Seattle is one of Americas biggest and most photogenic cities. Here are a few things to do in Seattle and Seattle hotels:
The Space Needle is the most famous of the Seattle landmarks. Photographers will love capturing this monument from hundreds of different vantage points around the city. Why not ascend the Space Needle for panoramic views for miles around?
Panoramic Seattle View from the Space Needle
For all first time visitors to Seattle a trip up the Space Needle is a must. Not only do you get a great view of the city skyline but on a clear day you can see the surrounding mountains and volcanoes. As a matter of fact, it’s possible to see Mount Rainier, Mount Saint Helens as well as the Olympic National Park mountain range. You can even see as far as Vancouver Island in Canada on a non hazy day.
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market became world famous from the popular movie, Sleepless in Seattle. What’s more, foodies will love exploring the hundreds of street food options throughout the market. It’s also a popular farmer’s market as well as craft market with many international sellers. Lastly, for photographers, with 20,000 to 40,000 visitors daily, there’s no shortage of people photography options.
Hire a Car to Explore Seattle Landmarks
Worlds First Starbucks
If I haven’t convinced you to visit Pike Place Market yet then consider it’s home to the world’s first Starbucks. Pike Place Starbucks first opened its doors in 1971. A word of warning though, the queue to get a coffee at this iconic location can be very long!
Bubble Gum Alley
The Market Theater Gum Wall is perhaps one of the most famous Instagram spots in Seattle. It’s an alley which has walls covered in used bubblegum. I’m sure there is someone nearby making a fortune from selling bubblegum! Here is the exact location under Pike Place Market.
Microsoft Visitor Center
Has anyone every used a Microsoft product or heard of Bill Gates? Washington state is of course the home of Microsoft and also the Microsoft Visitor Center. You can find out about all things Microsoft at the visitor center in Redmond. If you’re hiring a car in Seattle it’s a short drive east of Seattle. Alternatively, it’s a 45 minute train journey directly to Redmond.
It’s highly likely that you’ve flown on a Boeing aircraft before. As a matter of fact, you may have even flown into Seattle on one! Did you know the home of Boeing is in Seattle? well, 25 miles north of Seattle in Mukilteo to be exact. You can visit the Future of Flight Aviation Center and see these huge aircraft on the production line. A must for any plane enthusiast.
T-Mobile Park is a huge 47,929 seat stadium which is home to the Seattle Mariners baseball team. If the modern stadium itself doesn’t impress you then maybe the panoramic views of Seattle will. Check if there’s a game on when you’re in town.
Pacific Science Center
The Instagram worthy Pacific Science Center is adjacent to the Space Needle therefore you may wish to combine a visit. Even if you don’t go inside, it’s worth exploring the picturesque Seattle Center exterior and gardens. Some nights they play movies on the huge screens for people to sit in the park and watch.
Museum of Pop Culture
The Museum of Pop Culture is exactly that, a museum of popular culture. However, it’s the Instagram worthy building which will surely grab your attention. Arrive early morning to have the place all to yourself. For me, the shape of the Museum of Pop Culture reminded me of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
Suzzallo and Allen Libraries
Suzzallo and Allen Libraries are incredibly Instagram worthy locations at the University of Washington in Seattle. I felt like I was in somewhere like the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris more than downtown Seattle!
Smith Tower at 148 meters tall was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi. Built in 1914, today it’s dwarfed by several other skyscrapers in the city. Nonetheless, Smith Tower is still an iconic part of the Seattle skyline. Visit the Smith Tower observation deck for an alternative view of the Seattle landmarks.
Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee Grave Sites
Bruce Lee is arguably the most famous martial arts actor the world has ever seen. Did you know his grave is in Seattle? Adjacent to the grave of Bruce Lee is his son, Brandon Lee who also died well before his time. Here is the exact location.
Road Trip to Olympic National Park
Hire a car in Seattle and drive to many surrounding wonders. Mount Rainier, Olympic National Park and Vancouver are all within driving distance.
Hire a Car to Explore Seattle Landmarks
How to Travel from Seattle to Vancouver by Land
From Seattle I headed north to Vancouver, BC, Canada. For Americans to enter Canada it’s very easy, but for Europeans you require an ESTA. You must complete the ESTA online and pay a small fee before entering the country. Other countries may require a visa therefore check online before going. I took the Quick Shuttle bus which was very comfortable with a cost was $58.50 one way. Journey time from Seattle to Vancouver is around 4 hours which includes the border crossings.
Museum of flight at Boeing Field, not far from the airport. Fabulous place. Walk through a Concorde, sit at the controls of a SR-71, about a bazillion other great aircraft.
I went up the Space Needle. Asked the lass in the elevator what time was the next launch. A bit cloudy at the top – so much for the “bluest skies you’ll ever see” – and at first I mistook Mount Rainier for another cloud. Geez.
Another great place!
I am visiting Seattle in a couple of months so found this blog really helpful. I didn’t realise this was where Starbucks first started, will definitely be going there along with all the other suggestions to visit.
I have always wanted to go to Seattle it has been on my bucket list for ages.Thanks for the tips especially the one about the catching the Light Rail to downtown and saving money on hotels that is always good to know.
I love the photo of the Seattle Space Needle. Seattle seems to be a very interesting place! First time (as a European) I heard about this city was from the movie “No retreat, no surrender” (loved the movie btw). But I had no idea how much more this city has to offer and its also that close to Redmond. I am already excited about your experiences in Vancouver 🙂
My family was in Seattle a couple of months ago. We came down from Vancouver aboard a Greyhound bus which also took 4 hours to negotiate the distance. Except for the Microsoft Centre and not able to climb the Space Needle, we’ve seen and experienced all you have mentioned. In addition, I’ve seen and had a photo with the statue of one of Seattle’s popular son – Jimi Hendrix. Same with the Fremont Troll. Seattle is a great city and we just barely scratched its surface.
Of all the cities in the US, Seattle is the top of my US travel wish list. There are so many cool and interesting things to see and do. I want to bring the kids and ride the train and most especially see the Pike Place market. I think it would be a great experience all the way around.
This post is just perfect as I am planning my trip to Seattle and was thinking about checking out Vancouver as well. Now, I need to do some research into visas. I can’t wait to visit all the points of interest that you’ve mentioned for Seattle.
You have sold me on a trip to Seattle thanks to my affinity for Starbucks! I love how even the sign is original and not rebranded. A trip to the west coast would be great as I would also love to see the Space needle. So much to see in Washington that you could add a few days here and then keep going on to other states. Thanks for the inspiration – especially with the world’s first Starbucks.
I never knew that Seattle had so many interesting sites to see! What a great photograph of the needle, I haven’t seen one from that angle before. It’s nice to see a beautiful sunny photo of the rainy city!
Seattle is an amazing place…I would love to visit the Microsoft center and have the birds eye view for sure…
I’ve been hoping to take a weekend trip to Seattle soon, and how cool that you can see ALL of that from the Space Needle! I’ll definitely make note of that!