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- Go Atop the Space Needle
The Space Needle is a Seattle icon & offers sweeping views of the city & Puget sound on a clear day. It is part of the Seattle Centre complex that also includes other attractions mentioned in 2 & 3 below.
Getting There by Public Transit: The buses 3 & 4 from 3rd & Pike gives the best access to Seattle Centre from the EMP Museum on 5th & Broad.
- Catch Up with Pop Culture at EMP
The Experience Music Project gives you an insiders look into the pop culture that shaped Seattle & lets you unleash your inner rockstar with booths containing instruments such as guitars & drums.
Getting There by Public Transit: See 1.
- Geek Out / Catch an IMAX Movie at Pacific Science Centre
This is an extremely fun place to spend a few hours especially if you have kids. There are many interactive displays, a tropical butterfly house & one of the country’s best IMAX theatres to indulge in. Booking ahead for an IMAX movie is essential. See 1. on how to get there. There is also the McCaw Hall Opera House at Seattle Centre for the culturally inclined as well as the Chihuly Gardens (see map below).
Getting There by Public Transit: See 1.
Seattle Centre Attractions
- Walk About Downtown & See the Sights.
The Columbia Center on 4th & Columbia has an observation deck that is significantly higher than the Space Needle (907 feet vs 603) so its worth a visit for the views. The Seattle Art Museum, Benaroya Hall & Seattle Public Librarye are other places to see in core Downtown Seattle.
- Water-related Activities at the Seattle Waterfront
Take your pick from the Seattle Aquarium, the Harbour Boat Tour, the Giant Wheel or indulging in a lot of shellfish at the Crab Pot. The Bainbridge Island ferry (pictured)/ West Seattle water taxi are also worthwhile sunny day excursions.
Getting There by Public Transit: It’s a short walk from Downtown so get into Downtown to easily access the waterfront. There are lifts from different points at 1st Avenue / Pike Place market as accessible transfer points.
- Throw a Fish / Eat your way through Pike Place Market
The famous Pike Place market is the place to explore some Pacific Northwest cuisine & ingredients, not only for tourists. As locals, we bought a lot of our fresh meat fruit & groceries from Pike Place market. The area also has a mix of quick eats (Pike Place Chowder, Beechers Cheese) & fancy restaurants (The Pink Door, Matt’s in the Market). The world’s first Starbucks store is also in that area & there’s always a line. One can always grab a couch at Storyville to get better coffee & nice views. Visit the nearby Gum Wall to see something unique 🙂
Getting There by Public Transit: Most of the buses in Seattle go to Downtown at 3rd Avenue which is just 2 blocks away from Pike Place market.
Downtown Seattle Attractions Map
- Boat / Kayak / Paddleboard Across the Seattle Waterways
Another sunny day activity is taking a boat on to the Seattle lakes or waterways. Lake Union, Lake Washington & Fremont-Ballard are the most popular waterways. We have used the following places to rent out kayaks from.
- See How Planes are Built
Boeing does factory tours in its Everett facility which, in our opinion, if one of the top things to do in Seattle. You get to see the massive assembly line that can build three 787 Dreamliners at the same time. The difficult bit is reaching the Boeing factory by public transit from Downtown Seattle as its quite far (#LegendStatus).
Getting There by Public Transit: Take the 513 Sound Transit bus to Lynnwood Transit Centre & then transfer to the 113 bus to the Boeing factory. Takes 2 hours though. Another option is to take the 511/513 to Everett station (52 mins from 5th & Pine) & take a 10 min taxi.
- Chill Out at a Park / Zoo
Seattle is dotted with a number of verdant parks which are great for picnics. Some of the parks also have barbecuing facilities which may need to be booked before hand. We are including Woodland Park Zoo & Point Defiance Zoo in this list as they ae a great picnic day out with the kids. Below is a list of our favourite parks & zoos
- Woodland Park Zoo : Bus 5 from 3rd & Pine Northbound (20 mins)
- Point Defiance Zoo (Tacoma) : Bus 11 from Tacoma (35 mins)
- Madrona Park (Lake Washington) : Bus 2 from 3rd & Pine
- Cal Anderson Park (Capitol Hill) : Bus 10,11,49 from 5th & Pike
- Kerry Park : Bus 2 from 3rd & Pike towards Queen Anne
- Lake Union Park (Lake Union): SLU tram from Westlake & Olive
- Discovery Park (Puget Sound) : A walk after getting from 24/33 from 3rd & Pine
- Green Lake Park (Green Lake) : Bus 16 Northbound from 3rd & Pine
- Go to the Beach
Seattle is pretty far from the Carribean geographically but has some decent sandy beaches to whet the sun-worshippers appetite on the rare sunny day. The Golden Gardens park has the best sandy beach near Seattle & can be reached by taking the 40 Northbound followed by a 20 min walk. Alki beach in West Seattle has a more direct link via the RapidRide B from Downtown.
- Catch the Seahawks / Sounders / Mariners Game
The Century Link stadium is a mecca for Seattle sports fans. A true Seattle experience should try to include being part of the 12th Man at a Seahawks home game. Also partake in some of the best Asian food in the country across the road as described in our city guide.
Getting There by Public Transit: Get any of the Southbound buses / Link light rail from the Downtown bus tunnel & get off at the International District.
How to Use Seattle Public Transit
- Bus is the main mode of transport. The 2 other alternatives are the light rail from the Airport to the city centre and the SLU Transit tram from the City Centre to South Lake Union. Phase 2 of the light rail will connect the City Centre to Capitol Hill & University district which will be pretty cool.
- As mentioned in the city guide, it’s good to make an ORCA card and load it with $10-15 in order to travel to the lesser known attractions. Also check out Seattle Transit Blog for another transit guide.
- Single tickets cost $2.50 (exact change only) and can be used to transfer for 2 hours
- Missed any of your favourite spots? Let us know in the comments below.
- Tip: Consider a Seattle CityPass to see a number of attractions at a reduced rate.