Things to do in Seattle

From the top of the Space Needle to the shores of Puget Sound, this metropolis blends nature with urban.

Our most recommended things to do in Seattle

Seattle: Space Needle Ticket

1. Seattle: Space Needle Ticket

Save time during your vacation by pre-booking your ticket to the iconic Space Needle. Enjoy the flexibility of a voucher that can be used for the next available timeslot. Take in never-before-seen views of the newly renovated Space Needle and Seattle from above as you float over the city. Exchange your voucher at the ticket booth for a ticket for the next available timeslot. Then, head up to the newly renovated Space Needle. Discover the world's first and only rotating glass floors, the Loupe, allowing you to take in never-before-seen views of the structure and the city from above. Lean into the Space Needle’s newly installed tilting glass walls, and float over the city as you admire the view. Float over Seattle on one of 24 Skyrisers, angled glass benches perched around the outdoor deck. You can also sip and sample some of the Pacific Northwest’s best snacks and beverages while you take in the views. The Atmos Café on the upper observation level features quick and quintessential Pacific Northwest food, plus locally-crafted beer and wine. The Atmos Wine Bar offers beer, wine, charcuterie, locally crafted cheese boards, and savory bites paired perfectly with the view. Both locations are open to all guests with no reservations. Don’t forget to stop at the Space Needle’s gift shop on the 1st floor as you make your way down and get yourself a souvenir-sized Space Needle to mark the memory.

Seattle: Space Needle & Chihuly Garden and Glass Ticket

2. Seattle: Space Needle & Chihuly Garden and Glass Ticket

Experience the stunning views of Seattle from the Space Needle with a timed entry ticket. Take a stroll through the imaginative artwork of Dale Chihuly with admission to Chihuly Garden and Glass. Get access to both of these must-see attractions in one day. Exchange your voucher at the Space Needle and enjoy a thrilling 42-second elevator ride with views of the Seattle Center, the Puget Sound, and mountains. Step out on The Loupe, the world’s first and only revolving glass floor, for never-before-seen views of the structure and city. Lean into tilting glass walls on the open-air outdoor observation deck. Float over Seattle on one of 24 angled glass benches perched around the outdoor deck. After taking in the all-new thrilling views at the Space Needle, immerse yourself in a world where curiosity, creativity and color come to life at Chihuly Garden and Glass. Get an insight into the inspiration and influences that drive the work of artist Dale Chihuly. Make your way through the exhibition’s eight interior galleries before heading out to the richly landscaped outdoor garden and glasshouse centerpiece. Be moved as you experience a comprehensive look at Chihuly's most significant work. Enjoy complimentary digital photo downloads and get access to daily gallery talks and live glass demonstrations. Admission includes a complimentary audio tour that you can downloaded to your smartphone.

Seattle: Underground Walking Tour

3. Seattle: Underground Walking Tour

Take a journey back in time on a guided tour below the streets of Seattle. Explore over 4 city blocks of historic Pioneer Square and wander through 3 underground passageways originally constructed in the 1890s. Learn the history of Seattle's construction and about the tragedy that befell the city and its habitants along the way. Follow along as your guide regales you with fascinating true stories of how Seattle was born and the tragedies that befell it as it formed, including the Seattle Fire. Learn about the rebirth of Seattle after the fire, and the decision to raise the city streets out of the swampy grounds. See where retaining walls were added alongside the streets and filled to make new roads several feet above where they originally stood.

Seattle CityPASS®: Save 44% or More at 5 Top Attractions

4. Seattle CityPASS®: Save 44% or More at 5 Top Attractions

The Seattle CityPASS includes admission to 5 of Seattle’s most famous attractions, including Seattle’s world-famous symbol, the Space Needle. Built in 1962 for the World’s Fair, the Space Needle towers over downtown, settling into the skyline with majestic mountains in the background. Other attractions included are the Seattle Aquarium, the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), Woodland Park Zoo, Chihuly Gardens and Glass, and Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour. Seattle CityPASS includes admission to: 1. Seattle Space Needle Visit Seattle’s most iconic attraction—the Space Needle—located in the heart of the Seattle Center, originally the site of the 1962 World’s Fair. From the Space Needle’s saucer-shaped observation deck, visitors enjoy views of Puget Sound and the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. For those who make the trip to the top after dark, the city’s expanse of shimmering lights is the big draw. 2. Seattle Aquarium Discover playful sea otters, graceful octopuses, luminous moon jellies, and more. Be amazed by the “Window on Washington Waters” - a 120,000-gallon exhibit with daily dive shows. Touch live sea creatures in tide pools. Immerse yourself in the Underwater Dome’s 360-degree view. Take a virtual trip to the tropics in the Pacific Coral Reef exhibit. Learn about the Aquarium’s mission: Inspiring Conservation of the Marine Environment. Plus admission to 3 of the following: 3 Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) Explore some of the most significant moments in rock music, science fiction, and popular culture with hands-on experiences, iconic artifacts, and award-winning exhibitions featuring luminaries in the fields of music, literature, television, and video games. 4 Woodland Park Zoo Take a global journey at Woodland Park Zoo—a 92-acre oasis teeming with 300+ animal species in lush, spacious settings. Discover the world of gorillas, rhinos, red pandas, lions, birds, reptiles, and more. Meet charismatic ambassador animals at outdoor theater programs. Explore Zoomazium’s indoor nature play space for kids. Experience free-flying butterflies in a seasonal garden and stroll through a 2½-acre Rose Garden. 5 Chihuly Garden & Glass Immerse yourself in a world where curiosity, creativity, and color come to life. Visit the Galleries, ever-changing Glass Garden, and signature Glasshouse, where you’ll be inspired by artist Dale Chihuly’s innovation and passion. Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour Learn about Seattle on this entertaining 1-hour, live-narrated cruise of Elliott Bay and the Seattle Harbor. Take in views of the city skyline, mountains, shipping terminals, and historic neighborhoods. Save 44% or more on prepaid admission to 5 must-see attractions: the Space Needle, the Seattle Aquarium, plus your choice of admission to 3 of the following attractions: Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), and Woodland Park Zoo Chihuly Garden and Glass.

Seattle: Chihuly Garden and Glass Ticket

5. Seattle: Chihuly Garden and Glass Ticket

Lose yourself in the mesmerizing mix of colors and light, and glass and steel that is Chihuly Garden and Glass. Take your time to wander through the exhibition's 8 interior galleries, richly landscaped outdoor garden, and magnificent centerpiece Glasshouse. Venture through each gallery and marvel at numerous blown-glass works that demonstrate how Dale Chihuly pushed the boundaries of glass as art. While exploring the exhibition, receive complimentary digital photo download and access to daily Gallery Talks and live glass demonstrations. Let the 40-foot tall glass and steel structure that covers 4,500 square feet of light-filled space – the Glasshouse — completely captivate you. The installation in the Glasshouse is an expansive 100-foot-long sculpture in a color palette of reds, oranges, yellows, and amber. Made of many individual elements, it is one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures. Stroll through a lush garden that serves as the backdrop for glass sculptures made of impossible shapes and brilliant colors.

Seattle: Harbor Cruise with Live Narration

6. Seattle: Harbor Cruise with Live Narration

Admire the beauty of Seattle's vibrant and historic harbor on this narrated cruise. Enjoy the fresh air and a bit of history while taking in all the impressive sights, including the famous Space Needle. Start your tour from the Seattle Central Waterfront and get an impressive and comprehensive look at the city's most beautiful sights. Enjoy a perfect trip for tourists and locals alike and take in views from the outdoor open deck.

Seattle Sky View Observatory: Skip-the-line Ticket Options

7. Seattle Sky View Observatory: Skip-the-line Ticket Options

Discover the beauty of Seattle from above.  At nearly 1,000 feet this platform is the tallest public viewing area in the Pacific Northwest and is a perfect panorama to begin your Seattle experience.   Choose between 3 ticket options, where you can upgrade to receive priority entry and exit, receive a credit to spend at the Sky View Café or gift shop, and even enjoy reserved seating with the best view. Plan your itinerary from the vantage point of the observatory. Decide between taking a whirl on the Great Wheel, strolling through Pike Place Market, or journeying to the San Juan Islands. Interact with a touch screen technology to explore destinations, tours, and areas so you can create a virtual itinerary. Overlook the city’s skyscrapers, residential neighborhoods, shipping port, and sports stadiums, then look beyond to the mountains, the sea, and the sky. Be captivated by 360-degree panoramic views including Mt. Rainier, Lake Washington, the Cascade Mountains, Mt. Baker, Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound, the Space Needle and much more.

Seattle: Emerald City Ghosts Haunted Walking Tour

8. Seattle: Emerald City Ghosts Haunted Walking Tour

Dive deep into Seattle’s past to discover why these ghosts still walk their specific haunts. Expect to be spooked, fascinated, and entertained - all at once. Meet some of Seattle’s most infamous ghosts. Listen to the ghost stories that are based on extensive research and on real, verified ghost sightings. Whether you’re in town for vacation, traveling on business, or you live in Seattle and want a fun and surprising night on the town.

Seattle: City Harbor Cruise

9. Seattle: City Harbor Cruise

Hop aboard a 1-hour cruise through Seattle’s famous Puget Sound. Departing from the city’s historic waterfront, you’ll have the opportunity to snap shots of iconic landmarks from an unimpeded viewpoint, all the while feeling the sea breeze on your face. Spot the Space Needle and Seattle’s skyline while listening to the on-board narration, learning about the diverse history of the Emerald City. On clear days, marvel at the Olympic and Cascade Mountain Ranges as they stand tall in the distance, surrounding the entirety of the city. Keep your eyes peeled for the towering Mount Rainier in the distance, rising over 14,000 feet above sea level.

Seattle: Mount Rainier Park All-Inclusive Small Group Tour

10. Seattle: Mount Rainier Park All-Inclusive Small Group Tour

Explore the Nisqually Vista Trail in the Mount Rainier National Park on this guided tour with pickup from Downtown Seattle. Enjoy seasonal snacks and refreshments throughout the tour and stop for a locally sourced and/or organic lunch along the way.  Be picked up from the comfort of your accommodation or a centrally-located meeting point in Downtown Seattle. Sit back and relax in a Mercedes van on the way to the Mount Rainier National Park which is nestled between the Olympic Mountains and Cascades. Admire views of the Rainier volcano which is encased in 35 square miles of snow and ice. Take in the atmosphere of this area that is surrounded by old growth forest and seasonally covered in a stunning carpet of wildflowers. Look for birds, marmots, coyotes, elk, and black bears. Breathe in crisp air as you take in the sounds and scents of the forests and lakes. Follow your naturalist guide on a walk or snowshoe of the Nisqually Vista Trail. Pause for a lunch of delicious local, seasonal produce and wine before strolling through a landscape of waterfalls, river valleys, and glaciers. End the day with a descent down to Longmire. Keep your eyes peeled for deer in the meadow as they make their late afternoon trek to the river’s edge. Return by van to your accommodation in Seattle at the end of your tour.

Frequently asked questions about Seattle

What top attractions are a must-see in Seattle?

The must-see attractions in Seattle are:

What are the best indoor activities in Seattle for rainy days?

What are the best inexpensive tours in Seattle?

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Seattle

The Emerald City is the jewel of the Pacific Northwest and an incredible destination to explore. Filled with one-of-a-kind experiences like the country’s oldest public market, epicenter for the grunge music scene, the birthplace of Starbucks, iconic monuments and arts scene, and outdoor attractions to name a few of the reasons that make Seattle a great destination to visit. Megan Indoe is a Brooklyn based travel enthusiast who shares her adventures with her husband and photographer Scott Herder across their travel channels on social media and their blog, Bobo & Chichi.

What should I do on my first trip to Seattle?

Your first visit to Seattle MUST include Pike Place Market. Forget the Space Needle (you’ll see it plenty from afar) and spend your time eating around the oldest public market in the United States. You can also find the original Starbucks here, you can tell which one it is by the line wrapping out the door. But, we would skip that and instead go to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Capitol Hill too!

What are some hidden gems to see in Seattle?

Seattle is full of hidden gems like the Fremont Troll tucked away under a bridge, find quirky museums like the Giant Shoe Museum in the basement level of Pike Place Market, or rent a hot tub boat on Lake Union with some friends for an unforgettable time. Our absolute favorite hidden gem is skipping the Space Needle and heading over to the Smith Tower Observatory instead, which provides a great view of the Space Needle from its outdoor deck.

How much time should I spend in Seattle?

You need at least a weekend in Seattle. Anything less than just isn’t enough time.

What food is Seattle known for?

Seattle has an extraordinary food scene, especially around Pike Place Market where you can join a food tour and sample around the best flavors the market offers. Surprisingly, Pike Place Chowder has won awards for the best New England Chowder beating actual East Coast contestants!

What is the best way to get around Seattle?

We really enjoy getting around Seattle by foot. If you’ve exhausted your steps for the day you can use a Seattle Yellow Cab or ride share app to get around or use the Link Light Rail, which is the local version of a subway and public transportation that’s easy to use and affordable.

What are the best months to visit Seattle?

Seattle is known for being a rainy destination as it rains an average of 150 days a year typically from October through March. While the temperature is pretty mild year-round, the best time of year to visit seattle is the summer which is very comfortable, just bring a light jacket for the evenings or September through October is right past the peak season and still comfortable.

What is neighborhood Pioneer Square known for?

Pioneer Square is one of our favorite neighborhoods and is the birthplace of the city! Here you can find some of the city’s most beautiful architecture and the fascinating underground city. You can join a tour to explore the entire underworld of Seattle and if you’re into spooky things you can join a paranormal tour too as there are several alleged haunted locations including Merchant’s Cafe which has even hosted several paranormal investigation television shows.

What are the best neighborhoods for food? 

The best neighborhood for food depends on what you’re looking for. Pike Place is great for sampling many different options but one of the best neighborhoods for food is Chinatown-International District, home to Seattle’s Asian-American communities.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

Located around 15 minutes from downtown Seattle, the Ballard neighborhood has great weekend flea markets, vintage shops, and a great selection of independent boutiques to browse. Another cool neighborhood to check out for artsy and hip shops is Capitol Hill.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Seattle?

Belltown and the Pike Place Market area are the best centrally located areas to stay in Seattle. You can also stay in First Hill, which is just a slight walk uphill from alot of the exploring you’ll be doing on the trip but provides great views and is still centrally located to many of the best Seattle attractions.

What is the best thing to do in Seattle for couples?

One of the most romantic things you can do in Seattle is rent a house boat on Lake Union and relive the famous rom-com classic, Sleepless in Seattle!

What are the best areas for outdoor activities around Seattle?

The Pacific Northwest really has some of the most beautiful landscape in the United States. If you’re looking for outdoor adventures consider taking the ferry from Seattle to Island Hop. If you’re short on time you can do a quick day trip to Bainbridge Island and if you have extra time you don’t want to miss Vashon Island or Blake Island. Each island has their own outdoor activities and gives you a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Other Sightseeing Options in Seattle

Want to discover all there is to do in Seattle? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Seattle

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,819 reviews

It’s a must see in Seattle. Even on cloudy, rainy days, go and experience it. I felt the restaurant, bar and snack tables should have been open by 11:00 am. Trying to scan the barcode for reservations didn’t work. The Chiluly Gardens & Glass is the most beautiful, awe inspiring exhibit I’ve ever seen. I was left speechless.

Noah slayed. From the formidable Dr. Hazard to the sinister Butterworths, Noah playfully wove the tapestry of Seattle’s macabre history with a devilish charm.

Very cool to learn about history of Seattle neighborhoods! Be ready to walk, but guide is great:)

Amazing experience! Ron is super knowledgeable and accommodating! Strongly recommended!

The whole experience- especially walking on the revolving glass.