7 Fun Things to Do Near the Seattle Cruise Port
Updated: December 01, 2023
AAA Travel Editor, Katie Broome
Whether you have just a few hours before or after your Seattle cruise or an entire day, there are plenty of experiences and fun things to do near the Seattle cruise port.AAA / Katie Broome
1. Argosy Cruises
Alaskan Way & Seneca St.
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.AAA / Katie Broome
2. Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
3015 N.W. 54th St. 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.AAA / Katie Broome
3. Olympic Sculpture Park
2901 Western Ave. 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.AAA / Katie Broome
4. Pike Place Market
85 Pike St. 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 doughnuts) 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.AAA / Katie Broome
5. Seattle Center
305 Harrison St. 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.
6. Seattle Free Walking Tours
2001 Western Ave. 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.AAA / Katie Broome
7. 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.Courtesy of The Edgewater
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.AAA
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