Despite being major cities, Seattle and New York differ in many ways. Seattle’s crowning glory is its wealth of natural wonders, making it an outdoorsy city. While New York’s charm lies in its endless array of urban activities that last from day to the crack of dawn.
There are still tons to discuss when deciding which one to choose as your next destination. So keep reading below and you’ll figure out which of these two fits you best!
Seattle is a breathtaking city cradled by magnificent natural wonders. But look a little closer and you’ll fall in love with its hip, fun, and quirky character. There are tons of reasons why tourists love The Emerald City, and you’ll find some of these below.
What Makes Seattle Unique?
An Evergreen Playground for Outdoor Lovers
Seattle is a big city, the largest in Washington state and the region of the Pacific Northwest. Despite being a major city, Seattle is not a concrete jungle of steel and glass. Here in Seattle, you’ll have the sea, mountains, and loads of green-clad areas at your fingertips.
The city sits on Puget Sound, an inlet on the northern Pacific Ocean. And with this, you can take in the fresh sea breeze whenever you want in Seattle.
No matter where you are in Seattle, you’ll always find a majestic mountain looming over you. Flanking the city are two mountain ranges, the Cascade Range on the east and the Olympic Mountain Range on the west. And sitting off into the distance in the south is the famous Mount Rainier.
Although it’s hard to ignore the natural wonders surrounding Seattle, its wealth of green spaces is its crowning glory. Seattle is rich in diverse flora, thriving due to the amount of rain the city receives. But it’s the wealth of evergreen trees in and around the city that garnered Seattle the nickname, “The Emerald City”.
Considering the city’s natural beauty, it’s a scenic paradise for some outdoor recreation.
If you love hiking, you’ll find no shortage of trails to explore here. Discovery Park may be within the city, but it makes you feel like you’re in the true wilderness. It overlooks Puget Sound and offers great views of the mountain ranges around Seattle. Explore meadows, sea cliffs, beaches, and sand dunes here.
If you’re a biker, Seattle is also a cyclist’s wonderland. There’s the Burke-Gilman Trail, which winds through the city’s charming northern neighborhoods.
If you want some water fun, Seattle has tons of options too. Go kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, or be the captain of the boat!
If you’re seeking to have fun in the snow, you’re in luck! Only a few hours away from Seattle are tons of ski resorts, such as the Stevens Pass. There’s also Summit at Snoqualmie, a perfect place to start for beginners.
A Renowned, Wide-Ranging Food Scene
Seattle’s breathtaking natural beauty reflects the exciting culinary landscape it has. It’s nestled in a massive agricultural state and surrounded by waters teeming with sea life. This fuel the vibrant, diverse, and zinging food scene that makes Seattle a big foodie city!
In Seattle, seafood is king, and they take their reputation as a seafood paradise seriously. It’s no wonder Seattle is one of the best seafood cities in the country!
Seattle offers the freshest seafood around, thanks to Puget Sound. Locals have a high standard when it comes to seafood as they can head to the dock and get the fresh catch of the day. But explore the city’s many seafood restaurants and you’ll find a diverse menu of locally caught seafood, served to a high standard.
Have a plate of crabs, chowder, oysters, or whatever seafood you’re craving! But don’t forget to order some salmon, as Seattle is famous for this.
It can be overwhelming to pick a seafood restaurant in the city due to the wealth of options. But you can’t go wrong with Pike Place Chowder, one of the best seafood places in the city.
If you’re not a fan of seafood, Seattle’s food scene has an incredible array of cuisine for you to try. You can get a taste of foreign flavors from around the world here, and Seattle does them well. But Seattle is particularly renowned for its strong Asian cuisine.
The city has a large Vietnamese community, and there are a ton of adored pho restaurants here. Like pho, Japanese teriyaki is well-loved here, and it’s ubiquitous around the city. Ethiopian dishes are also famous among the locals, particularly vegetarian and vegan dishes!
A Diverse Art and Cultural Hub
Art may not be the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of Seattle. But Seattle has a passionate love affair with art, creating a name for itself in the experimental scene. The city’s art scene is ever-evolving, with new exhibits popping up everywhere, venues coming alive with music at night, and more.
On an art tour of any city, you turn to its selection of museums first. Seattle’s museums are a reflection of the city’s influences, a repository of its history. And with a diverse collection of museums in the city, you’re bound to find one that piques your interest.
See some instruments and artifacts of Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix at the Museum of Pop Culture. Marvel at colorful glass sculptures as you wander through a whimsical garden at Chihuly Garden and Glass. Or be in awe at artworks by famous artists such as Andy Warhol and Claude Monet at the Seattle Art Museum.
But in experiencing Seattle’s creativity, you’re not confined to museums and galleries. Art is everywhere in the city, and it’s not hard to find.
You’ll find quaint coffee shops displaying a local artist’s work. Vibrant murals paint the city with color, especially on 10th avenue. And there are tons of art events happening in the city year-round.
One museum in the city takes advantage of the natural beauty that Seattle already has. The Olympic Sculpture Park is a sprawling outdoor museum with over two dozen permanent sculptures. More than that, it also has great views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound.
After a day of exploring Seattle’s visual art, why not immerse yourself in its strong music culture too? Seattle is a powerhouse in performing arts. And live music is a staple in the city’s nightlife.
You’re spoiled for choices in this regard too as Seattle has tons of venues sprinkled around the city. From intimate concerts at back-room venues to a regal experience at a sophisticated theater, Seattle has them all!
Seattle’s Iconic and Unique Attractions
Beautiful nature may surround the city of Seattle on all its sides, but within the city, you’ll find no shortage of sights to marvel at too. Seattle is dense with cool or quirky landmarks that have long attracted thousands of visitors.
There’s no landmark more famous in Seattle than the Space Needle, the city’s symbol. This monolith sticks out like a sore thumb among the boxy structures in the city’s skyline for its unique, futuristic architecture. And while it’s pretty from afar, you can climb up its saucer-shaped top house for a 360 view of the city.
The Space Needle has been dominating Seattle’s skyline since 1961. But another landmark in the city has been serving the locals for over a hundred years.
The Pike Place Market is one of the oldest marketplaces in the country that’s still in use today. Many famous sights around the world are simply something for you to marvel at. But here, you can enjoy the market’s history, as you eat and shop to your heart’s content!
Within the Pike Place Market is another iconic site in Seattle, one that is unusual yet fascinating. On an unassuming alleyway in the market lies a collective artwork that was built by locals spanning decades, the Gum Wall.
The Gum Wall started when local patrons stuck their gum on the wall before entering a theater. Since then, the wall became filled with colorful gum, resulting in an interesting mural of sorts.
Another Seattle landmark that’s quite hidden like the Gum Wall is the Fremont Troll. Have you ever seen a troll that lives under a bridge? The Fremont Troll is just that, a massive sculpture that’s 18 feet (5 m) tall!
An Endless List of Fun and Unusual Things to Do
Wander through winding paths in lush forests, tickle your tastebuds with seafood, get inspired by a vibrant art scene, and more. Seattle has tons of touristy choices to keep you busy on your trip. But the city still has more up its sleeve, as it has tons of curious and lesser-known attractions for you to discover.
One of Seattle’s hidden gems, a favorite of many, lies under the streets! There’s another city underneath Seattle, an abandoned underground city after the Great Fire of 1889. Step back in time and tour the passages, alleyways, and rooms that were once part of the city.
Perhaps you’re looking for a different kind of thrill, a more spooky tour. You can do this with the Seattle Terrors Haunted Dark History Walking Ghost Tour. Wander through haunted streets, theaters, mortuaries, and more, and get a history lesson while you’re at it too!
If you’re not a fan of the paranormal, Seattle is full of quirky museums that you may enjoy! There’s the Giant Shoe Museum, which gives you a glimpse of what old circuses were like in the past. Then you have the Museum of Bad Art, a place filled with “terrible” art, truly one of the city’s more unique attractions.
Another draw to Seattle is its great cannabis tourism, which goes well with its nickname as the Emerald City. You’ll find tons of dispensaries here, and there’s always weed-friendly accommodation in the city. But you can elevate your experience by going on a cannabis tour!
Shiny skyscrapers, cinematic streets, and the constant buzz of a bustling urban jungle are what many know of New York. But this isn’t all there is to New York. Dive a bit deeper into its allures and you’ll discover why the city appeals to travelers of all kinds.
What Makes New York Unique?
A Global Powerhouse for Art and Culture
For many years, New York has been the epicenter of artistic minds, pushing the boundaries of the art scene. New York is where the Harlem Renaissance and abstract expressionism were born, to name a few. And to this day, the city continues to be an exuberant and important art city.
New York is not only the leading art city in the country, but it’s also one of the top art cities in the world. This is due to the many world-class art institutions and museums it has. But you also have a plethora of creative minds and their artistic prowess to thank for.
At the heart of New York’s art scene are three world-renowned institutions that make up the “big three”:
- Metropolitan Museum of Art: Home of one of the largest permanent collections of artworks that encompass 5 millennia. Artworks here range from ancient Egyptian to famous modern art.
- Museum of Modern Art (MoMA): One of the most influential museums in the world as it homes important artworks by renowned artists. This includes Van Gogh, Picasso, Salvador Dali, and more.
- Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum: This museum also holds many invaluable artworks from famous artists. Most notably, paintings by Kandinsky and Picasso. But the museum is famous not only for its paintings but also for its Frank Lloyd Wright–designed architecture.
More than these established institutions, New York is a goldmine of exciting galleries. See the amazing talent that New York contains, whether they’re up-and-coming artists or renowned ones.
Experiencing New York’s art world doesn’t even have to be indoors. As a vibrant urban area, the city’s streets have tons of stories to tell, and it comes in the form of street art too.
New York has no shortage of walls sporting colorful and thought-provoking murals. Notable ones include those in The Bushwick Collective, Graffiti Hall of Fame, and First Street Green Art Park.
Wander Around in a Sprawling Film Set
The darling of films, TV shows, and more, New York is one of those cities that the media can’t get enough of. Immortalized time and again in media, you’ve probably seen a ton of its most memorable sites. And now you can see them in person!
Movie buff or not, these landmarks have become unmissable sites in the city. Relive scenes from your favorite blockbusters as you wander around this ever-buzzing city! Many of these landmarks are free, so there’s no stopping you from posing for a photo with them.
Unsurprisingly, New York’s most iconic landmarks have been a favorite backdrop in many movies or shows.
The Statue of Liberty may have gotten destroyed in movies many times. It’s been in X-Men, Cloverfield, and Spider-Man–No Way Home. But Lady Liberty is well and ready for some pictures!
The famous Empire State Building is also a favorite of movies when depicting epic destruction. It’s most known for the movie King Kong when the character made its way to the top and fight off fighter planes. It also got blasted in the movie Independence Day, got damaged in Superman II, and more.
One of the city’s busiest spots, Times Square is a perfect movie backdrop for its energetic charm and LED billboards. Some memorable scenes here are from Birdman, Lucy, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
There are still a lot more film sets to explore in the city, and visiting each can take up a big chunk of your trip already! If a spot in the city is popular, or if you see a crowd of folks taking pictures of one, chances are, it’s been in a movie!
A Vibrant and Constantly Evolving Food Scene
In a city that has a seemingly endless list of things to see and do, you’ll need all the good food you can get for fuel. Experiencing New York’s food scene is more than just out of necessity though. New York is one of the top food cities in the world, making this scene an attraction in itself.
New York is well-known for its unmatched vibrancy and diversity. This character is evident in its zinging food scene too.
As a cultural melting pot, you can taste your way across the globe in the comfort of one city. And with this status, New York has made some foreign dishes their own too, some of which are the iconic dishes of the city. From New York–style pizza to pastrami on rye, the city loves to remix traditional dishes and put its creative twist on them.
More than its sheer diversity, the New York food scene is also famous for its astounding number of restaurants. This compact city is home to over 20000 restaurants of all kinds. Some are Michelin-starred, while others have been serving the city with tasty delights for decades.
And while you can help yourself to some upscale eats all you want, New York’s street food scene is a must-try. In fact, it’s an integral part of the city’s food scene.
You’ll find a wide variety of flavors to choose from in New York’s street food scene. Whether you’re craving Persian, Italian, or Filipino, you name it, and the city’s streets have it.
And as a city of foodies, New York’s street food scene has great quality to meet its patron’s standards. Many New Yorkers wait in long lines just to grab a bite from a hotdog stall!
What’s more exciting is that there’s always a new stall popping up in the city. You’ll never know what the city’s street food scene offers the next day. And most of all, you can get all these without breaking the bank!
Explore the City’s Stunning Great Outdoors
The immediate picture many think of New York is a vibrant urban landscape filled with skyscrapers, lit up with big-city lights. But one of the best things about the city is how well it integrates thousands of parks across its boroughs. So whenever you need a break from the busy city life, you’re never too far from a verdant refuge in New York.
No matter the season, the Big Apple’s parks are perfect for outdoor recreation. Unwind, soak in the sun, and have fun strolling around the parks in the summer. In winter, you can go ice skating or sit on a bench for some deep contemplation.
When visiting New York, it’s natural for you to get drawn by the world-famous Central Park. This sprawling green land offers a ton of things to see and do.
Discover the “hidden garden” known as the Conservatory Garden, and you’ll find a well-manicured spot of gorgeous flowers. Check out a free show, ride a gondola, or watch a play in the park when the sun sets!
Central Park is only one of your many options as New York is home to other scenic and unique parks.
One of the last remaining forestlands in Manhattan, Inwood Hill Park makes you forget that you’re in a city. A green-clad hilly land, the park sits on a ridge overlooking the Hudson River.
But for a truly unique park experience, go on a stroll at the city’s elevated park, The High Line. Built on an abandoned railroad, this stylish park has more to offer other than a wide array of greenery. You’ll find shallow pools, sculptures, food stands, and more here!
Countless Thrills for Some Late-Night Shenanigans
The night owl in you will have plenty of excuses to stay up at night in The City That Never Sleeps. What’s great about New York is that its allures aren’t all tied to the daytime. To many, the fun in the city only begins when the sun sets!
While some cities shut down and become quiet at night, New York comes to life at night. From the usual booze-fueled nightlife to some quirky and fun activities, the city’s night scene has something for everyone!
The New York skyline looks stunning during the day, but it gets even more magical at night. Rooftops are a great viewpoint to take in the city’s twinkling skyline. And it’s even better with a cocktail in hand at New York’s countless trendy rooftop bars!
If you need a little more excitement, you can explore New York’s neighborhoods at night with an organized pub crawl. Or you can also go clubbing and dance ’til the break of dawn. New York has a wealth of vibrant nightclubs that open until the wee hours of the night.
Are you more of a movie buff than a party lover? New York has tons of venues for outdoor movies, especially every summer. The city has tons of free movie screenings in parks across its boroughs, like Central Park and Bryant Park.
Sports lovers will find a home in New York, as the city has a strong sports culture. There’s always something sports-related going on in the city, no matter when you visit.
Baseball fans can head to Yankee Stadium and watch a game from March to October. Basketball fans can see the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden from October to April. And in the same location, you can watch the New York Rangers from October to June!
Is Seattle Better Than New York?
Generally, most tourists find New York to be a better destination. The Big Apple appeals to everyone due to its diverse collection of allures, and it does well in indulging its visitors. Foodies, shopaholics, art lovers, and everyone in between is more drawn to New York.
But some of New York’s draws pale in comparison to Seattle’s offers.
If you’re outdoorsy, Seattle is a better destination for you. Surrounding the city on its three sides are mountains, flanked by waters to its west and east. The Emerald City also lives up to its nickname, as there’s no shortage of greenery in and around the city.
Seattle may not have as many parks as New York, but its parks and gardens are green year-round due to its wealth of evergreen trees. More than that, you’re also a few hours away from the true wilderness in Seattle. This is a recipe for endless exciting outdoor recreation!
Another thing that Seattle is better at is its seafood. The city may not have the diversity of the New York food scene or an extensive list of Michelin-starred restaurants. But it is one of the best cities in the country to eat delicious seafood.
When it comes to every other allure, such as nightlife, New York is better.
Is Seattle Colder Than New York?
There’s no simple answer to this, as you have to consider the season. Seattle is warmer than New York during winter. But in the summer, Seattle is colder than New York.
Both cities are on the coast, although Seattle is a more northern city. What gives Seattle its more temperate weather is the Pacific Ocean.
Weather patterns generally flow from the west to the east. So Seattle’s weather comes from the west, which is the Pacific Ocean.
During the summer, the cool waters of the Pacific prevent the city from becoming too hot. And during winter, the warm waters keep the city from getting too cold.
Meanwhile, New York’s weather doesn’t come from the Atlantic Ocean, as the Atlantic is to its east. The city’s weather comes from the land to its west. Because of this, New York has more temperature extremes, becoming too hot during summer and too cold during winter.
You’ll get a clearer picture of this when you look into each city’s yearly temperatures. Seattle’s annual temperature is around 37 F (3 C) to 79 F (26 C). But New York’s average yearly temperature is around 28 F (-2 C) to 85 F (29 C).
How Far Is Seattle Washington From New York?
The straight line distance from Seattle to New York is around 2402 miles (3866 km).
New York to Seattle Flight Distance
The flight distance from New York to Seattle is around 2422 miles (3898 km).
Sleeper Train From New York to Seattle
You can find a sleeper train that’ll take you from New York to Seattle directly, though they’re hard to come by. Most trains on this route are not direct, so you’ll have to stop at a city along the way, such as Chicago.
Depending on your chosen train, you can get a roomette, a bedroom, or even a family room with Amtrak. These can be expensive though, but you can always travel comfortably with Coach Class. With this option, you’ll have a large, reclining seat with tons of legroom and an electric outlet by your seat.
How Far Is Seattle From New York by Car?
The distance from New York to Seattle by car depends on your chosen route. You have three recommended routes to choose from on this journey.
One option is traveling via Interstate 94 West and Interstate 90 West. This option has a distance of 2854 miles (4593 km) and it takes around 42 hours of driving time.
Another is driving through Interstate 80 West. If you choose this route, you’ll be traveling a distance of 3030 miles (4876 km). The estimated driving time on this route is 46 hours.
The longest route is only going through Interstate 90 West. You’ll be covering a distance of 3228 miles (5195 km) on this route. And it takes around 49 hours to complete this trip.
New York to Seattle Drive Time
On the shortest route, the drive time from New York to Seattle takes around 42 hours of driving time. You can expect this travel time when you drive via Interstate 94 West and Interstate 90 West.
A second option is driving through Interstate 80 West. On this route, the average driving time is around 46 hours.
The last option is driving through Interstate 90 West entirely. You can expect to reach Seattle in around 49 hours if you choose this route.
New York to Seattle Road Trip
A road trip from New York to Seattle, even with the most direct route, is a long journey that’ll take several days. But you’ll be driving across 13 states, so you’ll have tons of beautiful places to explore! Here are only some of the many highlights of your road trip.
Toledo City is one of the first stops you can take. This city has a great arts scene, with a fascinating history. History buffs can head to the National Museum of the Great Lakes to learn more about the international significance of lakes.
Another stop is the vibrant city of Chicago, known for its museums and beautiful architecture. Go on a stroll and take a picture with “The Bean”. Or uncover the city’s artistic side, as art is everywhere here!
Now you can head to the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul. These two are brimming with history and culture. Marvel at the historic Stone Arch Bridge, appreciate the stunning architecture of the Basilica of Saint Mary, and more!
On the way to Seattle, you can also admire the world-famous Mount Rushmore. You’ll find the faces of the country’s most prominent presidents here, representing over 100 years of American History.