Here in the Pacific Northwest, we live under seemingly constant cloud cover among towering pine trees and large bodies of water, so we tend to find some interesting ways to pass the time.
This post will provide dozens of fun activities you can enjoy while visiting Seattle, including several things to do which are family-friendly, fun after dark or entirely free to enjoy.
For even more information to help you enjoy your trip to Seattle, make sure to read the following posts:
1. Go to a Concert
From Jimi Hendrix to Nirvana, Seattle’s history is full of great music, so it makes sense that the city attracts a lot of popular musicians throughout the year.
If you’re interested in seeing a concert while you’re in town, make sure to check the event calendars at the following notable venues:
Of course, these aren’t the only venues for musical performances, so make sure to check this list of concerts in Seattle to see who will be playing when you get to town.
2. Attend a Sporting Event
Seattle is definitely a sports town – even if some of our teams never win. No matter what your favorite sport may be, chances are you’ll be able to see a game live and in person when you visit this city.
Here are some of the most notable professional teams:
- Seahawks | NFL | Sept - Dec
- Mariners | MLB | Apr - Sept
- Sounders | MLS | Feb - Oct
- Sea Dragons | XFL | Feb - Apr
- Kraken | NHL | Oct - Apr
- Huskies | NCAA Football | Aug - Dec
In addition to these clubs, this city will also soon become home to an NHL team, so you can expect even more professional sporting activities throughout the year very shortly.
Check this list of sporting events in Seattle to see what’s happening during your trip to the area.
3. See a Musical
There are a lot of great theaters in Seattle, and the city tends to host several notable Off-Broadway productions throughout the year. No matter when you choose to visit, chances are there will be at least one musical to enjoy.
If this sounds like your kind of activity, make sure to check the event calendars at the following venues to see what’s playing:
Tickets for these types of theatrical events can sell out quickly, so make sure to check this list of musicals in Seattle before you get here to purchase admission ahead of time.
4. Go to a Stand-Up Comedy Show
Seattle is often a popular stop for many famous comedians, and most of them will book the very same venues that typically host musicals and other theatrical events.
That said, some comedians will get offers to perform at theaters just outside of the city, or even casinos in the area.
Here are a few of the most popular places you might want to check if you’re in need of a good laugh:
If you don’t feel like checking the event calendar at each location, take a look at this full list of stand-up comedy performances in Seattle instead.
5. Save Money With a Discount Pass
Although there aren’t many tourist passes available in Seattle, you could still save a decent amount of money with these services depending on which attractions you plan to visit.
Most people save 40% or more off general admission prices. Here are the best activities included with Seattle CityPASS:
- The Space Needle
- Seattle Aquarium
- Museum of Pop Culture
- Chihuly Garden and Glass
- Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour
- Woodland Park Zoo
This pass includes admission to 5 of the 6 activities listed above for just $115.
In addition to the attraction pass options, there are also combo packages which include Hop on Hop off bus tours, Boeing tours, harbor cruises, and more.
6. Visit the Space Needle
This is usually pretty high on most to-do lists, but if you haven’t considered it due to cost or other factors, allow us to make the case for this historic landmark.
The Space Needle provides one of the best views in Seattle, and you can get tickets to visit the observation deck at the top.
Aside from the views, this site is also surrounded by several other popular attractions such as the Museum of Pop Culture, the Chihuly Garden and Glass, Pacific Science Center and more.
Best of all, even though tickets can be expensive, you can save over 40% on admission with a Seattle tourist pass or combo package, making the price much more reasonable!
7. Check Out the Sky View Observatory
If you still can’t justify the cost of visiting the Space Needle and seeing it from afar is good enough for you, consider going to the Sky View Observatory instead.
Located right in the heart of Seattle at the Columbia Center, this observation deck is the tallest in the Pacific Northwest, and on clear days you can see as far as Mt. Rainier!
In addition to the mountain, you will also be able to see the Puget Sound the Space Needle, Lumen Field, T-Mobile Park, the Great Wheel and pretty much the whole of downtown Seattle.
Many locals feel the view here is even better than at the Space Needle, and tickets are much cheaper as well.
8. Check Out the Museum of Pop Culture
It might not sound special, but fans of music and movies will most likely adore MoPOP.
In addition to a massive piece featuring dozens of instruments stretching from the main floor to the ceiling, there are also themed rooms containing memorabilia and set pieces from various films, television shows, theatrical productions, and more.
If you look hard enough, you’ll even find the basement area which houses a sci-fi and horror room with costumes, miniatures, and other items used during the filming movies like Frankenstein, Alien, Star Wars, Gremlins, and others.
Some exhibition areas rotate out every few months, but they usually come back eventually, because most of the items housed here come from the same collection.
Although tickets can be expensive, you can save quite a bit on admission by using a Seattle tourist pass.
9. Take an Underground Tour
Did you know a large section of modern downtown Seattle was actually built on top of older buildings and structures several decades ago?
To this day, you can still go underground and see some of the remnants of the old city, and there are a few different tours which provide a guided trip through this historic area.
A company called Beneath the Streets currently offers one of the most popular Seattle Underground tours.
This tour lasts for approximately 1 hour and it provides information about the history of Seattle from a unique and interesting perspective.
10. Take the Kids to the Aquarium
Located right on the water in downtown Seattle, just a few blocks from Pike Place Market, this aquarium is one of the most popular attractions in the city.
The Seattle Aquarium is home to hundreds of aquatic animals as well as several interesting birds and other species that typically live near the water.
In addition to puffins, sea otters, and harbor seals, you’ll also see a variety of fish and invertebrates like puffers, salmon, seahorses, octopuses, jellyfish and more.
Admission to the aquarium is included for free with the Seattle CityPASS, allowing you to save a few bucks on tickets.
11. Go on a Sightseeing Tour
There are a lot of different ways to experience the city of Seattle with the help of a guided sightseeing tour.
One of the most affordable options is to take a pay-what-you-want free walking tour, and there are a few different companies offering this service in the Seattle area.
Another option is to take a Hop on Hop off bus tour which includes stops at almost every major attraction and landmark in the city, allowing you to jump off and explore at your leisure.
We also recommend considering a harbor cruise, as these outings give you the opportunity to see Seattle from the water and get a closer look at the Puget Sound.
12. Take a Food Tour
Most people know that you can get a good cup of coffee in Seattle, but when it comes to the other delicious dishes you can enjoy in this city, you might want some help finding the best places to eat.
Thankfully, there are several different food tours available in Seattle that can help you get a taste of the best eats in town.
- Pike Place Market Food Tour
- Seattle Chocolate Tour
- Underground Donut Tour
- Pike Place Market Seafood Tour
- Coffee Culture Tour
For even more options, check this list of Seattle food tours.
13. Visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass
Although it’s called a garden, this is actually a unique museum which houses a collection of beautiful and creative glass art designed by Dale Chihuly.
In addition to 8 galleries with several different pieces to enjoy, there is also a glass and steel structure housing an installation of a 100-foot long sculpture hanging overhead.
Visitors can also enter a garden to see four additional sculptures on paths lined with trees, flowers and various beautiful plants.
Admission to the Chihuly Garden and Glass is included with at least one major Seattle discount pass, making tickets much more affordable.
Alternatively, you can also purchase tickets here.
14. Go to the Pacific Science Center
Whether you’re interested in astronomy, biology, geography or any other kind of scientific endeavor, chances are you’ll find something interesting to see or do at the Pacific Science Center.
This museum houses a variety of exhibits and attractions including a planetarium and an IMAX theatre, so even if you’re more interested in entertainment activities, you might want to visit this location.
Throughout the year, PacSci hosts a variety of fun events including live presentations, laser shows, and several IMAX films focusing primarily on scientific subjects, but also on popular films.
15. Take a Ride on the Seattle Great Wheel
If you’re coming to Seattle on a cruise ship, chances are this is one of the first landmarks you’ll see – especially if you get there after dark!
The Great Wheel is a giant ferris wheel which lights up the night sky from the Puget Sound and offers some of the best views in the entire city.
Located at Pier 57, this ferris wheel features enclosed seating, ensuring that you can enjoy the ride all year long, even when it gets cold or rainy outside.
Although tickets aren’t super cheap, they are about the same price as similar ferris wheels all around the world with rates ranging from $10-$15 per person.
Even if you don’t feel like buying a ticket, you might still want to visit after dark just to see the lights on this attraction for free!
16. Take the Kids to Woodland Park Zoo
If you don’t mind traveling a bit outside of the city center, the Woodland Park Zoo is a popular attraction for families in the Seattle area.
This zoo is currently home to more than 1,000 different animals and 300 species, including some critically endangered furry friends that they are currently trying to save!
Visitors can expect to see animals such as lions, tigers, bears (oh my), penguins, rhinos, red pandas, giraffe, hippos, primates, zebras, wallabies and many more.
17. Visit Pike Place Market
This is another popular activity that most people will have on their itinerary no matter what, but if you’re not sold on the idea yet, let us give you a few reasons to make the trip.
Aside from the excellent photo opportunities in the area, there are also a lot of interesting shops to visit at this historic marketplace. In addition to various food stalls, you’ll also find craft markets with all kinds of curiosities.
If you’re looking for some help navigating this landmark, there are a variety of Pike Place Market food tours you can take which reveal some of the best dishes you can find in this area.
Of course, Pike Place Market is entirely free to visit, so you don’t have to spend any money if you don’t want to – and the marketplace just so happens to be close to many other notable sites in the city!
18. See the First Starbucks
There are a lot of Starbucks peppered throughout Seattle, but only one of them is the original store that would eventually become one of the most successful businesses in the world.
Located right next to Pike Place Market, the first Starbucks in the world is at 1st & Pike in the heart of downtown Seattle.
Whether you’re a fan of their coffee or the business as a whole, this is one historic landmark that you should definitely visit while you’re in town.
Although you don’t have to pay anything to check out the first Starbucks store, it’s nice that you don’t actually have to pay much just to grab a cup of coffee or maybe even just a small souvenir!
19. Visit the Gum Wall
Although a lot of people will be absolutely disgusted by the very concept of this landmark, we expect at least a few of you will be intrigued enough to make the trip.
Located just down the street from Pike Place Market, the Gum Wall is a small alleyway covered on both sides with chewed gum. Some areas are random and chaotic, but others are creatively designed.
Needless to say, you probably shouldn’t touch any of the gum or try to chew it yourself, and we don’t recommend adding your own to the wall.
Once named one of the top 5 “germiest tourist attractions,” the Gum Wall is entirely free to visit – but you might want to avoid it if you’re a hypochondriac!
20. Check Out Pioneer Square
This is one of the most historic public squares in the entire Pacific Northwest, and it’s still one of the most interesting places to visit in Seattle.
In addition to a variety of businesses, there are also art galleries in the neighborhood and a lot of interesting outdoor sights and attractions.
If you’re looking for a great place to take a walk, Occidental Square Park is paved in brick, lined with trees and often hosts a variety of activities and events.
The Waterfall Garden Park is another great place to visit, as it includes a 22-foot waterfall and seating so that you can enjoy a nice meal while listening to the water.
When it comes right down to it, Pioneer Square is the perfect place to take a break if you’re walking around the city and sightseeing.
21. Go to Amazon HQ
If you’ve ever wanted to see where this notable business got its start, you can actually visit the headquarters of Amazon which is located just a few blocks from the Space Needle.
Although you might not get the opportunity to go inside, there are a lot of things to see and do in the area which may be of interest.
One of the most notable sites is the Amazon Spheres, which are just down the street from the HQ. The Spheres are both an interesting architectural design and a greenhouse with more than 40,000 plants from over 30 different countries.
Not too far from here you’ll also find the first Amazon Go store, a location designed to allow visitors to get in and out without even pulling out a credit card!
22. Spend Some Time at Gameworks
If you’re a fan of video games, you’ll definitely want to visit the biggest arcade in Seattle and spend a few bucks on some of your favorite arcade titles.
Although this can be an expensive activity, Gameworks has some of the most interesting and popular arcade games in the world, including both retro and modern options.
Gameworks also has a bar and kitchen serving a variety of delicious snacks ranging from interesting culinary creations like buffalo fried cauliflower to bacon wrapped garlic stuffed jalapenos!
One of the nicest things about this attraction is that they’re open until 11 pm on weekdays and 1 am on weekends, which is later than a lot of other restaurants, museums and other popular locations in the city.
23. Visit the Klondike Gold Rush Park
For those who didn’t know, the Klondike Gold Rush was one of the most important factors that made Seattle such an important city in the Northwest.
As a result, you’ll actually find the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park right here in the city center, although it doesn’t exactly fit the definition of a traditional “park.”
This attraction is essentially a museum located on the corner of 2nd & Jackson Street, just a few blocks from Pioneer Square.
Visitors can expect to see a variety of exhibits providing information about this historic event, including 3 different films you can watch and gold panning demonstrations from park rangers.
Best of all, admission to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is entirely free!
24. Go to the Seattle Pinball Museum
Located just a few blocks from Lumen Field and T-Mobile Park, this museum houses some of the most interesting pinball machines from throughout their history.
With over 50 different machines in working order, there’s plenty to see and do at the Seattle Pinball Museum – and yes, you are allowed to play all of the games once you pay for admission.
Although you do have to purchase tickets to get inside, you won’t have to pay any individual fees to play the pinball machines.
Whether you’re looking for a more classic alternative to arcades like Gameworks or you just want to experience the history of pinball firsthand, this is an excellent museum for visitors of all ages.
25. Visit Chinatown
Much like many other cities around the world, there is a district in Seattle known as Chinatown which is home to many Chinese-American businesses and attractions.
One of the main sites is the Chinatown Gate, which is located at the intersection of 5th Ave & King Street.
In addition to that, you’ll find Hing Hay Park just down the street, and it’s an excellent spot to take a break while walking around the area.
Needless to say, there are a lot of great asian restaurants in Chinatown, so this is a good place to find dishes like dim sum, bubble tea, pho, etc.
You’ll also find several stores selling all kinds of imported goods from different asian cultures including Hawaiian, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, and more.
26. See the Fremont Troll
Although you'll have to travel a bit out of the city center to see this attraction, it is one of the most beloved local landmarks and a perfect spot for selfies.
The Fremont Troll is located under the George Washington Memorial Bridge, and like most trolls, he's usually made of stone.
This is an entirely free location to visit, and it's one of the best family-friendly activities in Seattle.
27. See If Mount Rainier Is Out
One of the quirkier things about living in the Seattle area is that we are close enough to see Mount Rainier in the distance, but only on certain days.
There's usually a lot of cloud cover in the northwest, and those clouds often keep the mountain from being visible.
Whenever it's a nice, clear day, locals will look to the south and proudly proclaim "the mountain's out!"
28. Consider a Trip to Mount Rainier
If it is a clear enough day to see the mountain from afar, chances are it'll also be a good day to take a trip to the landmark.
There are a lot of tour companies who offer a variety of ways to see Mount Rainier, so even if you don't feel comfortable making the trip by yourself, you can always rely on a professional tour guide!
For more details, make sure to check this list of Mount Rainier day trips and tours.
29. Go to a Farmers Market
Although Pike Place Market is obviously the most famous in the city, there are plenty of other farmers markets to attend in the Seattle area, including the following:
- Fremont Sunday Flea Market
- University District Farmers Market
- Ballard Farmers Market
30. Check Out Gasworks Park
This park is actually the site of the former Seattle Gas Light Company plant, and some of the old structures are still standing.
You'll find plenty of graffiti to see here, and it's also a great place to visit if you want to fly a kite or enjoy a picnic.
31. See the Grave of Jimi Hendrix
Located in Greenwood Memorial Park, you'll find the resting place of legendary rock artist Jimi Hendrix.
This is really more of a memorial than a traditional grave, and visitors can expect to see murals of Hendrix etched in beautiful stone pillars.
32. Visit the Gravesite of Chief Seattle
For those who don't know, the city of Seattle is named after a Native American Chief, and there is a beautiful gravesite nearby.
If you're interested in visiting this location and paying homage to the man who gave the city its name, there is a very useful guide you can use to get there by bike or by car.
33. Spend Time at Kerry Park
Located just north of the city center, this park offers some of the best views of the city skyline. During clear days, you can even see Mount Rainier!
It's not a big park, so you won't exactly spend a lot of time here, but if you're looking to take some great selfies or photographs, this is one place you won't want to pass up.
34. Take a Tour of the Boeing Factory
Aside from our coffee, the other big thing Seattle used to be known for was the Boeing Factory which produced a lot of the best airplanes in the world.
Although the success of Amazon has certainly overshadowed the accomplishments of this company in recent years, it's still one of the most notable businesses in the area.
Thankfully, they actually offer tours of the factory, and you can find it just north of Everett (about an hour from Seattle).
35. Visit the Volunteer Park Conservatory
Looking for something to do on a rainy day? Consider a trip to the conservatory!
This location has plants from all over the globe, so it's a great place to go if you want to see a variety of greenery while avoiding the weather.
36. Go to America's Car Museum
The LeMay Car Museum is located in Tacoma, and it's a great place to visit if you're a fan of any kind of automobiles.
Visitors can expect rotating exhibits of a variety of classic cars spanning over 100 years of automotive creativity.
37. Check out the National Nordic Museum
Whether you're of Nordic descent or not, you might want to consider visiting this museum which explores 12,000 years of Nordic history.
Located in Ballard, this is an excellent new museum with a variety of historic collections and exhibitions to see.
38. Hike to Rattlesnake Ledge
If you're looking for some exercise, consider heading 45 minutes east of Seattle to hike the Rattlesnake Ledge Trail.
This is a challenging hike that will take about 3 hours to complete, and it's not recommended for beginners.
That said, if you make it to the end, you'll be rewarded with incredible views from an elevation of almost 1,500 ft!
39. Take a Self-Guided Street Art Tour
There is a lot of interesting street art in the Seattle area, but you'll need to look around to find some of the best artwork in the city.
Thankfully, there is an interactive map you can use as a self-guided tour to discover the best street art and murals in the city center and beyond.
40. Find the Lighthouse at Discovery Park
The West Point Lighthouse is located in Discovery Park, which is just northwest of the city center. With 12 miles of walking trails, this is another great place to get some exercise.
You'll have to walk a ways to reach the lighthouse, but it'll be worth it if you get there before the sunset!
41. Play Board Games With Friends
If you're visiting friends in Seattle, consider heading to the Mox Boarding House to play a board game with them.
This is a somewhat unique place to visit, as it's part restaurant and part game store!
There are currently locations in both Seattle and nearby Bellevue.
42. Visit One of the Many Breweries
There are a lot of different breweries in the Seattle area, and each one has some pretty unique and delicious IPAs.
Consider touring one of the following breweries:
- Fremont Brewing
- Cloudburst Brewing
- Reuben's Brews
- Stoup Brewing
- Georgetown Brewing Co.
You can often save money on some local brewery tours by checking Groupon first.
43. Experience Glassblowing
The Seattle Glassblowing Studio & Gallery offers visitors an opportunity to blow their own glass, providing instructions from a knowledgeable guide who will make sure you remain safe the entire time.
If you've ever wanted to create your own glass art, this is a great way to learn how and experience glassblowing for yourself!
Best of all, you can save money on this activity by using Groupon!
44. Learn How to Make Sushi
CocuSocial offers a sushi making class with instruction with professional chefs who are well versed in the steps necessary to prepare this dish appropriately.
During this hands-on class, you'll learn what ingredients are required, how to roll sushi, and what tools or utensils are necessary.
You can save money on this activity by using Groupon.
45. Don't Miss the Sunset
Maybe it's just me, but I happen to think that we have some of the best sunsets in the world here in the PNW.
There's something about the way the sun peeks through the clouds set across a landscape of pine trees that is truly magnificent to behold.
Wherever you happen to be when the sun is setting, find a good place to get a view of it!
46. Visit a Nearby Casino
There are a lot of tribal lands around Seattle, and that means there are a few pretty good casinos you might want to visit!
The Snoqualmie Casino is one of the biggest and most popular, as they frequently host a lot of live entertainment, concerts, and comedy shows.
Another notable example is the Tulalip Resort Casino, just north of Seattle. They also host a lot of live entertainers, and there are plenty of fun things to do here.
47. Go Snowboarding or Skiing
If you're planning to visit in the winter, there are several ski resorts within 1-2 hours of the city which offer excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities.
Consider heading to one of the following locations:
- The Summit at Snoqualmie
- Stevens Pass Ski Resort
- Crystal Mountain Ski Resort
48. Learn About African American History
The Northwest African American Museum is finally reopening its doors in 2023 after closing up due to the pandemic.
This museum is just south of the city center near Jimi Hendrix Park, which is another great place to visit with several bike racks and trails.
If you're interested in doing more to celebrate black history, head just a few blocks south to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park.
49. Go to a Skate Park
If you love skateboarding, there are several great skate parks in the Seattle area that you might want to check out.
This list includes some of the best skate park locations in the city, so you're sure to find a place nearby with the right vibe.
50. Spend the Day at Olympic National Park
Believe it or not, this park is actually home to four distinct rainforests in and around Olympic National Park.
The Hoh Rainforest is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.
Needless to say, this is one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit, and it's a great place for a day trip -- or even to camp!