The 16 Best Things to Do in Seattle

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The Seattle Art Museum

As artistic as the art that hangs in the Seattle Art Museum, its sleek and modern building is also artistic. It’s an important part of Seattle’s art scene and should be seen by all art lovers who come to the city. Most of the time, a museum’s fixed collections are more interesting than its temporary displays. But in this case, the temporary displays are one of the main draws. Each show is well-organized and placed in the museum at a nice pace. They cover a wide range of topics, from “Who writes history?” to “Ultra-realistic landscape paintings.”

Kubota Garden Seattle

You can find hidden waterfalls, bright red bridges, and koi swimming in beautiful ponds. People who are willing to make the trip to the Rainier Beach neighbourhood in South Seattle can visit Kubota Garden, which has 20 acres of beautiful Japanese grounds. The building was begun by Fujitaro Kubota in 1927 and is now a part of Seattle’s public park system. Take some time to walk around. There are a huge number of flowers, shrubs, and trees that are native to the Northwest growing in and around the paths. Just know that the 15-minute drive each way could take 30 minutes or more if there is traffic.

art installation. plants.
Inye Wokoma

Wa Na Wari

Wa Na Wari shows Black art as part of its goal to encourage Black people to own land, culture, and happiness in Seattle’s historically red-lined Central District. The living room and bedrooms of the converted house are filled with art from all over the world, as well as pieces by local artists. An artist’s home can be used as a gallery. The main rooms downstairs are used for exhibits that show big ideas, while the bedrooms upstairs are used for exhibits that show more personal things. You can explore at your own pace thanks to the bright lights and multiple rooms. People are friendly and welcome guests from the door, but they don’t do much else. If you’re interested in how history, art, and urban landscapes come together, you have to see this.

Bainbridge Island Seattle


Island of Bainbridge

Bainbridge Island is only a 35-minute ferry ride from the Seattle Ferry Terminal. It’s a great place for families or couples to spend the day, even if they are only in Seattle for a short time. You’ll get to downtown Winslow quickly whether you walk, drive, or ride your bike off the boat. Along Winslow Way, there are bookstores, coffee shops, clothing businesses and cafés that you can check out. You can also go to Waterfront Park and City Dock for an easy walk along the shore. Stay longer by having dinner at Ba Sa, a modern Vietnamese restaurant that uses local ingredients, and then spend the night at the Eagle Harbour Inn, which looks like something out of a fairy story.

The Eagle by Alexander Calder statue. moon
Benjamin Benschneider

Olympic Park for Sculptures

The Seattle Art Museum is connected to this park, which is on the northern edge of downtown. The paths in the park go down to Elliott Bay and pass by nine acres of art by well-known local and foreign artists. The view from Alexander Calder’s “Eagle” over the water is one of the most famous in the city, especially at sunset. “Seattle Cloud Cover” by Teresita Fernandez beautifully connects the park’s natural atmosphere to the art made by people, and “Echo” by Jaume Plensa on the water is mesmerising. With wide ramps and smooth roads, it’s easy to get around. There isn’t much information at the sculptures themselves, but the park’s website has a map and guide that you can download that helps put things in perspective. Anyone can go for free, and you can stay for a long time to have a lunch or just take a quick trip to take some pictures.

Space Needle Seattle Washington
Courtesy Visit Seattle

Space Needle

The Space Needle is without a doubt one of the most famous buildings in Seattle and the whole country. It’s the tallest building in Seattle and was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. It looks like something from the future. People can take a lift to the top of the Space Needle and get a view of the area that can’t be beat. The $100 million makeover that started in 2018 added both a glass-floored level with a view and an open-air deck level above.


National Nordic Museum Seattle
Courtesy National Nordic Museum



The Nordic National Museum

There are a lot of Nordic people living in this area—one of the biggest in the United States—and this museum tells a lot about their past. The interesting collection is mostly made up of textiles, historical items, and art from Nordic countries that were brought to the United States by Nordic immigrants from 1840 to the present. A lot of different works by Nordic artists are on display in short-term shows. The museum restaurant Freya isn’t just an afterthought like some museum cafes; it’s a place to go to enjoy the best Nordic food, and the menu is full of tasty smørrebrød.

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience Seattle Washington
Photo by Alan Alabastro

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

This 60,000-square-foot building is all about how Asian and Pacific American past meet. There is a tribute to the museum’s namesake, Councilman Wing Luke, who was the first Asian American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest. There are also other exhibits that look at the cultural heritage of pan-Asian Pacific American immigrants and talk about things like social justice, working conditions, and local history. It’s a great place to start learning about the stories of Seattle’s under-represented groups, especially if you can fit in one of the Chinatown Discovery Tours, like the food tour on Friday afternoons.

Thomas Dambo
Thomas Dambo

Northwest Trolls: Way of the Bird King

In 2023, six big wooden trolls (five in the Portland area and one in the greater Seattle area) showed up. They were all made from recycled materials by the Danish artist Thomas Dambo, and each had its own story. Part outdoor art and part play structure, they are meant for exploration and to encourage curiosity. Three of the trolls live in suburbs that can only be reached by ferry, car, or both (Issaquah, Bainbridge Island, and Vashon Island). However, Frankie Feetsplinters is outside of Ballard’s National Nordic Museum, and Bruun Idun sings to orcas near Colman Pool in West Seattle. These two trolls are the easiest to find and visit.

Gerardo Martinez Cons/Getty Images
Gerardo Martinez Cons/Getty Images

Snoqualmie Falls, Gift Shop and Visitor Center

Beautiful 270-foot waterfall just east of Seattle. The short walk to the base of the waterfall is enough to make a great half-day trip. But since the Snoqualmie Tribe, who used to take care of the land, bought it back, they have added more to see, making it even more important. In 2023, the Snoqualmie added a visitors center that tells the story of the Snoqualmie (both the tribe and the falls) through cultural materials, including Indigenous art, with a gift shop that sells art by minority and women artists. You can quickly get a sense of how beautiful the Pacific Northwest is without having to drive too far or stay too long.

Green Lake Neighborhood of Seattle Washington Aerial
Seastock/Getty Images

Green Lake Park

Green Lake quickly became one of the most important parts of the Olmstead Brothers’ plan for Seattle’s system of linked parks all over the city. After more than a hundred years, the three-mile path around the lake is still often crowded with people walking or rolling. People come from all over the city to use the sports areas and facilities, and the beaches are always busy in the summer. Anyone can learn about important parts of Seattle culture by walking around Green Lake and watching the people who live there. You’ll see walkers, fishermen, families on picnics and soccer players. however, through the buildings, such as the ancient bathhouse and aqua theatre.

Image may contain Lighting Light Fixture and Crystal

Frye Art Museum

It’s easy to get to, there’s no fee to get in, and the Frye is a hidden gem. It hosts creative events and shows. Visitors can get to the galleries of modern and contemporary art through the building’s bold and attractive front door. The galleries have a natural flow and lots of natural light. When it opened, the museum had a private collection of more than 200 oil paintings from Europe and the US in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Since then, it has greatly increased and improved its collection by adding works by later artists and people who were underrepresented in the same time periods. The result is a well-rounded, excellent selection of art, curated into informative shows

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