Any one who's spent several years in Seattle or longer and has a life outside of work, will tell you how close Seattle is to some truly spectacular things to do at different times of the year.
... From Seattle you can take a ferry ride across the Puget Sound and be on an epic hike in the Olympic Mountains and be gone for several days at a time, if you are into backpacking.
... If you enjoy the arts and history, you'll loves trips into Seattle for its frequent street art displays and museums including unique must-see places such as the Museum of Flight.
... When spring and summer roll around, you are only 2 hours drive or so from the Gorge Amphitheater, one of the most breath taking places to go for an outdoor concert in North America.
... If you are into surfing, you can surf the amazing beaches of the Northern Oregon Coast. Sure, wet suits are required, but on a sunny summer day the experience can be amazing at places like Cannon Beach, Indian Beach State Park, and of course the historic town of Seaside.
... If you are into skiing or snowboarding, there's Mt. Baker Ski Area about 3 hours to the north and Whistler-Blackcomb just over the Canadian border. Of course, if you don't have the time to get to Baker or Whistler there are multiple other ski resorts within 60 - 90 minutes drive of Seattle to choose from, including Crystal Mountain, Snoqualmie Pass and Stevens Pass.
... From Seattle, you are less than an hour away from the world famous Pacific Crest Trail that climbs the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California and follows up through Oregon and Washington State's Cascade Mountains all the way to Canada.
Do I need to say anything more about Seattle being in the middle of everything? It truly is. What I've shared above is only the beginning of a long list of exciting things to do within a 1 - 4 hour drive of Seattle. If you enjoy the outdoors, you will love it here.
2. Seattle Has Incredible Summers
If you're coming anywhere from the southern states, you know first hand how much the heat and or humidity can ruin a day outdoors. Not so in Seattle. Most summer days are great temperatures for spending time outside and in the sun for several hours at a time, whether you're at the lake, in the mountains, or enjoying a day out in the city.
3. Woodland Park Zoo
A lot of time, money, and effort has gone into the Woodland Park Zoo over the years and it's a right of passage for many elementary age children to take a day trip with their school to this famous Seattle zoo. Whether you bring your children or just your date, you and the ones you love are sure to appreciate the Woodland Park Zoo.
4. Seattle Has Rich Diversity, History and Character
You'll see it all in Seattle. What you'll note as you make your way in and around is just how much character is birthed into the history of this city through the many men and women and nationalities that have emigrated here from elsewhere. Seattle has several neighborhoods, each with their own unique character and aspects as well as location in the city. With so much character and history present, it's hard to become bored with one's surroundings when there's so much to see and explore.
5. The View from Gas Works Park
Here's another one that only a local can tell you about, or perhaps someone who's been here and made their way to Gas Works Park on the north side of Lake Union. From here you have an amazing view of Seattle on the southern edge of Lake Union. If you time it right, a sea plane may even be coming in for a water landing or taking off from the water on one of it's regular flights to and from the city.
6. Seattle Coffee
If you're a coffee lover, there's a coffee shop for every taste here and then some. As a local I can't add much more to this other than saying take your pick of coffee shops and styles.
7. Seattle Real Estate
With the growing popularity of living in Seattle and the Greater Puget Sound, Seattle real estate is making millionaires out of those with the finances to buy, fix up, and then sell for a much higher price a few years or less later. This real estate boom is expanding to the Seattle suburbs and is only going to continue. The opportunity for making money in Seattle real estate is realistically across the Puget Sound region. If you have school age children, the Seattle suburbs may in some ways be even better places to live than Seattle itself, especially if you're looking for a more community connected feel and a place to raise the kids so they can play outside and enjoy local parks, sports, and other small town activities.
8. The Seattle Ferry
On a sunny day, riding the ferry is a great way to experience the Pacific Northwest from the water of the Puget Sound. The Seattle Ferry system isn't necessarily a pleasure cruise ride, though it can be if you're out on the deck up top. Instead, the Seattle Ferry system is one of the many types of public transportation across the Puget Sound.
9. Pike Place Market
The Pike Place Market is one of the country's oldest farmers markets. You'll get it all here, from the sights and scents of fresh food including sea food, to the hustle and bustle and sometimes entertaining festivities on hand at the market.
10. Seattle Fishing Charters
If you're paying attention, Seattle has a rich and historic fishing industry, with some very famous fishing boats operating between Seattle and Alaska. If you pay a private fishing charter not only can you learn how to fish the Puget Sound, but you may come back with an exciting catch like halibut. That will be a day for the memory books and it's also the kind of experience you can offer your out of town friends and relatives who come to visit. On a great day, fishing on the Puget Sound is a great way to pass the time and enjoy the sights and wonders of the Puget Sound.
11. Seattle Orcas
If you time it right (you can never know which day exactly but there are times when sightings are common) you may see a pod of killer whales (Orcas) suddenly emerge from the water around you. I've even seen it from a ferry (see reason #8 above).
12. Seattle Bookstores
There are a number of iconic and historical shopping districts around Seattle and it's dated neighborhoods, and visiting small and sometimes archaic bookstores you'll come across is like a trip back in time.
13. Seafair and the Blue Angels
One weekend every summer the exciting Blue Angels fly over Seattle and the hydroplane races on Lake Washington where the annual event "Seafair" takes place. This is a great time to either know someone who has a boat or to own a boat yourself and take it out with thousands of other people for a long weekend of festivities on Lake Washington.
14. Mount Rainier
Rainier is a volcano on the Seattle horizon stretching over 14,000 feet tall and can be seen from across Western Washington on a sunny day from most places. It is always an awesome sight to behold, but as any local who loves the outdoors can tell you, don't just admire it from a long distance away -- go and explore Mount Rainier. It has a rich history of climbing and explorers who have visited it, and you'll learn all about that and more at nearby forest ranger shops. If you're up for the task, you can even consider joining a climbing party and making the trek to the top (which has taken the lives of more than one person over the years). This is the climb of a lifetime for many climbers from the area.
15. Mount St. Helens
This famous volcano blew it's top in 1980 and coated the Pacific Northwest in ash and was the most disastrous eruption in U.S. history. Mount St. Helens can be visited on a day trip or overnighter and many would say it's a memory that will stay with you when you see first hand the after effects of that famous eruption.
16. The Space Needle
While there are a huge number of restaurants and cuisines to choose from around Seattle, nothing is quite as memorable as having dinner hundreds of feet up and looking out over the city. After dinner, take a walk onto the outdoor observation deck where you'll feel the air and see the city, Puget Sound, and surrounding mountains first hand.
17. Seattle Street Art
You never know where the next sculpture is going to turn up in Seattle or other public display of art, but they do turn up and sometimes it seems like it's just around the next corner. Seattle has a thriving arts scene and it's apparent in the appreciation the city has shown local artists over the years.
18. Seattle Breweries
Seattle is a popular city for local breweries where many restaurants and other establishments (including professional sports stadiums) that serve the public have a huge choice of local beers. If you are a beer lover, you will love the choices and endless possibilities of Seattle area beers.
19. The North Cascades
Nicknamed the "American Alps", the North Cascades are a backpacker's dream, with rugged mountainous terrain spotted with alpine lakes, rushing creeks and rivers, and majestic views that make it all worth while. The North Cascades are also a popular draw for mountain climbers offering sharp granite peaks to climb, outdoor camping, and more. Even if climbing isn't your thing, you can still enjoy an epic drive through the North Cascades on Highway 20 with a spectacular area to pull off and enjoy the views of Lake Diablo.
20. Eastern Washington
Here's how you'll know you're reading something about Seattle from a long time native -- let's talk about Eastern Washington. The fact is for tens of thousands of locals who just survived yet another long Seattle winter (which really isn't that bad, it's just cloudy a lot), Eastern Washington is an annual escape every Spring typically to instantly better weather and warmer temperatures only 2 hours away over the Cascade Mountains. While Seattle and Western Washington is a maritime environment, with higher amounts of rain and cooler summer temperatures, the Eastern half of the state is the opposite. Annually it is much drier and much hotter giving way to desert like areas and even sand dunes in Moses Lake, WA. There is so much to see and do in Eastern Washington that you'll never run out of things to do, period. From forests and mountains to lakes, canyons, rivers and sand dunes in some parts. So if you're concerned about Seattle's cloudy winters, just remember that when Spring rolls around you can go enjoy sunnier, dryer and warmer weather conditions just a couple hours east over the mountains. You'll discover great places to visit like Lake Chelan, Crescent Bar (on the Columbia River), Leavenworth (with it's European heritage), and Seven Bays, which is about 5 hours drive from Seattle on Lake Roosevelt but worth the drive if you want to spend an epic adventure boat camping with friends or just renting one of several million dollar houseboats. Lake Roosevelt is a 100 mile lake that is actually part of the Columbia river but dammed at both ends. You'll never know you're on a dammed lake though due to it's size and sheer length.
21. The San Juan Islands
Over 170 islands make up the San Juan Island chain. Most notable about the San Juan Islands is the fact that is receives 30% or so more sunshine annually than most of the area around it, including Seattle to the south. That's because the San Juan Islands lie in a weather anomaly called the "Olympic Rain Shadow", which is caused by the Olympic Mountains to the southwest of the island chain. In the San Juans many rich and sometimes famous people have purchased and built estates over the years, some that include private airstrips on islands that can only be reached by plane or boat. The San Juan Islands may be one of North America's best kept secrets and offer a quality of life that surpasses many other sought after regions in the country for retirees. From Seattle, the San Juan Islands can be reached via a short drive north and then by ferry from the mainland. There are lots of sights to see on the islands including bedroom communities. Boating and kayak opportunities are endless. If you truly want to be amazed at the San Juan Islands, charter a private flight on a small airplane from the one of the local airports, including Arlington, WA.
22. Seahawks and Husky Football
Seattle has a big love of professional and college football, and if you are into sports and watching games live, the energy, food, and drinks that go with watching either the Seahawks or University of Washington Huskies play live will be one for the memory books. The Seahawks "12th man" has made its force known across the U.S. and helped fuel the passion and love of the Seattle Seahawks who have made three appearances with one victory in the Superbowl since 2005.
23. The Grass is Soft and Green
Though I'm born and raised in the Seattle area, I've also lived in some hot arid areas later in my adult years. No matter how much I may have liked the sunshine of these other areas, one thing that I missed was the Seattle area's soft, alive, green grass, whether in the front or backyard of my home or at a local park or other area outdoors. If you're coming from the southwest, you're going to love the experience of just laying in the fresh grass, looking at the sky or just looking out on a lake or river. The grass is green here and it's typically green just about year 'round.
24. The Sky is Blue in Seattle
There's an old time song that goes, the "the bluest skies you've ever seen are in Seattle..." and it's true, when the sun is out and the clouds have parted or cleared, the blue sky of Seattle is something to behold and appreciate. Unlike L.A. or other major cities with a pollution problem, you won't see much ever in the way of smog here.
25. Puget Sound Sailing
Around the Seattle waterfront including Edmonds to the north and cities directly to the south, are several marinas where sail boats are kept year 'round. Summer days with a breeze can make a great time to get out and enjoy Seattle from the water, with 360 degree views of the Puget Sound that include Mt. Rainier, downtown Seattle and the Space Needle, and the Olympic Mountains to the east. As you pour that glass of wine and enjoy that picnic on your sail boat with your family or close friends, maybe it's a good time to be thankful for the opportunities life has brought your way and the exciting and interesting life of living in the Greater Seattle area and Puget Sound.