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:
- Seattle Seahawks | NFL | Sept - Dec
- Seattle Mariners | MLB | Apr - Sept
- Seattle Sounders | MLS | Feb - Oct
- Seattle Dragons | XFL | Feb - Apr
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 tourist passes:
- The Space Needle
- Seattle Aquarium
- Museum of Pop Culture
- Chihuly Garden and Glass
- Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour
- Pacific Science Center
- Woodland Park Zoo
- Seattle Mariners Game
- Beneath the Streets Tour
- And more!
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.
Please read our post about Seattle tourist passes for additional details about how to save money on some of the most popular things to do in this city.
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, CenturyLink 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, and their service is actually included at no extra cost with a Seattle tourist pass.
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 at least one Seattle tourist pass, 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, Secret Food Tours provides an outing which includes a variety of great food that will change the way you think of cuisine in this city.
There are a total of 6 stops and at least 5 samples such as authentic PNW chowder, a Seattle hot dog, fruit cobbler and more. You’ll also enjoy drinks like cold brew coffee, cherry-tarragon soda and oolong tea.
If you’re interested in trying even more, you can purchase an upgraded drinks package for an additional sauvignon blanc white wine and craft beer or cider.
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.
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.
Admission to the Pacific Science Center is included at no extra cost with at least one Seattle tourist pass, making it easy to save money on tickets.
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.
Admission to the Woodland Park Zoo is quite affordable at $15.50 or less per ticket, but you can also get in at a discount by using a Seattle tourist pass.
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 CenturyLink 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.