Seattle is a beautiful city to visit for the first time, and to live in day after day. While many travelers boast about finding the hidden gems and avoiding crowds, we still think there’s a ton of value and joy that can come from being an unabashed tourist. After all, there’s a reason these experiences and attractions became so popular in the first place.
Here are our recommendations on how to embrace being a tourist in Seattle (with or without a fanny pack).
Tourism often starts with the most talked-about, recognizable attraction in a given city or destination. For Seattle, that sight is the world-famous Space Needle. The observation tower has overlooked the entire city since its construction for the World’s Fair in 1962. While most of the World’s Fair sites have long disappeared, the Space Needle has remained, welcoming countless guests everyday as the city’s leading tourist attraction.
You can buy tickets to climb up to the top of the tower and enjoy it in a number of ways. General admission experiences offer guests access to two levels of observation deck views. You can also purchase a bundle package that gives you access to the Space Needle, and the highly popular Chihuly Garden & Glass museum nearby. Learn more about The Space Needle here.
Pike Place Market is among the best known tourist attractions in the city of Seattle. Overlooking the gorgeous Elliot Bay waterfront, the market bustles with thousands of visitors each and every day. Opened back in 1907, it is among the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets in the country.
In addition to the long-running fruits and vegetables stands comprising Pike Place, there’s also a near half-century old crafts market where you can shop local works of art, clothes, and furnishings. There are also restaurants, specialty food shops, comic book shops, jewelry stores and more. Under the market is the world-famous (and kind of gross) Market Theater Gum Wall, a staple of Seattle tourism. Read our guide to Pike Place Market here.
In addition to visiting specific sights, tours are a great way for travelers to knock out several attractions in a day while getting insight from experts along the way. One of our favorite companies organizing tours around our city is named Seattle Free Walking Tours. The non-existent price point is one of the attractions with this group, but also the routes and sights prove to be memorable for guests. For travelers new to Seattle, we recommend the aptly named Seattle 101 tour, which begins with a downtown stroll through the historic neighborhood of Pioneer Square. You’ll then cruise along the waterfront where you can snap photos of the skyline, and surrounding mountains. Along the way, you’ll get recommendations for the best pubs, parks, and restaurants in the area.
Another of our favorite touring experiences in the Emerald City is centered around eating. One of the best culinary cities in the country, Seattle is rich with contemporary and classic cuisine inspired by traditions from around the world. Savor Seattle will put you in touch with the most delectable dishes from critically acclaimed restaurants in small, tasting-style visits for one-of-a-kind variety.
The food tours include visits to Pike Place Market, and the top chocolate and dessert spots in town. You can also indulge in a Food & Drink tour that can travel to gourmet locations, as well as famous pubs with some unforgettable bites to go along with local craft drinks. Prefer to see the foodie sights without a group? Book private tours, or indulge in a self-guided tasting passport that gives you deals at local restaurants around town.
Explore the Emerald City with our insider’s guide online. Find our recommendations for the best Seattle experiences on the Pan Pacific blog!
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