Seattle is a vibrant and exciting travel destination on the West Coast of the United States of America. A waterfront city, Seattle offers the chance to combine relaxing in the sunshine with visiting museums, galleries, and many other top tourist attractions.
In addition, Seattle’s restaurants and eateries make the city a top choice for foodies, from fine dining to trendy fusion fare, there’s something for everyone.
Chinese tourists often visit Seattle on a route along the West Coast, adding it to a tour of other top destinations such as San Francisco and San Diego.
The first step to planning a Seattle adventure is obtaining the correct visa and enrolling with EVUS. This guide explains the process and provides all the necessary information for Chinese travelers preparing for a trip to Seattle.
Chinese citizens need a visa to travel to the United States. To visit Seattle for tourism purposes, the correct visa is the 10-year B1/B2 non-immigrant visa which is also valid for business trips and medical treatment.
The B1/B2 visa should be requested at a U.S. embassy or consulate well ahead of the intended departure date.
Chinese visitors who already have an approved U.S. tourist visa are required to complete EVUS visa update registration before they can travel to Seattle. This process must be completed every 2 years to ensure that all personal details and other visa data remain up to date.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (IATA: SEA, ICAO: KSEA, FAA LID: SEA) is the international airport that serves the city and surrounding area.
On arrival at Seattle airport, passengers will go through passport control where their travel document and visa will be checked by immigration officials. Travelers are then directed to the baggage reclaim area.
Travelers are reminded that U.S customs regulations state they can take a maximum of $10,000, or equivalent foreign currency, into the country. Anything exceeding this amount must be declared.
Sea-Tac Airport is well connected to downtown Seattle just 18 km away. Passengers can use the light rail service, the trip takes 35 to 40 minutes and tickets cost approximately $3. Other options include taking a taxi or using a ride-hailing application. Although these are more expensive options, they may be more convenient for travelers with heavy luggage.
There’s lots for visitors to see and do in Seattle, from family-friendly outdoor activities to interesting museums and galleries. Some of the most popular places to visit in Seattle are detailed below.
Space Needle is perhaps Seattle's most iconic structure. The tower was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and towers 650 feet above the ground. Tourists can take the elevator up to the observation platform where they are treated to stunning views across the city, Elliot Bay, and the Cascade Mountains.
This top visitor attraction celebrates the work of local glassblower Dale Chihuly. The exhibition includes many pieces of his artwork across 8 galleries and the exhibition space is surrounded by beautiful landscaped gardens.
The Museum of Pop Culture, also called MoPOP, brings music, science, and pop culture together under one roof. Exhibitions change so even visitors who have been to the museum on a previous occasion can see something new.
Tattoo culture, Minecraft, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana are just some of the themes explored. MoPOP is guaranteed to be a hit with the whole family.
Pike Market Place is popular amongst both locals and visitors. It’s a great place to buy fresh produce, try traditional Seattle dishes at one of the food stands, and enjoy performances by street artists.
There are also many independent stores selling handicrafts, books, and clothes, perfect for picking up souvenirs. The market first opened in 1907, making it one of the most historic in the United States.
Seattle has a reputation as an expensive city however it is possible to visit on any budget. To calculate how much money is required for a trip to Seattle, it’s useful to take into account the costs of getting around, eating and drinking, and accommodation.
As mentioned above, getting from the airport to downtown Seattle is inexpensive, costing a little over $3. Once in the city center, most of the main attractions can be reached on foot.
For any slightly longer journeys, there is an efficient bus service with fares of just $2.75. Taxis apply a $2.60 drop charge plus a distance fee of $2.70 per mile.
As in most cities, in Seattle diners can eat out according to their budget. There are plenty of inexpensive fast food and take-out restaurants offering substantial meals for around $10 per person.
On the other hand, there are also numerous high-end eateries where prices are significantly higher. When it comes to alcoholic beverages, tourists can keep the prices down by making the most of happy hour discounts at bars and bistros.
On average, tourists spend around $40 on eating and drinking daily in Seattle.
Although hotels in Seattle can be expensive, it depends largely on the quality and location. Luxury hotels in the center of the city may set travelers back over $300 for a double room.
For slightly less, tourists will find good 3 or 4-star hotels whilst there are many budget options and rental apartments for under $100 a night.
To enjoy the city of Seattle, it is not necessary to spend a great deal on entrance tickets and attractions. Travelers on a budget can explore the city on foot and see many of the most emblematic monuments as well as the green spaces and waterfront.
Nevertheless, most tourists do want to visit at least some of the most popular attractions. A general adult ticket to go up the Space Needle, one of the highest-rated activities in Seattle, costs $35, the views from the top are worth it.
One way to save money is to opt for the special bundle which includes entrance to the Speed Needle and Chihuly Gardens for $49, a saving of $18 per adult. There is also a multiple-attraction pass which includes entrance to several museums and monuments with total savings of 50% or more.
Statistics from the Seattle police department show that it is a relatively safe city. Furthermore, there is little crime towards tourists in Seattle.
Nevertheless, as in any city, visitors are recommended to follow standard precautions to keep them safe whilst exploring Seattle. These recommendations include:
Provided visitors follow these common-sense measures, they can expect a fun and hassle-free stay in Seattle.