We would like to start this post by saying you cannot do Seattle in 48 hours, you can barely do one neighborhood in that time, but realistically not everyone has time to spend months here exploring every nook and cranny. This post is for people who are coming to Seattle for a weekend and need to hit up only the best of the best.
You will probably be arriving in Seattle in the late afternoon. We are going to immediately throw you a curve ball and send you up to Capitol Hill. This is one of the best neighborhoods in Seattle for a number of reasons, and you can't miss it. First check out Melrose Market, maybe have a few oysters at Taylor Shellfish Company to keep you until dinner. Then head over to Elliott Bay Book Company, the #1 bookstore in Seattle, to browse their amazing selection with awesome staff to help you find your next favorite book.
Rise and shine and put your walking shoes on! Get to world-famous Pike Place Market at 9:00 AM before it gets swamped. Grab a crumpet at The Crumpet Shop and then start exploring. Check out Pike Place Fish (hint: when someone buys a fish they do the famous fish toss), the gorgeous flowers stalls, and grab free samples from many of the shops, including our favorites Ellenos Yogurt and Britt's Pickles. If you grab any food (hint: Piroshky Piroshky or Pike Place Chowder) and want a quiet place to enjoy it we recommend the Urban Garden. It's a bit tricky to find (located down the hallway to the left of Don and Joe's Meats), but a great secret of the market.
After you have thoroughly explored the market take the short walk down to Seattle's waterfront. The best stretch is between the Seattle Aquarium and Ivar's Acres of Clams. You can take in all the street artists, beautiful views of the Puget Sound, ride the Seattle Wheel, and get some food if you are hungry again. We have details all the best waterfront spots in this post.
Once you have worked up an appetite grab the water taxi located at Pier 50 ($4.50 one way) and take a short 5 minute boat ride across Puget Sound to get to our favorite seafood restaurant, Salty's, for your quintessential PNW dinner. This place has a fun atmosphere and killer views of the city skyline. Plus the food will make your life complete.
Sleep in a little today and then grab a coffee at one of Seattle's MANY coffee shops. Once you have caffeine in hand head over to the Olympic Sculpture Park. This is an extension of the Seattle Art Museum and is a beautiful place to spend the morning. Start at the top (entrance at the corner of Broad St. and Western Ave.) and then wind your way down the main path to the waterfront where you will find the park's newest sculpture (and our personal favorite), Echo.
From here you can make your way over to Seattle Center, which is a short walk. This park is the most popular in Seattle because of that giant needle people come to see. We recommend getting the joint ticket deal to visit the Space Needle and the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit because Chihuly is a mad genius (we did an entire post on this place here). Or if you are here around lunch you can get a free ticket to the Space Needle viewing deck if you eat at SkyCity, the rotating restaurant at the top of the Needle (spend a minimum of $25/guest).
We also love the EMP in Seattle Center. The EMP's exhibits pay tribute to all types of entertainment (think Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix, horror and fantasy films, and the Seahawks) and is well worth the $22 ticket price.
If you haven't already, grab a quick lunch. Seattle Center's Armory building has lots of options so everyone in the group should be happy. Sometimes there are some pretty delicious food carts hanging out in the area too. You can then take your food and enjoy it by the International Fountain and listen to the music.
From here head up Queen Anne hill to Kerry Park (you can walk, but be warned, the hill is gnarly). This park has arguably the best views of Seattle and the Space Needle. There also happens to be a delicious ice cream at Molly Moon's just up the street from it, so if you want to make a pit stop on your way we support that decision.
Take your photos, eat your ice cream. That's a wrap. Your 48 hours in Seattle is complete and you hit up all the best things!