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Things to Do in Seattle

YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SEATTLE LIFE + CULTURE

Article by City Lifestyle

Photography by Stock Images

If you are craving a vacation or weekend excursion that comes with a touch of nature, a variety of sports, entertainment, great coffee, and a little rain in between, then you will never be short of things to do in Seattle. This lush green picturesque place, saddled between the ocean and spectacular mountainside. It is affectionately called ”Emerald City” by locals and visitors alike because of its oneness with the foliage. For the adventurous at heart, there are no scarcity of places to go and things to see in this city, starting with the several hundred feet tall symbolic Space Needle that puts the town on display from all angles. Food lovers will get to wet their palates with a wide range of cuisine at one of the many culinary exhibitions. If you need caffeine to energize your day or simply because you're a coffee enthusiast, Seattle gave birth to Starbucks, so hundreds of coffee shops are available for your indulgence at every corner. Want some tasty liquor? A talented bartender will gladly mix a specialty cocktail for you with a background of lovely music. From the vibrant downtown area to the breathtakingly beautiful sea town of Puget Sound and the laid back suburbs of West Seattle, finding stuff to do boils down to how long you plan to stay there.

Even though Seattle is reputed to be rainy all year round, don't worry; there will be sunny days, particularly during the spring to summer months. Those bright days will allow you to enjoy all the festivities, featuring food and music in all forms. Now, you want to know what’s unique, romantic, indoors, and outdoors or great for families, so here is a list of amazing things to do in Seattle for anyone and everyone. 

Whether you are an explorer or more on the tame side, there is no shortage of fun in Seattle from land to sea or even in the air. There are fun activities for singles, couples, groups, and families, tailored to satisfy everyone's adventurous side. Buying a City Pass is an excellent way for locals and tourists to enjoy various activities for a great price. These excursions include:

Fun Things To Do in Seattle

No one will believe you live in Seattle or that you visited the lovely city if you do not take a pic or a ride up to the top of the Space Needle. It’s not for the faint of heart as you are elevated over five hundred feet to two levels of glass, allowing you to see beneath you and a panoramic view of the city. At the top level, if you're not afraid of heights, lay against the tilted glass and get a snapshot of you appearing to be on top of the city. Just below is the unique rotating glass floor level called The Loupe. It's not just about the scenery at Space Needle; you can enjoy great food and drinks night or day.

There's something about Seattle and 360-degree views because here at the aquarium, that's what you get as you watch cheerful sea otters, attractive octopuses, radiant moon jellyfish and even get to touch some of the sea creatures. There is a dive event daily in a 120,000-gallon pool. It's like you've taken an actual journey to the tropical islands as you look at the Coral Reef display. 

On a sunny day in Seattle, heading to Alki Beach is a must to bask in the rays of the sun, see the city from a different viewpoint, and enjoy the beach with locals. There's always an array of activities, or you can lay back on the sand with a book and earplugs. 

Otherwise, bring some picnic supplies and make use of the public grills available to cook up a storm. You can also choose to grab a bite or sip a cold coconut from the restaurant on the beach. Locust Cider brewing company is right there too for you to grab a beer and kick back in a relaxing setting until time to watch the magnificent sunset that Alki Beach is known for featuring. It's ok to have a little nighttime fun with a campfire if you wish.

If you'd like to get another view of the city’s incredible skyline, the beautiful Elliott Bay waterfront, and the lush vegetation along the Cascade and Olympic mountain ridges, notable communities, and the always busy shipping docks, then take a cruise along the harbor. You'll learn the history of the city's maritime life from experts. 

Seattle practically sits on the ocean, so it would be strange for seafood not to be one of the famous specialties. When we say seafood, it means everything that the sea has to eat, cooked to perfection! The very popular Pike Place Public Market is an ideal place to see and purchase freshly caught seafood, like Oysters, Clams, Crab, Mussels, and various fish.

Just like the Space Needle and drinking coffee, a visit to Seattle is unsatisfactory without strolling through the historic market rated as the best. Etching the fisherfolks is a treat and photo opportunity. Check out the artisan goods and cheese, and then try one of the multiple restaurants to get a taste of the day’s catch.

The name Seattle is synonymous with coffee, arguably the best coffee in the United States. There is a coffee shop every few feet, literally, so you have no excuse not to get a nicely brewed cup. Because the coffee industry is so competitive, it's highly unlikely that you'll have a negative experience anywhere.

You can also stop by the Original Starbucks or the Starbucks Reserve Roastery to take a picture and tell everyone you've been there. You may have to wait for hours to get into the Roastery, but if you are a fanatic, give it a try.  

Now that you've had your fill of coffee, it's time to hit Lake Union for some Kayaking or Stand Up Paddle Boarding fun. Once it's not overcast, you'll have a dramatic view of Mount Rainier from the lake. You can jump off the board or Kayak and have an enjoyable swim. Green Lake is also an excellent spot for relaxing yet fun water activities. 

For a comprehensive view of the Seattle Skyline, take a quick visit to Kerry Park, where you'll get some of the best photos of the city. Not only will you get the city from multiple angles, but also the backdrop of Mount Rainier, once it isn't cloudy, will be a million-dollar shot. 

There's not anything else to do at the park, but it's worth going there to get a social media-worthy photograph.

Winter can be fun in Seattle too. That's right! Grab your ski or snowboarding gears to slide down the slopes for a great skiing experience. It's pretty close to the city as well if that's where you're staying. Three hotels near Seattle have ski packages that differ as they use different landscapes. Make sure to check out which appeals to you most before booking. They are between 1-2 hours from downtown Seattle.

It’s an unwritten rule that the best way to enjoy food in a city with delectable cuisine is through a food tour. Savor Seattle is rated among the top food tours in the US and, arguably, the world. 

  • They are No. 1 in Seattle. 
  • Online reviews speak to the high quality. 
  • Ranked among US Top Ten Food Tours on TripAdvisor.
  • Multiple tour alternatives to suit the palate of different food lovers.

For people who want local treats paired with beers and cocktails, an indulgence in chocolate from nearly fifty chocolate companies, light bites with alcohol, or an all-out gourmet delight lasting several days, then there is something for everyone.

Once per month on a Thursday, you can take the official introduction into the world of Seattle's art community. Displays from local artists will be on display, and you get to make small talk with other art lovers.  

Every second Saturday of each month, the art walk opens for a lovely art showcase.

There is also a lot of street art that is picture-worthy, or you can take the bus or go cycling through the artist alley to see some breathtakingly beautiful artwork.

Finding things or places that every family member will enjoy or can participate in is usually tricky. It's even more so if you are traveling with a toddler. However, that is not the case in Seattle. There are many indoor and outdoor activities for family members of all ages to enjoy and immerse themselves fully.  

Things To Do In Seattle With Kids

Who doesn't love pinball machines? The iconic Seattle Pinball Museum is perhaps the most superior interactive museum that Seattle. Therefore, if your family has toddlers and teenagers, you may be at the museum all day. There are vintage pinball games as far as the eyes can see, more than fifty if you're counting. The entry fee allows you unlimited playtime. 

Speaking of families, well, kids love planes, and Boeing makes their factory tour exciting. The entire family will be impressed, seeing how a plane is built and assembled. The time was very enlightening, and you're able to touch the displays. Touring the Boeing museum is both a tremendous family-friendly experience and a fun thing to do in Seattle. Whether you have toddlers or teenagers, they will love you for that trip.

Just North of Seattle in the San Juan Islands is where the whales like to present themselves, and this is a fun excursion for the entire family. Head on over to Puget Sound, and you might be lucky enough to view a whale or two. 

There are so many parks to choose from in this tree-filled city, but Woodland Park is one of the best. It is a zoological garden that is devoted to the conservancy of wildlife. It is not the most beautiful of all the parks, but the only one that offers a zoo and both teenagers and toddlers can have fun there while learning a lot about nature. For just a beautiful park experience, you can take the family to Discovery or Volunteer Park. 

Free And Cheap Things To Do

Just like any tourist attraction, some excursions and dining experiences can be pretty costly in Seattle. However, the majestic city offerings are so vast that there are lovely experiences for every budget. So if you are looking for a good time on tight finances, don't worry about the cost. Here are a few places that you can visit without paying a dime or can be considered inexpensive.

There are many beautiful parks to visit in Seattle, but only a few are extraordinary and should be on your must-do list. The sculpture park located at the Seattle Art Museum showcases remarkable artworks by modern top-rated artists, including Louise Bourgeois and Alexander Calder. The sculptures are neighbors to Puget Sound and enhance the Space Needle and the Olympic Mountains in the background. Check out the masterpieces for free and take lots of pictures.

Free walking tours are a lovely way to familiarize yourself with the city's layout, and they are free, but you must reserve one as the groups have restricted numbers. Your knowledgeable guide will take you to all the most intriguing places to learn about across the Emerald City. From a city's history to food tastings and cool hip places, you will have a fun experience. 

You can choose to do a regular tour of the city called Seattle 101, Pike Place Market, or a walk through the Old Seattle Cemetery, where the remains of many famous people lay. The guides can also give you great tips about places you can go and fun things to do in Seattle. Speaking of prizes, don't forget to leave one for your excellent tour guide. 

Are you a comedy club fan? If you'd like to hear more about Seattle, but in a rib-tickling way, then a visit to one of the comedy clubs is a great choice. Be careful not to choke on your drink because the stand-up acts tend to get wickedly hilarious. Sometimes it may be standup comedy and other times impromptu, but it's always good. 

If you're in the mood, grab the microphone on open-mic nights at a local tavern for free, or check to see if a renowned comedian is on the roster to perform. The shows are usually affordable and very entertaining. 

Ghost tours are not just for Halloween, at least, not in Seattle. If you like scary, then the Pioneer Square Ghost Tour, which is inexpensive and receives rave reviews, is a great option. Listen to the guide as they give real-life horror stories before taking you to the underground for a quick tour of the old Seattle. 

Things To Do In Downtown Seattle

Downtown Seattle is abuzz with activities day and night. From pubs to restaurants, cabaret shows, and more, there is always something stimulating to participate in, not to mention the busy harbor with vessels coming in and out.

If you have a sweet tooth then a chocolate indulgence, should be a good fix. Spend two hours walking, enjoying Seattle’s top chocolate creators and their confectionery. Learn how to make chocolates and taste just about every delicacy possibly made from chocolate.

Visit Chihuly Gardens and Glass attraction to get some color in your life on a rainy day. The intriguing glass exposition designed by Dave Chihuly, a local sculptor, gives the feel of being in a magical land. The colors are vibrant, and the glass flowers look surreal. The displays are both indoor and outdoor and great for couples or the entire family.

The lovely Japanese Gardens are ideal spots for couples. They can be found in Washington Park and are great options for a picnic or to go for a romantic stroll. 

For a day of pampering and rejuvenation, a visit to the charming Snoqualmie Falls would be perfect.  Enjoy a spa treatment and fine dining at this location.

Music lovers can head on over to the Museum of Pop Culture for great interactive displays and a noisy young crowd always converging on the restaurant and bar. There is also a popular bar/restaurant in the museum that attracts a hip, young Seattle crowd. 

Don’t forget to stop by the Seattle Art Museum, which is smack in the middle of downtown. It is a small yet lovely museum and you are guaranteed to see a top of the line art display. 

Gas Works Park is a public park that has rustic displays of structures that housed the gas company and are excellent for walking and biking. 

Another great park that is excellent for family fun and is right next to downtown Seattle with many restaurants in proximity is Madison Park. The lake there is called a beach during the summer where locals and tourists alike converge to have immense fun in the water.

Things To Do In Seattle At Night

Nighttime is vibe time in Seattle. Many places open both day and night, so if you have been reading from the top, you'll see several areas, including Space Needle and Pike Market, that have great dining experiences at night. Space Needle, however, has an epic overhead view of Seattle. 

If you love Vietnamese cuisine or even if you've never tried it, you should, especially since Seattle is residence to a rich European and Asian dining atmosphere worth experiencing. You'll be able to savor authentic flavors from across the globe, including Vietnamese cuisine due to the large array of options. There is food for every budget from regular to high-end settings, but it is all good.

You'll get the best deals during happy hour for the same delicious meals at some places.

Checking out a brewery or a few should be on your things to do in Seattle list. We mentioned coffee and chocolate, however, beer is also a specialty in Seattle, and your taste buds will light up when you visit one of the local breweries, including an award-winning pub. Whether you want a cozy setting or just a lively place to drink and have fun, you have various options. 

If you're a board game lover and want to compete with your family, friends, or strangers, you can easily find a cafe to cater to your need. 

Romantic Things To Do

Most people, if not everyone, knows that Seattle is a city of romance and so it would be remiss to not have anything there for couples.  

The secluded tide pools at Golden Gardens Park are ideal for couples who want to hang for a couple of hours or dangle their feet in the water. The beach area is more open but still generous to relax and even light a bonfire during the night in the designated areas. 

Nothing spells sentimental like a waterfall, and the Waterfall Garden hidden gem is a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. A 22-foot artificial waterfall is a place for couples to enjoy the sounds and each other's company, if only for a short while. There is seating available for a lunch break or to relax after a romantic stroll. 

With Seattle Wine Tours, couples can admire and listen to the thunderous falls as they sip wines from various vineyards. A waterfall in the middle of a dense forest and a winery is a perfect recipe for romance. After visiting three boutique vineyards and cellars in comfortable environments, you can enjoy a delicious freshly made lunch before heading back into the city.

You have to watch the Seattle sunset for yourself to understand how spectacular it is. For couples to view the evening, the best locations are Alki Beach, West Point Lighthouse, Kerry, Ballard, or Golden Gardens Park. Wherever you choose, it's guaranteed to be impressive and memorable.

Unique Things To Do

Some say unique others say weird, but Seattle has a mixture of both types of attractions. You decide, but they are worth visiting either way.

Seattle has a wall dedicated to gum, already chewed by hundreds, if not thousands of people. It's an excellent opportunity to take a photo while popping a gum, but placing it on the wall is all up to your discretion. It's just a block or two from the Pike Market.

If you like unusual art, visit Fremont Troll to take a photo with the massive beast beneath the George Washington Memorial Bridge. When you stop having fun with the monstrous art, take a walk through the district to see the many shops with various display items. 

Since Seattle is on Puget Sound; architects have taken advantage of the expansive waterfront to make lovely boathouses. You can walk by and admire them or rent one. 

Many people are unaware that Seattle has a complete underground area accessible by tunnels. Why?

Centuries ago, the town used to be very muddy and would flood often. After a massive fire 130 years ago, engineers decided to build the city higher. Those people whose homes or businesses weren't destroyed in the fire eventually moved up too. The buildings are made of brick now, unlike the wooden structures, which caused the primary fire years ago. The tour lasts for just over an hour. 

Indoor or Outdoor Things To Do

There are many things to do indoors, many of which you just read about, but here is another along with a few outdoor expeditions. 

MoPOP or The Museum of Pop Culture is not your typical museum experience. It is very interactive and looks at how music has evolved throughout the eras. Visitors must plan to interact to get the full effect of the attraction, which looks at rock n roll, gaming, etc., and what they have become.

If you'd like to get your adrenaline flowing and breathe in some fresh air as well, a hike to Rattlesnake Ledge is the right choice. The trek is five miles to and fro, and the view of the lake from 1,500 feet up is marvelous. 

It's less than an hour from downtown Seattle, and you should check with the Trails Association still approves hiking in that area at the time of your visit. 

Locals and tourists alike visit Discovery Park to watch birds, look at seals and sea lions, and watch the sunset from the lighthouse.

The West Point Lighthouse is excellent for couples, families, or anyone who likes viewing sea creatures. For couples, the sunset makes the lighthouse a superb place for photographs. Wear comfortable shoes because the lighthouse is a mile and a half from the parking area. 

When you take a ferry across Puget Sound between the city and Bainbridge Island, you get a view of Seattle like no other. The vibrant life on the port is seen from a different level, too, because you feel like you're a part of it. There are many activities to indulge in on the islands, from great food and entertainment to the fantastic scenery. Don't head back until sunset when you can see an amazing view of Seattle and its reflection in the ocean. That trip is worth it. 

Seattle As A Whole

Bring your umbrella, comfortable shoes, and a hungry stomach when you're visiting Seattle for fun things to do. It's one of the best cities globally for food, coffee, chocolate, exhibitions, nature walks, and romance. Be prepared to indulge in an array of activities, but above all, know that you'll have to come back a few times to get the full experience of this truly unique and family-friendly city. Be open-minded and let us know if you discovered something new. Enjoy!

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