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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 restaurant 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

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

Fremont District

Seattle’s funky, irreverent, and always colorful Fremont neighborhood is a vibrant place to explore. The area bills itself as the “Center of the Universe,” and it’s a hotbed of interesting landmarks. Visitors stroll along the scenic Ship Canal and grab coffee, artisan chocolate, craft beer, or a full dinner at one of Seattle’s best restaurants.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

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

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

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

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

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

Seattle Great Wheel

The Seattle Great Wheel is a can’t-miss icon that speaks to the fun-loving nature of the city’s residents. One of the biggest Ferris wheels in the US, the Seattle Great Wheel features enclosed gondolas that afford spectacular coastal views. It stands above 175 feet (53 meters) and weighs in at more than a quarter of a million pounds.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

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

Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in Seattle

How to Spend 2 Days in Seattle

5 Ways to Get Out on the Water in Seattle

5 Ways to Get Out on the Water in Seattle

Top activities in Seattle

Mt. Rainier Day Trip from Seattle

Mt. Rainier Day Trip from Seattle

Seattle Harbor Cruise

Seattle Harbor Cruise

Premier 3-Hour Seattle City Tour

Premier 3-Hour Seattle City Tour

Pike Place Market Food Tour
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Pike Place Market Food Tour

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

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BEST Mount Rainier National Park Day Tour from Seattle

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Half-Day Guided Tour of Seattle City and Snoqualmie Falls
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4-Hour Seattle City Tour

4-Hour Seattle City Tour

Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Seattle

Great tour
LisaVenz, Nov 2022
Exclusive: Early-Bird Tasting Tour of Pike Place Market
We would like to see a balance between salty and sweet treats.
Chef Sean knows what’s up!
Stacy_C, Nov 2022
Chef Guided Food Tour of Pike Place Market- 2 Hours
He only does the tours a certain time of the year- I believe it was summer!
Janelle_F, Nov 2022
20-Minute Greater Seattle Scenic Airplane Tour
Wayne was our pilot & helped us set up our trip for a series of amazing places to visit.
A Great Start to Seattle
Susan_S, Oct 2022
Chef Guided Food Tour of Pike Place Market- 2 Hours
We plan to go back to Pike Place Market at some point to see more!
Spectacular Falls
Ivor_N, Oct 2022
Half-Day Guided Tour of Seattle City and Snoqualmie Falls
Awesome journey to the falls.
Seattle tour…a wonderful experience!!
Lynn_K, Oct 2022
4-Hour Seattle City Tour
Got to see everything and saw all important sites!!
Jerad was very...
Shoshana_K, Oct 2022
Visit Snoqualmie Falls and Hike to Twin Falls
Saw the impressive waterfall, learned about the Native Americans in the area, learned about trees, mushrooms, the habitat, etc in the hike we took at Twin Falls.
Wonderful tour. Thank you...
Naila_S, Oct 2022
Premier 3-Hour Seattle City Tour
We got to see all the major sites of Seattle and learn about the history.
Worth seeing
Janine_C, Oct 2022
Seattle Harbor Cruise
Being able to see downtown Seattle from the water was beautiful.
Adventure seeker
Zaakia_B, Oct 2022
3 Hours Electric Bike Tour of Seattle's Waterways, Nature and Neighborhoods
We were able to see and learn so much about Seattle!
Seattle falls
Daneil_C, Sep 2022
Half-Day Guided Tour of Seattle City and Snoqualmie Falls
Falls were beautiful
Beautiful views
Cecilia_H, Sep 2022
Seattle Harbor Cruise
Got to see seattle from the ocean side.
great place to visit in...
Yann_M, Sep 2022
Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass Combination Ticket
great place to visit in Seattle.
Seattle Sunset Cruise
Stacey_W, Sep 2022
Evening Colors Sunset Sail Tour in Seattle
Smoke from nearby forest fires did make it impossible to see Mt Ranier and some other things but it was still fun.
Amazing Excursion!
Joshua_C, Sep 2022
Mt. Rainier Day Tour from Seattle
Our tour guide was informative and showed us waterfalls, a suspension bridge and of course the trails with the beautiful views.
The rampant illegal and...
Dansby_E, Sep 2022
Beneath The Streets Underground History Tour
The rampant illegal and "immoral" activities that were commonplace in Seattle's underground.
Excellent sight seeing your of Seattle
Joseph_T, Sep 2022
Premier 3-Hour Seattle City Tour
I saw all of the best sights of Seattle in a very comfortable van.
Mt Rainier was awesome!
Frank_A, Sep 2022
Mt. Rainier Day Trip from Seattle
An amazing all day tour to see one of Seattle's main attractions.
Fun trip
Carl_A, Aug 2022
20-Minute Greater Seattle Scenic Airplane Tour
Got to see Seattle from a different perspective.
Great way to visit the city and have transport to the cruise port
Janet_H, Aug 2022
Pre-Cruise Tour: Transportation & Seattle City Tour
Great way to see Seattle and to learn about its history.
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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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