Must-See Ways to Soak in the City's Culture, Beauty and Unique Charm

Corinne Whiting

By , Local Expert, Seattle
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Putting together an itinerary for seeing all the best sights this vacation? Perhaps you've got a few hours to kill between business meetings and want to know the best stuff to see and do during your stay. Either way, our 10Best list should have you covered. While there are always great things to experience, there are typically things you wish you would have passed on as well. Space Needle located in the Seattle Center area is among our top picks for sightseeing in Seattle. Other must-see spots range from observation decks in historic towers to sprawling natural parks and even some quirky theme tours (think underground!). While...  Read more »

  • 1

    Smith Tower

    Smith Tower is an inexpensive way to get fantastic views from the city's southern end. Visitors enjoy the original elevator, too.

    Local Expert Tip: "Before visiting, check the monthly online calendar to see daily observation deck hours (and closures due to private events). "

  • 2

    Olympic National Park

    Olympic National Park, an hour-and-a-half southwest of Seattle, showcases some of the region's most stunning natural beauty.

    Local Expert Tip: "While it is related to other marmots and groundhogs of North America, the Olympic marmot is unique, an endemic species found only in the Olympic Mountains of Washington State. The cute critters are hard to spot. For the best shot at seeing one, plan a hike into the park's high country on a nice day, and you might spy a marmot sunning near its burrow."

  • 3

    Lake Washington Cruise — Kirkland

    Argosy Cruises offers a scenic Lake Washington tour that pushes off from Kirkland. Enjoy a relaxing, narrated ride.

    Local Expert Tip: "If you own an Entertainment Book, have a look inside for Argosy coupons."

  • 4

    Underground Tour

    The Underground Tour offers subterranean look at the city's past. This Pioneer Square attraction has been a favorite for year.

    Local Expert Tip: "Find quirky, kooky gifts to take home to friends and family at the gift shop Rogues Gallery "

  • 5

    Chittenden Locks & Carl English Botanical Gardens

    The Chittenden Locks & Carl English Botanical Gardens showcase Ballard's manmade wonder. Watch boats pass through the canal.

    Local Expert Tip: "Don't miss seeing the salmon run the fish ladder in certain seasons (June through October and March through April). "

  • 6

    Fisherman's Terminal

    Head to Fishermen's Terminal to see 700 vessels and the hard-working fishermen who comprise one of Seattle's most important industries.

    Local Expert Tip: "The market here is a great place to enjoy fresh seafood!"

  • 7

    Bainbridge Island Ferry

    The Bainbridge Island Ferry offers stunning views and another inside glimpse at local culture. The ride itself is worth the journey!

    Local Expert Tip: "Bundle up; if you want to sit outside to enjoy the views, the wind makes it chilly, even on sunny days!"

  • 8


    The REI flagship store is a popular Seattle destination. Come here to simply wander or to load up on gear.

    Local Expert Tip: "If you plan any outdoor activities in Seattle that require gear, REI's rental program is an excellent choice. Bikes, skis, snowshoes, kayaks, and more are available, all top-notch equipment in good repari at a fair rate. Underground garage parking makes this a perfect spot for rainy day shopping."

  • 9

    Lakeview Cemetery

    Lakeview Cemetery is the resting place of famous Seattle citizens like Bruce and Brandon Lee. The space offers amazing views of Puget Sound.

    Local Expert Tip: "Look for an array of unique sections, like a Buddhist area and a segment devoted to former prisoners of internment camps. "

  • 10

    Boeing Plant Tour

    The Boeing Plant Tour in Everett offers an inside glimpse of the world's most popular flying machines. Be warned; the site is vast!

    Local Expert Tip: "Note: Children must be 4'-2" (127 cm) tall and accompanied by an adult."



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