Seattle Travel Guide
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.
Every Earth Day, the Procession of the Species parade, with participants colorfully dressed as birds, turtles, killer whales and more, weaves through downtown.
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.
Instead of beer-soaked concrete and standing-room only, this rock club for grownups offers plush cabaret-style seating in semicircular booths, and a full menu of snacks, entrées, and creative cocktails. With this kind of setup, sight lines are guaranteed, and the acoustics are great.
Although Retrofit Home specializes contemporary home furnishings, the Capitol Hill store also sells transitional and mid-Century modern furniture. Owners Jon Milazzo and Lori Pomeranz stock the shop with everything from chaisse lounges to sectional sofas to daybeds by Blu Dot and Mobiltal.
This Belltown cocktail bar channels a bachelor-pad vibe, with midcentury modern furniture, stone- or tufted-leather feature walls, and eccentric, manly touches like deer-hoof table lamps.
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.
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.
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.
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.