One Day In Seattle: What To See And Where To Go

Where To Spend Your Morning In Seattle

You only have one day to make the most of Seattle’s sights?

If so, you’re probably having trouble figuring out where to start. With Seattle’s colorful highlights and famed places to visit, planning a 1-day Seattle itinerary is a daunting task.

While yes, it is impossible to see everything that Seattle has to offer in just one day, you still have plenty of time to see some of the highlights that this city has to offer!

To help you make the most out of your time in Seattle, I’ve written this loose itinerary, offering multiple suggestions for the best Seattle sights to see during your one day trip.

If you’re arriving in Seattle during the morning, your first concern is getting a good breakfast.

Best breakfast in downtown Seattle – Fonté Cafe

Fonte Avacado Toast
Fonte Avacado Toast

Located in the heart of downtown Seattle, Fonté Cafe offers one of the best breakfasts to be found and superb coffee to match.

Fonte Coffee
Fonte Coffee

Pick your choice of avocado toast, cinnamon roll French toast, or biscuits and gravy — to name a couple of your savory options. While you’re here, don’t forget to order a sage or rose latte for an exotic drink to accompany your breakfast.

Best cheap breakfast in Seattle – Sweet Iron Waffle Bar

With delicious Belgian waffles starting at just $4, Sweet Iron is a good choice for a tasty, cheap breakfast in Seattle. Start your one day tour of Seattle with a sweet or savory waffle and a warm cup of coffee.

If you aren’t in the mood for waffles — don’t worry! Downtown Seattle has more than a few breakfast options for you. Just take a stroll in any direction and you’re sure to come across a breakfast joint or two.

Looking for more than breakfast? Why not take a food tour with Savor Seattle Tours and their Signature Pike Place Market Food Tour

Ideal morning tourist attraction – Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market in Seattle
Pike Place Market

Now that breakfast is out of the way, you can start visiting some Seattle highlights!

Pike Place Market is Seattle’s #1 tourist destination and you can beat the hoards of tourists by visiting this location in the morning.

Pike Place Market opens at 6 am on weekdays and is a place that you must visit during your one day in Seattle. Grab a coffee from the original Starbucks just opposite the market and stroll through the colorful stalls.

Avoid the lines by visiting early – Space Needle

Seattle Space Needle
Space Needle with Monorail and MoPop

If you spend even one day in Seattle and don’t see the Space Needle, it’s arguable whether you’ve truly visited Seattle at all.

The Space Needle is one of the best places to visit in Seattle and is the most recognized icon of the city. The tower opens at 8 am and gets very crowded as the day progresses, so visiting early is a good way to avoid lines.

Seattle Highlights For Your Afternoon

Continuing your one day Seattle itinerary, let’s explore some places to visit during your afternoon in Seattle.

Best cheap lunch in downtown Seattle – Market Grill

Market Grill

Since this is likely a very full day for you, the Market Grill is a great grab-n-go lunch spot.

Offering sandwiches and seafood, Market Grill is one of the best lunch spots in downtown Seattle.

Due to Seattle’s adjacency to the Puget Sound, seafood restaurants are abundant in downtown Seattle. Seafood is practically it’s own religion in the city so don’t miss your chance to try some at Market Grill.

Top-rated green space in Seattle – Seattle Japanese Garden

Seattle Japanese Garden
Koi Pond at the Seattle Japanese Garden

With lunch out of the way, you’re probably feeling like getting away from the city bustle for a couple of hours. If you are fond of serenity and nature, a good place to visit is the Seattle Japanese Garden.

While Seattle is a populous metropolitan, the city still prioritizes parks and green spaces, resulting in lush gardens like this one.

The Seattle Japanese Garden is a beautiful Seattle highlight and deserves a good hour or two of exploration.

A combination of water & nature – Gas Works Park

Gasworks Park Pano
Gasworks Park Pano

Gas Works Park is an iconic Seattle location. This relic from the industrial age is now a public park and a popular Seattle site, due to its picnic sites, water access, and photo opportunities.

Gasworks Park Seattle
Perfect place to fly a kite at Gasworks Park

With its scenic view of Seattle across Lake Union, Gas Works Park is the perfect place for photographing the city’s skyline or just taking a nap on the grass.

Best Seattle Sights For The Evening

There are a number of Seattle sights that are best visited at night. As always, let’s start with food first.

Dinner in Seattle with a view – Salty’s on Alki Beach

Offering a stunning view of Seattle, Salty’s is an upscale seafood restaurant with a gorgeous aesthetic and mouthwatering menu.

I can’t think of a better way to finish off one day in Seattle than by eating delicious, local seafood with a view of Seattle.

Best bar in downtown Seattle – The Pike Brewing Company

Pike Brewing Company in Seattle
Pike Brewing Company in Seattle

If you are looking for a bar with a quintessentially Seattle atmosphere, The Pike Brewing Company is one of the best bars in downtown.

Offering a moody, industrial interior, The Pike Brewing Company serves local beer and pub food that doesn’t disappoint. If you are a fan of craft beer and want to experience Seattle’s night culture, The Pike Brewing Company is a Seattle highlight that you shouldn’t miss.

Tallest view in the city – Sky View Observatory Columbia Center

View from Sky View Observatory

Open until 10 pm, Sky View Observatory Columbia Center offers visitors a breathtaking night view of Seattle. The observatory gives you a bird’s eye view of the city and is sure to be one of your favorite Seattle highlights.

A combination of city and sea – The Great Seattle Wheel

Great Seattle Wheel
Great Seattle Wheel

The Great Seattle Wheel is a giant Ferris wheel on Pier 57. The observational Ferris wheel gives you a beautiful view of the Puget Sound and ranks as a top Seattle highlights for most tourists.

View From Great Seattle Wheel
View From Great Seattle Wheel

If you’d like more information on ticket prices for The Great Seattle Ferris Wheel, here is a blog post with details on prices for various Seattle attractions.

Create The Perfect 1-Day Seattle Itinerary

One of the best ways to get the most out of your day in the city is by partnering with a Seattle downtown tour company. Here at Shutter Tours, our expert guides know this city like the back of their hands and will ensure that your trip to the Emerald City is memorable and stress-free.


Things To Do In Seattle On A Rainy Day

Yes, the rumors are true, it rains here! But while the streets may get wet, your enthusiasm for visiting Seattle doesn’t have to. 

Whether you are planning a full-length rainy day itinerary, or are just looking for backup ideas in case the sky turns gray, here are a few of the many things you can do in Seattle on a rainy day. 

1. Drink Your Way Along a Coffee Crawl 

There are few activities more simple or enjoyable than a warm cup of artisan brew on a rainy Seattle day. 

Being America’s coffee capital is a weighty title and one that Seattle takes very seriously. And with more than 800 coffee shops, Seattle has enough Joe to ensure that even the finest coffee connoisseur doesn’t leave disappointed. 

So if coffee is in your genes, Seattle is the perfect city for you — rain or shine! 

If you’re in the mood for a tastebud adventure, then join a coffee crawl. This will allow you to tour different coffee shops, sample various brews, and learn about the Emerald City’s proud coffee culture.

Here at Shutter Tours, our tour guides have inside knowledge on where to find the best cup of java and would be thrilled to take you on a coffee crawl during a classic rainy day in Seattle.

If you would like to schedule a coffee crawl, visit our custom Seattle tours page.

2. Join a Boeing Factory Tour

Boeing Dreamlifter
Boeing Dreamlifter arrives at Paine Field in Everett, WA

Seattle is home to the largest aircraft plant in the world — the Boeing factory. This massive facility employs over 30,000 people and receives 110,000 visitors each year. 

The plant and its associated facilities, the Future of Flight and Strato Deck, are great things to do in Seattle when it rains. 

Here at Shutter Tours, we offer fascinating tours of the Boeing factory that walk you through the history of the company and give you a front-row seat to the construction of massive Boeing planes. 

Other notable aviation tourism locations include the Museum of Flight and Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection. 

3. Sing-Along With Seattle’s Music Culture

As the birthplace of grunge, Seattle has deep musical roots and has seen the rise of numerous artists, including Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Fleet Foxes. Music is a huge part of Seattle’s culture and every day you can find local musicians performing in venues across the city. 

Get out of the rain by ducking into one of Seattle’s iconic music venues, like Neumos or The Crocodile, and singing along with local artists. 

4. Explore Seattle’s Historic Underground

Seattle Underground Tour

Do you like exploring mysterious locations with a touch of drama and history sprinkled in? If so, then you’ll love the Seattle underground — a web of basements and passageways which lie beneath the modern city. 

The Seattle underground exists as a result of the 1889 Great Seattle Fire. This raging fire destroyed 31 city blocks of wooden buildings — which was terrible but gave the city the opportunity to modernize. 

Seattle took advantage of this clean slate and constructed new buildings out of stone or brick and regraded the city streets to even out some of the hills. 

A consequence of regrading was that the street level was moved up a full story in some parts of the city. This put the first story of many buildings underground and made the second story the new ground level. 

Undeterred, Seattleites carried on using the now underground shops, using ladders and stairs to go down and do businesses under the streets. 

Seattle’s underground continued being used for business until 1907, when the underground officially closed down. 

Lucky for us, a small portion of Seattle’s underground has been restored and is able to be seen today, offering a unique look into Seattle’s past. Joining an underground tour and exploring the city’s colorful history is the perfect way to spend a rainy day in Seattle.

5. Visit One of Seattle’s Famous Museums

Love learning new and interesting facts about the city you’re visiting? If so, Seattle won’t disappoint you. Whether you are traveling alone or with kids, Seattle has enough museums to keep you occupied for an entire rainy day — or two!

Several museums that you can enjoy during a visit to Seattle include:

MoPop

Seattle MoPop

MoPop stands for The Museum Of Pop Culture. This museum focuses on current pop culture and creativity. Although the exhibits change from time to time, you can expect to see displays on popular movies or music artists. 

The MoPop is perfect for adults or kids and is a fun and educational thing to do on a rainy day in Seattle. 

Seattle Art Museum

Seattle Art Museum Middle Fork

If you enjoy the tranquility of art museums, the Seattle Art Museum or SAM is the perfect location to spend a rainy Seattle afternoon. You can view the Seattle Art Museum website to see what current exhibitions are going on or check the calendar for future exhibitions that you want to see.

The Museum of Flight

The largest non-profit air and space museum in the world, the Museum of Flight is a fascinating museum that could easily absorb your entire rainy Seattle day. With dozens of interesting exhibits, photographs, and almost 200 aircraft and spacecraft, the Museum of Flight is the perfect destination for any curious mind.

MOHAI 

The Museum Of History And Industry, or MOHAI as it is commonly known, is an educational establishment that focuses on the working history of Seattle. 

With entertaining exhibits for both adults and children, MOHAI introduces tourists to the history of Seattle and its many industries, making this the perfect activity for a rainy day in Seattle. 

6. Get Festive on a Wine Tour

Chateau St. Michelle
Chateau St. Michelle Tasting Room

Did you know that there are more than 150 wineries in the Seattle region?

What can I say, we Seattleites love our beverages! So if coffee isn’t your cup of tea, we have a rich wine culture for you to explore. 

Wine tasting in a local Seattle cellar is one of the most relaxing ways to spend a wet and rainy afternoon. And with dozens of wineries spread across the city, there is a wine for every palate. 

If you would like to get out of the rain and experience Seattle’s wine culture with a local, consider booking a wine tour! 

The team of Seattle experts here at Shutter Tours can put together a custom Seattle wine tour for you that hits all the top wineries and cellars. 

7. Sky View Observatory

View From Sky View Observatory
View From Sky View Observatory

The tallest public observatory in the Pacific Northwest, Sky View Observatory offers a birds-eye view of Seattle’s cityscape. 

Because of the observatory’s height, make sure that you don’t visit this location on a foggy day or when clouds are hanging low over Columbia Center, as these will impede your view. 

Visit Sky View when the clouds are high and rain is falling from far, far above. In these conditions, the city will look mysterious and foreboding and you’ll feel like a character in one of Seattle’s famous TV shows. 

8. Enjoy the Performing Arts 

Use the rainy weather as an excuse to get inside and enjoy some of Seattle’s famous performing arts! From symphonies to modern dance to Broadway performances, the Emerald City has it all. 

Notable locations for entertainment include: 

  • Paramount Theatre
  • Moore Theatre
  • Meany Hall for the Performing Arts
  • Neptune Theatre
  • Benaroya Hall
  • The 5th Avenue Theatre

9. Get Spooked by the Oddities of Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

As a leading port city, Seattle has long been recognized as a doorway into the unexplored, attracting many eccentric individuals and their establishments. 

One such location is Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. 

The Curiosity Shop was founded in 1899 by Joseph Edward Standley, who packed his shop with artistic objects and oddities from around the world. It was an immediate hit and has continued to draw tourists ever since. 

So if you’re in the mood for mystery, intrigue, and adventure, duck into Ye Olde Curiosity Shop during your rainy Seattle afternoon.

10. Embrace the Rain!

Don’t feel like spending your day inside? Do as the locals do and embrace the rain! We’ve learned to carry on regardless of what’s coming down from the sky and with a little practice, I’m sure you can too. 

Strolling through rainy Seattle will give you the opportunity to experience the city in its natural state. And the rain will only enhance the ambiance of each location by keeping the crowds away. 

If you’re ready to ignore the drizzle and keep exploring, join me on one of my popular Seattle city tours. We’ll hit all the highlights — Snoqualmie Falls, the locks, and even visit our infamous bridge troll. 

Don’t let the wet weather deter you! There are hundreds of things to do in Seattle on a rainy day.

 


5 Seattle Attractions You’ll Love

Planning a trip to Seattle? Here are 5 popular Seattle tourist attractions that you won’t want to miss!

1. The Space Needle

Let’s start with Seattle’s icon and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.

The Space Needle was built in 1962 for the World’s Fair and was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.

The observation deck stands at  520 feet (160 meters) and gives you a stunning vantage point of the rest of the city.

Feeling hungry? The Space Needle also has a rotating restaurant, Sky City Restaurant, that operates 500 feet (150 meters) in the air. Like the observation deck, Sky City Restaurant also offers excellent views of the city — with the added perk of delicious food.

More than a million people visit The Space Needle each year, making this one tourist attraction you can’t miss!

Seattle Space Needle Price

General admission prices are:

  • Adult $32.50 to $37.50
  • Youth (ages 5-12) $24.50 to $28.50
  • Seniors (65 years and up) $27.50 to $32.50

Entry prices vary depending on the day and time that you go.

For more details, you can visit the official Space Needle website.

2. Seattle Great Wheel

Great Seattle Wheel

Standing at 175 feet tall, the Seattle Great Wheel was the tallest Ferris wheel on the West Coast when it was built in 2012.

The Great Wheel is located on Pier 57 and gives riders a gorgeous view of the Puget Sound and the city. The ride is between 15 and 20 minutes during which the wheel does three full rotations.

This is the perfect Seattle tourist attraction for someone who wants to have a quick rest break but doesn’t want to stop sightseeing.

Seattle Great Wheel Cost

Admission to the Great Wheel is:

  • Adults (anyone over the age of 12) $15 apiece
  • Youth (ages 3-11) $10 each
  • Senior tickets $13
  • Seattle Great Wheel VIP tickets $50 (VIP tickets give you access to the Great Wheel’s VIP gondola. It is outfitted with leather seats and a glass floor)

For more details, you can visit the official Seattle Great Wheel website.

3. Pike Place Market

flying fish Seattle fish market

Pike Place Market, one of Seattle’s greatest treasures and most popular tourist attractions, is a farmers’ market that opened in 1907. It is one of the longest-running farmers’ markets in the US and sees more than 10 million visitors annually.

Pike Place Market offers a vibrant look into Seattle’s food and street culture and is one of the best tastes of the city that a tourist can get.

Pike Place Market Cost

Pike Place Market is free to wander!

There is no entry fee associated with the market and the only money you spend will be on items from the market that you wish to purchase.

The market is open weekdays from 9 am to 6 pm and on Sundays from 9 am to 5 pm.

4. Museum Of Flight

If you’re in the mood for an educational tourist attraction, then The Museum Of Flight is the place for you!

This cutting-edge museum is perfect for all ages and explores the evolution of flight, from the first aircraft, all the way into the future. The Museum Of Flight’s bigger-than-life displays are especially popular among children.

Museum Of Flight Ticket Prices

General admission tickets cost:

  • Adult $25
  • Senior $21
  • Youth (ages 5-17) $16
  • Children (ages 0-4) FREE!

The Museum Of Flight periodically offers special tours and exhibitions, so check the website before going to see which displays are in season.

5. Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room

Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Whether you’re a coffee addict or just someone who likes a stiff, warm brew, you will love the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room.

The Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room has been appropriately called the “Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory Of Coffee.” Endless brass tubes, glass bottles, hissing steam, and the smell of roasting coffee fill the entire space, giving it an almost magical aesthetic!

If you, like many Seattleites, are a coffee snob, Starbucks Reserve Roastery is a Seattle attraction that you won’t want to leave off your itinerary.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Cost

Open daily from 6:30 am to 11:00 pm, the Reserve Roastery has no admission fee and doesn’t require a reservation.

Book A Tour Of Your Favorite Seattle Attractions Today

Planning a trip to Seattle? If you are and you’d like to experience all the tourist activities that the city has to offer, why not book a Seattle downtown tour to enhance your vacation?

Shutter Tours offers engaging tour packages for popular attractions in Seattle. If you would like the full Seattle experience with guides who know Seattle inside and out, contact Shutter Tours today.


7 Day Trips From Seattle

While downtown Seattle isn’t lacking for things to do or sites to see, a change of pace can be nice during any vacation.

If you are feeling adventurous and would like to explore other parts of Washington State, there are numerous day trips that you can take during your Seattle stay.

How does a Bavarian town in the mountains sound to you? Are you in the mood to connect with nature? Perhaps you’d like to go whale watching?

You’ll be excited and surprised to hear that all of these activities are just a day trip from Seattle. Even though Seattle is a bustling city, some of the most picturesque nature scapes can be found just a short drive away.

Here are the 7 best day trips that you can take from Seattle!

1. Mount Rainier National Park

Mt. Rainier Tours by Shutter Tours

Seeing more than 2 million visitors annually, Mount Rainier is a majestic volcano that towers over Seattle and the surrounding region. An easy day trip from Seattle, Mount Rainier is fully worth a visit as it is a well-known icon of the city.

Here at Shutter Tours, we offer a day trip tour to Mount Rainier that you won’t want to miss.

During this Seattle day trip, you will get your fill of mountain wildflowers, icy glaciers, and crystal falls. Mount Rainier is one of the best day trips from Seattle so don’t miss your opportunity to visit one of Washington State’s most treasured locations.

lIf you’d like to know more about the best time of year to visit Mount Rainier, check out this resource from our blog.

2. Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls Tour

One of Washington State’s most scenic, natural attractions, Snoqualmie Falls sees more than 1.5 million tourists per year.

The 268-foot (82 meters) waterfall is a breathtaking natural tourist attraction and a short day trip from Seattle. At the falls, you will be able to take gorgeous photos from the observation deck, get souvenirs from the gift shop, and wander around the park.

If you would like to experience Snoqualmie Falls with an expert tour guide, Shutter Tours offers an enjoyable tour of the falls. This 4-hour tour is paired with other locations around Seattle.

3. Leavenworth

Leavenworth_WA

Leavenworth will give you a taste of Europe in the Pacific Northwest. Nestled in the Cascade’s, this picturesque Bavarian town always has festivals running and makes for one of the best day trips from Seattle.

The town was originally built in the 1800s and has successfully preserved its Bavarian aesthetic and culture over the years. Leavenworth is the place where you can find artisan German food, drink, and souvenirs galore.

4. San Juan Islands

If you want to go wildlife or whale watching, the San Juan Islands are a day trip from Seattle that you don’ t want to miss.

One of the most popular methods of visiting the islands is by riding one of Seattle’s iconic ferries. The ferries will carry you around the islands at a relaxed pace, giving you ample time to soak in the majestic scenery that Washington State has to offer. You might see whales, orcas, seals, or hundreds of seabirds! And above it all, the looming summit of Mt. Rainier.

Don’t forget to bring a camera and binoculars for this day trip from Seattle! Prepare to be amazed by Mother Nature.

5. Deception Pass State Park

Deception Pass Bridge

Deception Pass State Park is located at the top of Whidbey Island and can be reached via I-5 (exit 226).

You enter the park via Deception Pass Bridge, an enormous steel bridge that offers knee-knocking vistas of the Puget Sound. While you can simply drive across, you won’t regret parking your car on the far side and then crossing the bridge again on the pedestrian path.

Once you’ve finished enjoying the bridge, you can take one of the state park’s trails down to the beach. The coast will give you many photo opportunities and is the perfect location for a family picnic or some quality time spent in nature.

6. Diablo Lake

Diablo Lake Photo Credit Analise Zocher

Diablo Lake still is a serene escape into nature and makes for the perfect day trip from Seattle. The lake is picturesquely nestled in the Cascade Mountains and is actually a manmade reservoir created by Diablo Dam.

The drive out to Diablo Lake offers forested scenery, mountain tops, and cool Cascade wind — making this one of the most peaceful road trips from Seattle.

7. Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

With its aged trees and mossy overgrowth, Olympic National Park will have you on the lookout for elves and mythical beings.

The Olympic National Forest is one of Washington State’s greatest treasures and is home to the Hoh Rainforest. This temperate rainforest is one of the seven of its kind in the world. The Pacific Northwest is home to the world’s largest temperate rainforest ecoregion.

This forest is entirely worth the drive from Seattle and is one of the best day trips that you can take while visiting Washington.

Plan Your Seattle Day Trip

If you are visiting Seattle and aren’t sure how to navigate the area, then it is a good idea to partner with one of the city’s many tour organizations. Here at Shutter Tours, two of our most popular day trips are the Snoqualmie Falls tour and our Mt. Rainier tour.


Best Times of Year to Visit Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier National Park is one of Washington State’s most popular tourist destinations, with over 2 million people visiting the mountain each year. The massive volcano is 14,410 feet tall and is a prominent feature on the Seattle skyline. When you see it for yourself, you will quickly understand why so many visitors also book a tour to Mt. Rainier during their trip to Seattle. 

Mt-Rainier-Tour-Shutter-Tours
Park Ranger at Mt. Rainier National Park

The mountain is easy to reach from Seattle, with Mt. Rainier tours leaving daily and paved roads up the mountain making it possible to reach alpine-like vistas without leaving the comfort of your car. 

Another reason for the national park’s popularity is the wide variety of activities for visitors to choose from. Depending on the time of year you visit, you can hike, climb, ski, sled, fish, camp, and more! 

When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Mount Rainier? 

For warm weather and clear skies, the best time of year to visit Mt. Rainier is July and August. A trip during these months will treat you to subalpine meadows covered with wildflowers, optimal visibility, and minimal fog. 

Of course, if you are more interested in winter sports than summer hikes, you should plan your trip during one of the colder months. 

Christine Falls

To help you determine what time of year is best for you, here is some information on each season.

July-August

The summer climate on Mt. Rainier is somewhat cool, with highs in the 60s and 70s. The warm weather also comes with clear skies, making July and August ideal months for hiking and picnicking on the mountain. 

If you want to see wildflowers, plan your trip between mid-July and the middle of August. The visitor center areas at Sunrise and Paradise are just two hours from downtown Seattle and are famous for their vibrant wildflower meadows. 

September-October

Autumn washes the mountain in brilliant colors, but the cooler weather and increased chance of rain thins out the crowds. So if you prefer hiking alone or cycling, this is the best time of year to visit. By late October, there is a high chance of snow, so if you’re planning a trip at this time, make sure that you are prepared for colder temperatures. 

If you want to see the fall colors on Mt. Rainier, the best time to visit is mid-October. Ideal locations to witness the changing colors include: Grove of the Patriarchs, Reflection Lakes, Paradise, and Sunrise. 

November-March

Daytime temperatures range from highs of 36 to lows of 21 degrees. The cold winds of winter also carry snow, which heavily blankets Mt. Rainier during this time — in 2018, Paradise received 738 inches of snow.

The harsher weather does a good job of clearing out the crowds, making November-March the perfect time of year to visit Mt. Rainier if you like being alone in nature. There is still a lot to do during this time though — some of the most popular activities include snowboarding, snowshoe hikes, and skiing. 

April-June

With daytime highs getting into the 50s and low chances of falling snow and rain, spring is an excellent time of year to visit Mount Rainier. Something to be aware of is that spring arrives differently each year, so check road and trail conditions before your trip to make sure that the winter snow has cleared away. 

If you are hoping to see spring flowers, it’s best to visit the mountain in mid-May and June. The flowers start blooming at lower elevations and slowly work their way up, following the melting of the snow. In mid-May, possible flower locations include the Rampart Ridge Trail at Longmire and the Boundary Trail near the Carbon River. By mid-June, you should be able to find wildflowers appearing on Rainier’s subalpine meadows. 

Tips For Visiting Mount Rainier

Now that you know the best times of year for exploring Mt. Rainier, here are some parting tips to help your trip go smoothly. 

Check the Weather Forecast

The weather on Mt. Rainier can change quickly, so always check the forecast before leaving the hotel for your mountain visit. This ensures that you are wearing the right clothes for that day’s weather.

Visit During the Week

Summertime is Mt. Rainier’s busiest season, with weekend crowds clogging parking lots and hiking trails. If you want to take advantage of the warm weather in July or August, try to visit the mountain on a weekday so that you don’t have to fight someone for parking. If you are still planning on a weekend trip, arrive as early in the morning as possible. 

Enter the Park with a Full Gas Tank

Mt. Rainier National Park does not have any gas stations, so make sure you fill up before making the long drive up to Sunrise or Paradise. 

Join a Professional Mount Rainier Tour 

Joining a Mt. Rainier tour means you don’t need to worry about parking or finding the right trail. Your tour guide will lead you to the best locations for the current season and will be on hand to answer any questions you have about the mountain’s history, forests, and wildlife. Booking a tour to Mount Rainier is the best way to ensure you get to the mountain early, don’t miss any important sights, and get back to Seattle at a good hour. 

If you would like to learn more about booking a tour, see our Mt. Rainier tour itinerary here.

 


9 Fun Things to Do in Seattle

Shutter Tours PikePlaceMarket

There are many options of things to do in Seattle from sightseeing tours such as our Snoqualmie Falls and City Tour, to exploring Seattle waterfront and local neighborhoods like Fremont, how of the famous Fremont Troll.

We thought we would put together ideas for you to help make your travel plans to Seattle.

Snoqualmie Falls and City Tour

Snoqualmie Falls

Of course, we think our Snoqualmie Falls and City Tour is the best value in Seattle and so do over 900 people on Trip Advisor who gave us 5-star reviews. Our tour begins at Pike Place Market at 10 AM, just late enough where you can grab some breakfast at Biscuit Bitch, known for their biscuits and perhaps a cup of coffee at the original Starbucks or one of our favorite coffee shops, Storyville Coffee.

Seattle Kerry Park Shutter Tours

You’ve probably searched for how to get to the location where the famous viewpoint is in Seattle with the Space Needle in the foreground, that is Kerry Park, our last stop on our tour. This is the view made famous in the show Frasier, and we often see Mt. Rainier towering 14,410 feet in the distance. By taking our tour you can check this off your bucket list, but better than that, you’ll have the perfect viewpoint to get some fantastic photos of the city to remember your trip to Seattle.

Tour price $69.00

 Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly_Glass_Gardens_Shutter_Tours

Dale Chihuly is a world famous glass artist known for his large-scale “Glass Sculptures” and was born and raised in the Seattle area. You may not know this, but Seattle is #2 in the world for glass studios next to Murano, Italy thanks to the local influence of Dale. Dale Chihuly’s  work has been featured all over the world and is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide. On your visit to Seattle, you don’t want to miss this impressive Chihuly Gardens to see the work of this master artist that has brought a whole new appreciation of glass art.

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Top 10 Places To Take Photos In The Seattle Area.

Seattle's Top Photo Spots

Book a tour with Shutter Tours; we are one of the top things to do in Seattle. You’ll see many of the most scenic and exciting locations in Seattle.

10. Pu Pu Point in Issaquah

Pu Pu Point in Issaquah WA Photo Credit Terry Divyak via Shuttertours.com

This is one of the locations that many Seattle natives may not even know about. Located about 10 minutes east of Issaquah, Pu Pu Point is the jumping off location for paragliders. With its breathtaking view of Lake Sammamish and surrounding areas, makes for a great backdrop with the colorful paragliders as your subject matter. This is one of those locations you’ll have to work for, however. It’s is about a 45-minute hike up to a point from the parking lot and has a pretty good elevation gain, so bring water to keep yourself hydrated. Once you arrive, you will want to spend some time sitting and watching the almost delicate ballet of the paragliders as they float on the updrafts. It is not unusual to see 20 or more floating above the point on a beautiful day.

Location to shoot from:

First and foremost, you want to stay out of the way of the paragliders. This is a dangerous sport and the fewer distractions, the better for those that are trying to get airborne. You can get a great shot, standing directly behind the launching point. This gives you a terrific background, especially in the mid-morning hours. I also like to stand on either side of the launch pad and use both a wide angle and telephoto lens to capture the action. You’ll need a telephoto lens once they are airborne to get some good closeups.

9. Snoqualmie Falls

 

Snoqualmie Falls Tours

Snoqualmie Falls is one of the most popular attractions in Washington State next to Mt. Ranier and Seattle’s Pike Place Market.  About 45 minutes from Seattle, this is the farthest location from Seattle on our list. Rising 268′ from the bottom of the basin, the falls can be captured from the observation deck with a perfect view as the above image by KM Photography illustrates. This was not listed further up the list as it is quite a drive from Seattle, but is worth the effort to get there.

Location to shoot from:

The observation deck, about 100 yards from the parking lot is the most popular place to shoot. Setting up a tripod can be a bit of a problem when there are weekend crowds, so go later in the day or on a weekday. As you look at the falls, you are looking East, so the sun will be behind the falls in the morning and illuminating the falls in the afternoon and evening. You can also take a trail to the bottom of the falls. There is a wooden boardwalk that will give you a good vantage point from below. At the bottom of the trail is also the 1910 powerhouse, closed off behind fences, and the river itself. Visitors can leave the band walk on the river rocks to get a better view from the bottom. Be advised that this area floods during heavy rains.

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New Tulip Festival Video

Tulip Festival Video

See the video on Youtube

Last year we began working with a video producer, Erik Egerdahl to create a video that showcased our Tulip Festival Tour. Utilizing interviews and drone footage (yes we had permission), we think you’ll like the results and we hope you can join us for this great opportunity to see tulips.

Book your Tulip Festival Tour


Best Places to Take Family Christmas Photos in Seattle

Seattle is a picturesque city and there are so many great locations to get that perfect Christmas family photo. Here are a couple of ideas of locations that we like to help bring in the holiday memories.

Pike Place MarketSeattle Artsy Market

Photo Credit Aaron Hockley via Flickr

Nothing says Seattle more than the Pike Place Market. The market always has a great installation of lights near the marquee Public Market Sign and clock. The best time would be a nighttime shot to take advantage of the Christmas lights. If your camera has a nighttime portrait mode, this would be even better (Go to the scene function and look for an icon with a person and moon/star).

Location: Corner of 1st and Pike

Kerry Park
New Years Eve, Seattle

Photo Credit Tiffany Von Arnim via Flickr

Another iconic location is Kerry Park at night. During the holidays the Space Needle has a Christmas Tree on top made out of lights and this would be another “Seattle” shot to share with your Christmas card list.

Location: West Highland Drive

Japanese Garden at the Arboretum
360˚ at the Japanese Gardens

Photo Credit: Johnny Lucus via Flickr

We love the Seattle Japanese Garden no matter what time of year, but if we get a bit of snow, this would be a perfect location to get that Christmas photo.


The stone bridge is a perfect location to get a good group photo.

Location: 1075 Lake Washington Blvd E

Snoqualmie Falls

We love Snoqualmie Falls and are out there almost every day for our tours. The lower falls would be the better spot for a group photo, but if you have limited time, the upper falls viewpoint would be just fine. December is always a nice time to get a photo here as the rocks around the falls may have frozen water that creates a nice winter feel as in the second photo below.

 

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Location: 45 Minute drive from Seattle

Westlake Center

This is ground zero for Christmas shopping in Seattle and with the Macy’s star as a backdrop, this could be a perfect location, especially at night.

IMG_0611

Photo Credit: Tracie Howe via Flickr

Location: 4th and Pine

Gift Idea

If you’re looking for a gift idea, why not give the gift of a Shutter Tours gift card? They never expire and are good for any of our tours.

What are some of your favorite locations to take Christmas card photos in Seattle?


Ghosts, Coffee and Food at Pike Place Market

360 Degree View of Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market © Bradford Bohonus

Everyone at Shutter Tours is a certified photo junkie, and I would bet that all of our employees are either thinking about photography or working on images as I write this. Part of the purpose of the blog is to share the beautiful city of Seattle, especially the market area.

As I was searching for some historical information on the market, I was reacquainted with Bradford Bohonus’ website, VR Seattle.  One photo that caught my eye was a shot of an empty Pike Place Market at night. His image is perfect in every detail, and I almost feel as if I am standing at the market as I view this, with Rachael, the pig as the lone sentry to the entrance. It’s hard to imagine 10 million people coming through the market every year when it is so desolate and quiet in this photo. The scene is very similar to the one I remember seeing as I was standing across the street on First and Pike, right where the white truck is, hearing the chants of “The Whole World is Watching” during the WTO riots. I’ll have to dig those images out of my archives and share them. It was indeed a surreal moment as a photographer here in the city.

Mercedes Carrabba runs the Seattle Ghost Tour, and you can imagine what it would be like to take her tour at night and hear ghost stories while you are standing at this location.  My friend Rosanne and I took her 9 PM tour and enjoyed a wonderful experience.  She’s fun and a great storyteller. We have no problems suggesting other tours by the way. Each is unique, and we feel ours stands on its own merits as do the others.

Mercedes also owns Ghost Alley Espresso and it’s one of my favorite coffee shops in Seattle. Order  “Smog” and add some Lavender for a truly unique cup of coffee.

Check out Mark Wiens video above that we started at the 6:15 mark at Ghost Alley Espresso. Start from the beginning and you’ll see his full market experience as he eats his way through Pike Place Market. If you would like to do a food tour, there is no better company than Savor Seattle Food Tours.


“The Birdman” at Pike Place Market.

Birdman at Pike Place Market - Photo by Valentina Vitols Bello

Birdman at Pike Place Market – Photo by Valentina Vitols Bello

By Shutter Tours Guide – Valentina Vitols Bello

Updated October 19, 2018 to add video

This is our second interview in the “Meet the Market” series.

More than a year ago,  I was wandering around Pike Place Market for the first time, when I met The Birdman.  In that opportunity,  I spent a fair amount of time talking to him and his gorgeous and gallant African Grey Parrot.  I immediately fell in love with the smart bird, who can talk to you, lay on its back and hang out with you while “hanging upside down.”  Of course, I took many photos of both the parrot and The Birdman.  It was a lovely experience that I treasured as one of the best memories our beautiful Emerald City has offered to me.

A few weeks ago, and now that The Market is more familiar to me than ever, I ran into The Birdman again.  He was waiting for his lunch to be delivered (an insanely, delicious seafood plate).  We talked for a few moments, and I told him I wanted to write about him.  He was very excited to be featured on our blog.  I asked him if he had another name.  He only smiled back.

“I’m just The Birdman,”  he finally said.  Then he added, “But, be sure to mention that the parrot’s name is Phineas Phogg.”

He also told me he has been in the Market for about nine years.  The Birdman is originally from the Midwest and loves Seattle.  He and Phineas look like “fish in the water” when it comes to entertaining people.  This happens with both adults and kids.  Everyone gets to talk to them, enjoy the stories and play with Phineas, by holding or touching it!

Whether Phineas is busy doing some gymnastics (like the “back summersault”) or barking like a dog (he also meows), he will always have time to give The Birdman a kiss, very close to his white beard.  If you see them,  don’t hesitate in talking to these two.  I can assure you that, like me, you won’t be able to forget this fantastic pair.

The Birdman and Phineas can also be seen at the start of this video http://www.seekgeo.com/?p=165


Planting Tulip Bulbs In The Skagit Valley

Seattle Tulip Festival Tours

Every year I take a drive to the tulip fields to meet with the owners and gardeners to not only learn about the tulip growing business but also to see where the fields are being planted for our upcoming tours and to learn more about the tulip business to help educate our customers. I feel that taking the time to build these relationships makes for a better tour experience for our customers. (Photo from our 2017 Tulip Tour)

Each year there are some pleasant surprises to look forward to with changes in the gardens and new designs that make each visit every year, different.

On our tour, we stop at Roozengaarde first, so this was my first stop on this day as well. Roozengaarde was created by the Washington Bulb Company, owned by the Roozen family who have been in the tulip business for several hundred years. Back in 1947, William Roozen came to America with the dreams of what was possible. With his family experience in growing tulips, he arrived in the Skagit Valley to fulfill that dream. Saving for five years, he purchased some acreage and Washington Bulb Company was born.

Today the Washington Bulb Company is the largest producer of tulips in the country.

Ricardo of Roozengaarde

Whenever I arrive at the gardens I always see the familiar faces of the staff that run the store year round. But,  I’m also on the lookout for Ricardo, the head gardener and the guy responsible for all the hard work that he and his team put in to make our visits the best they can be. This photo was taken of us at the beginning of the 2017 Tulip Festival.

First I wandered the 5-acre display garden just to get a sense of what was going on, and they are at the very beginning stages of bringing the garden together.  With almost half a million bulbs painstakingly planted, the amount of manual and intellectual labor is intense.

Planting Tulip Bulbs at Roozengaarde

First, the flower beds have to be designed for not only colors but varieties whether they are early or late blooming tulips. Once the design phase is complete, then those designs are laid out on the dirt, with each bulb placed where it will be planted with proper spacing and optimal design. Next, each bulb will be planted one by one, by hand, until half a million bulbs are planted. Ricardo told me they would be planting into December and I was there in mid-October.

He also shared with me some of the new changes they have made to the gardens with different designs and layouts, but I’ll save those for your Spring visit as I don’t want to give any of it away.  But these guys always knock it out of the park with their displays. I have had many customers say that these gardens rival Keukenhof Gardens in Holland with their design and colors, on a much smaller scale of course.

Before and After Tulip Planting

It’s fun to wander the gardens when no one is there and try to imagine what it will look like when we bring our customers and see the delight on their faces as they walk around the gardens. I always joke with people at the end of the day and ask them if they are “Tulip’d Out” Many can agree that there are so many to see that it’s hard to take it all in.

Tulip Town in Skagit Valley

My next stop was Tulip Town, our second display garden that we partner with. As I slid the door open to the warehouse, I ran into Matt. Matt and I have known each other for a number of years as he has been an employee of Tulip Town since we started providing our tours six years ago. He was busy working but took the time to chat and walk around and explain the process of planting the fields and shared with me the equipment that was designed for their operation. They had transformed what is normally the indoor display garden to an operation for planting the tulips for their gardens. Normally this location has beautiful indoor murals with a large variety of colors, but those were all covered in plastic until the Spring.

Tulip Town in Skagit Valley

The owner Tom stopped by to say hello and I was not surprised that he was working as he was pushing a lawnmower. As the rain slowly started coming down, he shared with me where they planted their fields for the upcoming season. He also let me know that this year the tulip bulbs were going to be planted closer together and it should be even more colors than previous years. This was music to my ears as I could just imagine those beautiful alternating rows of colors being even more vibrant than years past. Always one to talk and educate me on the tulips, he shared with me lots of information on the challenges of growing tulips, but also some improvements he is making for our customers to have an even better experience. Again I don’t want to give anything away here, but I am excited for the Tulip tours to start, already.

Always one to talk and educate me on the tulips, he shared with me lots of information on the challenges of growing tulips, but also some improvements he is making for our customers to have an even better experience. Again I don’t want to give anything away here, but I am excited for the Tulip tours to start, already. Visiting Tulip Town close to 150 times throughout the years, I feel like their success and improvements are ours as well.

Colorful Birdhouses at Tulip Town

As I was getting ready to leave, I said one last goodbye to Matt and he showed me some of the birdhouses he has been building. These will be sold at an upcoming holiday show, but he will be building more that our customers will be able to purchase in the Spring. He shared with me that he uses repurposed wood he finds around the farm, old doorknobs and whatever other materials he can use. He then handed me a sack of tulip bulbs to take home and plant. These are perfect, as I will now have my own way to see how the tulips are progressing so I can adjust our tour dates and add additional tours.

Shuh Farms Pumpkin Patch

I had one last stop I needed to make and that was at Shuh Farms. October is the perfect time to visit this farm as all the pumpkins are ready to pick and the barn and store are busy with people coming from all over to get into the fall and Halloween spirit.

Shuh Farms for Halloween

Shuh Farms is always creative and have lots of fall vegetables available from their own and surrounding farms.

Shuh Farms in October

On this day the rain was just starting as I turned on my windshield wipers as I started my journey back home.  My thoughts went to all the people who work on the farms and gardens year round. Though the Tulip Festival is only for one month in April, the planning and preparation take the whole year for the employees and owners. They spend the time and dedicate their lives to creating something that is magical for over half a million people a year that visit the Skagit Valley.

If you would like to buy tulips can do so from Washington Bulb Company or Tulip Town, in the fall.

For now, those tulip bulbs will be nestled into their beds for the long winter nap. But come springtime, you can join us for our tulip festival tours whether you are a local or traveling from afar.