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What are the 5 best things to visit in Seattle?

Updated: Apr 22

Waterfront view in Seattle

Welcome to Seattle! This vibrant city is a must-see and fits perfectly into the trend of set-jetting or 'traveling to set locations of series or films'. Both 'Sleepless in Seattle' and the acclaimed series 'Grey's Anatomy' are set in Seattle.

Of course, there is much more to see than just the film locations. Seattle is also known for its sophisticated coffee culture, vibrant art scene and its unique waterfront. Did you know that Seattle is the fastest-growing city in the US? It has been adding about 1,000 new residents a week since 2006. It also has the most parks relative to its population.

These are the best things to visit in Seattle:

Taste delicious coffee at one of Seattle's artisan coffee bars

first Starbucks Pike Market in Seattle

If you love coffee, you will feel right at home in Seattle. You'll find a deeply rooted coffee culture dating back to the establishment of the very first Starbucks shop in the world at Pike Place Market in 1971. You can still visit this shop which was originally just a small shop where you could buy coffee beans. However, there are always long lines of people who came up with the same idea. Starbucks' headquarters is still founded in Seattle.

Fortunately, there are plenty of craft coffee bars where you can enjoy a great cup of coffee. Our favorite coffee bar was 'Anchor Head Coffee', near Pike Market.

Tickle all your senses at Pike Place Market, Seattle

A visit to Seattle is not complete without a stroll through Pike Place Market, an iconic destination in the heart of the city since 1907. Here you will find plenty of stalls selling fresh local products such as cheese, delicious cherries, beautiful flowers, souvenirs and fresh fish.

The fish market is an experience in itself, near the statue of the pig 'Rachel' you will find the 'Pike Place Fish Market' where the market vendors lustily throw fresh fish at each other. And believe me they are big fish! The artisan cheese shop 'Beecher's' is also worth a visit. Here you can taste the tastiest homemade cheese and watch it being made.

Tip: Visit the Instagrammable Gum Wall in Post Alley

Gum Wall in Seattle

If you are not averse to chewing gum, this is a fun place to visit. The first gum was stuck to the wall there between 1991-1993 (so the wall is already 30 years old!).


  • Pike Market is home to the oldest neon sign (since 1937) on the West Coast.

  • More than 200 shops/stalls are located there

  • The shop rent is based on your profit margin

  • In 1982 the Market Foundation is established and in 1985 a campaign starts where people can donate $35 and get their name engraved on a floor tile in return, there are more than 46000 engraved tiles, even Bill Gates (originally from Seattle) has his own tile there.

Visit Seattle's Space Needle and MoPop Museum

view on the Space Needle in Seattle

If you want a great view over the city, you must visit the Space Needle. This futuristic building was built for the 1962 World's Fair and has since attracted millions of visitors. The lift takes you to the observation deck at a height of 160 metres in about 40 seconds. A visit around sunset is ideal. You can enjoy the view of the skyline, the surrounding mountains and the shimmering Puget Sound (river). We enjoyed a drink in the revolving bar on the lowest floor where the all-glass floor is located. Here you can see, among other things, MoPOP, the museum of Pop Culture in the shape of a smashed guitar. In fact, Seattle is also the birthplace of some of the most influential bands in history, including Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

Be enchanted by Chihuly's glass art in Seattle

When you visit the Space Needle, I would definitely recommend a duo ticket to also visit the Chihuly Glass and Garden Museum. (Or even better a Seattle CityPass, see tip below) Dale Chihuly was born in Seattle in 1941 and is the most famous American glassblower. He also worked on the island of Murano near Venice. At this museum, you will discover incredibly beautiful glass installations, from large chandeliers to beautiful glass vases. Chihuly was also inspired by his mother's garden and thus created numerous garden installations consisting of beautiful glass flowers and plants.

Enjoy waterfront and Seattle skyline views from the boat

view on Seattle from the Puget Sound

A boat trip on the Puget Sound is also not to be missed on your visit to Seattle. The view from the water is different anyway. You can take a ferry to one of the islands or just take a tour with Argosy cruises if you don't have much time. (The latter is included in the CityPass) During the boat trip of about 1 hour, you also get a lot of information about the city and its surroundings.

Tip! Buy a Seattle CityPass for best things to visit in Seattle:

Seattle CityPass

A Seattle CityPass gives you access to the following attractions:

  • Space Needle

  • Seattle Aquarium

+ 3 choices from the following attractions:

  • Argosy cruise port tour

  • MoPOP

  • Chihuly Glass and Garden

  • Woodland Park Zoo

The price for a CityPass is €113.48 for an adult and €84.87 for a child (aged 5-12)

You'll save around 47% on all these attractions.

Our favourite restaurants in Seattle

Oysters at Allwater Seafood & Oysterbar Seattle

All Waterbar Seafood & Oyster Bar, 1000 1st Avenue Seattle WA 98104

In Seattle, seafood is very popular (given its location close to the sea). So one of the best restaurants to enjoy fresh oysters and delicious seafood is the Allwater Seafood & Oyster Bar. This restaurant is located in Hotel 1000, near Pike Market. They also host daily 'Oyster Hour' there, Seattle 's best happy hour, where you can enjoy oysters and delicious cocktails.

Pink door restaurant in Seattle

The Pink Door, 1919 Post Alley Seattle, WA 98101

This Italian-American restaurant is very popular and therefore often fully booked. You can book from 1 month before date of visit. However, they also accept walk-ins. So we headed there at 5pm to still get a table (which we happily succeeded in). This beautiful building dates from 1919 and has been a restaurant since 1981. You can sit indoors or outdoors and enjoy delicious cocktails, wines and dishes.

Closed on Mondays and Sundays.

La Parisienne French Bakery, 2507 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

Located in the Belltown district, this authentic French bakery is run by the Morin family. You can enjoy breakfast there with real French croissants or toast with egg. You can also get delicious patisserie accompanied by a nice cup of coffee. The bakery is also frequently visited by locals.

Where to stay in Seattle?

Bedroom Ace Hotel in Belltown, Seattle

A city like Seattle obviously has a wide range of hotels, airbnb's and boutique hotels.

I like to look for a unique place to stay and ended up at Ace Hotel

This loft hotel was fantastically well located in Belltown, close to the waterfront and Pike Market, but the Space Needle was also within walking distance of the hotel. You'll find plenty of artwork and the lobby is more like an art gallery.

Inclusive, sustainable and innovative

Seattle is also known for its progressive and sustainable approach to urban development. As one of the greenest cities in the United States, Seattle is committed to eco-friendly initiatives, including a comprehensive public transport system and encouraging bicycle-friendly infrastructure. It is a city committed to inclusivity, diversity and embracing new ideas.

Any questions? Feel free to ask them in the comments!

 *Disclaimer: This post contains affiliated links which means that purchases made through these links reward Destination Explorer a small commission without any additional charge for the purchaser. 

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Aug 07, 2023

Great article, Inge! Reading it made me want to go back to this marvelous city.

Nov 12, 2023
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Loved this amazing city too!

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