the seattle travel guide - the top thing

The Seattle Travel Guide

Written: The Top Thing Staff | August 18, 2023

1. Space Needle

The Space Needle is an iconic Seattle landmark that offers breathtaking views of the city. Visitors can enjoy the observation deck, providing a panoramic perspective of the surrounding area. The rotating SkyCity restaurant at the top allows guests to savor their meals while taking in stunning vistas.

The Space Needle features a glass floor, offering visitors a unique and thrilling way to view the city below. This innovative feature provides an unforgettable experience for those seeking a different perspective on Seattle’s urban landscape.

Moreover, with its striking architecture and historical significance as one of the most recognizable structures in Seattle, the Space Needle is not only a tourist attraction but also serves as an emblem of innovation and progress within the city.

Visiting this iconic structure is more than just sightseeing; it’s an opportunity to immerse oneself in Seattle’s rich history and witness firsthand how this architectural marvel has become synonymous with both past and present aspects of Seattle culture.

2. Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is a historic market in Seattle, offering an array of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and seafood. It has been a cornerstone of the city’s culture since its opening in 1907. The market’s vibrant atmosphere is enhanced by street performers and local vendors, creating an immersive experience for visitors.

One of the most iconic features of Pike Place Market is the original Starbucks store. This small shop holds historical significance as it was the first Starbucks location established in 1971. Visitors can witness the humble beginnings of this global coffee chain while enjoying their favorite brew.

The market’s diverse range of products reflects Seattle’s rich culinary scene and commitment to supporting local businesses. From handcrafted jewelry to freshly caught fish, there’s something for everyone at Pike Place Market. Visitors can witness skilled artisans at work or engage with friendly vendors who are passionate about their offerings.

Pike Place Market also serves as a platform for sustainable practices and community engagement. Many vendors prioritize locally sourced ingredients and eco-friendly packaging, aligning with Seattle’s environmentally conscious ethos.

3. Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)

The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) offers interactive exhibits that celebrate pop culture, music, and sci-fi. Visitors can immerse themselves in the world of iconic artists and influential movements through engaging displays and hands-on activities.

The museum’s impressive architecture is a highlight in itself. Designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, the building’s unique design mirrors the creativity found within its walls. The exterior alone is a work of art worth experiencing.

Inside MoPOP, visitors can explore exhibitions dedicated to legendary musicians, such as Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana, along with displays showcasing influential movements like grunge music. These exhibits provide an in-depth look at the impact these cultural phenomena have had on society.

Moreover, MoPOP regularly hosts special events and film screenings that cater to diverse interests within popular culture. This ensures that there’s always something new and exciting for visitors to experience during their time at the museum.

4. Chihuly Garden and Glass

The Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle showcases the stunning glass artwork of the world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly. Visitors are treated to a mesmerizing experience as they explore both indoor and outdoor displays set within a beautiful botanical garden. The blending of intricate sculptures with vibrant installations creates an immersive environment that captivates art enthusiasts and casual observers alike.

Dale Chihuly’s masterpieces, characterized by their bold colors and organic forms, have garnered international acclaim for their innovation and beauty. The garden offers a unique opportunity to witness these extraordinary works of art in harmony with nature, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking inspiration or simply looking to appreciate the fusion of creativity and natural splendor.

The juxtaposition of delicate glass creations against the backdrop of lush greenery provides visitors with an unforgettable sensory experience. From towering outdoor sculptures to delicate chandeliers suspended above serene ponds, every corner holds a new surprise, showcasing the versatility and artistry inherent in each piece.

This attraction is not only an homage to Chihuly’s artistic vision but also serves as an educational platform for understanding the intricacies involved in creating large-scale glass installations. It is truly a testament to human creativity at its finest, offering visitors an insight into the boundless possibilities achievable through artistic expression.

5. Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium is a must-visit attraction that offers an immersive experience with marine life and ecosystems. Here are some highlights to look forward to:

  • Marine Exhibits: The aquarium features captivating exhibits showcasing the diverse sea life and ecosystems found in the Pacific Northwest. Visitors can explore habitats ranging from coastal tide pools to the depths of Puget Sound, providing valuable insights into the region’s rich marine biodiversity.
  • Interactive Touch Pools: One of the main draws of the aquarium is its touch pools, allowing visitors to engage with various marine animals such as sea stars, anemones, and even small sharks. This hands-on experience fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation for these creatures while offering an interactive element for visitors of all ages.
  • Educational Programs: The Seattle Aquarium hosts educational programs aimed at raising awareness about conservation efforts and promoting environmental stewardship. From guided tours to informative talks by marine experts, visitors have access to valuable resources that shed light on pressing issues affecting our oceans.

6. Washington State Ferries

Scenic ferry rides offer panoramic views of the Puget Sound, providing a unique perspective of Seattle’s stunning waterfront and surrounding natural beauty. The gentle sway of the boat and the refreshing sea breeze make for a relaxing and immersive experience.

The Washington State Ferries system connects Seattle to nearby islands and peninsulas, offering an opportunity for visitors to explore beyond the city limits. This presents an ideal chance to discover quaint coastal communities, pristine beaches, and charming lighthouses.

During these ferry journeys, there is also the exciting possibility of spotting marine wildlife such as seals, porpoises, or even whales. For nature enthusiasts or those seeking remarkable encounters with local fauna, this adds an extra layer of excitement to the already captivating trip.

The convenience factor cannot be overlooked either; ferries provide a practical mode of transportation for both tourists and locals alike. They offer an alternative means to access attractions like Bainbridge Island or Vashon Island without having to drive long distances.

7. Museum of Flight

The Museum of Flight in Seattle boasts an extensive collection of aircraft and aviation artifacts, making it a must-visit for aviation enthusiasts. The museum offers interactive exhibits on space exploration and aeronautics, providing visitors with an immersive learning experience.

Visitors can explore historic aircraft, including the iconic Air Force One and the legendary Concorde. This allows them to witness firsthand the evolution of air travel and gain insights into pivotal moments in aviation history.

The museum’s emphasis on interactive experiences sets it apart, as visitors have the opportunity to engage with simulations and hands-on activities that bring the world of flight to life.

For example, one such exhibit allows guests to step inside a full-scale replica of NASA’s Space Shuttle Trainer, offering a glimpse into astronaut training programs.

In addition to its impressive collection, the Museum of Flight regularly hosts events and educational programs for all ages. These initiatives aim to inspire curiosity about aerospace technology while highlighting its significance in shaping our world.

8. Seattle Great Wheel

The Seattle Great Wheel offers a unique experience with its waterfront Ferris wheel featuring enclosed gondolas, allowing visitors to enjoy the ride regardless of the weather. The panoramic views from the top extend across Elliott Bay and encompass stunning vistas of the city skyline, making it an ideal spot for capturing memorable photos or simply taking in the beauty of Seattle.

At night, the wheel comes alive with colorful lights, creating a dazzling spectacle that adds another layer of magic to the experience. This nighttime illumination enhances not only the visual appeal but also provides an enchanting ambiance for riders as they take in breathtaking views under a starry sky.

Visitors can revel in this captivating attraction while enjoying comfortable seating within each gondola and feeling secure knowing that safety is paramount throughout their journey. With its convenient location on Pier 57 along Alaskan Way, this iconic landmark is easily accessible and makes for an unforgettable addition to any visit to Seattle’s vibrant waterfront district.

9. Kerry Park

Kerry Park is a picturesque spot that offers breathtaking views of the Seattle skyline, making it an ideal location for photography enthusiasts and those seeking romantic sunset vistas. The park’s panoramic view encompasses iconic landmarks such as the Space Needle, Mount Rainier, and Elliott Bay.

Visitors can capture stunning images of the cityscape against the backdrop of majestic mountains or simply enjoy the serene ambiance as day transitions into night. This makes it a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike.

Ballard Locks is not only a historical site but also features a beautiful botanical garden and fish ladder, providing visitors with an enriching experience. Watching boats pass through the locks between freshwater Lake Union and saltwater Puget Sound is an intriguing sight that showcases Seattle’s maritime culture.

Moreover, visitors have the unique opportunity to witness salmon migrating through the fish ladder during certain times of the year, offering a fascinating glimpse into nature’s wonders right within the city limits.

10. Ballard Locks

Seattle is a must-visit destination, offering diverse attractions that cater to various interests. From the iconic Space Needle to the serene beauty of Discovery Park, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Visitors can explore cultural landmarks such as the Museum of Pop Culture and Chihuly Garden and Glass, which showcase Seattle’s rich artistic heritage. For nature enthusiasts, the lush greenery of Washington Park Arboretum and the stunning views from Kerry Park provide an unforgettable experience.

The range of experiences in Seattle is truly remarkable – whether it’s strolling through Pike Place Market or taking a scenic ferry ride on Puget Sound, there are endless opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Embracing these top attractions promises an unforgettable Seattle experience. By immersing oneself in the city’s culture, history, and natural beauty, visitors can create lasting memories while gaining a deeper understanding of what makes Seattle so unique.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to visit the Space Needle?

The best time to visit the Space Needle is during sunset. The panoramic views of Seattle at dusk are breathtaking, and you can experience both daylight and nighttime cityscapes in one visit.

Are there any must-see attractions at Pike Place Market?

Yes, don’t miss the iconic fish-throwing spectacle at Pike Place Fish Market. It’s a lively and entertaining tradition that has become synonymous with this historic market.

Is the Museum of Pop Culture suitable for kids?

Absolutely! The Museum of Pop Culture offers interactive exhibits and engaging activities for all ages. Kids will love exploring the pop culture artifacts and participating in hands-on experiences.

How long does it take to explore Chihuly Garden and Glass?

On average, visitors spend about 1-2 hours exploring Chihuly Garden and Glass. However, art enthusiasts may want to allocate more time to fully appreciate Dale Chihuly’s mesmerizing glass sculptures.

Can I see live marine life at the Seattle Aquarium?

Yes, you can witness live marine animals such as sea otters, octopuses, and various species of fish at the Seattle Aquarium. It’s an educational and captivating experience for visitors of all ages.