Fun Things to do in Seattle. This is the only list you need.
As local Seattle tour guides, we often get asked about other fun things there are to do in Seattle. Obviously, the best thing you can do is go hot air ballooning in front of Mt. Rainier. When most tourists think of Seattle, what things come to mind? The Space Needle? Pike Place Market? How about the Museum of Pop Culture or the EMP Museum.
There are so many things to do in Seattle Washington that it can be hard to choose if you have less than 48 hours! From air tours and water cruises on Puget Sound to award-winning restaurants and shopping at the Westlake Center Mall, Seattle has something for everyone.
The Fremont Troll
The Fremont Troll is a must-see for anyone visiting Seattle. First of all the name of the famous troll is “badass”. Although that’s a big name for an iconic troll to live up to, it does! The Fremont Troll is one of those things you just can’t miss out on if you’re in the area. The beast lives beneath the north end of George Washington Memorial Bridge in South Lake Union. His grumpy, yet adorable demeanor will make for an unforgettable experience!
The Fremont Arts Council commissioned Steve Badanes in 1989 to create a sculpture under the George Washington Memorial bridge. Steve’s team won the Fremont city arts competition to erect some sort of statue under Aurora Avenue. The Fremont Troll is a head-and-shoulders sculpture made from rebar steel, wire, and 4 thousand pounds of concrete. It’s also 18 ft tall and has a shiny metal eye. The area under the bridge had become a dumping ground and haven for drug dealers prior to the art installation. Steve Badanes’ team based the troll sculpture on Billy Goat’s gruff. The Fremont troll has done a great job protecting the bridge. Now, this fearsome troll sculpture attracts over 10,000 TikTok and Instagram users instead of vagrants.
After taking some pictures next to him be sure to take some time exploring more around Fremont. Fremont has a ton of other attractions like houseboats docks along the water and cute shops sprinkled throughout its quaint neighborhood.
The Seattle Gum Wall
Gum is sticky, hard to get off, and apparently, gum is art. The Seattle Gum Wall is a quirky attraction that will make for a fun photo op! Yeah, it is kind of gross and not overly covid friendly. Don’t forget your hand sanitizer. But the truth is people will probably like your TikTok videos of you sticking gum to a wall. The gum wall is located at Post Alley under Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle.
The gum wall has been around since 1993 and is known as one of Seattle’s quirkiest attractions. The gum wall started when people waiting for nearby concerts would stick gum to the wall. It started as a small section of gum that slowly grew into what it has become today: a 50-foot colorful mosaic made from thousands upon thousands of chewed gum wads stuck to an old brick wall. The local theater tried to clean it off but quickly became overwhelmed. Some areas of the gum wall are over 3 inches thick.
Seattle Coffee Shops
Seattle has an endless amount of coffee shops for Seattle residents and Seattle visitors to enjoy! Seattle is home to many coffee giants like Starbucks, Seattle’s Best Coffee, and Tully’s Coffee. You can be sure that these Seattle coffee shops are all amazing places to get your caffeine fix!
Visiting the original Starbucks in Seattle
Starbucks was founded in Seattle in 1971 by three friends looking to open up a coffee shop called “Pequod”. They believed their community needed flavorful espresso with generous amounts of steamed milk. Pequod changed its name in 1983 after the Moby Dick character Captain Ahab joined Starbucks’ staff along with his shipmate Starbuck; thus creating the name Starbucks. If you want to be like all the other influencers, stop by the original Starbucks roastery in Pikes Place market. The good news is that there are typically buskers playing music while you are waiting in line for 45 minutes to get your coffee. If you want some better photos, check out the new Starbucks reserve roastery in Capital Hill. It’s pretty magical.
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market has been a Seattle staple for more than 100 years. The market is home to some of the city’s best people-watching, with 10 million visitors per year attracted by its farm-fresh produce and abundance of shops.
You’ll find everything here from wader-clad fishmongers slinging salmon over their shoulders right down at the street level where buskers play tunes on anything they can get their hands on…even pots & pans will be making an appearance someday soon. And then there’s always that famous smell in your nostrils when you first enter – what could IT possibly be?
The famous landmark also houses some of the most delicious Seattle restaurants known for their chowder.
Seattle’s Pike Place Chowder Cafe opened in 2003, continuing to offer up award-winning New England Clam Chowder as its signature dish. The restaurant has also developed original recipes that have taken first place across the country–and continues to do so! A second location was launched this year with an expanded menu including fish ‘n chips or po’boys served alongside premium beers for all your needs on any given day.
Jacks Fish Spot is located in the Sanitary Building and serves up some of the best seafood chowders the public market has to offer. Bringing the new England style of hearty chowder to the city of Seattle, Jacks’s bread bowls can not be beaten.
Emmett Watsons’s Oyster Bar is one of the public markets’ oldest restaurants opening its doors to the city in 1979. This older no-frills restaurant proudly serves seafood the way it has always been served and has done little in changing its menu since it began years ago. A must-eat while visiting pike Place Market.
Take a Seattle Food Tours Offering the Best of The Pacific Northwest
Take a Seattle Food Tour Offering the Best of what the Pacific Northwest has on the table. Over time a few different touring groups have created a network of businesses in the downtown area. Seattle offers such a wide variety of flavors across the food scene. Take a food tour through Pike Place Market checking out spots rooted in the deep history of the city of Seattle. Savor Seattle Food Tours offers both private tours and early-bird walking tours of Pike Place Market creating the most unique restaurant guide experience.
Taking a tasting tour is by far one of the best ways to see the town. Guides have Seattle Food tours for Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square, and International District hitting all the hot spots around town. Seattle has a colorful food history every foodie will love. Book a guide and grab a coffee before you head off on one of the best Seattle Tours.
Explore the Local Neighborhood Farmers Market
Seattle is most famous for the Pike Place Market but one of the real treats is to branch out and visit the other Seattle Farmers Markets in surrounding neighborhoods. Fresh produce, artisan foods, and locally sourced products can all be found as you immerse yourself in the Seattle culture. West Seattle, Columbia City, Queen Ann, and the Ballard Farmers Market are all on the top of the list to cross off. The largest can be found in Fremont and UW at the “Fremont Sunday Flea Market” or in University District Farmers Market. Despite the rainy Seattle weather majority of these are Year-Round Market.
Fremont Sunday Flea Market: One not to miss, you will not be disappointed if you spend a Sunday at this weekend market. The largest of all the Neighborhood Farmers Markets and the most popular market, over 200 vendors flock to the year-round market. Open rain or shine you can find hot foods, antiques, fresh flowers, and all the ingredients for dinner you needed.
Ballard Farmers Market: Located in a younger demographic neighborhood. The Ballard Farmers Market runs year-round and is open 10 am – 3 pm on Sundays. A great way to get out of the house and enjoy something local.
The Seattle Farmers Market Association has put in a lot of work to develop the local farmer’s markets. Whether it’s a seasonal farmers market or a year-round farmers market you can find a neighborhood market that is just right for you.
Have a Picnic at Gasworks Park
Seattle’s Gasworks Park is one of the top spots to visit for views and spots to relax in Seattle. Built-in 1975, the park previously was home to a coal gasification plant that provided power to the city of Seattle. The site offers panoramic views of the emerald city and lake union on 19 acres of land giving plenty of room for all types of activities. Facilities from the previous plant were repurposed for recreational activities such as shelters for picnicking under having an open-air play bar during the rainy days.
Landscape Architect, Richard Haag had a unique park design for gas works. Kite Hill is one of the more prominent features of Gas Works and looks out onto lake union with a panoramic view. Having a picnic on Gas Works Kite hill will be one to remember for your trips to come.
Spend a Day on Alki Beach
Seattle isn’t known for the most sun but still has plenty of beaches to soak up some vitamin D on. Located in West Seattle, Alki Beach Park is a two-mile-long park stretching from Alki Point to the Duwamish head. One of the northwest’s most popular stretches of Beach, locals looking to get outside for the day, enjoy the sun or walk to the beach flock to the sandy beach. Still, a park’s property, Alki beach park is just a short water taxi ride from across Elliott Bay. Looking back towards downtown, the most beautiful views of passing Washington State Ferries, CenturyLink Field, and Seattle Aquarium.
Along Alki Avenue, one can find some of the best food West Seattle has to offer. Grab some Hawaiian food at Marination Ma Kai located to the east side of Alki Point. Their deck has sweeping views of the city skyline and Puget Sound. Walking down the beach or on the pedestrian path, you can’t miss Blue Moon Burgers. Renovating an old gas station right in the heart of Alki Avenue, this burger joint is a staple for all visitors to the area. A milkshake and fries always pair well during the hot months in Seattle. Alki Beach in is the best way to hit the beach in the upper left of the United States.
The sight of the Space Needle
Seattle is a beautiful city with so much to offer. One of the most iconic landmarks in Seattle is the Space Needle, built for the 1962 World’s Fair. It has since become one of Seattle’s most popular attractions and offers visitors an incredible sky view of downtown Seattle, Puget Sound, and Mount Rainier. Seattle Center also houses rotating exhibits throughout the year that showcase different cultures from around the world. Plus it features rotating restaurants on each level that are perfect for enjoying a meal or drinks while taking in unparalleled views of the city If you haven’t been up yet, it’s time to make your way there today!
The newest renovation focuses on the visitor experience and they installed a glass floor on one of the observation decks on the space needle. The unmatched views of downtown Seattle are hard to beat coming from the observation deck 48 floors high.
Take a Boeing Factory Tour
Seattle has been home to the Boeing company since it was founded in 1916. The Boeing Factory Tour is an opportunity of a lifetime to see where more than half of the world’s commercial airliners are built. Within their factories, you can find out how Boeing planes are assembled and learn about the company’s rich history. Fun for all ages, a tour of the Boeing Factory showcases one part of Seattle’s rich history with aviation.
Public tours take place up at Boeing Everett / Mukilteo at Paine Field. Offering one of the most comprehensive tours includes watching Boeing 787’s being assembled in the largest building they own. From the first piece of metal to picking the paint scheme, anyone can see how Boeing does it!
Seafood, Seafood, Seafood
Seattle has a lot to offer when it comes to food, but when it comes to seafood, Seattle blows it out of the water. Seattle is home to some of the freshest, most sustainable seafood the Puget Sound has to offer. Pike Place Market has all the top catches of the day with the seafood markets always full of raw oysters, clams, wild salmon, and much more quality seafood. If you are looking to enjoy some plates from a seafood restaurant check out some of the classic Seattle spots.
Ivars Salmon House: Located on Lake Union with waterfront views, The Salmon House is Ivars home on the freshwater. Founded in 1938 Ivars has been serving seafood and clam chowder to Seattle forever. Locally sourcing ingredients their love for the Puget Sound and Seattle area constantly shows in their service.
Head to the Ballard Locks
The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks are a fun, beautiful place to visit during the summer. Tourists that come to Seattle get swept away by this must-see destination, and it’s even more enchanting in the summer. Tourists will get to learn about how salmon migrate in water from freshwater streams to saltwater rivers and even see it happen in life! The area also has a variety of other attractions that are perfect for families with kids. Tourists can enjoy a boat ride on the water of Lake Washington or Union, educational exploration of the wetlands, or a walk through the world’s second-largest bird sanctuary at Herring Bay Park. Additionally, the Ballard Locks Visitors Center is open every day in the summer between 9 AM to 6 PM and offers free exhibits that are fun for all ages. Tourists should be advised that it’s recommended that younger children wear close-toe shoes, however. Tourists should also be prepared to hike up a small hill when visiting – but it’s worth seeing this remarkable site!
The Hiram M. Chittenden locks are an engineering marvel. They pull boats from the saltwater of Puget Sound across freshwater to Lake Washington, which connects Seattle with the freshwater of the Cedar River. Built-in 1917, they were once the main artery through Seattle’s industrial district, but now you can visit them for free and experience a historic engineering feat that still works perfectly today.
Play in the Tide Pools at Golden Gardens Park
Walking on the beach in Golden Gardens Park can be a great way to get some exercise and spend time with your family. Seattle parks Golden Gardens is a great location for walking on the sandy beaches is located on an island. Tourists can head to Golden Gardens Park and experience the lovely tides at low tide. Tourists will also be able to visit these amazing tidepools where they can see crabs, snails, starfish, and more! Tourists should be advised that the popular park closes at 7:00 PM so they should try to spend some time there before it becomes dark and the tide of the Puget sound starts coming back in. Tourists should also note that while sand is easy on their feet and’s mostly flat, it’s important that visitors wear close-toe shoes while playing in the Tide Pools to avoid injury. Tourists should also be prepared to get a little wet since these Tide pools have water coming in and out of them constantly during low tide!
Walkthrough the Volunteer Park Conservatory
The Volunteer Park Conservatory is a little hidden gem in downtown Seattle. It’s the perfect place to escape the rain and enjoy some variety of flowers – or just calm down and relax in their Victorian-style courtyard. Tourists should come to Volunteer Park during a rainy day to see flowers at their best – but even when it’s not raining, you can still enjoy beautiful views of Seattle from this location. Tourists don’t have to worry about getting wet, because the conservatory has great indoor space while the outside gardens are growing!
Visitors can experience a variety of different plants that are grown inside the conservatory year-round, including carnivorous plants, pitcher plants, corpse flowers, and more of the plant collection. Tourists will also get to see a wide variety of different species in the outdoor gardens, such as roses and rhododendrons! Tourists should keep an eye out for special summer exhibits that include displays from local schools and the Seattle Garden Tour.
Explore the Green Lake Park and Neighborhood
You won’t have to venture far to find a variety of things to do in Seattle. Green Lake is just one of the neighborhoods that will provide you with plenty of activities. Hanging out on the grass will be your best option for something to do. There are also wading, kayaking, paddleboarding, and sunbathing available. You can walk around the lake or take a boat tour. If you’re looking for something a bit less relaxing, try the running trails. Green Lake Park is packed with concrete, dirt, and gravel trails for walkers and runners alike. There are several around the lake for runners and walkers to enjoy. Tourists often like to go biking or rollerblading along the paths as well.
– Tourists should look into kayaking and paddleboarding
– Tourists should check out hanging out on the grass
– Tourists should check out the running trails
Green Lake is one of the best ways to get to the water in the city. Green Lake Park holds many events such as solstice parades, the tug of war, and the car show. Tourists should check out these events while they are in Seattle. Head to the Heidel House to check out the list of events from the field, water, boat, or shoreline!
Boating on Lake Union
Lake Union is Seattle’s premier boating destination. The Seattle Center and the Pike Place Market are also close by for sightseeing. Seattle visitors can choose from a wide variety of boats including kayaks, rowboats, and yachts! For people who want to cruise around Seattle on their own schedule or paddle without a guide, Seattle Aqua Adventures provides kayaks on Lake Union. These single-seat kayaks can be rented on an hourly basis on Saturdays and Sundays by reservation only. On Monday-Friday rentals are available with reservations 24 hours in advance.
Tourists and visitors can enjoy a Seattle hot tub boat rental on Lake Union. Grab a group of your friends and take them to the water in a tub of water. Interesting huh? Boating in Washington State is one of the best ways to enjoy the water so grab a boat, get your friends, and hit the lake.
Explore a little outside Seattle and Hike Rattlesnake Ridge
If you want to get out of Seattle for a little while, make your way to Rattlesnake Ridge. The beauty of the area is amazing and it’s really an experience like no other. There are beautiful sky views of Seattle and nearby lakes like Cedar River where you can stop for lunch or dinner. If the city is too hot or if you don’t want to hike along with Lake Washington, this is the place to be! Rattlesnake Ridge is a mountain that is also home to native animals, making it a great place for nature lovers
Rattlesnake Ridge is a mountain ridge that separates Seattle from the Snoqualmie Valley. Back in the day, Seattleites used to take a trolley from downtown to North Bend, Washington for a week of recreation and relaxation at the Cedar River. Among their favorite activities was hiking up Rattlesnake Ridge. You’ll start your hike near the trail map at Rattlesnake Lake and climb 2,000 feet in elevation on the rattlesnake ledge trail before “rattling” off the ridge and down to Cedar River where you’ll find more scenic views and plenty of streams and creeks leading to rattlesnake lake.
Visitors can venture around Seattle and check out their tours when they visit. With so many things to do such as hiking, camping, and much more! The metropolis also has plenty of beautiful scenery for anyone who visits like Rattlesnake Ridge.
Dream Through the Chihuly Glass Exhibit
The Chihuly garden and glass exhibit is located near the Space Needle. The exhibit is a must-see for both Seattle locals and visitors. The Seattle Chihuly glass collection exhibit features over 200,000 square feet of space with three levels of magnificent glass art. Everyone who attends this Chihuly glass exhibition will be able to see exhibits such as “Red Reeds” and “Glass Forest.” It is not just an incredible show of art, but it also has a garden and exhibitions which you can explore and enjoy. Exhibits from the Biltmore house can be seen on tour in the museum showcasing their amazing color. Locals and visitors alike should take this opportunity to explore the Chihuly garden exhibit which makes Washington even more worth visiting! Visitors will be blown away by the Chihuly glass exhibit.
The Museum features artists from all over including sculptures from multiple collections and installations. The Chihuly Garden Museum is one of the PNW’s most visited spots. Locals recommend this exhibit to visitors because of the wonderful art and the fact that it has something for everyone. The Dale Chihuly glass garden also features a restaurant where you can grab some food or just sit down after your visit.
Chihuly Glass is one of Washington’s greatest installations. Local residents always recommend the Chihuly glass garden to visitors because not only are there many things to do in Seattle at nighttime but also because of its beautiful sculptures and installations. The Chihuly Glass Garden occupies over 10 acres which means you will be immersed in arts from every direction while you walk through the garden trail.
Go Brewery Hopping in Seattle
Visit Seattle and go brewery hopping! Seattle is a craft brewery mecca and a great place for all kinds of beer enthusiasts. Seattle’s breweries offer tours, tasting, breweries with gardens, and more. Seattle Brewery tour is a must-do next to a visit to Pike Place Market. They offer Brews Cruise, Beer Tour, Seattle Tour with Tasting 4 Packages to choose from. Local breweries provide a family-friendly atmosphere, local beers, and seasonal events. Washington State is home to some of the best hops in the beer scene making the beer tasting experience one of a kind. Regardless of which brewery you choose their lineup of beers on tap will blow any selection of beers from your hometown bar out of the water.
Seattle is home to more than 70 microbreweries, and many of these breweries are participating in Beer Week by hosting special events ranging from beer pairings dinners to tap takeovers where you can meet the brewers behind your favorite brews. There are also two beer festivals that run during the annual beer week: The Spring Beer Fest on March 26th at Safeco Field and the Beer & Baconfest on May 8th at Seattle Center.
Best breweries include Elysian Brewing Company, Fremont Brewing, Hale’s Ale Brewery, Urban Family Brewing Co., Pike Brewing Company, Schooner Exact Brewing Company, Silver City Brewery, and Fremont Brewing. The best way to experience this incredible variety of craft beers is with a Craft Beer Walk. The Pike PL. Craft Beer walk focuses on microbreweries in Pioneer. Only 10 spots are available per tour so be sure to reserve your spot soon!
Take a quick day trip to the San Juans
There are many fun Seattle day trips to take from Seattle! Seattle is a little city that’s packed with nature and culture. If you’re looking for a nature-filled day trip, head out to the San Juan Islands. These Islands offer remarkable views of nature, endless hiking trails, seals and otters playing in the water, and many other must-see activities. The San Juan Islands are famous for their beauty and connecting on with nature. There are a couple of different ways to get to the San Juan Islands. First, you can take your own boat out of Elliott Bay from Seattle and drive the hour-long trip up there! if that’s not your style, try a seaplane flying out of lake union with Kenmore air. The 45-minute plane ride can deliver you to Roche Harbor, Lopez Island, Orcas Island, or the Friday Harbor ferry terminal. Washington State ferries dominate the water of the San Juans and provide transportation between the islands. Be careful to check the ferry schedule before to not miss your boat!
San Juan Island is a small, but scenic place to visit. There are many things to do while visiting, including kayaking, whale watching, and hiking. A lot of the activities are seasonal so it’s best to plan your visit around what you are interested in doing. On your day trip to San Juan Island be sure to head to Roche Harbor and check out the sculpture garden, then head to the harbor house and take a kayak tour of the bay where you might even get a little whale watching in.
Experience Skiing near Seattle
Visitors looking for a different experience can head to Stevens Pass, Crystal Mountain, Mission Ridge, and Ski Resort. Seattle is the only major Washington State city with four ski areas within a two-hour drive. Between the city and the Cascade Mountains, there is a nearly continuous string of ski areas. You have the opportunity to choose from 4 bustling ski resorts with miles of groomed slopes and tree-lined trails.
Snoqualmie pass is Seattle’s favorite skiing destination. When residents want to ski or snowboard, they head up I-90 about 50 miles east to Snoqualmie Pass. Home to Summit East, Summit Central, and Alpental; every skier of all ability can find the right trail for them!
Skiing at Crystal Mountain is a unique experience. As Seattle sits on the shore of Puget Sound, your ski adventure begins with a scenic drive over Stevens Pass to get to the mountain. The resort has outstanding snow quality and a wide variety of terrain. From groomed cruisers to steep chutes and world-class tree skiing, Crystal Mountain is a true 4-season resort that offers something for everyone. Crystal Mountain Resort has one of the highest average snowfalls in North America – making Seattle a city with easy access to some of the best skiing in the country!
Skiing at Steven Pass is the perfect opportunity for tourists to try something new and locals to experience winter. Washington States’ reputation for cloudy, rainy days, now is the perfect time to visit and take advantage of one of the cities most precious features-an abundance of ski opportunities. Steven Pass is the best skiing experience, with an average annual snowfall of over 400 inches. They have three mountains, the highest one being “Caldera.” This mountain offers the steepest vertical drop with 1,800 feet of descent! They also offer night skiing which is a rare opportunity.
Explore the Seattle Art Museum
The Seattle Art Museum is one of the cities most popular tourist attractions. Seattle has a lot to offer in terms of art, with the Seattle Art Museum being one of those things that draw people from all over the place. If you’re visiting and want some neat culture, epic art galleries the SAM has got it for you!
The Seattle Art Museum features many different types of art, including paintings and sculptures. The museum also has features temporary exhibits from famous artists like Van Gogh and Michelangelo. You can check out pieces from pacific natives like Dale Chihuly and Mark Tobey as well as pieces from Japanese artists like Hiroshige and Hokusai in the gallery. There are also many pieces from Northwest native artists like James Lavadour and George Tsimperis; both Renton-born artists. A beautiful city and The SAM is a great way for you to experience its expressive culture.
Ride the Great Wheel
The Seattle great wheel was created in 2012. The great wheel is located next to the Seattle Aquarium on Pier 57, it is one of the largest Ferris wheels in North America. The great wheel has 42 fully enclosed air-conditioned gondolas each holding 6 passengers. Downtown provides a unique urban setting for this emerald city attraction. The Great Wheel goes up to about 175 feet tall where riders can see fantastic views as far as the Space Needle and Bainbridge Island on a clear day. The great wheel takes about 30 minutes to complete one revolution. Buy tickets ahead of time to ensure a quick line!
Take an Underground Tour
The Seattle Underground Tour is an experience like no other. The underground Tour takes curious visitors on an hour-long journey into the cities past – below the modern downtown streets. Visitors will explore underneath historic Pioneer Square, the birthplace of and previous city center, as learn about the history of early Seattle.
In 1889, the Great fire burned 25 blocks of downtown pioneer square to the ground. Rebuilding was a burden and also an opportunity to make needed changes. New buildings were made from stone for fire protection and a city-wide regrade raised street levels 12-15 feet to prevent flooding. Many buildings today in pioneer square retain classic stone architecture. During construction, walls were created protecting storefronts from the new road with customers having to climb ladders for access to their favorite shops. Once construction was completed the small alleyways between the shops and road were covered and the new street-level was established. Many changes happened over the course of the next years and the underground was closed to the public for safety reasons. This tour is one of the most unique you can find in Washington State with a hands-on exhibit where you can experience this ghost gallery of history. Perfect for all ages, groups, and families!
Visit the Parks
Kerry Park is a serene place to visit. Away from the hustle and bustle, this viewpoint offers a relaxing environment during the summer months. It is only a matter of driving less than ten minutes for those in the city. Tucked away in a secluded king county neighborhood, this small viewpoint packs the most view. Peering out from Kerry Park one can catch a glimpse of Mount Rainier National Park, Century Link Field, T-mobile Park, and the Pacific Science Center. On a clear day, if one looks towards the west, Olympic National park can be spotted with its snow-covered peaks. While Kerry Park has the most notable views, check out some of the other parks in the city or state. Washington state is home to the most beautiful national parks in the United States and they will not disappoint.
Wanting to find some other unique things to do in Seattle? Check out this awesome list from Redfin