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Spotlight On Seattle: What To Do And Where To Stay (PHOTOS)

Posted: 07/17/2012 7:00 am

Seattle may be known for it's rain (among many other things -- Starbucks, anyone?) but that shouldn't stop you from getting out and exploring all the city has to offer.

Fortunately, our "What to Do in Seattle" list includes outdoor and indoor fun just in case the clouds get too ominous.

Whether you want to hit up the major tourist sights or do as the locals do, we have an activity for you, and a hotel that's convenient for each.

-- Jane Reynolds,

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  • What to Do: Check out the views from the Space Needle

    Built 50 years ago for the World's Fair, the Space Needle has become an iconic structure in Seattle's skyline. The observation deck, at 520 feet, is a popular attraction and boasts sweeping views not only of the city but also of Mount Rainier, the Cascade Mountains, the Olympic Mountains and the city's surrounding islands. <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>Read more about Seattle »</strong></a>

  • Where to Stay: The Inn at El Gaucho

    A 10-minute walk from the Space Needle, The Inn at El Gaucho is an intimate, second-story boutique hotel on top of El Gaucho steakhouse, featuring 18 spacious rooms. It has limited services (no elevator or gym) but with a convenient Belltown location, attractive rooms and affordable rates, it's a great option. <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>See more photos of the Inn at El Gaucho »</strong></a>

  • What to Do: Visit Pike Place Market

    Pike Place Market is another Seattle staple, first opened in 1907. Overlooking Elliot Bay, it features tons of stalls, stands and shops filled with fresh produce, local seafood, antiques and crafts. It's a bustling spot that offers a nice peak into everyday Seattle life. <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>Read more about Seattle</strong></a>

  • Where to Stay: Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

    It's hard to go wrong with this top luxury hotel that has, arguably, some of the best views in the city, not to mention a restaurant with an acclaimed Seattle chef, a rooftop infinity pool and 147 spacious, classically comfortable rooms. The business-y surroundings might preclude the opulence of other, larger Four Seasons properties, but what you lose in neighborhood ambiance you gain in vistas and proximity to the best Seattle attractions. Plus, the Pike Place Market is just a five-minute walk away. <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>See more photos of the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle</strong></a>

  • What to Do: Go to the Seattle Art Museum

    Often referred to as SAM, the Seattle Art Museum Downtown is an interesting attraction that can be saved for a rainy day (which, in Seattle, is a frequent occurrence). With a collection reaching nearly 25,000 pieces, this museum is any art lover's paradise. It boasts everything from modern sculptures such as Hammering Man to portraits by John Singer Sargent. Admission to the museum is free on the first Thursday and Saturday of every month. <a href="" target="_hplink"> <strong>Read more about Seattle</strong></a>

  • Where to Stay: Pan Pacific Seattle

    This elegant, contemporary luxury hotel is about a 10-minute drive from the Seattle Art Museum. Though it is not within walking distance of many sights, it's fabulous destination restaurant, modern rooms (some with views of the Space Needle) and long list of amenities make up for it. <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>See more photos of the Pan Pacific Seattle</strong></a>

  • What to Do: Visit the Experience Music Project Museum

    A sight to behold even from the outside looking in, the Frank Gehry-designed EMP Museum focuses on popular music and science fiction in its many interactive displays. Of course it includes an ode to grunge rock, which was born in Seattle. <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>Read more about Seattle</strong></a>

  • Where to Stay: Seattle Marriott Waterfront Hotel

    There are very few Seattle hotels this close to the water, so if you want to enjoy everything this scenic city has to offer -- with an emphasis on harbor attractions and cruise access -- the Marriott is a great pick. Though it's an uphill climb, the hotel is only a five-minute walk from Pike Place Market and a 20-minute walk (on flatter ground) to the EMP Museum. <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>See more photos of the Seattle Marriott Waterfront Hotel</strong></a>

  • What to Do: Take the ferry to San Juan Island

    A 3.5-hour ferry takes passengers on a scenic ride from downtown Seattle to San Juan Island, a popular summer getaway for Washingtonians. San Juan Island has a relaxed, back-to-nature vibe with farmlands, nature trails, whale-watching and mom-and-pop shops. <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>Read more about Seattle</strong></a>

  • Where to Stay: The Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes

    The Lakedale Resort is not your grandfather's campground. In addition to a lakefront location with picnic spots, this 82-acre property offers everything from an airstream trailer to canvas cabins. The lodge rooms definitely have the most conveniences -- bathrooms with Molton Brown toiletries, TVs (albeit tube-style ones) and patios -- but they are also the least outdoorsy. The Canvas Cabins are no-frills -- but in a good way -- sporting charming rustic decor and comfy beds. <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>See more photos of The Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes</strong></a>

  • What to Do: Catch an outdoor concert at Seattle Center

    Home to numerous iconic Seattle sights -- such as the Space Needle, the fountain synchronized to music, a skate park and the EMP Museum -- Seattle Center is also the site of numerous outdoor concerts in the summers. Most concerts (and film screenings) take place against the backdrop of the Mural Ampitheatre. <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>Read more about Seattle</strong></a>

  • Where to Stay: The Maxwell Hotel

    Right across the street (just a two-minute walk) from Seattle Center, the Maxwell Hotel is a stylish boutique option. It offers a great location and a solid value, with freebies such as parking (a rarity in Seattle), loaner bicycles, Wi-Fi, "rental" laptops and loaner kids' carts with activities and games. <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>See more photos of The Maxwell Hotel</strong></a>


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