What is there to do in Seattle?

Fun activities in Seattle for adults

I posted this answer in a previous response, but think its still apropos here.

(Original post: Christie Foxs answer to What are the best things to do and see in Seattle? Ive lived in Seattle for several years but Im always curious what Im missing out on.

),While this is a pretty wide open question, my answer narrows it down to my personal fav things to do in the city.

Note also that there are always good concerts and during the summer, amazing farmers markets.

I like the one in Ballard.

,One other addition: about a 30u201345 min drive outside of Seattle, there is a really rad treehouse hotel.

Good for a weekend getaway! TreeHouse PointThere are three top categories of things to do and see in Seattle, in my opinion: experiencing nature, checking out the local history and culture, and (my personal fav!) food & drink.

,Experiencing Nature (activity, recommended dates, difficulty, cost),Hike Rattlesnake Ridge.

Late April - early September.



,Whale-watching through the San Juans.

Early July.

Easy, drive required and reservations typically necessary.


Seattle Whale Watching,Alki Beach.

Beautiful year round, late July - August for hanging on the beach, September - October is also good.

Easy, parking can be a hassle.


,Checking out the local history and culture (activity, recommended dates, distance from city, cost),Native American culture (highlighting a few of my favs - I am First Nations, and I believe many of these cultural sites are overlooked by tourists and seattlites alike).

,Hibulb Cultural Center.

Year round, Tuesday - Friday 10 am - 5 pm, Saturday - Sunday noon - 5 pm.

An hour drive north from Seattle (Tulalip).


,Suquamish Museum.

Year round, 10 am - 5 pm.


5 hour drive northwest from Seattle.


,African American, Nordic, Latino, Asian American culture,The influences can be seen throughout the city (I.


- Ballard has a rich Nordic history),Definitely visit the Northwest African American Museum.

Year round, Wednesday - Sunday 11 am - 5 pm.

10 minute drive from downtown.


,Food & Drink (restaurant, location, price range ($-$$$$), dish to try),Pho Viet Ahn.

Queen Anne.


Steak pho with spicy broth.

,Peteu2019s Egg Nest.



Greek scramble with extra tzatziki.

,Toulouse Petit.

Queen Anne.


Oysters and everything on the charcuterie.




Toms Favorite Breakfastu2026.

this is my fav dish in Seattle.

Go for breakfast and get this.

,Hope this gives you some fun ideas, and enjoy the city!!

Unique things to do in Seattle

Go skiing, at Stevens Pass preferably.

Enjoy the quiet slopes and soft powder.

,Or crowd Gasworks or Kerry Park in the cold for a 4-minute explosion session followed by a 30-minute scramble to remember where you parked your car and then observe the mad dash for Dicku2019s.

Beautiful places in Seattle

Yes, with views of both the Cascade and Olympic Mt ranges and Puger Sound as well as a remarkable skyline when viewed from one of the Washington State Ferries, Seattle is one of the most beautiful cities.

Add to that the experiences of the Pike Place Market, a wealth of museums, the Experience Music Project, and very diverse and excellent restaurants, Seattle provides a wonderful tourist experience

Free things to do in Seattle

My favorite things are:,Wandering Pikes Place, Capitol Hill, and University district,Spending the afternoon at Volunteer Park and visiting the Asian Art Museum,Alki Beach stroll,Hiking nearby trails and camping at free camp sites,Watching a free concert at the Benaroya,Attending a Farmeru2019s, Art & Craft or Street Market,Attending gallery hop once a month,Taking photos around the city,Walking along the waterfront at sunset,Free sailboat rides on Sundays on Lake Union by the CWB,Wandering around the Space Needle and Seattle Center,Getting lost in the Magic Mouse Toys toy shop in Pioneer Square,Walking around Ballard,Attend local meet ups and free classes,Attend local openings and launch parties,Pack a lunch and explore the city!

Seattle City Pass

The expiration date should be indicated some where on your pass, although I think the pass is good for 7 days and for the rides you have chosen.

Seattle attractions map

Iu2019m a u2018Britu2019 who has experienced the USA over a period now approaching 4 decades.

,Whenever Iu2019ve been there, itu2019s been independent travel, ~not package tours, so my experience will vary from that of many British people.

,Sadly, I have concluded that for me, visiting is no longer worth the hassle.

,And that is a real shame.

The people can be great & a lot of the USA is very attractive, a really stunning place.

,Unlike some respondents to the question, I believe there are things to do and see in the USA that are truly awesome.

(To use the popular American term.



,It is now more than ten years since Iu2019ve been stateside.

I used to go at least every other year, sometimes twice a year, especially in the early u201890u2019s.

,So why the change in my attitude?,1.

TSA and CBP.

AKA: Security theatre.

Security theatre.

It was bad enough missing a connecting flight from Chicago to London because the TSA drones thought it more important to mess about behind their scanners, rather than attend to the ever-growing lines of frustrated travellers.

,Apparently, there was some sort of u2018eventu2019 going on.

An alert, a drill, a work to rule, I never did find out & no-one was saying.

The staff dealt with it by laughing amongst themselves, standing around or shouting at travellers.

It was an embarrassing display of gross incompetence.

,As a result of that, I vowed never to transit though the USA again.

,Then, thereu2019s the land border between Canada and the USA at Blaine.

I was driving back to Seattle from Vancouver BC in a US sourced and registered rental car.

(I had all the required permissions to take it out of the USA).

,After returning the rental, Iu2019d be getting a flight from Seattle to Auckland NZ to go and see my Brother & his family.

,Iu2019d originally flown into Seattle from London Heathrow & driven up to Vancouver, then to Whistler for a few days.

(It worked best for me regarding cost & timing).

,I was in a good mood.

I told the US border guy my travel itinerary but this was apparently a problem.



Compute!His opinion? You are British, therefore you should be flying back to the UK, not New Zealand.

No amount of explaining was going to convince the guy otherwise.

,I donu2019t think the guy actually listened to a word I said.

(He kept aggressively saying u2018you didnu2019t tell me thatu2019 often mere seconds after I had said exactly what I was being told I hadnu2019t said!,Keep calm, try to keep smiling, hide those gritted teeth.




,I had visions of being refused re-entry into the USA, whilst in a US registered rental vehicle with all my onward travel relying on a departure from Seattle! I was told to park-up & wait in an officeu2026,Luckily, I only had to wait about two hours.

The problem?,This:,Whilst no-one admitted it, it seems that the guy I was speaking to didnu2019t grasp that you could fly from the western USA (mid left hand side of the map) direct to New Zealand (in the bottom right) without having to cross all that stuff in the middle of the map.

,Hence his confusion over the fact that I didnu2019t plan to return to the UK before heading for NZu2026,Diplomatic incident avoided! I was free to go.

,I had a great couple of days in Seattle, stayed with friends, saw Mt.


Helens, the Boeing factory & some very nice bars on the waterfront.

,A few days later, I remember contrasting the thorough, efficient, welcoming and quick NZ border control with the US versionu2026.

,On another occasion, pre-micro USB, I was shouted at for daring to have three chargers (=wires!) for sat nav, phone & a bluetooth receiver in my carry-on.

,Then there was.


and that timeu2026.

,Keep calm, grit those teeth, keep smilingu2026,All the above highlights two more problems:,2.

Bureaucracy in the USA.

It is capricious, officious and inept, period.


most UK visitors to the USA only experience bureaucracy in the form of border security & thatu2019s at popular holiday destinations (Orlando & similar).

To be fair, at busy destinations, it is reasonably streamlined for us primitive foreign people.

Other arrival/departure points? See above.

,A few might experience the US Police for one reason or another.

Such as asking directions.

They soon learn: Do Not Experience The US Police.

Itu2019s a lottery.

Some are fine, many (in fact, most) arenu2019t.

,Iu2019ve had experience with various DMVs.

(I used to buy classic cars in the US for export back to the UK).

Getting clear title, paperwork and the correct export documents should be straightforward and consistent.

It is elsewhere, even when compared to Italy, a nation not exactly famous for bureaucratic efficiency!,Every time was a soul destroying hassle, because people didnu2019t know their job & that was apparently my fault.

On one occasion, it took two weeks and the intervention of a lawyer to get clearance, simply because people canu2019t & wonu2019t do their jobs.

I gave up that exercise in the late u201890u2019s.

From what I hear, things havenu2019t improved.

(You are supposed to do a lot of this on-line in California now, but I am told it doesnu2019t work, so grab your ticket & queue!).

,Experience with other u2018civil serviceu2019 type operations is equally fraught & itu2019s no wonder US lawyers are so busy sorting things out!,I only ever got sick once in the US.

Thankfully Travel Insurance!! The experience was such that I will never get sick in the US again.

,Then thereu2019s:,3.

The People.

Generally, theyu2019re great.

Friendly and welcoming.

Proud of their nation (butu2026) and generally infectiously enthusiastic.

,So why that (butu2026)?,Since the 1980u2019s Iu2019ve noticed a change.

When I first went there, people were friendly & welcoming, proud of their nation & eager to learn.

The enthusiasm was a given.

,Now, it seems that for too many US Americans, the pride comes at a cost.

In the 1980u2019s, (as a young English guy in Boston of all places!), it could be and often was a comparison.

An acceptance that different countries did things differently & Boston people I got to know seemed interested in how things were done elsewhere.

No judgement, just an exchange of facts.

u2018Least, thatu2019s what I recall.

,These days, it seems that anything that might dare to challenge the automatic u2018USA = No.

1u2019 mindset results in personal insult for whoever youu2019re trying to talk to.

As if u2018different elsewhereu2019 automatically implies u2018betteru2019 when youu2019re making no such claim.

(Though thatu2019s often simply to avoid a confrontation.

Because, the way the rest of the World does some things might just be u2026.


,So: Unless you want a row, you are careful about what you say regarding anything as diverse as: Religion.



Healthcare etc.

, etc.

Stick to cars & the weather.

(& even these subjects can be dangerous!).

,There is now a subtle (and sometimes, not so subtle) feeling that actual violence is just beneath the surface, as though that howdy-doody manner is just a thin facade, one disagreement away from screeching, shouting and flailing fists! Thankfully, that doesnu2019t apply to most Americans, but the number it does apply to seems to be increasing?,I can have rows (= enthusiastically expressed debate) with Germans, Italians, Spanish & Portuguese people & it can all remain humorous and good natured.

No offence taken, none given & would you like another drink? In other words, freedom to express an opinion, whereas in the USA, it feels like u2018freedomu2019 to be like everyone else & God Forbid that you should disagree with thatu2026.

,Thatu2019s probably the main problem.

It means that you canu2019t really relax around people and thatu2019s something that has definitely got worse since the 1980u2032s.

,In the USA, youu2019re acutely aware of the fact that, with far too many American people, any challenge to their preconceptions feels dangerous.

It often feels like the USAu2019s view of itself is built on disparaging others.

That gets boring and tiresome very quickly.

,Then, there is the baffling lack of basic knowledge so many US citizens seem to possess.

(See 1.


Seems as if something is going very wrong with the US education system?,As a consequence of all this, if you travel around a bit, you have to be very careful what you say & who you say it to.

That gets tedious.

If I am going to be paying to be somewhere, I want to feel like I can relax.

,There are exceptions to all the above.

Once youu2019re within the borders, the USA can be a terrific place.

It can be stunningly beautiful.

(& Americans are very good at visitor centres!).

,But there are needless hassles that can ruin your experience & itu2019s often just too difficult.

So, Iu2019ve stopped trying.

,EDIT:Mind you, as an Englishman, I am alarmed about the direction my own nation seems to be heading.

The inclusive, open, welcoming nation I thought I lived in seems to have changed to a fractured, narrow-minded Little Ingerlund in the 2 1/2 years since a certain voteu2026.

Best of Seattle

A lot of people have been basically just running through sights to see in Seattle, which is not bad but some of these things (e.


Space Needle, Aquarium) are actually fairly well advertised and friends I have who visit the city are typically already aware of them.

Ive lived in Belltown for over 6 years now, I have a few things to add to the great answers put forth thus far from Sean Enright, Samuel Byrne, Anne Thorsteinson, and Terry Divyak:,,Happy hour at El Gaucho is actually one of the best bargains in the city food-wise considering the high reputation of it.

While I think El Gaucho generally costs more than its worth, the happy hour prices are a great value for the quality of food you get.

While my favorite happy hour is probably Toulouse Petit, El Gaucho is the better secret.

,Im surprised that no one has brought up the Ballard Farmers Market - a lot of non-locals are not aware of this.

Its open year round on Sundays, its at a pretty good-sized scale, and its way less crowded than Pike Place.

,Theres a lot of great beer festivals in Seattle: Seattle International Beerfest, Cask Beer Fest, Pumpkin Beer Fest, Belgianfest, and Winter Fest, to name a few.

Folks here are proud of local craft beer and Im sure there are plenty of other places in the country that have a strong tradition of local beer (e.


Portland) but definitely dont underestimate Seattle in this regard (especially known for IPAs).

The festivals are a lot of fun and showcase a wide variety of beers - the SIB is definitely the most impressive one.

,Free sailing in the summer at the The Center for Wooden Boats! They accept donations but they dont require it to sign up for a ride.

This is one of the first dates I had with my now fiance so it holds a special place in my heart.

They do an awesome job there.

,Also on the nautical front, Duck Dodge.



Seattle Sailboat Races on Lake Union isnt very well known except by locals.

You can watch the action from around Lake Union, or on your own sailboat, of course :),This is a secret I discovered from living right near the water - theres a free lookout on the deck at Bell Street Pier (at least it was free the last time I checked).

You can book the area for weddings (I passed by one a few years back) as it provides a wonderful view of the water, but there are also viewing scopes that dont require any coins to operate.

You can see across the water or into the city from that vantage point - especially nice at sunset!,Not sure if this is really a big secret, but Ill throw it on here anyway since my out of town visitors tend to not know about it and almost miss it: Chihuly Garden and Glass.

It doesnt get the amount of marketing as some of the other museums, but Id say that its the most unique one Seattle has to offer next to the Museum of Flight (though I personally still prefer the Chihuly one).

I consider it a must-see for any local or visitor.