Seattle Bucket List: 50 Things You Cannot Miss
Seattle is easily one of the prettiest cities in the world. The city is surrounded by several giant mountain ranges perched on an isthmus that separates Puget Sound with Lake Washington, so it’s no surprise that the locals are outdoorsy and eschew the East Coast hustle. The city prides itself on focusing on sustainability and the arts, and for having a unique counterculture vibe. If this makes you want to head out and start exploring the Seattle area, don’t worry. We’ve compiled the perfect bucket list for locals and visitors alike.
Explore Olympic National Park
Located a couple of hours outside of Seattle, Olympic National Park is one of the more unique parks in the country. The Park features four different biomes, including the Pacific coastline, glaciated mountains, temperate rainforests, and an old-growth forest. Favorite activities in Olympic National Park include backpacking along the beach, skiing at Hurricane Ridge and in the backcountry, rafting on the Elwah and Hoh rivers, or going on day hikes throughout the park on readily-accessible trails. Throughout these areas you can explore with a naturalist who will show you some of the best parts of the park. The Olympic National Park is home to a variety of wildlife like elk, black bears, cougars, and black-tailed deer, so if keep your eyes open and stay quiet when you’re hiking, you may see something incredible.
Take a Tillicum Village Cruise
The Pacific Northwest has been the home of many different Native American peoples since pre-history. The cultures of these tribes are tied closely to the geography of the region and are steeped in history, as the tribes are some of the oldest native populations in the country. At the Tillicum Village on Blake Island, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about and celebrate these native cultures. You’ll be able to take part in a variety of activities, like a traditional salmon bake in a cedar longhouse and a performance with Coast Salish storytelling and dancing. You’ll also have time to walk around the island and beaches before the boat comes to bring you back to the mainland.
Embark on an Orca Whale Watch Cruise
One of the most spectacular inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest is the orca whale. Orcas are incredibly smart creatures, and live in large, highly social communities that have their own regional vocal dialects. Get face-to-face with these majestic creatures by taking an Orca Whale Watch Cruise, and prepare to be amazed. You’ll learn all about this incredible creature from the experts onboard the boat as you watch orcas breach from the water, come up for air, and swim nearby. You will also see a wide variety of fish and birds on the cruise, as the beautiful San Juan Islands are packed full of marine life. Best of all, everyone on the cruise is given a pair of binoculars, so all you’ll need to bring is a camera.
Go for a Gray Whale Watch Cruise
Orcas aren’t the only majestic marine mammals that frequent Puget Sound. With the Gray Whale Watch Cruise, you can see gigantic gray whales up close. These whales are known for migrating vast distances, and can grow up to 50 feet long. On a Gray Whale Watch Cruise, you’ll see the whales as they migrate back and forth from their winter calving grounds in the south to the feeding ground in the north. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the whales jump out of the water, spy hop, or even see younger calves. The boat offers binoculars, food, and drinks, and the three decks will give you great views of whales, seabirds, and other marine life.
Take in the Chihuly Garden and Glass
Dale Chihuly is a Washington-based artist who is considered to be one of the best glass blowers in the world. Naturally then, visiting the Chihuly Garden and Glass at the Seattle Center should be on your Seattle bucket list. The exhibition covers eight galleries, a centerpiece glasshouse, and a beautiful garden which all display a comprehensive collection, showing how Chihuly changed the world of glassblowing. The glasshouse displays one of the largest of his suspended artworks, a 100 foot long sculpture that is illuminated by the natural light of the building. The garden features four large sculptures with a wide variety of plants. The Chihuly Garden and Glass is truly incredible, and must be seen to be believed.
Dodge a flying fish at Pike Place Market
Seattle is famous for the Pike Place Market, where local merchants have been selling their fresh food and wares since 1907. This history makes Pike Place Market one of the oldest continuously-operated public farmers markets in the country, and it is the biggest tourist attraction in the city. The upper floor is traditionally full of fishmongers, produce stands, and crafts, but the market has really become more than just a farmers market. The market features sweet treats like donuts and cookies, live music and comedy, and restaurants that specialize in fresh gourmet foods. In the craft market, you’ll find artistic works like painting and pottery, but also toys, herbal products, musical instruments, and even longboards, all from sustainable sources.
See Seattle from the Space Needle
The Space Needle is a dominating part of the Seattle skyline, so of course you’ll need to pay it a visit while working your way through a bucket list for the city. The observation tower offers expansive views of the Seattle area from 520 feet up, and is able to withstand 200 mile per hour winds and a 9.1 magnitude earthquake. The top of the tower contains an observation deck and the rotating SkyCity restaurant, offering views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, and Elliott Bay. The Space Needle also features an 85 million candela lamps that shine high and bright into the night sky, which is a sight you’ve got to see.
Relax at Green Lake Park
Seattle locals love Green Lake Park, and it’s easy to see why. The park attracts thousands of people every day from throughout the city, and serves as a natural oasis in the middle of a dense urban neighborhood. According to geologists, the lake was actually naturally formed by the Vashon Glacial Ice Sheet about 50,000 years ago. Green Lake Park features a 2.8 mile path around a lake that is great for biking, running, walking and even skating. You can also use the park’s multiple access points for boats to get out onto the water for fishing, swimming, or relaxing. The park also features a variety of athletic fields and facilities that are perfect for picnics.
Enjoy the view from Sky View Observatory
The Sky View Observatory is another great way to see Seattle. The observatory is located 900 feet above the city on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center. The observatory lets visitors take in a 360 degree view of Seattle and the surrounding area. You’ll be able to see landmarks like the Space Needle, the city of Bellevue, Elliott Bay, and the snowcapped Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges, including Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier. The views are some of the most incredible you’ll see anywhere, and the mixture between the urban city and the imposing natural geography are almost guaranteed to leave you slack-jawed.
Check out Lake Washington
Lake Washington is a very large freshwater lake that lies next to Seattle. The lake is about 22 miles long, covers an area of over 33 square miles, and is as deep as 214 feet. The lake is a popular recreational location, and is used for swimming, pleasure boating, and sailing. Lake Washington is popular with fishermen, because it is home to a variety of popular sport fish like Cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, yellow perch, and crappie. The lake also features the two longest floating bridges in the entire world: the Evergreen Point and Lacey V. Murrow bridges. The lake is also home to Kenmore Air Harbor at the north end of the lake, which operates a seaplane service.
Enjoy the weirdness in Fremont
The Fremont neighborhood is a funky and fun part of Seattle known for its unexpected and unconventional entertainment. It’s known to be a neighborhood that embraces the countercultures, and is often referred to as the People’s Republic of Fremont or the Artist’s Republic of Fremont. Signs in Fremont admonish people to set their watch forward five minutes, to set their watch back five minutes, and to throw their watch away. Naturally then, Fremont is home to a pole that is known as “the center of the universe.” This fact was determined by a group of Fremont scientists in 1991 at a local alehouse. Because no one can prove or disprove the claim, the Metropolitan King County Council put out a formal proclamation declaring Fremont to be the center of the universe.
See the Fremont Troll
No visit to the Fremont neighborhood would be complete without paying the Fremont Troll a visit. The Troll is a public art installation that lives under the Aurora Bridge, sculpted by four artists in 1990. The Troll is 18 feet high, weighs two tons, and holds onto an actual Volkswagen Beetle with a California license plate. Visitors are more than encouraged to climb all over the sculpture, and its best practice to park your car far away, so it won’t get snatched by the concrete beast. The Troll has become an iconic part of Fremont, with paintings and interpretations of the sculpture popping up in neighborhood shops and restaurants. The neighborhood also plays host to Troll-A-Ween every October.
Investigate the Statue of Lenin
One of the more controversial art exhibits in Fremont is the Statue of Lenin. The statue, created by award winning bronze artist Emil Venkov, was installed in Poprad, Slovakia in 1988, and was brought to the United States after the Cold War by schoolteacher Lewis Carpenter. It is believed that the statue is one of the few Soviet depictions of Lenin as a violent revolutionary instead of as an intellectual. The statue itself is quite large, dwarfing people who stand next to it. It’s also controversial, causing people to feel a wide range of responses, from anger to appreciation. Like most other outdoor installations, the Statue of Lenin is often the target of other’s art projects, like dressing him in drag during Gay Pride Week, painting him as a clown, or painting the hands blood red.
Blast off at the Fremont Rocket
Another Fremont landmark art installation is the Fremont Rocket, which was acquired from an Army Surplus Store in another Seattle neighborhood. Although some locals claim that it is a Soviet rocket, it’s actually the tail boom of an American C-119 transport plane with some fins attached to the side. Regardless, that doesn’t prevent the people of Fremont from cherishing it. The 53 foot tall rocket serves as a community totem pole of sorts, and is located in the downtown Fremont area, bearing the neighborhood’s crest and motto: “De Libertas Quirkas,” which means “Freedom to be Peculiar.” Eventually, the community would like to turn the rocket into an FM radio station tower, but for now it just shines lasers and emanates steam vapor from the “engines.”
Grab a coffee at the Original Starbucks
You’ve probably been to more Starbucks Coffee locations than you’d care to count, but the original Starbucks Coffee location in Seattle is still worth a visit. Located on 1st and Pike at the historic Pike Place Market downtown, the original Starbucks features its early design language, including the old-school logos, and an interior that evokes a local coffee shop feel. The store is also home to a variety of details, like leather that was once scrap from automobile and shoe factories, wood for the tables that came from a local farm, and restroom partitions made of recycled laundry detergent bottles. Because it is a huge tourist attraction, be prepared to wait longer for your coffee, because there usually is a large crowd of people.
Order a cocktail at the Bathtub Gin and Co.
True to its namesake, the Bathtub Gin and Co. is a speakeasy style bar located in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle. Located in the basement of a former hotel behind a fairly nondescript wooden door with a tiny sign, the bar is easy to miss if you aren’t looking carefully for it. The lounge has two levels with appropriately low lighting and includes a bar area, tables and couches, and even a library. The Bathtub Gin and Co. is known for its craft cocktails which feature liquors from both the Seattle area and around the world. If you’re feeling brave or adventurous, ask the bartenders to make you something of their choosing.
See the city with the Ducks of Seattle
The Seattle Duck Tour doesn’t involve any water fowl, but it does give you a unique perspective on the city from the back of a World War II era DUKW amphibious truck, colloquially known as the “Duck.” The 90 minute long Seattle Duck Tour takes sightseers throughout the city on land and in the water. The tour covers the Seattle waterfront, where you’ll see the Great Wheel and hear the origin of the Alaskan Gold Rush before heading on to the Historic District. The tour continues onward to Fremont before driving into Lake Union for drive—no, swim—by Gas Work Park. If you’re lucky, you may even see a sea plane take off and land in front of you
Take a ride on the Great Wheel
Take a ride on the 175 foot Seattle Great Wheel for a great view of the city. The Ferris Wheel is one of the largest in the country, and it features 42 climate controlled, enclosed gondolas that fit eight people each, including a “VIP gondola” with red leather seats and a glass floor. Uniquely, the Great Wheel actually extends out 40 feet over the waters of Elliott Bay. The ride takes between 12 and 20 minutes in the summertime, and 10 to 15 minutes in the winter, but don’t worry, you’ll always get three full revolutions of the wheel. The wheel lights up every night, and on special occasions you can see it illuminated with the colors of the University of Washington or Seattle Seahawks.
Get wild at Woodland Park Zoo
Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo is considered to be one of the best zoological parks in the entire country, and has received numerous awards from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The zoo features over 1,090 animals from nearly 300 animal species, including forty endangered and threatened species. These animals live in carefully crafted environments that feature over a thousand different plant species. The zoo’s exhibits include the world’s first immersion exhibit, the gorilla habitat, as well as exhibits highlighting the Central and South American tropical rainforest, tropical Asia, northern tundra and taiga climates, the African Savannah, Australia, and the temperate forest. The zoo even features an interactive play space for children called the Zoomazium. Best of all, the zoo is free to the public, so make sure you stop by.
Explore your world at Pacific Science Center
The Pacific Science Center aspires to inspire children and adults to engage in a lifelong interest in science, math, and technology through exhibits and programs. The museum features interactive permanent exhibits that cover health and wellness, environmental and earth sciences, physical sciences and engineering, and life sciences. There are also rotating exhibits like an exhibition on the science behind Sherlock Holmes, and the Terracotta Warriors created by the first emperor of China. The Science Center also hosts programs for kids, teens, and adults, from summer camps to academic lectures. If time allows, make sure you catch a showing at the IMAX theater, which shows both informative scientific documentaries about the world and universe alongside current box office movies.
Take off at the Museum of Flight
The Seattle Museum of Flight is a must-see for any aviation nerd, as it is the largest privately owned air and space museum in the world. The museum is host to over 175 aircraft and spacecraft from throughout aviation history, including a Concorde supersonic airliner, a Lockheed A-12 Oxcart spy plane and its accompanying D-21 reconnaissance drone, the first presidential jet, and the first Boeing 747. The museum also features a restoration facility with ongoing projects, a library and archive of 66,000 aviation books, and Boeing’s original manufacturing plant. Visitors can also explore the interactive Air Traffic Control tower exhibit, and tour the Full Fuselage Trainer Space Shuttle mockup that was used to train astronauts.
Enjoy the Olympic Sculpture Park
The Olympic Sculpture Park was created by the Seattle Art Museum as an outdoor sculpture museum where the public can appreciate art. The park is located on the Seattle waterfront, and includes a portion that recreates an intertidal zone and smaller rocks that hope to attract sea life like kelp and salmon. The park includes 21 well-curated pieces of sculpture, with famous pieces like Eagle by Alexander Calder playing a central role. Every weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Olympic Sculpture Park hosts Taste, which allows park goers to enjoy snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and espresso while they take in and contemplate the beautiful sculptures. This outdoor sculpture museum is free to the public, and open every day.
Learn about the city at the Museum of History and Industry
The Seattle Museum of History and Industry, or MOHAI as the locals call it, covers the history of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. The history museum is actually the largest private heritage organization in Washington State, and is home to a collection of almost 4 million artifacts and historical documents relating to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, from Native American settlements to the 21st century. The museum has a variety of exhibits, including Maritime Seattle, the Boeing Flight Path, and True Northwest: The Seattle Journey, where visitors can learn more about what it took to take Seattle from a wilderness to a world-class city. The Museum of History and Industry also hosts a variety of programs outside the museum, from pub trivia in Seattle bars to history lectures at the Seattle Public Library.
Go under Puget Sound at the Seattle Aquarium
For a better look at what lives under the surface of Seattle’s waters, take a trip down to the Seattle Aquarium. The aquarium is located on the waterfront of Elliott Bay, and features a variety of exhibits, with a particular emphasis on the creatures of the North Pacific Ocean. The highlight of the museum is the Window on Washington Waters tank, which holds 120,000 gallons of water and over 800 fish and invertebrates. The tank replicates the rich ocean environment of Neah Bay, near the northwest tip of the state. Other exhibits show some of the area’s most exciting creatures, like the Pacific octopus, huge sixgill sharks, otters, and seals. There’s even an underwater dome that puts you right in the middle of a 400,000 gallon tank that faithfully represents the waters offshore.
Watch the sun set at Kerry Park
For a great panoramic view of the city’s beautiful skyline, it’s hard to do better than Kerry Park. The park offers a view of downtown Seattle, Elliott Bay, the West Seattle Peninsula, Bainbridge Island, and Mt. Rainier. The western orientation of the park makes the park a perfect place for watching the sun set over the waters of Puget Sound, and it is a favorite location for photographers who want to capture the undeniable beautiful aesthetic of the city. Movie buffs will also recognize the park from the opening scene of the 1999 movie, “10 Things I Hate About You”. You’ll even enjoy the trip up to Kerry Park on Highland Drive, a highly enjoyable scenic route with large houses and stunning views.
View some art at the Seattle Art Museum
If you need to indulge your inner art historian, check out the Seattle Art Museum, which locals simply refer to as SAM. The museum is located in downtown Seattle, and is the largest art museum in Seattle with over 25,000 pieces in the collection and a total collection worth of well over a billion dollars. This collection includes works of art from all over the globe, from prehistory to the modern era, including paintings, sculptures, calligraphy, decorative arts, and modern mediums. Of course, SAM includes a section that highlights Native American and Pacific Northwest arts created by both modern and ancient artists. Admission to the museum is a suggested donation, and the admission is free on the first Saturday of the month.
Watch the sun set over the Pacific
For most people in the United States, the simple act of watching the sun set over open water is something they may never be able to do. Therefore, any bucket list for Seattle should include making an attempt to see the sun sink below the waves of the Pacific. The coast is only a couple of hours away by car, the area is one the most scenic locations along the entire west coast. Beautiful places to witness the day’s end include La Push, where giant sea stacks rise out of the ocean, and more traditional beaches near Ocean City. You can also see spectacular shows from the coastal portion of Olympic National Park, or along the famous Highway 101 that runs along the entire Pacific Coast.
Take the kids to Seattle Children's Museum
If you’re looking for a great way for your kids to spend an afternoon in a fun but educational way, make sure you check out the Seattle Children’s Museum. The museum features eleven exhibits for children ranging in age from 10 months to 10 years of age. These exhibits include COG City, which allows kids to participate in physical experiments involving velocity, gravity, and balance, and walk away inspired to look at science and math through a different lens. There’s also Fort Adventure, where kids can build their own forts, teepees, and other structures; the Global Village, where they can explore other countries; and the Sound Transit exhibit, where children can investigate the importance of public transportation.
Embrace other cultures at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience located in the Chinatown-International District is a real Seattle gem. The facility is actually the only community-based museum in the entire country to focus on the culture, art, and history of Asian Pacific Americans. The Wing Luke Museum celebrates the life experiences and reminds visitors of the trials and tribulations faced by one most influential ethnic groups in the country. The exhibits of the museum include rotating exhibitions like “Khmer American” and the award winning “Do You Know Bruce Lee?” There are also community portrait galleries that tell the story of Asian American history through the lens of personal stories and photographs, as well as permanent exhibits that help explore the historical impact of Asian American Culture on Seattle.
Fly a kite at Gas Works Park
As the name suggests, Gas Works Park is a unique public park that is located on the site of a former gas plant that was owned by the Seattle Gas Light Company on the shore of Lake Union. Interestingly, the park actually features many parts of the old plant as a centerpiece. These structures stand as both rusting ruins and well as restored buildings, including one that has been repurposed as a play barn for children. Gas Works Park is also defined by a prominent artificial hill known as the Great Mound that was built for kite flying. The Great Mound’s top is marked by a beautiful sundial that uses the visitor’s body to tell the time of day.
Check out the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Take a trip back in time by going to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington. The Burke Museum is the oldest natural history museum west of the Mississippi, and contains over 16 million artifacts and specimens in its collection. The artifacts cover anthropology, biology, and geology. The ornithology department contains the largest collection of spread bird wings in the world. The museum is also home to the fifth largest collection of Native American art in the world, with over 10,000 artifacts. Kids and adults alike will also love the large Allosaurus skeleton and the giant ground sloth fossil that was actually found during the construction of Sea-Tac International Airport.
Get lost in Discovery Park
Located on the Puget Sound in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle, Discovery Park is the largest park in the city. The park features over 534 acres of land, including forests, beaches, prairies, and bluffs, along with over 11 miles of walking trails. According to locals, Discovery Park is one of the best places in the area to view local wildlife like birds and mammals; over 270 species of birds are regularly seen in the park, along with harbor seals and sea lions. The park is also near the West Point Lighthouse, which is an active navigation aid for ships entering and exiting Elliott Bay. The lighthouse was the first manned light station on Puget Sound, and it remains accessible to those who want to hike the 1.5 miles from the park. Watch out though, because coyotes, bears, and cougars have all been seen in this urban park.
Stick your gum on the Gum Wall
The grossest tourist attraction in Seattle (and perhaps the entire country or world) is easily the Gum Wall. The Gum Wall is located on Post Alley under the Pike Place Market, next to the box office for the Market Theater. The tradition started when the theater’s patrons began to creatively stick gum and coins on the wall. Eventually, the theater gave up on trying to clean off the gum and the wall was declared an official tourist attraction. People continue to stick their gum on the wall, and it inexplicably became a popular destination for wedding photography and the 2009 movie Love Happens. Recently, the wall was fully cleaned to prevent erosion from the sugar in the gum, and over 2,350 pounds of gum were removed, but don’t worry, the gum has since returned.
Set sail at the Center for Wooden Boats
The Seattle area has a deep and rich maritime history, as it is located on one of the best natural ports in the entire world. The Center for Wooden Boats seeks to preserve this history and encourage visitors to engage with it. The Center is a living maritime museum, and has exhibits both inside and out that detail the history of boating, fishing, and shipbuilding in the area. The outdoor Dock Toys exhibit teaches visitors about maritime skills like knot tying, signal flags, and measuring water depth. Best of all, the Center for Wooden Boats maintains a working fleet of historical boats like oar-powered long boats, sailboats, and even a small steam boat. The center offers lessons and classes on the boats, and a variety of rentals so anyone can learn the joy of being on the water.
Catch a show at the 5th Avenue Theater
A Seattle institution you won’t want to miss is the 5th Avenue Theater, which has hosted theater productions and motion pictures since 1926. The theater is home to the 5th Avenue Musical Theatre Company, which is the largest theater company in the area. The 5th Avenue Theater is known for being a “testing ground” for new musicals before they head to Broadway, and usually shows up to seven productions a year. The theater also is home special events, and outreach programs to both children and adults to help encourage the development of the theater arts. The Theater itself features a unique ornate historical Chinese style interior design, with dragon and flower patterns based on the throne room of the Forbidden City.
Peruse Pacific Place
Want to do some shopping? If so, make sure you check out the shops of Pacific Place. Pacific Place is an indoor shopping center featuring a variety of upscale shops and restaurants across its five levels. The 50 shops of Pacific Place include fashion favorites like Barneys New York and Club Monaco, jewelry stores like Tiffany & Co and TWIST Curated Jewelry, and much more. The shopping center also features a variety of restaurants, from fine dining to fast food, with cuisines from all over the world. After shopping, head to the AMC movie theater and catch a film at one of the 11 state-of-the-art auditoriums for the best movie experience.
Be challenged at Henry Art Gallery
The Henry Art Gallery is a contemporary art gallery in Seattle that is known for pushing the envelope of contemporary art and hosting exhibitions that challenge the boundaries of art. The Henry is home to over 26,000 objects of art that span the spectrum from new media and photography to sculpture and paintings of contemporary art. The art gallery also hosts a variety of programs including talks, performances, screenings of artistic films, workshops, meditation sessions, and events for families and teens. Notably, the museum’s entire collection, including things not on display, is available for research and general public interest through the Study Center.
See what you can find at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
Seattle’s Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is one of the oldest attractions in the city, dating all the way back to 1899 when Seattle was still on the edge of the frontier. Throughout that time, Seattle has changed substantially, but the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop has remained the place to find unique curiosities and interesting objects in the city. The Shop is a bit of a hybrid between a store and a museum, as not everything is for sale. Some curios that you may find in the shop include fleas in dresses, a four legged hen, shrunken heads, a naturally preserved mummy named Sylvester, and a walrus skull with three tusks.
Go on a Ghost Tour
If you are interested in the paranormal, you’ll want to go on a ghost tour operated by Spooked in Seattle. Spooked in Seattle has been giving tours of the darker side of Seattle hosted by real paranormal experts since 2004. The tours cover some of the spookiest sites of the city, including Seattle’s famous underground. Throughout the 90 minute tour, you’ll hear compelling stories of ghosts and be presented with evidence found during investigations exploring the past of the oldest buildings in the city. Spooked in Seattle offers a variety of tours, like the Pioneer Square Ghost Tour, the Haunted Pub Tour, and their newest, the ominously named How to Murder Tour.
Catch a Seahawks Game at CenturyLink Field
Fans of NFL football definitely need to attend a Seahawks game at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks’ home field is known for being one of the loudest places to play in the entire NFL, because the stadium manages to trap sound and reflect it back onto the field. That design, combined with a fan base that’s known for being enthusiastic enough to register on nearby seismic monitoring stations during particularly exciting plays, makes CenturyLink Field an incredibly challenging location for opposing teams to play. The level of noise is so difficult to play under that the NFL actually had to investigate whether or not the Seahawks were playing artificial crowd noise through the speakers. While it may be difficult for opposing players, the loud atmosphere is one-of-a-kind, and it makes games incredibly fun to attend.
Visit the University District
Seattle’s University District, or the U District as locals call it, is home to the University of Washington. The U District is known for its alternative character, which is encouraged by the members of the University. The area’s various neighborhoods include the largest and oldest local farmers market in the Seattle area, as well as the U District Street Fair which is held every May. While you’re in the U District, make sure you check out the Blue Moon Tavern, which has been in the neighborhood since 1934, and Seattle’s first brewpub, Big Time.
With Seattle’s strong Asian influences, it’s no surprise that the city hosts some of the best sushi in the entire country. The city is host to 17 world class sushi restaurants, including Sushi Kashiba, the restaurant of the world famous sushi chef Shiro Kashiba, and Maneki, a restaurant that has been serving fresh sushi to Seattleites since 1904. The key to enjoying these sushi joints is to partake in the omakase menu, where the chef will hand-pick a tasting menu to give you the best eye-opening flavors. In true Seattle fashion, many of these sushi restaurants feature sustainably sourced and local fish, and many of these restaurants feature long lines which more or less require reservations. Trust us though, it’s worth it.
Climb Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier is a dominating presence of the Seattle skyline. The active volcano’s snow-capped peak towers 14,410 feet over the city, and offers a challenging, but exciting challenge to mountaineers. The climb is considered the best alpine climb in the lower 48 states, and you (yes, you) can conquer it if you set your mind to it. Several guide services like Alpine Ascents International, International Mountain Guides and Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. offer climbing instruction, multi-day summit climbs, climbing seminars, and private guide services to help you get to the top. The climb is hard, and you’ll need to be in shape physically, but you don’t actually need any technical climbing skills as anything you need to know is taught by the guide services. If you’re able to make it to the top, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best views you’ll ever experience and a story to tell for decades to come.
Wander through the Experience Music Project Museum
The Experience Music Project Museum, better known as the EMP Museum, is a unique museum that belongs on any Seattle Bucket list. The museum is home to exhibits that cover pop culture, including science fiction, fantasy, horror cinema, video games, and of course, music. The museum has one of the largest collections of rare music artifacts, like hand-written lyrics, instruments of famous musicians, and original photos of Seattle musicians like Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. There are also interactive activities that let visitors explore instruments and perform for a virtual audience. Of course, you can’t miss the massive sculpture IF VI WAS IX by Neal Potter, which features over 500 instruments and 30 computers.
Ride the Washington State Ferries
If you’re looking for an easy way to get out on the water, check out the Washington State Ferries. The ferries are operated by the state Department of Transportation, and serve 21 different terminals throughout the Puget Sound region. With a fleet size of 22 vessels, the ferry service is actually the largest in the country, and the fourth largest ferry operator in the world. The ferries offer an interesting new view of the city that you can’t get from anywhere else, and also offer the most direct routes. A particularly popular ferry route is the ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island, which is known for being particularly beautiful.
Catch a ballgame at Safeco Field
Baseball fans owe it to themselves to stop by Safeco Field to catch a Seattle Mariners fan at least once. While the Mariners have never been to the World Series, they have had a storied and respected history, including holding the best regular season record ever with 116 wins in the regular season. The stadium has also seen its fair share of greats, like Ken Griffey Jr., who set six single-season batting records, and Felix Hernandez, who became the 23rd pitcher to pitch a perfect game in MLB history. The Stadium itself is notable for having a retractable roof, and the extensive public art displays, including a chandelier made of over 1,000 baseball bats.
Pay respects at the Bruce Lee Grave Site
Paying a visit to the grave of the legendary film and martial art star Bruce Lee is a necessary addition to any Seattle bucket list. Lee’s grave, located in Lakeview Cemetery, is visited by over 10,000 people every year who leave many offerings like flowers, figurines, oranges, candles, and notes. Buried next to him is his son Brandon Bruce Lee, who also unfortunately died too young in 1993. Visitors from all over the world plan entire trips just to visit the grave. Bruce Lee inspired generations of people across the planet to try to become the best versions of themselves, and continues to do so even today, 43 years after his passing.
Go on a food tour with Savor Seattle
Seattle has a very unique food scene, with a huge emphasis on genuine, local ingredients. Of course you can’t eat everywhere at once, so a food tour with Savor Seattle is perfect for getting a culinary survey of the city. Savor Seattle offers a variety of tours, including the Gourmet Seattle Tour, where you will make your way through the streets of Belltown, downtown Seattle, and Pike Place market, indulging in over 18 tastings at seven different locations. These tastings include wine and cocktail pairings and cuisine from Iron Chef winner Tom Douglas. Other interesting tours to consider from Savor Seattle are the Chocolate Indulgence Tour and the Signature Food Tour of Pike Place Market.
Enjoy the beach at Golden Gardens Park
If you want to get down to the water, you can’t do much better than Golden Gardens Park. Golden Gardens Park is located in the Ballard neighborhood, and it includes beaches, marshlands, hiking trails, picnic shelters and playgrounds. There are also fire pits, a basketball court, and volleyball courts. The sandy beach is known for its dunes and it is one of the more popular places for the locals of Seattle to swim and sit out in the sun. Golden gardens is also a popular location for bird watchers because of the wide variety of birds that inhabit the marshland or migrate through the area, like ducks, geese, hummingbirds and even bald eagles.
See how far we’ve come at the Living Computer Museum
The Living Computer Museum is another interesting Seattle museum located in the SODO neighborhood, and it makes a perfect bucket list item due to the presence of local companies like Microsoft and Amazon. The Museum preserves and showcases vintage computers so the public can see how far computers have come in the past 50 years. The computers on display are actually able to be used by the public, and include some of the oldest machines. The museum currently features 7 mainframe, 10 minicomputers, and 45 microcomputers that are available for the public to explore. The museum is interesting for both the computer savvy and the more tech illiterate.
That just about rounds out our Seattle Bucket list. Have you been to or experienced any of these? Are there things we missed? Let us know!