Plan Ahead: Spending A Day in Seattle
Written by Carrie Stewart
Spending a day in Seattle is a great way to get a feel of what the city offers. The Emerald City is home to some of the most beautiful attractions in America, making it an ideal destination for travelers looking for a city break.
With well-coordinated Area Guides, you can experience the best sites Seattle offers, since you can navigate the nearest restaurants, clinics, parks and salons. From enjoying the heights of the Space Needle to checking out the iconic Pike Place Market. Even when looking for something more than just sightseeing, plenty of other attractions keep you entertained during your visit. Here are some of the best places to spend your day in Seattle.
Enjoy a Guided Cruise Across the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
Kick off your Seattle tour with a fully narrated sightseeing cruise through one of Seattle’s iconic and top tourist attraction sites, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Located on the western end of Salmon Bay, this site is packed with interesting views, history and facts that will delight your day in Seattle.
It was constructed to act as a link between Lake Washington, Lake Union and the salty waters of Puget Sound in 1917, to facilitate shipping across the region. It was an admirable accomplishment by the famous engineer, Hiram M. Chittenden.
In the 120 minute cruise you’ll have the chance to listen to a full narration of the interesting facts about the lock, and the other parts of Seattle as you enjoy a close view of the seaplanes, the floating home communities and the fishing vessels. It will help you get a better scope of the history of the areas you’re planning to visit in your Seattle tour, making your exploration more interesting.
Visit the Pike Place Market
Pike Place market is one of the most iconic places in Seattle. However, it’s not a tourist site as it's a functioning market with vendors selling their goods to locals and visitors. It occupies over 9 acres, with around 85 local farmers, 240 small businesses, and over 225 artists.
The best time to visit the Pike place market is during the morning hours when it officially opens to avoid crowds. You can enjoy the view as vendors set up their colorful stalls and watch the fish deliveries of the seafood plates that will run the air as the day proceeds. Have a delicious breakfast here, and take time to discover the stalls around.
Weave through the market, taking pauses at the places you find interesting. You may particularly like the Gum Wall below the Post Alley, which you can access from Pike St, right in front of the big Pike Place Market sign. It's a fantastic place to take photos, especially in the early morning before it's crowded.
Seattle Art Museum - SAM
After touring the market, drop by the Seattle Art Museum for lessons on local American and International heritage. It has one of the largest collections of modern art in the United States and a collection of more than 5,000 works by Asian and Asian American artists from the 19th century to the present day.
The museum also holds an extensive Japanese collection that includes Japanese prints, paintings, and sculptures. SAM has an impressive array of works by renowned artists worldwide, including works by Picasso, Monet, and Rembrandt. SAM also hosts multiple exhibitions throughout the year. It is free to access on the first Thursday of the month but charges $20 on other visiting days.
Have a Glimpse of Pop Culture at the MoPoP
Sitting on the northeastern edge of the Space Needle is the Museum of Pop (MoPoP). It is a must-visit spot for film and music lovers visiting Seattle.
It was designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry, and like most of his other crafts, it has a wavy and twisting exterior metal panel and a fascinating interior. It covers everything about pop culture and has an exciting music collection.
You'll find iconic artifacts, gems such as Jimi Hendrix guitars, and stage-worn attires. There is also other memorabilia from Seattle's rock legends like Pearl Jam, handwritten lyrics, and demo tapes from famous artists like Kurt Cobain.
You'll also see fascinating science fiction exhibitions, including models from legendary movies and TV shows like Star Wars, Lost in Space, and Star Trek. It's a rich collection of everything pop culture and deserves to be on your to-visit list on a day in Seattle.
The Seattle Great Wheel
Still within the streets of the Pike Place Market is the home to the Seattle Great Wheel, Pier 57. Enjoy the moment at the Seattle Great Wheel, the largest Ferris wheel on the West Coast, standing at 175 feet tall.
While riding on the Ferris wheel, enjoy the panoramic views of the city. You can see the city's skyline, boats, and ships at the Marina and a view of Mount Rainier. It is one of Seattle's favorite touring spots, so expect a line to this big wheel on weekends, holidays, and at the peak of the summer.
Ascend the Space Needle
No better place to admire the views of the entire city than the Space Needle. It's located at the Seattle Center and it is arguably the most famous landmark in Seattle.
It was built for the 1962 World's Fair, standing 605 feet above the ground. With an all-glass rotating floor and all-glass walls, you'll love the 360 degrees views of the city and the surrounding landmarks. On a clear day, you can see Mount Baker to the East in the Olympic Mountains and Mount Rainier to the South in the Cascade Mountains.
Admire the Views From Gas Works Park
Gas Works Park is one of the locals' favorite spots to relax. It used to be a gasification of Seattle but it is now an historic preservation. You can explore the area and see the massive machines in a peaceful location. It is ideal for relaxing and having a picnic, especially if you have kids. It's free to enter and offers a great view of Lake Union. There are lots of fun activities to enjoy in the park, and an excellent place for people-watching.
Create Memories on Your Visit to Seattle
Seattle is a big city with multiple places you can visit and enjoy the city's history and current culture. From the history-packed SAM to the Space Needle to the highest point in the city, you can have a day full of fun and make memories as you tour this beautiful city.
The sightseeing cruise is the best place to start, as you want to have a solid background knowledge of the places you’ll be visiting in Seattle. Be sure to book your reservations before your traveling day to avoid long queues, in case your travel is on a busy day.