As the Pacific Northwest’s leading metropolis, Seattle has likewise become a popular tourist destination across the entire U.S. This urban seaport features world-class entertainment, dining and nightlife, cultural exhibits and natural scenery. So, make your stay in the Emerald City memorable by visiting these Seattleite-approved stomping grounds.
This downtown shopping district brings together a wide range of local artisans, bakers, farmers and small-batch businesses in one vibrant atmosphere. From organically grown produce and wild-caught seafood to imported wines and specialty cheeses, Pike Place Market is sheer epicurean delight.
Enjoy the musical talents of street performers as you peruse the vendor stalls, then give into your appetite at one of the on-site cafes.
This national park setting, located about 50 miles outside the city limits, is the highest peak within the Cascade mountain range, boasting a 14,411-foot elevation. Although the drive from Seattle can last over two hours, once you arrive, the outdoor activities will keep your family entertained for a whole afternoon.
Explore numerous hiking trails, ride a chairlift to the summit and encounter a native elk herd at the Oak Creek Wildlife Preserve.
Lake Union Park Beach
If you’re visiting Seattle during the summer months, make sure to check out the beautiful family-friendly beaches. Lake Union Park Beach is perfect for summer adventures or a tranquil afternoon.
Located on the banks of Lake Union, the beach features an interactive water fountain, kayak Launchpad, and model sailboat pond.
This landmark observation tower initially debuted at the 1962 World’s Fair and has been Seattle’s undisputed icon ever since. No vacation in the Emerald City would be complete without experiencing panoramic skyline views from 520 feet above ground level––which is exactly what you’ll discover at the Space Needle. On clear and overcast days alike, Mt. Rainier can also be spotted from this wide-reaching vantage point.
This historic neighborhood, established during Gold Rush times, is the West Coast’s answer to Greenwich Village. With a thriving art scene, quirky boutiques, public greenspace and international cuisine, this diverse enclave will take you off-the-beaten path for a glimpse of local flavor.
Whether you prefer sipping espresso at a “hipster” coffee bar to wandering through a sculpture garden, Pioneer Square has your daily culture fix.
This nonprofit exhibition, dedicated to the converging ideas within the twentieth-century pop culture, is the brainchild of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Paying homage to music, film, science fiction, gaming, animation and other multimedia genres, EMP Museum fuels the imagination of both modern audiences and older generations.
From rock n’ roll enthusiasts to cosplaying “Trekkies,” there’s a niche for just about everyone here.
This nationally acclaimed performance venue welcomes both touring Broadway musicals and original productions onto its dynamic stage. For a front-row seat to the history and evolution of American drama, schedule your travel itinerary around an evening at Seattle’s Fifth Avenue Theatre.
Current highlights throughout this 2016 season include Assassins, Kinky Boots, Paint Your Wagon and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.
These maritime sightseeing excursions give passengers an unparalleled view of the Puget Sound as they learn about the Emerald City origins, dating back to 1855. Choose from multiple cruise packages like sailing around Lake Union, Portage Bay and Montlake Cut, or drifting through Chittenden Locks and Tugboat Alley. Bar service is also available on every vessel––just in case a handcrafted cocktail tempts your taste buds.
From quintessential tourist sites to community institutions and local hangouts, these attractions will keep your whole family returning to the Pacific Northwest over and over again. Have you experienced any points of interest on this list? Or, do you know another Seattle-area haunt worth visiting? Tell us in the comment section below!
Maile is a contributing editor for Carpe Daily. She earned her Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism and Television Production from Chapman University. When she’s not working or writing, she enjoys hiking, exploring, and finding new activities and adventures.