Last Updated on December 2, 2022 by Helen E. White
Best Things to Do in Seattle: Modern, dynamic and sparkling with glass, Seattle’s skyscrapers are pressed against Eliot Bay by a chain of Cascade Mountains. Magnificent views of the bay and a mesmerizing panorama of the city landscape against the backdrop of snow-capped peaks open from the city’s numerous observation platforms.
Here you can spend long hours admiring the surroundings. There is a developed ferry network for lovers of sea walks, through which you can get to the most remote corners of the coast.
- 1 48 Best Things to Do in Seattle
- 1.1 Space Needle
- 1.2 Pike Place Market
- 1.3 Seattle Center Monorail
- 1.4 Fremont Troll
- 1.5 Smith Tower
- 1.6 Wall of Chewing Gum
- 1.7 Century Link Field
- 1.8 Seattle Public Library
- 1.9 Seattle Aviation Museum
- 1.10 Museum of Pop Culture
- 1.11 Museum of History and Industry
- 1.12 Seattle Art Museum
- 1.13 Benaroya Hall
- 1.14 Washington University
- 1.15 Columbia Center
- 1.16 Seattle Aquarium
- 1.17 Ballard Locks
- 1.18 Woodland Park Zoo
- 1.19 Kerry Park
- 1.20 Gus Works Park
- 1.21 Green Lake Park
- 1.22 Discovery Park
- 1.23 Alki Beach
- 1.24 Pacific Northwest Ballet
- 1.25 Washington State Ferries
- 1.26 Seattle Great Wheel
- 1.27 Living Computers: Museum + Labs
- 1.28 Museum of Flight
- 1.29 Underground Tour
- 1.30 T-Mobile Park
- 1.31 Capitol Hill
- 1.32 The World’s First Starbucks
- 1.33 Chihuly Garden and Glass
- 1.34 Pacific Science Center
- 1.35 Centurylink Field Stadium
- 1.36 Fremont Brewing
- 1.37 Pier Sixty-Six Hotel
- 1.38 Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room
- 1.39 Seattle Ferry Terminal
- 1.40 Future of Flight Aviation Center
- 1.41 Chinatown-Internation District
- 1.42 Seattle Pinball Museum
- 1.43 Pioneer Square
- 1.44 South Lake Union
- 1.45 Kenmore Air
- 1.46 A Sound Garden
- 1.47 Olympic Peninsula
- 1.48 Mount Rainier
48 Best Things to Do in Seattle
Almost all man-made sights belong to the modern era. Tourists can learn about the history of the city in one of the local museums. Seattle’s charm lives in numerous parks, hides among the night lights of skyscrapers and shows itself in all its glory during the magnificent sunsets.
The tower was built in 1961 in the futuristic googie style that was popular in the USA in the 1950-60s. The opening was timed to coincide with the start of the World’s Fair in Seattle. The length of the structure is 184 meters. At an altitude of 159 meters, there is an observation deck and a restaurant “SkyCity”.you can see the panorama of the city, Eliot Bay, with islands, the Cascade Mountains. Space Needle is capable of withstanding the most powerful hurricane and earthquake of magnitude over 9.
Pike Place Market
A public market that began operating in 1907. It sells seafood, farm products, local crafts, books, antiques. The market has gained popularity among tourists because it is an impromptu stage for street singers, actors, comedians, and clowns. Pike Place Market is home to an incredible number of small restaurants.
Seattle Center Monorail
At the same time an attraction and a means of transportation, the Seattle Monorail was also built for the 1962 World’s Fair. It connects the Seattle Center entertainment center with the Westlake Center mall in the center of the city. It travels about a kilometer and a half on Fifth Avenue and reaches up to 72 kilometers per hour. It runs every ten minutes and you have one of the most beautiful walks to do in Seattle.
A sculpture located in one of the areas of Seattle under the J. Washington Bridge. The figure of a fabulous creature is made of concrete and reinforcement. A whole group of local sculptors worked on it. The reasons for its creation are quite trivial – there used to be a garbage dump under the bridge. To finally get rid of it, it was necessary to occupy the space with something. This is how the Fremont Troll appeared in 1990.
Located in Pioneer Square, the Smith Tower is the oldest skyscraper in the city. It measures 148 meters and was completed in 1914. Its main attraction is its observatory, on the 35th floor, the ideal place to admire Seattle from above. It offers a 360º panorama, an outdoor space and a speakeasy-style bar, with delicious artisan cocktails.
If you have time, check out the interesting exhibit “The Legends of Smith Tower” dedicated to the city’s past.
Wall of Chewing Gum
A city landmark is a wall pasted over from top to bottom with chewing gum. It all started in 1993 when the students standing in line at the theater box-offices began to glue coins here with gum out of boredom. Until 1999, the authorities tried to fight this outrage, but then they gave up. Since then, the wall has become a tourist attraction.
Century Link Field
Another city stadium adapted to host competitions in various sports. The Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders football teams play here. The arena was built in 2002 near Seattle’s business district. Century Link Field Park occasionally hosts concerts and exhibitions. The venue can accommodate up to 72 thousand spectators, depending on the type of event being held.
Seattle Public Library
The city library consists of a whole network of book collections (27 branches in total). The main office is located in an eleven-story structure made of glass and steel in the style of destructive, built by R. Koolhaas in 2004. It can be called one of the most outstanding buildings in the city. The book collection was founded in 1890; today, it contains more than 2.5 million copies.
Seattle Aviation Museum
A private museum dedicated to space and aviation. It is located in the very first Boeing plant. The exposition includes more than 150 aircraft, released at different times, as well as a collection of parts and models of spaceships. The museum was founded in 1956. There are several interactive exhibits here, including an air traffic control center where you can learn about what is happening in the airport control room.
Museum of Pop Culture
The museum exposition will interest music and film lovers. It is divided into thematic sections: music, costume and fantasy. The latter is dedicated to such legendary films as “Alien”, “Star Trek”, “The Fifth Element”, “Star Wars”, “Terminator”. The museum has a lot of interactive exhibits. For example, visitors are invited to play the guitar themselves or make a musical arrangement.
Museum of History and Industry
The collection will tell visitors about Seattle’s history dating back to the late 18th century. The museum is divided into 10 halls, each dedicated to historical events or processes: the industrial boom of the 19th century, the great fire of 1989 and other important incidents. There is a small park next to the museum, where you can walk after the tour.
Seattle Art Museum
The museum was founded based on the Seattle Society of Fine Arts and the Washington Arts Association. In 1933, a monumental Art Deco building designed by C. F. Gould was erected for the collection. Now there is a museum branch, and the main exposition in 1991 moved to Park Avenue. In 2007, another division was opened to the public – the Olympic Sculpture Park.
The concert hall where the city symphony orchestra performs. It is considered one of the best venues in the world for its excellent acoustics and luxurious finishes. Benaroya Hall was completed in 1998. Most of the funds for its construction were donated by the philanthropist D. Benaroya. The hall consists of two auditoriums. The large one can accommodate up to 2.5 thousand people; the small one is designed for 500 spectators.
The educational institution was founded in 1861. Today it is one of the largest in the northwestern United States. Among its alumni, eight are Nobel laureates. The university is located in several buildings. Particularly noteworthy is the Suzallo Library, which is located in a neo-Gothic mansion. The structure of the university includes the Burke Museum of Natural History and the Henri Art Gallery.
The most grandiose city skyscraper, designed by C.L. Lindsay in 1985 (almost 300 meters high). From the outside, it seems as if it consists of three towers; in fact, it is a single structure. On the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center, there is an observation deck from where you can take spectacular photos. The 74th and 75th floors house restaurants, conference rooms and a library.
An aquarium and research center located on the waterfront of Eliot Bay. It opened in 1977 and is visited by about 900 thousand people every year. In the aquarium, you can see many representatives of the marine fauna: exotic fish, seals, sea beavers, seals, sharks, and birds that live on the shore. There are a souvenir shop and a cafe on the territory of the aquarium.
The locks were created to maintain the level of fresh wagons in Lakes Union and Washington. They were built from the middle of the 19th century to the 1920s and 1930s. Tourists come to see how ships pass through the locks and take a walk in the nearby parks and look at sea lions that have chosen the embankments. There are many people here during the weekend, and it is difficult to find a place in the parking lot.
Woodland Park Zoo
The menagerie is located in the park of the same name. It covers an impressive area of 37 hectares. The zoo is home to several hundred species, 5 of them are endangered and 35 are endangered. Inhabitants live in thematic zones with “speaking” names: “African Savannah“, “Vine Trail“, “Elephant Forest“, “Tropical Forest“. Sometimes, because of the enclosure’s large size, the animal is not so easy to see.
A small park with an area of 0.5 hectares, which in 1927 was presented to Seattle by the Kerry couple. One of the main attractions of the place is the observation deck. It has long been chosen by photographers who come here to shoot stunning sunrises and sunsets and a mesmerizing night panorama. The park is no less popular with couples in love and romantically inclined singles.
Gus Works Park
A city park with impressive industrial structures among green lawns and trees. This is a former gasification plant of the early 20th century. Instead of dismantling their old enterprise, the authorities decided to set up a park around it and leave the buildings as a keepsake for posterity. Today, the plant can be viewed from the outside and take a fascinating excursion along its empty corridors.
Green Lake Park
Green Lake is located on the shores of a large lake. Here you can take a walk in good weather, have a picnic on the green lawn, have a barbecue in a special area, or take a boat ride. At any time of the year, the park is full of runners, cyclists and hikers. Near Green Lake is a residential area with small, picturesque houses.
The largest city park with a vast green area, adjacent to the bay’s shores, and 20 km of footpaths. Despite the magnificent views and the opportunity to observe marine life and birds, reviews about this place are rather contradictory. Some tourists complain about the smell of sewage and the suspicious individuals who wander in this park in the evenings.
The beach is located in the west of Seattle on the peninsula’s territory of the same name, exactly in the very place where the first Europeans landed in the middle of the 19th century and founded a settlement. The water here is quite cool, so swimming is not always comfortable, but visitors are provided with an excellent tan and fresh sea air. There are restaurants with interesting cuisine and bungalows where you can stay for a few days on the beach.
Pacific Northwest Ballet
If you enjoy dancing, seeing a Pacific Northwest Ballet show is one of the best things to do in Seattle. It is one of the best companies in the United States and they produce both classic productions and new interpretations of works such as Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Pinocchio and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They perform at McCaw Hall.
Washington State Ferries
Washington State has the largest ferry fleet in the United States. The network of routes covers the coast like a huge spider web. Interestingly, most of the ferries have Indian names. One of the main tourist attractions in Seattle is a boat trip on one of these ships. You can go on a trip from one of the many terminals located in the city.
Seattle Great Wheel
An iconic Seattle attraction since 2012, Seattle’s Great Wheel of Fortune is one of the city’s most entertaining attractions. Located on Pier 57, it offers unparalleled views of Seattle by day or night. Each of its air-conditioned gondolas seats eight people. In addition, every night from Friday to Sunday the more than 500,000 LEDs of the wheel are illuminated, creating an attractive light show.
Living Computers: Museum + Labs
One of Seattle’s most popular attractions, Living Computers Museum + Labs is a one-of-a-kind space that offers an interactive experience with 1960-to-date technology. It has the largest collection of refurbished and functional supercomputers, mainframes, minicomputers, and microcomputers in the USA, so you can interact with everything from self-driving cars to Big Data, video game design, artificial intelligence and robotics. A must for lovers of retro!
Museum of Flight
One of the must-do things in Seattle if you’re a fan of aviation is spending an afternoon at the Museum of Flight . It is one of the best venues of its kind in the country, with a surprising collection of ships and artifacts. There, you will be able to see from NASA lunar photographs to climb into flight simulations, explore the interior of a space shuttle, live the experience of being a pilot, and much more.
If you want to know this destination in a different way, nothing like the Underground Tour . It is one of the most unusual tours to do in Seattle, as it explores the Seattle that was left to the ground after the city’s rebuilding after the Great Fire of 1889.
Over the course of 75 minutes, you will walk through a series of tunnels, sidewalks and old facades, while enjoying a fun historical narrative. A paranormal tour and a Red Light District tour are also offered.
To enjoy a baseball game in Seattle, nothing like a visit to T-Mobile Park, formerly known as Safeco Park. Home of the Seattle Mariners (MLB), it has a capacity for 47,715 attendees and is located in the SoDo neighborhood. It is distinguished by its retractable roof and its amenities, such as its delicious food. To learn more, guided tours are offered, visiting areas such as the playing field, the owners’ suites, the All-Star Club and the press box.
One of the most interesting and characterful neighborhoods in Seattle is Capitol Hill, the neighborhood that hosts the city’s largest LGBT community. Also, why not cultivate yourself a bit. The Elliott Bay Book Company, a bookstore with more than 150,000 new and second-hand titles.
The World’s First Starbucks
Did you know that the world’s first Starbucks is located in Seattle? It was founded in 1971 and, since then, who knows how many liters of coffee were drunk on the streets of Seattle (and the world!). And yes, entering even if it is to know this historic place is a must. But if there is a Starbucks that drives everyone who visits it crazy (especially instagramers) it is The Seattle Roastery. Of course, do not forget to try other coffees, because Seattle is one of the cities with the most coffee culture globally, going alone to Starbucks would be like going to eat at a Domino’s Pizza in Naples.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
Another is the Chihuly Garden and Glass, an almost unreal world where you will be surrounded by colorful glass sculptures, immense and somewhat crazy. It is a tribute to artist Dale Chihuly, a must-see in Seattle.
Pacific Science Center
Are you more about numbers than letters? Then surely you are more interested in visiting the Pacific Science Center, entirely dedicated to science. It will be liked by both the little ones and the not so little ones!
Go see a baseball game the Seattle Mariners … Few things are more typical than this. Or if baseball seems too boring, you can opt for a football game; yes, you will have to decide whether to be a fan of the Seattle Sounders or the Seattle Seahawks. We would not think about it and we would go to see the latter at their stadium: the Centurylink Field Stadium, which once held the Guinness Record for the loudest fans. You can also do tours of the stadium on non-match days.
We are not done with Seattle’s neighborhoods yet; Fremont is one of the most fashionable right now. Here are endless shops, restaurants and a craft brewery that you have to visit: we talk about the Fremont Brewing. Be careful: they do not sell food, so if you want, you can take something to eat yourself; what they do give for free are apples and mini-pretzels lol.
Pier Sixty-Six Hotel
Take a walk through Pier 66, a very beautiful and lively area, with good sea and Downtown views. A short distance from there, there is also Pier 57/55, which is also very cool (with its Ferris wheel and Miners Landing, a pier full of shops and restaurants).
Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room
Whether you’re a regular Starbucks customer or just can’t wake up without coffee, a visit to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room has to be on your bucket list. Although it is not the first headquarters of the famous café, it does offer various experiences to learn more about the coffee process and its preparation methods, ranging from machinery to a library with more than 200 books.
It also has a special menu, offering options such as Whiskey Barrel-Aged Cold Brew, Cardamom Long Black and Hazelnut Bianco Latte. There’s also signature mixology with coffee and tea, and things to eat like artisan bread, seasonal soups, and pizza. If you want to bring a coffee home, you can choose different beans from the Starbucks Reserve.
Seattle Ferry Terminal
Seattle is nestled in Elliot Bay, a good plan to take a ferry from the Seattle Ferry Terminal and go sailing on it. The most popular route is the one that goes to Bainbridge Island, where you can take nature walks and enjoy a visit to a quiet city (in 2005, it was voted the second-best place to live in the US).
Future of Flight Aviation Center
Located 25 miles from Seattle, the Future of Flight Aviation Center must be on your Seattle must-see list. It is the only commercial aircraft factory open to the public in the United States. Here, you can see how Boeings (such as the 787 Dreamliner and the 777, 767, 747) are assembled. At the same time, you can learn about technological advances in the world of aviation, discover what life is like on the International Space Station and much more. One of the best things to do in Seattle!
A slice of the East in Seattle, the Chinatown-Internation District, is a golden opportunity to sample Asian delicacies, ranging from Chinese dumplings to Vietnamese pho to Japanese ramen. At the same time, this neighborhood has several exciting attractions, such as the beautiful Chinatown Gate, the Uwajimaya Japanese supermarket, the Wing Luke Museum of Asian history and culture, and many specialty stores (herbal, clothing, snacks, toys, and more).
Seattle Pinball Museum
Also located in Chinatown, this fun place is more of an arcade than a museum. You will find more than fifty Pinball machines at the Seattle Pinball Museum, manufactured from 1934 to date. Its purpose is to preserve this entertaining game for future generations. One of the best things to do in Seattle for a fun-filled day!
The old city center offers an attractive collection of Romanesque-style buildings and the city’s largest concentration of art galleries and cultural spaces by artists from around the world. Art Walks are held frequently, with activities and special events. Other attractions in this neighborhood are Pioneer Park, Waterfall Garden Park, King Street Station, Last Resort Fire Department, to name a few.
South Lake Union
One of the best neighborhoods in Seattle, the South Lake Union, has something for everyone. It offers a stunning selection of boutiques, restaurants, and bars, as well as iconic city attractions. At The Center for Wooden Boats, a maritime museum, you can not only learn about the boats, but you can rent one to explore the lake your way.
Another must-do in Seattle is taking a scenic flight over the city. The traditional airline is Kenmore Air, which offers seaplane flights. In them, you will take off and land directly from the water, and you will be able to look at the city from above for around twenty minutes. An unusual activity that you have to do in Seattle!
A Sound Garden
If you’re a fan of the 90s grunge band Soundgarden, then you have to check out Seattle’s A Sound Garden, a series of metal sculptures that transform wind into music. They are located next to Warren G. Magnuson Park, on the shores of Lake Washington. Following the death of band lead singer Chris Cornell, the sculptures became a memorial.
You also have to see the Black Sun art installation in Volunteer Park, which gave its name to one of the band’s most famous songs.
Suppose you are looking for a place to reconnect with nature, nothing like the Olympic Peninsula, a stretch of coastal land between Seattle and Tacoma. It is home to Olympic National Park, a fantastic space where forest, coast, and mountains meet. There, you can see wildlife (especially migrating birds and salmon), explore Dosewallips State Park on foot or by boat, discover the secrets of the salt marshes, and hike the Olympic Discovery Trail, among many other things.
The last position on this list of the best things to do in Seattle is to visit Mt. Rainier, an active volcano and the highest peak in Washington. It is located within the national park of the same name. This majestic place offers year-round activities, ranging from hiking through the woods to seeing waterfalls to admire the change in color of the foliage, visiting a wildlife center, or practicing snow sports. There are also several options to stay.
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