What to do in Seattle

With the nation’s premier museums, outdoor areas, and attractions, a more appropriate question might be, “What isn’t there to do in Seattle?” The city not only contains nationally recognized landmarks like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, it also boasts world-class dining, shopping, and nightlife options. While the majority of visitors visit downtown, there are countless attractions in nearby neighborhoods. The below list represents only a fraction of things to see, for a more complete collection, visit the Annual Congress website.


Space Needle – A short monorail ride away from downtown is Seattle’s most iconic landmark. The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and was once the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River. While expensive to ride to the top, the Space Needle is a “must-see” for visitors on a nice day.

Pike Place Market – Opened in 1907, Pike Place is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers markets in the United States. It is home to the famous fish market, original Starbucks Coffee shop, and a large indoor and outdoor market.

Seattle Art Museum – With a collection of nearly 25,000 pieces, SAM is one of the premier cultural destinations in Seattle. It maintains three major facilities: its main museum in downtown Seattle; the Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM) in Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill, and the Olympic Sculpture Park on the central Seattle waterfront, which opened on January 20, 2007.

Seattle Aquarium – The aquarium promotes marine conservation and instructs over 800,000 visitors each year, including 50,000 students, to learn about their impacts on marine life. Some of its exhibits include Window on Washington Waters, Crashing Waves, and Life on the Edge.

Surrounding Area

Center For Wooden Boats – A museum dedicated to preserving and documenting the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest. Rent an antique boat and go for a row or a sail.

Kubota Garden – A spectacular 20-acre Japanese Garden in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of South Seattle. The Garden contains streams, waterfalls, ponds, rock outcroppings, and an exceptionally rich and mature collection of plant material.

Snoqualmie Falls – A 45-minute ride from downtown, the views from the top and bottom of the 270-foot falls are equally striking. The Northwest Railway Museum gives visitors a peek at a Victorian-era depot and a short train excursion through the Snoqualmie Valley.