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8 Fun and Touristy Things To Do in Seattle
April 17, 2023 By CityPASS
With the likes of Amazon and Microsoft headquarters based in Seattle, the city is often viewed as a tech and industry hotspot. But Seattle has its own quirkiness, art scene, unique culture, and hidden gems to explore.
8 Top Seattle Attractions You Can't Miss on Your Next Vacation
See Panoramic Views of Seattle From Sky View Observatory
The Sky View Observatory is just north of Pioneer Square, tucked away on the 73rd floor of the colossal Columbia Center. From 902 feet and a 360-degree panorama, take in some of the most incredible views of Downtown Seattle.
The Sky View Observatory is the tallest public viewing area in the Pacific Northwest. This means you can easily see as far as Lake Washington, but also beyond to natural beauties like Mt. Rainier, the Cascade Mountains, and Mt. Baker. The Sky View Cafeé and Bar completes the experience — enjoy the unmatched view while sipping on a coffee, boutique wine, or local beer.
Take a Journey Through Entertainment History at the Museum of Pop Culture
Located in Uptown Seattle, the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) is an essential stop for anyone interested in the music, movies, and fiction that have shaped our collective experience for the last century. Current exhibitions include Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses, Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film, Infinite World of Science Fiction, and Contact High: A Visual History of Hip Hop.
The museum is a 140,000-square-foot Frank O. Gehry architectural masterpiece — a collection of scales and waves that change color with different lighting and angles.
Roam Around the Beautiful and Unique Chihuly Garden and Glass
Nearby and close to the Seattle Center is the stunning Chihuly Garden and Glass. The eight galleries, three Drawing Walls, Glasshouse, and outdoor pocket park showcase the works of Dale Chihuly, an artist who has dedicated his life's work to the beauty of glass. The centerpiece of the museum is the Glasshouse, a 4,500 square feet floral structure that flows across a magnificent conservatory.
With fewer crowds than Kerry Park, try to catch the artwork in the garden when the sun is setting. The qualities of the reflective glass will transform as the sun moves.
Check Out the Quirky Artistry of the Gum Wall
The Seattle Gum Wall is an undeniable element of Seattle's art scene. After visiting a nearby coffee shop or two, you'll find this ever-growing installation down an alleyway next to Pike Place Market. The brick wall has gathered thousands of pieces of chewing gum since 1993 when locals dropped off their gummy gifts before heading into the old Market Theater (now Unexpected Productions).
In 2015, the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority stripped and steam cleaned the wall. Visitors immediately began adding gum to the wall again. Love it or hate it, it seems the colorful Gum Wall is here to stay.
Visit Local and Exotic Wildlife at the Woodland Park Zoo
Rhinos, red pandas, and lions — all living in Seattle? Over 900 exciting animals and 250 species inhabit the Woodland Park Zoo. Exhibits are extensive and include the African Savanna, Australasia, Molbak's Butterfly Garden, and Tropical Asia.
Located in North Seattle, this public park provides admission to see animals from all over the world. But they also fight to save animals from extinction through their important work. Some of the inhabitants that call the park home are critically endangered. And the park educates the community on conservation, coexistence, and sustainable practices.
Find the Iconic Fremont Troll Under Aurora Avenue Bridge
Since 1990, the underbelly of Seattle's Aurora Bridge has been guarded by an 18-foot hulking creature with long, bony fingers and a shiny metal eye. The Fremont Troll is a mixed-media statue, appearing to crawl out of the cement while almost crushing a real Volkswagen Beetle under its hand.
The Fremont Troll was created by four artists as part of a city arts competition and an effort to transform one of Seattle's dumping grounds. It has since become one of the most beloved Seattle tourist attractions. The hulking 13,000 lb statue is a popular setting for wedding and prom photos, and even a scene from the movie 10 Things I Hate About You.
Catch Seattle From the Water on an Argosy Cruise Harbor Tour
One of the most fun ways to see the sights of the dazzling downtown Seattle skyline is by boat. Take a 1-hour narrated cruise with Argosy Cruises and you'll learn facts all about the history of this beautiful harbor. Take in the striking views of the historic waterfront, Olympic Mountains, and Puget Sound — the deep North Pacific Ocean inlet that indents northwestern Washington.
Onboard, you'll also find a full-service bar with cocktails, local beer, and wine, plus non-alcoholic options and snacks.
Explore Your Inner Pilot at the Museum of Flight
Even if you've got a merely cursory interest in aircraft and spaceflight, you'll find a heap of fun over in South Seattle. The Museum of Flight features the historic birthplace of Boeing, heroic stories from WWI and WWII, multi-sensory exhibits from the space shuttle program, and much more. Visit after sunset to marvel at the T.A. Wilson Great Gallery while it's lit up. This 3 million square foot exhibit hall contains 39 full-size historic aircraft.
The museum is expansive, so plan in advance what you want to see the most during your visiting hours.
Get the Most Out of Your Trip in the Pacific Northwest
No visit to the Pacific Northwest is complete without stopping by stunning Seattle. And we have two great options to help you save money: Seattle CityPASS® tickets and Seattle C3® tickets. No matter which option you choose, you can’t go wrong.
To get the most out of your stay in Seattle, we recommend finding lodging near Seattle's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:
Header Image ©Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo