Things to do in Seattle
Searching for things to do in Seattle? Browse Travel + Leisure’s guide, which spotlights the scenic Washington city’s top attractions and activities, from Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market to Capitol Hill and Ballard Avenue. Whether you want to check out Seattle’s underground, stroll Olympic Sculpture Park, take a cruise on Puget Sound, ride the South Lake Union Trolley, or get far out of town and hike Mount Rainier, Travel + Leisure can lead the way.
With a reputation for being caffeinated and anti-establishment, Seattle’s less grungy side is also worth exploring. Some places like Discovery Park, the Seattle Art Museum, the REI flagship store, and the Space Needle need no introduction, but there are plenty of hidden hangouts, local institutions, and things to do in Seattle only insiders know about. Follow the vertical Tiger Mountain Trail for stunning views of Maple Valley and snowy peaks beyond; go for the best burgers and beer in town at King’s Hardware; shop for super-seasonal picnic fixings at University District Farmers Market; imbibe creative cocktails in a former opium den at Fu Kun Wu; or check out the latest in electronic art at McLeod Residence. Read on to find out more great ideas on what to do in Seattle.
With an inventory that’s Barnes & Noble-esque in scope, this venerable independent bookstore is a point of pride for Seattleites.
The museum pays tribute to native son and world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly, and surveys Pacific Northwest art from oils to jewelry.
Every Earth Day, the Procession of the Species parade, with participants colorfully dressed as birds, turtles, killer whales and more, weaves through downtown.
Windstar Cruises achieves a unique cruise experience with its three motorized sailing yachts. Who cares if the sails are computer operated? They still billow and are gorgeous, and there’s plenty of open deck space from which to enjoy them.
The boutique winery makes a firm Bordeaux blend called Chaleur Estate.
Hard-core kayakers head for the islands of Puget Sound, but more casual paddlers can explore plenty of gorgeous waterways right within Seattle’s city limits.
For an aquatic perspective of Gig Harbor, rent a kayak, canoe, paddleboat, or powerboat. For more surefooted types, there's also the relatively newer sport of paddleboarding. Guided and non-guided excursions are available, in addition to lessons and a kayak camp for kids.
Hand-blown glass votives are the only thing for sale at this 5,700-square-foot studio/boutique in the Madrona neighborhood. Founder Lee Rhodes discovered glassblowing as a form of spiritual renewal in 2001, when she was battling a rare form of lung cancer.
Located in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is sometimes called a “living museum” where visitors watch 21st-century cheese makers use 5,000-year-old recipes.
Co-owners Greg Lundgren and Jeff Scott had virtually no bar experience when they opened their hybrid watering hole and art gallery back in 2005.
As New York has the Empire State Building and Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Seattle has the Space Needle. Built in 1962 for the World’s Fair, the futuristic tower has been hovering over the expanding skyline like an inquisitive UFO ever since.
Bring a flashlight on the Iron Horse Trail, which parallels old railroad tracks and includes a tunnel that goes underneath the pass.
Harlequin Productions draws theatergoers to its unconventional shows here.