There are so many fun things to do in Seattle! There’s a healthy mix of iconic attractions like Pike Place Market and the Space Needle, as well as hidden gems that you might not have heard of before visiting, but should definitely see on any trip to Seattle.
Wondering where to stay in Seattle? There are plenty of great hotels in downtown Seattle. If you’re looking for a splurge-worthy experience, The Four Seasons is it. For a more economically-priced option, the Westin has a very central location. And if you’re looking for an Airbnb, check out my Best Airbnbs in Seattle guide!
15 Fun Things to Do in Seattle
1. Pike Place Market. You definitely have to hit up Pike Place Market during a trip to Seattle! It’s iconic, and it’s worth strolling through the stalls and seeing all the fresh fish getting tossed around. If you’re staying at an Airbnb or at a friend’s place with a kitchen, you can pick up some fish here for dinner. There are also tons of great spots to stop in for a bite, including Beecher’s Cheese and Matt’s in the Market.
2. The Space Needle. The Space Needle was recently remodeled, and it’s gorgeous. The views are incredible, and on a clear day, you can see Mt. Ranier in the distance behind Seattle’s skyline. I highly recommend timing your visit so that you arrive just before sunset, so you can enjoy the views with daylight, the sunsetting, and then as nighttime falls.
Sadly the restaurant at the top that revolved around the Space Needle is now closed, however, it sounds like they may be working on a new dining concept for the future. In the meantime, you can visit the Atmos Cafe or Wine Bar to grab bites and beer/wine at the top of the needle (but it’s not a revolving situation like the old restaurant used to be). After the renovation, there’s now a glass floor on the second level of the Space Needle (beneath the main observation deck) where you catch the elevator, which rotates around. TBH, the rotating floor made me feel pretty nauseous, and I couldn’t wait to get through the line for the elevator to get back down.
You can book online to save time as the line for tickets can get very long, and your tickets will be for a certain time period, so there’s a chance you could wait in line for tickets and not be able to go up the needle for another hour or so after getting them. Avoid all that mess by booking online, or buy a combo Chihuly + Space Needle ticket to save $$ (I talk about this more below…).
3. Chihuly Garden. The Chihuly Garden may not be as widely known as the Space Needle, but it is absolutely not to be missed. It’s an art and sculpture museum that features Dale Chihuly’s amazing work. Be sure to bring headphones, because they have a free audio tour that you can download on your phone. It’s located right next to the Space Needle, so you can definitely hit both up in one afternoon. You can even buy a Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass Combination Ticket, which will save you around $10, depending on the time of day you’d be visiting.
4. Museum of Pop Culture. This museum is dedicated to contemporary pop culture and features exhibits that cover fantasy, horror films, video games, and sci-fi. The museum itself was designed by Frank Gehry and is really interesting to check out from the outside as well.
5. The Gum Wall. Quirky or gross? Maybe both, but you decide. The gum wall is located on Post Alley underneath Pike Place Market, and it’s become a local landmark. I think the funniest/saddest thing about this landmark is that it’s located next to the Market Theatre, and when patrons first started sticking gum on its brick wall in the ’90s, theater workers kept trying to scrape the gum away until they eventually gave up years later when market officials deemed the wall a tourist attraction.
6. Olympic Sculpture Park. The Olympic Sculpture Park is beautiful for a stroll along the water, with fun, pops of color in the form of contemporary sculptures. My cousin got married here!
7. The Seattle Great Wheel. Take a ride on this giant ferris wheel at Pier 57 on Elliott Bay. It sits right at the waterfront at 175 feet tall, giving you beautiful views of the city, water, and mountains.
8. Kerry Park. Kerry Park is a small park on the south side of Queen Anne with an epic view of Seattle. Perfect for getting that postcard shot of Seattle with The Space Needle, city skyline, and Mt. Ranier!
9. Fremont Troll. Remember 10 Things I Hate About You? Yeah, me neither, I’m not that old…Anyways, there’s a scene in front of the Fremont Troll and since then, it’s been a popular spot to come and snap a photo. He sits underneath the Aurora Bridge (get it, because he’s a TROLL), and you can pretty much climb on top of it or whatever you want to get the perfect photo with him.
10. Coffee Flight Tasting at the Starbucks Reserve. If you like coffee, you have to check out the Starbucks Reserve in Seattle. It’s HUGE, and just a tad overwhelming when you first step in. There’s a bar with coffee cocktails and a separate coffee bar area for a huge menu of coffee flight tastings and other super fancy coffee drinks.
11. Sailing on the Puget Sound. See Seattle from the viewpoint of the water, and book a private sailboat adventure! If you have a group of ~6 people you can get the costs for a private charter to be pretty reasonable. Learn some sailing tips, or just sit back and relax while enjoying views of the majestic Olympic Mountains.
12. Visit the Public Library. Since Omied is an architect, we visit the public library every time we’re in Seattle. Even though I don’t have quite the same appreciation for it as he does, it is a really pretty building and if you’re into photography, its interesting angles lend themselves to amazing photos. If I lived in Seattle I would definitely come here to work because there’s tons of seating and a lot of lovely, natural light.
13. Amazon Spheres. These three spheres are part of Amazon HQ, serving as a fancy employee lounge and workspace. They’re basically like any other normal glass dome workspace, except for with 40,000 different kinds of plants inside. While the spheres are mostly for Amazon employees, they are open to the public two Saturdays out of the month, and you’ll need to book at least a month in advance. Be sure to stop and get coffee and doughnuts at General Porpoise inside!
14. Alki Beach. If you happen to be visiting Seattle during its brief summer, 1., count yourself lucky and 2., head to Alki Beach for an afternoon. You’ll find volleyball nets, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, and a handful of restaurant (I recommend Marination Ma Kai) and cafe options there. The beach also has grills and firepits available.
15. Seattle Art Museum. See what’s on at the SAM. The Seattle Art Museum hosts different exhibits and art installations throughout the year. This is where I saw Yayoi Kusama in 2017 and it was pretty awesome.
Writing this list of fun things to do in Seattle is making me want to plan another trip back there! Anything else I should add for my next trip?
Planning a trip to Seattle? Be sure to read my other Seattle posts!