Seattle, the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, is home to some of the world’s most well known companies, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Amazon to name just a few. Also famously known as the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix and Grunge, music plays a large part in the Seattle scene. Oh, and maybe it’s worth mentioning that for 26 years it was home to yours truly. Yes, I spent my formative years listening to the aforementioned grunge and stomping around town in the unofficial official uniform of the PNW: a hoodie and Doc Martens.
It’s been 18 years since I’ve called the Emerald City home, but family and close connections guarantee that I visit regularly.
By no means a comprehensive list I’ve grouped this Rain City guide by neighborhood. Featuring quirky shops, activities, places to eat, and plenty of street art, I hope you’ll find some fun new ideas and of course there are few old favorites listed here as well.
Located south of Downtown Georgetown was Seattle’s first neighborhood. The area has a vibe, which to me fell somewhere between industrial and quirky Seattle hipster. There are multiple eateries to choose from, a chocolate factory, a record store, and even a trailer park mall to explore.
Our mid-day meal at the Jules Maes Saloon was excellent and I’m still thinking about the delicious French dip I enjoyed there. A return trip to this fun neighborhood is a definite.
The area just south of Downtown (SoDo) though primarily still an industrial district is definitely on the upswing and though it takes a little more effort there are pockets worth exploring.
The SoDo Track
One such place is the SoDo Track a two mile transit corridor leading into the Downtown core. Over the course of the past three years this area has been transformed by over 60 artists from around the world into an outdoor urban art gallery, which is visible via light rail, bus and a bike/walking path.
While the art is worth seeing this area does have quite a long way to go as far as gentrification is concerned. I suggest bringing a friend along if you’re planning to walk the trail, alternatively one could hop on the Metro bus or train.
Tour the Stadiums
Also located in the SoDo neighborhood are two of the city’s sports stadiums, Century Link Field, home to the Seattle Seahawks and Safeco Field home to the Seattle Mariners. Sports fans will be happy to know that both stadiums have team shops and if time permits both offer group and private tours as well.
Safeco Field is located at 1250 1st Avenue South. One hour tours are available seasonally check the website for availability. Tickets prices are: Adults,$12, Senior/Military, $11, and children are $10
Century Link Field is located at 800 Occidental Avenue South. Check the website for tour times, which vary throughout the year. Ticket prices are: Adults, $14, Seniors/Military $10, and children 5 – 11 $8. Under 4s are free.
Pike Place Market
The Pike Place Market district is a must see when visiting Seattle. Within this historic district you’ll find the freshest produce, bakers, butchers, farmers, specialty food stores, a crafts market with local artisans and over 200 individual shops as well as many restaurants ranging from takeout to fine dining.
You might also be interested in: Seattle The Pike Place Market
The Gum Wall
What do you do with your gum when you’re finished chewing it? The obvious answer would be, throw it away, but if you’re visiting Seattle you might consider another option, sticking it to the wall. Yep! You heard me; just stick it to the wall! The Gum Wall that is…
I know! You’re thinking its super gross, and it is, but at the same time there is something strangely satisfying about adding your blob of soft sticky chewing gum to the wall along with the thousands of other people who’ve done so.
You might also be interested in: Seattle The Gum Wall
The Seattle Waterfront
Views of both Elliot Bay and the City’s skyline, art museums, quirky shops, and dining options make the Seattle Waterfront a very worthwhile destination. Access via the Pike Street Hill Climb makes it an easy walk from Downtown.
The Seattle Aquarium
Families will enjoy a visit to The Seattle Aquarium, which is perched right over the Bay. It’s friendly layout and interactive exhibits make it a wonderful spot for both children and adults alike.
The Aquarium is open 9:30 am – 5:00 pm daily with the exception of Christmas Day. Tickets are: Adults $29.50, Youth ages 4 -12 $19.95, and children under 4 are free.
The Seattle Great Wheel
The Seattle Great Wheel is just a short distance from the Seattle Aquarium, and an easy walk from Downtown. The gondolas are enclosed and heated, so you’ll be able to enjoy the ride rain or shine, day or night. Picturesque views of Elliot Bay, the Space Needle, and the Seattle skyline are available.
The Great Wheel is located on Pier 57. Tickets are: Adults $14, Seniors $12 and Youth 4 – 11 $9. VIP Tickets are also available for $50.
You might also be interested in: Seattle The Great Wheel
Olympic Sculpture Park
The Olympic Sculpture Park, an extension of the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), is an outdoor art museum located at the north end of the Seattle Waterfront. Stunning views of Elliot Bay and Mount Rainier make a wonderful backdrop for the 19 acres of art on display.
The Sculpture Park is free and open to the public 365 days a year.
Since it opened in 1991 The Crocodile has played an important roll in the history of the Seattle music scene. An impressive list of bands both local and national have played there including Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Everclear, Green Day, The Strokes, Cheap Trick, Yoko Ono, R.E.M., Built to Spill, and the Beastie Boys to name just a few.
The Croc is located at 2200 2nd Avenue. Check their website for concert listings some of which are open to all ages. Full disclosure: the last show I saw at the Croc was the Old 97s in 2000 ish.
Belltown Street Art
The Seattle Center
The Seattle Center, originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, encompasses a large area north of Belltown. The Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, MoPop Museum, Children’s Museum, and the Chihuly Gardens are just a few of the attractions you’ll find there.
The MoPop Museum
MoPop formerly known as The Experience Music Project (EMP) is an interactive museum dedicated to all things pop-culture. No matter your age there truly is something for everyone, making this an excellent family activity, especially on a rainy Seattle day.
You might also be interested in: Seattle The Experience Music Project
Capital Hill is a vibrant and diverse neighborhood located just east of Downtown. The area is packed with indie shops, bars, restaurants, clubs, and plenty of coffee shops.
Nemos is a mid-sized live music venue with a long Seattle history. Many well known musicians and bands have played here including: The Shins, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Raconteurs, No Doubt and Radio Head just to name a few.
Neumos is located at 925 East Pike Street. Check the official website for shows and ticket prices. Some shows are all ages.
Capital Hill Street Art
Wallingford and Fremont are located a few miles from Downtown. You’ll find multiple parks, restaurants, and shops in both areas. Fremont in particular is known for it’s quirky atmosphere.
Archie McPhee Novelty Shop
We love browsing at Archie McPhee where the store motto is “We Make Weird,” and Bacon dental floss, hand underwear, Moses action figures, baby shooters and pickle bandages are just a few of the bizarre and unusual items you’ll find on the shelves. There simply isn’t another place like it… anywhere!
Archie McPhee is located at 1300 N 45th Street. The Store’s opening hours are:
Monday – Saturday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm and Sun. 11:00 am – 7:00 pm.
Wallingford/Fremont Street Art
The Fremont Troll, located under the Aurora Bridge, is 18 feet high and weighs 13,000 pounds. To give you a sense of scale the Volkswagen he is holding is real! Climbing on the troll is encouraged.
The Woodland Park Zoo
If you’re traveling with children consider a visit to the Woodland Park Zoo its one of my favorite zoos, and I’ve been to a few! The Children’s Zoo with a farm and a petting zoo is first rate.
The Woodland Park Zoo is located at 5500 Phinney Avenue North. The Zoo is open everyday with the exception of Christmas Day. Tickets: Adults $20.95, Seniors $18.95, Children 3 – 12 $12.95 and toddlers are free.
You might also be interested in: 25 Zoos Around the World
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Take me with you!
Would you like directions to all these fabulous places? Why not take me with you! You can download this and other fun hilarystyle articles using the GPSmyCity app!
What? EMP is MoPop? Had not heard that. Oh Seattle, how I love you. So many happy memories from my UDub days and starter adult life on Cap Hill. My posse was on Broadway! The gum wall tho? Makes me wretch a little bit in my mouth. Nasty. I would add a crawl up atop Queen Anne for fab views of the Needle and out to the Sound. Now craving a Dicks Burger and chowder.
I lived on Highland Avenue, but sadly have NO photos of that amazing view. What? I guess I was too busy enjoying the view. So many places I’d have added if only I had any photos… Greenlake, Ivar’s, Dick’s, international district, Golden Gardens…
I worked at Ivar’s Salmon House as a hostess!
Wow! Love your detailed travel guide to Seattle 🙂 It’s giving me quite some ideas to add to my trip that I’m yet to plan but it’s on my list 😉
Thank you! Seattle is a wonderful place to visit!
I love the photography in this post – it makes me want to book my ticket to Seattle straight away! The outdoor gallery looks amazing. You really showcase this as such a colour-filled and creative city. #farawayfiles
Thank you! Seattle is one of my favorite cities, I might be biased 😘. There is a ton to see and do, so it was hard for me to write this as I had so much more I wanted to include. I hope you get there soon… though summer is the best time!
I completely forgot about the gum wall! How gross. I haven’t lived there for over a decade and I still adhere to the hoodies and flip flop code. Not Birkenstocks, though. I never have liked those. #FarawayFiles
It so gross, but I love the gum wall…..from a distance, hahaha! I never liked Birkenstocks either. I can’t figure out why they’ve made such a big resurgence recently.
Seattle is one of my favorite cities… Great food scene and just a lot to do! Especially that just outside of it there is so much natural beauty. #farawayFlies
Yes! One of my favorites too! I’ve been lamenting that I didn’t take more advantage of the nearby outdoor opportunities when I lived there.
There’s definitely something about Seattle… When I spent three and a bit weeks going around the States in my 20s it was the place I most felt at home in. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Clearly there’s loads more I need to do in this fabulous city – although perhaps not that gum wall. Eurgh! Although I would like to take pictures of it, just not get too close. And I’m a BIG Frasier fan! #FarawayFiles
There is so much to do in Seattle. This list hasn’t really done it justice, but I think if I were to really do it justice my post would be miles long. I know the gum wall is disgusting but it’s also strangely beautiful. When I last visited they had recently cleaned it after 20 years and all the gum was fresh 😳 and colorful. The alley smelled like bubblegum.
I can’t believe all the amazing street art I missed out on and many of the other things! I really only saw a few things downtown prior to my flight to Germany. I have to say, the gum wall just totally disgusts me and I don’t even think I want to walk down there haha I’ll just zoom in with my camera haha Germaphobe! #FarawayFiles
I love your fascination with street art! Do you seek it out or do you happen to live in a place which has an abundance of it? Seattle looks very cool although the gum wall? I’m not sure about that one!
Since writing this post I’m learning that you might need to have been a Seattleite to appreciate the gum wall… I love all art, but particularly street art for it’s accessibility. To answer your question about street art, I both seek it out and I live in a place with a lot of it. Most LA neighborhoods are covered in art, and if you can believe it I only share a small percentage of what I actually see.
Kate Gluten Free Alchemist
That gum wall is seriously gross…. yet strangely arty. Looks like an amazing city x
You’re correct on both counts it’s both gross and arty! Seattle is fab!
Corey | Fifi + Hop
Reading this post makes me wonder how it’s been so many hears since I’ve been there, especially since I have family who live there. I see there’s lots of comments about the Gum wall and while it is disgusting, I find it strangely fascinating! Eeeek ;). #farawayfiles
You’ll have to get back for another visit. Lets meet there!! I love the gum wall. I know it’s actually disgusting, but I also find it fascinating and it’s loved by the locals!
I didn’t realise Seattle had such music scene.
I do like the look of Seattle, I think it’s because it surrounded by so much water. Really enjoyed the street art you discovered, it looks fantastic, particularly the Freemont Troll. #farawayfiles
Yes! Many famous musicians and bands have come from Seattle. It was definitely a great place to grow up if one was into music. It is a very pretty city!
Don’t know much about Seattle, I guess close to nothing… Looks cool though, expect for the gum wall 🙁 #farawayfiles
you have great eyes for extraordinary colors out of ordinary things. wonderful!