10 Fun Things to Do in Seattle to Fully Soak Up the Emerald City
Seattle hasn’t always been a major tourist destination, but these days, most people would agree that it’s an up-and-coming city with a lot to offer.
1. Unicorn Bar
First, let’s start with what many believe in the most unusual bar in all of Seattle, if not on the West Coast.
This is a place that takes Seattle’s general hipster vibe to a whole new level, and as such, it’s not to be missed. Unicorn Bar on Capitol Hill may be one of the only carnival-themed bars around, but that’s only the beginning of the fun.
The food includes your conventional bar fare, but they’re also branched out into some more exciting options. The corn dogs are to die for, and the drinks are every bit as good. Regulars wear unicorn helmets, and if that’s not enough to convince you to check this place out, we have four more words: deep-fried Snickers bars.
What could be better?
2. Cafe Allegro
Seattle is famous for its coffee, so it can be hard for a tourist to know where to get a cup. Which of the many coffee shops is most representative of what we all think of as ‘Seattle coffee’? To be sure, it’s pretty much impossible to buy bad coffee in Seattle, but what are the can’t-miss spots?
Not every coffee aficionado agrees on the answer to this question—there’re a lot to choose from, after all—but in recent years, a bit of a consensus has begun to emerge. Most people agree that Café Allegro is the best of the best, and it has the added distinction of being Seattle’s very first coffee shop.
After you’ve checked this place out, you may want to consider Café Lladro as well—it may not be the best, but it’s a pretty close runner-up. Milstead deserves an honorable mention as well.
3. The Center for Wooden Boats
The Center for Wooden Boats may sound like the sort of stuffy museum that’s bound to cost a lot of money, but it’s actually your best option if you’re looking for a fun afternoon in Seattle free of charge.
Every Sunday, volunteers take visitors out on the water for free. They share their boats and their time and ask nothing in return but a chance to teach you something about their passion. This has been a Seattle tradition for the last quarter century, and many people agree that it’s a great way to see the city from a whole new vantage point.
Boat enthusiasts and laypeople alike are sure to enjoy the fun outdoor adventures offered by the Center for Wooden Boats!
4. Rock Box
Nightlife isn’t really among the many things that Seattle is known for, but the city does offer certain eclectic options for partygoers. You won’t really find the stereotypical Miami or New York nightclub here, but you will find plenty of ways to have a good time after dark.
Among these, one of the best known is Rock Box, which is by far the best place for karaoke in all of Seattle. Karaoke isn’t everyone’s thing, of course, but even so, you don’t want to miss Rock Box. Make sure to stop by at least once in your trip, but be warned that you might want to practice a bit beforehand.
Rock Box is popular with the locals, some of whom come night after night to show off their karaoke skills. You’ll probably never be as good as those guys, but you don’t want to embarrass yourself, either!
5. Discovery Park
Discovery Park is one of the most beautiful places in Seattle. Seattle is by far the most striking city in the Pacific Northwest, so that’s really saying something. If you’re looking to take a walk along the beautiful Pacific coast, this is where you want to go.
The view out to sea is absolutely stunning, to the point where it’s become a popular place for couples to have wedding photos taken. It’s also a great place to sit down in the grass with a book and relax for a bit before getting on with your busy vacation.
Friends often come here for bonfires, and it’s ideally located for those who want to enjoy nature, good food, and a little shopping at the same time. Go in the evening to enjoy some of the most spectacular sunsets in Seattle.
6. Kubota Garden
Another great place to enjoy the beauty of nature in Kubota Garden, hidden away in South Seattle. Designed in the 1920s by Fujitaro Kubota, it’s a monument to Japanese aesthetics in the middle of the Pacific Northwest.
It’s about twenty acres in all, and no two acres are the same. Whether you’re a garden enthusiast or simply a lover of beauty, you won’t want to miss this place. There may be no better place in all of Seattle to enjoy a picnic lunch amidst the meandering paths and beautiful flowers.
Even better, admission is free—all you’ll have to pay for is transportation to 55th Avenue, where the garden is located.
7. First Thursdays
While you’re here, you’ll also want to check out Seattle’s many museums. The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI for short) is known for being great fun. Art enthusiasts will also want to check out the Seattle Art Museum, which has some amazing paintings on display.
Established in 1933, the museum has been contributing to the cultural landscape of Seattle for more than eighty years now. It’s one of the more impressive art museums on the west coast, and locals are known to go back again and again.
These museums are great destinations for any day of the week, but you may be interested to know that it’s a Seattle tradition to offer free admission on the first Thursday of every month.
8. Chihuly Garden and Glass
One museum, however, deserves its own spot on the list. Chihuly Garden and Glass, located next to the Space Needle, is simply not to be missed.
This may technically be a museum, but it’s really more of an experiential tribute to the glass art of Dale Chihuly, a Washington native born in 1941. Dale Chihuly transformed glass art in America, and when you visit this museum, it’s easy to see why.
Most people aren’t terribly familiar with glass art, but that’s no reason not to check out this museum. Fantastic glass sculptures line the walls and dangle from the ceiling. The glass flowers make the building seem like an otherworldly garden, and many art enthusiasts describe the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum as the highlight of their trips to Seattle.
9. Shakespeare in the Park
In July and August, Seattle offers a lot of outdoor options for theatergoers. Seattle has two outdoor Shakespeare troupe: GreenStage and Wooden O. Every summer, they put on a variety of plays in different parks around the region.
Volunteer Park is one of the most popular locations, but if that isn’t convenient for you, you’ll probably be able to find another option closer to where you’re staying. The quality, as you can see from just a quick glance at the pictures on their websites, is very high, and the surroundings are gorgeous.
If you’re looking for some cultured fun for the whole family, then there’s simply no better option. GreenStage also offers programs throughout the winter, so it’s worth checking them out no matter what time of year you’re in Seattle.
10. Pike Place Market
Seattle is stereotypically known for its dedication to specialty health foods, and where better to get a taste of that than at its original farmer’s market? Pike Place Market, located in the downtown area, isn’t just a place to buy great food—it’s an experience. Many successful local businessmen have gotten their start here, and it’s a great place for tourists to mingle with locals and find out what life in Seattle is like. Pike Place Market is also known for giving a lot to charity, so you can buy great food and crafts while also doing a good deed!
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