Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Seattle, WA

Seattle, Washington, is a vibrant and bustling city with a rich history and diverse culture. It is famous for its stunning natural beauty, thriving music scene, and delicious coffee. Whether you are a nature lover, a music enthusiast, or a foodie, Seattle has something for everyone. In this article, we will explore some of the top-rated tourist attractions in Seattle that you should not miss.

If you are a first-time visitor to Seattle, a visit to the iconic Space Needle is a must. Standing at a towering height of 605 feet, the Space Needle offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and its surrounding mountains and waterways. Take a ride up to the observation deck and enjoy the stunning vistas, or dine at the SkyCity restaurant for a truly memorable experience. The Space Needle is not only a popular tourist attraction, but it is also a symbol of Seattle’s innovation and forward-thinking mindset.

Another must-visit attraction in Seattle is the Pike Place Market. Dating back to 1907, the Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continuously operating public farmers’ markets in the United States. Here, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, interact with local vendors, and sample fresh produce, seafood, and artisanal products. Don’t forget to visit the famous Pike Place Fish Market, where you can witness the unique tradition of fishmongers throwing fish to each other with incredible skill and precision.

No trip to Seattle would be complete without exploring the city’s thriving music scene. Seattle is the birthplace of grunge music and has a rich history of producing world-renowned musicians. A visit to the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) is a must for any music lover. The museum celebrates the history, culture, and impact of popular music, science fiction, and pop culture. Explore the exhibits dedicated to legendary musicians like Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana, and discover the fascinating world of science fiction and fantasy.

Last but not least, a visit to Seattle is incomplete without indulging in the city’s famous coffee culture. Seattle is home to numerous coffee shops, some of which have become global icons. One such coffee shop is the original Starbucks located at Pike Place Market. Step inside this historic coffee shop and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee while taking in the unique ambiance and the buzz of Seattle’s coffee culture.

These are just a few of the top-rated tourist attractions in Seattle that are sure to leave you with lasting memories. Whether you are exploring the city’s natural beauty, immersing yourself in its vibrant culture, or enjoying its world-class cuisine, Seattle offers an unforgettable experience for every visitor.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is one of the top tourist attractions in Seattle. Located in the heart of downtown, this historic public market is a must-visit destination for locals and visitors alike.

Established in 1907, Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continuously operated public markets in the United States. It is known for its vibrant atmosphere, lively street performers, and a wide variety of local produce, seafood, and crafts.

Visitors can stroll through the market and marvel at the colorful displays of fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The market is also home to numerous specialty food shops, bakeries, and restaurants, where you can sample delicious local cuisine.

One of the most iconic features of Pike Place Market is the Pike Place Fish Market, where the famous fish mongers toss fish from one end of the stall to another. This entertaining spectacle draws crowds of onlookers and has become a symbol of the market.

Another must-see attraction within Pike Place Market is the Gum Wall. This unusual and quirky attraction is a wall covered in chewed gum, creating a unique and colorful display. Visitors are encouraged to contribute to the wall by adding their own piece of gum.

Pike Place Market is not just a place to shop and eat, but it is also an important community hub. It is home to numerous small businesses, independent artisans, and farmers who come together to create a vibrant and diverse community.

Whether you are looking to explore the local flavors, browse unique shops, or simply soak up the lively atmosphere, Pike Place Market is a must-visit destination for any visitor to Seattle.

Space Needle

The Space Needle is an iconic symbol of Seattle and is a must-see attraction for visitors to the city. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle stands at 605 feet tall and offers breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings.

Visitors can ride to the top of the Space Needle in just 41 seconds in the high-speed elevators. Once at the top, they can enjoy panoramic views of Seattle’s skyline, including sights such as Mount Rainier, Elliott Bay, and the Olympic and Cascade Mountains.

In addition to the observation deck, the Space Needle also features a rotating restaurant called SkyCity. Diners can enjoy delicious cuisine while taking in the spectacular views below. The Space Needle also has a gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs to remember their trip.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the Space Needle recently added a thrilling feature called “The Loupe.” This glass-floored observation deck allows visitors to experience the sensation of walking on air, as they can look down and see the city below their feet.

The Space Needle is open year-round, but it is especially popular during the summer months. It is recommended to purchase tickets in advance to avoid long wait times. Whether it’s day or night, the Space Needle provides a memorable experience and an unrivaled view of Seattle.

Museum of Pop Culture

The Museum of Pop Culture, also known as MoPOP, is a unique museum located in Seattle, Washington. This museum is dedicated to showcasing the popular culture of various genres, including music, film, video games, and more. It was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and opened its doors to the public in 2000.

MoPOP features a wide range of exhibits that celebrate the history and impact of popular culture. One of the main highlights of the museum is the Sound Lab, where visitors can try their hand at playing different musical instruments and recording their own songs. It’s a fun and interactive experience for all ages.

Another prominent exhibit at MoPOP is the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Hall of Fame, which recognizes and honors the significant contributions of writers, filmmakers, and artists in the science fiction and fantasy genres. From J.R.R. Tolkien to George Lucas, visitors can explore the worlds created by these creative visionaries.

The museum also hosts rotating exhibits that cater to different themes and interests. From exploring the world of Marvel superheroes to diving into the history of video games, there’s always something new and exciting to discover at MoPOP.

MoPOP also offers educational programs and events tailored to different age groups. From workshops to lectures, visitors can delve deeper into the themes explored by the museum and learn from experts in the field.

Located in the heart of Seattle, the Museum of Pop Culture is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the vibrant and ever-evolving world of popular culture. Whether you’re a fan of music, film, or video games, there’s something for everyone at MoPOP.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this one-of-a-kind museum and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and stories of popular culture. MoPOP is sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors of all ages.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

The Chihuly Garden and Glass is a must-visit tourist attraction in Seattle, located at the Seattle Center. This unique exhibit showcases the stunning glass artwork of renowned artist Dale Chihuly.

Visitors to the Chihuly Garden and Glass can admire a variety of Chihuly’s glass sculptures, installations, and artwork. The exhibit is spread across different indoor and outdoor spaces, allowing visitors to explore at their own pace.

One of the highlights of the Chihuly Garden and Glass is the Glasshouse, a large structure that houses a 100-foot-long suspended sculpture. The glass artwork resembles a colorful forest and is a true masterpiece.

In addition to the Glasshouse, the Chihuly Garden and Glass features several other themed gardens, including the Persian Ceiling, the Northwest Room, and the Garden of Glass. Each space is uniquely designed and showcases Chihuly’s creativity and artistry.

For those interested in learning more about Dale Chihuly and his work, there is an exhibition hall that displays his drawings, sketches, and personal collections. Visitors can gain a deeper understanding of the artist’s creative process and the inspiration behind his glass artwork.

The Chihuly Garden and Glass also has a café that offers a selection of snacks and beverages. It’s a great place to take a break and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Overall, the Chihuly Garden and Glass is a visual feast for art enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Whether you’re a fan of glass art or simply appreciate beautiful craftsmanship, this attraction is not to be missed during your visit to Seattle.

Seattle Art Museum

The Seattle Art Museum, commonly referred to as SAM, is one of the most prestigious art museums in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Located in downtown Seattle, it is a must-visit destination for art lovers with its vast collection of fine art, contemporary art, and indigenous art from around the world.

The museum has three major facilities including the main museum in downtown Seattle, the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park, and the Olympic Sculpture Park on the waterfront. Each facility showcases different aspects of art and provides a unique experience for visitors.

The main museum in downtown Seattle houses an extensive collection of European and American art, including works by renowned artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Mark Rothko. The museum also features a variety of special exhibitions throughout the year, highlighting both classic and contemporary art.

The Seattle Asian Art Museum, located in Volunteer Park, showcases one of the most comprehensive collections of Asian art in the United States. From ancient Chinese ceramics to contemporary Japanese paintings, the museum offers a rich and diverse exploration of Asian cultures and artistic traditions.

The Olympic Sculpture Park, situated along the waterfront, combines art with the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. The park features large-scale sculptures by prominent artists, including Alexander Calder and Louise Bourgeois, set against the backdrop of stunning views of the Seattle skyline and Elliott Bay.

In addition to its impressive art collection and exhibitions, the Seattle Art Museum also hosts educational programs, lectures, and workshops for visitors of all ages. Whether you are a seasoned art enthusiast or just curious about art, SAM offers a range of engaging activities to enhance your museum experience.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Seattle Art Museum and discover the richness and diversity of art from around the world. With its stunning architecture, thought-provoking exhibits, and captivating events, SAM is a true gem of the Seattle art scene.

Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo is a top-rated tourist attraction in Seattle, Washington. It is a 92-acre zoological garden located in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood. The zoo houses over 1,000 animals from around the world, including elephants, giraffes, gorillas, lions, and more.

Visitors to the Woodland Park Zoo can explore a variety of exhibits and areas, each designed to provide a unique and educational experience. The African Savanna exhibit allows visitors to observe animals such as zebras and hippos in a habitat that closely resembles their natural environment. The Tropical Rain Forest exhibit showcases a vibrant and lush ecosystem, complete with free-flying birds, deadly snakes, and playful monkeys.

For those interested in marine life, the Northern Trail exhibit is a must-see. This exhibit features coastal animals from the Pacific Northwest, including sea otters, seals, and sea lions. The zoo also has a Family Farm, where visitors can interact with domestic animals such as goats and sheep.

In addition to the animal exhibits, the Woodland Park Zoo offers various educational programs and events. These include guided tours, wildlife talks, and behind-the-scenes experiences. Visitors can also participate in conservation efforts, such as the zoo’s efforts to protect endangered species.

Overall, the Woodland Park Zoo provides a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages. With its diverse range of animal exhibits and interactive programs, it is an ideal destination for nature lovers and families alike.

Fremont Troll

The Fremont Troll is a large statue located under the Aurora Avenue Bridge in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. This iconic attraction was created in 1990 and quickly became a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

The troll is made of concrete and measures approximately 18 feet tall. It was designed by local artists Steve Badanes, Will Martin, Donna Walter, and Ross Whitehead, who won a competition to create an art installation for the bridge. The inspiration for the troll came from Scandinavian folklore, with the artists aiming to capture the whimsical and mythical nature of trolls.

Visitors can climb the troll and explore its various nooks and crannies, including its giant hand that holds a real Volkswagen Beetle. The troll’s menacing appearance and quirky details make it a great spot for photos and a unique experience for those who visit.

In addition to its visual appeal, the Fremont Troll has also become a symbol of community and creativity in Seattle. It has been the backdrop for many local events and celebrations, including the annual Troll-o-ween festival, where people gather to celebrate Halloween and enjoy live music, food, and activities.

The Fremont neighborhood itself is known for its artistic and eccentric vibe, and the Fremont Troll perfectly captures this spirit. It’s a must-visit attraction for anyone looking to explore the quirkier side of Seattle and immerse themselves in the city’s unique culture.

Kerry Park

Kerry Park is a small public park located on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill in Seattle, Washington. It offers one of the most iconic views of the city skyline, including the Space Needle, downtown buildings, and the waterfront. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Seattle, the Olympic Mountains, and on clear days, even Mount Rainier.

The park is named after Albert Sperry Kerry, a prominent lawyer and philanthropist who donated the land to the city in 1927. It was initially designed as a scenic vista point, providing a place for locals and visitors to enjoy the breathtaking views of Seattle.

Kerry Park is known for its perfectly framed views and is a popular spot for wedding and engagement photos. The park features several benches and picnic tables, allowing visitors to relax and take in the scenery. It is also a favorite spot for photographers, who come here to capture the stunning cityscape and sunsets.

In addition to its impressive views, Kerry Park is surrounded by beautiful landscaping and offers a peaceful atmosphere. The park is well-maintained and features a small playground for children. It is a great place to bring the family, have a picnic, or simply enjoy a quiet moment surrounded by nature.

Location Hours Admission
211 W Highland Dr, Seattle, WA 98119 Open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Free

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, a visit to Kerry Park is a must. It offers a picture-perfect view of Seattle and provides a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Seattle Great Wheel

The Seattle Great Wheel is one of the most iconic tourist attractions in Seattle, Washington. Located on Pier 57 along the downtown waterfront, it offers breathtaking views of Elliott Bay and the city skyline.

This giant Ferris wheel stands at a height of 175 feet and features 42 fully enclosed gondolas. Each gondola can accommodate up to eight passengers, providing a comfortable and enjoyable experience. The gondolas are equipped with heating and air conditioning, ensuring a pleasant ride regardless of the weather.

Riding the Seattle Great Wheel is a must-do activity for visitors to the city. As you ascend to the top, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of downtown Seattle, the Olympic Mountains, and even Mount Rainier on a clear day. The views are especially spectacular during sunset and at night when the city lights up.

The Seattle Great Wheel is open year-round, offering breathtaking views in every season. During the summer months, the Wheel operates from 10 am to midnight, allowing visitors to enjoy the stunning views even in the late hours. In the winter months, the operating hours may vary, so it’s recommended to check the schedule before planning your visit.

Aside from the stunning views, the Seattle Great Wheel offers a memorable experience for everyone. Whether you’re visiting with family, friends, or your significant other, riding the Wheel is a unique way to create lasting memories. It’s also a popular spot for marriage proposals or romantic dates.

In addition to the Wheel itself, Pier 57 is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and attractions. Visitors can enjoy a meal at one of the waterfront restaurants, explore the shops for souvenirs, or try their luck at one of the arcade games.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience and breathtaking views of Seattle, make sure to visit the Seattle Great Wheel. Enjoy a relaxing ride, take amazing photos, and create lasting memories at this top-rated tourist attraction.

Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium is a top-rated tourist attraction in Seattle, Washington. Located on the waterfront at Pier 59, the aquarium offers visitors a chance to explore the rich marine life found in the waters of the Pacific Northwest.

At the Seattle Aquarium, visitors can get up close and personal with a variety of marine species, including otters, seals, sea otters, and fish. The aquarium is home to over 800 different species, with exhibits that showcase the diverse habitats found in the area, such as tide pools, coral reefs, and kelp forests.

One of the most popular exhibits at the Seattle Aquarium is the Underwater Dome. This unique exhibit allows visitors to walk through a glass tunnel surrounded by a 360-degree view of marine life, providing an immersive experience like no other. From giant octopuses to colorful schools of fish, the Underwater Dome offers a glimpse into the underwater world.

In addition to the exhibits, the Seattle Aquarium also offers educational programs and activities for visitors of all ages. From hands-on discovery stations to daily animal feedings and talks, there are plenty of opportunities to learn more about the ocean and its inhabitants.

For those looking to make the most of their visit, the Seattle Aquarium offers a variety of ticket options, including discounted rates for seniors, children, and military personnel. There is also a gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs and a café where they can grab a bite to eat.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an animal enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun and educational experience, the Seattle Aquarium is a must-visit attraction in Seattle. With its stunning exhibits, engaging programs, and beautiful waterfront location, it’s no wonder it is highly recommended by both locals and tourists alike.

Ballard Locks

The Ballard Locks, officially known as the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, is a complex of locks located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. These locks help to regulate the water level of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and provide a connection between the freshwater of Lake Washington and the saltwater of Puget Sound.

The locks were constructed in the early 20th century and are an impressive feat of engineering. Visitors to the Ballard Locks can watch as boats pass through the locks, either on their way to Lake Washington or on their way out to the sea. It is a fascinating sight to see the water levels rise and fall as the locks open and close.

The locks also have a fish ladder, which allows salmon and other migratory fish to navigate past the locks and continue on their journey. This is an important part of the ecosystem and provides an opportunity for visitors to observe the incredible journey of these fish.

The Ballard Locks are not only functional but also beautiful. The grounds surrounding the locks are meticulously maintained and include a lovely botanical garden. Visitors can take a stroll through the gardens and enjoy the stunning array of plants and flowers.

Overall, the Ballard Locks are a must-visit attraction in Seattle. Whether you are interested in engineering, nature, or simply enjoy watching boats, the locks offer something for everyone. So, be sure to include the Ballard Locks on your itinerary when visiting Seattle.

Washington State Ferries

The Washington State Ferries system is the largest ferry system in the United States and serves as a vital transportation link for residents and visitors alike. With more than 20 vessels, the ferries connect various locations throughout Puget Sound, including Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, and Vashon Island.

These iconic green and white ferries provide not only a convenient mode of transportation but also offer stunning views of the surrounding natural beauty. Whether you’re commuting to work or looking for a leisurely way to explore the area, a ferry ride is a must-do experience in Seattle.

The most popular ferry route is the Seattle-Bainbridge Island route, which offers breathtaking views of the Seattle skyline, Mount Rainier, and the Olympic Mountains. The 35-minute journey allows you to escape the bustling city and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Sound.

Another popular route is the Seattle-Bremerton route, which takes you across the Sound to the charming city of Bremerton. Once there, you can explore the USS Turner Joy, a historic naval destroyer that has been converted into a museum.

If you’re seeking a scenic adventure, the ferry to Vashon Island is a great choice. Known for its lush landscapes and artistic community, Vashon Island offers a peaceful retreat just a short ferry ride away from Seattle.

Whether you’re a local or a first-time visitor, riding the Washington State Ferries is an essential part of the Seattle experience. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey as you discover the beauty of Puget Sound from the deck of a ferry.

Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Seattle and is known for its rich history and vibrant arts scene. It is located in the heart of downtown Seattle and is home to many top-rated tourist attractions.

One of the main highlights of Pioneer Square is its beautiful historic architecture. The neighborhood is filled with stunning Victorian-era buildings, brick-lined streets, and ornate storefronts. Walking through Pioneer Square feels like stepping back in time.

A must-visit attraction in Pioneer Square is the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. This park tells the story of the Klondike Gold Rush, which brought a wave of fortune seekers to Seattle in the late 1800s. Visitors can explore exhibits and learn about the history of this fascinating time period.

Another popular attraction in Pioneer Square is the Underground Tour. This unique tour takes visitors beneath the streets of Seattle to explore the city’s underground tunnels and basements. The tour guides share entertaining stories about the past and provide insights into the history of the area.

Pioneer Square is also known for its lively arts scene. The neighborhood is home to numerous art galleries, studios, and theaters. Visitors can explore the galleries and admire the work of local artists, catch a live performance at one of the theaters, or attend one of the many art events held throughout the year.

In addition to its historical and cultural attractions, Pioneer Square is also a great place to shop and dine. The neighborhood is filled with unique boutiques, antique stores, and specialty shops. There are also plenty of restaurants, cafes, and pubs where visitors can enjoy delicious food and drinks.

Overall, Pioneer Square is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Seattle’s history, arts, and culture. With its beautiful architecture, fascinating attractions, and vibrant atmosphere, it offers something for everyone.

Discovery Park

Discovery Park is a 534-acre natural park located in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle. It is the largest city park in Seattle and offers visitors a diverse range of outdoor activities and stunning views of the Puget Sound and Cascade Mountains.

The park is renowned for its extensive trail system, which consists of over 11 miles of hiking trails that wind through forests, meadows, and along the shoreline. These trails provide opportunities for wildlife viewing, birdwatching, and exploring the diverse ecosystems found within the park.

One of the highlights of Discovery Park is the West Point Lighthouse, which dates back to 1881 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the surrounding area.

In addition to its natural beauty, Discovery Park also features several amenities for visitors to enjoy. The park has picnic areas, a children’s play area, and a visitor center where guests can learn more about the park’s history and ecology.

Whether you’re looking to go for a leisurely stroll, enjoy a picnic with family and friends, or soak in the breathtaking views, Discovery Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts visiting Seattle.

FAQs

What are the top tourist attractions in Seattle?

Seattle has numerous top-rated tourist attractions, including the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, the Museum of Pop Culture, the Chihuly Garden and Glass, and the Seattle Great Wheel.

How tall is the Space Needle?

The Space Needle in Seattle is approximately 605 feet tall.

What can I do at Pike Place Market?

Pike Place Market is a bustling marketplace where you can explore stalls selling fresh produce, seafood, crafts, and antiques. You can also enjoy street performances, sample delicious food and beverages, and shop for unique souvenirs.

What can I see at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle?

The Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle offers exhibits that showcase the history and significance of popular culture. Visitors can explore displays dedicated to music, film, fashion, video games, and more. There are also interactive exhibits and special exhibitions throughout the year.

How much does it cost to visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass?

The admission prices for the Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle vary depending on the age of the visitor. As of 2021, the adult ticket costs $32, the senior ticket (ages 65 and above) costs $27, the student ticket (ages 13 and above with ID) costs $27, and the youth ticket (ages 5-12) costs $19. Children under 5 can enter for free.

What are the top-rated tourist attractions in Seattle, WA?

Some of the top-rated tourist attractions in Seattle, WA include the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle Art Museum, and the Museum of Pop Culture. These attractions offer a mix of beautiful views, cultural experiences, and interactive exhibits.

How can I get to the Space Needle in Seattle?

The Space Needle in Seattle can be easily accessed by public transportation or by car. If you are taking public transportation, you can take the Monorail from downtown, or you can take several bus routes that stop near the Space Needle. If you are driving, there is a parking garage available near the Space Needle.

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TOP 15 BEST Things To Do in Seattle Washington (2024) | Travel Guide

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Erica Silverstein

Erica, a seasoned travel writer with 20+ years of experience, started her career as a Let's Go guidebook editor in college. As the head of Cruise Critic's features team for a decade, she gained extensive knowledge. Her adventurous nature has taken her to Edinburgh, Australia, the Serengeti, and on luxury cruises in Europe and the Caribbean. During her journeys, she enjoys savoring local chocolates and conquering various summits.

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