With the shimmering Puget Sound to its west and the calm shores of Lake Washington to its east, a blissful day in nature is never too far away when you’re visiting the Emerald City.
However, there’s so much more to Seattle than just its neighboring waters; the innovative, hipster, rapidly expanding city is flush with activities for history buffs, film enthusiasts, foodies, party-goers, and everyone in between.
From the Space Needle to the Gum Wall, you could visit 100 times and still never run out of things to do in Seattle. But if you’re looking for places to begin, look no further!
1 – Go sightseeing by playing a scavenger game
Sick of run-of-the-mill, slow-paced tours? Then we’ve got the perfect alternative in store for you!
Going on a scavenger hunt is a fun and exciting way to see all the best tourist attractions without waiting for tour guides or sticking to a pre-determined route.
In the Emerald City, travelers can find a wide variety of scavenger hunts available — some include hosts, some are self-guided, and some can cater for up to 6 people.
2 – Get the best views of the city at the Sky View Observatory
The Sky View Observatory offers panoramic views of the Seattle skyline that you won’t find anywhere else.
Not only will visitors get to see the sparkling high rises and the iconic Space Needle (which, of course, you can’t see from the Space Needle itself) but also the surrounding snow-capped mountains and the glistening Puget Sound.
If you have a fear of heights, this might not be for you as the Space Needle towers a whopping 73 floors above the ground!
3 – Tour the famous Seattle Underground
These underground passages have been around since 1890 and are a must-see for tourists!
The underground covers four blocks underneath the historic Pioneer Square and takes about 1 hour to tour.
Tour guides go into depth on the history of Seattle, the underground, and the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 that left the city in ruins.
4 – Meet the ocean’s gentle giants on a whale-watching trip
Did you know that Seattle’s waters are home to five different types of whales?
Onboard a dedicated whale-watching tour, expert captains will transport you to the most common sighting points, where these enormous mammals often pop their heads up to say hello.
With an expert crew at your disposal, they’ll be happy to answer any questions that you might have about whales (or Seattle, in general).
5 – See Seattle’s main attractions on a hop-on hop-off bus tour
A hop-on-hop-off bus tour is ideal for visitors who don’t have a lot of time to waste.
Choose your seat on either the lower level or open-air deck, and let the audio guide share insights into all of the main Seattle attractions as you zoom past.
Everything from Chinatown to the Seattle Art Museum and Pike Place Market is on the route, with guests able to disembark whenever and wherever they choose.
6 – Marvel at modern travel on a Boeing Factory tour
Do you fancy yourself a young Maverick? Have you always wanted to learn how flying actually works? Then a tour of the Boeing factory is one of the best things to do in Seattle!
With all sorts of different models of airplanes being made (including 777, 787, and Dreamliner models), plus interactive exhibits and a unique gift shop, it’s a great day out.
Fun fact: The Boeing Factory boasts the official title of being the largest indoor facility in the world!
Read more about the Boeing Factory Tour.
7 – Immerse yourself in nature at Mount Rainier
While downtown Seattle is a bustling metropolis, there is still plenty of beautiful greenery available in the area if you know where to go.
Tourists should take a day to explore Mount Rainier National Park where they can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the mountain and abundant wildflower meadows.
Christine Falls and Narada Falls are also located in this area — both essential destinations for outdoor enthusiasts.
8 – Gaze at the stunning Snoqualmie Falls
Nature-lovers, take note: Seattle is home to the stunning 268-foot Snoqualmie Falls, the focal point of a 1.6-mile heavily-trafficked hiking route just a 30-minute drive inland.
While you can venture here yourself, there are also many different types of organized trips that include a stop at the falls, including city explorer tours and winery tours!
9 – Glide over Lake Washington on a sightseeing boat tour
If you’ve already soaked in the view from the Space Needle, a sightseeing boat tour is the next best way to take in the stretching city skyline.
There are tours that run almost every time of day or night, many of which include a mouth-watering buffet dinner.
Not only will guests get to cruise over Lake Washington, but also Lake Union, with a thoughtful crew pointing out all the historic sights along the way.
10 – Get your adrenaline pumping while rafting!
Adventure enthusiasts, get excited — Washington State is home to some of the most challenging whitewater runs in the country!
For something relaxing, check out The Middle Fork Snoqualmie River; on the other hand, for something hair-raising, the Class 4-5 rapids on the Skykomish River ought to do the trick.
11 – Be mesmerized by the Cascade Mountains
At the Cascade Mountains, delighted travelers will get to explore the thick forest, dance under waterfalls, and ascend rocky peaks — all without venturing too far from the big smoke!
In the winter months, the area is home to some of the best alpine scenery; during summer, tackle the hiking trail that starts from Stevens Pass for incredible views.
12 – Brighten up your day at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
The annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in April allows guests to stroll through 1000 acres of colorful tulip fields/
After snapping a few photos to make all of your friends at home jealous, check out the nearby village of La Conner, which offers plenty of places to stop to eat as well.
13 – Venture into the great outdoors at Olympic National Park
Home to lush green forests, sparkling lakes, and glacial mountains that are just across the water from Seattle, the Olympic National Park is a welcomed breath of fresh air.
Most tours offer pick-up and drop-off from hotels, scenic hikes, luxury vans to travel in, and picnic-style lunches for guests to enjoy.
In the warmer months, it’s a great way for families to get out of the city and enjoy a slice of nature.
14 – Soar above the city on a helicopter tour
A helicopter tour over the Emerald City promises views unmatched anywhere on the ground.
The friendly, expert pilots talk to passengers over the headset, sharing all kinds of interesting facts about the city below.
Most tours take up to 3 people and last around 20 minutes.
15 – Race against time in an escape room
Do you fancy yourself to be a modern-day Sherlock Holmes? Well, an escape room full of riddles, puzzles, and clues is the perfect way for you to test your skills!
Escape rooms in the Seattle area accommodate up to 6 people — grab your friends and see who’s the best detective, once and for all!
16 – Visit the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)
Boasting a range of permanent and rotating exhibits spanning everything from film to art, science fiction, and gaming, the Museum of Pop Culture is undeniably one of the most exciting indoor things to see in Seattle.
Complementing its selection, the center also offers an incredible insight into pop music, paying homage to some of the greatest musical acts in history.
17 – Check out the Mt St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Mt St. Helens has been remembered — and feared — by locals ever since it violently erupted back in 1980.
Visitors brave enough are allowed to get within a few miles of the crater, where they can watch the lava stream for themselves and see first-hand both the destruction and recovery of nature’s flora.
It is an insight that will make you understand just how powerful nature can be, and one best experienced with an all-inclusive tour from Seattle.
18 – Test your balance on a stand-up paddleboard
Spend a day out on Lake Washington learning how to stand up paddle and explore the surrounding waters!
Stand-up paddleboarding does take some time to master, but after a friendly instructor demonstrates the correct techniques, you’ll be gliding along the Puget Sound in no time!
On those toasty summer days, it’s the perfect family-friendly outdoor activity.
19 – Cross skydiving off your bucket list…
Have you always wanted to freefall out of a plane? Then why not cross it off the bucket list while you’re in Seattle, home to some of the most incredible landscapes in the country?
With a selection of skydiving and parachuting tours available, you’ll be hitting terminal velocity from 13,000 feet high in no time!
For a few extra bucks, you can take home a video souvenir of your adventure too.
20 – … or try indoor skydiving instead!
If jumping out of a plane seems a little too terrifying then indoor skydiving might be the perfect substitute.
Indoor skydiving centers like iFly simulate the feeling of free-falling out of a plane without actually having to leave the comfort of the ground!
Guests will receive in-depth training, flight gear, and also a flight certificate.
21 – Peddle around town on a bike tour
If you’ve eaten a few too many donuts on your trip, a bike tour is a fun way to burn a few calories while exploring all the different sights, sounds, and smells that Seattle has to offer — all while getting off the beaten track and away from the heavy traffic.
Hot tip: Seattle’s weather is temperamental, so be sure to check the forecast, slap on some SPF, and bring a raincoat.
22 – Enjoy a relaxing hot air balloon ride
For unmatched views of the Cascade Mountains, a sunrise or sunset hot air balloon ride is a formidable choice (romantics, take note).
Alongside an expert pilot who’ll make sure that the ride is smooth and relaxing, you’ll soar up to 1500 feet above the Snohomish River Valley, taking in all the stunning scenery and all-but-certainly making your Instagram followers jealous.
23 – Get buzzed on a wine tour
Get a taste of the local wine by going on a wine tasting adventure! Depending on your time and budget, options are available for both convenient inner-city wineries and breathtaking vineyards in the Snoqualmie area.
It’s a great way for tourists and locals to mingle, all while enjoying some of the region’s most esteemed blends.
Keep in mind that most wine tours require guests to book ahead as there are limited spots on each tour.
24 – Snack on local treats at Pike Place Market
Known nationwide for its fresh produce and lively atmosphere, Pike Place Market is easily one of the quintessential things to do in Seattle.
Tourists can choose to venture into the market alone or go on a food tour, headed by some of the best culinary chefs in the city.
While you’re there, check out Seattle Gum Wall and the location of the inaugural Starbucks!
25 – Try a craft beer (or four) on a brewery tour
Calling all beer enthusiasts! A brewery tour is the perfect way to taste and sample all the different kinds of artisan beer that Seattle has to offer.
While you can always venture to microbreweries on a whim, joining a tour with an expert guide gives unfamiliar guests the chance to uncover the city’s hidden gems (some of which even the locals don’t know about).
Famous names like Pike Brewing, Reuben’s Brews, and the Holy Mountain Brewing Company are just a sliver of the Seattle craft brewery scene.
26 – Order a latte at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery!
If you are looking for things to see in Seattle then the Starbucks Reserve Roastery is an absolute must!
It’s Starbucks, but not like we’ve ever seen before — imagine Willy’s Wonka’s chocolate factory with a coffee twist, and then you’ve got the right idea.
Spread across 15,000 square feet, this joint roasts all its beans in-house, offers a huge selection of rare blends, and serves alcoholic beverages too.
27 – Relax at a spa
Whether you’re after waxing, massages, couples’ massages, facials, body scrubs, float tanks, or any other means of unwinding, there are plenty of different Spas available in the Seattle area to help you relax.
Remember to book ahead if you are planning to get treatment as most spas operate by appointment only.
28 – Touch the clouds at the famous Space Needle
Originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle is without a doubt the most recognizable feature of the city’s skyline, making it one of the essential things to see in Seattle.
It offers some of the best views of the city and has plenty of interactive displays to keep guests entertained.
Make sure that you take plenty of photos while you’re up there!
29 – Get up close to wild animals at Woodland Park Zoo
The Woodland Park Zoo has a huge selection of animals including lions, tigers, penguins, bears, and many more — hailing from diverse climates all over the world.
With live feedings, educational encounters, and a convenient inner-city location, it’s a place where the whole family can have a wonderful afternoon.
Did we mention that they also have an enormous butterfly garden?
30 – Throw a line on a fishing trip
For all the avid fishermen out there, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more lucrative setting than the Puget Sound.
Private tours are available where experienced captains can take you out to spots flush with salmon, bottomfish, and squid. Alternatively, of course, you can simply charter your own boat.
On those sunny summer days, there’s no better place to be than out on the water.
31 – Exercise in Green Lake Park
Green Lake Park is a favorite among Seally locals, many of whom choose to run, bike, skate, and walk through the park daily.
Tourists can stroll through, breathe in some fresh air without leaving the city, and admire the hundreds of different species of plants and trees.
32 – Discover the beauty of Seattle on a sailing trip
Who’s ready to sail the seas on a private sailing trip around Seattle?
With a professional captain eager to take guests out on the water, no experience is necessary.
If you’re lucky, you might even get the chance to spot some local marine life including seals, porpoises, and eagles!
33 – Learn about marine life at the Seattle Aquarium
Ask any former tourist and they’ll all agree — one of the best things to do in Seattle is to visit the Seattle Aquarium.
Boasting many interactive exhibits, plus a selection of penguins, otters, seals, seahorses, a large variety of tropical fish, and more, it’s a great spot to spend an afternoon on a rainy day.
34 – Kick the feet up at Lake Washington
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and spend the day relaxing by the shores of the freshwater Lake Washington!
It’s only a short drive from the city and is a great way to breathe in some fresh air. After working on the tan, plenty of cafes and restaurants await on the banks.
35 – Explore the historic Pioneer Square
Pioneer Square is filled with different activities that suit almost anyone’s taste.
Explore Seattle’s oldest settlement, grab a bite to eat at a local cafe, play giant outdoor chess or a game of ping pong, ride a merry-go-round, or shop at local boutiques.
There are plenty of walking tours that explore the area, many of which are free (just leave a tip).
36 – Ride shotgun on a seaplane tour
It’s safe to say that most people have been on an airplane, but seldom have travelers ever taken a trip on a seaplane!
A surefire way to make your Seattle trip a memorable one, there are quite a few seaplane tours available — including trips out to the beautiful San Juan Islands.
37 – Ride the Seattle Great Wheel
A Ferris wheel that is covered in over 500,000 LED lights (which make it quite the sight to behold), the Seattle Great Wheel is a hit for adults and kids alike.
After conquering the Ferris wheel, there is also a restaurant available on the pier below where guests can enjoy a tantalizing 4-course, chef-prepared dinner.
38 – Explore the Seattle Waterfront
Home to a wide selection of piers, food, and attractions suitable for all ages, the Seattle Waterfront has been a central community meeting point for decades.
With a range of popular great cafes, bars, restaurants, it’s a surefire hit for foodies; and with no shortage of street performers, there’s always something to see.
39 – Splash in the water at Lake Union
At Lake Union, an adored locale that offers a great variety of recreational water sports, tourists can easily rent an electric boat, go kayaking, join a cocktail cruise, or simply admire the iconic skyline.
Meanwhile, on the mainland, there are also plenty of places suitable for throwing down a picnic blanket!
40 – Wander through Chihuly Garden and Glass
Mark our words, Chihuly Garden and Glass offers a totally unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else in Seattle.
Created by artist and glassblower Dale Chihuly, this permanent installation is a delight on the eyes and a must-see for tourists.
Hot tip: Combine it with a visit to the next-door Space Needle.
41 – Satisfy your inner aviation nerd at The Museum of Flight
As the largest air and space museum in the whole world, visitors can admire up to 175 different types of aircraft, spacecraft, artifacts, photographs, and more.
Whether you’re six or sixty, it’s a great way to learn about the history of aviation, the mechanics behind flight, and the way that it’s all changed over the years.
42 – Stroll through Kerry Park
Kerry Park is one of many parks in the Seattle area, but thanks to its position on Queen Anne Hill overlooking Downtown Seattle, it holds a special place in locals’ hearts.
Here, visitors can enjoy stunning views of Elliot Bay, the central city area, and Mount Rainier — all at once.
43 – Awe at glistening lights at the T-Mobile Park
Nestled in the SoDo district of Downtown Seattle, T-Mobile Park is the coveted home of the city’s beloved baseball team, the Mariners.
While the MLB season typically runs from March through to September, the 47,943-seat venue also hosts festivals and big-name concerts throughout the year.
44 – Take in breathtaking views at the Smith Tower Observatory
Built all the way back in 1914, the Smith Tower was the first skyscraper in Seattle and, to this day, is considered a cultural icon of the city.
To make those panoramic observatory views all the more special, guests can sit back, sip on a cocktail or two, and grab a bite to eat at the speakeasy-style bar.
45 – Take a stroll through Discovery Park
Craving a slice of nature? Then Discovery Park — the largest and most diverse park in Seattle, stretching over 543 acres — is waiting for you!
No matter which path you take, hidden gems await; tourists can find tidal beaches, meadows, sea cliffs, sand dunes, forest groves, and streams.
46 – Sunbake at the famous Alki Beach
When the sun’s shining, there’s no better plan than spending the day watching the waves roll in on the famous Alki Beach.
For those who don’t know, Alki Beach was featured in the classic movie “Sleepless in Seattle”, which makes it a great spot to take a few happy snaps too.
47 – Discover the historic Gas Works Park
Gas Works Park gets its name because it is home to an old gasification plant. However, instead of tearing it down, the city decided to preserve this piece of history by building a park around it.
Besides this unique juxtaposition of aesthetics, thanks to its kiddie play zone and picnic area, it’s a wonderful option for families who are looking for things to do in Seattle.
48 – Wander through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has had a mission from day one to reduce issues related to poverty, health, and education — issues that affect people all over the world, and issues that the Discovery Center showcases exceptionally.
Their exhibits (both permanent and rotating) reflect this perfectly, illustrating all of the positive impact the foundation has achieved in recent years.
49 – Take skyline pictures on a Seattle Locks cruise
A Seattle Locks cruise will take guests through the famous Ballard Locks (otherwise known as the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks) — a unique waterway system where freshwater and saltwater meet.
Many locals also use these cruises as a way to avoid traffic in the city, so why not do the same?
Have your camera at the ready; these affordable cruises give tourists a wonderful chance to capture the Seattle skyline from afar.
50 – Ignite curiosity at the Pacific Science Center
Learn about physics, chemistry, history, the human body, evolution, space and so much more in a fun and exciting way at the Pacific Science Center!
As the home of countless interactive exhibits (be sure to check out the interactive Innovation section), this place is guaranteed to keep both adults and children entertained for hours.
51 – Bring your imagination to life at the Seattle Children’s Museum
Designed for youngsters aged anywhere from 6 months to 8 years old, the 18,000 square-foot Seattle Children’s Museum promises hours of hands-on fun.
With interactive exhibits dedicated to learning about different jobs in the workforce (such as construction and public transportation), and insights into the world around them, it’s a wonderful way for kids to get excited about the future.
52 – Read a novel at the Seattle Public Library
Literary fans and book worms, take note.
The Seattle Public Library was founded all the way back in 1890 and is an excellent choice for all book lovers visiting the Emerald City.
With 27 branches of the Seattle Public Library across Seattle; fiction and non-fiction books, public computers, and online resources are never too far away.
53 – Explore the Washington Park Arboretum UW Botanic Gardens
Located right on the shore of Lake Washington, the arboretum is home to a wide variety of stunning plant life.
Besides the regular display, the center also offers night hikes, guided tours, and a wonderful Japanese garden (perfect for some meditation).
Best of all, entry is free of charge!
54 – Find Zen at the Seattle Japanese Garden
Traveling can be stressful; the Seattle Japanese Garden is the perfect place to find some much-needed mindfulness.
Spanning over 3.5 acres of land, the garden has been meticulously planned out to perfection, with every stone, bridge, plant, and animal deliberately placed.
55 – Visit the iconic Lumen Field
So grab a team scarf, cheer on your favorite players, and let the roar of the crowd overwhelm you.
If the electric atmosphere of a live match isn’t enough, you can also easily book a tour to explore the grounds.
56 – Get artsy at the Seattle Art Museum
While looking for things to do in Seattle, you simply can’t go past visiting the Seattle Art Museum — they opened their doors in 1933 and have been a staple to the Seattle art scene ever since.
With a range of exhibits, installations, and collections from local, national, and international artists, it’s the perfect destination for art lovers.
57 – Immerse yourself in history at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
The Klondike Gold Rush is an important part of Seattle’s history — many say that it is the period of time when Seattle really started to flourish.
These days, the park (which is more of a visitor center and free museum) pays homage to this bygone era, welcoming many guided tours led by knowledgeable guides.
58 – Check out the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI)
History buffs, this one’s for you!
MOHAI is the perfect place for tourists to learn about how the city of Seattle transformed from a fire-ridden city to the global technology hub that it is today.
The museum showcases exhibits dedicated to Seattle during WWI and WWII, the gold rush, and plenty more.
59 – Attend a performance at Benaroya Hall
Sitting smack-band in the heart of the city and taking up a whole block (seriously, this place is massive), Benaroya Hall plays host to symphonies, opera companies, and ballet productions.
This famous institution puts on a range of events all year round, so be sure to check what productions are playing at the time of your visit.
60 – Celebrate art at the 5th Avenue Theatre
The 5th Avenue Theatre is one of America’s leading musical theatre companies, having welcomed countless legendary Broadway productions (from Come From Away to Mamma Mia! and everything in between).
Productions are played year-round here but the roster constantly changes, so check what’s playing online before visiting.
61 – See the quirky Gum Wall
As far as art goes, this wall has to be the strangest piece of art in the country.
It is estimated that there are over 250,000 pieces of gum attached to the wall, with hundreds more being added every day by tourists.
Just a stone’s throw from Pike Place Market, it’s one of the essential things to see in Seattle.
62 – Relive history at the USS Turner Joy Historic Museum
At the USS Turner Joy, excited visitors can step on board and learn about how this ship operated throughout the Vietnam War.
If you’re someone who relishes maritime history and are looking for a more in-depth experience, private tours are available that cater to 2-4 people.
63 – Take perfect pictures at the Fremont Troll
Yes, there really is a troll under the bridge!
The Fremont Troll is an iconic piece of art located underneath the Aurora Avenue Bridge, with piercing silver eyes and a firm grasp of a Volkswagen Beetle.
Every year, tourists and locals swarm to this place in hopes of capturing the perfect photo.
64 – Reminisce at the Seattle Pinball Museum
The Seattle Pinball Museum is home to pinball and game machines that date all the way back to 1934!
While pinball machines were all the rage when they first came out, they can be hard to find these days — unless, of course, you visit this place.
Luckily, the Seattle Pinball Museum has a great collection of over 50 classics, all of which are open to the public to play.
65 – Grab a table for two at The Pink Door
Named as one of the 100 ‘most scenic restaurants in the US’ by Business Insider, The Pink Door restaurant is a hit with both locals and tourists alike.
The classy joint is well known for its fresh, local Italian food, however, is quite popular, so be sure to make a reservation ahead of time.
Located in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, it’s an easy addition to any day out.
66 – Try Bavarian specialties at Rhein Haus Seattle
The beloved Rhein Haus is a hidden slice of Bavaria right in the middle of Seattle!
Their specialties include house-made sausages, pretzels, and 24 different types of draft beer, all imported from Europe.
With both an indoor and outdoor dining area, a fire den, a fire pit, and a bocce court, there’s never a dull moment at this watering hole.
67 – Travel by ferry to Bainbridge Island
For a chance to get off the mainland, why not take a short ferry ride and spend the day at Bainbridge Island?
As you’ll quickly realize, the island has a wide variety of things to eat, see, and do; There are plenty of local cafes and restaurants, as well as art studios, movie theatres, shopping malls, beaches, parks, and hiking trails.
68 – Visit the National Nordic Museum
Showcasing a range of exhibitions, programs, and collections on Nordic culture, values, traditions, and ideas, this museum dishes up one of the more unexpected educational experiences in Seattle.
While little-known to most, the Pacific Northwest welcomed a significant number of Nordic immigrants — this museum tells their fascinating stories.
69 – Broaden your horizons at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
History buffs, take note!
This unique museum offers a wonderful insight into American and Asian history.
The museum is always adding new exhibits (dedicated to things like history, modern history, war, art, music, and plenty more), promising a new and interesting experience, every single time.
70 – Sip a fancy cocktail at a rooftop bar
The Seattle skyline is famous all around the world, so why not enjoy it while sipping on a cocktail?
Each, of course, has its own unique atmosphere and specialties.
71 – Mingle with the locals on a pub crawl
For the chance to let your hair down and mingle with like-minded travelers, a pub crawl is always a memorable (albeit hazy) experience.
Local guides will lead groups through the city’s most cherished bars, popular pubs, and underrated restaurants, with plenty of beers flowing from the get-go.
For something spooktacularly different, why not try a ghost-themed pub crawl?
We hope you’ve loved our list of things to do in Seattle, Washinton! If you have any other must-see suggestions, feel free to let us know in the comments!
As always, happy travels — you’ll be sleepless in Seattle soon enough!