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What to Know About SeattleSeattle’s natural beauty is impossible to miss. Located on Puget Sound, a deepwater inlet on the northwest Washington coast, this scenic metropolis provides outstanding views everywhere you look. Yes, it can be gloomy (locals will tell you that summer finally arrives on July 4). Yes, it can be rainy (the kind of light but persistent rain that requires a rain jacket but not an umbrella). But the reward for putting up with this weather is sweet indeed: the stunning blue skies, warm sun and low humidity that characterize the glorious days of midsummer and early fall in Seattle.

If it’s your first time visiting Seattle, here are a few things you should know.

The soul of the city is in Pike Place Market. There's no better place to be early in the morning, wandering among the produce, seafood, craft and flower vendors as they set up shop. Locally grown raspberries and wood ear mushrooms, sourdough cinnamon rolls, whole Dungeness crab, artisan cheeses, Greek yogurt made from locally sourced ingredients: it's foodie heaven.

The market also is the location of the oldest operating Starbucks (1912 Pike Place), but contrary to popular belief, this Starbucks location is not the original one. (The first one opened in the ‘70s just around the corner on Western Avenue.)

A good way to get acquainted with the city’s history is on a walking tour. And while you can’t pay a visit Café Nervosa from the TV series “Frasier” or Seattle Grace Hospital from “Grey’s Anatomy” (both are fictional locations said to be set in Seattle), you can pay a visit to Lake Union to see the houseboat featured in “Sleepless in Seattle.” Whatever you’re into, Seattle is sure to please. Just don’t forget your raincoat.

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Seattle, WA

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.

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Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Downtown - Pioneer Square

255 S King St. Seattle, WA 98104

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4507 Brooklyn Ave NE. Seattle, WA 98105

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Hyatt Regency Lake Washington at Seattle's Southport

1053 Lake Washington Blvd N. Renton, WA 98056

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W Bellevue

10455 NE 5th Pl. Bellevue, WA 98004

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Travel Information

City Population

608,660

Elevation

350 ft.

Sales Tax

State and county sales taxes total 10.1 percent in Seattle. A lodging tax of 10.1 to 15.6 percent is levied along with a 17.8 percent rental car tax.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(206) 625-5011

Hospitals

Harborview Medical Center, (206) 744-3000; Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, (206) 364-0500; Swedish Medical Center-First Hill, (206) 386-6000; University of Washington Medical Center, (206) 598-3300; Virginia Mason Medical Center, (206) 223-6600.

Visitor Information

701 Pike St. Seattle, WA 98101. Phone:(206)461-5800 or (866)732-2695

Air Travel

Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport

Rental Cars

Hertz offers discounts to AAA members; phone (206) 903-6260 or (800) 654-3080.

Rail Service

Amtrak passenger trains, (800) 872-7245, arrive and depart the King Street Station at 303 S. Jackson St. Amtrak also serves Edmonds, Everett, Tacoma and Tukwila.

Buses

The Greyhound Lines Inc. station is at 503 S. Royal Brougham Way; phone (206) 624-0618 or (800) 231-2222.

Taxis

Taxis must be contacted by phone or hired while stopped at cab stands. Major companies are Farwest Taxi, (206) 622-1717; Orange Cab, (206) 522-8800; and Yellow Cab, (206) 622-6500.

Public Transportation

Transportation by bus, trolley, street car, light-rail, monorail and trains is available in Seattle.

Boats

Two companies provide water transportation within the greater Seattle area and to British Columbia.

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