Seattle is a vibrant city with a strong maritime heritage, an incredible food and drinks scene and more outdoor activities to get involved in than you could wish for. But apart from its stunning natural landscapes, seafood from the Puget Sound and fascinating museums, what are the attractions you need to check out while you’re in town? Even locals will tell you that no trip to the Emerald City is complete without checking out these things to do in Seattle!
The most recognizable feature of the Seattle skyline, the Space Needle is an icon of the Emerald City. Built in 1962 for Seattle’s World Fair, this sci-fi-esque tower (the design for which began life as a doodle on a napkin!) offers 360 degree views over the city, Elliott Bay, the Cascade Mountains and on a good day, even Mount Rainer. The observation level is best enjoyed at sunset (as many things in life are), when you can watch dusk settle over the city and Puget Sound and the lights star to twinkle below. There’s also a revolving restaurant on a lower level, where you can enjoy a meal along with an uninterrupted view over the Bay - but this doesn't come without a price tag.
Pike Place Market
Another Seattle icon, Pike Place Market is a delicious overload for all the senses. With the original Starbucks coffee shop, Rachel the Pig, street performers and salmon flying through the air (this will make sense once you reach Pike Place Fish Market where fishmongers joyfully fling fish around) as well as over 200 stalls where local artisans and producers sell their wares, you’ll want to spend a day here. Eat your way around the market, which is the oldest in the US (local legend has it that the market came to be after housewives revolted against the price of onions in the early 1900s) and keep an eye out for these must-eats. Feast on freshly caught oysters and Dungeness crab, clam chowder and pick up bites from across the globe from the hundreds of artisanal food stores who have made their home here.
The diverse streets of this neighborhood are packed with eateries, shops and cultural gems reflecting the city’s Asian American roots. Pass under the red dragons guarding the historic Chinatown Gate, peruse Chinese herbal medicine shops, small grocery stores selling authentic ingredients from across the globe or stop by a traditional acupuncturist. Make sure you don’t miss stopping by the Japanese supermarket Uwajimaya; browse the aisles and food hall overflowing with Japanese sweets and snacks, bento boxes, manga, books and groceries. Stroll through the Hing Hay Park which is a hub for community events and discover the Luke Wing Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. This important cultural landmark shares the histories, cultures and arts of Asian Pacific Americans in the city through its thought provoking exhibits and beautiful gallery spaces.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
This museum is an explosion of color and creativity, showcasing the incredible work of locally born glassblower Dale Chihuly. Wander (and wonder how he does it) in the eight interior galleries and in the garden where the flowing natural environment enhances the magic of the sculptures. The most striking feature of the museum though is the Glasshouse, a cathedral of glass where twisted pieces of yellow, orange and red glass hang suspended from the ceiling creating an other-worldly installation. Hues of colored light dance across the room, proving that Seattle is anything but dull! If you only visit one gallery in Seattle, make it this one.
The storied streets in this historic neighborhood offer a glimpse into Seattle’s past; the area started life in 1852 and is packed with fragments of the city’s history like the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, the Waterfall Garden Park and the Tlingit Indian Totem Pole. Pioneer Square is the city’s original downtown and is still the historic heart of Seattle and you can still see its ivy covered Romanesque Revival buildings, many of which are now home to trendy wine bars, galleries and hip boutiques. Above ground, Smith Tower is still standing - this was once the tallest building on the West Coast - but beneath the streets lies the Seattle of the 1800s, before it was destroyed by the infamous 1898 fire. Take an underground tour if you want to walk the same streets as the city’s first pioneers and discover the city’s subterranean history.
Hello, curious traveler!
Embark on a unique experience with Hello, curious traveler!
Embark on a unique experience with Our personalized, private tours, led by local hosts, make you feel like you’re exploring the city with a knowledgeable friend. We’ll take you to well-known sights and reveal Seattle’s hidden gems, unveiling stories typically missed by traditional tours. So unscript your journey, and see Seattle through the eyes of our local hosts!
Top private experiences in Seattle
We’ll pair you with the perfect host
There is no better way to see a city than with a friend who lives there. This is why we carefully match guests with their perfect host based on interested, personality and type of experience so they can discover a city beyond the tourist trail.
Make your inbox happy with our travel tips and inspiration as well as exclusive offers and first access to new services.