What are the best things to do in Seattle?

Answers from Our Experts (3)

Seattle’s a great strolling town. I like getting to the Pike Place Market at about eight in the morning. It’s all still brick and cobblestones. Pick up a coffee and a pastry at Le Panier, which is a French coffeehouse. Just stroll the market on foot and watch it come alive. We don’t have too many places like this in this country. You see them in major European cities, but you don’t see too many in America.

Continue down to the waterfront and hop on a ferry to head over to the Bainbridge Island. It’s a 30-minute ferry ride. Walk around the main street over there, then get back on the boat and head to Seattle. You get great views of town, and you can sneak a bottle of wine up onto the upper deck in a paper bag. Don’t let ’em catch you. Then you should walk down to Seattle Center. If it’s a nice day, I would check out the Space Needle. Within the Space Needle grounds, the EMP Museum is a tribute to rock 'n' roll. There’s also the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, which opened in 2012 and is a permanent glass museum.

We’re really proud of our land, our surroundings and the geography here. So definitely you have to get out into the mountains. You can head either east or west — either way you’ll hit an amazing mountain range. Go into them and explore them; they’re unbelievable. The Olympic Mountains has a rainforest — we have a rainforest an hour away. And we’ve got some of the world’s biggest trees. It’s just so fun to be out in the mountains and the forest.

At the same time, we’re also surrounded by islands, and all of these islands are so fun to explore. They’re called the San Juan Islands. There are a dozen of them. Every one has its own culture, its own little tiny restaurant scene, its own beauty, and its own adventure. And it’s a different ferry to each one. So definitely, exploring the islands.

I’m a big-time sports fan. I love the culture here of our fans. Going to a Seahawks game or to a Mariners game is so fun. We have amazing stadiums with great food, and at least one of those teams is a winning team right now. I always encourage people coming from out of town to go see a game. From the stadiums, you have views of the city, of the mountains, of the water. It’s so fun. Even if you don’t like sports, it’s still fun because you kind of explore the city and the whole culture around the stadiums.

I would say exploring some of the local markets. We have some of the greatest produce in the world right here. Because of all the farmer culture all around the state, we have markets. And not just Pike Place Market, which is the big fancy famous one that everyone goes to, but the neighborhood markets like the Queen Anne Market, the University Market — it’s unbelievable, the local markets. Just go and eat and explore the neighborhoods.

Our restaurant looks down on Lake Union, and my favorite thing on a summer day is to go rent a kayak on this little lake that we’re on and just explore. There’s restaurants that you can kayak up to, get a meal, have a beer and get back in your kayak, then kayak to another restaurant and get out. You can kind of bar hop in a kayak on a sunny day. It’s the greatest thing ever. That’s really fun.

Charyn Pfeuffer

Seattle sits on Elliott Bay, situated between Puget Sound — an inland-probing arm of the Pacific Ocean — and Lake Washington, a long stretch of fresh water. The city sprawls across hills and ridges, some of them 500 feet high, but all are dwarfed by the Olympic Mountains to the west and the Cascades to the east. To have a truly Seattle experience, visit the Experience Music Project, walk through the Fremont neighborhood, shop at Pike Place Market, ride to the top of the famous Space Needle and gawk at the animals at Woodland Park Zoo.

1. Visit the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum. Rock ’n’ roll and sci-fi cross paths in the Experience Music Project, a remarkable Frank Gehry-designed structure that’s said to look like a smashed guitar from above. Music fans can check out exhibits on native son Jimi Hendrix, while science-fiction fiends can ogle at the costumes and props from Avatar.

2. Stroll around Fremont. The funky Fremont neighborhood has its own distinct flavor with eclectic coffee shops, secondhand stores and galleries. Don’t miss the Fremont Troll sculpture, a massive monster gripping a Volkswagen Beetle under the Aurora Bridge.

3. Explore the farmers markets. The bustling Pike Place Market is known for its fishmongers, but there are also food stalls — brave the line at the beloved Daily Dozen Doughnut Co. — fresh produce vendors, flower stands and artisans of every kind in the indoor/outdoor market. While that’s the market Seattle is famous for, Ballard Farmers Market, held Sundays from 10a.m. to 3p.m., is also well attended and features many local artists, craftpersons and purveyors.

4. Head to Pioneer Square. As the city’s oldest neighborhood, Pioneer Square gives a glimpse of Seattle’s past. Take the Underground Tour and go beneath the streets to learn about what the city was like before the Great Seattle Fire of 1889.

5. Travel up the Space Needle. There’s no structure more synonymous with Seattle than the flying saucer-inspired Space Needle. You’ll get amazing views of the city from the 605-foot tower.

6. Go to Woodland Park Zoo. One of the biggest zoos in the country, Woodland Park Zoo is home to animals from Kodiak bears to elephants to a Komodo dragon.
7. Try boating. Hit the great outdoors by renting a canoe or rowboat from the Waterfront Activities Center at University of Washington and paddling around Lake Washington (rentals start at $9 an hour). If you don’t feel like getting in the water, check out the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Almost always referred to by its more informal name — Ballard Locks — this complex water shifting system links salty Puget Sound with the fresh waters of Salmon Bay, Lake Union, Portage Bay and Lake Washington. It’s a nice spot to watch the boats glide by.
8. Grab coffee. Seattle is synonymous with killer coffee, and in-the-know locals skip Starbucks and head to artisanal roasters like Lighthouse Roasters instead. This tiny neighborhood coffee shop has been roasting beans in vintage machines since 1995 and is known or its perfect foam and unpretentious baristas.

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  • Bradley Moss,
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