The Pacific Northwest – a charming, beautiful area of the country, with Seattle sitting pretty as it’s shining gem. A part of the U.S. I had never explored, but was enthralled with upon arrival. And I only saw a sliver of the area! However, I don’t feel that it was a place I just saw, I immersed myself into my visit, seeing Seattle from almost every angle. After all, that’s the best way to see a new place, dive right in. Thankfully Seattle has a lot of deep water too! 😉
My first visit to the area, I knew would be a short one, only a weekend trip, so I had to plan ahead and make sure I knew what I wanted to see, and how I would fit it all into a short time period. The good news is that it is completely doable to see this rather large city in just a few days. All you have to do is prioritize your “bucket list” and get yourself from place to place. Another piece of good news…there is a lot of good food to enjoy across the way.
So, without further ado, here is my pick for the top 5 things to do in Seattle, which should top your bucket list while you’re in town. If you have a longer visit, with more time to explore, you will even be able to add even more items to your list.
Travel Tip 1: by the City Pass! It gets you into everything below that requires a ticket, and saves you money. Travel Tip 2: There is a free shuttle bus that takes you between all of these stops. Use it! (I originally bought a Big Red Bus pass, and then found out it wasn’t even operating at the time of year I was visiting. Wasted money and time. I was so excited to find the free shuttle and definitely recommend it.)
- Seattle Space Needle: If you go to Seattle and don’t see this famous landmark, can you really say you visited? I think not. It’s iconic, making Seattle’s skyline different from any other city. You can take a ride to the top, enjoy scenic views of the entire area and even walk across a rotating glass floor, hundreds of feet above the ground. It’s one of a kind. One of the best parts of visiting the Space Needle though, is learning it’s history. It was built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Century 21 Exposition, whose theme was “The Age of Space.” The design was forward thinking and symbolized Space Age aspirations. It’s truly like the cartoon The Jetson’s come to life.
- Pike Place Market: Another Seattle icon and another must for any Seattle bucket list. It’s a hike to get up to the market, which for some reason I just assumed was right on the water. It’s not! But it’s worth the climb. It’s such a cool place. There are food vendors selling everything you could possibly dream of, including those flying fish from Pike Place Fish. (Yes, they really do throw the fish when someone buys them. And it’s so cool!) There are trinket shops, flower stands and street performers. Plus, it’s one of the best places in Seattle to catch a beautiful sunset. Whether you like coffee (the very first Starbucks is here), chowder or beer (I recommend Rachel’s ginger beer), they have it all.
- Seattle Waterfront: The waterfront is not just one destination, it’s technically a neighborhood of Seattle, that gives you tons of options for adventure, dining and stunning views. You can walk, bike or even Segway along the waterfront. Whichever route you go, along the way stop by the Great Wheel, the Aquarium, the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, Olympic Sculpture Park and if you are so inclined to feed the seagulls, Ivars restaurant lets you do just that. Likely all of the water and fresh air will make you hungry and nearby I had one of the best meals I have ever had – ever! Vons 1000 Spirits serves only foods made with sourdough. As a doctor ordered gluten free eater, I am able to dabble with sourdough every once in a while (read more about how that’s possible here), which I love the taste of, so I was beyond thrilled to find Vons and try their sourdough pasta and flatbread. I kid you not, everything tasted like heaven!
- Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum: You may think “glass museum, really, on a bucket list?” But I promise, it’s pretty incredible. Not only do you get to see amazing glass sculptures from famous artist Dale Chihuly, you get to learn about his history and how he came into this profession, as well as see up and coming talent do demonstrations of glass blowing. It’s a beautiful art form, that seems to have a very calming presence. (If you don’t know who Dale is, he is behind the stunning glass ceiling at the Belagio in Las Vegas, and the Atlantis in the Bahamas.) The exhibits range in size – from simple glass bowls, to larger than life glass structures. You also get to experience these beauties both indoors and out. An added benefit is that it’s a marbles throw away (not a stone, since it’s glass) from the Space Needle, and another great museum, MoPop, Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture. If you like anything pop culture related (movies, comics, TV, music, etc.) this is an incredibly fun museum to visit.
- Argosy Boat Tour: You cannot visit Seattle and not see the city from the water. I enjoyed a leisurely ride on a sunny, warm day, seeing mountains on one side, skyline on another, and off in the distance Mt. Rainier. Not only was it a scenic ride, but it was incredibly informative. The tour guide was full of interesting facts, but was also entertaining. Any chance I get to be out on the water, I usually take, and this was no exception.
I lucked out with my visit to Seattle and had sunshine and warm temps every day. It’s unusual for the area, especially in early spring, so I would recommend that you check the weather before going. If rain is predicted, which is likely, be sure to pack appropriately. Rain or shine, you will want to be out and about, exploring this very cool city.
Signed with Style,