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Seattle Indoor Attractions To Visit During the Summer

May 20, 2022 By CityPASS

Seattle in the summertime is gorgeous. Far from the wet winters and rainy spring and fall, summer in this Pacific Northwest city welcomes the sun and turns a soggy landscape into a beautiful and radiant place. August is the sunniest, driest month, with June and July offering a mix of sun and rain.

But what should you do when the rain does fall? And what are your options when those summer heatwaves stretch across the region, making outdoor activities less fun? You head indoors. Pop into some shops. Play an arcade game or two. Seattle's indoor attractions are primed for all-ages entertainment and offer the perfect solution for heatwave escapes and rainy day activities.

The Best Seattle Indoor Attractions During the Summer Months

There’s no shortage of things to do in Seattle, Washington, when the weather won’t cooperate. From family excursions to solo adventures to special outings for two, anyone and everyone will find the following Seattle indoor activities ideal for summer.

1. Take in Panoramic Views of the City at the Seattle Space Needle

The iconic Seattle Space Needle sits in the Seattle Center and rises 605 feet above the neighborhood of Lower Queen Anne. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair as a marvel of its age, it has a reinforced structure designed to withstand Category 5 winds and earthquakes less than 9.1 on the Richter scale.

Test your endurance by climbing the 848 steps to the Observation Deck, or give it your best and then catch a ride on the elevator the rest of the way. At the 520-foot-high Observation Deck, you can look out on downtown Seattle and beyond, including Mt. Rainier, the Cascade Mountains, Puget Sound, and the Seattle waterfront.

The tilted Skyriser benches give you unmatched views on the inner and outer decks, while the rotating glass floor is part of the Loupe Lounge for 21+ access.

2. Experience TV, Music, and Game Exhibits at the Museum of Pop Culture

How well do you know pop culture? The Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP, is your ticket to legendary trivia, artifacts, and hands-on exhibits. This museum opened in the year 2000 and features major exhibits from music, horror, sci-fi and fantasy, literature, and gaming genres. It also has one of the coolest examples of building architecture — a curving metal façade in a medley of colors and shapes.

Along with its permanent collection, MoPOP offers temporary exhibits to keep guests of all ages entertained. Don’t forget to get interactive as you learn about all things pop culture.

To continue the ultimate cultural experience, check out nearby Climate Pledge Arena or McCaw Hall for music, performance, and community events.

3. Have Fun With the Entire Family at the Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium is another popular spot for indoor activities in Seattle. Located on Pier 59 along the Seattle waterfront and Elliott Bay, the Seattle Aquarium brings you close-up with all manner of marine life. This lively destination hits the top of the charts with fantastic options for kids, helping to inspire marine conservation and educate the next generation of biologists and citizen scientists.

Enjoy the seal and otter habitats, learn about local marine species, and get hands-on with the tide pool exhibit. Gift shops at the lower level have plenty of museum merch to support the Aquarium and bring a smile to your face.

4. Explore a World of Colors at the Chihuly Garden and Glass

With indoor and outdoor exhibits, Chihuly Garden and Glass brings glass artwork to the world. This exhibition sits next to the Seattle Space Needle and has several theme rooms full of intricate and abstract glass art from local glass artist Dale Chihuly.

When you get to the glasshouse, you’ll see incredible views of the Space Needle from below as you wander through the art installations. Outdoors, the garden exhibit blends plants and glass art, a “must-see” complement to the indoor exhibit.

From mesmerizing shapes to a world of color, the Chihuly Garden and Glass offers different experiences by day and by night, when the gardens are illuminated and the lights twinkle off the colored glass.

5. Visit the Sky View Observatory for 360-Degree Views

If you want terrific 360-degree views of the city, water, and mountains, you need to check out the Sky View Observatory. Towering above the city on the 73rd floor of the downtown Columbia Center, the 902-foot-high observation deck gives you a front-row seat to a vibrant skyline.

Skyscrapers, stadiums, towers, and more: Make a game of it on a family vacation to see who can spot different buildings the quickest!

If you get the munchies, grab a bite to eat at the Sky View Café. Specialty cocktails and brews are available for those 21+. For a different experience, why not combine your trip to the Sky View Observatory with a performance or music show? From the Paramount Theatre to the 5th Avenue Theatre and Benaroya Hall, downtown Seattle overflows with the indoor arts.

6. Crack Open a Book at the Elliott Bay Book Company

Calling all book lovers: You don’t want to miss a trip to the Elliott Bay Book Company. From its now relocated home in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, this beloved independent bookstore has been going strong since 1973. They carry about 150,000 book titles, and if that wasn’t enough, they also offer the perfect reading ambiance with exposed wood beams and well-worn hardwood floors. Breathe deeply because it’s time to find your latest read.

Elliott Bay Book Company has plenty of in-store events, author talks and signings, and staff recommendations. The staff at this Seattle bookstore live and breathe books, so if you do too, be sure to head over for hours of contentment. Comic book fan? Gardening enthusiast? Whatever your passion, you’ll find a book that speaks to you.

Afterward, crack open that new book as you settle in at one of the many coffee shop locations in the neighborhood. From Capitol Coffee Works to Caffé Vita Coffee Roasting and General Porpoise, delicious hot and cold drinks are mere steps away.

Invest in a Ticket Package To Experience Seattle's Best Indoor Activities

Seattle indoor attractions stretch far and wide across this Pacific Northwest summer hotspot. So if you’re ready to explore Seattle's incredible culture and iconic sites, get your Seattle CityPASS® ticket bundle today.

Seattle Lodging

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:

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