Seattle’s average temperature in July is 75° F with a low of 54° F. July is the driest month of the year. Days are typically warm with a light breeze. Evenings are pleasant but can be cool.
Seattle is a West Coast seaport city with an estimated 662,400 residents as of 2015. Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States, and remained in the top five in May 2015, with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. The Seattle metropolitan area is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.6 million inhabitants.
The city is situated on a narrow isthmus between Puget Sound (an inlet of the Pacific Ocean) and Lake Washington, about 100 miles (160 km) south of the Canada–United States border. A major gateway for trade with Asia, Seattle is the 8th largest port in the United States and 9th largest in North America, in terms of container handling.
Pike Place Market
This historic, beloved downtown public market has been in business since 1907. It is a year-round farmers market and a visual riot of vegetable, seafood, cheese, and flower stalls, along with handicrafts and tourist-friendly knick knacks. And, of course, the flying fish. Vendors at Pike Place Fish Market gleefully toss salmon to each other and crack jokes, always drawing a crowd at the fish stall by the market’s main entrance.
For less of a crowd, take the stairs to “Down Under,” a wood-floored maze of small shops beneath the main-level market. Mosey through the shops and stalls across the street from the main market, including “the original” Starbucks (the store, which retains its vintage look, was actually moved from down the street about five years after its 1971 opening.)
Info: The main entrance to Pike Place Market is located at First Avenue and Pike Street. The market is open daily. Visit pikeplacemarket.org for more information.
This vertical icon of the city is so kitschy it has become cool, and it gives a great view from the top. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, it stands 605 feet tall and looks like a spaceship on stilts, towering over Seattle Center. Seattle Center is a cultural complex where you could easily spend hours at the Pacific Science Center, Chihuly glass display, food court, theaters, or simply watching kids frolic in a giant outdoor fountain.
Get there on the Seattle Center Monorail (another kitschy World’s Fair legacy) from Westlake Center in the heart of downtown; it takes just a few minutes.
Info: The Space Needle is open daily, including evenings. Admission starts at $22 (adult) for the elevator ride to the observation deck, 520 feet up. You can also get a meal with a view at Skycity Restaurant. Visit www.spaceneedle.com or call 206-905-2100 for more information and to make reservations at SkyCity.
Chinatown – International District
Seattle’s Chinatown is almost as old as the city, emerging in the 1880s. Now also called the International District, it is a cultural hub for Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipino, and other immigrants. It is packed with Asian restaurants and shops, and home to the Wing Luke Museum, which chronicles the life and times of Pacific and Asian Americans in the area ($14.95 adult admission). Join the locals at bubble-tea shops or for dim sum. Get a big taste of local cultures at Uwajimaya, a bustling supermarket of Asian foods and gifts.
Info: Visit Chinatown – International District’s website, www.seattlechinatown.com for more information.
Soon the traffic-roaring Alaskan Way Viaduct, which cuts off downtown Seattle from its waterfront, will come tumbling down and be replaced by a tunnel. For now, there is a broad sidewalk along the harbor front with shops, eateries (fish and chips is always a favorite), and wooden piers jutting out into the bay. Stop at the Seattle Aquarium to see what lives in (and beyond) the local waters (adult admission, $22.95). Ride the Seattle Great Wheel, a 175-foot tall Ferris wheel with enclosed gondola-type cabins, for a view from on high of the city, Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains to the west (adult ticket $13).