As soon as a place is dubbed a “tourist attraction,” it seems to lose a little bit of its magic. Is it going to be mega packed? Will I be surrounded by selfie-sticks? And with nearly 40 million travelers visiting our city each year, Seattle has its host of crowded destinations. And while we’re all for the “take the road less traveled” philosophy, there are times when you really should follow the pack and see what all the fuss is about. These are the five Seattle must-see attractions that, we admit, are super touristy, but that miraculously avoid the pitfalls of tourist traps.
The Best Tourist Attractions in Seattle
Pike Place Market
If you’re looking to avoid crowds, head to the iconic Seattle market on an early weekend or Monday morning. Catch the fishmongers tossing salmon from ice to counter to kick off the days’ sales, and watch the market quickly come to life with vendors and visitors alike. One of our favorite spots is the market’s rooftop urban garden (but sure, go ahead and stop by the gum wall, too).
Chihuly Gardens and Glass
Famed glass sculptor Dale Chihuly created a stunning series of exhibits across nearly two acres in Seattle Center. His extraordinary glass house, and the colorful, suspended sculpture that it harbors make this spot a must-see. We’d recommend going a little after lunchtime, when you’re ready for a quick coffee pick-me-up at the museum’s Collections Cafe. Chihuly Garden and Glass: 305 Harrison St.; 206-753-4940
Gas Works Park
Once the site of the Seattle Gas Light Company’s gasification plant, this quirky, 19-acre park is a popular spot for picnics, pick-up games of frisbee and general frolicking. We love that it has a little man-made hill overlooking Lake Union—it’s the perfect spot to watch boats bobbing along the bay on a cloudless day. Gas Works Park: 2101 N Northlake Way
This landmark observation tower may seem like a little bit of a Seattle cliché, but trust us when we tell you, the view from the top suggests otherwise. Take in the Emerald City and all its surrounding glory—Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, The Cascades, and Lake Union all look pretty darn stunning from 520 feet. $22 gets you to the observation deck. Space Needle: 400 Broad St.
Washington State Ferries
Take a ferry across Puget Sound for breathtaking views of Bainbridge Island or Bremerton. It’s a great way to see the city from a new perspective. In this case, the journey really is just about as cool as the destination. Learn more about Washington State Ferries here.