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Things to do in

Seattle

From the top of the Space Needle to the shores of Puget Sound, this metropolis blends nature with urban.

Our most recommended things to do in Seattle

Seattle: Space Needle & Chihuly Garden and Glass Ticket

1. Seattle: Space Needle & Chihuly Garden and Glass Ticket

Experience the stunning views of Seattle from the Space Needle with a timed entry ticket. Take a stroll through the imaginative artwork of Dale Chihuly with admission to Chihuly Garden and Glass. Get access to both of these must-see attractions in one day. Exchange your voucher at the Space Needle and enjoy a thrilling 42-second elevator ride with views of the Seattle Center, the Puget Sound, and mountains. Step out on The Loupe, the world’s first and only revolving glass floor, for never-before-seen views of the structure and city. Lean into tilting glass walls on the open-air outdoor observation deck. Float over Seattle on one of 24 angled glass benches perched around the outdoor deck. After taking in the all-new thrilling views at the Space Needle, immerse yourself in a world where curiosity, creativity and color come to life at Chihuly Garden and Glass. Get an insight into the inspiration and influences that drive the work of artist Dale Chihuly. Make your way through the exhibition’s eight interior galleries before heading out to the richly landscaped outdoor garden and glasshouse centerpiece. Be moved as you experience a comprehensive look at Chihuly's most significant work. Enjoy complimentary digital photo downloads and get access to daily gallery talks and live glass demonstrations. Admission includes a complimentary audio tour that you can downloaded to your smartphone.

Seattle: Underground Walking Tour

2. Seattle: Underground Walking Tour

Take this 1-hour journey back in time and allow your guide to take you below the streets of Seattle. Explore over four city blocks of historic Pioneer Square and wander through three underground passageways originally constructed in the 1890's. Learn the historical details leading to the birth of Seattle as it is knows today, and the decision to raise the city streets out of the swampy grounds. See where retaining walls were added alongside the streets and filled to make new roads several feet above where they originally stood.

Seattle: Harbor Cruise with Live Narration

3. Seattle: Harbor Cruise with Live Narration

Admire the beauty of Seattle's vibrant and historic harbor on this narrated cruise. Enjoy the fresh air and a bit of history while taking in all the impressive sights, including the famous Space Needle. Start your tour from the Seattle Central Waterfront and get an impressive and comprehensive look at the city's most beautiful sights. Enjoy a perfect trip for tourists and locals alike and take in views from the outdoor open deck.

Must-See Seattle: City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

4. Must-See Seattle: City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

On a sightseeing Seattle bus tour, sit back and relax as the tour takes you to the city's most popular and most important sights. Hop on and hop off at any of the allocated tour stops to explore the sights that interest you the most. As you travel, enjoy panoramic views of the city from the open-top deck on the bus, plus a wonderful audio commentary giving you all the information you need. Hop off at popular landmarks including the Space Needle, one of the cities tallest structures and home to a wonderful observation deck and revolving restaurant. With the Premium Ticket, not only will you have access to all 16 bus stops, but you can enjoy a stunning Scenic Panoramic Tour which gives you completely unrivalled views of the city. This ticket also includes a walking tour in the Pioneer Square Historic District, allowing you to take an intricate look at some of Seattle's fascinating past.  Must See Seattle Route highlights: • Space Needle • Historic Chinatown Gate • Seattle Central Library • Capitol Hill & Jimi Hendrix Statue • Paramount Theatre

Seattle: Northwest BYOB Sailing Experience

5. Seattle: Northwest BYOB Sailing Experience

Start the tour on the downtown waterfront to get stunning views of Seattle. This trip sails for 2 hours with the wind, but the goal is to get away from the city and hopefully get some views of Mt. Rainer and the Olympic Mountains. Bring your own drinks and snacks to make it a fun-filled trip. Meet your guide and crew and hop aboard. Sailing the royal blue waters of Puget Sound are 2 U.S. Coast Certified high-performance sailing yachts. Originally built as ocean racers, they have been comfortably reconfigured to make for an amazing sailing experience. Sit on the open decks, or join the captain back at the helm. These 2 gorgeous vessels combine to create Seattle's favorite sailing experience. This tour is BYOB (bring your own booze) which allows you to eat, drink, and picnic at your leisure, all the while taking in the spectacular views.

Seattle: City Harbor Cruise

6. Seattle: City Harbor Cruise

Hop aboard a 1-hour cruise through Seattle’s famous Puget Sound. Departing from the city’s historic waterfront, you’ll have the opportunity to snap shots of iconic landmarks from an unimpeded viewpoint, all the while feeling the sea breeze on your face. Spot the Space Needle and Seattle’s skyline while listening to the on-board narration, learning about the diverse history of the Emerald City. On clear days, marvel at the Olympic and Cascade Mountain Ranges as they stand tall in the distance, surrounding the entirety of the city. Keep your eyes peeled for the towering Mount Rainier in the distance, rising over 14,000 feet above sea level.

Seattle: Pike Place Market Chef-Guided Food Tour

7. Seattle: Pike Place Market Chef-Guided Food Tour

Meet your chef guide and watch cheese being made as you learn about the local dairy industry. Then, head to Beecher's Mac N Cheese and Elleno's yogurt for a tasting. Check out a secret garden that grows food and go to Pike Place Chowder. Discover small business stories like Chukar Cherries and taste several types of chocolate-covered cherries including Seattle's famous Rainier cherry. Learn about bean-to-bar chocolate and where chefs buy their produce, meat, and seafood. This is a unique way to explore Pike Place Market's small businesses and savor the local delicacies. The tour includes 9 different stops with about 15 small bites. In addition to tasting and learning about Pike Place Market, receive a 10% discount card to shop at a partner network.

Seattle Sky View Observatory: Skip-the-line Ticket Options

8. Seattle Sky View Observatory: Skip-the-line Ticket Options

Discover the beauty of Seattle from above.  At nearly 1,000 feet this platform is the tallest public viewing area in the Pacific Northwest and is a perfect panorama to begin your Seattle experience.   Choose between 3 ticket options, where you can upgrade to receive priority entry and exit, receive a credit to spend at the Sky View Café or gift shop, and even enjoy reserved seating with the best view. Plan your itinerary from the vantage point of the observatory. Decide between taking a whirl on the Great Wheel, strolling through Pike Place Market, or journeying to the San Juan Islands. Interact with a touch screen technology to explore destinations, tours, and areas so you can create a virtual itinerary. Overlook the city’s skyscrapers, residential neighborhoods, shipping port, and sports stadiums, then look beyond to the mountains, the sea, and the sky. Be captivated by 360-degree panoramic views including Mt. Rainier, Lake Washington, the Cascade Mountains, Mt. Baker, Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound, the Space Needle and much more.

Seattle: Tall Sailboat Sunset Harbor Cruise

9. Seattle: Tall Sailboat Sunset Harbor Cruise

Experience the romance of traditional sailing on sunset cruise through the Seattle Harbor. Relax on the boat's comfortable seats or take in the views from the high spacious decks. Have the chance to purchase some delicious snacks and drinks while you sail. Hop aboard the schooner 'Bay Lady' and depart from Pier 66 on Seattle's waterfront. Feel the thrill of letting the wind decide the direction of the ship. Admire sights like the Space Needle, Smith Tower, and on clear days, see Mount Rainier's snowy peak. Let the sunset over the mountain ranges of the Puget Sound take your breath away. Unwind with a drink from the onboard bar that serves a refreshing range of drinks like cider, beer, wine, champagne, soda, and water. 

Seattle: Adults Only Guided Ghost Tour at Night

10. Seattle: Adults Only Guided Ghost Tour at Night

Leave the kids behind and delve into Seattle's macabre haunted history on an adults-only ghost tour. Learn about the city's seedier ghosts, whose hauntings are on the darker side. Your tour begins at The London Plane Cafe. You'll then head over to Occidental Square. From here, head to the J and M Café, a historic hangout considered to be the oldest bar in all of Seattle. Listen to stories about the "Wide Open Days", a time when gambling was tolerated due to a lack of authority in the city. Then, continue to Luigi's to discover the place where the ghosts of Seattle go to dine. See the haunted Cadillac Hotel and visit the Memorial to Fallen Firefighters to hear about the most destructive fire in the city's history. Head to Merchant's Cafe and Saloon, one of the oldest restaurants still operating from its original location, and let your guide tell you about the ghosts that haunt the building. Finally, stop by the oldest skyscraper in Seattle, Smith Tower.

Frequently asked questions about Seattle

What top attractions are a must-see in Seattle?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Seattle?

The best day trips and excursions from Seattle are:

Vancouver

What are the best inexpensive things to do in Seattle?

What are the most popular museums and exhibitions in Seattle?

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Seattle

The Emerald City is the jewel of the Pacific Northwest and an incredible destination to explore. Filled with one-of-a-kind experiences like the country’s oldest public market, epicenter for the grunge music scene, the birthplace of Starbucks, iconic monuments and arts scene, and outdoor attractions to name a few of the reasons that make Seattle a great destination to visit. Megan Indoe is a Brooklyn based travel enthusiast who shares her adventures with her husband and photographer Scott Herder across their travel channels on social media and their blog, Bobo & Chichi.

What should I do on my first trip to Seattle?

Your first visit to Seattle MUST include Pike Place Market. Forget the Space Needle (you’ll see it plenty from afar) and spend your time eating around the oldest public market in the United States. You can also find the original Starbucks here, you can tell which one it is by the line wrapping out the door. But, we would skip that and instead go to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Capitol Hill too!

What are some hidden gems to see in Seattle?

Seattle is full of hidden gems like the Fremont Troll tucked away under a bridge, find quirky museums like the Giant Shoe Museum in the basement level of Pike Place Market, or rent a hot tub boat on Lake Union with some friends for an unforgettable time. Our absolute favorite hidden gem is skipping the Space Needle and heading over to the Smith Tower Observatory instead, which provides a great view of the Space Needle from its outdoor deck.

How much time should I spend in Seattle?

You need at least a weekend in Seattle. Anything less than just isn’t enough time.

What food is Seattle known for?

Seattle has an extraordinary food scene, especially around Pike Place Market where you can join a food tour and sample around the best flavors the market offers. Surprisingly, Pike Place Chowder has won awards for the best New England Chowder beating actual East Coast contestants!

What is the best way to get around Seattle?

We really enjoy getting around Seattle by foot. If you’ve exhausted your steps for the day you can use a Seattle Yellow Cab or ride share app to get around or use the Link Light Rail, which is the local version of a subway and public transportation that’s easy to use and affordable.

What are the best months to visit Seattle?

Seattle is known for being a rainy destination as it rains an average of 150 days a year typically from October through March. While the temperature is pretty mild year-round, the best time of year to visit seattle is the summer which is very comfortable, just bring a light jacket for the evenings or September through October is right past the peak season and still comfortable.

What is neighborhood Pioneer Square known for?

Pioneer Square is one of our favorite neighborhoods and is the birthplace of the city! Here you can find some of the city’s most beautiful architecture and the fascinating underground city. You can join a tour to explore the entire underworld of Seattle and if you’re into spooky things you can join a paranormal tour too as there are several alleged haunted locations including Merchant’s Cafe which has even hosted several paranormal investigation television shows.

What are the best neighborhoods for food? 

The best neighborhood for food depends on what you’re looking for. Pike Place is great for sampling many different options but one of the best neighborhoods for food is Chinatown-International District, home to Seattle’s Asian-American communities.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

Located around 15 minutes from downtown Seattle, the Ballard neighborhood has great weekend flea markets, vintage shops, and a great selection of independent boutiques to browse. Another cool neighborhood to check out for artsy and hip shops is Capitol Hill.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Seattle?

Belltown and the Pike Place Market area are the best centrally located areas to stay in Seattle. You can also stay in First Hill, which is just a slight walk uphill from alot of the exploring you’ll be doing on the trip but provides great views and is still centrally located to many of the best Seattle attractions.

What is the best thing to do in Seattle for couples?

One of the most romantic things you can do in Seattle is rent a house boat on Lake Union and relive the famous rom-com classic, Sleepless in Seattle!

What are the best areas for outdoor activities around Seattle?

The Pacific Northwest really has some of the most beautiful landscape in the United States. If you’re looking for outdoor adventures consider taking the ferry from Seattle to Island Hop. If you’re short on time you can do a quick day trip to Bainbridge Island and if you have extra time you don’t want to miss Vashon Island or Blake Island. Each island has their own outdoor activities and gives you a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Other Sightseeing Options in Seattle

Want to discover all there is to do in Seattle? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Seattle

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,114 reviews

Five stars, because the cruise was wonderful. So fun and a great crew. The check in process though, was terrible! Maybe because a giant cruise ship was being loaded with passengers and a million tons of luggage at the same pier we were informed to go to...Pier 66. After asking several "big cruise workers" if they knew where we should be checking in for our "tall ship cruise", we finally found a little portable awning with a young girl, who took our names and pointed to a small building and told us to wait by a fountain. NOT a good or easy check in process. Also, when we asked the young lady where we could use a restroom, she said we could buy something at the local restaurant or walk about 10 minutes "that way" pointing down the street! NOT a satisfying answer. There needs to be a close restroom available for guests waiting to sail on the tall ship!!!

This was a really great trip. Mt. Rainer was stunning and beautiful and the wineries were awesome. Our tour guide Marjorie was a sweetheart. She made the day even extra special down to every detail. I would highly recommend this trip.

The gardens and museum were beautiful. The space needle is a have to do experience. The views were amazing

Chef Brandon was fantastic. Very knowledgeable, took his time and went above and beyond.

Loved the tour! Our guide was very informative about the history of Seattle.