17 things you cannot miss when visiting Seattle

Mar 6 2019, 8:08 am

Seattle has much more to offer than a cup of Starbucks coffee, or a tour of Amazon’s headquarters (although, to be honest, we’re into both those things.)

To ensure you’re getting the full Seattle experience, we’ve complied a list of some things we strongly recommend you do. No pressure or anything — but you’re seriously missing out if you don’t take us up on some of these.

Check out Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market / Shutterstock

This iconic waterfront market is one of the oldest public farmers markets in the ol’ US of A. Locals and tourists alike come to this 9-acre space for the the freshest produce, flowers, baked treats and specialty goods. Don’t forget to check out the flying fish show near the entrance – good luck, they’re slimy!

Attend a sports game

Safeco Field / Shutterstock

Most of you have probably heard of the Seattle Seahawks — and yes, they are important, but there are so many other sports games happening in this city beside football!

Join the crowds at Safeco Field for a game of baseball, or cheer on the Seattle Sounders at Centurylink Field (they’re Seattle’s soccer team, FYI). Regardless of the sport, you’re guaranteed a great atmosphere, tons of beer, and the option to eat your own weight in hot dogs. Go, team, go!

Party in Capitol Hill

Drinking at the Unicorn (@UnicornSeattle / Facebook)

For anyone who loves dancing — and getting a bit silly — it’s important that you take some time to check out Seattle’s mecca for nightlife, Capitol Hill. Just east of the city’s business district, this hilly neighbourhood is riddled with funky dance clubs, old school taverns and live music venues. Check out where to drink in Seattle for some recommendations on where to get your drank on.

Go to brewery row

Mobile brewery

Flight of beer (Brent Hofacker/ Shutterstock)

Okay, so it may not be technically called ‘brewery row’, but Fremont on the north side of Lake Union along and near NW Leary Way is packed with breweries. So, if you’re a big beer fan, this is where you need to go! You could easily spend a whole afternoon exploring the area and trying all them good PNW taps. 

Learn about Seattle’s music scene

@MOPOPSeattle / Facebook

Head over to the Museum of Pop Culture and get schooled in essential music history. Grunge was born here (a la Pearl Jam and Nirvana) and other cultural icons found inspiration here, including Seattle natives Jimi Hendrix and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell.

While much of the museum’s activities cater to families with kids, there’s a lot of cultural depth here for more mature minds. Entertaining, educational, and you’ll learn a lot about what puts Seattle on the map when it comes to music.

Ride on the Ducks of Seattle

Ride the ducks of Seattle / Shutterstock

If you catch yourself in the city on a sunny day, a good couple of hours of your afternoon can happily be spent on a wheeled boat. Booze at the breweries then get on a Duck to see the sights and sounds without having to walk. Bring friends, childlike enthusiasm, and make a ride on one of these babies a hilarious memory and sightseeing experience. Starts on ground, ends in Lake Union with stops at all the key spots.

Go see the Fremont troll

You’ve gotta pay the Troll toll in Fremont / Flickr

If this hasn’t been made blatantly obvious, it’s important for you to know that we’re suckers for a good photo-opp. The Fremont troll is arguably one of the most iconic (slash, Insta-worthy) landmarks in the city. Nestled under the Aurora Avenue Bridge, the statue is close to a couple breweries too, so you can turn the photo opp into a fun outing!

Explore the waterfront 

The Seattle Great Wheel (Carmen Ang / Daily Hive)

Directly below Pike Place Market lies Seattle’s waterfront. Made up of nine historic piers, a slew of seafood restaurants and several eclectic souvenir shops, you could kill hours meandering down the breath-taking seawall. Simply enjoy the stunning views of Elliot Bay, or stop by Pier 57 to ride the Great Wheel.

Visit the gum wall

Gum Wall (Carmen Ang / Daily Hive)

If you didn’t take a selfie in front of the gum wall, did you even go to Seattle? Located in Pike Place Market, this iconic alley spans over 50 feet! The wall is so popular with visitors, it’s been cleaned twice in the past four years, just to make sure it didn’t crumble from the weight of the gum. Gross — but strangely, we’re into it.

Do the underground tour

Seattle’s Underground Passages / Shutterstock

If you’re interested in learning more about Seattle’s interesting (and somewhat shady) past, Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour is a must-do. Lead by a hilarious and knowledgable guide, the tour will take you on a 75 minute journey through underground passages that were once the bustling streets of the old city. Both educational and fun, the tour ends with a complementary cocktail at the bar next door – yes, please!

Check out some local coffee shops

(@daviddodman / Facebook)

Yes, the first ever Starbucks is located in Pike Place Market. And, yes, if you’re a coffee lover, you probably should go. But once you’re done grabbing a grande Americano and taking a selfie outside the iconic storefront, there’s a ton of other coffee shops that you should check out that are just as amazing – Analog Coffee, Seattle Coffee Works  are both great choices, but that’s barely scratching the surface. Brace yourself for a caffeine high like no other, and get ready to enjoy a couple brews that will blow your mind.

Go thrift shopping

Thift store rack / Shutterstock

Macklemore was right: popping tags with 20 dollars in your pocket is freaking awesome. And since we strongly believe that anyone visiting Macklemore’s hometown should pay homage to the hip hop legend, we strongly recommend — no, we insist — that you check out some of the city’s fabulous vintage shops. You can’t go wrong with a trip to Lucky Vintage, Trove Vintage, or Lemon Drop Boutique.

Who knows, you might even find a Velour jumpsuit and some house slippers (if you don’t get this reference, please Google “thrift shop lyrics.” You back? Ok, sweet. Moving on.)

See the Space Needle at Seattle Center

Space Needle / Shutterstock

It wouldn’t be a visit to Seattle without getting atop the landmark that makes the city’s skyline recognizable all over the world. Take in the views up top from the observation deck as you ride six floors up into the sky (mind you, those six floors will take you over 150 meters up into the sky!).

We suggest you get the CityPASS which will let you ride twice in 24 hours (once during the day and once during the night).

Soak in the city’s natural beauty

Kerry Park Viewpoint (Carmen Ang / Daily Hive)

West coast, best coast, baby. This coastal town is home to some great hiking, trail walks and outdoor activities. Explore Discovery Park and hike through rugged forest trails, with stunning views of the sound, or check-out Schmitz Preserve Park to explore Seattle’s old growth forest. If you aren’t the outdoorsy type, you can still catch a sweet panorama of the city from the viewpoint at Kerry Point Park. Nature is neat, friends.

Explore some art exhibits

Chihuly Glass and Garden Exhibit / Shutterstock

Embrace your artsy side with a trip to one (or several) of Seattle’s art exhibits. Peruse through galleries of blown-glass sculptures at the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit. Browse through the vast collection of art at the Seattle Art Museum — or, if it’s a sunny day, meander through Olympic Sculpture Park and enjoy nine acres of outdoor sculptures, along with incredible views of Puget Sound.

Grab a late-night burger from Dick’s

@DicksDriveIn / Facebook

At this point, you may be wondering… are they getting all their recommendations from Macklemore music videos? Short answer: yes.

But seriously, there’s a reason that Macklemore decided to include the drive-in burger joint in his music video for “White Walls“: because it is a Seattle staple. While the jury’s still out on whether the people love it or hate it, you have to at least try it. And take a selfie so you can tag Macklemore in it.

Want to contribute to our Travel Guides? Email us at [email protected].

With files from Carmen Ang and Visnja Milidragovic.

Mapped StaffMapped Staff

+ Travel Guides
+ Mapped