Activities seattle

What to See and Do in Seattle When Visiting for the First Time?

A view of Seattle.

If you are a first-time visitor to Seattle, you might be wondering what there is to see and do in Emerald City. To be honest, there are so many attractions worth mentioning that it’s difficult to choose just a few. This magnificent city is not only rich in culture, art, technology, and entertainment, but it is also ideal for outdoor activities and leisure. Not to mention the Seattle gastronomic scene, which will delight any foodie.

As a result, we created a guide for what to see and do in Seattle when visiting for the first time that has a little bit of everything for everyone. Keep reading our article and pick your favorites. However, we must warn you that you may end up extending your vacation to this hypnotic metropolis.

Admire Seattle from above

If you say Seattle, the first image that comes to mind is the famous Space Needle. This unique building with a UFO design has become one of the main attractions since it was built in 1962. It is 605 feet tall and offers guests a 360-degree view of Seattle from its 520-foot high observation deck. It is also home to the revolving SkyCity restaurant and the museum of Needles history. Even though it’s a popular attraction and you have to wait in line, visiting the Space Needle will be worth your time. Seeing the sunset and how the city lights up after dark is the most impressive experience.

In addition, you can also visit one of the most underrated attractions in Seattle, the Smith Tower. An attendant dressed in vintage costume will take you to the building’s observatory on the sole remaining Otis man-operated elevator. On top, you can enjoy an incredible view of the city, including the Space Needle.

The Ferris Wheel is also an example of what to see and do in Seattle when visiting for the first time.

Visit a museum

The Museum of History and Industry is a great place to learn about Seattle’s history. You will see exhibits that highlight the development and innovation that took place in Pudget Sound. For example, the Bezos Center for Innovation or the Maritime Seattle. If you love art, you can visit the Seattle Art Museum. There you can admire around 25.000 pieces of art from different ages and regions of the world. Also, the permanent African art exhibit is worth mentioning. The Museum of Flight is another fascinating museum that families with children can visit. In addition to learning about Seattle’s impressive aviation history, children can get close to the airplanes and climb inside. If we sparked your interest in Seattle’s museums, you should know that the city has over 40 museums covering a wide range of themes and interests.

Take a coffee break

If you are visiting Seattle, you should be aware that you are in one of the most significant cities in terms of coffee roasting. The Emerald City is famous for its roasting industry, numerous coffee shops, and enthusiastic coffee drinkers. In fact, people here drink more coffee than in any other American city. So, when you find yourself in the world center of coffee roasting, there is no question about what to see and do in Seattle when visiting for the first time. All you have to do is go to a coffee shop, get a coffee, and enjoy a cup of hot and tasty energy.

Person decorating a coffee cup with milk foam.
Having a tasty hot coffee is a must when visiting Seattle for the first time.

Enjoy Seattle outdoors

If you enjoy being outside and staying active while on vacation, Seattle is the place to be. Numerous evergreen forests, beautiful mountains, and the surrounding water make it the perfect destination for nature enthusiasts. If you are a mountain lover, you can enjoy a guided tour of Mount Rainier or trek to 3150 feet on Mount Si. You can embark on a cruise from Elliot Bay to Lake Union or paddleboard in Salmon Bay if you love being near the water. And, if you feel adventurous, you can even go on a trip in a hot air balloon. These are mostly summer activities, but you can easily enjoy winter in Settle as well. Winters can be fun too, as there are several nearby ski and snowboard resorts and an outdoor rink where you can ice skate. Also, if you enjoy watching hockey games, you can cheer for the newly founded Seattle hockey team, the Seattle Kraken.

Have a taste of local products

Even if it might seem odd, the Pike Place Market is a must-visit. It was founded in 1907 and has served as a cornerstone of Seattle culture ever since. Not only can you find a broad selection of fish and local produce there, but you will also find some local artwork. Not to mention the flower market, which is a magnificent display of color and perfume. You can visit the market on an organized tour or explore it by yourself in hopes of seeing the famous flying fish. The gum wall, mural art, and the local buskers will also amaze and intrigue you. When it comes to eating, Pike Place Market is the place to be. The plethora of fresh products at the market, as well as the nearby restaurants, will help you satisfy your appetite. And if you are a true gourmand, you can embark on a food tour around the market.

Luminous sign of the Farmers Market in Seattle.
If you want to have a unique experience in Seattle, visit the Farmer’s Market.

Have a fun day with the kids

If you are visiting Seattle with the family, there are great ways to spend a day of fun together. For instance, you can visit the Woodland Park Zoo, where you can see more than 900 animals and 250 species. The zoo was founded in 1899 and covers more than 90 acres, often offering temporary exhibitions such as Dinosaur Discovery. If your children are interested in learning about marine life, a trip to the Seattle Aquarium will be a treat for them. There, you will be able
to observe, learn about and touch marine creatures such as urchins and starfish. Also, the underwater observation dome and the Window on Washington Waters exhibit will keep you occupied for hours. Indoor attractions for kids include the Children’s Museum, the Museum of Pop Culture, and the Pacific Science Center. They are all worth a visit on a rainy Seattle day.

In conclusion

Seattle is an excellent vacation destination for singles, couples, and families with children. There is plenty of entertainment for all types of tourists in Emerald City, and there is always something to see and do. And, if you have never been to Seattle, you can read our guide on what to see and do in Seattle when visiting for the first time and prepare yourself for the trip. We are sure that you will enjoy all of the attractions we mentioned.

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