Seattle Guide/Seattle

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Part of the Seattle Guide

Downtown / Cap Hill / etc

  • Seattle Public Library. A great example of modern architecture with some interesting and unique spaces in the building. Good for a quick look, or some more leisurely wandering. Go to the top floor reading room for a view of the city, in the city. 1
  • Sculpture Park - at the north end of the waterfront. Love this at dusk / early evening.
  • Seattle Underground Tour: Sometimes corny and more touristy than I prefer, I actually found this to be a fairly pleasant way to learn a bit about Seattle's history though quality is very dependent on your guide. In Pioneer Square which is an older part of the city.
  • Pike Place Market. Always worth a walk through. I don't think I need to say much here.
  • Watch a game at SafeCo Field. Great ballpark. Also a great place to see a sunset. 1
  • Seattle Museum of Flight. The Air & Space of the West Coast. Smaller but decent collection. (Really more South than downtown, but I didn't want to make a new category)
  • Seattle Aquarium. I thought that it was a bit of a letdown as far as aquariums go, though a new exhibit has since opened that is pretty good.
  • Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. I put this here only because my dad insists. With an argument like "how can you pass up a pilgrimage to Sylvester the mummified cowboy?", he was very convincing.
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass is supposed to be fantastic, but I haven't made it yet. Friends' photos look great and they have good things to say.

Capitol Hill

  • Volunteer Park Conservatory. 5 different environments. Also good for sunset (watertower in volunteer park).
  • Cal Anderson Park (Capitol Hill) is another park to walk through, though smaller. Bonus: Molly Moon ice cream nearby.

Seattle Center

  • Experience Music Project + Science Fiction Museum: Interesting museums but overpriced. In a Frank Gehry building.
  • Seattle Center & Space Needle I actually think the best views of the city include the Space Needle and so see no reason to pay to go up it. You can get a better view from the surrounding hills. c.f. Kerry Park.


Further north.

  • Discovery Park

North of the ship canal (Fremont, U-District, Ballard)

UDistrict & North

  • Rent bikes and ride the Burke-Gilman trail
    • Upper Burke/Sammamish River trails: parallel the Sammamish River (pretty), run through Kenmore, and parallel 405 (briefly, not so pretty). The brewery and wineries are there, too, but may interfere with biking.
    • Lower Burke-Gilman trail will take you from Ballard (part pretty, part port), through Fremont (quirky), over to Lake Union (Gasworks Park and views of the city) and then the University of Washington.
    • The ride from Fremont to Woodinville is separated from traffic and quite flat (hard to find in Seattle!); at 27 miles one way it's a haul.
  • *Arboretum. The arb is south of the ship canal, but the places to rent boats are north of it. You can explore this on foot or in a boat. If you explore it in a boat, one option is to rent from Agua Verde in the U-District (delicious food, nice place to eat) and paddle over. Cheaper rentals can be had at UW's Waterfront Activities Center, also near the Arb. The Japanese Garden is supposed to be particularly nice (but is past its prime; nothing is blooming).


  • Theo Chocolate Factory: The tour is really quite good -- you get right up with the chocolate making machinery, and it's clear that the people at Theo Chocolate really are passionate about their product. Samples. Because they are becoming more and more popular, reservations are basically required now, especially for a group. Their chocolate bars are a bit quirky, with flavors such as bread and chocolate, coconut curry, and chi, but are also oh-so-good. The confections are also outstanding, and handmade.
    • Weekday tours: Are a bit louder (since the factory is running) and include a couple less stops. On the plus side, you will probably see more machinery in operation.
    • Weekend tours: Quieter (since the factory is not running) and include all stops.


  • Gasworks Park Beautiful / cool park on Lake Union (Wallingford). Old industrial area converted to park. [1]


  • Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Some of the busiest locks in the US, and the only locks in the US where saltwater meets freshwater. Also a botanical garden and a fish ladder. Free. Particularly pretty 4-7p.

Greenwood / Greenlake

  • Woodland Park Zoo (Greenwood / Upper Fremont). Reportedly one of the top 10 zoos in the US with a focus on "habitats" rather than cages. I haven't been here yet; I find most zoos sad.
  • Green Lake is another area to rent boats and paddle around, though feels claustrophobic compared to Lake Union & the ship canal. Or go for a run. Very crowded in summer evenings and weekends.

West Seattle

  • Alki Beach (West Seattle). I don’t have strong feelings about Alki, but it can be a nice place to spend an afternoon with a good view of the skyline (approximately what you'll get from the ferry, though). The most beach-like beach close to Seattle, I think.

Best Sunsets / City views

  • Bremerton --> Seattle ferry. The sun is behind you as you sail towards the city (i.e., over Bremerton), but makes for a pretty ride. 1. Alternatively, the Bainbridge ferry (similar route, shorter).
  • Dr. Jose Rizal Park (Seattle). Over by the Amazon building, you’ll have the city between you and the setting sun. 1
  • Kerry Park (Seattle). Great views of the city. Popular at night, this is okay for sunsets and great for a night view of the skyline. 1, 2
  • Volunteer Park (Seattle). Better than Kerry Park for sunset, I think.
  • During a Mariners evening game (Seattle). To maximize your enjoyment of the sunset, avoid 3rd base / left field. Right field is quite nice. 1, 2
  • Rialto Beach (Olympic National Park): Very accessible (the beach is about 50’ from where you park), this is out on the peninsula. 1, 2