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2-day solo trip to Seattle - What to do?

I am going to Seattle in the beginning of May for a quick trip, and I'll be on my own for most of the time. What are some fun things for a solo traveler to do in the area? I will be staying in Belltown.

I love authentic coffee shops, farmer's markets, donuts, good seafood and wine. I have no problem traveling to wherever is best, but since I'm staying in Belltown, I'd love some Belltown specific suggestions as well that I can easily walk to. Thanks in advance!

13 Answers

top answer by
Liz from Seattle

Nearby Seattle Center has the Space Needle, some sculptures, an international friendship garden, the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum. Purple Cafe and Wine Bar downtown has a really neat spiral staircase wine rack (pictured below). Kerry Park would be less than 2 miles, but largely up a steep hill, and is a great free way to get a gorgeous view of the city and the sound. There is plentiful seafood downtown, but the place my family always wants to return is Ray's Cafe, the upstairs part of a fancy restaurant that serves still somewhat upscale food for lower prices than the pricier ground floor. If you're going up that-a-way, the Ballard Locks can be a neat visit, with a botanical garden area and the salmon ladder exhibit (though depending on the season, you may not see any fish), and there's nearby Golden Gardens beach, if you want to walk in the sand and on a clear day see the Olympic Mountains (very crowded on a nice day). The Fremont Neighborhood is also a great visit while north of the canal. Schedule a Theo Chocolate Factory Tour in advance for under $10 or just try the free samples in the store. Also in the Fremont area is a statue of Lenin, the Fremont Troll under the bridge, and the "Center of the Universe" along with some cute shops to browse. They have a Sunday Market in the area that brings even more craft vendors, a flea market, and a small farmer's market to the area as well. Absolutely echo Pike Place Market that others mentioned in downtown too, if you like farmer's markets. These are some of the highlights I always share with friends who come to visit. Enjoy your trip!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Seattle Center (attraction)
  2. Space Needle (attraction)
  3. Experience Music Project (attraction)
  4. Science Fiction Museum (attraction)
  5. Purple Cafe and Wine Bar (restaurant)
  6. Kerry Park (attraction)
  7. Ray's Cafe (restaurant)
  8. Ballard Locks (attraction)
  9. Golden Gardens (attraction)
  10. Fremont Neighborhood (neighborhood)
  11. Theo Chocolate Factory Tour (attraction)
  12. Fremont Troll (attraction)
  13. Pike Place Market (attraction)
13 thanks

answered by
Reza from Seattle

Looking at your list of likes (which is surprisingly similar to mine), I think the first place you should check out is Pike Place Market. Once you get past all the flying fish, there's lots to explore. While there, you can take a look atthe original Starbucks location (which looks like every other Starbucks except for the original brown sign). When you're ready for a break, grab a bite and a glass of wine at Le Pichet

If you're really into coffee, you might do a mini coffee shop tour. The #8 bus will take you up to Capitol Hill, where you'll find Espresso VivaceAnalog CoffeeVictrola CoffeeCaffé VitaStumptown Coffee among others. If you're in town on a Sunday, there's a farmer's market in the neighborhood as well. Come to think of it, that's a lot of coffee. You may want to stop at Top Pot Doughnuts before you head up.

Back to Belltown and time to eat. If you like sushi, then Shiro's is the place. Shiro was the first sushi chef in Seattle 40 years ago and still goes to the fish markets every morning to choose the best before the rest gets on trucks for delivery to the other restaurants. If you're lucky (and early) he may be working the sushi bar. He's incredibly chatty, so one of my favorite options when dining alone. 

Another great option for eats is Mistral Kitchen. They're tops for food and cocktails, and have possibly the best Happy Hour food in town, starting at 4:00. You can't beat $1 oysters!

If you have questions or need recommendations while you're here, send a tweet to (at)SeattleMaven. She's has the inside scoop on everything Seattle.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pike Place Market (attraction)
  2. Le Pichet (restaurant)
  3. Victrola Coffee (attraction)
  4. Stumptown Coffee (restaurant)
  5. Top Pot Doughnuts (restaurant)
  6. Shiro's (restaurant)
  7. Espresso Vivace (restaurant)
  8. Analog Coffee (restaurant)
  9. Caffé Vita (restaurant)
  10. Mistral Kitchen (restaurant)
8 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Tony from Seattle

Love all the answers here.  From Belltown, you are about a mile away from the Ferry Docks, which means you can do two awesome boat trips.

  1. Bainbridge Island Ferry - Here's the schedule.  For about $8, you can hop over to Bainbridge.  The trip is nice and gets you a GREAT view of the Seattle skyline.  The other side doesn't have much-- small cute town with a main street.  If you dig gelato, there's a very traditional place called Gelarto that's worth a visit.

  2. West Seattle Water Taxi - Schedule is here.  On the other side is Marination Ma Kai (the brick and mortar version of Marination-- the korean/hawaiian food truck that won Best Food Truck in America).  You can also take a shuttle or walk the 1.5 miles to Alki Beach Park, which is a lovely beach with lots of restaurants/bike rentals/etc.  Killer spot for sunsets.

For a cool coffee place, you can't beat Caffe Umbria in Pioneer Square.  It's a great neighborhood and a killer location.  If you're there near lunchtime, hit Armandino's Salumi - there will be lines out the door, but their sandwiches (cured meat, pork shoulder or meatball-- all fab) are worth it.

I'm not a huge donut fan, but if you had any sense, you'd b-line to Crumble & Flake, a bakery in lower Cap Hill.  Get there right when they open at 9 on the weekends for Koign Amann and Canele, two pastries you've never had that will melt your soul.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bainbridge Island Ferry (attraction)
  2. Marination Ma Kai (restaurant)
  3. Alki Beach Park (attraction)
  4. Caffe Umbria (restaurant)
  5. Armandino's Salumi (restaurant)
  6. Gelarto (restaurant)
  7. West Seattle Water Taxi (attraction)
  8. Crumble & Flake (restaurant)
6 thanks

answered by
Erin from Kentucky

Pike Place Market is wonderful. It is downtown, but well worth traveling to. If you are into authentic, that is the place to be. Wonderful artisan shops, fresh and local produce, gelato, etc. can be found daily.  Any type of food can be found at multiple price ranges. Close by is the Chihuly Garden and Glass...well worth the $30 admission fee, absolutely stunning pieces.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pike Place Market (attraction)
  2. Chihuly Garden and Glass (attraction)
6 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Anthony from Missoula

Of course Pike Place Market is wonderful as is Seattle Center (Space Needle etc.). I've enjoyed both historical walking tours (Seattle Underground Tour) and food tours of Seattle. The University of Washington district and the campus itself are also worth a visit. Finally, the International District near Safeco Field is a fun place to look around and eat at. Enjoy!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pike Place Market (attraction)
  2. Seattle Center (attraction)
  3. Space Needle (attraction)
  4. Seattle Underground Tour (attraction)
  5. University of Washington (attraction)
  6. International District (attraction)
  7. Safeco Field (attraction)
6 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Briana from Seattle

Everyone that's already shared has some great suggestions, so I'll just add new: 


1) Top Pot Doughnuts: on 5th between Lenora and Blanchard. The original top pot, delicious doughnuts, made on site. Do breakfast (maybe 1st breakfast) there 1 day.  


2) Olympic Sculpture Park & waterfront trail: IF it's nice, this is a great area to spend some time in & just wander. Close to belltown, you'll get some great views of the sound & the city.  


3) My dad just came to visit for 36 hours & we did: tulip festival in Skagit county (will be over by the time you get here sadly), Ray's boathouse, Portage Bay Cafe, Cactus, serious pie, Pike Place Market & the Seattle Art Museum. It was a fantastic weekend!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Top Pot Doughnuts (restaurant)
  2. Olympic Sculpture Park (attraction)
  3. Portage Bay Cafe (restaurant)
  4. Cactus (restaurant)
  5. Pike Place Market (attraction)
  6. Seattle Art Museum (attraction)
5 thanks

answered by
Nathan from Sayulita

Everyone knows about it and loves it - Pike Place Market is right down the street from you. Lots of fresh food, vendors, restaurants, bars, etc. Belltown is a great area for what you're looking for.

Local 360 is a great restaurant using very local ingredients.

There's also the Seattle Center with the Space NeedleSeattle Repertory TheatreIntiman, Pacific Northwest Ballet and more.

Seattle Art Museum and Seattle Symphony are both downtown, too. Plus the ferry/wharf and Olympic Sculpture Park.

And if you're up for a really great walk, I *highly* encourage checking out the nearby areas of Queen Anne and South Lake Union (the latter has had some SERIOUS redevelopment in terms of restaurants, shops, etc.)

Have a great time!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pike Place Market (attraction)
  2. Local 360 (restaurant)
  3. Seattle Center (attraction)
  4. Space Needle (attraction)
  5. Olympic Sculpture Park (attraction)
  6. Queen Anne (neighborhood)
  7. South Lake Union (neighborhood)
  8. Seattle Repertory Theatre (attraction)
  9. Intiman (attraction)
  10. Pacific Northwest Ballet (attraction)
  11. Seattle Symphony (attraction)
  12. Seattle Art Museum (attraction)
4 thanks

answered by
Suzi from Seattle

I agree with all suggestions up above!

The nice part about Seattle is that it is very walkable; you should be able to get to most of these main attractions by foot from Belltown.

I'm a restaurant photographer in Seattle, so I'm chiming in from the food perspective.

If you're a foodie, Tom Douglas is one of the main Seattle restauranteurs--his staple restaurants Dahlia Lounge (best for dinner) and Palace Kitchen (also best for dinner) are right in Belltown/Downtown.

A couple of other established Seattle chefs also have new restaurants downtown, Aragona, Spanish cuisine by Chef Jason Stratton, and Loulay Kitchen & Bar, French cuisine by Chef Thierry Rauteareau. Venture down into Pioneer Square and you'll also find The London Plane, a restaurant by James Beard award-winning Chef Matt Dillion, or his other restaurant Sitka & Spruce in lower Capitol Hill. 

Have a blast! Feel free to tweet at me as well: username suzi123

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Dahlia Lounge (restaurant)
  2. Palace Kitchen (restaurant)
  3. Pioneer Square (attraction)
  4. Sitka & Spruce (restaurant)
  5. Aragona (restaurant)
  6. Loulay Kitchen & Bar (restaurant)
  7. The London Plane (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Megan from Seattle

Hey Serena, you are in luck, because Belltown  and Downtown have a lot to offer in the way of food.

The restaurants I recommend are:

Palace Kitchen (sit at the bar)

Spur Gastropub (sit at the bar)

Macrina Bakery & Cafe is great for breakfast or coffee

Local 360 is also great for breakfast

Top Pot Doughnuts in Belltown

The Big Picture Seattle is a cool movie theater that has a bar, you can drink while you watch

If you like jazz Dimitriou's Jazz Alley is in Belltown

There is an 'urban marketplace' called Assembly Hall that has a restaurant and other shops for foodies

Pike Place Market is a great farmers market

Seattle Art Museum is good and the downtown library is also cool.

Have fun!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Belltown (attraction)
  2. Palace Kitchen (restaurant)
  3. Spur Gastropub (restaurant)
  4. Macrina Bakery & Cafe (restaurant)
  5. Local 360 (restaurant)
  6. Top Pot Doughnuts (restaurant)
  7. Big Picture Seattle (attraction)
  8. Assembly Hall (restaurant)
  9. Pike Place Market (attraction)
  10. Dimitriou's Jazz Alley (attraction)
  11. Seattle Art Museum (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Ryan from Redondo Beach

The best sandwich I ever had was at Paseo Caribbean Restaurant. Long line and get there early because they run out of food.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Paseo Caribbean Restaurant (restaurant)
2 thanks

answered by
Alissa from Queen Anne

Le Pichet is a perfect place to dine solo, especially for lunch. It's right around the corner from Pike Place Market, too! Hotel Max has a fun 90s night every Thursday in their bar, which might be a fun event to check out. If you are in the mood to see another Seattle neighborhood, Ballard Neighborhood has an awesome weekend farmers market on the main street with lots of restaurants and shops. Grab a taco at La Carta De Oaxaca and walk around the Ballard Market. You can take the Rapid Ride bus from Belltown to get there. Super easy.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Le Pichet (restaurant)
  2. Pike Place Market (attraction)
  3. Hotel Max (hotel)
  4. Ballard Neighborhood (neighborhood)
  5. La Carta De Oaxaca (restaurant)
  6. Ballard Market (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Andrea at from Seattle

Hi Serena,

Since you are in Belltown, we would recommend trying one of Seattle's best kept secrets. Bathtub Gin & Co.. It is amazing- a hidden little gem in the heart of Belltown.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bathtub Gin & Co. (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Ronda from The World

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Queen Anne (neighborhood)
  2. Space Needle (attraction)
  3. Fremont Troll (attraction)
  4. Pike Place Market (attraction)
  5. Woodinville (city)
  6. West Seattle shoreline (attraction)
  7. Green Lake Park (attraction)
  8. Restaurant Marché (restaurant)
1 thanks

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