3 Days in Seattle: A Perfect Seattle Itinerary from a Local (2021)

3 days in seattle
3 Days in Seattle

Seattle is a beautiful city, full of things to do you see and eat no matter what you’re because I lived in Seattle city for almost 15 years from primary school to after university, and also spent a big part of that time exploring all corners of the city. one of the best parts about Seattle is that no matter anything you’re looking for, you’ll probably find it.

And also there’s probably a loving city that’s into the same thing as you, whether that craft beer or Magics the Gathering or anything in between. It’s more home to some like the best food, drink, coffee, outdoor activities, and picturesque ferry drives in America. I wrote here a detailed itinerary to help you plan the perfect weekend in Seattle.

During these 3 days in Seattle itinerary, you’ll have time to visit the most beautiful well-known, also interesting sites in the city while still having enough time to explore a little bit. 3 days in Seattle is enough to visit these most exciting parts of the city without exhausting yourself too much if that your first time in town. But you’re traveling to be craving more, so I guess you’ll have to find your way back.

The city goes through a huge transformation right now with all of the jobs created by Amazon (they basically built a whole area of the city, which is crazy to me), and there’s not nearly enough housing for that influx of people. The result’s exploding rent prices and a corresponding uptick in homeless people on the streets of Seattle. it’s made for a few tensions in government newly, because the city tries to figure out how to help as many people as it can.

Why am I the correct person to craft 3 days in Seattle itinerary, you ask? Seattle holds a beautiful place in my heart. Halfway into 4th class, my parents moved from Northern California to Bellevue, plus that I spent the next 15+ years within the great Pacific Northwest. I’ve done everything on this list, and take countless visiting friends and family on some variation of this Seattle itinerary.

Get ready to have a blast in Seattle on your 3 days in Seattle.

3 days in seattle

3 Days in Seattle: The Perfect Seattle Itinerary for First Timer

Here is how I spend 3 days in Seattle when first-time visitors come to go to. This 3 day Seattle itinerary is best for people that like to walk, love gluten-free food, and wish to see the most effective sights in Seattle in 3 days.

Where to Stay for 3 days Weekend in Seattle
Capitol Hill: One the Best Overall Place to Stay in Seattle

The best place to stay in Seattle to stay close to all of the sights is Capitol Hill is walkable to both Seattle Center and Pike Place Market. Plus, Capitol Hill may be an excellent place to explore in its own right.

If I were you, I would stay within the heart of Capitol Hill at either this Airbnb or this one. Both places are an excellent spot to base yourself for 3 days in Seattle.

BelltownThe best place to stay to be Downtown 3 days in Seattle.

Walking distance to the Space Needle and Pike Place, Belltown is a great place to use as your home base for your 3 days in Seattle. I’ve stayed at the Ace Hotel, which is a great choice just north of Pike Place in the heart of Belltown.

The State Hotel and Hotel Andra are two boutique hotels near Pike Place Market, which is a great central spot to base yourself for a weekend in Seattle.
Also consider this Airbnb (for couples), or this one (for groups/families).

Want to find the perfect Airbnb for your time in Seattle?

Click here to see my curated list of Seattle Airbnbs that I made for my own future trips.

Getting Around During Your 3 Days in Seattle

Seattle isn’t a large city, but it is fairly spread out and hilly. While you can easily walk around the downtown area, if you want to explore other neighborhoods you will need to catch public transportation or a Lyft.

Getting to Seattle from the Airport
There are two main options for getting from SeaTac Airport, which is ~15 miles south of Seattle, to the city center. You can take the Lightrail from the airport to Downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, and the University of Washington. And it’s super easy. It’s cheap, fast, and efficient, and the most affordable way to get to the city. The other option is Lyft or Uber, which will be more expensive and, depending on traffic, could take a LONG time during rush hour.

Getting around Once You’re in Seattle

There are a few different forms of public transportation that you can use to get around including light rail, buses, ferries, and water taxis. Even if you are in Seattle for a short amount of time it is worth purchasing an ORCA card, which is a travel card that money or passes can be loaded onto. On days when you plan on taking a lot of public transportation, it will be worth your while to purchase a regional day pass which will cost you $8 (plus the new Orca card fee of $5 if you haven’t gotten yours yet).

The pass covers unlimited trips on public buses, streetcars, trains, and water taxis for fares under $3.50. If you are taking a longer journey that costs over $3.50, which won’t be an issue unless you’re taking a Ferry or the Light Rail to the Airport, then the difference will be charged to your Orca card.

If you rent a car, you’ll probably have to pay for either a) a parking garage or b) a parking ticket. Unless you’re trying to take a day trip from Seattle, don’t rent a car. If you need to go somewhere that’s not on a convenient public transportation route, use Lyft.

When to Visit Seattle
It’s probably no surprise to you that summer is the best time to visit the Pacific Northwest. You’ll find blue skies and warm temperatures from July to September. June and October are also generally nice, but you might get a few days of grey skies in the shoulder months.

With summer comes higher prices. But I tell everyone that there’s no better place to be than Seattle in summer. Long days. Warm weather. Crisp blue skies. Mountains on three sides. In other words, paradise.

The spring, fall, and winter are grey. Really grey. But as long as you pack a rain jacket, you’ll be fine. It rarely rains hard in Seattle, it’s more of a consistent light mist.

What to Pack for a Trip to Seattle

What you need to pack for Seattle largely depends on what time of year you’re visiting.

In the summer, it’s really no different than visiting other places in the country. It’ll probably be in the 80’s, sunny, and perfect for exploring both the city, and doing some of the best day trips from Seattle to explore the adventures that live just outside the city limits.

Between late September and June, the weather can be unpredictable. One weekend it might be clear, sunny, and in the 70’s, and the next it will be grey, drizzly and in the 50’s. It’s hard to say, which is why you need to pack to be prepared for rain or shine so that you can make the most of your time in Seattle.

There are four essentials to pack for Seattle so that you’re ready for the rain, and it won’t stop you from exploring the city.

A Good Rain Jacket
It doesn’t really rain that hard in Seattle. It’s usually more like a light mist rather than a torrential downpour, which means a rain jacket is more than enough to keep you dry. I recommend the North Face Resolve as a solid affordable rain jacket that’ll cost you less than $100, and keep you 100% dry. If you want a performance rain jacket that can stand up to the nastiest weather, look at the Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Shell.

A Pair of Rain Boots
If you visit Seattle in the winter, you’ll see everyone walking around in nearly identical Hunter rain boots. And there’s a good reason – they do the job of keeping your feet dry perfectly. They have more fashion-forward options, like the refined Chelsea boot, which is what I prefer. Another good option that falls on the more outdoorsy side of the spectrum is the Blundstone 550, which is Alysha’s go-to waterproof boot.

A Couple of Layers
Layers are the key to happiness in Seattle. The three layering pieces that I bring on every trip home are a warm, lightweight vest (men’s / women’s), a packable down jacket (I love my Patagonia Down Sweater – women’s version here), and a quarter-zip fleece (men’s / women’s).

A Waterproof Bag
This is the final essential to bring on any trip to Seattle in the fall, winter, or spring so that you can make the most of your Seattle itinerary, rain or shine. Here’s is a good waterproof backpack that I love and use every single day, at home and on the road. Here are a water-resistant tote and a water-resistant messenger bag, which would be good alternatives to a backpack.

Can’t-Miss Tours in Seattle

amazing experiences in Mexico City and Colombia, I’m satisfied-on head-over-heels in love with Airbnb Experiences as a way to connect with passionate locals and find out about the city from their perspective.

Most of the tours I prefer to recommend below are highly rated from Airbnb, and that I highly suggested as a place to search out enjoyable and many things to do around the world.

The Seattle Underground Tour: (Note: not an Airbnb experience, but only still a good tour!) a different experience in Pioneer Square, a historic a part of the city, takes you under the streets of Seattle to discover about the origins of the city. The travel guides are entertaining and knowledgeable, and it’s an excellent experience for both kids and adults. Click here to check prices, reviews, and availability.

Food Tour of Pike Place Market: 2 hours. 15+ things to try. All led by a local chef. the proper way to explore Pike Place – only requires during your 3 days in Seattle – where you’ll get some history and context alongside your tasty food. if you’re like me, you’ll probably wander through once maybe twice, and head out without really diving into what makes Pike Place special. Click here to see prices, reviews, and availability.

Experience Glass Project

Experience Glass Project
Experience Glass Project

Experience Glass Project: This unique experience has actually been on my list since mid-2019, but I haven’t gotten to it yet (alongside a pottery class, and stand up paddleboarding on Lake Union). One of the unique parts about Seattle is the history of independent spirit – from grunge music, to record shops, and most recently craft breweries. It has been a haven for artists of all kinds for decades, and that’s part of the reason why people are worried about rising rents.

If artists can’t afford to live in Seattle, won’t that fundamentally change the look and feel of the city? Anyway, my point is that Seattle is one of the only places where you’ll be able to do glassblowing in a local artist’s studio. It’s not something you’d ever be able to do on your own, so doing it with two local artists who will show you the ropes is the way to go. You’ll get to make two or three pieces of glassware too! Click here to check prices, reviews, and availability.

Day 1: Exploring Seattle, Queen Anne, and South Lake Union.

lake union
South Lake Union

Seattle Center is within the heart of Downtown Seattle, where you’ll find the Space Needle, the Pacific Science Center, and also the best coffee in Seattle. My favorite way to explore a city is on foot, and that I highly suggest wandering two areas around the Space Needle – Queen Anne and South Lake Union (SLU). We’ll get to some of the greatest things to do in this part of the city in a second.

But First, Coffee at Seattle

I suggest you begin your day at La Marzocco Cafe for a much-needed caffeine boost. It’s my favorite coffeehouse in Seattle, and I take EVERYONE there.La Marzocco is a showroom for the company that makes the espresso machines you see in most coffee shops around the world in Seattle.

The location at Seattle Center is inside the KEXP space (a local Seattle radio station) just steps faraway from the Space Needle. they bring about in a different roaster every month and offer everything from regular coffee drinks to signature coffee cocktails, all created by the roaster. In other words, it’s the right place to jump-start your weekend in Seattle.

First Timer, explore The Space Needle

Space Needle

After drinking coffee, let’s move on. If you’re similar to me, you’ll need to see the most famous and touristy location of Seattle on your first day. That means your 3 days Seattle plan will start (after you’ve had your coffee, of course!) in the Seattle Center, at the Space Needle.

The Space Needle is world popular and known for its futuristic appearance on Seattle’s skyline. It’s where the fireworks on New Year’s Eve launch from, plus it’s an icon that you’ll see all over the souvenir trinkets in Seattle.

Insider Tip: One of the best views of the Space Needle and Seattle’s skyline is from Kerry Park, a quick walk straight uphill from the Seattle Center.

I’ve only been up the Space Needle once. And it absolutely was on my first visit to Seattle. Since then, including the 10 years, I lived in Seattle, I’ve been up exactly zero times. but still that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it on your Seattle itinerary. Just remember that it’s expensive, and there’s not This much to do at the top.

From the outdoor observation deck, you’ll be ready to see the whole city, Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, and also the Olympic and Cascades mountain ranges. at least you’ll see all that stuff on a clear day, which can sometimes be difficult to come by in Seattle.

It’s costly to go up to the top, but it could be worth it for first-time visitors. I’ve only done it a handful of times over the years, but I tell every newcomer to do it at least once.

Alternatively, get up just before sunset to get a view during the day, and then as night falls and Seattle lights up. my other blogs, please check it