12 Must-Do Experiences in Seattle
Collected by Stephanie Perry, AFAR Local Expert
First-time visitors to Seattle won’t want to miss these 12 must-do experiences. From its beautiful green spaces and busy waterfront to its eclectic Northwest cuisine and vibrant arts scene, Seattle offers a bounty of indoor and outdoor activities for every type of traveler. But if you’ve never been here before, start with these essential sights to get the real Seattle experience.
2100 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121, USA
Seattle's waterfront on a clear summer day is a paradise for bicyclists -- and walkers -- but also for anyone sitting at a sidewalk cafe watching the people strolling and biking on the bay. You're never too far from a shop, a restaurant, a coffee...
616 Battery St, Seattle, WA 98121, USA
If you happen to see a giant, rotating pink elephant on your way to the Space Needle, relax — you haven’t had one too many. You’re just seeing the Elephant Car Wash’s famous neon sign, which has become a Seattle icon. It really is a working car...
1521 Melrose Ave, Seattle, WA 98122, USA
Seattle has many fine spots for good oysters. Our go-to, every time, spot is Taylor Shellfish Farms' Melrose Market on Melrose in Seattle. A large "sink" with multiple bins of oysters, clams, and geoduck sits in the middle of the room. Cold clean...
85 Pike St #500, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
Walk, cycle or people-watch along the shores of Elliott Bay, a downtown stretch known for its circusy flair and spectacular vistas. You can ride the Great Wheel or visit the beloved Seattle Aquarium, home to wolf eels, sea otters, and the world's...
508 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104, USA
At the Seattle Pinball Museum, everything may be behind glass, but nothing is hands-off! The owners have a rotating collection of pinball machines, usually about 30 at a time, ranging from old-timey wooden boxes to modern games with tons of bells...
1600 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
World-renowned macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato and basil, not to mention the tomato soup topped with—you guessed it—more cheese at Beecher's should be on every foodies list of things to eat. True to our gluttonous ways...
200 2nd Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, USA
Another one of the buildings created for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the Pacific Science Center has a midcentury-space-age vintage-futuristic look from the outside. But inside, it’s all cutting-edge technology like the IMAX Theatre, laser dome...
3801 Discovery Park Blvd, Seattle, WA 98199, USA
Seattle's largest public park sits on a sea bluff that's high enough to pierce the city's infamous fog, revealing gorgeous views of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. Wander its 11 miles (18 km) of paths through forest groves, meadows...
664 S Weller St, Seattle, WA 98104, USA
There are plenty of great dim sum restaurants in Seattle's International District, aka Chinatown, but Duk Li is a personal favorite. While they don't wheel carts full of steamer baskets around the restaurant, the food is served up fresh, fast, and...
7277 Perimeter Rd S, Seattle, WA 98108, USA
The Museum of Flight is one of Seattle's unsung treasures. This expansive campus features over 150 air and spacecraft including a Concorde, Air Force One and beginning in 2013, the Space Shuttle Trainer--parts of which are on display as of July...
1011 Western Ave # 500, Seattle, WA 98104, USA
From the skyscrapers of downtown Seattle, you look out over Puget Sound. Beyond this arm of the sea, the snowcapped Olympic Mountains beckon. Few cities are as easy to escape from as Seattle. Get to the downtown ferry terminal, and you'll be on...
6th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104, USA
Cover more ground in central Seattle with Pronto’s bike-share system. A 24-hour pass costs $8 and allows you unlimited rides of 30 minutes or less (incremental charges apply for longer rides). A 3-day pass is $16. With 500 bikes and 50 stations...
- 1 Travel News This Tiny Country Is Europe’s Fastest Growing Destination
- 2 Expat Life 11 Best Islands to Move to After Retiring
- 3 Air Travel Another U.S. Airport Now Allows Non-Ticketed Visitors Through Security
- 4 Travel News Why You Should Go to New York City This Winter
- 5 History + Culture 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites You Need to Visit This Winter