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Category: Washington

22 Things to do in Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the west coast of the USA. It is a city on the water with tons of things to explore…

Seattle, Washington is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the west coast of the USA. It is a city on the water with tons of things to explore ranging from outdoor activities to shopping, museums, and restaurants. I have been many times over the years and always find myself wanting to go back to this awesome town to see what new adventures I can find. I made a video and a list of my favorites below. Check it out and let me know what I left off in the comments.

Video

22 Favorite Spots to Explore in Seattle

Pike Place Market

As one of the most famous places in Seattle, Pike Place Market is a fun stop in the city. You can see the famous flying fish in the market, walk down to the gum alley, or even visit the first Starbucks. I like walking up and down the rows of vendors and getting some fresh fruit or some seafood to cook at home. If you are planning to go to the first Starbucks, know that there will be a long line. You can always just take a picture here and go to my later recommendation for your Starbucks fix.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Located near MoPOP and the space needle, the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum is one of my favorite things to do in Seattle. All of the glass sculptures are created by world renowned artist Dale Chihuly, and it was opened in mid-2012. While pricy, this museum is amazing and features many pieces of beautiful glass art that are sure to impress the whole family. My favorite were the glass orbs that were sitting in the boats in the middle of the museum, but there is a lot to like here.

Space Needle

As the most recognizable part of the Seattle skyline, the Space Needle is a great spot for tourists to visit. While not as tall as some of the other downtown observation decks, it has a great 360-degree view with an open-air observation deck. Below that there is a revolving area with a glass floor that you can walk on, which is a gun experience.

Gasworks Park

Gasworks is my favorite park in Seattle. It has impressive views of the Seattle skyline and a unique collection of old metal structures. The park has a large free parking lot, and lots of places for kids and adults to explore. Many times I have grabbed lunch at a local spot and just gone out to sit on the park benches and look out over the city. Be sure to also walk up the small hill where they have a rose compass on top and good views over the entire park.

Discovery Park

Located in the northwest part of Seattle, this large park has miles of hiking trails, and is a beautiful place to explore. The main draw is the lighthouse located right out on the point, and which is accessed by a 3 mile round trip trail. The trail is nice, going through dense foliage and along coastal views to get out to the lighthouse itself. This park is a great half day stop that allows you to get a little workout while seeing an old historic lighthouse.

Freemont Troll

Made famous by the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. The Fremont Troll is a much visit in the city. This troll lives under the massive Aurora Bridge and it holds a full Volkswagen Beetle in its left hand. Parking can be a little difficult here, but it is worth a short walk to see this big troll.

Museum of Pop Culture

Next to the Space Needle, this museum used to focus on music only but has shifted to include all pop culture. There are still exhibits on Nirvana and Pearl Jam, two important Seattle bands, but there are also exhibits on sci-fi movies, fantasy stories, and Marvel superheroes. Don’t forget to see the Chris Cornell statue that was just installed outside of the museum as well.

Olympic Sculpture Park

This 9-acre park was created by the Seattle Art Museum and features a bunch of unique sculptures right next to the water. It is free to explore and features many permanent and rotating exhibits. The park also has benches to relax at that give you a good view out over the water.

Starbucks Roastery

Walking into this massive Starbucks roastery feels like walking into a Willy Wonka inspired world. Copper pipes are running along the walls, all sorts of coffee making contraptions and roasting is pretty much always taking place. They have an extensive menu of options like cold brew aged in whiskey barrels and coffee related cocktails, as well as dozens of different types of pastries and pizzas. Do note, that the drinks are more expensive then you would anticipate here though.

Archie McPhee

If you have seen my videos then you know I like the slightly strange spots, of which Archie McPhee easily fits onto that list. This store has been a Seattle staple for decades and features everything from masks and costumes to a yodeling pickle. In the back, they also have a rubber chicken museum complete with the worlds largest and smallest rubber chicken. I never leave without buying something from this store.

REI

As a huge fan of the outdoors, the flagship REI is something that I never skip a chance to visit. This store has pretty much everything you could ever want from an outdoor store, and a bunch of fun things to see like a wooden yurt and a three-story climbing wall. Plus, the parking structure gives you one hour free which is nice in downtown Seattle.

Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square is a small area of downtown Seattle that features many of the cities most historic spots. In Pioneer Square, you can take the underground tour of Seattle, go to the Klondike Historical Park (which has many exhibits on the area) and visit the UPS waterfall (where the company UPS was created). Also, I always love visiting Flatstick Pub which is an indoor mini golf bar with food, drinks, and awesome mini golf courses, what’s not to like?

Alki Beach Water Taxi

Since Seattle is surronded by water, some of the best views are via boat. If you have time, you can take the ferry over to Bainbridge Island and explore for a half day, or if you don’t have time, take the water taxi over to West Seattle and hang out on the beach or eat at Marination Station. The water taxi provides excellent views of the Seattle skyline both directions, and if you are lucky, you might see some seals as well.

Amazon Go Store & Spheres

Seattle is the home of Amazon, one of the most popular brands in the world and they have made their mark on the downtown. The Amazon Spheres are not open to the public, but they are a unique set of buildings to see while in the city. Next to them is an Amazon Go Store, which is a futuristic shopping experience where you download an app, scan it, then just walk out of the store with whatever items you grab to be charged automatically for them. It is pretty crazy to experience and certainly unique until these stores become more of the norm.

Kerry Park

In northwest Seattle, Kerry Park is one of the best views in the city. This small park has only a half dozen or so street parking spots, but it provides an amazing vista of downtown Seattle, the Space Needle and Mt. Rainer if it is clear. I have spent many sunsets and sunrises at this spot, and I never get tired of the views.

Snoqualmie Falls

Seattle is actually home to many amazing outdoor adventures, and one of the easiest to access is Snoqualmie Falls. This massive waterfall is only 30 minutes drive out of downtown Seattle, and it is a sight to behold. You can take it in from the observation deck viewing area, or you can go on a 1-mile round trip hike down to the bottom. While not super close when you get the bottom, it is still a fun viewing area for this impressive waterfall.

Now moving into food, here are some of my favorite spots in the city.

Paseo

Paseo is home to one of the countries top rated sandwiches, and it is easy to see why. This small shop in Ballard, which has expanded to other locations around Seattle, has amazing Cuban inspired sandwiches. I recommend that you get the number 1 and it is rare that I don’t visit this spot at least twice when I am in Seattle.

Top Pot

Donuts are one of my favorite things, which is why Top Pot is a must visit in Seattle for me. This popular donut establishment is located all over the city but the two-story flagship is my favorite. They have some fantastic donuts with a focus on unique types of old fashioned donuts, and I always enjoy trying whatever the seasonal flavors are.

Marination Station

Marination Station is a popular food truck turned brick and mortar restaurant with multiple locations. I usually go to the Capitol Hill location, but if you take the water taxi I mentioned earlier then you can go to that one as well. The tacos are what you get here, and it is a Korean / Mexican mashup that is hard to beat.

Thai Thom

Thai food is a dime a dozen in Seattle, but my favorite spot is Thai Thom. It is situated in the downtown area near the University of Washington, and is tiny so be prepared to wait. It is fun to sit at the bar and watch them cooking the food in front of you, but I usually call in my order and take it to go to avoid the line.

Beechers

Since so many people will be looking for a place to eat near Pike Place I figured I would share my favorite. Beecher’s Cheese is a Seattle institution, and you can see them making cheese through the window when you are there. The grilled cheese and tomato soup is impressive here, plus you can try cheese samples while you wait. I recommend taking it to go and walking up to Rachel’s Ginger Beer to grab a fun flavored ginger beer to go with your meal.

Serious Pie

My last recommendation is Serious Pie, one of Seattle most popular pizza places. Started by famous Seattle restauranteur Tom Douglas, this spot has all sorts of amazing pizzas, with my favorite being either the clam pizza or the mushroom one. They also make biscuits which are amazing as well for a quick breakfast or even for a lunch sandwich. Check it out next time you are in the city.

So there you have it, my favorite spots in Seattle. Let me know what I left off in the comments.

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Best Cheap Eats In Capitol Hill, Seattle

If you have traveled Seattle then you surely know how much of a foodie city is truly is. Every corner has a new place to feast at and the options…

If you have traveled Seattle then you surely know how much of a foodie city is truly is. Every corner has a new place to feast at and the options rival places like Madrid for the sheer amount of spots there are to eat at. One of my favorite places in the city is the dirty but lovable Capital Hill area and while there are many fancy eateries, I love the unique and flavorful establishments that don’t cost an arm and a leg. If you are like me then here are the places you must eat at while in the Capitol Hill area (give me a little grace on the area boundaries).

Pikes St Fish Fry

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Right off the main bar street of Capitol Hill is the small fish and chips place known as Pikes St Fish Fry. I am not making this up when I say it is the best fish and chips I have ever had, and I have had them in England. The fish was fried to perfection and the lemon aioli sauce to dip in was divine. You really can’t afford not going here.

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  • What to get – Fish and chips with cod, lemon aioli sauce
  • Cost – $10

Marination Station

This small restaurant with a L shaped bar, metal bar stools and a walk up counter, houses what was voted as the best food truck in the nation. The truck still runs the Seattle streets but if you want to try the food without following them around then this is a great place to stop.

  • What to get – Spicy Pork Taco with Pickled jalapeno and extra Nunya Sauce
  • Cost – $2.50 a taco

Lil Woodys

If you are looking for a good burger then this is my Capitol Hill recommendation. The fig and pig burger has local figs, bacon and Gorgonzola which all work really well together. The crack fries are what everyone goes for though, which is a generous helping of fries and a side of milkshake to dip them in. I like the strawberry better but other people say salted caramel. Both are good options

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  • What to get – Fig and the Pig Burger, Crack fries with strawberry
  • Cost – $10 for a burger, $5 for crack fries

Siagon Deli

This is probably the least known place on the list but when looking for a Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich) for less the $5, this place cannot be beat. It is not always easy for me to communicate here but they are always happy to see me and the pickled cucumber, carrots, sauce and meat makes for an amazing and filling sandwich. I especially like the bread, which is full of chewy greatness.

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  • What to get – #8 the BBQ pork sandwich or #4 the red pork
  • Cost – $3

Paseo

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 The Carribean roast was a seemingly simple combination of pulled pork, lettuce, jalapeños and grilled onions on a hard roll. The aioli mayo seemed to transform the ingredients into a scrumptious feast. The pork is chunky and perfectly spiced. The thick cut snaky onions wrap around your tongue while the jalapenos bite. All this on a roll you have to chew, which only bread lovers will truly understand. Taken together it is one of the best sandwiches you will ever eat.

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  • What to get – Carrabien Roast, number 2 on the menu
  • Cost – $10

So there you have it, my list of food in Capitol Hill, what would you add to this?

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Moran State Park on Orcas Island, Washington

Moran State Park is located on Orcas Island, about an hour and a half drive and a one hour ferry ride from Seattle. It has over 5,000 acres of lush…

Moran State Park is located on Orcas Island, about an hour and a half drive and a one hour ferry ride from Seattle. It has over 5,000 acres of lush island landscape with 4 lakes, a few waterfalls and 30 miles of hiking trails to adventure on. At a price of 10 dollars it is a great place to visit and here are my favorite things to do in the park.

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Cascade Falls

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This 60 foot waterfall is situated right in the heart of the park. It is surrounded by forest and downed trees that add to the ambience and remoteness of the waterfall. The hike itself is a short .6 miles each way and along the trail there are four different waterfalls, with the main one being Cascade Falls. This is an easy hike for the whole family and one that has a lot of reward for a small amount of effort.

Mt Constitution

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Mt Constitution is the high point of the entire Orcas Islands and can be reached by and 8 mile hike or via a road that takes you right to the top. I think the hike is worth the effort as it is amazing to take the time to make it up there but it is not easy so make sure to plan enough time.

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On top there is even an old historic building you can climb up for better views. If you drive I recommend sunrise or sunset as you can bask in the buttery light and see for miles from the top of the structure.

Cascade Lake

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The most popular of the two main lakes in the park Cascade Lake features a 2.7 mile loop which takes you all around the lake, up the optional Sunrise Rock and past the lagoon.

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It is beautiful and I highly recommend it, especially when it is warm and you can bring swim trunks. You can also rent paddle boats at this lake and bring a picnic to eat at the benches.

Mountain Lake

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This lake is more secluded than Cascade Lake but is equally beautiful. This is a better lake for fishing and is the trailhead for the Mt Constitution hike. You can also access Twin Lakes from here via a 2 mile trail.

While not a big park you can easily spend an entire day doing all of the things available in Moran State Park. I for one loved my time there and I highly recommend the trip to the islands just for the Mt Constitution view. Let me know what I left off in the comments.

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Rattlesnake Ledge Hike in North Bend, Washington

At only 45 minutes outside of Seattle, the Snoqualmie area of Seattle is full of breathtaking hikes, one of the most popular being Rattlesnake Ledge. This 4 mile round trip…

At only 45 minutes outside of Seattle, the Snoqualmie area of Seattle is full of breathtaking hikes, one of the most popular being Rattlesnake Ledge. This 4 mile round trip hike is popular for many reasons, but mainly because it is a great work out with over 1,000 feet of elevation gain, and contains beautiful scenery pretty much the entire time.

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Details

  • 1000 feet of gain
  • 4 miles round trip
  • Get there early for parking

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The first thing I would say about this hike is that you must get there early. It gets full very fast and can be hard to find a parking spot, especially on the weekend.

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From the parking lot you will head to the trailhead which is about .3 miles from the lot and right next to Rattlesnake Lake.

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I would recommend checking out the lake right now so you can put perspective to it when you are staring down from the ridge.

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Also, make sure to look up as well to see where you are going.

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From there you will head into the forest. As a Southern California hiker the forest here is worth the hike in and of itself. It is green and lush with moss-covered trees and rocks at every turn.

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The trees also tower above you, shielding you from the sun on a hot summer day and providing a little escape from the rain when it comes.

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The first mile of this trail is a steady incline through said foliage until it bends to the right and starts to climb the switchbacks upwards. This area is much more subtle in its beauty with less green and more warm tones. It is still amazing but not as awe-inspiring as the beginning.

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The trail continues upwards and heads over small bridges and up and over rocks while it gains elevation.

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About 1.9 miles in you will see the end goal, the talus rock that overlooks the valley below.

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When we were there only 10 people were soaking it in, but when we left there were at least 30 up on top.

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I grabbed my lunch and sat, soaking in the views for about 30 minutes, it was stellar.

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The lake below really helps to show you where you came from and the valley and mountains give a sense of depth to the amazing views.

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After that you can head back the way you came or continue up to take more trails through the ridges. One thing is for sure, if it is a sunny day this is a great place to hike near Seattle and I highly recommend it.

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Snoqualmie Falls: 250 Foot Waterfall Outside Seattle

I have been to Seattle many times over the years, but I never realized there was a massive 250 foot waterfall only 20 minutes outside of the city center. This…

I have been to Seattle many times over the years, but I never realized there was a massive 250 foot waterfall only 20 minutes outside of the city center. This waterfall is well worth the drive to visit and is an amazing free activity for the outdoor lover that is visiting the city.

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Located about 15 minutes off the freeway in a town that has a lot of railroad history and is worth a stop in and of itself, Snoquamie Falls is a beautiful waterfall that cascades over the rugged landscape to the pools below.

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There is plenty of parking in the falls area, right next to the famous lodge that overlooks it. There is even overflow parking across the street if you come on a weekend.

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After crossing over the street there are two main viewing platforms that you can see the falls from and both of them are pretty majestic.

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The upper one gives you a bird’s eye view of the falls themselves and has a lot of information about the way they harvest the water for power. It is pretty interesting and it shows how you can even tell how much water is flowing through the falls.

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The second platform is located about 50 yards down the walkway and provides a straight on view of the falls. I preferred this viewpoint as it provided ample opportunity for great photographs.

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I have heard there is another trail to the base of the falls and even saw people down there, but I did not go myself so I cannot comment.

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Here is a video from the first platform.

All in all, this is an amazing way to spend 20 minutes. The falls are majestic and the surrounding town is like a time warp back into history, make sure to visit when in Seattle.

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