Seattle Shore Excursion Reviews

Seattle (Photo:f11photo/Shutterstock)

Popular Things to Do in Seattle

If you're planning an Alaska cruise, chances are you might be leaving out of the Pacific Northwest city of Seattle. The largest city in Washington State is well-known for both its often rainy weather and its abundance of lush green spaces, including a number of parks. Beyond its photogenic appearance, there's much to see and do in Seattle, particularly if you're a foodie -- an excursion to Pike Place Market (birthplace of Starbucks) and a stop for some truly legendary coffee at any number of independent coffeehouses is in order. Architecture buffs won't want to miss Smith Tower and the Space Needle. An extra day or two in Seattle pre- or post-cruise is a must for cruisers who have time to spare.

Seattle's best weather is actually during the summer months -- from July to October -- when it's much sunnier and there's less rain. Even though winter is wet and overcast, it's still a great time to explore indoor attractions like museums and wineries. English is the official language in Seattle, and the currency is the U.S. dollar.


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Seattle Cruise Tips, Activities, and Overview

Food and Drink in Seattle

Beyond coffee, the Seattle dining scene centers around seafood, international and internationally-influenced cuisine, and a bountiful array of chef-driven venues showcasing regionally-sourced ingredients.

Anthony's Trio of Dining Venues: Located on Seattle's waterfront next to Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66, these restaurants (2201 Alaskan Way) offer something seafood for everyone. Anthony's Pier 66 restaurant) serves dinner (only) with an Elliot Bay view and a menu featuring everything from raw Northwest oysters and Alaskan king salmon to Dungeness crab and fresh Pacific ahi tuna.

In the same building, Anthony's Bell Street Diner and Anthony's Fish Bar serve more casual, seafood-centric dishes and are open for lunch and dinner. (Anthony's Bell St. Diner: lunch served Monday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Anthony's Fish Bar is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

Palisade: This place, near Smith Cove Terminal at Pier 91, is a classy steak and seafood venue with great views of Elliot Bay and impeccable service. (2601 W. Marina Place; 206-285-1000; lunch served Monday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. with Sunday buffet brunch from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)

Maggie Bluffs: Also nearby is the far more informal and entertaining Maggie Bluffs, which offers great views of the marina and waterfront as well as a lunch and dinner menu with reasonably price fish and chips, tacos, burgers and sandwiches, including the popular Alaska cod po' boy. (2601 W. Marina Place; 206-283-8322; lunch served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. everyday.)

Cafe Campagne: One of more than 30 places to grab a bite at Pike Place Market, Cafe Campagne is a much-loved classic French restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (1600 Post Alley; 206-728-2233; lunch served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

The Pink Door: This discreet spot in Pike Place Market offers Italian-American food with an emphasis on organic Northwest produce, as well as a killer rooftop view and nightly entertainment. (1919 Post Alley; 206-443-3241; lunch served Monday to Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Pike Place Chowder: More than a half-dozen different seafood chowders (several award-winning) are ladled up for the lunchtime crowd at Pike Place Chowder. (1530 Post Alley; lunch served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Don't Miss in Seattle

Pike Place Market: One of the oldest continuously operating farmers' markets in the country, Pike Place Market offer six levels of unique shops, restaurants and vendor stalls selling everything from fresh flowers and vegetables to handcrafted items. Head for the entrance to the Main Arcade, under the neon sign at First and Pike, for a photo op with the 550-pound bronze piggy bank known as Rachel the Pig, then take just a few steps into the market to watch the famed "fish guys" toss salmon and other fresh fish from the ice-filled display tables to colleagues behind the counter. Shopping, eating, perhaps a Public Market tour, and a stop at the "original" Starbucks (in its 2nd location; 1912 Pike Place; open daily 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.) can fill an entire day. (1st Avenue and Pike St.; 206-682-7453; open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day)

Seattle Center: The site of the 1962 World's Fair, the Seattle Center is home to a variety of attractions. (See below.)

Space Needle: The 605-foot-tallSpace Needle is Seattle's most iconic landmark. From the top you get 360-degree views of Seattle and Puget Sound, and if you're lucky Mount Rainier. (400 Broad Street; open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.)

Museum of Pop Culture: The MoPop Museum is dedicated to music, science fiction and popular culture. The museum is housed in a funky looking Frank Gehry building. (325 5th Avenue N.; daily summer hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

Pacific Science Center: Also found in the Seattle Center are the Pacific Science Center. (200 2nd Avenue; open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 6 pm. on weekends)

Chihuly Garden and Glass: This museum is stunning by day or night, featuring the creations of glass artist Dale Chihuly indoors and outdoors. (305 Harrison Street; open Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 pm and until 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday)

Seattle Center Monorail: The Seattle Center Monorail, also built for the 1962 World's Fair, runs between Seattle Center and the Westlake Center shopping mall in downtown Seattle. (Two stations: Adjacent to Space Needle and Westlake Center Mall, Fifth Avenue and Pine St.; summer hours: Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.)

Ferry Rides: The 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island, west of Seattle, is a popular and inexpensive tourist activity that offers great views of the Seattle skyline and an easy walk to shops, boutiques, beaches and the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (550 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island; open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) in downtown Winslow.
Board at Colman Dock, Pier 52, on the Seattle Waterfront. Fares for walk-on passengers are only collected between Seattle and Bainbridge Island; walk-ons ride free on the way back. Find schedules and current fares at www.wsdot.com/ferries/schedule. (801 Alaskan Way; 888-808-7977)

A Walk in the Park: Seattle is chock full of museums and parks, and the Seattle Art Museum's free Olympic Sculpture Park -- located on the waterfront, near the Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 -- is a perfect blending of the two. The 9-acre park has a small beach, great views and sculpture by a wide variety of major artists, including Richard Serra and Jaume Plensa, known for his giant sculptured heads. (2901 Western Avenue; open from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.)