Seattle is known for its eclectic, outdoorsy, down-to-earth vibe. In fact, it’s these endearing characteristics that attract thousands of tourists to it every year, and now it’s home to big business a la Amazon and Starbucks. From whale watching to hot Michelin-starred restaurants, this city is where the chic urban hipster meets the bohemian nature lover. To get an insider’s perspective, Vacation caught up with Kwin, who offers advice, travel tips and reasons why a travel agent is necessary for a first-time visitor to the Emerald City.
Was this your first time traveling to the Seattle or to the West Coast of the U.S.?
Most of my travel to the West Coast has always been focused on California, including LA, San Francisco, San Diego and Monterey. Several years ago, I traveled to Jade Cove in Big Sur for a TV production and that inspired my desire to explore more of the coast and National Parks. Big Sur is amazing!
Did you consider traveling to other destinations before deciding on Seattle? If so, what were they?
My initial trip was to visit a couple friends in Portland. I decided to extend my vacation to 10 days to give me some time to explore Vancouver and Seattle, too. Best decision I ever made!
Let’s play taste, touch, see, hear and smell. What are five individual experiences that travelers must do to satisfy these five senses when visiting Seattle?
Taste: Nom, nom, nom! Devour the tasty homemade spicy sausage rigatoni served at Tavoláta Italian restaurant, or taste the lip-smacking “Buford T. Justice” sandwich -- made with in-house smoked all natural pulled pork smothered in tangy BBQ sauce, coleslaw and melted pepper jack – at the eclectic, bohemian Honey Hole.
Touch: Touch local goods, buy local goods! Feel the unique, handmade work of more than 200 local artisans at Pike’s Place Market. From custom wooded longboards to leather-bound journals to glass sculptures to knitwear, this market has it all.
See: Wow! Get a bird’s-eye view of Seattle’s skyline from the top of the Space Needle.
Hear: OK, geek alert! Hear the Star Trek theme music play in the background while you walk by characters’ costumes, a replica of the bridge and transporter room at the Museum of Pop.
Smell: Serenity now! Breathe in the crisp, clean air and smell the floral scent emanating from the wildflowers along the trails heading to the Nisqually Glacier at Mount Rainier National Park.
What impressed you the most about Seattle? Why?
I’ve always enjoyed metropolitan areas that also have great green spaces or cities in driving distance to great outdoor fun… and Seattle fits the bill! From the hip bars and trendy restaurants to the major tourist attractions to the outdoor adventures that await in the nearby parks… it’s like you get the best of both worlds.
What was your most memorable moment? Why?
Although it was a grueling climb, getting to the end of Skyline Trail at Mount Rainier National Park was SO rewarding. If you’re there on a clear day, you can see Mount St. Helen’s, Mount Adams and Oregon’s Mount Hood.
Would you recommend your trip to family and friends? Why?
Yes, yes, yes! Anyone who enjoys being outdoors and likes hiking should add Seattle to their list! I can see another trip back to this city in my future… for sure.
Did you use a travel agent? If so, why? Do you think you could’ve planned a similar trip without the aid of a travel agent?
I didn’t use a travel agent for this trip, but I would consider one if I had to plan this trip over again. Because of last-minute planning, I couldn’t squeeze in some fun activities such as a boat ride to the San Juan Islands for a little whale watching. I had so much I wanted to pack into three days it was hard to prioritize, and a travel agent would’ve been ideal in helping advise me to extend my stay in Seattle and really take advantage of the fun things to do and see.
What advice or travel tips would you give to people traveling to Seattle?
Spend at least four or five days really exploring the city and beyond the city limits, such as the San Juan Islands and nearby National Parks. And if you do visit one of the parks, make sure you get an early start to maximize your time in the park, and more importantly, make sure you have directions to get to and from the city. I made the mistake of relying on my trusty Waze app, but I forgot there’s no cellphone signal in remote areas. Thankfully, my memory didn’t fail me in navigating my way back to Seattle from North Cascades National Park.
What’s next on your bucket list?
I’ve already started making plans for a trip to visit Sitges – a beach town just a 45-minute train ride away from Barcelona. Germany and Thailand are two international destinations that I am considering next year as well.
Would you use a travel agent for your next trip?
I would use a travel agent to help plan my next trip. While I enjoy doing the research to nail down exactly what I want to see and do, a travel agent is extremely helpful in offering insider expertise and organizing logistics such as booking flights and hotel reservations. I worry about that part of the trip the most, but usually have my Zen happy moment when those details are finalized… all thanks to a travel agent!
Inspired by this article and want to speak with a Vacation travel agent about how you can plan an amazing trip to Seattle? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts connect you with a specialist to plan your next vacay.