Seattle is a gorgeous destination for nature and city lovers alike. It’s surrounded by water and mountainside, lush forests, and thousands of parkland. It’s also home to a host of successful companies such as Starbucks, Microsoft, and Amazon. The city is full of sightseeing opportunities and delicious fresh foods to discover!
Let’s explore the 10 best things to do when you’re in Seattle:
1. Pike Place Market (FREE)
Pike Place Market is one of the largest and oldest farmers market in the US. The buzzing market has more than 10 million visitors per year and is noted as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Seattle.
Many of the vendors on the main level of the market sell fresh local items such as vegetables, seafood, jams, pasta, and flowers. A lot of the food vendors are very generous and give out a TON of samples, so make sure you grab a few as you walk along. My personal favorite was from Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt, you’ll never taste greek yogurt the same way after. If you’re a coffee lover, the first Starbucks was also established in Pike Place so it’s worth a visit. Pike Place also overlooks the Elliot Bay waterfront so you can enjoy the famous Pike Place Clam Chowder by the seaside.
As you enter the lower level of the market, you will see an interesting mix of shops selling everything from clothing, jewelry, antiques, candles, paintings, and other collectibles.
When you’re all done exploring, don’t forget to snap a photo of the Public Market Center sign outside!
2. Gum Wall (FREE)
The gum wall is located just below Pike Place Market. You’ll see a few signs pointing you toward a shady, dark alley where you’ll soon find a vibrant gum filled wall. This tradition has been formed in the early 1990s for gum enthusiasts all over the world to stick their wad of chewed gum on the wall. If you’re a germaphobe, I don’t recommend this destination for you. But if you’re into weird attractions like this, you’ll see plenty of cool gum designs in all shapes and letters.
3. Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum (~$26 reg, bundle ~$24)
I highly recommend looking up coupons or bundle packages online before you purchase your tickets for the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. I got a bundle package online with the Chihuly and the Space Needle together. You save a couple of bucks in comparison to getting it separately.
The museum itself is filled with an amazing gallery of delicate, glass art arranged in various themes. When you go outside, you’ll see glass art of plants blended in with nature emulating a real garden.
4. Space Needle (~$37 reg, bundle ~$24)
As mentioned above, there is a bundle package with the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum which can save you a few coins.
We chose the night time viewing of the Space Needle but they offer hours in the day time too. It really depends on your preference. This iconic observation tower can really be seen all over Seattle. It’s 605 ft high, 138 ft wide, 9,550 tons heavy, it was built to endure natural disasters including earthquakes up to 9.1 magnitude!
Once you check in, you’ll be guided to an elevator that will take you exactly 41 seconds to reach up top. From there, you’ll be able to see the beautiful skyline of Seattle. Your ticket also includes a wide angle selfie they take of you outside so be sure to take advantage of that too.
5. Kerry Park (FREE)
There’s no other place better than Kerry Park to see the Seattle skyline. It’s located on a slope in Queen Anne Hill. A photo from here is the perfect postcard picture. You will see panoramic views of the entire city including downtown Seattle, the Space Needle, Mount Rainer, and Elliot Bay.
6. Waterfront (FREE)
Nestled in between several tourists attractions, the Waterfront offers stunning views of West Seattle. There are endless options of things to do here, you can ride the 175 ft ferris wheel at the Seattle Great Wheel, check out sea animals at the Seattle Aquarium, and admire the fun art installations at Olympic Sculpture Park. You can also go shopping at one of the many souvenir shops. We managed to snag a really cute Seattle snapback for only $2.99! There’s also restaurants and small cafes for you to sit and enjoy some quick snack or fine dining.
7. Amazon HQ/Spheres/Amazon Go (FREE)
The Amazon complex trio is located in the heart of Seattle and if you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit.
If you’re a fan of architecture, you’ll find yourself immersed in a wonderland of beautiful bulbous buildings that make up the Amazon Headquarters offices for employees to work in. Once inside the Spheres, you’ll be able to access the lower levels called the Understory where it’s open to the public. Understory is a self-guided tour detailing why Amazon chose to create the office in nature inspired designs. Above the Understory, visitors need to reserve an appointment online in advance to see the indoor garden. It’s open on 2 Saturdays per month.
Explore more of the urban campus and book the Amazon HQ tour to get the full experience. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance to do this one since we didn’t book in advance. If this is something you’d want to add to your itinerary, try booking it at least 1-2 months in advance.
Last stop, Amazon Go is the most exciting one. The concept of this store is that it’s fully-automated with no cashiers and completely self-service. Upon entering the store, you’ll need to download the Amazon Go app. Using the most advanced shopping technology, they’ve placed hundreds of sensors in the store so they track everything you buy. If you decide you don’t want something, just put it back on the shelves and you won’t be charged. After you’ve finished your purchases, you’ll receive a receipt where they will deduct it from your account.
8. Starbucks Reserve (FREE)
This place is truly heaven on earth for coffee lovers. From the rose gold interior to the decadent desserts and aroma rich craft-roasted coffee, it’s seriously next level. It’s spacious enough to accommodate different activities. Try hanging out at the bar where you can have one of Starbucks exclusive beers on tap or relax by the windows watching the Seattle rain near the coffee and desserts area. It’s definitely a must visit when in Seattle!
9. II Corvo Pasta (~$10)
Unless you are planning to wait a few hours before they open, you’ll most likely be waiting in line for this gem. II Corvo Pasta is a hot spot for authentic Italian pasta. They sell 3-4 pasta menu items everyday which is usually bolognese rigatoni, lumache, pasta mista, lasagna or other variations. The place is opened early in the morning to late afternoon. They sell out quickly so make sure to get there early!
10. Un Bien (~$10-$16)
I discovered Un Bien on an episode of Dining on a Dime featured on Eater. This restaurant is a Caribbean meat lover paradise. You will find yourself gorging over delicious, juicy sandwiches. You’ll want to try their most famous menu item which is the Caribbean Roast Sandwich that they describe it as “pork shoulder coated in marinade and slow-roasted until it falls into succulent morsels“. The location is in a small neighborhood in Seattle but it’s hard to miss with it’s pink painted exterior.
- For transportation:
- If you plan to drive, parking meters can add up pretty quickly since there is rarely free parking. We chose to rent a car because we planned to drive to Portland after our trip. If you want to go see other places outside of downtown Seattle then a car would be ideal.
- A friend of mine told me she chose to use Uber everywhere when she traveled to Seattle. It’s cost efficient and convenient. So if you’re mostly sightseeing attractions around the downtown area of Seattle then this would be a great option for you.
- Since the city sits in the middle of a weather pattern that routinely brings in rain (about 70% of the year), it’s a good call to to pack your rain boots too.
Did you like the article? Leave me a comment below and let me know what places you’d love to explore in Seattle 😀