Seattle is eclectic, definitely hip, and has just the right combination of awesome things to do fun-packed in an area you could easily discover in one weekend.
Here we put together a three-day itinerary of must-dos in the Emerald City. Of course, feel free to add more attractions and activities such as side trips to Rainier National Park or to the Bainbridge Islands.
Only things you need to enjoy a visit to Seattle are comfortable walking shoes, multilayered clothing and the right mindset for exploration and discovery.
Day 1 – Seattle Waterfront
At Pike Place Market, all you really need is a good sense of smell, orientation, and time on your hands. The oldest covered market in the country offers so much activities, from navigating through the food and fish stands to peeking into the shops Down Under. Be sure to check out the Gum Wall, have a latte at the first Starbucks, and enjoy a fresh seafood lunch in the many bistros and restaurants in the Market.
From there, make your way down to the sublime Seattle Waterfront. Strolling the piers could be a relaxing activity made even better with the stunning views of the sea. The highlight of this city trek could be either the panorama from the Seattle Great Wheel — the giant ferris wheel at Pier 57 – or the cruise around Elliot Bay on a tour boat.
Don’t leave the waterfront without visiting the Olympic Sculpture Park at the North End. This public park is one of the places where people can enjoy open-air art sculptures from the most renowned artists, courtesy of the Seattle Art Museum.
Day 2 – Seattle Center and Downtown
Day Two should be reserved to the exploration of Downtown Seattle and its many marvels. Start off the day with… suspense… coffee – d’uh! Between Pine Street and the 2nd Avenue and Pike Street and 1st Avenue, you will find most of the most popular and high-rated coffee shops. Check out our top pick of great latte art venues in Seattle.
The next stop is the Seattle Art Museum. The SAM has an impressive collection of Native American art and International Contemporary art. There is always rotating exhibitions ranging from fun Japanese neo-pop art — think manga and anime artwork — to century-old African mask exhibits.
After spending your morning taking in world culture, head off the the Westlake Center, the premier Seattle entertainment, dining, and shopping hotspot. Shopaholics will love to search this 4-story shopping mall up and down for bargains right after grabbing lunch at the food court or in one of the many nearby restaurants.
Take the Seattle vintage monorail to Seattle Center, the site of the 1962 world fair and still the preferred destination in Seattle, home to many world-famous attractions. Start the EMP museum – by far, one of the most interactive museums in town, and then slowly make your way to the Chihuly Garden and Glass taking time to check out all the cool things happening in the park. If the sky is clear, head to the Space Needle to enjoy the 360-degree unobstructed views of Seattle’s perfect skyline. And while you are up there, why not have dinner at the SkyCity at the Needle?
Day 3 – Old Seattle
Dedicate your third day to historic Seattle by exploring the streets and underground ways in and around Pioneer Square. Kick off your day with some more sublime latte art either at Zeitgeist Coffee or at Caffè Umbria.
Next step in your exploration will be the Underground Tour where you will see and hear all the insider’s stories about the streets of old Seattle, now turned tunnels.
Of course, you must also wander the old streets and peak into the antique shops and the beautiful galleries. Check out the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park to on your way to Chinatown and the International District.
Don’t miss the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience and to do plenty more exploring around the International District. Give into succulent dim sum at budget prices in the popular Jade Garden or try your chance at the Harbor City Restaurant.
Of course, three days is not enough to go off the tourist trail and explore the hidden gems and local treasures in Seattle. From the colorful independent coffee shops to the unique museums and art venues to the hiking trails and parks, the Emerald City is a true gem for culture buffs and nature lovers.