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1. See the Space Needle
Without a doubt, the most iconic landmark in Seattle is the Space Needle. Built for the 1962 edition of the World’s Fair, it has been a fixture in the city’s skyline ever since.
The observation deck is 520 feet (158 meters) tall, so you get to enjoy 360-degree panoramic views. On a clear day, you can see the entire city along with natural wonders such as Lake Union and Mt. Rainier.
While the Space Needle has always been one of the top places to visit in Seattle, it’s even cooler now thanks to some serious renovations.
A recent multi-million dollar upgrade gave the famous tower The Loupe — the first rotating glass floor in the world. They also added wall-to-ceiling glass and the new Skyrisers, which are tilting glass benches that provide for some unreal views of the city.
2. Check Out The Seattle Center
The Space Needle is just one part of the massive Seattle Center. This hub of education, art, and entertainment has so much going on that you could easily spend an entire day here and still not do it all.
One of the top Seattle attractions you’ll find here is the International Fountain. At different points throughout the day, the fountain is synchronized to music, making for a great show that’s fun for all ages.
The Seattle Center is also home to Artists at Play — a funky playground designed by artists. There’s a climbing tower, labyrinth, carousel, and much more here. This is one of the best free things to do in Seattle.
3. Join a Food Tour
One of the most fun things to do in Seattle is eating your way across the city on a food tour. Eat Seattle and Show Me Seattle come highly recommended and has several different options for food tours in the Emerald City.
Their highly-rated signature tour of Pike Place Market Chef Guided Food Tour lasts two hours and includes numerous bites. Along the way, you’ll learn all about the history and culture of the market, find some small businesses and enjoy sampling all of the amazing foods on offer.
Another solid option is the Pike Place Market Walking Food tour which includes a guide, samples at seven artisanal food stalls, and more.
4. Visit The Museum of Pop Culture
Formerly known as the EMP (Experience Music Project), the Museum of Pop Culture is one of the best Seattle attractions around. Before you head inside, you’ll want to take some time to admire the stunning building from world-famous architect Frank Gehry.
Once you step inside the museum, which also goes by MoPOP, you’ll notice the impressive guitar sculpture called “If VI Was IX.” There are over 500 instruments making up this tornado-like sculpture!
Speaking of music, the museum has several permanent exhibits dedicated to Seattle’s most famous rockers — Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam.
You can even channel your inner rockstar in their Sound Lab or take your picture in front of a packed audience in their On Stage area.
That’s not all, though. MoPop also has exhibits on fantasy, science fiction, horror, video games, comedy, and much, much more.
5. Pike Place Market – One of the most famous Seattle attractions!
One of the top places to visit in Seattle is Pike Place Market. Dating all the way back to 1907, this is one of the oldest public farmers’ markets in the United States.
By shopping at Pike Place Market, you’re doing much more than just checking off one of the best Seattle attractions. You’re supporting local farmers, artisans, and small businesses as well!
There’s so much to see (and taste) here that you’ll want to make sure you come hungry and stay awhile.
In addition to the farmers’ market and crafts market, there are 80 restaurants and over 200 unique shops. With so many options, it can be a bit intimidating. Don’t miss a food tour (listed above at #4) of this market.
It’s much more than just a market, actually. It’s a community with lots of excellent initiatives, such as a senior center, food bank, and pre-school.
If you want to show some extra love, pay a visit to Rachel the Piggybank. Rub her snout and make a donation, and legend has it you’ll have good luck.
6. Enjoy the Waterfront Park
After exploring Pike Place, you’re just a short walk from the next spot on our list of Seattle attractions — Waterfront Park. There are several benches and picnic tables here, so it’s the perfect place to sit down and enjoy whatever delicious food you picked up at the market.
On a clear day, you can even see the Olympic Mountains in the distance. There are coin-operated telescopes here to help you get an even better look at the surroundings. Be sure to check out the Waterfront Fountain as well.
One of the most fun things to do in Seattle is taking a ride on the Seattle Great Wheel. This giant Ferris wheel is open from Monday – Thursday from 11 am – 10 pm, Friday and Saturday from 10 am – 11 pm and Sunday from 10 am – 10 pm.
7. Day Trip to Mount Rainier
If you have some extra time in Seattle, consider doing a day trip out to Mount Rainier which is an active stratovolcano in the Mount Rainier National Park.
This towering volcano is 14,400 ft (4,390m) and in the National Park, you’ll find numerous activities on offer, including hiking, camping and rock climbing.
For travellers on a day trip, hiking along one of the many trails is a top choice. During the winter months, you can trade in your hiking boots for show shoes and still enjoy the trails.
The highly-rated Evergreen Escapes runs full-day, small group tours to Mount Rainier, which are tailored to your fitness levels.
Included in the trip are transportation, a knowledgeable naturalist, lunch, snacks, and entrance fees. To learn more about this top trip from Seattle, click here.
If you’d like to add wine tasting to your day trip to Mt. Rainier, check out this fun tour! Enjoy a hike in the park, organic picnic outside, and wine tastings at local vineyards. Of course, transportation, all fees, and food and wine are included. Learn more here.
8. Take a Cruise
While Seattle looks great on land, it looks even better from the water! Taking a cruise around Elliot Bay and the Puget Sound is easily one of the most fun things to do in Seattle. Your options for a cruise range from a simple 1-hour harbor trip to overnight getaways.
On the budget end, you can simply take one of the local ferries to enjoy the views. The ferry to Bainbridge Island only costs $8.50 for adults and $4.25 for children, and the return trip is free. It’s a nice way to spend an afternoon without spending a ton of cash.
Argosy Cruises has been in business for 70 years and their tours come highly recommended. They have seven different options, including their one-hour cruise of Elliot Bay and the Seattle Harbour where you’ll enjoy a fully narrated trip, amazing views of the Seattle skyline, and on clear days, of Mount Rainier.
A cruise with Argosy is actually included in the Seattle CityPass if you choose to go that route.
9. Join an Underground Tour
Rounding out our list of fun things to do in Seattle is taking an interesting underground tour.
Beneath The Streets is one of the most popular Seattle attractions. On this fun and educational tour, you’ll explore subterranean sidewalks and storefronts that were built on top of after the Great Fire of 1889.
This one-hour tour takes you beneath Seattle’s streets to explore three underground passageways, dating back to the 1890s.
This highly-rated tour is fun for everyone and affordable at $29. Click here to learn more about the tour.
10. Visit The Museum of Flight
If you’re interested in air and space, you’ll want to include the Museum of Flight to your Seattle itinerary. There are over 150 aircraft on display here along with thousands of artifacts and photos.
There’s enough to see and do to spend several hours here, so this is a great thing to do in Seattle when it rains (which happens quite frequently!).
A major highlight is the Aviation Pavilion, which features an impressive collection of rare airplanes. There are WWII bombers, the first Boeing 747, and even the first jet Air Force One. You can even board some of them!
**By Sasha Savinov