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Mar. 15, 2023

City guide: Seattle

Mar. 15, 2023

Winning the top US spot in the Sustainable Cities Index, Seattle has taken leaps and bounds in its fight against pollution. But there are so many more reasons to visit the Emerald City. Here’s why it’s on our travel bucket list for 2023.

What makes Seattle sustainable?

According to the World Economic Forum and Treepedia, Seattle has one of the highest levels of tree coverage of any city in the world – over 20%, lending it the nickname of America’s ‘Emerald City’. Over 80% of energy is provided by renewables, mostly hydroelectricity but increasingly solar, too, and as part of Washington State, Seattle has also committed to being 100% coal-free by 2025 and carbon-free by 2045. Add to that a boost in recycling, a strong commitment to community empowerment and an increase in investment in electric public transport, and you’ve found your perfect eco city getaway.

What to see

Seattle’s instantly recognisable Space Needle was constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair. Take a monorail from Downtown and then head up in the lift to the observation level to take in views over Elliott Bay and to the Cascade Mountains. Next stop should be Frank Gehry’s Museum of Pop Culture, with a colourful variety of displays, including those paying special homage to local legends Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix.

For a unique insight into Seattle-trained glassblower Dale Chihuly’s magnificent works, head to Chihuly Garden and Glass (you won’t miss the famous 100-foot sculpture in the Glasshouse). To get a sense of the city from the water, spend the day puttering about on the regional ferries, a quintessentially Pacific Northwest experience.

Space Needle, by Meric Dagli

Chihuly gladd sculpture, by Lucas Myers

Where to stay

The very first Ace Hotel is located in Seattle’s Belltown neighbourhood, showcasing its ethos of upcycled furniture, local producers and simple, stylish decor. The Hyatt Regency Seattle has Gold LEED certification, while the city’s Kimpton Hotels have all eliminated single-use plastics, use non-toxic cleaning products and are certified by Green Key. If you’re using a Travalyst partner like Google, or Expedia to select your accommodation, don’t forget to look out for the sustainability information being shared on listings.

What to eat and drink

Drink coffee, obviously. We’re particular fans of community-owned and -run Black Coffee Northwest, which invests its profits in youth development programmes. For a smorgasbord of Seattle’s best farm-to-table food, head to Pike Place Market, a maze of stalls and shops and a real foodie hotspot. Belltown is the place to explore for the widest choice of restaurants, while you’ll find the freshest Asian food in the Chinatown-International District.

Pike Place Market, by Ben Dutton