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6 After-Dark Adventures in Seattle

Sleepless in Seattle? From zoo festivals to full-moon kayak tours, we reveal the city’s best night-time spots in this cosmopolitan city. Spend a few nights here before embarking on a Rocky Mountaineer train Journey over the border to Canada.

See Seattle’s dark side

Not fussed about a traditional city tour? Test your nerves on a ghost hunting trip instead. The team at Seattle Ghost know everything there is to know about the city’s surprisingly hair-raising history – especially the blood-curdling antics in and around Pike Place Market and the city’s first mortuary.

But there’s more to these tours than ghostly goings-on: they’re a fun, accessible introduction to Seattle’s past – with a few spooks and stories for good measure. You’ll meet at the ‘Gum Wall’ (Post Alley) at dusk, and the tour lasts for 75 minutes. Ask your guide for nightcap suggestions – they’ve got lots of recommendations.

Picnic on a boat

With Puget Sound on one side of the city and Lake Washington on the other, Seattleites spend most of their lives in, on or aside the water. If you fancy leaving land behind for the evening, Cedar Wave’s private picnic cruise is for you: head to one of the (many) waterfront restaurants, order a take-away dinner, and then hop on board your very own yacht.

It’s all rather romantic – with a candle-lit supper, a bottle of bubbly, and a night-time tour of the lake or harbour. Serious brownie points if you surprise your other half.

Hang out with jazz legends

For well over 100 years, The Sorrento Hotel has hosted playwrights, poets and performers – they flock to the Fireside Room (its swanky members-club-style bar) to swap stories, sing songs and tinkle the ivories of the resident baby-grand piano.

With its battered leather armchairs and stupendously well-stocked bar, Fireside makes a great jazz venue, with a line-up of local legends and international names. Fancy something a little less riotous? Bring your book for a Silent Reading Party, on every first Wednesday night of the month.

Paddle under the stars

By the light of a full moon, paddle through the dark waters of Lake Washington – tracing the water trails of the Washington Arboretum through a Duwamish burial ground. It all sounds rather spooky, but worry not: this wild spot is lively with marine life and nocturnal mammals.

The folks at Agua Verde Paddle Club have been kayaking these waters for decades, so you’ll be in expert hands on their Full Moon tour. Times vary, according to moonrise. Not keen on paddling in the dark? Sign up for a dusk trip and watch the lake blush under a red-hot sunset.

Party in a zoo

For over 30 years, Woodland Park Zoo has hosted Zoo Tunes – a summer season of outdoor concerts by top performers. Drink, dance and boogie the night away in the company of the resident lions, tigers and bears.

Missed the festival? The zoo also runs overnight camps from March to November, for adults and kids alike – giving you unrivalled access to the animals and behind-the-scenes antics. Have dinner alongside the critters, then take an out-of-hours tour before bedding down for a wild night…

Catch the sunrise

Managed to stay awake all night? Rest those weary legs on a bench at Louisa Boren Park, the city’s best spot to watch the sun rise. To the east, Lake Washington glitters under the dawn sun – and the pricey real estate of Bellevue certainly lives up to its French name (‘beautiful view’).

Seattle is the birthplace of Starbucks, but the city’s independent coffee shops are far more colourful and charismatic than big-brand businesses. Grab a brew at Volunteer Park Café, just a few blocks away from the park, to toast your night-time adventures.

Want to visit Seattle and Vancouver on the Rocky Mountaineer Coastal Passage Journey? Speak to one of our Travel Experts about tailor-making a holiday to suit you.

Written by Hazel Plush

Drawn to places that most people dismiss, I love digging out juicy stories in off-beat locations – whether that's poking around the furthermost corners of Europe, travelling overland in East Africa, or venturing beyond the malls and beaches of Dubai. I've travelled all over the world on assignment, but still haven't mastered the art of packing lightly. Tweet me @hazelplush

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