Are you planning a trip to Seattle sometime this year? Will it be your first trip to the emerald city? If so, here are a few things you can do while you’re in the Northwest! As someone who grew up in the greater Seattle area, I’m so excited to share this post with you guys. Especially since some of you on Instagram specifically have asked for this post!

What to do in Seattle for your first trip:

1. Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is probably Seattle’s most famous tourist stop. Founded in 1907, Pike Place Market is one of the oldest marketplaces. You can stop by the famous gum wall or fish mosaic wall in the new addition of the market. Walk through the rows of fresh bouquets (which are only $5-$15), grab (my favorite) mini-donuts from Daily Dozen Doughnuts stand, or Ellenos Yogurt for a snack. And of course, stop by the first Starbucks in the world. Pike Place Market has an incredible array of restaurants. Visit their website to see where else to eat.

2. Seattle Waterfront

Head to the Seattle Waterfront and ride the Great Wheel. The Great Wheel is always a fun stop on the Waterfront. You can also visit the Seattle Aquarium to learn about marine life or walk all the way down to see Olympic Sculpture Park.

3. Ride an Argosy Cruise

One of the best ways to learn some facts about the city and see the Seattle skyline is on the water. Take a one hour cruise around Elliot Bay with Argosy Cruises.

4. Head to the top of the Space Needle

The Space Needle is an iconic structure in the Seattle skyline. The Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. The view of the city with Mount Rainier in the background is amazing!

5. The Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum

The Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum is probably one of my favorite museums in Seattle. All of the glass artwork displayed in museum is incredible. I went for the first time last fall and it was well worth the visit!

6. Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room

If you love Starbucks, you have to stop by the Starbucks Roastery in Capitol Hill. You can watch the coffee beans being grounded and transported throughout the building. The building is also pretty Instagrammable!

7. The Fremont Troll

Head over to Fremont and visit the Troll. It looks like it just took a Volkswagen Beetle off the road. If you’re planning a photo shoot, the Fremont troll is a great backdrop! Here are a few photos of the Fremont Troll in a previous blog post.

8. The University of Washington

If you enjoy walking through college campuses like me, the University of Washington is a beautiful campus. I’d recommend walking through the Quad, Red Square, and stopping the Reading Room in Suzallo Library – it looks like it’s straight out of Hogwarts.

9. Seattle Public Library

In my opinion, the Seattle Public Library is one of the coolest buildings in the city – meaning its Instagram-worthy! Exploring the Seattle Public Library is fun especially if it’s a rainy day.

10. Take a Ferry Ride

Seattle has one of the largest ferry systems in the world. If you’ve never been on a ferry before, they’re a great way to see the islands of Puget Sound! You can check out my Seattle to Bainbridge blog post here.

11. Alki Beach in West Seattle

Alki Beach is really popular during spring and summer! The view of the Seattle city skyline from Alki Beach is beautiful. I’d recommend eating along the beach or renting bikes for an afternoon!

12. Go Coffee Shop Hopping

Yes Starbucks is home to Seattle, but Seattle has incredible coffee as a whole city. Some of my favorite coffee shops are: Preserve and Gather (Greenwood), Slate (University District), and Broadcast Coffee (Greenlake), and Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe (Capitol Hill). Here’s a whole list of coffee shops from the Eater if you’re looking for even more places.

Aside from sight seeing, I would also recommend stopping by some of Seattle’s parks. Seattle has some incredible parks with beautiful views of the Seattle skyline and the Puget Sound.

What Seattle Parks to Visit During Your Trip:

1. Gasworks Park

Gasworks is one of my favorite parks in the city! It used to be the Seattle Gas Light Company – a coal gas plant. It was repurposed has a public park in 1975 and it has an incredible view of the city across Lake Union. Gasworks is located near the Wallingford and Fremont area.

2.  Kerry Park

Kerry Park is probably the most popular park to get a view of the city. Located in upper Queen Anne, you can always find loads of people, wedding parties, prom groups, and families taking photos at Kerry Park. If you’re looking for more views of the city, check out Seattle’s Best Views here.

3. Discovery Park

If you’re looking to do some hiking within the city, Discovery Park is where you need to be. Discovery Park is located in the Magnolia neighborhood. Discovery Park has 11 miles of walking trails and has a beautiful light house located on the beach. Here are a few photos of the rolling grass fields you’ll see at Discovery Park.

4. South Lake Union Park

Located in South Lake Union (near Amazon and the Brain Institute), Lake Union Park has the Museum of History and Industry and the Center for Wooden Boats. I’d recommend walking down to the park if you decide to eat brunch or lunch in South Lake Union.

P.s. This is also a great spot for a photo shoot if it isn’t raining outside.

5. Volunteer Park

If it’s a rainy day and you want to see a park with some indoor space, I highly recommend stopping by Volunteer Park Conservatory in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. There’s a beautiful botanical garden/green house! I’ve actually had a few blog photo shoots here. If it isn’t raining, I’d recommend checking out the Seattle Asian Art Museum and the rest of the park!

I hope you enjoyed this list of things to do in Seattle! What are some of your favorite things to do in the city?

Thank you for reading! My recommendations of where to eat on Seattle are coming your way soon! If you have any other questions about visiting Seattle, please let me know 🙂



Photos: Holly Phan