Outdoorsy things to do in Seattle
Home » Around Seattle » 49 BEST Things to Do in Seattle, Washington!

49 BEST Things to Do in Seattle, Washington!

Sharing is caring!

There are so many things to do in Seattle—the biggest city in Washington certainly packs a punch when it comes to fun and insightful tours, interesting cultural curiosities, and jaw-dropping nature just outside of downtown.

With so many attractions, it’s hard to believe there’s even more beyond the city limits that can be done in a day. This makes Seattle an ideal base to stay in if you’d like to explore the surrounding areas of the Pacific Northwest, too!

There’s every outdoor activity in Seattle you can imagine, and it’s ideal during every season.

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Seattle, this list has you covered with plenty of fun activities and tips from someone who has visited COUNTLESS times!

A map of things to do in Seattle.
Click the image to view the clickable map of things to do in Seattle.

Table of Contents

1. Take a Dip at Alki Beach

Alki Beach is perhaps the most popular in all of Seattle, sitting on Puget Sound with views of the Olympic Mountains stretching back from the shore and the Seattle skyline on the other side.

View from Alki Beach across to apartments in Seattle and the space needle in the distance.
Swim with a view of the city at Alki Beach.

There’s a paved trail to Duwamish Head, or you can rent water sports gear from Alki Kayak Tours. 

The beach sits just a 13-minute drive from Seattle’s downtown area, or you can take the West Seattle Water Taxi directly from downtown!

READ MORE: 19 Killer Beaches In Seattle, Washington For Adventure

2. Visit The Historic Pike Place Public Market—Famous Thing to Do in Seattle

Dating back to 1907, Pike Place Public Market is a Seattle institution.

A free activity in the heart of the city, no visit to Seattle is complete without taking some time to browse Pike Place, shop at independent and local businesses, and try some delicious local food. 

A bright red neon sign at the entrance of Pike Place farmers market while cars pass outside.
The neon sign that marks the entrance to Pike Place.

You can either visit independently or, if you want to learn some of the market’s secrets and see where the locals love to shop and eat, there is a walking tour, run by a local, that includes a tasting session and plenty of secret spots that you might not have found otherwise!

3. Rent a Kayak at Lake Sammamish State Park—Our Fav Thing to Do in Seattle

Lake Sammamish sits amid a state park just east of the city, making it one of the best things to do in Seattle if you want to leave the bustle behind for an afternoon.

A couple on a paddle board in Lake Sammamish surrounded by ducks and with a view of lake houses.
If not a kayak, then a paddle board instead!

This park has two beaches, boasting impressive nature trails which you can cycle or hike. Don’t forget your binoculars—this state park is great for birdwatching! 

The two beaches are Sunset Beach and Tibbetts Beach; the first is pebbly and sandy, with beautiful vistas over the Puget Sound water, a kid’s playground, and lots of sandcastle-building space!

Two people on a kayak in Lake Sammamish while another man sits on a chair on Tibbetts Beach besides a row of unused kayaks.
Tibbetts Beach at Lake Sammamish.

Tibbetts Beach is smaller but has a watersports gear rental office, which is ideal if you want to take to the waters! This is the one we hang out at.

READ MORE: Exploring Lake Sammamish Just Outside of Seattle!

4. Explore an Old Factory at Gas Works Park

If you only check out one park in Seattle, make it Gas Works Park! This is a unique park in Seattle’s Gas Light Company gasification plant and offers some of the best views of the city’s downtown.

Aerial view of Gas Works Park at sunset and a view over Seattle Bay all the way to downtown.
Remains of the old factory at Gas Works Park.

You can also explore the factory’s remains and learn about the site’s history. We love this park. It’s so weirdly unique!

READ MORE: The 19 Best Parks In Seattle For Adventure

5. Discover the Capitol Hill Neighborhood

Bouncing around the multitude of neighborhoods is one of the best things to do in Seattle, and of all the unique districts, Capitol Hill is often lauded as one of the most fun.

A view over the Capitol Hill neighborhood with a bit of construction and a view of the Olympic Mountains at sunset.
View over the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Full of cute cafes, award winning restaurants, a vibrant nightlife, and historic mansions, there’s a little something here for everyone.

6. Hike Mount Si—Popular Outdoorsy Thing to Do in Seattle

Washington is known for its awesome hiking trails, and there are some great routes close to Seattle. While Mount Si is one of the busiest, it’s popular for a reason.

You’ll summit over 3,100 feet in less than four miles, but it’s not impossible—there are plenty of stopping places en route!

The large peak of Mount Si covered in a dusting of snow on an overcast day.
High altitudes at Mount Si sometimes means snow.

This eight-mile hike is often a test for climbers who want to hike Mount Rainier—if they can get to Mount Si in under two hours, they’ll feel ready to tackle the bigger Washington peak.

RELATED: 25 EPIC Hikes In Washington To Tackle

7. Grab Some Grub at Waterfront Park

This park boasts an impressive pier with incredible vistas of Elliot Bay and the city center.

Old converted warehouses and a ferris wheel on the Seattle Bay in Waterfront Park.
Waterfront Park is one of the most fun outdoor activities in Seattle.

Waterfront Park has a cultural hub, with occasional events and stalls to purchase local food. While you’re here, you can take a ride on Seattle’s Great Wheel, which offers impressive views over the waterfront.

8. Catch a Sunset at Golden Gardens Park

One of the closest beaches to Seattle, Golden Gardens Park is an immensely popular destination for residents of the big city.

Sunset over the beach at Golden Gardens Park while people watch from the beach.
Sunset at Golden Gardens Park is one not to miss!

Laze away sunny days on the shores, go for a dip, build a sandcastle, or just picnic and enjoy the view.

If you’re looking for a sunset spot close to downtown, head to Golden Gardens Park in the evening—it’s one of the best places to take in mesmerizing views of the sun turning the sky and water all shades of yellow, orange, and pink.

9. Enjoy the Snowy Season

If you’re looking for outdoorsy things to do in Seattle in winter—you’ve got skiing, snowboarding, light trails, and even a local German village to visit!

Overhead view of people enjoying an ice skating rink in Seattle.
Seattle in winter is a vibe!

But you don’t have to leave the city to enjoy wintery offerings—Seattle itself is a magical place during this time of year.

You can strap on some ice skates and visit the numerous outdoor rinks around the city, hit up the annual winter beer festival, or catch a hockey game. Don’t let that cold weather stop you!

READ MORE: Seattle in Winter: 17 TOP Things To Do!

10. Admire Modern Art at The Olympic Sculpture Park

Head to the Olympic Sculpture Park, situated between Elliot Bay and the Space Needle, to take in nature and humanmade phenomena like beautiful and fascinating sculptures that you can explore on a self-guided tour.

View of the Space Needle from the Olympic Sculpture Park with a man running past a giant red sculpture in the foreground.
Modern artworks at Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle.

You can also take a trail to Myrtle Edwards Park once you finish here. 

11. Immerse Yourself in Nature at The Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park 

Just 17 minutes from the city sits Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.

This park has an array of hikes, including the 6.9-mile Margaret’s Way Trail that spans to Debbie’s View, where you can take an immense panoramic view of the park.

Trail through trees in Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park with sun shining through the trees.
Lose yourself in the green of Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.

Or, the Coral Creek Falls Loop is a 2.7-mile loop, and you’ll find the immense Coral Creek Falls on the way, which is a photographer’s dream!

12. Avoid the Rain at the Volunteer Park Conservatory

No matter what time of year you’re in town, there’s always a chance for grey skies. One of the best things to do in Seattle on a rainy day is to visit the Volunteer Park Conservatory.

Blue, purple and yellow flowers surrounding the giant glass conservatory at Volunteer Park in Seattle.
Bet you didn’t think the conservatory was this big!

The warmth and tropical plants from around the world create an inviting ambiance to wait out the rain.

13. Hit Up The Local Farmers Markets 

As Seattle sits in the heart of gorgeous Washington nature, it should come as no surprise that there are a good few farmers’ markets to visit in the area!

The most popular include:

  • Queen Anne Farmers Market (taking place every Thursday)
  • Capitol Hill Sunday Farmers Market (as the name suggests, taking place on Sundays but also Tuesday afternoons)
  • West Seattle Farmers Market (also on Sundays!)
Fresh fish lined up on a counter with prices at a local farmer's market.
Get your hands on fresh produce at Seattle farmers markets.

Markets have plenty of food stalls serving up local produce, places to purchase ingredients, and gift stalls (ideal for souvenir shopping!), and some even have live music or entertainment.

They’re the perfect low-budget attraction to enjoy on a morning or afternoon in the city!

14. Jump Off The Pier at Mt. Baker Beach

Right on the shore of Lake Washington, Mount Baker Beach boasts impressive vistas of the bright blue water lapping the sand.

A view over Mount Baker Beach and Pier with a lifeguard tower, a jumping dock and a person in the water on a sunny day.
Jump right into the water from Mt. Baker Beach Pier.

There’s a pier sticking out from the beach, which you can jump off of! Plus, there are epic views of Washington’s wonderful scenery and the urban landscape from the sands.

15. Get Panoramic Views From The Space Needle

You can’t come to Seattle and not visit the Space Needle.

A stunning view of the Space Needle in downtown Seattle with a backdrop of a mountain at sunset.
The Space Needle creates Seattle’s iconic skyline.

Dating back to the 1962 World’s Fair, this spire is 605 feet tall and protrudes straight up into the sky, with a revolving restaurant and observation deck at its top (where you can check out 360-degree views). 

On a clear day, you can see the Olympic and Cascade Mountain Ranges and all the way out to the islands of Puget Sound. Book your ticket here to save time!

16. Take a Stroll Through Washington Park Arboretum

With Lake Washington gently lapping the shores, this arboretum is an idyllic place to take in nature close to Seattle. Jointly managed by the University of Washington and the City Council, this is one of the best free things to do in Seattle.

Two people walking through Washington Park Arboretum towards an empty bench under the sun and surrounded by trees.
Take it easy in Washington Park Arboretum.

There’s a broad range of trees, flowers, and plants, some of which you won’t find elsewhere in the region. A scenic setting for catching fall colors and springtime blooms, this arboretum boasts incredible trails with epic views.

The most beautiful part is perhaps the Japanese Garden, although there is a fee to visit this area.

17. Have Some Fun at The Seattle Pinball Museum

Traditional museums aren’t for everyone, but the Seattle Pinball Museum is no ordinary institution.

This interactive museum allows you to play on vintage pinball machines dating back to the 1930s and offers up interesting tidbits of info.

A close up shot of a red and blue pinball machine.
Nothing beats a good game of pinball.

You’ll pay an entrance fee to the museum, which allows you unlimited play on all the machines. You can even buy drinks and snacks if you work up an appetite!

18. Soak Up The Sun and Mountain Views at Madrona Beach

Sitting on the shores of Lake Washington close to the Madrona business district is this black sand beach. You can also see epic views of the mountains and the urban landscape.

From the beach, hiking and jogging trails span and weave in the hinterland area.

Tourists on Madrona Beach with a view of the jumping dock and the large lake.
People enjoying their day on Madrona Beach.

It’s a popular beach for Seattle locals, but there’s plenty of space – so you should always find room to roll out your towel!

You can take a dip from the beach, and there are lifeguards there for the summer months. 

19. Indulge in Some Fresh Seafood

When you’re this close to the ocean, it’s a sin not to indulge in some fresh seafood.

A man walking past Ivar's Fish Bar while people order food at the counter on a sunny day.
Ivar’s is famous for its clam chowder!

Whether you’re picking up a whole fish from Pike Place Market, seeking out the best oysters in the city (check out Elliot’s Oyster House), or dining at one of the many local restaurants, be sure to get your fill of seafood while in Seattle.

20. Visit Famous Street Art Spots

While we love Seattle’s connection with nature, some of its urban attractions are something to shout about. One of these is its incredible street art! 

A wall in Seattle that's completely covered in different colored gum.
The famous Gum Wall – yes, it’s made from chewing gum!

If you want to see the most incredible murals and thought-provoking pieces, head to SoDo Track, where you’ll find a whopping two-mile stretch of art! Then there’s the Gum Wall, which you may find equally funny and grotesque…

There are plenty of other murals adorning walls throughout the city, too, which you will inevitably stumble on as you wander around.

21. Take in The Views at Seacrest Park

You can enjoy immense sea views from Seacrest Park. It’s very close to the city center, with an elevated area at Hamilton Overlook, where you can take in incredible vistas of the city and nature. 

A large green telescope in Hamilton Overlook in Seacrest Park with a view of downtown Seattle.
Hamilton Overlook in Seacrest Park.

Or, head down to the beach, where you can rent out watersports gear or even go scuba diving!

When it’s time to head back downtown, you can catch a water taxi across the sound and be right in the heart of Seattle.

22. Admire The Scenery Along Rattlesnake Ledge Trail

Rattlesnake Ledge Trail is a five-mile walk that spans the brilliantly blue lake with alpine-like forests on either side.

Groups of people hiking up Rattlesnake Ledge Trail to the summit with a great view across the valley on an overcast day.
Make sure to summit Rattlesnake Ledge!

From the lake, walk up to the ledge, where you can admire the gorgeous scenery.

It’s around an hour and a half from Seattle, on the other side of Tiger Mountain Forest, and it’s well worth visiting! 

23. Drink All the Coffee!

Ask locals for an authentic Seattle experience, and they’ll likely mention coffee!

In fact, the global franchise Starbucks was established at Pike Place Market in 1971. Of course, if you like Starbucks or are just interested in seeing where such a global phenomenon first began, it’s worth popping in while you’re exploring Pike Place.

Two cups of coffee in white mugs on a cafe table besides a pastry treat.
Seattle’s famous for coffee – don’t miss a cup or two.

However, plenty of independent roasters serve much better coffee than the ‘bucks! You also won’t have to wait in the crazy long line to get the same stuff you get at your local Starbucks either…

Literally, no joke, it’s the same exact Starbucks, so maybe just take a wander by it and then get your caffeine fix elsewhere…

Here are a few of our favorites: 

  • Sound and Fog: Serving fresh coffee from local roasters, this cafe also provides delicious local wines and beers. 
  • Ballard Coffee Works: With a focus on sustainability, Ballard Coffee Works strives only to use the most responsible beans and serve up delicious espressos and flat whites in their downtown cafe. 
  • Elm Coffee: Offering a range of roasts that change with the seasons, Elm Coffee is a hip but welcoming cafe that strives to run an inclusive space where everyone can enjoy a freshly-made brew! 

If you want to see even more incredible coffee options and learn about Seattle’s obsession with the drink, take this tour. It’ll take you around the city, educating you about the roasting process and offering a few delicious samples of both espressos and infused coffee. 

24. Go on a Free Walking Tour—Best FREE Thing to Do in Seattle

Of course, Seattle doesn’t just offer coffee tours. There are plenty of free walking tours—perfect if you want a dose of history while you’re staying here. 

One of the best websites to book these tours is Seattle Free Walking Tours.

The totem pole at Pioneer Square surrounded by trees and framed by antique lampposts.
The famous totem poles at Pioneer Square.

They offer a two-hour experience traversing downtown, the waterfront, Pioneer Square, and Seattle’s totem poles while explaining the city’s unique history and diverse cultures. 

As the name suggests, this tour is technically free, but there’s a caveat—you should tip generously. The guides make their money from tips (and usually pay a percentage back to the company that advertises the tours!). Depending on the group size, most people tip $10 – $20. 

25. Tackle the Trails at Marymoor Park

This wonderful park is close to Lake Sammamish and is one of the best things to do in Seattle for adventure seekers.

A unique looking pointy rock climbing wall in Marymoor Park on a sunny day.
The unique rock climbing wall at Marymoor Park.

Not only is there a range of hiking and biking trails here, but some of the viewpoints are immense, and you can even tackle a rock climbing wall! 

We love the Heron Loop Trail for its wildlife and lake views, and there’s an area for dogs to swim here, as well.

26. Brewery Hop

Another fantastic urban attraction in Seattle is its many breweries!

The city is full of them, and they’re perfect for having a few while planning a weekend trip or for debriefing when returning to the city after a camping trip… Or… really, just anytime!

A mans hand taking a sample of craft beer from a rack.
Seattle’s beer might rival its coffee.

Some of our favorites are: 

  • Stoup: Serving porter, IPAs, and light beers, Stoup is a fantastic brewery with an excellent taproom. 
  • Urban Family: Famous for its sour (and sometimes strong-tasting!) beers, Urban Family has a scenic patio where you can enjoy its range of drinks. 
  • Cloudburst Brewing: A classic on the Seattle beer scene, Cloudburst is famous for its pilseners, stouts, and IPAs, and it serves drinks across two locations. 
  • The Good Society Brewery: Located in West Seattle, this brewery provides tasty beer, supports local initiatives, and gives back to the community. 

27. Paddle on Lake Union 

Just north of downtown Seattle sits Lake Union, a haven for watersports.

Two people kayaking on Lake Union with a view of downtown Seattle and a seaplane flying overhead.
Kayaking is one of the best outdoorsy things to do in Seattle.

At Northwest Outdoor Center, you can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards and take them out while admiring the views of the city skyline.

It’s an effortless way to combine nature with urban scenery! 

28. Explore Seattle’s Underground Tunnels

A must for any off-the-beaten-track travelers who love learning about forgotten histories! This Seattle underground walking tour frequents tunnels, built in the 1890s when the current city streets were built, elevated after a fire ravaged a lot of the city.

A spooky looking underground tunnel with a boardwalk through old rust pipes.
Some things to do in Seattle are hidden out of sight.

The streets were inhabited until 1907 when bubonic plague ravaged Seattle. Nowadays, this tour will take you into the heart of this city underground and show you a unique perspective of modern Seattle. 

READ MORE: 15 Of The Best Seattle Tours To Get The Most Out of Your Visit!

29. See the Cherry Blossoms Bloom in the University District

Each spring, the University of Washington campus comes to life with the blooming of fragrant cherry blossom trees.

You’ll need a little bit of luck and some good planning to see them in full bloom, but the pretty pink flowers combined with the gothic architecture of the university is a sight to behold.

Cherry blossom trees framing the beautifully designed University if Washington building.
Spring is a beautiful season in Seattle.

For your best chance of seeing the cheery blossoms, plan your trip for mid-March to early April, and keep your fingers crossed!

30. Spend a day at Tiger Mountain State Forest 

Tiger Mountain State Forest is a 13,745-acre expanse with enigmatic trees and charming hiking trails. One of the most popular is Chirico Trail to Poo Poo Point, which is about 4.5 miles long.

The top has some of the best views in the entire state park!

A view of Mount Rainier from Tiger Mountain framed with trees and fog with a clear sky.
Mount Rainier views from Tiger Mountain.
The trailhead and information sign for Tiger Mountain Trail leading into overgrown grass.
The trail to epic views at Tiger Mountain

Alternatively, take the Tiger Mountain Trail, which is a 14.5-mile out-and-back trail that takes around seven and a half hours to complete; it’ll be an all-day trip from Seattle, but it’s well worth it!

31. Do a Donut tour

One of the most fun things to do in Seattle is a donut tour! The city is famous for these deep-fried cakes, and throughout the area, you can find all sorts of varieties, ranging from iced to jam-filled.

A couple sitting at a white table while eating a box of donuts with a cup of coffee.
Don’t miss a sweet treat while in Seattle.

However, it’s hard to find the best donuts without expert guidance, which is where this donut tour, led by a local, comes in! You’ll be licking your finger throughout the whole thing and filling up on Seattle’s best, so come hungry!

32. Snag a Shot of Mount Rainier at Kerry Park

Take in an epic view of the city from Kerry Park, where you can see vistas of the entire cityscape and surrounding mountains, including Mount Rainier.

An amazing pink and purple sunset over downtown Seattle with a view of Mount Rainier in the distance from Kerry Park.
From Kerry Park, you can enjoy views of the city and beyond.

This is an idyllic sunset spot – don’t forget your camera!

33. Take a Photo with the Fremont Troll

You can’t leave Seattle without a pic with the famous Fremont Troll. The troll lives the Fremont neighborhood under the George Washington Memorial Bridge, and while he’s a little scary, he’s totally harmless.

A young boy in a blue jumper climbing the Fremont Troll under an underpass in Seattle.
Image by Checubus – Depositphotos.com

Once you’ve posed with the giant, you can hang out in the neighborhood and search for other unique art installations.

34. Attend an Event 

The city is brimming with life, and some of the best things to do in Seattle are to take in some of its incredible events! 

A woman at a stall at a fair sitting down and painting her arts and crafts to sell.
Wander around an art market for a fun outdoor activity in Seattle.

There’s something on every week of the year (and pretty much every day). Highlights include the Seattle Art Fair in July every year, Summer Meltdown in August, Winterfest in December, and Best of the Northwest in March. 

35. Learn About Seattle’s Haunted Past on a Ghost Tour

Are you aware of things that go bump in the night? 

Seattle is one of the most haunted cities in America, with fascinating tales spanning its 200 years.

Seattles skyline and the Space Needle at night with the full moon over the city.
Get your fright on when the sun goes down.

You’ll hear some of the best on this tour, which visits famous haunted spots like Pike Place Market and tells you some eerie stories as you go!

In fact, you might want to visit everything on the list, THEN take this tour, so you’re not spooked out later!

36. Get Your Christmas Spirit on at The Woodland Park Zoo Lights 

Visiting Seattle during the winter? Festive light trails are among the most Christmassy activities anyone can do, and you can see Seattle’s best at Woodland Park Zoo.

A bokeh shot of Christmas lights at night.
Light up a cold night at Woodland Park Zoo.

In the festive season, this zoo is illuminated with animal-themed decorations in their WildLanterns event, perfect for kids and big kids.

37. Head Over to Bellevue

Situated just east of Seattle, across from Lake Washington, sits the lovely city of Bellevue. This is the perfect retreat for anyone looking to get out of the big city without spending extended time in the car.

A view over Lake Washington from Meydenbauer Bay Park in Bellevue.
Meydenbauer Bay Park in Bellevue.

You can reach Bellevue in just 15 minutes, then spend the day wandering along the old Main Street, visiting farms, or relaxing at one of the beach parks.

READ MORE: BEST Things To Do In Bellevue, Washington

Things to Do in Seattle: Epic Day Trips!

Of course, one of the main reasons to visit Seattle is to take incredible day trips from the city center. 

It’s entirely possible to stay in Seattle’s city center and take some of these day trips out from the city—this is ideal if you want a week’s vacation but don’t want to go camping or stay in rural areas. BUT you’ll need a car.

✋ HOLD UP! Don’t Forget…

You need some wheels! It’s nearly impossible to get around the USA and check out the best adventures without a car! Here are our top recommendations…

🚗 Rent a car

If you don’t have your own, renting a car is your best bet!

👉 Find Deals on Cars and SUVs

🚐 Rent a home on wheels

For the more adventurous, rent a van or RV and ditch the hotel.

👉 Find The Best Van For Your Trip

If renting a car isn’t in the cards for you, we’ve offered some tour options below for you as well.

These are the best things to do from Seattle in a day.

38. Deception Pass State Park—Our Fav Thing to Do Near Seattle

Deception Pass State Park is one of the coolest state parks in Washington. With nearly 15 miles of coastline across two islands and some pretty epic trails, it’s no surprise that this is the most popular park in the state.

A view of a suspension bridge connecting two land masses from Lottie Trail in Deception Pass State Park.
Deception Pass is a must-visit!

You could spend the day here hiking, lazing on the beach, or kayaking, then return to back Seattle. The park is less than an hour and a half drive from Seattle, but if you want to spend more time here, you can snag a campsite.

READ MORE: Deception Pass State Park—The State’s Most Famous Park!

39. Whidbey Island for the Day

Whidbey Island is one of the most accessible nature destinations near the city. Sitting just to the north of Seattle, you can take in rugged scenery, beaches, and state parks with hiking trails.

The curved shoreline at Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island on an overcast day.
Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island.

Fort Ebey State Park is home to a historical fort dating back to 1942, or you could visit the even more historic Fort Casey, a defense and training facility from the 19th century! 

Lighthouse at Fort Casey State Park
Fort Casey Lighthouse

It’s the perfect day trip for those who want a slice of history along with some nature. these islands are actually connected by the Deception Pass bridge mentioned above. There’s a lot to do in this area!

READ MORE: 10 Awesome Things To Do on Whidbey Island & Fidalgo Island

40. Bainbridge Island for the Day

A complete breath of fresh air from Seattle, Bainbridge Island is entirely surrounded by salt water and is famous for its tranquil beaches and gorgeous forests.

It’s also a cultural destination, with museums and galleries like the Bainbridge Art Museum and the historical museum.

A boat driving in front of Bainbridge Island on a sunny day with a view of Seattle in the far distance.
Bainbridge Island is an easy day trip from Seattle.

Don’t miss the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, which details a tragic (and often forgotten) part of American history, when Japanese Americans were taken from their families in World War Two. 

Bainbridge Island is one of the easiest-to-reach day trips from Seattle—you can just take a ferry from downtown and be in the heart of the island in just 35 minutes! 

RELATED: 9 of the BEST Day Trips From Seattle (Under 1.5 Hours Away!)

41. Tacoma Day Trip

View down the Old Town Dock in Tacoma with lampposts down it's length and an American flag on a pole.
Amble along the Old Town Dock in Tacoma.

The city of Tacoma sits just south of Seattle. Learn about the water heritage of the Puget Sound at Foss Waterway Seaport, or take in Tacoma’s arty side at the Tacoma Art Museum.

RV parked at Dash Point State Park Campground with Garrett sat behind on a picnic beach.
Getting some nature in at Dash Point State Park outside Tacoma Washington.

For nature lovers, head to Dash Point State Park, which is a 461-acre camping park and is a perfect place for watersports throughout the summer months. 

42. Bellingham Day Trip

Bellingham sits an hour north of Seattle and is home to hiking trails with gorgeous views, farmers’ markets selling local produce, and a vibrant street art trail.

A historic stone bridge crossing Whatcom Falls near Bellingham with trees and rocks surrounding it.
Whatcom Falls and old bridge.

Don’t miss Whatcom Falls park, which boasts an impressive waterfall trail, Labaree State Park on Samish Bay, local shopping at Fairhaven Village, and the 20 craft breweries downtown. 

43. Wallace Falls State Park for the Day

Sitting less than an hour from downtown Seattle, Wallace Falls State Park spans over 1,380 acres and is brimming with activities for a day trip (or, if you have a tent, a camping trip!).

View of Wallace Falls through a wooden log fence from the Woody Trail in Wallace State Park.
Forest views of Wallace Falls.

With 12 miles of hiking trails spanning along the glorious Wallace River and the 265-foot waterfall and plenty of places to sit, picnic, and watch the world go by in the coniferous forest, Wallace Falls is a breath of fresh air from start to finish. 

44. Chase Waterfalls All Day

Just an hour from downtown Seattle is Snoqualmie Pass, a popular mountain pass that’s perfect throughout all the seasons (and a great day trip). These are three awesome waterfalls near Seattle in this area you’ve got to check out.

Observation deck at the Snoqualmie Falls Hike
Snoqualmie Falls has a short trail with an excellent payoff!

Snoqualmie Falls is a 1.4-mile out-and-back trail with an observation deck, where you can take in some views of the waterfall from above and a chance to climb down to the bed. 

Twin Falls is next, and the falls here plunge dramatically from the rainforest into a drop pool.

A long exposure of Twin Falls in the distance and the river leading down from the falls.
The upper viewpoint on the Twin Falls Trail.

And lastly, a two-mile trail with the falls sitting right at the end—Franklin Falls sits in the heart of Snoqualmie National Forest. This one is my fav of the three!

Franklin Falls Hike
Franklin Falls is an easy hike.

The best part about these three waterfalls is there are all close by and you can see them in a day from Seattle.

45. Snoqualmie Pass in Winter

From the moment the first snow falls in November, Snoqualmie Pass turns into a proper winter wonderland, its impressive landscape blanketed in white.

Two skiers on a chair lift at Snoqualmie Pass with a view of a mountain and a layer of fog.
Snoqualmie Pass is a great place for snowsports.

It’s an ever-popular destination for snowsports, and it’s the closest ski resort to Seattle. Skis, snowboards, and snow shoes are all rentable from the various offices in the area.

The ski season in Seattle runs from the end of November (just after Thanksgiving) through early April.

A wintery scene of mountains, snow covered trees and ski lift in the distance at Stevens Pass Ski Resort.
A wintery Stevens Pass.

Other snowsports destinations include Crystal Mountain Resort, known for its views of Mount Rainier (the highest point here is 7,000 feet!), Stevens Pass is around 90 minutes from the city, and Grouse Mountain near Vancouver (over the border in Canada).

RELATED: Winter In Washington: 20 Adventurous And Outdoorsy Activities

46. Waterfalls and Wine Day Trip

If you don’t have a car or want a local to show you the surrounding area, then why not do this day tour with some of Seattle’s best waterfalls and a visit to a local vineyard? 

Your guide will take you to the roaring Snoqualmie Falls, to see some of Central Washington’s most impressive forests, and to boutique wineries.

Long exposure shot of Snoqualmie Falls as it falls off a cliff surrounded by greenery on the rocks.
Visit Snoqualmie Falls on this wine tour.

You’ll have a chance to try local produce and ask the viticulture experts any questions that you have about wine in the northwest! 

The tour also includes a delicious lunch, and your guide will detail the history and culture of Seattle and Washington as you explore the surroundings. 

47. Mount Rainier for the Day—By Land or Air

Mount Rainier is the highest peak in Washington, so it goes without saying that any trip to the state should include a voyage here!

A plane flying around the top of Mount Rainier on a clear day.
Taking to the air around Mount Rainier.

There are a few tours that you can do to see this epic scenery. Either go with a guide on land with this tour, which takes you through some of Washington’s most interesting towns, to see the epic terrain of Mount Rainier up close.

Or, get a real bucket list check by doing this seaplane tour, taking off from Lake Washington and catching an epic view of the mountain and surrounding landscape from above.

48. Olympic National Park for the Day via a Tour

Olympic National Park is one of Washington’s premier destinations – and, to be honest, it’s worth way more than a day! But if you’re short on time, you can do a group tour from Seattle to Olympic National Park.

A moody view of Marymere Falls surrounded by trees, logs and greenery.
Marymere Falls.
A man standing on the jetty of Lake Crescent while two people take to the lake on a double kayak.
Gorgeous Lake Crescent.

This tour encompasses Lake Crescent, Marymere Falls, and Salt Creek and even includes snowshoeing in the winter months!

We wouldn’t recommend attempting to visit Olympic for the day without a tour, it’s just too far and too much!

RELATED: Things to Do in Olympic National Park: 35 Must-Do Activities!

49. Leavenworth for the Day

Fancy a taste of Bavaria right here in the Pacific Northwest? Leavenworth is an adorable German-themed town sitting two hours from Seattle. While it’s a wonderful place to visit at Christmas time, we love it all year round.

A German feeling downtown Leavenworth with a backdrop of a mountain.
The charming German-themed streets of Leavenworth.

On this Leavenworth tour, you’ll learn all about the charming town, go on a woodland walk and explore Deception Falls! Like Olympic National Park, visiting Leavenworth for just a day without a tour it’s a bit much, in our opinion.

RELATED: 23 BEST Things To Do in Leavenworth

How To Get Around Seattle

Most people get around Seattle by car, but as it’s a huge city, it can be quite congested, particularly during rush hour!

Aside from using your own vehicle, here are some other options:

Public Transport

There are a few public transport options in and around downtown Seattle.

  • Link Light Rail: this service links downtown Seattle with SEA airport, along with some of the city’s suburbs like Angle Lake and Northgate. It’s a cost-effective way to travel through the city center.
  • King County Metro Transit: the city’s bus service; it covers downtown Seattle and a few other neighborhoods in King County.
  • Seattle Center Monorail: an immensely popular option, this runs above the city from Seattle Center to Westlake center.
  • Seattle Streetcars: these trams run around the city’s downtown and into some suburbs.


Uber and Lyft are operational in Seattle, along with metered taxis.

Around Seattle

If you don’t want to take tours, it’s pretty much essential to have your own vehicle when exploring the areas around Seattle. If you don’t have your own car, there are several rental offices in the city.

You can check here for great car rental deals. Of course, if you’re planning on being a bit more adventurous, and exploring beyond Seattle, you might want to check out Outdoorsy for campervans and RV’s to rent.

Last Thoughts on Things To Do in Seattle

Seattle has so much to offer tourists, whether you want a dose of outdoor adventure or prefer to stay downtown and soak in the urban attractions. With tours ranging from supernatural ghost hunting to finding the best donuts, there are countless ways to explore the city.

Just outside city limits sits some of the most impressive nature in Washington state, with mountains, evergreen forests, and beautiful beaches.

People drinking at Blackbeards Brewery Company is one of the best things to do in Westport
Whatever you choose to do we hope you have a great time! Cheers!

Plus, it’s not just a summer destination – while the beaches are undoubtedly better in the warmer months, fall is beautiful (and has pleasant mild weather!), and there’s a range of winter sports opportunities just a short drive from the city.

Whatever your travel style, and whenever you decide to visit, we guarantee you’ll find something to love on this Seattle attractions list. Don’t forget to scroll back up and read more of our helpful guides for more info!

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *