Whether it’s your first time in Seattle, or you’ve visited the Emerald City more than once, we’ve got some can’t-miss spots that will be a great addition to any Seattle itinerary.
Sure, Seattle is consistently cloudy, frequently foggy, and regularly rainy. But the laid-back vibe, diverse neighbourhoods, and quirky attractions more than make up for the less-than-stellar weather. Set on the Puget Sound and just a stone's throw from Mount Rainier, Seattle is home to some of the country's best coffee and a thriving arts scene, plenty of history, culture and tons of outdoor activities—whale watching anyone? Here are the spots you shouldn't skip the next time you're in Seattle.
Pike Place Market
No Seattle trip is truly complete without a trip to one of its most iconic destinations! Built in 1907, Pike Place is the oldest continuously-operating market in the United States. It houses dozens of stalls and shops for farmers, restaurants, purveyors, and artisans, all overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront.
Hundreds of vendors can be found at Pike Place Market, and their goods range from homemade jewelry and candles to rare comic books and vinyl records.
If you’re pressed for time, map out your route with a self-guided walking tour pocket guide on the market’s website, hit the information booth just west of the marketplace at First Avenue, or take your time strolling through the stalls and shops.
The Space Needle
The Space Needle is undoubtedly one of Seattle’s (and America’s) most iconic landmarks. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the observation tower still has a futuristic look, and is the most prominent building in the Seattle skyline. Visitors can reach the top of the 605-foot-tall Space Needle by elevator for unparalleled 360-degree views of the city and the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges; it’s also looking refreshed as it underwent a $100 million renovation that debuted in 2018.
The Loupe, a cocktail lounge, features a revolving glass floor. If you’re not a fan of heights, check out the SpaceBase gift shop at the bottom of the tower.
TLW tip: You can avoid the steep admission charge ($34 to $37.50 for adults and $25 to $30 for children ages 5 to 12) by purchasing a CityPASS that includes admission to additional attractions. You can also book a timed ticket, which will save you time waiting in line.
Museum of Pop Culture
As an institution of Seattle’s art scene, the Museum of Pop Culture is a must-see for any visiting art lover. Music, science fiction, and pop culture all come together in this Frank Gehry-designed building that looks like a smashed guitar from above. Inside, the museum’s colorful exhibits cover everything from the history of indie video games and horror films to Nirvana, the Seahawks, and more.
If you can, try to check out one of the programs or workshops, like the Music and Gender Conference, the Mini Maker Faire, or the BYO-sleeping bag Campout Cinema.
Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour
You’ve probably heard of the Great Seattle Fire that wiped out a huge chunk of the city in 1889.
What you might not know is that there’s an entire network of underground tunnels where the city rebuilt itself over the old, burned-out husks of shopfronts and sidewalks.
This unique walking tour is named for the historian who, in 1965, started leading groups of people into the tunnels for subterranean exploring. Along the way, he shared fun facts, hidden histories and goofy anecdotes about Seattle, and that’s the template that his company stuck with even after he retired.
Today, Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour is one of the coolest things that you can do in Seattle.
Seattle boasts dozens of craft breweries and food markets, making it one of the Best Foodie Destinations in the USA. Set in the heart of Capitol Hill, Lark provides a unique ambiance, serving artisan-focused food in an atmosphere that’s relaxed. Located in a restored warehouse in Capitol Hill, the dining room features soaring windows, reclaimed wooden beams, and tall ceilings glowing with a galaxy of Edison-style light bulbs.
Chef-owner John Sundstrom was defining Northwest cuisine and serving small plates before either of those terms were trendy. He works with local farmers, fishermen, and foragers to craft ever-changing menus that feature crudo, charcuterie, sandwiches, and seasonal dishes.
Hit happy hour on weekdays from 5 – 6pm, or leave your dining choices to the chef by opting for Lark’s three- or five-course tasting menu.
If you’re looking for a great space to stay in Seattle, check out the Four Seasons Seattle, which overlooks Elliott Bay and the Puget Sound, and features modern Northwest-inspired design, a gorgeous infinity-edge pool and bar, and a 6,000 square foot spa.
For Andrew, travel is so much more than just learning history or taking photos. Rather, the value of travel is witnessing a lifestyle, bonding with locals, and gaining rich cultural experiences. That’s why he founded the Luxury Wanderer; a place to share itineraries, offer advice, swap stories, and foster a like-minded community of curious travellers.