31 Unique Things to Do in Seattle, Washington

11 min read
A city skyline and a Ferris wheel next to a pier and a bay of water on a clear day
Seattle is an exciting city with lots of unique and unusual attractions!

Situated in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is a well-known and popular city. Not only does it have attractions for all types of visitors, but it's easily accessible, with many airports located in Washington state.

Along with visiting renowned and iconic attractions, you can discover an array of unique things to do in Seattle, Washington. From getting drinks at a fun carnival-themed bar or the world's first Starbucks to seeing the Fremont Troll or visiting the World's Largest Shoe Museum, there's no shortage of unusual and cool things to do in the Emerald City!

  • 31 Seattle things to do

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31 Coolest Things to Do in Seattle

Seattle Things to Do Map

A map of Seattle. Use the map to explore all the things to do.

© Rigucci via Depositphotos
An observation tower on a city skyline surrounded by tall buildings
The Space Needle has a lounge where you can enjoy drinks and city views

Sip drinks above the city at the Space Needle

The Space Needle is a world-famous landmark in downtown Seattle. By going to the observation deck of the 605-foot tower, you can admire fantastic views of Seattle. A more unique activity while visiting is going to The Loupe Lounge to sip cocktails or enjoy a glass of wine while taking in the stunning panoramic vistas.

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A sign that says "Public Market Center" in red with a white and red clock next to it
You can discover fantastic food stalls at the renowned Pike Place Market

Shop and eat at Pike Place Market with a professional chef

Pike Place Market is a famous Washington State landmark that has been in Seattle since 1907. Today, visitors can discover a range of food vendors in the market, including restaurants and souvenir shops.

A unique way to explore the market is by going on a guided tour of Pike Place Market with a chef. Your professional chef guide will take you to ten of the best vendors where you can try samples and make purchases.

Enjoy carnival-style food and drinks at Unicorn Bar

One of many quirky bars in Seattle is Unicorn Bar. This fun and colorful bar has carnival-style snacks and unique signature cocktails, like "The Cereal Killer" with fruit loop flavored vodka and "Americorn," which has bubblegum vodka!

You can also play arcade games at the bar, and they have a great happy hour. If you're in the city with your partner, Unicorn Bar is also one of the best date spots in Seattle.

The silhouettes of four people standing next to the water at sunset
Watching the sunset over Puget Sound at Golden Gardens Park is highly memorable!

Admire the Seattle skyline from Golden Gardens Park

Going to Golden Gardens Park is one of the non-touristy things to do in Seattle. This lesser-known Seattle park is located in Ballard, about a 30-minute drive from central Seattle. From the park, you can enjoy stunning views of the Seattle skyline. The park on Puget Sound also has a beach to hang out on and is beautiful at sunset.

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One of the unique things to do in Seattle, Washington, is visiting Gas Works Park
Visiting Gas Works Park is one of the unique things to do in Seattle, Washington

Snap pictures at Gas Works Park

Gas Works Park is one of the more unique outdoor spaces in Seattle. The 19.1-acre park is located on the site of a former gasification plant. What's interesting is that much of the plant remains, including gas generator towers.

Taking some pictures of these unique structures is a must when in the city. You can then enjoy the park, which has grassy areas to relax on, picnic spots, and views of Lake Union.

Discover unique products at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

Operating in Seattle since 1899, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is probably the most unique store in the city. Situated on Pier 54, the shop sells weird and wonderful items, from skull decor items and bigfoot figurines to jewelry and vintage posters. They also sell some Native American-inspired art and jewelry.

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A luxury coffee shop with baked goods on display and people ordering
Seattle, where the first Starbucks opened, has a unique Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Get coffee at Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Starbucks was founded in Seattle in 1971, and the first-ever Starbucks is located in Pike Place Market. You can still visit that outlet today, but be prepared to wait in line! Another cool Starbucks to check out in Seattle is Starbucks Reserve Roastery.

This store is a little trendier and more high-end than standard Starbucks stores. It has an Italian-style coffee bar, fresh made dishes, and high-end coffee drinks. There's even an alcohol bar where you can get drinks like espresso martinis.

If you want to discover more about Starbucks and coffee history in Seattle, you could also join a Seattle Coffee Culture Tour that ends at Starbucks Reserve Roastery.

A view across a city with skyscrapers and water surrounding them
The panoramic views of Seattle from the Sky View Observatory are breathtaking

Take in the views from the Sky View Observatory

Many visitors to Seattle head to the Space Needle to get 360-degree views of the city. But another observation deck to opt for is the Sky View Observatory. Best of all, you can see the Space Needle on the skyline from this location!

After taking in the views, you can get drinks at the observatory's coffee shop and bar. To make admission easy, purchase Sky View Observatory skip-the-line tickets in advance.

Play pinball at the Seattle Pinball Museum

One of the cool things to do in Seattle, Washington, is going to the Seattle Pinball Museum. This spot isn't actually a museum but an arcade with an array of pinball games. Some of the pinball machines date back to the 1930s!

The venue also sells sodas, craft beers and ciders, and snacks to enjoy as you play. In addition, Seattle Pinball Museum has an adorable Golden Retriever that you can say "hi" to during games!

A beach with a rocky shoreline, waves crashing onto the shore, and greenery
Ruby Beach is one of many beautiful places to visit in Olympic National Park

Camp at Olympic National Park

Located about two and a half hours from Seattle is an amazing National Park, Olympic National Park. Making the journey to this park is well worth it, and you'll be able to enjoy a range of activities.

Hiking and mountain biking are especially popular here, as are wildlife watching and walking along the park's beaches. One of the highly unique things to do is camping overnight at Olympic National Park. Being surrounded by nature and sleeping under the starry sky is truly memorable!

Go wine tasting in Woodinville Wine Country

One of the most unique experiences in Seattle that many tourists don't know about is wine tasting in Woodinville Wine Country. Located just 45 minutes from central Seattle, the valley area features a range of excellent wineries.

You can do tastings at various wineries and learn more about the production process. Woodinville Wine Country also has many charming places to stay if you want to plan a weekend or overnight trip.

Two orca whales in the ocean with mountains in the distance
You can see orca whales, like these, on a San Juan Islands whale-watching tour

Whale watch around the San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands are an archipelago located about three hours from Seattle. Spending a day or more exploring the islands is highly recommended. One of the unique activities to enjoy is going whale watching. The tour departs from Friday Harbor, and sightings of orca whales are almost guaranteed.

A sailboat on the water with a city skyline behind it under a cloudy sky
You can enjoy the Seattle skyline and lake views on a Lake Union cruise

Sail through Lake Union on a sunset cruise

An exciting thing to do at night in Seattle is going on a sunset cocktail cruise. You'll sail through Lake Union, seeing a variety of attractions as you enjoy cocktails. You'll also be able to watch the sunset before marveling at the starry night sky on the journey back to land. This tour is available at other times of the day too.

Explore the Beacon Food Forest

The Beacon Food Forest is a very unique park in Seattle; everything within the park is edible! The forest comprises different crops, from fruit trees and berry bushes to vegetable patches and herb gardens. When visiting, you're allowed to forage from most parts of the park and can also volunteer to help with planting and upkeep.

A path through forest trees with a small log cabin to the side
Washington Park Arboretum is a scenic place to go for a walk

Wander around Washington Park Arboretum

Another fantastic attraction that many tourists don't know of is the Washington Park Arboretum. Located at the University of Washington, the arboretum features beautiful gardens with greenery, colorful plants, and water features.

Themed gardens include the Japanese Garden, the Rhododendron Garden, and a woodland area. There's also a pond that's home to lots of ducks! Best of all, most of the attraction is free to explore. You must pay for access to the Japanese Garden, but it's well worth it.

A building with three windows that's covered in colorful chewing gum
The Gum Wall is an iconic and unique attraction in downtown Seattle

Check out the Gum Wall

The Gum Wall is one of the unusual and cool places in Seattle, WA. Located next to Pike Place Market in Post Alley, the attraction features walls covered in colorful chewing gum. It's notably one of the most popular places to take pictures in the city.

The council had previously cleaned all the gum off the wall. However, locals and tourists missed the attraction so much that it was allowed to return!

Visit the Wing Luke Museum

The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience is a fascinating hidden gem in Seattle. This museum covers Asian Pacific American art, culture, and history and has a collection of 18,000 artifacts and artworks. Interestingly, it's the only museum in the United States dedicated to the pan-Asian Pacific American community.

A city skyline with a bridge, water, and a wooden pier in front of it
Portland is a fun West Coast city that you can reach in under four hours from Seattle

Road trip to Portland

Portland, Oregon, is another exciting Pacific Northwest city located about three and a half hours from Seattle. Going on a day or overnight trip to this vibrant city is highly recommended, and you can find many unique things to do in Portland.

Cool Portland activities include getting delicious treats at Voodoo Doughnuts, hanging out with cats at Purrigington's Cat Cafe, and going on a Columbia River dinner cruise.

A snow-covered mountain with alpine trees, a lake, and grass in front of it
Mount Rainier National Park is one of the best National Parks in the US

Tour Mount Rainier National Park

Another of the best National Parks on the West Coast that's close to Seattle is Mount Rainier National Park. The park features scenic hiking trails, glacial lakes, and the snow-capped Mount Rainier volcano.

A fun way to explore the park is on a Mount Rainier day tour. Your guide will show you around the most beautiful parts of the park and offer more information on its geology and ecosystems.

Experience a hot air balloon ride over Seattle and the Puget Sound

Taking a hot air balloon ride over the city is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Seattle, WA. Seattle Ballooning offers rides at sunset and sunrise that will take you over the Puget Sound and greater Seattle. You'll also see the Cascades and Mount Rainier.

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A red sculpture in a park with a building and observation tower behind it
Olympic Sculpture Park has a range of unique artworks

Hang out at Olympic Sculpture Park

Another of many unique parks in the city is Olympic Structure Park. The nine-acre park is filled with art installations and is also Seattle's largest green space. As you look around, you'll discover a variety of artworks and sculptures. You can also enjoy amazing views of the waterfront and the Space Needle.

Venture under Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square is another famous Seattle landmark to visit. This area was the city's first neighborhood in 1852. After a fire in 1889, the district was rebuilt on top of the old neighborhood.

Today, you can venture underground on a tour of the original Pioneer Square. Once beneath the city, your guide will show you around and offer background on Seattle in the 1800s.

A white and red lighthouse building next to a sandy shore and the ocean at sunset
West Point Lighthouse is over 140 years old and is located in Discovery Park

See West Point Lighthouse

Opened in 1881, West Point Lighthouse is situated within Discovery Park, 20 minutes from Seattle. You can hike through the park to get to the lighthouse, and once there will also be able to enjoy views of the water and Mount Rainier. You can also take a shuttle from the Discovery Park Visitor Center if you don't feel like walking.

Get drinks at Cafe Racer and the Official Bad Art Museum of Art

Cafe Racer is one of the weird yet cool places in Seattle, Washington. The bar hosts a variety of independent music acts and is decorated with a range of quirky artworks, which make up the Official Bad Art Museum of Art.

You can get some drinks at the bar, marvel at the strange paintings, and enjoy live music. Events like karaoke nights are also hosted here.

A bench on the grass with a path and a view of a city skyline in front of it
Kerry Park is one of the best places to enjoy views of the Seattle skyline

Appreciate the views from Kerry Park

Located on Queen Anne Hill, Kerry Park is another of the lesser-known spots in Seattle. Notably, this hillside park offers fantastic views of Seattle. Along with seeing the city, you'll be able to see Elliot Bay and Mount Rainier. Going to Kerry Park at sunset is especially recommended.

Fly over Lake Washington

A unique way to see Lake Washington and the surrounding area is by experiencing a seaplane tour. You'll fly over the lake and also see landmarks, like the Space Needle and the University of Washington. A narrated guide is also provided that offers more information on everything you see.

A sandy beach with driftwood next to the water and a small house in the distance
Alki Beach is a hidden gem that features sandy shores and Puget Sound views

Sunbathe on Alki Beach

When the weather is nice, heading to Alki Beach is a unique thing to do that many tourists don't know about. Located just 30 minutes from downtown, the beach has sandy shores and stunning views of Puget Sound. You'll also find fantastic restaurants in the area and can see Alki Point Lighthouse.

Be amazed at the World Famous Giant Shoe Museum

The World Famous Giant Shoe Museum is a slightly weird but very unique attraction in Seattle. Located at Pike Place Market, this circus-style attraction features an exhibit on Danny Eskenazi, who became obsessed with finding the world's largest shoe worn by the world's tallest man. Visiting this exhibition is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience!

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Red, orange, and yellow glass flowers in front of a window and an observation tower
You can admire glass artworks and Space Needle views at Chihuly Garden and Glass

Marvel at the artworks at Chihuly Garden and Glass

If you're an art enthusiast, one of the cool things to do in Seattle, WA, that you'll enjoy is going to Chihuly Garden and Glass. The botanic garden features beautiful plant displays and glass art sculptures by Dale Chihuly. You can also look around an indoor art gallery with the artist's works and get great views of the Space Needle.

Learn new things at the Pacific Science Center

A fun and fascinating attraction in Seattle is the Pacific Science Center. This science and discovery museum has interactive exhibits on various topics, from dinosaurs and ecosystems to lasers. There's also an IMAX theater and a planetarium with astronomy exhibits.

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A statue of a troll placed under a bridge
The Fremont Troll is a unique and interesting landmark in Seattle

See the Fremont Troll

The Fremont Troll is one of the most unique landmarks in Seattle. The troll sculpture sits under the Aurora Avenue Bridge in the Fremont neighborhood. There's also a small park next to the sculpture called Troll's Knoll.

In Conclusion

You'll find an array of fun and unique things in Seattle! No matter what activities and attractions you enjoy, there's a one-of-a-kind experience waiting for you in the Emerald City!

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, I've also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and travelled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I love finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever I go!


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