Advice for what to see/do in Seattle and Puget Sound

I get asked frequently by folks who are going to visit Seattle what they should go see. So I thought I would put a list together for future reference. This list is applicable for visitors, honeymooners, etc. If you have suggestions – please add as a comment.

A lot of this depends on what kind of sightseeing they want to do. Some people like to see city sites and highlights. Others want to see beautiful countryside scenery. Others just want to be in one area while others want to see many, many things.  Here are several options:

Seeing the city of Seattle:
– Stay in downtown Seattle
– Visit the Spaceneedle, Pacific Science Center, visit EMP (Experience Music Project), and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center that are all at the same location
– Try several good restaurants that are abundant in Seattle
– Pike Place Market. (In addition to the seafood store go see the “gum” wall)
– Take a ferry (from near Pike Place Market) to one of several different places and then ride it back. Beautiful scenery
– Ride the Duck boats for a tour of Seattle
– Go on the Underground Tour (funny, funny)
– Walk along the waterfront – just below Pike Place Market. Eat fish and chips at Ivars on the waterfront
– Ferris Wheel on the waterfront
– There are various plays, musicals and concerts (5th Avenue Theater, Paramount Theater, etc.)
– Seattle Aquarium
– You can do all of the above without a rental car. Plus Seattle has a pretty good bus system. And the Link Light Rail system works well for connecting downtown Seattle to the airport.
– One way to see many of the Seattle sites which is less expensive than buying them individually is the buy the Seattle CityPass – Link
– Also from Seattle you can take the Victoria Clipper that will take you to Victoria, BC
– 10 free things to do in Seattle – Link

Seeing the sites around the Puget Sound area:
– Take a ferry. Recommend going via the San Juans
– Drive out to Snoqualmie Falls
– Just drive all around the Sound – including islands such as Whidbey, Vashon, Bainbridge, etc.
– Go to the Ballard Locks just in North Seattle
– Archie McPhee Novelty store
– Drive up to Everett and go on the Boeing Everett Factory tour
– Go to the Museum of Flight just south of Seattle
– Drive up to Mt Rainier and take a hike
– Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo
– Pt. Defiance Zoo in Tacoma
– LeMay Car Musem in Tacoma
– Museum of Glass in Tacoma
– Drive way up north and east through the mountain passes on Hwy 2. Keep going to Leavenworth – a nice “Bavarian/German” town.
– Mt. Rainier Scenic Train ride in Elbe
– View the beautiful tulip fields in the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival – usually in April each year
– Great Wolf Lodge (Family indoor waterpark)
– Northwest Trek
– Remlinger Farms

Seeing things over on the Olympic Peninsula:
– Olympic game farm. Feed exotic animals from your car as you drive through
– Tour the Navy vessels at Bremerton. The aircraft carrier graveyard at Bremerton. If you have any interest in any navy-related things – they have quite a few things like museums, etc.
– Lots of pretty driving on Olympic Peninsula
– Visit Forks (if they are in to Twilight books)
– Visit the Hoh Rain Forest (very cool)
– Go camping at Kalaloch National Campground. Reservations required. This is where our family goes camping most summers.
– Drive up to Hurricane Ridge
– From Port Angeles you can take a ferry (either with a car or without) to Victoria and back
– Go to the Washington beaches. Most people go to the Ocean Shores area. We prefer going to Westport.
– Go deepsea fishing out of Westport
– Cape Flattery Lighthouse near Neah Bay. This is the most northwest point of the Continental U.S. – one of the four “corners” of the U.S. It’s a bit of a drive (a couple of hours from Port Angeles), but a beautiful part of the U.S. There is also deep-sea fishing out of Neah Bay.

For a very, quiet but picturesque place to go is in the San Juan Islands. Great place for a honeymoon or anniversary.

Or – one of the best recommendations is just go to Victoria, BC for a couple of days. Nice, quaint town with British feel to it. Definitely visit Butchart Gardens while there.

Additionally – the Seattle Times has their Top 10 Attractions: http://seattletimes.com/html/travel/2020948293_sightseeingsummerguidexml.html

  • Pike Place Market
  • Space Needle
  • Olympic Sculpture Park
  • Washington State Ferries
  • Museum of History & Industry
  • Downtown Waterfront
  • Seattle Art Museum
  • Chinatown International District
  • Ballard Locks
  • Boeing Tour

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