Seattle   Travel Guide

seattle washington tourist activities

The 27 Essential Things to Do in Seattle, Washington

If you're a first-time visitor to Seattle, no trip would be complete without stopping by some of the city's most iconic attractions. Browse the bustling stalls of fresh produce and flowers that make up Pike Place Market and take in

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seattle washington tourist activities

Pike Place Market Pike Place Market free

Since 1907, this bustling market near the downtown waterfront has been the go-to place for local produce. Today, you can find almost everything, from local artwork to vinyl records. Plus, the flower market and fish tossing are particular must-sees, according to reviewers. Though Pike Place Market is one of the most tourist-heavy attractions in Seattle (plan to run into crowds, especially on the weekends) that's no reason to scratch it off your to-do list. Recent visitors said the abundance of vendors and lively atmosphere make it an experience you shouldn't pass up, no matter how busy it gets. 

The streets surrounding Pike Place Market are peppered with restaurants and coffee shops, and there's an information booth just west of the marketplace at First Avenue. If you want a little help navigating the massive market, guided tours and food tours are available from third-party companies.

seattle washington tourist activities

Chihuly Garden and Glass Chihuly Garden and Glass

U.S. News Insider Tip: Utilize the museum’s interactive mobile guide , which provides a map, schedules of live talks and demos as well as an audio guide for insight into the pieces that make up the exhibition. – Vivian Chung

Bursting with artwork spanning the colors of the rainbow, Chihuly Garden and Glass offers visitors a look at creative, glass-blown pieces crafted by renowned Pacific Northwest artist, Dale Chihuly. The permanent exhibition opened in 2012 and has since attracted the admiration of Seattleites and tourists alike. 

seattle washington tourist activities

Space Needle Space Needle

If there's one thing Seattle is known for (aside from coffee), it's the 605-foot-tall Space Needle. Built for the 1962 World's Fair, the Space Needle has dominated Seattle's skyline ever since with its unique UFO-like design. The tower's 520-foot-high round observation deck offers spectacular views of the city and the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. The Loupe, a seasonal cocktail lounge, features a revolving glass floor. If you're not a fan of heights, check out the SpaceBase gift shop at the bottom of the tower.

Past visitors agreed that the Space Needle is a must for first-time visitors to Seattle, and recommend either purchasing your ticket online in advance or showing up early to avoid long lines. Several said they bought the combo ticket that also includes access to Chihuly Garden and Glass . 

seattle washington tourist activities

Popular Tours

Viator Exclusive Day-Tour From Seattle to Mt. Rainier

Viator Exclusive Day-Tour From Seattle to Mt. Rainier

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Mt. Rainier Day Tour from Seattle

Mt. Rainier Day Tour from Seattle

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Chef Guided Food Tour of Pike Place Market- 2 Hours

Chef Guided Food Tour of Pike Place Market- 2 Hours

(2105 reviews)

from $ 67.99

seattle washington tourist activities

Kerry Park Kerry Park free

This small viewpoint park, which offers amazing views of Elliott Bay and the Central City (and occasionally Mount Rainier), is a favorite with photographers. Sunset is a particularly popular time to visit, when the city lights up and the Space Needle is a beacon in the night. While the park is tiny, you can see the sculpture Changing Form and a children's play area at the Bayview-Kinnear Park just below the viewpoint of Kerry Park.

Recent visitors said the views are astounding and advise others to come on a clear day and be prepared for crowds.

seattle washington tourist activities

Capitol Hill Capitol Hill free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Opened in December 2014, a trip to the world’s first Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Capitol Hill is a must for coffee connoisseurs. Situated just nine blocks from the original 1912 Starbucks at Pike Place, the Reserve offers exclusive beverages and merchandise. – Vivian Chung

Perched on a hill and bordered by Interstate 5 to the west, 15th Avenue to the east, Roy Street to the north, and Madison Street to the south, diverse and vibrant Capitol Hill stands out as one of Seattle's most popular nightlife and entertainment districts. Marked by rainbow crosswalks and flags, it also serves as the city’s LGBTQ+ epicenter. Infused with cool, hip vibes and a youthful energy, the district is packed with music venues and trendy establishments. 

seattle washington tourist activities

Museum of Flight Museum of Flight

Seattle is one of the most important cities in the world of aviation and home to several facilities belonging to the Boeing Company, one of the world's leading aircraft manufacturers. You can find out more about the city's unique and fascinating history in aviation at one of its best museums, the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. The museum is located less than 10 miles south of downtown Seattle. 

The facility is especially enticing for families with young children, who can climb in and around various aircraft. Also recommended is the Red Barn, Boeing's original airplane factory, which features exhibitions chronicling the history of flight. The nearby six-story T.A. Wilson Great Gallery also holds vintage aircraft, offering travelers a unique look into Seattle's prolific technological history. One of the most popular attractions is the SAM 970, which served as Air Force One for presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, as well as other vice presidents and VIPs until its retirement in June 1996.

seattle washington tourist activities

Best Seattle Tours

seattle washington tourist activities

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seattle washington tourist activities

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seattle washington tourist activities

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seattle washington tourist activities

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks) Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks) free

These locks – operated by the Army Corps of Engineers – are popular among Seattle visitors and locals. The locks allow boats to pass between Puget Sound and the Lake Washington Ship Canal, offering a live demonstration of Seattle's maritime lifestyle (many have compared the locks to a miniature version of the Panama Canal). After you've watched a couple barges pass by, head to the south side of the locks where fish ladders help salmon migrate during the summer months; if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a sea lion looking for a quick bite to eat. The fish can be seen up close from special viewing windows. The Chittenden Locks are also home to the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Gardens, which feature a variety of 1,500 plants from around the world and beautiful views.

Many visitors suggested taking one of the free hourlong tours offered to learn more about the history of the locks. Tours depart from the visitor center. You can also learn more about the locks on one of Seattle's best boat tours . Recent visitors also mention that parking can be difficult to find and the area can feel crowded on the weekends.

seattle washington tourist activities

Mount Rainier Mount Rainier

Enveloped by lush forests, alpine meadows and glacial landscape, 14,410-foot-tall Mount Rainier, an active stratovolcano and the tallest mountain in the Cascade Range, takes center stage at Mount Rainier National Park . The park encompasses five developed areas, including Longmire, Ohanapecosh, Sunrise, Carbon River and Mowich, with Paradise being the park’s most sought-after. Here, hike the popular 5.5-mile Skyline Trail, which offers views of meadows blanketed by vibrant wildflowers in the summer months. In the winter, Paradise beckons powderhounds to explore its snowy terrain on snowshoes, cross-country skis and snowboards. For scenic viewpoints, head to 6,400-foot-high Sunrise Point to catch daybreak, the highest point in the park accessible by vehicle. And along Stevens Canyon Road, see reflections of Mount Rainier in the tranquil waters of Reflection Lakes.

Despite the two-hour drive from Seattle, recent visitors praise the park’s spectacular natural landscapes, deeming the journey well worthwhile. Additionally, many suggest bringing extra layers, even during the summer, as the park's elevation and mountainous terrain contribute to constant and unpredictable weather changes.

seattle washington tourist activities

Seattle Harbor Cruise

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Premier 3-Hour Seattle City Tour

Premier 3-Hour Seattle City Tour

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Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass Combination Ticket

Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass Combination Ticket

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from $ 66.71

seattle washington tourist activities

Museum of History and Industry Museum of History and Industry

If you want to learn about the history of Seattle, pay a visit to this museum. The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) collects and preserves items related to innovation in the Puget Sound region. Permanent exhibits that highlight that effort include the "Bezos Center for Innovation," "Maritime Seattle" and "True Northwest: The Seattle Journey." Its collection includes art, toys, furniture, vehicles, clothing and other locally made or invented products. In addition to its exhibits, MOHAI also houses a cafe and a store featuring products made by Puget Sound artisans.

"Fascinating," "informative" and "engaging" are among the adjectives visitors frequently use to describe MOHAI. As an added bonus, the building offers a nice view of Lake Union, from the maritime history exhibit, appropriately enough.

seattle washington tourist activities

Seattle Art Museum Seattle Art Museum

Spread across three locations, the Seattle Art Museum houses one of America's premier art collections. Among its collection of more than 25,000 pieces, the museum displays everything from European masterpieces to contemporary sculptures. The Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park are also part of the complex. 

The museum received some mixed reviews from recent visitors for its small size, but most appreciated its eclectic collection and recommended setting aside a few hours. Recent travelers were particularly impressed with the museum's permanent collection of African art and its display of Northwest Coast Native American artists. 

seattle washington tourist activities

Olympic Sculpture Park Olympic Sculpture Park free

There's no better way to get a healthy dose of culture than to enjoy some fine art, especially when the art is outdoors and free to peruse. In other words, you should plan on visiting the Olympic Sculpture Park, a 9-acre space one mile north of the Seattle Art Museum (with which it's affiliated) that's filled with works by such sculptors as Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Roxy Paine and Tony Smith. Once you've had your fill of art, turn your attention to the view, which stretches over Elliott Bay to the Olympic Mountains and is a big hit with recent visitors.

Past visitors said it's an enjoyable way to experience the art and ambiance Seattle offers, and appreciate that it’s crowd-free, despite its proximity to downtown. However, they say that unless you’re in the area, you shouldn’t make a special trip to the park as it’s not a “top 10” attraction.

seattle washington tourist activities

Museum of Pop Culture Museum of Pop Culture

Set in an eye-popping complex designed by architect Frank Gehry, the Museum of Pop Culture celebrates rock music in a myriad of ways. Exhibits at this Seattle Center museum like "Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses" and "Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad, 1966-1970" are excellent and comprehensive looks at these two iconic music phenoms, while the "Guitar Gallery" chronicles the history of the instrument and the musicians who played them. Music isn’t the only aspect of pop culture on display here. The "Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame" exhibit features artifacts from sci-fi literature, film, television and art, including pieces from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "The Empire Strikes Back." There are also exhibits dedicated to video games and horror films. 

According to recent visitors, the interactive exhibits appeal to a variety of ages, and the museum is worth spending a couple of hours exploring, though reviewers did not appreciate the high admission price. Recent visitors were also impressed by the architectural design of the museum’s building. 

seattle washington tourist activities

Gas Works Park Gas Works Park free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Birdwatching enthusiasts will find Gas Works Park to be a haven for various bird species. Bring a pair of binoculars for the chance to spot double-crested cormorants, goosanders and American coots, particularly along the shores of Lake Union. – Vivian Chung

Encompassing 19.1 acres, Gas Works Park features preserved structures and remnants of the historic Seattle Gas Light Company gasification plant, which operated from 1906 to 1956. Its expansive green spaces make this park a favored spot among locals for picnics and kite flying, while Kite Hill, known as the Great Mound, offers a picturesque vantage point for observing seaplanes take off and land on Lake Union. The park also transforms into a vibrant hub each Fourth of July, when crowds come to witness a spectacular fireworks display.

seattle washington tourist activities

Only Wildlife and Whale Watching Tour Leaving from Seattle

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Beneath The Streets Underground History Tour

Beneath The Streets Underground History Tour

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Viator Exclusive Tour- Olympic National Park Tour from Seattle

Viator Exclusive Tour- Olympic National Park Tour from Seattle

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seattle washington tourist activities

Discovery Park Discovery Park free

If you're looking to get outdoors without getting out of the city, this is the place. Sprawling across more than 500 acres in northern Seattle, Discovery Park is the city's largest green space. You'll find hiking trails, meadows, beaches and sand dunes abound. One must-see is the West Point Lighthouse – one of 18 active lighthouses in Washington State – which can be reached by following the North Beach Trail, while the South Beach Trail leads to a spectacular view of Puget Sound.

And if you're not one for hiking, keep in mind that Discovery Park also features a tennis facility, a cultural center and a kids' play area that includes swings, climbing structures and a zip line. Many park visitors say this is one of Seattle's finer gems, with something for everyone to enjoy. Hikers commented that there is a trail suitable for every experience level and particularly enjoy the opportunity to catch a glimpse of Mount Rainier on clear days.

seattle washington tourist activities

Smith Tower Smith Tower

The Space Needle isn't the only way to enjoy a bird’s-eye perspective of Seattle. Smith Tower is Seattle's oldest skyscraper, and when it was built in 1914 it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. The 35th-floor observatory that was part of the original construction remains open today, offering 360-degree views of the city. The same floor also has a cocktail bar. In addition to office space, the tower also houses ground-floor retail, special event spaces and historical exhibits.

While the stunning views are the reason to go to the top of the tower, the food and beverages win high marks from reviewers as well, though some find the selection to be limited. Recent visitors also appreciated the self-guided tour showcasing historical information about the tower before enjoying the elevator ride to the 35th floor. For more information about the tower’s past, including its Wishing Chair, consider signing up for one of the 45-minute guided “Talking Tours.”

seattle washington tourist activities

Alki Beach Alki Beach free

Elliott Bay's Alki Beach is a popular attraction for bicyclists, joggers and anyone seeking to spend a day in the sun. What's more, from its perch on the bay, the beach offers photogenic views of the Olympic Mountains and the Puget Sound, as well as passing ships. Amenities include fire pits, restrooms, hand-carry boat access, picnic tables and volleyball courts. On Alki Point, there's a monument marking the spot where European settlers first arrived in 1851.

Beachgoers rave about the skyline views seen from the beach, though they do warn that you shouldn’t visit this beach expecting to swim (water temps are chilly, ranging from the mid-40s to the mid-50s). They also appreciate the many restaurants in proximity to the shore. History buffs wanting a break from the sun (or wishing to learn more about those aforementioned settlers) can visit the nearby Log House Museum, which is operated by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society and offers pay-what-you-can admission.

seattle washington tourist activities

Woodinville Wine Country Woodinville Wine Country

Oenophiles in search of a memorable glass of vino should head about 20 miles northeast of Seattle to explore Woodinville Wine Country. This area within the Sammamish River Valley is home to more than 130 wineries, as well as breweries, shops, hotels and restaurants. To orient yourself, read up on Woodinville's four districts.

The Downtown District, generally regarded as a convenient spot to begin or end a trip to Woodinville – offers numerous options for eating and drinking. 

seattle washington tourist activities

Mount Si Mount Si free

If you don't have time to make the drive to Mount Rainier (which sits about two hours southeast of downtown Seattle), Mount Si provides a popular alternative. Sitting about 40 miles east of the city center, Mount Si offers several opportunities to strap on your hiking boots and hit the trails. 

On a clear day, views from the summit stretch across the city to the Olympic Mountains. The Mount Si trail to the summit is about an 8-mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain of 3,100 feet. Many recent travelers said the hike is strenuous and definitely not for novices, though the views up top made it worth the journey. They also suggest bringing plenty of snacks and water. Note: There are outhouses located at the bottom of the trail, but no formal facilities along the path.

seattle washington tourist activities

Evening Colors Sunset Sail Tour in Seattle

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Best of Olympic National Park from Seattle: All-Inclusive Small-Group Day Tour

Best of Olympic National Park from Seattle: All-Inclusive Small-Group Day Tour

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Touring and Hiking in Mt. Rainier National Park

Touring and Hiking in Mt. Rainier National Park

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seattle washington tourist activities

Seattle Great Wheel Seattle Great Wheel

U.S. News Insider Tip: Elevate your experience by gathering a group of two to four for an exclusive dinner in one of the Great Wheel’s gondolas. In collaboration with its sister business, Fisherman’s Restaurant, you’ll indulge in a four-course dinner while suspended 200 feet in the air. – Vivian Chung

This colossal, 175-foot-tall Seattle Great Wheel punctuates the city’s skyline and has become an iconic landmark in downtown Seattle since its opening in June 2012. A single ride in one of the 42 climate-controlled gondolas involves three full revolutions of the wheel, lasts up to 20 minutes and offers unobstructed views over downtown Seattle, Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains, and, on clear days, Mount Rainier. Illuminated by over 500,000 LED lights, the Seattle Great Wheel hosts vibrant light shows every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from sundown to 10 p.m. during summer evenings.

seattle washington tourist activities

Bainbridge Island Bainbridge Island free

U.S. News Insider Tip: To shop local produce and artisan goods from local makers, visit on a Saturday between April and the end of November when the Bainbridge Island Farmers’ Market operates between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Town Square. – Vivian Chung

Best known for its picturesque scenery and charming small-town vibes, this island 10 miles west of downtown Seattle beckons outdoor adventurers, oenophiles, and art and culture lovers. 

seattle washington tourist activities

Sky View Observatory Sky View Observatory

Billed as the tallest building in Seattle, the Sky View Observatory on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center provides stunning panoramic views of Seattle, Puget Sound, Mount Rainier and the surrounding landscapes. To enjoy cocktails and light bites like flatbreads and wraps, head to the onsite Sky View Cafe & Bar.

Recent travelers strongly recommend choosing a visit here over the Space Needle, thanks to more affordable admission and fewer crowds that result in little to no wait time. Plus, with its viewing platform at 902 feet, the Sky View Observatory provides a notable height advantage over the Space Needle (which stands at 605 feet). For the mesmerizing sight of an illuminated city, reviewers suggest visiting the observatory in the evening.

seattle washington tourist activities

T-Mobile Park T-Mobile Park

U.S. News Insider Tip: Book a guided tour of the ballpark, which offers exclusive access to areas not often seen by the public, including the dugout, press box and All-Star Club. On select game days, tour participants may even have the opportunity to watch batting practice. – Vivian Chung

Home to the Seattle Mariners baseball team, this stadium features a retractable roof and accommodates up to 47,929 attendees. Immerse yourself in the excitement of live baseball, where crowds cheer and fast-paced action unfolds on the diamond against a striking backdrop of Seattle's skyline. For a more comprehensive experience and to gain a deeper understanding of baseball’s significance to Seattlites and the Pacific Northwest, explore the onsite Mariners Hall of Fame, where its curated collection of memorabilia and exhibits celebrate the history and accomplishments of the Seattle Mariners. 

seattle washington tourist activities

Washington Park Arboretum Washington Park Arboretum free

The Washington Park Arboretum's 230 acres on the shores of Lake Washington contain a diverse array of plants, some of which can't be seen anywhere else in the region. Its themed gardens include the Pacific Connections Garden, which features plants from five countries connected to its namesake ocean (specifically Australia, China, Chile, New Zealand and the U.S. Pacific Northwest); Rhododendron Glen, one of the arboretum's oldest sections, dating to the late 1930s; and a traditional Japanese garden. It also has a winter garden ideally viewed from late November through March. The City of Seattle and the University of Washington Botanic Gardens jointly manage the arboretum.

Activities in the arboretum include guided hourlong tours via tram and nonmotorized boating. Kayaks and canoes can be rented nearby. Private walking tours are also available.

seattle washington tourist activities

Seattle Grand 4-Hour City Tour

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Boeing Factory Tour with Guided Transport from Seattle

Boeing Factory Tour with Guided Transport from Seattle

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Pike Place Market Tasting Tour

Pike Place Market Tasting Tour

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seattle washington tourist activities

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

Situated in Seattle's Chinatown-International District, the Wing Luke Museum is devoted to the art, culture and history of Asian Pacific Americans. The 60,000-square-foot facility, which is housed in a historic building constructed in 1910 by Chinese immigrants, features multiple galleries for both traveling and permanent exhibits. Among the latter are "Wing Luke and the Museum," dedicated to the institution's namesake, who was the first Asian American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest, and "Honoring Our Journey," which highlights the Asian Pacific American immigrant and refugee experience. 

Recent visitors typically found the Wing Luke Museum highly informative and strongly recommend participating in the Historic Hotel Tour for a walk through the history of the East Kong Yick Building, which houses the museum. The tour comes free with your admission and provides a deeper insight into the museum’s mission.

seattle washington tourist activities

Pioneer Square Pioneer Square free

If you like history, Pioneer Square should be on your your to-do list. This neighborhood was one of the first settlements in the Northwest U.S. (hence the name), and it has maintained much of its Old West identity. Today, you'll find the cobblestone area peppered with art galleries, restaurants and shops, not to mention an ornamental pergola, which provides shelter to those waiting to hop on the First Hill Line streetcar.

No visit to Pioneer Square is complete until you tag along on the Beneath the Streets tour, one of the best Seattle tours . On this one-hour excursion, expert guides will lead you through underground passageways dating back to the 1890s, sharing historical information, along with stories of the Klondike Gold Rush, the city's architecture and the Coast Salish tribes who originally inhabited the area. Reviewers applaud the well-versed guides and recommend the experience. If you prefer to explore above ground, visit the nearby Smith Tower and its 35th-floor observatory.

seattle washington tourist activities

Seattle Aquarium Seattle Aquarium

For a glimpse under the sea, head to the Seattle Aquarium, which sits along the waterfront just a few blocks west of the Seattle Art Museum. It may not be as impressive as other cities' aquariums , but Seattle's facility offers a wonderful introduction to northwestern sea life, such as local bird, fish, seals and otters. The highlight of your visit will most likely be the "Window on Washington Waters" exhibit, which houses aquatic animals native to the surrounding area in a 120,000-gallon tank.

Other points of interest include a coral reef tank and a kid-friendly touch tank, where your little ones can shake hands with starfish and sea cucumbers. And don't miss your chance to get the fish-eye view from the aquarium's underwater observation dome.

seattle washington tourist activities

Woodland Park Zoo Woodland Park Zoo

Founded in 1899, Woodland Park Zoo stretches across 92 acres and is home to more than 900 animals and 250 species, some of them endangered. Its exhibits include the African Savanna, featuring lions, giraffes, hippos and zebras; Humboldt Penguins, with penguins from coastal Peru; Tropical Asia, which includes orangutans, tigers, sloth bears and various birds; and the seasonal Butterfly Garden. The zoo also welcomes temporary exhibits, and in the past has hosted "Dinosaur Discovery," which displayed more than 20 full-size dinosaur replicas, including a 40-foot-long T. Rex. Woodland Park also houses two western lowland gorilla families. 

Recent visitors generally appreciated the zoo's size and the number of animals on display, though some reviewers were disappointed to find that some animals were not viewable due to exhibits being unexpectedly closed.

seattle washington tourist activities

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PlanetWare.com

25 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Seattle, WA

Written by Brad Lane Updated Mar 21, 2024 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Seattle is like its own planet in the Pacific Northwest. Its gravitational pull is hard to avoid as the biggest city in the region, enticing with a broad selection of outdoor and indoor attractions alongside a vibrant community. I find something new that adds to the sparkle of the Emerald City with every visit, especially in the summer, when the entire city shines after winter's frequent drizzles.

View of City from Gas Works Park

Visitors may conjure the image of the Seattle Space Needle when envisioning a trip to Seattle. And this 605-foot spire is well worth the visit, especially the surrounding Seattle Center, home to other attractions like Chihuly Garden and Glass and Climate Pledge Arena. But peel Seattle back beyond these renowned tourist destinations, and the city has so much more to explore.

You'll never see everything in a single day or weekend. I once stayed for an entire month and felt pressed for time. That's because between seaside parks, underground tours, immersive museums, and iconic spots like Pike Place Market, things to do in Seattle span all hours of the day and throughout the year. Luckily, there are plenty of coffee shops to aid in making the most out of a vacation.

Prepare to explore the sunny side of Seattle my list of the best attractions in Seattle.

1. Seattle Center & the Space Needle

2. pike place market, 3. discovery park, 4. chihuly garden and glass, 5. go underground in the pioneer square historic district, 6. learn about puget sound at the seattle aquarium, 7. woodland park zoo, 8. mohai: the museum of history & industry, 9. watch boats pass at hiram m. chittenden locks (ballard locks), 10. take a water taxi to alki beach park, 11. wander the galleries at the seattle art museum, 12. take a trip to the museum of flight, 13. whale watch from seattle, 14. get lost at the washington park arboretum, 15. catch the sunset at gas works park, 16. walk around green lake, 17. find fun at the museum of pop culture, 18. ride the seattle great wheel, 19. sunbathe on a seattle beach, 20. picnic at volunteer park, 21. explore the olympic sculpture park, 22. head to the international district, 23. meet the fremont street troll, 24. dive into the living computers: museum and labs, 25. experience benaroya hall, where to stay in seattle for sightseeing, map of attractions & things to do in seattle, wa, best time to visit seattle, wa.

The Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass

Seattle Center, home to the Space Needle, is often included on a first trip to Seattle. And for good reason. These iconic attractions were first built for the 1962 World's Fair and have since been converted into an entertainment complex and park area with a long list of community attractions.

This public space is also home to the Museum of Pop Culture and Chihuly Garden and Glass , two of the best museums in Seattle (and two of my favorite). Restaurants and shopping also line the pedestrian paths across campus, alongside ample public areas for wandering or sitting down and people-watching. This is especially true at the International Fountain with its orchestrated waterspouts and light shows.

The newest addition to Seattle Center is Climate Pledge Arena . This state-of-the-art sports venue is home to the Seattle Kraken, freshly minted into the NHL during the 2021/22 season. Seattle's best radio station, KEXP, also operates out of a studio in the Seattle Center, giving music fans a reason to gather.

View from the Needle Observation Deck

Despite all the other world-class attractions in Seattle Center, the Space Needle claims the most international fame. And while the paid trip to the top of the Space Needle has some of the classic frills of a tourist trap, the view atop is indeed spectacular and worth the few hoops required to jump through.

It's a moderate admission price to get to the top of the Space Needle, and when I visited during a midweek morning in August, I waited about 45 minutes in line for my ride to the top. I opted out of the commemorative photograph taken after the elevator ride, but I spent extra time exploring inside and outside.

Anyone with a fear of heights should not go to the top of the Space Needle. But as someone with unlimited trust in the guardrails and glass-bottom floors, I didn't want to go back down once I got up. Plan to spend at least half of the day if you want to ride to the top. Sunny weather is certainly the most preferred forecast, though a rainy day could provide an exciting ambiance.

Address: 400 Broad Street, Seattle, Washington

Official site: www.spaceneedle.com

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is another busy tourist area worth a visit. It offers an authentic taste of the maritime culture associated with the city, comprising a wide range of vendors on the two bustling levels floors near the waterfront.

Fish, fruit, vegetables, and all sorts of odds and ends tantalize the taste buds and camera lenses. And keep an eye out for fresh fish flying through the air from the Pike Place Fish Market . If you don't have the hotel facilities for cooking seafood, head to one of the 80 local restaurants and bakeries or pick up goodies to bring home from one of the specialty foods stores.

Pike Place Market

In addition to plentiful food choices, there are more than 200 proprietor-operated shops that range from antiques and collectibles to bookstores and quirky specialty shops. The historic nine-acre shopping haven includes a crafts market with 225 local and regional creators.

Although it's possible to spend all day admiring each stall in Pike Place Market, typically, it's only a part of a touristic day. The market is in the central downtown area, surrounded by several other places to visit. Visitors can also check out the Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Aquarium, and the Seattle Great Wheel at Pier 57 within a short walk.

Address: 1st and Pike Streets, Seattle, Washington

Official site: http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/

Discovery Park

Discovery Park covers nearly 550 acres and is the largest park in the city and one of the top beaches in Seattle . It's located on a point protruding into the sound from the Magnolia neighborhood, west of downtown. Coastline, forest, and meadows comprise much of the park's landscape, with dirt and paved trails winding throughout.

I headed straight to the West Point Lighthouse on my first visit to Discovery Park, which required about a two-mile hike from the Discovery Park Visitor Center and park entrance. The lighthouse was immediately recognizable as the popular photo destination that it is. But the actual view in person, including an expanse of the Olympic Mountains backdropping Puget Sound, made me understand why it's such a popular Seattle destination.

A paved trail parallels the beach that extends from either side of the lighthouse, offering great views across the water the entire way. The entire network of trails is sprawling within the park, but abundant signage makes navigating throughout the 500-plus acres fairly easy. I never lost reception in the park, either, so I could use my online maps to navigate.

Discovery Park is the former site of Fort Lawton, and some of its military history remains today. An Environmental Learning Center is also onsite at the Visitor Center, hosting interactive exhibits, information about the park, and education programs for all ages.

Address: 3801 Discovery Park Blvd, Seattle, Washington

Chihuly Garden and Glass

If you're heading to the Seattle Center for the Space Needle, be sure to budget at least some time to check out the next-door Chihuly Garden and Glass. The colorful exhibits of this world-renowned museum display and explore the work of innovative glassblower Dale Chihuly - a Tacoma native.

Chihuly's work is known for using glass as a purely artistic medium and creating captivating sculptures. And captivated I was while walking through the eight darkened galleries of the museum, illuminated by glass gardens and densely packed exhibits. It gets a little crowded in these galleries but easy enough to stand still and admire the artistry.

Greenhouse at the Chihuly Garden and Glass

The Glasshouse is the capstone of a visit under the shadow of the Space Needle. An amorphous glass sculpture hangs delicately above this beautiful rotunda encapsulated by glass, changing colors and appearance with the arcing sun above. Between the galleries and the grand Glasshouse, expect to spend between ninety minutes and two hours at the museum (minimum).

The Art Plaza and Collections Café is next to the Greenhouse, offering a lovely place to sit and enjoy hourly glassblowing demonstrations. The plaza abuts the garden, where visitors find Chihuly's work presented within a natural environment, enhancing the flow and depth of the glass.

Address: 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, Washington

Official site: www.chihulygardenandglass.com

Pioneer Square Historic District

Pioneer Square is the city's historic heart, marked with a 60-foot totem pole. It's an area of town that retains much of its historic character distinct from modern parts of downtown, including beautiful Victorian-era buildings. Smith Tower stands out for its imposing height (42 stories), with an observation deck on the 35th floor that's ideal for sightseeing.

In the same neighborhood, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park remembers the surge of prospectors who departed for the Yukon during the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush. This monumental event brought new prosperity to Seattle, the marketed "Gateway to the Gold Fields."

Seattle underneath Pioneer Square

Something to know about visiting Pioneer Square in modern times is that the area is an example of some of the city's urban challenges. Expect to see Seattle's un-housed population while visiting, and while statistically, it's a safe place to visit, it's a spot to take out earbuds and pay attention to your surroundings.

I elected to explore Pioneer Square by going underground and joining the expedition on the famous Bill Speidel's Underground Tour . This 75-minute tour explains how the current city streets were established after the 1889 Great Seattle Fire and dives into the legacy of the almost forgotten underground sidewalks. It turned out to be a great experience that allowed me to get more comfortable with the area under the wings of a tour guide.

Seattle Aquarium

The non-profit Seattle Aquarium operates on the downtown waterfront, just a short walk from the Seattle Great Wheel on Pier 57. Through several live animal exhibits, the aquarium captivated my attention the entire afternoon and inspired my interest in the nearby Puget Sound.

The Window on Washington's Waters is the first exhibit encountered at the aquarium. This 120,000-gallon tank has nothing but good views thanks to its 40-foot-wide window, leaving plenty of room for kids to gather near the front at this popular family attraction.

The tide pool touch tanks tend to be the next area of attraction at the aquarium. This is also a popular attraction for kids, but I'll admit I spent most of my time at the museum reaching into the water to gently put my fingers on sea anemones and other colorful invertebrates.

The aquarium is also home to various marine mammals, including different kinds of seals and otters. Thanks to the tank designs, you get to see these playful residents above and below water. And wandering throughout the museum are staff members ready to answer any questions and engage with visitors.

The aquarium is open seven days a week. Expect to spend at least a few hours at the aquarium, if not more. It's also in a touristy part of Seattle's waterfront, with tons of lunch spots nearby to enjoy after a visit.

Address: 1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle, Washington

Official site: https://www.seattleaquarium.org/

Woodland Park Zoo

Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo is a 92-acre facility with many threatened and endangered species from around the globe. This AZA-accredited facility was the first to create naturalistic exhibits, and its 300 different species range from Asian and African elephants to snow leopards, jaguars, lemurs, and grizzly bears.

It's a popular family attraction, although, as an adult, I was tired after a half-day walking the enormous complex. And I didn't partake in any of the daily programs, animal feedings, or educational lectures throughout the week, nor did I ride on the solar-operated carousel.

Rhinos at the Woodland Park Zoo

If you're here in the summer, consider visiting first thing when the zoo opens, or stick around until it's about to close. Many animals will ride out the heat of the day in their enclosures.

Visitors can book an animal experience tour for a real treat, allowing animal lovers to get up close to some of the zoo's most fascinating wildlife, often with the chance to feed or touch the animals. Experiences include the opportunity to meet giraffes, penguins, lemurs, and other residents.

Address: 601 N 59th Street, Seattle, Washington

Official site: www.zoo.org

The Center for Wooden Boats and MOHAI

The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) celebrates Seattle's position as a leader in innovation and industry, showcasing this legacy with planes hanging from the ceiling and other engaging exhibits across three levels.

The True Northwest exhibit takes tourists on a journey through the region's history, from indigenous cultures through the present, exploring how geography and cultural events like the Klondike Gold Rush shaped the Emerald City.

Permanent collections in the museum's main gallery include a wide range of historical objects, from vintage clothing to locally invented products. Visitors also enjoy 360-degree views of the city using an authentic WWII-era Tang periscope in the Maritime exhibit.

MOHAI: The Museum of History & Industry

The museum's third major gallery focuses on how local inventors have put the region at the forefront of innovation and new technology. It includes interactive exhibits and a chance to get a sneak peek at concepts being explored.

Adjacent to MOHAI, The Center for Wooden Boats is another popular community attraction. This non-profit strives to provide public access to water recreation and maritime travel. The center offers workshops, public sailboat adventures, and rentals throughout the week.

Address: 860 Terry Ave N, Seattle, Washington

Official site: https://mohai.org

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks)

These busy locks northwest of Seattle Center are also known as the Ballard Locks. They are a fascinating work of engineering in Salmon Bay, constructed to keep the saltwater of Puget Sound separate from the freshwater of Lake Washington while also providing a boat elevator between the two.

Commodore Park and the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Center are on either side, connected by a bike path that crosses the Locks. This path may be impeded by passing boat traffic. But you can get close to the action, and I spent extra time just watching boats, big and small, transfer from one waterway to the other.

Boats going through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks)

Besides watching the boat traffic move between Puget Sound and the lakes, I recommend checking out the fish ladder in Commodore Park, where salmon struggle upstream. On the other side of the locks, the Botanical Center is a quieter spot to rest and appreciate well-tended gardens.

Tourists can take a narrated sightseeing cruise along the canal, which offers various views of some of the city's most iconic features, like the Space Needle, the Great Ferris Wheel, and even the houseboat community featured in Sleepless in Seattle . The tour typically lasts 2.5 hours and includes transportation back to the starting point.

Address: 3015 NW 54th Street, Seattle, Washington

Alki Beach Park

Alki Beach Park is a popular destination in West Seattle with a lot of history. It's where the first white settlers landed in 1851, greeted by Chief Seattle and his tribe. Today, it's a 2.5-mile linear park and a guaranteed busy place when the weather is nice.

But with ample sand and space to stretch out some volleyball nets, overcrowding isn't always the biggest issue on summer weekends. Instead, finding a parking space can sometimes require extra patience. To avoid the hassle of parking, it's much easier to hop on a water taxi from Pier 50 in downtown Seattle. The water taxi drops you off at the eastern end of Alki Beach Park.

Timing a visit to Alki during low tide opens a world of tide pool exploring. A 2.5-mile concrete pathway parallels much of the beach, and benches and local businesses line much of this route, offering plenty for an afternoon of exploring.

Seattle Art Museum

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is downtown, one block from Pike Place Market. It's a massive repository for world-renowned art and a must-see for casual observers and enthusiasts alike. I spent just over two hours here, including time spent in a special Monet exhibit I paid extra for.

The museum's collection is spread across four floors of expansive gallery space. The bottom three floors feature rotating exhibits and pieces from the permanent collection. Some permanent displays include Native American, European, and Islamic Art. The museum also houses a robust collection of contemporary and modern art.

SAM also oversees two other prominent art facilities for even more aesthetic pleasure. SAM also operates the Olympic Sculpture Park, less than a mile to the north on the waterfront, which is free to enjoy. And in Volunteer Park, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, SAM also operates the Seattle Asian Art Museum .

Address: 1300 1st Ave, Seattle, Washington

Official site: https://www.seattleartmuseum.org/

Museum of Flight

Seattle's Museum of Flight is home to a wide array of airplanes, educational exhibits, and flight-related historical objects. The museum is open Thursday through Monday, and many visits take the entire day. Alongside general admission, the museum offers premium experiences that lend access to behind-the-scenes exhibits.

An outdoor gallery displays the largest aircraft in the collection, including a Concorde, the first jet Air Force One, and military planes like the B-17F Flying Fortress. The indoor Great Gallery at the museum gives onlookers the thrill of seeing many of the aircraft suspended in flight. The Lear and Space galleries focus on space travel, both its history and future.

History buffs will especially love the Personal Courage Wing, dedicated to the critical role of aviation during World War I and II. Exhibits include 28 restored fighter planes, personal stories of pilots and air support troops, and interactive experiences like a flight simulator.

Address: 4097, 9404 E Marginal Way S, Seattle, Washington

Official site: www.museumofflight.org

Orca off the coast of Seattle

The city-defining waters of Puget Sound host a wide array of marine life. This proximity to a wild habitat gives residents and visitors a unique opportunity to see the landscape's largest mammals.

While several types of whales enjoy the water close to the city, it's often orcas that are sought out. The summer is considered the best time to see orcas from Seattle, specifically between mid-June and early September.

Watchful tourists can spot whales from the shore without boarding a boat. Spots along the western banks of Seattle, like Alki Beach and Golden Gardens , offer some of the best vantage points. Patience and a little help from resources like the Orca Network go a long way in spotting whales from the Seattle shore.

Several whale-watching boat tours are also available from Seattle. In years past, boat noise and boat disturbance became known contributors to declining orca populations. When booking a whale-watching tour, consider finding a company like Puget Sound Express with a long track record of responsible practices.

Washington Park Arboretum

Covering over 230 acres in the Madison Park neighborhood northeast of downtown, the Washington Park Arboretum is the best spot to step away from the city. It's co-managed by the city of Seattle and the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, and it's open every day to the public, free of charge.

Among the expansive green space, the arboretum maintains several specific gardens. A few notable paths include the jaunt through Rhododendron Glen and Azalea Way – the historic heart of the park. Visitors can also expect to encounter Japanese maples and a 2.5-acre plot devoted to New Zealand native plants.

Self-guided and guided tours are available at the arboretum. Guided excursions include Tram Tours , which navigate the entire park in an hour. If you're trying to walk through the whole park, plan for at least this same amount of time. For more information and trail maps, visit the Graham Visitors Center near the northern border.

Official site: https://botanicgardens.uw.edu/washington-park-arboretum/

Gas Works Park

Gas Works Park is on the northern shoreline of Lake Union , with a fantastic view across the water toward the downtown skyline. Alongside this shimmering view of boats and buildings, the park also has several pieces of eye-catching infrastructure.

Before becoming a park, Gas Works was the site of an industrial coal gasification plant. This history is still readily apparent, as many historic structures are now reclaimed into public art pieces. Some of the old facility is even now incorporated into playground equipment and park structures.

View of the Seattle skyline from Gas Works Park

A large earthen mound with a paved trail offers an excellent vantage point of all the park has to offer. Here, towels and blankets punctuate the elevated spot as people enjoy the lakeside ambience. Come sundown, the entire area comes under a special glow as the last bit of day reflects off the water.

Green Lake

Green Lake is an approximately 260-acre lake north of downtown. A popular residential area of the same name borders the eastern and northern edges of the water, and a 2.8-mile multi-use paved trail circles the entire lake, connecting several places to spend the day.

East Green Lake Park is one of the most popular pitstops. Here, sandy shoreline and ample green space abound with people throughout the warmer months. Popular things to do at the park include volleyball, swimming, and lounging about close to the water. Boat rentals are also available.

Opposite East Green Lake on the northern shoreline, West Green Lake Beach offers similar amenities on a slightly smaller scale. On the southern end of Green Lake, connected by the paved multi-use trail, Woodland Park and the Woodland Park Zoo offer their own day of things to do.

Museum of Pop Culture

The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) is a top attraction within the Seattle Center . It's next to the Space Needle, and with a colorful and fluid-like building, it's hard to miss when visiting this central tourist district.

MoPOP dedicates itself to telling the continuing story of modern culture. Exhibits span three levels and include hundreds of artifacts, including costumes, guitars, and a constant stream of memorabilia. Among other subjects, the permanent collection relates to the world of horror movies, the sci-fi universe, and the meteoric rise of the 90s grunge band Nirvana. And new exhibits frequently rotate on display.

The museum is open daily. Plan to spend a few hours wandering the eye-catching and sometimes interactive displays. The museum also regularly hosts events, including movie nights from their ever-evolving list of "100 Horror Films to See Before You Die."

Address: 325 5th Avenue N, Seattle, Washington

Official site: https://www.mopop.org/

Seattle Great Wheel

The Seattle Great Wheel is a 175-foot-tall Ferris Wheel on Pier 57 on the downtown waterfront. It's just minutes from Pike Place Market and easily visible from the Seattle Aquarium . For many, taking a revolution is a quintessential downtown experience.

The Great Wheel spins seven days a week. Depending on the crowd size, a ride on the Great Wheel takes approximately 20 minutes. During that time, a revolving view of Elliot Bay and downtown keep the ride captivating. Although the wheel spins on rainy days, blue skies offer the best experience.

The Great Wheel is only one part of the larger Miners Landing on Pier 57. Other tourist attractions include a classic carousel and a unique "flying theater" known as Wings over Washington. The area also has an ample supply of souvenirs and gifts available.

Golden Gardens Beach

Water surrounds all sides of Seattle. The saltwater of Elliot Bay and Puget Sound offer lapping waves to the west, and Lake Washington has freshwater to the east. While this doesn't mean the entire outer edge of the city is a sandy beach, the marine landscape does offer a few incredible shorelines to enjoy.

On Puget Sound, beaches at places like Golden Gardens and Carkeek Park rank high as local favorites. These two beaches offer some of the most spacious sandy stretches in the city and are popular for all beach-related activities. The world-famous Discovery Park also has a Puget Sound shoreline with a sandy beach bisected by a scenic lighthouse.

The east side of Seattle, on Lake Washington, also has several shoreline areas with sand. Matthews Beach Park , in Northeast Seattle, is one of the largest. It features a designated swimming area with lifeguards, a swimming platform, and ample green space to lay a blanket down.

Read More: Top-Rated Beaches in the Seattle Area

View of Space Needle from Volunteer Park

In the north Capitol Hill neighborhood, Volunteer Park features a century-old conservatory with tropical plants and trees. Visitors can also find simple attractions within the park like walking trails, sports facilities, a children's play area, and picnic grounds.

It's simply a lovely park to wander through and is especially a nice place to bring a blanket to enjoy a picnic or casual hangout with a view. A historic water tower in the park offers a circular staircase to ascend for a 360-degree view of the entire area.

The lush green space also encompasses the Seattle Asian Art Museum (a branch of the larger Seattle Art Museum downtown), where galleries display Chinese, South Asian, and Southeast Asian art; decorative arts; and textiles.

Address: 1247 15th Ave E, Seattle, Washington

Olympic Sculpture Park

The Olympic Sculpture Park is free and open to the public year-round, positioned at the edge of Elliott Bay. Some of its more remarkable sculptures are the Eye Benches and a glass bridge titled Seattle Cloud Cover . Many Seattle residents and tourists come to the park to wander the day away and photograph or admire the installations.

The park's setting is as significant as its artwork. The space underwent an environmental transformation from a post-industrial brownfield site to an ecologically balanced green space that includes a salmon habitat and employs sustainable practices like rainwater collection.

The inland entrance to the park is on Western and Broad Street, and the park follows a "Z" trail down to the waterfront. The trail passes by the PACCAR Pavilion with more art inside. This open community space also has a café and available window seating.

Sculpture of a head at the Olympic Sculpture Park

The park is maintained by the Seattle Art Museum , which is located one mile away, close to Pike Place Market . The museum's collections include artwork from around the globe and across millennia, as well as an extensive gallery dedicated to the art of Native Americans in the northwest.

Address: 2901 Western Ave, Seattle, Washington

Official site: www.seattleartmuseum.org/visit/olympic-sculpture-park

International District

To the east of Pioneer Square is the colorful International District, where Japanese and Chinese shops and restaurants dominate the street scene. There are many things to do here, but the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience is a must. This museum charts the history of Asian immigration. It's named for Wing Luke, a Chinese American who was the first Asian American elected official in Washington.

Another fun place to visit within the International District is the Seattle Pinball Museum . This hands-on museum doesn't just relate the colorful history of these popular arcade accessories, it encourages visitors to flick the flippers of countless pinball games. The surrounding district is also filled with several international restaurants and cultural centers.

Address: 719 S. King Street, Seattle, Washington

Fremont Street Troll

The Fremont Troll is the result of a public art competition that took place over three decades ago. It was an effort to clean up a notorious dumping ground beneath the Aurora Bridge. Now, with a few fresh coats of paint over the years, the Fremont Street Troll has solidified itself as a city attraction and success in urban planning.

The most popular thing to do at the troll is to pose for a picture. The enormity of the sculpture comes into view in real life while standing next to his long stringy fingers and peering up to his singular metal eye. It only takes a quick visit to check out the troll under Aurora Bridge, five miles north of downtown.

Living Computers: Museum and Labs

Living Computers Museum and Labs is a techie's heaven, packed with items and interactive opportunities that look at the history of computers, modern accomplishments, and future potential.

Their extensive vintage collection includes some of the first computers, as well as exhibits that look into the lives and work of the geniuses who revolutionized the personal computer and beyond, including Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Paul Allen.

The museum's philosophy is that visitors cannot fully appreciate technology without experiencing it, so the majority of exhibits encourage interaction. Visitors can experience cutting-edge virtual reality, take a simulated drive in a self-driving car, and even sit down to write some code for their very own video game. Other topics include robotics, artificial intelligence, and the world of Big Data.

Address: 2245 1st Ave S, Seattle, Washington

Official site: www.livingcomputers.org

Benaroya Hall

Benaroya Hall is Seattle's premier arts venue and seats 2,500 for Seattle Symphony concerts. The performance hall is downtown, across the street from the Seattle Art Museum . Look for the large glass art sculpture by Dale Chihuly, featured prominently in the lobby. It's similar to the works at Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle Center and at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma.

Benaroya Hall presents a variety of shows and performances. The Seattle Symphony is a staple exhibition, but this beautiful concert hall also features folk performances, family concerts, and lively speaker series. Whatever show brings you to Benaroya Hall, the decadent 2,500-seat auditorium itself adds to the experience of visiting.

Address: 200 University Street, Seattle, Washington

Official site: https://www.seattlesymphony.org/benaroyahall

We recommend these great hotels in the city center, near top attractions like Pike Place Market and the Space Needle:

  • Inn at the Market : This eco-friendly, luxury, boutique hotel is convenient for sightseeing, with its Pike Place Market location. Enjoy water views, the rooftop deck, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
  • The Maxwell Hotel - A Staypineapple Hotel : For mid-range rates, funky decor, an espresso bar, a free shuttle, and an indoor pool, this is the place.
  • Best Western Executive Inn: With affordable pricing and a location near the Seattle Center and the Space Needle, it's hard to beat this Best Western.
  • Comfort Inn & Suites Seattle: This budget-friendly hotel offers affordable rates, clean rooms, free Wi-Fi and parking, laundry facilities, and free breakfast.

The best time to go to Seattle is in the drier season between mid-June and mid-October . The city comes to life this time of year, with sunny skies, outdoor festivals, and blooming mountain landscapes. Seattle is in full swing in the summer, with millions of tourists checking out top attractions like Pike Place Market and the Space Needle.

Some say that summer in Seattle starts on July 5th, just in time for fireworks to dry out from the 4th of July. The truth is that rain can extend well into the first couple of weeks of July. The summer season in Seattle really begins any time after the clouds break in July. Everyone in the city tries to take full advantage of the sunny weather this time of year after a wet winter and spring.

Seattle skyline from Gas Works Park in August

To avoid the biggest summer rush , the autumn months are the best time to travel to Seattle. Hotel availability tends to go up after Labor Day Weekend, and the weather remains warm throughout the beginning of the season. Increased precipitation should be expected later into October. Cultural events like the Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival occur throughout the fall.

A small caveat to summer travel in Seattle is wildfire smoke that blows in from across the American West and British Columbia. A few smoky days are nearly guaranteed during the Seattle summer, and how many depends on several variable conditions. While it's hard to predict months in advance when wildfire smoke will blow through, it's worth monitoring a week or so prior to traveling. If the wildfire smoke is heavy enough, it's ill-advised to engage in rigorous outdoor activity.

Seattle Map - Tourist Attractions

  • Center for Wooden Boats
  • Central Freeway Park
  • Children's Museum
  • Coast Guard Museum
  • Frye Museum
  • Fun Forest Amusement Park
  • Kingdom (demolished)
  • Klondike Gold Rush NHP
  • Maritime Heritage Museum
  • Omnidome Film Experience
  • Pacific Science Center
  • Pike Place Market
  • Pioneer Square
  • Seattle Aquarium
  • Seattle Art Museum
  • Seattle Center
  • Smith Tower
  • Space Needle
  • Washington State Convention & Trade Center
  • Wing Luke Asian Museum

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The 16 Best Things to Do in Seattle

By Jenna Scatena and Naomi Tomky

16 Best Things to Do in Seattle From Indigenous History to Floating Hot Tubs

Seattle's famous drizzle feels like an afterthought when you're soaking up the view from aboard a sailing hot tub, and the dampness barely registers while looking up at a spectacular waterfall from an Indigenous cultural center. Getting outdoors all year round, and in any weather, is part of the culture in a city where gardens of colorful glass, giant wooden trolls, and world-class sculptures complement lush parks and tree-lined streets. Puget Sound panoramas unfold all around, from the top of the remodeled Space Needle, to the Marketfront Pavilion addition to iconic Pike Place Market to a ferry ride across Elliott Bay (usually for a great restaurant).

But the beauty extends to the indoors, too: Look down from the pinnacle of the city's most famous tourist attraction, the Space Needle, at the patchwork of neighborhoods hosting museums and galleries that show off the city's deep cultural roots—and, of course, the incredible food scene that comes with Seattle's diversity. Here are the best things to do in Seattle, no matter what time of year you're visiting.

Read our complete Seattle travel guide here .

This gallery has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

Discovery Park Seattle

Discovery Park Arrow

Discovery park offers 534 acres of lush urban respite. Set on the quiet shores of the Puget Sound in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood, this is the city's biggest park. Twelve miles of walking trails leading to coastal bluffs, tidal beaches, serene meadows, and wooded groves, but if you're short on time, the 2.8-mile Loop Trail offers a best-hits list (it's also one of the easier to accomplish hikes in the area).

Chihuly Garden and Glass Seattle

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Seattle's Chihuly Garden and Glass showcases the oeuvre of glass from world-famous glass artist Dale Chihuly. This forward-thinking museum inspires creativity and imagination as much as it pays tribute to the artist, through a surreal landscape of colorful glass sculptures that interact with the natural environment. The magnum opus of the museum is arguably the Glasshouse. This towering 40-foot-tall work of art is the result of Chihuly’s fondness for conservatories. The centerpiece inside is a massive 100-foot-long sculpture, which is one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures. The artwork takes on different qualities throughout the day, as the natural light changes it. The Garden is also a must. Strangely beautiful handmade glass artwork sits amid ferns, vines, and perennials.

Pike Place Market Seattle Washington

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One of Seattle’s most iconic destinations, this century-old public market houses dozens of stalls and shops for farmers, restaurants , purveyors, and artisans, all overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront. The bustle is non-stop here. From locals buying fresh seafood and flowers to visitors eating their way through the different gourmet food stalls, there’s an endless array of movement and chatter. Showing up without a game plan can be overwhelming, but you can find a fully customizable planner with suggested itineraries on the market’s website .

Hot Tub Boat. people. view

Hot Tub Boats

See the city from a different angle: staring out from the comfort of a private hot tub as you motor around Lake Union with up to five friends. Anyone can rent these floating spas by the hour, year-round, from two different companies that offer slightly differing styles of boat, and each one fits up to six people. The small boats come with lights for nighttime floats, bluetooth speakers, and room for a cooler to keep everyone entertained and hydrated as you tour the waterway. Look up at the Space Needle towering above, watch seaplanes land just overhead, and take a self-guided tour of the local houseboats. Lake Union is one of the city's aquatic playgrounds; depending on the day and time of year you might weave among sailboat lessons, kayak commuters, and competitive canoers. Plus you'll get a close-up look at the Museum of History and Industry, the Center for Wooden Boats, and the Steamship Virginia V which dodging big boats and pricey yachts as they ply the canal from Puget Sound to Lake Washington and Gasworks Park.

Seattle Art Museum Seattle Washington USA

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The Seattle Art Museum’s sleek and contemporary digs are as artful as the works that inhabit it. As an institution of Seattle’s art scene, it’s a must-see for any visiting art lover. And while it's not uncommon that a museum’s exhibits play second-fiddle to the permanent collections, here they are one of the main attractions. Spanning topics like, "Who authors history?" to extreme landscape paintings, each exhibit is well-curated and beautifully positioned at a nice pace throughout the museum.

Kubota Garden Seattle

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Hidden fountains, bright-red bridges, koi darting about elegant ponds. At Kubota Garden, 20 acres of gorgeous Japanese gardens await visitors willing to make the trip to the Rainier Beach neighborhood in South Seattle. First started in 1927 by Fujitaro Kubota, the complex is now part of Seattle’s public park system. Make time to wander; an incredible number of native Northwest flowers, shrubs, and trees grow amid the interweaving paths. Just know that the 15 minute drive each way can grow to 30 or more minutes in traffic.

art installation. plants.

Wa Na Wari Arrow

Wa Na Wari features Black art as part of the organization's mission to promote Black ownership (of land, culture, and joy) in Seattle's historically red-lined Central District. Works of all types, from local artists' to international pieces, hang around the living room and bedrooms of the converted house. The use of a house as a gallery means the downstairs exhibits in the main rooms offer plenty of space for grand ideas, while the smaller bedroom exhibits upstairs give an intimate feel. Bright lights and a multi-space setup makes it easy to explore at your own pace. Friendly staff greet visitors from the porch, but do little more than a welcome. This is a must-stop for anyone who cares about how history, art, and urban geography converge.

Bainbridge Island Seattle

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A 35-minute trip from the Seattle Ferry Terminal, Bainbridge Island makes a great day trip for families or couples, even on a short stay in Seattle. Whether you walk, drive, or ride your bike off the boat, you’ll arrive in downtown Winslow quickly. From there, explore the bookstores, coffee shops, clothing boutiques, and cafés that line Winslow Way, or head to Waterfront Park and City Dock for an easy hike along the shore. Extend your stay with dinner at Ba Sa , a modern Vietnamese restaurant infused with regional ingredients, and stay the night at the fairytale-evoking Eagle Harbor Inn.

The Eagle by Alexander Calder statue. moon

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An offshoot of the Seattle Art Museum perched on the northern edge of downtown, this park's paths winds down toward Elliott Bay through nine acres of artwork from local and internationally renowned artists. Alexander Calder's "Eagle" overlooking the water provides one of the city's most iconic views, particularly during the sunset. Teresita Fernandez's “Seattle Cloud Cover” beautifully links the natural atmosphere of the park to the man-made art, and Jaume Plensa's waterfront “Echo” is simply mesmerizing. Smooth paths and ample ramps make it easy to navigate. While little information is provided at the various sculptures, the downloadable map and guide on the park's website helps with context. Admission is free and a visit can be a quick stop for a few photos, or a more leisurely stay for a picnic.

Space Needle Seattle Washington

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The Space Needle is undoubtedly one of Seattle's ( and America's ) most iconic landmarks. Built for the 1962 World's Fair, it's a futuristic observation tower and the most prominent building in the Seattle skyline. Visitors can reach the top of the Space Needle by elevator for unparalleled 360-degree views of the area: the $100 million renovation that debuted in 2018 gives visitors both an enclosed view level with a glass floor and an open-air deck level above.

National Nordic Museum Seattle

National Nordic Museum Arrow

The region has one of the largest populations of nordic peoples in the United States, and this museum gives a deep dive into their history. The thought-provoking collection is primarily built from textiles, archival ephemera, and artwork brought from Nordic countries through generations that emigrated to the United States from 1840 to the present day. Temporary exhibits showcase a wide range of works from artists of nordic descent. Freya , the museum restaurant, isn't just an afterthought like some museum cafes—it's destination dining highlighting the best of Nordic cuisine, and the menu offers a litany of savory smørrebrød. 

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience Seattle Washington

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience Arrow

This 60,000-square-foot facility focuses on the confluence of Asian and Pacific American history. The permanent collections include a tribute to the museum's namesake, Councilman Wing Luke (the first Asian American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest), and other exhibits exploring the cultural heritage of pan-Asian Pacific American immigrants, addressing topics like local history, working conditions, and social justice. It's a great place to begin exploring the stories of Seattle's under-represented communities, especially if you can schedule in one of the Chinatown Discovery Tours—including the Friday afternoon food one.

seattle washington tourist activities

Northwest Trolls: Way of the Bird King Arrow

Over the course of 2023, five large wooden trolls landed in the greater Seattle area (plus a sixth in Portland), all designed by Danish artist Thomas Dambo from recycled materials, and each with its own backstory. Part outdoor art and part play structure, they are designed for exploration and to encourage curiosity. While three of the trolls live in suburbs that require a ferry, car, or both to access (Issaquah, Bainbridge Island, and Vashon Island), Frankie Feetsplinters outside of Ballard's National Nordic Museum and Bruun Idun, who sings to orcas near Colman Pool in West Seattle, are the easiest to find and visit.

seattle washington tourist activities

Snoqualmie Falls, Gift Shop and Visitor Center Arrow

The magnificent 270-foot waterfall just east of Seattle and the short walk to its base alone makes for a wonderful half-day trip. But since the ancestral caretakers of the land, the Snoqualmie Tribe, purchased their land back, they have made it even more meaningful in adding more to see. In 2023, the Snoqualmie added a visitors center that tells the story of the Snoqualmie (both the tribe and the falls) through cultural resources, including Indigenous art, with a gift shop that sells art by minority and women artists. This is the fastest way to get an idea of the Pacific Northwest's splendor without having to drive too far from the city or stay too long.

Green Lake Neighborhood of Seattle Washington Aerial

Green Lake Park Arrow

When the Olmstead Brothers planned Seattle's system of connected parks throughout the city, Green Lake quickly became one of the focal points. More than a century later, the crowds walking or rolling the three-mile path around the lake rarely subside, the sports fields and facilities bring people from all over the city, and the beaches attract crowds throughout the summer. A walk around Green Lake introduces anyone to staples of Seattle culture, mostly through the people one passes: the walkers, the fishermen, the picnicking families, and the soccer players. But also through the buildings, including historic bathhouse and aqua theater.

Image may contain Lighting Light Fixture and Crystal

Frye Art Museum Arrow

The Frye is a sleeper gem, with a convenient central location, no admission fee, and creative exhibitions and events. The building's bold, attractive entrance leads visitors through to the galleries full of modern and contemporary art with a natural flow and plenty of natural light. Founded with a private collection of more than 200 oil paintings from the late 19th century and early 20th century, from Europe and the US, the museum has since greatly expanded and enriched its collection by expanding into later artists and pursuing works by under-represented people in the same time periods. The result is a well-rounded, excellent selection of art, curated into informative exhibits.

seattle washington tourist activities

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Henry Art Gallery

The 22 best Seattle attractions to visit

The best attractions in Seattle celebrate everything that makes this magnificent city so, well, magnificent

Photograph: Henry Art Gallery

The best attractions in Seattle are the sort of spots known worldwide. Even if you aren’t from these parts, chances are you have heard of the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, but they are just the tip of this magnificent iceberg. In fact, there are so many awesome things to do here that even long-time residents are rarely without something new and exciting to check out. Seattle has it all; museums , iconic buildings, a revolutionary musical history, fantastic restaurants, and some of the best coffee shops in the country. Yes, it rains often, but that is just a handy excuse to nip inside for a shot of culture, caffeine, or both. Plus, when the weather is good, those parks are a real thing of beauty.

RECOMMENDED:  The best Airbnbs in Seattle  

Been there, done that? Think again, my friend.

Best Seattle attractions

1.  museum of pop culture (mopop).

Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop)

One of Microsoft founder Paul Allen’s most significant contributions to the city (and there are a lot of them) is the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop). Formerly known as the Experience Music Project, the museum’s structure was designed in 2000 by architect Frank Gehry, so it is truly a sight to be seen. Exhibits range in topic and explore a variety of themes, from indie video games to horror films to tattoo culture. If you want to beat the crowds, come early on a weekday. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions.

Save on Seattle attractions.

2.  Seattle Great Wheel

Seattle Great Wheel

Who doesn’t love a Ferris wheel? Boasting 360-degree-views of both mountains and open sky, Seattle’s Great Wheel is worth being a bit of a tourist for. At $17 for an adult ride, many locals scoff at this attraction. Don’t make the same mistake: Get in line and get up there. If you’re feeling swank, you can purchase a VIP ticket for $50 that puts you ahead of the line and in a four-person gondola with a glass bottom.

3.  Pike Place Market

  • Pine Market

Pike Place Market

Opened in 1907, the Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continuously operating farmers’ markets in the country. A thriving community of farmers, street performers, and restaurateurs, this is more than just a place to grab a bite: Make sure to check out the underground shops, bookstores, apothecaries, and one very special magic shop. As you head out of the market, you’ll notice a line snaking around the first-ever Starbucks. The inside is exactly like any other Starbucks so waiting in a 20-minute line to order your latte is something you can (and should) absolutely skip.

4.  Seattle Art Museum

  • Central Business District

Seattle Art Museum

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is one of the largest collections of art in Washington, featuring a wide variety of works ranging in genre from contemporary to ancient Roman and more. Depending on the featured special exhibition, lines can be long, so you better check out the offerings before heading there. Entry to the permanent collection requires only a suggested donation, but special exhibitions cost extra.

5.  Olympic Sculpture Park

Olympic Sculpture Park

A part of the SAM family, the Olympic Sculpture Park, which overlooks the Cascade Mountains, is one of the most tranquil places in Downtown Seattle. Free and open to the public 365 days a year, the venue’s vast collection includes pieces by Louise Bourgeois, Richard Serra, and Roxy Paine. The park occasionally hosts yoga in the garden, so check out the online schedule before you go.

Experience Seattle like a local.

6.  Gas Works Park

Formerly the site of a city-run gasification plant, the nine-acre Gas Works Park is unusual and breathtaking. Designed in 1975 by landscape architect Richard Haag, this award-winning green space is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. The park centers around the Great Mound, a large hill that offers sensational views of Lake Union and the surrounding area. Make sure to find the Play Barn, a collection of pipes and machinery left over from the former plant. Fun fact: That famous paintball kiss in  10 Things I Hate About You  takes place on the lawn of the Gas Works park.

7.  Washington State Ferries

  • Transportation

Washington State Ferries

The Washington State Ferries are an integral part of the commuter culture in Seattle. The largest fleet of ferries in the United States, the system stops at multiple neighboring islands and towns. Either as a walk-on or car passenger, a day trip out of the city is easy. Even though most boats can carry 200 cars, commuter crossings are very busy so try to avoid them during rush hour.

8.  Bill Speidel's Underground Tour

  • Walks and tours

Bill Speidel's Underground Tour

A little-known fact about Seattle: the entire city burned down in 1889, and a new city was slowly rebuilt 22 feet above the rubble. Bill Speidel's Underground Tour is the only underground tour that brings you below street level, making it the ideal activity to sign up for when the rain falls. Remember to wear closed-toed shoes as the tour takes you through the catacombs of the city.

9.  Henry Art Gallery

Henry Art Gallery

The University of Washington is in and of itself a beautiful campus made more enticing by The Henry Art Gallery. The contemporary art gallery features works from all over the world in its permanent collection and is also home to the yearly student thesis exhibitions. Many of their works focus on social activism, including shows by and about the LGBTQ community.

10.  Fremont Troll

Constructed following a city beautification contest in 1990, the Fremont Troll is one of Seattle’s favorite attractions. Drawing inspiration from Norwegian folklore, artists Steve Badanes, Will Martin, Donna Walter, and Ross Whitehead installed the Troll that holds an actual Volkswagen Beetle car as a warning to the drivers above. Every year on October 31st, the community hosts a birthday party for the Troll called Troll-o-ween.

Say hello to the Fremont Troll on this tour.

11.  Ballard Locks

  • Parks and gardens

If you don’t live in Seattle, you probably don’t know what a locks is. Simply put, it is a hydraulics system that lifts a boat from a lower water level to a higher one. Some call it an elevator for boats. What makes the Ballard Locks so special, besides the fact that it is the most used one in the country? The fish dwelling below the boats. Underneath the locks system, you can watch as salmons run from fresh to seawater through the windows of the below-ground fish ladder viewing area. 

12.  Edith Macefield House

  • Historic buildings and sites
  • West Woodland

In 2006, a woman was offered $1 million to leave her home, where real estate gurus were planning on building condos. Said woman declined and became a folk hero of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. Though construction continued around her, Edith Macefield stood strong, and her home stands today, surrounded by the glass and concrete of the development. Though Edith has long since passed away, the home remains untouched in her loving memory. The site has also been credited as the inspiration behind the house depicted in Pixar’s  Up .

13.  Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Glassblowing is a favorite pastime of Seattleites, and Dale Chihuly is the master of the craft. Among the towering structures of Downtown Seattle lives a greenhouse turned gallery dedicated to the work of Chihuly. It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between what has been grown and what has been blown. However, it is absolutely impossible to overlook one of Chihuly’s largest pieces suspended from the ceiling of the garden. 

Book the best attractions in the city.

14.  Uwajimaya

Seattle’s vibrant Japanese American community has given the city more than its fair share of attractions. Most notable is Uwajimaya, a massive Japanese grocery and gift store. Founded in 1928 by Fujimatsu Moriguchi of Yawatahama, Japan, this family-run store is full of every type of Asian delicacy you can imagine. In addition to exceptional edible items, the store is also home to the Tokyo-based Kinokuniya Bookstore, which serves all of your Japanese stationery and manga needs.

15.  Seattle Aquarium

  • Greater Seattle

Seattle Aquarium

Opened in 1977, the Seattle Aquarium is dedicated to conserving aquatic health inside and outside its walls. Offering programming for all ages, the aquarium emphasizes wildlife native to the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The underwater dome is one of the best ways to get acquainted with the family of sea-dwellers.

See the best of Seattle.

16.  Museum of Flight

  • South Beacon Hill

The Museum of Flight, found in Boeing Field’s backyard, is the largest private air and space museum in the world. Founded in 1929, it has grown to become one of Seattle’s most trafficked educational attractions. Robust programming (the venue boasts one of the largest educational programs in the world) includes daily tours, flight simulations, and the occasional theatrical reenactment. Come early or around closing time to avoid the daily throngs of visiting school children.

17.  Add-a-Ball

There are a ton of pinball bars in Seattle, but Add-a-Ball is the king of them all. Hidden in the back of a massive empty lot, Add-A-Ball offers multiple rooms of pinball, video games, and even an air hockey table—each equipped with cup holders to hold your beer or whatever else you order at the bar. The staff hosts pinball tournaments, which are very popular with locals, but if you’re just trying to have a good time, skip them. Tournament nights can get a little… intense.

18.  Grand Illusion Cinema

  • Movie theaters

The longest continuously running movie theater in Seattle, Grand Illusion Cinema is a required stop for all film nerds. Opened in 1970, the volunteer-run non-profit space is filled with vintage red velvet seats where you can get comfortable to watch new indie releases and art film classics. 

19.  Space Needle

Space Needle

If you’ve seen a picture of Seattle, you’ve seen the Space Needle. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the symbol of the city is one of its most visited attractions. At the time of its erection, it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi. Technically, however, it’s only made of six floors. The tower can get very busy in the sunny months, so snag a timed ticket and be prepared to wait.

Grab your Seattle CityPass and save on top attractions.

20.  Seaplanes

Seaplanes

Even though you’ll see the mountains almost everywhere you go throughout Seattle, something about being on their level makes it particularly awesome. Consider hopping on a chartered Seaplane out of Lake Union and experiencing the majesty of the city’s topography from above. If you want to make a weekend of it, Kenmore Air offers flight and hotel packages to the San Juan Islands and beyond.

21.  T-Mobile Park

  • Sports and fitness
  • Pioneer Square

The state-of-the-art field in Seattle’s SODO district is home to the Mariners baseball team. Even if you’re not a huge sports fan, it's worth a visit to check out the field. The stadium frequently offers discount tickets that won’t blow a hole through your wallet. Pro tip: Don’t drive to the stadium on game days when the southern part of the city basically shuts down. Instead, take the Link Light Rail, which runs from T-Mobile Park to most neighborhoods around the city.

22.  Green Lake

  • Rivers, lakes and ponds

Keeping Seattleites inside when the sun is out is practically impossible. Though many residents go hiking on one of the many trails throughout the state, less ambitious folks opt to get a beach towel and enjoy the freshwater lake in the middle of the city. With 2.8 miles of trails and paved walkways around it, visiting the lake can turn into the best excuse for a leisurely bike ride or long walk.

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24 Best Things to Do in Seattle

From a thriving art scene to lots of outdoor recreation, these are the things you can't miss when visiting Seattle.

People who say you can't have it all probably haven't been to Seattle. The city is like a choose-your-own-adventure book of spectacular experiences. From unparalleled views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains to world-class museums, parks, and fresh seafood, the Emerald City is a dream for all kinds of travelers. And the expansive array of outdoor activities, from kayaking to picnicking in the parks or on the beach, only add to the appeal of this eco-conscious destination.

To help you plan a memorable getaway to the northwest city, here are 24 of the best things to do in Seattle, according to a local.

Visit the top of the Space Needle.

Gautier Houba/Travel + Leisure

The Seattle skyline is defined by the iconic Space Needle . Tall and slender, with a top that flares into the shape of a flying saucer, it's a beautiful thing to behold. To get the full experience, ride the elevator to the top and take in panoramic views of the city, water, and mountains from the rotating glass observation deck. Make your visit even more memorable with reservations for drinks and culinary pairings at The Loupe Lounge.

Stroll through Pike Place Market.

For more than 100 years, Pike Place Market has been Seattle's go-to spot for fresh fish, produce, flowers, and artisan goods. Even if you don't plan to shop, be sure to set aside some time to stroll through and take in the sights and smells of one of the nation's most famous public markets. And don't leave without pausing to watch the sellers throw fish to customers at the seafood market.

Spend the afternoon at The Museum of Flight.

Set aside a few hours to visit The Museum of Flight . It's one of the largest independent air and space museums, with 23 acres of more than 175 airplanes and spacecrafts, countless artifacts, interactive displays, and exhibits. The collection is spread out both indoors and outdoors, which means it's a great stop regardless of the weather. There's even a children's Flight Zone with hands-on activities for young visitors.

Experience art al fresco at Olympic Sculpture Park.

Olympic Sculpture Park offers nine acres of world-class art in a stunning outdoor setting with sweeping views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. You'll find everything from a living sculpture of a fallen tree ecosystem by Mark Dion to Richard Serra's mammoth steel masterpiece, "Wake." Best of all, admission is free and it's open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year.

Feel the sand between your toes at Alki Beach.

Located on the West Seattle peninsula, Alki Beach is one of the prettiest places in the city, with a long stretch of sand and views of the Seattle skyline. While you'll see plenty of people simply relaxing in their beach chairs, it's also a great spot for those wanting to stroll the sidewalks, play volleyball, enjoy the playground equipment, and frequent the neighborhood bars and eateries across the street.

Geek out at the Museum of Pop Culture.

The experience at the Museum of Pop Culture begins before you even walk through the doors. Designed by Frank O. Gehry, the building is a swirling marvel of textures and colors meant to evoke energy and music. Inside, you'll find permanent and rotating exhibits dedicated to local musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam; the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame; and areas focused on iconic films, gaming, and other conversation starters.

Drop a paddle in the water.

Seattle is a great place for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. In addition to the stunning views, there's also the chance you might catch a glimpse of a sea lion or whale. But make sure you are comfortable out on the water, as Puget Sound and Lake Union are both working bodies of water, so you'll be sharing the space with everything from giant barges to seaplanes. It's a unique experience that blends breathtaking natural beauty with the pulsating activity of a vibrant city.

Take a ferry to Vashon Island.

Vashon Island is often overlooked by tourists, so chances are you'll be catching the ferry with locals. Largely rural and unspoiled, the island is a haven for farmers and artists who love living in close proximity to downtown Seattle, but prefer to lay their heads in a place where they can hear the owls hoot at night. It's a fantastic spot for a day of beachcombing, visiting art galleries, or biking, followed by a delicious meal in one of the cafes.

Sip your way through Seattle's urban wineries.

In Washington, most of the wineries can be found in the eastern part of the state. But you don't have to leave Seattle to experience Washington wine country. In recent years, a number of wineries have formed a vibrant urban vino scene. Sodo Urban Works is home to 10 local wineries, including Structure Cellars, Nine Hats Wines, and Sleight of Hand Cellars, so you can easily walk from one to another. If you only have time to visit one, you can also stop by the Browne Family Vineyards tasting room in Pioneer Square.

Cheer on a local sports team.

Chris VR/Travel + Leisure

Seattle takes sports seriously. Locals are wild about college athletics and, of course, pro teams like the NFL's Seahawks and NHL's Kraken. Fans here are known for making lots of noise, which makes for electric energy and an enthusiasm so contagious you simply have to pound your feet and clap your hands, even if you aren't a local. If you have a chance to see a sporting event in Seattle, take it.

Check out the Hiram M. Chittenden Ballard Locks.

Locals refer to this marvel of engineering simply as the Locks. Connecting Lake Union to the Puget Sound, the ingenious, complex series of locks is preserved as a National Historic Site. It allows traffic to pass from one to the next without the saltwater of the sound contaminating the freshwater of the lake. On any given day, you'll see everything from leisure boats, enormous fishing vessels, and tiny kayaks making their way through. You'll also find a fish ladder, visitor center, and lush botanical garden.

Walk the pier at Miner's Landing.

Noah Kreyenhagen/Travel + Leisure

The giant Ferris wheel at the end of the pier overlooking Elliott Bay is a well-known Seattle spot. Attractions like the Seattle Great Wheel, Wings Over Washington virtual flying exhibit, unique shops, and some of the best outdoor dining in the city can all be found on the Miner's Landing pier . Pro tip: If you plan to take in multiple attractions such as the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Argosy Cruises, and more, you'll save a significant amount of money if you bundle them together with a Seattle CityPass .

Get dazzled in a glass garden.

Dale Chihuly is one of the most popular and influential glass artists in the world, and there's no better place to immerse yourself in his genius work than at Chihuly Garden and Glass near the base of the Space Needle. You'll find galleries filled with gorgeous floor-to-ceiling glass formations and lush botanicals living in harmony with Chihuly's masterful creations, as if they were created by Mother Nature herself.

Visit the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center.

When you step foot in Seattle, you're walking on the land of the Duwamish people. In fact, the city is named after Chief Seattle (Si'ahl), revered leader of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes. At the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center , you can learn about the area's Indigenous history and cultural heritage through an ever-rotating calendar of exhibits, artifacts, and community events.

Take your love for coffee to the next level.

Starbucks was famously founded in Seattle, and though you'll generally see a long line of people outside the original Pike Place Market location, true aficionados will want to visit the flagship Starbucks Reserve Roastery . Here, you can learn about how coffee is grown and roasted, as well as participate in elevated experiences like tasting some of the world's rarest and most unique coffees.

Discover underground Seattle.

To find the most historic buildings in Seattle, you'll have to meander through the rooms, storefronts, and hallways underneath the city. Once at ground level, they were eventually abandoned when the streets were raised after a devastating fire in 1889. Bill Speidel's Underground Tour will safely lead you beneath the city streets, with fascinating — and often hilarious — tales of Seattle's history along the way.

Have lunch in the Chinatown-International District.

Seattle's vibrant Chinatown-International District is packed with restaurants just waiting to knock your socks off. Whether you're craving dumplings, baked goods, or noodles, the aromas on the street are heavenly. Be sure to also visit the excellent Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience , which masterfully blends exhibits and storytelling.

Ride the monorail to Seattle Center.

If you want to leave downtown to visit attractions like the Space Needle, International Fountain, and Chihuly Garden and Glass, there's no need to get in your car. Just hop aboard the Seattle Center Monorail and travel via a rail above the streets. It's the best way to avoid traffic, not to mention one of the most unique modes of public transportation in the country.

Spend the night in a hotel with a view.

Seattle has its fair share of luxury hotels, but perhaps the most sought-after amenity in town is a room with a view of the water. The Edgewater Hotel is built on a pier above the water, and rooms have private balconies where you can wave to passing ships and ferries. The Inn at the Market is another fantastic option, with views of iconic landmarks like the Pike Place Market, Seattle Great Wheel, Puget Sound, and Olympic Mountains. The property also features a private deck where guests can relax and enjoy conversation by the fireplaces in the evening.

Take a cruise.

The Seattle skyline is even more beautiful from the water. Argosy Cruises' Harbor Cruise will take passengers on a narrated, hour-long tour of Elliott Bay, offering closer views of the shipping centers, waterfront, and jaw-dropping Olympic Mountains. Plus, with a full bar and snacks, this ship might be the best place to enjoy a cocktail in the city.

Get lost in the Seattle Art Museum.

It's easy to lose yourself in the many rooms of the Seattle Art Museum , which features a host of rotating exhibits and permanent collections celebrating various artists and cultures, as well as mediums such as African art, ancient American art, pottery, and furnishings. The museum also houses world-class traveling exhibits that spotlight legendary artists like Monet and Georgia O'Keeffe.

Meander through Pioneer Square.

Pioneer Square is full of interesting architecture and some of the city's most eclectic shops and restaurants. Browse and buy local art, antiques, books, and rugs all within a couple of blocks, and cap off your visit with a bite to eat and craft cocktail at one of the neighborhood's lively watering holes.

Have a picnic at Gas Works Park.

Located on Lake Union, Gas Works Park is just about as funky as a park can get. This green space is located on the former industrial site of the Seattle Gas Light Company plant that used to power the city. The old mechanical structures rise out of the landscape like works of modern art, making for some of the most interesting views in the city. It's the perfect place for a picnic or walk as you watch seaplanes land in the water.

Eat like a local.

Seattle is famous for its culinary scene, and locals are equally enthusiastic about hot dogs with cream cheese as they are about tasting menus at renowned restaurants like Canlis . To make sure you enjoy the best of Seattle's food, try a little bit of everything. But if you must choose, ask your server or fishmonger what's in season, so you can dine on fresh seafood that was loaded onto the docks that morning.

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Our 50 Favorite Things to Do In and Near Seattle

By Seattle Met Staff October 7, 2022

seattle washington tourist activities

Image: Ryan Wilson / Unsplash

How do we   love Seattle ? We'd count the ways, but then we'd be here forever. Instead consider this our anything-but-complete list of things we love to do in and around our fair city, from boredom-busters bound to please even the most  cynical Seattleites to perennial favorites popular with tourists aplenty. Just don't let us hear you call it "Pike's Place," mkay?

Choose Your Own Adventure:

Shop / Explore / Taste  / Play  /  See  /  Think

seattle washington tourist activities

Heaven...we mean, Elliott Bay Book Store.

Image: Jane Sherman  

Browse a Bookstore

Seattle is, no question, a city of literature. And our roster of independent bookstores , from Elliott Bay to Book Larder to Third Place Books, are all stellar. No idea what you're looking for? Most staffers are happy to share their local-lit recommendations. And, ahem, we've got a list too.

Our shops are as quirky as we are, and we like to keep it that way, thank you very much. Blessedly, our city's most essential shops got the memo. We see you, Georgetown Trailer Park Mall.

Search for Records

You can be a Brandi Carlile stan, a Fleet Foxes devotee, or a fan of a band no one's ever heard of (yet). The " Seattle sound " is what you make of it—and at our plethora of record stores, comes in LP, CD, even cassette tape form. 

Shop for Fresh Fits

The "fresh" designation doesn't necessarily mean store-bought new.  Vintage and consignment clothing is both sustainable and  fun for those who enjoy the thrill of the hunt. Of course, for fashionable menswear and children's clothing , we have lots of choices too. Oh, and Nordstrom Racks ? You're welcome.

Smoke Some Weed

Cannabis dispensaries have proliferated here since recreational marijuana became legal in 2014. Even local Sonics legend Shawn Kemp has gotten into the game. Our more than 50 pot shops in and around town have knowledgeable budtenders , a variety of strains, and posh paraphernalia on hand.

Snag a New Plant

Plant babies are the new fur babies, at least that's the trend we noticed during the pandemic . (But if you're very much committed to both, here's a list of the goodest pet shops  too.) We've rounded up our 21 favorite plant stores for all your fiddle-leaf fig needs.

seattle washington tourist activities

The University of Washington campus is a prime place to soak in the fleeting beauty of cherry blossoms.

Image: Checubus / Shutterstock.com

Chase the Northern Lights

As we found in our  Yukon aurora borealis adventures , nature can put on quite a dazzling show, but not always on demand. If the space weather forecast looks promising, we've got a few tips for how to see the northern lights  for yourself.

Discover a National Park

National park, you say? We've got three—all within a three-hour's drive. Mount Rainier National Park tends to be the most well-known, with her iconic mountain, but don't count out the coastal beaches, rain forests, and lakes of Olympic National Park . As for North Cascades National Park , it stands out for its rugged, remote beauty.

Explore Every Neighborhood

Decisions, decisions. Do you start with Capitol Hill or Wallingford ? The Central District or West Seattle ? Rainier Valley and Rainier Beach or Beacon Hill ? The beauty of Seattle is you don't have to decide. To get you started, here's a primer on every single neighborhood in a nutshell .

Ferry to the San Juans

First things first: The hype is 100 percent accurate. The San Juans are, unquestionably, the most idyllic locale in Washington. And after you figure out just which ferry boat you're on, we've got a guide for the best ways to embrace this scenic escape. 

Find Your Beach

This is called the Best Coast for a reason. In Washington, the stretches of sand are prime for everything from sunbathing to hiking to swimming. Even winter is beach season .

Pickleball may be the official state sport of Washington, but camping is the OG one. Happily, or maybe predictably, we have  fantastic campgrounds —and plenty of guides for first-timers looking to rent gear , reserve a campsite , and plan their first trip .

Hit the E-Bike Trail

Love 'em or hate 'em, e-bikes have gone from fads to must-haves in hilly Seattle. It doesn't hurt that one of the biggest e-bike sellers is based right here. So where to barely pedal with that e-assist bike? We got you . 

seattle washington tourist activities

Sunsets at Lake Sammamish State Park are simply sublime.

Image: Benjamin Massello on Unsplash

Jump in a Lake

Not every hike's reward is a stunning view at the top (although that sure doesn't hurt). In this case, it's the chance to go jump in a lake , literally. Not so into the hiking aspect? Skip right to the good part with these swimming holes within a two-hour's drive.

Peep Some Flowers

We're known for our greenery and expanses of water, but the Seattle area is blooming beautiful with flowers too. In March, it's cherry blossoms . In April, it's tulips . And in spring throughout Washington, it's rhododendrons, azaleas, and lilacs .

Pick Your State Park

Before your overachieving self makes it a goal to visit every single state park, let us fill you in on one fact: There are 124 of them in Washington. Here are our 20 favorites .

seattle washington tourist activities

Highway 101 leads to stunning vistas on the Olympic Peninsula.

Image: Georg Eiermann / Unsplash

The journey is very much the point on a road trip. And in Washington, our road trip game is rife with scenic diversity. We've got mountains, we've got water, we've got beaches, we've got forests, and we've got rolling hills of greenery. Good luck choosing just one.

Our bevy of local activewear brands is just one sign that this is a runner's paradise. We jogged and biked 15 of Seattle's best city trails so you can log some miles and enjoy a fantastic view too.

Ski the Slopes

Local powder hounds, you're in luck. Our area resorts, and smaller ski hills, have plenty to offer come winter.

Stay in a Treehouse

Ground-bound Airbnbs, hotels, and vacation rentals are...fine. But why settle for fine when you can make like a squirrel and overnight in a tree? This is the area that birthed the mind behind Treehouse Masters after all. Of course, you could always build one for yourself .

Take a Hike

Remember when we said camping was the OG state sport? We take that back because it's a tie with hiking. There are plentiful hikes close to town , and options for when it rains (helpful), but these are our 20 favorite ones in Washington .

seattle washington tourist activities

It doesn't get much better than city views from the Nest.

Image: Courtesy Ryan Flynn Photography / The Nest

Drink Some Beer

We appreciate a good beer, and it definitely shows. Seattle's brewery riches aren't so much an embarrassment as they are a big ole checklist of where to belly up next. Do hard seltzers  kinda count? You be the judge.

Drink Some Lots of Wine

Washington has over 1,000 wineries, so it's pretty near impossible to sample pours from every one. Doesn't mean we're not going to try. Hence our various guides to the best wineries in Seattle , Woodinville , Walla Walla , Yakima Valley , Lake Chelan , and along the Columbia Gorge and Southwest Washington .

Eat the Best Everything

Oh, you want some restaurant recommendations ? We've got a list for that. Great tacos ? Those too. Same goes for sushi , seafood , pizza , steak ...you get the idea. Happy eating.

seattle washington tourist activities

Molly Moon's does ice cream right.

Image: Courtesy Molly Moon's

Sample Ice Cream

Coffee toffee crunch. Ube maple. Dirty horchata. If the flavorful offerings from our plethora of local ice creameries says anything, it's that we do frozen desserts right in Seattle. Even if that sweet treat comes soft-serve swirled into a fish-shaped waffle cone. 

To state the obvious, we have fan-freaking-tastic coffee around just about every corner here. These standout dozen serve as a caffeinated history, if you will, of our great cafe culture.

Spill the (Bubble) Tea

Boba is about fantastical flavors and, naturally, the array of tapioca, jelly, fruit, pudding, and cheese foam add-ins, all satisfyingly slurped up through a straw. Local outfits and international chains are more than happy to satisfy when your next craving hits.

Relax on a Patio

If Covid gave us anything, it was some amazing new patios in which to safely eat and drink and just be. Thankfully, that stellar patio culture can live on past the pandemic (eventually), even on the rooftop .  

seattle washington tourist activities

Our gorgeous Seattle Public Library flagship.

Image: Spencer Davis / Unsplash  

Channel Your Inner Child

Don't push any actual children out of the way to make it down the twisty, 30-foot slide at Seattle Center or any of the other draws at these destination playgrounds. You know, wait your turn like a normal person.

Listen Live

Every summer, our city fills with  outdoor concert series  and destination-worthy fests . Every summer, we remember anew why Seattle has the best music scene. 

Love (or Hate) the Gum Wall

The history and enduring legacy of our Gum Wall is as sticky as the stuff itself. Is it a stinky, disgusting mess or a tangible sign of our fair city's quirky personality and fun-loving nature? We'll let you chew on it for a while.

seattle washington tourist activities

Few attractions draw such adoration and disdain as the Gum Wall.

Image: Taylor Vick / Unsplash

Play Pickleball

A Republican state senator, a cocker spaniel, and a gaggle of bored children start their summer break. No, this isn't a joke. This is the very true story of how Washington's state sport was born. Since that fateful day in 1965, pickleball has only proliferated.

Rent a Boat

We have three words for you: hot tub boats.

Seattle's swarm of indoor climbing and bouldering gyms have plenty of problems—meaning routes for newbies and experts alike. Out in the fresh air, Washington's natural crags beckon.

Root for the Home Teams

Pick your sport, cause we've got a team and lots of ways to pregame outside Climate Pledge Arena  as well as around T-Mobile Park and Lumen Field . Searching for some merch? We've got your team gear too. Oh, and let's not forget about Broccoli Guy .

seattle washington tourist activities

MoPop meet Space Needle.

Image: Meriç Dağlı / Unsplash

Seek Out the Landmarks

Surprisingly, there are several longtime Seattleites who have never ascended the Space Needle , sipped cocktails atop Smith Tower , or even traveled by seaplane . Hint: It us. Don't be like us.

Skate on Ice

With the opening of the Kraken Community Iceplex came a whole bunch of adults who thought they knew how to ice skate. Make like Bambi and use those Zamboni breaks wisely.

Skate on Wheels

When roller skating made a resurgence during the pandemic, a bomb fashion scene also wheeled in. In Seattle, wearing what you feel best in is what counts.

Sniff Out a Dog Park

Have pup, will play. Our region's fine dog parks, big and small, waterfront and landlocked, offer up many ways for pooches and their people to get a good romp in. If public dog parks aren't your thing, may we suggest Seattle-born Sniffspot ?

Splash It Up

After Memorial Day, spraygrounds and wading pools pop up once again across the city and suburbs. They're especially hot spots when the weather takes a turn for the sweltering.

From 18-hole courses to playful putt-putt greens, Seattle's golf game makes it easy to get in the swing of things indoors and out. If you want to make a road trip out of it, may we suggest these three Pacific Northwest golf resorts ? 

Try Tide Pooling

Time to get muddy...and slimy...and squishy. A mini saltwater safari to spot all manner of sea life in our area tide pools is a singular Seattle sport. At some beaches, naturalists are on hand to guide first-timers.

Wander the Library

As chief librarian Tom Fay put it, the library is “the one place you can still go in this country that’s free, and you can just simply be.” If not only to browse the Peak Picks, drop by the central branch for stunning architecture and tons of tomes.

seattle washington tourist activities

It's always game on at MoPop.

Image: Courtesy MoPOP

Attend a Show

Touring musical artists, gallery openings, plays on local stages. New shows run the gamut from performing to visual art, and we round up some of our favorites every single week.

Pause for Public Art

Temporary murals, permanent installations, standout sculptures—our landscape is constantly transformed with the stroke of a paint brush or etching of wood. The stalwarts are as much a part of our city as the trees, but newcomers have made their mark too.

Gawk at Galleries

We've got a museum...or 10. The essential ones continue to surprise and delight with  galleries that makes you think , as well as exhibits that celebrate the objects, people, and history that make Seattle what it is.

Watch a Seattle Movie

Our fair city is the backdrop of many a Hollywood endeavor, from Zoe Kravitz in Kimi  to, of course, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle . Grab some popcorn and see what other flicks were set here.

seattle washington tourist activities

The life and death of Playland is one quiet moment in Seattle history.

Image: Courtesy MOHAI and Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection

Lose Yourself in History

Where we've been tells us so much about where we're going. From our greatest inventions to a gay dance club turned church , Seattle's legacy is anything but boring.

Read a Great Story (or Five)

The twisted life of Microsoft's ill-fated assistant Clippy . An oral history of Seattle's deadly heat dome . An essay on love and non-monogamy . A look at reluctant celebrity chef  J. Kenji López-Alt . Dive in with some of our favorite long reads about our city.

Win Bar Trivia

There is absolutely no cheating in bar trivia. And if that's not warning enough that we take our trivia nights seriously, well, prepare yourself for quite the challenge. Pencils down and godspeed.

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seattle washington tourist activities

59 Best & Fun Things To Do In Seattle (Washington)

By: Author Jerric Chong

Posted on Published: July 9, 2020  - Last updated: October 17, 2023

Things To Do Seattle

With spire-topped skyscrapers surrounded by green forests and misty mountains, Seattle is a study in contrasts.

There’s natural beauty; there’s industry and commerce.

There are hip, trendy neighborhoods; there are old and historic landmarks.

Are you putting together a list of vacation ideas for the Emerald City?

Do you need some suggestions for fun places to visit?

Here are just a few things to do in Seattle, Washington.

Table of Contents

1. Space Needle

Space Needle

tusharkoley / Shutterstock

Towering more than 600 feet above the city, the Space Needle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Seattle.

It might even be one of the most famous places in the entire state of Washington.

Originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle offers breathtaking views of mountains, rivers and islands.

It overlooks downtown Seattle with a 360° panorama, so you’ll be able to see the metalwork of industrial buildings and bridges in the middle of the lush greenery of the surrounding wilderness.

It’s a very unique sight!

There’s more to see when you descend from the observation deck, too.

The Seattle Center is a must do in its own right, and it offers everything from restaurants and museums to theaters and performing arts venues to keep you entertained.

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Seattle, the Space Needle should be front and center on your list.

It’s an iconic destination that every tourist should experience at least once.

Address:  400 Broad St, Seattle, WA 98109, United States

2. University of Washington

University of Washington

f11photo / Shutterstock

The University of Washington isn’t just for students.

Its picture-perfect campus is a beautiful place for sightseeing, especially if you enjoy springtime cherry blossoms, and it offers libraries, art galleries and performing arts venues that any visitor is welcome to enjoy.

If you feel awkward mingling with a college crowd, there are plenty of attractions near the university but not actually within it.

From bars and restaurants to movie theaters and shopping malls, you can definitely find something to do in a young, vibrant neighborhood like this one.

Special events are often held near the college, too.

It’s a great place to attend a book signing or cheer at a political rally.

The University of Washington is one of the top places to visit in Seattle even if you’re long past your own college days.

With a lovely campus and proximity to many different attractions, it should definitely make your list of to-dos.

Address: 1410 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195, United States

3. Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Checubus / Shutterstock

Pike Place Market will make you rethink the entire concept of a “farmer’s market.”

Rather than being a small, rinky-dink collection of produce, it’s a sprawling neighborhood that covers more than nine acres of retail space, and it’s filled with bakers, florists, artisans, craftsmen, collectors and more.

Hundreds of vendors can be found at Pike Place Market, and their goods range from homemade jewelry to rare comic books and vinyl records.

There are entire streets devoted to different foods, so whether you’re looking for fun, fancy cheeses or thick and hearty slabs of meat to put on the grill, you can find them here.

There are all kinds of alleys and winding stairways to explore.

The smell of freshly-baked bread will follow you everywhere.

Buskers and artists are on every corner.

There are farmer’s markets, and then there are farmer’s markets.

If you’re looking for the biggest and brightest of Seattle attractions, you won’t want to miss Pike Place Market.

More than 10 million people visit it every year, so it’s always a fun and lively place!

Address:  85 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101, United States

4. Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour

Bill Speidel's Underground Tour

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour

You’ve probably heard of the Great Seattle Fire that wiped out a huge chunk of the city in 1889.

What you might not know is that there’s an entire network of underground tunnels where the city rebuilt itself over the old, burned-out husks of shopfronts and sidewalks.

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour is named for the historian who started leading groups of people into the tunnels for subterranean exploring.

Along the way, he shared fun facts, hidden histories and goofy anecdotes about Seattle, and that’s the template that his company stuck with even after he retired.

Rather than leading dull, dry tours, they embraced the humor of their work.

Today, Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour is one of the coolest things that you can do in Seattle.

Not only is it a unique experience in a unique setting, but since it’s narrated with aplomb, it’ll tickle your funny bone as well.

Get on their website and sign up for a tour this weekend.

You won’t regret it!

Address: 614 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98104, United States

Nue Seattle

Nue Seattle

When you’ve worked up an appetite during your exploration of Seattle, you’ll want to stop by Nue .

Nue is a restaurant that specializes in international cuisine.

It’s most famous for its replications of street food, but it serves some fancier dishes as well.

There’s a little something for everyone at Nue.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try Vietnam’s duck eggs, Malaysia’s coconut curry or Kashmir’s chili hummus served with a side of warm pita bread.

If you’d prefer more familiar fare, consider Israel’s fried eggs or China’s take on chicken and waffles.

Whatever your tastes, one thing is for sure: Nue is a great place to grab a bite in Seattle.

Where else can you travel the globe without ever leaving your chair?

Address:  1519 14th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122, United States

Visiting other parts of Washington? Why not check out some of the things to do in Spokane ?

6. Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo

Joseph Becker / Shutterstock

With thousands of animals on location, the Woodland Park Zoo is a treasure trove of creatures.

You’ll be able to see everything from big, hairy gorillas slinking through the grass to brightly-colored tropical birds fluttering from tree to tree!

There are other fun activities to enjoy at the zoo, too.

A play area will let the kids burn off some energy, and a rose garden will be nice and relaxing for mom and dad.

Animal tours are available by request if you want to get up close and personal with nature’s most exotic creatures.

You might also like the special events hosted by the zoo.

From holiday festivals in the winter to wine-tasting workshops in the summer, there’s always something new going on, and it’s always a blast.

The Woodland Park Zoo is a must see destination in Seattle, Washington.

Even if you aren’t an animal lover, you’ll be amazed at all of the ways that critters can be incorporated in fun and dynamic events!

Address:  5500 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103, United States

7. Seattle Art Museum

Seattle Art Museum

photo.ua / Shutterstock

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is actually a trio of museums that are scattered around the city.

They all have different exhibits and activities, so depending on where you’re traveling and what you’re interested in seeing, you can hit up any of the three locations.

The collections include everything from African paintings to Asian woodblocks and silkscreens.

There are also extensive displays of Native American baskets, fabrics, textiles and totem poles.

If you’re interested in the indigenous tribes of Washington, a Seattle Art Museum can teach you everything that you want to know.

Their exteriors are just as fun as their interiors, too.

One location has an outdoor sculpture park, and another hosts concerts, talks, workshops and yoga classes on the back lawn.

The Seattle Art Museum is one of the major points of interest in the city, especially since it’s three points of interest with fun things to do in each one.

No matter where you’re headed in Seattle, Washington, there’s probably a SAM close by.

Address:  1300 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98101, United States

8. Tukwila Family Fun Center

Tukwila Family Fun Center & Bullwinkle's Restaurant

Tukwila Family Fun Center & Bullwinkle’s Restaurant

Seattle gets a lot of rain.

The good news is that there are plenty of tourist attractions located indoors, including the Tukwila Family Fun Center .

Activities include bowling, laser tag, arcade games and virtual reality games.

When the weather is cooperating, you can also enjoy rides, go-karts, batting cages, bumper cars and miniature golf.

When your stomach starts growling, hit up the restaurant for all of your favorite guilty pleasures, including pizza, burgers, fries, chicken wings and cheese steaks.

Lava cake is available for desert.

Beer and wine can be enjoyed by the adults while the kids work off their sugar rush.

Are you thinking about what to see in Seattle on a rainy day?

Consider the Tukwila Family Fun Center. Even when it’s pouring outside with typical Washington weather, you can herd your family into the warm, toasty building where the smell of fresh pepperoni is always waiting.

Address:  7300 Fun Center Way, Tukwila, WA 98188, United States

9. Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

nyker / Shutterstock

Looming over the land at more than 14,000 feet, Mount Rainier is the tallest mountain in the entire state of Washington.

It’s also the most dangerous.

You see, Mount Rainier isn’t just a mountain. It’s also an active volcano.

Due to its height, elevation and frequent tectonic activity, it could erupt at any time, and the results would be absolutely disastrous.

A blanket of ash could descend all over Seattle!

Despite the risk of eruption, however, Mount Rainier is considered one of the top things to do in Seattle.

It offers both summer and winter recreation in the form of hiking, climbing and backcountry skiing, and its nature trails are great for sightseeing.

One of its most popular routes is the Wonderland Trail, a 93-mile pathway that circumnavigates the mountain and crosses everything from glaciers to flower-filled meadows.

It takes between 10 – 13 days to complete.

Are you wondering what to do on your trip to Seattle?

Do you want something a little more exciting than the usual tourist attractions?

Consider a visit to an active volcano like Mount Rainier.

10. Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

Ceri Breeze / Shutterstock

If you like animals, the Seattle Aquarium is one of the best places to see in the city.

Where else can you find amazing creatures like moon jellies and wolf eels?

Where else can you feed a shark, touch a starfish and hold a sea urchin in your cupped hands?

There are several million gallons of water behind the glass of the Seattle Aquarium, and none of them are wasted.

You can peer down into tanks or gaze up into massive, transparent tunnels.

You can clutch the railings of the half-land, half-water habitats that are home to mammals and amphibians.

You can even watch “dive shows” with divers who enter the tanks and interact with the animals.

Through special masks, they’re able to answer questions from visitors even while they’re suited up.

Are you thinking about what to do in Seattle during a family vacation?

Consider a trip to the Seattle Aquarium.

It will provide wholesome, all-ages entertainment for you and the little ones, and if you play your cards right, it might even become a learning experience.

Who says that education can’t be fun?

Address:  1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101, United States

Exploring other areas of Washington? Why not check out some of the things to do in Tacoma ?

11. Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

Pat Tr / Shutterstock

Snoqualmie Falls is a “curtain” waterfall that thunders down from the rocks into the river below.

You might recognize it from its appearance in Twin Peaks, but it’s actually been around for centuries; it has deep spiritual and cultural significance to the Snoqualmie tribe of Washington State.

The water is said to be the life force of the first man and woman created by the moon deity.

The mist that rises up from the spray is said to be the connection between heaven and earth.

Even if you don’t believe the myths, however, Snoqualmie Falls is a beautiful place to go.

It requires a short hike, but you’ll be rewarded at the end with stunning views that are unencumbered by the lights and noises of the city.

It’s a place where you can truly get in touch with nature.

If you like beautiful places, you’ll definitely want to put Snoqualmie Falls on your Seattle bucket list.

Everything from its beauty to its mythology will take your breath away.

Address: 6501 Railroad Ave SE, Snoqualmie, WA 98065, United States

12. Washington Park Arboretum

Washington Park Arboretum

Denise Lett / Shutterstock

Open every day from dawn until dusk, the Washington Park Arboretum is one of the best places to travel in Seattle when you’re on a budget.

It’s completely free, and you can enter and exit whenever you want without worrying about ticket stubs.

It’s always available, and it’s always gorgeous.

The trails are bursting with roses, gardenias, magnolias and azaleas.

Shady oaks and pines line the sidewalks.

A zen garden draws inspiration from Japan with its koi ponds and foot bridges, and a small, well-tended forest brings New Zealand landscapes right into the Pacific Northwest.

Are you traveling to Seattle during the winter?

Don’t worry; the Washington Park Arboretum can still delight you.

While the spring flowers won’t be in bloom, there’s a famous “winter garden” with firs and other evergreens that get covered in powdery, picture-perfect layers of snow.

Whether you’re a dedicated nature lover or just a casual vacationer who can appreciate beautiful sights, you’ll want to make time for the Washington Park Arboretum.

It’s one of the major points of interest of Seattle, and it’s so lovely that you won’t believe it’s free.

Address:  2300 Arboretum Dr E, Seattle, WA 98112, United States

13. T-Mobile Park

T-Mobile Park

Amy Roswurm / Shutterstock

Take your family out to a ball game at T-Mobile Park !

Home to the Seattle Mariners, T-Mobile Park is a great example of a modern baseball stadium.

It has state-of-the-art features like a high-def scoreboard and a retractable roof for rainy days, and it goes above and beyond with its amenities.

For example, instead of just hot dogs and pretzels, its menu includes tacos, waffles, margaritas, giant cookies and crab sandwiches.

Are you bored with baseball?

The stadium plays host to many other events as well.

There are concerts, political rallies, scholastic events, soccer games, wrestling matches and more.

Just look at their schedule and see if there’s anything interesting planned during your vacation time.

You might also enjoy a tour of T-Mobile Park without any special events involved.

It has some truly impressive attractions like a nine-foot-tall statue of a baseball glove and a “chandelier” made with 1,000 resin baseball bats.

All things considered, a trip to T-Mobile Park is one of the most fun things to do in Seattle, so make some time to swing by while you’re in the city.

Address:  1250 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134, United States

14. Golden Gardens Park

Golden Gardens Park

David7 / Shutterstock

Golden Gardens Park isn’t a flashy place in Seattle.

In fact, it’s more like an escape from the flashy places.

In the middle of a hectic vacation, it can be a quiet oasis where you watch the birds or enjoy the sunset from a sandy shoreline.

To be clear, there are definitely crowded places at the park.

The beaches are usually filled, and certain spots on the trails and cliffs have been popularized by social media.

They make for great wilderness photos, but they aren’t secluded by any means.

If you want to experience true tranquility in nature, you’ll need to venture outside of the usual tourist traps.

Hike deeper into the woods. Wade further into the pools and mashes.

Golden Gardens Park can be a wonderful spot for relaxation and rejuvenation.

You just have to figure out where and when to go, so plan your trip accordingly.

Address:  8498 Seaview Pl NW, Seattle, WA 98117, United States

15. Queen Anne

Queen Anne

Joan Wozniak / Shutterstock

As one of the more upscale neighborhoods of Seattle, Queen Anne has a number of rich, grand attractions.

There are historic mansions with old-world architecture; there are parks, gardens and arch bridges that have been officially designated as city landmarks.

There’s a retail buzz around the neighborhood, too.

From thrifty bookshops to designer fashion boutiques, you could spend the whole day just wandering the streets and marveling at what’s for sale.

There are plenty of cafes, bakeries and coffee shops when you get the munchies, too.

When you’re done with the commercial parts of Queen Anne, head to the rolling green hills that frame the community.

You’ll get to experience fantastic views of the entire Seattle skyline when you’re on top of places like Kerry Park.

Queen Anne is definitely one of the best places to visit when you’re traveling in Washington, so even if you’re just passing through, make time for a smoothie or a historic tour of a grand old mansion.

You’ll be glad that you did.

16. Seattle HeliTours

Seattle HeliTours

Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock

Seattle HeliTours offers a whole new way to see Seattle.

Rather than trudging along the sidewalks or honking in the traffic, you can glide through the air while enjoying a bird’s eye view of the world below!

There are three main tours to choose from, and each will take you along a predetermined route.

One focuses on the busy commercial buildings of Seattle; the other two take a journey through the wild natural beauty of Washington State.

There are also “Instagram” tours that are dedicated specifically to the most iconic tourist spots of Seattle.

Flight times vary from 20 – 45 minutes, so you can decide for yourself where you’d like to go and how long that you’d like to spend in the air.

You’re also more than welcome to book multiple tours if you can’t pick just one!

If a helicopter ride is something that’s always been on your bucket list, call Seattle HeliTours and let them scratch it off.

Better yet, create a Seattle bucket list that includes all of the best things to see in the city, and use a helicopter tour to cross everything off.

Washington State is full of landmarks, and you won’t want to miss a single one!

Address:  2143 E St NE, Auburn, WA 98002, United States

17. Seattle Pinball Museum

Seattle Pinball Museum

David Tonelson / Shutterstock

They say there’s a museum for everything, and the Seattle Pinball Museum is definitely an argument in favor of that.

Dozens of pinball machines serve as interactive exhibits that visitors can actually play.

They range from vintage titles like Attack From Mars to modern games based off Stranger Things and The Lord of the Rings.

It isn’t your typical museum.

There are always flashing lights, buzzing noises and jingling chimes for high scores.

Crowds gather around good players. Talk and laughter are encouraged.

Rather than being a quiet, somber place, the Seattle Pinball Museum is more like an amusement park.

It’s definitely one of the premiere destinations of downtown Seattle, so if you’re looking for a good time while you’re there, let the pows and whizzes of Invaders From Outer Space draw you in!

Address:  508 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104, United States

18. Seattle Great Wheel

Seattle Great Wheel

cdrin / Shutterstock

Another must see destination for tourists, the Seattle Great Wheel is a pillar of the community.

It isn’t just a Ferris wheel.

It’s a social and cultural touchstone for everyone who lives, works or vacations in Washington.

Each gondola is fully enclosed, so you can enjoy a ride even when it’s raining outside.

Air conditioning is provided in the summer; heat is provided in the winter.

The trip will take you more than 175 feet in the air as you enjoy panoramic views of the Seattle skyline and the water overlooking the bay.

If you have extra money to burn, you can even upgrade to the VIP gondola with its leather seats and a glass-bottomed floor.

You’ll be served champagne during your ride, and you can snap a commemorative photobooth selfie when you’re done.

The Seattle Greet Wheel is one of the most well-known tourist places in north Washington, and most visitors want to try it at least once.

If you count yourself among their number, book your ticket online and hop into a gondola as soon as this weekend!

Address:  1301 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101, United States

19. Westlake Center

Westlake Center

Cascade Creatives / Shutterstock

Seattle has plenty of shopping malls, but there’s something special about the Westlake Center .

Maybe it’s the glass tower connected to multi-story balconies and office spaces that give the whole building a sleek, futuristic look.

Maybe it’s the upscale atmosphere or the gleaming siren song of commerce.

Maybe it’s just the awesome selection of stores!

No matter what you’re shopping for, the Westlake Center probably has it.

Their brands range from discount hobby shops to high-end fashion boutiques, so they run the whole spectrum of prices.

There’s also a food court, a movie theater and a fun zone for kids.

You can shop, dine and play all in a single setting.

The only thing missing is a hotel, but have no fear!

The Westlake Center is centrally located in Seattle, so lodgings aren’t far off.

If your money is burning a hole in your pocket, relieve some of the burden at the Westlake Center.

It’s a classy place to shop, and with hundreds of retailers under the same roof, you’ll definitely find some souvenirs to take home from Washington.

Address:  400 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101, United States

20. Pacific Science Center

Pacific Science Center

ARTYOORAN / Shutterstock

If you’re wondering what to do in Seattle with kids, the Pacific Science Center will be the answer to your prayers.

It’s one of the best places in the city for education and entertainment!

Exhibits cover topics like dinosaurs, bugs, space, chemistry and electricity.

A planetarium offers space shows; an IMAX theater offers everything from scholarly documentaries to popular Hollywood blockbusters.

A butterfly garden will “wow” your entire family.

A cafe will feed you when you’re feeling peckish.

A souvenir shop will let you take all of your fond memories home with you.

The Pacific Science Center is one of the most fun things to do in Seattle.

Whether your trip to Washington is taking place today, tomorrow or next year, you’ll definitely want to pencil in some time here.

Address:  200 2nd Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, United States

Going on a road trip around Washington? Why not check out some of the things to do in Leavenworth ?

21. Summerland

Summerland

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If you’ve ever wondered why Seattle is called the “Emerald City,” Summerland can help you understand why.

The nickname comes from the fact that Seattle is surrounded by greenery all year long.

Even when it’s raining, snowing or sleeting, the evergreens of the forests stay beautifully vibrant.

Summerland isn’t the only place to see these “emeralds,” but it’s one of the best.

It’s a trail nestled deep in the cliffs and valleys of Mount Rainier National Park in northern Washington, and it will take you through hills, forests, groves, marshes and meadows.

Everything will be colorful; everything will be thriving with life.

You may or may not see Summerland in a travel guide.

Since it’s a little outside of the city limits, it isn’t always included with your typical Seattle attractions.

If you want to see the emeralds of Emerald City, however, there’s nowhere better to enjoy the gems.

22. Ballard Locks

Ballard Locks

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In nautical terms, “locks” are industrial structures that help boats and other vessels navigate waterways.

When they’re big enough, they can become tourist attractions, and that’s exactly what happened in Seattle.

The Ballard Locks are a series of locks in the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

In addition to their impressive, camera-ready architecture, they also have attractions like a botanical garden and a museum/visitor’s center filled with fun maritime displays.

They even have hot spots for underwater sightseeing!

Through their “fish ladders,” you can see different types of salmon swimming in the bay during their annual migration from July to September.

If you’re interested in maritime topics, you’ll definitely want to check out Ballad Locks.

It’s one of the most complex collections of locks in the state of Washington, and it can provide educational entertainment for visitors of all ages with its events, exhibits and activities.

Address:  3015 NW 54th St, Seattle, WA 98107, United States

23. Sky View Observatory

Sky View Observatory

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Located in the Columbia Center of downtown Seattle, the Sky View Observatory is one of the lesser-known tourist spots of Seattle.

It attracts smaller crowds than places like the Space Needle, and it isn’t as expensive.

It’s perfect for visitors who like throwing away their travel guides to try new things and explore new places.

The best part of the Sky View Observatory is its panorama, of course.

You can take an elevator to dizzying heights and gaze out at the world from floor-to-ceiling windows.

The Emerald City will be laid out before you.

Observation isn’t the only fun thing to do, however.

There’s also a rooftop bar with food and drink, and you can schedule a combined cruise/tower sightseeing experience that will take you around the bay and up the skyscraper.

Once upon a time, the Sky View Observatory was the tallest building in Washington.

It doesn’t have that distinction anymore, but it still offers breathtaking sights from the top of 73 stories.

It’s definitely worth a visit if you want to see mountains, lakes, bridges, business towers and Seattle residents scuttling around the streets like ants.

Address:  700 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104, United States

24. Theo Chocolate

Theo Chocolate

Bridget Coila / flickr

If you’re a chocoholic, you’ll die and go to heaven at Theo Chocolate .

It starts with the smell.

The factory is housed in an old brick building where the aroma of chocolate wafts down the entire block, so whether you’re approaching on foot or with the windows rolled down in your car, you can just follow your nose until it leads you to the promised land.

Once you’re inside, there are several directions to go.

One is the guided tour of the chocolate-making facilities; another is the candy shop where you can stock up on fudges and truffles until you’re set for life.

You can also sign up for classes, tasting events and other fun activities.

Are you ready to gain some weight in Washington?

Embrace the Willy Wonka spirit with a trip to Theo Chocolate.

Between its tours, samples, classes and gifts, it’s easily one of the best things to do in Seattle.

Your waistline might not approve, but your taste buds will!

Address:  3400 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103, United States

25. Seattle Center

Seattle Center

Jay Yuan / Shutterstock

The Seattle Center is an arts and entertainment mecca located in downtown Seattle.

It’s one of the more touristy things to do while you’re in the city, but since it’s such a fun, popular destination, it’s almost like a rite of passage for visitors.

The Space Needle is the biggest attraction of the Seattle Center, but you can find plenty of other cool things to do while you’re exploring.

There are museums and science facilities; there are gardens, amphitheaters, art galleries and laser domes.

There’s even a terminus for the Seattle Monorail if you want to hop on or off during a sightseeing adventure!

You can also catch special events and festivals if you plan a trip during a particular month.

Whether you’re into food, fashion, art, film or music, Seattle will have an annual gathering for it.

Consider a trip to the Seattle Center if you’re looking for the best places to go in the city.

It’s a bit cliche, but who says that cliches are always bad?

You might make your best memories while posing in front of the Space Needle with a colorful “I Heart Seattle” t-shirt!

Address:  305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109, United States

26. Official Bad Art Museum of Art

Official Bad Art Museum of Art

Official Bad Art Museum of Art

Also known as OBAMA, the Official Bad Art Museum of Art is one of the quirkiest places in Seattle, but it’s also one of the best for a belly laugh.

Every piece of artwork in this museum is weird.

Some of it’s technically perfect but topically absurd; some of it’s just odd, funky or indecipherable.

It’s hard to even describe the majority of the paintings that are displayed here.

They have to be puzzled over in person.

When you’re done goggling at the strange art, pull up a chair at the cafe and order even stranger menu items.

One of their specialties is the “Wonder Wiener,” a hot dog split in half and stuffed with bacon, chilis, onions, mayonnaise and mustard, but there are other high-class dishes to enjoy as well.

Nothing is normal at the Official Bad Art Museum of Art. That’s the appeal.

If you’re wondering what to see in Seattle, Washington that will offer you a cooler, more unique experience than other tourists, this is it!

Address:  5828 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105, United States

27. Seattle Central Library

Seattle Central Library

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You might be surprised to see a library on a list of Seattle highlights, but the Seattle Central Library is an extraordinary place.

For starters, it has jaw-dropping architecture that combines steel and glass in a geometric zig-zag that has to be seen to be believed.

It’s 11 stories high, and it towers over nearby buildings like the massive landmark that it is.

The dazzlement continues when you step inside.

Not only are there floor-to-ceiling books, but there are also cafes, kid zones, reading nooks, computer centers, indoor gardens and more.

Everything is saturated with the natural light of the gigantic windows.

Every floor holds something new and exciting to explore.

You don’t have to be a book lover to appreciate the Seattle Central Library.

It’s one of the best places to visit in the city, and once you’re sipping on a latte and leafing through a best selling mystery novel, you’ll understand why.

Address:  1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104, United States

28. Museum of Flight

Museum of Flight

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Located just a few miles south of Seattle, Washington, the Museum of Flight is one of the largest and most prestigious museums in Washington.

Not only does it boast an impressive collection of aircraft and spacecraft, but it’s also home to libraries, learning centers, educational archives and restoration facilities.

It even runs a nearby aviation school!

If you’re interested in flight, this is definitely one of the best places to visit in Seattle.

Enormous planes are suspended from the ceiling; engines and cockpits are available for viewing, touching and testing.

There are play zones for kids and airline “theaters” for adults.

This is in addition to all of the displays, videos, artifacts, exhibitions and information booths that come standard in the museum.

Special events include everything from academic lectures to rocket simulations.

No matter what your interest, you can find plenty of fun things to see and do.

Check out the Museum of Flight if you’ve always wanted to shoot into the sky like a real pilot.

It’s a must do for aviation enthusiasts of all ages!

Address:  9404 E Marginal Way S, Seattle, WA 98108, United States

29. Still Sleepless

Still Sleepless

Barry Salmons / Shutterstock

Everyone knows Sleepless in Seattle, the 1993 rom-com that catapulted Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan into the spotlight.

But did you know that you can visit some of their most iconic filming sites with a “Still Sleepless” tour?

Lake Union is home to the floating bachelor pad of Tom Hanks’s character, and it’s viewable from cruises and boat rides.

Alki Beach is where Meg Ryan’s character stares wistfully at her future lover, and it’s open all year long for swims, bonfires and volleyball games.

Some locations have changed, and this is where having a tour guide comes in handy.

They can lead you around the Seattle area to the new locations for Gas Works Park, the Athenian Inn and the Dahlia Lounge.

Whether you’re a general movie buff or a diehard fan of Tom and Meg, a “Still Sleepless” tour can be one of the best things to do in Seattle.

It’s an experience that you literally can’t get anywhere else, so it’ll make a unique, one-of-a-kind memory for your trip to Washington.

30. Washington State Ferries

Washington State Ferries

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The Washington State Ferries can take you almost anywhere that you’d like to go.

They’re owned and operated by the government, so they meet all of the standards that you’d expect for safety, and they can transport cars as well as pedestrians.

Do you want to hit the beaches of local islands? Hop on a ferry.

Have you always dreamed of climbing a mountain or camping on an active volcano? Hop on a ferry.

Some rides are quick, efficient trips to popular Seattle destinations.

Others have a longer and more leisurely feeling as you cruise for awhile and enjoy the sights and sounds of a sea adventure.

If you’re lucky, you might even spot whales in the water.

Public transportation doesn’t have to be a nightmare during your vacation.

Book with Washington State Ferries and you could be cruising Seattle as early as this week!

31. Seattle Metaphysical Library

Seattle Metaphysical Library

Seattle Metaphysical Library

You won’t find the Seattle Metaphysical Library in most travel guides.

Hidden underground and accessible only through an unmarked, unassuming shopfront, it’s a hole-in-the-wall kind of establishment that takes patience and dedication to find.

Once you’re in, however, you’ll be treated to everything that your paranormal heart could want.

The books cover a wide variety of esoteric topics, including aliens, magick, shamanism, parapsychology and more.

Some video reels and old newspaper clippings are available.

A lot of the information here can’t be found in traditional libraries, so it’s a legitimate resource for those who are interested in strange and obscure subjects.

The only bad thing is that you won’t be able to check anything out as a non-resident of Seattle.

But don’t worry!

You can take all of the pictures and videos that you want, and some of their supernatural catalogue is permanently archived online.

The Seattle Metaphysical Library is one of the hidden gems of Seattle.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a believer.

It’s such a cool and interesting collection of knowledge that you’ll find yourself flipping through the books even if you think they’re nuts!

Address:  2220 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107, United States

32. Seafair

Seattle Seafair

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Seafair is one of the biggest annual events in Seattle.

It lasts for anywhere from 2 – 3 months, and it starts with small neighborhood celebrations that eventually converge into citywide parades, festivals and concerts.

As you probably guessed from the name, Seafair usually has a nautical theme.

Popular events include things like boat races and hydroplane activities on the water.

There are also marathons and triathlons that incorporate swimming as well as running.

Land-based events range from parades to aerial acrobatics, and there’s something new every year.

You might see a beauty pageant or a fireworks display; you might be swept into a run, race, pirate show or milk carton derby.

Seafair is one of the best things to do in Seattle, Washington, so if you’re planning a trip for the summer months, you might want to schedule it around the festivities.

The whole city comes together to celebrate, so it offers a fun, friendly atmosphere for visitors from all walks of life!

33. Madison Park

Madison Park

Russ Heinl / Shutterstock

Vacations can be stressful.

Despite your best efforts to relax, you might find yourself more tightly wound than ever.

Madison Park exists for these moments.

With its soft green grasses that gently slope into a beach, it’s a place where you can get away from the grind for awhile.

Swimming is allowed, so you can cool off in the water or just lay a towel on the shore for suntanning and sandcastle building.

Amenities include a bathhouse, a restroom and a bike rack.

Outside of the water, there are playgrounds, tennis courts, picnic areas and open fields where you can often find musicians strumming their guitars or residents playing fetch with their dogs.

When you’ve had enough of the outdoors, check out local Washington businesses for dining and shopping opportunities.

Many of them are small, family-owned establishments, so you’ll be supporting the local economy even as you enjoy good food and nifty souvenirs.

Let’s face it. The hustle and bustle of Seattle can be overwhelming.

If you’re looking for a place to escape the city and just “be” for awhile, try the tranquility of Madison Park.

Address: 4201 E Madison St., Seattle, WA 98112, United States

34. The Diller Room

The Diller Room

The Diller Room is one of the most fun things to do in downtown Seattle.

Housed in the remnants of the Diller Hotel, a colonial-era rest stop for travelers who were passing through Washington during the Gold Rush, it has a rustic, old-school charm that makes it utterly unique.

It helps that it’s styled like a vintage speakeasy from the 1890s.

The walls, floors, tables and chairs all have dark colors that contrast nicely with the neon signage.

Wood accents dominate. The lights are kept low and secretive.

As for the menu, you’ll have your choice of drinks and snacks.

Go during happy hour for the best deals.

The Diller Room has a unique glamor that’s hard to find anywhere else in Seattle.

If you’re in the mood for something fun, festive or just plain different, skip the regular bars and visit the Diller Room speakeasy.

Address:  1224 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98101, United States

35. Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve

Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve

Zack Frank / Shutterstock

The chirping of crickets. The rattle of a wooden cabin door. The whoosh of the wind against a tall, narrow lighthouse.

These are the sounds of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve , one of the most rustic places near Seattle.

It’s a little outside of the city, so you’ll need to carve out a chunk of time to visit the greater Washington area, but the effort will be worth it.

It has a rugged natural beauty that you just can’t get in the gleaming metropolis of Seattle, and it offers lots of fun activities for curious travelers.

Do you like working up a sweat?

Take a hike along one of the many outdoor trails.

Are you a history buff?

Visit local monuments that include a fort and a lighthouse.

It should be noted that there aren’t a lot of amenities at Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

It lives up to the “historic” label, so you’ll need to hit the bathroom and buy some bottled water before you go.

If you love nature, however, and you don’t mind a trip outside of Seattle, this reserve can be one of the best places to visit in Washington.

Address:  Ebey’s Landing Rd, Coupeville, WA 98239, United States

36. Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Harvey O. Stowe / Shutterstock

If you’ve never heard of Dale Chihuly, it’s time to educate yourself.

He’s one of the hometown heroes of Seattle, especially since his work is the centerpiece of the massively popular Chihuly Garden and Glass .

Filled with eye-popping, gravity-defying sculptures, Chihuly Garden and Glass will put a crick in your neck as you’re constantly looking in all directions.

Almost every piece of artwork is made with glass, and they stretch across walls, tables, seats and ceilings in an explosion of creativity.

The masterpiece of the museum is the “glasshouse” that allows visitors to walk through an art collection in a floor-to-ceiling glass building.

When you’re done with that, however, you can also explore a glass garden or enjoy the cafe, plaza and bookstore.

The Chihuly Garden and Glass is a colorful, creative testament to the power of the imagination.

If you’re looking for unique things to do in Seattle, Washington, this is one stop that you won’t want to miss.

37. El Gaucho

El Gaucho

Have you ever dressed in your finest clothes and gone out to dinner at a swanky restaurant?

Have you ever been poured wine by a tuxedo-wearing waiter while a pianist serenades you from afar?

This is the experience that you can get at El Gaucho , a high-class restaurant in Seattle.

It takes the concept of “white tablecloths and dimly-lit candles” and elevates it into art.

Everything is pristinely arranged, carefully cooked and expertly served.

As for the menu, you’ll have plenty of choices for award-winning food.

Its most popular dishes usually involve the meats that are cooked on the open charcoal grill, but there are other options as well, including vegetarian ones.

El Gaucho is one of the most fun things to do in Seattle, Washington.

Everyone should visit a black-tie restaurant at least once in their life, and at El Gaucho, it’ll be an entertaining experience on top of a tasty one.

Address:  2505 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98121, United States

38. Lake Washington

Lake Washington

Dan Lewis / Shutterstock

Lake Washington is so large that it borders several different cities, including Seattle, Kenmore, Kirkland, Renton and Bellevue.

You can access it from dozens of locations in Washington State.

It covers more than 20 miles in total.

As you might expect from such a big place, there are plenty of events and activities that run up and down the coast.

Depending on where you go, you can enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, jogging, biking and camping.

You can splash in the water; you can run amok on land.

You can even take to the air on a helicopter tour!

Lake Washington isn’t exclusive to Seattle, but it’s one of the best Seattle highlights all the same.

Whether you’re a fan of physical exertion or lazy days of relaxation, this should be a top 10 destination for you.

39. Smith Tower

Smith Tower

bakdc / Shutterstock

Smith Tower is a relic of the past.

It was the first skyscraper to be built in Seattle, and for a long time, it was the tallest in Washington.

It featured state-of-the-art designs and furnishings, and it employed a lot of cutting-edge services for residents.

Today, Smith Tower is a monument to the past. Rather than modernizing, it’s preserved everything as it was in 1914, so it stands as a unique tribute to old-school Seattle.

The rooms have laces and lattices.

The speakeasy bar has rustic furnishings with a vintage aesthetic.

For a long time, the tower was one of the only places left in the U.S. that employed elevator operators, but those were finally phased out a few years ago.

Would you like a glimpse into Seattle at the turn of the century?

Or maybe you’re just wondering what to do on a Seattle vacation that’s off the beaten path.

Either way, you should consider a tour and a cocktail in Smith Tower.

Address:  506 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104, United States

40. Fremont Troll

Fremont Troll

Lurking beneath an overpass, the Fremont Troll is easily one of the coolest things to see in Seattle.

He stands 18 feet high even though he’s hunched over with a distinctly troll-like pose.

He’s made of concrete, rebar and wire, and he weighs more than 13,000 pounds all together.

An old Volkswagen Beetle is clutched in his hands like he just snagged it from the bridge that sits on top of him.

This isn’t a prop: It’s a real car that was filled with concrete and forever immortalized as part of the art project.

There isn’t a lot to do with the Fremont Troll.

He’s a fixed feature, so once you’ve whistled over his size and snapped a few selfies, you can be on your way.

If you’re in the neighborhood, however, you’ll want to stop by and see him.

He’s such a unique piece of work that you’ll want to document it and show it to all of your friends once you leave Washington State.

Just make sure that he doesn’t grab your car, too!

Address:  N 36th St, Seattle, WA 98103, United States

41. Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

Run by four generations of the same family, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is one of the oldest and strangest attractions in Seattle.

It’s immensely popular, but the owners haven’t changed anything about the establishment since its creation in 1899.

It still has the same bizarre, circus-like appeal as it encourages people to come and gawk at its odds and ends.

Displays include shrunken heads, conjoined animals, gruesome paintings, weird jewelry and old-world artifacts from Native American tribes.

There are genuine mummified bodies behind glass walls.

Many of the items on display are also for sale, so if you’ve ever wanted to own a vintage Bigfoot poster or gift a human skull statue to a friend, this is the place to get them.

Despite or maybe because of its weirdness, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is one of the most fun things to do in Seattle.

It’ll offer a fun, kooky way to kill some time while you’re in the city, and depending on your tastes, you might even find something to take home and remember your visit forever!

Address:  Pier 54, 1001 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98104, United States

42. Volunteer Park Conservatory

Volunteer Park Conservatory

Modeled after the “Crystal Palace” of London, the Volunteer Park Conservatory is a stunning example of man-made architecture.

Glass walls are fitted into steel and iron frames.

Victorian-style decorations give an ornate flair to everything from the windows and trellises to the doorknobs and flowerpots.

Inside, there are five different houses for the plant life of the conservatory.

One has ferns; another has cacti, succulents and spine plants; another has palms with gigantic leaves and ripe, juicy fruits.

Each section of the Volunteer Park Conservatory has something different to explore, so you could spend an entire afternoon walking through the houses and discovering new and exotic species.

It’s definitely one of the top places to see in Seattle if you’re a fan of nature, but even if you’re just a casual visitor who’s killing some time before dinner, you can appreciate the wonder of this palace-like destination.

Address:  1400 E Galer St, Seattle, WA 98112, United States

43. Meowtropolitan Cat Cafe

Seattle Meowtropolitan

Seattle Meowtropolitan

The Meowtropolitan Cat Cafe is one of the fuzziest things to see in Seattle, but you’ll love every minute of it.

You start by booking a reservation online.

To keep the kitties calm, there are rules about how many people are allowed in the cafe at one time.

Once you’re in, you can order a “catpuccino” or “meowcha” before venturing into a cozy, sunlit room filled with toys, tunnels, wooden beams, scratching posts and suspension bridges.

You might find the cats darting through the structures in frisky, playful moods; you might find them napping in the windows or leisurely stretched out with their bellies just begging for pets.

The best part of the Meowtropolitan Cat Cafe is that every cat is adoptable, so if you fall in love while you’re there, you never have to say goodbye.

Cat cafes are booming in Asia, but Seattle, Washington is one of the few places that has one in the United States.

Take advantage of the opportunity while you’re there!

Address:  1225 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103, United States

44. Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest

kan_khampanya / Shutterstock

With lush landscapes that include everything from glittering lakes to fir- and cedar-filled woodlands, Olympic National Forest is one of the most beautiful places in the United States .

It’s a little outside of Seattle, so you’ll need to fuel the tank before you go, but it’s completely worth the trip.

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking and camping.

Lazy vacationers can relax in wooden rental cottages or spend a leisurely afternoon at a fishing hole.

Families might like to go picnicking or horseback riding.

Thrill-seekers can climb a mountain or dive into the water for scuba diving.

There are even designated hunting zones for people who want to bag a buck!

If you’re looking for fun stuff to do near Seattle, you won’t want to miss Olympic National Forest.

It offers activities for every kind of visitor, and with the stunning natural beauty around every hill and bend, its sites are ones that you won’t want to miss.

45. The Crocodile

The Crocodile

The Crocodile

Music lovers have probably already heard of The Crocodile .

It’s the most well-known club in Washington, and it carries particular significance to rock and grunge fans who recognize it as one of the front runners of the live music scene of the ’90s.

Many famous bands have played at The Crocodile, including Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, R.E.M. and Alice in Chains.

Recent musicians to grace the stage have included Green Day and Billie Eilish.

You can see their memorabilia on the walls.

Most of the contemporary acts at The Crocodile are local and indie artists, but that’s part of its charm, too.

Despite its prestige, it’s completely unpretentious.

You can grab a beer and kick up your boots the exact same way as the greats did 20 and 30 years ago.

The Crocodile is one of the best sites in Washington for music and music history.

Stop by for a song or two if you’d like to be part of the legacy.

Address:  2200 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121, United States

46. The Gum Wall

The Gum Wall

The Gum Wall is an utterly disgusting destination in Seattle. It’s also one of the coolest.

It’s exactly what it sounds like: a wall of used chewing gum made by hundreds of hands and mouths.

It started as a tradition where visitors to a local improv theater would stick their gum to the wall as they came and went.

Over time, other visitors to the alleyway picked up the habit, and it became something of a community art project.

People spelled out messages or made little pictures with their gum. It was a local legend.

Seattle officials have tried to clean the Gum Wall several times without success.

As soon as they scrape everything off, people stick new gum to it and start all over.

The Gum Wall is definitely unusual in terms of Seattle attractions.

You’ll need a strong stomach just to bear the sight and smell of it.

If you’re looking for memorable things to do while you’re visiting Washington, however, it doesn’t get any crazier than an art installation made of used gum.

Address:  1428 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101, United States

47. Rattlesnake Ledge

Rattlesnake Ledge

Michael Matti / flickr

Despite the name, Rattlesnake Ledge doesn’t have any deadly serpents.

It’s just located on Rattlesnake Mountain near Rattlesnake Lake on the Rattlesnake Trail.

Are you sensing a pattern here?

Jokes aside, Rattlesnake Ledge can be a beautiful destination for hikers in Washington.

The trees are green; the rivers are blue; the rocky cliffs are brown.

It’s about four miles round trip, and it’s only moderately difficult at certain spots, so determined beginners can complete it alongside experienced outdoorsmen.

One thing to note about Rattlesnake Ledge is that it has had injuries from people who get too close to the exposed edges of the cliffs, so be careful about sticking to the trail.

If you like the chill of a little danger, however, and if you aren’t too disappointed by the lack of serpents, you might enjoy climbing to the top of Rattlesnake Ledge.

48. Gas Works Park

Gas Works Park

Have you ever seen an industrial plant turned into a public park?

It might sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but it’s a reality at the Gas Works Park , and it’s actually one of the best places to take a stroll in Seattle.

The old plant is a sight to behold with its rusty pipes and moss- and vine-covered towers.

Climbing isn’t allowed due to the instability of the structure, but there’s a recreational area nearby if you want to run, jump, picnic, play ball or fly kites.

Concerts are often held on the large grassy areas surrounding the park.

It’s also a popular spot for summertime fireworks and wintertime sledding.

Some of city’s top festivals use the park as their venue as well.

If you’re looking for unusual things to do in Seattle, Washington, you might like Gas Works Park.

It has an origin story like something out of a superhero movie, but it’s actually a fun and functional place for people who like the outdoors.

Grab a picnic basket, choose a spot on the grass and enjoy!

Address:  2101 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103, United States

49. Elliott Bay

Elliott Bay

Dene’ Miles / Shutterstock

Washington State has some of the best spots in the United States for fishing.

In the Seattle area, you can’t even mention the word “salmon” without talking about Elliott Bay .

Elliott Bay is huge, so there are numerous places to rent a boat or sit on a dock with your favorite rod.

One of the most popular destinations is the unofficially-named Elliott Bay Fishing Pier that sits on top of the Puget Sound.

It bears a friendly sign at the entrance: “Thru these portals pass the world’s best liars – our fishermen. Welcome.”

Another hot spot for fishing is Elliot Bay itself.

With a boat or yacht, you can sail on the water until you find somewhere that the crabs are biting.

If you like shrimp, there’s an annual, one-day “shrimp season” where you’re allowed to take home all of the shrimp that you can catch from 7 AM to 1 PM.

Catch your own dinner with a trip to Elliot Bay.

It will prove to you why Washington is such a revered place for fishing, and it will provide a relaxing vacation experience as you soak in the sun and wait for a nibble.

50. Kubota Garden

Kubota Garden

Jaime Pharr / Shutterstock

With its neat, symmetrical lines and delicate stones and water wheels, the Kubota Garden will let you travel to Japan without stepping foot out of Washington.

It’s one of the most gorgeous places to see in all of Seattle.

Part of its beauty comes from the fact that it was a labor of love.

Every blossom was cultivated and nurtured by a Japanese immigrant who tended the garden for more than five decades; the city of Seattle only bought it from him in the late ’80s.

They added a few amenities to make it comfortable for the public, but the spirit of the garden remains.

It has all of the ponds, lanterns, fountains, foot bridges and bamboo groves that you’d expect from a place of zen, and it’s surrounded by oriental gates that block it off from the noise of the city.

The Kubota Garden is one of the best places to visit in Seattle, and since it’s open every day, it should fit into any vacation schedule.

You could be walking the trails and breathing in the scents of maple and cherry by tomorrow!

Address:  9817 55th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118, United States

51. 5th Avenue Theatre

5th Avenue Theatre

CineCam / Shutterstock

The 5th Avenue Theatre has a long history in Seattle.

Before the days of social media, it was considered one of the best places to see and be seen by high society folk.

It was also something of a testing ground for productions that would go on to become major Broadway hits, including Hairspray and The Hunchbank of Notre Dame.

It wasn’t limited to plays, either.

The 5th Avenue Theatre dabbled in motion pictures and other forms of entertainment, and that just solidified its reputation as a creative, cutting-edge place.

Though it hasn’t changed anything about its vintage seats and signs, the 5th Avenue Theatre is still in operation, and you can still catch a show for date night.

You’ll just need to check the schedule and see what’s playing.

Address:  1308 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101, United States

52. Beacon Food Forest

Beacon Food Forest

Beacon Food Forest

If you’ve never heard of a “food forest,” it’s basically an open stretch of land where visitors are allowed to come and pick things like berries, nuts, herbs and veggies.

It’s also known as an “edible forest.”

It’s a lot like a community garden, except the yield is open to anyone and everyone rather than just the people who tend it.

Beacon Food Forest isn’t the only food forest in Washington State, but it’s by far the largest.

It covers more than seven acres in total!

It’s absolutely brimming with fresh produce, and it has a fair amount of edible shrubs and perennials as well.

Take a basket and gather all of the ingredients that you’ll need for dinner.

Go for a walk and just pluck some nuts or berries off the vine when you’re feeling hungry.

The Beacon Food Forest is a community-made wonder, and it’s as wholesome as it is delicious.

Swing by for a snack whenever you’re ready to experience the largest edible garden in Washington!

Address:  S Dakota St, Seattle, WA 98108, United States

53. Woodinville Wine Country

Woodinville Wine Country

Woodinville Wine Country

Woodinville Wine Country is about a half-hour north of Seattle, but if you don’t mind taking a scenic drive through the hills and valleys of Washington, it can lead you straight to Woodinville Wine Country.

More than 90 vineyards and wineries call it home.

They offer all kinds of tours, classes, sampling events, so you’ll never hurt for things to do, and you can always find something to fit into whatever schedule or budget that you have.

You can also venture through the countryside on your own.

You’ll discover shops, hotels, restaurants, distilleries and microbreweries.

You’ll see beautiful and picturesque landscapes.

You’ll get super drunk on the wine that never stops flowing.

It’s okay if you aren’t a highbrow wine connoisseur.

In Woodinville Wine Country, everyone is welcome, so be sure to stop by for a drink or two while you’re touring Washington!

Address:  14700 148th Ave NE, Woodinville, WA 98072, United States

54. Seattle International Film Festival

Seattle International Film Festival

FocusFantastic / Shutterstock

Held every spring, the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is a world-class event that attracts between 120,000 – 150,000 visitors per year.

It’s largely the domain of independent and foreign films, but all kinds of industry folks want the prestige of attending or featuring at the SIFF, so its actual range is quite diverse.

You don’t have to be a Hollywood bigshot to attend the festival, however.

Tickets are open to the public, so anyone who appreciates movies can go.

You might even find yourself rubbing shoulders with your favorite writers and directors!

If you have a Seattle bucket list, you should definitely put the Seattle International Film Festival on it.

It’ll be an amazing experience for movie buffs and a fun time for visitors of all kinds.

Even if you don’t freak out at the sight of Scarlett Johansson, you should enjoy the festive atmosphere of the SIFF.

55. Lake View Cemetery

Lake View Cemetery

/kallu / flickr

Climb to the top of Capitol Hill and you’ll see the wide expanse of Lake View Cemetery .

While you might not think of a graveyard as a tourist attraction, it’s a strikingly beautiful place, and it’s well-known as one of Seattle’s best spots for ambient photography.

Elaborate statues and headstones mark the landscape.

Memorials bear poems for fallen heroes.

On the distant horizon, you can see Seattle’s skyscrapers peeking through the trees.

Famous names at the cemetery include painter Cordelia Wilson, retail mogul John W. Nordstrom and actors Bruce and Brandon Lee.

There are also a number of prominent Washington citizens that include soldiers, generals, politicians, philanthropists and local celebrities.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Do you enjoy cool and unusual settings for photoshoots?

The Lake View Cemetery might not top the usual list of Seattle attractions, but it’s certainly worth seeing.

Address:  1554 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112, United States

56. Benaroya Hall

Benaroya Hall

Benaroya Hall

Stretching across an entire city block, Benaroya Hall is one of the largest and grandest performances venues in Washington State.

It’s best known as the home of the Seattle Symphony, but it also showcases everything from concertos to folk dances.

The uniquely-designed hall has won awards for its construction.

For example, it uses rubber pads in the main auditorium to absorb the noise from the Seattle transit tunnel that runs beneath it.

It’s also richly and lavishly decorated.

You might recognize the work of our old friend Dale Chihuly; he’s responsible for the “Crystal Cascade,” a glass sculpture that hangs over the entryway.

Long story short, if you’re craving some arts and culture in Seattle, consider Benaroya Hall.

Not only will it provide a treat for your ears, but it’ll also be a feast for your eyes and a balm for your soul.

Address:  200 University St, Seattle, WA 98101, United States

57. Dick’s Drive-In

Dick's Drive-In

Dick’s Drive-In is a staple of Seattle.

There are several locations around the city, and each one has an identical menu and layout.

There’s something comforting about that: No matter where you go, you can always enjoy the same burger and fry basket from Dick’s.

Another fun aspect of the restaurant is that it’s stylized like an old-school American diner.

It has bar stools in front of neon signs and a long, flat-topped counter.

The menu includes hand-dipped milkshakes and fresh, non-frozen beef.

No substitutions are allowed. You eat the food how the cook makes it.

All things considered, Dick’s Drive-In is one of the best places to grab a burger in Seattle.

When you’re craving old-fashioned diner food, this is where you’ll find all of the salty, greasy goodness that you could want.

58. Twilight Tour

Twilight Tour

4kclips / Shutterstock

You’ve read the books. You’ve sighed wistfully over the movies.

If you want to take things a step further with a real-life taste of vampire life, consider a “ Twilight Tour ” of Forks, Washington.

The “welcome to Forks” sign will make a great selfie.

Bella’s red pick-up truck is available for photo ops, and there’s even a dish named after her at the local Italian restaurant.

Places like La Push and Port Angeles are real, and their communities have embraced the tourism brought on the books, so you’ll find lots of sites that cater to fans.

For example, shops sell all kinds of fangy, kitschy souvenirs, and there are many observation points where visitors can get a glimpse of the cliffs and forests that define Washington’s aesthetic.

One thing to note about the “Twilight Tour” is that Forks is a bit of a drive from Seattle, so you’ll want to plan those miles accordingly.

Here’s a travel hack for you: Check the weather before you go.

Just like in the books, Forks is a misty, rainy destination, so it can help to know the conditions of the roads before you set off to meet your very own Edward!

59. Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square

Chamomile Olya / Shutterstock

Pioneer Square is the heart and soul of Seattle.

It’s where the original settlers built the foundation of the city back in 1852, and even after its old wooden buildings were burned by the Great Seattle Fire, the residents loved it so much that they rebuilt everything from the ground up.

Today, Pioneer Square is a trendy place.

Cafes and art galleries line the sidewalks along with quirky little shops, parks, plazas and food trucks.

The buildings are mostly designed with Romanesque Revival architecture that make for great selfies.

You’ll definitely want to stop by Pioneer Square before you leave Seattle.

It’s one of the most significant points of interest in the city, and there’s no better place to say goodbye than where the original founders said hello.

Address: Yesler Street & 1st Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104, United States

Start Planning Your Trip To Seattle

These are just a few exciting things to do in Seattle, Washington.

There are many more, so don’t be afraid to spread your wings while you’re in the city.

Who knows what adventures might be waiting for you?

The Crazy Tourist

Home » Travel Guides » United States » Washington (WA) » 55 Best Things to Do in Seattle (Washington)

55 Best Things to Do in Seattle (Washington)

The biggest city in the Pacific Northwest has a diverse population, a surplus of public parks and leafy residential neighbourhoods on surrounding hills.

Setting off the space age urban environment of the Seattle Center and the cluster of skyscrapers downtown, Seattle is ensconced in glorious natural scenery.

There’s the vastness of Puget Sound, the outline of the Olympic Mountains off to the west and the colossal mass of Mount Rainier, the most prominent peak in the United States.

You could savour these views for hours, from the elevated Kerry Park, the famous Space Needle, the Columbia Center or the Waterfront, but make time for Seattle’s museums, trendy neighbourhoods and daring architecture.

Consider getting the Seattle CityPASS to save on admission to several of our suggestions.

1. Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market, Seattle

Cascading down a steep hill to the waterfront on Elliott Bay is a market of amazing proportions.

With a history going back to 1907, Pike Place Market has farmers’ stands for seasonal produce, a wealth of permanent produce stalls, four fish markets, dozens of specialty food stores for hard-to-find ingredients, a crafts market with more than 200 traders and an absurd amount of places to eat.

Give yourself as much time as possible to be tempted by the aroma of baking bread, or to browse collectibles, vinyl and retro decor in little shops.

Come early in the day to beat the crowds, but if you visit later you’ll be serenaded by the market’s talented buskers.

Over nine acres and composed of winding alleys and stairways down to lower levels, Pike Place Market is the kind of place that benefits from a bit of local perspective.

You could try the 2.5-hour tour via GetYourGuide.com , taking you to corners that only locals know about, all the while imparting interesting snippets about the site’s history.

You’ll make seven stops to sample fresh produce and artisan treats, so you won’t have to worry about going hungry. Another popular option is the Pike Place Market Chef-Guided Food Tour

2. Seattle Center

Seattle Center

Below Queen Anne Hill at the northern fringe of Seattle’s downtown , the Seattle Center is a cultural, arts and entertainment zone on 74 acres.

This Modernist cityscape was all built for the 1962 World’s Fair, which gave a shot in the arm to the city’s economy and cultural life, and pulled in more than 2.3 million visitors.

The Seattle Center’s emblem is the Space Needle, which we’ll come to next, but as we’ll see there’s a lot more packed onto the site, from museums to performing arts venues and the 18,600-seater KeyArena.

Get there on the elevated Seattle Center Monorail, which is full of space age charm and sets off from the Westlake Center in downtown Seattle.

Make a stop at the musical International Fountain, completed for the exposition, and eschewing sculptural decoration for the parabolic shapes created by its 137 water jets.

On weekends, especially in summer, there’s always something going on in the center’s grounds.

One of the landmarks on the calendar is PrideFest at the end of June, attended by 300,000+ people.

3. Space Needle

Space Needle, Seattle

A defining feature of Seattle’s silhouette for almost 60 years, the Space Needle is a timeless symbol for the city.

When it went up in 1962 it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi, standing at 158 metres (184 with spire). You’ll ascend the tower in a glass elevator to the observation deck at 160 metres, where you can ponder the Seattle’s towers, Mount Rainier, the islands on Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains and the Olympic Mountains.

Wall panels help you identify more than 60 landmarks on this panorama.

In 2017-18 a $100m renovation project installed the Loupe, which is the world’s first and only rotating glass floor.

The windows on the observation deck now have floor-to-ceiling glass panels that are unobstructed by mullions, in line with the original sketches in the early 1960s.

On the open-air deck are “Skyrisers”, tilting glass walls that you can lean on to float over Seattle from 24 different vantage points.

Recommended tour : 3-Hour City Highlights Tour

4. Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

The Tacoma-born glass artist Dale Chihuly has earned worldwide acclaim for his colourful and logic-defying glass sculptures.

Established at the Seattle Center in 2012, Chihuly Garden and Glass is a dazzling museum dedicated to his work.

The exhibition comprises eight galleries, a lush garden and the Glasshouse, the attraction’s astounding mainstay.

This glass and steel structure was inspired by Chihuly’s fascination for conservatories, and suspended from the ceiling is a 30-metre work in yellow, red, orange and amber that seems to change with the light throughout the day.

In the eight galleries you can get to grips with Chihuly’s career and discover how he rewrote the rulebook for glass art.

The Garden, planted with handkerchief trees, fuchsias, camellias and daylilies, is a stage for four monumental works, while the Theater screens videos with interviews and glassblowing demonstrations.

Suggested tour: Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit Tour

5. Museum of Pop Culture

Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle

Since 2000 the Seattle Center Monorail has zipped through this outlandish sheet-metal building by Frank Gehry.

Up to 2016 this was the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, before settling on the more manageable “Museum of Pop Culture”. Established by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the museum now stages changing exhibitions tackling all aspects of popular culture, be it video games, horror movies, sci-fi literature or music of all genres.

In 2019 Scared to Death featured more than 50 props and costumes from A Nightmare on Elm Street , Buffy, the Walking Dead and many more.

Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction had 150 artefacts that you’ll have seen in Blade Runner, Star Trek or Men in Black.

There was also a major exhibition, Prince from Minneapolis, complete with outfits from Purple Rain, a Prince guitar, more than 50 Prince-related artefacts, as well as the work of photographers that Prince hired to help cultivate his image.

6. Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Seattle Art Museum

Anchored in downtown Seattle, the Seattle Art Museum has two other locations, at the Olympic Sculpture Park and the Asian Art Museum (closed for renovation at the time of writing). The SAM’s inventory is wide-ranging, but has an exceptional collection of Native American art from the Pacific Northwest, including basketry, textiles, masks, totem poles and other delicate carvings in stone and wood.

Gothic and early-Renaissance Italian painting is also well-represented, with works by Giovanni di Paolo, Puccio di Simone and Paolo Uccello.

Also in the collection is painting, decorative art and furniture from the Northwest, and 20th-century American art by the likes of Mark Tobey and Jacob Lawrence.

Keep an eye on the SAM’s major exhibitions: In early 2019 there was a vibrant show for Jeffrey Gibson, weaving together his Native American heritage, nomadic life, love for popular music and sexual identity.

7. Olympic Sculpture Park

Olympic Sculpture Park, Seatlle

A mile from the SAM’s headquarters, on a nine-acre former industrial site at the northern end of the Seattle Seawall is an outdoor gallery for the museum’s sculpture collection.

There are more than 20 works at the Olympic Sculpture Park, on a site straddling Elliott Avenue and merging with the bay-front Myrtle Edwards Park.

One of the most eye-catching pieces is Alexander Calder’s monumental Eagle, which lines up beautifully with the Space Needle when viewed from the south-west.

Other renowned artists in the collection are Roxy Paine (Split), Richard Serra (Wake), Ellsworth Kelly (Curve XXIV) and Jaume Plensa (Echo). You’ll also find it hard to resist parking yourself on one of the metallic chairs and gazing out over Puget Sound.

8. Pacific Science Center

Pacific Science Center, Seattle

In a Minoru Yamasaki building dating from the World’s Fair, the Pacific Science Center is a family-oriented museum bringing scientific concepts to life through hundreds of hands-on exhibits.

For a brief example, at the Insect Village you’ll discover the almost supernatural feats that insects are capable of, from carrying air in bubbles on underwater dives to lifting objects many times their weight.

“What is Reality” is a window on immersive technologies, confronting the mind-bending questions that are shaping our future.

The Tropical Butterfly House is warm and humid all year round and has hundreds of free-flying butterflies, with a different mix of species every few months.

The Pacific Science Center is one of the few attractions in the world with two IMAX theaters, planetarium and laser dome equipped with a shuddering 10,000 watt concert sound system.

Tip : Included in the Seattle CityPASS

9. Seattle Great Wheel

Seattle Great Wheel

The giant Ferris wheel at Pier 57 is the tallest on the West Coast at more than 53 metres.

The Seattle Great Wheel may seem like a tourist trap at first glance, but has a lot going for it.

The scenery is of course spellbinding, but you’ll be able to enjoy it from a fully enclosed capsule, which is good news on rainy days or chilly nights.

The pods don’t swing, even in blustery weather, and on Friday and Saturday evenings the wheel stays open until midnight all year.

If you fancy an upgrade there’s a VIP pod with a glass floor, leather seats, champagne and line-jumping privileges.

10. Ballard Locks

Ballard Locks, Seattle

Dating to 1917 and constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the busiest set of locks in the United States allows water traffic to travel between the tidal waters Puget Sound and the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

This waterway passes through Seattle’s inland freshwater lakes, via Lake Washington, Portage Bay, Lake Union and Salmon Bay, where it meets Puget Sound.

The locks have permanently changed Seattle, lowering the water level on Lake Washington and Lake Union by 2.7 metres, giving rise to many miles of new land on the lakefronts.

There’s a visitor centre detailing this eight-year project, while the sight of trawlers and pleasure yachts and barges navigating the locks is a real spectacle.

On the south side of the channel is a fish ladder used by salmon to swim to freshwater lakes or streams to spawn, and then for the juvenile fish to return to the ocean.

Spawning season is from around early June to the middle of August, and you can view the salmon through underwater windows.

Top rated tour available : Seattle Locks Cruise

11. Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour

Bill Speidel's Underground Tour

On June 6 1889 a cabinet-maker accidentally ignited a glue pot, and the ensuing Great Seattle Fire wiped out 31 blocks.

One upshot was that the reconstructed city’s streets were re-graded one to two storeys higher than the original city streets.

This helped keep the central Pioneer Square dry, as it had been built on mudflat, and prevented toilets from backing up at high tide.

It also left a cavernous subterranean space where the old storefronts used to be.

It’s exciting to explore the forgotten city, but you’ll also be told lots of humorous anecdotes about Seattle’s earthy and roguish pioneers.

Tours set off on the hour every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

The tour is named for its founder, self-taught historian Bill Speidel (1912-1988) who helped to preserve and restore Seattle’s original city centre at Pioneer Square in the 1960s.

Related tour : Seattle: Underground Walking Tour

12. Museum of Flight

Museum of Flight, Seattle

A short drive south to Boeing Field in Tukwila is the largest independent air and space museum in the world.

In a city with Seattle’s aviation pedigree, it’s a trip not to pass up, especially because the central T.A. Wilson Great Gallery is a jaw-dropping steel and glass construction.

This vast space holds scores of aircraft, many suspended from the ceiling.

One of these is the Gossamer Albatross II, the backup aircraft for the first human-powered flight across the English Channel.

There’s a cockpit from a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird and a de Havilland Comet, the world’s first jetliner.

Outside in the Airpark you can enter one of only four Concordes on show outside Europe, as well as the very first jet Air Force One, used by JFK, Johnson and Reagan.

There’s also a Space Gallery with NASA and Russian hardware, while the Personal Courage Gallery chronicles the feats of WWI and WWII fighter pilots.

Finally, the William E. Boeing Red Barn is the birthplace of the Boeing Airplane Company, dating to 1909 and relocated from South Lake Union in Seattle.

Book online : Admission to The Museum of Flight

13. Washington Park Arboretum

Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle

The University of Washington Botanic Gardens and the City of Seattle work together to maintain these magnificent 230 acres on the shores of Lake Washington.

You can visit free of charge every day from dawn to dusk.

Established in 1934, the Washington Park Arboretum has a top-notch winter garden, as well as world-class collections of maples, oaks and camellias.

The arboretum’s most treasured feature is the Azalea Way, a 3/4 mile walk bordered by flowering cherries, magnolias, dogwoods and of course azaleas, all framed by second-growth conifers and evergreens.

As you’d imagine, the Azalea Way is a delight in spring.

In late spring, the Rhododendron Glen is obligatory, with dozens of rhododendron bushes grouped according to species and accompanied by ferns, hardwood trees, firs, shrubs and magnolias.

The Graham Visitors Center will help you get started, and is also the departure point for deep dive tram tours around the arboretum on summer weekends.

14. Seattle Central Library

Seattle Central Library

In 2004 Rem Koolhaas’s glass and steel central library building became a new symbol for Seattle.

Eleven storeys and 57 metres high, the Seattle Central Library is certainly bold, with a reflective glass skin, sharp planes and overhangs caused by discrete “floating platforms”. The building is majestic from the inside, not least because of its surfeit of natural light, and can be explored on a self-guided tour or group tour (Monday to Saturday). Just inside the 4th Avenue entrance, take a peek at a piece of the automated materials handling system whisking books up to Level Two.

The Faye G. Allen Children’s Center is a wonderland for kids where they can browse books, use games and puzzles and attend story times and other programmes.

On Level Three is the Norcliffe Foundation Living Room, an inviting public space with cosy seating areas, a cafe and indoor garden and sunlight issuing through the diamond-pattern windows.

Most of the computer terminals are on Level Five at the Charles Simonyi Mixing Chamber, while the Red Floor on Level Four has 13 different shades of red on its floor, ceiling and walls.

15. Smith Tower

Smith Tower, Seattle

Before the Space Needle the tallest building in Seattle was the Neoclassical Smith Tower, the city’s first skyscraper.

This 38-storey building on Pioneer Square was the city’s first skyscraper, 148 metres high and one of the tallest towers outside of New York City at that time.

The Smith Tower is named for its financier, Lyman Cornelius Smith, who made his fortune in the typewriter business.

The Smith Tower may have been overtaken almost 60 years ago, but a visit to the observation floor 35 storeys up is something you have to do in Seattle.

For one thing, this is one of the last buildings on the West Coast to still employ elevator operators.

The tower is rich with period fittings, like latticed doors on the brass-coated elevators, banisters fashioned from onyx and the carved teak ceilings in the observation floor’s bar, which reopened with a speakeasy theme in 2016.

Available online: The Legends of Smith Tower – Observatory Access

16. Sky View Observatory

View from the Sky View Observatory, Seattle

At 295 metres to its tip, the Columbia Center is the tallest building in Washington State.

When it was topped off in 1985 this skyscraper was the tallest building on the whole West Coast, though it has since dropped down to fourth on the list.

In the 2010s the Sky View observatory on the 73rd floor has been modified to give you a 360° view, while two new express elevators and a new lounge have also been modified.

Although the Columbia Center doesn’t share the Space Needle’s cachet, the view is on a whole other level but less frequented.

It’s not hard to lose all track of time watching the Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier and the boats plying Puget Sound from this height, while tasteful murals will fill you in on Seattle’s past.

Book online : Sky View Observatory General Admission Ticket

17. Washington State Ferries

Washington State Ferries

Can you really say you’ve been to Seattle if you haven’t crossed the Puget Sound on a ferry? Washington State Ferries (WSF) maintains the largest fleet of ferries of any operator in the United States (23), running 12 different routes on what is the fourth-largest ferry system in the world.

All of the ferries can carry a minimum of 64 cars, and even the smallest vessel can accommodate 750 passengers.

Perhaps the best trip is the Seattle-Bainbridge Island ferry, departing from Pier 52 and taking 40-45 minutes.

Looking back, you can appreciate the skyline and the beautiful homes and beaches of West Seattle.

Bainbridge Island is also desirable, often touted as one of the most liveable places in the United States.

On landing you could call in at the highly-rated Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.

Recommended tour (includes transport by ferry) : Bainbridge Island Nature Reserve Walk with Lunch

18. Kerry Park

Kerry Park, Seattle

For the ultimate view of Seattle there’s only one place to go.

Kerry Park is on a south-facing terrace on leafy Queen Anne Hill, with a panorama that takes in all of the things that people associate with the city.

In the foreground is the Space Needle, before the towers of Downtown Seattle.

To the west is the open water of Puget Sound, while rising in the background is the snow-capped bulk of Mount Rainier.

The little park was donated to Seattle in 1927 by the lumber magnate Albert Kerry and his wife Catherine “so that all who stop here may enjoy this view”. Come in the evening when the Space Needle and wheel are dazzling, and you can trace the brightly lit ferries crossing the Puget Sound.

19. T-Mobile Park

T-Mobile Park, Seattle

Known as Safeco Field up to 2019, the home of the Seattle Mariners can seat 46,929 and opened in 1999. Twenty years after completion, T-Mobile Park is still a benchmark stadium, with retro-modern hints in the Art Deco-style brick facade, as well as unbroken sightlines for spectators, a retractable roof, a natural grass field and a food and drink selection that goes well beyond typical ballpark grub.

So you can branch out with a crab sandwich, tacos and margaritas, waffles or the Mariners’ now famous garlic fries.

You’ll be extra grateful that the venue and food are so good because the Mariners are one of just two MLB teams never to have played in a World Series, and are currently going through the longest play-off drought in all four major American Sports (18 years at the time of writing).

20. Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo

Within a continuous patch of parkland attached to Green Lake Park in North Central Seattle, the Woodland Park Zoo is a multi-award-winning attraction.

In fact no other zoo apart from the Bronx Zoo has picked up as many prizes from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Many of the individual habitats have garnered awards, like the penguin enclosure where you can view Humboldt penguins darting underwater from a window.

And since you’re in Seattle you can observe the species of the Northwest at the Northern Trail habitat, keeping gray wolves, elk, North American river otters and brown bears.

The largest section of all is Tropical Asia, for the likes of Malayan tigers, Indian rhinos, tapirs, sloth bears and orangutans, while African Savanna hosts favourites like African lions, zebras, giraffes and ostriches.

Like all the best zoos, there’s always something going on each day like penguin feeding, a walk-through bird experience and bird of prey demonstrations with owls and hawks.

21. Seattle Japanese Garden

Seattle Japanese Garden

At the south end of the Washington Park Arboretum is a magical 3.5-acre garden laid out in the late-1950s on the supervision of the respected landscape architect Jūki Iida.

Meandering paths and benches encourage you to go slow and appreciate the garden’s water, stones, lanterns, plants, fauna, bridges and buildings.

This is one of the oldest Japanese gardens in the United States, but also one of the most authentic, and a venue for all sorts of celebrations in the Japanese calendar, like Children’s Day (5 May) and Respect for the Aged Day (16 September). On the fourth Saturday of the month in summer you can also take part in a traditional tea ceremony at the teahouse.

22. Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square, Seattle

In 1852 Seattle’s founders chose modern day Pioneer Square as the heart of their settlement.

The original wooden buildings were replaced towards the end of the 19th century by the stately Romanesque Revival buildings standing today.

The neighbourhood, although a little edgy, merits a walking tour for this architecture and for its miscellany of restaurants, cafes, book shops and art galleries.

The small, irregular namesake plaza is shaded by plane trees and has an elegant Beaux-Arts shelter.

The totem pole here is a replica of a Tlingit pole carved around 1790, and stolen by Seattle businessmen on an expedition to Alaska.

It was gifted to the city on their return and quickly became a symbol of civic pride.

In 1938 the original totem pole was damaged in a fire, and a team of Tlingit carvers was commissioned to produce a replica, inaugurated in 1940.

Related tour : Seattle in One Day Tour

23. Alki Beach

Alki Beach, Seattle

When things hot up in summer, Seattleites don’t have to travel far for a day at the beach.

Arcing down to Alki Point at the tip of West Seattle, Alki Beach is a sweep of sand angled towards Elliott Bay.

The raised promenade behind has the sort of views you expect from Seattle’s coastline, encompassing Blake Island, the Olympic Mountains and the constant stream of water traffic on Puget Sound.

For curiosities there’s a scaled-down version of the Statue of Liberty, while at the beach’s northern end on Duwamish Head is a 2.3-anchor salvaged by the Nor’West Divers’ Club.

A lovely way to watch the sunset and do some stargazing is beside a campfire, and there are fire pits on the beach on a first-come-first-served basis.

Available tour : Georgetown Neighborhood and Alki Beach Tour: historic, funky and beautiful

24. Benaroya Hall

Benaroya Hall, Seattle

The seat of the Seattle Symphony is a striking landmark in Downtown Seattle, taking up an entire city block.

Benaroya Hall is named for the philanthropist Jack Benaroya who made the first and biggest donation towards the hall’s construction.

The venue was completed in 1998 at a cost of $120m and is renowned for its world-class acoustics.

In one creative measure, the main auditorium sits on rubber pads, insulating it from the noise of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel beneath the building.

In the lobby you can marvel at the Crystal Cascade, by famed glass sculptor Chris Chihuly.

As of 2019-20 the Seattle Symphony’s music director is Danish conductor Thomas Dausgaard, taking over from Ludovic Morlot.

Among the highlights in the 18-19 season were Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Ravel’s Piano Concerto and Nielsen’s Symphony No. 2, featuring performances by important musicians like violinist Augustin Hadelich (Grammy winner in 2016), tenor Kenneth Tarver and pianist Jonathan Biss.

25. Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

At Pier 59 on the Waterfront, the Seattle Aquarium shines a light on the diverse marine life of the Pacific Northwest.

The enormous tank built for the attractions in the 2007 expansion is Window on Washington Waters, showcasing local Pacific species like rockfish, lingcod, wolf eels, salmon and sea anemones from a depth of 1.5 metres to just over 18 metres.

There are dive shows three times a day in this tank (10:00, 11:30 and 12:15, plus 15:00 on weekends) and the divers answer visitors’ questions using modified masks.

Life on the Edge presents all the life found in tide-pools on the Pacific coast and around Seattle’s inland, allowing you to touch sea cucumbers and sea urchins.

In Life of a Drifter there are moon jellies and a giant Pacific octopus, while Marine Mammals is inhabited by sea otters, river otters, northern fur seals and harbour seals.

26. South Lake Union

South Lake Union, Seattle

Literally on the southern tip of Lake Union, this neighbourhood, just north-east of downtown Seattle, is a former manufacturing zone that is changing at breathtaking speed.

A century ago Bill Boeing’s first airplane factory was in South Lake Union, as was the first Model T plant west of the Mississippi.

Since the 2000s the area has quickly become a biotechnology hub, joined to downtown by the South Lake Union Streetcar and home to all sorts of research institutes, as well as campuses for Amazon and Google.

As we’ll see below, Amazon’s spectacular headquarters are just a few streets south, on the edge of downtown Seattle.

Amazon’s convenience store, Amazon Go, has two locations in South Lake Union for a bewildering peek into the future of retail.

In the space of just a few blocks there’s a massive choice of cafes, pubs and health-conscious/organic restaurants.

Kati Vegan Thai and the Portage Bay Café are two favourites.

At the recently laid out Lake Union Park check out the handsome old boats on the Historic Ships Wharf and make for the Center for Wooden Boats, which we’ll talk about later.

Cruise available : Seattle’s Favorite Sightseeing and Cocktail Cruise

27. Museum of History and Industry

Museum of History and Industry, Seattle

There are a lot of absorbing stories hiding in Seattle’s past, and this museum in Lake Union Park’s Naval Reserve Armory building is perfectly equipped to tell them.

The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) is a wonderful resource, with a collection of more than four million pieces, only 2% of which can be shown at one time The core exhibition is True Northwest: The Seattle Journey, a complete chronology for the city via 25 “snapshots”, packed with artefacts and photography.

You can delve into specific events like the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897, the foundation of Boeing in 1916 and the Red Scare Smith Act Trials of the 1950s.

Suspended in the Grand Atrium You’ll get to see the 1919 Boeing B-1, the company’s first commercial plane, and the famous “R” from the Rainier Brewing Company’s sign.

In 2014 the museum unveiled the Bezos Center for Innovation, detailing the many inventions that have come out of the Seattle area, and investigating creativity as a concept.

28. Kubota Garden

Kubota Garden

The self-taught Japanese master landscaper Fujitaro Kubota (1879-1973) was a horticultural trailblazer, using time-honoured Japanese techniques while embracing plants and trees native to the Pacific Northwest.

Running a successful gardening business in South Seattle, Kubota developed this exquisite show garden, creating hills, valleys, streams, waterfalls, ponds and rocky outcrops in 20 acres.

The Kubota Garden was a labour of love spanning five decades and purchased by the City of Seattle in 1987. In the 1990s Fujitaro’s son Tom laid out the Stroll Garden here, which has a reflecting pond hemmed by lanterns and carefully pruned pines and maples.

There are more than 220 Japanese maples in the Kubota Garden, many of which are rare and unusual varieties.

29. Gas Works Park

Gas Works Park, Seattle

A park like no other, Gas Works Park is on a nub of land over the north shore of Lake Union.

From 1906 to 1956 this was the site for the Seattle Gas Light Company gasification plant, the remains of which were preserved rather than pulled down when the park was laid out in the 1970s.

During that process the land was decontaminated using “bio-phytoremediation” techniques, and thousands of cubic metres of rubble were piled up to form the park’s Great Mound that affords one of the best panoramas of downtown Seattle and is a prime kite-flying spot.

You can amble along the waterfront, past the two imposing sets of towers, while the old pump house has been converted into a play barn for children and the boiler house is now a picnic shelter.

Because of the site’s industrial past, there’s no access to Lake Union from this park.

30. Green Lake Park

Green Lake Park, Seattle

One of Seattle’s most beloved parks is on a freshwater lake, encircled by residential neighbourhoods in North Central Seattle.

Like all of the lakes in the Seattle area, Green Lake was scooped out by the Vashon glacial sheet some 50,000 years ago, and at the beginning of the 20th century was landscaped as part of the Olmsted Plan to lay out a sequence of interconnected green spaces around Seattle.

The lake itself is 259 acres, flocked by waterfowl, and ringed by a freshly relaid 2.8-mile path for walkers, cyclists, skaters and joggers.

You can rent a canoe, dinghy, pedal boat or rowboat, and there are facilities for baseball, soccer, lawn bowls and golf (pitch & putt). The elegant bathhouse by the water is from 1927 and is now occupied by the Seattle Public Theater, for modern and contemporary plays in an intimate setting.

31. Lumen Field

Lumen Field

Opened in 2002, the home stadium for the Seattle Seahawks (NFL) and the Seattle Sounders (MLS) is in a exciting urban setting on Elliott Bay with clear lines of sight north towards downtown Seattle, and across the Puget Sound to the Olympic Mountains.

On a typical fixture Lumen Field seats 69,000 for a Seahawks game and 37,722 for the Sounders, although the capacity can be increased for big events.

If you’re not in town for sporting action, the stadium warrants a visit for the 90-minute tour.

This takes place three times a day, seven days a week in June, July and August, with a more limited schedule at other times of the year.

You’ll head into the Home Interview Room, Visit the Locker Room, go down to the field, enter a suite, the press box and climb up to the 300 Level Concourse for amazing panoramas.

32. Volunteer Park Conservatory

Volunteer Park Conservatory, Seattle

The best of the monuments in Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park is a stunning conservatory modelled on London’s Crystal Palace and completed in 1912. This wrought iron and glass wonder is composed of 3,426 glass panels and houses the park’s collections of bromeliads, ferns, palms, cactuses/succulents and seasonal plants.

The heat and humidity varies from area to area and is computer controlled, rising to 27°C in the cactus house.

In this space, look for the historic jade tree, while the sago palm in the Palm House is also older than 75 years.

Other must-sees are the carnivorous plants in the Fern House, and the Palm House’s striking collection of orchids, first put together in 1921 and expanded down the years with specimens confiscated by customs.

33. Frye Art Museum

Frye Art Museum

Seattle’s first free art museum opened in 1952 after the meatpacking entrepreneur Charles Frye and his wife Emma donated their collection of more than 230 paintings to the city.

The Fryes had rather conservative tastes, even for the time, and were into moody and dramatic representational art.

A big portion of the museum’s inventory is devoted to late-19th-century Munich School artists like Franz von Lenbach and Wilhelm Leibl.

They are accompanied by the likes of French landscape painter Eugène Boudin, Academic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau, along with later acquisitions, from Edward Hopper to early-phase Picasso.

The Fryes had exacting conditions for their donation, one being that the galleries could only be illuminated by natural light.

The long-term Frye Salon exhibitions, with walls crowded with paintings, recreate the viewing experience at the couple’s home in the early 20th century.

34. Lake Union Seaplane Flight

Lake Union Seaplane Flight

Seaplanes have a special place in Seattle and Boeing’s history, and accelerated the city’s development in the first decades of the 20th century.

In June 1916 Bill Boeing taxied and took off from Lake Union for his Boeing Model 1 seaplane’s maiden flight, and many of the company’s subsequent aircraft were seaplanes.

With Viator you take to the skies from Lake Union in the same way for a 20-minute tour of Seattle’s skyline, taking in a bird’s eye view of the Space Needle, the Elliott Bay Waterfront , the University of Washington Campus and landmarks like CenturyLink Field while gazing down to Mount Rainier on the horizon.

There’s a recorded commentary so you won’t miss a detail on the flight.

Kenmore Air schedules a host of services from Lake Union, including flights around Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens.

Book online : Lake Union Seaplane Flight From Seattle

35. Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

Reconstructed at great expense in the early 2000s, the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall is a plush performing arts venue at the Seattle Center, seating 2,963. This is the main venue for the prestigious Pacific Northwest Ballet, a company of almost 50 dancers staging more than 100 performances of mixed repertory and full-length ballets each year.

Highlights of the 2019-2020 season were Giselle and Cinderella, as well as One Thousand Pieces, a large-scale ensemble work by renowned choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo.

Also at the McCaw Hall, the Seattle Opera’s season runs from August to late-May and is attended by almost 100,000 people.

Rigoletto, La Bohème and Cinderella (with the PNB) were on the programme for 2019-20.

36. University of Washington

University of Washington Campus, Seattle

There are a few reasons why you might find yourself on the University of Washington campus, which is only a few minutes from downtown Seattle and was joined to the Link light rail network in 2016. For starters there’s the highly regarded Henry Art Gallery, which has a strong collection counting more than 25,000 pieces and exhibiting the likes of Mies van der Rohe, Alexander Calder and Buckminster Fuller before they gained wider acclaim.

A permanent installation is the James Turrell Skyspace, Light Reign.

This work blends architecture, lighting and sculpture, with an oval aperture open to the sky that can be sealed by a retractable roof.

You could also catch a concert at the Katharyn Alvord Gerlich Theater, by a renowned artist or a UW ensemble, while the Hec Edmundson Pavilion and the 70,000-seater Husky Stadium are home to the university’s basketball and college football teams, both known as the Huskies.

37. Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room

Starbucks Reserve & Roastery, Seattle

The international coffee house chain Starbucks is a famous Seattle export, opening its first store at Pike Place in 1971. On Capitol Hill, nine blocks from that historic location you can drop by the swish Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room.

This flagship can best be described as a craft distillery, but for coffee, and looks like no Starbucks you’ve ever seen.

You can watch beans being roasted, while the friendly staff can tell you anything you want to know about the Roastery’s globe-trotting selection.

There’s an “experience bar”, main coffee bar and an enticing Milanese bakery, and the menu is a little more upmarket than you might be accustomed to at Starbucks.

Think long blacks with cardamom syrup, whiskey barrel-aged cold brew and trendy coffee/tea cocktails like a limoncino shakerato or a gin matcha.

All reserve coffees are roasted on that same day, and you can order ahead to sample three in one go.

38. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is another in that prestigious list of Seattleites and in 2012, a visitor center for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation opened near the foot of the Space Needle.

This has been expanded in the last few years to become a Discovery Center”. Using plenty of interactivity, the exhibits document the impact of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation around the world, as it aims to improve lives and tackle the big challenges facing the world.

In the Global Challenge gallery there’s an interactive computer generated map, making clear how issues like malnutrition and poverty affect populations, while “Get Involved” lets you get hands on and help with projects, putting together winter kits for the Northwest’s homeless and making menstrual kits for girls across the globe.

The center also collaborates with other major institutions like the American Museum of Natural History, for special exhibits.

“Countdown to Zero” for example, mapped out the fight to eradicate forgotten tropical diseases.

39. Golden Gardens Park

Golden Gardens Park, Seattle

Right on Puget Sound, the Golden Gardens Park has knockout views over the water and across to the Olympic Mountains.

The park’s story goes back to 1907 when it was developed as a spot at the end of the new electric car lines where people could take day trips for walks, picnics and bathing at the beach.

Those activities attract Seattleites more than a century later, even if the Puget Sound water can be on the chilly side.

There are pieces of rugged coastline, grassy areas, woodland for walks, two wetlands, a pier for fishing, a boat launch and fire pits for campfires.

As with Alki Beach, there’s no better way to watch the sun slipping behind the Olympic Mountains than from the warmth of a beachside campfire.

40. The Crocodile

The Crocodile, Seattle

Hailed as the cradle of grunge rock, The Crocodile opened in 1991 and is up there with the best places to watch live music, not just in Seattle but across the United States.

The venue’s pedigree has a lot to do with that, as all the bands that came out of the city during the grunge era, like Nirvana, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam and Tad played here.

If you’re a fan of the genre then a trip to The Croc will be a long-term ambition, but it’s also a great place to catch some live independent music, whether you’re sampling the local scene or catching your favourite act on tour.

Added to that there’s a good bar, a balcony if you want to avoid the pit, and you can get a personal pizza with any toppings for a flat fee of $7.

41. City Highlights Small Group Minivan Tour

City Highlights Small Group Minivan Tour

If you only have a day to spend in Seattle and want to condense as many things into as little time as possible then a tour with a local guide is the way to go.

The highly-rated City Highlights tour on GetYourGuide.com is an informative and efficient three-hour odyssey, crystallising a whole vacation into one drive.

You’ll take in the Romanesque Revival architecture of Pioneer Square, the cosmopolitan streets of the International District, the Waterfront, Seattle’s colossal sports arenas, the towers of downtown Seattle and the bold architecture of the Seattle Center.

From there you’ll climb to Kerry Park where Seattle is laid out before you, while at Ballard Locks you’ll find out about the lifecycle of the Northwest salmon and watch the flotilla of commercial vessels passing through.

42. Fremont Troll

Fremont Troll, Seattle

In 1990 the Fremont Arts Council commissioned a piece of public art for space below the north end of the George Washington Memorial Bridge, as it had become a haunt for antisocial activity.

Their pick, by a team of four local artists, was the Fremont Troll, a now iconic sculpture, 5.5 metres tall and composed of 6 tons of reinforced concrete.

As a witty touch the troll holds an actual Volkswagen Beetle in its left hand, as if it has just snatched it from the road.

The work is designed to be climbed on, and in 2005 the stretch of Aurora Avenue North under the bridge was renamed Troll Avenue in its honour.

Included in : Seattle Highlights Sightseeing Tour

43. Gum Wall

Gum Wall, Seattle

Also unconventional, the Gum Wall is a gum-coated section of Post Alley, down a flight of stairs from Rachel the piggybank at Pike Place Market.

From the early 90s, audience members on their way in or out of the Unexpected Productions improv theatre would stick used chewing gum on the wall and decorate it with a coin.

Over time people have become creative, spelling out their name and composing little artworks with the gum.

The wall has been cleared three times, most recently in 2015 as chemicals in the gum were damaging the brickwork in the alley.

At that time the Gum Wall was several inches thick and estimated to have more than a million pieces.

This was just a temporary measure as the Gum Wall has been recognised as a tourist attraction since 1999 and has picked up a new coating already.

44. Dick’s Drive-In

Dick's Drive-In

This thriving fast food chain is a local staple but has never expanded beyond the Seattle area.

It’s easy to love Dick’s Drive-In, whether it’s for the pared-down menu (no substitutions are allowed), or for the way the chain treats its staff.

The employee benefits are the best in the fast food industry, with 100% employer paid health insurance and a $22,000 college tuition scholarship after six months of employment.

As of 2019 there were eight locations, the first of which opened in Wallingford in 1954. The fries are hand-cut fresh daily, the shakes are hand-dipped and individually whipped and all the burgers are made with 100% non-frozen beef.

45. Wing Luke Museum

Wing Luke Museum, Seattle

A recommended stop in the Chinatown-International District, the Wing Luke Museum has a collection of more than 18,000 pieces documenting the Asian American refugee and immigrant experience in north western United States.

The museum represents 26 different ethnic groups and is the only museum in America to take this pan-Asian perspective.

The permanent display, Honoring Our Journey, explains how people from Asia arrived in the Northwest in the 19th and 20th centuries and details the livelihoods and customs of these communities.

“Chinatown-International District” goes into the rich history of the neighbourhood, while at the time of writing in spring 2019 there were several riveting exhibitions on post-war immigration from Vietnam and on Bruce Lee’s link to Seattle.

The museum’s location is its own slice of history, at the East Kong Yick Building.

Dating to 1910 and financed by Chinese immigrants, this housed the Freeman Hotel, which was a stepping stone for new arrivals from China, Japan and Philippines up to the 1940s.

46. Center for Wooden Boats

Center for Wooden Boats

At South Lake Union, the Center for Wooden Boats promotes the maritime heritage of the Pacific Northwest, but is also a centre of excellence for sailing.

You can visit the docks and workshop here for free, to see traditional boatbuilding skills in action and find out about all the tools and methods that go in to building wooden boats.

Children can make a little boat of their own on the upper floor, while out on the dock you can peruse a small fleet in perfect condition.

Most of these vessels are available for rent, and if you aren’t qualified for a sailboat you can hire a rowboat or pedal boat for a little scenic voyage on Lake Union.

Keep an eye on the Center’s program as it provides a variety of field trips, as well as the free “Sunday Sail”, a cruise aboard one of the center’s many vessels.

47. Add-a-Ball

Arcade

The biggest array of vintage coin-op arcade and pinball machines in Seattle is hiding at the back of an empty lot on 36th St and Phinney.

Add-a-Ball is like a time capsule from the early-1990s and has a suitably grungy vibe, with dim lighting and improvised decor.

All attention is on the mass of 50¢ pinball machines, low-fi video games and air-hockey tables.

Strictly for grown-ups, Add-a-Ball is open from 14:00 to 02:00 with cup-holders on every machine to keep your beer within easy reach.

48. Amazon Spheres

Amazon Spheres, Seattle

Amazon, the multinational e-commerce company, was founded in Seattle in 1994 and has just moved its headquarters from Beacon Hill to South Lake Union.

The company’s high-tech urban campus has taken shape over the last few years, with the completion of the Day 1 and Doppler towers.

But beneath these is the most intriguing of Amazon’s new constructions.

The Spheres, nicknamed “Bezos’ Balls”, are glass biomes, where employees work and relax among 40,000 plants from cloud forest regions in 30 different countries.

There are three interconnected domes, clad with pentagonal hexecontahedron panels and standing up to four storeys tall.

The largest of the 50 or so trees in the Spheres is a 17-metre rusty fig, native to eastern Australia.

You can stop by in downtown Seattle to check out these remarkable buildings from the outside, but you can also go in if you book in advance: There are 90-minute tours of the Amazon HQ most Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 and 14:00, while you can access the Spheres on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays each month for unguided visits.

49. 5th Avenue Theatre

5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle

A monumental venue seating 2,130, the 5th Avenue Theatre hosts touring Broadway musicals, but also puts on large-scale original productions of its own.

These are done by the 5th Avenue Musical Theatre Company, a gigantic non-profit operation employing hundreds of people.

Many of the shows premiered by the company are bound for Broadway, and in that sense the 5th Avenue Theatre is seen as a testing ground, giving a start to productions like Hairspray, The Wedding Singer and Jekyll & Hyde.

The theatre is part of the Neo-Renaissance Skinner Building, going back to 1925, and has an extravagant interior full of flourishes inspired by Chinese temples.

There’s a pair of Imperial guardian lions watching the stairway to the second level gallery, while the lobby has an stunning plaster canopy imitating bamboo.

Most eye-catching, in the auditorium is an octagonal caisson with a golden dragon at its centre and a chandelier fashioned like a pear hanging from its mouth.

50. Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park, Seattle

Bookended by the Seattle Aquarium and the Seattle Great Wheel on Elliott Bay, Waterfront Park is one of the many great places to watch the sun go down in Seattle.

There are two pink metal viewing platforms here for you to appreciate downtown Seattle’s skyline, the West Seattle Bridge, the Waterfront and out onto the Puget Sound to Blake Island and the Olympic Mountains.

You can use coin-op telescopes for a closer look, while the abstract Waterfront Fountain (1974) is made up of cast and welded bronze fashioned into cuboid forms.

51. The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour

The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour

Boeing’s Seattle production facility opened up in Everett about half an hour north of downtown Seattle in the 1960s.

The journey is worth every second, for the only publicly available tour of a commercial jet assembly plant in the whole of North America.

No aircraft enthusiast should miss the sight of 747s, 767s, 777s and 787s on the assembly line.

The plant’s employees work five-day weeks, which is worth bearing in mind because there’s less activity to be seen on weekends.

The adventure begins at the Future of Flight Aviation Center, which is brimming with Boeing components and aircraft sections.

There’s a cockpit from a 727 that you can sit in, while you can lay your hands on fuselage from the 707 and 787 Dreamliner.

You can also inspect full-size models of a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine from a 787 and a GE90 engine from a 777. The museum has loads of interactive features, like a station where you can digitally design your own aircraft, while the rooftop deck commands views over the factory and Paine Field airport.

52. Bruce Lee Grave Site

Bruce Lee and Brandon Bruce Lee's Grave

Neighbouring Volunteer to the north is the Lake View Cemetery, which, true to its name, is blessed with spellbinding views of Lake Union to the west.

It is in this beautiful setting, near the cemetery’s highest point, that you’ll find the rather unassuming graves of Bruce Lee and his son Brandon, side by side.

There’s a small bench for visitors and you can take a moment to reflect on the impact made by the two men in their tragically short lives.

53. Mount Rainier Full-Day Walking or Snowshoe Tour

Snowshoeing at Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier, so integral to Seattle’s skyline, is a dormant volcano all on its own at 4,392 metres tall.

As well as being the highest mountain in Washington State, it’s also the most prominent peak in the continental United States.

Mount Rainier is a Decade Volcano, one of 16 around the world considered worthy of study because of their history of destructive eruptions and closeness to built-up areas.

If you can’t resist the call of this monster you can embark on a day-long guided walk and snowshoe adventure from Seattle with GetYourGuide.com .

You’ll head to the national park in a luxury van with a naturalist guide, and it’s worth bringing binoculars to glimpse elk, black bears and coyotes.

You’ll see lakes, immense sweeps of forest, waterfalls and some of the mountain’s 26 glaciers.

The trip usually entails a hike on the light Nisqually Vista Trail, but if you’re up for something more challenging you need only ask.

54. Olympic National Park Tour

Olympic National Park, Washington

A teasing, ever-present outline on Seattle’s western horizon (on clear days!), the Olympic National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains some of the oldest woodland in the United States.

You can take a day-long guided excursion to this unfettered wilderness in a comfortable van with GetYourGuide.com .

The journey entails a ferry trip through the waterways of Puget Sound and then a meandering drive up to Hurricane Ridge (weather permitting) for astounding panoramas of the mountains.

On the adventure you may catch sight of black bears, black-tailed deer or Olympic marmots.

Lake Crescent on the park’s north side is unforgettable for its vivid blue waters, and from these shores you’ll be able to stride out into the park’s famous old-growth of western hemlock and Douglas fir forest, pausing for a photo of the dreamy Marymere Falls if there’s enough time.

55. Woodinville Wine Country

Woodinville Wine Country

Go northeast of downtown Seattle and in as little as 30 minutes you’ll be in Woodinville Wine Country.

The grapes for many of the wineries here are grown in the Columbia Valley in Eastern Washington, where a few things come together to create excellent conditions for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chardonnay.

There’s an arid climate thanks to the buffer of the Cascade Mountains, allied with sandy, gravelly soils, perfect for planting vines.

There are more than 130 wineries and tasting rooms in Woodinville Wine Country, and if you have to pick one, make it the first winery to be founded in Washington State, Chateau Ste.

Michelle (1954). If you’re just dropping by, you can try the Feature Flight of five reserve wines at the Tasting Room Bar, or set off on a 35-minute tour and tasting.

For more in-depth experiences, dedicated to Riesling, sparkling wine or the art of winemaking, are available by reservation.

Related tour : Snoqualmie Falls & Woodinville Wine Tasting

55 Best Things to Do in Seattle (Washington):

  • Pike Place Market
  • Seattle Center
  • Space Needle
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass
  • Museum of Pop Culture
  • Seattle Art Museum (SAM)
  • Olympic Sculpture Park
  • Pacific Science Center
  • Seattle Great Wheel
  • Ballard Locks
  • Bill Speidel's Underground Tour
  • Museum of Flight
  • Washington Park Arboretum
  • Seattle Central Library
  • Smith Tower
  • Sky View Observatory
  • Washington State Ferries
  • T-Mobile Park
  • Woodland Park Zoo
  • Seattle Japanese Garden
  • Pioneer Square
  • Benaroya Hall
  • Seattle Aquarium
  • South Lake Union
  • Museum of History and Industry
  • Kubota Garden
  • Gas Works Park
  • Green Lake Park
  • Lumen Field
  • Volunteer Park Conservatory
  • Frye Art Museum
  • Lake Union Seaplane Flight
  • Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
  • University of Washington
  • Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center
  • Golden Gardens Park
  • The Crocodile
  • City Highlights Small Group Minivan Tour
  • Fremont Troll
  • Dick's Drive-In
  • Wing Luke Museum
  • Center for Wooden Boats
  • Amazon Spheres
  • 5th Avenue Theatre
  • Waterfront Park
  • The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour
  • Bruce Lee Grave Site
  • Mount Rainier Full-Day Walking or Snowshoe Tour
  • Olympic National Park Tour
  • Woodinville Wine Country

Kerry Park, best place to visit in Seattle

30 Best Things to Do in Seattle, Washington

Home | Travel | North America | United States | Washington | Seattle | 30 Best Things to Do in Seattle, Washington

You will always find interesting things to do in Seattle, the largest city in Washington, and the Pacific Northwest. Nestled between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington and just 100 miles from the Canadian border, it’s the northernmost major U.S. city and is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes.

Long before European settlement, the Seattle area was home to the Duwamish and Suquamish Native American tribes, and their presence is still prevalent in the city today. Seattle also has a large and vibrant LGBTQ+ community and rich musical history, particularly in jazz and rock. Many of the top  things to see in Seattl e reflect these different influences.

If it’s your first time in the city, I recommend getting the  Seattle CityPASS  for a discount on the most popular  Seattle attractions . There is also a  hop-on/hop-off bus tour that takes you to the most important tourist spots in Seattle.

To help you make the most of your trip, here are the top 30 places to visit in Seattle , as well as a map at the end of this article so you can find them all!

1. Space Needle, the most famous lookout in Seattle

If there is one thing you  must see in Seattle , it’s the  Space Needle . It’s one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city, and you can see it from just about anywhere in Seattle.

The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair, so it has a futuristic design that’s reminiscent of the Space Race that was going on at the time. As one of the  top Seattle attractions , the Space Needle is included in the  CityPASS  that I mentioned earlier.

Space Needle, attraction in Seattle

The landmark is 605 feet tall and there’s an observation deck at 520 feet. Most people would agree that this is where you’ll get the best  sightseeing in Seattle , with 360° views of Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains, and the cityscape. See if you’re brave enough to sit in one of the floor-to-ceiling benches or walk on  The Loupe , the only rotating glass floor on earth.

You can also dine at the Space Needle’s  SkyCity  restaurant, which slowly rotates and makes a full 360 loop every 47 minutes. Don’t be scared; the Space Needle can withstand earthquakes and winds up to 200 mph.

You can purchase general admission to just the Space Needle, or  combine your ticket  with Chihuly Garden and Glass.

2. Walk around Chihuly Garden and Glass, the best thing to do in Seattle

One of the most  famous places in Seattle  is the  Chihuly Garden and Glass  exhibit. Conveniently located next to the Space Needle, this spectacular showcase of glass art and sculpture is sure to amaze you.

For those who don’t know, Dale Chihuly is an award-winning glass sculptor born in Washington state. His bright and colorful blown-glass pieces often reflect undulating and organic forms, especially flowers. The Garden and Glass exhibit in Seattle is like a glass wonderland and one of the  best places to visit in Seattle .

The first thing you’ll experience at this attraction is the beautiful sculpture garden where glass bulbs, vines, shrubs, and flowers intermingle among the natural trees and shrubbery in the garden. The scene looks like something out of a fairytale or sci-fi novel, and when the sun hits these glass forms, the light dances.

Chihuly Garden and Glass, place to go in Seattle, Washington

2. Chihuly Garden and Glass, the best thing to do in Seattle

As you make your way through the area, enter the glasshouse, which has a 100-foot centerpiece sculpture of suspended flowers. You’ll find other magnificent installations throughout the 4,500ft 2 space. For example, be sure to stop by the indoor art galleries to see even more design elements and drawings. There is also a theater here where you can watch videos of Chihuly’s creative process.

Without a doubt, the Chihuly exhibit is one of the  coolest things in Seattle , and it’s included in the  CityPASS  I mentioned earlier. You can also reserve a  ticket  and save time and money at the door, or book this combo ticket that includes general admission to the Space Needle.

3. Pike Place Market, another thing to experience in Seattle, WA

One of the most popular  activities in Seattle  is browsing  Pike Place Market . It’s the oldest public farmer’s market that’s still in operation in the U.S., with items that range from specialty food, fresh produce, and artisan crafts to antiques, art, books, and more.

There are usually buskers at the market’s corners, performing for passersby. Don’t forget to say hi to  Rachel , the bronze pig sculpture that serves as the market’s unofficial mascot! Also, the market hides one of the germiest  Seattle tourist attractions , the Gum Wall, in Post Alley under Pike Place Market.

Pike Place Market, best place to go in Seattle, Washington

While the market is great for people-watching and treasure-hunting, it is also known for having some of the  best food in Seattle . Any of the restaurants here will probably be full of locals grabbing a bite to eat during their lunch breaks. There are casual cafes, fine restaurants, delis, take-out stalls, bakeries, and sweet shops. Whether you want classic American fare, or you prefer to try a new ethnic dish, you’ll find it here!

If you consider yourself a foodie, I suggest this  chef-guided food tour  through Pike Place Market. The two-hour tour takes you to ten vendors where you can sample savory morsels and sweet treats. Along the way, you’ll learn more about the distinct flavors of the Pacific Northwest and local production practices. It’s a fun culinary adventure to take with friends or by yourself to meet new people!

4. Pacific Science Center, the best thing to do in Seattle with kids

The   Pacific Science Center   is an awesome  Seattle attraction  for rainy days. It’s also a fun  thing to do in Seattle with kids  since there are tons of interactive exhibits and educational displays.

It is part of the  Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center , which is on the other side of Washington Lake. The Pacific Science Center is included in the Seattle  CityPASS  and offers several exhibits that will appeal to kids of all ages.

The museum’s permanent exhibitions deal with earth science, ecology, technology, and other scientific topics. There is also a rotation of temporary exhibits that change every few months. A popular attraction is the Center’s IMAX theater, which shows documentaries about dinosaurs, climate change, coral reefs, engineering, and more.

Pacific Science Center, best place to go in Seattle

The Butterfly House and Planetarium are two permanent sections of the Center. The  Butterfly House  is a lovely atrium with hundreds of free-roaming butterflies. The walking paths are entwined with beautiful gardens full of flowers. Here, you can learn about the life cycle of butterflies as well as different species and the flowers they prefer.

I recommend reserving your spot at the  Willard Smith Planetarium , which is included in your admission ticket. Here, you can immerse yourself in a virtual trip through the galaxy and learn about all kinds of astronomy-related topics.

The Pacific Science Center is one of those  fun activities in Seattle  that will please kids and adults. If you have time, or the weather isn’t cooperating, I suggest heading here for a few hours.

5. Explore the Museum of Pop Culture, the best thing to do in Seattle

The  Museum of Pop Culture, MoPOP, is one of the most creative and exciting  places in Seattle to visit  and is included in the  CityPASS  ticket.

The museum was originally the Experience Music Project and was actually founded by the co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen. It has dozens of exhibitions, interactive displays, and the largest collection of musical artifacts. You’ll find everything from hand-written lyrics and personal instruments to gaming and cinema presentations.

Whatever it is you like about pop culture, I can guarantee you’ll find it at MoPOP. Some of the exhibits include tattoo art, guitar galleries, band memorabilia, costume design, and horror films. It’s no wonder MoPOP is popular with locals and  tourists in Seattle, Washington .

Museum of Pop Culture, a must-see in Seattle

5. Museum of Pop Culture, the best thing to do in Seattle

One of the centerpieces of the museum is the  IF VI WAS IX  sculpture, which is made of over 500 guitars and musical instruments as well as 30 computers. MoPOP also has several event spaces including the  Sky Church  which was designed by American architect Frank O. Gehry. The name is a reference to Jimi Hendrix’s concept of a place where people of all beliefs and creeds could come together through music.

One of MoPOP’s permanent collections is the  Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame . It contains several galleries dedicated to fantasy writers and directors such as George Lucas, Isaac Asimov, and Steven Spielberg. The exhibition includes famous artifacts from films like  Star Wars  and  The Matrix  as well as interactive kiosks full of trivia. It’s one of the  best things to do in Seattle  if you’re a movie buff!

6. Seattle Underground Tour, something interesting to do in Seattle

The   Seattle Underground  is one of the top  things to do in Seattle , especially if you’re into creepy stuff. The Underground is a network of passageways and basement in downtown Pioneer Square. Initially, the tunnels were on ground level when the city was built in the 1800s. In 1889, destruction from a fire meant the streets had to be elevated, so the tunnels fell into disuse.

The bright side is that the Underground became a popular tourist attraction and a must-see on any  Seattle visit . This unusual activity takes you through a time capsule of the city. While you explore the tunnels, a guide will tell you entertaining stories of days gone by. It’s quite an experience!

Seattle Underground Tour, must do in Seattle

There are so many cool  downtown Seattle attractions , but I never thought about seeing the underground, forgotten parts of the city. You can see the retaining walls supporting the elevated streets and remnants of 1800s Seattle. It can be a bit creepy, but it’s also fascinating and something unique that you wouldn’t find in many other cities.

The Underground tour is popular, so I recommend purchasing tickets in advance  here . Also, the tunnels are a bit rocky, so wear comfortable shoes and be careful.

7. Ride the Seattle Great Wheel, one of the top things to do in Seattle, Washington

The  Great Wheel  is one of the most prominent landmarks in Seattle. Hovering 175 feet tall, it’s the tallest observation wheel on the West Coast. If you want nice views of the city, a ride on the Great Wheel is one of the  Seattle activities  you can’t miss.

This prominent landmark is impossible to miss. It’s at Pier 57, part of Waterfront Park in downtown Seattle. A ride on the wheel is nice and comfy; the cabins are climate-controlled and can accommodate up to eight passengers.

As you ascend into the air and over Elliott Bay, which is part of Puget Sound, you’ll be able to look out over the entire city. The floor-to-ceiling windows allow you to sit back and observe the cityscape and the distant Cascade Mountains. Every ride makes three revolutions and lasts between 12-20 minutes.

Seattle Great Wheel, attraction in Seattle

7. Seattle Great Wheel, one of the top things to do in Seattle, Washington

There are over 500,000 LED lights on the Great Wheel, which light up in a spectacular show on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (during the week, just the wheel’s rim is lit). Visiting this attraction is one of the coolest  things to do in Seattle at night  because you can see a rainbow of awesome colors and designs. The wheel often has themed lighting during holidays and special events, and sometimes people purchase custom messages for marriage proposals or birthdays.

While you’re checking out one of the  best attractions in Seattle , stick around and explore the other parts of  Waterfront Park . The public park extends from the Great Wheel at Pier 57 to Pier 59. It’s a great place to view the wheel’s light show or rest by the  Waterfront Fountain .

8. Washington Park Arboretum, a tranquil place to go in Seattle

The  Washington Park Arboretum  is one of the most  beautiful places in Seattle , and it’s worth a visit at any time of year. It’s a lovely destination full of thematic gardens, peace, and natural beauty.

Much of the arboretum is shrouded in canopy trees and lined with lush shrubs. One of the most famous parts of the area is  Azalea Way , which blossoms into a colorful walkway in the spring. There are also several thematic gardens including woodland shrubs, winter flowers, native plants, rhododendrons, and hollies.

You can take a self-guided or volunteer-led tour through the arboretum. There are a couple of walking trails that loop around the gardens, so I recommend taking the time to see all the gorgeous perennials and trees. Along the waterfront, you can rent a canoe or kayak and spend some time on the water. It’s one of the fun family  activities in Seattle  that you’ll remember for a long time.

Washington Park Arboretum, beautiful attraction in Seattle

Also, be sure to stroll through the  Seattle Japanese Garden , which is also part of the arboretum. It’s one of the oldest Japanese gardens in North America and is regarded as one of the most authentic in the U.S. The garden’s tranquil atmosphere includes lush greenery, Asiatic maple trees, cherry blossoms, and a serene pond.

The garden hosts several cultural events throughout the year, and it’s one of the  best places in Seattle  to see the fall foliage. If you can visit in the autumn, I highly recommend it for the gorgeous colors and contemplative vibe.

9. Take a Seaplane flight, an extraordinary thing to do in Seattle

If you’re not afraid of heights, taking a seaplane ride is a cool thing to do in Seattle and the best way to see the city.

We booked this 20-minute flight , covering over 30 miles, and the views were just breathtaking.

First, you’ll see the shoreline slowly drifting away, then you’ll hover over the University of Washington and Husky Stadium. See the Floating Bridge over Lake Washington and marvel at the sunlight glinting off the blue waters.

Seaplane flight, a top attraction in Seattle

9. Seaplane flight, an extraordinary thing to do in Seattle

You’ll fly over the Bill Gates’ Estate in Bellevue, then head south and loop back towards downtown Seattle. View the mighty Space Needle from above, soar over Alki Beach, and observe the ferries chugging along in Elliott Bay.

Then, the seaplane will wind its way back east over Discovery Park and Ballard Locks, Green Lake, and Gasworks Park before making a smooth landing back at home base.

This experience is unlike any other and is a wonderful  thing for couples to do in Seattle . The flight includes guided narration so you can learn more about the city while enjoying your cruise through the sky.

10. Alki Beach, one of the top-rated beaches in Seattle, WA

Opposite the Space Needle, across Elliott Bay, you’ll find  Alki Beach . It’s the westernmost landform in the city and sticks out into Puget Sound. While the waters at Alki Beach are often too cold for swimming, it’s still one of the  beautiful places in Seattle  I think you should check out.

One of the coolest things about Alki Beach is that it was the first salt-water beach open to public swimming on the West Coast. Oddly enough, it also has a replica of the Statue of Liberty on its shores.

Along Alki Beach, you’ll find local restaurants, volleyball courts, and spots for picnics and firepits. Even if the water’s too chilly, the beach is a great place to sunbathe, rest, and people-watch.

Alki Beach, the best place to go in Seattle

I recommend heading to  Alki Point , the westernmost tip, where you’ll find the Alki Point Lighthouse and magnificent views of the Olympic Mountains and Blake Island. As you walk along the waterfront, you’ll see lots of bungalows and historic homes. You’ll also run into the  Alki Point Monumen t, which includes a tribute to the indigenous Duwamish people who inhabited the land before English settlers.

About 2.5 miles north along the shoreline, you’ll discover  Duwamish Head , which sticks out into Elliott Bay. This is the opposite end of Alki Beach and the northernmost point in West Seattle. Years ago, people found a large boulder here covered in petroglyphs or ancient rock art. The boulder has been moved, but you can still see the 5,000-pound anchor statue here.

Whether you choose to spend an hour here or half the day, a visit to Alki Beach is a fun  free thing to do in Seattle  on a nice day.

11. Seattle Art Museum (SAM), one of the best museums in Seattle

The Seattle Art Museum has a collection of about 25,000 pieces and dozens of permanent exhibits. The collection spans different regions and time periods, and there is more ethnic and modern art than fine European art.

This art museum is widely accessible, and you can get in for free the first Thursday or Saturday of the month. Even during the rest of the month, you aren’t required to pay the full admission fee if you can’t afford it.

The Olympic Sculpture Park and the Seattle Asian Art Museum are also part of SAM’s art facilities and should be on any art lover’s  Seattle to-do list .

Seattle Art Museum, a top thing to do in Seattle, Washington

The  Olympic Sculpture Park  is at the northern end of the Seattle seawall. Along with the 20 or so sculptures you will find there, the area is a popular spot to see the sunset over Puget Sound, one of the best free things to do in Seattle. If you have time, check out Myrtle Edwards Park, which provides beautiful views of Mount Rainer and the Olympic Mountains and is just next to the sculpture park.

The Asian Art Museum has an Art Deco style and displays art from Southeast Asia, China, Japan, India, Korea, and the Himalayas.

The museum is in  Volunteer Park , a scenic 48-acre area. Along with the Asian Art Museum, the park includes an amphitheater, conservatory, water tower, reservoir, and a doughnut-shaped sculpture called  Black Sun . A visit to the park is a  fun thing to do in Seattle, WA  in the summer when the dahlias are in full bloom and the pond is filled with koi.

12. Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Center, an unforgettable place to visit in Seattle

One of the  Seattle, WA tourist attractions  you’re sure to notice during your trip is the  Columbia Center . This nearly 970-foot-tall skyscraper is full of retail businesses and office space. However, at 902 feet, on the 73rd floor, you’ll find the  Sky View Observatory .

Sky View is the tallest public viewing area in the Pacific Northwest. You have to pay to get in, but you’ll be able to  see a full 360° view of Seattle . You’ll also see the Cascade Mountain Range, Mt. Rainer, and the city’s beautiful natural surroundings.

Sky View Observatory, one of the places to go in Seattle, WA

The elevator to the observatory takes just 70 seconds. Also, if there is poor visibility that day, the observatory will post a sign letting visitors know, so you can decide if you still want to go up to the viewing platform. Sky View is open daily, and most people spend about an hour there unless they eat at the  Sky View Cafe and Bar .

The restaurant is cool because you’re dining high in the sky, but it’s not necessary. I do, however, suggest reserving a spot since the observatory is a popular  attraction in Seattle . This  advance ticket  has the option to include a beverage or snack at the Sky View Cafe.

13. Look out from Smith Tower, one of the best things to do in Seattle, WA

Smith Tower , known as “Seattle’s original skyscraper”, is a few blocks from the Sky View Observatory. Industrialist Lyman Cornelius Smith founded this  famous place in Seattle  in 1914, after his wife became enamored with the city. Today, it’s a must-do for any tourist!

The tower is a huge landmark in Seattle, and you’ll recognize it by its pointed roof and eight-foot-wide dome topper, which lights up blue at night. The building is over 480 feet tall and was the tallest building on the West Coast until Seattle erected the Space Needle.

Smith Tower has 38 floors, but the observatory is on the 35th floor and has an open-air section where you can get the full 360° experience. The views from Smith Tower provide spectacular panoramas of the harbor and downtown but keep in mind that this popular Seattle sightseeing  attraction is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so plan accordingly.

Smith Tower, another place to go in Seattle with kids

13. Smith Tower, one of the best things to do in Seattle, WA

Inside, you can take a guided tour or peruse “The Legends of Smith Tower” exhibits at your leisure. One thing you must do is sit in the  Wishing Chair , an ornate wooden armchair with Chinese dragon sculptures on either side. The story is that Lyman Cornelius Smith received the chair as a gift from Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi. There’s a rumor that single people who sit in the chair will get married within a year.

There is also an observation bar, which has a speakeasy-style reminiscent of the Prohibition era. The bar has happy hour specials, and it’s an interesting  Seattle experience , but I don’t think it’s necessary.

14. Kerry Park, the most beautiful lookout in Seattle

While the Space Needle and Smith Tower are excellent lookouts, there is another  beautiful place in Seattle  where you can get amazing views.  Kerry Park  is small, but it’s one of the most iconic viewpoints in the city. Your visit to Seattle isn’t complete without seeing the sunset from this park.

Kerry Park is in the Queen Anne neighborhood and gives visitors panoramic views of the cityscape, Elliott Bay, and in the right weather conditions, Mount Rainier. From this lookout, you can easily spot the Space Needle, Smith Tower, the Great Wheel, and other downtown attractions. The park has long been a favorite among locals and tourists for its postcard views, so it’s popular with photographers.

Kerry Park, best place to visit in Seattle

The primary landmark at Kerry Park is the   Changing Form  sculpture . The 15-foot steel structure is a popular place for kids to play, although there is a playground at the base of the park’s hill too. The sculpture is also a creative framing device for photographers.

For those without a camera, the park has coin-operated telescopes that let you see the ferries in the harbor or even Bainbridge Island. Also, if you’d like to combine Kerry Park with other Seattle attractions, this 3-hour  guided tour  is worth checking out.

While Kerry Park may seem out of the way, it’s close to a few little-known areas. A visit to Bhy Kracke Park, Marshall Park, and Parsons Garden is a nice  free thing to do in Seattle  when you have some extra time.

15. Capitol Hill, something you must visit in Seattle, Washington

Capitol Hill  may be the  coolest place in Seattle . The neighborhood is known for its entertainment and nightlife venues, as well as its counterculture atmosphere. Here, you can pop into a hip coffeehouse, fringe theater, or packed bar and experience a different side of the city.

Capitol Hill was a hub for the grunge music scene of the 1990s. Several famous bands and musicians got their start here, including Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, and Alice in Chains. Today, you can find live music and performances at many of the bars, clubs, and theaters in the neighborhood.

The district also has a vibrant LGBTQ+ community, a couple of art schools, and a few historic parks and mansions. With its laid-back vibe and artsy charm, Capitol Hill offers plenty of  fun stuff to do in Seattle .

Capitol Hill, a must see in Seattle, Washington

I suggest visiting the  Volunteer Park Conservatory , a beautiful  Seattle attraction . The botanical garden features a Victorian-style greenhouse, several themed conservatories, and outdoor art installations. Also, in Volunteer Park is  Bruce Lee’s gravesite  at Lake View Cemetery.

Cal Anderson Park  is another lovely place to go in Capitol Hill. The public park is suitable for all ages and includes basketball and dodgeball courts, a playground, and the  Waterworks  installation, a fountain with a reflecting pool that you can wade in.

To know more about the area, I recommend booking this 3-hour  Capitol Hill tour  that will take you to the most important places in the neighborhood before ending with a drink at a local tavern.

16. Visit Pioneer Square, another fun thing to do in Seattle, Washington

The  Pioneer Square  neighborhood is one of the best  downtown Seattle attractions . The name reflects the settlers who came to Seattle in the 1850s when the neighborhood was the city center. Today, Pioneer Square is a district full of galleries, shops, cafes, and bars, a place you could explore all day without getting bored.

Many of the historic buildings here reflect Romanesque architecture with decorative pillars and arches. This is also where you’ll find the oldest restaurant in Seattle, the  Merchants Cafe . The saloon first opened its doors in 1890, and many believe it’s haunted.

As a downtown artistic hub, Pioneer Square has some of the most interesting  things to see in Seattle . For example, the  Iron Pergola & Tlingit Indian Totem  is a National Historic Landmark with quite a convoluted history. In 1899, Washingtonians stole the totem pole from the Tlingit tribe in Alaska. Vandals badly damaged the totem pole in 1938, but Tlingit craftsmen reproduced it and allowed it to remain in Pioneer Square. The ornate Iron Pergola was built not long afterward.

Pioneer Square, a must do in Seattle

16. Pioneer Square, another fun thing to do in Seattle, Washington

Other places to visit in this Seattle neighborhood include the Smith Tower, the  Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park , and the  Waterfall Garden Park . This “pocket park” has a 22-foot multi-tiered waterfall and a mini Japanese garden, and is perfect for a relaxing coffee break or quiet moment in solitude.

I also recommend spending time in  Occidental Park , where you’ll find the  Fallen Firefighters Memorial . If you can visit on the first Thursday of the month, that’s even better because you’ll get to peruse outdoor galleries and craft booths.

17. Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room, the best experience in Seattle

You can’t talk about  famous places in Seattle  without mentioning Starbucks. The coffee chain was founded in Seattle in 1971, and today the  Starbucks Reserve Seattle Roastery and Tasting Room  is a hotspot for coffee aficionados.

The roastery is in Capitol Hill, just blocks from the original Starbucks location. As soon as you walk through the macchiato-colored door, you’re transported into a world of coffee, history, and innovation. If you’re always pining for your next cup of joe, a roastery visit is one of the most  fun things to do in Seattle .

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, a must-see in Seattle, WA

Scheduled tours will immerse you in the coffee culture and history of Starbucks. Start at the main bar and sample the roastery menu before looking at the machinery and design behind your favorite drink. You’ll learn more about how to make the perfect cold brew, where the roastery stores its beans, and how different flavors come to be.

At the end of the tour, stop by the scooping bar and pick up a bag of freshly roasted coffee beans to take home. Or order a coffee for here and bring it to the tasting room’s  Coffee Library  where you can flip through over 200 books related to all things coffee.

This is one of the  Seattle activities  that will have you buzzing!

18. Boeing Future of Flight Aviation Center, something interesting to visit in Seattle

Boeing is another multinational company that has its beginnings in Seattle, so if you are into aviation, the  Boeing Future of Flight Aviation Center is something you can’t miss . Besides, it’s one of the best things to do in Seattle   on a rainy day .

The aviation center’s collection has thousands of pieces, including an authentic Boeing 727 cockpit as well as engines and sections of fuselage. You can also check out the overhead observation area of the Boeing factory to see how the aircraft is made. The center is 30 minutes north of Seattle, but if you book this tour in advance , transportation is included.

If you enjoy the Future of Flight experience, then you should check out the  Museum of Flight in south Seattle. Located at the King County International Airport, it’s the largest private air and space museum in the world. Suitable for all ages, it’s a  unique thing to do in Seattle .

Boeing Future of Flight Aviation Center, another place to go in Seattle

The attraction consists of several buildings and galleries, including the  Challenger Learning Center,  the Aviation Learning Center, and an Air Traffic Control tower exhibit , where you can see what’s it like to work at one of the busiest airports in the country. Be sure to take the time to explore the  Red Barn  (the original Boeing manufacturing plant) and the  aircraft restoration facility .

The museum displays more than 150 models in total, including over two dozen World War I and World War II aircraft. Some of the most popular models include the first successful Boeing 747, the world’s first pressurized sailplane, and U.S. Air Force planes.

The Museum of Flight is open Thursday through Monday and is a fun  thing to do in Seattle with kids . You can purchase  skip-the-line admission  to make the most of your time there.

19. Say hi to the Fremont Troll, something you must do in Seattle, WA

As a child, you may have heard stories about trolls living under bridges. Well, there is a troll under the Aurora Bridge in Seattle! Don’t worry, the Fremont Troll  is not a real troll, just a huge sculpture. Still, it’s one of the  coolest things in Seattle  and something you won’t want to miss.

The Fremont Troll was a collaboration between four local artists and was inspired by the Norwegian folktale of  Three Billy Goats Gruff . This sculpture came to be when the Fremont Arts Council held an art competition in 1989 to renovate the area under the Aurora Bridge, which had fallen into disrepair. It’s also a playful nod to the local urban legends about troll sightings near the bridge.

Fremont Troll, a unique Seattle attraction

19. Fremont Troll, something you must do in Seattle, WA

When you go say hi to the troll, you’ll surely be blown away by his massive size. The troll is 18 feet tall and made of thousands of pounds of steel and concrete. He holds a crushed Volkswagen Beetle in his hand, but he’s friendly to visitors, who can climb on his huge arms and head.

To the west of the troll is another free  place to visit in Seattle , the  Troll’s Knoll Park . This sustainable green space provides open seating areas and lawns lined with plants where you can enjoy a picnic or quiet break. A few feet away is a community garden as well as walkways to other parts of the Fremont neighborhood. Fremont has an artsy, counterculture vibe, so it’s an interesting  place to go in Seattle .

20. Kubota Garden, the most spectacular place to go in Seattle

Twenty minutes south of downtown Seattle, you’ll find the  Kubota Garden . This 20-acre traditional Japanese garden is open daily and provides a picture-perfect respite from the busy downtown district.

Kubota Garden was founded in 1927 by Fujitaro Kubota, who emigrated to Seattle from Shikoku, Japan. His influence is widely reflected throughout the garden, which I think is one of the  best attractions in Seattle .

It is mostly volunteers who maintain the garden’s nine ponds, two footbridges, and hundreds of plants. As you walk through the grounds, you’ll see native and non-native plants including  kuretake  (black bamboo), Japanese maple, and Norway spruce.

Kubota Garden, a romantic thing to do in Seattle

What makes Kubota Garden so special are the little pockets of peace and tranquility you’ll find. For instance,  Kubota Terrace  is an area with open lawns and summer plants. The verdant greens come to life in the warmer months and invite you to sit, relax, and look out over the koi-filled pond.

The  Bamboo Grove  is a serene forest of tall bamboo shoots where you can see the sunlight peeking through. Not far is the  Necklace of Ponds  and the  Moon Bridge , which are surrounded by lush shrubs, perennials, and mini waterfalls.

The Mountainside section overlooks the surrounding natural areas outside the park and the  Tom Kubota Stroll Garden , a Zen rock garden area. If you want some quiet time with your special someone, this is one of the top  things to do in Seattle .

21. Seattle Harbor Cruise at Puget Sound, one of the best things to do in Seattle

Taking a  harbor cruise is one of the most popular   things to do in Seattle with kids . The one-hour Argosy cruise is included in the  CityPASS  and departs at Pier 55 near the Great Wheel.

Everyone will enjoy the city views from the water, where you’ll see the bustling port industry of Seattle, the Olympic Mountains, and Mt. Rainier.

If you have more time, there are other interesting spots to explore in Puget Sound,  but you will need to take a ride on one of the  Washington State Ferries .

There are 20 terminals around Puget Sound. The  Seattle Colman Dock  at Pier 52 is the primary terminal, so I recommend starting there. From this dock, you can set off for Bainbridge Island or Bremerton, two popular  places to visit near Seattle .

Seattle Harbor Cruise, a top thing to do in Seattle

Bainbridge Island  is full of recreation, sports, and dining spots. I recommend checking out  Blakely Harbor Park , the Bainbridge Gardens, and Bloedel Reserve . Other popular places include Manitou Beach, Fay Bainbridge Park, Port Madison , and  Hall’s Hill Labyrinth . You can also hire this sightseeing tour if you want to know more about Bainbridge Island.

If you visit  Bremerton , be sure to check out the Arts District and Farmers Market. The city also has some unique attractions like a disc golf course and a puppet museum.

Other things to do around Seattle are camping and kayaking at  Blake Island Marine State Park , seeing the expansive  Deception Pass  strait, or spending some time basking in nature on  Whidbey Island .

If you’d rather stay in Seattle, then I recommend  Golden Gardens Park  in the Ballard neighborhood. This northern wetland beach has a short loop trail, picnic areas, and great birdwatching opportunities with the Puget Sound in the background.

22. Chinatown and the Wing Luke Museum, something great to do in Seattle

This area of Seattle is also known as the Chinatown-International District. It’s a multi-ethnic neighborhood that includes  Chinatown ,  Japantown , and  Little Saigon .

The entire Chinatown district is a  hotspot in Seattle  for cultural events, delicious food, and public art. For example, one of the first things you’ll see in Chinatown is the  Historic Chinatown Gate , a 45-foot-tall archway.

I also suggest visiting the  Wing Luke Museum , which is the only community-based museum dedicated to Asian Pacific American culture in the U.S. It’s affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute and has over 18,000 artifacts, documents, photographs, and books representing over two dozen ethnic groups.

Chinatown and the Wing Luke Museum, a must-see in Seattle

There is always  fun stuff to do in Seattle ‘s Chinatown. If you can, I recommend visiting during festival time, such as Lunar New Year, Dragon Fest, or the Mid-Autumn Festival and Night Market. The streets are filled with colorful performances and costumes, savory aromas from food vendors, laughing children, and all kinds of activities.

Even outside of these events, Chinatown is well worth a visit. A popular tourist spot is  Kobe Terrace , a small public park with a community garden and scenic sitting areas.  Hing Hay Park  is near the entrance gate and has a cute pavilion where you can sit or enjoy a community game of chess or checkers.

When you get hungry, you can treat your tastebuds to a delectable meal of Vietnamese pho, Korean barbecue, or Chinese dim sum. Or stop by  Uwajimaya Asian Grocery  and pick up some goodies for the road.

23. Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), one of the top things to do in Seattle, WA

The  Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)  at the southern end of Lake Union is a  must-see in Seattle  if you’re a history buff. The museum is a worthwhile experience for anyone, so it’s a good attraction to remember if you get bored on a rainy day.

MOHAI has almost four million artifacts documenting the city and the greater Puget Sound area. The collection includes photographs, artwork, historical pieces, and a diverse range of exhibits. A small portion of the collection is at the historic  Naval Reserve Armory  in  Lake Union Park .

Museum of History & Industry, a cool place to go in Seattle

The exhibits offer a retrospective of Seattle’s past, from the pre-settler days to modern times. Some of the core exhibition items include Boeing’s first commercial plane, the Confederate women’s Petticoat Flag, and a 12-foot Rainer Brewing Company vintage neon sign.

MOHAI is the  best place to visit in Seattle  to learn more about local history and culture. Plus, the South Lake Union neighborhood, which includes the Center for Wooden Boats, Denny Park, and Cascade Park, is a great area to explore. For a family day, rent a boat at the Center for Wooden Boats and sail on Lake Union.

24. Discovery Park, something you must see in Seattle

Located on the shores of Puget Sound in northwestern Seattle, Discovery Park is the largest public park in the city and a beautiful  place to see in Seattle .

The park covers over 530 acres and the attractions are far apart, so it’s best to come prepared. At the east parking lot, you’ll find the Visitors Center, playground, and tennis/pickleball courts. Here, you can also take the  Discovery Loop Trail , which is about three miles roundtrip. There are other walking trails throughout the park.

Discovery Park’s vast landscape includes forests, marshes, beaches, bluffs, and prairies. Many agree that the park is the  best in Seattle  for wildlife viewing and birdwatching. According to the Seattle Audubon Society, there are over 250 bird species in the park. During the winter, you may see bald eagles and spotted owls. People have even spotted cougars, coyotes, and black bears in the park.

Discovery Park, another activity in Seattle, WA

This Seattle attraction sits on  Fort Lawton , a former U.S. Army post. The Fort Lawton chapel, homes, and Guard House are historical landmarks you might find interesting. As you make your way west, you’ll see Fort Lawton Beach and maybe some harbor seals or sea lions.

The  West Point Lighthouse  sits at the westernmost tip of the park. The 23-foot lighthouse has been active since 1881 and is a prominent beacon for boaters along the shoreline.

To the north are the  Wolf Tree Nature Area  and the  Daybreak Star Cultural Center , a hub for Northwest Native American activities and community events. Next to the building, you’ll see the Bernie Whitebear Memorial Ethnobotanical Garden, named in memory of the Center’s founder.

The entire area offers several  free things to do in Seattle , as well as something to do off the beaten path.

25. Wallace Falls Park, one of the most beautiful places to go in Seattle, Washington

Along the western side of the Cascade Mountains is the Wallace River and the  Wallace Falls State Park . Just an hour’s drive from the city, this is a perfect  day trip from Seattle .

This magical coniferous forest boasts three backcountry lakes, three majestic waterfalls, and a dozen miles of hiking trails. There are also bicycle paths if you bring your bike. The lush greens of this area pop against the rushing waters and blue sky. It truly feels like something out of a storybook.

Wallace Falls Park, another thing to do in Seattle

Take the  Woody Trail  and get an early start to experience the pure bliss of a quiet morning in the forest. As you go along your hike, you might see springboard notches in some tree stumps, a nod to the area’s logging history.

You’ll see the  Upper Wallace Falls , which has a 240-foot drop and five tiers, as well as the 367-foot  Wallace Falls , which has three tiers. The  Lower Wallace Falls  cascades from an elevation of 212 feet and has five tiers. It’s worth seeing all these waterfalls, and there’s even a  guided hike  you can take if you aren’t an experienced hiker or don’t want to drive from Seattle.

The state park also has campgrounds and cabins for those who want to stay the night. There is something special about this area, so add it to your list of  places to visit near Seattle !

26. Olympic National Park, the best place for hiking near Seattle

Olympic National Park  is about 2.5 hours to the west of Seattle on the  Olympic Peninsula . If you have the time and are an outdoor enthusiast, I think it’s one of the top  places to visit near Seattle .

There are four distinct parts of the park: The Pacific coastline, the alpine areas, a temperate rainforest, and the eastern forests.

Along the coast, walk along the rocky beaches, some of which have massive boulders. Close by, there’s a strip of misty forest that tends to attract only hardcore hikers. The Ozette Lake is a popular area on the coast, and there’s a trailhead marking the Ozette Loop.

Olympic National Park, a fun tourist attraction in Seattle, WA

6. Olympic National Park, the best place for hiking near Seattle

To the west, you’ll find the Hoh and Quinault Rainforests. This area sees about 150 inches of rainfall a year, making it one of the wettest places in the U.S. Still, the Quinault Rainforest is popular with  tourists in Seattle, Washington , so there are several campground resorts here.

Besides camping, two common pastimes in Olympic National Park are hiking and backpacking. In the winter months, people go to Hurricane Ridge for skiing, and they head to Lake Quinault or Ozette Lake in the warmer months to go rafting or boating.

If you aren’t sure what you want to do in the park, I recommend this  small-group tour , which will guide you along the waterfront, up to Hurricane Ridge, and through one of the most popular hiking trails.

27. Whale Watching Tour in the San Juan Islands, an amazing thing to do in Seattle

If you have a longer stay in Seattle, I recommend visiting the  San Juan Islands  between Washington state and Vancouver Island, Canada. The archipelago consists of over 100 smaller islands, but a few of the most prominent are  San Juan Island, Lopez Island , and  Orcas Island .

There is no bridge connecting Seattle to the islands, so you must use water or air transportation. I recommend the ferry from Pier 69 to  Friday Harbor  on San Juan Island. Close to Friday Harbor is  The Whale Museum Exhibit Hall , an educational facility with life-size models of whales and porpoises.

San Juan Island is also home to  Lime Kiln Point State Park , one of the  best places near Seattle  to whale-watch. The park features two lighthouses with viewing decks where you can see wild orcas swimming and breaching. If you prefer an on-the-water excursion, this three-hour  whale-watching tour  embarks from Friday Harbor and donates a portion of its profits to conservation efforts.

Whale Watching Tour, another activity around Seattle

Besides San Juan Island, you might also want to visit Lopez Island, which has several state parks, a vineyard, a marina, and charming restaurants. It’s also known for its bike paths and  Shark Reef Park , where you can spot wild waterfowl and sea lions.

Finally, Orcas Island is a larger island with lots of open spaces and recreational activities. Enjoy sea kayaking, hiking, biking, or exploring  Moran State Park  and  Mt. Constitution , the highest point on the archipelago. The island also has a vibrant arts scene and is popular with wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers.

The San Juan Islands may be a bit out of the way, but the area is one of the top  places to visit near Seattle  if you’d like to get off the beaten path.

28. Visit Mount Rainier, an exciting thing to do in Seattle, Washington

Another  place to visit near Seattle  is  Mt. Rainier , the highest mountain in Washington state. This active stratovolcano is in the Cascade Mountain Range, about 60 miles south of Seattle. You can see Mt. Rainier from lookouts in the city but getting up close and personal with it is a unique experience.

The mountain’s summit is at an elevation of over 14,000 feet, so it’s no easy climb. Mt. Rainier is known by hikers and climbers as one of the most challenging excursions, and it often takes a couple of days to reach the summit. Also, the volcano is a geological danger thanks to the intense mudflows of pyroclastic debris.

Mount Rainier, something to do near Seattle

28. Mount Rainier, an exciting thing to do in Seattle, Washington

Of course, there are safer parts of the mountain to explore, and it is well worth it.  Mount Rainier National Park  is a must-see, encompassing old-growth forests, waterfalls, and glaciers. The preserved Mount Rainier Wilderness makes up 97% of the park and includes the Carbon and Emmons Glaciers, alpine tundra and subalpine meadows, and a variety of wildlife.

It’s common to hike part of the 93-mile Wonderland Trail and try to spot deer, elk, mountain goats, spotted owls, bald eagles, and other creatures. You’ll get tons of great photos in the park, not to mention an intense workout! Depending on when you visit, you may take advantage of other outdoor activities like camping, snowshoeing, or backcountry skiing.

If you don’t want to drive there or don’t know which trail to hike, I recommend this full-day hiking or snowshoeing tour with a highly qualified naturalist guide.

29. Climb Mount St. Helens, an incredible thing to experience in Seattle

Mount St. Helens is about 95 miles south of Seattle and just 50 miles north of Portland. Just like Mount Rainer, Mount St. Helens is part of the Cascade Mountain Range section of the  Pacific Ring of Fire . This heavily studied area is a hotspot for earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The volcano’s last major eruption was in May 1980 and left a mile-wide crater.

Still, it’s a popular climbing spot for all levels, although if you’re going to climb above 4,800 feet, you need a permit. The most common time to climb is between spring and early autumn, usually along the  Monitor Ridge Route . This popular trail will take you to the volcanic crater’s rim. During the winter months, most people take the  Worm Flows Route .

Mount St. Helens, a great place to go near Seattle

29. Mount St. Helens, an incredible thing to experience in Seattle

The  Johnston Ridge Observatory  is also a worthwhile sight since it provides overhead views of the volcano’s crater and lava dome. You can also see Meta Lake, which has a gorgeous emerald-blue color.

Opposite Johnston Ridge is the  St. Helens National Volcanic Monument , which was established after the 1980 eruption. The area has several stunning lookouts where you can see  Spirit Lake  and the  Ape Cave  lava tube. Not far from the Monument is  Marble Mountain Sno-Park , where visitors can go snowshoeing, skiing, or snowmobiling.

If you don’t have a car or don’t want to drive there, I recommend this  guided excursion  with transportation from Seattle included.

30. North Cascades National Park, a quiet place to go near Seattle

The  North Cascades National Park  is a bit further, but it’s also a gorgeous area full of scenic hiking trails and backcountry campgrounds. Covering over 500,000 acres, it’s about a two-hour drive from the city and one of the top  things to do outside Seattle .

The national park is free to access, although some trails may require a hiking pass. Two of the most popular paths are the Pacific Crest Trail and the Pacific Northwest Trail. The former passes through Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, two lovely sections of the park. The latter trail is one of the most prolific hiking paths in the Pacific Northwest, covering 1,200 miles from Washington to Montana.

North Cascades National Park, a stunning attraction near Seattle, WA

Nature lovers will definitely get their fix at North Cascades National Park. The region has over 500 lakes and ponds, over 300 glaciers, and large swaths of old-growth forest. It’s worth renting a car to see this beautiful  place to visit near Seattle .

You might even spot some wildlife such as bobcats, lynxes, mountain goats, moose, and river otters. Threatened species like the grizzly bear and grey wolf also live here.

One of the most scenic parts of the park is the  Ross Lake National Recreation Area . Here, you’ll find  Ross Lake  and  Diablo Lake , an icy-blue reservoir. Also nearby is the impressive  Thunder Creek . Another waterway worth seeing is the  Vedder River , a beautiful tributary where you can hike or camp.

For your next Seattle visit , you’ll know exactly where to go! While you don’t have to see all these places, these are the top things to do in Seattle , so keep this guide handy. Also, check out our map of Seattle’s tourist attractions to help you plan your perfect itinerary.

I hope you have a wonderful trip to Seattle and take advantage of the beautiful surroundings. If you have any questions, leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you!

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When to visit Washington State to enjoy the best of the Pacific Northwest

Becky Ohlsen

Apr 3, 2024 • 9 min read

A young mixed race family spends time together outside in Washington state, enjoying the beauty of the woods in the PNW.  The dad holds his boy on his shoulders.

Washington State has a special magic at any time of year © RyanJLane / Getty Images © © RyanJLane / Getty Images

Washington ’s nickname, the Evergreen State, fits it well. This is a place rich in alpine meadows and old-growth forests, lakes and rivers, waterfalls and wildflowers. And what makes all this green beauty possible? Rain – lots of it. This corner of the Pacific Northwest (and its largest city, Seattle ) have a well-earned reputation for wet, drizzly weather.

But that’s only half the story. The Cascade Mountains divide Washington into two distinct parts. On the west side, green forests stretch to the Pacific Ocean, but east of the mountains it’s typically warmer and drier. While the Olympic Peninsula rainforests might see up to 150 inches of rain a year, the eastern parts of the state get less than 10 inches. Meanwhile, the Cascade Mountains get around 200 inches of snowfall each winter.

In Western Washington, daytime temperatures rarely go above 80°F in summer or below 45°F in winter (though winter nights can dip below freezing). Eastern Washington temperatures are hotter in summer and colder in winter, and this part of the state can see 300 days of sunshine a year. Wherever you're headed in Washington, here are the best times to visit.

The July–September high season is the best time for warm, dry days

July and August are the warmest and driest months in Washington and its high season – even Seattleites get a little sun. Most visitors opt to visit in summer and early fall (July through September). Hotel prices go up, and there are more people in popular neighborhoods and at big tourist attractions. Note that Washington State ferries add a summer surcharge to fares from May to September.

National parks and campgrounds are open, temperatures are mild and the rain has eased, creating beautiful conditions for outdoor activities such as hiking and camping or sipping a beer on the patio. Coastal storms have calmed down, and the ruggedly beautiful Washington coast beckons. Early fall is the best time to visit wineries, ideally by bicycle.

If you're looking to visit one of the national parks, take a look at our rundown of all the best parks in Washington, and if Olympic National Park has your attention, start your planning with the Lonely Planet first timer's guide. 

The November–March low season is best for winter sports fans

November to January is the coldest and wettest period in Washington (averaging 5-6 inches of precipitation per month). Campgrounds are usually closed, and many back roads are inaccessible. On the plus side, hotel prices tend to be lower.

This is technically the low season, but it’s prime time for winter sports. Ski season begins as early as mid-November and continues through to March, though snow lingers at higher elevations into July. Washington has some top-notch alpine ski resorts, as well as countless opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.  

Two friends and a dog hiking in the snow in Washington state, USA

The shoulder seasons (April–June and October) are quiet and damp

The shoulder seasons – covering the early spring and fall – can be an ideal time to visit if you’re hoping to avoid the crowds, and are willing to take your chances on the weather. It’s likely to rain on you, but you may also get lucky with a few glorious spring or fall days. You can probably find space at campsites without making reservations, and there won’t be long lines at major attractions. 

January sees plenty of powder on the slopes

Western Washington in January can be pretty gloomy, with many unbroken cloudy days and lots of cold rain. But if you’re a skier or snowboarder, this is a great time to head for the hills, where the high elevation turns all that precipitation into fluffy powder. In cities, it’s perfect weather for snuggling into a cozy pub or coffee shop with that new book you got for Christmas. For nature lovers, this is the peak time to take an eagle-watching excursion along the Skagit River. Key Events:   Lake Chelan Winterfest

Stay indoors and eat in February

The cloudy days continue, but at least February is a short month! Seek out Valentine’s Day specials at wineries and fine restaurants, like a three-course dinner at the Hotel Sorrento or the all-vegan Cafe Flora in Seattle. Rent a house with a fireplace on Long Beach Peninsula, or avoid the hassle of winter driving and take an Amtrak train to the mock-Bavarian town of Leavenworth.

March sees spring start to poke through the snow

Little hints of spring begin to pop up in March, especially in the eastern half of the state. In Seattle, Pike Place Market celebrates spring with Daffodil Days, alongside food tours and cooking classes. Hotel prices and airfares are relatively inexpensive, and the summer crowds have yet to arrive. Spend a rainy day at the Museum of Pop Culture , or play some pinball at the Racket in Bellingham. Key Events: Wings Over Water NW Birding Festival , Taste Washington

April is the time to get out and explore

April is considered the beginning of the end of winter in the Cascade Mountains; snow might continue to fall, but most of the year’s big powder dumps have already been delivered. Elsewhere, flowers are blooming, temperatures are warming and locals are emerging from the winter gloom. A pro tip: Pack your rain gear and your sunglasses, because, well, you never know.

Snow-packed roads mean it’s not the best time for exploring the wilderness, but April usually brings perfect weather for scenic drives at lower elevations – check out the colorful fields of tulips in the Skagit Valley, or visit the intensely green and mysterious Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula . Key Events: Seattle International Film Festival , Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Camping in the Goat Rocks Wilderness, Washington State

May sees spring – and whales – sweep into Washington

Spring in Washington can be delightful, though it's also frequently damp. Wildflowers and orchard blossoms are going strong by now, and as long as you remember your raincoat you can basically live a normal life. Whale-watching boat tours are a great family activity for May, and visiting any of the San Juan Islands is almost mandatory, whether you're camping or glamping or on a cycling, driving or sea kayak tour. Check out the Lonely Planet first timer's guide to the San Juan Islands to start planning your whale watching adventure. Key Events: Poulsbo Viking Fest , Northwest Folklife Festival

June is the start of the camping season

Springtime continues to morph into summer as more campgrounds and trails open up and early tourist activities begin. If you’re lucky, you’ll get summer-like weather without the summer crowds. Outdoor festivals are everywhere; head to Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood for a definitive dose of Pacific Northwest street life. Key Events: Orcas Island Lit Fest , Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration , Fremont Solstice Parade , Seattle PrideFest

July is proper summer in Washington

July is officially summer, with warmer temperatures, sunnier days, and bigger crowds to prove it. This is an excellent time for a water-based adventure such as sea kayaking around the San Juan Islands or paddling Puget Sound. July is also great for backpacking into the Mount Rainier wilderness; head to the trailheads at Paradise for a range of great hiking options. But you'll find hikes aplenty in Washington, if Paradise isn't in your itinerary see if one of these best hikes in Washington fits your trip a bit better. 

By now, roads into the mountains are plowed, so it’s also a great time to visit scenic viewpoints in the Cascades. It’s hard to beat the drive to Artist Point along the Mt Baker Scenic Byway from Bellingham. Key Events: Capitol Hill Block Party , Seafair , Sequim Lavender Festival

August is the time to go camping on the coast

Summer continues as temperatures rise and rainclouds disappear, and arts and music festivals pick up. On the east side of the Cascades, heat can be extreme and wildfires are a concern. Riverside and coastal campgrounds are an excellent way to beat the heat, but reserve ahead as they do book up quickly. If you were lucky and wise, you planned ahead and scored a campsite at stunning Kalaloch Beach on the Olympic Coast. Key Events: Emerald City ComicCon , Makah Days , Washington State International Kite Festival

A hiker at a mountain top camp in North Cascades National Park

September is great for quieter hiking

The beginning of fall means more or less reliably beautiful days with cooling temperatures and impressive fall colors. Most hiking trails and campgrounds are still open, and are much less crowded than they are in summer, especially after the Labor Day weekend.

The weather is still warm enough for a backpacking trip into the Goat Rocks Wilderness or a day hike in the Enchantments. On four wheels, take a drive up to the Johnson Creek Observatory overlooking Mount St Helens to admire the views. Key Events: Bumbershoot , Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival

You may get lucky with the weather in October

Sometimes there’s an amazing “second summer” in October, with gorgeous warm days, fall colors, and few crowds. Even if the weather doesn’t get that warm, this is a beautiful time of year in the Pacific Northwest. It's usually a little cold at night for camping, but it can still be worth it if you’re prepared. Harvest season makes this a great time for food and wine; check out the annual Fall Festival at Seattle’s Pike Place Market . Key Events: CrabFest , Leavenworth Oktoberfest , Issaquah Salmon Days

November ushers in the ski season

In a good snow year, ski resorts are open by Thanksgiving. If it’s not one of those years, or you’re not a skier, wear layers and focus on indoor activities. This is the time to bundle up and scurry between museums, cafes, pubs, and bookstores (including the beloved Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle). Or try some interesting wines in Walla Walla, a cute town packed with tasting rooms. Key Events: Short Run Comics & Arts Festival

December sees Washington gearing up for the holidays

Holiday parades and tree-lighting festivals brighten up the dreary days and long nights of December. In Seattle, look for floating light shows at the Christmas Ship Festival . In the winter-loving mountain town of Leavenworth, all of Front Street is aglow, and the year-round Christmas decorations shop finally makes sense. Look for cheap flights for the ski season; The Summit at Snoqualmie is just an hour’s drive from Seattle. Key Events: Christmas Ship Festival, Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival

Keep planning your trip to Washington:

Explore the state without spending a penny with  10 free things to do in Washington state Hit the trails with the 10 of the best hikes in Washington Discover all the Washington highlights with  The top 10 road trips in Washington State Plan like the professionals with  Copy My Trip: nature, luxury and mind-blowing cuisine in the USA’s Pacific Northwest

This article was first published Aug 2, 2022 and updated Apr 3, 2024.

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What’s your favorite Seattle staycation?

Summer travel season is well underway, but who wants to leave and miss Seattle’s short but glorious dry season?

We’re looking for locals’ top staycation ideas: activities, day trips or weekend getaways in or near Seattle that make you feel like you’re on vacation without having to travel far. Is it a day at Alki Beach, a stay at the Thompson for the downtown waterfront views or a trip north to spend a weekend on Whidbey Island?

Let us know how you put yourself in summer vacation mode while hanging in or around the Seattle area. Responses can be shared in the form below or emailed to [email protected] by June 26 and may be included in a future story, edited for grammar and concision.

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Seattle Parks and Recreation announces 2024 summer events schedule

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Movies at the park (Seattle Parks and Recreation)

SEATTLE — Seattle Parks and Recreation has announced the scheduled events that will take place downtown throughout the summer.

The events are free for the community to enjoy.

Some events include movies, music, dancing, and food trucks for the family.

The Seattle Parks and Recreation website contains a full list of events .

Events are scheduled to commence in July and will continue through September.

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Travel tips for June 18-July 2: construction, sports, community events, Juneteenth, and Pride Weekend

Community members kick off Pride Month at the White Center Pride Street Festival. People lined up next to a red tent on the right.

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  • Summer is kicking off and we want you to stay in the know about upcoming construction activities, professional sports games, and community celebrations taking place in the Seattle area, so you can travel with confidence in the weeks ahead.

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  • We also encourage you to follow us on X at @seattledot and @SDOTTraffic , and visit the websites of our regional partner agencies, including WSDOT , King County Metro , and Sound Transit .
  • You can also visit our Project and Construction Coordination Map for a map of various construction projects taking place throughout the city.
  • We’ll continue to publish these blogs throughout the summer to help you plan ahead and know what to expect when you travel.

Please note: our construction projects take place throughout Seattle. To stay informed about projects near you, subscribe to our email updates . You can select from a list of projects and subscribe to the ones you’re most interested in. Thank you.

  • Construction is underway for the Route 40 Transit Plus Multimodal Corridor Project at N 105th St and N Northgate Way and Aurora Ave N in North Seattle. Construction includes upgrading sidewalks, ADA-accessible curb ramps, and bus stop improvements. Eastbound lane restrictions are expected to begin July 1 during daytime hours on N 105th St/N Northgate Way, with expected delays through the area for the next few weeks.

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)

Note: the work activities listed below are weather-dependent and subject to change.

  • The eastbound Mercer Street on-ramps to northbound and southbound I-5 will be closed from 10 p.m. Monday, June 24 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, June 25; and again from 10 p.m. Tuesday, June 25 to 5 a.m. Wednesday, June 26. This is for construction on the SR 520/I-5 Express Lanes Connection Project. Click here to learn more .
  • Starting Monday morning June 24, East Roanoke Street between 22nd Avenue East and East Montlake Place East (just south of the Montlake Boulevard/SR 520 interchange) will be closed until Wednesday, July 3. This work is part of the SR 520 Montlake Project. Click here to learn more .
  • From 10 p.m. Friday, June 21 through 5 a.m. Monday, June 24, all SR 520 on- and off-ramps to/from Montlake Boulevard will be closed. This includes closing Montlake Boulevard between East Hamlin Street and East Louisa Street, and Lake Washington Boulevard between East Roanoke Street and East Montlake Boulevard. Lake Washington Boulevard will be limited to local traffic only between East Roanoke Street and Foster Island Road. There will be a signed detour for pedestrians and bicyclists through the work area. This work is also part of the SR 520 Montlake Project. Click here to learn more .
  • Weeknights over the next few weeks, there will be lane reductions on both directions of I-5, between just north of the Corson Avenue interchange and the SR 599/Interurban Avenue interchange. Travelers in both directions of I-5 should expect multiple lanes and ramps to be closed during overnight hours from Sunday nights through Friday mornings. Additionally, from 10 p.m. Friday, June 21 through 5 a.m. Monday, June 24, up to three lanes of southbound I-5 near mid-Boeing Field will be closed for expansion joint repairs. This is part of the I-5 Duwamish River to South Lucile Street concrete pavement rehabilitation project. Click here to learn more .

Seattle Mariners

Upcoming games at T-Mobile Park

  • Friday, June 28 at 6:40 PM: Minnesota Twins
  • Saturday, June 29 at 7:10 PM: Minnesota Twins
  • Sunday, June 30 at 1:10 PM: Minnesota Twins
  • Tuesday, July 2 at 6:40 PM: Baltimore Orioles

To learn more:

  • https://www.mlb.com/mariners/schedule

If you’re riding the Link light rail, get off at the Stadium Station and walk a short two blocks over to the ballpark. If taking rideshare, there is a designated rideshare lot southeast of the stadium. If driving, the Mariners Garage opens 3 hours before game time. Biking, scooting, walking, or rolling to the game may also be great options, depending on your trip specifics. Find more information on navigating to T-Mobile Park here.

Seattle Storm

Upcoming games at Climate Pledge Arena

  • Sunday, June 23 at 12 PM: Connecticut Sun
  • Thursday, June 27 at 7 PM: Indiana Fever
  • Saturday, June 29 at 6 PM: Dallas Wings
  • Monday, July 1 at 7 PM: Dallas Wings
  • https://storm.wnba.com/schedule/

Women in green and yellow basketball jersey with "Seattle 23" written in yellow. Holding basketball with left hand, dribbling, looking up the court. Fans sitting in background on the bleachers.

For all major ticketed events at Climate Pledge Arena, guests receive a free public transit pass alongside their ticket. If driving to the arena, there are three parking garages available nearby. Find more information on navigating to the arena here.

Seattle Sounders FC

Upcoming games at Lumen Field

  • Saturday, June 22 at 7:30 PM: FC Dallas
  • Saturday, June 29 at 7:30 PM: Chicago Fire
  • https://www.soundersfc.com/schedule/

Men dressed in light green soccer jerseys and light blue shorts crowd in a group as two other members run towards them. One with a smile and other raising a hand. Audience dressed in majority red in the distant background.

Seattle Reign FC

  • Sunday, June 23 at 3:00 PM: Racing Louisville FC
  • https://www.reignfc.com/schedule

If you’re riding the Link light rail, get off at the International District/Chinatown station and walk a short three blocks over to the field. If taking rideshare, get off on the Northside by King St. & Occidental or on the South side by Royal Brougham & Occidental. If driving, the Lumen Field Parking Garage south of the stadium and a North Lot. Both open at 6am on event days and close 2 hours post event. Biking, scooting, walking, or rolling to the game may also be great options, depending on your trip specifics. Find more information on navigating to Lumen Field here .

Community events

Please note: We’ve highlighted several upcoming community celebrations below – but this is not intended as a comprehensive list of every event in the city. We hope you enjoy taking part!

June 19: Juneteenth Summer of Soul – Jimi Hendrix Park

A Black girl and Black woman sit near a stage with a black shirt that writes "Every Month is Black History Month" on the back on top of a red, yellow, and green background.

To celebrate the resilience and strength of Black communities in Seattle and beyond, Africatown Community Land Trust and King County Equity Now are hosting live performances and family activities. Find more information about the event here.

Jimi Hendrix Park is located between 23rd Ave S and MLK Jr Way S near I-90, and can be reached by King County Metro bus or transferring from Sound Transit light rail ( Mount Baker Station is closest to the park).

June 22: Seattle Marathon’s Summer 5K/10K/Half Marathon and Kids Fun Run – Seward Park

Runners running on dead, yellowed grass with their green bib numbers by their waist as they run pass the light blue banner with "start" written in white on it. The lightly grey sky in the upper half od ht ebackground

This annual run captures stunning views of Lake Washington and Mt Rainier. There are categories for kids, and furry friends are allowed on the run as well. Some streets surrounding the Seward Park region may be temporarily closed during the run. You can find more information about the event here .

Seward Park can be reached by King County Metro bus.

June 22-23: Fremont Fair

Audience members standing, watching a band of three people play on a raised stage. One plays the guitar, a bass, and piano. Drumset on the left of the stage. Light blue tents scattered on the festival grounds.

This annual summer fair brings the community together to shop from 200+ craft vendors, hosts two stages for visitors to enjoy live music from, and share a bite with friends and family. You can find more information about the fair here .

For more detailed guidance on getting to the fair, check out our previous blog post .

June 29: PrideFest Capitol Hill

A vertical rainbow-striped background with “Pride 50 Pridefest Capitol Hill” written in white.

This celebration dedicates six blocks of Broadway and Cal Anderson Park for visitors to shop local businesses, lounge at the beer garden, and enjoy the atmosphere while uplifting Seattle’s LGBTQIA+ community. The event runs from noon-8 PM. Find more information about the festival here .

Pridefest can be reached by King County Metro bus or Sound Transit light rail (the Capitol Hill Station is closest). Or, depending on your trip, walking, biking, or rolling might be great ways for you to get to the festival.

June 30: Seattle Pride Parade 2024

Three people dressed up colorfully atop a colorful parade lift for Pride Month. The first person closest to the front wears an orange top, light blue denim shorts, and white boots with a blonde afro and matching orange headband. The second wears a tye-dyed shirt and feather-like hair with sunglasses. The third has brown sleeked back hair, a peace necklace and blue tank top and leggings with sunglasses. Dark green trees in the background.

This year is Seattle’s 50th annual Pride Month celebration. The parade starts at Westlake Park and will travel throughout Downtown Seattle. Enjoy Washington’s largest parade and celebrate hundreds of community groups, nonprofits, and companies to close out the celebration of Pride Month. Find more information about the event here .

We hope this post provided you with useful tips and tools to help you travel throughout Seattle as these construction and community events all take place. Stay tuned for more blog posts like this throughout the summer. Thank you!

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Bay Area Plus Tour June 2024

Seattle, WA, USA

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About this trip

Start the Bay Area Plus in Seattle and enjoy five nights and three games with premium seats and all the Big League Tours extras. Make your reservations now! Itinerary: Fri, Jun 14: Guests arrive in Seattle, Rangers @ Mariners, TBD Sat, Jun 15: Travel to San Francisco, evening on your own Sun, Jun 16: Angels @ Giants, TBD Mon, Jun 17: Free day in San Francisco, no tour activities planned Tue, Jun 18: Royals @ A's, TBD Wed, Jun 19: Guests depart from San Francisco

What’s included

  • Guaranteed Premium Seats Seat locations include lower level infield seats, club seats, or suites.
  • First Class Hotels Hotels will be near the ballpark or in the city center.
  • Transportation on Tour Group transportation to/from ballparks and between cities.
  • Free Time TIme to explore Major League Cities.
  • BLT Host Big League Tours Host on site.
  • Packet Pre-departure packet with complete tour details and itineraries.
  • Ballpark Tours Behind the scenes ballpark tours as the schedule allows.

What’s not included

  • Transportation start/end Transportation to the first city and from the last city are not provided. Guests are required to book their own flights.
  • Meals Meals are not included in price of tour.

Available Packages

Available options, your organizer.

IMAGES

  1. 55 Best Things to Do in Seattle (Washington)

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  2. Free Seattle Attractions and Tourist Destinations

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  3. Best Things to Do on the Seattle, Washington Waterfront

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  4. 14 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Seattle, WA

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  5. Top 32 Seattle Attractions & Things To Do You’ll Love

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  6. 8 Fun Things to Do on the Downtown Seattle, Washington Waterfront

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VIDEO

  1. Discovering Washington, D.C.| A Journey through Iconic Landmarks

  2. Park In Seattle Part # 1 #seattleseahawks #seattle #walkingtour #washington

  3. TOP 25 Places to Visit in Washington

  4. Mount Washington tourist train

  5. 3 Things to do in Seattle, Washington in 2024!!! #shorts #seattle #danielcaeser

  6. A Short Tour Of Things To Do In Seattle, Washington

COMMENTS

  1. Top 25 Attractions

    Seattle Center Monorail. Another World's Fair relic, the Seattle Center Monorail links Seattle Center—home of the Space Needle and several other notable attractions—to downtown's Westlake Center along an approximately one-mile route. The designated historic landmark can reach a top speed of 45 miles per hour and weaves between skyscrapers above the city streets.

  2. Things to Do in Seattle Washington

    With everything from unrivaled natural beauty and world-class attractions to major sports teams, a thriving arts and culture scene, and beyond, there's always something to do in Seattle. Whether you're a family looking for budget-friendly finds or a seasoned traveler on the hunt for the latest Instagram-worthy vista, the Emerald City has ...

  3. The 15 Best Things to Do in Seattle

    Things to Do in Seattle, Washington: See Tripadvisor's 612,988 traveler reviews and photos of Seattle tourist attractions. ... Things to Do in Seattle, WA - Seattle Attractions. Things to Do in Seattle. Yes, it rains, but outdoor activities abound (think: beaches and trips to Mt. Rainier). ... Secret Food Tours Seattle. 2. Food & Drink. from ...

  4. The 27 Essential Things to Do in Seattle, Washington

    The best things to do in Seattle include popular landmarks like the Space Needle, as well as lesser-known attractions like the Underground Walking Tour.

  5. Visit Seattle Washington

    Welcome to the official source for information on visiting Seattle, Washington. Lodging, entertainment, food/drink, sports, attractions & more. Meeting Professionals; ... The Best Weekend Activities in Seattle that Embrace Wellness. From cold plunges and saunas to yoga, meditation, foraging walks, and discovering the city's wellness food scene ...

  6. 25 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Seattle, WA

    25 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Seattle, WA. Written by Brad Lane Updated Mar 21, 2024 ... 25 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Washington State. MORE DESTINATIONS. 14 Top-Rated Things to Do in Seattle in Winter. 10 Best Museums in Seattle. 16 Top-Rated Hikes near Seattle, WA.

  7. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Seattle

    Top Things to Do in Seattle, Washington: See Tripadvisor's 612,971 traveller reviews and photos of Seattle tourist attractions. ... Top Attractions in Seattle. Map. See all. These rankings are informed by traveller reviews—we consider the quality, quantity, ... Secret Food Tours Seattle. 2. Food & Drink. from . C$91. per adult (price varies ...

  8. 15 of the best things to do in Seattle

    Right next door, you can find Molly Moon's, an ice cream parlor with local flavors like honey lavender. 7. Take a ride up the Space Needle. The city icon, which is as synonymous with Seattle as the letters S-E-A-T-T-L-E, was built for the 1962 World's Fair and in 2018 got a face-lift to bring it into a new era.

  9. Top Things to Do in Seattle

    2. Pike Place Market. The Pike Place Market has been a defining Seattle icon for more than a century. Considered by many "the soul of Seattle," the Market spans nine historic acres in the center of downtown where everyday…. 3. Space Needle.

  10. Top Things to Do in Seattle, WA

    2. Pike Place Market. 21,955. Farmers Markets. The Pike Place Market has been a defining Seattle icon for more than a century. Considered by many "the soul of Seattle," the Market spans nine historic acres in the center of downtown where everyday…. See ways to experience (68) 2023. 3.

  11. THE 30 BEST Places to Visit in Seattle (UPDATED 2024)

    Top Things to Do in Seattle, WA. Places to Visit in Seattle. Yes, it rains, but outdoor activities abound ... Other Top Attractions around Seattle. 2023. Snoqualmie Falls. 2,101. 38 km away. Snoqualmie. Hiking Trails. 2023. Point Defiance Park. ... Secret Food Tours Seattle. 2. Food & Drink. from

  12. The 16 Best Things to Do in Seattle

    Bainbridge Island. A 35-minute trip from the Seattle Ferry Terminal, Bainbridge Island makes a great day trip for families or couples, even on a short stay in Seattle. Whether you walk, drive, or ...

  13. 22 Must-Visit Seattle Attractions

    Best Seattle attractions. Photograph: Courtesy MoPop. 1. Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop) Attractions. Belltown. One of Microsoft founder Paul Allen's most significant contributions to the city ...

  14. 24 Best Things to Do in Seattle

    The giant Ferris wheel at the end of the pier overlooking Elliott Bay is a well-known Seattle spot. Attractions like the Seattle Great Wheel, Wings Over Washington virtual flying exhibit, unique ...

  15. The 57 Best Things to Do in Seattle (A Local's List)

    Pike Place Market. Explore the famous hundred-year-old market. Just a sample of some of the incredible art you'll find at Pike Place Market. 📍 Google Maps | Phone: (206) 682-7453 | Website | Hours: 9 am - 5 pm daily | Entrance: free | 👉 Take A Food Tour of Pike Place Market.

  16. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Seattle (Updated 2024)

    2. Pike Place Market. 21,955. Farmers Markets. The Pike Place Market has been a defining Seattle icon for more than a century. Considered by many "the soul of Seattle," the Market spans nine historic acres in the center of downtown where everyday…. See ways to experience (68) 2023. 3.

  17. Top 50 Things to Do In and Near Seattle

    The best attractions, day trips, activities, events, and boredom-busters for when you live in or are visiting the Emerald City and Pacific Northwest. ... Travel & Outdoors Best of the PNW Guides; Outdoor Activities; Road Trips; View All; Home & Real Estate ... Seattle, WA 98107 Phone: 206-957-2234 • Fax: 206-447-3388 Channels; Eat & Drink ...

  18. 59 Best & Fun Things To Do In Seattle (Washington)

    If you're looking for the biggest and brightest of Seattle attractions, you won't want to miss Pike Place Market. More than 10 million people visit it every year, so it's always a fun and lively place! Address: 85 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101, United States. 4. Bill Speidel's Underground Tour.

  19. 55 Best Things to Do in Seattle (Washington)

    3. Space Needle. Source: TinaImages / shutterstock. Space Needle, Seattle. A defining feature of Seattle's silhouette for almost 60 years, the Space Needle is a timeless symbol for the city. When it went up in 1962 it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi, standing at 158 metres (184 with spire).

  20. 30 Best Things to Do in Seattle, Washington + MAP

    A visit to the park is a fun thing to do in Seattle, WA in the summer when the dahlias are in full bloom and the pond is filled with koi. 12. Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Center, an unforgettable place to visit in Seattle. One of the Seattle, WA tourist attractions you're sure to notice during your trip is the Columbia Center. This ...

  21. Top 32 Seattle Attractions & Things To Do You'll Love

    3: Washington State Ferries. Dreamstime/Cliff Estes. Rate this attraction: 214. 47. Map. If you are looking for something fun to do outside of Seattle, take a Washington State Ferry to a few great vacation spots near Seattle. From the Seattle Waterfront, catch a ferry to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton.

  22. Sightseeing

    Save 48% or more on admission to 5 top attractions with Seattle CityPASS® tickets.Learn more. More Things to Do & See ... Alki Kayak Tours. Address 1660 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126; ... Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Address 1413 NE 45th St, Seattle, WA 98105; Phone (206) 543-5590 ; Connect. Explore more Things To Do & See ...

  23. 28 Fun Things to Do in Seattle On Your Washington State Vacation

    Enjoy a wine-tasting at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. The oldest winery in Washington State, Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery is one of Seattle's must-see attractions for wine lovers. Located in Woodinville, the winery sits on 105 acres of woodland and offers a relaxing escape from the buzz of the central city.

  24. The best times to visit Washington State

    Key Events: Short Run Comics & Arts Festival. December sees Washington gearing up for the holidays. Holiday parades and tree-lighting festivals brighten up the dreary days and long nights of December. In Seattle, look for floating light shows at the Christmas Ship Festival. In the winter-loving mountain town of Leavenworth, all of Front Street ...

  25. What's your favorite Seattle staycation?

    The Wildrose, Seattle's only lesbian bar, toasts 40 years At 5 new Seattle bars, find cocktails, natural wine and good food Seattle gym's LGBTQ-inclusive competition parties on, despite trolls

  26. Fifty Years of Pride: Seattle's Milestone ...

    Approximately 300,000 people come out for Seattle Pride, and over 200 LGBTQ+ groups openly march in the parade. The month is a flurry of events and festivities in all shapes and forms, celebrating ...

  27. Seattle Parks and Recreation announces 2024 summer events schedule

    SEATTLE — Seattle Parks and Recreation has announced the scheduled events that will take place downtown throughout the summer. The events are free for the community to enjoy. Some events include ...

  28. Travel tips for June 18-July 2: construction, sports, community events

    Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Note: the work activities listed below are weather-dependent and subject to change. The eastbound Mercer Street on-ramps to northbound and southbound I-5 will be closed from 10 p.m. Monday, June 24 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, June 25; and again from 10 p.m. Tuesday, June 25 to 5 a.m. Wednesday, June 26.

  29. Bay Area Plus Tour June 2024 in Seattle, WA, USA

    Start the Bay Area Plus in Seattle and enjoy five nights and three games with premium seats and all the Big League Tours extras. Make your reservations now! Itinerary: Fri, Jun 14: Guests arrive in Seattle, Rangers @ Mariners, TBD Sat, Jun 15: Travel to San Francisco, evening on your own Sun, Jun 16: Angels @ Giants, TBD Mon, Jun 17: Free day in San Francisco, no tour activities planned Tue ...

  30. Pacific Northwest to Alaska Cruise Corridor Webinar

    Join us online for an update on progress to decarbonize cruise travel between Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska. Register for the webinar MODERATOR: Vesa Koivumaa Head of Customer DeliveryWartsila North America, Inc. PANELISTS: Stephanie Jones Stebbins Managing Director, Maritime DivisionPort of Seattle