5 Seattle Attractions You’ll Love

Planning a trip to Seattle? Here are 5 popular Seattle tourist attractions that you won’t want to miss!

1. The Space Needle

Let’s start with Seattle’s icon and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.

The Space Needle was built in 1962 for the World’s Fair and was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.

The observation deck stands at  520 feet (160 meters) and gives you a stunning vantage point of the rest of the city.

Feeling hungry? The Space Needle also has a rotating restaurant, Sky City Restaurant, that operates 500 feet (150 meters) in the air. Like the observation deck, Sky City Restaurant also offers excellent views of the city — with the added perk of delicious food.

More than a million people visit The Space Needle each year, making this one tourist attraction you can’t miss!

Seattle Space Needle Price

General admission prices are:

  • Adult $32.50 to $37.50
  • Youth (ages 5-12) $24.50 to $28.50
  • Seniors (65 years and up) $27.50 to $32.50

Entry prices vary depending on the day and time that you go.

For more details, you can visit the official Space Needle website.

2. Seattle Great Wheel

Great Seattle Wheel

Standing at 175 feet tall, the Seattle Great Wheel was the tallest Ferris wheel on the West Coast when it was built in 2012.

The Great Wheel is located on Pier 57 and gives riders a gorgeous view of the Puget Sound and the city. The ride is between 15 and 20 minutes during which the wheel does three full rotations.

This is the perfect Seattle tourist attraction for someone who wants to have a quick rest break but doesn’t want to stop sightseeing.

Seattle Great Wheel Cost

Admission to the Great Wheel is:

  • Adults (anyone over the age of 12) $15 apiece
  • Youth (ages 3-11) $10 each
  • Senior tickets $13
  • Seattle Great Wheel VIP tickets $50 (VIP tickets give you access to the Great Wheel’s VIP gondola. It is outfitted with leather seats and a glass floor)

For more details, you can visit the official Seattle Great Wheel website.

3. Pike Place Market

flying fish Seattle fish market

Pike Place Market, one of Seattle’s greatest treasures and most popular tourist attractions, is a farmers’ market that opened in 1907. It is one of the longest-running farmers’ markets in the US and sees more than 10 million visitors annually.

Pike Place Market offers a vibrant look into Seattle’s food and street culture and is one of the best tastes of the city that a tourist can get.

Pike Place Market Cost

Pike Place Market is free to wander!

There is no entry fee associated with the market and the only money you spend will be on items from the market that you wish to purchase.

The market is open weekdays from 9 am to 6 pm and on Sundays from 9 am to 5 pm.

4. Museum Of Flight

If you’re in the mood for an educational tourist attraction, then The Museum Of Flight is the place for you!

This cutting-edge museum is perfect for all ages and explores the evolution of flight, from the first aircraft, all the way into the future. The Museum Of Flight’s bigger-than-life displays are especially popular among children.

Museum Of Flight Ticket Prices

General admission tickets cost:

  • Adult $25
  • Senior $21
  • Youth (ages 5-17) $16
  • Children (ages 0-4) FREE!

The Museum Of Flight periodically offers special tours and exhibitions, so check the website before going to see which displays are in season.

5. Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room

Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Whether you’re a coffee addict or just someone who likes a stiff, warm brew, you will love the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room.

The Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room has been appropriately called the “Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory Of Coffee.” Endless brass tubes, glass bottles, hissing steam, and the smell of roasting coffee fill the entire space, giving it an almost magical aesthetic!

If you, like many Seattleites, are a coffee snob, Starbucks Reserve Roastery is a Seattle attraction that you won’t want to leave off your itinerary.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Cost

Open daily from 6:30 am to 11:00 pm, the Reserve Roastery has no admission fee and doesn’t require a reservation.

Book A Tour Of Your Favorite Seattle Attractions Today

Planning a trip to Seattle? If you are and you’d like to experience all the tourist activities that the city has to offer, why not book a Seattle downtown tour to enhance your vacation?

Shutter Tours offers engaging tour packages for popular attractions in Seattle. If you would like the full Seattle experience with guides who know Seattle inside and out, contact Shutter Tours today.

7 Day Trips From Seattle

While downtown Seattle isn’t lacking for things to do or sites to see, a change of pace can be nice during any vacation.

If you are feeling adventurous and would like to explore other parts of Washington State, there are numerous day trips that you can take during your Seattle stay.

How does a Bavarian town in the mountains sound to you? Are you in the mood to connect with nature? Perhaps you’d like to go whale watching?

You’ll be excited and surprised to hear that all of these activities are just a day trip from Seattle. Even though Seattle is a bustling city, some of the most picturesque nature scapes can be found just a short drive away.

Here are the 7 best day trips that you can take from Seattle!

1. Mount Rainier National Park

Mt. Rainier Tours by Shutter Tours

Seeing more than 2 million visitors annually, Mount Rainier is a majestic volcano that towers over Seattle and the surrounding region. An easy day trip from Seattle, Mount Rainier is fully worth a visit as it is a well-known icon of the city.

Here at Shutter Tours, we offer a day trip tour to Mount Rainier that you won’t want to miss.

During this Seattle day trip, you will get your fill of mountain wildflowers, icy glaciers, and crystal falls. Mount Rainier is one of the best day trips from Seattle so don’t miss your opportunity to visit one of Washington State’s most treasured locations.

lIf you’d like to know more about the best time of year to visit Mount Rainier, check out this resource from our blog.

2. Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls Tour

One of Washington State’s most scenic, natural attractions, Snoqualmie Falls sees more than 1.5 million tourists per year.

The 268-foot (82 meters) waterfall is a breathtaking natural tourist attraction and a short day trip from Seattle. At the falls, you will be able to take gorgeous photos from the observation deck, get souvenirs from the gift shop, and wander around the park.

If you would like to experience Snoqualmie Falls with an expert tour guide, Shutter Tours offers an enjoyable tour of the falls. This 4-hour tour is paired with other locations around Seattle.

3. Leavenworth


Leavenworth will give you a taste of Europe in the Pacific Northwest. Nestled in the Cascade’s, this picturesque Bavarian town always has festivals running and makes for one of the best day trips from Seattle.

The town was originally built in the 1800s and has successfully preserved its Bavarian aesthetic and culture over the years. Leavenworth is the place where you can find artisan German food, drink, and souvenirs galore.

4. San Juan Islands

If you want to go wildlife or whale watching, the San Juan Islands are a day trip from Seattle that you don’ t want to miss.

One of the most popular methods of visiting the islands is by riding one of Seattle’s iconic ferries. The ferries will carry you around the islands at a relaxed pace, giving you ample time to soak in the majestic scenery that Washington State has to offer. You might see whales, orcas, seals, or hundreds of seabirds! And above it all, the looming summit of Mt. Rainier.

Don’t forget to bring a camera and binoculars for this day trip from Seattle! Prepare to be amazed by Mother Nature.

5. Deception Pass State Park

Deception Pass Bridge

Deception Pass State Park is located at the top of Whidbey Island and can be reached via I-5 (exit 226).

You enter the park via Deception Pass Bridge, an enormous steel bridge that offers knee-knocking vistas of the Puget Sound. While you can simply drive across, you won’t regret parking your car on the far side and then crossing the bridge again on the pedestrian path.

Once you’ve finished enjoying the bridge, you can take one of the state park’s trails down to the beach. The coast will give you many photo opportunities and is the perfect location for a family picnic or some quality time spent in nature.

6. Diablo Lake

Diablo Lake Photo Credit Analise Zocher

Diablo Lake still is a serene escape into nature and makes for the perfect day trip from Seattle. The lake is picturesquely nestled in the Cascade Mountains and is actually a manmade reservoir created by Diablo Dam.

The drive out to Diablo Lake offers forested scenery, mountain tops, and cool Cascade wind — making this one of the most peaceful road trips from Seattle.

7. Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

With its aged trees and mossy overgrowth, Olympic National Park will have you on the lookout for elves and mythical beings.

The Olympic National Forest is one of Washington State’s greatest treasures and is home to the Hoh Rainforest. This temperate rainforest is one of the seven of its kind in the world. The Pacific Northwest is home to the world’s largest temperate rainforest ecoregion.

This forest is entirely worth the drive from Seattle and is one of the best day trips that you can take while visiting Washington.

Plan Your Seattle Day Trip

If you are visiting Seattle and aren’t sure how to navigate the area, then it is a good idea to partner with one of the city’s many tour organizations. Here at Shutter Tours, two of our most popular day trips are the Snoqualmie Falls tour and our Mt. Rainier tour.

One Day In Seattle: What To See And Where To Go

Where To Spend Your Morning In Seattle

You only have one day to make the most of Seattle’s sights?

If so, you’re probably having trouble figuring out where to start. With Seattle’s colorful highlights and famed places to visit, planning a 1-day Seattle itinerary is a daunting task.

While yes, it is impossible to see everything that Seattle has to offer in just one day, you still have plenty of time to see some of the highlights that this city has to offer!

To help you make the most out of your time in Seattle, I’ve written this loose itinerary, offering multiple suggestions for the best Seattle sights to see during your one day trip.

If you’re arriving in Seattle during the morning, your first concern is getting a good breakfast.

Best breakfast in downtown Seattle – Fonté Cafe

Fonte Avacado Toast
Fonte Avacado Toast

Located in the heart of downtown Seattle, Fonté Cafe offers one of the best breakfasts to be found and superb coffee to match.

Fonte Coffee
Fonte Coffee

Pick your choice of avocado toast, cinnamon roll French toast, or biscuits and gravy — to name a couple of your savory options. While you’re here, don’t forget to order a sage or rose latte for an exotic drink to accompany your breakfast.

Best cheap breakfast in Seattle – Sweet Iron Waffle Bar

With delicious Belgian waffles starting at just $4, Sweet Iron is a good choice for a tasty, cheap breakfast in Seattle. Start your one day tour of Seattle with a sweet or savory waffle and a warm cup of coffee.

If you aren’t in the mood for waffles — don’t worry! Downtown Seattle has more than a few breakfast options for you. Just take a stroll in any direction and you’re sure to come across a breakfast joint or two.

Ideal morning tourist attraction – Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market in Seattle
Pike Place Market

Now that breakfast is out of the way, you can start visiting some Seattle highlights!

Pike Place Market is Seattle’s #1 tourist destination and you can beat the hoards of tourists by visiting this location in the morning.

Pike Place Market opens at 6 am on weekdays and is a place that you must visit during your one day in Seattle. Grab a coffee from the original Starbucks just opposite the market and stroll through the colorful stalls.

Avoid the lines by visiting early – Space Needle

Seattle Space Needle
Space Needle with Monorail and MoPop

If you spend even one day in Seattle and don’t see the Space Needle, it’s arguable whether you’ve truly visited Seattle at all.

The Space Needle is one of the best places to visit in Seattle and is the most recognized icon of the city. The tower opens at 8 am and gets very crowded as the day progresses, so visiting early is a good way to avoid lines.

Seattle Highlights For Your Afternoon

Continuing your one day Seattle itinerary, let’s explore some places to visit during your afternoon in Seattle.

Best cheap lunch in downtown Seattle – Market Grill

Market Grill

Since this is likely a very full day for you, the Market Grill is a great grab-n-go lunch spot.

Offering sandwiches and seafood, Market Grill is one of the best lunch spots in downtown Seattle.

Due to Seattle’s adjacency to the Puget Sound, seafood restaurants are abundant in downtown Seattle. Seafood is practically it’s own religion in the city so don’t miss your chance to try some at Market Grill.

Top-rated green space in Seattle – Seattle Japanese Garden

Seattle Japanese Garden
Koi Pond at the Seattle Japanese Garden

With lunch out of the way, you’re probably feeling like getting away from the city bustle for a couple of hours. If you are fond of serenity and nature, a good place to visit is the Seattle Japanese Garden.

While Seattle is a populous metropolitan, the city still prioritizes parks and green spaces, resulting in lush gardens like this one.

The Seattle Japanese Garden is a beautiful Seattle highlight and deserves a good hour or two of exploration.

A combination of water & nature – Gas Works Park

Gasworks Park Pano
Gasworks Park Pano

Gas Works Park is an iconic Seattle location. This relic from the industrial age is now a public park and a popular Seattle site, due to its picnic sites, water access, and photo opportunities.

Gasworks Park Seattle
Perfect place to fly a kite at Gasworks Park

With its scenic view of Seattle across Lake Union, Gas Works Park is the perfect place for photographing the city’s skyline or just taking a nap on the grass.

Best Seattle Sights For The Evening

There are a number of Seattle sights that are best visited at night. As always, let’s start with food first.

Dinner in Seattle with a view – Salty’s on Alki Beach

Offering a stunning view of Seattle, Salty’s is an upscale seafood restaurant with a gorgeous aesthetic and mouthwatering menu.

I can’t think of a better way to finish off one day in Seattle than by eating delicious, local seafood with a view of Seattle.

Best bar in downtown Seattle – The Pike Brewing Company

Pike Brewing Company in Seattle
Pike Brewing Company in Seattle

If you are looking for a bar with a quintessentially Seattle atmosphere, The Pike Brewing Company is one of the best bars in downtown.

Offering a moody, industrial interior, The Pike Brewing Company serves local beer and pub food that doesn’t disappoint. If you are a fan of craft beer and want to experience Seattle’s night culture, The Pike Brewing Company is a Seattle highlight that you shouldn’t miss.

Tallest view in the city – Sky View Observatory Columbia Center

View from Sky View Observatory

Open until 10 pm, Sky View Observatory Columbia Center offers visitors a breathtaking night view of Seattle. The observatory gives you a bird’s eye view of the city and is sure to be one of your favorite Seattle highlights.

A combination of city and sea – The Great Seattle Wheel

Great Seattle Wheel
Great Seattle Wheel

The Great Seattle Wheel is a giant Ferris wheel on Pier 57. The observational Ferris wheel gives you a beautiful view of the Puget Sound and ranks as a top Seattle highlights for most tourists.

View From Great Seattle Wheel
View From Great Seattle Wheel

If you’d like more information on ticket prices for The Great Seattle Ferris Wheel, here is a blog post with details on prices for various Seattle attractions.

Create The Perfect 1-Day Seattle Itinerary

One of the best ways to get the most out of your day in the city is by partnering with a Seattle downtown tour company. Here at Shutter Tours, our expert guides know this city like the back of their hands and will ensure that your trip to the Emerald City is memorable and stress-free.

Best Times of Year to Visit Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier National Park is one of Washington State’s most popular tourist destinations, with over 2 million people visiting the mountain each year. The massive volcano is 14,410 feet tall and is a prominent feature on the Seattle skyline. When you see it for yourself, you will quickly understand why so many visitors also book a tour to Mt. Rainier during their trip to Seattle. 

Park Ranger at Mt. Rainier National Park

The mountain is easy to reach from Seattle, with Mt. Rainier tours leaving daily and paved roads up the mountain making it possible to reach alpine-like vistas without leaving the comfort of your car. 

Another reason for the national park’s popularity is the wide variety of activities for visitors to choose from. Depending on the time of year you visit, you can hike, climb, ski, sled, fish, camp, and more! 

When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Mount Rainier? 

For warm weather and clear skies, the best time of year to visit Mt. Rainier is July and August. A trip during these months will treat you to subalpine meadows covered with wildflowers, optimal visibility, and minimal fog. 

Of course, if you are more interested in winter sports than summer hikes, you should plan your trip during one of the colder months. 

Christine Falls

To help you determine what time of year is best for you, here is some information on each season.


The summer climate on Mt. Rainier is somewhat cool, with highs in the 60s and 70s. The warm weather also comes with clear skies, making July and August ideal months for hiking and picnicking on the mountain. 

If you want to see wildflowers, plan your trip between mid-July and the middle of August. The visitor center areas at Sunrise and Paradise are just two hours from downtown Seattle and are famous for their vibrant wildflower meadows. 


Autumn washes the mountain in brilliant colors, but the cooler weather and increased chance of rain thins out the crowds. So if you prefer hiking alone or cycling, this is the best time of year to visit. By late October, there is a high chance of snow, so if you’re planning a trip at this time, make sure that you are prepared for colder temperatures. 

If you want to see the fall colors on Mt. Rainier, the best time to visit is mid-October. Ideal locations to witness the changing colors include: Grove of the Patriarchs, Reflection Lakes, Paradise, and Sunrise. 


Daytime temperatures range from highs of 36 to lows of 21 degrees. The cold winds of winter also carry snow, which heavily blankets Mt. Rainier during this time — in 2018, Paradise received 738 inches of snow.

The harsher weather does a good job of clearing out the crowds, making November-March the perfect time of year to visit Mt. Rainier if you like being alone in nature. There is still a lot to do during this time though — some of the most popular activities include snowboarding, snowshoe hikes, and skiing. 


With daytime highs getting into the 50s and low chances of falling snow and rain, spring is an excellent time of year to visit Mount Rainier. Something to be aware of is that spring arrives differently each year, so check road and trail conditions before your trip to make sure that the winter snow has cleared away. 

If you are hoping to see spring flowers, it’s best to visit the mountain in mid-May and June. The flowers start blooming at lower elevations and slowly work their way up, following the melting of the snow. In mid-May, possible flower locations include the Rampart Ridge Trail at Longmire and the Boundary Trail near the Carbon River. By mid-June, you should be able to find wildflowers appearing on Rainier’s subalpine meadows. 

Tips For Visiting Mount Rainier

Now that you know the best times of year for exploring Mt. Rainier, here are some parting tips to help your trip go smoothly. 

Check the Weather Forecast

The weather on Mt. Rainier can change quickly, so always check the forecast before leaving the hotel for your mountain visit. This ensures that you are wearing the right clothes for that day’s weather.

Visit During the Week

Summertime is Mt. Rainier’s busiest season, with weekend crowds clogging parking lots and hiking trails. If you want to take advantage of the warm weather in July or August, try to visit the mountain on a weekday so that you don’t have to fight someone for parking. If you are still planning on a weekend trip, arrive as early in the morning as possible. 

Enter the Park with a Full Gas Tank

Mt. Rainier National Park does not have any gas stations, so make sure you fill up before making the long drive up to Sunrise or Paradise. 

Join a Professional Mount Rainier Tour 

Joining a Mt. Rainier tour means you don’t need to worry about parking or finding the right trail. Your tour guide will lead you to the best locations for the current season and will be on hand to answer any questions you have about the mountain’s history, forests, and wildlife. Booking a tour to Mount Rainier is the best way to ensure you get to the mountain early, don’t miss any important sights, and get back to Seattle at a good hour. 

If you would like to learn more about booking a tour, see our Mt. Rainier tour itinerary here.


The Best Ways to Get to Downtown Seattle from Seatac Airport

How to get to Seattle from Seatac Airport

Here is a list of options to go from Seatac Airport to Seattle and back.

1. Ride the Light Rail

If you don’t mind wheeling your luggage, this is the best and cheapest way to go. The light station rail is about a 10-15 minute walk from the airport terminal with the final stop at Westlake Center in downtown Seattle. The trip will take between 35-40 minutes and will cost 3.00 per person for downtown stops. Once you arrive at your station, you’ll have to take an escalator or elevator to exit the station to go to your hotel

You’ll find all the information you need for getting to Seattle from Seatac Airport on the Link Light Rail at the Sound Transit website.

When coming back to the airport from Downtown Seattle, you will be getting off at the very last stop. The two closest stations to Downtown Seattle are the University Street Station at Benaroya Hall and the Westlake Station at 5th and Pine at the Nordstrom building.

Sound Transit also has an easy trip planner to help you determine which stop you’ll need to get off at that is in close proximity to your hotel.

2. Using Uber to go to Seattle from Seatac

I love Uber and travelling to Seattle is easy via their app. You’ll need to meet your driver by following the “Ground Transportation” signs towards the parking garage. On the third floor, you’ll see a pickup zone marked with a rideshare sign. This is where your Uber driver will meet you.

There are a couple of options with Uber

Uberpool: You will be in the car with somebody else to help share the costs. Approximate cost from Seatac via Uberpool to the Westin Hotel as of this writing is between $29-37 with no surge pricing in effect.

UberX: You and your party are not sharing an Uber and as of this writing during non-surge to the Westin Hotel from Seatac would be $33-42 depending on traffic.

Coming back to Seatac Airport from Downtown Seattle is approximately $4-5 less than the above prices.

Download the Uber App

3. Take a Cab from the Seatac Airport

When leaving Seatac Airport, cabs will charge a metered rate that is set by the City of Seattle. Currently, that rate is $2.70 per mile plus pickup charges and also charges for any time delays you may have sitting in traffic. If you are travelling to the city during a work week from 6:30am-9:30 am, you’ll have to expect some delays coming into Seattle from the airport.

Based on the app, Taxifarefinder, you will pay anywhere between $48 during non-peak times and over $75 during rush hour.

When leaving Downtown Seattle for Seatac Airport, most cabs charge a flat rate of $40 from downtown to the airport.

4. Use Lyft

Lyft is another rideshare service you can use to get to Downtown Seattle from Seatac. Based on the website Ride.Guru, the approximate cost for a shared ride is between $14-19 as of this writing. The cost for a car by yourself with Lyft is about $29.00  for a 22-minute ride between Seatac Airport and the Westin Hotel which is centrally located to downtown.

5. Take an Airporter from Seatac Airport to Seattle Hotels

Airporters are probably your cheapest option if you have lots of luggage and don’t want to walk to the light rail station.

A few options with pricing are:

Shuttle Express is only $18 from Seatac Airport to Downtown Seattle hotels.

Speedi Shuttle rates start @ $15.99 per person

6. Get a Rental Car

All the major rental car companies operate out of Seatac airport, but one thing you have to keep in mind is that parking at your hotel will be very expensive. The Seattle Westin Hotel is $45 for self-service parking to $57 for 5-24 hours with valet service. Valet Parking at the W Seattle Hotel is $68, so be careful about these additional rates when making your travel plans to Seattle.

In Conclusion

As you can see there are many options for getting to Seattle from Seatac airport and it all depends on what your budget is. We have found it super easy to use the Light Link Rail and for most hotels, the Westlake stop will be a perfect fit for those of you staying in downtown Seattle. You could always use the money you saved to take one of our tours.

How We Spent a Day Touring Seattle

Being tour guides in Seattle requires us to not only know a lot about the city but also keep up with all the changes that happen throughout the city from month to month. Amanda and I decided that we needed a day taking tours and seeing some of the recently added attractions in Seattle.

Our first stop was to take advantage of the 10-hour early bird parking special at the garage on Third and Stewart. This is only a few block from the Pike Place Market and as of this writing, it was $18.00 for up to ten hours if we arrived before 9:30.

Biscuit Bitch in Seattle

Heading to the Pike Place Market, we knew that we had to head over to Biscuit Bitch for some breakfast. This place can be hectic, and on the weekends there are probably 40-50 out the door waiting to get served. Featured on the Travel Channel, New York Times and Wall Street Journal, you know this is a place not to be missed.

I ordered the Smokin’ Hot Bitch with Biscuits and Gravy, (both Gluten free), cheese, spicy hot sausage and had them hold the jalapenos. It was really too much food for me, but it was a great way to start the morning.

Next Amanda and I wanted to explore the Pike Place Market and see if much had changed and it really hadn’t.


9 Fun Things to Do in Seattle

Shutter Tours PikePlaceMarket

There are many options of things to do in Seattle from sightseeing tours such as our Snoqualmie Falls and City Tour, to exploring Seattle waterfront and local neighborhoods like Fremont, how of the famous Fremont Troll.

We thought we would put together ideas for you to help make your travel plans to Seattle.

Snoqualmie Falls and City Tour

Snoqualmie Falls

Of course, we think our Snoqualmie Falls and City Tour is the best value in Seattle and so do over 900 people on Trip Advisor who gave us 5-star reviews. Our tour begins at Pike Place Market at 10 AM, just late enough where you can grab some breakfast at Biscuit Bitch, known for their biscuits and perhaps a cup of coffee at the original Starbucks or one of our favorite coffee shops, Storyville Coffee.

Seattle Kerry Park Shutter Tours

You’ve probably searched for how to get to the location where the famous viewpoint is in Seattle with the Space Needle in the foreground, that is Kerry Park, our last stop on our tour. This is the view made famous in the show Frasier, and we often see Mt. Rainier towering 14,410 feet in the distance. By taking our tour you can check this off your bucket list, but better than that, you’ll have the perfect viewpoint to get some fantastic photos of the city to remember your trip to Seattle.

Tour price $69.00

 Chihuly Garden and Glass


Dale Chihuly is a world famous glass artist known for his large-scale “Glass Sculptures” and was born and raised in the Seattle area. You may not know this, but Seattle is #2 in the world for glass studios next to Murano, Italy thanks to the local influence of Dale. Dale Chihuly’s  work has been featured all over the world and is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide. On your visit to Seattle, you don’t want to miss this impressive Chihuly Gardens to see the work of this master artist that has brought a whole new appreciation of glass art.


Top 10 Places To Take Photos In The Seattle Area.

Seattle's Top Photo Spots

Book a tour with Shutter Tours; we are one of the top things to do in Seattle. You’ll see many of the most scenic and exciting locations in Seattle.

10. Pu Pu Point in Issaquah

Pu Pu Point in Issaquah WA Photo Credit Terry Divyak via Shuttertours.com

This is one of the locations that many Seattle natives may not even know about. Located about 10 minutes east of Issaquah, Pu Pu Point is the jumping off location for paragliders. With its breathtaking view of Lake Sammamish and surrounding areas, makes for a great backdrop with the colorful paragliders as your subject matter. This is one of those locations you’ll have to work for, however. It’s is about a 45-minute hike up to a point from the parking lot and has a pretty good elevation gain, so bring water to keep yourself hydrated. Once you arrive, you will want to spend some time sitting and watching the almost delicate ballet of the paragliders as they float on the updrafts. It is not unusual to see 20 or more floating above the point on a beautiful day.

Location to shoot from:

First and foremost, you want to stay out of the way of the paragliders. This is a dangerous sport and the fewer distractions, the better for those that are trying to get airborne. You can get a great shot, standing directly behind the launching point. This gives you a terrific background, especially in the mid-morning hours. I also like to stand on either side of the launch pad and use both a wide angle and telephoto lens to capture the action. You’ll need a telephoto lens once they are airborne to get some good closeups.

9. Snoqualmie Falls


Snoqualmie Falls Tours

Snoqualmie Falls is one of the most popular attractions in Washington State next to Mt. Ranier and Seattle’s Pike Place Market.  About 45 minutes from Seattle, this is the farthest location from Seattle on our list. Rising 268′ from the bottom of the basin, the falls can be captured from the observation deck with a perfect view as the above image by KM Photography illustrates. This was not listed further up the list as it is quite a drive from Seattle, but is worth the effort to get there.

Location to shoot from:

The observation deck, about 100 yards from the parking lot is the most popular place to shoot. Setting up a tripod can be a bit of a problem when there are weekend crowds, so go later in the day or on a weekday. As you look at the falls, you are looking East, so the sun will be behind the falls in the morning and illuminating the falls in the afternoon and evening. You can also take a trail to the bottom of the falls. There is a wooden boardwalk that will give you a good vantage point from below. At the bottom of the trail is also the 1910 powerhouse, closed off behind fences, and the river itself. Visitors can leave the band walk on the river rocks to get a better view from the bottom. Be advised that this area floods during heavy rains.


10 Interesting Facts You May Not Know About Seattle

Pioneer Square Seattle

1. It doesn’t rain in Seattle as much as you think it does or does it?

Well, this is a two-part answer. No, it doesn’t rain as much as people are led to believe.  It does if you are measuring the days of rainfall Seattle gets per year.

At 38 inches of rain per year, we are not even in the top 50 list for annual rainfall in major U.S. Cities.

We are in the top 5 cities for the number of days of precipitation at 151 days per year.

We also average 226 cloudy days a year with only 58 days of clear skies. It’s no wonder people who move to Seattle suffer from S.A.D or Seasonal Affected Disorder.

It doesn’t rain almost 90% of the time. If you add up all the hours in a year, Seattle only gets rain 11% of the time.

Source: National Climatic Data Center, NOAA

2. Seattle is the largest city in America named after a Native American

For a time other cities like Olympia, Port Townsend and Port Gamble had been named, but the settlement now known as Seattle was nameless until a clerk in Olympia called it Duwamps to the dismay of the residents. At the insistence of Doc Maynard, the settlers quickly put together a less repulsive name.

Named after Chief Seattle (also known as Sealth, Seathle, Si’ahl, Seathl, Seeathl, or See-ahth) or si?al in his native Lushootseed language. He led the Duwamish and Suquamish Tribes when settlers arrived in the greater Seattle area in the 1850s.


New Tulip Festival Video

Tulip Festival Video

See the video on Youtube

Last year we began working with a video producer, Erik Egerdahl to create a video that showcased our Tulip Festival Tour. Utilizing interviews and drone footage (yes we had permission), we think you’ll like the results and we hope you can join us for this great opportunity to see tulips.

Book your Tulip Festival Tour

Best Places to Take Family Christmas Photos in Seattle

Seattle is a picturesque city and there are so many great locations to get that perfect Christmas family photo. Here are a couple of ideas of locations that we like to help bring in the holiday memories.

Pike Place MarketSeattle Artsy Market

Photo Credit Aaron Hockley via Flickr

Nothing says Seattle more than the Pike Place Market. The market always has a great installation of lights near the marquee Public Market Sign and clock. The best time would be a nighttime shot to take advantage of the Christmas lights. If your camera has a nighttime portrait mode, this would be even better (Go to the scene function and look for an icon with a person and moon/star).

Location: Corner of 1st and Pike

Kerry Park
New Years Eve, Seattle

Photo Credit Tiffany Von Arnim via Flickr

Another iconic location is Kerry Park at night. During the holidays the Space Needle has a Christmas Tree on top made out of lights and this would be another “Seattle” shot to share with your Christmas card list.

Location: West Highland Drive

Japanese Garden at the Arboretum
360˚ at the Japanese Gardens

Photo Credit: Johnny Lucus via Flickr

We love the Seattle Japanese Garden no matter what time of year, but if we get a bit of snow, this would be a perfect location to get that Christmas photo.

The stone bridge is a perfect location to get a good group photo.

Location: 1075 Lake Washington Blvd E

Snoqualmie Falls

We love Snoqualmie Falls and are out there almost every day for our tours. The lower falls would be the better spot for a group photo, but if you have limited time, the upper falls viewpoint would be just fine. December is always a nice time to get a photo here as the rocks around the falls may have frozen water that creates a nice winter feel as in the second photo below.


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Location: 45 Minute drive from Seattle

Westlake Center

This is ground zero for Christmas shopping in Seattle and with the Macy’s star as a backdrop, this could be a perfect location, especially at night.


Photo Credit: Tracie Howe via Flickr

Location: 4th and Pine

Gift Idea

If you’re looking for a gift idea, why not give the gift of a Shutter Tours gift card? They never expire and are good for any of our tours.

What are some of your favorite locations to take Christmas card photos in Seattle?

Ghosts, Coffee and Food at Pike Place Market

360 Degree View of Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market © Bradford Bohonus

Everyone at Shutter Tours is a certified photo junkie, and I would bet that all of our employees are either thinking about photography or working on images as I write this. Part of the purpose of the blog is to share the beautiful city of Seattle, especially the market area.

As I was searching for some historical information on the market, I was reacquainted with Bradford Bohonus’ website, VR Seattle.  One photo that caught my eye was a shot of an empty Pike Place Market at night. His image is perfect in every detail, and I almost feel as if I am standing at the market as I view this, with Rachael, the pig as the lone sentry to the entrance. It’s hard to imagine 10 million people coming through the market every year when it is so desolate and quiet in this photo. The scene is very similar to the one I remember seeing as I was standing across the street on First and Pike, right where the white truck is, hearing the chants of “The Whole World is Watching” during the WTO riots. I’ll have to dig those images out of my archives and share them. It was indeed a surreal moment as a photographer here in the city.

Mercedes Carrabba runs the Seattle Ghost Tour, and you can imagine what it would be like to take her tour at night and hear ghost stories while you are standing at this location.  My friend Rosanne and I took her 9 PM tour and enjoyed a wonderful experience.  She’s fun and a great storyteller. We have no problems suggesting other tours by the way. Each is unique, and we feel ours stands on its own merits as do the others.

Mercedes also owns Ghost Alley Espresso and it’s one of my favorite coffee shops in Seattle. Order  “Smog” and add some Lavender for a truly unique cup of coffee.

Check out Mark Wiens video above that we started at the 6:15 mark at Ghost Alley Espresso. Start from the beginning and you’ll see his full market experience as he eats his way through Pike Place Market. If you would like to do a food tour, there is no better company than Savor Seattle Food Tours.

“The Birdman” at Pike Place Market.

Birdman at Pike Place Market - Photo by Valentina Vitols Bello

Birdman at Pike Place Market – Photo by Valentina Vitols Bello

By Shutter Tours Guide – Valentina Vitols Bello

Updated October 19, 2018 to add video

This is our second interview in the “Meet the Market” series.

More than a year ago,  I was wandering around Pike Place Market for the first time, when I met The Birdman.  In that opportunity,  I spent a fair amount of time talking to him and his gorgeous and gallant African Grey Parrot.  I immediately fell in love with the smart bird, who can talk to you, lay on its back and hang out with you while “hanging upside down.”  Of course, I took many photos of both the parrot and The Birdman.  It was a lovely experience that I treasured as one of the best memories our beautiful Emerald City has offered to me.

A few weeks ago, and now that The Market is more familiar to me than ever, I ran into The Birdman again.  He was waiting for his lunch to be delivered (an insanely, delicious seafood plate).  We talked for a few moments, and I told him I wanted to write about him.  He was very excited to be featured on our blog.  I asked him if he had another name.  He only smiled back.

“I’m just The Birdman,”  he finally said.  Then he added, “But, be sure to mention that the parrot’s name is Phineas Phogg.”

He also told me he has been in the Market for about nine years.  The Birdman is originally from the Midwest and loves Seattle.  He and Phineas look like “fish in the water” when it comes to entertaining people.  This happens with both adults and kids.  Everyone gets to talk to them, enjoy the stories and play with Phineas, by holding or touching it!

Whether Phineas is busy doing some gymnastics (like the “back summersault”) or barking like a dog (he also meows), he will always have time to give The Birdman a kiss, very close to his white beard.  If you see them,  don’t hesitate in talking to these two.  I can assure you that, like me, you won’t be able to forget this fantastic pair.

The Birdman and Phineas can also be seen at the start of this video http://www.seekgeo.com/?p=165

Planting Tulip Bulbs In The Skagit Valley

Seattle Tulip Festival Tours

Every year I take a drive to the tulip fields to meet with the owners and gardeners to not only learn about the tulip growing business but also to see where the fields are being planted for our upcoming tours and to learn more about the tulip business to help educate our customers. I feel that taking the time to build these relationships makes for a better tour experience for our customers. (Photo from our 2017 Tulip Tour)

Each year there are some pleasant surprises to look forward to with changes in the gardens and new designs that make each visit every year, different.

On our tour, we stop at Roozengaarde first, so this was my first stop on this day as well. Roozengaarde was created by the Washington Bulb Company, owned by the Roozen family who have been in the tulip business for several hundred years. Back in 1947, William Roozen came to America with the dreams of what was possible. With his family experience in growing tulips, he arrived in the Skagit Valley to fulfill that dream. Saving for five years, he purchased some acreage and Washington Bulb Company was born.

Today the Washington Bulb Company is the largest producer of tulips in the country.

Ricardo of Roozengaarde

Whenever I arrive at the gardens I always see the familiar faces of the staff that run the store year round. But,  I’m also on the lookout for Ricardo, the head gardener and the guy responsible for all the hard work that he and his team put in to make our visits the best they can be. This photo was taken of us at the beginning of the 2017 Tulip Festival.

First I wandered the 5-acre display garden just to get a sense of what was going on, and they are at the very beginning stages of bringing the garden together.  With almost half a million bulbs painstakingly planted, the amount of manual and intellectual labor is intense.

Planting Tulip Bulbs at Roozengaarde

First, the flower beds have to be designed for not only colors but varieties whether they are early or late blooming tulips. Once the design phase is complete, then those designs are laid out on the dirt, with each bulb placed where it will be planted with proper spacing and optimal design. Next, each bulb will be planted one by one, by hand, until half a million bulbs are planted. Ricardo told me they would be planting into December and I was there in mid-October.

He also shared with me some of the new changes they have made to the gardens with different designs and layouts, but I’ll save those for your Spring visit as I don’t want to give any of it away.  But these guys always knock it out of the park with their displays. I have had many customers say that these gardens rival Keukenhof Gardens in Holland with their design and colors, on a much smaller scale of course.

Before and After Tulip Planting

It’s fun to wander the gardens when no one is there and try to imagine what it will look like when we bring our customers and see the delight on their faces as they walk around the gardens. I always joke with people at the end of the day and ask them if they are “Tulip’d Out” Many can agree that there are so many to see that it’s hard to take it all in.

Tulip Town in Skagit Valley

My next stop was Tulip Town, our second display garden that we partner with. As I slid the door open to the warehouse, I ran into Matt. Matt and I have known each other for a number of years as he has been an employee of Tulip Town since we started providing our tours six years ago. He was busy working but took the time to chat and walk around and explain the process of planting the fields and shared with me the equipment that was designed for their operation. They had transformed what is normally the indoor display garden to an operation for planting the tulips for their gardens. Normally this location has beautiful indoor murals with a large variety of colors, but those were all covered in plastic until the Spring.

Tulip Town in Skagit Valley

The owner Tom stopped by to say hello and I was not surprised that he was working as he was pushing a lawnmower. As the rain slowly started coming down, he shared with me where they planted their fields for the upcoming season. He also let me know that this year the tulip bulbs were going to be planted closer together and it should be even more colors than previous years. This was music to my ears as I could just imagine those beautiful alternating rows of colors being even more vibrant than years past. Always one to talk and educate me on the tulips, he shared with me lots of information on the challenges of growing tulips, but also some improvements he is making for our customers to have an even better experience. Again I don’t want to give anything away here, but I am excited for the Tulip tours to start, already.

Always one to talk and educate me on the tulips, he shared with me lots of information on the challenges of growing tulips, but also some improvements he is making for our customers to have an even better experience. Again I don’t want to give anything away here, but I am excited for the Tulip tours to start, already. Visiting Tulip Town close to 150 times throughout the years, I feel like their success and improvements are ours as well.

Colorful Birdhouses at Tulip Town

As I was getting ready to leave, I said one last goodbye to Matt and he showed me some of the birdhouses he has been building. These will be sold at an upcoming holiday show, but he will be building more that our customers will be able to purchase in the Spring. He shared with me that he uses repurposed wood he finds around the farm, old doorknobs and whatever other materials he can use. He then handed me a sack of tulip bulbs to take home and plant. These are perfect, as I will now have my own way to see how the tulips are progressing so I can adjust our tour dates and add additional tours.

Shuh Farms Pumpkin Patch

I had one last stop I needed to make and that was at Shuh Farms. October is the perfect time to visit this farm as all the pumpkins are ready to pick and the barn and store are busy with people coming from all over to get into the fall and Halloween spirit.

Shuh Farms for Halloween

Shuh Farms is always creative and have lots of fall vegetables available from their own and surrounding farms.

Shuh Farms in October

On this day the rain was just starting as I turned on my windshield wipers as I started my journey back home.  My thoughts went to all the people who work on the farms and gardens year round. Though the Tulip Festival is only for one month in April, the planning and preparation take the whole year for the employees and owners. They spend the time and dedicate their lives to creating something that is magical for over half a million people a year that visit the Skagit Valley.

If you would like to buy tulips can do so from Washington Bulb Company or Tulip Town, in the fall.

For now, those tulip bulbs will be nestled into their beds for the long winter nap. But come springtime, you can join us for our tulip festival tours whether you are a local or traveling from afar.

Boeing Factory Tours

© Jeremy Elson Licensed under Creative CommonsShutter Tours is proud to announce the addition of our Boeing Factory Tours starting on November 27th. This tour will give guests the opportunity to have access to visit the largest airplane manufacturing facility in the world, in Everett Washington.

As the owner of Shutter Tours, I am excited to be offering this opportunity for our guests who travel to Seattle. Both of my parents were Boeing employees and my Mom retired from Boeing, having worked in the Everett plant as a procurement agent for 28 years. I have a special attachment to this company as well as the city of Everett, Washington, where I grew up and graduated high school.

If you get me on tour, ask me about the time I rode my bicycle across the runway here at Paine Field when I was about 12 years old. Let’s just say I never had so much attention focused on myself from airport security, but it ended with a happy ending, which I will save for my tour.

Not only will you see the Boeing factory, but on our drive from Seattle, you will also learn the history of the Boeing Company and how they shaped the economy of Seattle and ushered in the Jet Age starting in the 1950’s.

As with all of our tours, this has been put together in a way to help educate you on the Boeing company, its history and what the future may bring.

Check out our link to learn more about our Boeing Factory Tour.