The biggest city in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle features a diverse population, leafy residential neighborhoods, and plenty of public parks. Ensconced in glorious natural scenery everywhere—from the classic museums to unique skyscrapers—narrowing down the best things to do in Seattle is an incredibly tough job. However, we have got you covered!
Whether you are a newcomer to the Pacific North-West who is tired of watching super bowl odds and looking for some adventure or a local, here’s is a checklist of the best things to do in Seattle. From savoring the views from the elevated Kerry Park to strolling through the trendy neighborhoods admiring the daring architecture, regardless of your interests and age, this listicle has something for everyone.
1. Pike Place Market
Stretching down a steep hill to the waterfront on Elliot Bay is a beautiful and cozy market of stunning proportions. Pike Place Market spreads across over nine acres of land, holding winding alleys, stairways down to lower level, and featuring seasonal produce and permanent produce stalls, specialty food stores for hard-to-find ingredients, four fish markets, a craft market with over 200 traders, and an extensive array of places to eat. The market’s history dates back to 1907, and it definitely benefits from a bit of a local perspective.
When visiting this beautiful market, give yourself as much time as possible to take in the tempting aroma of baking bread or to surf through collectible, retro décor and vinyl in tiny shops. Aim to come early in the day to avoid the crowds. However, if the crowd doesn’t bother you, visit later to watch the market’s talented buskers perform.
To explore the corners of Pike Place Market, only the locals know about, while learning about the site’s exciting history, consider taking part in one of the many group tours held here. You will even make stops in between to sample fresh produce and artisan treats, so you will never have to worry about going hungry.
2. Space Needle
Space Needle has been a defining feature of Seattle’s silhouette for nearly 60 years—a timeless symbol for the city. After it was built in 1962, it was known as the tallest building west of the Mississippi, standing proud at 158 meters. In 2017-18, a $100m renovation project added the Loupe to the Space Needle, which became the world’s first and only rotating glass floor.
When visiting, you will travel to the observation deck at 160 meters in a glass elevator. The windows on the observation deck have floor-to-ceiling glass panels unobstructed by mullions, in line with the original sketches drawn in the early 1960s. This panorama allows you to catch a glimpse of more than 60 landmarks, including all of Seattle’s towers, the islands of Pudget Sound, Mount Rainier, and the Cascade Mountains, and the Olympic Mountains.
3. Kerry Park
Want to catch the ultimate view of Seattle? Kerry Park is where you should be.
A south-facing terrace on the leafy Queen Anne Hill, Kerry Park, helps you catch a glimpse of every possible thing that people associate with the city. In the foreground, you will find the Space Needle, just ahead of the towers of Downtown Seattle. To the west is the open water of Pudget Sound and on its background rests the snow-capped bulk of Mount Rainier.
When it comes to Kerry Park’s history, this little piece of heaven was donated to Seattle in 1972 by the lumber magnate Albert Kerry and his wife Catherine “so that everyone who stops here can enjoy the stunning view.”
The best time to visit Kerry Park is in the evening when the Space Needle and the wheel will be dazzling, and you can also view the brightly lit ferries crossing the Puget Sound.
4. Kubota Garden
Japanese self-taught master landscaper Fujitaro Kubota was a horticultural trailblazer. He used time-honored Japanese techniques throughout his career while embracing plants and trees native to the Pacific Northwest.
While running a successful gardening business in South Seattle, Kubota developed the exquisite show Garden, composed of hills, valleys, streams, ponds, waterfalls, and rocky outcrops on 20 acres.
The Kubota Garden was a labor of love spanning five decades, and the City of Seattle purchased it in 1987. In the 1990s, Fujitaro’s son Tom installed the Stroll Garden here, which features a reflecting pond hemmed by carefully pruned pines and maples, and lanterns.
5. Chihuly Garden And Glass
Established at the Seattle Center in 2012, the Chihuly Garden and Glass is an exquisite museum dedicated to the globally acclaimed Tacoma-born glass artist Dale Chihuly. The exhibition includes eight galleries, the Glasshouse, and a lush garden.
Inspired by Chihuly’s fascination for conservatories, suspending from the ceiling here is a 30-meter glass and steel structure in yellow, red, orange, and amber that seems to change with the light throughout the day.
Strolling through the eight galleries, you will be able to learn more about Chihuly’s career and how he rewrote the rulebook for glass art. The Garden highlighting handkerchief trees, camellias, fuchsias, and daylilies also stand as a stage for four monumental works. The Theater screen portrays interviews and glassblowing demonstrations.