If you’re visiting Seattle and looking for the best of the best in sightseeing, recreation, and food and drink, you’re in the right place. We make it our business to identify the most interesting and exciting nooks and crannies of cities while putting together our challenging and original scavenger hunts. And we love to share them!
From breath-taking views to one-of-a-kind venues, the following is our short list of fun things to do in Seattle.
Places to See
1. Seattle Center: With its iconic look and panoramic views, the Space Needle is on most visitors’ shortlists. But not everyone takes the time to explore the 74-acre complex of culture and entertainment that surrounds it. Here you’ll find Chihuly Garden and Glass, home of the amazing, super-sized glass sculptures of artist Dale Chihuly; the Pacific Science Center, an excellent science museum with an IMAX theater and the Laser Dome; and the Seattle Children’s Museum, where hands-on learning brings imagination to life.
2. MoPOP: Our new favorite spot in Seattle Center deserves a mention all its own. Previously the EMP Music Project, the fully revamped Museum of Pop Culture is easily one of the coolest places in town. Learn how to fight monsters and see authentic movie props in a horror exhibit curating by three legendary horror directors. Explore an enchanted forest and learn what sort of character you’d be in a fantasy story. Play indie video games developed right in the Puget Sound area. Admire a vast collection of guitars from legends like Bo Diddle and Eddie Van Halen. Seriously, you should go!
3. The Waterfront: You can’t visit Seattle and not take a stroll along the bustling waterfront area. Here you’ll find ample opportunities to discover nature and view the city from the sea on one of the charter boat cruises that leave from the docks. Or visit the family-friendly Seattle Aquarium, where you can dip your hands into a simulated tide pool to touch living sea cucumbers and spiny sea urchins, or view playful seals, sea lions, and otters. After exploring the oceans’ depths, try the heights: the Seattle Great Wheel, one of the tallest and most spectacular Ferris wheels on the West Coast, offers a great view of Elliot Bay and the Olympic Mountains in the distance.
4. Washington State Ferry: Hop on a ferry, leaving from the same waterfront, for a day trip to beautiful Bainbridge Island, where outdoor activities, sightseeing, excellent food, and home-made ice cream are just a few of the local attractions. Keep your eyes peeled on the way over for whale and orca sightings (most common between May and October), and plan your return trip at twilight for a spectacular sunset and impressive views of the city skyline as it lights up for the night.
5. Discovery Park: Put your explorer hat on and head over to the Magnolia neighborhood on the shores of the Puget Sound. At 534 acres, Discovery Park is the largest public park in the city, offering nearly 12 miles of walking trails, inspiring bluff-side views, and the Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center for engaging programming and activities for kids.
Places to Eat & Drink
6. Pike Place Market: Perhaps no other public market in America is easier and more fun to get lost in. A Seattle institution since 1907 (see the postcard at left if you don’t believe us), Pike Place Market offers pure sensory overload—the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Seattle’s culinary scene leap out from every corner. There’s not much you can’t find at Pike’s Place, from the excellent Daily Dozen Doughnut Company to the diner-ish Lowell’s. But whether you want to see Alaskan Salmon tossed high in the air by experienced fishmongers or prefer it grilled with a squeeze of lemon on your plate, the market is one place where fresh seafood is always the star.
7. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese: Seattle is home to some of the best cheese anywhere. At Beecher’s, just across Pike Place from the market, you can nibble on free samples while you watch cheese being swirled and bricked in open vats, then buy a suitcase worth of their famous Flagship cheeses, cheese curds, and cheeses flavored with peppercorns and jerk seasonings. On your way out, order a piping hot bowl of their decadent, “world’s best” mac and cheese. And if all that cheese has made you sleepy, pop into the original Starbucks a few doors down for a pick-you-up with a whiff of nostalgia.
8. Bar Scene: The Old Stove Brewing Co. and Fremont Brewing top the list of popular micro-breweries, while cozy spots near Pioneer Square such as Serious Pie, for creative wood-fire gourmet pizza, or Salumi, for cured Italian meats and sandwiches, are perfect for refueling the body and the soul.
Things to Do
9. Seattle Sports: Safeco Field, the bay-facing home of the Mariners, is known for the best sightlines in Major League Baseball. And CenturyLink Field, where the recent world-champion Seahawks play, really rocks when the hometown supporters, known as the “12th Man,” make their presence known. (Seriously, they really like the number 12 in Seattle these days.) Even when it isn’t game day, both venues offer behind-the-scenes tours revealing the special features of each world-class facility.
10. Water Sports: Get out on the water in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard with many rentals, tours, and destinations to choose from. Ballard Kayak & Paddleboard, located at Golden Gardens Beach, and Moss Bay on Lake Union offer an array of options for groups and individuals of all ages and sizes. It’s a great way to get the blood pumping while experiencing the region’s ample aquatic beauty. Pack a lunch for a picnic on the shore, and don’t forget the sunscreen—while Seattle is known for rain, it’s also very sunny, especially from late summer through early autumn.
Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts: Solve a murder mystery at Pike Place Market, explore MoPOP, or enjoy a day at the zoo on one of the many team building scavenger hunts offered by Watson Adventures. On each hunt, teams search for answers to tricky, humorous questions while exploring a great location, from tours in museums, like the Seattle Art Museum, to hunts around town.
Check out some of our other city guides: