25 Things To Do in Seattle: The Ultimate Guide
Updated: October 10, 2023
Thinking about planning a trip to the Emerald City? There are so many cool and unique experiences to check out in the unique Northwest city of Seattle. As a top travel destination, Seattle is full of hidden gems and fun activities for all to enjoy. We’ve curated a list of the best things to do in Seattle to make planning your trip to the coffee capital of the United States easier.
Best Things To Do in Seattle
When planning out your trip to SeaTown, don’t forget to include these top activities to do in your itinerary.
1. Admire Glass Art at Chihuly Garden and GlassAAA / Brooke Holt
The Chihuly Garden and Glass is a beautiful museum dedicated to the master glass blower, Dale Chihuly. Enjoy beautiful glass sculptures that display vibrant hues and bouncing lights in unique shapes.
Step into the Glasshouse to view the 100-foot-long glass installation that wraps around the entire room and shines beautiful red, orange and yellow flowers. You may even enjoy a live glass blowing demonstration while you’re there.
2. Explore the Seattle Art Museum’s Diverse CollectionsShutterstock / KaseyyN
Spend a slower vacation day and stop at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) to view art collections. An ideal art-lovers activity, the SAM has been one of the largest museums in the Pacific Northwest since its opening in 1933. The SAM includes temporary installations, special exhibitions and a growing art collection.
The SAM is a block away from Pike Place Market and lies in the center of the Downtown Seattle area. The SAM also extends to the Olympic Sculpture Park toward the waterfront and the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park.
3. Discover the Historic Attractions at Pioneer SquareAAA / Katie Broome
Explore Seattle’s oldest and most historic neighborhood — Pioneer Square. Established in 1852 and known as the “First Neighborhood” of Seattle, Pioneer Square provides a glimpse into the past and present of the city. This area is home to many of Seattle’s historical sites and attractions, including the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, the Smith Tower and the Waterfall Garden Park.
4. Hike Mount Rainier National ParkGetty Images / thinair28
The allure of the Pacific Northwest (PNW) is in its breathtaking landscapes and natural wonders. Take a day trip from Seattle and hike in one of the oldest national parks in the United States — Mount Rainier National Park.
Explore the park's many areas, such as Paradise and Sunrise, each of which includes a variety of trailheads, lakes, waterfalls and scenic views. Some popular spots to check out include Skyline Trail, Reflection Lake, Myrtle Falls and Sunrise Point.
5. Hike up to Kerry ParkShutterstock / ESB Professional
Looking for more panoramic views of the Seattle skyline? Hike up to Kerry Park in the Lower Queen Anne area — located North of downtown. Enjoy a beautiful view of the Seattle Space Needle and the waterfront from afar. This is a must-do activity for both locals and visitors on a sunny day out.
6. Watch a Local Sports GameGetty Images / 33ft
Seattle residents are proud fans of their local sports. Join in on the excitement and attend a game at T-Mobile Park, Climate Pledge Arena or Lumen Field. Grab a Seattle Dog and purchase a jersey to rally on your favorite local team, whether it’s the Mariners, Seahawks, Storm, Sounders or the Kraken.
Free Things To Do in Seattle
Below are free things to do in Seattle to keep more cash in your pocket for your trip mementos and souvenirs.
7. Explore the Iconic Pike Place MarketAAA / Katie Broome
Enjoy the hustle and bustle of one of Seattle’s most well-known spots — the Pike Place Market. Spend a morning or a full day exploring various vendors’ offerings, from flowers to fresh seafood to produce. With multiple levels and buildings, there’s an array of shops and restaurants to spend time in. Plus, the first Starbucks store sits right across the market for you to grab some caffeine and refuel.
If you get the chance, watch the famous fishmongers toss the purchased fish across the fish market to prepare it for sale — a sight you don’t want to miss!
8. Discover the Beauty of Discovery ParkGetty Images / Lowestock
North of Downtown Seattle, you’ll find the dreamy Discovery Park. Enjoy scenic views of the coastal waters, walk through the forest and wander through the meadows. Watch for the migratory birds and seals on the shoreline. End your time at Discovery Park with a picnic near the West Point Lighthouse.
9. Relax at Alki BeachShutterstock / GeorgeColePhoto
Travel down to North Seattle to enjoy and walk along Alki Beach. Located on the shoreline of Elliot Bay, Alki Beach is a top destination for bikers, runners, pet walkers and sunbathers in the summertime. Take in the picturesque views of Mount Rainier and the Cascades while breathing in the fresh salty air.
10. Admire the Fremont Troll and Other Public ArtAAA / Katie Broome
You’ll find lots of quirky public art attractions and sites in the funky Fremont district. Spend a full day exploring the neighborhood’s great restaurants, eclectic storefronts and breweries. Visit on a Sunday to enjoy the Fremont Sunday Farmers Market and pick up some yummy treats and bites.
Don’t forget to find the hidden giant concrete statue under the Aurora Bridge — the friendly Fremont Troll!
Fun Things To Do in Seattle
Check out these fun things to do in Seattle and make unforgettable memories during your visit.
11. Take In the Stunning Views from the Space NeedleGetty Images / Ben Babusis
Did you really visit Seattle if you didn't get a picture of the Space Needle? Take it a step further and take an elevator ride up the iconic structure to get a 360-degree panoramic view of the city around you. Take in the breathtaking views over drinks at The Loupe, the world’s first and only cocktail bar on a rotating floor, so you can get every skyline view while sitting in the same seat!
12. Take a Ferry Ride to Bainbridge IslandGetty Images / SteveDF
Have a free day during your trip to Seattle? Take the Bainbridge Island Ferry located at the waterfront over to the island. Enjoy the views of Puget Sound while sitting inside the ferry, or walk to the top of the ferry or outside to enjoy the ocean breeze.
Once you arrive at Bainbridge Island, take a leisurely stroll to Winslow, the island's downtown area. There you can peruse the array of shops, cafes and restaurants. Consider renting a bicycle or car to venture further into the island. There are wineries, scenic hiking trails, beaches and parks sprinkled across the island.
13. Take an Underground Walking TourShutterstock / Zack Frank
Did you know that Seattle is built on top of itself? The Great Seattle Fire of 1889 burned most of the Pioneer Square area down, which was the majority of the city at the time. When rebuilding the city, construction was built on top of the first floors of most buildings to combat frequent flooding.
Lucky for us, you can still explore the underground city with tour guides. Learn about the rich history of the city’s rebuild and what life was like during the end of the 19th century.
14. Stop at the Iconic Post Alley Gum WallGetty Images / 400tmax
Got a couple extra sticks of gum in your pocket. Walk over to the Post Alley Gum Wall and add to the quirky collection of gum layered upon the alley’s walls. A classic for tourists, the gum wall is a gross but fun showcase of the city’s friendly spirit!
Things To Do With Kids in Seattle
Need family-friendly activities to do with your kids in Seattle? Below are some of the best things to do with your kids in Seattle.
15. Explore Exhibits at the Museum of Flightflickr / CC BY
Do your kids have a love for aviation and space? If so, they’ll love exploring the various exhibits at the Museum of Flight. Learn more about the history of aviation with interactive exhibits that showcase 150 real planes, satellites, helicopters, lunar module mock-ups and space station parts.
16. Visit Woodland Park Zoo and Its Diverse AnimalsShutterstock / Chang Han Chris Kim
Located in the heart of the Green Lake area lies the Woodland Park Zoo. Explore its many areas, from the Living Northwest Trail to the African Savanna to Australasia. Learn about a diverse array of animals from around the world at every exhibit or interactive program. Explore all the exhibits on a sunny day, or use the “Rainy Day Map” if you experience some Seattle storms.
17. Explore Underwater Wonders at the Seattle AquariumGetty Images / lechatnoir
Located on the Seattle Waterfront, the Seattle Aquarium offers a unique aquatic experience for visitors. The aquarium provides diverse exhibits, like charming sea otters and beautiful jellyfish, to view. For families, you can enjoy educational interactive programs like diver shows and octopus feedings. Learn more about marine conservation in the Northwest and marine life in the nearby ocean waters.
18. Experience Interactive Exhibits at Pacific Science CenterShutterstock / Screenhits415
Neighbors to the Space Needle is a tourist and local favorite, the Pacific Science Center