Explore Washington

Washington Travel Guide

Washington State, in the northwestern extremity of the United States bordered by Canada and the Pacific Ocean, offers a unique opportunity for visitors to blend the fun of a vibrant city vacation with an exciting wilderness experience, all within a relatively short distance of each other.<br /><br /> In the scenically set young city of Seattle, hugging the shores of the Puget Sound, high-tech attractions both educate and entertain at the foot of the city's famous landmark, the soaring Space Needle. It is just a step from the waterfront of this dynamic metropolis onto a ferry, which transports you to the wild windswept Pacific beaches, or the emerald green islands of the Sound.<br /><br /> Travel inland to explore national parks, three within easy reach of Seattle, most set around the peaks of the volcanic Cascades Mountains and sporting forests, rivers, lakes and glaciers. In summer the green western wilderness areas draw thousands of hikers, climbers and cyclists, while in winter the skiers head for the slopes.<br /><br /> The north-eastern part of the state, across the barrier of the Cascades Mountains, is desert-like with warm, dry air and a landscape befitting the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. The southeast is carpeted with wheat fields and dotted with historic towns while the central Columbia River Plateau is a rugged area, sculpted by glaciers and ice age flooding, characterised now by wheat fields, lakes and orchards.<br /><br /> Washington is a diverse and beautiful state that can truly claim to offer 'something for everyone'.<br /><br />

Pike Place Market

Address: First Avenue, between Pike and Pine Streets

Admission: Free Open daily. Hours vary for different businesses, and Sundays are voluntary opening days so some shops may be closed.

Telephone: (206) 682-7453

Rachel, a giant piggy bank, stands guard over the Pike Place Farmer's Market in downtown Seattle, placed there to raise funds to preserve this National Historic District founded in 1907. The bustling market has provided the local people with producer-priced goods for decades, and continues to do so today as about 100 farmers and fishmongers tout their wares. The focus is on local and organic food. They have been joined by more than 150 local craftspeople and artists who have also set up shop here, along with street performers, dozens of restaurants and numerous speciality shops.<br /><br /> The world's first Starbucks coffee shop opened here in 1971, and is still brewing up its famous beverage on the original site. At the north end of the market Victor Steinbrueck Park provides a popular grassy place to sit in the sun and escape the milling crowds. Events are hosted at the market occasionally, such as the May Flower Fest Market, Sunset Supper at the Market, a Busker's Festival, and Arcade Lights: a Celebration of Artisan Food, Beer and Wine.<br /><br />

Seattle Space Needle

Address: 400 Broad Street

Admission: $22 adults, $14 children 5-12. Monday to Thursday 10am-9:30pm, Friday and Saturday 9:30am-10:30pm, Sunday 9:30am-9:30pm.

Telephone: (206) 905-2100

Anyone who has seen a picture of the Seattle skyline will be familiar with Seattle's internationally recognised symbol, the futuristic Space Needle building. From afar it looks like a spinning top, with the needle pointing skywards. The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World's Fair to showcase upcoming architectural development, and proved itself by withstanding an earthquake in February 2001 measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale. It has since been declared a historic landmark by the City's Lanmarks Preservation Board. Visitors can get to the top of the Space Needle using one of the elevators that travel at ten miles an hour, reaching the observation deck within 43 seconds. On windy days, however, the elvetators are slowed down to 5 miles an hour for safety reasons. Visitors can ascend the 607-foot (185m) building as far as a revolving observation deck 520 feet (158m) above the city, where high-powered telescopes are positioned to allow you to pick out the city sights. There is a revolving restaurant on top of the tower that allows visitors to take in every part of the panoramic views while enjoying a meal.<br /><br />

Experience Music Project

Address: Seattle Center, 325 Fifth Avenue North

Admission: $25 adults, $16 children 5-17. Other concessions available, and discounted tickets available via the website. Daily 10am-7pm (June to August); 10am-5pm (September to May).

Telephone: (206) 770 2702

One of Seattle's most popular attractions is the Experience Music Project, basically a rock 'n roll music museum with a difference, housed in a colourful psychedelic building designed by Frank Gehry at the base of the Space Needle.<br /><br /> The museum was planned originally by Microsoft entrepreneur Paul Allen as a memorial to Jimi Hendrix, the superstar guitarist who was born in Seattle and died more than 30 years ago. The Hendrix exhibit, featuring artefacts associated with the rock legend, remains the biggest drawcard at the museum, but the collections and interactive exhibits have been expanded to include the general history of American popular music, and another exhibition dedicated to Seattle's other famous musician, Kurt Cobain.<br /><br /> Exhibits range from the first electric guitars of the 1930s to a rock 'n roll thrill ride akin to a roller coaster. In interactive rooms visitors can try their hands at mixing on DJ turntables or playing various instruments. The museum is also the venue for numerous concerts. There are several venues for changing exhibitions that have in the past included exhibitions on Battlestar Gallactica, Unforgettable Rock 'n Roll Photographs, the First Decade of Hip Hop, Disco: A Decade of Saturday Nights, as well as art exhibitions and some science-related exhibitions.<br /><br /> A Science Fiction Hall of Fame honors the lives, work and ongoing legacies of some of the world's most influential science fiction writers, amongst them Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Ridley Scott, George Lucas, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and many more.<br /><br />

Seattle Art Museum

Address: 1300 First Avenue

Admission: $19.95 adults, $12.95 youth 13-17, free for under 13; other concessions available. Special exhibition ticket prices vary. Wednesday to Sunday 10am-5pm; closes 9pm Thursdays.

Telephone: (206) 654 3210

Seattle's downtown Art Museum is landmarked by the animated thudding massive steel sculpture by Jonathon Borofsky called 'Hammering Man' that stands outside. Inside the remarkable building, designed by Robert Venturi, are a large range of exhibits covering European and American art, from ancient art through to a vast 20th-century collection devoted to Northwest contemporary art.<br /><br /> The museum has a focus on collecting and exhibiting art from around the world, covering many cultures and a great expanse of time, and trying to find and explore the connections between cultures and over time. Some of the permanent collections include textiles, porcelain, Native and Mesoamerican art, Decorative art, and Australian, Aboriginal and Oceanic Art. Currently the museum has over 23,000 pieces, with recent acquisitions including an untitled 1937 Morris Graves painting, Portrait of Bartolomeo Sirigatti by Francesco Traballesi, In the Well of the Wave of Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai, and more. Free guided tours of the different collections are offered.<br /><br /> A Seattle Asian Art Museum is affiliated to the original musuem and is located at 1400 East Prospect Street, filled with Asian art from as far back as the 2nd century, and the Olympic Sculpture Park is a permanent outdoor exhibition of sculptures, including Eye Bwnches I, Father and Son, Schubert Sonata and more.<br /><br />

Pioneer Square

Telephone: Pioneer Square Community Association: (206) 667-0687

Billed as 'where Seattle begins', the historic district of Pioneer Square features more than 20 city blocks of historic buildings, more than 30 galleries, a vibrant retail sector and the city's most exciting nightlife. Some of the businesses that have premises on the square are Intrigue Chocolates, the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, Gallery Frames, Distant Lands, and many more.<br /><br /> The district is south of the main downtown area, and encompasses two major attractions. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park recalls the days when Seattle was a jumping off point for hopefuls heading for the goldfields. Another visitor favourite is the unique Underground Tour, taking in the sunken storefronts of the original 'Skid Road', where timber used to be slid down to the steam-powered mills on the shores of Elliott Bay.<br /><br /> On the first Thursday of every month, the square hosts First Thursdays Art Walks when all the art galleries and museums remain open for the evening, serving snacks and drinks and allowing visitors to mingle and visit while looking at the artwork on display. Holiday Trivia Nights are also hosted at various venues on the square, giving attendees a chance to pit their trivia skills against one another.<br /><br />

Museum of Flight

Address: 9404 East Marginal Way South

Admission: $23 adults, $14 children 5-17. Other concessions available. Daily 10am-5pm; open until 9pm the first Thursday of every month. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Telephone: (206) 764-5720

Next to Boeing Field, south of downtown Seattle, the Museum of Flight consists of a six-story glass and steel construction, which was the original Boeing factory and which used to be one of the mainstays of Seattle's economy. Inside is a collection of more than 130 aircraft, some suspended from the ceiling, which includes some of history's most famous airplanes. There is, for example, a replica of the Wright Brothers' first glider and the original Air Force One presidential plane used by Eisenhower. The museum covers the entire history of flight right up to the space programme. The Museum's most recent acquisitions include a British Airways Concorde - the only one on America's West Coast - and NASA's Full Fuselage Trainer. Concorde arrived in true style setting a new world record time from New York to Seattle, while NASA's FFT has been retired from use and is making its new home at the museum. Changing exhibitions are hosted and changed regularly to keep things interesting. Restoration work on various aircraft is constantly ongoing at the museum, with 2 to 4 new acquisitions every year and about twelve aircraft being worked on at any one time. The musuem also contains exhibitions of aircraft photography, artefacts and archives.<br /><br />

Snoqualmie Falls

Address: 6501 Railroad Avenue Southeast

About an hour's drive into the Cascades Mountains east of Seattle is the resort of Snoqualmie Falls, where the Salish Lodge and Spa is famous for having been the setting for many scenes from the hugely popular television series, Twin Peaks. The dramatic falls plunge 270 feet (82m) down a precipice into a pool of deep blue water, close to the town of North Bend, and the site draws more than 1.5 million visitors every year. The world's first underground electric generator still operates behind the falls.<br /><br /> There are several hiking trails in the area and picnic sites with a view of the waterfall. Snoqualmie also boasts four ski slopes: Alpental, Snoqualmie Summit, Ski Acres and Hyak. In the town of Snoqualmie is the Northwest Railway Museum and the historic Snoqualmie Valley Railroad, which runs steam train trips to North Bend between May and October.<br /><br /> The Snoqualmie Falls Candy Factory is well worth a visit when in the area, boasting a 1950's diner-style cafe where visitors can have a burger, fries and 'shake followed by dipping into the old-fashioned candy jars, fill with old-timey treats as well as some beautiful and delicious handmade chocolates. Snoqualmie Falls is also famous for its beautifully-packaged oatmeal, pancake and waffle mixes, brownie mixes, cornbread mixes, and more, all available at the Snoqualmie Falls Store.<br /><br />

Puget Sound Islands

Washington State Ferries depart regularly from the Seattle waterfront piers carrying passengers to and from the many islands in scenic Puget Sound. Visitors generally favour Bremerton, about 20 miles (32km) west of the city, actually on the tip of the Kitsap Peninsula. Here stands the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Museum, and visitors can also explore the historic destroyer, USS Turner Joy that is tied up at the ferry dock.<br /><br /> A popular island destination is Bainbridge, just 10 miles (16km) west of Seattle, which has its own winery. Winslow, the main town on Bainbridge Island, is a pretty historic town with some fine restaurants and shops and a great view of Seattle. Vashon Island, 10 miles (16km) southwest of the city is an artist's colony. A little further afield are the San Juan Islands boasting miles of unspoilt beaches, state parks, whale-watching opportunities and primeval forests.<br /><br /> Many recreational activities are on offer throughout the area, such as kayak trips around several islands including beach landings, whale watching onboard ferries, bicycle tours of islands through bicycle clubs, diving, golf, mountain climbing and hiking, beautifully kept running trails for runners, wine tastings at the many beautiful wine farms, and much more.<br /><br />

Olympic National Park

Admission: $15 per vehicle; $5 per individual hiker, cyclist or motorcyclist. Valid for seven days Open daily, 24-hours a day. Some roads may be closed during winter. Visitor centre hours vary throughout the year.

Telephone: (360) 565-3130

Wilderness lovers revel in retreating to the wild Pacific Coast with its glacier-capped mountains, magnificent stands of ancient forest, fascinating biological diversity, and wild Pacific coastline. About 95 percent of the park has been designated a wilderness area, which protects a unique ecosystem on the Olympic Peninsula that encompasses eight kinds of plants and 15 species of animals occurring nowhere else on earth. The park contains three major ecosystems and almost a million acres, so visitors are spoilt for choice.<br /><br /> Fishing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, backpacking, horse-back riding, mountain bike riding, and many more activities are all available at the park (although you will have to bring your own equipment to carry out these activities). Fishing is particularly popular, given that there are 3,000 miles of rivers and stream throughout the park, filled with many species of fish and shellfish. All visitors keen to fish should take care to pick up a booklet of the fishing regulations in place throughout the park - these are different for the river and sea areas. Hiking is very popular too, although hikers should be aware that the weather is very changeable, and dress accordingly. It's also not safe to drink water from the streams and lakes, so hikers and camper should always bring their own water. The Peninsula separates Seattle from the Pacific Ocean.<br /><br />

Mount Rainier National Park

Admission: $15 per vehicle; $5 per individual hiker, cyclist or motorcyclist. Valid for seven days. Open daily all year round, but access is limited in winter. Visitors Centres hours vary, but are generally 10am-5pm.

Telephone: (360) 569 2211

One of the oldest national parks in the United States, Mount Rainier National Park was founded in 1899 to preserve the lofty volcano, Mount Rainier, known to the Native Americans as Tahoma.<br /><br /> The snow-capped peak is visible from Seattle, 90 miles (145km) away and dominates the region, drawing thousands of climbers every year to dare the dangerous ascent to its summit. The rest of the park is home to a beautiful wilderness and some wonderful natural wonders.<br /><br /> There are five areas in the park that visitors can choose from as a base for a visit to the park - Longmire, Paradise, Ohanapecosh, Sunrise and Carbon and Mowich. Each of the areas has a different level of development, some just a basic campsites while others have extensive visitor's centres and restaurants, so it's important to decide what kind of trip you'd like before choosing a base. Spring wildflowers are plentiful and impressive, and it's worth going to the park in springtime just for them.<br /><br /> There are also several ranger-led activities throughout the year, such as guided snowshoe walks in the winter. Information for these kinds of activities as well as park events can be obtained at visitor's centres.<br /><br />

Mount St. Helens

Admission: Depending on what sites one plans to visit, there is a Regional Northwest Forest Pass ($5 per vehicle).

Telephone: Mount St. Helens Visitor Center: (360) 274-0962

One Sunday morning in May 1980, Mount St Helens, one of the snow-covered peaks of the Cascades Mountains, lying about 168 miles (271km) south of Seattle, erupted, causing a massive landslide,devastating a vast area of forest and killing 57 people. The volcano continued erupting intermittently for six years, but has not erupted again since.<br /><br /> Today the area is being preserved as the Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument, being left to revive naturally from the experience while scientists continue to monitor the volcano and the environment of the surrounding landscape, providing them with much valuable information regarding volcanoes and ecosystems. The Monument has become a fascinating tourist attraction equipped with numerous viewpoints and miles of trails enabling it to be explored by car or on foot.<br /><br /> Forest Interpreters host visitors during the summer months, organising activities like walks and amphitheatre presentations, while in winter the mountain slopes provide cross-country ski and snowmobile trails. Climbers take on the journey to the crater rim and five visitor centres operate on State Road 504 on the west side of the mountain providing information about the volcano and the environment. A gift shop at the Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Center offers hand-crafted items made from Mount St. Helens ash.<br /><br />

Seattle Aquarium

Address: Pier 59

Admission: $24.95 adults, $16.95 children 4-12. Additional fees for Argosy Harbor Cruise. Daily 9:30am-5pm, exhibits close at 6pm.

Telephone: (206) 386-4300

Located on Seattle's waterfront, the Aquarium provides fun and exciting ways to see amazing sea creatures and colourful coral life of the Pacific, and includes touch pools with animals like sea stars and urchins from Puget Sound and Washington's outer coast. The Window on Washington Waters is a huge exhibit that is filled with native marine life, where dive shows take place three times daily, while the Marine Mammal exhibit features sea otters and seals viewed from both above and below the water.<br /><br /> The Underwater Dome is one of the largest exhibits, an undersea room that provides 360 degree views of the fish and sharks as they swim. Some further exhibits available at the aquarium are Ocean Oddities, Life of a Drifter, Pacific Coral Reef, Marine Mammals, Orca Activity Center, Searching for Sixgills, and more. The aquarium hosts events on a regular basis, some of which include a Celebrate Sharks event, the Naturalist Program, parts of the Seattle Science Festival, and more.<br /><br /> Conservation is a big focus at the aquarium, and the attendants and guides take care to educate visitors about marine conservation. The aquarium is in a part of Seattle that's full of very good restaurants, so making a day trip out of a visit to the aquarium is a good idea.<br /><br />

Washington State Ferries

Admission: Prices vary based on distance and type of transport.

As riding the mechanical bull is to Dallas, so is the ferry ride to Seattle - a quintessential part of experiencing the city. Coffee mugs are adorned with ferries, little model ferries are offered to tourists as trinkets to remember their visit by. Ferrying is a culture and a way of life to Seattle residents, many of whom commute to work across the Union Lake and Elliot Bay areas. Wake up early and drink your morning coffee (Seattle's other cultural pastime) on the water with the friendly locals.<br /><br /> If possible, try to plan sight-seeing of the city around several ferry trips going from point to point, which allows for maximum sightseeing. Trips to local attractions like the San Juan Islands are available on the ferries, as well as trips to Victoria in nearby Canada. Be sure to remember a passport and any other necessary and valid travel documents before embarking on a ferry ride to Victoria. Ferries are operated by Washington State Ferries and a schedule is available on their website.<br /><br />

Alaskan Ferry

Telephone: (360) 676-0212 for Bellingham office

Large cruise ships regularly travel to major ports in Alaska but a better, smaller option is the Alaskan Ferry. Departing from Bellingham Washington, these large ferries bounce against the major coastal towns of Canada, The Gulf of Alaska and stretching to the Alaskan Peninsula. The landscape is staggering, revealing hundreds of craggy forest-dense islands and coastlines. Eagles, killer whales, bears and other hardy wildlife are all part of the view.<br /><br /> The months of operation are May to September, when the weather is bearable and sunshine illuminates most of the 'night' hours, making the days long so there is plenty of time to fit in lots of sight-seeing. Costs vary greatly on length of voyage and accommodation. Most ferries rent cabins but those in tune with Alaska's pioneer spirit can pitch a tent on deck or just use a blanket. However, if you do choose to go with a cabin, there are some very comfortable options available. It's possible to plan an extensive tour of Washington's, Canada's, and Alaska's coast lines, stopping off at various points of interest along the way. Special fares are available throughout the year upon request.<br /><br />

San Juan and the Gulf Islands

The San Juan Islands and the Canadian Gulf islands form one of the best boater paradises in the world. The hundreds of islands are separated by nationality but are part of the same scenic and rugged archipelago, located off the northwest coast of Washington State.<br /><br /> Much of the area is in a rain shadow behind Vancouver Island, making a surprisingly dry and sunny reprieve in the northwest. Little island communities, great wildlife and the open water provide a real and intuitive disconnect from the mainland. Frequent government ferry services connect the mainland and larger inhabited islands to each other, but scores are only visitable by smaller shuttle boats and yachts.<br /><br /> Friday Harbour is San Juan's largest town and an enchanting tourist destination, seemingly out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The islands contain many little farms and fisheries, and agri-tourism has become an important part of the island's tourist trade. For the most part, farms that take part in agri-tiurism are the island's beautiful wine farms, where guests stay in charming cottages overlooking vineyards and learn more about grape growing and wine making. However, there is also a lovely lavender farm and a somewhat more unexpected alpaca farm. Anchorages are bustling throughout summer, but largely empty in other seasons. Yacht charters are available out of Bellingham.<br /><br />

The Gorge Amphitheater

High on the cliffs above the Colombia River, The Gorge is one of the best music venues in the country. A natural ravine coalesces at a cliff edge where a large stage hosts the biggest acts on tour in the Northwest. The 25,000-seat venue is privy to both the stunning view and sound quality resulting from the natural theatre-like setting. Visitors usually spend the night at Gorge campground in front of the venue. Here, all manners of cars, campers, RVs or simple tents are scattered across for an often rowdy night of celebration.<br /><br /> The Gorge is in George, Washington, an easy three hour drive east from Seattle on the I-90 highway. There is very limited motel accommodation nearby and the isolated nature of the area means it's better to pack your own. The venue is the host of the annual Sasquatch Festival each May, and some other festivals that have been hosted there include Area:One, Area2, Litlith Festival, Ozzfest, Creation Festival and the Vans Warped Festival. Some big names that have performed in the amphitheatre over the years include The Who, David Bowie, Coldplay, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, Dave Matthews Band and many more.<br /><br />

Woodland Park Zoo

Address: 601 No. 59th Street, Seattle

Admission: 1 October - 31 March: $13.75 adults, $9.25 children. 1 April 1 - 30 September: $19.95 adults, $12.25 children. Open daily 1 October to 30 April 9:30am-4pm; 1 May to September 30 9:30am-6pm. Closed 25 December.

Telephone: (206) 548-2500

Located in the Green Lake neighbourhood of Seattle, the Woodland Park Zoo is a great place to take the kids for a day out exploring and meeting the animals. Kids can enjoy animals such as African elephants, Arctic foxes, sloth bears and red pandas, or birds like snowy owls, parrots, Chilean flamingos and golden eagles as well as a fantastic variety of invertebrates such as spiders and butterflies. Over 1,100 animals from more than 300 species are included in the zoo's collection.<br /><br /> The animals' enclosures are carefully landscaped to include all kinds of interesting exotic plant life, and there is also a rose garden for peaceful strolling if the animals get to be a bit too much. A cafe attached tot he rose garden provides further respite and nourishment for those making a full day of the outing. For families on holiday in Seattle, a trip to the Woodland Park Zoo is not to be missed.<br /><br /> Occasional special events are hosted at the zoo, such as the swish annual Jungle Party aimed at raising funds through donations, and the Zoo Tunes summer concerts that runs from June to August, featuring well-known local artists every weekend with all proceeds going to fundraising for the zoo and conservation efforts.<br /><br />

Pike Place Chowder

Address: 1530 Post Alley

Food Type: Seafood

A small restaurant across the road from the bustling Pike Place Market, Pike Place Chowder is famous for one thing: its delicious chowder. There's more than just your standard clam chowder fare though, as the restaurant serves five different varieties each day, ranging from New England Clam Chowder to Seafood Bisque to Southwestern Chicken and Corn Chowder, and even a vegan option! There are sandwiches, salads, and even fish tacos on the menu as well. A must for seafood lovers!<br /><br />

Canlis

Address: 2576 Aurora Ave N

Food Type: American

One of the best restaurants in Seattle, Canlis has been wowing diners since 1950 with its contemporary Northwest cuisine, and is a long-standing favourite for those celebrating a special occasion. The stylish interior complements its fine cuisine, and its wine list is one of the city's best. Canlis is famous for its steaks, but there are also favourites such as the prawns, oysters and fresh fish, and the desserts are sublime. A tasting menu is available. Open for dinner Monday to Saturday. Bookings essential for Fridays and Saturdays. Dinner jacket required for men.<br /><br />

Cafe Campagne

Address: 1600 Post Alley

Food Type: French

A Parisian café that has won many awards, Café Campagne is popular for its weekend brunches, but also serves a delicious lunch and dinner, and has a wine bar with 40 wines available by the glass. The menu changes seasonally, but fare includes dishes like the French-style rolled omelette, lamb burgers, quiche, and a variety of salads and sandwiches. For dinner it is possible to have the fixed price three-course menu or a choice of meat and fish dishes from the regular dinner menu. The cosy atmosphere is very French. Open for lunch Monday to Friday, dinner nightly, and for brunch on weekends until 4pm.<br /><br />

The Herbfarm

Address: 14590 NE 145th Street, Woodinville

One of the most unique restaurants in the Northwest, the farmhouse styled exterior is decorated within by a rich and ornate décor. Herbfarm itself and its neighbouring farms grow much of their ingredients to create weekly changing nine-course meals complete with five matching wines. Lummi Island reef-netted sockeye in a squash with lemon thyme is a glimpse into the night's menu. Reservations are essential.<br /><br />

Metropolitan Grill

Address: 820 2nd Avenue

Food Type: American

'The Met' is primarily a business venue, situated within the heart of the financial district in a historical building built in 1903. This traditional steakhouse has been a Seattle favourite for years, specialising in prime beef and serving up classics cooked to perfection, such as filet mignon, New York peppercorn steak or the porterhouse steak, but there is also a good selection of pastas and salads. Meals are complemented by an excellent wine list. Open for lunch and dinner on weekdays, and dinner only on weekends. Reservations are recommended.<br /><br />

Rays Boathouse

Address: 6049 Seaview Avenue NW

Food Type: Seafood

The spectacular bayside view over Puget Sound is a perfect complement to the impeccably fresh Northwest seafood on a menu that changes regularly to reflect what is locally and seasonally available. Favourites include the crab cakes, oysters, wild salmon, or any fish prepared in sake kasu. Upstairs there is a more casual and less expensive café with an outdoor deck that serves lunch, while the downstairs restaurant serves dinner only. Reservations are required.<br /><br />

Serafina

Address: 2043 Eastlake Ave. E, Lake Union

Food Type: Italian

One of Seattle's best Italian restaurants, Serafina is charming and romantic with a rustic ambience. The freshest ingredients are presented in a homey way that transports diners to the Italian countryside. Enjoy the bruschettas, pasta dishes, or Serafina's signature dish, the eggplant rolled with ricotta cheese, basil, and Parmesan and baked in tomato sauce. There is live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, while live jazz on Sunday mornings makes this one of the most popular brunch spots in the city. Dinner daily, lunch Monday to Friday, brunch on Sundays from 10am. Reservations recommended.<br /><br />

Wild Ginger

Address: 1401 Third Avenue

Food Type: Asian

Southeast Asian inspired food that now sets the benchmark for all Asian food in the Northwest, the restaurant is consistently chosen as a favourite among northwest dining awards and diners alike. The Chefs varied backgrounds reflect the eclectic Asian foods, and ingredients from Chinese to Indonesian and also a rare chance to mix great wines with Asian cuisine. Reservations are advised.<br /><br />

Andaluca

Address: 407 Olive Way, Mayflower Park Hotel

Food Type: Mediterranean

Local ingredients are thrown together to create a sumptuous Mediterranean-style menu at Andaluca. Dishes to try on the dinner menu include the crab tower, stuffed dates, shellfish stew or lamb dolmas, and end off with one of the tempting desserts accompanied by a dessert wine or port. Open for breakfast and dinner daily, and lunch Monday to Friday.<br /><br />

Ettas Seafood

Address: 2020 Western Avenue

Food Type: Seafood

Overlooking Pike Place Market, Etta's is always packed with both locals and tourists, who come to savour the delicious crab cakes, oysters on the half shell or Alaskan halibut. Besides a variety of fresh seafood dishes there are also other options such as beef burgers, thai chicken salad or lime leaf coconut curry. The breakfast menu offers a range of egg dishes, along with French toast, oats and granola with yogurt, while the brunch menu comes straight from the sea.<br /><br />

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