Must Do Things In Seattle Before Your Cruise

Planning an Alaskan cruise leaving from Seattle? We’ve got quite a few must-do things you should do in Seattle before departing. First, you’ll want to visit the Cruise Terminal and get your boarding pass, and if you have time, explore some of Seattle’s top attractions. Seattle has some great last-minute attractions and tours requiring advanced reservations. Here are our recommendations for what to see and do in Seattle before you jump on your Alaskan cruise. Cruise passengers are always surprised that no cruise packages include things to do in Seattle. The good news is that this is the only cruise itinerary page you’ll need for your Seattle Trip!

Cruise boat approaching the Seattle Port

How To Spend Your Pre-Cruise Days In Seattle

Tourists planning on visiting Seattle for a cruise should plan on spending a few days pre and post-cruise. Seattle has many fun outdoor and indoor activities to keep you busy before your Alaskan Cruise departs from the Cruise Terminal.

Great Outdoor Adventures In Seattle Before Your Cruise

If you’re an outdoors enthusiast, there are plenty of breathtaking sights to explore in and around Seattle. One tour activity you will want to take advantage of is seeing Seattle and Mt. Rainier for altitude. A hot air balloon ride with Seattle Ballooning is the way to get amazing views. You’ll want to book plenty of weeks in advance as they only provide flights at sunrise and sunset. From 5000 feet, you’ll get panoramic views of the entire Seattle countryside. Seattle Ballooning also finishes all flights with a delicious glass of champagne.

Seattle pre cruise things to do
Things to do in Seattle Pre-cruise: Hot air balloon ride

If you want to stay on the ground, head to Discovery Park for some hiking and stunning views of Puget Sound. Or take a stroll along the waterfront to Pier 56 and catch some fish off the pier or watch ferries cruise in the harbor. Also, the Washington Park Arboretum has gorgeous views.

If you’re an outdoors enthusiast, there are plenty of breathtaking sights to explore in and around Seattle. Spend some time at Discovery Park or visit Washington Park Arboretum for gorgeous views of the area.

Hot Air Balloon In Front Of Mt. Rainier

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience in Seattle, take a hot air balloon tour. It’s something only the locals know about, and is definitely a highlight of any Seattle trip. The views of Mt. Rainier and the cityscape are unbelievable. Seattle Ballooning’s hot air balloon tours take place at sunrise and sunset. They also book up quickly, so book your tour now.

Hot air balloon ride in Seattle
Seattle Ballooning: Hot air balloon rides in front of Mt. Rainier

Olympic Sculpture Park

Distance from the cruise port: 1.5 miles
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy some beautiful outdoor art, the Olympic Sculpture Park is the perfect spot. Located right next to pier 66, it’s easy to visit on your way to or from your cruise. The park features a wide variety of sculptures from both American and international artists, making it a must-see for art lovers. Plus, the park’s location on the waterfront provides fantastic views of Seattle’s skyline and Puget Sound.

Olympic Sculpture Garden

Discovery Park

The Seattle Cruise Port is about a 20-minute drive from Discovery Park

Discovery Park is a must-visit for any visitor to Seattle. It’s a beautiful park located on the city’s edge, with stunning views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains. It’s also just a short Uber ride from Pier 66 Bell Street.

Within Discovery Park, there are plenty of things to see and do. The park is home to a lighthouse, a beautiful nature reserve, and many hiking trails. Be sure to explore all the park offers, and don’t forget to forage for berries and mushrooms while you’re there!

Fun Pre-Cruise Indoor Activities To Do In Seattle

Seattleites are the lucky ducks that get to experience all four seasons. Though we sometimes complain about the rain (it does tend to pour), it’s part of what makes our city so beautiful. There are plenty of indoor activities in Seattle, no matter what time of year.
If you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day, check out one of Seattle’s unique museums. The Museum of Flight, the Seattle Art Museum, and the EMP Museum are all great options. Or, if you’re into history, you can visit the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.
If you’re looking for something more active, you can check out one of Seattle’s many theaters. The Paramount Theatre, the Moore Theatre, and the 5th Avenue Theatre are all historic and beautiful venues that put on amazing shows.
And finally, if you’re looking for someplace to go shopping, Seattle has you covered. The Westlake Center and Pacific Place are upscale malls with many stores to choose from. And if you’re looking for something a little more unique, Pike Place Market is a must-visit spot for anyone visiting Seattle.

Seattle Art Museum

Distance from the Cruise Port: 2 Miles
If you’re looking for a cultural activity to enjoy before your cruise to Alaska, the Seattle Art Museum is a great option. The museum has an impressive collection of pieces from around the world, and its location in downtown Seattle makes it easy to get to. Plus, the building itself is a work of art.

Art museum
Seattle Art Museum

The Frye Art Museum

Distance from the port: 1.5 miles
If you’re into art and want to see some of the best Seattle offers, then the Frye Art Museum is a must-visit. It features a wide range of classical and contemporary artwork from both American and European artists. Plus, it’s located in the heart of downtown Seattle, making it easy to visit on your own or as part of a more extensive sightseeing tour. It’s a short uber from the Seattle Cruise Port.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Distance from the port: 10 minutes walk
Seattle’s best museum and one of its top tourist destinations is the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. It’s a short walk from the space needle and offers an incredible array of glass art from Dale Chihuly. The museum is in a beautiful setting with gardens and a glasshouse that is worth a visit for any art lover or Seattle enthusiast.

Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium is a great option if you’re looking to kill some time before your cruise leaves Seattle. You can see all sorts of sea life, from seals to salmon, and even get up close and personal with some of the animals in the touch tanks. And if you’re feeling lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the aquarium’s resident octopus. Of course, if you’re like me, you’ll want to get your fresh seafood before hitting the high seas. So enjoy the aquarium’s sealife exhibits while you can because once you’re on your cruise, there’s no telling what kind of seafood you’ll be eating!

Octopus about to be eaten on a cruise ship

Best Things To Do In Seattle pre-cruise cheatsheet

  1. Pike Place Market
  2. The Space Needle
  3. Seattle Art Museum
  4. Pacific Science Center
  5. Chihuly Garden and Glass
  6. Seattle Aquarium
  7. Woodland Park Zoo
  8. Argosy Cruises
  9. The Seattle Center

Hotels That Are Near The Seattle Cruise Port

Many cruise passengers departing Seattle ask us for pre-cruise hotel suggestions. Seattle has contemporary hotels, expensive hotels, and cheap hotels; realistically, you should choose to stay in a hotel near the cruise terminal. While there are a variety of hotels to choose from, we’ll let you know our favorite hotels in Seattle to stay in.
Staying in Downtown Seattle puts you right in the heart of the city. From here, you have easy access to all of the best restaurants, shopping, and attractions Seattle offers. Additionally, staying in Downtown Seattle puts you close to the public transportation system, which makes it easy to get around the city.
So if you’re looking for a great hotel location that will make your time in Seattle unforgettable, don’t miss this solid list of hotels in Downtown Seattle.


The Edgewater

Distance from port: Half a mile
The Edgewater is the perfect place for cruise passengers to stay in Seattle pre and post their Alaskan cruise. It’s located on the water, with stunning views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains. The hotel is luxurious and features unique interiors, like a grand piano that Elvis Presley once owned. And there’s no better place to relax after a day of sightseeing than The Edgewater’s outdoor pool patio, which offers breathtaking views of the Seattle skyline. Plus, there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars nearby to explore! You can also take advantage of The Edgewater’s world-class spa services or enjoy an evening of live music at their popular lounge. So if you’re looking for a unique experience in downtown Seattle, The Edgewater is the way to go!

Seattle Marriott Waterfront

The Seattle Marriott Waterfront is a luxurious hotel located in the heart of downtown Seattle. The hotel offers stunning views of The Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, and it’s just minutes away from all of the city’s best attractions. The Seattle Marriott is also the only hotel in downtown Seattle that offers a private cruise shuttle, which makes it the perfect choice for cruise passengers. With its comfortable rooms, relaxing spa, and delicious restaurants, the Seattle Marriott is the ideal place to stay during your visit to Seattle.

Seattle Four Seasons Hotel

The Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Seattle is a luxurious and perfect place to stay before embarking on a cruise to Alaska. The hotel offers top-notch service and is situated right next to Pikes Place Market – one of Seattle’s most popular tourist destinations. The market is home to dozens of local vendors, farmer’s markets, and restaurants, so visitors can easily find something to do and eat. The bustling cityscape of Seattle is just a short walk away from the Four Seasons Hotel, making it the perfect spot to stay for urban explorers looking to take in all the city has to offer.

Four seasons

Shuttle service to and from the Seattle Cruise Port

There are several shuttle service options to and from the Seattle cruise port. Complimentary shuttle service is available for guests of the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, located just a few blocks from the cruise terminal. The hotel also offers a dedicated shuttle service for its guests. Other shuttle service providers offer both complimentary and dedicated shuttle services and can be quickly booked online or through their phone reservation lines.

Cruise Transport

How To Dress For A Cruise To Alaska – What To Wear In Seattle Before The Cruise

Seattle and Alaska have very different climates, so it’s essential to dress appropriately for your cruise. In Seattle, the weather is mild and mostly dry, so that you can wear light clothing and shoes. But in Alaska, the temperatures are much colder, and it rains more often, so you’ll need to pack a coat, hat, and gloves. Consider bringing some warm pajamas when you’re on the ship at night. You’ll also want to get something classy. We suggest a tux for gentlemen and expensive cocktail dresses for ladies. Being classy is a must when you’re onboard the cruise ship!

Seattle’s Best Kept Secret: Pre-cruise weekend

Seattle is a great place to spend a pre-cruise weekend, and you need at least three days to experience Seattle fully. Additional time allows you to see Mount Rainier up close and book fantastic bucket list experience tours like hot air ballooning. When you are in Seattle for an entire weekend, you won’t wind the 30-minute wait to get a coffee from the first Starbucks in Pikes Place Market or wait an hour in line to get delicious chowder.

Hot Air Balloon Pilot Eliav C.
About the Author

Chief pilot of Seattle Ballooning. I get the opportunity to provide luxury hot air balloon rides just South of Seattle in front of Mt. Rainier. When you do what you love, it’s not considered work.

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