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Scenes of Seattle

Fast Facts: Seattle


Seattle--the Emerald City--is located on an isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, less than 100 miles from the US-Canadian border. Surveys have posited that Seattle has the most educated, most literate and most caffeinated residents in the country. The Seattle metro area is the largest in the Pacific Northwest, with a population of about 3.2 million inhabitants (the city itself has a population of about 600,000 residents).

The mainstays of Seattle's economy are technology (including IT, biotechnology and health care), education, manufacturing, retailing and other services. In 2009, an estimated 9 million tourists made a visit to Seattle.

Seattle enjoys a mild Mediterranean or Marine west coast climate. The city's temperature extremes are moderated by the local topography, and the area is partially protected from Pacific storms by the Olympic Mountains and from Arctic air by the Cascade Range. It's gloomy in Seattle, with the city experiencing an average of 226 days of cloudy weather each year. But it only gets 37 inches of rain each year, as most of the precipitation falls as drizzle or light rain, with only occasional downpours. Summer is the nicest time of the year to visit the city.


Seattle map


First Impressions


State Hotel
©2007 Joe Mabel, under cc-by-sa 3.0 license

Seattle is not your typical American city. Owing to its location, it has been heavily influenced by its neighbor to the north. At the same time, the city seems to have held onto its Scandinavian heritage, giving it an eclectic charm of being cultured, quiet and clean. Seattle's "vibe" has attracted people with money and intellect; at the same time, the city has a mysterious side that seduces artists and misfits. It's probably the coffee.

Seattle has been described as a city of neighborhood, each with its own charm and attractions. Whether you're visiting Seattle Center, home of the Space Needle; Pike Place Market, home to green grocers, fish mongers and over 60 restaurants and take-out joints; the University district, home to the University of Washington; or the city's downtown shopping district, there's something for everybody and every taste.

Your ship will depart from and return to one of the two cruise terminals in Seattle. Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Holland America dock at the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal, located at Pier 91 just north of downtown Seattle. NCL, Oceania and Crystal dock at the Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal, located at Pier 66 in the heart of Seattle's downtown waterfront. At both facilities, tour and shuttle buses, taxis and other forms of transportation are readily available for passenger excursions to the city center and major tour attractions.

The summer is the nicest time of the year in Seattle; there are more sunny days, the average daily high is in the mid-70s (F), and the events and festivals that take place in the city liven the spirits of residents and tourists alike.


Time Zone


Seattle is on Pacific Time, eight hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time during standard time, or seven hours during daylight savings time. Daylight savings time begins on the second Sunday of March, and ends on the first Sunday of November.

USA flag Seattle Local Time
 


Language


English is universally spoken in Seattle.


Daling with Money in Seattle


Currency



dollar bill

The currency of the United States is the U.S. dollar, and it is printed on bills in seven denominations: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins include the penny, nickel, dime, quarter, fifty cent piece and dollar.

Banks and ATMs

ATM machines in Seattle are plentiful and can be found at bank branches, hotels, restaurants, drug stores and other establishments throughout the city. Bank branches with ATM machines can be found at the following locations:

  • Bank of America: has dozens of locations in Seattle. You'll find an ATM at the following branch bank locations: 800 5th Avenue, at Fifth Avenue Plaza; 1001 4th Street, at Madison; 566 Denny Way; and 1100 2nd Avenue.

  • JP Morgan Chase: Chase's Seattle ATM locations include 1301 2nd Avenue; 1201 3rd Avenue; and 1501 4th Avenue, among dozens of other sites.

  • Wells Fargo: Wells also has many branches in Seattle. You'll find ATMs at the following branch bank locations: 999 3rd Avenue; 1215 4th Avenue; and 2800 3rd Avenue.

  • U.S. Bank: U.S. Bank has several branches in Seattle. You'll find ATMs at the following branch bank locations: 1221 1st Avenue; 723 1st Avenue; and 1301 5th Avenue.

Seattle ATM Map


Map icon

To see the locations of Seattle's ATMs, see our Seattle ATM map.


Weather


University of Washington
©2007 Joe Mabel, under cc-by-sa 3.0 license

Seattle enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate, which is also referred to as a Marine west coast climate. The city's temperature extremes are moderated by the local topography, and the area is partially protected from Pacific storms by the Olympic Mountains and from Arctic air by the Cascade Range.

Seattle is no place for sun worshipers, as it is cloudy an average of 226 days per year. But despite the clouds and a reputation for rain, Seattle's average annual rainfall of 37 inches is less than that experienced in New York City and other cities on the Eastern seaboard. Most of the precipitation falls as drizzle or light rain, with only occasional downpours.

The summer season is the driest time of the year, with average daytime highs around 73 to 80° F (22 to 27° C). Winters are cool and wet, with average lows around 35 to 40° F (2 to 4° C) on winter nights.

Average Temperatures

Average Precipitation

Keeping In Touch


Internet Access in Seattle

Getting on line in urban Seattle is not a problem. Almost every coffee shop in the town (and there are lots of them), most casual restaurants, and even internet cafes offer free Wi-Fi.

Free Wi-Fi

There are scads of places in Seattle where you can find free Wi-Fi:

Top Pot doughnuts

Top Pot Doughnuts, a Seattle-based chain with a rabid loyal following, offers free Wi-Fi in their 14 stores in the Puget Sound area.

Starbucks offers free Wi-Fi in their Seattle stores, which blanket the Seattle area--which seems about right, since the company originated in Seattle. If you don't see a Starbucks location in front of you, just turn around.

McDonalds also offers free Wi-Fi in their Seattle stores.

Seattle is home to scores of independent coffee houses, each more unique than the last. For the most part, they all offer free Wi-Fi.

Seattle Internet Access Map


Map icon

To see the locations of Seattle's Internet Cafes/Wi-Fi locations, see our Seattle Internet Access Map.


Internet Cafe

Cellular Phone & Data Services


Customers of U.S. wireless carriers can expect the following levels of service in Seattle:

Verizon

Cell service: Verizon's CDMA service provides digital coverage to Seattle and the surrounding areas.
Data services: Verizon offers extensive 4G LTE coverage in Seattle and much of the surrounding areas. Rated #1.
See details on Verizon's cell and data services coverage in the Seattle area.

ATT Wireless

Cell service: AT&T's GSM service covers Seattle and much of the surrounding areas.
Data services: AT&T offers extensive 4G LTE coverage in Seattle and much of the surrounding areas. Rated #3.
See details on AT&T's cell and data services coverage in the Seattle area.

Sprint

Cell service: Sprint's CDMA service covers Seattle and much of the surrounding areas.
Data services: Sprint offers extensive 3G service in Seattle and the surrounding areas. Rated #4.
See details on Sprint's cell and data services coverage in the Seattle area.

T Mobile

Cell service: T-Mobile's GSM service covers Seattle and much of the surrounding areas.
Data services: T-Mobile offers extensive 3G/4G service in Seattle and the surrounding areas. Rated #2.
See details on T-Mobile's cell and data services coverage in the Seattle area.

Seattle rankings per RootMetrics report, July 2012.


Samsung Galaxy S III

Seattle Telephone Information

Canadian cell phones used in the U.S. work seamlessly south of the border, and just like back home.

The Country Code in the U.S. is 1, just like in Canada.

The Area Code for Seattle is 206. Additional area codes for neighboring areas include 360 for points northeast of Seattle, 425 for Everett, Kirkland, Bellevue and Renton, 253 for Tacoma, Federal Way and other points directly south of Seattle, and 360 for Olympia, Bremerton and points south and west of the city.

Local Phone Numbers have seven digits: XXX-XXXX

Woman with a cell phone

Local Events, Holidays & Festivals


Look for the following local festivals, holidays and events taking place in Seattle in 2017:

  • New Year's Day, Sunday, January 1.

  • Irish Festival, Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12. Activities include Irish music, step dancing, genealogical explorations, Gaelic games and other Irish cultural activities.

  • St. Patrick's Day Parade, Friday, March 17. An Irish tradition that's a lot of fun in Seattle.

  • Good Friday, Friday, April 14.

  • Easter, Sunday, April 16. The most important Christian holiday.

  • Seattle International Film Festival, Thursday, May 18 to Sunday, June 11. This is the 43rd year of the Annual Seattle Film Festival, with 25 Days of intense film viewing.

  • Folklife Festival
    © Northwest Folklife Festival
  • Northwest Folklife Festival, Friday, May 26 to Monday, May 29. The country's largest Folk Festival, celebrating ethnic traditions through food, dance, art and crafts.

  • Seafair 2017, Sunday, June 18 to Sunday, August 6. Seafair Seattle is the largest Festival in the Northwest. Activities include live music, arts and crafts, parades, athletic events, festivals and much more.

  • Independence Day, Tuesday, July 4. Day-long celebrations at a number of venues in the city.

  • Seattle International BeerFest, Friday, July 7 through Sunday, July 9. Outdoor festival featuring a "Grand Beer Garden" with over 130 beers from 15 countries, food, live music and other activities. Held in the Seattle Center.

  • Bite of Seattle, Friday, July 21 to Sunday, July 23. One of Seattle's largest summer festivals, with more than 50 of Seattle's finest restaurants, 30 food companies, 5 beer gardens, live entertainment, a comedy club, wine tasting and more. Held in the Seattle Center.

  • Bumbershoot festival
    ©2007 Joe Mabel, under cc-by-sa 3.0 license
  • Bumbershoot Festival, Friday, September 1 to Sunday, September 3. A 3-day party celebrating the end of summer, held over Labor Day weekend, showcasing the works of more than 2,500 artists from all over the world.

  • Festa Seattle Italian Festival, Saturday, September 22 to Sunday, September 24. The Italian Festival is Seattle's second largest Ethnic Festival, celebrating Italy and Italian Culture. Expect authentic presentations of art, great food and live entertainment.

  • Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23. A day to give thanks for the things one has at the close of the harvest season.

  • Winterfest 2016, Friday, November 24 to Saturday, December 30. The city celebrates the Holiday Season with traditional holiday foods, family activities, concerts and exhibits.

  • Christmas Day, Monday, December 25. Celebrates the birth of Christ.

Seattle Cruise Port Schedules


Cruise Terminals

For 2016, Seattle will once again rank as the top embarkation/debarkation port by the number of passengers, but the number two (after Vancouver) for the number of ships, during the Alaskan cruise ship season. The Alaska cruise ship season extends from May through September.

Your ship will depart from and return to one of the two cruise terminals in Seattle. Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Holland America dock at the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal, located at Pier 91 just north of downtown Seattle. Norwegian, Regent, Oceania and Crystal dock at the Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal, located at Pier 66 in the heart of Seattle's downtown waterfront.

As a rule, ships arrive at the Seattle cruise ship docks between 7:00 am and 8:00 am, and depart between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm.

In 2017, Seattle is slated to host 508,900 passengers sailing on 207 ships. For further information, see our Seattle Cruise Ship Schedule - 2017.

In 2018, Seattle is slated to host 537,900 passengers sailing on 210 ships. For further information, see our Seattle Cruise Ship Schedule - 2018.


Cruise Lines Making Port in Seattle


The following cruise lines will make port in Seattle in 2017:

Carnival icon Carnival Royal Caribbean icon Royal Caribbean
Celebrity Cruises  icon Celebrity Cruises princess icon
Princess Cruises
NCL icon NCL Holland America icon
Holland America
Oceania icon Oceania Cruises Crystal Crystal Cruises
Cruise Ship


       
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