Planning a Weekend in Seattle

As I mentioned in last week’s obsessions, I surprised Zac with a trip to Seattle for his 30th birthday! Neither of us had ever been and his sister and brother-in-law live out there, so it was a good destination for a long weekend. We definitely could have used another day or two, but here’s how I went about planning a weekend in Seattle.

The Flight

The only airline with a direct flight to Seattle from Cleveland (or at least the only airline that isn’t crazy expensive) is Frontier. They had a few options, but what worked best for our schedule was a Friday evening flight out to Seattle and a Monday night red-eye home. I bought the tickets nearly four months in advance and I believe the initial cost was around $250 round trip per person.

Frontier is a budget airline for a  reason, and if you’ve never flown with a budget airline then you should know that you get what you pay for: a seat on the plane. Anything other than that is an additional fee. Those fees get more expensive the closer you get to your actual flight, so buying add-ons early is the way to go. I paid to select our seats (exit row for the extra legroom) and one checked bag each way. It was cheaper to get one checked bag than for each of us to bring a carry-on. With the extra fees, our tickets came out to about $400 per person round trip.

As with any budget airline, make sure to bring your own snacks and water, download some shows or movies onto your phone or tablet, and bring a travel pillow to ensure comfort.

In the City

In the course of planning a weekend in Seattle, one of the things Zac’s sister recommended doing was purchasing a City Pass for our trip. For $89 each, this pass got us admission to the following: Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, Museum of Pop Culture or Woodland Park Zoo, and Chihuly Garden and Glass or Pacific Science Center.

The Space Needle

The way our schedule worked out, we really only had one day to do all of our touristy things in the city. Luckily, we were able to cram a lot in! The Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and Museum of Pop Culture are all right next to each other, so we started there. The Space Needle is currently under construction so we weren’t able to go all the way around the viewing platform, but it sounds like it should be fully open sometime this fall. Regardless, the views of the city were beautiful!

The Chihuly Museum

Next, we went to the Chihuly Garden. I hadn’t thought much about this stop, but Zac is a Chihuly fan so I knew we had to go. I’m so glad we did! It was beautiful. There were quite a few indoor installations as well as his outdoor pieces. They also had a theater with some short films about how he makes his installations that I found interesting. You’ll just have to look at Zac’s pictures to fully appreciate how cool this place was!

Chihuly Garden in Seattle!

A post shared by Zac Paladino (@paladizm) on


After Chihuly, we went to the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP). I don’t even know how to explain this place, but it was amazing. The only thing I can really compare it to are some of the exhibits I remember from The Smithsonian when I was a kid, but this was so much more immersive.

The museum has a bunch of different exhibits that relate to different parts of pop culture. There was a horror movie exhibit full of props from various horror movies and information on how they were made. There was a gaming exhibit that Zac really like. We also went through the fantasy exhibit that had props and costumes from movies like Harry Potter, The Wizard of Oz, and Lord of the Rings.

There was also a limited exhibition when we went that was all about Marvel. My Marvel interest goes as far as the movies, but Zac loves the comics and he was super excited about the original comic books they had on display, as well as the information about the origins of Marvel and all of the different characters. This exhibit also had a bunch of costumes and props from Marvel movies over the years.

Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle!

A post shared by Zac Paladino (@paladizm) on

The best way I can describe these exhibits is like when you’re in line for a ride at Disney World or Universal Studios, but more informative. They build a whole world around the exhibit (the Fantasy one was being like in an enchanted forest), and have a bunch of interactive features. It was one of the coolest places I’ve visited. You can check out more about the other exhibits they have here.

Other Attractions

One of the things that threw a wrench in our plans were the events that required specific timing. Both the Space Needle and the harbor tour required that you pick a specific time to be there, as opposed to the others where you could arrive whenever. Because of this schedule constraint, we ended up not being able to do the harbor cruise, which was a bummer.

This timing issue meant we were able to go to the Aquarium, however, which we weren’t originally planning on. I don’t usually love the idea of watching fish swim around, but they also had seals and otters! There were even some baby otters, and it was adorable to see them sleeping on their parents’ chests while floating around.

All in all, I would highly suggest getting a City Pass if you’re interested in a few of these sites. It’s a great deal and gets you into other things you might not have thought to check out.

Nature Things

mt rainier planning a weekend in seattle

Seattle is surrounded by mountains so there’s plenty to do if you’re looking to nature things. We took the laziest possible route by driving up Mount Rainier. Mount Rainier National Park is about a two-hour drive from Seattle. Once you’re there, you’re able to drive up to a pretty high point, I believe 10,000 feet. There are plenty of stops along the way and great opportunities for pictures.

Mount Rainier was amazing. It was one of the biggest mountains I’ve ever seen and so beautiful. We stopped at waterfalls on the way up and it was crazy to see the trees and weather change as you get higher into the mountain. At the highest point that we were able to reach, there was still plenty of snow on the ground!

This was a good option for our weekend trip because we were able to experience the mountain and national park without having to pack special hiking or camping gear. We also made it an early trip and were able to be back in Seattle by 3 pm while still seeing everything we wanted to.

You can find out more about planning a trip to Mount Rainier here.

10/10 Would Recommend

If you haven’t been to Seattle, you should definitely give it a visit! I wish we had had more time to really explore things, but we were able to see a lot during our three-day visit. We can’t wait to get out there again and see even more!


planning for a weekend in seattle


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