Seattle is a popular destination in the US’s beautiful Pacific Northwest and is a spot to spend a long weekend or a few days prior to heading off on an Alaskan cruise or before making your way down the coast. If you’re looking for things to do during a short trip in Seattle, there’s plenty to choose from as the city has a variety of attractions including museums and sightseeing options depending on your interests.
Admittedly, Seattle was not my favorite city we’ve visited. If you’re curious as to what it was I didn’t like about this “great” city, I really can’t tell you. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it. I know many people love it here. But, I just really did not care for Seattle and, unlike most other places we visit, my feelings weren’t hurt when it was time to leave. It as underwhelming and somewhat depressing to me. I think I may be the only person in the world who feels this way! Despite this, we made the best out of our time there, checking out the city for a few days before and after an Alaskan cruise. Here are our favorite places:
I loved all the beautiful flowers and delicious fruit which made this market cheery and beautiful! The flowers were so fragrant, they actually overpowered the smells of the fish and meat. Yes, it is a bit like a cattle drive here, but it is a really fun place to spend some time and get some great local items.
The cruise only takes a few hours, but you get to see a lot of cool things (many of them off the beaten path) along the way. This was also our first time experiencing a lock system, and it was really cool to see how the mechanisms worked and the boat was able to navigate the various water levels of the Puget Sound.
Chihuly Gardens and Glass
Chihuly is absolutely impressive. The skill and patience required to make these beautiful, intricate, and colorful works of art is incredible. The bright colors really pop and are so enjoyable! Although it’s a bit of a jaunt, you can walk here from downtown. And, once you’re there, you can visit other sites in the area like the Space Needle and EMO Museum if that sparks your interest.
The Post Alley Gum Wall
This little gem took us awhile to find this spot, but its right around the corner from Pike’s Market. The gum wall is pretty gross, very colorful, and the quintessential tourist spot. However, we got a good laugh looking at all the pieces of gum, some of them artfully crafted into words, smiley faces, and other designs, and we even left a piece of ours behind as well.
Notice how most of the places I did enjoy are all very bright and cheerfully colorful? I think I was unknowingly seeking out these vibrant spots to counteract Seattle’s dreary grey skies and industrial-like buildings.
What I’m glad we didn’t do
Go to the top of the Space Needle
The admission is expensive and the lines were like two hours long. Personally, I thought the whole thing was overrated. For better views at a cheaper price and absolutely zero crowds, head to the Sky View Observatory of the Columbia Tower instead!
Ride the observation wheel
These things are popping up all over the world and as far as I’m concerned, if you’ve done one, you’ve done them all. From what we could tell, the views weren’t even that great (again, go to the Sky Observatory for better views!)
What I wish we would have done
Taken a ferry to the San Juan Islands. They look beautiful and it would have been a nice way to get out of Seattle for a day.
The Mariners were playing while we were there, so we were able to catch a game, which is always fun since we don’t have professional teams back home. The Mariners’ stadium is one of the nicest ones we have been to and they put on one heck of a fireworks show!
Other Tips and Information on Seattle
If you’re staying downtown, most things are within walking distance. We stayed at the Executive Hotel Pacific and the Westin (we recommend the latter). The subway system is easy to use when needed, and is great for going to/from the airport. If you’re looking for a fantastic restaurant, Assagio Restaurante Italiano should be at the top of your list.
If you have ever struggled with similar feelings, you know it can be challenging to enjoy your time in a city. We recommend making the best of your trip. That is exactly what we did in Seattle.