Category Archives: Seattle Information

What’s On in Seattle?

An Opinionated List of Interesting Upcoming Events

Updated November 20, 2017

Seattle Events and Festivals

Ongoing & Current Events in Seattle

  • The Jim Henson Exhibition
    World premiere exhibit, featuring puppets, storyboards, scripts, and clips from the iconic puppet artist’s career.
    Opens May 20 • MoPOP
  • Go, Dog. Go!
    Seattle Children’s Theatre brings P.D. Eastman’s colorful classic to vibrant life.
    September 28 – November 26 • Seattle Children’s Theatre
  • Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect
    A look at the 75-year career of the iconic artist’s work, the 100th anniversary of his birth.
    October 19 – January 15 • Seattle Art Museum

November 2017 Events in Seattle

  • Morrissey
    British singer-songwriter, former frontman of The Smiths.
    November 2 • Paramount Theatre
  • Mike Birbiglia
    The award-winning comedian/storyteller’s “The New One” tour.
    November 3-4 • Moore Theatre
  • Romeo & Juliet
    Seattle Shakespeare Company’s 2018 touring production premieres at Seattle Center.
    November 7-10 • Center Theatre
  • Ani DiFranco
    The folk-punk singer songwriter, with special guest, Madame Ghandi.
    Nobember 8 • Neptune Theatre
  • The Breeders
    The iconic 1990’s girl-led indie super-group is back.
    November 9 • The Showbox
  • Seattle International Auto Show
    The lastest models from international automakers, featuring rare and high-end vehicles and on-site test drives.
    November 9-12 • CenturyLink Field Event Center
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins
    A charming, family-friendly puppetry production of the beloved Richard and Florence Atwater novel.
    November 9 – December 31 • Seattle Children’s Theatre
  • The Great Russian Nutcracker
    25th anniversary tour of the Moscow Ballet’s over-the-top holiday showstopper.
    November 10 • Paramount Theatre
  • Best of the Northwest Art and Fine Craft Show
    Locally crafted jewelry, clothing, painting, and sculpture for purchase and perusal.
    November 10-12 • Hangar 30, Magnuson Park
  • Blues Traveler
    The pop-rock group’s 30th anniversary tour, featuring Los Colognes.
    November 12 • The Showbox
  • The Bodyguard: The Musical
    Award-wining musical, featuring R&B superstar Deborah Cox and the songs of Whitney Houston.
    November 14-19 • Paramount Theatre
  • DeVotchKa with Seattle Symphony
    The indie-rock band pairs up with the full symphony orchestra.
    November 15 • Benaroya Hall
  • Dinner Party Download
    The radio show’s final live show will take place in Seattle.
    November 16 • Moore Theatre
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Film about the boy wizard’s 2nd year at Hogwarts, set to the lush musical backdrop of the Seattle Symphony.
    November 16-18 • Benaroya Hall
  • The Humans
    2016 Tony-winner for Best Play, set at a family Thanksgiving dinner in Manhattan.
    November 17 – December 17 • Bagley Wright’s Theatre
  • Ilana Glazer & Phoebe Robinson
    The comediennes behind Broad City and 2 Dope Queens team up for an 11-city stand-up tour.
    November 18 • Moore Theatre
  • Sheraton Gingerbread Village
    Local architects and baking teams unite to create and display holiday scenes made entirely of candies and treats. This year’s theme is 25 Years of Cheer: A Celebration of Seattle.
    November 21 – January 1 • City Centre
  • Macy’s Holiday Parade
    Floats, costumed characters, and of course Santa Claus kick off the holiday season in downtown Seattle.
    November 24 • Downtown Seattle; see website for parade route.
  • Tori Amos
    The iconic powerhouse pop singer-songwriter pays a visit to the Emerald City.
    November 24 • Paramount Theatre
  • The Paperboys
    The Canadian Celtic folk fusion band return to Seattle for their 11th Annual “Thanksgiving Weekend Meltdown.”
    November 24-26 • The Triple Door
  • George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
    Pacific Northwest Ballet’s perennially spectacular production of the iconic holiday ballet.
    November 24 – December 28 • McCaw Hall
  • A Christmas Carol
    The holiday favorite: Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and Christmas Ghosts. “God bless us all, every one.”
    November 24 – December 28 • ACT Theatre
  • Argosy Christmas Ship Festival
    Enjoy on-board or ashore as a flotilla of illuminated and choir-carrying ships visit local waterfront communities for caroling and bonfires.
    November 24 – December 31 • See website for details
  • Winterfest
    Seattle Center’s month-long seasonal celebration, featuring performances, ice sculpting, ice skating, and a model train exhibit.
    November 24 – January 1 • Seattle Center
  • Magic in the Market Holiday Celebration
    Holiday treats and activities, caroling contest, and tree-lighting ceremony in historic Pike Place Market.
    November 25 • Pike Place Market
  • Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn
    A Christmas classic and recent Broadway hit, featuring lavish costumes, dancing, and 20 Irving Berlin tunes.
    November 25 – December 31 • 5th Avenue Theatre
  • Manheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis
    It’s been 30 years since the the release of everyone’s parents one-time favorite Christmas album.
    November 25 • Paramount Theatre
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra
    The multi-platinum musical powerhouse’s annual winter tours, The Ghosts of Christmas Eve.
    November 25 • Key Arena
  • So You Think You Can Dance
    The show’s Fall 2017 tour features all of the 14th season’s Top 10 dancers.
    November 26 • Paramount Theatre
  • The National
    The American indie-rock band makes a two-night stop in Seattle.
    November 28-29 • Paramount Theatre
  • Howl’s Moving Castle, A New Musical
    Book-It Theatre’s adaptation of the magical and award-winning 1986 novel.
    November 29 – December 30 • Center Theatre
  • A John Waters Christmas
    “Like a damaged St. Nick for the Christmas corrupted…Yuletide profanity and perverted piety.”
    November 30 • Neptune Theatre
  • Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me
    The beloved NPR news quiz show.
    November 30 – December 1 • Moore Theatre

December 2017 Events in Seattle

  • The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition
    Festive holiday team sing-off, benefitting Pike Place Market’s food bank and senior center.
    December 1 • Westlake Center
  • Trevor Noah
    The comedian, author, and Daily Show star.
    December 1-2 • Paramount Theatre
  • SMOOCH 2017
    Annual benefit concert featuring the best of local indie rock. This year: Phantogram, Built To Spill, Tacocat.
    December 2 • The Showbox
  • Demetri Martin
    The quirky and critically-acclaimed stand-up comedian makes a Seattle stop on his Let’s Get Awkward tour.
    December 2 • Moore Theatre
  • Deck the Hall Ball
    All-ages rock bash; this year featuring The Killers, The Lumineers, ODESZA, Portugal The Man, Joywave, J Roddy Walston and the Business, and J GRGRY.
    December 5 • Key Arena
  • Elf: The Musical
    Festive holiday musical based on the beloved 2003 film about Buddy, the man-elf.
    December 5-10 • Paramount Theatre
  • Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker
    A jazzy and saucy re-imagining of Tchyaikovsky’s classic Christmas tale.
    December 7-28 • The Triple Door
  • Jay-Z
    The rap artist’s 4:44 Tour, with special guest Vic Mensa.
    December 13 • Key Arena
  • Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox
    Current hits reimagined in the style of the swing years.
    December 15 • Paramount Theatre
  • Handel’s Messiah
    The holiday classic, featuring the Seattle Symphony, Chorale, and the exuberant “Hallelujah” chorus.
    December 15-17 • Benaroya Hall
  • Macklemore
    The Seattle hip hop artist returns home for a two-night stop on his Gemini tour.
    December 22-23 • Key Arena
  • Cirque Dreams Holidaze
    10th anniversary tour of the “holiday stage extravaganza that’s a cirque spectacle, Broadway musical, and family show all in one!”
    December 22-24 • Paramount Theatre
  • Beethoven’s Symphony #9
    The symphonic and choral masterpiece, featuring “Ode to Joy.”
    December 28-30 • Benaroya Hall
  • Harlem Globetrotters
    The trick-basketballers play their 2018 World Tour against the Washington Generals.
    December 29 • Key Arena
  • New Year’s at the Needle
    Party at the iconic Seattle landmark, with a fireworks display featuring a KEXP-curated soundtrack and an Observation Deck Dance Party.
    Decmeber 31 • Space Needle
  • INDULGENCE New Year’s Eve Bash
    Four parties in one, with live bands, DJs, comedy, dancing, games, and more.
    December 31 • MoPOP
  • SPECTRA 2018: New Year’s Eve Under the Arches
    Ring in the New Year at Pacific Science Center, with DJs, food, drinks, games, fireworks, and more.
    December 31 • Pacific Science Center
  • New Year’s Eve: Great Balls of Fire!
    Pianist/singer Tony DeSare performs classic hits, followed by dancing, champagne, and a midnight countdown.
    December 31 • Benaroya Hall

Seattle with Kids – A Guide

Updated: November 9, 2017

Essentials

The best things to do in Seattle with kids. Family-friendly Seattle activities.

The 52 Best Things To Do With Kids In Seattle

From the Aquarium to the Zoo (and everywhere in between), this city is chock-full of great family adventures, just waiting to be had. Here are Seattle’s best places to eat, play, and explore with kids.

1. Take a Tour Downtown

Seattle Food Tour with Kids
Guided tours make a good introduction to a city and are great for asking questions on where to eat, shop, and explore. If you’re local, they’re an awesome way to rediscover the city and find your next new favorite spots.

Here are a few Seattle tours that I especially recommend for kids:

Savor Seattle Chocolate Tour – I can’t recommend this enough. So much fun. Locals at Savor Seattle do a delicious and informative Chocolate Tour that usually includes stops at cupcake, cheesecake, and specialty chocolate shops in and around Pike Place Market. The guides are wonderful and give a good overview of where and how chocolate is made. Savor also does a Pike Place Market tour that’s very interesting – but if you have kids it’s hard to beat the chocolate tour.
Savor Seattle WebsiteReviews

Seattle by Foot Kid’s Tour – A downtown walking tour created with a child’s interests and attention span in mind. Get a kid’s eye view of Pike Place Market and the Seattle Public Library, make art at the Seattle Art Museum, and learn about the skyscrapers and public art you’ll find along the way. Public tours run regularly in the summer months, though private tours can be booked in advance year-round.
Kid’s Tour WebsiteReviews

2. The Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium with kids
Located on Seattle’s wonderful waterfront and recently refurbished, the aquarium is a good stop for 90 minutes to 2 hours. (Some visitors arrive expecting a lot and leave disappointed.) Kids can touch starfish and sea anemones and (with a bit of luck) see different animals during feeding time. The scuba divers that swim in a large tank – and do show and tell with different sea life – are a hit with many kids.
Aquarium WebsiteReviewsDirections

3. Pike Place Market

Seattle Pike Place Market with Kids
Pike Place Market is a Seattle institution, and while it attracts a lot of tourists, it retains its charm. Locals still shop here, and the seafood, fruit, vegetables, and flowers are top-notch and fairly priced. The market is open from early morning until early evening but is at its best just before lunch. Stop by and pick up a map at the information booth at First and Pike – the volunteers who work there are really friendly, and can answer (just about) any Market-related question.
Pike Place Market WebsiteReviewsDirections

Best bets for kids at Pike Place Market:

4. Airplanes!

Seattle Museum of Flight with kids.
Seattle used to be known as “Jet City,” and though that nickname isn’t used so much anymore, there are still no shortage of opportunities to get your airplane fix. On a nice day, pack a picnic lunch and head to Lake Union Park to watch the sea planes come and go. If you’ve got more time and are searching for something bigger, these next two spots are a must:

The Museum of Flight
A great museum for all ages, you’ll see airplanes spanning the first 100 plus years of flight. Get a look inside a Concorde, the first 747 ever built, the original Air Force One, fighters, bombers, and, well, pretty much anything that has wings or propellers. There’s a Kids Flight Zone, several flight simulators, and always changing featured exhibits. The museum is located 10 minutes by car south of downtown Seattle. There’s lots of free parking available. Bus #124 will also get you here from downtown. If you own your own plane there are 5 fly-in parking spots available. The museum is open from 10am to 5pm every day.
Museum of Flight WebsiteReviewsDirections

The Future of Flight (Boeing Factory Tour)
For a different perspective on airplanes – focused on how they’re built rather than how they fly – visit the Boeing assembly plant 30 miles north of Seattle. The tour is geared towards adults (and you have to be over 48 inches) but anyone over the age of 7 that has an interest in airplanes should be thrilled. You see the assembly line where 747’s, 777’s and the new 787’s are constructed. Visit on weekdays to see the factory humming at full speed. Tours begin every hour from 9am to 3pm.
Future of Flight WebsiteReviewsDirectionsTickets in Advance

5. Woodland Park Zoo

Seattle Zoo with Kids
This is a great zoo within a relaxed and beautifully laid-out park, so be prepared to spend a good part of a day here. Monkeys, gorillas, Komodo dragons, and giraffes are the big draws for us – but there’s so much here your family could easily have a totally different greatest hits. Zoomazium is a fun indoor climbing playground for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, and a great place to burn off energy on a rainy day. Several restaurants within the zoo are decent, or bring your own food and have a picnic on one of many grassy areas. Bus #5 goes from downtown Seattle right by the zoo. The zoo is open 9:30am to 6pm from May 1 to September 30, and 9:30am to 4pm from October 1 to April 30.
Zoo WebsiteReviewsDirections

6. The Pacific Science Center at Seattle Center

Pacific Science Center Seattle
A museum full of hands on science fun. Great for kids aged 3 and up. (There’s a special play area for toddlers.) The museum has become a bit rundown and in need of some updating, but kids notice the engaging exhibits, not the cracking paint. The Tropical Butterfly House and IMAX Theater are probably the highlights. Located on the grounds of Seattle Center where there are lots of places to eat. You can easily take the Monorail here from downtown Seattle. It’s closed Tuesdays, open from 10am to 5pm Monday, Wednesday to Friday, and 10am to 6pm Saturday, Sunday, and holidays.
Science Center WebsiteReviewsDirections

7. The Seattle Children’s Museum At Seattle Center

Seattle Children's Museum Seattle Centercated 2 minutes from the Pacific Science Center. It’s in the same building as the Seattle Center Armory and all its restaurants. Taking the Monorail here from downtown Seattle is a good option. The museum is open 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.
Children’s Museum WebsiteReviewsDirections

8. The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)

Seattle Museum of Popular Culture with Kids
There is just enough at MoPOP to keep kids aged 5 to 10 occupied for about an hour. Older kids might stay engaged for another 90 minutes. If this museum is something the adults in the family are excited to see you need not avoid it, but it could easily be scratched from a busy schedule. Sci-fi fans will appreciate the Star Trek souvenirs, Star Wars artifacts, and scary scenes from numerous science fiction movies and books.
MoPOP WebsiteReviewsDirections

9. Take the Water Taxi to West Seattle

West Seattle Water Taxi
There’s no cheaper way to cruise Elliott Bay. $4.75 buys you a 15-minute ride from Pier 50 on the downtown waterfront to Seacrest Park in West Seattle. From there, relax on the patio with some shaved ice at Marination Ma Kai, or take one of two free shuttle buses offered: head up the hill to check out the shops and restaurants at the West Seattle Junction, or over to explore West Seattle’s beautiful Alki Beach. Alki has tons for kids to do ­– it’s 2.5 miles of sand and pebble beach, with plenty of restaurant options and great people-watching. Bike, kayak, and paddleboard rental, too. The Water taxi runs all week long from April through October, and on weekdays in the off-season. Kids 5 and under ride free.
Water Taxi WebsiteReviewsDirections

10. Tour the Seattle Underground

The Seattle Underground Tour
Tours of Seattle’s “underground” take visitors down beneath Pioneer Square, and through the maze of buried alleys and storefronts that were once Seattle’s surface streets. They’re a great crash (or refresher) course on Seattle history, and kids and adults both find them fascinating. You’ll want to buy your tickets in advance, as both companies routinely sell out. Finally, with steep wooden stairways and uneven surfaces, these tours can be a bit “rustic” – I don’t recommend them for people with mobility issues, very small kids, or strollers.

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour
This is Seattle’s original and most famous underground tour. Groups are large, and guides are friendly and knowledgable, but lean heavily on the “schtick:” you may find this super fun or supremely irritating, depending on your personality. Tours run daily, year round, and last about 75 minutes. $19/adult, $9/child.
The Underground Tour Website • ReviewsDirections

Beneath the Streets
This is the more intimate underground tour option; groups are smaller and the vibe is less corporate, though the guides are just as knowledgable. (Rumor has it, many of them used to work for the other company.) Tours run daily, year round, and are about an hour long. $15/adult, $8/child.
Beneath the Streets WebsiteReviewsDirections

11. Go on a Stadium Tour

CenturyLink Tours Safeco Field Tours Seattle
Seattle has two world class sports stadiums: Safeco Field is home to the Seattle Mariners, and the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC play at CenturyLink Field. Both stadiums are located just south of downtown, are easily accessible by bus and Link light rail, and offer tours year round.

Safeco Field Tours
Depart from the stadium’s Team Store on 1st Ave, and are about an hour long. Tickets can be purchased through their website in advance, or pick them up at the Team Store shortly before the tour is scheduled to depart. You’ll see private suites, the visitor’s clubhouse, the press box, the field, and both dugouts. Wheelchair/stroller accessible. $12/adult, $10/child.
Safeco Field WebsiteReviewsDirections

CenturyLink Field Tours
Depart from the Stadium Pro Shop off Occidental Ave, and last about 90 minutes. Tickets can be purchased at the Downtown Pro Shop (at 4th and Pike) and the NW Box Office (off Occidental) – they sell out quickly and cannot be purchased by phone or online, so it’s recommended that you get there at least a half hour before the tour is scheduled to start. It’s also a good idea to call ahead to confirm the tour schedule, as tours aren’t given on event days. You’ll see the field, visitor’s locker room, press box, private suites, and the famous 12th Man flagpole. Wheelchair/stroller accessible. $12/adult, $5/child.
CenturyLink Field WebsiteReviewsDirections

12. Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)

Museum of History and Industry in Seattle with kids.
Recently relocated and completely refurbished, this is one of Seattle’s best museums and a fantastic destination for both kids and adults. The exhibits are hands-on, detail rich, and very well done. The museum charts the history of the region though the development of major companies and industries. It’s located next to Lake Union and easily accessible by the South Lake Union Trolley. There’s a decent restaurant within the museum, and children 14 and under are free. Open 10am to 5pm daily, open until 8pm on Thursdays.
MOHAI WebsiteReviewsDirections

13. Music, Food, and Cultural Festivals

Bumbershoot with kids.
Seattle’s got a lot to celebrate, and more festivals than you can shake a stick at. Check out this full list of festivals by month, and don’t miss these family-friendly favorites:
BumbershootNorthwest FolklifeSeaFair • and Maker Faire.

14. Ride the Ferris Wheel on the Seattle Waterfront

Ferris wheel in downtown Seattle.
There are amazing views of the Seattle waterfront and Elliott Bay from the Seattle Great Wheel. Don’t worry about the rain – gondolas are fully enclosed, and hold up to 8 people. Pro tip: skip the ticket queue by buying online. Tickets are good anytime, and have no expiration date. Be sure to arrive with paper tickets in hand, though. If you’ve only got a confirmation code, you’ll have to wait in line anyway.
Seattle Great Wheel WebsiteReviewsDirections

15. Seattle Public Library

Seattle downtown public library with kids
This downtown modern architectural masterpiece is a great stop for kids of any age. Stop by the 1st floor visitor’s center and start a self-guided tour (available through podcast, MP3 download, and cell phone), or take the neon escalators up to the swoon-worthy views from the 10th floor reading room. There’s cool public art, a massive children’s center filled with books and computers, story time almost every day, and a café cart for snack time. The library is walkable from most points downtown, easily accessible by Metro bus, and has an underground parking garage. Library Hours are Monday to Thursday 10am-8pm, Friday & Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm. Visit their storytime and events page here.
Library WebsiteReviewsDirections

16. Rent a Boat or Kayak

Renting a kayak with kids.
There are a number of different shops that rent boats, canoes, and kayaks to paddle around Lake Union and Washington and even little Greenlake. All supply life vests for kids and adults. The best are: the Center for Wooden BoatsMoss BayNorthwest Outdoor CenterAgua Verde Cafe and Paddle ClubUW Waterfront Activities Center • and Greenlake Boat Rentals.

17. Play Pinball

Where to Play Pinball in Seattle

Seattle Pinball Museum
Leave the quarters at home – the Pinball Museum has over 50 vintage and modern arcade games, and all are free to play after a single entrance fee. Sodas, snacks, and local craft beers available for purchase. Ages 7 and over. It’s located in Seattle’s International District, so there’s lots of great food nearby, and is accessible by Metro bus and link Light rail.
Hours: Thursday-Saturday 12pm-10pm; Sunday, Monday, Wednesday 12pm-5pm. Closed Tuesdays.
Seattle Pinball Museum WebsiteReviewsDirections

Full Tilt Ice Cream
They’ve got classic pinball and arcade games, NW beer, and incredibly delicious all natural house-made ice cream. Flavors range from standard vanilla to the unique and exotic (Sriracha/peanut butter, anyone?), along with a good variety of vegan options. Large portion sizes and small prices for ice cream of this caliber. Four Seattle locations: Ballard, the University District, Ballard, and White Center.
Full Tilt WebsiteReviews

18. The Ballard Locks and Fish Ladder

Fish swimming through the Ballard Fish Locks viewing area.
Ballard’s Hiram M. Chittenden Locks help boats get from sea level up to the level of Lake Union. The Fish Ladder does the same thing for spawning salmon, allowing them to return to the lakes and rivers around Seattle. There’s a viewing area where you see the salmon swim by (it’s pretty neat to watch), and free one-hour Locks tours.
The Locks WebsiteThe Fish LadderReviewsDirections

19. The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture

Totem poles at Seattle's Burke Museum of History and Culture
It’s not as hands-on as the Science Museum at Seattle Center, but this small, well laid out museum on the University of Washington campus has a more truly scientific bent. The center of the U-District is just a few blocks away and is filled with great (and cheap) places to eat, or take the viaduct down to nearby University Village. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm.
The Burke Museum WebsiteReviewsDirections

20. Ballard and the Ballard Farmers Market

The Ballard Farmer's Market in Seattle
Pike Place Market is great, but if you really want to experience one of Seattle’s famous local markets then head to the Ballard Farmers’ Market. It’s every Sunday from 10-3, and is a great spot to wander, shop and eat. Ballard’s lots of fun on other days of the week, too – it’s home to the Locks and is one of Seattle’s hippest neighborhoods, with loads of restaurants, cafes, and a brand new library with story hours for kids.

Recommended kid-friendly Ballard Restaurants: Skillet DinerThe Hi-LifeSeñor Moose CaféBallard Pizza CompanyLi’l Woody’s Burgers and Shakes

21. Hang Out at Seattle Center

Artists at Play playground at Seattle Center MoPOP

Seattle Center is home to many great museums and attractions: the Space Needle, Chihuly Museum, Pacific Science Center, Museum of Pop Culture, and the Children’s Museum and Theatre; but on a nice day there’s also at least an afternoon’s worth of fun there that doesn’t require an entrance fee:

The International Fountain
It looks so simple. The large half-ball of a fountain looks like something you’d walk by, glance at for a minute or two, say “neat” and continue on your way. But the fountain has a way of pulling you in and lulling you into an afternoon of watching water jets shoot into the air in tune with the blasting music – leaving visitors wondering where their day went. When it’s hot kids have a blast.

Artists at Play Playground
Located just west of MoPOP on Seattle Center grounds, this awesome music-themed playground is a hit with kids of all ages. Anchored by a massive 35-foot climbing tower and 50-foot tube slide, the park has cool musical play sculptures, ADA accessible swing and merry go round, and separate toddler play structure. A must-do if you’re out and about Seattle Center.

Restaurants at the Armory
Better than your average food court, The Armory has lots of great, locally-owned options for a quick snack or a sit-down lunch. My recommendations: Skillet CounterEltana Wood-Fired BagelsMod Pizza.

22. Go Tidepooling

Tidepooling in Seattle with Kids
Puget Sound waters are great to explore at low tide – you don’t even have to leave the city to find sea anemones, hermit crabs, sea stars, urchins, and more. Constellation Park in West Seattle, Discovery Park in Magnolia, Ballard’s Golden Gardens Park, and Carkeek Park in North Seattle all have great tide pools when the water’s out. Check the tide schedules online or use a free phone app (Tides Near Me is a good one); any time you see the tides dip into the negative range is a good time to go. And keep an eye out for folks in red hats – at very low tides, the Seattle Aquarium sends out a fleet of friendly beach naturalists to educate and answer questions. Here are some great resources to get you started:
Washington Trails Association Guide to Tidepooling with Kids
Online Tidal Chart
Seattle Aquarium’s Beach Naturalist Program

23. Gates Foundation Visitor Center

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitors Center with kids Seattle
Just across the street from Seattle Center and MoPOP, the center explores the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, its philosophy, and the best ways to improve health and education around the world. The theme of exhibits often returns to two questions: What does it take to change the world? How can each of us make a difference? The center is a lot more fun than it might sound and there’s a fair bit of hands-on exploration. Plus, it’s free, so easy to drop in for as long or as little as you want.
Gates Foundation Visitor Center WebsiteReviewsDirections & Parking

24. Take an Argosy Locks Cruise

Cruise through the Ballard Locks on an Argosy Locks Cruise in Seattle
Seeing the city by boat is a not-to-be-missed experience, and Argosy corners the market on Seattle maritime tours. Their Locks Tour is especially fun: Seattle’s working harbor and Puget Sound, Ballard’s Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and Fisherman’s Terminal, and the floating homes and sea planes on Lake Union are all included. It’s two hours long, but there’s more than enough to keep kids interested the entire time. All ships have bathrooms, and drinks and snacks are available for purchase. Argosy also offers a one-hour Harbor Cruise, and a “Christmas Ship” tour in December with caroling and Santa Claus. Argosy sails out of Pier 55, right on the downtown waterfront.
Argosy WebsiteReviewsDirections & Parking

25. The Center for Wooden Boats

Seattle Center for Wooden Boats with Kids
If this gem of a museum on south Lake Union looks small, it’s because all the best bits are out on the water. It’s always free to walk the docks and explore, and there are sailboats, canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and pedal boats for rent. CWB hosts free public sails on Sundays (they’re really popular; you’ll want to get in line before 10am), and has a maritime-themed story hour (aboard a 100-year-old tugboat!) every Thursday from 11-12. Great paired with a visit to the Museum of History and Industry next door. CWB is easily accessible by bus and streetcar, and has a limited number of parking spots available. Boathouse and rental hours are abbreviated in the off season – be sure to check the website before you go.
Center for Wooden Boats WebsiteReviewsDirections & Parking

26. Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park

Panning for gold at Seattle's Klondike Gold Rush Museum
Actually a small museum in Pioneer Square, this national park has artifacts and exhibits highlighting Seattle’s role in the Klondike gold rush of the 1890’s. It’s open year-round, with twice-daily gold panning demonstrations and Pioneer Square walking tours from June through Labor Day. Park rangers are friendly, and give kids a “passport” to stamp along the way. Best part? It’s all free! Definitely worth popping in if it’s summer and you’re in the area. Hours: 10am-5pm daily, Labor day through May. 9am-5pm daily, June through Labor Day.
Klondike Museum WebsiteReviewsDirections & Parking

27. See a Play at the Seattle Children’s Theatre

Seattle theater with kids“http://thechildrensmuseum.org/” target=”_blank”>Seattle Children’s Museum, Pacific Science Center, Artists at Play Playground, and the Armory Building Food Court, it’s easy to pair a play with a museum trip or a casual lunch out.
Seattle Children’s Theater WebsiteReviewsDirections & Parking

Seattle Children’s Theater 2016/17 Season:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: October 13 – December 11, 2016
Stellaluna: December 1, 2016 – January 8, 2017
The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats: January 19 – February 26, 2017
Into the West: February 23 – March 19, 2017
Seedfolks: March 23 – April 16, 2017
Fire Station 7: April 13 – May 21, 2017

28. Go Camping

Tent camping with kids.
Seattle is blessed with dozens (maybe hundreds) of great camping spots within 2 or 3 hours of the city. Read a quick overview of camping options in Washington State.

29. Go Cabin Camping

Cama Beach State Park is great for families.
Not up for pitching a tent – or packing all the equpipment? The cabins at Cama Beach (pictured above) and Camp Long, or the yurts at Tolt MacDonald Park are great for families. But book early as these places fill many months in advance.

30. Visit Soundbridge

Soundbridge Musical Petting Zoo in Seattle
Seattle Symphony’s Musical Discovery Center is like an instrument petting zoo housed within grand Benaroya Hall. Most days of the week, Soundbridge is reserved by school groups, but it’s open to the public on Fridays, and well worth checking out. All the instruments of the orchestra are available to try, there are musical-themed crafts, and a charming musical storytime. No need to worry about the germ factor – the friendly staff sanitizes mouthpieces after every guest. The Discovery Center also plays host to the Symphony’s First Concerts series, featuring short performances and hands-on Q&A for the juice-box set. Soundbridge is walkable from most points downtown, is easily bus accessible, and adjacent to Benaroya Hall’s underground parking garage. Hours: Fridays 10am-2pm, with musical storytime at 10:30.
Soundbridge WebsiteReviewsDirections & Parking

31. Argosy Tillicum Village Excursion

The Native American longhouse of Tillicum Village on Blake Island near Seattle
A fascinating introduction to Seattle’s Native People’s History. 4 hours in total, the trip begins with a beautiful 45-minute boat cruise to Blake Island. There you’re treated to a Pacific Northwest-inspired buffet (the alderwood-smoked salmon is amazing) and stories and dance from Coast Salish tribe members – all in a traditional Native longhouse. Afterward, stick around to poke around the museum and gift shop, or explore the trails of beautiful Blake Island State Park. The combination of boat cruise, meal, and entertainment make this a great deal for the price. Excursions run from April through September, though July onward is your best chance for pleasant weather. Book early – these tours sell out, and an early-booking discount is offered more than 28 days in advance. Tours begin and end at Pier 55 on Seattle’s downtown waterfront.
Argosy WebsiteReviewsDirections & Parking

32. Stroll Through The Sculpture Park

Seattle Olympic Sculpture Park.
The Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park displays large pieces of sculptured art along the waterfront, halfway between Seattle Center and downtown with great views of the sound, mountains, and ferries. The museum’s main location is downtown (near Pike Place Market) and makes a good effort at being kid-friendly. TASTE Cafe in the park’s Paccar Pavilion is handy for snacks and beverages.
Olympic Sculpture Park WebsiteReviewsParking & Directions

33. Go For A Hike

Hikes for kids near Seattle.
There are lots of great hikes in and near Seattle. Here are 10 of the best hikes in the Seattle area for families.

34. Go to Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island day trip with kids
Spend a day on Bainbridge Island – It’s a short ferry ride from downtown Seattle, and a perfect day trip for families. Here’s why you want to go:

Bainbridge Island Ferry
Departing from Pier 52 on Seattle’s downtown waterfront, this 35-minute ride offers unparalleled views of the mountains, Puget Sound, and the Seattle skyline. It operates on a first come, first served basis, and the car line can be quite long in the summer, so plan to arrive well ahead of time or, better yet, leave the car behind. (You’ll save money as a walk-on passenger and there’s plenty to do within foot distance from the ferry terminal.) All Bainbridge Island ferries have restrooms and food service on board.
Ferry Schedule and Rate InformationFerry FAQs

Kids’ Discovery Museum (KiDiMu)
It’s not large, but this sweet indoor play center provides perfect wet-day entertainment for toddlers and preschoolers. Their hands-on exhibits and play spaces are well-designed and fun, with a miniature town, pirate tree house, STEM and art centers, and year-round outdoor climbing wall. Outside food and beverage is allowed, or pop out for nearby pizza or diner food – admission is good for the entire day. KiDiMu is easily walkable from the ferry terminal and has plenty of free parking.
KiDiMu WebsiteReviewsDirections & Parking

Waterfront Park
It’s a short walk from the ferry terminal to Eagle Harbor’s 5-acre Waterfront Park. There’s a paved half-mile path along the shoreline, a playground, public restrooms and boat launch. There’s also an excellent grocery nearby, for easy snacks and picnicking.
Park WebsiteTown and Country Market

Back of Beyond Outfitters
See Bainbridge from the water – Back of Beyond offers kayak, canoe, and paddle board rental at reasonable rates and within walking distance from the ferry. Tours and classes, too. Their rental location is on the public dock at Waterfront Park.
Back of Beyond WebsiteReviews

Bainbridge Island Historical Museum
Older kids will be fascinated by this excellent little museum, housed in a 1908 schoolhouse in downtown Winslow. Award-winning exhibits cover Native American beginnings, early exploration, logging and shipbuilding, and the Island’s history of Japanese-American internment during World War II. Staff is super friendly and knowledgeable, and the museum is a mere 10-minute walk from the ferry terminal. If you’ve got a car, pairing this museum with a visit to the Bainbridge Island Japanese-American Memorial is particularly poignant.
Museum WebsiteReviewsDirections

Bainbridge Aquatics Center
Clean and well-maintained, this community indoor swimming pool has just about everything a family could want – rope swings, diving boards, 180-foot slide, lazy river, toddler pool with water toys, lap lanes, sauna, hot tubs, and snacks for purchase at the front desk. Admission is $6/adults, $5/kids, and free for 2-and-unders. There’s lots of free parking and the Aquatics Center is an easy 5-minute drive from the ferry terminal.
Aquatics Center WebsiteReviewsDirections

Island Rock Gym
Indoor climbing and bouldering, a ten-minute drive from the ferry. Drop in, or reserve a class and have a professional show you the ropes. Island Rock Gym is clean, competitively priced, and offers snacks, drinks, and free coffee. Kids under 5 climb free, and admission is good all day.
Island Rock WebsiteReviewsDirections

Battle Point Park
The best park on Bainbridge Island – it’s got duck ponds and sports fields, and the playground is incredible. The 1.6-mile path around the park winds through grassy meadows and forests, and is paved and level. Follow the Fairy Dell trail down to the beach. Battle Point Park is a 15 to 20-minute drive from the ferry terminal and has plenty of free parking.
Battle Point Park WebsiteReviewsDirections

The Bloedel Reserve
Once a private estate, this immaculately-maintained 150-acre public garden is a wooded wonderland of lush, landscaped trails. There’s a moss garden and Japanese garden, ponds and reflecting pool, estate house and sweeping Puget Sound views. The loop trail takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete, and while the terrain isn’t tough, it might be challenging with a stroller. The Bloedel Reserve is a 15 minute drive from the ferry. No food or pets allowed.
Bloedel Reserve WebsiteReviews Directions

Fay Bainbridge State Park
With sandy, driftwood-strewn beaches, this is a great park for exploring when the tide is out. Great tide pools, amazing views of Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains and (on clear days) Mount Rainier. It’s on the northeast coast of the island, an easy 15-minute drive from the ferry.
Fay Bainbridge Park WebsiteReviewsReviews

35. Take an Ice Cream Cruise

Sunday Family Ice Cream Cruise Seattle
This fun and inexpensive Lake Union boat tour operates on Sundays year-round, and is a perfect activity for kids. There’s a chance to learn some Seattle history, watch sea planes take off and land, and see some floating homes and Dale Chihuly’s glass studio – but at only 45 minutes, it’s great for short attention spans. There are ice cream treats available for purchase on board (hot chocolate in colder months), and well-behaved dogs are welcome. Tickets are $12/adult, $5/ kids 5-13 years, $3/under 5, and are cannot be purchased in advance. Cash and check only. Departs Sundays from Lake Union Park, between 11am and 3pm, on the hour. Seattle street parking is free on Sundays, and the park is easily accessible by Metro bus and streetcar.
Ice Cream Cruise WebsiteReviewsDirections

36. Theo Chocolate Factory Tour

Theo Chocolate Factory tour with kids
Kids 6 and older love touring this working chocolate factory in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, north of downtown. There’s an interesting 20-minute presentation on the bean-to-bar process, a walk through the manufacturing area, an amazing chocolate shop at the end of the tour, and plenty of free samples along the way. On weekends, Theo offers Chocolate Story Time for the smaller kids, complete with kid-friendly factory tour and samples. Tours are $10/person ($8 for Story Time), and fill up quickly – best to book in advance. Theo Chocolate has on-street parking, and is accessible by Metro Bus. Hours: 10am-6pm Daily.
Theo Chocolate WebsiteReviewsDirections

37. Go to an Indoor Climbing Gym

Climbing gyms in Seattle
Whether you’re looking for a fun first foray into the rock climbing world, or have loads of experience under your harness, here are Seattle’s best indoor places to climb (with ropes) and boulder (no ropes) with kids:

Vertical World
Located in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood, Vertical World offers excellent climbing and bouldering routes under soaring 50-foot ceilings. Their experienced climbers will show you (and handle) the ropes during a one-hour Rock Climbing Experience Class (by reservation), or drop in to boulder at any time. This is a great experience to pair with a trip to Discovery Park or lunch at nearby Chinook’s at Fisherman’s Terminal. Child care is offered, with advance registration. Vertical World has both lot and street parking, with the nearest Metro bus stop a 5 to 10 minutes’ walk away. Hours: Weekdays 6am-11pm, Weekends 8am-8pm.
Vertical World WebsiteReviewsDirections

Stone Gardens
Next door to the Ballard Locks, Stone Gardens is a fun indoor/outdoor climbing gym with two rooms dedicated to bouldering. Call in advance to book a Pro Belay (intro to rock climbing) class, or just stop by to scrabble around. Maximize the fun by combining this with a trip to the Locks and a to-die-for burger at nearby Red Mill Totem House. Stone Gardens has free on-site parking and is Metro bus accessible. Hours: Weekdays 6am-11pm, Weekends 9am-10pm.
Stone Gardens Seattle WebsiteReviewsDirections

Seattle Bouldering Project
It’s a bit off the beaten path, but Seattle Bouldering Project in the Beacon Hill neighborhood is a great choice for those not interested in the ropes. They’ve got two full floors of bouldering, with cushy 2-foot thick floor mats, a children’s play area, and tons of natural light. Day pass prices are reasonable, and shoe rental is free on your first visit. Seattle Bouldering Project has ample on-site parking, and is accessible by Metro bus. Hours: Weekdays 6am-11pm, Weekends 9am-10pm.
Seattle Bouldering Project WebsiteReviewsDirections

REI Seattle
More than a store, REI’s flagship location in downtown Seattle has mini hiking trails, a waterfall, and a massive 65-foot indoor climbing pinnacle. Single climbs are available in 15 and 30 minute intervals, by advance reservation on weekends or on a drop-in basis from 1:30 to 6:30pm Fridays. Group climbs are available by reservation most weekdays. REI Flagship also features a children’s play area, a café for snacking and light meals, an underground parking garage (first hour free), and is easily accessible by Metro bus. Store Hours: Weekdays and Saturdays 9am-9pm, Sundays 10am-7pm.
REI Climbing Pinnacle Information

38. Play Video Games at Gameworks

Seattle Gameworks video game arcade
A huge 2-level arcade filled with old and new video games. Gameworks is located in downtown Seattle and a short walk from Pike Place Market, the Monorail, and Westlake Mall. Bonus: Adults can order beer (though it’s expensive). Food is served in the arcade, and there’s a Cheesecake Factory directly across the street. A multiplex movie theater is on the floors above.
Gameworks WebsiteGameworks Reviews Directions

39. Swim at a Beach

Great beaches for kids in Seattle.
Seattle has several great beaches. My favorites are below. All have public restrooms.

Matthews Beach on Lake Washington
Located on the Burke Gilman bike trail. A nice swimming spot with life guards on duty during opening hours. (Like all beaches you can swim anytime at your own discretion.)

Madison Park Beach on Lake Washington
Located in the Madison Park neighborhood with a half-dozen restaurants, a Starbucks, and beautiful playground within 3 blocks of the beach. Life guards on duty and a raft with a diving board is moored 100 feet out into the lake.

Green Lake Beach
The warmest place to swim and a popular favorite. There are 2 different beaches on opposite sides of this small lake. A very popular walk/bike path (2.5 miles around) circles the lake. Life guards on duty and a raft with a diving board is moored 100 feet out into the lake. Lots of restaurants, a wading pool, and a playground are found at the north end of the lake. Rent boats, paddle boats, kayaks, and paddle boards at Green Lake Boat Rentals (on the sunniest weekend days there can be a 30+ minute wait for rentals but most of the time there’s plenty of stock).

Golden Gardens on Puget Sound
The water is cold here so not great for swimming but this is still one of Seattle’s most popular beaches. Barbecues are scattered along the beach and free for using (first come, first served). There’s a creek here that’s fun for kids to divert and dam. Located on the western end of the Burke Gilman bike and pedestrian path (about 1.5 miles from Ballard neighborhood). There aren’t any restaurants right at the beach (though there are 2 within a short bike ride).

40. Go Geocaching

The best spots for geocaching in Seattle
Geocaching is a free, GPS-based treasure hunt taking place all over the world. It’s a great activity for families, and a fun way to explore a new city. (Check out Geocaching 101 to get started.) Here are a few of Seattle’s best caching spots:

  • Geocaching Headquarters in Fremont [GCK25B]
    The mothership. Schedule a hosted visit, or just pop in during their weekday drop-in hours to log the coveted HQ cache, get exclusive swag, and meet the Lackeys who make it all happen. It’s all free. After your visit, take the GeoTour, a fun 9-stop multi within walking distance of HQ.
    Geocaching HQ WebsiteReviewsGeocache Info
  • Olympic Sculpture Park [GC1A2TN]
    Downtown multicache with gorgeous Puget Sound views and incredible artwork from the Seattle Art Museum’s collection.
    Olympic Sculpture Park WebsiteReviewsGeocache Info
  • Kubota Gardens [GCM2C9]
    South Seattle multicache in an historic landmark. Absolutely beautiful location, with waterfalls, streams, bridges, and landscaped trails.
    Kubota Gardens WebsiteReviewsGeocache Info

41. Living Computer Museum

Seattle Computer Museum
Take a walk through computer history and a hands-on exploration of dozens of restored machines with original software. Just for kids, there’s the LCM Bit Zone, with vintage video games to play, and cool interactive circuitry and binary exhibits. Admission is a steal at $6/adult, $2/youth, and includes a museum tour. LCM is located south of Safeco Field in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, with free lot parking and easy access via Metro bus and Link light rail (SODO station). Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10am-5pm.
Living Computer Museum WebsiteReviewsDirections & Parking

42. Explore the Fremont Neighborhood

The Fremont Troll
Quirky Fremont is one of Seattle’s most fun and unique neighborhoods. It’s smack-dab in the middle of the best stretch of the Burke Gilman path, and is a great place to walk around, grab a restaurant bite, or have a picnic. On Sunday there’s a huge market with lots of great food and flea-market style vendors. The Urban Beer Garden at the Fremont Brewery is family-friendly and a great place to have a couple pints of a local Seattle beer – you’re welcome to bring outside food into the brewery.

Here are my top picks for kid-friendly food in Fremont: Uneeda BurgerHomegrownFrelard Pizza CompanyCafe Turko • and PCC Natural Market.

43. Fly on a Trapeze

Fly on a trapeze in Seattle
Seattle is home to two amazing circus schools, and both offer one-time introductory classes open to everyone 6 years and older.

Emerald City Trapeze Arts
Located in a beautiful wood-beamed warehouse space just south of downtown. They offer tons of beginning trapeze and arial arts classes and are super easy to get to – only a block away from the Link Light Rail SODO station. Plan ahead: advance registration is required, and it’s best to reserve a few weeks out.
Emerald City Trapeze Arts WebsiteReviewsDirections

The School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) (SANCA)
The largest circus school in the US, SANCA is located south of downtown in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Most of their classes are series-based, but they do offer 2-hour single serve flying trapeze classes most days of the week. Preregistration and payment are required at least 48 hours in advance. SANCA has plenty of available parking, and is a few blocks from the nearest Metro bus stop.
SANCA WebsiteReviewsDirections

44. Visit A Swimming or Wading Pool

Wading pool for kids at one of Seattle's public parks.
There are 2 very fun outdoor swimming pools with water slides in the city. Mounger Pool in Magnolia and Colman Pool in West Seattle. They get manageably busy on the hottest days of the summer.

Seattle also opens a number of wading pools that are a fun and relaxing way for the littlest ones to cool off and play when the city gets hot. (And yes, that does happen.)  You can find a comprehensive list here, but my favorites are those at: Volunteer Park • Greenlake • Wallingford Park • and East Queen Anne Playground.

45. Last Resort Fire Museum

Seattle Fire Engine Museum
It’s not for everyone, but kids (and adults) with a fascination of fire trucks will enjoy stopping in at this free Pioneer Square museum. The super knowledgeable museum staff will tell you everything you’d like to know about the beautifully restored antique fire engines on display, and there are printed information sheets about each engine to take home. Pairing this with a stop at the nearby Klondike Gold Rush museum makes for a fun (and free) educational afternoon. Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays 11am-3pm in summer, Wednesdays 11am-3pm in winter.
Last Resort Fire Department WebsiteReviewsDirections

46. Go for a Bike Ride

The Burke Gilman bike path with kids.
Seattle might not be Portland when it comes to bike friendly infrastructure but it has enough bike paths and bike lanes to give the casual bike visitor plenty of routes to enjoy the city. There are a couple of places to rent bikes and helmets. Downtown is not the best place for a ride, instead head to the Burke Gilman Bike Trail that runs through the popular Seattle neighborhoods of Ballard and Fremont – and continues out through the U-District and northeast Seattle for 20+ miles. It’s all relatively flat so it’s good for kids or parents pulling a trailer. Definitely keep a close eye on the kids and encourage them to keep to the right as some cyclists can ride the path at a pretty good clip. Recycled Cycles, Montlake Bike Shop and Ballard Bike Co. – all on or near the Burke path – are good options. Call ahead to see what’s available and reserve what you need.

47. Traxx Indoor Kart Racing

Go Kart Racing for Kids in Seattle
This is a 30 minute drive north of Seattle, but a hands-down favorite with many kids. The big track and karts (which go pretty fast) are for kids 11 and older. There is a smaller track and cars for 3 to 10 year olds, and they can use the smaller karts on the big track at a couple of select times (check the website as it changes often). Video games, pool, pizza, and beer in the waiting area.
Traxx Racing WebsiteReviewsDirections

48. Jump Around At An Indoor Gym

Foam pit at Seattle Gymnastics Academy.
Seattle Gymnastics Academy in Ballard (pictured above), Lake City, and Columbia City offers an open gym time to jump in the foam pit, bounce on the trampoline, run and swing and flop. It’s a lot of fun but only for kids 5 and under.
Seattle Gymnastics Academy WebsiteReviews

PlayDate SEA is a perfect pit stop when adults need a break, but the kids have energy to spare. There’s 8,000 square feet of tunnels, slides, and climbing structures, with interactive dance floor and separate toddler play area for the kids. Adults chill in the attached lounge and café, enjoying the flat screen TVs and free WiFi access. Along with coffee, beer, and wine, the café offers snacks, kids’ meals, pizza, salad, and sandwiches. No outside food or beverage is allowed, and socks are required for kids and adults. Street parking is limited, but PlayDate SEA is easily accessed by Metro Bus.
PlayDate SEA WebsiteReviewsDirections

49. iFly Indoor Skydiving

iFly Indoor Skydiving Seattle
Adults and kids (age 3 and up) can don a flight suit and fly in the wind tunnel here. It’s lots of fun,  though there is a fair bit of preparation to get in the chamber – safety instructions and videos, getting dressed, waiting in line – so plan your visit for a few hours.
iFly WebsiteReviewsDirections

50. Go Zip Lining

Ziplining in Seattle with kids
Bellevue Zip Tour offers guided zip line and aerial challenge courses for kids and adults 9 years and older. They’ve got 6.5 lines (some up to 500 feet long and 85 feet high) through lush pine forest, super friendly and helpful guides, and great mountain views. They’re located in Bellevue’s Eastgate Park, a 20-minute drive from downtown Seattle, and operate from April through October.
Bellevue Zip Tour Website ReviewsDirections

If you’re open to a zip lining adventure further from the city, here are some other great courses in the area:
Zip Wild
5 fun zip and challenge courses located within Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville, about a hour and a half drive from Seattle. Ages 5 and up. Operates in summer only.
Canopy Tours Northwest
6 thrilling zip lines in a beautiful farm and forest setting. Located on Camano Island, about an hour’s drive from Seattle. Operates year round. 65 lbs and over.
San Juan Island Zip Tour
8 line zip tour over forests and wetlands on Beautiful San Juan Island, about 3 1/2 hours from Seattle (including ferry). Operates April through October, 8 years old/80 lbs and up.

51. SkyMania Trampolines

Trampoline Bounce House for Families
A very fun place for kids and never too busy. You can bounce around and do flips and spins and knee drops in a huge trampoline area or play a game of dodge ball (pictured above) in the smaller area. There are a handful of fun pinball, video, and foosball games to play afterwards. It’s in Kirkland, a 15 minute drive from downtown Seattle. Adults “can” jump too but few do and it’s pretty much all kids and teenagers on the trampolines.
SkyMania Trampolines WebsiteReviewsDirections

52. Hit A Trendy Cafe

seattle-cafes-with-kids
Seattle is know for its awesome cafes and coffee. Most are kid friendly. Cafe Diablo on Queen Anne (pictured above) is one of our favorites. Caffe Ladro (Fremont, Capitol Hill, downtown, and near Seattle Center) and Macrina Bakery (Belltown, Queen Anne, SoDo) are also great.

The Best Places To Eat with Kids in Seattle

If you want to eat at some boring chain restaurant like Olive Garden or Red Robin, there’s no shortage of these around. However Seattle has a ton of unique and locally-owned restaurants that serve great food, and are worth trying out. With a few accommodations and some adventurous parents the whole family will have a great time.

Here are some of my favorite places to eat in Seattle with kids:

Best Pizza

Tutta Bella – They don’t serve a whole lot else beside their thin crust pizza – not even any pasta – but what they do offer is delicious. Great desserts: tiramisu and gelato, and good espresso. Four locations: Westlake (between Downtown and Seattle Center), Stone Way (between Fremont and Wallingford), Columbia City, and Issaquah.

Best Hamburger

Red Mill – A couple different locations at Interbay (between Queen Anne and Magnolia), the original on Phinney Ridge (just north of the Woodland Park Zoo), and the Totem House location next to the Ballard Locks. If you’re in Capitol Hill or Ballard, Li’l Woody’s is great, too.

Best Sushi

SushiLand in Queen Anne is a delicious and cheap conveyor-belt sushi place. Seattle has some top notch (and very expensive) Japanese restaurants but for great sushi in a relaxed setting nothing beats this SushiLand. The seared salmon is incredible. It’s walking distance from Seattle Center and the Monorail.

Coolest Place You’re Still Allowed to Take Your Kids To

Alibi Room – OK, this is pushing the definition of Kid’s Restaurant to the absolute breaking point. The Alibi Room might also fall under the category of Singles Bar or Pick Up Joint, but it’s got great food and beer, and the happy hour specials are incredible. It’s loud enough to absorb any noise and it’s very dark, so other guests might just think you’re dining with some very short adult friends. Generally, it’s more an evening spot so if you visit at lunch or early afternoon you could be the only ones in the place.

It’s a little tricky to find but that keeps all the tourists away. To get there find the famous pig in Pike Place Market, descend the stairs just a few feet away to Pike Alley and walk down the lane about 100 feet. The Alibi Room will be on your right, directly opposite Gum Wall – a collection of gum that people have plastered on one of the alley’s walls. Kids love it. Parents of good taste and upbringing find it repulsive.

Best Donuts

Top Pot Doughnuts  – Locations all over the city (Upper Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, Downtown Seattle, Wedgwood, Bellevue, Mill Creek and Qwest Field). Yummy! If you’re in Pike Place Market eat some of the freshly made donuts at Daily Dozen Doughnuts.

Best Cupcakes

Trophy Cupcakes – If anyone tries to recommend Cupcake Royal to you, thank them politely and then remove them from your Christmas card list — Trophy is the indisputable cupcake champ. Locations in Wallingford, University Village, and Bellevue.

Best Ice Cream

I have a few favorites. For the hands-down best ice cream visit Molly Moon’s (eight locations around Seattle). The best ice cream parlor that also has adult treats like champagne sorbet floats is Shug’s in Pike Place Market. For the best ice cream truck, track down the roaming white truck of Parfait.

Best Bakery

The best cookies (chocolate oat peanut butter chip is my fave), breads, cakes and scones can be found at Macrina Bakery in Upper Queen Anne, Belltown and Sodo.

Best Cafe

Caffe Ladro serves the best espresso drinks in the city. (Locations in Upper and Lower Queen Anne, West Seattle, Fremont, Capitol Hill, Downtown and some suburban locations like Edmonds, Bellevue and Kirkland.) Caffe Fiore (Upper Queen Anne, Sunset Hill and Ballard) has the coolest vibe. And Irwins (Wallingford) has that laid back neighborhood vibe that Seattle has come to define.

Best Cafes with Playrooms

The best playroom/cafe combo in the city is at Mosaic Coffee House in Wallingford (just behind the Dick’s Drive-in). Their huge playroom is great for ages 6 months to 6 years. Don’t go out of your way to visit Firehouse Coffee in Ballard but if you’re in the area and need a latte, it does have a decent playroom for the kids. Wunderkind Cafe in Ravenna has cool Lego and Duplo rooms and serves food, coffee, and beer.

Vios Cafe (in Capitol Hill and Ravenna) and Serendipity Cafe (in magnolia) are 2 good restaurants with nice sized play areas for children.

Photo credits

See Also

Seattle – Bremerton Ferry

Updated: November 1, 2017

Seattle to Bremerton Ferry Schedule – Weekday Schedule

The Seattle to Bremerton route runs regularly on a varying 60-90 minute cadence from Monday through Friday. The first ferry departs the terminal at Coleman Dock/Pier 52 at 6:00 a.m., and the last ferry leaves at 12:50 a.m., technically the next day. There is a 2 hour, 20 minute break between the last ferry and the one before, which leaves at 10:30 p.m. Crossing time is 60 minutes.

Bremerton to Seattle Ferry Schedule – Weekday Schedule

Ferries departing from Bremerton begin earlier than those on the Seattle side to accommodate people who live on the peninsula and work in the city. The first ferries leave at 4:50, 6:20, and 7:20 a.m. From the 7:20 a.m. ferry onward, they run regularly on a varying 60-90 minute cadence throughout the rest of the day. The last two ferries at night are spread further apart, at 9:05 p.m. and 11:40 p.m. Crossing time is 60 minutes.

Seattle to Bremerton Ferry Schedule – Weekend/Holiday Schedule

On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, the ferry runs on the same times as on weekdays, with the first trip to Bremerton leaving at 6:00 a.m. and the final trip departing at 12:50 a.m. the following day. As is the case during the week, ferries run regularly every 60-90 minutes, with a crossing time of 60 minutes.

• Always double check the official website for holiday schedules, as they are subject to change.

Bremerton to Seattle Ferry Schedule – Weekend/Holiday Schedule

On Saturdays, the ferry follows the weekday schedule, with departures beginning at 4:50 a.m. and ending with the 11:40 p.m. trip. On Sundays and holidays, however, there is no 4:50 a.m. departure, which means the first departure is not until 6:20 a.m. Crossing time is 60 minutes.

• Always double check the official website for holiday schedules, as they are subject to change.

Cost

The ferry from Seattle to Bremerton costs $8.35 for adults. Fares for seniors (over 65) and children (6-18 years) are a little less than half price, only $4.15. Children 5 and under ride free.

Rates are for one-way tickets. The return trip from Bremerton back to Seattle is free of charge.

Tickets may be purchased at the terminal on the day of travel using cash or card. Senior, disabled, and child tickets are not available at the self-serve kiosk; they must be purchased at the ticket window. Reservations cannot be made in advance, but it is rare that a ferry will fill up completely for walk on passengers. On busy days it may fill up with cars, though, so plan on arriving at least 20 minutes early if traveling with a vehicle. Boarding for walk-on passengers ends 5 minutes before the ferry’s scheduled departure time.
Though reservations cannot be made ahead of time, single or multi-ride tickets for adults may be purchased online in advance with a credit or debit card and received via email. They are valid for 90 days after purchase. Tickets for seniors and children are not available online.

Adult: $8.35
Child (6-18): $4.15
Child (0-5): Free
Seniors (65+): $4.15

Buying Tickets in Advance

Tickets may be purchased online in advance of travel. This is not necessary, but it does save time by avoiding the ticketing line at the terminal, which can be long; especially on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoons in July and August. Though tickets may be bought in advance, reservations may not be made. The ferry operates on a first come, first served basis.

Wait Times/Delays

Ferries are almost never sold out for walk on passengers, including those bringing bicycles. But for those driving onto the ferry, there is occasionally some congestion – especially during the summer months. The busiest times for drivers headed from Seattle to Bremerton are Mondays through Fridays on the 3:00 p.m./4:20 p.m./5:35 p.m. departures, with Friday typically seeing additional congestion on the 1:30 p.m. and 7:55 p.m. trips. Midday Sunday often involves some backups as well. Sporting events in the area around the Stadium district, a short walk from the ferry terminal, may also cause congestion near the walk-on passenger loading area.

From Bremerton to Seattle, the most congested times are on Sundays pretty much all day, from 9:45 a.m. to 11:40 p.m. Leave early in the morning to avoid heavy car traffic. Saturdays can be congested in the afternoons, and weekday mornings from 4:50 a.m. -8:45 a.m. are also busier than average.

Despite these busier times, significant delays are rare. The Seattle-Bremerton route typically leaves on time or within two minutes past scheduled departure. It is very rare for the ferry to leave more than ten minutes late.

With Vehicle

The Seattle-Bremerton ferry does not take reservations for drivers. Anyone planning on ferrying over with their vehicle should arrive at least 20 minutes before the ferry’s scheduled departure time – an hour or more in advance during commonly congested times in the summer. Usually cars are loaded in the order of arrival, though sometimes vehicles may be shuffled to accommodate oversized trucks. Vehicle boarding ends two minutes before the ferry’s scheduled departure time.

The rate for compact cars (up to 14 feet) is $11.80, inclusive of the driver’s fare. For standard sized cars, SUVs, and mid-sized trucks (up to 22 feet), the rate is $15. Disabled and senior driver rates for the same vehicles as above are $12.25 and $16.15, respectively.
Motorcycle and scooter rates, inclusive of driver, are $6.45 for adults and $4.35 for senior and disabled drivers.

If traveling with bikes racked on the car, there is no extra charge, as long as the total length does not exceed the 14 foot or 22 foot size limits.

Traveling With Kids

The ferry is always an exciting ride for kids, and the hour-long Bremerton route offers plenty of time to explore the ship and enjoy the scenery. The area around the Bremerton ferry dock has seen significant upgrading over the last several years, with an elevated boardwalk right off the ferry and various dining options. Rates for children ages 6-18 are only $4.15 from Seattle to Bremerton; the return trip is free of charge. Kids 5 years and under ride free both ways.

There is no official minimum age for kids to travel without parents; however, there is no staff member to accompany minors on board. With that in mind, a day trip to Bremerton, while a bit grittier than the idyllic island environment offered by the Bainbridge Island route, can still be a fun and safe trip for teens and younger siblings looking for a weekend activity out of the city.

Taking a Bike On Board

Biking is a good way to explore Bremerton, which is mostly flat, and the peninsula in general offers extended opportunities for longer rides. There are currently no bike rental shops near the ferry dock, so you will want to bring one over on the ferry. Bringing a bike costs only $1 for one-way or $2 for a round trip.

Cyclists board first and disembark first. Arrive twenty minutes early to board the ferry ahead of cars; late bike arrivals will have to wait to board until after all other vehicles have been loaded. Cyclists will enter through the marked bicycle entrance through the tollbooth on the far right, then ride to the designated waiting area ahead of the cars. After riding onboard, you’ll park at the bow end of the car deck and lock up. Arrival will be announced by loudspeaker, and cyclists will head back down to retrieve their bikes and ride off into downtown Bremerton.

Food On Board Ferry (or at the ferry terminal)

There is a variety of restaurants and cafes inside the Seattle ferry terminal, from quick grab-and-go snack shacks to a chill wine bar and a casual coffee shop. Fast food options include Subway, Taco del Mar, Wasabi Express, and the Waterfront Creamery. Puget Sound Provisions offers beer, wine, soda, and snacks to go, plus things you might’ve forgotten to pack, like sunscreen or sunglasses.

Once on board, travelers will find a small cafeteria-style restaurant, serving Ivar’s chowders and soups, bakery sweets and ice cream, pre-made salads and snacks. Beer, wine, and cider area also served but must be consumed before disembarking. There is also a small espresso bar serving hot, fresh coffee and tea. Several vending machines here offer snacks, soda, and coffee. All of the food options are located midship in the main passenger lounge area.

Location of Bremerton Ferry Terminal

The Seattle-Bainbridge ferry terminal (also called Colman Dock, or Pier 52) is located at 801 Alaskan Way on the northwest corner of Pioneer Square at the south end of the Waterfront. From the terminal, 10 minutes’ walk north will get you to the Seattle Great Wheel and Wings Over Washington; another 5 minutes will get you to the Seattle Aquarium. The Smith Tower is directly east of the ferry, just 5 minutes on foot via Yesler Way. To the southeast of the terminal, just 10 minutes’ walk away, you’ll find the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood, with trendy restaurants, bars, and attractions like the Klondike Gold Rush Museum and the Underground Tour. Just 5 more minutes walking in the same direction leads to Chinatown/International District, with several unique shops and museums, great food, and the historic Panama Hotel.

Getting to the Bremerton Ferry Terminal

The ferry terminal is just a 5 minute walk from Pioneer Square and a 15 minute walk from Pike Place Market and Downtown. To get there by bus, take the 101, 150, 255, or the Link Light Rail from Westlake Station tunnel and get off at Pioneer Square Station. From there, walk west on Yesler Way for 8 minutes to arrive at the ferry terminal at Pier 52/Colman Dock. Another option is to take a surface bus via route 3, 7, 14, 40, 62, or 70 from 3rd Avenue & Pine Street. Get off at Marion Street and walk 6 minutes southwest, taking the elevated pedestrian bridge to the ferry terminal. Any of these buses will get you there in 13-18 minutes and costs $2.50.

Parking at Terminal

The closest parking to the ferry terminal is the Commuter Centre lot (811 Western Ave) with rates of $5.00 per hour. This is a good option for half day trips. A great option is just two blocks away at the ABM First and Columbia Garage (721 1st Ave). This spot offers parking at a better rate, only $3.00 per hour, but they have a four hour limit. After four hours, cars are charged $25.00, whether parked for 4 or 24 hours. A third option at Waterfront Place (1101 Western Ave) offers great rates for longer trips, at $18.00 for 6 hours, $21.00 for 10 hours, or $24.00 for 24 hours. For short trips, their rates are high at $6.00 for one hour. Only park here for full day trips to Bremerton.

If you don’t mind a little further walk, there are several garages offering lower rates in the Pioneer Square and Waterfront neighborhoods. Try the Courtyard Seattle Downtown/Pioneer Square (612 2nd Ave) or the LAZ- Butler Garage (160 James Street), both offering full day rates for $20.00. These two lots, as well as the aforementioned ABM First and Columbia Garage, take reservations; book ahead online.

Street parking is available near the terminal, but there is a time limit of 2 hours. Though parking is free on Sundays, the time limit is still enforced. Seattle Parking Enforcement does not mess around and will ticket cars parked over the time limit! Street parking is not recommended when taking the Bremerton ferry.

Taking the Ferry to Bremerton

View of the Seattle Waterfront from the Pier 52 Ferry Terminal, facing north. The ferry terminal is within walking distance of the Great Wheel, waterfront restaurants, and the Seattle Aquarium.

The entrance for the terminal, located above street level on the pier.

The Ferry Information desk is in the middle of the food court area. If you have any questions, ask here. But this is not the spot for buying tickets.

All ticket types can be bought at the ticket windows. Self-serve kiosks are located in front of the ticket windows and to the right, under the sign marked ATM (the actual ATM machine is on the other side of the pole.) The waiting area for the Bainbridge Ferry is to the right, extending behind the ticket windows.

Self-serve ticket kiosks offer many (but not all) ticket options.

Youth, disabled, and senior citizen tickets can only be purchased at the ticket windows, because they need to verify that the buyer fits the criteria for special rates.

Walk on passengers line up to enter the Bremerton ferry on the left side of the terminal (you will be directed there at the ticketing gate, and there is also abundant signage to assist). This picture was taken after a Seahawks game; usually crowds are much smaller than indicated here.

Drivers are directed to the loading dock pictured here, to queue for the next ferry. There are overflow areas for when ferry traffic backs up. The large ferries that serve the Seattle-Bremerton routs can hold over 200 vehicles.

Walk on passengers slide their tickets through a scanner on the top right-hand side of the turnstiles to gain entry.

The ferry deck offers terrific views of the Seattle skyline viewed from the west.

Passengers on the ferry have free reign on most of the ship, including outside. The views are often incredible, but be aware that it can get very windy and cold, so be sure to carry extra layers even on sunny days.

You can walk right up to the front of the boat where the cars depart upon arrival.

Layouts on the ferries are different depending on which boat you are on (there are two different ferries serving the Bremerton-Seattle route).

The approach of Bremerton, with the southern edge of the Olympic mountains in the background.

Pulling into the Bremerton dock.

Another view of the ferry pulling into the Bremerton dock. Cars disembark here, while walk-on passengers exit via an elevated walkway to the starboard (right) side of the ship.

A view of the elevated walkway passengers use to leave the ferry in Bremerton, with waterfront shops and restaurants in the background. The walkway takes you right to the waterfront in only a few hundred steps.

The walkway for carless passengers onto the ferry heading back to Seattle.

Arriving back in Seattle allows you to enjoy the city from an entirely different perspective.

Seattle – Bainbridge Ferry

Updated: October 30, 2017

Seattle to Bainbridge Ferry Schedule – Weekday Schedule

The Seattle to Bainbridge route runs about every 50-55 minutes from Monday through Friday. The first ferry departs the terminal at Coleman Dock/Pier 52 at 5:30 a.m., and the last ferry leaves at 1:35 a.m., technically the next day. The last three ferries late at night are scheduled 1 hour 20 minutes apart, at 10:55 p.m., 12:15 a.m., and 1:35 a.m. Crossing time is 35 minutes.

Bainbridge to Seattle Ferry Schedule – Weekday Schedule

Ferries departing from Bainbridge begin earlier than those on the Seattle side to accommodate people who live on the island and work in the city. The first ferries leave at 4:45, 5:20, and 6:20 a.m. From the 7:05 a.m. ferry onward, they run about every 50-55 minutes throughout the rest of the day. The last few ferries at night are spread further apart at 9:45 p.m., 11:35 p.m., and 12:55 a.m. the following day. Crossing time is 35 minutes.

Seattle to Bainbridge Ferry Schedule – Weekend/Holiday Schedule

On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, the ferry runs a little later, with the first trip to Bainbridge leaving at 6:10 a.m. and the final trip departing at 2:10 a.m. the following day. Between the first and second ferry in the morning, there is a 1 hour 45 minute gap, with the second ferry leaving at 7:55 a.m. After that the ferries run about every 50-55 minutes throughout the day until late at night. The last few ferries are more unevenly spaced at 10:40 p.m., 11:15 p.m., 12:45 a.m., and 2:10 a.m. Crossing time is 35 minutes.

• Always double check the official website for holiday schedules, as they are subject to change.

Bainbridge to Seattle Ferry Schedule – Weekend/Holiday Schedule

On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, the ferry departs later in the morning and runs until later in the night. The first departure is at 5:20 a.m. and the final one is at 1:25 a.m. the next day. The first few ferries leave at irregular intervals: 5:20, 7:05, 8:45, and 9:45 a.m. From then on, then ferries run about every 50-55 minutes until 9:45 p.m. The last few late night ferries have longer gaps between them, departing at 10:30 p.m., midnight, and 1:25 a.m. the next day. Crossing time is 35 minutes.

• Always double check the official website for holiday schedules, as they are subject to change.

Cost

The ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island costs $8.20 for adults. Fares for seniors (over 65) and children (6-18 years) are half price, only $4.10. Children 5 and under ride free.

Rates are for one-way tickets. The return trip from Bainbridge back to Seattle is free of charge.

Tickets may be purchased at the terminal on the day of travel using cash or card. Senior, disabled, and child tickets are not available at the self-serve kiosk; they must be purchased at the ticket window. Reservations cannot be made in advance, but it is rare that a ferry will fill up completely for walk on passengers. On busy days it may fill up with cars, though, so plan on arriving at least 20 minutes early if traveling with a vehicle. Boarding for walk-on passengers ends 5 minutes before the ferry’s scheduled departure time.

Though reservations cannot be made ahead of time, single or multi-ride tickets for adults may be purchased online in advance with a credit or debit card and received via email. They are valid for 90 days after purchase. Tickets for seniors and children are not available online.

Adult: $8.20
Child (6-18): $4.10
Child (0-5): Free
Seniors (65+): $4.10

Buying Tickets in Advance

Tickets may be purchased online in advance of travel. This is not necessary, but it does save time by avoiding the ticketing line at the terminal, which can be long; especially on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoons in July and August. Though tickets may be bought in advance, reservations may not be made. The ferry operates on a first come, first served basis.

Wait Times/Delays

Ferries are almost never sold out for walk on passengers, including those bringing bicycles. But for those driving onto the ferry, there is occasionally some congestion – especially during the summer months. The busiest times for drivers headed from Seattle to Bainbridge are Fridays from 2:00 to 7:30p.m. and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Midday Sunday and weekday evening rush hours can see a good deal of car congestion, too.

From Bainbridge to Seattle, the most congested times are on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Leave early in the morning to avoid heavy car traffic. Saturdays can be congested in the late afternoons, and weekday mornings from 6:30-9:30a.m. are also busier than average.

Despite these busier times, significant delays are rare. The Seattle-Bainbridge route typically leaves on time or within two minutes past scheduled departure. It is very rare for the ferry to leave more than ten minutes late.

With Vehicle

The Seattle-Bainbridge Island ferry does not take reservations for drivers. Anyone planning on ferrying over with their vehicle should arrive at least 20 minutes before the ferry’s scheduled departure time – an hour or more in advance during commonly congested times in the summer. Usually cars are loaded in the order of arrival, though sometimes vehicles may be shuffled to accommodate oversized trucks. Vehicle boarding ends two minutes before the ferry’s scheduled departure time.

The rate for compact cars (up to 14 feet) is $14.30, inclusive of the driver’s fare. For standard sized cars, SUVs, and mid-sized trucks (up to 22 feet), the rate is $18.20. Disabled and senior driver rates for the same vehicles as above are $12.25 and $16.15, respectively.

Motorcycle and scooter rates, inclusive of driver, are $7.90 for adults and $5.85 for senior and disabled drivers.

If traveling with bikes racked on the car, there is no extra charge, as long as the total length does not exceed the 14 foot or 22 foot size limits.

Traveling With Kids

The ferry is always an exciting ride for kids, and downtown Winslow offers tons of family friendly sights, attractions, and dining. Rates for children ages 6-18 are only $4.10 from Seattle to Bainbridge; the return trip is free of charge. Kids 5 years and under ride free both ways.

There is no official minimum age for kids to travel without parents; however, there is no staff member to accompany minors on board. With that in mind, a day trip to Bainbridge can be a fun and safe trip for teens to explore on their own or with their younger siblings tagging along.

Taking a Bike On Board

Biking is one of the best ways to explore Bainbridge Island. It’s easy to bike through all of downtown to explore the local shops. Coastal trails, an estuary, and rolling hills offer a variety of options for beginning and expert cyclists. Travelers can rent a bike on the island or simply bring one over on the ferry. Bringing a bike costs only $1 for one-way or $2 for a round trip.

Cyclists board first and disembark first. Arrive twenty minutes early to board the ferry ahead of cars; late bike arrivals will have to wait to board until after all other vehicles have been loaded. Cyclists will enter through the marked bicycle entrance through the tollbooth on the far right, then ride to the designated waiting area ahead of the cars. After riding onboard, you’ll park at the bow end of the car deck and lock up. Arrival will be announced by loudspeaker, and cyclists will head back down to retrieve their bikes and ride off into downtown Winslow.

Food On Board Ferry (or at the ferry terminal)

There is a variety of restaurants and cafes inside the Seattle ferry terminal, from quick grab-and-go snack shacks to a chill wine bar and a casual coffee shop. Fast food options include Subway, Taco del Mar, Wasabi Express, and the Waterfront Creamery. Puget Sound Provisions offers beer, wine, soda, and snacks to go, plus things you might’ve forgotten to pack, like sunscreen or sunglasses.

Once on board, travelers will find a small cafeteria-style restaurant, serving Ivar’s chowders and soups, bakery sweets and ice cream, pre-made salads and snacks. Beer, wine, and cider area also served but must be consumed before disembarking. There is also a small espresso bar serving hot, fresh coffee and tea. Several vending machines here offer snacks, soda, and coffee. All of the food options are located midship in the main passenger lounge area.

Location of Terminal/Getting to Terminal

The ferry terminal is just a 5 minute walk from Pioneer Square and a 15 minute walk from Pike Place Market and Downtown. To get there by bus, take the 101, 150, 255, or the Link Light Rail from Westlake Station tunnel and get off at Pioneer Square Station. From there, walk west on Yesler Way for 8 minutes to arrive at the ferry terminal at Pier 52/Colman Dock. Another option is to take a surface bus via route 3, 7, 14, 40, 62, or 70 from 3rd Avenue & Pine Street. Get off at Marion Street and walk 6 minutes southwest, taking the elevated pedestrian bridge to the ferry terminal. Any of these buses will get you there in 13-18 minutes and costs $2.50.

Location of Bainbridge Ferry Terminal

The Seattle-Bainbridge ferry terminal (also called Colman Dock, or Pier 52) is located at 801 Alaskan Way on the northwest corner of Pioneer Square at the south end of the Waterfront. From the terminal, 10 minutes’ walk north will get you to the Seattle Great Wheel and Wings Over Washington; another 5 minutes will get you to the Seattle Aquarium. The Smith Tower is directly east of the ferry, just 5 minutes on foot via Yesler Way. To the southeast of the terminal, just 10 minutes’ walk away, you’ll find the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood, with trendy restaurants, bars, and attractions like the Klondike Gold Rush Museum and the Underground Tour. Just 5 more minutes walking in the same direction leads to Chinatown/International District, with several unique shops and museums, great food, and the historic Panama Hotel.

Parking at Terminal

The closest parking to the ferry terminal is the Commuter Centre lot (811 Western Ave) with rates of $5.00 per hour. This is a good option for half day trips. A great option is just two blocks away at the ABM First and Columbia Garage (721 1st Ave). This spot offers parking at a better rate, only $3.00 per hour, but they have a four hour limit. After four hours, cars are charged $25.00, whether parked for 4 or 24 hours. A third option at Waterfront Place (1101 Western Ave) offers great rates for longer trips, at $18.00 for 6 hours, $21.00 for 10 hours, or $24.00 for 24 hours. For short trips, their rates are high at $6.00 for one hour. Only park here for full day trips to Bainbridge.

If you don’t mind a little further walk, there are several garages offering lower rates in the Pioneer Square and Waterfront neighborhoods. Try the Courtyard Seattle Downtown/Pioneer Square (612 2nd Ave) or the LAZ- Butler Garage (160 James Street), both offering full day rates for $20.00. These two lots, as well as the aforementioned ABM First and Columbia Garage, take reservations; book ahead online.

Street parking is available near the terminal, but there is a time limit of 2 hours. Though parking is free on Sundays, the time limit is still enforced. Seattle Parking Enforcement does not mess around and will ticket cars parked over the time limit! Street parking is not recommended when taking the Bainbridge ferry.

Taking the Ferry to Bainbridge Island

View of the Seattle Waterfront from the Pier 52 Ferry Terminal, facing north. The ferry terminal is within walking distance of the Great Wheel, waterfront restaurants, and the Seattle Aquarium.

Bike shares parked in front of the Seattle Ferry Terminal, facing south. The elevated pedestrian bridge connects the terminal to downtown at 1st Avenue and Marion Street.

Vehicles at the tollbooth. Bicycle entry is at the far right booth where the bike is painted on the lane.

Cyclists can also reach the tollbooth area via this smaller gateway just north of the main vehicle entry. This path leads directly to the bike tollbooth.

Entrance to the ferry terminal for walk on passengers with no vehicle or bike.

The walk on passenger entry leads straight to the food court with lots of different choices.

There’s even a classy little wine bar, Commuter Comforts.

…and Waterfront Creamery, an ice cream shop!

The Ferry Information desk is in the middle of the food court area. If you have any questions, ask here. But this is not the spot for buying tickets.

All ticket types can be bought at the ticket windows. Self-serve kiosks are located in front of the ticket windows and to the right, under the sign marked ATM (the actual ATM machine is on the other side of the pole.) The waiting area for the Bainbridge Ferry is to the right, extending behind the ticket windows.

Self-serve ticket kiosks offer many (but not all) ticket options.

Youth, disabled, and senior citizen tickets can only be purchased at the ticket windows, because they need to verify that the buyer fits the criteria for special rates.

Self-serve kiosk with options for adult passengers, vehicles, and multi-ride tickets. All tickets are valid for 90 days from the date of purchase.

Passengers for Bainbridge can sit in the waiting area here near the turnstiles and boarding gate.

Passengers can also wait outside, standing above the vehicle entry, to watch the ferry approach, dock, and unload.

The ferry approaching the terminal.

The ambulance gets a priority exit.

Cyclists are the first passengers to disembark.

Motorcycles exit second.

Cars are the last to leave the boat.

Bikes wait in the shade below the passengers exiting the ferry. Motorcycles and cars wait alongside them, in lanes marked with the order of their boarding.

Cyclists board first and are directed to the bike parking area in the bow of the ship.

Motorcyclists board second.

Vehicles board last. Walk on passengers board via a covered walkway above the car deck.

Walk on passengers wait to board.

Walk on passengers slide their tickets through a scanner on the top right-hand side of the turnstiles to gain entry.

Passengers boarding the ferry via covered walkway. They arrive on the main passenger level, where the restaurant, restrooms, and most of the seating are. Upstairs is the sun deck; downstairs is the car deck.

The Sun Deck is the most popular level on clear, sunny days for its amazing views. It can get pretty chilly up here when the boat is moving, even on warm days.

View of downtown Seattle from the Sun Deck.

Crew only is allowed on this level above the Sun Deck.

There is a covered area on the Sun Deck that still has open sides for viewing.

There is also a fully enclosed area on the Sun Deck. This is usually a quiet spot to ride.

One floor down, the Passenger Deck is mostly enclosed, but there are a few spots on this level that are outside and offer stunning views as the ferry navigates toward Bainbridge Island.

Most of the seating is in the enclosed area of the Passenger Deck. Interior seats are mostly chairs with some tables, while window seats are mostly spacious booths.

In the middle of the seating area, there are information stations with maps about the island and things to do in the area.

The ferry has a small restaurant onboard with hot soups, prepared salads and sandwiches, pastries, and snacks. They also have a small selection of beers and wines by the glass.

Nearby there are a couple of vending machines.

A coffee shop is usually available for guests.

Near the restaurant and coffee stand, there are several tables and chairs.

The Passenger Deck is also where the restrooms are located. These are normal, full-sized restrooms, not the usual small, awkward heads found on smaller tour boats. ADA accessible stalls and baby changing stations are here, too.

The bottom level of the boat is the Car Deck, where passengers drive their own vehicles aboard. There are two levels of parking for vehicles on the Car Deck.

Bikes are parked and tied up at the bow end of the boat on either level to make it easy for cyclists to disembark first.

Motorcycles park here, too.

Bikes are free to bring aboard if they fit in or on your vehicle without making the total length exceed 22 feet.

Bainbridge Island! View from the outdoor Passenger Deck.

The ferry approaches the Bainbridge Island terminal.

Bainbridge Ferry Terminal, view from ferry on arrival.

Walk-on passengers disembark from the passenger deck, and proceed down an enclosed walkway.

As you exit the ferry terminal building, look left to find the Bainbridge Island information booth. Here you’ll find maps, transportation information, and an attendant who can answer any questions you have.

In the warmer months, there is a “free” golf cart available just outside the Bainbridge Island Ferry Terminal to get travelers into downtown Winslow. They operate on tips, so bring a little cash if you plan on using it. This is a great option for people with mobility issues. For people who prefer to walk, it’s only 5 minutes to walk to downtown.

There’s a bus stop at the ferry terminal, too. Buses pick up hourly, and will shuttle passengers to all points on the island. Exact fare or an Orca card is needed. Children under six ride free.

Bike rentals are also available just at the outer edge of the ferry terminal lot.

Waking or riding from the ferry terminal, you’re in downtown as soon as you hit Winslow Way. The police station will be to your right.

. …and the Bainbridge Art Museum (free admission!) sits catty corner from the cop shop. Hang a left on Winslow Way to reach most of the town’s restaurants and shops.

From Winslow Way, turn right on Ericksen to find the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum.

Once you cross Madrone Lane on Winslow, the shops become smaller and quainter. The free cart will drop you right here.

Downtown Winslow is perfectly walkable and full of fun shops and bites. You’ll find bookstores, record shops, bakeries, bars, ice cream parlors, antique shops, and much, much more.

To get the Winslow Wharf Marina, hang a left at the church on Madison Avenue. It’s at the end of a gorgeous residential street.

At the Wharf, check out all the different types of boats, sea birds, and fun rock sculptures on the water’s edge.

From the Wharf, follow the posted signs to find the Waterfront Trail, winding gently through the woods and along the coastline, all the way back to the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal.

Walk on passengers can enter through the main indoor ferry terminal. There are restrooms and maps here, but no restaurants. Boarding from the Bainbridge side is much quicker, since tickets are not required.

Just outside the passenger terminal, there’s a small coffee stand that sells beverages and pastries.

There is also a walk on ramp to the left of the vehicle boarding area.

The vehicle boarding area is smaller on the Bainbridge side.

Cyclists must wait for an attendant in a covered area to the right of the walk on ramp and left of the vehicle waiting area.

Boarding proceeds in the same order as on the Seattle side: bikes first, then motorcycles, then cars.

Bainbridge Island views from the Sun Deck.

View of Bainbridge Island’s edge with Seattle in the distance.

The Bainbridge Island ferry is a great spot to catch Mount Rainier views when (as the locals say) “the mountain is out.”

Approaching Seattle.

The Seattle Travel Guide

Updated: September 7, 2017

55 Things to Know About Seattle

the ultimate travel guide to Seattle, Washington
Where to stay, what to do, and how to get around in Seattle, Washington.

On This Page

The Basics

  1. Seattle is the largest city in the state of Washington, located 60 miles north of Washington’s State capital city of Olympia.
  2. Nestled on the shores of Puget Sound, Seattle maintains an active sea port, and is the fourth-largest container gateway in North America. Harbor Island on Elliott Bay is the nation’s largest man-made island.
  3. It rains a lot in Seattle, though not as much as most people think. The city averages 152 wet days per year, but generally this falls as a light drizzle; at 37 average inches, Seattle receives 2 inches less rain per year than the national average of 39. The weather in July through September is usually sunny and dry.
  4. Seattle sits between two mountain ranges, with the Olympic Mountains to the west, and Cascade Mountains to the east. The Canadian border is 110 miles north of Seattle.
  5. The four largest employers in Seattle are Boeing, Microsoft, the University of Washington, and Amazon.com.
  6. Seattle’s University of Washington is consistently ranked among the nation’s top universities and loveliest college campuses. The University’s waterfront Husky Stadium is known as the most scenic setting in college football.
  7. Visiting Seattle

  8. The best time to visit Seattle is June through August. In summer, Seattle is sunny, dry, and warm, with daytime highs generally around 75°F and low humidity. Flights, ferries, and tours all run with greater frequency during this time, however. Hotel and travel prices will be higher, and availability will turn scarce — so make reservations well in advance.
  9. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) is located 15 miles south of downtown Seattle. The best and most reliable transportation from Sea-Tac to downtown is Seattle Town Car. Link light rail is the cheapest, at $3/ride.
  10. Seattle has two cruise ship ports, and both are located near downtown. Seven cruise lines call Seattle a home port, offering 7-day cruises to Alaska: Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian, Oceania, Princess, and Royal Caribbean.
  11. Seattle’s two sports stadiums sit just south of downtown in the SoDo neighborhood. Safeco Field is home to the Seattle Mariners MLB team, while both the Seattle Seahawks (NFL) and Sounders (MLS) play at CenturyLink Field.
  12. Seattle Neighborhoods

  13. Downtown Seattle is the most popular area for visitors to stay. It’s home to most of the city’s best (and most expensive) hotels, as well as lots of great shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Attractions include Pike Place Market, Seattle Art Museum, Westlake Center and Pacific Place malls, and Nordstrom’s flagship location.
  14. Belltown is adjacent to downtown, sitting just north of the city center. It’s known for nightlife and high-rise condos, and is home to the Olympic Sculpture Park. From Belltown, it’s an easy walk to both downtown attractions and Seattle Center.
  15. Pioneer Square is the historic heart of the city, and is where you’ll find Seattle’s oldest buildings and the Underground Tour. Pioneer Square is within walking distance to Seattle’s two sports stadiums, the ferry terminal at Colman Dock, and downtown attractions.
  16. Queen Anne is home to the iconic Space Needle, and the Seattle Center entertainment complex that incorporates the Pacific Science Center, The Museum of Pop Culture, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Key Arena, and the Seattle Children’s Museum and Theatre. Queen Anne hotels are generally less expensive than downtown.
  17. South Lake Union is a hi-tech hub, home to many prominent biomedical and technology companies, such as Amazon.com. South Lake Union is home to the Museum of History and Industry, the Center for Wooden Boats, and the seaplane company Kenmore Air.
  18. Seattle’s Waterfront neighborhood sits just west of downtown, perched aside Puget Sound’s Elliot Bay. This is where you’ll find the Seattle Aquarium, the Great Wheel, and the Wings Over Washington ride, as well as docks for Washington State Ferries, Argosy sightseeing cruises, the Victoria Clipper, and the West Seattle Water Taxi.
  19. Seattle Things to Do

  20. Pike Place Market first opened in 1907, and is one of the nation’s oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets. The Market is open 363 days a year, closing only on Christmas and Thanksgiving.
  21. Aside from being the city’s most popular tourist destination, The Market acts as the heart of Seattle’s downtown community, providing social services such as a senior center, food bank, preschool, and medical clinic.
  22. Seattle Center – a large entertainment complex that also incorporates the Space Needle – was originally created for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, and remnants of the fair’s space-age theme remain in the Center’s mid-century architecture, sculpture, and the Monorail that runs from the base of the Space Needle into downtown.
  23. Aside from the Space Needle, Seattle Center’s campus also houses the Pacific Science Center, The Museum of Pop Culture, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Key Arena, and the Seattle Children’s Museum and Theatre.
  24. Seattle’s two biggest music festivals are held annually on the Seattle Center Grounds: Folklife on Memorial Day weekend, and Bumbershoot over Labor Day weekend. The Bite of Seattle, Seattle’s biggest food festival, takes place under the Space Needle in mid-July.
  25. The easiest and cheapest way to enjoy the Seattle skyline from the waters of Puget Sound is to take the water taxi to West Seattle. On the other side, grab a bite and a drink on the deck at Marination Ma Kai, or catch a free shuttle to Alki Beach.
  26. There’s a restaurant in the Space Needle! SkyCity Restaurant is a revolving dining room 500 feet above Seattle Center, and meal price includes admission to the Needle’s observation deck. Save room for the “Lunar Orbiter” dessert: an ice cream sundae served in a bowl of smoking dry ice.
  27. There’s more to Seattle than meets the eye – you can explore Seattle’s past via hidden subterranean passageways via Bill Spiedel’s Underground or the Beneath the Streets Tours.
  28. Seattle’s Great Wheel rises 175 feet from Pier 57 on the Seattle waterfront, making it the tallest observation wheel on the west coast. To make your trip up (and down) extra special, reserve Cabin #42, the VIP gondola, that comes with leather seats, a stereo system, and a glass bottom floor.
  29. Wings Over Washington, an indoor aerial adventure ride, is located right next to the Great Wheel, and ticket packages that include both rides are available if you purchase at the Pier 57 ticket booth.
  30. Admission to the Seattle Art Museum, along with most of Seattle’s other museums, is free on the first Thursday of every month.
  31. First Thursdays also mean the Pioneer Square Art Walk – the nation’s first – in which the neighborhood’s many galleries are open to the public for browsing – and many new exhibits open.
  32. The Seattle Aquarium’s most famous resident is Switch, a female giant Pacific octopus. You can watch an octopus feeding on the Aquarium’s YouTube channel, or a live action video feed via their Octocam.
  33. You can enjoy Seattle’s sports scene even when there’s not a game going on: behind-the-scenes public tours are available for Safeco (Seattle Mariners) and CenturyLink (Seahawks and Sounders FC) Fields, as well as the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium.
  34. A food tour is a delicious way to discover a new city, or learn more about your home town. In Seattle, I especially recommend Savor Seattle’s VIP Pike Place Market and Chocolate Indulgence tours, and Wing Luke Museum’s International District seasonal food tour.
  35. Seattle Hotels

  36. The best hotels in Seattle are The Four Seasons, Inn at the Market, and the Alexis Hotel.
  37. The best hotels near Pike Place Market are the Inn at the Market, The Four Seasons, and the Mayflower Park Hotel.
  38. The best boutique hotel in Seattle is the Inn at the Market.
  39. The best modern hotels in Seattle are The Four Seasons, Inn at the Market, and Thompson Seattle.
  40. The best historic hotels in Seattle are The Sorrento Hotel, The Arctic Club, and The Mayflower Park Hotel.
  41. The Best budget hotels in Seattle are The Moore Hotel and The Ace Hotel.
  42. The best hotel swimming pools in Seattle are at Hyatt Olive 8 (indoor) and The Four Seasons (outdoor).
  43. Getting Around Seattle

  44. Use Link Light Rail (cheap) or taxi (easy) to get to downtown hotels. The taxi queue is a 1 minute walk from the baggage carousels in arrivals – just follow the signs. There’s rarely a wait.
  45. Seattle is a pedestrian-friendly city, and most points downtown are easily walkable. Certain parts of the city are built on a steep grade, however, and the hilly streets can be a challenge for folks with mobility issues. The University of Washington’s Access Map is a handy tool to plan a more easily-walkable route around town; showing which streets are steepest, and which sidewalks are blocked due to construction.
  46. If you’re staying near downtown, having a rental car can be more of a burden than a benefit. It’s tough (and expensive) to park downtown, and daily hotel parking rates can really add up.
  47. It’s easy to get around Seattle using the region’s Link light rail system, the Seattle Streetcar, and Metro buses. Use the Trip Planner to determine your route, and pay for all of them using refillable Orca cards.
  48. Link light rail runs from SeaTac Airport through downtown and up to the University of Washington in Northeast Seattle. It has station stops at the sports stadiums, the International District, Pioneer Square, downtown, and Capitol Hill.
  49. The Seattle Streetcar has two different lines; one running from downtown to South Lake Union, and one from Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill, via the International District.
  50. The Seattle Monorail runs from Westlake Center in downtown Seattle to the base of the Space Needle in Seattle Center, and is the best way to get to the Space Needle from downtown (and vice-versa). It’s a five minute ride that’s fairly inexpensive, and is a fun relic from Seattle’s space-themed 1962 World’s Fair. The Monorail is privately owned, so fare is not transferable from other modes of transport.
  51. Metro buses go everywhere, and are generally reliable. Trip Planner can help you determine what bus to take and where to catch it, and the One Bus Away app will track your bus’ progress.
  52. Taxis and ride share services (like Lyft and Uber) are plentiful in Seattle, and and easy to find when public transit’s not an option. Save renting a car for day trips outside of the city.
  53. Amtrak’s newly-refurbished King Street Station is located just south of downtown in Pioneer Square. This station is a stop on Amtrak’s north-south running Coast Starlight and east-west running Empire Builder routes, the Amtrak Cascades line that runs between Eugene, OR and Vancouver BC, and the Sounder regional commuter train.
  54. Daily ferry service runs from Colman Dock on the Seattle waterfront to Bainbridge Island and the city of Bremerton on the Kitsap Peninsula.
  55. The King County Water Taxi shuttles passengers back and forth between Pier 50 in downtown Seattle and two terminals: Seacrest Park in West Seattle and Vashon Island. Public transportation is accessible from either spot, with free shuttles running from Seacrest Park to Alki Beach and the West Seattle Junction shopping district.
  56. When to Visit Seattle

  57. The best weather in Seattle is from late June to early September. July and August are the busiest months when hotels are full and restaurants are crowded. May, June, September, and October usually have nice weather and fewer tourists making them great months to visit if you’re not after hot summer weather. Most of Seattle’s best attractions lend themselves to enjoying even with a little rain which makes Seattle a good year-round destination.
  58. The skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing season in Seattle’s nearby mountain areas usually lasts from late November until April or May.
  59. Whale watching season near Seattle falls between March and October, with the species of whale you’re likely to see varying by month within that range. The first gray whales appear in the region in March and April. Orcas are common in the summer months of May through September, and humpback whales are most often seen in October and November.
  60. July, August, and September are the best months to visit Mount Rainier National Park, when the snow has melted and hiking trails are open. Mountain wildflowers are at their peak around early August, and fall colors are best in the first half of October. Many park areas and roads are closed throughout the winter (mid-October/early November through June), though the road to Paradise stays open year round for those who wish to see the mountain by car.
  61. Nearby Snoqualmie Falls are at their best in the spring, when the river’s full and running at greatest capacity. If you can swing dinner or an overnight at the Salish Lodge & Spa while you’re there, do.

See Also

The Best Restaurants in Seattle

Updated: September 6, 2017

The best places to eat in Seattle

Tips and Quick Recommendations

  • Seattle’s a laid-back place. Casual attire is suitable just about anywhere (except Canlis).
  • Most of the best restaurants in Seattle take reservations, so call ahead if there’s a spot you really want to to try.
  • Seattle’s best brunch is at Toulouse Petit and Portage Bay Cafe.
  • The best restaurant for a fancy splurge is Canlis.
  • Seattle’s best restaurant patio can be found at Westward.
  • The best Chinese restaurant in Seattle is Din Tai Fung.
  • Seattle’s best Mexican restaurant is La Carta de Oaxaca.
  • The best vegetarian restaurant in Seattle is Café Flora.
  • The best spots for dinner and a show in Seattle are The Pink Door and Teatro Zinzani.
  • Seattle’s best sushi is at Sushi Kashiba and Wataru.
  • Seattle’s best Japanese restaurant is Maneki.
  • Seattle’s best sandwiches are at Salumi and Paseo.
  • The best restaurant in Pike Place Market is Matt’s.
  • The best bakery in Seattle is Macrina. Their Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter might be the best cookie on the planet.
  • Seattle’s best restaurants on the water are Elliot’s Oyster House and Ray’s Boathouse.
  • The best pasta in Seattle is at Il Corvo (weekday lunch only) and Spinasse.
  • Seattle’s best steakhouse is El Gaucho.
  • Seattle’s best late night eateries are Green Leaf and Ba Bar.
  • The best seafood in Seattle is at Etta’s and Rock Creek.
  • Seattle’s best burger is at Red Mill. The best in downtown is at Lil Woody’s.
  • The best dessert in Seattle, hands down, is the coconut cream pie at Dahlia Bakery. (But all Tom Douglas restaurants have it – if it’s not on the menu, just ask.)

The 17 Best Restaurants in Seattle

  1. Armandino’s Salumi • Pioneer Square • $$

    Best Places to Eat in Seattle

    The best cured meats this side of Manhattan can be found at Armandino’s Salumi in historic Pioneer Square. Locals simply call this spot “Salumi,” and know that time spent waiting in line here will be amply rewarded with mouth-watering, hand-cured Italian goodness. A variety of cold deli-style sandwiches and 3-4 hot sandwiches are offered (the meatball and porchetta being particular crowd favorites). This is a small, family owned operation (and what a family: Armandino is Armandino Batali, Mario’s dad), so hours are abbreviated: it’s open exclusively for weekday lunch, and Mondays are take-out only. Come early to avoid the long lines, or call before 10am with your sandwich order (cold sandwiches only) and skip the line altogether.

    309 3rd Avenue S
    Monday 11am-1:30pm (take out only)
    Tuesday–Friday 11am-3:30pm
    Phone: (206) 621-8772
    Reviews

  2. Café Campagne • Downtown • $$-$$$

    Best French Places to Eat in Seattle

    A picture perfect Parisian-style brasserie comfortably nestled into Post Alley in Pike Place Market, Café Campagne consistently delivers French classics, flawlessly prepared. Divine egg dishes like their velvety quiche, brioche French toast, and an impeccable croque madame have made this spot particularly popular for weekend brunch, while the legendary lamb burger, handcrafted charcuterie, steak frites, and roast trout regularly draw crowds at lunch and dinner. Snag a window seat or a table on the sidewalk terrace to enjoy the frenetic energy of the market, or leave the bustle behind – the simple and classic décor of Café Campagne’s large dining space provides a cozy respite and feels intimate, despite the crowds. Reservations are recommended, especially for weekend brunch.

    1600 Post Alley
    11am-10pm Monday-Thursday
    11am-11pm Friday
    8am-11pm Saturday
    8am-10pm Sunday
    (Weekday breakfast is offered from 8am between Memorial Day and Labor Day.)
    Phone: (206) 728-2233
    Reviews

  3. Canlis • Westlake • $$$$

    Best Fancy Places to Eat in Seattle

    Since 1950, this revered restaurant has been universally considered the apex of Seattle fine dining. The warm and polished midcentury interior with sweeping views of Lake Union, downtown Seattle, and the Cascade Mountains; the impeccable service, at the same time gracious and unpretentious; the unique and much-celebrated cuisine that chef Jason Franey calls “comfort geek” – modernist and molecular without being unapproachable: these superb elements combine to create evenings that guests consider more an experience than a meal. It’s special occasion, blow-your-paycheck dining, and you are expected to dress the part – this is the only restaurant in Seattle which requires a suit or sport coat for men. (Leave your Levis at home, there’s no denim allowed.) With nightly live piano music and plush décor, Canlis’ lounge area provides a luxurious spot to wait for your table or enjoy an expertly-crafted cocktail and snacks from the a la carte bar menu. Reservations in the dining room are a must, and should be booked well in advance; lounge seating is available for walk-in guests. Parking is valet only.

    2576 Aurora Avenue N
    Monday-Saturday 5:30pm-10:00pm
    Closed Sundays
    Phone: (206) 283-3313
    Reviews

  4. Cascina Spinasse • Capitol Hill • $$$

    Best Hip Places to Eat in Seattle

    Cascina Spinasse is the place to go for classic Northern Italian cuisine in Seattle. This rustic-casual trattoria serves authentic Piedmontese dinner fare, crafted from local and seasonal ingredients. The menu here is small – a handful each of antipasti, primi, and secondi plates – but every dish is pitch-perfect. The braised rabbit and salt cod bruschetta is rave-worthy, and the pasta has been called “transformative.” (Particularly the finely-cut tajarin, whether ordered enveloped in a rich ragu or divinely dressed in butter and sage.) Those in the mood for a real treat would do well to arrive with an empty stomach and a full wallet: Cascina Spinasse’s Menu Degustazione allows you to try it all – each antipasti, primi, and secondi on the menu for $100 a person. Book table reservations well in advance; bar seating is reserved for walk-in guests.

    1531 14th Avenue
    Sunday–Thursday: 5-10pm
    Friday/Saturday: 5-11pm
    Phone: (206) 251-7673
    Reviews

  5. Cycene • Downtown • $$

    The best Southern food in downtown Seattle.

    This humble hole in the wall on the eastern edge of Pike Place Market serves up Southern-style comfort food that’s rich, satisfying, and worth writing home about. Cycene has a limited menu, offering a handful each of grilled sandwiches and grits, plus a couple of sides and dessert choices. Bottled beers, sodas (including Mexican Coke), and juice wash it down. The pimento grilled cheese sandwich with sweet peppers and olives is mouth-watering, served on a bed of crispy, salty home fries. Their grits are unfathomably luscious and cheesy – those topped with sweet corn and a perfectly vinegary North Carolina-style pulled pork are my personal favorite. Cycene is only open for breakfast and lunch, and the menu is the same for both. In contrast to the richness of the food, decor here is spare, with gallon-sized mason jars of spices lining the shelves, and honkey-tonk blues on the stereo.

    1523 1st Avenue
    Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 7am-3pm
    Saturday, Sunday 8am-3pm
    Closed Wednesdays
    Phone: (206) 617-6838
    Reviews

  6. Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant • Belltown • $

    Best Places to Eat in Seattle

    A local favorite for authentic and exquisite Vietnamese cuisine, Green Leaf boasts generous portion sizes, exciting flavors, and hole-in-the-wall prices. This jewel of a restaurant takes some digging to find – its basement location is marked only by an unassuming green sign – but is well worth the trip. Fresh and vibrant soups, salads, noodle, and rice dishes abound in Green Leaf’s comprehensive menu, with many vegetarian options and too many standouts to count. Casual and friendly, Green Leaf’s grand-sized dining area is made intimate by carved wooden furniture and Vietnamese décor. The cozy and comfortable lounge area is the perfect spot for sipping a specialty cocktail from Green Leaf’s extensive drink menu. Perhaps best of all, this hidden gem is open until 2am nightly, making it the perfect spot for a late night bite.

    2800 1st Avenue
    Daily 11am-2am
    Phone: (206) 448-3318
    Reviews

  7. Il Corvo • Pioneer Square • $$

    Il Corvo best pasta in Seattle

    The line is long and the menu is short at this hectic hole-in-the-wall pasta shop in Pioneer Square: just three fresh-made pastas daily (a standout pappardelle bolognese and a vegetarian option are always available) and a handful of antipasti. That’s enough to have earned chef Mike Easton a James Beard Award nom in 2016, though, as well as the intense loyalty of local pasta aficionados. The atmosphere here is casual, friendly, and chaotic; the queue cuts through the middle of the dining room and tables are in high demand – there’s no lingering over a glass of wine and a good conversation without incurring the wrath of those standing in wait. Il Corvo is only open during weekday lunch hours; get there before opening to avoid lines of an hour or more. If you can’t get there early, rest assured that it’s worth the wait.

    217 James Street
    Monday-Friday 11am-3pm
    Phone: (206) 538-0999
    Reviews

  8. Lecosho • Downtown • $$-$$$

    Great restaurant near Pike Place Market.

    In the heart of downtown, but tucked into a quiet corner of the Harbor Steps pedestrian corridor, Lecosho features seasonal American cuisine in a graceful atmosphere. The menu here is fairly meat-heavy (the pork chop and homemade sausage are best bets), though there’s always something delicious like artichoke ricotta ravioli to satisfy any vegetarians in the bunch. The restaurant’s dark wood decor feels cozy in the rainy months, and there’s a generous patio and large windows that open wide to balmy summer air – Lecosho’s Harbor Steps location allows guests to enjoy alfresco dining downtown without the street noise. Choose an entree or small plates to share for dinner, sandwiches during weekday lunch, or stop by after going out – an abbreviated late night menu is available ’til 1am every day.
    89 University Street (The Harbor Steps)
    Monday-Friday 11am-1am
    Saturday-Sunday 3pm-1am
    Phone: (206 623-2101
    Reviews

  9. Matt’s in the Market • Downtown • $$$

    Best Places to Eat in Pike Place

    For a quintessentially Seattle dining experience, one can do no better than Matt’s, serving new American lunch and dinner in the heart of Pike Place Market. The lunch menu here is brief but outstanding – the catfish and pulled-pork sandwiches are two dependable favorites – and the dinner menu changes regularly, determined by what’s available from the market stalls below. With high timber-beamed ceilings and checkerboard floors, Matt’s feels light and airy during the day, and romantic after the sun goes down. Large demi-lune windows frame postcard-perfect views of the iconic market sign, Puget Sound, and the Olympic Mountains beyond. You won’t get a table at Matt’s without a reservation. Book well in advance and ask for a seat with a view.

    94 Pike Street
    Monday-Saturday
    11:30am-2:30pm Lunch
    5:30pm-10:00pm Dinner
    5pm-7pm Happy Hour
    Phone: (206) 467-7909
    Reviews

  10. The Pink Door • Downtown • $$-$$$

    Best Italian Places to Eat in Seattle

    Equal parts enchanting, delicious, and entertaining, The Pink Door is an Italian food lover’s dream. Inside this unassuming gray building near Pike Place Market lies a whimsically romantic trattoria that serves up delicious Italian standards with a view. Perfect for lunch and dinner al fresco, the charming dining deck overlooks Elliot Bay; and inside is all about entertainment. Jazz musicians, tarot-card readers, and magicians that perform nightly within the high-ceilinged dining room, with trapeze artists appearing on Sunday and Monday evenings. On Saturday nights, head back after dinner into the lounge area to enjoy The Pink Door’s weekly late night cabaret/burlesque show (separate cover charge). All this razzle-dazzle is grounded by a deliciously simple, seasonal menu of homestyle Italian favorites that manage to hit all the right notes. Reservations recommended – but note that online reservations are for deck seating only, call to reserve a spot in the dining room.

    1919 Post Alley
    Monday–Thursday 11:30am-11:30pm
    Friday/Saturday 11:30am-1:00am
    Sunday 4pm-10pm
    (Lounge open nightly until 1am)
    Phone: (206) 443-3241
    Reviews

  11. Serious Pie • Belltown • $$
    Best Pizza to Eat in Seattle

    There’s pizza, and then there’s Serious Pie – thin and amazingly crispy-crusted, and created by iconic Seattle chef, Tom Douglas. Serious Pie’s pizzas are baked in an apple wood-fired oven and crafted using fresh, local ingredients, house-cured meats, and innovative toppings such as smoked duck and Penn Cove clams. The atmosphere is cozy and boisterous, with most of the seating at communal tables. Large parties can call ahead and reserve the “Kitchen Table,” which is exactly what it sounds like (it’s where they shape their dough), and enjoy full menu access and a truly behind-the-scenes experience.

    316 Virginia Street
    Daily 11am-11pm
    Phone: (206) 838-7388
    Reviews

  12. Shiro’s Sushi • Belltown • $$$
    Best Sushi Places to Eat in Seattle

    For over 20 years, Shiro’s has been considered the gold standard of Seattle Sushi restaurants. Highly-trained chefs craft their sushi in the edomae method, traditional to Tokyo. This unique blend of Eastern tradition and ultra-fresh Northwest seafood will impress both sushi connoisseurs and novices alike. Don’t expect any flashy décor – expertly-prepared food shines within the simplicity of this small and casual space. Seats at the sushi bar are hard to come by, and the only way to order the open-ended chef’s-choice omakase – customers line up before opening to snag these coveted seats. If waiting in line isn’t for you, two omakase tasting menus are available with table reservations, or order the black cod; a stand-out that’s been featured in the New York Times.

    2401 2nd Avenue
    Daily 5:30-10:30pm
    Phone: (206) 443-9844
    Reviews

  13. Steelhead Diner • Downtown • $$-$$$

    Best Places to Eat in Pike Place Market

    Perched above Pike Place, with a view of the Market and Puget Sound, Steelhead Diner offers contemporary comfort food with a Pacific Northwest twist. The atmosphere here is family friendly and casual, serving up thoughtfully upscale renditions of the classics we all know and love. Modern seafood standards like beer battered fish & chips, cioppino, and crab and shrimp tater tots are standouts in Steelhead’s menu, which also includes signature soups, salads, and sandwiches, as well as more sophisticated options like grilled whole trout and coffee-crusted New York Steak. Their commitment to local and sustainably-sourced ingredients means that even the soda hails from nearby. Reservations recommended for dinner and large lunch groups.

    95 Pine Street
    Daily 11am-10pm
    Phone: (206) 625-0129
    Reviews

  14. Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge • Queen Anne • $$$

    Best Places to Eat in Seattle

    A taste of the Big Easy in Seattle, Toulouse Petit will win the heart of any fan of Cajun cuisine and French Quarter-style excess. Their beignets, fried chicken gumbo, and shrimp and grits are on par with the best that New Orleans has to offer, and they’ll serve you a mean Sazerac at any time of day. The voluminous menu extends beyond New Orleans inspired fare, however, into impeccably-prepared rustic European, Mediterranean, and steakhouse-style offerings. (It can be difficult to choose, so it’s good that Toulouse Petit’s two daily happy hours proffer a plethora of their most popular menu items for under $10 apiece – bring friends and share.) The décor here is fittingly rich and ornate – think velvet-clad booths, hand-cut tile floors, and inlaid-wood tables – and the vibrant atmosphere can get loud, especially after dark, when late night drink and food specials attract the young, local crowd. Reservations accepted (and recommended) for dinner.

    601 Queen Anne Avenue N
    Daily 9am-2am daily
    Daily happy hours at 4pm-6pm and 10pm-2am
    Phone: (206) 432-9069
    Reviews

  15. Trove • Capitol Hill • $$-$$$

    Best Places to Eat in Seattle

    Capitol Hill’s Trove is four restaurants in one – each featuring the big, bold flavors of chef Rachel Yang’s inventive take on modern Korean cuisine. Noodle offers quick and casual counter service and a front row view of the chefs preparing a handful of knock-out seasonal dishes (the Rice Cake with Lamb Curry was named one of Bon Appetit’s five best pasta dishes of 2015). At Trove’s intimate and enclosed Bar, enjoy food service from the noodle bar, as well as custom cocktails, six local beers on tap, and a variety of international beers, wines, and sake. The largest (and most fun) jewel in Trove’s crown is the BBQ; diners sear their own expertly-marinated beef, pork, and prawn platters on built-in tabletop grills within this vibrant and club-like Korean-style barbecue. Sides and starters are top-notch and perfect for sharing – come with a group and order a variety. Guests preferring a less hands-on experience can sit at one of the many non-grill tables and leave the cooking to the chefs, or pick a perch at the bar and watch the show in the open kitchen. Desserts are from Parfait, Trove’s street-side “ice cream truck” window – a rotating menu of multilayered custard creations, based on traditional Korean desserts and served in individual mason jars. Reservations are taken for parties of four or more in BBQ, and recommended for weekend night dining.

    500 E Pike Street
    Noodle: 12pm-11pm daily
    Bar: 4-11pm daily
    BBQ: Sunday-Thursday 5-10pm, Friday and Saturday 5-11pm
    Parfait: 12-11pm daily
    Phone: (206) 457-4622
    Reviews

  16. Westward • Fremont/Wallingford • $$-$$$
    Best Places to Eat in Fremont

    Westward serves up seafood and Mediterranean/new American cuisine in a charming lakeside location on the north shore of Lake Union. The atmosphere inside is casual and cool, done up in a fresh and modern maritime theme. In good weather, however, the place to be is outside. Chilling lakeside on Adirondack chairs, or sipping champagne around the bonfire; the beachy atmosphere of Westward’s patio area is truly unique and delightful. (Boaters are welcome to use Westward’s dock or pull kayaks and paddle boards up onto the beach.) If a light or quick meal is in order, the oyster bar at attached Little Gull Grocery offers a generous selection of snacks, and their knowledgeable bartenders are happy to teach you everything you never knew you wanted to know about oysters. Reservations recommended.

    2501 N Northlake Way
    Dinner Sunday – Saturday: 4pm-10pm
    Brunch Saturday/Sunday: 10am-3pm
    Phone: (206) 552-8215
    Reviews

  17. The Walrus and the Carpenter • Ballard • $$$

    Best Places to Eat in Ballard

    The small menu and small plates at this humble Ballard oyster bar have garnered huge amounts of national praise – Bon Appetit has called The Walrus and the Carpenter one of the 20 most important restaurants in America. Only the freshest local oysters are served here, along with regional clams and mussels, house smoked fish, specialty meats (including a killer steak tartare), and fresh vegetable sides prepared to perfection. Amid the accolades, The Walrus and the Carpenter has retained the friendly feel and casual charm of an old neighborhood fishing pub; expect to rub elbows with your neighbors within this bustling and light-filled space – the dining room seats around 40, and it’s always chock-full. This popular spot is walk-in only, so line up before opening or be prepared for a wait.

    4743 Ballard Avenue NW
    Daily 4-10pm
    Phone: (206) 395-9227
    Reviews

See Also

The Best Hotels in Seattle

Updated: August 25, 2017

On This Page

Seattle Hotels – Tips and Recommendations

The 19 Best Luxury Hotels in Seattle

1. The Four Seasons – Downtown

Best outdoor pool and luxury hotel in Seattle.
Seattle’s best luxury hotel – centrally located near Pike Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum, and loads of downtown restaurants. Modern, airy, and elegant decor, plush and spacious guest rooms and suites, and stunning views. The full spa, beautiful outdoor heated infinity pool, and 24-hour fitness center all overlook Elliott Bay. The restaurant is fantastic. Service is impeccable.
Hotel Phone: 206-749-7000

2. Fairmont Olympic Hotel – Downtown

Most luxurious five star hotel in Seattle.
The most opulent and traditional Seattle hotel. Luxurious suites are warm and comfortable and feel like you’re in a friend’s home. Executives Suites are worth the splurge for the additional room and wonderful bathrooms. Luxury shopping surrounds the hotel and 2 of Seattle’s best restaurants, Shuckers and The Georgian, are on the ground floor. The elegant Georgian offers a daily traditional afternoon tea. Pike Place Market and Pacific Place Mall (downtown’s best and biggest mall) are both a 5 minute’s walk away. The fitness center on the 2nd floor is really nice, and a there’s a lovely glass-enclosed pool and hot tub, with outdoor terrace. The hotel has its own bee hives on the roof – the honey is used in everything from desserts to beer in the hotel’s restaurants.
Hotel Phone: 206-621-7100

3. Inn At The Market – Downtown

Best honeymoon hotel in downtown Seattle and close to Pike Place Market.
This is Seattle’s premier boutique hotel. It’s located in the lanes of Pike Place Market and surrounded by top notch restaurants – and when I say surrounded, I mean surrounded: this is foodie heaven. Fantastic views, large rooms, and immaculate bathrooms are hidden within the understated exterior. It’s in the heart of the tourist scene but never feels anything but classy and enchanting. There’s a marvelous rooftop patio on the 5th floor that looks over Pike Place Market to Elliot Bay. It’s rarely used by hotel guests so you could grab food and a local bottle of wine from the market and quite possible have the whole deck to yourself.
Hotel Phone: 206-443-3600

4. Thompson Seattle – Downtown

Contemporary Seattle hotel with amazing water views.
Seattle’s newest hotel is also its most modern. The Thompson has floor to ceiling windows with great water and mountain views to the west. Decor is contemporary and stylish with a modern edge. Just steps from the shops and restaurants of Pike Place Market, though the in-house restaurant, Scout, is not to be missed. The amazing rooftop cocktail and oyster bar with killer views. Exceptional service and a welcoming atmosphere complete the experience.
Hotel Phone: 206-623-4600

5. Alexis Hotel – Downtown

Seattle's best hotel with great bar.
A Kimpton boutique hotel with a casually elegant vibe. Excellent downtown location near all major attractions. Guest rooms are stylish, spacious, and quiet, with thoughtful details throughout. Incredible specialty suites, in-house bar and cafe, daily wine hour, and complimentary bike rental offered.
Hotel Phone: 206-628-4844

6. Hotel Andra – Belltown

Seattle hotel with cooking course and close to great restaurants.
A lovely and modern boutique-style hotel, done up in a warm Scandinavian-chic decor. Rooms are comfortable and well appointed, with a good variety of sizes to choose from: small (but thoughtfully laid-out) studios up to spacious suites. Celebrity chef Tom Douglas owns the fantastic restaurant next door (which also provides the hotel room service), and attached cooking school. (You’ll get a 20% room discount if you book a class.) You can’t beat the location – the Andra is close to Pike Place Market, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.
Hotel Phone: 206-448-8600

7. Hotel 1000 – Downtown

Best wine and boutique hotel in Seattle.
Centrally-located luxury hotel, easy walking distance to stadiums, shopping, restaurants, museums, Pioneer Square, and Pike Place Market. Modern guest rooms and suites are spacious and comfortable, with deep, ceiling-fill tubs big enough for two, and glass partitioning (with automatic privacy shade) between bathing and bedroom areas. There’s an in-house restaurant and bar, full-service spa, virtual driving range, champagne upon check-in, and complimentary car service provided. Very pet friendly but probably the least kid-friendly hotel in Seattle. (If you’re looking for an adult’s getaway this is a great choice.)
Hotel Phone: 206-957-1000

8. Hyatt at Olive 8 – Downtown

Seattle's most romantic hotel.
Eco-friendly luxury hotel in the downtown corridor. The vibe is sleek and contemporary, with an outstanding farm-to-table restaurant and lounge, on-site spa and fitness facility, and beautiful saline lap pool with dry sauna and steam room. Close to shopping, the convention center, and Pike Place Market.
Hotel Phone: 206-695-1234

9. Grand Hyatt – Downtown

Best business hotel close to Seattle Convention Center.
Downtown modern luxury hotel with great views, especially from higher, west-facing rooms. Accommodations are spacious and include automatic entry foyers, black-out shades, and huge soaking tubs. Excellent gym and restaurants. Super convenient location for shopping, sightseeing, and the Seattle Convention Center.
Hotel Phone: 206-774-1234

10. Hotel Max – Downtown

Best hotel for pets and music in Seattle.
A fun and modern boutique hotel with small rooms, a big heart, and an urban vibe. The comfortable lobby has pop art, rock music, and craft beer happy hour on the daily. Guest rooms, though small, are comfortable and well-appointed, and include thoughtful touches like Tivoli clock radios and art mags for browsing. 5th floor rooms include Crosley record players and a selection of Sup Pop vinyl. The Max might be difficult with small kids but is extremely dog-friendly. Great restaurant, super friendly staff, and a location that’s convenient to downtown attractions.
Hotel Phone: 206-728-6299

11. The Westin – Downtown

Best view hotel in Seattle.
A safe choice (though not terribly exciting) for a clean, comfortable stay in a central downtown location. Rooms are large and have Westin’s famous “heavenly” beds and showers. The higher floors have the best views of any Seattle hotel. There’s a heated indoor pool, burger bistro, and close access to many great restaurants and attractions.
Hotel Phone: 206-728-1000

12. The Edgewater – Waterfront

Seattle hotel with best views of the ocean.
Great views at this charming lodge-themed luxury hotel situated on Seattle’s waterfront. There’s a fantastic restaurant and cozy lounge area sitting right over Elliott Bay, and every guest room has a gas fireplace. The waterfront room views are definitely worth the upgrade. Walkable to waterfront attractions, Pike Place Market, Seattle Center, and the Olympic Sculpture Park, but you do feel a little detached from the downtown action (perhaps that’s what you want).
Hotel Phone: 206-728-7000

13. Pan Pacific – South Lake Union

Seattle best hotel in Amazon area.
A warm and modern luxury hotel, discreetly tucked into the South Lake Union neighborhood, a little outside of Downtown. Convenient to Seattle Center and great neighborhood restaurants, it’s a 10 minute walk to downtown shopping and 15 minutes to Pike Place Market. Car service is provided if you’re not up for the trek. Spacious guest rooms are well-appointed, many with excellent Space Needle and Lake Union views. Bathrooms are gorgeous, with large soaking tubs. There’s a fantastic bar/restaurant, as well as an adjacent Whole Foods, Starbucks, and Tutta Bella Pizzeria for quick eats.
Hotel Phone: 206-624-8111

14. Hotel Monaco – Downtown

Seattle's best hotel close to shopping.
A trendy and modern Kimpton boutique hotel in central downtown. Prime location – surrounded by shopping and restaurants and within walking distance to all downtown attractions. Guest rooms are spacious and stylish, and the elegant and welcoming lobby has live music on the weekends. There’s a good restaurant, daily wine hour, and free bike rental. Good for pets and great for kids – there’s a magic show every Friday, and you can even request a pet goldfish for the duration of your stay.
Hotel Phone: 206-621-1770

15. Palladian Hotel – Belltown

Seattle's best new hotel.
A Kimpton boutique hotel in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, blocks from Pike Place Market and downtown attractions. Cozy guest rooms have a hip, playful vibe, with trendy vintage-modern décor. There’s a charming old-world lobby bar with daily hosted cocktail hour, as well as a great seafood restaurant and complimentary bike rental.
Hotel Phone: 206-448-1111

16. Sorrento Hotel – First Hill

Best hotel for honeymoon in Seattle.
One of the most charming hotels in Seattle, this old world boutique hotel is situated a little uphill from downtown but still within easy walking distance. Gorgeous wood-paneled lobby, designer suites, and spacious guest rooms with period details and white marble bathrooms. The elegant restaurant and lounge are fantastic (and recently renovated).
Hotel Phone: 206-622-6400

17. Mayflower Park Hotel – Downtown

The best value luxury hotel in Seattle.
Located smack in the heart of downtown, this historic boutique hotel offers loads of charm at a cheaper price tag than the Fairmont or Sorrento. Elegant old-world furnishing, gorgeous lobby bar, gracious staff, and easy access to all transit (including light rail direct from the airport to the hotel). Guest and bathrooms are small but clean and well-appointed, with period details. Unbeatable location for shopping and downtown sightseeing.
Hotel Phone: 206-623-8700

18. The Arctic Club – Pioneer Square

The best historic hotel in Seattle.
There are gorgeous architectural details everywhere you look in this beautiful restoration of an early 1900’s social club. Guest rooms and baths are good-sized and well-appointed, with tasteful vintage decor – some have terraces and jacuzzi tubs. There’s a great in-house restaurant and beautiful lobby bar, both with a classic “men’s club” feel. If you can steal a peek at the Northern Lights Dome Room (the Arctic Club banquet space), do. It’s a stunner. Located on the edge of Seattle’s financial district, the Arctic Club isn’t as centrally-located as other options, but is still walkable to most downtown attractions. Transit access couldn’t be easier – the Pioneer Square light rail station is right next door.
Hotel Phone: 206-340-0340

19. The Maxwell Hotel – Seattle Center

Family-friendly hotel in Seattle.
This hotel is a great choice for families, done up in bold colors and fun patterns, and located outside of bustling downtown. Kids love the small indoor pool and daily lobby cupcakes; parents appreciate the easy walk to Seattle Center Museums and the Space Needle, and the complimentary shuttle service to family-friendly Seattle attractions (including Woodland Park Zoo). There’s an on-site wood-fired pizza restaurant, and other good eats (and a great grocery store) nearby. Comfortable beds are dressed Euro-style, with individual freshly-washed duvets for each guest. Bring the pooch – The Maxwell is also very dog-friendly.
Hotel phone: 206-286-0629

Where To Stay In Seattle

The core of Seattle is fairly compact, and most visitors choose to stay within the city’s central corridor neighborhoods: Downtown, Belltown, Pioneer Square, the Waterfront, South Lake Union, and the area surrounding Seattle Center. Seattle’s long rainy season and hilly terrain make it a good idea to book a hotel near to what you plan to spend the most time.

• Close to Pike Place Market
The neighborhoods of Downtown, Belltown, and Pioneer Square are all within an easy walk of Pike Place Market. The Waterfront is not far, distance-wise, but is separated from the Market by a busy street and a steep hill.

• Close to the Space Needle
Seattle Center, where the Space Needle is located, straddles the neighborhoods of Lower Queen Anne and Denny. This can be a good choice for those looking for a hotel outside of the busiest part of the city, but still close to museums and easy transport into downtown.

• Close to Shopping
Nordstrom’s flagship store, as well as Westlake Center and the high-end Pacific Place shopping malls are located Downtown. Local and independent boutiques are common in Belltown and Pioneer Square.

• Close to the Convention Center
Downtown hotels are best for visitors attending Washington State Convention Center events, and the further from the waterfront, the close you’ll be. (Look for hotels located on or near 6th, 7th, or 8th Avenues.) Belltown and Pioneer Square hotels are within a 10-15 walk.

• Close to Universities
The University of Washington is located 5 miles northeast of downtown Seattle. There are many good hotels in the University District (“U-District” to locals), and the UW’s Link light rail station makes for easy transit from Downtown, Pioneer Square, and Capitol Hill.

Seattle University is located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, within walking distance of a couple of good hotels. Capitol Hill is connected to Downtown, Pioneer Square, and the University District by light rail, and to Pioneer Square via street car.

Seattle Pacific University lies a few miles north of downtown Seattle, separated from the city center by steep Queen Anne Hill. The neighborhoods with easiest access to SPU are Seattle Center and South Lake Union.

• Close to Cruise Ports
Travelers embarking from The Bell Street Terminal on Norwegian and Oceania cruise lines would do best to stay on the Waterfront (walkable), or Downtown or Belltown (a quick taxi/ride share away).

Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International cruise lines sail from Smith Cove Terminal. This terminal isn’t walkable to any hotels, but is an easy taxi, ride share, or shuttle ride from Seattle Center area hotels, as well as Downtown.

More information about cruising from Seattle can be found here.

• Close to Sports Stadiums
Pioneer Square hotels are walkable to Safeco and CenturyLink fields, as are Downtown hotels south of Pike Place Market.

• Best Views
The best Elliott Bay views are found in Waterfront hotels, and Downtown hotels located near Pike Place Market or with high floors. The best Space Needle views are in Seattle Center and South Lake Union area hotels. South Lake Union hotels have pleasant lake views.

• Best Restaurants
The best neighborhoods for restaurants are Downtown, Belltown, Pioneer Square, and Capitol Hill.

• Best Nightlife
Seattle’s nightlife scene is the most active in Belltown and Capitol Hill, and to a lesser extent Pioneer Square. You can read more about Seattle’s nightlife scene here.

• Best for a Quiet Stay
To be close to the city, but outside of most of the noise and crowds, choose a South Lake Union or Seattle Center hotel (but avoid Seattle Center hotels on Labor and Memorial Day, when music festivals congest the area).

• Best Connected for Transit
Downtown, Pioneer Square, Capitol Hill, and the University District all have stations on Seattle’s light rail line, which also connects to the airport. South Lake Union and Capitol Hill connect to Downtown via street car line, and the Seattle Monorail connects Seattle Center to the downtown core. You can read more about public transit in Seattle here.

Staying in Downtown Seattle

The best hotels in downtown Seattle
Dense and dynamic, Seattle’s downtown core is home to most of the city’s best (and most expensive) hotels, as well as some of our most incredible hotel room views. Loads of great shopping, dining, and entertainment options are at your doorstep: By day, browse the market stalls at Pike Place and the galleries at SAM. Get your fashion fix at the original Nordstrom location at 6th and Pine. At night, step out for a show – you’ll have your pick of all types of music, theater, and dance. At any time of day, you’re surrounded by fantastic restaurants just waiting to serve you award-winning Northwest cuisine and the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste.

Expect to pay premium rates to stay downtown, especially in the summer months. A car isn’t essential – this area is exceptionally walkable, and parking can be expensive and hard to come by. (Expect hotels to charge $30-$40/night extra for valet.) Generally, what’s not accessible by foot is easily reached via light rail, street car, or monorail.

The Best Hotels in Downtown Seattle

Staying in Belltown

The best hotels in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood
Nightlife and high-rise condos are the hallmarks of this Seattle neighborhood, located just north of downtown. Belltown is convenient to many of Seattle’s best attractions, and the city’s young and hip flock to this area for its trendy boutiques, bars, and eateries. Jazz clubs, rock venues, prohibition-style speakeasies; you’ll find them all here, as well as most of Tom Douglas’ award-winning restaurants. Walk to Pike Place Market, Seattle Center (home of the Space Needle, Chihuly Museum, food and music festivals, and MoPOP), and the waterfront Olympic Sculpture Park.

Though still above the national average, Belltown hotels rates are generally lower than those you’ll find downtown, and there are some real bargains to be had in this area if you’re willing to forego a little bit of luxury. The active nightlife crowd means Belltown’s not an ideal choice for those seeking peace and quiet – expect additional activity on weekend nights, especially right after the bars close at 2am.

The Best Hotels in Belltown

Staying in Pioneer Square

The best hotels in Pioneer Square Seattle
Once the heart of downtown, the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood is home to some of the city’s oldest surviving buildings, the ever-popular Underground Tour, and the Klondike Gold Rush Museum. It’s not all antiques, though – in recent decades the area has experienced a resurgence in popularity. There are now modern art galleries, boutique shops, and trendy restaurants housed within the Romanesque Revival-style buildings of Seattle’s past, and the neighborhood is once again considered one of the city’s most vibrant. Pioneer Square is within walking distance to Safeco Field and CenturyLink sports stadiums, the downtown ferry terminal at Colman Dock, and Pike Place Market.

Pioneer Square has its own stop on the region’s Link light rail line, a streetcar line that runs through the International District into the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and is home to Amtrak’s King Street Station; there’s no need to rent a car when transit is this easy. It’s worth mentioning that there are several social service agencies located within the neighborhood, attracting a fair number of homeless people. If you stay in this area, expect some to see some congregating and minor pan handling, but don’t be alarmed – these folks are less dangerous than they are down on their luck.

The Best Hotels in Pioneer Square

Staying near Seattle Center

The best Seattle hotels near the Space Needle
Anchored by the iconic Space Needle, Seattle Center is an arts and entertainment mainstay located just north of the Belltown neighborhood. The Center was originally created for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, and remnants of the fair’s space-age theme remain in the Center’s mid-century architecture, sculpture, and the Monorail that runs from the base of the Space Needle into downtown. This area isn’t the most scenic, but there’s no shortage of things to do: along with the Needle, the Center’s campus houses the Pacific Science Center, The Museum of Pop Culture, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and the Seattle Children’s Museum and Theatre. The Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and many theatre companies make their home at Seattle Center, which is also the site of many of the city’s biggest urban outdoor festivals: Bumbershoot, Folklife, PrideFest, and Bite of Seattle. The Gates Foundation Visitor Center and Olympic Sculpture Park are both located nearby.

Hotels around Seattle Center are generally less expensive than those downtown, and include many mid-range and budget options. Parking is cheaper and more readily available in this neighborhood, and the Seattle Monorail provides easy access to downtown and Pike Place Market. The area around Seattle Center quiets at night, making it a good option for visitors who want to avoid the busiest parts of the city, but lodge near popular attractions. Check your dates, though – if you’re traveling during a festival weekend (especially Memorial Day or Labor Day) or when there’s a major concert at Key Arena, expect the opposite: busier streets, more expensive rooms, and difficult parking.

The Best Hotels near Seattle Center

Staying in South Lake Union

The best hotels in South Lake Union Seattle
This is is one of Seattle’s fastest growing neighborhoods. Once a gritty industrial center, South Lake Union is now a hi-tech hub, home to many of the region’s most prominent biomedical and technology companies. The recent revitalization has brought loads of great restaurants into the area, and is responsible for the creation of beautiful Lake Union Park, located on the urban lake’s southernmost tip. Head to the park to check out the impressive Museum of History and Industry, explore the vessels (or rent one) at the Center for Wooden Boats, or hop a float plane at Kenmore Air – they’re all adjacent to its lovely waterfront expanse. The South Lake Union Streetcar runs through the heart of the neighborhood into central downtown, making it easy to visit the more central sights as well.

South Lake Union hotels are generally less expensive than those downtown, many with swimming pools and lovely lake or Space Needle views. It’s quieter here than in the city center – making this neighborhood a good choice for those who like to escape the hustle and bustle at the end of the day. When you’re up for it, accessing the city is easy: aside from the streetcar, most South Lake Union hotels provide complimentary shuttles into downtown and Seattle Center.

The Best Hotels near Amazon in South Lake Union

Staying on the Seattle Waterfront

The best hotels on Seattle's waterfront
Set snugly beside a deep Salish Sea inlet, Seattle’s downtown waterfront neighborhood is all about the bay: Elliott Bay. From the pebbly beaches of Myrtle Edwards Park on the waterfront’s north end to its busy working harbor to the south, marine-loving types will find no shortage of things to do along this beautiful Puget Sound Seaboard. Take in the sunset at the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park, hang with the harbor seals at the Seattle Aquarium, take a seaside spin one the Great Wheel, and eat the freshest seafood of your life at any of the amazing restaurants dotted along the way. When staying beside the water’s not enough, Argosy Harbor Cruises, the Victoria (or San Juan) Clipper, the ferries at Colman Dock, and the West Seattle Water Taxi all await to whisk you out onto the waves.

There are only a couple of hotels situated directly on Seattle’s waterfront. These will be pricey, especially if you spring for a bay-facing view. The walk from the waterfront up to downtown and Pike Place Market isn’t far, but it is steep, and separated by a busy roadway. This separation makes the waterfront district feel disconnected from the rest of downtown – which may or may not be what you’re looking for. And heads up: there’s construction underway to better link the downtown core to the waterfront district – the finished product will be stunning, but in the meantime the area’s a bit of a mess.

The Best Hotels on the Waterfront

Staying in Capitol Hill

The best hotels in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood
Known for its nightlife, counterculture, and great food and drink, Capitol Hill is one of Seattle’s most vibrant and well-loved neighborhoods. It’s anchored at its north end by stately old homes and leafy Volunteer Park: home to the Volunteer Park Conservatory and the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Seattle University borders the area’s south end. In between is a dense and glorious mishmash of fantastic restaurants, coffee shops, taverns, and music venues. Indulge your inner foodie at Melrose Market, make a caffeine-fueled pilgrimage to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, or browse the shelves at Seattle’s best bookstore, The Elliott Bay Book Company. At the end of the day, Capitol Hill makes it easy to unwind and recharge – the neighborhood is home to more than 100 bars and nightclubs.

All these hotspots don’t leave much room for lodgers; Capitol Hill has only one hotel, situated next to Seattle University on the district’s busy south end. Travelers wanting a quieter experience and a more personal touch can opt for one of north Capitol Hill’s charming Bed & Breakfasts, most within walking easy walking distance of Volunteer Park. It’s an easy walk into downtown from most points in southern Capitol Hill, though you might want to spring for a cab on the (steep) trip back up. This area is also easily accessed by public transit – there’s a Capitol Hill Link light rail station, as well as a streetcar line that runs through the International District and into Pioneer Square.

The Best Hotels in Capitol Hill

Staying in the University District

The best hotels near the University of Washington Seattle
North and east of Seattle’s downtown, the “U-District” is where you’ll find the main campus of the University of Washington. It’s not just dorms and classrooms: two trip-worthy museums (Henry Art Gallery and Burke Museum of Natural History) sit surrounded by gorgeous gothic architecture, mountain views, and famous springtime-blossoming cherry trees. The area surrounding UW campus is chock-full of good (and cheap) restaurants, bars, and indie boutiques. The U-District hosts a fantastic year-round farmer’s market every Saturday – grab something to go, and bike (or stroll) down the nearby Burke-Gilman Trail. When you’ve had enough of college living, head east down the 45th St. viaduct and peruse the chic shops and upscale eateries of University Village – a tony outdoor shopping center located just downhill from campus.

University District hotels are generally cheaper than those downtown, except over university move-in weekends in September and graduation weekend in mid-June. If you’ve got a car, parking will be cheaper as well. A car’s not necessary, though – it’s easy to get to the city’s most popular areas and attractions via light rail, thanks to the new University of Washington station.

The Best Hotels in the University District

The Best Cheap Hotels in Seattle

  • Moore Hotel
    Historic hotel with loads of charm – one block from Pike Place Market. Guest rooms are comfortable and spacious, with high ceilings and retro decor. Bathrooms are no-frills, but clean and serviceable. Shared bath “European Style” rooms have in-room sinks/vanities and the lowest rates you’ll find anywhere. Suites come in many configurations, and are great for families. There’s no AC, so avoid west-facing rooms in the summer months if you’re bothered by street noise. Lovely marble lobby, fantastic coffee shop, unbeatable location and price.
  • Ace Hotel
    Hip, quirky boutique hotel in a fantastic location. The building is old, but the vibe is fresh and fun: think high ceilings, wood floors, original artwork, and minimalist design. Guest rooms are clean and comfortable; standard rooms have full platform beds, in-room sinks/vanities and share bathrooms (these are clean and plentiful), deluxe rooms have en-suite baths and full, queen, or king beds – and the best have partial water views. Interior rooms have air conditioning. Daily waffle breakfast. Located in the fun Belltown neighborhood, an easy walk to Pike Place Market and the Space Needle.
  • Best Western Plus Pioneer Square Hotel
    A clean and comfortable historic district hotel. Guest rooms have original woodwork, vintage decor, and air conditioning. Bathrooms are small, but well-appointed. Some rooms have balconies with city and Sound views; avoid west facing rooms if road noise is an issue. Continental breakfast provided. Located in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood, within walking distance to the ferry terminal, sports stadiums, and Pike Place Market.
  • Hotel Hotel
    Boutique, no-frills hostel in charming Fremont. Hip, clean, and secure, Hotel Hotel has co-ed shared-bath dorm rooms with lockers, private rooms with shared or en-suite baths, and a private-bath family room that sleeps four. There’s a well-stocked kitchen available for guest use (and free daily breakfast), and a communal lounge space with TV. Surrounded by great food and fun shops in one of Seattle’s best neighborhoods, with easy bus access to downtown.
  • Warwick Hotel (Mid-range)
    Comfortable and modern hotel, great central location, amazing views. Guest rooms are spacious and bright, with comfy beds and marble bathrooms. All rooms and suites have Juliet balconies; those on the 5th floor and above have unobstructed city and Sound views. Recently renovated fitness center and pool/hot tub, good in-house restaurant and lounge. Excellent location: an easy distance to shopping, Pike Place Market, the Space Needle/Seattle Center, and downtown attractions.
  • The Maxwell (Mid-range)
    Fun hotel in the quieter Lower Queen Anne/Seattle Center neighborhood. The atmosphere here is vibrant and very family friendly: all rooms have microwaves, Junior Suites sleep six, and there’s wood-fired pizza right next door. The indoor pool isn’t huge, but it’s better than nothing. Located near Seattle Center – walk to the Space Needle, museums, grocery stores, and the monorail into downtown. Complimentary shuttle bus takes guests pretty much anywhere in the city. Free parking, wi-fi, and bike rental.
  • Courtyard Pioneer Square (Mid-range)
    A modern hotel in an historic building – The gorgeous marble lobby dates from the early 1900’s, but this hotel’s vibe is sleek, contemporary, and urban. Guest rooms and suites are cozy, with large windows and great views. There’s an indoor heated pool, fitness center, coin-op laundry, and a bistro-style restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner. Located in Seattle’s financial district, so don’t expect a lot of night life nearby. Walkable to many points downtown, with super easy access to buses and light rail: the Pioneer Square transit station is one block away.
  • ***If you’re open to the hostel experience, here are a couple more to consider: Hotel Hotel’s sister property, City Hostel, features amazing local artwork and is located close to downtown in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. The Green Tortoise at Pike Place Market is Seattle’s most famous hostel and a great option for small budgets: along with daily breakfasts, they offer three free dinners a week, bike rental, and loads of communal tours and events.

Live Music and Performing Arts

Updated: August 22, 2017

See Also

Seattle plays and concert calendar

Live Music

Seattle cemented its place in music history when a young man named Kurt Cobain launched a band called Nirvana – the sound was called grunge and it defined Seattle in the 90s. But Seattle was a music town before flannel and Doc Martins were high fashion. Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, and Ray Charles all called Seattle home. 60s pop-rock act Paul Revere and the Raiders were Seattle based. Ann and Nancy Wilson, the sisters who formed Heart, hip hop star Macklemore, poetic Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie… there must be something in the water; so much great music, of all kinds, comes from Seattle.

Here’s where to go to find the best:

  • Downtown
    The Triple Doorcalendar – Eclectic. Jazz, Folk, Indie pop and rock. Table seating. Food and cocktails. 216 Union Street.
    Showboxcalendar – Rock & Indie Alternative. Established local acts and national/international tours. 1426 1st Ave.
    The Paramount Theatrecalendar – Historic 2,800 capacity theater. Popular and eclectic touring acts, stage productions. 911 Pine Street.
    The Moore Theatrecalendar – Seattle’s oldest operating theater. Like the Paramount, but smaller. 1932 2nd Avenue.
    Highway 99 Blues Clubcalendar – Blues, honkey-tonk, country, rockabilly. Serves Creole food. 1414 Alaskan Way.
  • Belltown
    The Crocodilecalendar – Indie rock, hip hop, eclectic. 2200 2nd Avenue.
    Dimitriou’s Jazz Alleycalendar– Nightly jazz performances. National/international touring acts. Table seating. Food and cocktails. 2033 6th Avenue.
    Tula’scalendar – Local jazz. Supper club. 2214 2nd Avenue.
  • Seattle Center
    Key Arenacalendar – Big name, touring shows. Stadium seating. 305 Harrison Street.
    Vera Projectcalendar – All ages (early shows, no booze). Indie Rock, up and coming NW bands. 305 Harrison Street.
  • South Lake Union
    Lo-Fi Performance Gallerycalendar – Hop hop, Indie rock, DJ shows. 429 Eastlake Avenue E.
    El Corazon/The Funhousecalendar – Two venues, one roof. The Funhouse is all punk, while El Corazon showcases punk, metal, and hardcore rock. The Waffle Window serves both. 109 Eastlake Avenue E.
    Victory Loungecalendar – Rock: hard, punk/post punk, surf. Serves hot dogs. 433 Eastlake Avenue E.
  • Capitol Hill
    Neumoscalendar – Eclectic mix of the region’s top talent: indie rock, hip hop, electronica, roots, more. A Cap Hill powerhouse and one of Seattle’s best clubs. 925 East Pike Street.
    Barbozacalendar – Neumos’ basement bar also has live music. 925 East Pike Street.
    Highlinecalendar – Metal, Punk. Serves food (vegan). 210 Broadway Avenue E.
    Chop Sueycalendar – Eclectic: hip hop, indie rock, metal, etc. 1325 East Madison.
  • Ballard
    Tractor Taverncalendar – Roots, country, Americana, new folk, rockabilly, singer/songwriter. 5213 Ballard Ave NW.
    Sunset Taverncalendar – Indie rock, eclectic, dive bar. 5433 Ballard Ave NW.
    Conor Byrne Pubcalendar– Irish, folk, bluegrass, roots, singer/songwriter. 5140 Ballard Avenue NW.
  • Fremont
    Nectarcalendar – Hip hop, reggae, bluegrass, indie folk. Indoor/outdoor. 412 North 36th Street.
    High Divecalendar – Eclectic: Indie rock/pop, roots, Americana, metal. Great BBQ. 513 North 36th Avenue.
    Fremont Abbey Arts Centercalendar – Local music, spoken word, storytelling and dance. Beautiful venue in an 100 year-old church. All ages. 4272 Fremont Avenue North.
  • University District/Wallingford
    Neptune Theatrecalendar – Converted movie theater features prominent NW rap and indie rock, as well as touring and eclectic acts. 1303 NE 45th Street.
    Sea Monster Loungecalendar – Jazz, funk. Food/drinks. 2202 North 45th Street.
  • Columbia City
    Columbia City Theatercalendar – Local and regional artists, burlesque. 4916 Rainier Avenue South.
    The Royal Roomcalendar – Jazz, folk, world music. Some table seating, food/cocktails. 5000 Rainier Avenue South.

Performance Arts

Seattle’s got a fantastic performing arts scene – whether you’re in the mood for opera, musical or dramatic theater, comedy, or dance, there’s sure to be a show in town that’ll knock your socks off. It’s best to buy tickets in advance (via the venue website or TheaterMania), but many venues will hold a number of tickets for last-minute buyers – if you’ve got your heart set on a sold-out show, it can be worthwhile to call the box office and ask nicely. A good hotel concierge may be able to help you score some hard-to-come-by-seats, as well. Here’s what’s playing:

What Are The Best Hotels in Downtown Seattle?

Updated: August 11, 2017

The 5 Best Hotels in Downtown Seattle

1. The Four Seasons

Seattle's Four Seasons Hotel

Centrally located near Pike Place Market, and across from Seattle Art Museum. Plush and spacious guest rooms and suites, stunning views. Full spa, and beautiful heated outdoor infinity pool overlooking Puget Sound.

2. Inn at the Market

Seattle Pike Place Market hotel

Seattle’s premier boutique hotel, located within Pike Place Market and surrounded by amazing restaurants. Fantastic views, large rooms, and sophistication in the heart of the tourist scene.

3. Thompson Seattle

Seattle's best modern hotel

Seattle’s newest and most modern hotel. Floor to ceiling windows, sweeping water and mountain views to the west. Contemporary and stylish with a fantastic rooftop bar. Steps from Pike Place Market.

4. Fairmont Olympic

Seattle's most classically elegant hotel

Opulent, elegant, and traditional; surrounded by great shopping. Luxurious suites, a beautiful fitness center, and a glass-enclosed pool with outdoor terrace. Afternoon tea service and two fantastic restaurants on site.

5. Alexis Hotel

Seattle modern elegant hotel

Casually elegant hotel in an excellent downtown location near all major attractions. Stylish and spacious guest rooms, incredible specialty suites, and daily wine hour. Pet and family-friendly.

Seattle Downtown Hotels – Tips and Recommendations

  • Pike Place Market is the heart of downtown Seattle. In general, the closer your hotel is to Pike Place the better located you are.
  • The best shopping is northeast of the market. This is where you’ll find Pacific Place Mall and most of the boutique and luxury chain stores.
  • There are many trendy clubs and top notch restaurants both in the market and in the half-dozen blocks northwest of the market – an area called Belltown.
  • Pioneer Square is south of the market and home to clubs and sports bars. Beyond it is the International District and just beyond that are the two sports stadiums for the Seahawks, Mariners, and Sounders. All of this area is walkable from downtown and Pike Place Market.
  • The waterfront looks close to downtown and Pike Place Market but it’s cut off from the center by a freeway and plenty of steps. It’s not difficult to walk from the waterfront to downtown but it can still feel like a hassle. Much better to stay in downtown proper.
  • Getting to the Space Needle and Seattle Center can take a bit of a hike from some points downtown. To give your feet a rest, hop on the Seattle Monorail at Westlake Center – it’ll take you right there.

Ace Hotel

Rates: $$
Near: Restaurants, Nightlife, Pike Place Market
Parking/Night: N/A
View: No
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

Alexis

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square
Parking/Night: $42
View: Water, City
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: Yes (1-BR Suite, Spa Suite)

Andra

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Pike Place Market, Shopping
Parking/Night: $39
View: City
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: Yes (Monarch Suite)

Arctic Club

Rates: $$$$
Near: Pioneer Square
Parking/Night: $46
View: City
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: Yes

Best Western Plus Pioneer Square

Rates: $$$
Near: Pioneer Square, Waterfront, Ferries, Sports Stadiums
Parking/Night: $25
View: Water
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

Courtyard Pioneer Square

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Pioneer Square
Parking/Night: $47
View: City, Water
Pool: Indoor
Kitchens: Yes (Studio apartments)
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

Crowne Plaza

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Convention Center
Parking/Night: $50
View: City, Water
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

Executive Pacific

Rates: $$$
Near: Shopping
Parking/Night: $37
View: No
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

Fairmont Olympic

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Shopping, Theater
Parking/Night: $55
View: City
Pool: Indoor
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: Yes (Cascade Suite)

Four Seasons Seattle

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Pike Place Market, Shopping
Parking/Night: $43
View: Water, City
Pool: Outdoor
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

Grand Hyatt

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Shopping, Convention Center
Parking/Night: $55 Valet/$30 Self-park
View: City
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: Yes (Vesuvio, Onyx, Carrera Suites)

Hilton Seattle

Rates: $$$$
Near: Shopping
Parking/Night: $45
View: City
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

Hilton Garden Inn

Rates: $$$
Near: Convention Center, Shopping, Freeway
Parking/Night: $43
View: No
Pool: Indoor
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

Hotel 1000

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square
Parking/Night: $45
View: City, Water
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

Hotel Five

Rates: $$$$
Near: Shopping, Restaurants
Parking/Night: $37
View: No
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

Hotel Max

Rates: $$$$
Near: Pike Place Market, Shopping, Restaurants
Parking/Night: $40
View: City
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

Hotel Monaco

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Shopping, Restaurants
Parking/Night: $42
View: City
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

Hotel Vintage

Rates: $$$$
Near: Shopping, Restaurants
Parking/Night: $42
View: City
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: Yes (Luxury Suite)

Hyatt at Olive 8

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Shopping, Convention Center, Restaurants
Parking/Night: $55
View: City
Pool: Indoor
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

The Inn at El Gaucho

Rates: $$$$
Near: Pike Place Market
Parking/Night: $40
View: Water
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

Inn at The Market

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Pike Place Market, Shopping, Restaurants
Parking/Night: $39
View: Water, City
Pool: No
Kitchens: Yes (Beecher’s Loft)
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

Mayflower Park Hotel

Rates: $$$$
Near: Pike Place Market, Shopping, Restaurants
Parking/Night: $35
View: City
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

The Moore Hotel

Rates: $$
Near: Pike Place Market, Shopping, Restaurants
Parking/Night: $15
View: City
Pool: No
Kitchens: Yes
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

Motif Seattle

Rates: $$$$
Near: Shopping, Restaurants
Parking/Night: $32
View: City
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

The Palladian

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Restaurants, Shopping, Pike Place Market
Parking/Night: $39
View: No
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

The Paramount Hotel

Rates: $$$$
Near: Convention Center, Shopping, Restaurants
Parking/Night: $39
View: No
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

The Renaissance Hotel

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Freeway
Parking/Night: $55 Valet, $43 Self-Park
View: City
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

The Roosevelt Hotel

Rates: $$$
Near: Shopping, Restaurants, Convention Center
Parking/Night: $45
View: City
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

The Sheraton Seattle

Rates: $$$$
Near: Shopping, Restaurants, Convention Center
Parking/Night: $57
View: City
Pool: Indoor
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

The Thompson Seattle

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Pike Place Market, Shopping, Restaurants
Parking/Night: $42
View: Water, City
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

W Seattle

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Shopping, Restaurants
Parking/Night: $68
View: City
Pool: No
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: Yes (WOW Suite)

The Warwick Hotel

Rates: $$$$
Near: Restaurants, Shopping
Parking/Night: $34
View: City
Pool: Indoor
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: Yes (All Suites)

The Westin Seattle

Rates: $$$$$
Near: Shopping, Restaurants, Pike Place Market
Parking/Night: $57 Valet, $30 Self-park
View: City, Water
Pool: Indoor
Kitchens: No
En-suite Jacuzzi: No

See Also:

The Best Tours in Seattle

Updated: August 4, 2017

What are the best tours in Seattle, Washington?

On This Page

Seattle’s Best City Tours

What are the best tours of Seattle?

Totem pole at Pioneer Square in Seattle.

  • Tours Northwest
    This company offers Seattle city tours in two different lengths; the shorter 3 hour driving tour all takes place within the bus, with guides pointing out local highlights and history, while the 6 hour Day Tour (available in the summer months) includes a trip up the Space Needle and two hours in Pike Place Market. Their passenger coaches are clean, comfortable, and air conditioned, and guides are super friendly and accommodating. Tours Northwest also offers Boeing Factory tours, Mount Rainier day tours, and pre/post Alaska cruise tours that include transportation and baggage handling.
    Tours pick up and drop off at all downtown hotels.
    Reviews
  • Shutter Tours
    This photo-centric four hour tour is a great way to learn the history and layout of Seattle, as well as venture outside the city to scenic Snoqualmie falls. Knowledgable guides know all the best photo stops, and their tips and tricks will ensure that your vacation photos are suitably wow-worthy. (No fancy SLR required, even a disposable can capture some great shots with a little guidance.) Seattle/Snoqualmie tours run daily year-round, except during the month of April, when the company shuttles aspiring photographers north into the Skagit River Valley for the stunning and colorful Tulip Festival. No meals are included in the price of the tour, but water and light snacks are available, as well as food for purchase along the way.
    Tours depart from Pike Place Market, but will pick up at downtown hotels by request.
    Reviews
  • Seattle by Foot Kids Tours
    The popular Kids Tour by walking tour company, Seattle by Foot, is a great way to explore downtown Seattle with kids 10 and under. Fun guides (sometimes with their own children working alongside them as “junior tour guides”) keep kids interested and the pace brisk. Along with other stops, you’ll explore Pike Place Market, get a kids’ eye view of Seattle’s public art and architecture, and even make a masterpiece at Seattle Art Museum. Tours are private (priced per family), last approximately two hours, and can be customized to accommodate all different ages and interests.
    Tours depart from Pike Place Market.
    Reviews
  • Seattle by Segway
    These things scream “I’m a tourist,” but they’re fun to ride and easier to master than they appear. Zip around town on these electronic marvels of transportation, covering much more ground than you could on foot. Small group Segway tours of two to eight people begin just south of downtown, traveling along the waterfront, up through Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market, over to Seattle Center and the Space Needle, and down through Myrtle Edwards waterfront park – all in under two hours. Tours run year-round, rain or shine. No experience is necessary and there’s no age limit, though tours are recommended for people aged 12 and up.
    Tours depart from 214 Alaskan Way South, near Pioneer Square.
    Reviews

Seattle’s Best Culinary Tours

Pike Brewery Tour

Pike Brewery Tour

  • Savor Seattle
    This is Seattle’s biggest and most recognizable food tour outfit. The Savor Seattle guides’ pink umbrellas make it easy to stick with the group, and personal audio devices mean that you won’t miss a detail, even in the thickest crowds. You’ll learn about local history and culture, and meet chefs and producers along the way. No need to eat before or after – these tours are a meal in themselves. Most run about two hours, and there are a few great family-friendly options, like the Signature Pike Place Market and the Chocolate Indulgence Tours. Get up early and beat the crowds on the VIP Market Tour, and watch the vendors set up their wares. Adults-oriented options include Gourmet Seattle, Dinner Soiree, and Booze’n’Bites Tours, as well as a restaurant tour in the hip Capitol Hill neighborhood.
    Tours meet at various locations, check website for details.
    Reviews
  • Eat Seattle
    These Pike Place Market tours are chef-led, and focus on the region’s unique culinary history and identity. Along the way, you’ll sample wares from the Market’s best suppliers of organic produce and sustainable proteins, as well as special tastings created by your chef-guide. Chef-led market tours are two hours long, and kids are welcome. Eat Seattle also occasionally holds combined events that include a chef-led Market tour, hands-on cooking class in the Market’s Atrium Kitchen, and a fantastic 3-course meal that you help create.
    Tours meet outside of Seattle Coffee Works: 107 Pike Street.
    Reviews
  • Seattle Bites
    Seattle Bites does one tour, and does it well: their guided food and historic walking tour of Pike Place Market. Fun and friendly hosts teach you all about the Market’s history, and introduce you to the folks that make it what it is today. The tour makes stops at some of the Pike Place Market’s best-loved food merchants, and is known for its big samples – there’s no need to eat before or afterward. Tours are offered twice daily, at 10:30 and 2:30 pm, and last about 2 1/2 hours.
    Tours meet in the Pike Place Market Atrium or Seattle Art Museum.
    Reviews
  • Seattle by Foot Coffee Crawl
    Seattle’s known for its coffee, and there’s so much more than Starbucks. On this 2 1/2 hour walking tour, you’ll stop and sample at some of the city’s best cafes, as well as learn about the history of coffee, and different processing and brewing methods. Tours run Thursday through Monday, departing at 10am.
    Tours meet outside of the Seattle Art Museum at 1st Avenue and University Street.
    Reviews
  • Theo Chocolate Factory Tour
    The nation’s first organic, fair-trade chocolatier offers tours of their factory, where visitors can learn all about chocolate, see how it’s transformed from bean to bar, and sample heavily along the way. Tours are offered seven days a week, though you need to visit on a weekday to see the factory in full production mode. And because it’s a working factory, they require closed-toed shoes and hair nets (provided), and ask that you leave your perfumes and fur at home. Tours are one hour long, $10/person, and frequently sell out – it’s best to buy tickets well in advance. Kids under 6 aren’t allowed on standard tours, but Theo holds a special, chocolate-themed story time just for them once a week. Also check out the factory’s website for events, classes, and private tours.
    Tours meet at Theo Chocolate Factory: 3400 Phinney Avenue North.
    Reviews
  • Road Dog Tours
    Sample Seattle’s best beverages, and let someone else do the driving. Road Dog’s popular Seattle Brewery Tour stops at three of the city’s finest craft breweries, where guests learn all about beer, the brewing process, and the local beer scene; with lots of tasting along the way. If spirits are more your thing, their Seattle Distillery Tour will introduce you to the major players and tastes in Seattle’s growing small-batch distillery scene, while their Coffee Tour caters to the caffeinated crowd. Tours are offered daily, and last about three hours. Road Dog Tours’ 14-person passenger vans pick up and drop off near Pike Place Market, and private group tours are available on request.
    Tours meet at Seattle Beer Company: 1427 Western Ave.
    Reviews
  • Bon Vivant Wine Tours
    The Woodinville Winery Day Tour is a great way to experience the region’s renowned wineries, with your host acting not only as knowledgeable guide, but also a designated driver. Woodinville Day Tours generally visit 6 wineries, including both the grand and famous Chateau Ste. Michelle as well as smaller, lesser-known vintners. Scheduled tour groups are small, with a ten person limit, and trips last 6-7 hours, and include a stop for lunch – but note that lunch and tasting fees are not included in the tour price. Bon Vivant also offers a variety of other scheduled tours, like their Art and Wine Tour (held in the Chihuly Museum), City and Bainbridge Island Day Tour, and tours across the mountains in Leavenworth, Wenatchee, and Yakima. Tours pick up and drop off in downtown Seattle, and private and multi-day tours are available on request.
    Passengers can be picked up at various locations, check website for details.
    Reviews
  • Seattle Wine Tours
    For a completely customized wine touring experience, choose Seattle Wine Tours. Their knowledgeable chauffeurs offer private tours of all shapes and sizes; from afternoon to multi-day, in a town car, limo, passenger van, or 35-person mini-coach. Visit big or boutique wineries (or both) in Seattle, Woodinville, Leavenworth, Wenatchee, Chelan, Yakima, Tri-Cities, or Walla Walla. Add in a stop at majestic Snoqualmie Falls, if you’ve got time. Those who know where they’d like to go can create their own itinerary. If you just want to sit back and enjoy the ride (and wine), Seattle Wine Tours will create a custom experience based on your personal taste and time preferences. Meal and tasting fees are not included in the tour price, but water and snacks are provided.
    Passengers are picked up and dropped off at their preferred location.
    Reviews
  • Pike Brewery Tour
    Since 1989, Pike Brewing has been making great craft beer in the heart of downtown Seattle, just next door to Pike Place Market. For a small fee, visitors can tour the facilities, learn all about beer and how it’s made, and sample the brewery’s best offerings. Brewery tours run from 3-4pm on Tuesdays to Saturdays, and cost $5/person (free for folks under 21). Private tours for groups of 6-20 people are held earlier in the afternoons, from 12-1:30pm, include a tasting of 7 Pike beers, and cost $20/person. Free evening tours are offered Wednesday through Saturday at 6:30, but don’t include samples – pair this one with dinner and a beer (or two) at their pub. All tours must be booked in advance.
    Tours meet at Pike Brewing Company: 1415 1st Avenue.
    Reviews

Seattle’s Best Sea, Sky, and Outdoors Tours

Seattle from above, as seen from a Kenmore Air float plane tour.

Seattle from above, as seen from a Kenmore Air float plane tour.

  • Argosy Cruises
    Seattle’s a harbor town, and one of the best ways to learn about the city (and see the skyline!) is via boat. The biggest and best boat cruise outfit in town is Argosy, and they’ve got many options to choose from: tour Seattle’s working harbor, or visit the floating homes on Lake Union – choose the 2 1/2 hour Locks Cruise for a bit of everything. Around the holidays, decked-out Argosy ships lead the annual Christmas Ships Festival. In the summer, take an excursion to Tillicum Village on Blake Island to learn about the area’s native heritage. Cruises last 1-2 hours, are narrated by professional guides, and offer snacks and beverage service, including a full bar. Book in advance, especially in the summer months.
    Tours depart from the downtown waterfront, Lake Union Park, or Kirkland Waterfront.
    Reviews
  • Kenmore Air
    Watching the Kenmore Air seaplanes take off and land on the south end of Lake Union is a quintessential Seattle experience, but the view from inside the aircraft is even better. Their 20-minute scenic Seattle flights offer a unique perspective of the city, and include narration that clues you in to what you’re seeing. Kenmore Air’s De Havilland planes hold 6-10 passengers (everyone gets a window seat), and are super gentle on take-offs and landings. If you’ve got more time, ride along en route to the beautiful San Juan Islands, or combine your flight with a whale watching or kayak tour.
    Tours depart from South Lake Union, Lake Washington, and Boeing Field.
    Reviews
  • Victoria Clipper
    This is the quickest, easiest, and most scenic way to get from Seattle to beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. The Victoria Clipper departs daily from Pier 69 on the downtown waterfront, with 2-3 sailings per day during the busy summer months. You can head up and back in one day, or spend the night in Victoria – the company offers packages that include hotel and admission to popular attractions like Butchart Gardens. The boats are clean and comfortable, though those folks who are prone to seasickness will want to take precaution – the ride can get a bit choppy once you’re out in open waters. Buy tickets online in advance to avoid waiting in line, and don’t forget to bring a passport. Kenmore Air also offers whale watching excursions and summer service to Friday Harbor in Washington’s San Juan Islands.
    Tours depart from Pier 69 on Seattle’s downtown waterfront.
    Reviews
  • Helicopters Northwest
    Two to three-person private helicopter sightseeing tours, with 20, 30, or 40 minute options. The shortest tour covers the Seattle highlights, but splurge on the 40 minute ride, if you can; it’ll take you out over the Cascade Mountains and majestic Snoqualmie Falls. No matter which option you choose, you’ll see Seattle from a unique perspective, 500-1000 feet above the ground.
    Tours depart south of downtown at 8500 Perimeter Rd South.
    Reviews
  • Far Niente Sailing Charters
    A fantastic option for a romantic evening or small group function, Far Niente offers privately-chartered sunset sailings for up to six people. The general tour is around Elliot Bay to Blakely Harbor on Bainbridge Island and back, but they’ll alter course if weather dictates or if there’s somewhere special you’d like to see. Tours generally last around 4 1/2 hours, and pricing is determined by how many guests are aboard. Gourmet snacks and drinks are included.
    Tours depart from Bell Harbor Marina on the Seattle waterfront.
    Reviews
  • Sunday Ice Cream Cruise
    Seattle Ferry Service (a small outfit, not to be confused with the WA State Ferry System) runs this weekend boat tour year-round, departing Sundays from the dock at the Museum of History and Industry in South Lake Union. It’s a 45-minute narrated cruise around Lake Union, hitting highlights such as the Sleepless in Seattle floating home, Dale Chihuly’s lakeside glass-blowing studio, Gasworks Park, and a fantastic view of the Space Needle from the water. This tour is very family and pet-friendly, and there are a variety of snacks and drinks available for purchase on-board. Overall, a fun and inexpensive way to get out on the water.
    Tours depart from South Lake Union Park, near the Museum of History and Industry.
    Reviews
  • Alki Kayak Tours
    Scenic sea kayaking with the Seattle skyline as a backdrop. Paddle around Elliott Bay, or out to Alki lighthouse – Alki Kayak Tours’ experienced and friendly guides will fill you in on area history and local wildlife. Tours run March through September (daily in the summer months) and depart from Seacrest Park in West Seattle, which is easily accessible from downtown via the Water Taxi. For the most spectacular city skyline views, choose a Summer Sunset or Full Moon nighttime tour. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
    Tours depart from Seacrest Park in West Seattle.
    Reviews
  • Evergreen Escapes
    Evergreen Escapes offers fantastic day tours and hikes in Seattle’s many nearby wilderness areas: Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks, Mount Saint Helens, the North Cascades, and Snoqualmie Falls. These small group tours are capped at ten guests, and include transportation in a Mercedes van, a day hike, and gourmet lunch with local wine. Tours run year-round, with snow-shoeing replacing day hikes in the winter months, when needed. Evergreen Escapes also offers a San Juan kayak and whale-watching tour in the summer months, with optional sea-plane or overnight add-on.
    Tours pick up at downtown hotels. Guests staying elsewhere meet the tour at Hotel Monaco.
    Reviews
  • Tours Northwest
    Tours Northwest offers a Mount Rainier National Park day tour that’s a great option for those looking for an easy way to see the park. Informative guides will pick you up at your downtown or Sea-Tac hotel, and customize the trip to your desired activity level. A grocery stop is offered, to buy items for a picnic lunch on the mountain, or you can purchase food at the park’s visitor center while you’re there. This tour runs May through November.
    Tours pick up at Seattle and SeaTac area hotels.
    Reviews
  • Ballard Kayak and Paddleboard
    April through October, Ballard Kayak and Paddleboard offers tandem sea kayak tours that depart from scenic Shilshole Bay Marina in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. Paddle around the Sound observing wildlife like seals and otters, head out to Discovery Point in West Seattle, or venture through the Ballard Locks into Seattle’s Lake Union. Combine your trip with a stop at a boat-up restaurant for a clam chowder lunch. Kayak tours are good for all experience levels. Two paddleboard tours are offered: one specifically for beginners, and one that goes to Ballard. All equipment is provided.
    Tours depart from Shilshole Bay Marina in Ballard.
    Reviews
  • All Rivers and Saltwater Charters
    Experience a real Pacific Northwest salt water fishing experience with knowledgeable guides and all equipment provided. All Rivers’ Seattle Salmon Fishing and Crabbing charters run from early July through September, departing from Shilshole Bay Marina in Ballard. Fish for King, Coho, and Pink Salmon, and enjoy crabbing when in-season (through Labor Day). Fishing licenses are available on-board, and water, soda, and snacks are provided. Outside of Seattle, All Rivers runs fishing charters on the Washington coast, as well as the Skykomish, Snohomish, Snoqualmie, and Cowlitz Rivers.
    Tours depart from Shilshole Bay Marina in Ballard.
    Reviews
  • Island Adventures Whale Watching
    This is the best whale watching tour in the northwest, offering service from the downtown Seattle waterfront October through March, when orca whale pods journey south into Puget Sound. Experienced naturalists are in constant communication with other vessels, and take you right to where the whales are. The boat’s cabins are heated and comfortable, with binoculars and wildlife viewing guides available for on-board use, and hot and cold drinks and snacks available for purchase. At all other times of the year, Island Adventures charters depart from Everett, Anacortes, La Conner, and Port Angeles; where guests can expect to see humpback, minke, and grey whales, as well as other marine wildlife.
    Tours depart from Pier 66 on the Seattle waterfront.
    Reviews

Seattle’s Best Cultural and Historical Tours

What are the best cultural tours in Seattle?

Longhouse at Tillicum Village

  • Blake Island/Tillicum Village Tour
    A fascinating introduction to Seattle Native People’s History. 4 hours in total, the trip begins with a beautiful 45-minute boat cruise to Blake Island. There you’re treated to a Pacific Northwest-inspired buffet with alderwood-smoked salmon, and stories and dance from Coast Salish tribe members – all in a traditional Native longhouse. Afterward, stick around to poke about the museum and gift shop, or explore the trails of beautiful Blake Island State Park. The combination of boat cruise, meal, and entertainment make this a great deal for the price. Excursions run from April through September, but July onward is your best chance for pleasant weather. Book early – these tours sell out, and an early-booking discount is offered more than 28 days in advance.
    Tours depart from Pier 55 on Seattle’s downtown waterfront.
    Reviews
  • Seattle Architecture Foundation
    These volunteer-led downtown walking tours are organized around such architectural themes as Northwest Art Deco Skyscrapers, Design Details, and Hidden Spaces in Public Places. No previous experience with architecture is required; you’ll learn as you go – not only about the buildings, but about the city and its history, as well. Tours run year-round, rain or shine (but only on Saturdays in the winter months). Outside of downtown, SAF also leads tours in the neighborhoods of Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, South Lake Union, as well as the University of Washington campus. Not recommended for children under 12.
    Tours depart from various locations, check website for details.
    Reviews
  • Benaroya Hall
    This concert hall is home to the Seattle Symphony and is renowned for its award-winning architecture and technology-infused acoustical properties. Free public tours of Benaroya Hall are offered on various dates year-round (check the website for schedule.) Two tours are offered: an abbrevaited tour at noon, and a full tour at 1pm. Both tours are scheduled in conjunction with a free recital and demonstration of Benaroya’s famous Watjen Concert Organ at 12:30. Reservations are not required for individuals or groups of fewer than 10.
    Tours depart from Benaroya’s Grand Lobby entrance at the corner of 34d Avenue and University Street.
    Reviews
  • Seattle Art Museum
    The Seattle Art Museum’s permanent collection is impressive; a hodge-podge of Egyptian, African, Native American, Asian, European, pop, and contemporary works, as well as a fantastic variety of world-class touring exhibits – and free tours are available with museum admission. Some tours focus on a single gallery, while some highlight the favorite works of SAM’s curators, visual artists, and critics. Most tours are 30 minutes, though special exhibition tours are more in depth and run about an hour in length. SAM even offers monthly Art Beyond Sight tours for visitors with low or no vision. Check the calendar for upcoming tour schedules.
    Tours meet at various locations inside the museum.
    Reviews
  • Wing Luke Museum
    This great museum, focused on the Pacific Northwest’s immigrant communities, is located in Seattle’s International district, and their fantastic walking tours are a great way to explore this diverse neighborhood. The Historic Hotel Tour takes you into a 1910 general store and through a series of staged rooms that show how different populations lived when they first came to our city. There are also seasonal food tours, a Bruce Lee themed tour, and a tour that takes readers to the sites in the popular novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, about a Chinese boy and a Japanese girl struggling through the times of WWII internment camps. Tour prices include all-day museum admission.
    Tours depart from The Wing Luke Museum at 719 South King Street.
    Reviews
  • Underground Tours
    Tours of Seattle’s “underground” take visitors down beneath Pioneer Square, and through the maze of buried alleys and storefronts that were once Seattle’s surface streets. They’re a great crash (or refresher) course on Seattle history, and kids and adults both find them fascinating. You’ll want to buy your tickets in advance, as tours routinely sell out. Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour is the original and most famous. Groups are large, and guides are friendly and knowledgable – but lean heavily on the “schtick.” (You may find this super fun or supremely irritating, depending on your personality.) Beneath the Streets offers a more intimate underground tour option; groups are smaller and the vibe is less corporate, though the guides are just as knowledgable. Both tours run daily, year-round, and last a little over an hour. Note that, with steep wooden stairways and uneven surfaces, these tours can be a bit “rustic” – I don’t recommend them for people with mobility issues, very small kids, or strollers.
    Reviews: Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour, Beneath the Streets
  • Klondike Museum Walking Tour
    This small museum in Pioneer Square is actually a pint-sized National Park, filled with artifacts and exhibits highlighting Seattle’s role in the Klondike gold rush of the 1890’s. They offer free 45-60 minute walking tours of the Pioneer Square neighborhood in the summer months, and the rest of the year provide a Trail to Treasure tour map, so that visitors can walk it on their own.
    Tours depart from the Klondike Museum Vistor Center, at 319 2nd Avenue South.
    Reviews
  • Ballard Locks Tours
    Ballard’s Hiram M. Chittenden Locks help boats get from salty Puget Sound to freshwater Lake Union (and vice versa) while maintaining the water level of Lake Union at 20 to 22 feet above sea level. Its Fish Ladder does the same thing for spawning salmon, allowing them to return to the lakes and rivers around Seattle. Free one-hour guided tours are given daily at the Locks from March through November at 2pm. Reservations are not required.
    Tours depart from the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks Visitor Center.
    Reviews
  • Olympic Sculpture Park
    The Olympic Sculpture Park is a branch of Seattle Art Museum located along Seattle’s downtown waterfront, just downhill from Seattle Center. It’s home to a great collection of modern works by contemporary artists: most notably, Alexander Calder, Claes Oldenburg, and Louise Bourgeois. Besides boasting an impressive collection, the Sculpture Park is one of downtown Seattle’s few green spaces, set amid picturesque views of the sound, mountains, and ferries. Admission is free, and hour-long public tours are offered at 1pm on weekends from April through November. Check the SAM events calendar for details.
    Tours depart from the Sculpture Park’s Paccar Pavilion.
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Seattle’s Best Offbeat Tours

Marijuana tourism in Seattle

Seattle Kush Tours

  • Stalking Seattle: A Rock and Roll Sightseeing Tour
    Any fan of 90’s grunge music will love this tour, which visits locations relevant to such bands and artists as Pearl Jam, Nirvana/Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Alice in Chains, and more. Aside from the city’s music history, tour guide Charity provides a solid overview of the city layout. Small and personal tours are capped at five passengers, and last about 2 1/2 hours.
    Tours depart from MoPOP at Seattle Center, under the Space Needle.
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  • Kush Tourism Cannabis Tours
    For an in-depth look at local marijuana commerce and culture, check out Kush Tourism’s Seattle Kush Tour. Their friendly and professional guides take you behind the scenes to explore this evolving industry – from seed to shop – with those in the know. Tour groups are small (up to 6 people), and begin and end at Boro School of Glass in south Seattle, where you’ll be treated to a pipe-blowing demonstration. You’ll visit and tour Dawg Star Cannabis, one of the Seattle’s premiere licensed grow facilities, and a production facility where extractions and edibles are produced. Finally, you’ll put your new-found knowledge into practice at one of the city’s best retail shops. Kush Tourism also offers private tours, as well as a Cannabis & Spirits Experience tour, which visits a grow facility and a local distillery. Age 21+
    Tours depart from Boro School of Glass, at 1300 South Dearborn Street.
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  • Bill Speidel’s Underworld Tour
    Bill Speidel’s popular daytime Underground Tour is a crash course in Seattle history that touches briefly on the city’s seedier side, in coded language so that the kids in the crowd are none the wiser. All bets are off for their after-hours Underworld Tour, however, which positively revels in this town’s bad and bawdy history of drugs, crime, and prostitution. All the same locations are visited as during the day, but the stories are raunchier at night and guests receive a free cocktail upon completion of the tour. Age 21+
    Tours depart from Doc Maynard’s Public House in Pioneer Square, 614 First Avenue.
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Stadium Tours

Touring Seattle sports stadiums

Safeco Field Stadium Tour

  • Safeco Field
    Safeco Field is home to the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball team. Tours of the stadium are about an hour long, and include private suites, the visitor’s clubhouse, the press box, the field, and both team dugouts. Tickets can be purchased through their website in advance, or pick them up at the Team Store shortly before the tour is scheduled to depart. Wheelchair/stroller accessible.
    Tours depart from the stadium’s Team Store on First Avenue.
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  • CenturyLink Field
    CenturyLink Field is the home stadium of both the Seattle Seahawks football team, and the Seattle Sounders FC. Stadium tours last about 90 minutes, visiting the field, visitor’s locker room, press box, private suites, and the famous 12th Man flagpole. Tickets can be purchased at the Downtown Pro Shop (at 4th and Pike) and the NW Box Office (off Occidental) – they sell out quickly and cannot be purchased by phone or online, so it’s recommended that you get there at least a half hour before the tour is scheduled to start. It’s also a good idea to call ahead to confirm the tour schedule, as tours aren’t given on event days. Wheelchair/stroller accessible.
    Tours depart from the Stadium Pro Shop off Occidental Avenue.
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  • Husky Stadium
    The University of Washington’s Husky football team plays at this picturesque campus stadium, northeast of downtown in Seattle’s University District. Sitting directly on the shores of Lake Washington, with the Cascade Mountains and Mount Rainier in the distance, Husky Stadium has been called “the greatest setting in college football.” Highlights of the stadium tour are a visit to the Husky Hall of Fame, traveling down the football tunnel out onto the field, and seeing parts of the stadium that the public doesn’t get to see. Tours are given every Tuesday and Thursday at 2pm, and last about an hour to an hour and a half – reserve a spot online in advance at least five business days in advance.
    Tours depart from Alaska Airlines Arena (Hec Ed. Pavilion), at 3870 Montlake Boulevard NE.
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Seattle’s Best Local Industry Tours

Touring Seattle businesses

Filson Factory Tour

  • Boeing Factory Tour
    This 90-minute enormous factory tour, located 25 miles north of Seattle in Everett, Washington, is a must-see for anyone interested in aviation, and many people’s favorite Seattle attraction. After an informative video introduction, walk the floors of this enormous plant and see 747, 777, and 787 Dreamliners in production. If you lack a car, there are many local tour companies that will pick you up at your hotel. Tours are given daily, year-round. Reservations should be made in advance, as these tours frequently sell out. While booking, please notify the tour company of any mobility issues, so they can plan ahead. Children must be at least 4 feet tall.
    8415 Paine Field Boulevard, Mukilteo, WA
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  • Amazon Headquarters Tour
    The online mega-retailer, Amazon, is not only a local company, but the single largest private employer in Seattle. Visit their vast and pet-friendly South Lake Union campus and see this tech-industry behemoth in action. These free tours last approximately 90 minutes and are given on Wednesdays, at 10am and 2pm. You’ll need to register well in advance, as these tours are popular and do book out. Ages 6 and up, please. If you’re not able to secure a spot, Amazon offers a free audio tour through Audible.com.
  • Filson Factory Tour
    Filson has created rugged outdoor clothing and goods out of Seattle for over a century, and provides complimentary tours of the manufacturing facility housed within their beautiful new Flagship store in SoDo. Walk the factory floor and see their expert craftspeople turn raw materials into high-quality garments, bags and gear. Tours are offered at 10am on Tuesdays and 1:30pm every Thursdays, RSVP on the website to secure your spot. 12 and over, please.
    1741 First Avenue South
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  • Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room
    Pick up a map upon entry in Starbucks’ gorgeous new Reserve Tasting Room, and embark on a self-guided tour, a great way to view the roasting process and dig deep into Starbucks Coffee culture. Watch master roasters at work, preparing the brand’s small-batch reserve beans, then take a seat at the Coffee Experience Bar for a hot or cold coffee-tasting flight. Afterward, peruse the tasting room’s Coffee Library, boasting more than 200 volumes, and explore the many unique and high-end souvenir Starbucks items that are available only at this location.
    1124 Pike Street
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  • Theo Chocolate Factory Tour
    The nation’s first organic, fair-trade chocolatier offers tours of their factory, where visitors can learn all about chocolate, see how it’s transformed from bean to bar, and sample heavily along the way. Tours are offered seven days a week, though you need to visit on a weekday to see the factory in full production mode. And because it’s a working factory, they require closed-toed shoes and hair nets (provided), and ask that you leave your perfumes and fur at home. Tours are one hour long, $10/person, and frequently sell out – it’s best to buy tickets well in advance. Kids under 6 aren’t allowed on standard tours, but Theo holds a special, chocolate-themed story time just for them once a week. Also check out the factory’s website for events, classes, and private tours.
    3400 Phinney Avenue North.
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  • Geocaching Headquarters Tour
    If you’re a fan of the worldwide GPS-based scavenger hunt, then this is the Mothership. Just pop in during their weekday drop-in hours (Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm) to log the coveted HQ cache, get exclusive swag, and meet the Lackeys who make it all happen. It’s all free. After your visit, take the GeoTour, a fun 9-stop multi geocache within walking distance of HQ. Note that, due to high visitor volume in a small office space, visits between August 14 and September 8 must be registered in advance.
    837 N 34th St, Suite 300
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  • Gates Foundation Visitor Center
    Just across the street from Seattle Center and MoPOP, the Gates Foundation Visitor Center explores the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, its philosophy, and the best ways to improve health and education around the world. The theme of exhibits often returns to two questions: What does it take to change the world? How can each of us make a difference? The center is a lot more fun than it might sound and there’s a fair bit of hands-on exploration. Plus, it’s free, so easy to drop in for as long or as little as you want. Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-5pm, with public tours offered at 2pm.
    440 Fifth Avenue North
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