The Space Needle. Ferries crossing the Puget Sound. Fish flying through the air at Pike Place Market. When thinking about Seattle, these unique attractions immediately come to mind. All of these things capture and convey Seattle's character. Whether you're a native or a tourist, here are my top picks for fun things to do in Seattle that are authentic and of high quality.
Adam Hester/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Covering over 9-acres, the Market contains so many shops, stalls, eateries, galleries, and service providers that it is impossible to see everything in a single visit. Everyone enjoys wandering among the lavish displays of colorful flowers, plump produce, and fresh seafood that are found throughout the market. Be sure to bring your appetite - Pike Place Market is home to great eateries featuring local Northwest and international cuisine.
Glass Elevator at the Seattle Space Needle
Seattle Center, the site of the 1962 World's Fair, is where you'll find the Space Needle, Experience Music Project, the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, and the Pacific Science Center
. But that's just a small sample of what you'll experience at this hub of Seattle fun. Sports and arts venues, an amusement park, and numerous outdoor fountains are scattered throughout the urban complex. Seattle Center is also the site of some of Seattle's biggest and best festivals, including Bumbershoot and the Northwest Folklife Festival.
Washington State Ferry © Washington State Tourism
Take advantage of this relaxing and scenic mode of travel to visit many different Puget Sound locales. Ferry terminals in the Seattle area can be found at Pier 52 on the downtown waterfront, or farther north in the city of Edmonds.
Pier 54 and Ivar's Acres of Clams in Seattle
There are many fun things to do and sights to see as you stroll up and down Seattle's Elliot Bay waterfront. It is a working waterfront, so watch out for traffic and trains as well as container ships and fishing boats. The Seattle Aquarium is the prime waterfront attraction, where you can see creatures that live above and below the waters of Puget Sound and the world. Other Seattle waterfront highlights include Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, the Cruise Ship Terminal, Bell Harbor Marina, and some great seafood restaurants.
Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo is a wonderful place to spend time outdoors with friends and family. They have a particularly incredible gorilla exhibit. You can see a long list of animals from around the world, including a clouded leopard, gray wolves, a Komodo dragon, Africans elephants, and Arctic foxes. Woodland Park Zoo also hosts a number of special events throughout the year such as a summer concert series and the Pumpkin Prowl. While there, be sure to visit the lovely Woodland Park Rose Garden located by the south zoo gate.
Wonderful Asian restaurants, unique shopping, and historic attractions are among the interesting things that draw many day-trippers to the neighborhood.
Ballard's Chittenden Locks ©The Seattle-King County News Bureau
Watch the Lake Washington Ship Canal locks in operation as they assist boats passing between Lake Union and the Puget Sound.
Visit historic Pioneer Square district during the day for its art galleries and at night for its live music clubs. The Seattle Unit of the Klondike Gold Rush National Park is located in Pioneer Square.
(Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour)
Popular attractions located in Snohomish County, the north part of the Seattle metro area, include the The Future of Flight & Boeing Tour
, where visitors can get an up-close view of airplanes in the final stages of production. Located nearby is the Flying Heritage Collection, where you can see original World War II combat aircraft. There are also a multitude of parks and recreation trails as well as casinos and arts attractions.
Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery ©Angela M. Brown
The Northwest is famous for its beer and wine and you can experience both by heading east of Seattle to the town of Woodinville
. While there, you can tour such wineries as Chateau St. Michelle or Columbia Winery or the Redhook Ale Brewery. One of the Seattle area's top shopping spots is located on the Eastside in downtown Bellevue. Bellevue Square is now part of a larger shopping venue that includes Lincoln Square and Bellevue Place. Also in Bellevue is The Shops at The Bravern with several high-end shops and eateries. The Eastside is also a great place to explore and play in the outdoors.
Fun Things to Do South of Seattle
Museum of Glass ©Tacoma Regional Convention & Visitor Bureau
The Museum of Flight
, located south of downtown on the edge of Boeing Field, is one of the Seattle metro area's top attractions. Venture further south to Tacoma
, where you can spend a day visiting three first-rate museums that are all located within walking distance of each other - the Washington State History Museum, the Museum of Glass, and the Tacoma Art Museum.