10 Fun Things to do in Seattle, Washington

This is a guest post by Christa Rolls, who is the founder and editor of Expedition Wildlife, a blog that details wildlife watching destinations, photography tips, gear reviews, and more. She has hiked hundreds of miles of Washington’s trails, and her background as an Avian Ecologist has allowed her to find the best places to experience Washington’s nature and all it has to offer.
The endless nature activities and the vibrant city life around Seattle, Washington make this destination one of our favorites in the world. Don your rain coat and layers, and get ready to enjoy one of the most stunning places in the United States.

Here are the top things to see and do in and around Seattle!

Washington Harbor at Sunset

Washington Harbor at Sunset

Visit Pike Place Market

No trip to Seattle would be complete without a visit to Pike Place Market , made famous by “flying” fish at the Pike Place Fish Market, the first Starbucks shop, endless flower vendors and local artists, and of course, the view over the Puget Sound. Pike Place has been around for over 100 years, and is one of the oldest farmers’ markets in the United States – don’t miss the opportunity to see why it’s been in operation for so long!
After perusing and shopping around the Market, it’s easy to eat one’s way through their visit to this part of Seattle, as it has some premier food and drink locations. Piroshky Piroshky has the most wonderful baked-goods smell emanating from it, and it sits just across the street from Pike’s Place, enticing visitors to have a try of this traditional Russian pastry. Try a bowl of chowder at Pike Place Chowder, get sushi at Japonessa or crab and oysters at Cutters, and a fabulous cocktail at Von’s 1000 spirits to round out the day.
In between all the indulging, a walk to the water is a fun way to explore the other side of the Market, by riding the Great Wheel for a special view of the cityscape, and seeing the famous (albeit mildly bizarre) gum wall.

Visit Kerry Park

Kerry Park Kerry Park Seattle at SunsetSeattle at Sunset

Kerry Park Seattle at Sunset

Though many photos of the Seattle skyline are taken here, Kerry Park is relatively well-hidden in an upscale residential area of the Queen Anne neighborhood just north of downtown Seattle. Hike up the steep hill or take the local bus for the best view of the city! On a clear day, Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountain Range can easily be seen as a stunning backdrop for the entire cityscape. Sunset is an especially beautiful time of day to experience the area – trust us!
Just a few blocks up the road is a suite of delicious cafes (Seattle doesn’t joke around about their coffee!) as well as a number of hip, upscale restaurants.

Climb the Space Needle

Originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle is an icon for Seattle and the whole Pacific Northwest region. The architecture is beautiful, and the view of the city and the surrounding mountains is even better from the top.
Take some time at the adjacent Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, celebrating the famed glass blower and art extraordinaire Dale Chihuly, and check out the nearby Tilikum Place Café for a delicious lunch or dinner.

Hike to the top of Mount Si

Hiker on Mount Si, Washington

Hiker on Mount Si, Washington

About 30 minutes east of the city is the town of North Bend, the gateway to the Cascade Mountains and Snoqualmie Pass. The Mount Si trailhead is located just off a windy road from the main part of town, and Mount Si itself offers beautiful views of Seattle, the Snoqualmie valley, and Mount Rainier. The whole hike is 8 miles round trip, with half being switchbacks uphill from the start, so be prepared by bringing plenty of water and snacks along. The area is also perfect for skiing and snowshoeing in wintertime.
Stop over at Trapper’s Sushi in North Bend after your hike for some tasty teriyaki, sushi rolls, or gyoza, or all of the above!

Experience Ballard’s Night Life

Ballard is one of the Seattle neighborhoods located just northwest of the main downtown area. In recent years, Ballard has become known for its hip vibe and trendy restaurant and bar scene. During the day, local shops with an indie flair open their doors, and at night, the people and nightlife is vibrant and active.
Grab delicious hand-crafted drinks at Hazlewood or pop in for a beer and whisky at Macleod’s Scottish Pub. Hankering for a brunch the following day? Portage Bay’s selection and delicious coffee won’t disappoint.

See the Tulips in Springtime and Snow Geese in Autumn

Tulips at Roozengaarde, Skagit Valley, WA

Tulips at Roozengaarde, Skagit Valley, WA

North of Seattle is some of Washington’s beautiful farmland just at the base of the Cascades, in the shadow of Mount Baker. In spring, these fields turn all colors of the rainbow with the flowering of tulips and daffodils, the most extensive of which are the displays at Roozengaarde. There’s also the opportunity to purchase flowers, bulbs, and many tasty treats. Rent a bike and explore the many farms on two wheels instead of four; especially on a nice day, this is a great way to explore the area.
Head into La Conner to see this adorable riverside town’s many shops, and pop into Anelia’s Kitchen and Stage for delicious fare and homemade Bloody Mary’s.
In fall, the Skagit Wildlife Area hosts a spectacular sight – thousands of Snow Geese will forage on the farm’s heathlands throughout the day and in the evenings, then just before sunset flocks and flocks of birds will begin heading to their roosting grounds for the night. This sight, coupled with the sunset and Mount Baker in the background, is once-in-a-lifetime!

Attend a Game at CenturyLink Field

Home of the Seattle Seahawks Football Team and Seattle Sounders Soccer Team, CenturyLink Field is not only famous for the teams they host, but also for the incredible noise levels the crowd makes during games. CenturyLink’s crowds have broken World Records for the decibel levels made in this stadium, and the excitement is palpable! If there is a home game during your visit, check to see if tickets are available and join in on the fun.

Kayak or Paddleboard Lake Union and Gas Works Park

The Puget Sound and the inlets and lakes surround Seattle are simply a part of the full nature experience in the Pacific Northwest. Head over to Moss Bay in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, just on Lake Union, and rent a kayak or paddleboard to get a beautiful view of the city from the water. Moss Bay also offers tours around the Lake and up around Gas Works Park, near the University of Washington campus.

Take an Orca Watching Tour

Seattle’s placement in the extensive Puget Sound, just off the great Pacific Ocean, leaves many opportunities for spotting whales of all kinds. The San Juan Islands specifically have Orca pods that will frequent the edge of this National Monument’s waters, and seeing these majestic and powerful creatures is an incredible experience. Plan a trip with San Juan Safaris and consider staying on the islands for a day or two – there’s so much to explore, and the ferry journey to the San Juan Islands National Monument is nearly as much fun as the activities you can have once you arrive!

Visit Mount Rainier National Park

If the weather looks ideal, drive down to Sunrise, the northern end of Mount Rainier National Park, or Paradise, the southern end. In mid-to-late-summer, alpine wildflowers abound and cover the meadows at Rainier’s base. Trails are strewn about the whole Park, and there are plenty of opportunities for camping. Even in winter, there are cross-country skiing opportunities, sledding, and snowshoeing all around the Park. This icon isn’t to be missed!

Tried these fun things to do in Seattle already? How about some amazing tours in town –
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For other wonderful activities and fun things to do in Seattle, check out Visit Seattle’s webpage.

6 Comments

  1. Seattle has a racial and geographic diverse community south east of downtown. This list assures visitorsv and residents will miss seeing how we meld and experience a mix of cultures. They will miss standing on the shore off the majestic Lake Washington and when she is out see Mount Rainier or experience the lovely Kabota Garden . Since this the list takes us outside of Seattle, why not Snoqualmie Falls? And the Sqaxim Indian Museum and Oyster Bay? Something for those who might like to go home and say I saw what Seattle tours make sure we do not se.

    • Hi Dabiha! I’m glad you posted this comment as it allows other readers to hear about some of the other places to visit around Seattle. I personally find something special in each of the experiences I listed, but there’s so much to do in and around the area! For sure, the Kabota Gardens are stunning, and taking the ferry over to Bremerton or Bainbridge (to see the Suquamish Museum or the Bloedel Reserve) to explore those areas is worth a visit. I personally love the Burke Museum up by the University of Washington – they’ve got wonderful animal collections and a good cultural exhibit. Also, walking the interpretive trail at Snoqualmie Falls (and visiting one of the many nearby wineries after) is a great addition!

  2. Just a correction from a local. It isn’t “Union Lake,” but rather “Lake Union.”

    • Hi Kris! Thanks so much for that correction – it looks like I switched the words around in the title. For some reason I switch phrases with “Lake” around all the time – just the other day I wrote an excerpt for Lake Ingalls in the Cascades and I kept writing “Ingalls Lake” instead!

    • Hi Kris, Thanks for pointing it out. Fixed 🙂

  3. Seattle is one of my favorite cities. But you don’t always need to take an whale watching tour to spot them. We’ve seen them on the ferry too!

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