Hiring a car in Seattle

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Hiring a car in Seattle

When you rent a car in Seattle, you get not only the freedom of the city, but the chance to explore the natural parks, mountains, islands and rivers that surround it.

60-second guide to Seattle

In its own head...

"We're city and country; in Seattle you get the best of both worlds.”

...but more realistically

There's no shortage of green in the Emerald City, not least because it rains a lot! But there is certainly something special about Seattle, thanks mainly to a thriving music, dance and art scene, which gives it a unique, creative buzz.

The vibe

Considered to be the birthplace of grunge music, the feel is very cosmopolitan and open-minded, where the kitsch and contemporary take centre stage.

The natives

With an eclectic mix of city dwellers, this is a welcoming and vibrant place. Plus, about half of Seattle residents over the age of 25 have a college degree, making them good conversationalists too.

The weather

As famously quoted in the film Sleepless In Seattle: "It rains nine months a year in Seattle." So pack those waterproofs just in case!

The local speciality

You might not find a specifically Seattleite dish, but what you will find are plenty of quality street-food sellers. You’re in the States; you’ve got to get a hot dog.

The celebrity

From music legends Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain through to the talented Bruce and Brandon Lee, Seattle is a hot spot for celebrity folk.

Did you know?

The Seattle Public Library system has the highest percentage of library card-holders per capita in the country.

They say...

"Welcome to Seattle, whose perpetually cloudy skies mean that if the sun peeks out for a second, everyone drops whatever they're doing and gears up to take their kayaks or bicycles out." - Lonely Planet.

5 to see in town...

1. Henry Art Gallery

Whether you're a regular gallery-goer or not give this a go - the building itself is a work of art. For a taste of the unique, check out contemporary artist Ann Lislegaard's multimedia showcase.

Where to park:

There is an underground parking garage for visitors; the entrance is just north of the museum.

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2. Science Fiction Museum

Here's one for die-hard sci-fi fans. Dedicated to science-fiction props and memorabilia, it's Trekkie heaven. Still, if music is more your thing, try making your own CD at the Experience Music project instead.

Where to park:

There are many car parks and ample street parking in surrounding areas. The largest are located at 5th Avenue North and Harrison Street.

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3. Columbia Centre

No trip to America would be complete without some skyscraper action, and this is Seattle's tallest. Make your way to the observation deck on the 73rd floor for some jaw-dropping views.

Where to park:

Metered street parking is available outside the tower.

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4. Theo Chocolate Factory

Indulge your inner child with a trip to this chocolate factory. Book in to an all-you-can-eat tour, which, while it's very informative and interesting, lets you sample chocolate throughout. Brilliant.

Where to park:

You can park at the Jay-Dee Parking Garage in North Lake Way.

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5. Space Needle

As the Seattle landmark, this alien-like building is quite unlike anything else in the city. Bypass the viewing deck for a knock-out meal at Sky City, the rotating restaurant, so you can sample the 360-degree views along with great dishes from the menu.

Where to park:

Normal and valet parking is at the base of the centre. Prices start from £1.

and 4 to drive to...

1. Wenatchee National Forest

If you’re looking for a real wilderness experience then you’ll find it here. This national park covers almost 2,800km ² and is home to extensive woodlands with hiking, climbing and horseriding opportunities galore.

How to get there:

Head north on I-405 to the Monroe/Wenatchee exit (Highway 522). Follow Highway 522 and continue to Highway 202 (approximately half a mile).

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2. Snoqualmie Falls

Taller than even Niagara's mammoth sprays, this 270-foot fall is a truly staggering sight. After gawping, visitors can hike, horse ride and canoe close by.

How to get there:

Head north-east on Broad St toward Taylor Ave N and follow signs for I-5. Merge onto I-5 S, then take exit 27 toward Snoqualmie. It should take you no longer than 45 minutes to get to the falls, traffic permitting.

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3. Olympic National Park

The Olympic National Park, with its snowcapped peaks, rain forest and windswept ocean coastal areas, is definitely worth the drive. Located on the Olympic Peninsula in the north-west corner of Washington state, it covers nearly one million acres and shelters three distinct ecosystems.

How to get there:

Head north-east on Broad St toward Taylor Ave N. Follow signs for 244th St SW W and merge onto NE 205th St/244th St SW/Lake Ballinger Way/WA-104, heading towards Port Angeles. The drive will take around three hours and involves a short ferry ride.

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4. Green Lake

Escape city life with a trip to this huge freshwater lake, north of central Seattle. With a tranquil vibe and varied wildlife, you'll probably find it very hard to leave.

How to get there:

Head north-east on Broad St toward Taylor Ave N - the journey should only take 15 minutes.

Book car hire seattle