Main Content

Seattle's must do recommendations

As famous for its cultural acumen as it is its natural wonders, Seattle is a city of diverse attractions. Discover different sides of the Emerald City on a tour of its most famous sights. From public artworks to kayaking tours to busy flagship stores, there are a few Seattle essentials that no traveller should miss.

Tab Panel

The Space Needle

New York has the Empire State Building; Paris the Eiffel Tower. And Seattle? Its most distinctive spire — and city icon — is the Space Needle. Built for the city’s 1962 World’s Fair, it draws millions of visitors every year. You can admire it from around town, but don’t miss the chance to board a lift up to its observation deck. Located 520 feet above sea level, it provides jaw-dropping vistas of Downtown, Puget Sound, and Mt. Rainier’s snowy peak in the distance.

Waterfront kayaking

A whopping 40% of the Seattle urban area is comprised of waterways, from Elliott Bay to Lake Washington to the Ship Canal (all part of the Puget Sound area). Bust out your paddles and opt for a waterfront kayaking tour: travelling by boat is one of the best ways to see the Emerald City. A number of rental companies and tour operators are available to show you the sights, and help you join the 85% of locals who spend time on the water each year.

Exploring the Seattle waterfront by boat

Tab Panel

The Fremont Troll

Long considered a capital of quirk and hub of the counter-culture, Seattle is full of creative corners. And few landmarks better represent this side of the city’s personality than the Fremont Troll. Located under a bridge in the bohemian neighbourhood of Fremont, this massive sculpture made its debut in the early 90s — and is large enough to hold a real Volkswagen Beetle in his fist.

Between meetings: Things to do in Seattle in an hour

Downtown shopping

Downtown Seattle — once far from inspiring — has since undergone such a successful revival that it’s now one of the city’s most thrilling districts. In addition to the clutch of art museums and starchitect-designed Seattle Public Library’s Central Library, you’ll find enough flagship shopping to keep you busy for hours. From department stores like Nordstrom to outdoorsy outfitters like REI and Filson, get ready to shop like a true Seattleite. 

The Emerald City: a beginner's guide to Seattle

Pike Place Market

Few farmers markets in the world are as popular as Pike Place Market. In operation since 1907, it draws upwards of 10 million visitors per year. While many come to see certain famous spectacles — including the fishmongers who redefine the term “perfect catch” (they’re known for throwing fish from person to person) — be sure to dig a little deeper to discover the shops and stalls on the market’s other floors.

An insiders guide to Pike Place Market

Image credits: Kayakers on Elliott Bay © Visit Seattle, Fremont Troll © Crai S. Bower, Pike Place Market © Visit Seattle