15+ Awesome FUN Things to Do in Seattle in One Day

While on my solo road trip up in the Pacific Northwest I stayed in Port Townsend for a month, so I knew I wanted to spend at least one day in Seattle. I also had a free night available from my travel rewards credit card (use it or lose it) so I felt obligated to take a solo trip to Seattle.

Since it’s a 2-hour drive plus a ferry ride to Seattle from Port Townsend it made sense to do the overnight and then spend a whole day exploring Seattle on my own without feeling rushed.  Are you wondering what is there to do in Seattle by yourself? Tons of cool and fun stuff! This post of over 15 fun things to do in Seattle will help you plan your itinerary to the Emerald City.

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Seattle skyline view from Washington Ferries trip across Elliott Bay

Seattle skyline view from Washington Ferries trip across Elliott Bay

 

Washington state in the spring time is absolutely gorgeous! I can’t guarantee that it won’t rain, it is Seattle after all, but April through June is a lot less wet than the winter months in Seattle. Your best chance to escape any rain is to go during July or August, but that’s also the busiest tourist season.

There’s so many cool things to do in Seattle – today I’m sharing some of the best with you so you can plan your own perfect day in Seattle.

 

Olympic Sculpture Park is a beautiful walking art garden by the Seattle Art Museum

Downtown Seattle buildings and waterfront viewed from the Space Needle

 

Where to Stay in Seattle

I stayed at the Hyatt at Olive 8 – named for its location at Olive and 8th Street. I loved the location, only 10 minutes walk to Pike Place Market and Seattle waterfront. As a solo traveler I felt safe in this area and walked all around downtown Seattle.

Hyatt Olive 8 is eco-friendly and it was the first LEED certified hotel in Seattle. Featuring a modern design, farm to table dining, and an indoor swimming pool – nice if you have kids traveling with you. I didn’t have time for a swim, I was too busy walking around and stuffing my face with crumpets and coffee (no, not Starbucks LOL) and delicious seafood.

Downtown is where you want to stay especially when you only have a day or two in Seattle – check out the latest deals for hotels in Seattle here.

 

Modern style hotel room at the Hyatt Olive 8 in downtown Seattle

Modern style hotel room at the Hyatt Olive 8 in downtown Seattle

 

Traveling to Seattle

There are non-stop flights to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) known as SeaTac, from dozens of cities in the United States and numerous international routes with nonstop flights to Seattle. SeaTac is also the primary hub for Alaska Airlines.

SeaTac airport to downtown Seattle is about 15 miles – about a 20 minute drive.

All seven of the major cruise lines operate cruises from the Port of Seattle.

I drove from Port Townsend and took the ferry to Seattle from Bainbridge Washington. The ferry terminal is in downtown Seattle so I only had a short drive to my hotel after the ferry trip. And I really enjoyed the ferry ride due to beautiful scenery along the way and the water was calm. You get the greatest views of Seattle from the bay.

 

Sailboats with Mount Rainier in the distance

Sailboats with Mount Rainier in the distance

 

Getting Around in Seattle

Getting from the airport to downtown Seattle take a taxi, shuttle, or the light rail train, called Light Link Rail, it only costs a few bucks and takes 40 minutes or so.

Another option is buying the ORCA (one regional card for all) day pass for $8 and get unlimited rides on all public transportation in the Puget Sound region. Use it for bus, Light Link Rail, Seattle street cars, and King County water taxi service.

Download the Transit Go app and buy your ticket online in advance.

 

Street musician in downtown Seattle playing a cello

Street musician in downtown Seattle playing a cello

 

What to do in Seattle

Here’s a list of over 15 things to do in Seattle. Would I do them all in one day? Nope. But you need some flexibility because if the weather is crappy then you want more indoor things versus when the weather is beautiful and you want to spend more time outdoors. This list will help you plan out a day in Seattle in the downtown area.

 

Public Market Center is the sign for Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle

Public Market Center is the sign for Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle

 

Pike Place Market

The market is a great place to start in Seattle. Get you coffee fix then do some wandering and shopping at Pike Place. I’m not into Starbucks but if you are, or you want to visit the original Starbucks it’s at Pike Place.

 

Pike Place Market features loads of food stalls like this fruit and veggie place

Pike Place Market features loads of food stalls like this fruit and veggie place

 

Gum Wall

When I see pictures of the gum wall in Seattle I think ewwww! But if you want to see a giant wall of chewed up chewing gum in an array of colors go see the gum wall at Pike Market. It’s definitely something out of the ordinary!

 

Olympic Sculpture Garden

Operated by the Seattle Art Museum the Olympic Sculpture Garden is a great place for a walk by the waterfront and some cool sculptures. You can also continue further to Myrtle Edwards Park and Centennial Park if you’re into jogging or long walks.

 

Olympic Sculpture Park is a beautiful walking art garden by the Seattle Art Museum

Olympic Sculpture Park is a beautiful walking art garden by the Seattle Art Museum

 

Museum of Pop Culture

Founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen back in 2000 (as Experience Music Project) this non-profit features cool and fun stuff from contemporary popular culture. Memorabilia from movies, music, Sci-Fi, gaming, etc. For hours and info click here.

 

Visit Dale Chihuly Glass and Garden for amazing glass art and beautiful gardens

Visit Dale Chihuly Glass and Garden for amazing glass art and beautiful gardens

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Dale Chihuly (from Tacoma Washington) popularized glass art in the United States in the form of blown glass sculptures. Tickets and hours info here.

 

Inside Chihuly Glass and Garden clusters of glass art hangs from the atrium

Inside Chihuly Glass and Garden clusters of glass art hangs from the atrium

 

Space Needle

Completed in 1962 for the World’s Fair, the tower is 605 ft (184 m) tall. A ride up cost $1 in 1962. It costs a bit more now – check ticket info and prices here. The combo Chihuly and Space Needle ticket is a bit cheaper than buying them separate.

 

View of Seattle from the Space Needle

View of Seattle from the Space Needle

 

Pacific Science Center

I didn’t get to the Science Center but it’s on my list for next time in Seattle. There’s a planetarium, IMAX, and a Laser Dome! More info here. The Pacific Science Center is close to Chihuly and Space Needle.

 

Sonic Bloom flowers in Seattle solar powered sculptures

Sonic Bloom flowers in Seattle solar powered sculptures

 

Sonic Bloom

Located at the Pacific Science Center – Sonic Bloom is one of my all time favorite sculptures in the world. When you walk around the ginormous flower sculptures there are sounds created from your movement – FUN! Sonic Bloom by Dan Corson – check it out!

 

Seattle Space Needle surrounded by Sonic Bloom flowers - one of the highlights on a day in Seattle

Seattle Space Needle surrounded by Sonic Bloom flowers

 

Seattle Center

Visit the International Fountain at Seattle Center plus a whole lot of other fun stuff from gardens and museums to shop and theaters, several other fountains, along with dining choices. More info here. Located close to Chihuly Garden, Space Needle, MoPop, Sonic Bloom, and Pacific Science Center.

 

Museum of History and Industry

Let’s say you’re into history and industry – there’s a museum for that in Seattle. The MOHAI has fun and interactive exhibits for history buffs and curious kids of all ages – info on tickets and hours here.

 

Lake Union Park

This is where the previously mentioned MOHAI is located so spend some time in the museum then enjoy the outdoors along Lake Union. And you can also visit another museum – the Center for Wooden Boats – click for more info.

 

Pier 66

Enjoy the waterfront, go on a cruise, or hang out on a restaurant patio for lunch. Pier 66 is just a couple of blocks from Pike Place Market.

 

Sailboats docked at Pier 66 at downtown Seattle waterfront

Sailboats docked at Pier 66 at downtown Seattle waterfront

 

Seattle Great Wheel

Take a ride on the big Seattle Ferris Wheel known as Seattle Great Wheel. Located on the waterfront you will have outstanding views of Seattle. Click here for info and directions

 

Seattle Art Museum

Art is good for your soul – visit the Seattle Art Museum and you’ll feel marvelous. Check out current exhibit info and other stuff here.

 

Urban art in downtown Seattle - attention grabbing colorful squares of purple, blue, red, yellow, lime green, and orange

Urban art in downtown Seattle – attention grabbing colorful squares

 

Waterfront Park

Enjoy the Seattle skyline and you guessed it, the waterfront! This park is located at Pier 57 – 59 over by the Seattle Great Wheel.

 

Seattle Great Wheel viewed from Elliott Bay

Seattle Great Wheel viewed from Elliott Bay

 

Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park

Located in the historic Cadillac Hotel building, built shortly after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park brings you back to the euphoria of the gold rush in 1897 to 1898 after gold was discovered on a tributary of the Klondike River in the Yukon Territory of Canada. Get info on hours and more here.

 

Map of Seattle Things to Do

All of the above things to do in Seattle Washington are included on the Google Map below. You may want to plan your day with mostly outdoor activities if the weather is pleasant, or make it a day of museums if the weather sucks. Start exploring and decide what you want to do in Seattle today!

 

Take a Seattle Tour

Explore the underbelly of Seattle through an Underground Seattle Tour. I haven’t done one of these yet, kind of creepy somehow, but I guess I’ll try it next visit to Seattle. Try Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour or Beneath the Streets Tour. For something truly spooky try the ghost tour Spooked in Seattle.

If the underground tour doesn’t float your boat then maybe a food tour is more appealing. Try Savor Seattle Food Tours and let someone else decide where and what you will eat!

Still undecided on a tour? Check out Show Me Seattle for a variety of tours from food and city tours to private tours of Seattle tailored to your interests.

Hope you have FUN in Seattle! And if you are exploring more of the region check out my itinerary for 3 days in Portland Oregon, another cool town in the PNW.

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One day in Seattle itinerary with bonus map of the things to do in Seattle

 

Best Things to do in downtown Seattle - handy map included

About the Author

Susan Moore spent 7 months traveling around Southeast Asia back in the 90's. Returning to Canada she found a job working on rotation in Siberia Russia. She later moved to Austin Texas where she started a bookkeeping business, allowing her to work remotely. Currently Susan is in year 4 of living a nomadic life, roadtripping around the USA and Canada and writing about her experiences. Read all about Susan » You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter or Instagram

2 Replies

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  1. Jo Harmon says:

    Love the glass art, but looks like so much to see and do.

    • Hi Jo! Yes, it’s a lot but I included several museums because some people are more into history versus others would enjoy the pop culture museum instead. And if the weather is foggy then no point doing the Space Needle but Chihuly glass is always beautiful no matter the weather. Cheers,
      Susan

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