Moon Seattle


By Allison Williams

Formats and Prices




$23.49 CAD



  1. Trade Paperback $17.99 $23.49 CAD
  2. ebook $11.99 $15.99 CAD

Explore every corner of the Emerald City, from coffee shops to mountain hikes, with Moon Seattle.
  • Explore the City: Navigate by neighborhood or by activity with color-coded maps, or follow self-guided neighborhood walks
  • See the Sights: Watch the fishmongers sling the catch of the day at Pike Place Market, or grab a pick-me-up at the original Starbucks. Zig zag through the Olympic Sculpture Park, watch sharks swim above you in the Seattle Aquarium’s underwater dome, admire Northwest art at the Seattle Art Museum, or watch the sunset from Space Needle observation deck
  • Get a Taste of the City: Find the best cup of coffee, sample fresh oysters, and indulge in the city’s innovative cuisine
  • Bars and Nightlife: Lounge at an old-school jazz club, discover the next big indie artist, get a flight of beers at a local microbrewery, or sip craft cocktails in a swanky speakeasy
  • Expert Advice: Emerald City native Allison Williams shares what locals love about Seattle
  • Strategic Itineraries and Day Trips: Make the most of your trip with ideas for foodies, culture-seekers, families traveling with kids, and more, or explore nearby Bainbridge Island, Mount Rainier National Park, Tacoma, and Bellevue
  • Full-Color Photos and Detailed Maps
  • Handy Tools: Background information on history and culture, plus an easy-to-read foldout map to use on the go
Experience the best of the city with Moon Seattle’s practical tips and local know-how.

Road tripping along the coast? Test-drive Moon Pacific Northwest Road Trip. Visiting more of the state? Check out Moon Washington.



More than 50 years have passed since a world’s fair transformed this northwestern port into a global city—just look at the Space Needle for evidence of that era’s endless optimism and vision. The city of Seattle, built on a series of hills between a lake and a bay, is today a mature metropolis.

The vibe is more about achievement than status; it’s not cool to work so hard that you can’t kayak a little before dinner or jam with your folk-rock quartet on the weekend. The healthy arts and music scene has grown beyond ’90s grunge. But never fear—the city hasn’t completely outgrown its youthful exuberance. It’s still the home of the bustling coffee shop and the ambitious start-up. Creative energy explodes from tech minds, performers, and chefs who, like the Space Needle, reach for the stars.

Evidence of past success is around every corner in Seattle. Starbucks, once a tiny coffee shop near Pike Place Market, occupies downtown with the same ubiquity it’s achieved around the world. Amazon, the online bookstore turned tech monolith, has colonized the South Lake Union neighborhood and helped turn its forgotten blocks into a bustling cultural center. Microsoft, which began here and is headquartered just outside of town, has left its mark—not just of its business, but also of the entities it helped build, like the campus of the philanthropic Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Paul Allen’s football stadium and music museum.

Seattle is a place of experiments, of legalizing marijuana and raising the minimum wage by leaps and bounds. The city is growing so fast it sometimes feels like a living being, one figuring out this brave new world at the same time it’s creating it. With just enough history to build considerable civic pride, Seattle encourages looking to the horizon—or perhaps just to the sunsets that illuminate the Olympic Mountains on clear nights. Sure, it rains sometimes, but that makes the beautiful days all the sweeter.

Gas Works Park

Seattle Great Wheel

King Street Station

Pike Place Market

Seattle Central Library

Seattle Aquarium


1 Watch Fish Fly at Pike Place Market: The seafood counter may be the most famous part of this downtown landmark, but there’s enough produce, spices, crafts, buskers, and fresh-made doughnuts to fill an entire day.

2 View Masterpieces at the Seattle Art Museum: Discover a peerless collection of Pacific Northwest art.

3 Explore Seattle Center: This collection of museums, sights, green spaces, and fountains entices visitors to spend as much time as possible here.

4 Take in the Views from the Space Needle: The city’s symbol offers sky-high views from its observation deck.

5 Get Out on the Water: Take advantage of Seattle’s waterfront bounty by boat, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard.

6 Go Back in Time at the Museum of History and Industry: Interactive exhibits, artifacts, and curiosities offer insight into the city’s past, as well as some glimpses into its future.

7 Observe the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks: Boats big and small gain passage to the Ship Canal through these locks, next to a special thoroughfare made just for salmon.

8 Embrace Coffee Culture: The craze for caffeine was born here, and the city’s blocks are full of corporate coffee chains and indie outposts alike.

9 Experience the Seattle Sound—Live: This is the city that Jimi Hendrix called home and where Kurt Cobain found fame before his tragic end.

10 Drink Craft Beer: An abundance of local, artisanal breweries place the city at the forefront of this hoppy trend.



Seattle is an international city with arts, food, science, and the outdoors to explore. To make the most of a short trip, focus first on the city’s core, and then venture out onto the water or to one of the city’s parks. Stay in a hotel in the downtown core, like Hotel Max, for the easiest travel around the city.

This itinerary assumes you won’t need a car for the first three days and includes information on using public transportation to get around.


Start the day like any other day—at Starbucks. The location in Pike Place Market isn’t quite as “original” as the T-shirts and mugs would have you believe, but it’s an interesting reminder that the chain used to be just another local coffee stand. Java in hand, explore Pike Place Market and its long rows of craft and food stands. Watch fish fly at Pike Place Fish Market, and venture past the Gum Wall.

the view from the Smith Tower observatory



The second-highest public viewpoint west of the Mississippi is near the top of Seattle’s biggest skyscraper (click here).


An observation deck at what used to be the tallest building in the West offers a 360-degree view of the city, waterfront, and distant mountains (click here).


Besides the 360-degree panorama from the observation deck of Seattle’s famous landmark, you can, as of 2018, gaze straight down through a rotating glass floor (click here).


The gentle hills of tombstones look out on Lake Washington, and, on clear days, the snow-topped Cascade Mountains to the east (click here).


From its spot on the north end of Lake Union, this funky park has a clear view of the Seattle skyline, including the Space Needle (click here).


The passenger-only water taxi from downtown to the West Seattle neighborhood across Elliott Bay offers sensational skyline views from its deck and, on sunny days, the whole city seems to spread out before you from the West Seattle ferry dock (click here).


Located atop the Thompson Hotel, this rooftop bar boasts indoor space and an outdoor patio with sensational views of Elliott Bay and Pike Place Market (click here).


For the classic shot of downtown Seattle—with Mount Rainier in the background, when it’s clear—head to this Queen Anne pocket park (click here).

Walk south along 1st Avenue to the Hammering Man at the Seattle Art Museum, and venture inside to view one of the West Coast’s best art collections. From there it’s only a few blocks down University Street to the waterfront—just aim for the Seattle Great Wheel. Take a boat ride on Argosy Cruises—it would be a shame to leave Seattle without getting on the water at least once.

Once you’re back on dry land, walk to Westlake Center. From here take the Seattle Center Monorail to Seattle Center. You’re probably starving, so make a stop just west of the monorail terminal at the Seattle Center Armory, which hosts small outlets of some of the city’s best cheap eateries. Seattle Center alone contains enough entertainment for a week, so pick your poison: science at the Pacific Science Center or rock and roll and pop culture at the Museum of Pop Culture. Topping either one will take something big—like, say, the Space Needle. Travel to the top to the observation deck and leave time to take in the full 360-degree view. The heights-averse will enjoy the on-the-ground delights of the Chihuly Garden and Glass.

the Seattle Center Monorail

For dinner, head to Belltown. Hit up one of the city’s memorable restaurants: El Gaucho is known for steak, while Six Seven earns acclaim for both seafood and its waterfront location.

PUBLIC TRANSIT: To get to Belltown from Seattle Center, take the Route 4 bus from 5th Ave. N and Broad St. to 3rd Ave. and Vine St.

Return downtown to see the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall or a rock band at the Showbox.

PUBLIC TRANSIT: To get downtown from Belltown, hop on a southbound Route 1, 2, 3, or 4 bus from the intersection of 3rd Ave. and Vine St. Exit at 3rd Ave. and Union St.


Start the day with tres leches French toast at Cactus in South Lake Union. Walk to Yale Avenue for some quick shopping at REI or follow Terry Avenue north to Lake Union Park and the Museum of History and Industry to learn the story of Seattle and its high-flying, computer-inventing ways. Look for the seaplanes taking off and landing on Lake Union just outside.

It’s time to head north into Ballard to try some of the neighborhood’s best cuisine. Have lunch at La Carta de Oaxaca or go for the pizza at Stoneburner.

PUBLIC TRANSIT: To get to Ballard from Lake Union Park, pick up a northbound Route 40 bus from Westlake Ave. N and Mercer St. Disembark at NW Leary Way and 15th Ave. NW.



JUMP and LimeBike makes it easy to grab a bicycle for a quick ride (click here).


This bike trail goes from Ballard to Woodinville, passing through the University of Washington and some of the city’s quiet residential neighborhoods (click here).


Rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard for a quick paddle on Lake Union, then head upstairs for Mexican food and margaritas (click here).


Trails meander through the park’s meadows and forests, while the expansive beach leads to an old lighthouse (click here).


The city’s runners love the three-mile trail that circles this park’s urban lake (click here).

Next, walk west on Northwest Market Street to reach the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. It’s fun to watch the gates open and the locks fill as boats move in and out, and there’s also a fish ladder with underground viewing windows. When you’re ready for dinner, retrace your steps to Ballard Avenue and wait in line for the city’s best oyster bar at The Walrus and the Carpenter.

Bars in Ballard are among the city’s best, so take a tipple at Noble Fir or King’s Hardware, and drink as the anglers once did on these very streets.

Head back downtown to finish the night with music at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley.

PUBLIC TRANSIT: To return downtown from Ballard, take a southbound D Line bus from 15th Ave. NW and NW Leary Way to 3rd Ave. and Virginia St.


If something exciting is happening in Seattle, it’ll either start or end in Capitol Hill. Begin the day at one of the neighborhood’s many indulgent breakfast spots, like The Wandering Goose, where the biscuits are so good they’ve inspired a children’s storybook.

Then it’s time to visit Volunteer Park, one of the city’s prettiest green spaces. Climb to the top of the brick water tower for a workout with a view, or gaze at the Space Needle through the middle of the circular Black Sun sculpture. If it’s open (it’s undergoing renovations in 2019), venture inside the Seattle Asian Art Museum, guarded by twin camel statues, or enter an urban botanical jungle inside the glassy walls of the conservatory. Kids will be drawn to the playground, but Lake View Cemetery next door attracts fans of the late Bruce Lee, buried here.

the brick water tower at Volunteer Park

PUBLIC TRANSIT: To get to Volunteer Park, take the Route 10 bus from the intersection of 15th Ave. E and E Harrison St. Exit at 15th Ave. E and E Prospect St.

With More Time



When the cherry trees are in bloom, the campus of the University of Washington becomes a grove of brilliant blossoms bursting in pink and white. The rest of the time there are plenty of classic quads, plus repositories for the best in science and culture: the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture and the Henry Art Gallery. Shop at one of the many bookstores near campus, like the comfy Third Place Books.

Save pennies by eating as the college students do, popping into a bustling lunch spot on the street known as simply “the Ave.” Leftovers are practically a guarantee at Thai Tom, while Mexican Agua Verde Cafe is best enjoyed after renting kayaks from the paddle club next door. Pop into The Blue Moon Tavern to see where some of Seattle’s literary rock stars once hung out.


Burn off all that food with several rounds at the Seattle Pinball Museum, where admission includes unlimited play. Sports fans should take a tour at CenturyLink Field or Safeco Field. Once you’ve worked up an appetite again, go for a casual meal at Canton Wonton House or take your time at Red Lantern.

After dinner, wander the aisles at Asian market Uwajimaya, a kind of international crossroads in the middle of Seattle.

Capitol Hill is bursting with restaurants, so the options for lunch are endless. Try the upgraded diner fare at Skillet Diner, or wander down the hill to the options at Melrose Market, a collection of eateries selling everything from oysters to burgers.

After all that culture and fine dining, it’s time to hit the beach. Make your way to West Seattle via water taxi to the sands of Alki Beach, the spot where the city’s founders first arrived. Today there’s a miniature Statue of Liberty, volleyball courts, and a long stretch of waterfront for strolling. Before hopping the water taxi back to Seattle, grab a snack or a beer at Marination Ma Kai.

PUBLIC TRANSIT: To get to the water taxi pier, take a westbound Route 106 or 550 bus to Pioneer Square Station, then walk to the waterfront. Once in West Seattle, hop on a westbound Route 37 or 775 bus to Alki Ave. SW and 61st Ave. SW.

Finish the night back in Capitol Hill—dancing at Q and drinks at the bustling Quinn’s Pub will have you up late.

PUBLIC TRANSIT: To return to Capitol Hill from the water taxi pier, take an eastbound Route 12 bus from the intersection of Marion St. and 1st Ave. Disembark at E Madison St. and Broadway.



Skilled bartenders carve a single large ice cube for every old-fashioned, helping the classic outshine the newer-fangled cocktail bars in town (click here).


This popular bottle shop has dozens of beer taps. Try local varieties and get an expert’s opinion on hoppy IPAs, dark porters, or semisweet ciders (click here).


Capitol Hill’s best cocktail bar regularly appears on national best-of lists, and its whiskey library is basically the booze equivalent of the Library of Congress (click here).


This brewery’s Interurban IPA, named for a long-gone Seattle railway line, is a classic version of the popular Pacific Northwest style of beer (paget 144).

Fremont Brewing


This destination just outside the city has big wineries with castle-sized tasting rooms along with intimate one-man winemaking operations, not to mention a brewery (click here).


Though Seattle is best known for its very adult technology industry and cloudy weather, it’s a perfect retreat for kids—as long as they like to explore, play, and get dirty.

Stay at the Hotel Monaco or Hotel Ballard, which have adult style but less bustle, or the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, which has a glassed-in swimming pool that kids will love.


The entire Seattle Center complex is perfect for children, starting with—of course—the Seattle Children’s Museum. The other attractions are ideal for kids, like the IMAX theater and hands-on exhibits at Pacific Science Center, which teach everything from global climate to parts of the human body. Be sure to toss a coin into the pools that sit between the buildings—it’s good luck. The Space Needle will thrill all the way from the elevator ride to the 360-degree revolving glass floor on top, and even Chihuly Garden and Glass, where the outdoor glass sculptures look like a scene from Alice in Wonderland, is surprisingly family friendly. Every kind of dining preference can be catered to at the Armory, with its food court of local favorites, and the International Fountain outside was made to be played in.

mural by Paul Horiuchi in the Seattle Center

Down on the waterfront, the Seattle Aquarium has giant tanks of fish, a wily octopus, and feeding shows with harbor seals. Check up front for details on the day’s events. Next door, the Seattle Great Wheel thrills the child in all of us, especially when it dips over the dark Elliott Bay water.

Seattle Great Wheel

sea anemone and clownfish at the Seattle Aquarium

Most restaurants in Seattle are somewhat family friendly, save the most formal. Get the whole family to try oysters at Elliott’s Oyster House, or rely on tried-and-true fried treats at Ivar’s Acres of Clams on the waterfront.


As stuffy as the name sounds, the Museum of History and Industry was made for young explorers. Just venture upstairs to the working periscope, or try the interactive history exhibits that explain how nature, calamity, and ingenuity built the city. Plus, the Center for Wooden Boats next door rents toy sailboats for use on the pond next to the museum, and the grass outside is perfect for watching seaplanes take off from Lake Union.

Museum of History and Industry



People gather around to watch fishmongers toss halibut to each other, but observing the looks of delight and surprise from the crowd is almost as fun. Bonus: Buskers play and sing throughout the market (click here).


During the first Thursday of every month, the neighborhood’s art galleries stay open late and fill with art appreciators (click here).


The Seattle Center fountain is the kind that kids can run through on a hot day, so it’s the ideal spot to laze on the grass and people-watch (click here).


The zigzag walkways of this outdoor sculpture park welcome art lovers and visitors, plus pedestrian commuters and cyclists who pass through the park’s striking modern art on their way into and out of downtown (click here).


Capitol Hill is home to one of the city’s biggest artistic communities, and Volunteer Park often welcomes the neighborhood’s eccentrics; don’t be surprised to see acrobats or sword fighters on sunny days (click here).

Over in Ballard, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks combines a botanical garden with a working nautical operation. It’s easy to spend an entire afternoon watching the engineering feat that moves boats up and down, passing them into the Ship Canal that links the city’s lakes to Puget Sound. Across the locks, an underground fish ladder allows salmon to make their annual move to fresh water.

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

For dinner, make your way toward Fremont, to the Frelard Pizza Company. Located on the border of Ballard and Fremont, this thin-crust pizza joint has a play area for kids.


Get breakfast at Macrina Bakery in SoDo. A block south, the Living Computers: Museum + Labs has working computers on display, some hundreds of times bigger than the cell phones kids are familiar with. Ask about which ones have working computer games from the past. Meanwhile, the Seattle Pinball Museum is much more low-tech. The playable machines, which are included in the cost of admission, range from decades old to brand new, but the goal is the same—keep hitting buttons and prevent the little ball from disappearing.

End your day with dinner in the International District. Shanghai Garden is a good choice for families.


The great thing about Seattle rain is that it’s rarely a torrential downpour, but rather a gentle sprinkle that barely fazes the locals.


Start a rainy day in Pike Place Market, almost completely covered and home to the cozy Crumpet Shop. Even the flying fish and the flower stalls are under cover, and local travel book shop Metsker Maps is the best place to daydream about your next trip. Skip the Gum Wall outside and head to the shelter of the oldest Starbucks. If the crowds are too much, try the French charm of Le Pichet for lunch; the bistro stays warm the old-fashioned way, with wine and good service.

Pike Place Market


Lose yourself in some of the West Coast’s best museums, including the spacious Seattle Art Museum downtown. Galleries collect Native American art and works from around the Pacific Rim. To get a taste of the city’s lush and green surroundings without getting soaked, head to the glassed-in conservatory at Volunteer Park, which is like a tropical mini-vacation on a dreary Northwest day.

Seattle Art Museum, featuring the Middle Fork sculpture by artist John Grade

the Volunteer Park conservatory



During slow periods, you can score a private ride in a gondola as it rotates over Elliott Bay. The VIP ride costs more but comes with comfier seats and a champagne toast (click here).



On Sale
Jun 18, 2019
Page Count
280 pages
Moon Travel

Allison Williams

About the Author

While growing up in Olympia, Washington, Allison Williams spent much of her childhood climbing trees and reading books at the top. Family vacations involved camping in the shadow of Mount Rainier or exploring the very dark, probably haunted tunnels of Port Townsend’s old forts.

Allison received her bachelor’s degree in biology and English from Duke University, with studies at Oxford University and an ethnobiology field school in Costa Rica. She worked as a writer and editor in New York City for eight years, including staff positions at Metro newspaper and Time Out New York. When the lure of the Northwest’s mountains, drizzle, and summer berry harvests became impossible to ignore, she relocated to Seattle. She has since realized two lifelong dreams: summiting Mount Rainier and poking sticks into the campfire without being disciplined.

Allison earned her MFA in creative writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where her fiction thesis won the Jason Wenger Award for Literary Excellence. Her journalistic work has been recognized with awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and a nomination from the City and Regional Magazine Association. As senior editor at Seattle Met magazine, she covers travel and the outdoors by hiking every trail and driving every road she can find on a map.

Learn more about this author