Explore Seattle

5 Ways to Spend a Day in Seattle

Whatever you love, we have the itinerary for you.

You Love: Music

While Seattle is most famous for the birth of grunge music, it isn’t all baggy flannel and ripped jeans. There is plenty of music for lovers of all genres.

Start your day at Easy Street Records, where you can peruse CDs on the first floor, or head upstairs to browse their extensive vinyl collection. When you’re finished, grab breakfast and coffee at Easy Street’s café.

From there, head to Capitol Hill to take your photo with the Jimi Hendrix statue (Broadway and Pine St.), and then go to Volunteer Park to visit the Black Sun sculpture, rumored as the inspiration for “Black Hole Sun,” the famous song by Soundgarden (who, consequently, got their name from the “Sound Garden” sculpture located at Magnuson Park on NOAA land. A photo ID is required to gain access, visit www.seattle.gov/parks for more information.)

For more music history, consider taking a tour with Stalking Seattle, which will show you even more famous music sites around town. With pickup and drop-off at the EMP Museum you can bookend your tour with a visit to this museum’s various musical exhibits.

Finish your day with a live concert at one of the many venues around town: Take in a show while eating dinner at The Triple Door, check out some jazz at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, see the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall or see who is playing at the Tractor Tavern, The Crocodile, Neumos, The Showbox or the Moore Theatre.

Seattle Pinball Museum
Seattle Pinball Museum (©Alabastro Photography)

You Love: Family Time

Looking for activities for your entire family? Not a problem in Seattle.

Get an early start on a whale watching tour with Clipper Vacations or head to the Seattle Aquarium or the Woodland Park Zoo for a variety of local and not-so-local marine and wildlife viewing.

Burn off energy outside during the lovely summer days at Golden Gardens Park, where you can wade in the ocean, build sand castles or have a picnic. Or head to Green Lake for some swimming, a wading pool or a paddleboat rental.

When you’re ready for a change, Seattle Center offers one-stop family shopping, with the Pacific Science Center, the Seattle Children’s Museum and the Space Needle. Alternatively, take a tour with Ride the Ducks to explore the major sites of the city as well as an in-water tour of Lake Union aboard their amphibious vehicles.

In the afternoon, grab some ice cream and play pinball at Full Tilt or, if you’d like pinball minus the sugar, head to the Seattle Pinball Museum with two floors of antique and modern machines. End the day watching some baseball at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.

Molly Moon's Ice Cream
Molly Moon's Ice Cream (©Kathryn Barnard)

You Love: Food and Drinks

Seattle is a foodie paradise. With so much fresh, local food, eating your way through the city is a great way to vacation. And don’t worry about getting thirsty—Seattle has microbreweries, wineries and distilleries at the ready.

Start the day at Pike Place Market—the mini-doughnuts are fantastic, or buy some fruit for a healthier breakfast. Don’t forget to stop by one of the fish stands, as they can ship seafood for you or wrap it in a fresh pack for you to carry home.

If you’d rather let someone else make the food decisions, try a Savor Seattle Tour, where you’ll get to try samples of food from Pike Place Market, gourmet eateries or Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with a tour and tasting of Theo Chocolate, where you can buy enough chocolate at the end of the tour to last you months. There is also Molly Moon’s Ice Cream if you’re craving something cold. Whatever your flavor, have it in a waffle cone.

Spend the afternoon on a tour of Seattle breweries, wineries or distilleries with Road Dog Tours, or browse one of the neighborhood farmers markets. Once you’ve walked up an appetite, head to dinner at one of Seattle’s many restaurants. Try Canlis for an elegant experience with a great view, or visit The Metropolitan Grill for steak. If seafood is more your speed, try Elliott’s Oyster House for oysters or Sushi Kappo Tamura for sushi.

Pioneer Square Art Walk
Pioneer Square Art Walk (Courtesy Alliance For Pioneer Square)

You Love: All Things Art

From museums to galleries to public art, there’s plenty to admire while you’re in town.

Grab a coffee and head out on a walking tour—there is public art everywhere, so choose a neighborhood. A few favorites are Fremont, with the Fremont Troll, Lenin statue (Fremont Place N and N. 36th St.) and “Waiting for the Interurban” (N. 34th St. and Fremont Ave. N); Seattle Center, with its many installations and fountains; and Belltown, where you’ll find an inside-out umbrella and the Wave Rave Cave, among others. Walking tour guides are online at www.seattle.gov/arts.

Move inside as the day starts to heat up with one of the many museums in town. The Seattle Art Museum has a huge collection and wonderful special exhibits; Chihuly Garden & Glass is the home of Dale Chihuly’s glass work and personal collections; or check out Photo Center NW for some of the best photography in the area.

If you’re looking to do a little shopping, Pioneer Square is home to many art galleries, including Davidson Galleries, Foster/White Gallery and Gallery IMA. If you’d rather make your own souvenir, Seattle Glassblowing Studio offers a private, four-hour class and a half-hour hands-on experience for those who want to try creating their own masterpiece.

End the day at one of the many neighborhood art walks, where you can wander in and out of local businesses and see a large variety of art, hear music and experience a Seattle neighborhood. Find the art walk schedule at seattleartwalks.org.

Mount Rainier
(Courtesy EverGreen Escapes)

You Love: The Outdoors

It’s a wonderful time of year to get outdoors in Seattle. With warm, sunny, long days, you’ll have plenty of time to experience the Pacific Northwest.

Start your day on the water. Alki Kayak Tours has kayak rentals and stand-up paddleboard rentals for you to explore the water on your own or take a guided tour. In addition, you can cruise Lake Union with a sailboat rental from the Center for Wooden Boats.

If exploring land is more your speed, hike, run or walk around Discovery Park or the Washington Park Arboretum, where you’ll find a variety of trails to explore. Or get out of town at one of the many hikes in the foothills of the Cascades. Hike to Cherry Creek Falls, where you’ll find two gorgeous waterfalls at the end. (On your way back to Seattle, stop at the Armadillo Barbecue in Duvall for some of the best barbecue around.)

Want a guided exploration? Opt for a tour with EverGreen Escapes and one of their naturalists. Their day tours include Mount Rainier, the San Juan Islands and Mount St. Helens and include a meal of local, mostly organic food. Or explore the city via bicycle with Seattle Cycling Tours.

If you find yourself needing some outdoor gear, Seattle has you covered. Visit the flagship REI for anything outdoor you could ever want (and try out their 65-foot-tall Pinnacle Climbing Wall), or check out EVO for skiing, snowboarding and skateboarding gear and apparel.

Whatever your ultimate itinerary, Seattle won’t disappoint.