Seattle is one of our “family visit” places. Joe grew up just south of Seattle, and most of his family still lives in the area. I had been in the area a couple of times growing up (Uncle lived in Aberdeen, WA), but I was really little and only remember a few of the highlights.
My first “Joe relationship” Seattle visit was in 2009. We had been engaged a year, and it was time to meet the Filipino mama (For more about Joe’s mom read A Mother’s Legacy). The initial Mama Baguio meeting didn’t go very well.
I had 3 strikes going against me: 1. I wasn’t Filipino 2. I wasn’t Catholic 3. I wasn’t a virgin.
After 3 days of Joe’s mom ignoring my existence, Joe decided a little side trip to Seattle would give his mom time to warm up to me. We spent the day in Seattle and by the time we got back Mama Baguio had decided to give me a chance. Then when she found out I had several college degrees, I was in! She kept on telling me that she liked that I was “a professional woman.”
That was the first of many days trips we have taken to Seattle when visiting Mama Baguio. Even though Mama Baguio since passed away, we try to get back to Washington at least every other year. In the last 8 years, we have visited 6 times. Joe always complains about the dreary weather, but since we normally visit in the summer, I get to see the sunny side of Seattle! Below we have listed some of the most popular attractions that we’ve seen and done on our 6 visits.
What to See & Do in Seattle, Washington
Pikes Place Market
This is one of those places that we make a point to go to every time we’re in Seattle. The market began in 1907 as a place for farmer’s to sell directly to the public. It continued to grow and grow, which is reflected in the various additions to the buildings. Luckily in the 1960s, an effort was made to protect this historic area from demolition. Every time we go to Pikes Place there are new renovations and attempts to keep market thriving.
We love to just wander through the various eclectic shops, produce stands, and artisan booths. We always end up buying something. Joe loves Rainier cherries, so he normally gets a little basket of cherries to nibble on while we’re shopping. There’s a shop called Golden Age Collectables that I usually stop by. The store is the world’s oldest comic book shop! Several of our kids like Doctor Who and Star Wars, which is well represented there. Plan to spend 1-2 hours at the market. Plan longer if you want to eat at one of the fantastic restaurants that are located in the market and along the neighboring streets. You can even get a coffee at the original Starbuck which is right across the street! Parking is available in nearby parking garages.
Address: 1st Avenue and Pike Street
Hours: Open every day. Produce booths are the first to open, around 7am, then crafts and stores open by 10am. Most booths are closed by 4pm and stores close by 6pm.
After visiting Pike Place Market, you can make your way down “the hill” towards the waterfront. There is currently a lot of construction going on, but that just means that there will be more to see in the future! We always enjoy walking along the the waterfront and people watching. There’s tons to do and see from restaurants and shops, to the ferris wheel and aquarium. This summer it did seem like the number of homeless has increased, but they didn’t bother me, and I certainly didn’t bother them.
Address: Alaskan Way
Take a boat tour of the Puget Sound
While in the waterfront area, spending a few hours touring the famous waterway is a great way to learn about the history of Seattle, plus see some gorgeous scenery at the same time. We have gone on many boat tours during our visits to Seattle. One 4th of July, we toured Seattle’s famous Ballard Locks then anchored to watch the fireworks. We have also taken the Tillicum Excursion to Blake Island State Park to have a salmon dinner with performances by Native American storytellers and dancers. We also recommend taking the Washington State ferries to Victoria, Canada or any of the neighboring San Juan Islands.
This is one of those things that you need to do once. Once you’ve gone up to the observation deck and retail shop, there’s no need to do it again unless you have a special occasion to celebrate. To me it is overpriced ($22 a ticket), but it is such an iconic part of the the Seattle skyline ou just have to suck it up and shell out the dollars. The Space Needle was built as a centerpiece of the 1962 Seattle World’s fair standing at 605 feet, and one plus is no stairs! It also has an award-winning restaurant that slowly rotates to see the unparalleled views of Seattle. Order your tickets online to save some time.
Address: 400 Broad Street
Chihuly Garden and Glass
This comprehensive collection of blown glass is the Trip Advisor top rated “Things to Do” in Seattle. Opening in 2012, right next to the Space Needle, this museum showcases the studio art of Dale Chihuly. Now when you think of blown glass, if you’re like me, you conjure up images of Grandma’s Christmas ornaments or pretty vases. This is nothing like that. Think huge organic sculptures that seem to flow with movement. There is no way pictures could ever capture the beauty of this extraordinary art. Trust me. Just go and see for it for yourself! Price is $24 a ticket, but you can buy a combination Space Needle ticket for $38 saving money on each.
Address: 305 Harrison Street
Hours: 8:30am-8:30pm (Sometimes the museum closes early for special events)
Museum of Pop Culture
Also located next to the Space Needle is the Museum of Pop Culture. It’s had several names. The first time we visited it was called EMP (Experience Music Project). The museum exhibits cover pop culture including: fantasy & horror cinema, video games, science fiction literature, costumes from screen and stage, and music. My stepdaughter is a huge Nirvana fan and since the museum has the largest collection of Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix artifacts, we had to visit!
There are some permanent exhibits and some that change. When we were there last, our favorite exhibits were the Looney Tunes History and Star War Costumes. At the time of this post, there is a horror movie and David Bowie exhibit that I would love to see! Tickets are $26.
Address: 325 5th Avenue North
If you want the best view of Seattle, you won’t get it on top of the Space Needle. You go to the Space Needle just to say you’ve been to the top, then go to Kerry Park. That’s where you can get a view that includes the Space Needle, the waterfront, and if you’re lucky, Mount Rainier. Plus, it’s free! Parking is limited, so you might have to park a block or two away, but the view will be worth it!
Address: 250 W Highland Drive
See the Seattle Seahawks or Mariners Play
Whether you’re a football or baseball fan, there’s something special about seeing a professional team play. Since we normally go to Seattle in the summer, it’s normally a Mariner’s baseball game that we go to see. The Mariners play at the retractable roof baseball park Safeco Field. Adjacent to the Safeco field is CenturyLink Field home of the football Seattle Seahawks and Major League Soccer Seattle Sounders.
If you have the opportunity to take in a Seattle Seahawks game, bring your ear plugs. Century Link field has twice held the Guinness World Record for loudest crowd roar at an outdoor stadium. One unique selling point for Safeco Field is the concessionaire Poquitos which sells out early for a 4 ounce cup of grasshoppers toasted in a chili lime salt.
Day trip to Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier is an hour and a half from Seattle. The mountain is an active volcano with the last eruption in 1894 and is the highest in the state of Washington at 14,410 feet (4392 meters) above sea level and one of the highest in the contiguous 48 states.
The mountain is pretty special to Joe because you can see it from his boyhood home in Pacific, WA. Joe and his childhood best friend even tried to ride their bikes to the mountain one day, but gave up when they were 14 miles away.
There are tours that depart from Seattle daily, or it is an easy drive with well marked signage up to the base of the mountain. Bring a jacket or sweater even in the summer weather and check the glaciers. You can plan a hike along the glacier if you readily equipped.
Have you been or want to go to Seattle, Washington? What Seattle spots did we leave off? Please share by commenting below! Any questions? Please ask!
Keep up with all of our travel, camping, and cycling tips by following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,and Pinterest. Leave us your email (blue box at the bottom of the post) to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and never miss a post!