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.
Most treatments at downtown’s Ummelina begin with a foot soak and tea ceremony. Seaweed pedicures are performed in private rooms, where customers are literally tucked into a plush, heated bed (dozing off is not uncommon) while toes are filed, buffed, and polished.
Although it doesn’t get the same hype as the Seattle Art Museum (especially given the SAM’s lavish reopening in early 2007), the Frye’s intimate, off-the-beaten-path cluster of galleries is quietly extraordinary.
Just east of Capitol Lake Park, this downtown coffee shop is home to what many consider the best brew in the city.
Five years ago, Anna Nasset-Glenn took over ownership of this artisan boutique and longtime Port Townsend institution, where she helps customers find the perfect sparkling bauble or piece of locally made art.
This curiosity shop is the brainchild of artist Curtis Steiner, whose 1,000 Blocks project (a thousand painted wooden blocks that can be arranged to form different patterns) is in the Seattle Art Museum's permanent collection.
Espresso Vivace's gran bar on Broadway is a 2,000-square-foot facility dedicated to making una bella tazza di caffe (a beautiful cup of coffee). The curved, Italian-style, stand-up bar topped with brown marble pays homage to the old roasteria, which was lost in an emine
Mortuary-turned-minimalist cocktail lounge
Step through a spacious light-filled glass and aluminum entryway into Bellevue Art Museum's (BAM) textured concrete space. Designed by architect Steven Holl, this three-story, 36,000-square-foot museum has hosted exhibits by artistic icons from designer George Nelson to sculptor Michael Cooper.
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.
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.
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.