12 Things to See and Do in Seattle

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  • Seattle’s weather may have a reputation for being gloomy and gray, but the city is vibrant and full of exciting activities.
  • The city has one of the best dining scenes in the country, with fantastic sushi, coffee, wineries and breweries.
  • This list of activities has something for everyone, from outdoor activities to art destinations and fun recreational experiences.

Most people picture rainy, cloudy days when they think of Seattle. While this city may get some less-than-perfect weather, it’s also a fantastic destination. There’s a reason Seattle real estate is so expensive — this is a wonderful place to live and explore. Seattle is a beautiful city surrounded by the ocean, mountains and forests. The people are friendly, the dining options are fantastic and there is a strong art community.

This city has so much to offer, and you can easily spend several days here enjoying many activities. Plan ahead of time so you can get your tickets, check the weather and pack in as much as possible. If you’re visiting the Emerald City sometime soon, add these 12 things to your trip itinerary.

1. Pike Place Market

One of the most popular destinations in Seattle is Pike Place Market. This market was founded in 1907 and is one of the oldest operating public markets in the U.S. Today, Pike Place is the city’s most famous outdoor market, located right in the heart of downtown.

You can find food carts, artist stands and local produce here. The market is open 363 days a year, so you can come almost any day. Give yourself a few hours to explore the market, grab some snacks and find some souvenirs to take home.

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2. Go on a Brewery Tour

In 2021, the New York Times wrote about how Seattle now has a “booming beer scene.” It’s clear that Seattle is winning the hearts of beer lovers everywhere. Seattle has 70 breweries — and counting — spread throughout the city.

Try indulging in this side of the city by taking a brewery tour. You could book a guided walking brewery tour or just plan one yourself. Many of the breweries are located in clusters, so you can have a tour with multiple breweries within walking distance of each other.

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3. Visit the Original Starbucks

You may already know that Seattle is home to Starbucks’s headquarters. The first Starbucks opened in March 1971 in Pike Place, Seattle, and that very store remains there to this day. This inaugural Starbucks is a popular tourist destination for any coffee lover.

The location acts like a regular Starbucks but is also a piece of history. Many of the original fixtures and details are still on display to preserve the “Mother Store” that started it all. If you come here, expect a wait, as there’s always a line.

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4. The Space Needle

San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge, Chicago has the Bean (Cloud Gate) and New York has the Statue of Liberty. These are all iconic structures that define each city. When it comes to Seattle’s great trademark, it’s the Space Needle.

The Space Needle is a massive 605-foot-tall structure with an observation deck and a rotating restaurant at the top. You can come here and get 360-degree views of the entire city. For the optimal experience, book a dinner reservation at the restaurant and watch the sunset over the city while enjoying a delicious meal.

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5. Book a Hot Tub Boat

Thanks to Seattle’s typically gray weather, most people don’t think of water activities when thinking of this city. Seattle is surrounded by water, however, and the locals have found a way to enjoy their scenery.

If it’s not raining, a hot tub boat ride is the perfect way to get some time in the water. Consider renting a hot tub that will take you down Lake Union. Available all year round, these rentals come with speakers and room for food and drinks, so you can stay warm and relaxed while coasting down the lake.

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6. Seattle Art Museum

Seattle has a vibrant art culture, and one of the best places to take in that influence is at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). Founded in 1933, the museum drew a crowd of 33,000 on its opening day!

The Seattle Art Museum is located in the middle of the bustling city representing the art of the Pacific Northwest. The museum offers local and international collections, special exhibitions, installations and programs. In particular, there is a large amount of Native American and Australian Aboriginal ​art.​ The museum is open from Wednesdays to Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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7. Try Some Sushi

Outside of Japan, some of the best cities for getting high-quality sushi are Vancouver (BC, Canada), Seattle and San Francisco. What do all these cities have in common? They’re on the Pacific Coast and have access to delicious, fresh fish caught daily.

Seattle has some amazing sushi restaurants that you’ll want to try during your visit. If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, check out Mashiko, which focuses on using ethically sourced fish. For a more affordable, casual option, consider stopping at Yoroshiku.

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8. Chihuly Garden and Glass

The Chihuly Garden and Glass art museum is one of Seattle’s most unique destinations. Located close to the Space Needle, this entire center showcases the glass-blown pieces made by artist Dale Chihuly.

The museum has a total of eight galleries and three “drawing walls.” Additionally, there’s a theatre that plays videos of Chihuly’s work on a loop. It’s a fantastic activity for kids and adults as you explore the beautiful details of the delicate glass displays. Locals recommend visiting near the end of the day when the sunset lighting illuminates all the glasswork.

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9. Discovery Park

Unlike some cities that are all concrete and buildings, Seattle actually has a lot of nature within or close to the city. If you’re lucky enough to visit Seattle when it’s not raining, it’s highly recommended you get outside and explore Discovery Park. This is the city’s largest public park located on the shores of Puget Sound.

If you’re up for some activity, Discovery Park has almost 12 miles of hiking trails to explore. This is the perfect way to see the natural landscape of Seattle and get some fresh air.

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10. Seattle Aquarium

Opened in 1977, the Seattle Aquarium is a fan favorite with locals and tourists. The Seattle Aquarium is the ninth largest aquarium in the United States by attendance, with more than 27 million attendees passing through since its opening.

The Seattle Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is dedicated to preserving marine life. Some of the most exciting animals you’ll see here include the tufted puffin, Northern fur seals, dogfish, giant Pacific octopus and plankton.

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11. Catch a Seattle Seahawks Game

If there’s one thing Seattle loves, it’s a football team. In 2014, the team won the Superbowl against the Denver Broncos, and no one in Seattle will let you forget that win! You can watch the team play a home game at the large Seattle Lumen Field stadium. If you love the sport, catching a game here will be a blast. The crowd is fun, the tickets are affordable and the snacks are delicious.

Not a football fan? Consider catching a Seattle Mariners game instead at the equally impressive T-Mobile Park stadium.

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12. Woodinville Wine Country

Just a short 20-mile drive from northeast of Seattle is Woodinville Wine Country. This region is home to more than 130 wineries that offer more than 90+ rated vintages. This area is made for entertaining with an events calendar that is full of options for almost every day.

A trip out to Woodinville Wine Country is absolutely worth it for everyone and can be about a lot more than just wine. You’ll also find great restaurants, microbreweries and shopping.

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Kristina Obodovskiy

Kristina Obodovskiy

Kristina Obodovskiy is a full-time marketing professional with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing Management. Outside of her career, Kristina’s passions include writing, reading, traveling, and being outdoors. She used to describe herself as a “yoga person,” but has come to terms with the fact that going to a yoga class once a month hardly makes you a yogi.

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