AAA Travel Tips / 7 Fun Things to Do Near the Seattle Cruise Port

7 Fun Things to Do Near the Seattle Cruise Port

AAA/Katie Broome
By AAA Travel Editor Katie Broome
December 30, 2019
So you’ve booked your Alaska cruise from Seattle. Now it’s time to figure out what to do around the cruise port!
First, get your bearings. Most cruise ships set sail from the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91, located at the north end of Elliott Bay (about a 15-minute drive from the downtown waterfront). Two cruise lines (Norwegian and Oceania) sail out of the Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66, near the midpoint of the downtown waterfront and within walking distance to some top attractions.
Regardless of which cruise terminal you’re using, there are plenty of fun things to do near the cruise ports, and most of them are just a short taxi or Uber ride away. Here are our picks for the best things to do before or after a Seattle cruise. (For more insider tips, check out 7 Cheap Things to Do in Seattle for $10 or Less, Seattle Off the Beaten Path, 5 Seattle Restaurants Worth a Stop (Plus a Food Tour) or the AAA Seattle Travel Guide.)
Colorful hanging plants and flags with the sign for Argosy Dining Cruises and Events in Seattle, Washington.
AAA/Katie Broome

Argosy Cruises

Alaskan Way & Seneca St.
(206) 623-1445
Assuming you’re not all cruised out, set sail with Argosy Cruises to see downtown Seattle by boat. Their 1-hour narrated Harbor Cruise provides a good overview of the city, offering breathtaking panoramas of the downtown skyline and Elliott Bay. Longer excursions cruise through the Ballard Locks (2 to 2.5 hours) or to Blake Island (4 to 5 hours); the Blake Island tour includes a meal and a cultural show.
From Pier 66 (Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal): A 2-minute drive or 15-minute walk to Pier 55.
From Pier 91 (Smith Cove Cruise Terminal): A 10-minute drive to Pier 55.
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The stone administration building at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Seattle, Washington.
AAA/Katie Broome

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

3015 N.W. 54th St.
(206) 783-7059
Keep the nautical theme going with a trip to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (a.k.a. the Ballard Locks), one of the best Seattle attractions with no admission fee. Here you can watch boats of all sizes make their way through the locks system on the Lake Washington Ship Canal. It’s an impressive feat of engineering and fun for kids, too. The surrounding Ballard neighborhood is a nice place to stroll, with shops, restaurants and a lively farmers market on Sundays.
From Pier 66 (Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal): A 15- to 20-minute drive to the locks.
From Pier 91 (Smith Cove Cruise Terminal): A 12-minute drive to the locks.
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View of the Puget Sound from a grassy meadow at Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, Washington.
AAA/Katie Broome

Olympic Sculpture Park

2901 Western Ave.
(206) 654-3100
Stretch your legs at Olympic Sculpture Park, a man-made green space just a short walk from the downtown waterfront. As you make your way up (or down) the Z-shaped path, you’ll see eye-catching modernist art, native plants and spectacular views of Elliott Bay and the distant Olympic Mountains. Best of all, the park is free.
From Pier 66 (Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal): A 3-minute drive or 10-minute walk to the park.
From Pier 91 (Smith Cove Cruise Terminal): A 6-minute drive to the park.
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Samples of chocolate covered cherries at Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington.
AAA/Katie Broome

Pike Place Market

85 Pike St.
(206) 682-7453
You’ve no doubt got a visit to Pike Place Market on your itinerary; it’s one of the top things to do in Seattle. A few tips for how to visit this busy farmers market: arrive early (before lunchtime is best, especially on the weekends), follow your nose (to specialty items like handmade cheese and cinnamon donuts) and take a guided tour if you want to know more about the market’s history and quirky elements like the gum wall. Savor Seattle Food Tours and Seattle Free Walking Tours both offer free food samples and great insider tips.
From Pier 66 (Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal): A 5-minute drive or 12-minute walk to the market.
From Pier 91 (Smith Cove Cruise Terminal): A 15-minute drive to the market.
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View looking up at the Space Needle and glass flower sculptures from the ground in Seattle, Washington.
AAA/Katie Broome

Seattle Center

305 Harrison St.
(206) 684-7200
For a handful of Seattle attractions in one spot, make your way to Seattle Center. Once the site of the 1962 World’s Fair, the grounds are now home to many Seattle must-sees, including the Space Needle (it’s fresh from a $100 million renovation and best to visit on a clear day), Chihuly Garden and Glass (check the schedule ahead of time, as it can close for private events), MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture) and the Seattle Center Monorail.
From Pier 66 (Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal): A 6-minute drive or 18-minute walk (slight uphill).
From Pier 91 (Smith Cove Cruise Terminal): An 11-minute drive.
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The red Public Market sign above a sign for the farmers market at Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington.
AAA/Katie Broome

Seattle Free Walking Tours

2001 Western Ave.
(425) 770-6928
Bring your walking shoes and explore the city with Seattle Free Walking Tours, which leads by-donation tours where you pay as much—or as little—as you want. Knowledgeable guides explain key dates in Seattle’s history and some of its most popular sights, with stops in Pike Place Market, the Pioneer Square Historic District and the waterfront area. Guides can recommend good places to eat and happy hours, too.
From Pier 66 (Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal): A 3-minute drive or 7-minute walk to the meeting place.
From Pier 91 (Smith Cove Cruise Terminal): A 9-minute drive to the meeting place.
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View of waterfront restaurants and the ferris wheel on Pier 57's Miner's Landing in Seattle, Washington.
AAA/Katie Broome

Seattle Waterfront

Alaskan Way
Taking a walk on the waterfront is a must do in Seattle. Yes, it can be touristy (Ye Olde Curiosity Shop and Wings Over Washington are two tourist magnets), but it’s also where you’ll find iconic Seattle attractions like the Seattle Great Wheel, the Seattle Aquarium and the docks for the Washington State Ferries. Wooden boardwalks, seagulls and a plethora of seafood options add to the charm. ( Ivar's Acres of Clams and Elliott's Oyster House are two Seattle waterfront restaurants worth a stop.)
From Pier 66 (Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal): Most places are within a 15-minute walk; a free shuttle runs along the waterfront.
From Pier 91 (Smith Cove Cruise Terminal): A 20-minute drive to the downtown waterfront.
The Edgewater in Seattle Washington
Courtesy of The Edgewater

Bonus Tip: Stay Near the Seattle Cruise Port

Whether you’re planning to arrive in Seattle a few days early or stay a few days late, choosing a downtown hotel near the Seattle cruise ship terminal will ensure your fares for taxis or ride-shares are cheap. Homewood Suites by Hilton-Seattle Downtown offers discounts for AAA members and has a convenient location on the waterfront, as does the Seattle Marriott Waterfront Hotel. For a splurge-worthy stay, book a room at The Edgewater, the closest you can get to Elliott Bay without being on a boat.
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