With travel coming back in full swing, you might find yourself visiting the Emerald City for the first time! Seattle is home to plenty of iconic tourist attractions - some amazing and some that might have you feeling lackluster. As a newer resident of Seattle (I moved here last January) I have spent most of my time learning the ropes of the city and all of the coolest places to visit. Whether you’re a PNW newbie or a Puget Sound local there is always something new to discover on your visit. Whether you love the gorgeous outdoor scenery, eclectic neighborhoods, or the thriving culinary scene, Seattle has exciting offerings for whatever suits your fancy!
So you’ve arrived in Seattle, you’ve hopped onto the Link Light Rail from the airport, and you’ve checked into your hotel. Now what? Well if it’s early in the day, Pike Place Market is always a great first place to stop. As one of the most iconic tourist destinations, Pike Place Market has plenty to present. If you’re like me, you might spend your day wandering through the array of shops, stopping to buy fresh flowers and some delicious veggies. Or perhaps you want to try the countless food options and watch the world-famous fish-throwing! No matter what your preferences are, Pike Place Market has something for everyone.
After a busy market day, you might want to take some time to relax. Seattle Center is just a short walk from Pike Place Market and is a great place to cool off. Home to attractions such as the Museum of Pop Culture, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and the world-renowned Space Needle, there is plenty to do! I would recommend skipping the elevator ride to the top of the Needle and instead take that time to explore the area, grab a good lunch (I’m partial to Dick’s Drive-In in lower Queen Anne), and enjoy a nice picnic outside of the Space Needle. If you’re a pop-culture enthusiast the Museum of Pop Culture, or moPOP, is a great place to geek out over artists, musicians, and movies! If you’re looking for something slower-paced, Chihuly Garden and Glass is a great alternative. Observe the beautiful glasswork created by Dale Chihuly and his team and take your time strolling through the beautiful garden. Seattle Center has offerings for everyone and is a must-visit locale on your trip to the city!
One of my personal favorite things to do in town on a day off is visit one of our many museums. As an art lover, Seattle Art Museum, or SAM, is a great place to unwind and be inspired by distinguished artists. They often have new touring exhibitions that help every visit feel fresh and exciting! Another beautiful art museum we offer is the Asian Art Museum located in Volunteer Park. Art not your thing? No problem! Boeing’s Museum of Flight has wonderful examples of aeronautic history, some pretty cool galleries, and a circa 1950 Air Force One that you can get up and walk around in! Seattle offers plenty of other cool museums as well including the National Nordic Museum, Museum of History & Industry, and Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. No matter your interest Seattle has plenty to offer museum lovers!
Consider yourself more of an outdoors enthusiast? You’re in luck! In my opinion, Seattle offers some of the best outdoor experiences in the country. If you have a whole day, head over to Mt. Rainier. It’s less than 60 miles down the road but you will want to take your time in the park as you take in the breathtaking views. More of a beach person? Golden Gardens is a great place to relax with the family and take in some gorgeous scenery. Alki Beach is also wonderful on a sunny day with beautiful views of the Seattle skyline and a fun crowd, though it tends to bring large crowds during the summer. Whether you’re into mountains or beaches, there are plenty of exciting outdoor excursions for you to choose from.
If you don’t plan on heading over to Alki to soak up the city views, there are still plenty of locations to achieve that picture-perfect view of our skyline. One of the most popular places to catch a great view is Kerry Park, a small park in Queen Anne that hosts some spectacular views. It’s usually pretty busy around sunset so I suggest getting there pretty early to snap your pictures. Another great location is actually on the Ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. Not only does it offer some great views it’s a pretty fun chance to explore outside of the city. Finally, my favorite Seattle view is at Gas Works Park in Wallingford. If you’re a movie buff like me, you might recognize this park from the Paintball scene in 10 Things I Hate About You. While it doesn’t host a paintball field (though it totally should) it is a great place to relax after a long day of sightseeing.
It’s not a trip to Seattle without immersing yourself in the local culture and exploring the diverse neighborhoods. Capitol Hill has plenty to offer in terms of shopping and nightlife. Make sure to take a picture with the Jimi Hendrix statue and grab an Eggs Benedict from Glo’s (My favorite breakfast place in town!) before heading to shop at some of the local stores. Fremont offers some quirky destinations as well including the Fremont Troll (also from 10 Things I Hate About You) and the Fremont Vintage Mall, a must-see for any avid vintage collectors. If you're here for the weekend, head over to Ballard’s Farmers Market on Sunday. It’s a great way to support the local community and there are many great shops to check out as well, including my favorite store Prism. Each neighborhood has its own unique flavor so be sure to check them all out!
When you aren’t busy running around sightseeing, come check out the TOM BIHN showroom! We would love to meet you and give you an in-person look at the bags. Plus it’s super cool to see the behind-the-scenes process that goes into making each and every bag. No matter what your interests are there’s so much to do and see in the Emerald City.
Now go out and explore!