Guide: How to spend 48 hours in Seattle
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If we could, we’d recommend that 48 hours in Seattle isn’t enough to really see just how incredible this city is. That being said, plenty of people only have time for a weekend trip or a little stopover rather than a full week or two to explore the PNW’s ultimate gem. Too bad, but not the end of the world! With that in mind, we’ve put together our guide on the perfect way to spend 48 hours in Seattle. Here we go!
Day One – Morning
Start the day off with a pot of coffee and a hot breakfast at the Wandering Goose. This Southern influenced cafe can be found in the heart of Seattle’s North Capitol Hill neighborhood. The delicious grub, beautiful space, and the awesome atmosphere is definitely worth the visit. After you’re well fed, grab yourself a city pass to spend the day exploring!
A Seattle city pass admission includes The Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) or The Woodland Park Zoo, and Chihuly Garden and Glass or Pacific Science Center. At just $138, this is a steal of a deal to cover all the best tourist attractions!
To break up the spots that you’ll cover through your city pass, and for enough time to properly take it all in, head over to the Space Needle first. For the first time in half a century, the Space Needle has been totally transformed, with two new levels! Check out the Skyrisers and The Loupe. Once you’ve sufficiently sight-seen from 605’ up in the sky, head over to Chihuly Garden and Glass.
Chihuly Garden and Glass is an exhibit in the Seattle Center showcasing the studio glass of Dale Chihuly. Chihuly, who was born in Tacoma, Washington, has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art. This exhibit features some incredible works of art that you definitely will want to have your camera ready for. Once you’ve experienced these jaw-dropping displays, finish off your morning at MoPOP! With current exhibitions featuring the likes of Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and Scared To Death: The Thrill Of Horror Film, you’re definitely going to want to make sure you hit these exhibits to close out your morning!
Day One – Afternoon
Head over to Pike Place Market to check out some truly some iconic Seattle spots. There, you will be able to see the first ever Starbucks, and the very well-known Gum wall. Although once torn down, this bad boy is back up and ready for you to shoot some gum selfies in front of!
Pike Place Public Market has a ton of adorable vendors, so pick up your mom, lover, friend, or yourself some fresh flowers, decadent meats, and cheeses from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese!
A few definite spots to check out and grab more photos throughout the market would be in front of the Pike Place Market sign, as well as the neon Post Alley sign!
Grab a traditional tourist lunch at Pike Place Chowder. With eight handcrafted varieties daily, and being named Yelp’s #1 most popular dish in the U.S., you know it’s gonna be a good spot to stop. Not a chowder lover? They’ve got an unreal lunch menu featuring items like fresh fish tacos or fish and chips, so no need to feel set on just trying the chowder. For dessert, grab yourselves a ginger beer at Rachel’s Ginger Beer.
This little cafe is as cute as it is tasty. You’ll be glad you hopped on over after you taste one of their famous flavors of ginger beer and a cup of heavenly soft serve.
Once you are full of ice cream and chowder, head over to the Seattle Aquarium. The Aquarium features spectacular exhibits like the underwater dome. The undersea dome offers a 360º view into a mammoth 400,000-gallon tank filled with hundreds of fascinating Puget Sound fish.
A few of the other incredible exhibits include Pacific coral reef, marine mammals, the life of a drifter, birds, and shores, and the family activity center. With animals like sea otters, seals, puffer fish, gigantic Pacific octopus, jellyfish, and sea stars, you’ll be sure to spend the afternoon wowed.
With a bit of the afternoon left, check out Seattle underground tours! Bill Speidel’s underground tour is one of the city’s most unusual attractions. Many people don’t know this, but the city has its roots 10 to 20 feet below ground! So take a stroll through intriguing subterranean storefronts and sidewalks entombed when the city rebuilt on top of itself after the Great Fire of 1889.
Day One – Evening
As the evening strolls in, and all the walking making you hungry, head out for some dinner at The Pink Door. The Pink Door pairs good food with a sense of community, culture, and generosity of spirit. The historic space in Post Alley once housed a violin shop and has since become this savory restaurant. Built around Italian classics, you can’t go wrong with this menu.
It’s our job to provide you with the best recommendations, so naturally, allow us to tell you about how good the Winter Risotto and Pink Door Lasagna is. With exotic mushrooms, truffle shavings and organic egg yolk in the risotto, plus fresh spinach pasta layered with besciamella, pesto and topped with marinara sauce in the lasagna, you won’t be disappointed with either!
Next up, check out the Seattle Great Wheel, a giant Ferris wheel at Pier 57 on Elliott Bay. Take a ride on this iconic Wheel on Pier 57 and see the city like never before. Each gondola can fit 8 people and provides an amazing ride that lights up the sky at night. Hence why you should definitely be saving it until the evening!
To top the day off, end your night at Needle and Thread. This sophisticated, reservations-only cocktail bar is accessed through a bank vault in the Tavern Law pub! This bar is such a cool spot to kick back and grab a few drinks.
Day Two – Morning
We know we jam-packed your day yesterday, so today we’re going to take it back a notch, all while saving you some money on Uber bills. To start your day, fuel up at Biscuit Bitch. This resto is all about the “trailer park to table” influence – it sounds so wrong, but it tastes so right… Toss back some coffee and grab yourself the Bitchwitch, a biscuit egg breakfast sandwich with cheddar, and your choice of sausage or bacon. It’s that simple and that delicious.
Nobody likes being hangry, so once you’re good and full, grab an uber over to the Seattle Art Museum. This museum maintains three major facilities: its main museum in downtown Seattle (which is our recommendation), the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill, and the open Olympic Sculpture Park on the central Seattle waterfront.
So, you can definitely get picky about which location is most convenient for you to hit up. Once you feel a tinge of appetite start to crawl back, grab a slice of heaven, or a whole pie of heaven, over at Slice Box Pizza.
Day Two – Afternoon
If you’re anything like us, shopping is just as important as eating and sightseeing, so we recommend checking out a few of the best shops that Capitol Hill has to offer.
First, check out Totokaelo, an edgy boutique carrying some awesome brands. Next, check out Elliot Bay Book Company and grab yourself a good read for the drive or airplane ride home. We have been told that Columbia city bakery has the best brownies ever, so if you’re shopping on a Sunday, grab a few of those bad boys from the Broadway farmers market.
If you’re as into vintage shopping as we are, definitely check out the huge Goodwill. It’s a little overpriced because of its location, but still full of unbeatable deals. Last but not least, visit Everyday Music, an adorable vinyl shop that the average record lover could spend an entire afternoon in.
Day Two – Evening
As your wallet runs empty and the evening draws in, head up to Kerry Park to spend some time watching the sunset from the perfect view. For dinner and drinks, hit up Dicks Drive-In Restaurant. Definitely order a classic bite like the cheeseburger and fries. With 100% real beef and their locally made buns both delivered fresh every day, these are some of the best burgers you can get.
To end the night, grab some brews over at Unicorn and Narwhal. These two carnival-themed bars located on Capitol Hill, each pack their own vibe into one location offering whimsical food & drink options, an arcade, claw machine, and photo booth. And just like that, your two days in Seattle has come to an end and you have officially uncovered the best of the city!
There you have it! Our picks for places to go, spots to see, and things to do during 48 hours in Seattle.