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Disclosure: CityPASS was kind enough to send me a free pass in exchange for coverage. As always, all opinions are my own.
Updated: 1 July 2021
Traveling to Seattle alone is a fabulous experience for solo female explorers. Seattle offers visitors not only gorgeous skyscrapers and views, but also a thriving food scene, plenty of museums and attractions, spectacular nature, and so, so, so much more. It’s a great city.
In summary, there’s a reason Seattle is one of the most popular destinations in the United States. Don’t overlook Seattle simply because it’s a well-known place to go.
But is traveling to Seattle alone a good idea? Is it fun? Are there other solo travelers to talk to? And if you’re a solo female traveler? What then?
Well. “Super Solo Traveler” Rachel is here to answer all your inquiries about traveling to Seattle alone.
Traveling to Seattle Alone: My Own Experience
Personally, I found Seattle a great place for solo female travelers.
As I’ve said, it’s a major city with activities to suit every type of personality. You need to do your research, of course, but don’t worry about over preparing for your trip either.
As for me, I never had a dull moment during my first time visiting Seattle. I even took myself out on dates! But those stories are going in another post, haha.
Enclosed are all my thoughts about traveling to Seattle alone. I hope this information helps you plan your own epic trip to the northwest coast of the United States. You’ll have a spectacular time!
Solo Travel Seattle: Essential Tips
Is It Safe Traveling to Seattle Alone?
As a woman, safety is (usually) the first thing you want to know about a new destination. It’s understandable especially when you’re all by yourself. Safety is drilled into our heads at an early age.
First, the good news. I felt very safe walking all over Seattle.
There is very little violent crime compared to other large US cities. Sure, true crime fans will immediately think “Ted Bundy!” regarding Washington State, but you’re so not gonna run into a serial killer on your trip to Seattle.
Truth be hold, your odds of being a crime victim, whether it’s getting mugged or assaulted, are insanely low. Honestly, violent crime didn’t cross my mind once.
Seattle is also remarkably progressive compared to other parts of the world and even other parts of the United States.
As a woman traveling alone, you’ll draw no extra attention on the streets, nor will anyone call your solo travels into question.
It’s easy to blend into the crowd here since people come from all over the country (and world!) to work at major corporations such as Google and Amazon. You won’t stand out like a sore thumb, which is a big bonus.
Homelessness in Seattle
However, like anywhere else on the planet, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind while you’re traveling to Seattle alone.
Here I gotta address the “elephant in the room.” Seattle has a large homeless population. There’s no other way to say it.
Why is that? The Pacific Northwest has a very moderate climate compared to the northeast (where I’m from), so it’s not surprising a bigger amount of homeless people reside in the area.
There are also local politics at play that I’m not going to discuss, because I don’t know enough to explain them well.
However, as a result of all this, you’ll probably see individuals begging on major streets (such as 3rd and Pine where a major bus stop is located) as well as tents to accommodate the homeless.
And I won’t lie, as a woman alone, it can feel off putting or uneasy at times. But don’t let aggressive panhandling intimate you. Give yourself permission to say “no,” cross the street, or duck into a nearby shop.
Personally, I had no issues with the homeless in Seattle. Zero. Walk confidently like you know where you’re going and you’ll be fine. I promise.
Downtown Seattle at Night
Another thing to keep in mind is downtown Seattle clears out after the businesses (and Happy Hours!) close for the evening.
I even stayed in Fremont which is located outside of the downtown area. From what I’ve heard, I don’t think downtown is the greatest place to explore alone late at night, though the same can be said for any big city. Be cautious.
Hiking Alone in Seattle
Finally, if you plan on hiking in the surrounding national parks without a tour, please give someone your itinerary in advance.
Mount Rainier, for instance, has very limited cellular service and a trusted friend or family member must know your route ahead of time in case of an emergency.
As I’ve said, Seattle is pretty safe. Use your common sense to avoid trouble.
Seattle Solo Travel and Eating Alone
Will Solo Meal Times Feel Awkward in Seattle?
Eating alone is another issue solo travelers want to tackle. We associate mealtimes with socializing. You already know I have a fear of eating in public alone if you read my blog.
However Seattle was great for solo diners. No stares or questions asked! I was even able to – gasp – enjoy my food without feeling too awkward.
Actually, plenty of people ate alone in this city, especially in more casual establishments or coffee shops. I never felt out of place or weird for indulging in a meal. So, uh, let’s just say I spent way more money on food than was wise. Whoops.
Still not sold on eating alone? Then book yourself on a food tour ASAP!
Seattle has a wonderful food scene so it would be criminal to stick to Starbucks or McDonalds. I took the Gourmet Seattle Food Tour with Savor Seattle and met wonderful and friendly people on my tour. The company also does a great tour of Pike Place which is slightly cheaper than the tour I did.
Below are some of my favorite places to enjoy a solo meal in Seattle! Give them a try on your upcoming trip.
Rachel’s Favorite Seattle Eats
- Capitol Cider in Capitol Hill. This is the largest independent cider bar in the USA. If you’re a fan of cider, come here. The food is also fantastic and reasonably priced. You can find Capitol Cider at 818 East Pike Street.
- Japonessa Sushi Restaurant in Downtown. I couldn’t come to Seattle and not have sushi. That would be criminal. Japonessa has a fun bar with great service! You can find Japonessa Sushi Restaurant at Union and 1st Streets.
- Pike Place Market in Downtown. You can’t come to Seattle and skip Pike Place Market. Explore on your own or book a food tour to try the market’s greatest local treasures. Have fun! And don’t miss the guys throwing the fish!
- Stone Way Cafe in Fremont. I ate breakfast twice at this cafe and fell in love. A lot of people work remotely (at least I think that’s what they’re doing!) on their laptops here so you don’t feel weird or out of place for enjoying a solo breakfast. You can find Stone Way Cafe at 3510 Stone Way North in Fremont.
- The Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard. A very popular seafood restaurant, if not the most popular one. If you love oysters, then you need to check out the Walrus and the Carpenter. Stand outside immediately when the restaurant opens otherwise you’ll have to wait a loooong time for a seat. You can find The Walrus and the Carpenter at 4743 Ballard Avenue.
How Can I Make Friends Traveling to Seattle Alone?
You might have heard the term “Seattle Freeze” when researching your upcoming travels to the West Coast.
Seattle (like where I am in the northeast) has the reputation of not letting strangers in too close. Therefore the people may seem unfriendly.
However don’t worry about “aloof locals” on your visit to Seattle.
To be honest, the “Seattle Freeze” primarily applies to transplants who might find it difficult to make longterm friendships. Not really relevant to you and me. As a traveler, I found people in Seattle to be very welcoming and kind.
My advice is to make friends on tours. Walking tours, food tours, a day trip to Rainier. You’ll strike up a conversation with someone.
Seattle is also home to some wonderfully social hostels if you’re not opposed to sharing your accommodation with others. I had a nice chat with my roommate who had just finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
In conclusion, you’re only as lonely as you want to be when traveling to Seattle alone.
What Should I Bring on My Trip to Seattle?
Of course, the weather varies depending on the time of year that you visit Seattle.
However, you don’t want to forget these essential for your upcoming solo trip in Seattle! Better safe than sorry!!
Solo Travel Seattle Essentials
First and foremost, you want to have a Seattle guidebook for visiting this amazing city. Lonely Planet publishes my absolutely favorite guidebooks!
Seattle is well known for its drizzly weather. Pack a sturdy travel umbrella so you don’t get caught in the rain at a horrible moment.
Blend in with the locals at cafes. Bring along a Kindle or similar device when enjoying some organic coffee and cookies.
And, of course, don’t forget a daypack. It’s useful for exploring the city or visiting the nearby national parks.
For more details, I wrote an entire summer Seattle packing guide that you can use to plan what to bring. Don’t skimp on the shoes!
How Will I Get Around Seattle by Myself?
If you plan on staying one day in just Seattle or an entire week, you don’t have to rent a car to get to all the interesting places.
However, some of the most gorgeous hikes are only accessible with a car, so this depends on your priorities.
Seattle has an extensive bus system which is helpful for travelers who don’t want to rent a car. Check out relevant routes ahead of time. Download the Puget Sound Trip Planner app to figure out where you want to go and when.
Furthermore, Uber and Lyft have a very strong presence in Seattle. I used Uber Express all throughout my trip and had no problems. I think the longest I waited for a ride was eight minutes.
How Can I Save Money Traveling to Seattle Alone?
I hate to break hearts here, but Seattle isn’t a cheap date.
The city’s most famous sites, such as the Space Needle and the Museum of Pop, cost over $30 per ticket. Budget travelers need to take extra caution here.
One big suggestion for saving money is buying a Seattle CityPASS ahead of time. It retails for $89 for five of the coolest attractions in Seattle – including the Space Needle and a bay cruise.
You can also prioritize your sightseeing rather than invest in a city pass. Pick two or three “must sees” and then do free or cheap alternatives to everything else.
At the end of the day, Seattle CityPASS will save you money if you’re the type of traveler who’s drawn to big attractions.
Accommodation on Your Seattle Solo Trip
Seattle has plenty of accommodation to choose from. The sheer number of options may feel a little overwhelming to a solo traveler. Narrow down by budget and neighborhood and go from there.
I stayed in Fremont which is slightly north of downtown Seattle. There are a lot of cool things to do in Fremont Seattle as a solo female traveler.
Personally, I recommend staying in a neighborhood such as Fremont or Ballard rather than downtown. Of course, if you’re downtown, you’re close to the main attractions so do what is best for you!
- Green Tortoise Hostel Seattle: Is making friends a priority for you? This social hostel is right in the Downtown and the staff plans plenty of group activities. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Hotel Hotel in Fremont: This was the hostel that I stayed in when I went to Seattle. It’s quiet and artsy, and provides a more local neighborhood experience for solo travelers. See prices on TripAdvisor.com.
- The Mediterranean Inn: Want to splurge a little bit? This wonderful 3 star hotel in the Queen Anne neighborhood has patio views of the Space Needle. It can’t get much better than that, can it? See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
Traveling Alone to Seattle: The Best Things to See and Do
Not sure what activities to add to your itinerary as you’re traveling to Seattle alone? Don’t worry! This guide has you covered.
Let’s talk about Seattle’s most popular attraction first.
Do I Need to Go Up the Space Needle?
If you’re truly strapped for cash, then you don’t need to go to the top of the Space Needle. Equally gorgeous (and cheaper) views await you.
And you can see the Space Needle in your photos since you’re not walking around inside it.
Rachel’s Favorite Seattle Views
- Columbia Tower ($20): This is the highest viewpoint in all of Seattle. Go on a clear day for the absolute greatest views of the city.
- Kerry Park (free): Take an Uber to Kerry Park for a wonderful and free view of Seattle. If you’re lucky, you’ll even see Mount Rainier. This image is popular for postcards of Seattle.
- Smith Tower ($19): Seattle’s first skyscraper. Go here and learn about Seattle in the 1920s before taking the old fashioned elevator to the top. You’ll have a lovely outdoor view of the Space Needle.
Lovely Seattle Attractions to See Alone
Below, I’ve included some of my best highlights from traveling to Seattle alone. Of course, feel free to adjust your itinerary depending on your personal interests and needs.
- Bill Speidels Underground Tour: Want to learn about Seattle’s history? This fun and informative underground tour will take you beneath Seattle’s streets. You might make new friends too! You can find the tours at 614 1st Avenue in Pioneer Place Park.
- Chihuly Garden and Glass: Dale Chihuly’s glass art is famous, especially in Seattle. When alone, you can take your time admiring the pieces. You can find Chihuly Garden and Glass at 305 Harrison Street.
- Seattle Aquarium: Seattle is right on the water making it a perfect place for an aquarium! Learn about marine conservation and embrace your inner child at Seattle Aquarium, which you can find at 1483 Alaskan Way.
- Seattle’s MoPOP Museum: THE. BEST. MUSEUM. EVER. Are you a fan of fantasy movies and books? Horror movies? Nirvana? Then you need, need, need to visit the MoPOP Museum at 325 5th Ave N.
- Seattle Art Museum: I find wandering alone through art museums a wonderful experience. And this is the premier art museum of the northwest USA! You can find Seattle Art Museum at 1300 1st Avenue.
Taking a Day Trip to Mt. Rainier National Park
Last, but not least, don’t let traveling to Seattle alone deter you from hiking in gorgeous Mt. Rainier.
Seattle is a fantastic city, no doubt about it, but Washington State’s natural beauty is so spectacular that you shouldn’t miss it!
Plenty of organized day trips from Seattle to Mt. Rainier are available. These small groups are a perfect and safe way to see the mountain (remember: there is very limited cell service here). You can make tons of new pals too!
Have you ever gone traveling to Seattle alone? Is Seattle on your travel wishlist? Share all your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!