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!
Check out our other blog post A Quick Guide to Seattle’s Fremont Neighborhood