20+ things to do, eat and see in Seattle.
Seattle is an incredible place for nature and city lovers alike. I showed up on my first visit ever with almost no agenda. I left with this jam packed list of the best things to do in Seattle.
Our friends gave us a few recommendations to get our weekend started and then we added to it along the way. We were there for 3 days and our agenda was non-stop action, walking, eating, drinking & viewing. I hope you enjoy this list!
BEST THINGS TO DO IN SEATTLE
1. Pike Place Market
If you come to Seattle and don’t go to the Pike Place Market, did you really come to Seattle? Pike Place Market is in the heart of downtown, situated right on the water front. Pike Park Market is every tourists dream.
The individual vendors start setting up by 7 a.m. and the crowds of people come in shortly after. Between the vendors handing out free samples and the places you can dine at, there is no shortage of food here. We sampled olive oil, jams, honey, seafood and also snuck in a few sips of wine.
If the crowds inside get to be too much, take a break out back. You can take in some pretty awesome views of the water.
I coincidentally ran into an old friend who I knew lived in Seattle but had not seen in over 3 years. He was working behind the counter at the famous Pike Place Fish Market.
He gave my boyfriend the chance to go behind the counter with him to catch a fish being thrown from the front display. This is a popular Seattle “custom” if you are lucky enough to get chosen. What an unforgettable memory!
2. The Pro Sports Stadiums
After we were full on samples from the market, we wandered further south of downtown to check out the sports stadiums. This is where the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Mariners play. The professional football and baseball teams.
Although we didn’t attend any games, my boyfriend was excited to see the stadiums from the outside!
3. Occidental Square Shopping
As we headed back north towards downtown from the stadiums, we stumbled into the charming neighborhood of Occidental Square. We splurged on a beautiful rock at Agate Design at one of the gem stores. The owner cracked it open in front of us with this giant rock cutter.
There are several other stores, cafes and restaurants in this area. There’s also an outdoor park where the public can enjoy sitting outside.
4. Capitol Hill
As it got closer to mid-day, we hopped on the train north to the Capitol Hill neighborhood (I’ll touch more on transit options at the end of this article.)
The Capitol Hill neighborhood reminded me so much of my neighborhood at home called Wicker Park. A little hipster vibe, sprinkled with tasty food options, add in a couple nice parks and bam! It felt just like home.
We strolled around the area and did some shopping then ended the afternoon with pizza and beers at Big Mario’s.
5. Seattle Japanese Gardens
From Capitol Hill, we took the bus 15 minutes north to the Seattle Japanese Gardens. The gardens cost $8 per person to enter and while I absolutely loved visiting, you get the most out of your money during full bloom (early April.)
Luckily since we were there just after full bloom, the gardens were almost entirely empty. My boyfriend and I were able to walk around and enjoy our surroundings without fighting foot traffic.
6. Matt’s in the Market
After the gardens we headed back to our hotel to freshen up for dinner downtown. If you want to experience at least one meal in the market area, Matt’s in the Market is a great choice!
Matt’s is on the 2nd floor of the building just across the street from the famous neon Market Center sign of Pike Place.
I would say pricing is $$$$ out of 5. We enjoyed a couple of well-crafted cocktails and then split a cheese board appetizer and a lamb shank entrée. This was a fantastic dinner but be prepared to spend a little extra cash on this one.
7. Motif Seattle
Our first day in the city was complete so we headed back to the Motif Seattle where we stayed for the first two nights. Motif was such an awesome hotel and we loved staying here. I wrote a separate blog post here where you can read more about it.
The next morning, we started the day very early at Pike Place Market which was only a few blocks away from Motif. We showed up at 7 a.m. but there were already a handful of people on the streets and inside the market.
I would recommend getting here at 6 a.m. if you want photos in front of the sign or surrounding buildings with no one in them.
8. Pike Place Starbucks
If you Google, “the original Starbucks”, this is the location that will come up in your search result. However, it is not technically the first location. The first location was at a different address and moved to 1st & Pike Street in 2005.
The store looks more modern than the photos you will find of the original location, but being in the heart of the market still makes it a cool spot to visit.
9. The Famous Seattle Gum Wall
The Seattle Gum Wall is another popular tourist destination. It’s located right in the market area, underneath the famous neon sign. Just follow the down ramp on the very left-hand side of the market if you’re facing it.
We purchased our gum at Target, which is right next door, then headed down to the wall. The gum wall is pretty gross when you think about it but apparently they power wash it every few years to keep up on cleanliness.
10. Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room
If the caffeine from the first Starbucks wasn’t enough to get you through your morning, head to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room. You’ll go straight north on Pike Street until you get to the other side of the highway.
My boyfriend and I split an artisan sandwich, a pastry and a flight of 3 different coffees which was more than enough for 2 people. I was excited when one of the workers told me that they’re putting a 4-story Starbucks tasting room on Michigan Ave in Chicago. You can bet I’ll be making a lot of visits to this location in the future!
11. Amazon Spheres
As we left the tasting room all energized to seize the day, we left to take the bus to the other side of the water in the Freemont neighborhood. On the way, we passed by the famous Amazon Spheres which are just outside of the Amazon corporate headquarters.
Since it was the weekend the offices were closed, so we didn’t get to the see the spheres from the inside. We still enjoyed walking around the campus though.
12. Troll Under the Bridge
Onward to the Freemont neighborhood. Our first stop after getting off the bus was to the famous Troll Under the Bridge (aka: under the highway.) The exact spot comes up on Google Maps so it’s easy to find once you’re in the general vacinity.
There were at least 30 other people there when we showed up so plan to share the space with others. I had 10 seconds of awkward solo photo posing while everyone else watched from behind the camera.
13. Freemont Brewery
It started raining while we were visiting the Troll so we ran to Freemont Brewery, a few blocks away, while it passed. This brewery does not serve food so don’t come hungry. They do have complimentary pretzels though.
My favorite beer in the flight was the Dark Horse Nitro Stout. I’m not usually a stout drinker so that might say something about how good it was.
14. Salmon Bay Café
After throwing back a few beers, we were ready for lunch. Since we were already in the same neighborhood that our friends live in, we met up with them for a quick lunch at the greasy spoon Salmon Bay Café.
The food and drink were on par with what you can expect for a diner. I got the cowboy burger and a spicy Bloody Mary – which is exactly what I needed after the brewery.
15. Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar
After a quick rest at our hotel and shooting some hotel-focused content for the blog, we headed back out for a causal dinner. Thanks to a quick Google search, we landed on Taylor Shellfish & Oyster Bar which was back in the Occidental Square neighborhood we had walked through the day before.
We saw more than one location of this restaurant around town throughout the weekend. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for decent oysters that aren’t overpriced. Taylor Shellfish & Oyster bar had a very reasonably priced menu and great cocktails to pair with. I definitely recommend this spot!
16. Seattle Great Wheel
We were done with dinner before sunset, so we headed back downtown to the pier by the Ferris wheel. I’ve always said that nothing beats a west coast sunset and Seattle’s did not disappoint at all.
We enjoyed an ice cream cone while we watched the sky turn from blue to purple and orange and eventually nighttime in the city before heading back to our hotel.
Are you exhausted just reading our agenda yet? It was the last full day we had in the city so we had to take full advantage of the time. On Sunday morning we moved to The Sound Hotel in Bellview.
Even though this hotel was only a 10-minute walk from where we had stayed the first two nights, I was excited to be staying on another side of downtown that we hadn’t explored yet.
17. Top Pot Donut Shop
The Sound Hotel was located a couple blocks away from the monorail that goes to and from the Seattle Center (where the Space Needle and Glass Garden’s are located.) On our way to the monorail we stopped by Top Pot Donut Shop for a quick breakfast treat & coffee.
I recommend the Cookies & Cream donut if you’re into a sweet breakfast option. The donut shop has 2 floors of seating so there’s plenty of space to relax once inside.
18. Seattle Space Needle
The Space Needle is another Seattle staple. Tickets cost $45 for a pair. The views from up above are incredible and if you go on a clear day, you may catch a view of Mt. Rainier.
Even if you don’t choose to spend the money to go up top, checking out the Space Needle from the ground level outside is just as good. There is plenty of grassy park space around the area that you can relax in.
19. Chihuly Garden and Glass
The Chihuly Glass Gardens are next to the Space Needle in the Seattle Center. Tickets can range from $22-$32 for a pair depending on the time of day you go. Plan to spend 30-60 minutes walking through the various exhibits which are both indoor and outdoor.
You may be familiar with the very Insta-famous photo I shared above on the right, but there are other awesome parts of this exhibit like you see on the left.
20. Kerry Park
If you’re looking for an awesome view of the skyline from a distance, Kerry Park is the place to go. We walked here from the Space Needle which took 30 minutes but there are buses that go that direction if you’d rather take public transit.
Kerry Park is located on Queen Ann hill and has a brick wall lining the park that you can sit on to enjoy the view. We showed up in the middle of the day and it was fairly crowded so plan accordingly.
21. Olympic Sculpture Park
We ended our weekend sightseeing at Olympic Sculpture Park which is a massive, free-to-the-public, park along the waterfront. The park has chairs and benches for the public to sit out in, but it also had a trail that lined the water where many people were walking, running and biking. We watched the sun set over the ocean and enjoyed a couple minutes of people watching.
22. The Sound Hotel
We chose to move hotels on day 3 so that we could experience staying in a different part of downtown. We moved to The Sound Hotel which was on the opposite side of Pike Place Market from where we stayed the first two days.
The Sound Hotel is a new, contemporary hotel located on 4th street, less than a 10-minute walk away from Pike Place Market and Westlake transit station among several other spots on my list above. The décor of the hotel is inspired by music and art around the city and our room offered a fantastic view of Seattle’s skyline.
I’m a huge music lover and I loved how on-theme the entire hotel was from the lobby, to various lounge areas and even inside our room.
When we walked into our room, we were greeted by a gorgeous view of Seattle from the window which faced the south. There was music decoration on the wall and even our lamp fixture was designed to mimic an instrument. So cute!
The bed was extremely comfortable and offered a spacious, relaxing spot for us to unwind on our final night in Seattle. I love a hotel that can provide a mix of that at-home comfort while also providing me with a high end escape. The Sound Hotel delivered on both of these.
The bathroom had a his and hers sink, enough space to actually spread our toiletries out and a beautifully designed shower space.
The hotel also has an outdoor terrace on the 7th floor where we enjoyed an evening glass of wine while we watched the sun set behind the city. There is also indoor seating where you can enjoy the same view in case the weather isn’t as nice. I loved that this hotel was on a quieter street but still walking distance to everything we wanted to visit.
The hotel has a restaurant called Currant Bistro on the first floor where we enjoyed dinner and breakfast. The environment of the restaurant was laid back and casual, but the food felt like fine-dining.
Both the breakfast and dinner menus have something for everyone on it but the hotel concierge suggested we try the Mediterranean flatbread for dinner which was great.
I love having a cocktail with my dinner so we went with a Moscow mule for me and an Old Fashioned for my boyfriend – we also enjoyed a couple of dessert cocktails. This made my sweet tooth very happy!
If you save room for dessert, our server recommended the crème Brûlée which was heaven on my taste buds.
For breakfast on our way out of town, we split the avocado toast and a breakfast sandwich. If you’re an avocado lover, don’t skip out on the toast! This was next level delicious.
The restaurant also offers a variety of specialty coffee drinks so you can grab a latte on your way out the door. Overall our server did a fantastic job with all his recommendations and the food was excellent. I will definitely be eating here next time I’m in Seattle.
The public transit in Seattle is easy to navigate and Google Maps was always spot-on with the time estimates of the train/bus arrivals. You can purchase an ORCA card from the Westlake transit center which is good for the both the train and the bus. We took the bus almost everywhere the whole weekend and then took the train back to the airport on our way home.
I had high expectations for Seattle and this city lived up to them. I hope this blog post provided you with enough things to do in Seattle to plan your next trip!
The food, the people, the hotels – everything was exactly what we were looking for in a long weekend away. We already can’t wait to come back to this beautiful city. Seattle, you will be seeing us again soon!
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*DISCLAIMER: I wrote this in partnership with The Sound Hotel Seattle. I received a complementary stay, meals and tickets to the Space Needle & Glass Gardens in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.