Things to Do in Seattle | City Guides | Long Distance USA Movers

What Are the Best Things to Do in Seattle

Gloomy weather with not a lot of sunny days might discourage you from moving to the largest metropolis in the Pacific Northwest. But don’t worry – there are many interesting and unique things to do in Seattle, even in the worst weather imaginable. If you don’t believe us, let’s get beneath the cloudy exterior and explore the colorful life of Washington state’s largest city.

Seattle at night overlay
Seattle at night

There shouldn’t be a reason for you to be afraid of moving and change if you fall in love with the place you are relocating to. Here we will try to present the famous landmarks, ways to live like a local, and the city’s culture and history.

Go on a Tour Around the Popular Attractions

Let’s get to the popular tourist attractions first. Although they are more than well known, you may need a reason or two to visit them. And what better way to get to know a place than to tour the most popular attractions that are easily reachable and anyone can point you in their direction in case you get lost. If you are moving to Seattle, these are your first spots to visit.

  • Central Library– This monumental building opened on May 23rd, 2004, is estimated to hold a staggering 1.45 million books. If you are driving there, don’t worry, the library has underground public parking for 143 vehicles.
  • Benaroya Hall is home to Seattle Symphony with a capacity of 2,500 seats, and it is an acoustic masterpiece of modern architecture.
  • Seattle Aquarium has ten exhibits scattered over an 18,000-square-foot area. Some of those exhibits are Window on Washington Waters, Crashing Waves Exhibit, Life on the Edge, Pacific Coral Reef, and Marine Mammals.
  • Gas Works Park– If you are a fan of the movies 10 Things I Hate About You and Singles, here you can relive some of the iconic scenes that were filmed at this location. This is the site of an old Gas Plant that was closed in 1956 and was repurposed into an open park with a kite-flying hill nearby. You can go there for free.
  • Great Wheel is a great sightseeing point on Pier 57. It is 175-foot high, and it offers a breathtaking view of Elliot Bay.
  • Ballard Locks is a complex of locks with an underwater viewing area and a botanical garden in the park complex. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area.
  • Fremont Troll is a unique, giant sculpture located under George Washington Memorial Bridge, which is also known as  Aurora Bridge. It is 18ft tall, and it holds a real Volkswagen Beetle in its left hand.
  • 5th Avenue Theatre is a historical building that was opened in 1926 and hosts many theatre productions and movie projections. If you are interested in visiting it, you can get a free guided tour every first Saturday of the month.
After cross country moving to Seattle, you can visit the city's gasworks overlay
If you are a fan of “10 things I Hate About You,” you may recognize this spot.

Things to Do in Seattle City Center

As long as you reach downtown, these sights can be incorporated in your day tour. They are all close by and the well-connected traffic in the area makes it one of the best neighborhoods in Seattle to live in.

  • Space Needle is the most famous landmark, built for the 1962 World Fair. This is basically an observatory with a 360-degree view of the area. It used to be the city’s tallest building, but it still is a staple of the area and a must-see sight, even if you are not moving to Seattle, but just visiting for a day.
  • The monorail is an elevated line that operates along Fifth Avenue. Although it is not a very long line, it offers a unique opportunity to view Downtown from a different angle.
  • Pacific Science Center is a spot to ignite your curiosity. It was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, who also created the World Trade Center in New York. Here you can get to know something about environmental stewardship, wetland ecology and nature awareness.
  • Pacific Northwest Ballet has the highest attendance per capita in the US. We are sure that it wouldn’t be a waste of time to see at least one of the 100 performances that are carried out every year.
After cross country moving to Seattle, you can visit the city's tallest building overlay
Space Needle is still the town’s most recognizable symbol.

Visit a Famous Park or Museum

You may be surprised to find out that there are more than 400 parks in the area and over 40 museums. This is more than enough to explore for weeks on end, and a great way to get to know the area and overcome the relocation depression and adjust to life in a new town. Some of the best places to live in Seattle are surrounded by parks and greenery.

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Olympic Sculpture Park or Kerry Park? – It’s a Difficult Choice

We could go for days about the parks here, but here are a few more famous ones to get you started.

  • Olympic Sculpture Park is created and operated by the Art Museum. It has a 9-acre area with sculptures and a beach. The sculptures exhibited there date anywhere from 1965 to 2011.
  • Washington Park Arboretum was established in 1934. It is a project of the University of Washington and Parks and Recreation. In this area, you can enjoy the Japanese Garden, Arboretum Creek and Azalea way.
  • Kerry Park is the best spot to experience sunset with a killer view. If it’s not cloudy when you visit, you are in for a breathtaking view and it is just a 10-minute drive away from downtown and a short walk uphill.
  • Woodland Park Zoo– besides 300 animal species and over 1000 plant species, it offers a unique Sensory Garden experience. It allows visitors to experience a variety of sensations like smell, touch, and hearing.
  • Japanese Garden is located in the Arboretum and it deserves to be mentioned separately because it is considered as one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in the States.
  • Green Lake Park got its name thanks to the algae bloom in the water that gives the lake its unique green color. It is one of the favorite spots for the locals to spend their weekend afternoons. If you transport your car when you are relocating, take a short drive to enjoy a sunset here.
  • Golden Garden Parks got their name thanks to the golden color of the trees that surround the area, as well as the sunset in the autumn. When the leaves start falling, they make a golden carpet and form a great sunset view. It’s best to come here in September or October.
  • Waterfront Park, a beautiful Downtown seaside sight is great for a stroll. You can breathe in the fresh air, drink a coffee along the way, visit the Aquarium and take a spin on the Ferris Wheel. This is a great spot to walk your dog, so you don’t have to worry if you are moving with pets.
After cross country moving to Seattle, you can enjoy the city's parks overlay
This is the greatest spot to relax and enjoy authentic Japanese flora.

Take a Tour Around the Museum of Pop Culture or the Art Museum

Emerald City can be proud of many things that originated here, like Grunge, Amazon, Starbucks, etc. Some of the museums are contemporary and historical, some are dedicated to art and some are progressive. All in all, there is something for everyone’s taste.

  • The Museum of Pop Culture was founded in 2000 by Paul Allen as the Experience Music Project, Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. Today it is mostly known as MoPOP. It exhibits interactive stations, sound sculptures, and various educational resources. Maybe one of the most impressive pieces there is the Guitar Sculpture. It also hosts many events, like “Sound Off!” and “Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Film Festival.” Last year, it got its statue of the late Cris Cornell, who was born and started his career here.
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass contains glass sculptures of the artist Dale Chihuly and it has three areas: the Garden, the Glasshouse and the Interior Exhibits. This is a unique setup that looks like it’s out of this world. The location is perfect, too. It is located next to the Space Needle, right in Downtown.
  • The Art Museum is also known as SAM. Its collection consisted of nearly 25 000 pieces and around 33 250 books at the time of the latest inventory that was carried out in 2008.
  • The Museum of Flight is the largest private air and space museum in the world. Besides the exhibition, it is also a learning center that organizes a Challenger Learning Center program, Aviation Learning Center and a summer camp.
  • The Museum of History and Industry has nearly 4 million photographs and artifacts of Seattle and Puget Sound Region.
  • Frye Art Museum is primarily oriented towards paintings from the 19th century to the present days. Besides the paintings, it also holds a library with more than 1000 books.
  • Wing Luke Museum offers a unique insight into the history and life of the Asian Pacific Americans and holds more than 18 000 items that represent their heritage in the US.

Eat Out at Some of the Best Restaurants and Diners

Since the area is practically surrounded by water, fresh fish and seafood are always available. This brings to the table a whole set of great restaurants and many great places to eat out and try different cuisines with some interesting ingredients. The cost of living in Seattle is not above the national average and the prices for dining out are following that trend.

Are you wondering what are the best restaurants in Seattle? Wonder no more, you have plenty to choose from. The Pike Place Market is an entity for itself, a picturesque area with a lot of shops, bakeries, restaurants, dives, and bars and it deserves a separate category because you will find something for anyone’s taste buds there.

At Pike Place Market

These are just some of the places where you can try different food or have a quick snack on the go.

  • Pike Place Chowder is a staple spot and it serves the freshest Clam Chowder you’ll ever try.
  • Beecher’sis a shop where you can not only get top-notch Mac’ and Cheese or Grilled Cheese sandwiches, but you can also see the cheese being made and get some cheese curds to go.
  • Matt’s in the Market has a unique Fishwich (fried fish sandwich) and of course, the fish is fresh out of the water.
  • Sushi Kashiba is owned by Chef Shiro Kashiba, who has been a sushi master for over half a century. Don’t hesitate to order a full Amakaze.
  • Pure Food Fish Market isn’t really a restaurant, but more of a fish shop where you can get freshly smoked salmon as a snack. Trust us, this is totally different from any other smoked fish you’ve tried before.
  • The Crumpet Shop is a  breakfast spot where you can get this biscuit-like pastry with different toppings. We recommend Lemon Curd Crumpets as a must-try item here.
  • Daily Dozen Doughnuts might look like your regular doughnut spot where you can try the regular Cinnamon sugar doughnuts. So, where’s the catch? The dough is out of this world, soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, and the doughnut machines put out freshly fried goodies every few minutes.
  • Three Girls Bakery is the perfect spot to visit if you love chocolate. Grab a Chewy Chocolate Cookie to get a mix of a cookie and a brownie with a gooey chocolate center. What’s not to love about it? Grab two, just in case.
  • The Pink Door is an upscale Italian cuisine restaurant with a great atmosphere. Lasagna is a must, and if you are on a date, this restaurant won’t disappoint.

In the City Center and Around It

There are loads of great places in and around the downtown to choose from, but here we will mention only some of the more iconic ones. While professional packers take care of your belongings, you take the time to create a convenient tour of the venues you’re going to visit first.

  • Westward is a waterfront restaurant with a great bay view and fresh oysters. This is a perfect Sunday brunch spot for you and your crowd.
  • Canlis is a fine-dining spot with a tradition that lasts for 68 years. It is a bit on the pricey side, but it is worth it. It offers a unique panoramic view and great five star courses.
  • Ray’s Boathouse is another restaurant with a waterfront view and a deck. Here you can try one of the many fresh seafood courses while enjoying the bay area.
  • Marination Station started as a food truck, but it is now available at 5 locations throughout the area. They serve food with Hawaiian vibes.
  • Can-Can Kitchen and cabaret is not your regular diner. It is a real 1-hour cabaret with delicious food on the side. This is more than just a brunch, it is an experience. It is an hour-long free brunch show, with food, which will cost you around $20.
After cross country moving to Seattle, you can enjoy the city's amenities overlay
The best way to eat is with a view.

Pike Market Tour

Pike Market Place is one of the famous landmarks in the Emerald City. It grew to be much more than a retail space over the years; it is a community, historic district, a place to eat and have fun. Pike Place Market Foundation supports the Pike Medical Clinic, Pike Market Senior Center, Pike Market Child Care, Downtown Foodbank, etc. It is the oldest farmers market still operating in the States, founded in 1907. Things you should visit here are:

  • Flower Market
  • Gum Wall
  • First Starbucks
  • Rachel the Piggy Bank
After cross country moving to Seattle, you can visit public market center overlay
This is the oldest Farmers Market in the US that is still operating.

A Night Out

Although Seattle is not even close to Hollywood or Los Angeles when it comes to nightlife, it has a lot of its hidden charms. There are two keywords here: underground scene and happy hour.

It is more than a well-known fact that the grunge music movement and many great bands started here in the underground rock bars, and took over the world. There are also many speakeasies for which you should have someone to tell you how to find them. Since many places work until 2 am,happy hour is the best way to start your evening and finish earlier.

Speakeasy Tour

Speakeasies were the invention of the Prohibition era, hidden spots you couldn’t visit unless you were checked, but they are still popular today.  You usually needed to know a password or a secret signal to enter them. Being a part of the “hidden” underground club network has its charms. This isn’t something we should do, but we’ll mention a few of them, and we hope that you will keep it between us. Although you can usually make a reservation, we will share the old way to get in. You’re welcome.

  • Bathtub Gin & Co– We only wish you luck to actually find the door in the back alley, the rest is easy-peasy.
  • Smith Tower Temperance– You can enter if you buy a ticket for the self-guided tour of the building or a “straight-up” ticket that will get you straight to the bar.
  • Backdoor at Roxy’s– Although it was much harder to find it earlier, nowadays it is visibly marked, but you could still pretend you don’t see the markings and search for its entrance at the end of the back alley.
  • Knee-High Stocking C – The maitre d’ will let you in if you ring the doorbell, or not.
  • Needle and Thread – Try the phone within the Tavern Law.
  • Aston Manor– We are not kidding, the entrance to this bar is through a hidden door behind a bookshelf.
  • The Pharmacy– Under the Temple Billiards pool hall is a neon sign that says “basement stairs.” Spoiler alert, it is not a basement.
  • Deep Dive– Try your luck at the almost-service-like door of Lenora. They have only 30 seats and they don’t take reservations.
After cross country moving to Seattle, you can visit the city's restaurants overlay
Start the night with a happy-hour.

Bars, Clubs and More

Although the night out ends earlier here, you do have many places to dance and soak in the good vibes of the area. Some of them are:

  • The Garage – a bowling alley to hang out and have a drink.
  • Fog Room– the place where you can get the best of views and cocktail happy hours.
  • Rhino Room– for a dance with your friends.
  • Ballroom– you can dance, eat, drink and play pool.
After cross country moving to Seattle, you can visit discotheques overlay
There are places to get wild and dance with friends.

A Day in the Beautiful Nature of Washington State

Washington State prides itself in beautiful nature, and the Seattle area is no exception. The weekend is a perfect time to take a day or two days to explore the wilderness. There are many organized tours with guides that are recommended for newcomers. This is truly a great place for hiking.

Get to Know the Bay Area

  • Washington State Ferries operate on 22 ferry lines in the area. This is the best, and sometimes the only way to visit some of the attractions on the islands and even the neighboring towns across the Puget Sound. Depending on your schedule and the time you have on your hands, you could visit Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Vashon Island, Port Orchard, West Seattle, San Juan Islands, Victoria BC, Blake Island, etc.
  • Alki Beach is a beach strip near Alki Point, which was the site of the first settlement that the whole place originated from. Here you can spend the night in some of the bungalows or enjoy a hearty meal in some of the restaurants on the strip. Some of the most popular things to see here are The Statue of Liberty miniature, Alki Point Lighthouse and the Birthplace of Seattle monument.
  • Lake Union Seaplane Flight– If you are one of the braver ones, this is the best way to experience the wilderness and the beauty of Lake Union. These scenic flights are a once-in-a-lifetime adventure you should definitely try if you have the chance.
  • The Center for Wooden Boats is very much located in the urban area but offers an opportunity to spend a day on Union Lake and take a look at some of the 170 different vessels. Most of them are sailboats and rowboats, but they are all unique in their own way.
After cross country moving to Seattle, you can visit nearby mountains overlay
Whenever you have a chance, escape from the urban area. There are plenty of places to do that here.

The Inland Treasures

  • Mount Rainier Full-Day Walking or Snowshoe Tour-This is one of those instances where the smart thing would be to book a guided hiking tour. Mountain Rainier National park is a beautiful city escape destination, but you should be prepared for a long hike.
  • The Olympic National Park Tour will take you to the Olympic Peninsula with its three distinct ecosystems: the subalpine forest, the temperate forest, and the Pacific coast. This tour is especially suitable if you are a plant lover or ecology fan.
  • Woodinville Wine Country is an only 30-minute drive away from downtown and it couldn’t be more different from the urban area. There are more than 130 small wineries in the area and most of them organize wine tasting and wine pairing events. If you want to indulge your taste buds, this is a tour you shouldn’t skip
  • Snoqualmie Falls is a 268-foot waterfall on the Snoqualmie River. It is truly a sight to behold, and there is an observation deck, but the locals say you should really watch it from the shore below if you want to get the full gravity of it.

Vivid Landmarks Built by the Big Companies for the Public to Visit


Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center is one of the “giving back to the community” projects of the Microsoft foundation. It is a spot with interactive exhibitions and programs, and you can hear some stories that will inspire you to make a difference in the future. It is formulated as the seed incubator for future progress.

After cross country moving to Seattle, you can visit Microsoft's office overlay
Microsoft actually started off from here.


The first Starbucks shop actually still stands here, on the Pike Place Market. Many years and chain stores later, you could experience the original taste of the first coffee shop that took over the World.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room is unlike any other coffee spot. In fact, it is much more than that. Here they roast and grind coffee every day around the clock, right in front of you. Not only that, you can try different coffee-based cocktails and try some great food.

After cross country moving to Seattle, you can visit the city's bakeries overlay
It is one of a kind


Amazon Spheres is more of a lounge area for the employees of the company, but it is also a unique landmark. It is open for the weekly public tours and at the exhibition locations.

After cross country moving to Seattle, you can visit city's famous buildings overlay
Amazon Spheres are out of this world.


UPS waterfall is located in the UPS Waterfall Garden Park that was designed by Masao Kinoshita. It is one of the most expensive parks per square foot ever constructed in the US. It is a form of the zen garden with a tranquil waterfall and a Japanese garden.

After cross country moving to Seattle, you can enjoy city's nature overlay
Unique experience in the urban area

Locals Recommend

Now, this guide wouldn’t be complete without some tips from the locals. This is what locals recommend you to do and see if you want to get to know the city. We bet that any local on the street can point you to these locations.

After cross country moving to Seattle, you can enjoy the city's panorama overlay
A breathtaking panorama from Sky View Observatory.

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour

It is a unique experience of getting to know the old town. Because of the inadequate sewer system, the whole town burned down in 1889. Luckily and miraculously, no one died. The town’s leadership decided to build on top of what was left after the fiery havoc, thus leaving the history below ground. The underground tour will get you through the graveyard of the old town.

Smith Tower

Built in 1914, Smith Tower is an iconic landmark that you shouldn’t skip. It offers a 360-degree view of the area and is the first skyscraper built here. Although your primary reason for visiting it may be the breathtaking view, you should also visit the historical exhibits on the ground floor and get to know the area and its development a bit better.

Sky View Observatory

From this cafe on the 73rd floor of Columbia Center, you can enjoy the most beautiful views with some quality wine and a light meal. Nothing screams more romantic than an experience like that.

The Crocodile

This bar deserves a special spot on the list because it is the most iconic bar maybe even in the whole state. This is where the alternative stage began and is still going strong. If you are up for a good gig, concert or another type of music event, the Crocodile is definitely a place to go.


It is a retro arcade center opened in 1983. The strict rule of 21 and up still stands today. If you are up for some good old pinball, laser tag or Killer Queen, you can find them all here. This is also a place where the locals like to hang out.

Bruce Lee Grave Sight

While it may come as a bit morbid, it is a place of pilgrimage of all the hardcore fans of the late actor. A little less known fact is that his son, Brandon Lee, is buried right next to him.

Anastasia Hill

Apart from being the next fashion icon, Anastasia is also a freelance writer and expert on moving (and packing clothes).

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