The “niche” I wanted to focus on with this website was for people who travel alone either by choice or by default. As I’ve been writing entries, I’ve noticed that traveling along is not fundamentally different from traveling with a friend or group. Except for the fact that you have a lot more independence to do whatever you want.
However, sometimes there are times were you are alone and unsure what activities would be more comfortable than others as a single traveler. So I bring you the first installment of Single City; where I focus on activities in one city that are fun for someone to do by her/himself. This week I start with my hometown (which naturally I know better than any other city): Seattle.
I was born and raised in the Emerald City. There are tons of great things to do in Seattle and apparently word is out. In 2013, 18.6 million visitors enjoyed the beauty of Seattle. At least a few of these visitors, either traveling on business or for pleasure, were undoubtedly traveling alone (4 in 10 Americans have traveled alone for pleasure in the past few years, after all). Here are some ideas for your solo trip to Seattle:
- Visit one of Seattle’s museums – Museums are a great place to go by yourself because you get to check out the exhibits at your own pace. I prefer museums by myself. Seattle Art Museum is the largest collection in Seattle for both modern and classic art. Hint: If in town on the first weekend of the month, you can go for free if you have a Bank of America Visa like my favorite Alaska Airlines card. The Experience Music Project (by the Microsoft founder/Seahawks owner Paul Allen) is a decent place to spend an afternoon if you are interested in the history of music in Seattle or science fiction. Go with it. Next door is the new Chihuly Garden and Glass. Not my style personally but if you like it, you like it.
- Ride a bike – Seattle recently launched a bike share program called Pronto. For $8 a day you can ride a bike from destination to destination. Just pick up a bike at one of the many bike stations around town. During Seattle’s beautiful summers this is a great way to see the city as a local would. Plus you won’t get stuck in Seattle’s notorious traffic. Note: In Seattle it is law that all bike riders wear a helmet. Don’t worry, at the bike stations helmets are available.
- Picnic ferry ride – Some solo travelers prefer not to eat at a restaurant alone. So grab take out from Ivar’s Fish and Chips on the waterfront and catch a ferry to Bainbridge Island. You can explore the town of Winslow or just ride the ferry back to Seattle. Best views of Seattle as you eat your clam chowder.
- Hike a volcano – If you want to take a day trip and experience the great outdoors, take a hike at Mt Rainier or Mt St Helens (the latter of which is still active). If you want to stay closer to the city but still get outside, try a hike at Mt Si. Hiking is a great chance to spend some time alone in nature without the distraction of someone yapping in your ear.
- Experience the magic of flight – Take a tour of the Boeing plant and check out 787’s as they are coming off the assembly line. It is about 30 minutes north of Seattle. If you want something closer, check out the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field to learn about the history of aviation in Seattle.
- Read – Seattle is one of the most educated cities in the country. Spend an afternoon at the Seattle Public Library’s Central Branch. The building was designed by Rem Koolhaas and offers some great nooks to read or check out unique views of the city. If you don’t like free stuff and want to pay for a book, I suggest the last independent book store in the world, Elliott Bay Book Company in the trendy hipster Capitol Hill neighborhood.
- Sleep – There are lots of great hotels. If you want to stay right downtown know that it will be expensive during the summer months. I would suggest the Inn at the Market if you want independent. For a chain, location and facilities are nice at the Hyatt Olive 8. For more budget friendly try a hotel around the Seattle Center (and as a bonus you can take the monorail into the downtown/retail area).
- Eat – Seattle is known for seafood. Get some fresh salmon at Anthony’s. They have locations all over the Seattle and Puget Sound region, including a great location at the airport (rumor has it as the most successful airport restaurant in the country). Most locations have a bar to sit at if you prefer. If you want to try some fresh shellfish, try Taylor Shellfish Farms. They have an outlet where you can eat raw oysters just a few minutes walk from downtown in the Pike/Pine neighborhood.
Seattle is a great city to explore by yourself or with a friend. Seattle residents are known to be reserved, so don’t necessarily expect to make new friends, but we are friendly and very polite.
All photos in this post were taken by me. Please do not reuse images without my written consent. Thanks!