Best Things to Do in Seattle

Here are the most important for new Seattle visitors listed in priority order. After you finish the tourist hot spots, go discover the mountains with the locals or hop on the ferries to the nearby islands. Seattle neighborhood in parentheses and anything in italics is on my to-do list.

1. Pike Place Market

(Free, Downtown): Seattle’s famous farmer’s market where they throw fish around. Founded in 1907, it’s the longest continuously run farmer’s market in the US. Visit the first Starbucks, watch Beecher’s Handmade Cheese make cheese (then sample it), and say hi to Rachel the pig.
Pike Place Market

2a. Space Needle

($10-$28 adult, Lower Queen Anne): Built in 1961 for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle has an observation deck, gift shop, and rotating restaurant. Admission to the observation deck is extremely expensive, varying between $18-$28 depending on time of day. If you really want to go up, I suggest going to the restaurant for a drink and/or meal because it gets you complimentary admission to the observation deck afterwards. That way, you’ll get more bang for your buck.
Space Needle

2b. Columbia Center Sky View Observatory

($9-$14.25 adult, Downtown): Instead of spending tons of money on the Space needle, head to downtown for the Sky View Observatory on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center, the tallest high-rise in Seattle. Try to pick a sunny time and day. Bring your student ID for a discount. Open 9am-10pm daily.View from Columbia Tower

3. Seattle Public Library – Central Library

(Free, Downtown): Award winning architecture and an amazing view on the 10th floor. It’s a very uniquely structured and photogenic library.
Seattle Public Library

4. Gas Works Park

(Free, Wallingford): Used to be for a factory that turned coal into gas (to be further refined into crude oil), the historical landmark park has been converted into a public play place of spacious lush green lawns and picnic tables. Go fly a kite and take pictures.
Gas Works Park

5. Fremont Troll

(Free, Fremont): Take a picture with the Fremont Troll (or climb on top of him). The troll has a real VW car underneath its hand.
Fremont Troll

6. Kerry Park

(Free, Queen Anne): One of the best views of Seattle is on top of Queen Anne hill. It’s a photo opportunity that shouldn’t be missed; plus, it’s a quick stop and go attraction. If you’re headed to Kerry Park, you’re close to Marshall Park, which down the same streat and happens to be my favorite Seattle park.
Kerry Park in Queen Anne

7. Theo Chocolate

(Free, Fremont): Unlimited free chocolate in the gift shop that you can just walk into. You can also sign up ahead of time and do a $10 chocolate factory tour.

8a. Volunteer Park

(Free, Capitol Hill): Take a picture in front of the Black Sun and then cross short street to the Asian Art Museum ($7) to take a picture on the camel. Volunteer Park has a conservatory, but check the hours on that.
Volunteer Park in Capitol Hill

8b. Olympic Sculpture Park

(Free, Belltown): An outdoor sculpture museum that gives beautiful scenic views of the Puget Sound. It is great for walking, running, biking, and socializing as it paves the way toward Centennial park, fishing piers, and rocky beaches.

9a. Seattle Art Museum

(Suggested donation of $19.50, Downtown): Go see the nice artwork, special exhibit, and the permanent porcelain exhibit. Seattle Art Museum

9b. Frye Art Museum

(Free, Capitol Hill): Free admission, ample parking, go see the ornate gold frame art wall. Plus, hanging around Capitol Hill means fine coffee and delicious food establishments.
Frye Art Museum in Capitol Hill

10. Chihuly Garden and Glass

($21 adult, Queen Anne): Expensive (unless you’re a King County resident or child) but it’s an amazing showcase of glass artwork by local artist Dale Chihuly who also owns a houseboat on Lake Union

EXTRA CREDIT

a. Paddleboarding

Feeling active and the weather is good? Go kayaking or paddleboarding on Lake Union! Access and rentals are available in South Lake Union.

b. Alki Beach in West Seattle

Is the weather is good? You must visit West Seattle if you’ve got a car to drive across the short bridge. Otherwise, public transportation can get you there as well. 🙂 Take the ferry from Downtown to West Seattle for Marination Ma Kai – a delicious street food joint.

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