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.
Given that Seattle is filled with hikers, kayakers, and cyclists, it only makes sense that the city is home to the mother of all outdoor stores.
Coffee, basil, wasabi, and cantaloupe are among the house-infused vodka flavors served at this stylish cocktail lounge, the next-door offspring of the Banya 5 spa. The lounge is small and intimate, with blue-glass pendant lights, contemporary artwork, and a custom-made mahogany bar.
Martinis are big at Tini Bigs—served in 10-oz. glasses, to be precise. Belltown is home to this unpretentious lounge specializing in cocktails classic and original.
The Pike/Pine corridor in Seattle runs from Interstate 5 to 15th Ave E and is named after the two parallel commercial strips that form it. The corridor is home to diverse groups and interests ranging from artists to software developers, cupcakes to noodles, and bars to music venues.
The work of the Pacific Northwest’s best artists—including glass masters Dale Chihuly and Benjamin Moore, and founders of the Northwest School of painting Morris Graves, Mark Tobey, and Guy Anderson—has been displayed in this 7,000-square-foot gallery.
Have a picnic overlooking the vines and cap it off with a few sips in the tasting room.
This vintage boutique and consignment shop in downtown is jam-packed with secondhand deals. The owners scour estate sales, attics, and garage sales for everything from vintage wedding dresses to hard-to-find haute couture pieces.
This diminutive little bar in Ballard truly is teensy with just a handful of stools and minimal standing room on the main floor.
Strange Factor: This unusual tour focuses on the hidden history underneath city streets. Tour-goers descend three flights of stairs into old tunnels, where they see what were once the main streets and storefronts of buried Pioneer Square in Seattle’s old downtown.
This northwestern Seattle neighborhood is known for its Scandinavian, fishing-village past, but the Salmon Bay community is reinventing itself as an up-and-coming shopping, bar, and restaurant district.
Now a six-location, mini-chain, the original Zoka Coffee Roaster & Tea House was founded by owner Jeff Babcock in 1996.
Despite its minimalist décor, there’s a warm-and-fuzzy feeling about this eco-chic women’s wear shop (the warm greeting you’ll get from both the shopkeepers and the resident foster cat help).
The windows reveal hot-pink walls and racks upon racks of feminine street fashion: T-shirts by DaftBird, Jay Godfrey silk cocktail dresses, and gold animal medallions by Seattle's own Kimberly Baker.
Founded in 1946 by three high school buddies, this still locally owned seaplane operation has a fleet of 25 aircrafts performing seasonal, scheduled service between Seattle and the San Juan Islands, Olympic Peninsula, Vancouver, Victoria, and the Gulf Islands.