Well over 3,000,000 people live in and around Seattle, Washington. The northern city, which is on the coast of an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, is a major port to Asia and Alaska. The region is mountainous, and the weather is rainy or cloudy more often than it is not. Whether you’re traveling alone or with family, there are lots of cool places to visit in Seattle. Expect cool to moderate temperatures during your stay.
10. Pacific Science Center
Declared a City of Seattle Landmark, the Pacific Science Center has been bringing science to people for more than 50 years. The center, located at 200 Second Ave. North, hosts a number of events, both public and private, throughout the year. Some permanent exhibits include Science Playground, Body Works, Puget Sound Model and Saltwater Tide Pool, Tropical Butterfly House, Sonic Bloom, and much more. One temporary exhibit is GROSSOLOGY: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body. The IMAX Theater and the exhibits are open every day except Christmas. Tickets can be purchased online.
9. Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
Seattle was a major gold rush destination in 1897 and the years following. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is located where staging areas for people headed to the Yukon Territory once stood. Few people made any money, but the city’s population grew exponentially. The park is located in Pioneer Square. This park has a museum that is dedicated to teaching people about the history of the area and about environmental sciences, conservation, and more. The park is actually one part of four units. The other units are all in Alaska.
8. EMP Museum
This unusual museum is located at 325 5th Avenue N. The museum is devoted to the thinking that pushes popular culture. Some exhibits include Indie Game Revolution, Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction, Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad, 1966-1970, Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film, and Nirvana: Taking Punk to The Masses. One feature at the center is a sound lab, complete with instruments and twelve sound booths, that allows visitors to play music as loud as they want. The museum is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Tickets can be purchased online, and they are good for 90 days.
7. Discovery Park
Discovery Park is the largest park in the city. It sits on 534 acres. The park provides a natural area for people to enjoy, while offering a refuge for wildlife. There is an environmental learning center on the grounds, and many opportunities for visitors to learn about the environment. The park is also the location of Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center. Park amenities include trails, picnic tables, tennis courts, boats, a playground, and camps. Natural features include waterfront, meadows, woods, streams, sand dunes, and cliffs. Visitors enjoy views of the mountains and water. The park holds a number of events. The address is 3801 Discovery Park Blvd.
6. Woodland Park Zoo
This zoo was the first to create naturalistic habitats for its animal exhibits. Sitting on 92 acres, the zoo is home to more than 1000 animals from 300 species. Some displays include Humboldt Penguin, Jaguar Cove, Trail of Vines, Northern Trail, Tropical Rain Forest, Elephant Forest and African Savanna. The park includes a playground and a carousel. Kids can learn, play, and explore in the Zoomazium indoor facility just for them. Visitors can grab a bite to eat at the Rain Forest Food Pavilion. The zoo is open every day except Christmas. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate.
5. Food Tours
If a day strolling the streets of the city and sampling a wide variety of delicious food with friends sounds like your idea of fun, you might consider taking a food tour. There are a number of companies offering tasting excursions, including Taste Seattle Food Tours, Savor Seattle Food Tours, and Seattle Bites Food Tours. See why restaurants and markets are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Seattle. The treks last two or three hours, and guides tell interesting stories and history about the food and the places visited.
4. Space Needle
Built in 1961, this city landmark stands at 605 feet. Visitors can take the monorail that was built to bring people to the Space Needle, and view memorabilia on the way. The SkyCity Restaurant, at 500 feet, offers a fine dining experience with spectacular views. Diners get a trip to the observation deck for free. The observation deck is 520 feet up, and offers a 360 degree view of the city and surrounding areas. The observation deck is open every day from 10:00 AM to 9:30 PM. Tickets can be purchased online or at the ticket booth. There is a fee for parking.
3. Pioneer Square
The oldest neighborhood in the city, Pioneer Square is picturesque with its brick buildings from the late 1800s. The buildings of the square, which were originally constructed of wood, all burned down in 1889. The current buildings were constructed over the old, and doors to the underground still remain. The square was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. Prior to that, in the 1960s, the district was in danger of being bulldozed and turned into parking garages. Today, it is a very popular neighborhood—especially for nightlife. The neighborhood is home to art galleries, night clubs, cafes, book shops, museums, and more. The Pioneer Square Fire Festival is an annual event held each year on the weekend nearest to June 6th. The square is the site of a memorial to the city’s firefighters who died in the line of duty.
2. Pike Place Market
Visitors to this farmer’s market can shop for produce, fresh cut flowers, and fresh fish. They can peruse arts and crafts, and buy a coffee from the first Starbucks, or try one of the restaurants. Pike Place Market has been running since 1907. It is the most popular attraction in the city, seeing 10,000,000 visitors each year. Street performers and musicians add to the experience. The location overlooks the waterfront at Elliott Bay. Parking is available at a public parking garage which is located at 1531 Western Ave. There is a small fee for parking.
1. Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour
This tour takes guests down under the streets of Pioneer Square to walk through buildings and tunnels that were inadvertently created when the town was rebuilt after The Great Seattle Fire of 1889. The land is very close to sea level, and the soil is susceptible to flooding and erosion. The reconstructed buildings literally sunk a story below the ground level, over time, and the lower levels can still be accessed. This tour is a fascinating trip into the past, as the tunnels were undisturbed for decades. The office is located at 608 First Ave, in Pioneer Square. Tickets for the 75 minute tour are available online. The tour runs every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
This city, which is home to Microsoft, and the birthplace of Amazon, is a great place to visit. These are some of the best things to do in Seattle if you’re there for a romantic weekend, or if you have some free time during a business trip. Don’t forget to pack your umbrella.