TABLE AT FROLIK KITCHEN + COCKTAILS