Explore Seattle

Top Things to Do in Seattle

With a thriving metropolis plunked down in the middle of natural beauty, Seattle has something to offer for every type of traveler. There are some things, however, that qualify as classic experiences—icons of the city, historical adventures, insights into the arts and places that you just won’t find in another city.

Wear comfortable shoes here: The best way to experience most Seattle neighborhoods is to walk. With so many old buildings, storefronts and restaurants are often tucked into hard-to-spot corners you’ll miss in a car. Layers are also smart. Even during the beautiful summer months—usually July to September—the nights can be chilly. A raincoat is also a good idea October through June, as the rain is light but frequent. The good news is the temperate climate means there’s almost never a day where you can’t be outside—though there are plenty of fantastic museums if needed!

If you're looking for a quick way to score tickets to Seattle's top destinations, CityPASS offers admission to the most popular attractions at a reduced rate, rolled into one ticket price. Whether it’s your first time in the city or you tenth, these are the Seattle experiences you should check off your list. 

Space Needle

Seattle’s most familiar icon, the Space Needle was built for the World’s Fair of 1962. For the first time in half a century, it has been completely transformed.

Pike Place Market

Frustration over the price of onions led to the creation of Pike Place Market—citizens were outraged at a ten-fold price increase, leading to the creation of the market on a vacant wooden roadway in 1907. The market has since seen its ups and downs, including nearly losing the entire thing to developers in the 1960s.

Sky View Observatory

Located on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center, at a height of more than 900 feet, Sky View offers stunning 360-degree views of the Puget Sound region.

Underground Tour

Seattle’s most unusual attraction is a humorous stroll through subterranean storefronts and sidewalks entombed when the city rebuilt on top of itself after the Great Fire of 1889. Get a time-capsule view of the buried city. It’s history with punch lines!

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

The Army Corps of Engineers maintains the locks that link Puget Sound with the fresh waters of Lake Union. Admire exotic plants in the botanical garden (which hosts picnickers and outdoor concerts) and watch the salmon leap the fish ladder from an underwater viewing room. Open daily 7 am-9 pm.

Fremont Troll

This beloved public artwork depicts a large, fearsome troll devouring an actual Volkswagen underneath the Aurora Bridge. Created by a team led by Steve Badanes, the mixed-media troll weighs more than two tons and sports one good eye made of a hubcap. He lives in the funky Fremont neighborhood.

Seattle Center

The site of the 1962 World’s Fair is more than 74 acres and the home of museums, theaters and public art like the popular International Fountain. The center hosts major sporting events and concerts and is home to both the Seattle Opera and the Pacific Northwest Ballet. It also hosts numerous cultural festivals.

Seattle Art Museum

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is one museum with three locations: the Seattle Art Museum in downtown, the Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park, and the Olympic Sculpture Park on the downtown waterfront. 

Seattle Great Wheel

Jutting out over the waters of Elliott Bay on Pier 57, this Ferris wheel sends riders 175 feet into the sky in enclosed gondolas; each ride is a leisurely 15 minutes with amazing views!

Seattle Aquarium

Filled with more than 400 species of marine life, the aquarium is home to river and sea otters, harbor seals and the largest species of octopus in the world. Be sure to visit Window on Washington Waters, a 120,000-gallon exhibit with daily diver shows. Open daily 9:30 am-5 pm.

Ride the Ducks

See the city on an authentic World War II amphibious landing craft. The 90-minute tours begin near the Space Needle and travel to attractions before hitting the water to cruise Lake Union. Adults $35, seniors $32, kids 4 to 12 $20, ages 3 and under $5.