As the fastest growing city of the US, it is no wonder that Seattle is buzzing with life. Between the hip locals and droves of tourists, the city feels full but not crowded. Seattle is both an urban jungle with high rises popping up everywhere and very connected to nature, with National Parks and great hiking at a stone throw.
Seattle was never really on my radar, so I was surprised by how much I liked it. The combination of modern Downtown, historic Capitol Hill and Waterfront and the view of the Cascades (on a rare sunny day) were a delightful combination. The city really has something for everyone, and it’s reflected in the people you see around. I ended up spending four days exploring Seattle and loved every bit of it. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Seattle:
Visit Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is the oldest farmers market in the US and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Seattle. It’s not where I would do my shopping (much to expensive and crowded), but it is super fun to see. Walk around the several floors and outside area to see fishermen tossing fish and vendors selling regional produce and souvenirs. There’s also some interesting little shops, deli’s and restaurants. Across the street you’ll find more shops and eateries as well as the first Starbucks location. If you’re a coffee fanatic, you might want to stand in line for a cup in this historic café.
Catch a great view
There are plenty of places from where you can get a view of Seattle. The top of the Space Needle actually isn’t one of them! I don’t think it’s worth the money to climb to the top, but it is still really cool to see from below. A hidden gem is the view of Kerry Park. This tiny little park offers the perfect view of the Seattle skyline, including the Space Needle. Another good one is from one of the ferries as they approach from the Puget Sound.
For the best nighttime view of the city, head to one of the rooftop bars. Downtown Seattle is filled with high rises, most of them with hip bars. My favorite is The Nest, a cool yet approachable bar that has people in suits and people in jeans. And the cocktails match the killer view.
Stroll around Capitol Hill
Downtown may have the buzz, but Capitol Hill is actually the coolest neighborhood in Seattle. This is the young, hipster, LGBTQ+ center of the city. Capitol Hill is filled with little boutiques and thrift stores as well as great restaurants. Just walk around and take in the vibrant atmosphere. Be sure to check out the Starbucks Reserve where the famous chain experiments with fancy brews and the iconic Seattle burger chain Dick’s Drive Inn.
At night, Capitol Hill is also the perfect place to go out. Hip bars and underground DJ sets rule the nightlife here. Start with happy hour at The Pine Box and see where the night takes you from there.
The vibe in Capitol City reminded me of Austin, Texas.
Enjoy the water
Seattle’s bay location means that water is a big part of life here. Even though it’s touristic, there is nothing like a stroll along Waterfront on a sunny day. For a more active day out, head to Lake Union for swimming, boating and kayaking. Have a peak at the colorful boat houses stationed there as well. Just south of Lake Union you’ll find the cities most popular brunch place: Portage Bay Café that serves delicious locally sourced food and an epic pancake bar.
Head out to Discovery Park for great hiking and beach walks. Although it’s close, you feel far removed from the bustle of the city. The view here is stunning as you can see the Olympic Peninsula across the water.
Check out some art
There’s in never a reason to be bored in Seattle, especially if you like art. Learn about the iconic pop culture history of Seattle, such as Pearl Jam and Nirvana, at MoPOP. Fans of contemporary art and sculptures will enjoy a stroll through the Olympic Sculpture Park, courtesy of the Seattle Art Museum. Another great freebie is the Frye Art Museum, which has both a great permanent collection of paintings and changing contemporary exhibitions. Free of charge!
Seattle is pretty underrated and overlooked as a city trip destination. But it is a cool place, that’s perfect for a quick trip. If you’re into art, shopping, and good food, you will find plenty of things to do in Seattle. It’s also a great base for trips out into nature.
What are your favorite places and hidden gems in Seattle? Let me know in the comments. And if you liked this post, feel free to share it on social media!