Seattle, way up in the far northwest corner of the United States, merits a one week visit. If you’ve traveled all the way here, odds are you’d like to stay a while–and there’s definitely plenty to do. Here are suggestions for a full week of adventures in and near the Emerald City.
It’s easy to get around downtown Seattle without a car–so if you’ve arrived via airplane or train, feel free to skip the rental car for a few days. But be sure to get out on a boat, whether the Washington State Ferry or Argosy Cruises.
Get started with a morning trip to Pike Place Market. Then spend the afternoon and evening on the waterfront, where options include the Seattle Aquarium, the Seattle Great Wheel, Olympic Sculpture Park and ferry rides to Bainbridge Island. This might be a nice night for dinner with a view at Ray’s Boathouse or Salty’s on Alki Beach.
Seattle Center, site of the 1962 World’s Fair, has a full day’s worth of sights. Ride up the Space Needle (mostly open despite renovations in 2018). Spend an hour or two at your choice of Chihuly Garden and Glass, MoPOP (the Museum of Pop Culture), the Pacific Science Center, or the Seattle Children’s Museum. In the evening, ascend nearby Queen Anne Hill for a wonderful skyline view at Kerry Park (and maybe dinner at the 5 Spot).
Bustling South Lake Union is home to the Museum of History & Industry and the Center for Wooden Boats. This is also where tens of thousands of people work for the online retail giant Amazon (some of them in The Spheres). Some Argosy Cruise trips leave from South Lake Union, including one through the Ballard Locks. For dinner, explore the many selections on Capitol Hill, the neighborhood just east of downtown and South Lake Union.
Spend this morning seeing anything you’ve missed from the suggestions above. Or for another spectacular view (higher than the Space Needle), check out the Sky View Observatory atop Seattle’s tallest building. Then make your way to Pioneer Square, one of the city’s best shopping and entertainment districts. Attractions here include the Smith Tower and Waterfall Garden Park. The Wing Luke Museum is nearby, too.
Spend this morning in one of Seattle’s signature neighborhoods: funky Fremont. In the afternoon, it’s off to nearby Ballard, home to the Nordic Heritage Museum (opening in its new location May 2018) and plenty of top bars and restaurants. You may want a car today, but you could wait until tomorrow.
Seattle is well known as an aviation hub. Plan ahead for a visit to the Future of Flight Aviation Center, which includes the Boeing factory tour. It’s located in Mukilteo (25 miles north of Seattle) and is best visited midday to avoid traffic. If you can’t get tickets for the Boeing tour, the Museum of Flight south of downtown Seattle is a good alternative (or extra stop if you really love air-and-space exhibits).
Where did the week go? Depending on your interests, you might finish your Seattle-area sojourn with a day of bike riding on the Burke-Gilman Trail, a drive to see Snoqualmie Falls or a bit of wine-tasting (and maybe an outdoor concert) in nearby Woodinville.
If you have extra time to spend in the region, you’re not far from Mount Rainier, Olympic or North Cascades national parks (though all are better experienced with more than one day). Also within a few hours: Vancouver or Victoria, B.C., to the north or Portland, Oregon, to the south.
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