Ever since the first settlers arrived in Seattle in 1851, visiting Seattle has been a fun thing to do. This city has a varied history. First, it was an important timber city, then gold was discovered. Today, Seattle is one of the most important technology centers in the world. While many think of rain and coffee when they picture Seattle, the city offers so many fun things to do. If you are considering a trip to Seattle, then pick your favorites from this list of fun things to do in Seattle.
1. See the Stars at Smith Tower
In 1914, Smith Tower became the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. Enjoy watching the sun set over the city from the open-air observation deck at the top of this building in Pioneer Square. Sip on an alcoholic drink while enjoying amazing views of the sky and the city. Earlier in the day, learn about the city’s history at their marvelous exhibits. While the building is open every day, the best time to visit the observation deck is on a clear night. The deck is designed for adults at night making it one of the most romantic things to do in Seattle.
- Price: $14 for tour, but bring extra for drinks. $10 for local residents
- Hours: 10 AM- 10 PM Later on some nights
- Address: 506 2nd Avenue
2. Go on a Hike at the Washington Park Arboretum
The 230 acre Washington Park Arboretum is a joint project between the city and Washington State University. Stroll along the well-maintained paths to see plants seen at very few places in the United States. If you have children along, plan your schedule to coincide with their free family hikes including many hands-on activities making it one of the top family-friendly things to do in Seattle. Stop at the Graham Visitors Center to learn more about the park. Visit the Japanese Garden. While the Arboretum is open all year, the Japanese Garden closes in the winter. See the beavers along with their dams. Watch for the birds as many use this as their nesting spot. Rent a boat nearby to explore Union Bay.
- Price Free to visit Washington Park Arboretum Japanese Garden $6 Canoe rental $12/hour
- Hours Washington Park Arboretum open dawn to dusk Japanese Garden 10 AM to 5 PM
- Address: 2300 Arboretum Drive East
3. Sail at the Center for Wooden Boats
For over 25 years, people have been able to go on a free sailing adventure on Sunday afternoons at the Center for Wooden Boats. Get your hands dirty by helping the center restore one of their fleet of over 100 boats. Listen to a story on a 100 year old tugboat. Paddling a umiaq a skin-on-frame boat similar to a canoe, is one of the most unique things to do in Seattle. Learn more about the importance of the water and fishing to Seattle by attending one of their workshops. Rent a wooden sailboat so that you can plan your own adventure. Tour the MV Lotus that was built in 1909 as one of the very first houseboats.
- Price: Free Some activities have an additional cost
- Hours 10 AM to 5 PM
- Address: Most activities are held at 1010 Valley Street
Select activities at 1880 Southwest Camano Drive, Camano Island
4. Stroll Through Chinatown
For over100 years, people of Chinese ancestry have been important to the city’s development. A stroll through Chinatown is a wonderful way to explore the history. For an insider’s look at this international district, start by visiting the Wing Luke Museum. Stroll through their gallery exhibits featuring Bruce Lee, Chinese athletes and scissors. Go on a guided tour of the district by choosing the tour that is right for you, from a Bruce Lee tour, a foodies tour, a shopping tour or a historic hotel tour. Search for your Chinese ancestors at the research library.
- Prices: General admission to museum is 15 for adults Tours vary in price starting at $20
- Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM
- Address: 719 South King Street
5. Explore Seattle’s Art Scene at First Thursday’s Art Walk
While many communities in the United States now have art walks, the very first one was in Pioneer Square in Seattle. Over 50 galleries participate in this exciting event making it one of the best things to do in Seattle. See works by Seminal American painter Walter Quirt. View antique Native American art at Flury & Company. Explore emerging artists at Artforte. Learn from the ever changing art on display at Studio 103. The Seattle Art Museum stays open late, so be sure to visit them as well.
- Prices: Free Bring extra for purchases
- Hours: First Thursday of each month 6PM to 8 PM
- Address: Pioneer Square 100 Yesler Way
6. Catch a Game in Seattle
Depending on the season, you will find exciting sports spread across Seattle. The Seahawks play in the National Football League at CenturyLink Field. Seattle is also called Soccer City USA for its great support of the Seattle Sounders Football Club who also play at CenturyLink. This stadium can hold 69,000 fans who are often known for being the loudest in both leagues. Rooting for the home team s among the fun things to do in Seattle. The Seattle Mariners round the bases at Safeco Field. If you cannot take in a game, then both facilities are open for behind-the-scene tours.
- Price: Depends on activity and seating preference
- Hours: Football- September through January Baseball- April through October Soccer- March through October
- Address: CenturyLink Stadium- 800 Occidental Avenue South
Safeco Field- 1250 1st Avenue South
7. Investigate Seattle Center
Originally constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair, Seattle Center offers several opportunities worth exploring making it one of the best things to do in Seattle. A favorite attraction in Seattle is visiting the Space Needle. Stroll around the observation deck at 520 feet above the ground or enjoy a meal at the SkyCity Restaurant that revolves completely around every 47 minutes. See a play at the Seattle Center Armory often featuring outstanding Shakespeare performances. Stroll through the inside and outside exhibits at Chihuly Garden and Glass where works by artist Dale Chihuly are on display.
- Prices Visiting Seattle Center is free Visiting the Space Needle is $23.10 Seattle Armory depends on event Chihuly Garden and Glass admission is $22. Combination discounts are available at a discount
- Hours 7 AM o 9 PM Some facilities close earlier
- Address 305 Harrison Street
8. Listen to Music at the Experience Museum of Pop Culture
Music lovers will adore a visit to the Museum of Pop Culture. Explore pop culture inside the 140,000 foot gallery designed by Frank O. Gehry. Perform music in front of a virtual audience using instruments and tools from the rock ‘n’ roll era. See the IF VI WAS IX sculpture containing over 500 instruments. Over 40 of these instruments are playable from a computer. This museum has one of the largest collections of musical lyrics and handwritten musical scripts in the world.
- Prices $30
- Hours 10 AM to 5 PM
- Address 325 5th Avenue North
The city that gold and lumber built has many opportunities. Choose your favorite things to do in Seattle. Start planning your trip very soon. Explore the great outdoors at the Washington Park Arboretum or view it from high above at the Space Needle or at Smith Tower. Investigate the active art scene at Pioneer Square, Chihuly Garden and Glass or at the Museum of Pop Culture. Learn more about the area’s history at the Wooden Boat Museum, Chinatown or at the Flight Museum. With so much to do, you will need to stay awhile. If you are looking for other equally vibrant cities to visit, you can take a look at what the amazing Las Vegas has to offer.