Ultimate Seattle Bucket List (101 Things to Do in Seattle WA)

On our first trip up to Seattle, thanks to the magic of connecting through instagram, we met up and stayed with the Mandagies. They’re Washington natives and have been living in Seattle for over six years, so we got their help in putting together our Seattle bucket list.

One of the reasons we decided to move to Portland was how close it was to a plethora of outdoor destinations and also only a 3 hour drive from Seattle.

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Last Updated: September 30, 2020

The Ultimate Seattle Bucket List (101 Things to Do in Seattle WA)

Tourist Attractions

  1. Pike Place Market

Tons of fresh flowers, food, and a variety of produce.

  1. Gum Wall

Add your own piece of chewed gum.

  1. Fremont Troll

Take a photo with the behemoth.

  1. Visit the Original Up House

The Disney movie is based on the real story of this house.

  1. Kerry Park

Take skyline pictures.

  1. Ballard Locks

See the salmon ladder.

  1. Space Needle Observation Deck

An iconic Seattle landmark that was built for the 1962 World’s Fair .

  1. Smith Tower Observation Deck

The very first skyscraper in Seattle.

  1. Columbia Tower Observation Deck

Sweeping views of the city and mountains. There’s also a cafe for drinks and light bites.

  1. Seattle Great Wheel

42 climate-controlled gondolas, great date night idea.

  1. Seattle Public Library

Impressive 11-story glass and steel building that holds over 1.45 million books.

  1. Hamilton Viewpoint

Great for skyline photos.

  1. Jose Rizal Park

Head here for night photos.

  1. Seattle Center Monorail

Built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair to provide transportation between the fairgrounds and the downtown area.

  1. Visit the Original Starbucks

(Near Pike Place) Expect a line throughout the day.

  1. Starbucks Reserve & Roastery

(Capitol Hill) Try one of their siphon flights or a specialty roastery creation.

  1. Tour Theo’s Chocolate Factory

Free chocolate. You can go dumpster diving in Theo’s Chocolate scrap chocolate bin.

  1. Pioneer Square Underground Tour

Walk through the subterranean storefronts and sidewalks that are now underground after the Great Fire of 1889.

  1. Woodland Park Zoo

Check out their butterfly garden, too.

  1. Seattle Aquarium

Beautiful waterfront aquarium.

  1. Suzzallo Library

Study Harry Potter spells.

  1. Take a Ferry to the Olympics

Do the Seattle > Bremerton or Edmonds > Kingston

  1. Japanese Garden at the WA Arboretum

They also have a tea ceremony experience that’s worth checking out.

Museums + Memorials + Monuments

  1. Chihuly Glass Sculpture Museum

Take an audio tour through the museum.

  1. MoPOP / Museum of Pop Culture

(formerly EMP) Quirky, small museum that pays tribute to all things sci-fi and pop culture.

  1. Center For Wooden Boats

Boat rides free on Sundays only! Get there early in the summer, the spots fill up fast.

  1. Seattle Museum of Art

Diverse range of art from the Mediterranean to Aboriginal.

  1. Living Computers

See computers from the size of a small building to the size of a hand-size cell phone.

  1. Seattle Pinball Museum

The largest collection of pinball machines in the Pacific Northwest.

  1. Pacific Science Center

Go early if you want to visit the planetarium.

Urban Parks

  1. Gasworks Park

Have a picnic in the day or watch fire dancers at night.

  1. Visit the Lighthouse at Discovery Park

Note that there are a good bit of of wobbly old stairs. Be cautious when visiting.

  1. Bonfire at Golden Gardens Park

There’s also clean public restrooms, a playground, and volleyball nets.

  1. Rollerblade around Greenlake

Easy, flat trails for rollerblading and biking. Plenty of parking but it does gets full on weekends.

  1. Rollerblade around Alki Beach

Short trail with a stunning view. Plenty of free parking.

  1. Bike around Seward Park

2.3 mi bike loop with a view of Mt. Rainier from the lake.

  1. Bike The Burke-Gilman Trail

From SPU to Matthew’s Beach.

  1. Rent a canoe or paddle boat at the WAC

Rentals are available from spring through fall.

  1. SUP at Ballard Surf

You might even spot some seals from your paddleboard.

  1. Swim at Madrona Beach

There are also some hiking trails and picnic areas to enjoy post-swim.

  1. Olympic Sculpture Park

Great overview of the harbor, unique sculptures spread throughout the park.

  1. Greenhouse in Volunteer Park

Amazing foliage and small ponds in a 100 year old greenhouse.

  1. Rent Kayaks

Kayak around Lake Union / Lake Washington.

  1. Tour the University of Washington Campus

We love the collegiate neo-Gothic architecture.

  1. Discovery Park Loop

2.8 mi loop that is relatively flat and easy. Views of the lighthouse.

  1. Magnuson Park

Check out the Fin Project, a display of fins from decommissioned nuclear submarines of the 1960s.

Shopping

They even have an urban forest on store grounds.

  1. Shop at the Nordstrom Flagship

And then grab lunch at their restaurant.

Fresh produced, baked breads, and various diary products.

  1. Shop The Goodwill Outlet

Go early, it gets super busy!

  1. Seattle Antique Market

Tons of watches, plates, furniture, toys, lamps, and more.

  1. Shop at University Village

Seattle’s only outdoor lifestyle shopping center.

  1. Uwajimaya Grocery Store

Get Asian treats.

Food

  1. Get a “Seattle Dog” in Capitol Hill

Check out two local favorites: Dog In The Park and the hot dog stand in front of Neighbors.

  1. Bar Hop in Capitol Hill

Favorite spots: Cider and The Unicorn.

(Central District, Greenwood) Esther + Jacob’s fave beer spot. They now have two locations.

(Kirkland, $, Italian) Try their Oxtail Risotto.

(Ravenna, $, New American) We suggest grabbing a seat outside at the counter by the sidewalk if you want to avoid the louder dining room.

  1. Il Corvo

(Pioneer Square, $, Italian) Permanently Closed. Freshly made pastas.

(Columbia City, $, Hawaiian) The Spicy Salmon is our favorite.

(International District, $, Japanese) keep an eye out, this place is a hidden gem. Fresh and quality sushi.

(Capitol Hill, $, Seafood) Some of the best oysters I’ve ever had.

Coffee

(U District) Comfy neighborhood vibes, visible roastery where you can see how they roast their coffee beans.

(U District) Ask for a Colombian pour over in a Kalita Wave.

(U District) Quiet workspace upstairs.

(Fremont) Grab a Horchata Cruffin with your coffee.

(Wallingford/Fremont) They also serve beer and wine.

(Pike Place + Queen Anne) Great lattes and breakfast sandwiches.

Funky decor, good coffee and a wide selection of pastries.

(Capitol Hill) Try all their donuts! So good!

(Capitol Hill) Italian specialty coffees.

(Wallingford) Extensive coffee and food menus.

(Greenwood, Greenlake, Wallingford) Their hot chocolate is a must-try.

(U District) Coffee, tea, and a darn good lavendar chai.

(Ballard) Grab a coffee, hang with adoptable kitties.

  1. Craftworks Coffee

(Queen Anne) Permanently Closed. Sleek space, specialty coffees and fresh pastries.

(Seattle Center) Known for their espresso. Check out their various machines, too.

(Downtown) Their East African drip is very popular.

(Central District) Breezy and bright cafe.

(Fremont) Old house converted into a coffee shop. We love their fun latte art.

(Central District) Conveniently located inside the Washington State Convention Center.

  1. Peet’s Coffee

(Greenlake) Permanently Closed. We recommend the Cold Brew Fog Latte.

(Capitol Hill) Buy a couple pounds of the Empire roasted beans to take home.

Events

  1. Tulip Festival

(Mt. Vernon) Usually in April. If it’s too crowded for your taste, check out the Tulip Farm near Portland.

  1. Attend a Sports Event

Plenty of options: Seahawks, Sounders, Mariners, Huskies.

  1. Go Sailgating before a UW Husky Game

The vessels are open 45 minutes prior to kickoff until halfway through the 4th quarter.

  1. Bumbershoot Music Festival

Labor Day Weekend every year.

  1. St. Mark’s Cathedral

Listen tot he choir practice on Sundays at 9pm.

  1. Seattle’s SeaFair

Local block parties, parades, and neighborhood activities. Get ready for 2021.

  1. 5th Avenue Theater

Catch a musical.

  1. Paramount Theater

On the National Register of Historic Places.

Hiking + Outdoors

  1. Poo Poo Point

(19 mi / 26 min away, Tiger Mountain) You can go paragliding here.

  1. Rattlesnake Ledge

(26 mi / 29 min away, Snoqualmie) Moderate trail with stunning views of the Snoqualmie Valley.

  1. Snoqualmie Falls

(29 mi / 34 min away, Snoqualmie) Bring a rain jacket! You will get sprayed by the waterfall.

  1. Big Si + Little Si

(33 mi / 36 min away, Snoqualmie Pass) These foggy trails can take up to an entire day. If you’re lucky, you can see Mt. Rainier.

  1. Twin Falls

(35 mi / 35 min away, Snoqualmie Pass,) Dog and kid-friendly trails can get crowded.

  1. Mailbox Peak

(37 mi / 43 min away, Snoqualmie Pass) We only recommend this hike for expert explorers.

  1. Franklin Falls

(52 mi / 53 min away, Snoqualmie Pass) Well developed trail and a beautiful waterfall.

  1. Wallace Falls

(47 mi / 53 min away, Stevens Pass) Popular spot for picking wild mushrooms.

  1. Gold Creek Pond

(55 mi / 58 min away, Snoqualmie Pass) Great trail for snowshoeing.

  1. Lake Serene

(53 mi / 1 h 5 min away, Stevens Pass) Visit early! Lake area surrounding the trailhead is very popular.

Seattle Bucket List City Map

Map here. Click on Text Tab and insert google maps code.

Essential Tips

  • Peak season is July and August and is the best time to visit if you don’t want gloomy weather. Summer is the sunniest and there are a plethora of outdoor activities then. 
  • May-June and Sep-Oct is shoulder season. You may get lucky with weather and not have to deal with the crowds.
  • If you’re looking for the classic, moody PNW vibes come in Sept – Nov, and head to the mountains for some fog envy! Expect lots of time in the car, but the end destinations are always worth it!
  • Many of the museums are free on the first Thursday of the month and some are free year round.
  • A rain jacket is always a good idea! (this one is currently our favorite and has insulation)
  • Looking for a Rental Car? Check out this link.

Emily and Berty are photographers and love exploring their local area. They’re constantly looking for hidden spots around Seattle. Go follow their blog and instagram to see their adventures in the PNW and beyond.

What to Pack for Seattle

Best Places to Stay

All accommodations listed below have Tripadvisor’s Certificate of Excellence and at least 4 stars on both Yelp and Tripadvisor.

What's Nearby

  • Maury Island (23.9 mi SW, map)
  • Snoqualmie Falls (28.7 mi E, map)
  • Mount Rainier National Park (64.4 mi SE, map)
  • Olympic National Park (74.9 mi W, map)

What are your favorite things to do in Seattle? What would you put on your Seattle bucket list?

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Do you have a link to the raincoat? I’d love to check it out.

    1. oops!! We’ll have to add the link back in. It’s this one: https://go.localadventurer.com/nano-storm-jacket It’s great year round in the Pacific Northwest and so far we’ve tested it out in NY, and it’s been good as long as the weather is in the 30s. Once it dips into the 20s, you need a warmer winter parka.

  2. Hey guys! There’s soooo many things to do in Seattle hey! I recently came back from a 4 day trip there and had nothing but sunshinneee oohhh yea. Will definitely visit it again being it’s so close to Canada.

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