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Top Ten Things to See and Do in Seattle

Top Ten Things to See and Do in Seattle

Recently named among one of the top cities in the U.S. by readers of Condé Nast Traveller, Seattle offers the best of both urban and outdoor experiences and provides the perfect point of departure for a cruise holiday. You’ll find many of the city’s top visitor attractions located within close proximity to the waterfront, including the Space Needle, Art Museum, Culture Park and of course, Seattle’s famous coffee.

Seattle is a destination that can be visited year-round because it has a wide range of activities no matter what the weather brings. Although it is often referred to as the rainy city, Seattle gets less precipitation than New York or Miami, with a mild climate between May and October. Located within the Pacific Northwest, the region is one of the most beautiful within the United States.

The Sea-Tac airport is the gateway to the Northwest and the port is known as The Green Gateway for trade and travel. The port provides a key role in bringing international trade, transportation and travel to the Pacific Northwest. In 2012, a total of 202 cruise ships visited the port, bringing in approximately 935,000 visitors to the region. In addition, the Port of Seattle generated over $416 million dollars in annual business revenue to the city last year.

The Smith Cove Cruise Terminal is one of the newest additions to the Port of Seattle and serves as a homeport for many cruise lines including Celebrity Cruises and Holland America Line. Located at the north-end of the waterfront, the terminal is just a ten minute drive away from the city’s retail district and the Space Needle. At Pier 66, the Bell Street Pier is located along the downtown waterfront, close to many shops, bars and restaurants and is often used as the homeport for Oceania Cruises.

Space Needle

This striking landmark in Seattle was built for the 1962 World’ Fair and offers magnificent view over the city. On clear days, you may even be able to see Mount Rainer. The Space Needle has always been an important landmark for the city of Seattle, let alone for the entire North West coast of the United States. Standing at 184 metres above sea level and weighing 9,550 tonnes – be sure to visit the observation tower and the rotating Space Needle Restaurant.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

According to many travel forums, the Chihuly Garden and Glass is one of the most-sought-after attractions in Seattle. This is where you can explore the work of Dale Chihuly and possibly explore the adjacent Space Needle all within one visit.


Designed by renowned architect Frank Ghery, this museum takes you on a journey through the history of music through a variety of exhibitions consisting of over 80,000 artefacts, costumes and musical instrument. The museum showcases how musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana and Pearl Jam formed rock music and much more.

Pike Place Market & Walking Food Tours

Located in downtown Seattle, the Pike Place Market first opened its doors in 1908 to provide the consumer direct contact with the producer. Branches of popular chain are not welcome and all the shops and stalls within the market must retain their original concept. This is also the place where Starbucks was born. To ensure you don’t miss a single thing, we suggest you join one of the many guided tours operating each day around the market place.

Pioneer Square and Underground Tour

Pioneer Square is known as the historic centre of Seattle and is where the first pioneers settled in the city. The Pioneer Square-Skid Road Historic District is also included within the National Register of Historic Places, thus making it a popular destination with tourists. Within the district, you will find an array of art galleries, cafes and even a portion of the Klondike Gold Rush National and Historic Park. Within Seattle, you can take an Underground Tour within Pioneer Square and discover what secrets lie beneath.

Seattle’s Waterfront and Ferris Wheel

The old quays of Pier 59 and the Waterfront provide the perfect exploration opportunity to visitors of Seattle. Various highlights along the bustling waterfront include the Seattle Aquarium, Myrtle Edward Park, the Olympic Structure Park and many shops, bars, arcades and restaurants. Located at Pier 57, be sure to take a ride on the Ferris Wheel and take in the breathtaking view of Seattle’s diverse skyline.

Seaplane from Lake Union

Hop into the co-pilot’s seat, and zoom along one of the most attractive cityscapes in America. The Scenic Seattle Flight departs from Lake Union and takes you on a grand tour around the Emerald City aboard a comfortable seaplane. The area has now been transformed into a trendy neighbourhood and offers remarkable views of downtown Seattle.

The neighbourhood of Freemont, Belltown and Ballard

Although downtown Seattle may be fairly small, the city is home to over thirty neighbourhoods, all of which have their own distinct character. The most famous neighbourhoods of Ballard and Freemont are located in the north of the city, and are renowned for their upmarket shops and spectacular views. Meanwhile, Belltown is located close to the Pike Place Market and is referred to as the up and coming district with a variety of new developments popping up around every corner. This is also home to one of the most famous restaurants in the city: Flying Fish.

Tillicum Island

Over at Blake Island, you’ll find the cultural experience of the Salish tribes, who lived in Seattle around the early 1800s. The park will tell you everything you need to know about the history and way of life, including various shows and exhibitions that are often a hit with tourists.

Shopping in Seattle

If you are planning on doing some retail therapy whilst in Seattle, then you can choose from plenty of global chains and designer ships in the city centre and chic independent boutiques in Belltown. Be sure to visit Capitol Hill, Pike Place Market and the Waterfront if you are looking for an array of foods, great coffee and locally-produced preserves.

Farther afield

If you are looking to explore more of the northwest, then Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens and the Olympic National Parks are within a two-hour drive from the city. Alternatively, you can discover the rugged coastline, dense rainforest and spectacular alpine peaks found on the San Juan Islands or visit the world-famous Boeing factory.

Fast Facts about Seattle

~ Seattle is 83.9 square miles wide and is located 113 miles south of the U.S./Canadian border.

~ Each time a home-ported ship docks in Seattle, it contributes $2.1million to the local economy.

~ The Space Needle is 605ft tall, with a 360 degree observation deck at 520ft.

~ You’ll find the Revolving SkyCity Restaurant 500ft above the ground at the Space Needle.

~ Seattle is home to the world’s first Starbucks, which opened in 1971.