Seattle – What to See and Do

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This travel itinerary is a list of the must-see attractions Seattle has to offer if you plan on traveling to Seattle for the first time. There are still quite a few attractions I have yet to experience but I will be giving my thoughts on the ones I have been too.

Before we begin, I want to recommend visitors who plan on staying in Seattle for 2-3 days to look into getting a CityPASS.  These can be brought online or in person at museums or other locations in Seattle for $79.00.  (I brought mines at the Seattle Aquarium)

Here’s an overview of what your CityPASS will include:

  1. Space Needle Day and Night passes
  2. Seattle Aquarium
  3. Argosy Cruise Tour
  4. Museum of Pop Culture OR Woodland Park Zoo
  5. Chihuly Garden and Glass OR Pacific Science Center

Places to go to:

Pike Place Market:
This historic market is an icon of Seattle that you must go to! There are plenty of small local shops around the area. Pike Place Market is pretty big with 6 levels and a bunch of shops and restaurants around the proximity. Most of the shops are located indoors so it can get stuffy in there.

Gum Wall:
Be sure to check out the Gum Wall located outside the Market Theater in Post Alley. Pretty much a wall covered in chewed gum, a germaphobe’s worse nightmare.

First Starbucks:
Take a quick visit and see the original Starbucks store established in 1971 at Pike Place Market in Downtown Seattle.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room:
Currently, there is only Roastery location with more future concepts stores in the near future. It is a place where you can watch coffee beans being roasted before it turns into your cup of coffee. You can also experience your coffee as a pour over, clover brewed, siphon brewed, espresso beverages and many others. I found it to be a unique and different experience. It felt like a super fancy Starbucks that is catered to coffee lovers. With that said, it is a bit expensive though. I paid around $15 bucks for two drinks……. yeah… But the exclusive merchandise was worth it! Be sure to check those out!

Downtown Seattle:
Explore the shops, restaurants and city life that Seattle has to offer. Really close to Pike Place Market, I found Downtown Seattle pretty small and everything is within a walkable distance.  This was where I went at the end of the day to wind down and just enjoy the city life.

Seattle Aquarium: (CityPASS)
A popular spot for families with an underwater viewing dome. I found it a bit small and quick to go through the entire aquarium but, it is included with your CityPASS so definitely check it out.

Seattle Waterfront:
I found the Waterfront a great place to start off your morning. I started at the far north end of the waterfront at Olympic Sculpture Park and made my way down to Seattle Great Wheel before heading up towards Pike Place Market. Great views all around with lots of shops and stuff to see along the way and very convenient to get to Pike Place Market, Seattle Aquarium, Seattle Great Wheel and Argosy Harbor Cruise.

Olympic Sculpture Park:
Outdoor sculpture museum that’s free to the public and a great way to start your morning. It was like nature and art combined giving it a relaxing and creative atmosphere.

Myrtle Edwards Park:
Located right next to the Olympic Park, it is another scenic outdoor escape with views of Pudget Sound. This is a great place for people to walk their dogs or have a picnic right beside the waterfront.

Seattle Center:
Arts, Educational, tourism and entertainment center in Seattle. Be prepared to spend most of your day just in this center alone as your CityPASS gives you admissions to a couple museums and Space Needle.

Chihuly Garden and Glass: (CityPASS)
Wonderful glass museum and sculpture garden showcasing the work of Dale Chihuly. The Glasshouse is a popular tourist attraction where you can see the Space Needle above the exhibit. Also a bit smaller than expected but hey it’s included with the CityPASS so not much to complain about.

Museum of Pop Culture (EMP Museum): (CityPASS)
Overall, my favorite museum in Seattle Center. There were just so many exhibits that cover pop culture from fantasy, horror cinema, video games and costumes movies. There was an interactive exhibit where visitors can play instruments and perform music for a virtual audience which I thought was awesome! The architecture of the museum is really unique and stands out with a fusion of textures and colors.

Space Needle: (CityPASS)
The iconic tall spire at the Seattle Center is popular with locals and tourists.  It is a 41-second ride up 520 feet to get to the observation deck with a breathtaking 360° view of the city. On a clear day, you can even see Mount Rainer in the distant. I enjoy city views from above so being able to experience this was amazing. With the CityPASS you can view the city during the day and at night.

Monorail:
Hop aboard for a 2-minute ride on the monorail that takes you between Westlake Center (downtown Seattle) and Seattle Center.

Places I didn’t get to go to but worth checking out:

Pacific Science Center: (CityPASS)
I wish they would have included both, Chihuly and Pacific Science Center in the CityPASS instead of making us choose between the two. Both are really great museums to check out but you would have to sell out extra if you want to experience both. I decided not to go to the Pacific Science Center as it kinds of remind me of the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Worth checking out if you have the time.

Woodland Park Zoo: (CityPASS)
You can get admissions to either the Zoo or Museum of Pop Culture with the CityPASS. I went with Museum of Pop Culture because it was super convenient from where I was while the zoo would require a 20min drive. I’m more of a museum guy, so if I have a choice between zoo or museum 95% of the time I would choose the museum. However, if you’re not a museum person definitely check out the zoo. From the pictures that I’ve seen online, it looks great and definitely fun for families.

Seattle Great Wheel:
175ft Ferris wheel that extends 40ft beyond the pier giving you a great view of the city

I didn’t get to ride it but I was able to admire it from afar which was good enough for me. If interested prices are $14 for adults and $9 for kids

Argosy Harbor Cruise: (CityPASS)
Take an hour long cruise from Pier 55 that offers must-see tourist attractions. We did not take the cruise, however, since it’s included in the CityPASS I would recommend it if you can fit an hour into your schedule.

Kerry Park:
This is a popular stop for many visitors since it gives you one of the best vantage points to view the city.

Safeco and CenturyLink Field:
Major league baseball team Mariners and NFL stadium for the Seattle Seahawks.

Elliot Bay Book Company:
Located in the Capital Hill neighborhood, this is a must for book lovers.

Washington Park Arboretum:
This is a public park in Seattle done in collaboration between University of Washington and Seattle Parks and Recreation. It has one of the oldest and most authentic Japanese Gardens in North America.

Seattle Art Museum:
Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is located in downtown Seattle. Like every art museum in any city, they have their own special exhibits and collections so it would be worth checking out for art lovers.

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Most of these attractions listed were things that I looked into when I was planning my trip to Seattle. I had to try to fit as much as I could into 3 days and I felt like I did a great job with that. A lot of these attractions will require 1-2 hours at most so you can get a lot done in one day. I will definitely be back one day to check out Kerry Park, Washington Park Arboretum and Pacific Science Center.

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