Seattle has a ton of things to see and do and it is impossible to squeeze it all in in one weekend. You’ll still have time to catch all the highlights though! Seattle is a great place for a weekend getaway or for spending a few days before or after Alaska Cruises that typically depart from that area. The number one must do in Seattle is definitely Pike Place Market. This place has everything: produce stands, fish markets, restaurants, retail businesses, personal services, crafts markets, and farm tables. Be sure to check out “The DownUnder” which are the lower levels of the market. Another great spot for food and shopping is Miner’s Landing. I would say it’s most similar to Pier 39 in San Francisco or the piers in Monterey, California. Another historic area to visit is Pioneer Square, “Seattle’s first neighborhood”. Here you can visit the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and the Last Resort Fire Department which has the largest collection of antique fire trucks in the Pacific Northwest. In the same area is a must do tour - the Seattle Underground Tour. After the Great Fire of 1889, Seattle was rebuilt on top of the destruction. Now you view all that is still intact underneath. If you’ve ever been to Edinburgh and explore underneath the city, it’s the same concept, and everyone should experience this at least once in their lives. If you’ve ever seen any tv shows or movies that take place in Seattle, you’ve probably seen the Washington State Ferries. From Seattle, you can currently take these ferries to either Bainbridge Island or Bremerton. You can go watch them or maybe even book a round trip ticket just to say you’ve done it! The other icon that you always see represented in Seattle is the Space Needle. It was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and was designated a historic landmark in 1999. For those not afraid of heights, the elevators can ascend to the top of the Space Needles in 41 seconds, unless it’s an especially windy day. Then the elevators are slowed down to about half speed. Another attraction for those not afraid of heights is the Seattle Great Wheel. It’s just like the Ferris Wheels you see in London, Orlando, and Las Vegas. If you’re visiting Seattle between mid-June and September, it is a great time to visit the Ballard Salmon Locks. During high tide you can see several different species of Pacific Salmon pass through these locks as they travel upstream to spawn. If you’re traveling with kids or your comfort zone is to experience more traditional tourist attractions, Seattle has plenty of those too! We recommend the Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Aquarium, and Pacific Science Center. You definitely can’t go wrong with any of those! Seattle also has a few unique tourist spots that are well known around the city. Seattle is home to the Fremont Troll which sits under a highway overpass and home to the Gum Wall. You can also visit the “Original” Starbucks. It’s not truly the first Starbucks location to exist, but it is celebrated as such. Art lovers would have a great time in Olympic Sculpture Park. There are many Instagram worthy photo ops there, as well as at the Museum of Pop Culture, known as “MoPop”. A couple honorable mentions if you have the time would be to do a Boeing Factory Tour or go wine tasting if you’re able to. Last but not least, there are 3 National Parks within a short driving distance, so if you’re wanting to get out of town a little bit you’ve got a few options. Olympic National Park is directly to the West of Seattle. If you take a ferry, then your driving distance is less than 100 miles, but if you don’t take the ferry it is about 50 miles longer of a drive. Then you have Mount Rainier National Park, which is about 80 miles Southeast of Seattle. During the Winter months some roads may be closed, making the route longer so you’ll need to plan ahead. Lastly, North Cascades National Park is about 120 miles Northeast of Seattle. We hope this has inspired you to plan your own Seattle weekend getaway! A Weekend Guide To South Padre Island Though it is known for being a Spring Break destination, South Padre Island is actually a great place to visit any time of year. With warm temperatures and sunny days pretty much every day, you can’t go wrong with a weekend getaway to South Padre Island. A really cool claim to fame here is the “Largest Outdoor Sandcastle in the USA” so definitely check that out at some point on your trip! When you’re making your way into town, be sure to stop at the Port Isabel Lighthouse for awesome views of the surrounding area. Once you’re on the island, you’ve got your pick of beaches. Isla Blanca Park is on the Southern end of South Padre Island and as you make your way North there is also Andy Bowie County Park. Once you’re at the beach there are dozens of activities to partake in. You’ve got whale and dolphin watching tours, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, skydiving, fishing tours, parasailing, SUP (stand-up paddleboarding), waterskiing, jetskiing, paragliding, surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, kayaking, and canoeing. If you’re looking for more activities on land, there is also horseback riding and segway tours available. After getting all your beach time in, you might want to explore the surrounding area a little bit more. Check out Sea Turtle Inc., a rehabilitation facility where you can take a self guided tour through the facilities and usually catch feedings and talks with the people responsible for taking such great care of the sea turtles. Also take some time to check out the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. It’s a great way to learn about the biological environment of this area and it’s of course a great place for birdwatching. If you like going for walks, nearby is the Laguna Madre Nature Trail. It is completely free and it crosses over 4 acres of marshland. It’s another great location for birdwatching and probably even people watching! South Padre Island also has a few of its own unique landmarks. For example, the Wyland Whaling Wall at the Convention Center is part of a series of murals around the country by Robert Wyland of Wyland Galleries. This one in particular is “Orcas off the Gulf of Mexico”. It would be kind of cool to collect photos of all the Wyland Whaling Wall murals from around the country. Another landmark is the Cristo de los Pescadores memorial statue. It is located in Isla Blanca Park and it translates to “Christ of the Fisherman”. The inscription reads “Father! Receive the souls of these brave fisherman who have sailed through this pass and never returned”. It reminds me a bit of a miniature version of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil. Lastly, for those interested in amusement park-type activities, I highly recommend Gravity Park. It has a little bit of everything. They have an attraction called “The Rocket” and it is the tallest reverse-bungee in the world. They also have a giant swing where you can see the whole island, a multi-level adult go-kart track, a kids go-kart track, mini golf, a 60 foot Ferris Wheel, a trampoline attraction, arcade, and a climbing wall. As you can see, everyone will find something they enjoy. All these activities will probably make you a bit hungry and there are a few restaurants in South Padre Island I’ve seen rave reviews about. First, there’s Dirty Al’s which claims to be the best seafood in South Padre Island and claims to have the world’s best fried shrimp. Next, there’s Pier 19. I’ve heard for breakfast they have enormous cinnamon rolls and omelettes, but it also looks like a great place for other meals too. Lastly, if you’re into ceviche, there is a restaurant called Ceviche Ceviche where you can build your own ceviche bowl. It’s counter service, so it’s a good spot for grab and go type meals. I hope this weekend guide to South Padre Island included enough things to do to keep you busy and has inspired you to plan your own weekend getaway!