If all you know about our city is that the Space Needle is here and it rains a lot, we have a lot to catch you up on. The staff at The Stranger (Seattle's best newspaper) has put together this guide to the best places to go and things to do while you're here. We'll get into specifics later, but first, here's a primer on our city's diverse neighborhoods (it's not just Pike Place Market) and what you can do in each one.
Known for: A mix of classic, seagoing, Scandinavian Seattle with hipster breweries and upscale bars.
Check out: The huge Sunday Ballard Farmers Market, the brand-new Nordic Museum, the fish ladders at the Ballard Locks, and sunsets at Golden Gardens Park.
Known for: Referring to itself as the Center of the Universe, lots of hippies, and the Solstice Parade and naked bike ride in June.
Check out: Public art like the Fremont Troll and the Statue of Lenin, tours of the Theo Chocolate Factory, the nearly 20-mile Burke-Gilman Trail through the city, and year-round flea market goodies at the Fremont Sunday Market.
3. Wallingford/Green Lake/Phinney Ridge
Known for: Residential neighborhoods with cute shops and restaurants, and easy access to the outdoors.
Check out: Gas Works Park on Lake Union, the Archie McPhee joke shop in Wallingford, the trail around Green Lake Park, and the summer concert series at the Woodland Park Zoo.
4. University District
Known for: The sprawling, Gothic University of Washington campus, and vintage shops and cheap restaurants along University Way (known as "the Ave").
Check out: The Henry Art Gallery and Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, the impressive University Book Store, and Cafe Racer and its Official Bad Art Museum of Art (OBAMA).
5. Queen Anne
6. Seattle Center
Known for: The Space Needle.
Check out: Marvel and Nirvana exhibits at the Museum of Pop Culture, the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum, music at the Vera Project, radio station KEXP, local food in the Armory, and Pacific Northwest Ballet and Seattle Opera performances.
7. South Lake Union
Known for: Amazon's headquarters, and waterfront bars and restaurants.
Check out: The plant-filled Amazon Spheres and the checkout-free Amazon Go store, the Museum of History & Industry, the street food-filled South Lake Union Saturday Market, and free Sunday public sailing trips from the Center for Wooden Boats.
8. Bainbridge Island
Known for: Easy day trips on the ferry for a taste of small-town, laid-back life.
Check out: James Beard Award finalist Hitchcock, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, and the 150-acre Bloedel Reserve garden.
Known for: Trendy bars, shops, clubs, and restaurants.
Check out: Art installations and Puget Sound views from the Olympic Sculpture Park, shows at the Crocodile, and bars like Shorty's (with a pinball arcade) and the speakeasy Bathtub Gin & Co.
Known for: Housing the "retail core" and skyscraper office buildings, plus proximity to Pike Place Market.
Check out: The architectural gem of the Central Library, the Seattle Art Museum, the view from the Starbucks on the 40th floor of the Columbia Center, and, of course, Pike Place Market.
11. Capitol Hill
Known for: Bars and music venues that come alive at night, rainbow-painted sidewalks and gay bars, and beautiful old mansions.
Check out: The cedar-shelved Elliott Bay Book Company, shows at Neumos, and walks in Volunteer Park.
12. Central District
Known for: Its history as the hub of the city's African American community and close proximity to Lake Washington.
Check out: The Northwest African American Museum, Ethiopian restaurants like Meskel and Cafe Selam, and classic movies with table service at Central Cinema.
14. Pioneer Square
Known for: Being Seattle's oldest neighborhood, plus brick buildings housing art galleries and restaurants.
Check out: The Underground Tour, the monthly First Thursday art walk, the Smith Tower observatory, and the Waterfall Garden Park and Occidental Park.
15. Chinatown-International District
16. West Seattle
Known for: Its relaxed, beachy vibe and being hard to get to, except by riding the water taxi.
Check out: Alki Beach Park, the view from Hawaiian-Korean taco joint Marination Ma Kai, and in-store performances at Easy Street Records.
Known for: An industrial background, and Safeco Field (where the Mariners play) and CenturyLink Field (where the Sounders and the Seahawks play).
Check out: The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, the Hat 'n' Boots sculptures at Oxbow Park, the Living Computers Museum + Labs, and the factory where Obama's favorite Fran's Chocolates are made.
18. Columbia City/Beacon Hill
Known for: Having wonderfully diverse communities with great food and music.
Check out: The James Beard Award semifinalist Columbia City Bakery, community coffee shop the Station, and shows at the Royal Room, Columbia City Theater, and Clock-Out Lounge.