Attractions, activities and events are plentiful in Seattle, Washington. Its unfortunate knowing many tourists avoiding traveling to Seattle because they’ve been misinformed about the rain. Yes, it rains more than your average city, and yes it’s important to visit during the summer months to fully appreciate everything we have to offer. But if you do decide to visit our great city, and only have vacation time during the spring, winter or fall…go for it!
Professional sports, site-seeing, ethnic food, street performers, and art are just a few things Seattle has to offer. If you have a particular taste for something, Seattle probably has it. And if you stay in one of the local downtown hotels, most of the sites can be accessed on foot. But, before you make your travel plans, do yourself a favor and get a map to gather as much information as possible, so you don’t overlook anything.
1. Seattle Center / Space Needle – Built in the 1960’s, the Space Needle was constructed for the opening of the World Fair in 1962. One of the most identifiable buildings in the world; it’s impossible to miss. Take the time to get a bite to eat and get a bird’s eye view of the city in the rotating restaurant located at the very top. After your meal take in a little fresh air on the observation deck. The Seattle Center surrounding The Space Needle is an event in and of itself. The Seattle Center is a fairground loaded with concession stands, rides, art, a water fountain display, and home to the Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project. Seattle Center hosts numerous outdoor events during the summer months. Schedule at a minimum one or two days to see all of these, at the very least.
2. Pike Place – Fish tossing, quaint restaurants and street entertainers are the heart and soul of Pike Place Market. Nearly 100 years old, Pike Market is a collection of small venders selling anything and everything from fruits, antiques, fresh produces, and of course, fish. Pike Place is a Seattle staple and a must-visit during your stay in Seattle.
3. Ballard locks – The Hiram Chittenden Locks, known to locals as the “Ballard Locks” help ships pass from the Puget Sound to Lake Washington by rising and lowering water levels. Another big attraction is the fish ladder in the viewing room that allows visitors to watch salmon swimming upstream into Lake Washington. The pristine landscaped grounds around the Ballard Locks allow visitors a place to eat or just watch the squirrels.
4. Seattle Pacific Science Center – The Pacific Science Center is one of the biggest tourist attractions, located just south of the Seattle Center, and is not your typical museum. There’s no shortage of things to do: IMAX Theater, tropical butterfly house, and the planetarium. The Pacific Science Center also has hosted numerous traveling exhibits such as The Titanic’s Artifact Exhibit, just a few years ago. If you are accompanied by children during this vacation, the Pacific Science Center is a no-brainer.
5. Safeco Field / Quest Field – The Kingdome was imploded years ago which gave way to Safeco Field, home of baseball’s Seattle Mariners, and Quest Field, home of football’s Seattle Seahawks. These state-of-the-art stadiums are loaded with added features and a great layout for awesome views of the fields. Views of the city, the Puget Sound and choices of food that go way beyond hotdogs and chili fries are standard here.
6. Pioneer Square – Pioneer Square refers to an area/neighborhood. Pioneer Square’s historical significance goes back well over 100 years. Today, it’s the city premier location for partying. Internet cafés, nightclubs, restaurants, bookstores and art galleries dominate this location. If you are looking to have a good time, get out your walking shoes, as no car will be needed.
7. Boeing Tours – Ever wonder how they make airplanes? Boeing’s Everett plant, located roughly 30 miles north of Seattle off I-5, is the home to the largest free standing building in the world. Boeing offers daily tours on catwalks that allow you to look down on the making of some of the largest aircraft ever to be built. Make sure to check times, and their age and height requirements for children. Also check out the Museum of Flight located south of Seattle, another must.
8. Seattle Aquarium – Seattle Aquarium is located on Pier 59 in downtown Seattle. Starfish and plant life are amongst some of the things children and adults alike will enjoy seeing during their stay. Make sure to check out the numerous seafood restaurants in the area as well, they have amazing eats.
9. Washington Ferries – Nothing screams Pacific Northwest like our Ferries. Walk or drive on, then relax. Sea lions, seagulls and other wildlife are all part of the experience. And depending on where you plan on visiting, a ferry ride might be your only choice. I recommend standing in the very front to let the wind blow across you face. Ferry schedules are often, especially in downtown.
10. Bill Gates Residence – How does the richest man in the world live? Who knows, but it’s gotta be good. And no, I’m almost positive Bill Gates doesn’t offer tours of his crib. But if you get a chance, wouldn’t it be cool to say you drove by his house with the slight chance you might see Bill Gates fetching the newspaper. For directions, just ask any resident of Medina, Washington, where you might find the mansion owned by the richest man in the world.