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Total Guide to Your Trip in Seattle, Washington

By: Ashley Akridge

Edited By: Scott Sidders

Updated on November 6, 2023

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If you're planning a trip to Seattle, Washington, you're going to want to make sure you have your bases covered. And that means having a list of the best things to do and see, the tastiest restaurants to try, and the best places to stay.

And you're in luck! Because We've got all that information right here for you in this handy-dandy guide: 10 Best Things to do in Seattle, Washington; 10 Restaurants to Try in Seattle, Washington; 5 Hotel Ideas for Staying in Seattle, Washington; and 5 Day Trips and Tours in Seattle, Washington. Let's get started!

10 Best Things to do in Seattle, Washington

If you're planning a trip to Seattle, Washington, you probably already know all about the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. But what else makes this city amazing? We've compiled a list of the 10 best things to do in Seattle!

Space Needle

Seattle Skyline with Space Needle in focus

As one of the most iconic landmarks in Seattle, the Space Needle is known for its views of the city and surrounding area. The observation deck at 520 feet has a 360-degree view of the skyline, Mount Rainier, Elliott Bay and more. At night, visitors can see all the lights of the city twinkling below them. It truly is an amazing sight!

Museum of Pop Culture

The Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Washington

Founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, this museum is dedicated to contemporary popular culture. Its exhibits include artifacts from popular music, science fiction, horror films, and more. The building itself is an extraordinary feat of architecture that looks like it's been made from a bunch of stacked-up multicolored metal panels. It's definitely worth a visit just to see this outside!

Seattle Art Museum

Seattle Art Museum

The Seattle Art Museum is located in the heart of downtown Seattle, and it houses over 25,000 pieces of art in its collection—including everything from traditional masks to modernist paintings. There are also a series of rotating exhibits, as well as outdoor sculptures on display as part of the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Pike Place Market

A multitude of people at the entrance of the Public Market on Pike Place in Seattle

There's nothing quite like Pike Place Market. The minute you step inside, you're instantly transported from whatever world you came from into a place where it's all about the adventure and vibrancy of the people and place around you.

Pike Place Market is overflowing with great things to see, eat, and buy. You'll find a plethora of fresh produce and seafood, but don't leave without checking out the street art, the music, and the amazing people that come to sell their wares here every day. You never know who you'll meet or what cool new thing you'll find when you visit!

Woodland Park Zoo

Brown bear at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle Washington

This zoo has over 300 animal species and many different exhibits, including an African Savanna exhibit with lions, elephants, zebras, and much more. It's also right next to Green Lake Park which is great for hiking or running around with your family and friends.

Seattle Aquarium

Exterior view of Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium is one of the most popular attractions in Seattle because it has so much life-like marine life on display. You'll get an up-close look at all kinds of fish from around the world including sharks!

Discovery Park

Discovery Park Lighthouse

If you want some fresh air and a place to exercise then Discovery Park will be perfect for you! This park has over 534 acres of land that's great for hiking or jogging through nature trails as well as playing sports like basketball on their courts or going swimming in one of their many pools throughout the property.

The Seattle Great Wheel

The Great Wheel On The Seattle Waterfront

The Seattle Great Wheel will give you an amazing view of Puget Sound and the downtown skyline. If you're lucky enough to ride on a clear day, Mount Rainer might even make an appearance! The wheel itself is 175 feet tall and seats up to eight people at once, so it's perfect for families or large groups who want an unforgettable experience together.

Olympic Sculpture Park

Couple at the Olympic Sculpture Park

Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park is one of the best places to see contemporary art in the Pacific Northwest. The unique outdoor space features a number of permanent sculptures by famous artists like Louise Bourgeois and Alexander Calder, as well as temporary installations that change regularly. Stop by this park if you're looking for a peaceful outdoor space where you can take in some amazing art at the same time!

Washington Park Arboretum UW Botanic Gardens

Fall at the Japanese Garden in Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle.

This botanical garden is a 230-acre oasis in the city of Seattle. It is jointly managed by the University of Washington and the City of Seattle. The park features a network of walking trails that lead past ponds, wetlands and open meadows. A variety of native Northwest plants are found throughout the park's different habitats. The Washington Park Arboretum is home to a number of beautiful gardens including the Rhododendron Garden, the Azalea Way, the Japanese Garden, and the Dahlia Garden.

5 Day trips and tours in Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington is a city bustling with activity. There are lots of fun things to do within the city, but it's also in a great location! There are tons of fun day trips and tours that you can take to really see what the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Here are some of our favorite day trips and tours in Seattle, Washington:

Mount St. Helens Full Day Trip

Mount St. Helens

Did you know that Mount Saint Helens was once the most heavily visited national park? In 1980, it erupted, causing widespread devastation. Now, you can visit its remains and learn about its history with a private day tour from Seattle. Explore the Johnston Ridge Observatory, where you can learn more about how the volcano was formed, what led to its eruption, and how it impacted the surrounding area. You'll also have time to visit Coldwater Lake, where you can see scientists studying the impact on local flora and fauna of the recent eruption. This is a great trip for those who want to learn more about one of America's most famous natural disasters.


Leavenworth Day Trip from Seattle through the Cascade Mountains

Leavenworth, Washington

Looking for a day trip from Seattle that will be packed with adventure? Take a day trip to Leavenworth, a Bavarian-themed town nestled in the Cascade Mountains.

Your journey begins in Seattle, where you will travel through historic Pioneer Square and on to the Cascade Mountains. You will stop in Leavenworth, a Bavarian-themed village. There you can enjoy traditional German cuisine for lunch before heading back to Seattle. On your way back, you will stop at Snoqualmie Falls where you can admire the breathtaking view of these falls. This day trip is perfect for those who love the outdoors and are looking for an adventure!

20-Minute Narrated Seattle Seaplane Flight from Lake Washington

Seaplane in position for take-off on Lake Washington.

You can see Seattle like never before! You're going to love the sights you'll see on this 20-minute narrated seaplane flight from Lake Washington. The best part about taking a seaplane is that you're literally flying high over the water as you take in Lake Washington and all of its natural beauty. It's the perfect way to start your day in Seattle!

The seaplane will take off from Lake Washington, then you'll fly through the air for approximately 20 minutes. On this trip, you'll get a great view of the city skyline, Mount Rainier, and the Olympic Mountains. The tour guide will point out all of the landmarks along the way. If you're looking for a fun activity for family and friends, this narrated seaplane flight is ideal because everyone can enjoy it together. It really is suitable for all ages too!

Half-Day Guided Tour of Seattle City and Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

There is no better way to explore Seattle than with a local guide. This easy-going half-day tour of the City and Snoqualmie Falls will have you feeling like the King or Queen of the Emerald City in no time.

This small group tour is the perfect way to see all of Seattle's top attractions, including Pike Place Market, where you can pick up some souvenirs for your loved ones. A stop at the iconic Space Needle is also included, where you can snap some photos from above. You will also get to visit Snoqualmie Falls, one of the most stunning waterfalls in all of Washington State. Don't miss this chance to discover what makes Seattle one of America's most beautiful cities on this half-day sightseeing tour.

Mt. Rainier Day Tour from Seattle

View of the top of Mount Rainier

If you're in Seattle, there's something you have to do: get out of the city and into the wild. Mount Rainier is a breathtaking sight, and it's only about two hours away from the city! While you're here, take a day tour of Mount Rainier National Park with complimentary pickup from four convenient spots in downtown Seattle.

While you're here, make sure to catch some of the best sights. You can hike through the Carbon Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in the lower 48 states. Or if it's summertime (and you're feeling brave), you can stand under Nisqually Falls, an awe-inspiring waterfall that stands 188 feet tall.

10 restaurants to try in Seattle, Washington

Seattle is a city for foodies. The Emerald City has earned national acclaim for the quality and diversity of its restaurants and chefs, with James Beard awards going to local talents such as Ethan Stowell and Renee Erickson. There's no shortage of nationally recognized restaurants, but the city's dining scene is also thriving with smaller spots just waiting to be discovered.

If you're heading to Seattle for a visit, here are 10 places to try:

The Pink Door

The Pink Door is a homey, ever-popular date spot serving quality Italian food with an emphasis on fresh and local produce. The menu features a variety of antipasti, hand-made pasta dishes including ravioli; lasagna; linguini with mussels or clams; spaghetti with pesto or meatballs; and gnocchi. They also offer flatbreads, salads, sandwiches and desserts.

Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge

Located in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge is a New Orleans-style restaurant and bar with a French twist. The menu features Creole classics like gumbo and jambalaya, as well as elevated options like roasted chicken on toast with basil pesto and fried onions. Diners can enjoy live music or lounge on the outdoor patio.

Elliott's Oyster House

If you're looking to taste Seattle's famous seafood, Elliott's Oyster House is the place to do it. The menu includes a variety of oysters and other seafood dishes. If you like oysters Rockefeller, be sure to try the Cajun battered prawns and Dungeness crab cakes. If you have room for dessert, we recommend the banana cream pie. It has a flaky crust, creamy filling, and freshly sliced bananas. Elliott's is located on the pier in the busy Pike Place Market area of downtown Seattle.

Marination Ma Kai

Marination Ma Kai is a casual Hawaiian-themed restaurant located on the waterfront in Seattle. This restaurant has great views and offers outdoor seating (if it's not raining, of course). The menu includes Hawaiian-inspired dishes like tacos, sliders, and bowls. Tacos are served either with Kalua pork or coconut shrimp. You can also get Kimchee Ceviche in a glass of cucumber shochu. If you're not feeling tacos there are other options like sliders and fish and chips. There are also rice bowls available with ingredients like marinated beef ribs, kalua pork, or coconut shrimp. And if you have room for dessert you can try the malasadas which are filled with guava custard and topped with cinnamon sugar!

Pike Place Chowder

This place gets crowded, but you'll find some of the best chowder in Seattle here. The line always moves quickly, and there are a few bench seats nearby so you can enjoy your chowder while you take in the sights. The Ivar's Clam Chowder is a local favorite and includes clams, potatoes, celery and onions. There's also an award-winning Smoked Salmon Chowder, which includes salmon chunks and smoky flavors.


Lola's trendy, upmarket cuisine and sunny outdoor seating can't be missed. Greek food lovers must come here for lunch or dinner and try the roasted lamb with tomato, ginger, and cinnamon; charred octopus with sweet potato and harissa yogurt; or the walnut butter baklava. Everything is fresh, seasonal, and presented beautifully in a modern design setting. Plan to share plates with your friends or family at this lively restaurant!

Duke's Seafood

Another Pike Place Market favorite, this restaurant has one of the best patios in town for watching people go by — or for just enjoying some sun on a clear day. It's right on the water, so you'll feel like you're in another world as you dine on fresh fish and drinks. Try the Crab Dip Trio or the Fried Calamari with marinara sauce and sweet chili dipping sauce. Or order from their full menu of seafood items like tempura prawns, fish tacos, or grilled wild Alaskan king salmon.

Purple Cafe and Wine Bar

Purple Cafe and Wine Bar is the perfect place for a romantic evening. The food is sensational. You can enjoy delicious, innovative dishes in an atmosphere of peace and comfort at Purple Café and Wine Bar. The decor has a beautiful, cozy vibe to it, as well as plenty of casual seating options in addition to the intimate tables.

Dough Zone

If you're a fan of dim sum, dumplings, noodles, or wok-fried dishes, then Dough Zone is the place for you. This restaurant serves these traditional Chinese bites with a modern twist and stays open late to cater to Seattle's night owls – an ideal location for downtown residents.

Dough Zone doesn't only have good food; it also has great service and a lively atmosphere. Customers rave about their endless cups of tea, affordable prices and variety of dumpling options. Whether you're looking for something sweet like custard buns or something savory like pork shumai, Dough Zone offers it all. There are even vegan options available!

13 Coins Seattle

From the outside, it looks like a normal restaurant. But one step inside the front door reveals a different world — an Old Hollywood-style lounge filled with chandeliers, red leather couches and ornate artwork. It's certainly more luxurious than what you'd expect from a 24/7 spot, but that's part of the 13 Coins experience. The menu has everything from steak to veggie dishes and a dedicated "breakfast after dark" section featuring omelets, French toast and pancakes. And don't forget to check out the dessert section; there are plenty of sweet treats to go around.

5 Hotel ideas for staying in Seattle, Washington (Prices May Vary)

Seattle is a city for explorers. The only problem? If you're not a local, it can be hard to know where to start. That's why we've compiled a list of hotels that will make your trip easy and fun, so you can get right to exploring!

Warwick Seattle $101/per night

If you're looking for a place to rest your head in Seattle, check out Warwick Seattle. It's a contemporary spot with some rooms that have floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies. You can chow down at the on-site restaurant and take a dip in the pool. The hotel is located in Belltown, which is an excellent neighborhood for visitors. It's near downtown and has indie shops, hip bars, and the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Crowne Plaza Seattle-Downtown $134/per night

At the Crowne Plaza Seattle-Downtown, you'll find laid-back rooms & suites in a polished property featuring a relaxed restaurant with a bar. The hotel is located in the Central Business District, an excellent location for visitors to the city. It's a commercial area with an observation deck at the Columbia Center as well as upmarket eateries & fashion chains nearby.

Hilton Garden Inn Seattle Downtown $158/per night

The Hilton Garden Inn Seattle Downtown is also located in Downtown Seattle and features a modern choice with a restaurant, a bar & 24-hour business center, plus a pool & exercise room. The neighborhood is another great spot for visitors—it's got buzzy shopping and dining with Pike Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum, and Central Waterfront sights just minutes away.

Seattle Marriott Waterfront $196/per night

This hotel is the perfect place for visitors. It's located in the vibrant Seattle Waterfront area on Puget Sound, home to the Seattle Aquarium, an observation wheel, and a variety of seafood restaurants. The hotel itself has classic rooms and suites in a polished setting with an indoor/outdoor pool and meeting space. There's also a gastropub on site if you're looking for something casual to eat after your day of exploring!

The Edgewater Hotel $216/per night

Want to feel like you've jumped back in time? The Edgewater Hotel is a circa-1940 waterfront hotel that's been renovated with modern amenities, but it still includes plenty of vintage touches. It's just a 12-minute walk from both the Memorial Union Terrace and the State Capitol. It also has an outdoor plaza and multiple restaurants, including a steakhouse, a tavern and a lakeside grill.

Final Thoughts

If you're looking for somewhere new to visit in the US, we cannot recommend Seattle enough. It's a gorgeous city with a lot of fun things to do, and while it may not be quite as well-known as New York or Chicago, it offers plenty to discover if you take the time to look. We hope this guide helps all our readers out there who are also curious about Seattle, Washington; be sure to check out some of these places we've suggested here, and remember to take lots of pictures!

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