Skip the Beer, Sip the Wine The craft beer scene in Seattle is legendary, and sipping local brews is a favorite pastime here. But right in the heart of downtown Seattle, winemakers are giving brewers some competition. Known collectively as Seattle Urban Wineries, the group of about 20 wine producers offers visitors a first-hand look at how wine is made. Wineries like Omnivore Cellars, Mayfly Wines and Almquist Family Vintners use grapes from the famed vineyards of Washington State but craft their blends amidst downtown shops, restaurants and office buildings. The wineries are open at various times throughout the week, but look for a group-wide open house the second Saturday of every month.
Skip the Mainland, Do Bainbridge Picturesque islands abound around Seattle, and accessibility only adds to the charm of Bainbridge. You can get there by car; the 90-minute drive across the bridge takes you around Puget Sound. But the Washington State Ferry out of Pier 52 is quicker – a little over half an hour – and the views are gorgeous; you'll pay outbound but the return ride is free, and you can bring a bike or rent one in the town of Winslow. On Bainbridge, you can visit a farm, sip at a winery, fish, golf, hike or horseback ride. Restaurant Marché scores with its French take on seafood and Hitchcock Restaurant wins for its kitchen star: Chef Brendan McGill won the Food & Wine readers' choice for the country's best new chef of 2013.
Skip Going Solo, Take a Guide In such a pedestrian-friendly city, and with such an array of unique places to visit, a guided tour may be a smart move. Even at a popular spot like Pike Place Market, there may be facts and sights you'd miss if not for the guides at Public Market Tours; history and quirky anecdotes prevail during their one-hour guided expeditions, and you still get to see icons like the original Sur La Table store and those fish-hurling Pike Place Fish guys. In the funky community of Fremont, where unique street art reigns supreme and where locals insist they live in the "center of the universe," the walking Fremont Tour, which covers just half a mile in 90 minutes, shows you landmarks while turning every stop into a show-stopping performance.
Skip the Museum, Get to the Airport SEA-TAC Airport is a perennial favorite with travelers for all it offers (aside from taking a flight). Top of list for many is its impressive collection of art – more than 100 works by dozens of local, regional and international artists. And you'll find this artwork encompassing myriad media all over, from baggage claim to every one of the airport's four concourses. There are some rotating exhibits, though many of the best creations – like the mixed-media sculpture by Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schechter dubbed "Landing," suspended above the ticketing counters inside the Central Terminal – are here to stay. Extra incentive to show up for your flight extra early.
Gabe Saglie is senior editor for Travelzoo, which features local deals in Seattle at www.travelzoo.com/local-deals/Seattle-Tacoma/deals and exclusive deals on airfare and hotels.