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Things to do in Seattle

Things to do in  Seattle

Welcome to Seattle

Set on the Puget Sound, with Mount Rainier framing the distinctive skyline, Seattle showcases an energetic mix of urban cool with rugged natural beauty. For an overview and incredible views, head to the top of the Space Needle. Back at ground level, browse the bustling stalls of Pike Place Market or brush up contemporary life at the Museum of Pop Culture. The Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Boeing factory provide more indoor diversions. Experience nature with a boat trip to the nearby islands or a day trip to the mountains. And when it rains, duck into one of Seattle’s famous coffee shops.

Top 15 attractions in Seattle

Space Needle

Seattle’s Space Needle, one of the Pacific Northwest’s most distinctive icons, rises 605 feet (184 meters) above the city. Once the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River at the time of its construction—built for the 1962 World’s Fair—the tower features a rotating lounge and an observation deck at 520 feet (158 meters) with 360-degree panoramic views over Seattle and its surroundings.More

Pike Place Market

Every day from dawn to dusk, Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market buzzes with locals and tourists alike, who come to browse the 150 stalls of fresh seafood, produce, flowers, artisanal products, and local art, as well as see the numerous street performers wandering throughout.More

Seattle Waterfront

When a city has an enviable location on a large body of water, like Puget Sound, the waterfront becomes a top attraction. This is definitely true in Seattle, where the nearly 20-block stretch along the water is home to restaurants, hotels, markets, shops, and more than a dozen piers.More

Seattle Center

Spread across 74 acres (30 hectares) in the heart of the city, Seattle Center was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and today houses many of the city’s top attractions. This is where you’ll find the Space Needle, International Fountain, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Pacific Science Center, Museum of Pop Culture, and Seattle Children’s Museum.More

Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square, where Seattle’s founders first settled in 1852, is a bustling district in the southwest corner of downtown Seattle. The shop- and nightlife-laden neighborhood takes its name from the small, triangular cobblestone plaza known as Pioneer Square Park, and features a bust of Chief Seattle, an ornate pergola, and a totem pole.More

Mt. Rainier National Park

One of the oldest national parks in the United States, Mt. Rainier National Park was established in 1899 to preserve the wilderness surrounding Mount Rainier. Encompassing 369 square miles (956 square kilometers) of old-growth forests, wildflower meadows, glacial scenery, and wildlife, it’s a must-visit for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.More

Lake Union

Just north of downtown Seattle, the glacially carved freshwater Lake Union is ringed with houseboats—including the one made famous by the movieSleepless in Seattle—and home to numerous recreational opportunities. The lake is a true urban gem, contributing to Seattle’s high standard of living.More

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

Learn about the annual phenomenon of salmon spawning at Seattle’s Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, known locally as the Ballard Locks, where three types of Pacific salmon pass through the fish ladder during the summer months on the way upriver to their spawning grounds.More

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Glass artist Dale Chihuly, famous for his whimsical sculptures, was born in Tacoma but has left his mark on Seattle. Fans can revel in his colorful creations at the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum at Seattle Center. The facility includes a 100-foot (30-meter) glass sculpture, theater, and Chihuly retrospective, plus an outdoor garden.More

Lake Washington

More than just the second-largest lake in all of Washington State, Lake Washington defines Seattle as a city intimately tied to the water. Residents and visitors alike come to Lake Washington to connect with the natural beauty of the landscape, which includes views of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade Mountains.More

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park covers a huge swath of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, encompassing rugged coastline, towering mountain ranges, temperate rain forests, and wildflower-filled lowland meadows. Home to some of the biggest stretches of old-growth forest remaining in the US, this misty Pacific Northwest park is the ultimate outdoor escape.More

Snoqualmie Falls

Fans of Twin Peaks will recognize Washington state’s iconic Snoqualmie Falls, an epic cataract that drops 270 feet (82 meters) in one single, massive rush. Travelers can hike down to the base of the falls, take in the views from the side of the falls, or walk a winding boardwalk along Snoqualmie River for a look from the bottom.More

Seattle Aquarium

The cold, dark waters around Seattle hide an abundance of marine life, from orca whales to giant Pacific octopus to otters and salmon. The Seattle Aquarium helps visitors access this rich underwater world without getting wet. The experience involves touch tanks, daily dive shows, and plenty of exhibits showing off the area’s sea life.More

Kerry Park (Franklin Place)

For views of downtown Seattle, the Space Needle, and Mount Rainier, the hilltop Kerry Park (Franklin Place) is hard to beat. Popular with photographers, Kerry Park looks out across the city skyline, the leafy streets of the Queen Anne Hill neighborhood, and Puget Sound, where you can spot ferries leaving the Seattle waterfront for the San Juan Islands.More

Myrtle Edwards Park

A prime Elliot Bay location gives Myrtle Edwards Park gorgeous views of the Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound, and Mount Rainier. This shoreline park is walking distance from top downtown attractions, and offers a paved trail for pedestrians and cyclists that spans the 4.8-acre (1.9 ha.) green space.More

Trip ideas

5 Ways to Get Out on the Water in Seattle

5 Ways to Get Out on the Water in Seattle

How to Spend 2 Days in Seattle

How to Spend 2 Days in Seattle

Pike Place Fishmonger Tips for Selecting Seafood

Pike Place Fishmonger Tips for Selecting Seafood

Top activities in Seattle

Seattle Harbor Cruise

Seattle Harbor Cruise

Premier 3-Hour Seattle City Tour

Premier 3-Hour Seattle City Tour

Chef Guided Food Tour of Pike Place Market- 2 Hours
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Pike Place Market Tasting Tour
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Pike Place Market Tasting Tour

Mt. Rainier Day Tour from Seattle
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Mt. Rainier Day Tour from Seattle

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Best of Mount Rainier National Park from Seattle: All-Inclusive Small-Group Tour
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Day Trip from Seattle to Victoria on the Victoria Clipper
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3 Hour Seattle City Tour
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3 Hour Seattle City Tour

Seattle 4-Hour City Tour

Seattle 4-Hour City Tour

Seattle's Favorite Sightseeing and Cocktail Cruise
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All about Seattle

When to visit

Pack a jacket and umbrella no matter the time of year, as Seattle lives up to its overcast reputation. It takes a little luck, but summer days can fly by without rain, and locals risk the chance by packing outdoor festivals. Summer highlights include big outdoor celebrations such as Seattle International Beerfest and Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival.

Getting around

Seattle has a robust public transit system, with light rail trains, buses, and two streetcar lines. There’s also a monorail that connects downtown Seattle with the Seattle Center (where the Space Needle and many of the city’s top museums are located). The city is also relatively easy to navigate by car, but note that parking options downtown can be both scarce and expensive.

Traveler tips

Chocolate Lovers won’t want to miss the chance to visit the Theo Chocolate factory in the Fremont neighborhood. The informative chocolate tours are lots of fun, especially because participants are rewarded with free samples. If you’re short on time, you can just head straight to the on-site factory shop, where you can buy special chocolate items not available in retail stores, such as the Peppermint Polly, a thick, oversized peppermint cream covered with dark chocolate.

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People Also Ask

Is it always cold in Seattle?

No. While Seattle is no stranger to chilly weather, it's rare for temperatures to drop below freezing, and summers in the city are generally warm and sunny. However, because Seattle gets a lot of rainfall, especially, between October and April, it often feels colder than it actually is outside.

How can I spend 2 days in Seattle?

Consider devoting day one of a 2-day trip to Seattle to downtown attractions such as the Central Waterfront, Pike Place Market (home to the first Starbucks store), and the Seattle Art Museum. On day two, head to the Seattle Center, home to the Museum of Pop Culture, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and the famous Space Needle.

What's Seattle best known for?

Seattle is known for its lush surroundings, and it’s easy to get out into nature without straying far from the city—just be prepared for a bit of rain. The Emerald City is also the birthplace of Starbucks and Amazon, and the grunge music movement of the 1990s has long been associated with the city.

What do locals do for fun in Seattle?

When it comes to having fun, Seattleites have plenty of options. Football fans can check out Seahawks games, while those more fond of the arts have access to ample museums and concert venues. Seattle is also popular with outdoorsy folks, and its proximity to trails, forests, and waterways makes it easy to get out and explore.

What should you not miss in Seattle?

Seattle’s most popular attractions include Pike Place Market—the site of the first Starbucks—and the iconic Space Needle. There are also tons of great museums, including the Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of Pop Culture, and the Chihuly Garden and Glass. It’s also worth exploring subterranean Seattle on the famous Underground Tour.

Is Seattle close to Canada?

Yes, Seattle is only a 2-hour drive from the border with Canada. If you have a car, it's possible to visit Vancouver, British Columbia, as a day trip from the Emerald City. Simply pack up your travel documents and drive north on the Interstate 5 until you reach the border.

What part of Seattle should I visit?

Seattle has plenty of neighborhoods worth exploring, each with its own unique charm. Downtown is great for history and big-city vibes, while Uptown’s Seattle Center features a large concentration of attractions. Ballard is the place to go for dining and shopping, while up-and-coming SODO is a celebrated for its large concentration of wineries.


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