Guide To 48 Hours In Seattle

Guide To 48 Hours In Seattle

What to do in Seattle in 3 days? It’s a big city full of a lot of hidden gems, and this Seattle travel guide is built to help you manage your time in the city and hunt out the best things to do in Seattle to make your trip the best it can be!

My husband and I did a short weekend trip to Seattle in December (3 days/2 nights). We caught a 7am plane from San Francisco on Friday and flew back on Sunday on a 5pm flight. It was a wonderful whirlwind trip and I left Seattle feeling like we saw everything we should have on our first visit. I highly recommend having a travel plan similar to ours since we were able to fit tons of activities in.

things to do in seattle

First, who am I and why should you take travel advice from me? My name is Kara, I’m the gal behind Whimsy Soul (follow me on Instagram @thewhimsysoul HERE.) I grew up in the Midwest and ran away to San Francisco because winters suck (seriously.)  My big passion in life is helping other women feel confident in themselves and confident to explore the world around them. When it comes to travel, I understand that you don’t want your days off from work to go to waste. You also aren’t looking to blow your entire paycheck on one vacation. So I dig deep for you. I find the prettiest hotels, the best eats, the coolest things to see in a destination and round up all that advice with other helpful tips like how to navigate local transportation into one huge travel guide. I try most things out myself to see if it really lives up to the hype, so you can go explore without any FOMO. Read on to find my Seattle guide! If you have any questions, pop them in the comments below or DM me on Instagram.

Keep on reading for our daily itineraries, tips of where to eat and what to do in Seattle!

But first, here’s some things to pack for Seattle.


9:30AM Land at Seattle Airport

Take the Link Light Rail into Seattle (it’s only $3). It’s a scenic drive into the city and takes about 45 minutes. You can board in the parking lot area- keep following the signs.

11AM Check into your hotel early

We stayed at Hotel Max and loved it! It’s right downtown perfectly placed between the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and the shopping center. We loved the decor.  It’s a uniquely decorated hotel filled with deco art. The rooms were really nice, the staff very friendly and the best part is they have nightly happy hours featuring free local craft beer. We were in heaven!

Or, stay at one of the many cute Airbnb’s! I plan on booking one next time we visit to stay in a different neighborhood. From hipster chic to water-front dreams, there are so many adorable Airbnb’s in Seattle. Use THIS link to book and get $40 off your booking!


hotelmax seattle

12PM Lunch!

I changed into a new sweater and we headed to lunch at Serious Pie a few blocks down. It’s a highly-rated local pizza place that serves the most amazing Italian style pizzas. They’re a bit on the small side, so be prepared to eat a whole pizza by yourself (like a real Italian). We also loved their house-made sodas! If pizza isn’t your thing, stop by Lola’s a few buildings down.

1PM Pike Place Market

After lunch, walk down to Pike Place Market. It’s my favorite part of our trip! Take the time to explore all the levels and look at each store. You’ll find everything from seafood to cafes to candy to art to jewelry. The original Starbucks is across the street and the famous Gum Wall is in the alley below it. I bought some art prints to take home to remember the trip by.

2:30PM Coffee Break

Walk towards the Space Needle from Pike Place. It’s about a 25-minute walk and you’ll pass many cafes, bars, and stores along the way. We stopped at a cafe to fuel up on an afternoon coffee and to grab a cupcake.

3PM Space Needle time!

There wasn’t any line when we went so we were able to buy tickets and go up right away. I loved the outdoor deck and we timed it well to see the sunset over the bay. You can read more tips on the Space Needle here.


4:30PM Downtime

After waking up at 3AM, we were tired! We headed back to Hotel Max to take a little cat nap before dinner.  Not tired? Use this time to visit the Queen Ann’s point that overlooks the city. Our Uber driver told us it’s romantic and beautiful – we just didn’t have time to visit. I then changed into an evening outfit for a night on the town.

5:30  Hotel Max’s Happy Hour!

They served a local beer from Pike Place Brewing which is located down the street. We sat in the lobby with other guests, people watched, and relaxed with a good brew (free) before heading out for dinner.

6:30PM Off to Capitol Hill!

We took an Uber to Nate’s Wings and Waffles in Capitol Hill for dinner. If we had visited in the summer we may have walked there, but it was cold, dark and raining. Robin was really excited to eat here – “Nate” is a famous basketball player from Seattle who started this local chain. We had wings and waffles (duh!) and a side order of Mac N Cheese which was some of the best I’ve ever had. Southern food not your thing? There are many dining options in Capitol Hill to pick from.

8PM Capitol Hill for Drinks

We walked (in the rain!) about 6 blocks to the main bar street in Capitol Hill. This area is filled with various restaurants and bars – you are sure to find something that you’ll love for the evening! We bar hoped at the Unicorn Bar and Comet Tavern for drinks before heading back to Hotel Max to turn in for the night.

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7AM Wake Up

We like to wake up early when traveling (especially in the winter) to fit all we can into the day. If you are visiting in the summer, put on a dress. In the fall or winter? Grab your coat and a comfy pair of rain boots. You’ve got a big day of exploring!

Go to the Original Starbucks right when it opens in the morning to beat the crowds!

8AM Starbucks

We made a beeline to the Original Starbucks about 8 blocks down the street, hoping to get a famous cup before all the other tourists arrived. Success! Turns out it’s dead in the early morning and we walked out with hot cups of Pike Place brew within 10 minutes.

Original Starbucks in Pike Place SeattlePike Place Market Starbucks

9AM Breakfast at Pike Place Market

We were in search of fresh lox and bagels for breakfast and found some on the first floor of Pike Place Market. It was some of the best lox I’ve ever had! We ate our breakfast and coffee in the little public seating area on the first level. It has a great view of the water and mountains and all the ferries coming in and out. Hello, Meredith Grey.

10AM Gas Works Park

We took the bus to the Fremont District, stopping at Gas Works Park first. This ride took about 30 minutes. I love taking public transportation when traveling – it offers a fantastic view of the city and helps me “map out” the city. Overlooking the Seattle skyline, Gas Works Park is home to large, old gas and electrical equipment, now sculptures. Flanking the park are many houseboats and trees to wander in.

11AM Fremont Troll

We had to visit the famous Fremont Troll, about a 20-minute walk away from Gas Works Park. In order to help bring a culture of art to Fremont, the Troll beneath the bridge was built in the 90’s, and is now very famous. I loved climbing over him and pretending I was a kid again. Hehe.

fremont troll

11:30AM Explore Fremont

Afterward, we headed down the hill to look at all the shops in Fremont, stopping in many. There’s a large antique store here that was filled with so many wonderful things that I would have wanted to bring home if I could! I didn’t leave much room in my bag.

12:30AM Lunch in Fremont

Fremont is filled with food options. Looking for something low-budget yet yummy, we stopped at Norms Ale House for burgers, fresh clam chowder, and local beer. I loved how casual this place was and the fact they are dog-friendly. There were so many cute pups there! We spotted an Italian place, a few Asian restaurants and plenty of other cafes to tailor to your tastes if Norms isn’t your thing.

2PM Tours

The afternoon was set aside to explore the rest of Fremont. There’s the Theo Chocolate Factory Tour and a whiskey distillery tour in the area, but neither was open that day otherwise we would have gone! Tours not your thing? Head north to the Woodland park and zoo!

3:30PM Schilling Cider House in Fremont

We had to stop in Schilling for a flight of cider. We had flavors from Oaked maple to Sriracha and Lime. If you’re a foodie, this is a must stop!

schilling cider house seattle

5PM The Teddy Bear Suite in the Fremont Hotel

Yes, we were the only adults there without kids, but it was really fun to swing by and to snoop on what the inside of a fancy hotel room looks like. If it’s not Christmas time, use this hour to sit outside in a park and people watch.

6PM Happy Hour Drinks!

We grabbed more free beers at our hotel again. Use your last evening to try some local craft brews at your pub of choice downtown! Seattle is widely known for coffee, but is also home to wonderful breweries.

7:30PM A Seafood dinner!

We had one at the Palomino, which is average, though I was eyeing the Pink Door down by Pike Place Market (we just made reservations too late to grab a table). Seattle is filled with seafood, make sure you don’t leave without treating yourself to a large seafood dinner! We stuck around downtown so we could walk there, but feel free to explore outside the area if you want!

Evening Outfit

Hotel Max Seattle



Morning Outfit

8AM Pioneer Square for breakfast

We walked about 30 minutes across a peaceful downtown to Pioneer Square. It took around 30 minutes. We ate a 1950’s style diner called Planet Java which was clearly the local’s favorite because it was filled with people heading to the Seahawks game. I loved their egg scramble and chicken fried steak. Diners not your thing? We passed many cafes on Pioneer Square, so take your pick!

9:30AM Explore Downtown Seattle

We walked from Pioneer Square to Miners Landing, a pier filled with attractions and a ferris wheel. It was mostly closed down when we visited, but if you have kids I think they would like it here.

Pioneer Sqaure

11AM Coffee Break!

We stopped by a cafe downtown for a great cup of coffee. Seattle is filled with Starbucks, but there are many other wonderful coffee places to also try!

11:30AM Starbucks Reserve & Roastery Tasteroom

But, if you are craving Starbucks (since hey, you’re in Seattle!) head to the Starbucks tasting room on the edge of Capitol Hill/9 blocks from Pike Place Market. We visited and it was so neat seeing them roast beans and do a tasting of blends that you can’t find anywhere else. Plus, it smells amazing in there!

1PM Check out of your hotel

Hotel Max was kind enough to store our bags for us so we could grab lunch.

1:30PM Last Lunch

We went to Pike Place Chowder in Post Alley for Smoked Salmon Chowder and to try Rachel’s Ginger Beer next door (yum!!!). I highly recommend stopping here.

pike place chowder in seattle

2:30PM Last Sights

We stopped by the famous fish stand in Pike Place to pick up a half pound of fresh smoked salmon to bring home and walked around downtown Seattle a bit more before, making sure we saw everything!

The link comes every 10 minutes (Even on weekends!) and gets you to the airport in about 45 minutes so you can drag your feet getting there on your returning flight like we did.

Seattle from a plane


We had an amazing time visiting Seattle! It rained a bit, but it wasn’t heavy rain and we were able to be outdoors most of the weekend. I think the rain there is like the rain you’ll find in Florida – it’ll rain for 30 minutes, but be gone just as soon as it comes.

Next time we visit Washington, I want to see Orcas Island and go camping in the woods. And see Seattle again, of course!  Do you have anything to add to this travel guide? Leave a comment below!

And of course, follow me on Instagram for daily adventures! 

I hope this helped you plan what to do in Seattle. For more Seattle tips…


Exploring Seattle

The Space Needle



  1. the cape on the corner
    January 6, 2016 / 12:42 pm

    good to know, you never know when you’ll need a detailed plan like this.

      January 7, 2016 / 9:24 am

      Agreed! Glad to help!!


  2. Vicki
    January 9, 2016 / 9:31 am

    My first backpack trip was at Olympia State Park in Washington – it poured the whole time!

  3. Shaylynn
    February 10, 2016 / 10:47 am

    I am planning a trip to Seattle in April and have been reading many different blogs and yours by far has been the best and most helpful. I really appreciate the detail and all the restaurant recommendations.
    Thank you for sharing!!

      February 11, 2016 / 12:35 pm

      I’m so glad you found it helpful! Seattle is great – I’m guessing it’ll be beautiful in April! Hope you have fun, let me know if you have any questions


  4. Bev K.
    February 15, 2016 / 4:27 pm

    Seattle is a city with endless things to do – Next time be sure to do the Underground tour that leaves from Doc’s Pub in Pioneer Square. It’s a history lesson with lots of fun! We did it years and years ago but I’ve heard it’s just as good now. And don’t forget Seattle’s fabulous museums – the flight museum is just one that deserves a visit.

      February 17, 2016 / 8:15 pm

      I wanted to do the underground tour but we didn’t think of it until the last day! Good Suggestion!

  5. Mel Butler
    February 26, 2016 / 7:37 am

    Hotels In Seattle

    If you plan to stay in Seattle more than one night you will need to find a place to stay. Seattle has a wide range of places to bed down these includes high end, deluxed locations to lower end hotels, bed and breakfasts and hostels. If you are travelling on business ensure that the hotel you pick has suitable facilities and is in the right area for your meetings as the traffic in Seattle may result in problems at certain times. If you are looking for a prestigious hotel to stay at there is a selection of top independent and chain hotels. Seattle also offers an excellent array of lower star hotel options that provide simple but functional facilities for visitors to the city. If you don’t have a large budget there is a number of hostels and guest houses in the city which are a good place to rest your head. Whatever accommodation type you select in Seattle try and make time to see if any bargains exists on a wide array of travel web sites, often these are out of season or when a home sports team isn’t playing a game.

    Recommended Hotels In Seattle

    1. Hotel 1000
    2. Inn at the Market
    3. Four Seasons Hotel Seattle
    4. Alexis Hotel – a Kimpton Hotel
    5. Hotel Andra

  6. albert
    May 7, 2016 / 4:45 am

    I also spent really nice time there now my Uncle have a plan to go to there after his boston to niagara falls bus tours with his family in coming holidays. He will stay there for four days and I am sure we will cam back with pleasant memorize.

  7. Amber
    May 14, 2016 / 3:55 pm

    I am going next month and this helped! Thank you!

    • Kara
      May 22, 2016 / 4:48 pm

      So glad!!


  8. Sara F.
    June 20, 2016 / 2:39 pm

    We are going to Seattle on Friday. Since my husband and I have never been to the area, we are pretty much just following your itinerary! Can’t wait!

    • Kara
      June 27, 2016 / 9:20 am

      Oh yay! You’ll LOVE Seattle!! Hope you have fun!

  9. Aileen
    August 1, 2016 / 8:26 am

    We are going to Seattle in September this year and your blog has inspired me even more to look forward in our first visit to Seattle. We will likely follow your itinerary.

    • Kara
      August 3, 2016 / 7:49 am

      You’re going to love Seattle!! I bet it’s even better in the fall!

  10. Hannah
    August 24, 2016 / 9:50 pm

    Planning a little weekend getaway to Seattle and this helped so much! Just wondering how you found the 10% for the hotel!

    • Kara
      September 2, 2016 / 2:44 pm

      Hi Hannah! I found it on Twitter – they were doing a promotion where you followed them for a discount.


  11. Corina
    December 11, 2016 / 10:10 am

    I’m planning a trip to Seattle in February for my boyfriends birthday. I must say this blog has been the best and most helpful. I really appreciate the detail and all the restaurant recommendations.

    • Kara
      December 11, 2016 / 3:49 pm

      Hi Corina — I’m so glad you found it helpful! Let me know if you have any questions!!


  12. Kapri Leming
    December 20, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    Did you get a pass for the link light rail beforehand or at the airport?

    • Kara
      December 21, 2016 / 4:40 pm

      At the airport train stop! They have a little machine you can choose your option at.