By now, travelers worldwide have heard about personality of Puget Sound, the views of Mount Rainier: The mellow, laid-back nature of the Pacific Northwest; the laboratory that spawned the genius of Microsoft; the rhythms, fashions and heartbreaks of grunge; and great local cuisine that includes regional wines from area vineyards, a serious crop of coffee houses and eco-friendly farming that winds up on the plates of superstar chefs' restaurants. Add to that seasonal offers that put all this within reach, whatever your traveling style.
Getting There by Air
United Airlines (tel. 800/241-6522; www.united.com) is having a "Spring in the Air" fare sale to all global destinations and one of the available routes is Denver to Seattle for $248 round-trip. You need to book these spring sale flights by April 21, 2006. Fares are for mid-week travel with a Saturday night stay mandatory good from travel from April 24 to June 8, 2006. There's also a deal from Buenos Aires to Seattle for $910 round-trip with air taxes and security fees available at an additional cost. Round-trip from Chicago to Seattle costs approximately $290. Make sure you book two weeks in advance to ensure the best price in this spring fare sale impacting 20,000 of United Airline's routes. From Phoenix to Seattle, expect to pay about $349.
Where to Stay
After taking advantage of these air sales, hotels in Seattle aren't too hard to come by. From large business-class hotels located near the convention center and the city's efficient public transportation system to small inns and quaint B&Bs, Seattle has many sleeping choices. You can find some money saving deals at Seattle Super Saver (tel. 800/535-7071; www.seattlesupersaver.com), which has an easy to use and super-fast search engine that lists hotels by types, prices, dates, star-ratings, promotions and location. For a four-day trip in mid-June we found 37 deals available all over the Seattle metropolitan area.
- Starting at $49 for the economy-type hotels such as Best Value Inn or Econo Lodge or around $90 for a Days Inn in Center City, rooms range in price all the way up to $355 per night at the W Hotel in Seattle.
- A room at the two-star (but very comfortable) Sixth Street Inn starts at $117 per night. The Sixth Street Inn is located in the heart of downtown near Pike Place Market, the waterfront and the Seattle Center.
- For a room overlooking the Lake Union with views of Seattle's famous space needle, expect to pay about $157 at the three-star Silver Cloud Inn.
- In addition to being one of Seattle's top hotels in the main shopping district, the four-star Mayflower Park Hotel has an entrance leading to the Westlake Center and the Seattle monorail which shuttles "Seattleans" to the major tourist and business sites around the city. From Westlake you can easily get to the Seattle Center, the Space needle and the Seattle Music Project. Booking a room through the Seattle Super Saver Website locks in rates at approximately $185 for the June vacation.
- Wine lovers will love the accommodations at the Willows Lodge located just outside the city in the Woodinville area, a region known for its winemaking. Sitting on five-acres bordering the Sammamish River, this rustic hotel is both rural and luxurious. Built in the style of a northwest lodge in dark woods with exposed wooden beams and windows looking towards the great outdoors, rooms start at just $205 per night.
Where to Hang and What to See
The Bumbershoot (www.bumbershoot.org) is an end-of-summer giant jamboree combining great music with local the local arts scene. Kanye West headlines this year's festival taking place over Labor Day weekend from September 2-4, 2006. Celebrating its 36th year, the citywide festival features over 1,500 artists showing their work in over 20 venues. Also performing are Yellowcard and Tribe Called Quest as well as a host of classical acts and jazz and folk musicians playing instruments indigenous to the percussion roots of the American Northwest. Other artistic events taking place during Bumbershoot include dance performances, an exhibit of underground of poster artists, and literary readings by world-renowned writers living in the Seattle area. Comedy, technology and the visual arts will also be on display at this diverse and large three-day fest. Tickets prices for all the different venues and events will be announced on July 11, 2006, four days before they go on sale on July 15, 2006.
Baseball fans will want to head over the Safeco Field to catch the Seattle Mariners (tel. 206/346-4000; www.mlb.com) in action. Loaded with former stars of the Japanese baseball world, like right-fielder Ichiro Suzuki and new catcher Kenji Johjima, the Mariners are a fast and fun team to watch. Ticket prices start at $7 for bleacher seats and go all the way up to $55 for a lower box seat. Certain games have a promotion selling "two seats for $22." Another big bonus of attending a game at Safeco is the food. Labeled a giant food court in addition to a baseball stadium, Safeco Field features food from some of Seattle's top restaurants and food establishments. Sushi, several barbecue choices, a clam house, Tully's coffee, pizza baked in a wood-burning stove, and of course, the traditional hot dog. For kids, there's a huge playground behind center field which has its own food court called Moose's Munchies.
Safeco Field is one of major league baseball's most scenic and architecturally interesting stadiums with a state-of-the-art retractable roof that protects the game and players from rain but still leaves an opening for stellar views of the surrounding city and landscape. If you're not attending a game, you can still tour the stadium. Tours are usually in the morning starting at 10:30am, 12:30pm and 2:30pm. The 2:30pm tour is not available on evening game days. Prices for the stadium tour start at $7 for adults, $6 for seniors above 65, and $5 for children between 3 and 12.
Got a tip for getting the most out of a visit to Seattle? Tell us on our Washington State Message Boards today.