25 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Seattle, WA

Written by Brad Lane
Updated Mar 21, 2024
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Seattle is like its own planet in the Pacific Northwest. Its gravitational pull is hard to avoid as the biggest city in the region, enticing with a broad selection of outdoor and indoor attractions alongside a vibrant community. I find something new that adds to the sparkle of the Emerald City with every visit, especially in the summer, when the entire city shines after winter's frequent drizzles.

View of City from Gas Works Park
View of City from Gas Works Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Visitors may conjure the image of the Seattle Space Needle when envisioning a trip to Seattle. And this 605-foot spire is well worth the visit, especially the surrounding Seattle Center, home to other attractions like Chihuly Garden and Glass and Climate Pledge Arena. But peel Seattle back beyond these renowned tourist destinations, and the city has so much more to explore.

You'll never see everything in a single day or weekend. I once stayed for an entire month and felt pressed for time. That's because between seaside parks, underground tours, immersive museums, and iconic spots like Pike Place Market, things to do in Seattle span all hours of the day and throughout the year. Luckily, there are plenty of coffee shops to aid in making the most out of a vacation.

Prepare to explore the sunny side of Seattle my list of the best attractions in Seattle.

1. Seattle Center & the Space Needle

The Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass
The Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Seattle Center, home to the Space Needle, is often included on a first trip to Seattle. And for good reason. These iconic attractions were first built for the 1962 World's Fair and have since been converted into an entertainment complex and park area with a long list of community attractions.

This public space is also home to the Museum of Pop Culture and Chihuly Garden and Glass, two of the best museums in Seattle (and two of my favorite). Restaurants and shopping also line the pedestrian paths across campus, alongside ample public areas for wandering or sitting down and people-watching. This is especially true at the International Fountain with its orchestrated waterspouts and light shows.

The newest addition to Seattle Center is Climate Pledge Arena. This state-of-the-art sports venue is home to the Seattle Kraken, freshly minted into the NHL during the 2021/22 season. Seattle's best radio station, KEXP, also operates out of a studio in the Seattle Center, giving music fans a reason to gather.

View from the Needle Observation Deck
View from the Needle Observation Deck | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Despite all the other world-class attractions in Seattle Center, the Space Needle claims the most international fame. And while the paid trip to the top of the Space Needle has some of the classic frills of a tourist trap, the view atop is indeed spectacular and worth the few hoops required to jump through.

It's a moderate admission price to get to the top of the Space Needle, and when I visited during a midweek morning in August, I waited about 45 minutes in line for my ride to the top. I opted out of the commemorative photograph taken after the elevator ride, but I spent extra time exploring inside and outside.

Anyone with a fear of heights should not go to the top of the Space Needle. But as someone with unlimited trust in the guardrails and glass-bottom floors, I didn't want to go back down once I got up. Plan to spend at least half of the day if you want to ride to the top. Sunny weather is certainly the most preferred forecast, though a rainy day could provide an exciting ambiance.

Address: 400 Broad Street, Seattle, Washington

Official site: www.spaceneedle.com

2. Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Pike Place Market is another busy tourist area worth a visit. It offers an authentic taste of the maritime culture associated with the city, comprising a wide range of vendors on the two bustling levels floors near the waterfront.

Fish, fruit, vegetables, and all sorts of odds and ends tantalize the taste buds and camera lenses. And keep an eye out for fresh fish flying through the air from the Pike Place Fish Market. If you don't have the hotel facilities for cooking seafood, head to one of the 80 local restaurants and bakeries or pick up goodies to bring home from one of the specialty foods stores.

Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market

In addition to plentiful food choices, there are more than 200 proprietor-operated shops that range from antiques and collectibles to bookstores and quirky specialty shops. The historic nine-acre shopping haven includes a crafts market with 225 local and regional creators.

Although it's possible to spend all day admiring each stall in Pike Place Market, typically, it's only a part of a touristic day. The market is in the central downtown area, surrounded by several other places to visit. Visitors can also check out the Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Aquarium, and the Seattle Great Wheel at Pier 57 within a short walk.

Address: 1st and Pike Streets, Seattle, Washington

Official site: http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/

3. Discovery Park

Discovery Park
Discovery Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Discovery Park covers nearly 550 acres and is the largest park in the city and one of the top beaches in Seattle. It's located on a point protruding into the sound from the Magnolia neighborhood, west of downtown. Coastline, forest, and meadows comprise much of the park's landscape, with dirt and paved trails winding throughout.

I headed straight to the West Point Lighthouse on my first visit to Discovery Park, which required about a two-mile hike from the Discovery Park Visitor Center and park entrance. The lighthouse was immediately recognizable as the popular photo destination that it is. But the actual view in person, including an expanse of the Olympic Mountains backdropping Puget Sound, made me understand why it's such a popular Seattle destination.

A paved trail parallels the beach that extends from either side of the lighthouse, offering great views across the water the entire way. The entire network of trails is sprawling within the park, but abundant signage makes navigating throughout the 500-plus acres fairly easy. I never lost reception in the park, either, so I could use my online maps to navigate.

Discovery Park is the former site of Fort Lawton, and some of its military history remains today. An Environmental Learning Center is also onsite at the Visitor Center, hosting interactive exhibits, information about the park, and education programs for all ages.

Address: 3801 Discovery Park Blvd, Seattle, Washington

4. Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass
Chihuly Garden and Glass

If you're heading to the Seattle Center for the Space Needle, be sure to budget at least some time to check out the next-door Chihuly Garden and Glass. The colorful exhibits of this world-renowned museum display and explore the work of innovative glassblower Dale Chihuly - a Tacoma native.

Chihuly's work is known for using glass as a purely artistic medium and creating captivating sculptures. And captivated I was while walking through the eight darkened galleries of the museum, illuminated by glass gardens and densely packed exhibits. It gets a little crowded in these galleries but easy enough to stand still and admire the artistry.

Greenhouse at the Chihuly Garden and Glass
Greenhouse at the Chihuly Garden and Glass | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Glasshouse is the capstone of a visit under the shadow of the Space Needle. An amorphous glass sculpture hangs delicately above this beautiful rotunda encapsulated by glass, changing colors and appearance with the arcing sun above. Between the galleries and the grand Glasshouse, expect to spend between ninety minutes and two hours at the museum (minimum).

The Art Plaza and Collections Café is next to the Greenhouse, offering a lovely place to sit and enjoy hourly glassblowing demonstrations. The plaza abuts the garden, where visitors find Chihuly's work presented within a natural environment, enhancing the flow and depth of the glass.

Address: 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, Washington

Official site: www.chihulygardenandglass.com

5. Go Underground in the Pioneer Square Historic District

Pioneer Square Historic District
Pioneer Square Historic District

Pioneer Square is the city's historic heart, marked with a 60-foot totem pole. It's an area of town that retains much of its historic character distinct from modern parts of downtown, including beautiful Victorian-era buildings. Smith Tower stands out for its imposing height (42 stories), with an observation deck on the 35th floor that's ideal for sightseeing.

In the same neighborhood, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park remembers the surge of prospectors who departed for the Yukon during the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush. This monumental event brought new prosperity to Seattle, the marketed "Gateway to the Gold Fields."

Seattle underneath Pioneer Square
Seattle underneath Pioneer Square | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Something to know about visiting Pioneer Square in modern times is that the area is an example of some of the city's urban challenges. Expect to see Seattle's un-housed population while visiting, and while statistically, it's a safe place to visit, it's a spot to take out earbuds and pay attention to your surroundings.

I elected to explore Pioneer Square by going underground and joining the expedition on the famous Bill Speidel's Underground Tour. This 75-minute tour explains how the current city streets were established after the 1889 Great Seattle Fire and dives into the legacy of the almost forgotten underground sidewalks. It turned out to be a great experience that allowed me to get more comfortable with the area under the wings of a tour guide.

6. Learn about Puget Sound at the Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium
Seattle Aquarium | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The non-profit Seattle Aquarium operates on the downtown waterfront, just a short walk from the Seattle Great Wheel on Pier 57. Through several live animal exhibits, the aquarium captivated my attention the entire afternoon and inspired my interest in the nearby Puget Sound.

The Window on Washington's Waters is the first exhibit encountered at the aquarium. This 120,000-gallon tank has nothing but good views thanks to its 40-foot-wide window, leaving plenty of room for kids to gather near the front at this popular family attraction.

The tide pool touch tanks tend to be the next area of attraction at the aquarium. This is also a popular attraction for kids, but I'll admit I spent most of my time at the museum reaching into the water to gently put my fingers on sea anemones and other colorful invertebrates.

The aquarium is also home to various marine mammals, including different kinds of seals and otters. Thanks to the tank designs, you get to see these playful residents above and below water. And wandering throughout the museum are staff members ready to answer any questions and engage with visitors.

The aquarium is open seven days a week. Expect to spend at least a few hours at the aquarium, if not more. It's also in a touristy part of Seattle's waterfront, with tons of lunch spots nearby to enjoy after a visit.

Address: 1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle, Washington

Official site: https://www.seattleaquarium.org/

7. Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo
Woodland Park Zoo | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo is a 92-acre facility with many threatened and endangered species from around the globe. This AZA-accredited facility was the first to create naturalistic exhibits, and its 300 different species range from Asian and African elephants to snow leopards, jaguars, lemurs, and grizzly bears.

It's a popular family attraction, although, as an adult, I was tired after a half-day walking the enormous complex. And I didn't partake in any of the daily programs, animal feedings, or educational lectures throughout the week, nor did I ride on the solar-operated carousel.

Rhinos at the Woodland Park Zoo
Rhinos at the Woodland Park Zoo | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

If you're here in the summer, consider visiting first thing when the zoo opens, or stick around until it's about to close. Many animals will ride out the heat of the day in their enclosures.

Visitors can book an animal experience tour for a real treat, allowing animal lovers to get up close to some of the zoo's most fascinating wildlife, often with the chance to feed or touch the animals. Experiences include the opportunity to meet giraffes, penguins, lemurs, and other residents.

Address: 601 N 59th Street, Seattle, Washington

Official site: www.zoo.org

8. MOHAI: The Museum of History & Industry

The Center for Wooden Boats and MOHAI
The Center for Wooden Boats and MOHAI | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) celebrates Seattle's position as a leader in innovation and industry, showcasing this legacy with planes hanging from the ceiling and other engaging exhibits across three levels.

The True Northwest exhibit takes tourists on a journey through the region's history, from indigenous cultures through the present, exploring how geography and cultural events like the Klondike Gold Rush shaped the Emerald City.

Permanent collections in the museum's main gallery include a wide range of historical objects, from vintage clothing to locally invented products. Visitors also enjoy 360-degree views of the city using an authentic WWII-era Tang periscope in the Maritime exhibit.

MOHAI: The Museum of History & Industry
MOHAI: The Museum of History & Industry | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The museum's third major gallery focuses on how local inventors have put the region at the forefront of innovation and new technology. It includes interactive exhibits and a chance to get a sneak peek at concepts being explored.

Adjacent to MOHAI, The Center for Wooden Boats is another popular community attraction. This non-profit strives to provide public access to water recreation and maritime travel. The center offers workshops, public sailboat adventures, and rentals throughout the week.

Address: 860 Terry Ave N, Seattle, Washington

Official site: https://mohai.org

9. Watch Boats Pass at Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks)

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks)
Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks) | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

These busy locks northwest of Seattle Center are also known as the Ballard Locks. They are a fascinating work of engineering in Salmon Bay, constructed to keep the saltwater of Puget Sound separate from the freshwater of Lake Washington while also providing a boat elevator between the two.

Commodore Park and the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Center are on either side, connected by a bike path that crosses the Locks. This path may be impeded by passing boat traffic. But you can get close to the action, and I spent extra time just watching boats, big and small, transfer from one waterway to the other.

Boats going through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks)
Boats going through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks) | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Besides watching the boat traffic move between Puget Sound and the lakes, I recommend checking out the fish ladder in Commodore Park, where salmon struggle upstream. On the other side of the locks, the Botanical Center is a quieter spot to rest and appreciate well-tended gardens.

Tourists can take a narrated sightseeing cruise along the canal, which offers various views of some of the city's most iconic features, like the Space Needle, the Great Ferris Wheel, and even the houseboat community featured in Sleepless in Seattle. The tour typically lasts 2.5 hours and includes transportation back to the starting point.

Address: 3015 NW 54th Street, Seattle, Washington

10. Take a Water Taxi to Alki Beach Park

Alki Beach Park
Alki Beach Park

Alki Beach Park is a popular destination in West Seattle with a lot of history. It's where the first white settlers landed in 1851, greeted by Chief Seattle and his tribe. Today, it's a 2.5-mile linear park and a guaranteed busy place when the weather is nice.

But with ample sand and space to stretch out some volleyball nets, overcrowding isn't always the biggest issue on summer weekends. Instead, finding a parking space can sometimes require extra patience. To avoid the hassle of parking, it's much easier to hop on a water taxi from Pier 50 in downtown Seattle. The water taxi drops you off at the eastern end of Alki Beach Park.

Timing a visit to Alki during low tide opens a world of tide pool exploring. A 2.5-mile concrete pathway parallels much of the beach, and benches and local businesses line much of this route, offering plenty for an afternoon of exploring.

11. Wander the Galleries at the Seattle Art Museum

Seattle Art Museum
Seattle Art Museum | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is downtown, one block from Pike Place Market. It's a massive repository for world-renowned art and a must-see for casual observers and enthusiasts alike. I spent just over two hours here, including time spent in a special Monet exhibit I paid extra for.

The museum's collection is spread across four floors of expansive gallery space. The bottom three floors feature rotating exhibits and pieces from the permanent collection. Some permanent displays include Native American, European, and Islamic Art. The museum also houses a robust collection of contemporary and modern art.

SAM also oversees two other prominent art facilities for even more aesthetic pleasure. SAM also operates the Olympic Sculpture Park, less than a mile to the north on the waterfront, which is free to enjoy. And in Volunteer Park, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, SAM also operates the Seattle Asian Art Museum.

Address: 1300 1st Ave, Seattle, Washington

Official site: https://www.seattleartmuseum.org/

12. Take a Trip to The Museum of Flight

Museum of Flight
Museum of Flight | Cord Rodefeld / photo modified

Seattle's Museum of Flight is home to a wide array of airplanes, educational exhibits, and flight-related historical objects. The museum is open Thursday through Monday, and many visits take the entire day. Alongside general admission, the museum offers premium experiences that lend access to behind-the-scenes exhibits.

An outdoor gallery displays the largest aircraft in the collection, including a Concorde, the first jet Air Force One, and military planes like the B-17F Flying Fortress. The indoor Great Gallery at the museum gives onlookers the thrill of seeing many of the aircraft suspended in flight. The Lear and Space galleries focus on space travel, both its history and future.

History buffs will especially love the Personal Courage Wing, dedicated to the critical role of aviation during World War I and II. Exhibits include 28 restored fighter planes, personal stories of pilots and air support troops, and interactive experiences like a flight simulator.

Address: 4097, 9404 E Marginal Way S, Seattle, Washington

Official site: www.museumofflight.org

13. Whale Watch from Seattle

Orca off the coast of Seattle
Orca off the coast of Seattle | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The city-defining waters of Puget Sound host a wide array of marine life. This proximity to a wild habitat gives residents and visitors a unique opportunity to see the landscape's largest mammals.

While several types of whales enjoy the water close to the city, it's often orcas that are sought out. The summer is considered the best time to see orcas from Seattle, specifically between mid-June and early September.

Watchful tourists can spot whales from the shore without boarding a boat. Spots along the western banks of Seattle, like Alki Beach and Golden Gardens, offer some of the best vantage points. Patience and a little help from resources like the Orca Network go a long way in spotting whales from the Seattle shore.

Several whale-watching boat tours are also available from Seattle. In years past, boat noise and boat disturbance became known contributors to declining orca populations. When booking a whale-watching tour, consider finding a company like Puget Sound Express with a long track record of responsible practices.

14. Get Lost at the Washington Park Arboretum

Washington Park Arboretum
Washington Park Arboretum | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Covering over 230 acres in the Madison Park neighborhood northeast of downtown, the Washington Park Arboretum is the best spot to step away from the city. It's co-managed by the city of Seattle and the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, and it's open every day to the public, free of charge.

Among the expansive green space, the arboretum maintains several specific gardens. A few notable paths include the jaunt through Rhododendron Glen and Azalea Way – the historic heart of the park. Visitors can also expect to encounter Japanese maples and a 2.5-acre plot devoted to New Zealand native plants.

Self-guided and guided tours are available at the arboretum. Guided excursions include Tram Tours, which navigate the entire park in an hour. If you're trying to walk through the whole park, plan for at least this same amount of time. For more information and trail maps, visit the Graham Visitors Center near the northern border.

Official site: https://botanicgardens.uw.edu/washington-park-arboretum/

15. Catch the Sunset at Gas Works Park

Gas Works Park
Gas Works Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Gas Works Park is on the northern shoreline of Lake Union, with a fantastic view across the water toward the downtown skyline. Alongside this shimmering view of boats and buildings, the park also has several pieces of eye-catching infrastructure.

Before becoming a park, Gas Works was the site of an industrial coal gasification plant. This history is still readily apparent, as many historic structures are now reclaimed into public art pieces. Some of the old facility is even now incorporated into playground equipment and park structures.

View of the Seattle skyline from Gas Works Park
View of the Seattle skyline from Gas Works Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

A large earthen mound with a paved trail offers an excellent vantage point of all the park has to offer. Here, towels and blankets punctuate the elevated spot as people enjoy the lakeside ambience. Come sundown, the entire area comes under a special glow as the last bit of day reflects off the water.

16. Walk around Green Lake

Green Lake
Green Lake | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Green Lake is an approximately 260-acre lake north of downtown. A popular residential area of the same name borders the eastern and northern edges of the water, and a 2.8-mile multi-use paved trail circles the entire lake, connecting several places to spend the day.

East Green Lake Park is one of the most popular pitstops. Here, sandy shoreline and ample green space abound with people throughout the warmer months. Popular things to do at the park include volleyball, swimming, and lounging about close to the water. Boat rentals are also available.

Opposite East Green Lake on the northern shoreline, West Green Lake Beach offers similar amenities on a slightly smaller scale. On the southern end of Green Lake, connected by the paved multi-use trail, Woodland Park and the Woodland Park Zoo offer their own day of things to do.

17. Find Fun at the Museum of Pop Culture

Museum of Pop Culture
Museum of Pop Culture | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) is a top attraction within the Seattle Center. It's next to the Space Needle, and with a colorful and fluid-like building, it's hard to miss when visiting this central tourist district.

MoPOP dedicates itself to telling the continuing story of modern culture. Exhibits span three levels and include hundreds of artifacts, including costumes, guitars, and a constant stream of memorabilia. Among other subjects, the permanent collection relates to the world of horror movies, the sci-fi universe, and the meteoric rise of the 90s grunge band Nirvana. And new exhibits frequently rotate on display.

The museum is open daily. Plan to spend a few hours wandering the eye-catching and sometimes interactive displays. The museum also regularly hosts events, including movie nights from their ever-evolving list of "100 Horror Films to See Before You Die."

Address: 325 5th Avenue N, Seattle, Washington

Official site: https://www.mopop.org/

18. Ride the Seattle Great Wheel

Seattle Great Wheel
Seattle Great Wheel

The Seattle Great Wheel is a 175-foot-tall Ferris Wheel on Pier 57 on the downtown waterfront. It's just minutes from Pike Place Market and easily visible from the Seattle Aquarium. For many, taking a revolution is a quintessential downtown experience.

The Great Wheel spins seven days a week. Depending on the crowd size, a ride on the Great Wheel takes approximately 20 minutes. During that time, a revolving view of Elliot Bay and downtown keep the ride captivating. Although the wheel spins on rainy days, blue skies offer the best experience.

The Great Wheel is only one part of the larger Miners Landing on Pier 57. Other tourist attractions include a classic carousel and a unique "flying theater" known as Wings over Washington. The area also has an ample supply of souvenirs and gifts available.

19. Sunbathe on a Seattle Beach

Golden Gardens Beach
Golden Gardens Beach | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Water surrounds all sides of Seattle. The saltwater of Elliot Bay and Puget Sound offer lapping waves to the west, and Lake Washington has freshwater to the east. While this doesn't mean the entire outer edge of the city is a sandy beach, the marine landscape does offer a few incredible shorelines to enjoy.

On Puget Sound, beaches at places like Golden Gardens and Carkeek Park rank high as local favorites. These two beaches offer some of the most spacious sandy stretches in the city and are popular for all beach-related activities. The world-famous Discovery Park also has a Puget Sound shoreline with a sandy beach bisected by a scenic lighthouse.

The east side of Seattle, on Lake Washington, also has several shoreline areas with sand. Matthews Beach Park, in Northeast Seattle, is one of the largest. It features a designated swimming area with lifeguards, a swimming platform, and ample green space to lay a blanket down.

Read More: Top-Rated Beaches in the Seattle Area

20. Picnic at Volunteer Park

View of Space Needle from Volunteer Park
View of Space Needle from Volunteer Park | /kallu / photo modified

In the north Capitol Hill neighborhood, Volunteer Park features a century-old conservatory with tropical plants and trees. Visitors can also find simple attractions within the park like walking trails, sports facilities, a children's play area, and picnic grounds.

It's simply a lovely park to wander through and is especially a nice place to bring a blanket to enjoy a picnic or casual hangout with a view. A historic water tower in the park offers a circular staircase to ascend for a 360-degree view of the entire area.

The lush green space also encompasses the Seattle Asian Art Museum (a branch of the larger Seattle Art Museum downtown), where galleries display Chinese, South Asian, and Southeast Asian art; decorative arts; and textiles.

Address: 1247 15th Ave E, Seattle, Washington

21. Explore the Olympic Sculpture Park

Olympic Sculpture Park
Olympic Sculpture Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Olympic Sculpture Park is free and open to the public year-round, positioned at the edge of Elliott Bay. Some of its more remarkable sculptures are the Eye Benches and a glass bridge titled Seattle Cloud Cover. Many Seattle residents and tourists come to the park to wander the day away and photograph or admire the installations.

The park's setting is as significant as its artwork. The space underwent an environmental transformation from a post-industrial brownfield site to an ecologically balanced green space that includes a salmon habitat and employs sustainable practices like rainwater collection.

The inland entrance to the park is on Western and Broad Street, and the park follows a "Z" trail down to the waterfront. The trail passes by the PACCAR Pavilion with more art inside. This open community space also has a café and available window seating.

Sculpture of a head at the Olympic Sculpture Park
Sculpture of a head at the Olympic Sculpture Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The park is maintained by the Seattle Art Museum, which is located one mile away, close to Pike Place Market. The museum's collections include artwork from around the globe and across millennia, as well as an extensive gallery dedicated to the art of Native Americans in the northwest.

Address: 2901 Western Ave, Seattle, Washington

Official site: www.seattleartmuseum.org/visit/olympic-sculpture-park

22. Head to the International District

International District
International District

To the east of Pioneer Square is the colorful International District, where Japanese and Chinese shops and restaurants dominate the street scene. There are many things to do here, but the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience is a must. This museum charts the history of Asian immigration. It's named for Wing Luke, a Chinese American who was the first Asian American elected official in Washington.

Another fun place to visit within the International District is the Seattle Pinball Museum. This hands-on museum doesn't just relate the colorful history of these popular arcade accessories, it encourages visitors to flick the flippers of countless pinball games. The surrounding district is also filled with several international restaurants and cultural centers.

Address: 719 S. King Street, Seattle, Washington

23. Meet the Fremont Street Troll

Fremont Street Troll
Fremont Street Troll | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Fremont Troll is the result of a public art competition that took place over three decades ago. It was an effort to clean up a notorious dumping ground beneath the Aurora Bridge. Now, with a few fresh coats of paint over the years, the Fremont Street Troll has solidified itself as a city attraction and success in urban planning.

The most popular thing to do at the troll is to pose for a picture. The enormity of the sculpture comes into view in real life while standing next to his long stringy fingers and peering up to his singular metal eye. It only takes a quick visit to check out the troll under Aurora Bridge, five miles north of downtown.

24. Dive into the Living Computers: Museum and Labs

Living Computers: Museum and Labs
Living Computers: Museum and Labs | Marcin Wichary / photo modified

Living Computers Museum and Labs is a techie's heaven, packed with items and interactive opportunities that look at the history of computers, modern accomplishments, and future potential.

Their extensive vintage collection includes some of the first computers, as well as exhibits that look into the lives and work of the geniuses who revolutionized the personal computer and beyond, including Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Paul Allen.

The museum's philosophy is that visitors cannot fully appreciate technology without experiencing it, so the majority of exhibits encourage interaction. Visitors can experience cutting-edge virtual reality, take a simulated drive in a self-driving car, and even sit down to write some code for their very own video game. Other topics include robotics, artificial intelligence, and the world of Big Data.

Address: 2245 1st Ave S, Seattle, Washington

Official site: www.livingcomputers.org

25. Experience Benaroya Hall

Benaroya Hall
Benaroya Hall | D Coetzee / photo modified

Benaroya Hall is Seattle's premier arts venue and seats 2,500 for Seattle Symphony concerts. The performance hall is downtown, across the street from the Seattle Art Museum. Look for the large glass art sculpture by Dale Chihuly, featured prominently in the lobby. It's similar to the works at Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle Center and at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma.

Benaroya Hall presents a variety of shows and performances. The Seattle Symphony is a staple exhibition, but this beautiful concert hall also features folk performances, family concerts, and lively speaker series. Whatever show brings you to Benaroya Hall, the decadent 2,500-seat auditorium itself adds to the experience of visiting.

Address: 200 University Street, Seattle, Washington

Official site: https://www.seattlesymphony.org/benaroyahall

Where to Stay in Seattle for Sightseeing

We recommend these great hotels in the city center, near top attractions like Pike Place Market and the Space Needle:

  • Inn at the Market: This eco-friendly, luxury, boutique hotel is convenient for sightseeing, with its Pike Place Market location. Enjoy water views, the rooftop deck, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
  • The Maxwell Hotel - A Staypineapple Hotel: For mid-range rates, funky decor, an espresso bar, a free shuttle, and an indoor pool, this is the place.
  • Best Western Executive Inn: With affordable pricing and a location near the Seattle Center and the Space Needle, it's hard to beat this Best Western.
  • Comfort Inn & Suites Seattle: This budget-friendly hotel offers affordable rates, clean rooms, free Wi-Fi and parking, laundry facilities, and free breakfast.

Map of Attractions & Things to Do in Seattle, WA

Best Time to Visit Seattle, WA

The best time to go to Seattle is in the drier season between mid-June and mid-October. The city comes to life this time of year, with sunny skies, outdoor festivals, and blooming mountain landscapes. Seattle is in full swing in the summer, with millions of tourists checking out top attractions like Pike Place Market and the Space Needle.

Some say that summer in Seattle starts on July 5th, just in time for fireworks to dry out from the 4th of July. The truth is that rain can extend well into the first couple of weeks of July. The summer season in Seattle really begins any time after the clouds break in July. Everyone in the city tries to take full advantage of the sunny weather this time of year after a wet winter and spring.

Seattle skyline from Gas Works Park in August
Seattle skyline from Gas Works Park in August | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

To avoid the biggest summer rush, the autumn months are the best time to travel to Seattle. Hotel availability tends to go up after Labor Day Weekend, and the weather remains warm throughout the beginning of the season. Increased precipitation should be expected later into October. Cultural events like the Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival occur throughout the fall.

A small caveat to summer travel in Seattle is wildfire smoke that blows in from across the American West and British Columbia. A few smoky days are nearly guaranteed during the Seattle summer, and how many depends on several variable conditions. While it's hard to predict months in advance when wildfire smoke will blow through, it's worth monitoring a week or so prior to traveling. If the wildfire smoke is heavy enough, it's ill-advised to engage in rigorous outdoor activity.

Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Seattle, WA in °C
8 2 11 3 13 4 15 6 18 9 21 12 24 13 24 14 21 12 16 8 11 4 8 2
Average monthly precipitation totals for Seattle, WA in mm.
133 104 100 70 52 39 24 30 41 82 144 154
Average monthly snowfall totals for Seattle, WA in cm.
7 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 5
Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Seattle, WA in °F
47 36 51 37 55 39 59 43 65 48 70 53 75 56 75 57 70 53 60 46 52 40 47 36
Average monthly precipitation totals for Seattle, WA in inches.
5.2 4.1 3.9 2.8 2.0 1.6 0.9 1.2 1.6 3.2 5.7 6.1
Average monthly snowfall totals for Seattle, WA in inches.
2.9 1.0 0.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.6 2.1
Seattle Map - Tourist Attractions
Seattle Map - Attractions (Historical)
  • Center for Wooden Boats
  • Central Freeway Park
  • Children's Museum
  • Coast Guard Museum
  • Denny Park
  • Frye Museum
  • Fun Forest Amusement Park
  • Kingdom (demolished)
  • Klondike Gold Rush NHP
  • Maritime Heritage Museum
  • Omnidome Film Experience
  • Pacific Science Center
  • Pike Place Market
  • Pioneer Square
  • Seattle Aquarium
  • Seattle Art Museum
  • Seattle Center
  • Smith Tower
  • Space Needle
  • Washington State Convention & Trade Center
  • Wing Luke Asian Museum
Destinations popular right now
25 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Washington State