Amid Natural Wonders Galore, Seattle Offers Cerebral Recreation and Outdoor Activities

Corinne Whiting

By , Local Expert, Seattle
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Situated between two major mountain ranges on the banks of Puget Sound, Seattle exists in a virtual wonderland for outdoor recreation. Amidst all of this nature, though, Seattle is also a smart and sophisticated place, known for technology and airplanes as much as for salmon and Sasquatch. Activities and attractions here match that dichotomy, providing equal doses of extreme and more mellow, indoor sports.

The city’s commitment and connection to its marine surroundings are on view at the Seattle Aquarium. As an alternative, though, visitors can choose to get out on the water, either by sea kayak rental or by riding the...  Read more »

  • 1

    Mount Rainier National Park

    Mount Rainier National Park offers unfathomable natural beauty and a prime destination for adventurers of all levels.

    Local Expert Tip: "One of the tallest peaks in the United States, Mt. Rainier is a training destination for international climbing parties, but during mild seasons on basic routes the trek is accessible to climbers of most skill levels."

  • 2

    Museum of Flight

    The unique Museum of Flight offers hands-on informational and historical exhibits plus a popular outdoor airpark.

    Local Expert Tip: "If plan to come more than once, discount return (two-day) tickets are available."

  • 3

    Pike Place Market

    No visit to Seattle is complete without a trip to Pike Place Market, where fish fly, and local vendors sell their tempting goods and wares.

    Local Expert Tip: "Across the street from the main market building along an arcade of shops and restaurants, the original Starbuck's Coffee remains in its unassuming original location."

  • 4

    Museum of Glass

    Tacoma's stunning Museum of Glass spotlights the works of Washington's native son Dale Chihuly.

    Local Expert Tip: "Dale Chihuly is know for founding the reknowned Pilchuk glass-blowing school and studio in Seattle, helping spark the contemporary art-glass movement and becoming its most prominent name. Chihuly, however, is a Tacoma native, so the placement of this museum in his hometown is a natural."

  • 5

    Seattle Aquarium

    The Seattle Aquarium features cute critters like sea otters and less cuddly residents like octopi....  Read more »

    Local Expert Tip: "Look online for a schedule of daily activities like shows put on my divers at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m."

  • 6

    Washington State Ferries

    The Washington State Ferry system operates 22 boats, shuttling passengers across Washington's beautiful...  Read more »

    Local Expert Tip: "With such a water-focused culture, there is no better way to sightsee in Puget Sound than boarding a ferry."

  • 7

    Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

    In Tacoma, the 715-acre Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is home to more than 200 species of indigenous wildlife.

    Local Expert Tip: "An overnight Family Camp adventure allows visitors to see the animals at night, enjoy a narrated tram tour and play games and other exciting activities."

  • 8

    Woodland Park Zoo

    The Woodland Park Zoo brings more than 1,000 animals to a 65-acre space in urban Seattle.

    Local Expert Tip: "During summer months, Zoo Tunes brings an incredible lineup of musicians to an alfresco concert series that is certainly worth a visit (or several!). "

  • 9

    Space Needle

    The Space Needle, built for the 1962 World's Fair, is an iconic site that offers sweeping, 360-degree views of the city and surrounding landscape.

    Local Expert Tip: "The fine-dining space atop the Needle is one of the few revolving restaurants in the world. The 360-degree view is spectacular, and the food isn't bad either."

  • 10

    Seattle Asian Art Museum

    The Seattle Asian Art Museum in Capitol Hill entails a first-class repository of Asian art and artifacts.

    Local Expert Tip: "Public tour times and topics vary throughout the year; do some research ahead of time. Tours are free with museum admission. ​"



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