Seattle is likely my favorite city in the US. You have the mountains, the water, and there are a multitude of things to do in Seattle. Oh, and all that worry about rain? It’s not really that bad, and its mostly in the late fall and winter. It tends to be more of a mist than an actual downpour of any sort, and having an umbrella is the surest way to let people know you’re a tourist. So grab a jacket with a hood, some good coffee, and some sturdy walking shoes and lets talk about all the amazing things to do in Seattle:
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Visit Pike Place Market – It’s a sprawling center of tiny shops and stall fronts where you can spend hours eating, tasting and exploring the flavors of Seattle. If you’re a Starbucks fan, you can also visit the original Starbucks store here. If you want to make sure you hit all the highlights, grab a local guide:
Space Needle – Seattle’s most famous landmark has an observation deck and a restaurant. While it might seem cliche, the Space Needle does have some beautiful views of Seattle, Puget Sound and the mountains.
The Museum of Pop Culture – once known as the Experience Music Project, the Museum of Pop Culture features everything from music to science fiction. It even contains the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
Take a Tour to see the Orcas – my first week living in Seattle regular TV was interrupted by a local news alert, a helicopter following a pod through the Sound. Seattle loves their orcas, and it’s totally worth the trip to get a glimpse of these guys in the wild. You can take a day trip with a local company:
Seattle Art Museum – Closing in on 100 years in the city, you can always count on the Seattle Art Museum for innovative and interesting exhibits on a variety of artists. It’s a must see for art lovers visiting the city.
Pacific Science Center – The center features a variety of exhibits on science, engineering and more. With hands on experiments and daily programs, this is a great place for kids to spend the day. Did I mention they have a laser dome?
Seattle Aquarium – perched right on the edge of the Sound, the aquarium features a wide variety of exhibits for visitors to explore. Highlights include the octopus exhibit and the sea otters, who can often be found holding paws while they sleep and float.
Go Underground – There’s an entire world under the streets of Seattle. With an underground tour you can learn about the history of the city:
Kerry Park – You know that famous photo of the Seattle skyline that features the Space Needle in the foreground? The one that’s on every greeting card and advertisement? The one you can’t seem to figure out how to get because the Space Needle isn’t all that close and half the views are obstructed? The answer is Kerry Park. Nestled in the hills surrounding the city, and a very popular site for wedding photos and tourists alike, Kerry Park boasts a postcard perfect view of the Seattle skyline as well as some beautiful views of the surrounding area.
Museum of Flight – Seattle is home to air giants like Boeing, and the Museum of Flight features them and many more in its massive Museum of Flight. In 2019, they will also be one of the tour stops for Apollo 11.
The Future of Flight and Aviation Center – If the Museum of Flight wasn’t enough for you, and you want a behind the scenes look at Boeing’s operations this is the place to visit.
Sounders FC – the Sounders were one of the breakout teams for the MLS and continue to be a dynamic and interesting team to this day. Catch a game at CenturyLink field.
Seattle Seahawks – Cheer on the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Infamous for being the loudest stadium in the United States, it’s hard not to get into the spirit of things.
Mariners – catch a game or a tour at Safeco Field if you love baseball. The stadium has a retractable roof so fans stay dry and shaded.
Seattle Zoo – another family favorite, you can see animals from all over the world. Plus I’ve always loved that they have the www.zoo.org website.
Museum of History and Industry – This Seattle museum features the history of technology and innovation with a focus on Seattle and Washington.
Take a Ferry Across the Sound – Whether you want to walk on or drive on, the Seattle ferries travel up and down and across Puget Sound. You can explore some of the small towns across the water, or just get stunning photos of the Seattle skyline.
South Lake Union – If you want a peak at the homes that were featured in Sleepless in Seattle, you can get it here. Just don’t mention the movie to locals.
Dick’s Drive-In – a local favorite the Dick’s chain features burgers, fries and shakes. Made simply the way they have been for decades, it’s some of the best greasy food you can get your hands on in the city. It’s not a trip to Seattle without stopping here. Trust me.
Take a Seaplane Tour – The view from the Space Needle is nice, but if you want the full effect hop a ride in a seaplane for stunning views and photo opportunities
Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum – Dale Chihuly studied at the University of Washington and learned glassblowing techniques while he was there. His work has become wildly popular and is featured in museums and homes throughout the world. This museum features some of his most interesting works.
Jones Soda Fountain – visit the Jones Soda HQ and pick up some of the famous quirky soda by the bottle. (The Berry Lemonade is delicious if you need a recommendation!)
Canlis – swanky and delicious, Canlis is a must-visit for anyone wanting to try a Seattle classic
Discovery Park – with over 500 acres in the heart of the city, this old Army post now features forests, trails, meadows and even beachfront. The perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Visit the Troll in Fremont – a famous Seattle landmark, you’ll find the troll under the bridge
Carkeek Park – there are gorgeous views here and plenty of trails to get a refreshing run in during your trip to the city
Unicorn Bar – love unicorns or carnivals? This place in Capitol Hill is the perfect place to experience both as part of your bar experience
Portage Bay Cafe – organic and delicious, I still dream about the breakfasts I’ve eaten there
Washington Park Arboretum – take a long stroll and appreciate all the species the arboretum has to offer
Center for Wooden Boats – if you love being out on the water, you’ll want to check this place out
Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room – If you’re a Starbucks fanatic, this is a must visit. They feature exclusive drinks and give you a behind the scenes look at how Starbucks operates.
Uwajimaya – if you have a craving for Asian food or want to try your hand at whipping up a recipe in your Air B&B kitchen, this is the place to get it all
Needle & Thread – travel back in time to a speakeasy
Pioneer Square – travel back in time to Seattle’s origins in this square, there are even ghost tours after dark that feature tales of Seattle’s sordid past!
Take a tour of the local wineries – Washington is famous for its wines, take a winery tour and experience them for yourself. This company offers private tours of wineries: Private Tour: Snoqualmie Falls and Woodinville Wineries Day Trip from Seattle
Hit all the highlights with a discount – Want to make sure you can stuff in as many fun things to do in Seattle as you can but want to save money while you do it? Grab a citypass and see all the best of Seattle for a lower price than you’d pay individually – Save 45% or more on Seattle’s 5 best attractions with CityPASS. Shop Now!
Take a foodie walking tour of Seattle – Eating all of that Pacific Northwest food is one of the most fun things to do in Seattle, so take a walk through Seattle’s culinary high points with a walking tour featuring tastes of Seattle Gourmet Seattle Walking Tour
Take a day trip to Mt. Rainier – you can venture out to the famous volcano yourself, and wander the trails and paths that meander through this NPS park. Set aside a day, and don’t miss paradise valley which has stunning views and gorgeous flowering meadows. If venturing out on your own sounds like a lot of planning, there are lots of local tours that will take you Mt Rainier Day Trip from Seattle
Snoqualmie Falls – If you’re a fan of Twin Peaks, this view will look very familiar. The falls are magical and well worth a stop. You can even stay in the hotel that sits at the edge of the cliff if you prefer to take it easy in the mountains for a few days.
Ballard Locks – if you’re here at the right time of year you can catch a glimpse of the salmon, but even in the off season, watching the various yachts and boats make their way through the locks can be an interesting people-watching adventure.
If you’d prefer to be on the boat in the locks, there are tours that cater to that too (bonus are the gorgeous views of Seattle):
Take a ride on the monorail and feel like you’re traveling into a sci-fi film
Visit the Central Public Library – there’s a fantastic collection of books here, but the architecture is pretty fantastic as well
Smith Tower – visit Seattle’s oldest skyscraper, and once tallest building west of the Mississippi. The prohibition bar inside has themed cocktails
Seattle Pinball Museum – want a throwback to the good old days? Check out the Pinball Museum! It’s one of the more unique things to do in Seattle.
Seattle Great Wheel – hop on for a quick ride, and photo opportunities of the skyline and water and while you’re up there you can pick out some other things you want to do!
Olympic Park – visit the mountains west of Seattle on a day trip. Travel up to Hurricane Ridge to experience the hurricane force winds and get stunning views
Wing Luke Museum – This museum has an amazing collection of Asian Pacific American art. It’s a must-see for art lovers in the city.
Columbia Center – still haven’t had enough of the views? Go to the top of Columbia Center for the highest vantage point in the city.
Amazon Building – is headquartered in massive building on top of a hill, take a quick drive by to see where the giant of online retail lives
Microsoft HQ – Microsoft has its sprawling headquarters on the east side of town in Redmond. Because when in
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center – The Gates’ have spent their lives dedicated to philanthropy, and their discovery center pays tribute to all of that and more. It highlights the ways the foundation is working to improve the lives of people around the world.
Nordic Heritage Museum – located in Ballard, this museum features collections from the many Nordic immigrants that settled in the Seattle area (The museum is closed through May 2018)
Frye Art Museum – Spend the day with 19th and 20th century art from the US, Germany and France and more.
Check out the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle for a moving performance.
Return to your classic roots with the Seattle Symphony
Catch a show and marvel at the beautiful interior of the 5th Avenue Theatre
Take a journey across the floating bridge on Lake Washington.
Check out a show at the ShowBox. A beloved local favorite it’s one of those things to do in Seattle that makes you feel like a local even if you’re not.
Walk the grounds of the University of Washington Campus. Especially in the spring, when the cherry blossoms are in bloom!
Have a Guinness and some Irish food at Kells Irish Pub. Remember I said Pacific Northwest food is the best? Well Seattle does food right from around the world.
Pay your respects to Brandon and Bruce Lee at their gravesites. One of the more offbeat things to do in Seattle, locals and tourists alike pay their respect to the late great Lees.
Spend an afternoon at Volunteer Park and check out the Conservatory
After you’ve crossed the floating bridge, go see the work of Northwest artists at the Bellevue Arts Museum
Take some time to walk the beaches, if you’re lucky you’ll get to watch some fishermen and maybe even some divers. The last time I was there a few had just come up from doing a count of the octopus in the sound. You never know what other things to do in Seattle you’ll come across. So take this list as a starting guide and head out on your own adventure!