A Business Traveler’s Guide To Seattle


Ever wondered why Seattle, WA, has earned the moniker the Emerald City? Not just for its verdant landscape. but also for its gleaming gem of a cityscape that beckons travelers—especially those on business. You're likely to land here for work at some point, given its thriving tech and trade sectors. And when you do, you'll want to navigate the city like a seasoned local, coffee in hand and rain boots at the ready. Dive into our guide and turn your Seattle business trip into a cultural sojourn of a lifetime.


  • Seattle is known as the Emerald City due to its lush evergreen forests
  • Founded in 1851 and named after Chief Si’ahl of the local Duwamish and Suquamish tribes
  • Famous for its coffee culture, being the birthplace of Starbucks
  • Home to the iconic Space Needle, a legacy of the 1962 World’s Fair
  • A tech hub, hosting giants like Amazon and Microsoft

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) – SEA-TAC, WA

Location: Approximately 12 miles south of Downtown Seattle and 25 miles north-northeast of Downtown Tacoma.

Where to Go:

  • Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (Near Gate C3): Famous for their "World’s Best" Mac & Cheese—grab a comforting bite before your flight.
  • Capitol Hill Food Hall (Near Gate A4): A taste of Seattle's favorite neighborhood, with a range of dining options from poke bowls to artisanal pizza.
  • The Club at SEA (Concourse A, Concourse S): Need a moment of tranquility? Enjoy this lounge with a day pass and find some peace amidst the travel chaos

How to Get to Downtown Seattle

Link Light Rail

Cost: $2.25-$3.50

Time: 40 minutes


Cost: Approximately $40-$50

Time: 20-40 minutes (traffic dependent)


Cost: Variable

Time: 20-40 minutes (traffic dependent)


Seattle Lake Union Seaplane Base (LKE) or Kenmore Air Harbor Seaplane Base

Location: 1.2 miles north of Downtown Seattle

Where to Go:

For a scenic entrance to Seattle, hop on a seaplane to Lake Union SPB, located right in the heart of the city. It’s mostly used for scenic tours and short regional flights.

  • The Museum of History and Industry: Situated within easy walking distance as are several lakeside restaurants and several local hotels.
  • Climate Pledge Arena: The city’s newest sports venue, is located just to the west, making it easy to watch the NHL's Kraken or the WNBA's Storm.
How to Get to Downtown Seattle

On Foot

The Seaplane Base is centrally located and within walking distance to many downtown locations.

Rideshare or Taxi 

A quick trip to other Seattle neighborhoods with a cost depending on distance.

Seattle Boeing Field/King County International Airport (BFI)

Location: About 6 miles south of Downtown Seattle

Where to Go:

Boeing Field is a smaller commercial and general aviation airport that serves cargo, private, and some limited passenger flights.


  • Museum of Flight: Explore one of the largest air and space museums in the world, located adjacent to Boeing Field.
  • The Hangar Cafe: An intimate, comfy spot in the industrial neighborhood of Georgetown, sitting under the flight path of planes landing at King County just one mile away.
How to Get to Downtown Seattle

Metro Transit Buses

Local buses offer service to and from Boeing Field.

Rideshare or Taxi

A short drive to downtown, with the fare and travel time depending on traffic conditions.

A few of the Seattle skyline from the Puget Sound with The Seattle Great Wheel on the right.

Seattle Dos & Don'ts

Embark on your Seattle journey with a thoughtful approach, ensuring that you savor the city's delightful ambiance. Following these suggestions promises a gratifying start to your professional sojourn in the Emerald City.


  • Bring layers and a waterproof jacket. Seattle’s weather can be fickle, and it's best to be prepared for rain or shine.
  • Use crosswalks and wait for signals. Seattle is a law-abiding city, and jaywalking isn't the norm.
  • Support local businesses. From coffee shops to bookstores, opting for local favorites is a great way to immerse yourself in the Seattle spirit.



  • Forget to recycle. Seattle takes its recycling and composting seriously. Pay attention to labeled bins when disposing of waste.
  • Underestimate traffic. While not as infamous as LA traffic, Seattle has its fair share of congestion. Plan ahead, especially during peak hours.
  • Ignore the great outdoors. Even if you’re here for business, try to sneak in a visit to Pike Place Market or a quick ferry ride for stunning views of the Puget Sound.
A train coming to a stop on a platform in Seattle.

Seattle Public Transportation

Seattle's transportation system is your ally in navigating this bustling city. Here’s how to make the most of it.

1. OCRA Card

Grab this all-access pass to ride the light rail, buses, ferries, and even some water taxis. It’s convenient and saves you the hassle of fumbling for change.


2. Light Rail

Quick and reliable, the Link light rail is your best bet for a straightforward trip from SEA-TAC to downtown.


3. Biking

With a growing network of bike lanes and the bike-share system, pedaling through the city could be your quickest commute—and a great way to take in the sights.


4. King County Metro Buses 

Extensive routes cover the entire city. Use Google Maps or the OneBusAway app to plan your journey and track your ride in real-time.


5. Water Taxis

For a uniquely Seattle experience, the water taxis not only provide transportation but also stunning views of the city skyline.

A close up of the Space Needle with the Seattle landscape in the background.

Your Seattle Soundtrack

From grunge to indie, Seattle's music scene is as rich and varied as its coffee blends. As you navigate the city, let the sounds of legendary local acts like Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and newer bands like Chastity Belt be the backdrop to your Emerald City experience.


An image of a hotel bed in Seattle.

Best Business Hotels In Seattle

Seattle's business-oriented accommodations provide a perfect blend of convenience and comfort. With modern amenities, centralized locations, and sophisticated spaces, these hotels ensure a seamless experience in the heart of the city.

Sheraton Grand Seattle

The Sheraton Grand Seattle is a luxury hotel in downtown Seattle, close to the Convention Center, Pike Place Market, and the Space Needle. It offers spacious rooms with free Wi-Fi, mini-fridges, and coffee makers. Dining options include a buffet breakfast, café, lounge, and rooftop bar with city views. Boasting a fitness center, indoor pool, spa, and business center, it's the perfect choice for business travelers seeking style and comfort in Seattle.

Grand Hyatt Seattle

Located in downtown, the Grand Hyatt Seattle offers 425 modern guest rooms with stunning city views. Enjoy convenient access to popular attractions like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. Take advantage of delicious dining at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse or NYC Deli. Enhance your stay with amenities such as Starbucks, a business center and spa services.

Fairmont Olympic Hotel

If you're looking for a luxury hotel in downtown Seattle, you might want to check out the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. This historic hotel, built in 1924, has a stunning Italian Renaissance-style architecture and elegant rooms with marble bathrooms, Wi-Fi, and TVs. You can enjoy award-winning dining options, such as The George, a modern brasserie that serves seasonal dishes with local ingredients. You can also relax at the Penelope and the Beauty Bar spa, or swim in the indoor pool. The hotel is conveniently located near the waterfront, Pike Place Market, and the Seattle Art Museum.

Hotel Andra

Hotel Andra offers a chic retreat in downtown Seattle, combining Scandinavian design and Pacific Northwest allure. Guests enjoy spacious rooms, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a pet-friendly atmosphere. Located near popular attractions like Pike Place Market and the Space Needle, it serves as the perfect base for exploring the city. Indulge in Mediterranean flavors at Lola restaurant or savor authentic Italian cuisine at Assaggio Ristorante.

A rooftop view of the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.

Where To Work Outside Of Your Seattle Hotel

Enhance your productivity and enjoy a change of scenery by exploring these diverse work-friendly spaces in Seattle.

Caffe Vita (Capitol Hill):

With its superb artisanal coffee, charming exposed brick walls, and plenty of seating, Caffe Vita in Capitol Hill is a hotspot for freelancers and remote workers. The warm and inviting atmosphere, combined with the exceptional coffee, makes it the perfect place to stay focused on your tasks.

The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) Sky Church

For a unique working experience, consider the Sky Church at MoPOP. This unconventional space offers free Wi-Fi, plenty of seating, and a creative atmosphere surrounded by pop culture exhibits. It's a great option for those looking to combine work with a dose of inspiration.

Fremont Coffee Company

Nestled in the artistic Fremont neighborhood, this coffee shop provides a laid-back setting with large windows, natural light, and a variety of seating options. The relaxed ambiance and quality coffee make it a conducive environment for productivity.

An image of a cocktail sitting on a wooden table.

Best Happy Hours To Entertain Clients In Seattle

Indulge in Seattle's vibrant social scene with these handpicked happy hour spots, where enticing drink specials, delectable bites, and lively atmospheres await.

The Pink Door

Enjoy happy hour with a view at The Pink Door. Overlooking Elliott Bay, this Italian restaurant offers a charming atmosphere and a diverse happy hour menu. Savor discounted drinks and appetizers while taking in the stunning waterfront scenery.

Bathtub Gin & Co.

Tucked away in Belltown, Bathtub Gin & Co. offers a speakeasy experience with a sophisticated vibe. Its happy hour features handcrafted cocktails and a cozy, intimate setting—a great choice for those looking for a more refined atmosphere.


If you're a fan of inventive cocktails, Canon is the place to be. This cocktail bar in Capitol Hill boasts an extensive drink menu with unique and expertly crafted concoctions. Its happy hour provides an opportunity to explore these creations at a more budget-friendly price.

A rooftop view of Seattle

Best Rooftop Bars & Restaurants in Seattle

Seattle’s skyline and natural vistas provide a perfect backdrop for rooftop indulgence. The city’s rooftop bars and restaurants offer stunning views, coupled with the Pacific Northwest's culinary delights and craft cocktails.

The Nest at Thompson Seattle

Perched atop the Thompson Hotel, The Nest offers panoramic views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountain Range. It’s the perfect spot to sip on locally inspired cocktails and nibble on small plates while taking in the view from what feels like the top of the city.

Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails

Located on the fifth floor of Motif Seattle, Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails not only has a vibrant atmosphere with a large outdoor patio, but it also features fire pits, shuffleboard, and even ping-pong tables. It's a playful spot to enjoy a nightcap or a casual business meet-up.


MBar, situated in the South Lake Union neighborhood, presents an experience that is as much about the food as the views. With a menu that draws inspiration from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, the rooftop space offers a stunning perspective of the Space Needle and the downtown skyline.

The Pink Door

For dinner, experience The Pink Door in the heart of Pike Place Market. This charming Italian restaurant not only offers sumptuous cuisine but also boasts enchanting views of Elliott Bay. The whimsical décor and live entertainment ranging from trapeze to jazz ensembles create an unforgettable dining atmosphere.

Terra Plata

This “Earth to Plate” concept restaurant features a rooftop dining experience that's lush and cozy. Located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, Terra Plata, offers a seasonal menu that emphasizes local and sustainable ingredients, all enjoyed in an urban oasis.

A view of the Seattle Space Needle with the sun setting in the distant background.

Where To Exercise In Seattle

Business trips don’t have to mean a break from your fitness routine. Seattle offers plenty of options to keep active.

Take a Jog at Green Lake

A local favorite, this loop offers a scenic 2.8-mile path perfect for a quick run.

Hotel Gyms

Many local hotels cater to the business traveler with well-equipped gyms. Just ask at the front desk.

Yoga Studios

Drop in for a class at one of the city's many studios and find your inner Zen before a day of meetings.

Rent a Bike

Explore the city's extensive bike paths with a rental from one of the many bike shops or through the city’s bike-share program.

An image of the famous PUBLIC MARKET sign in Seattle.

Blend Work with Pleasure: Seattle Style

The possibilities for a good bleisure excursion are endless in the Entertainment Capital of the World. This sample itinerary takes you to some familiar sites at a manageable pace.

Start with Artisan Coffee at Seattle Coffee Works

Seattle’s coffee culture is legendary, and a visit to Seattle Coffee Works near Pike Place Market offers a quintessential experience. This local favorite stands out for its direct relationships with coffee farmers, ensuring each cup you savor supports sustainable practices. With their "slow bar," you can take the time to appreciate the nuances of their expertly brewed single-origin offerings. It's the perfect place to rev up your energy levels before exploring the city.

Unwind at the Waterfront Park

After your caffeine fix, stroll down to the newly reimagined Waterfront Park. Feel the ocean breeze and take in the views of the Olympic Mountains and the Puget Sound. It's a tranquil spot to unwind amidst greenery and public art installations. You might even catch a glimpse of ferries gliding across the water, setting off to the picturesque islands that dot the Sound.

Discover Pioneer Square's Underground History

Delve into Seattle’s history with a visit to Pioneer Square, where you can join an Underground Tour that showcases the city's original streets, now a layer beneath the modern cityscape. This quirky, informative tour gives insight into Seattle's colorful past and the city's resilience after the Great Fire of 1889.

Lunch at the Iconic Pike Place Market

A trip to Seattle would be incomplete without a visit to Pike Place Market. As one of America's oldest continuously operating farmers' market, it's home to an array of eateries and food stalls. Grab a bite at one of the many vendors offering everything from fresh Pacific Northwest seafood to international cuisine. Don't forget to watch the famous fish-throwing spectacle or pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers—a market staple.

Explore the Green Oasis of the Washington Park Arboretum

Take a break from the urban environment and reconnect with nature at the Washington Park Arboretum. This 230-acre botanical garden offers a peaceful retreat with meandering paths, exotic plants, and the serene Japanese Garden. It's a great spot for a leisurely walk or a quiet moment to sit and reflect by the water.

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