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.
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:
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
Looking for the top tourist attractions in Seattle? You’re not alone. Seattle welcomes over 40 million tourists every year! Based on their reviews, here are 50 of the Emerald City’s most popular parks, museums, eats, and entertainment venues.
Green Lake Park
A perfect urban park, Green Lake delivers serene lakeside views and a relaxing walking trail
— the perfect intermission to a busy day of sightseeing around Seattle. Pack a picnic, rent a paddle boat, play some tennis, swing through the putt putt course, or simply lounge on the grass and soak in the fresh lakeside breeze.
Pike Place Brewery
Fond of local artisan brew? You’re in luck! Coffee isn’t the only drink Seattle is known for. We’re also famous for our beer. In fact, Seattle is packed with 174 breweries — more than any other American city. Stop by Pike Place Brewery to get an authentic taste of fine Seattle beer and engage in cheerful banter with other beer connoisseurs.
Pioneer Square is rich in 19th-century architecture and offers a historic vibe that encapsulates Seattle’s pioneer-fueled past. This is a must-do in Seattle if you want to learn about the city’s history. Stop by the neighborhood’s free museum, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, or climb Smith Tower, Seattle’s first skyscraper.
Bakery Nouveau has won Seattle’s Best Bakery award four years in a row and offers delicious European-inspired pastry delights. Stop by and eat your way through buttery bear claws, flaky croissants, macrons, chocolate treats, and gourmet bread.
Tour the Boeing Factory
Hop on a bus with Shutter Tours and head to the Everett Boeing Factory, famous for being the largest building in the world and the assembly site for many of Boeing’s planes. If you love educational tourist experiences or have kids that are fascinated by airplanes, the Boeing factory is one of Seattle’s best attractions for you. Book your tour of the factory today!
Visit the Space Needle
The most obvious tourist stop on this list, Seattle’s iconic Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and has dominated our skyline to this day. Walk around the Needle’s base to get a sense of its enormous size, then head up to the observation deck or make a reservation for dinner in its high-in-the-sky restaurant (complete with stunning glass floors).
Woodland Park Zoo
Want to see a Komodo dragon or Indian flying fox up close? Book a trip to the zoo! Seattle’s expansive Woodland Park Zoo is home to over 1,000 animals from all over the world and is the perfect day-trip for families with kids.
Contribute to the Gum Wall
A local landmark, the Seattle Gum Wall has been the resting place of many a stick of chewing gum since the 1990s. The tradition of sticking gum to the wall began when patrons of the nearby Market Theater started sticking coins to the wall whilst they waited for their show. Theater workers have attempted to clean the gum away, but locals and tourists alike have deemed the Gum Wall a permanent tourist attraction.
Seattle Great Wheel
Looking for unforgettable views of the Puget Sound and Pier 57? Seattle’s Great Wheel offers stunning vistas from the tallest Ferris wheel on the West Coast. For tourists who enjoy a good vantage point (go in the evening to see the city light up), the Seattle Great Wheel is a must-do Seattle activity.
The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop)
Honoring famous contributions to cinema, television, literature, art, and music, the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop) hosts rotating exhibits that feature props from the world’s biggest culture hits. Permanent exhibitions include artifacts from famous movies and musicians like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Jimi Hendrix — all of which were Seattle locals.
Pacific Science Center
Passionate about science? Seattle has you covered. Stop by the Pacific Science Center for daily planetarium shows, live exhibits (want to see what a naked mole rat looks like?), VR experiences, and a host of other science-based activities.
Pike Place Chowder
One of the most memorable experiences in Seattle is visiting Pike Place Chowder and ordering your first chowder bread bowl. Named the Nation’s Best Chowder three years in a row, eating a bowl of this Pike Place Market institution’s clam chowder is a must-do thing when visiting Seattle.
Seattle Pinball Museum
Explore the evolution of pinball at Seattle’s expansive Pinball Museum. With vintage pinball machines that you can view and play, as well as other retro arcade games, this is one of the best Seattle attractions for those who love true hands-on gaming and nostalgic arcades.
Tour Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room
Visiting Seattle on a coffee pilgrimage? We’re proud to call ourselves America’s coffee capital, so you’ll find plenty here to keep your caffeine high humming. Visit the enormous Starbucks Reserve Roastery and spend an afternoon tasting exotic brews from Seattle’s iconic coffee shop.
Seattle Art Museum (SAM)
Get a taste of Seattle’s art scene by visiting the SAM. The Seattle Art Museum showcases a wide variety of different art pieces ranging from paintings to artifacts. From Native American pieces to contemporary art, to Islamic works, there is something here for every art aficionado.
The Pink Door
Looking to merge a delightful meal with a Seattle tourist attraction? If so, add The Pink Door to your trip itinerary. This hotspot offers delicious Italian-American cuisine complemented by dazzling burlesque shows and trapezists.
Pacific Northwest Ballet
Catch a stirring performance at Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet — a dedicated team of over 50 dancers who are passionate about portraying creativity through movement. This is one of Seattle’s best attractions for families with kids who are intrigued by colorful costumes and dance.
Catch a night-time show at Comedy Underground — Seattle’s top venue for side-splitting laughs and good grub. Comedy Underground is great for locals and tourists who are looking to get out of the rain and love a good time.
Pike Place Market
Supporting local businesses and artisan foods and craft, Pike Place Market has been a fixture in Seattle since 1907 and is one of Seattle’s most memorable attractions. Enjoy strolling through the maze of stalls and sampling chocolate pasta, local honey, and a host of other delicacies. Pike Place Market is one of the top things to see in Seattle, receiving over 10 million tourists annually.
The Fremont Troll
Have you heard tales of bridge trolls? Well, they’re real and we have one rumbling around in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. The Fremont Troll was created by four local artists and has become one of Seattle’s top tourist attractions since its unveiling in 1990. You can visit the Fremont Troll on one of our Seattle tours.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
Need some color to break through the grayscale Seattle weather? One of the best Seattle attractions to do as a family is Chihuly Gardens and Glass, a facility that displays colorful blown glass art and sculptures. Your kids will be mesmerized with the rainbow of colors and intricate glassworks lining the walls.
Olympic Sculpture Park
Visit downtown Seattle’s largest green space and take a stroll among sculpted art pieces. Admission is free, making this a great experience for visitors who want to get a taste of Seattle’s wacky modern art side.
Home to over 40,000 unique plants, a trip to this botanical conservatory is an exotic way to spend a rainy Seattle afternoon. Amazon had the Spheres built as a space for employees wanting to switch up their workspace. The Spheres are open to the public two Saturdays a month and require advance registration, but don’t let this deter you. This unique experience is well worth the planning ahead.
Feast on Dim Sum
There is no end to the delicious Asian cuisine in Seattle. Visit Harbor City Restaurant or Jade Garden Restaurant for an authentic dim sum experience and delight yourself with fluffy, steamed buns and custard tarts to your heart’s content.
Museum of Flight
Another must-do tourist attraction for families, Seattle’s Museum of Flight offers engaging, educational displays for all ages. What better way to spend a rainy Seattle afternoon than by seeing some of history’s most famous planes up close, exploring the evolution of human flight, and learning about the amazing details of Seattle’s personal history with the sky.
Considered one of Seattle’s top places to go for concert fans, The Crocodile has been hosting music events since the early 1990s. If you are a fan of our local music scene, catch a show at The Crocodile during your Seattle visit. Beyond local artists, The Croc has also hosted names like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Death Cab for Cutie.
Tulip Fields Tour
Visiting in the spring? Get a taste of rolling Dutch tulip fields during your Seattle stay. Skip the entry lines by booking your visit with Shutter Tours — Seattle’s top-rated shuttle tour company. Reserve your tulip field tour today!
Washington Park Arboretum
Enjoy a respite from the city and go forest bathing in the ambiance of magnolia, maple, and oak. Washington Park Arboretum is a popular Seattle location for couples, families, and anyone looking for some fresh air and solitude.
Seattle Central Library
The Seattle Public Library is the flagship library in the region and houses over one million books. This is the perfect Seattle tourist attraction for rainy days. Take a few hours and spend a quiet afternoon reading and appreciating the stunning architecture of this 11-story building.
Explore Seattle’s Underground
The Great Seattle Fire of 1889 destroyed much of the wooden structures in the city (over 25 blocks of houses and buildings) leaving room for new, innovative architecture. For practicality’s sake, city officials decided to use the relatively clean slate to create a new street-level over 20 feet higher than the original grade. This meant that existing buildings soon found their ground floors entirely buried, giving birth to Seattle’s notorious underground.
Seattle’s underground maze of stores, shops, and homes stayed in use for some years but eventually fell to disrepair and abandonment. Fortunately for adventure seekers, much of the underground has been reopened for tours.
Sky View Observatory
Want an iconic view of the Emerald City with the quiet Puget Sound to one side, the Space Needle off in the distance, and the expansive city stretching out below? Head to Sky View Observatory, Seattle’s tallest tourist attraction and top place to go if you enjoy 360-degree panoramic views of glistening cityscape and Seattle’s tallest peak, Mount Rainier.
Seattle Japanese Garden
A portion of Washington Park Arboretum has been dedicated to Japanese gardening. Considered to be one of the best in the nation and seeing over 100,000 visitors annually, Seattle’s tranquil Japanese garden will transport you to the heart of Japan. Enjoy watching enormous koi swim back and forth while listening to maple trees whisper in the breeze.
Ride the water taxi over to West Seattle and enjoy a good view of Seattle’s skyline while relaxing on a picturesque beach. Then walk down the west end of Alki Beach and stop at Pegasus Pizza for some of the best pizza pie in town.
Catch a Concert at Neumos
If you enjoy grungy, intimate music performances, Neumos is the venue for you. Offering live music shows every night and featuring local and recognized artists, Neumos is at the top of our “places to party in Seattle” list.
Hands down the best attraction in Seattle for kids, Seattle’s Aquarium offers educational exhibits and an array of sealife for visitors to appreciate. Learn about marine mammals, catch a diver show, or learn about the whales that inhabit the Salish Sea.
Woodinville Wine Country
Drive 30 minutes out of Downtown Seattle and you’ll be in the heart of Washington wine country. Woodinville is home to over 100 wineries and dozens of tasting rooms. Book a tour to the area and get a taste of some of the world’s best wine, all grown and produced here in the Evergreen State.
Gas Works Park
A public park made out of the remains of an old gasification plant, Gas Works Park is a perfect example of Seattle’s draw towards alternative style and quirkiness. The park makes a great location for photoshoots, picnics, and views of downtown Seattle across Lake Union.
Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI)
Seattle has been hugely influential in the development of many industries over the past century. MOHAI gives visitors an educational glimpse into Seattle’s history and key role in launching various world-leading industries.
South Lake Union
Due to Amazon’s presence, South Lake Union has evolved into a futuristic, slick, and tech-infused neighborhood. Enjoy shopping at a cashier-free Amazon Go (a semi-automated convenience store chain offering prepared foods and select groceries) or stop by Portage Bay Cafe and dine at one of Seattle’s top brunch spots.
Volunteer Park Conservatory
Volunteer Park is a gorgeous green Space in Capitol Hill that features a historic conservatory (built in 1912) and outdoor amphitheater. During the summer months, live performances are often held in the amphitheater.
Frye Art Museum
Showcasing global artists who incorporate messages relevant to our time through their art, Frye Museum is committed to displaying contemporary and bold artwork. The museum was started by a couple’s personal art collection and has quickly become a beloved tourist attraction in Seattle.
University of Washington
For over 150 years this beautiful Seattle campus has been the vehicle of education and innovation for Seattleites and untold thousands of visiting students. Featuring European-inspired historic buildings, the UW is an excellent destination for Seattle tourists who are passionate about education and gorgeous architecture. Visit the campus during cherry blossom season to get Insta-perfect portraits against the flowers and European lecture halls.
Olympic National Park
Tired of city life and thirsty for elbow room? Head across the Puget Sound to Olympic National Park. This enormous national park is home to two temperate rainforests and offers a host of outdoor activities (e.g. kayaking, hiking, fishing, and camping).
Theo Chocolate Factory
An artisan, fair-trade, and ethical chocolatier, Theo Chocolate has its flagship store in Fremont. For tourists on the hunt for the best chocolate in Seattle, a stop by our very own Wonka factory is a must!
Join a Tour of Snoqualmie Falls
Embark on the perfect combination of urban sightseeing and crashing waterfalls. This educational and awe-inspiring tour package from Shutter Tours merges the magnificence of Snoqualmie Falls with information-packed narratives about the history of Seattle. Tour highlights include historic Snoqualmie Falls, the Fremont Troll, Kerry Park, and Pike Place Market as a pick-up/drop-off location. Book your Seattle and Falls tour today!
Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
Facing Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is a delicious tourist attraction for visitors who love artisan cheeses or are intrigued by the cheesemaking process.
A gorgeous performing arts venue built in the roaring 20s, Paramount Theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places and one of Seattle’s prized landmarks. Upcoming 2020 shows include Rock of Ages, Cinderella, Ragtime, and Groundhog Day (the musical).
Elliot Bay Book Company
Bookloving Seattle tourists will find themselves in paradise at Elliot Bay Book Company. With over 150,000 titles, romantic cedar shelves, and the sleepy patter of rainfall on the roof, you can easily spend an entire afternoon engrossed between these pages.
Dimitrou’s Jazz Alley
A lively jazz scene awaits you at this intimate venue. Seattle, while famous for its grunge music scene, also has a soft spot for some good jazz. Order from an expansive menu of drinks and enjoy local and renowned jazz performers. If you are visiting Seattle and want a taste of our timeless music scene, Dimitrou’s Jazz Club is a tourist attraction you can’t miss.
Explore Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier is one of the top things to see in Seattle for tourists who love natural landscapes and breathing crisp mountain air. Don’t have a car while you’re here? Shutter Tours offers guided tours to Seattle’s most famous natural landmark, giving you the opportunity to learn about Washington State’s largest volcano. During your tour, an expert guide will fill you in on the mountain’s history and take you to famous viewpoints like Reflection Lake and Christine Falls. Book your Mt. Rainier tour today!
When Shutter Tours first embarked on our adventure to Africa, I had no expectations as to what it would be like. Back in early 2014 Shutter Tours participated in an adventure trade show in Seattle. The show was so big that we parked our bus inside the venue and marketed our local tours in the Seattle area. A needed a bit of a break and decided to wander the show to see what other vendors were there and ran into Hellen from Maasai Magic.
As a photographer I enjoyed the photos she had on her display and not being one to be afraid of asking questions, we talked at length about what they do in offering trips to Tanzania. Thinking there might be some way to a partnership with them, she suggested I hop on a plane and join them on a “Fam” trip. Anyone that knows me will agree that once I say yes to travel, I am on my way. Six months later I was on a plane to Amsterdam, with my ultimate destination to fly to Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania. How exciting I thought, being in Africa and flying into the airport named for the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
Fast forward to today, and I’m just a week away from taking my fourth trip to Tanzania and partnering with Maasai Magic Safaris. This trip is extra special to me as I will be taking my daughter Amanda with me this year. She has been an excellent tour guide for Shutter Tours this year, and with the cancellation of a guest who was unable to make the trip, I was excited to have her fill that spot.
Africa can seem like a scary place for some people, but from my experience, it is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever travelled to. The people are warm and gracious and also seem to have a love of life that is missing in western society. So this is point number one.
So this is point number one.
1. You Will Change Your Opinion About Africa and the African People.
You will cast aside your thoughts of little children with distended stomachs and all the visions from late-night television commercials. Tanzanians are very educated and even value education more than westerners it seems. In the travel industry, you don’t just show up and become a tour guide for safari, it takes years to achieve that goal. Most workers have a four-year degree in the hotels and they all speak English.
From the time Tanzanians start high school, all lessons and homework are in English, even though Swahili is their natural language. The value of education is refreshing and is not a have to, but a want to.
The economic pressure we experience is not as apparent as well. Happiness comes from interactions with family and friends and not accumulation.
2. The adventure will be better than you thought
Our customers have made comments like “Trip of a lifetime” and there is no doubt that this trip will be top of your all-time favorites. I always say that travel is an appreciating asset and you will talk about this trip for years afterwards.
3. Every day will be a wow moment
That time that Christa got scared because she thought the lions were chasing us in the vehicle at night, or when we saw the double rainbow in the Northern Serengeti on our last day. The visit to the Hadzabe tribe where we learned to make fire and eat after they hunted or the visit to the Datogo and Makonde tribes to watch them make jewellery and wood carvings. Every day is a new experience that you will not soon forget.
4. You’ll have to address your fears of wild animals
I hate snakes, never seen a snake in Tanzania, but I heard they are there. The first trip I would do a complete sweep of the place I was staying, on the off chance that one somehow made it into the tent or room. Now I am fine, but sometimes your fear will take over and that’s something you have to wrestle with. Overcoming that is a wonderful feeling.
5. You never realized how much you’ll embrace other cultures
For me, the highlight of our trips is meeting the people of Tanzania. Whether we are visiting the Hadzabe or the Maasai or spending time with the Datoga tribes, I’m always excited to meet old and new friends.
6. The food and accommodations are way better than you expected
In Swahili, they say “Hakuna Naficy Yauatcha Kula” which translates into I’m full. Learn this phrase, because of the amount of food they feed you in amazing. I have skipped meals while on safari as I just cannot eat anymore. Also, keep in mind there is no “Bushmeat” served, it’s beef, chicken and vegetarian options made by wonderful chefs each night.
7. Going to the zoo will never feel the same
Tanzania has over 6,000 elephants in Tarangire park and some of the highest concentrations of lions in the world. A visit to the zoo will never compare to the experience of a lifetime on safari.
8. An African safari will be one of the most memorable trips of a lifetime
I like pretty and captivating places, but at the end of the day, I want experiences and conversations that I’m talking about for years to come. At the top of my list are all the trips I have taken to Africa.
9. Seeing animals roam free as nature intended without interruption of man is exhilarating.
10. You’ll want to come back
After 6 trips bringing groups to Tanzania, I can safely say I cannot wait to get back to there to see old friends If you’ve been there before and the wild is calling you back, why not join us in 2021 on another exciting safari.
If you’ve always dreamed of going, well I can assure you that our itinerary will allow you to have lifetime experiences every day.
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
Located in the heart of downtown Seattle, Fonté Cafe offers one of the best breakfasts to be found and superb coffee to match.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
Yes, the rumors are true, it rains here! But while the streets may get wet, your enthusiasm for visiting Seattle doesn’t have to.
Whether you are planning a full-length rainy day itinerary, or are just looking for backup ideas in case the sky turns gray, here are a few of the many things you can do in Seattle on a rainy day.
1. Drink Your Way Along a Coffee Crawl
There are few activities more simple or enjoyable than a warm cup of artisan brew on a rainy Seattle day.
Being America’s coffee capital is a weighty title and one that Seattle takes very seriously. And with more than 800 coffee shops, Seattle has enough Joe to ensure that even the finest coffee connoisseur doesn’t leave disappointed.
So if coffee is in your genes, Seattle is the perfect city for you — rain or shine!
If you’re in the mood for a tastebud adventure, then join a coffee crawl. This will allow you to tour different coffee shops, sample various brews, and learn about the Emerald City’s proud coffee culture.
Here at Shutter Tours, our tour guides have inside knowledge on where to find the best cup of java and would be thrilled to take you on a coffee crawl during a classic rainy day in Seattle.
Seattle is home to the largest aircraft plant in the world — the Boeing factory. This massive facility employs over 30,000 people and receives 110,000 visitors each year.
The plant and its associated facilities, the Future of Flight and Strato Deck, are great things to do in Seattle when it rains.
Here at Shutter Tours, we offer fascinating tours of the Boeing factory that walk you through the history of the company and give you a front-row seat to the construction of massive Boeing planes.
Other notable aviation tourism locations include the Museum of Flight and Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection.
3. Sing-Along With Seattle’s Music Culture
As the birthplace of grunge, Seattle has deep musical roots and has seen the rise of numerous artists, including Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Fleet Foxes. Music is a huge part of Seattle’s culture and every day you can find local musicians performing in venues across the city.
Get out of the rain by ducking into one of Seattle’s iconic music venues, like Neumos or The Crocodile, and singing along with local artists.
4. Explore Seattle’s Historic Underground
Do you like exploring mysterious locations with a touch of drama and history sprinkled in? If so, then you’ll love the Seattle underground — a web of basements and passageways which lie beneath the modern city.
The Seattle underground exists as a result of the 1889 Great Seattle Fire. This raging fire destroyed 31 city blocks of wooden buildings — which was terrible but gave the city the opportunity to modernize.
Seattle took advantage of this clean slate and constructed new buildings out of stone or brick and regraded the city streets to even out some of the hills.
A consequence of regrading was that the street level was moved up a full story in some parts of the city. This put the first story of many buildings underground and made the second story the new ground level.
Undeterred, Seattleites carried on using the now underground shops, using ladders and stairs to go down and do businesses under the streets.
Seattle’s underground continued being used for business until 1907, when the underground officially closed down.
Lucky for us, a small portion of Seattle’s underground has been restored and is able to be seen today, offering a unique look into Seattle’s past. Joining an underground tour and exploring the city’s colorful history is the perfect way to spend a rainy day in Seattle.
5. Visit One of Seattle’s Famous Museums
Love learning new and interesting facts about the city you’re visiting? If so, Seattle won’t disappoint you. Whether you are traveling alone or with kids, Seattle has enough museums to keep you occupied for an entire rainy day — or two!
Several museums that you can enjoy during a visit to Seattle include:
MoPop stands for The Museum Of Pop Culture. This museum focuses on current pop culture and creativity. Although the exhibits change from time to time, you can expect to see displays on popular movies or music artists.
The MoPop is perfect for adults or kids and is a fun and educational thing to do on a rainy day in Seattle.
Seattle Art Museum
If you enjoy the tranquility of art museums, the Seattle Art Museum or SAM is the perfect location to spend a rainy Seattle afternoon. You can view the Seattle Art Museum website to see what current exhibitions are going on or check the calendar for future exhibitions that you want to see.
The Museum of Flight
The largest non-profit air and space museum in the world, the Museum of Flight is a fascinating museum that could easily absorb your entire rainy Seattle day. With dozens of interesting exhibits, photographs, and almost 200 aircraft and spacecraft, the Museum of Flight is the perfect destination for any curious mind.
With entertaining exhibits for both adults and children, MOHAI introduces tourists to the history of Seattle and its many industries, making this the perfect activity for a rainy day in Seattle.
6. Get Festive on a Wine Tour
Did you know that there are more than 150 wineries in the Seattle region?
What can I say, we Seattleites love our beverages! So if coffee isn’t your cup of tea, we have a rich wine culture for you to explore.
Wine tasting in a local Seattle cellar is one of the most relaxing ways to spend a wet and rainy afternoon. And with dozens of wineries spread across the city, there is a wine for every palate.
If you would like to get out of the rain and experience Seattle’s wine culture with a local, consider booking a wine tour!
The team of Seattle experts here at Shutter Tours can put together a custom Seattle wine tour for you that hits all the top wineries and cellars.
7. Sky View Observatory
The tallest public observatory in the Pacific Northwest, Sky View Observatory offers a birds-eye view of Seattle’s cityscape.
Because of the observatory’s height, make sure that you don’t visit this location on a foggy day or when clouds are hanging low over Columbia Center, as these will impede your view.
Visit Sky View when the clouds are high and rain is falling from far, far above. In these conditions, the city will look mysterious and foreboding and you’ll feel like a character in one of Seattle’s famous TV shows.
8. Enjoy the Performing Arts
Use the rainy weather as an excuse to get inside and enjoy some of Seattle’s famous performing arts! From symphonies to modern dance to Broadway performances, the Emerald City has it all.
Notable locations for entertainment include:
Meany Hall for the Performing Arts
The 5th Avenue Theatre
9. Get Spooked by the Oddities of Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
As a leading port city, Seattle has long been recognized as a doorway into the unexplored, attracting many eccentric individuals and their establishments.
One such location is Ye Olde Curiosity Shop.
The Curiosity Shop was founded in 1899 by Joseph Edward Standley, who packed his shop with artistic objects and oddities from around the world. It was an immediate hit and has continued to draw tourists ever since.
So if you’re in the mood for mystery, intrigue, and adventure, duck into Ye Olde Curiosity Shop during your rainy Seattle afternoon.
10. Embrace the Rain!
Don’t feel like spending your day inside? Do as the locals do and embrace the rain! We’ve learned to carry on regardless of what’s coming down from the sky and with a little practice, I’m sure you can too.
Strolling through rainy Seattle will give you the opportunity to experience the city in its natural state. And the rain will only enhance the ambiance of each location by keeping the crowds away.
If you’re ready to ignore the drizzle and keep exploring, join me on one of my popular Seattle city tours. We’ll hit all the highlights — Snoqualmie Falls, the locks, and even visit our infamous bridge troll.
Don’t let the wet weather deter you! There are hundreds of things to do in Seattle on a rainy day.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.