Don’t let the cloudy skies deceive you: Seattle is full of things to do—outside, on the water, in the air, and inside. A stone’s throw from Mt. Ranier and with direct water access, seafood- and boat-lovers can fish, tour, or just sit nearby and enjoy the views. Iconic spots like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market remain central attractions for good reason, and the city’s got its own arts scene, well-captured by the Museum of Pop Culture and performance venues like Kremwork. You certainly won’t be bored while you’re here; you’re more likely to struggle to fit it all in. Let our curated list of the what to do in Seattle be your guide.
Museum of Pop Culture
The collections here focus on the most impactful moments in popular culture, including science fiction, rock music, and many others across the pop culture spectrum, with innovative exhibits and interactive installations bringing it all to life.
Let’s Go Sailing
Those looking for a classy way to cruise the Puget Sound will find it on Let’s Go Sailing’s racing yachts. The sleek vessels coast through Seattle’s waters, offering glimpses of sea life, Mount Rainier, and the coastline. Excursions are customizable, for private charters or group trips.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery
This massive, gleaming roastery is the Starbucks Mecca. Translation: Be prepared to be awed and overwhelmed. It’s not just an oversized Starbucks—there is a coffee-centric cocktail bar serving espresso martinis, multiple food counters, and of course, a roasting area with tours available, all served in a theatric environment.
Seattle Art Museum
The Seattle Art Museum’s sleek and contemporary digs are as artful as the works that inhabit it. As an institution of Seattle’s art scene, it’s a must-see for any visiting art lover. The multi-level space is expertly curated, with a permanent collection, rotating exhibits, a library, and restaurant.
Pacific Science Center
Designed by Minoru Yamasaki for the 1962 World’s Fair, this science museum boasts 300 interactive exhibits, two IMAX theaters, and the coveted Laser Dome. Science geeks, inventors, and creative kids (and adults) lose track of time nerding out on all the exhibits.
Ethnic Seattle Food Tour
Exploring Seattle’s ethnic neighborhoods can be overwhelming without a guide to help navigate the unfamiliar signs and specialty foods at hole-in-the-wall restaurants with foreign menus. Ethnic Seattle helps guide patrons through Little Saigon and Japantown on manageable 2.5-hour tours.
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is one of Seattle’s most iconic destinations. This century-old public market houses dozens of stalls and shops for farmers, restaurants, purveyors, and artisans, all overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront.
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
This 60,000-square-foot facility pays tribute to the confluence of Asian and Pacific American history. Set in an industrial-chic brick building, three floors house contemporary galleries with temporary and permanent exhibits, in addition to historic spaces accessible through guided tours.
Situated on Pier 59, appropriately right on the Elliott Bay, the Seattle Aquarium has become a landmark for the city and a fun way for people to see the diverse underwater world of the Pacific Northwest.
Launching from the Shilshole Bay Marina, Ballard Kayak & Paddleboard hosts people looking to get a closer view of Seattle’s waterways without venturing too far from shore. Manageable group sizes make it a pleasant experience as you paddle your way through Seattle’s coves, locks, and sounds.
Seattle Cycling Tours
From basic Seattle cycling tours to neighborhood-focused outings like “Amazonia” to Bainbridge Island half-day journeys, Seattle Cycling Tours has nearly every inch of bike-able asphalt covered. Group sizes tend to hover around a dozen, and the local guide will dish plenty of narrative about the city along the way.
This classic Seattle music venue draws people for its casual setting, national acts, and devoted music community. A stage and dance floor are the centerpiece, and black-and-white rock-and-roll photos proudly decorate the walls, while a bar on the back dishes out pizza.
This sprawling, lush park spans 300 acres of forested land and is home to an array of native wildlife like eagles. A 2.4-mile bike path makes covering a lot of ground with little time a cinch. After exploring the old growth forest, carve out time to walk the shoreline and check out the art studio.
The Space Needle is undoubtedly one of Seattle’s most iconic landmarks. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, it’s a futuristic observation tower and the most prominent building in Seattle skyline. Visitors can reach the top of the Space Needle by elevator for unparalleled views of the Seattle area. It’s undergoing a major $100 million renovation that will be unveiled in summer 2018.
This eccentric performance venue and nightclub hosts some of Seattle’s wildest nights in its industrial blue-shaded basement—DJ nights, drag shows, and an epic dance floor ensures it. Seattle’s underground music and arts culture gravitates to this LGBTQ-friendly venue.