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The Top 30 Seattle Attractions

Attractions by Location

Please click here to see the Top 30 list in alphabetical order (on separate web page)

Seattle Art Museum Lobby

Seattle Art Museum Lobby Installation of Importune: Stage One

 

Selecting a short list of highly recommended attractions and activities in the Seattle area is a challenge because Seattle has so many wonderful attractions. These are our 30 top-rated attractions. Please click on the links or the images to see detailed information about the attractions.

 

Pike Place Market (A Top Five Attraction)

 

 

Pike Placer Market

 

Seattle's number one attraction. Flying fish,  the first Starbucks store, lovely floral displays, a famous brass pig, colorful street performers. This place is a bazaar on steroids.  It's crazy and everyone loves it. Check out our eight page guide to the market.

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction.


 

Seattle Center Attractions

 

Seattle Center is a hub for tourist activity.  It is fun to stroll around this area. Popular attractions include seeing the Space Needle and the wildly futuristic building housing the Experience Music Project Museum. 

 

Space Needle (A Top Five Attraction)

 

 

Space Needle at Night

 

 

The Space Needle is Seattle’s Eiffel Tower.  Its elegance and futuristic look have aged well and it is a Seattle architectural icon recognized internationally.  It is Seattle’s number two attraction behind Pike Place Market.  The Needle is an exceptional architectural structure that stands proudly over the Seattle Center campus.  The Needle offers tremendous vistas on top.  For people with acrophobia, there are other grand vistas of Seattle at the Volunteer Park Water Tower, Jose Rizal Park, and Kerry Park.

 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction.

 


 

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Seattle Center

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass

This is a dazzling new attraction at Seattle Center. It is a permanent exhibition dedicated to the significant contribution to the world of glass art by Dale Chihuly. The exhibition does a masterful job of presenting Chihuly’s resplendent glass art in indoor galleries, a glasshouse, and in a lovely series of outdoor garden installations. This is a must see attraction for Seattleites and for Seattle visitors that appreciate art and botanical gardens. 

 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction.

 

 


 

Experience Music Project Museum Building

Seattle Center

Experience Music Project

The most unusual building in Seattle and one of the most interesting structures on our planet is the EMP Museum building. It can't be ignored or missed if you are walking around Seattle Center. A stroll around this structure is like seeing a modern art work. This building is a dramatic structure to photograph. The building houses the EMP Museum that has a number of exhibits worth seeing.  See the museum building even if you don’t tour the museum.

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction.


 

Seattle Monorail

Seattle Center

Seattle Monorail

The Seattle Monorail was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and celebrates its 50th birthday in 2012. This train is a popular Seattle attraction that connects Seattle Center with the Westlake Mall downtown. It is fun to ride. For photographers, the Monorail cars and the tracks with supports are elegant and make beautiful subjects to photograph. 

 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction


 

 

Olympic Sculpture Park ( a Top Five Attraction)

 

Olympic Sculpture Park

 

This unique,  nine acre downtown park overlooks Puget Sound and the distant Olympic Mountains. It features a number of sculpture pieces complemented by dramatic landscaping.  Seeing this park is one of the peak experiences in exploring Seattle. In an area full of beautiful places, this park really stands out. It is a must see, especially in sunny or partly cloudy weather.

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction

 


 

The Pioneer Square District ( A Top Five Attraction)

 

Smith Tower

 

The Pioneer Square District is a small and charming section of the city whose attractions include historical architecture and several small but scenic parks. It is the oldest part of Seattle.  You can spend a couple of hours walking around the District and enjoying its various attractions.  Popular attractions include Smith Tower, the Pioneer Building, the Pioneer Square Park Pergola, the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Museum, Occidental Square and Park, the Underground Tour, Bill Spiedel's Underground Tour, and Waterfall Park. 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction


 

Seattle Central Library (A Top Five Attraction)

Downtown

 

Seattle Central Library

 

Architecture lovers and avid photographers have to see this stunning architectural masterpiece. Seattle Central Library looks like a giant spaceship that just landed or an Erector Set on steroids. This striking 11-story building is fascinating on the outside and the inside. Visitors flock to the library.  It is a dramatic building set in the middle of Seattle’s attractive downtown.

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction

 


 

Seattle Art Museum 

Downtown

 

Hammering Man at the Seattle Art Museum

 

The Seattle Art Museum has three campuses.  The main campus is in downtown Seattle near the Pike Place Market.  This is a major art museum with a wide-ranging collection displayed in well-designed exhibition spaces.  Check out the 48-foot tall Hammering Man sculpture standing in front of the museum.  Even if you don’t see the art collection, at least go into the lobby to see the massive art installation of nine Ford Taurus cars splashed with dramatic lighting effects.

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction


 

Seattle City Hall

Downtown

 

Seattle City Hall

 

The Seattle City Hall is a dramatic building  that offers sweeping views of downtown Seattle.  It is a gorgeous structure seen from many different viewpoints.  Be sure to look at the Fifth Avenue lobby. The City Hall also features several public art permanent installations.

 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction


 

Artic Club Building

Downtown

 

Arctic Club Hotel

The Arctic Club Building has been one of my favorite buildings in Seattle for many years. The building’s most notable and beloved feature is the group of 27 terra-cotta walrus heads that stand watch over the city from the building’s third floor. The Art Deco lobby is worth a look.  One of the most beautiful commercial rooms in Seattle is the fabulous Northern Lights Dome Room featuring a stained glass ceiling by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The Arctic Club Building is now a 117 room Doubletree hotel.

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction

 

 


 

REI Flagship Store

Downtown

 

 

Rock Climbing Tower at the REI Flagship Store

 

The massive flagship store for REI is in downtown Seattle and it attracts a lot of tourists and Seattle residents.  With 80,000 square feet of floor space and staffed with 380 employees, this is one really big outdoor adventure store.  Special features of the store include its 65-foot tall rock climbing tower, ice ax door handles, a mountain bike test track, and a scenic waterfall. Before or after your visit, treat yourself to a coffee break at Espresso Vivace, one of Seattle’s best coffee houses across the street from REI.

 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction


 

Seattle Lakes Cruise

Lake Union

 

Seattle Lakes Cruise

 

This is an enjoyable and highly recommended two hour cruise on Lake Union and Lake Washington where you can see a lot of Seattle's natural beauty, boats, homes, and other architecture by the water. It departs from Argosy's docks on South Lake Union. Argosy has been offering this cruise for many years.  I have been on it several times.  You really see Seattle’s natural beauty and vistas of many of its spectacular homes. This is an interesting way to learn about Seattle's life around its two main lakes. 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction


 

 

The Center for Wooden Boats

South Lake Union Area

 

Center for Wooden Boats

 

This is an interesting outdoor museum located at Seattle's Lake Union Park and adjacent to the historic Naval Reserve building. Its delightful collection of historical boats is a treat to look at and to photograph.  You can rent some of the restored boats as well as rent a model boat to sail in Lake Union Park's model boat pond.  This is one of the best places to experience the beauty of Lake Union. 

 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction

 


 

Lake Union Park

South Lake Union

 

Lake Union Park

 

 

This new park on south Lake Union offers a scenic place to walk, picnic, view historic wooden boats, picnic, bicycle, and do photography.  The park includes the Center for Wooden Boats and the Museum of History and Industry as part of its offerings.  One of the park's unique features is a large model boat pond.   The park has some sweeping vistas of Lake Union.

 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction


 

Museum of History and Industry

South Lake Union

Museum of History and Industry

 

The Museum of History and Industry moved into its new home on Lake Union in 2012.  This is a must see attraction for Seattleites and visitors.  The move into the sparkling, renovated, historic Naval Armory building in Lake Union Park opens a bold new chapter for the Museum.  The Grand Atrium is a delightful architectural attraction and it is filled with attractive historic objects and exciting exhibits from Seattle’s past.  Block out several hours to experience the Museum and then continue your enjoyment with a walk around Lake Union Park, the Historic Ships Collection, and the Center for Wooden Boats.

 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction

 


 

King County Water Taxi

Waterfront

 

King County Water Taxi

 

From spring through early fall, one  way to enjoy Seattle's views from Puget Sound is to take the round trip on the King County Water Taxi from the Seattle waterfront to West Seattle.  On a pretty day, you get grand views of Seattle's full skyline, the seaport operations,  and the Olympics. 

 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction

 


 

Seattle Aquarium

Waterfront

Seattle Aquarium

 

Enjoy the beauty beneath the surface of Puget Sound and other parts of the world. The Seattle Aquarium is the most popular attraction on the waterfront and is Seattle's third most popular paid attraction. 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction


 

Seattle Harbor Cruise

Waterfront

 

Seattle Harbor Cruise

 

Water and Seattle are inextricably linked and the Seattle area’s rich history is tied to Elliott Bay and Puget Sound. The Argosy Cruises Harbor Cruise is an excellent activity for visitors and Seattle area residents.   The cruise is a one hour, narrated tour that shows you the highlights of Seattle’s waterfront activities and gives you a brief history of Seattle and the water.  The cruise has great views of downtown, the waterfront, the Olympic mountains, and the shipping terminal.

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction

 


 

Museum of Flight

Boeing Field

 

Museum of Flight

A spectacular collection of historic aircraft. This museum is a must see attraction for anyone exploring Seattle. You can easily spend a day enjoying all this museum has to offer.

 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction

 


 

Ballard Locks

Ballard

 

Ballard Locks

 

The Ballard locks are a great destination any time and in any weather.  The locks connect the salt water of Puget Sound to the fresh water of Lake Union.  It is fun to watch the boats as they transit the locks.   You can also see salmon swim up a fish ladder.  For photographers, the locks and the adjoining Carl English gardens offer a treasure trove of scenery.

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction

 


 

Volunteer Park

Capitol Hill

 

Volunteer Park

 

Volunteer Park is consistently ranked as one of Seattle’s top attractions.  The historic park was designed by the Olmsted firm and it is one of Seattle’s most attractive places.  The Volunteer Park Conservatory, the Seattle Asian Art Museum, the views from the top of the Water Tower, and the park’s splendid landscaping make this place a wonderful venue for exploring.

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction


 

Kerry Park

Queen Anne Hill

 

Kerry Park View

This tiny park on Queen Anne Hill offers the most photographed views of downtown Seattle and the Space Needle, and Elliott Bay.  On a clear day, Mt. Rainier offers a nice view.

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction.


 

Discovery Park

Magnolia

 

Discovery Park

 

Located on northwest edge of Magnolia, Discovery Park is the largest and one of the most popular parks in the Seattle Parks and Recreation System.  Its 534 acres offer a taste of natural landscaping for the Seattle area.  12 miles of trails offer many ways to see this park.

 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction.

 


 

Kubota Garden

Beacon Hill

 

Kubota Garden

 

This 20-acre Japanese-style garden was developed over a period by Mr. Fujitaro Kubota, a Japanese garden designer and landscaper.  Mr. Kubota carefully planned and developed a garden that features a lovely variety of shapes and textures of plants, shrubs and perennials that offer the visitor a wide array of colors and shapes.  The Garden has several water features and a lovely Japanese garden bridge.  Kubota Garden is a landscaping masterpiece.  Several years ago, the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department acquired Kubota Garden and has preserved this special place.

 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction.

 


 

Washington Park Arboretum

 

Washington Park Arboretum

This 230 acre, Olmsted-designed park on the shores of Lake Washington is lovely to drive through and is a splendid place to stroll and enjoy gorgeous landscaping.  Built in 1934, the Arboretum is one of the best of the Seattle parks.

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction.

 


 

Woodland Park Zoo

Green Lake/Greenwood

 

Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo is one of Seattle's finest and most popular attractions. This is a world-class zoo with fabulous exhibits. The Zoo is a lovely destination.  It is nestled into 90 acres that were designed by the famous Olmsted firm that planned so many of Seattle's beautiful parks and scenic drives.  This place is a treat just to walk around and savor the grand landscaping. You can easily spend several hours enjoying the Zoo and the adjacent Woodland Park Rose Garden.

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction.


 

Woodland Park Rose Garden

Green Lake/Greenwood

 

Woodland Park Rose Garden

 

This historic 2.5 acre park adjacent to the Woodland Park Zoo was created to display the incredible variety of roses that grow in Seattle's rose-friendly climate.  From May through September, this garden is a showstopper.

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction.

 


 

University of Washington Campus

Suzzalo Library at the University of Washington

The UW campus is certainly one of Seattle’s most popular and attractive settings.  The lovely campus offers elegant landscaping blended with notable architecture.  Tree lovers and landscaping admirers are offered a visual treat as they walk around the campus with its 480 species of trees.  In the spring, the Yoshino cherry trees put on a delightful show in the Liberal Arts Quadrangle. 

The UW architecture is quite distinctive.  Highlights include the Neo-Gothic buildings around the Liberal Arts Quadrangle and the Suzzallo Library with its splendid reading room.   

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction.


 

Chapel of St. Ignatius

First Hill

 

Chapel of St. Ignatius

 

One of Seattle's architectural highlights is the Chapel of St. Ignatius on the picturesque Seattle University campus.  Over 40,000 visitors come to this special place annually. The Chapel's interior is almost otherworldly with the different colored sunlight that dapples the walls and windows. It is one of the most beautiful structures in Seattle. Combine a visit to the chapel with a tour of the Seattle University campus's lovely landscaping. The nearby Albers Business Building has a massive Dale Chihuly glass art installation. 

 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction.

 


 

St. James Cathedral

First Hill

 

St. James Cathedral

 

This important historic church is a visual treat nestled in the charm of First Hill. I have visited it a number of times and never tire of seeing and photographing its beautiful exterior and interior. It is a Seattle treasure. 

 

Please click here to see our detailed information about the attraction.

 


 

Click here to go to the Dazzling Places.com Seattle Alphabetical Index