Seattle’s Major Attractions

Neighborhoods & Historic Districts

Pike Place Market

One of the oldest continuously-operated farmer’s markets in the U.S., Pike Place Market presides over a nine acre historic district in the heart of downtown Seattle. The market features fresh fish and produce stands, arts and crafts, ethnic groceries and gift stores, vintage clothing, antiques and collectibles, international restaurants, cafes and food bars. Street musicians, sanctioned by the Pike Place Market Preservation Development Authority (PDA), entertain at designated locales throughout the market. The Pike Place Market is located between First & Western Avenues bound by Union & Stewart Streets.

Contact Information:
Pike Place Market Preservation Development Authority
(206) 682-7453
www.pikeplacemarket.org

Pioneer Square

Today, Seattle’s historic district, located on the southern fringe of the downtown business core, features some 20 square blocks of Victorian Romanesque architecture, museums, art galleries, many restaurants and nightlife. But historically, Pioneer Square offers many a wild tale. As a young lumber town in the 1800s, logs skidded down its streets to harbor side sawmills. The town’s brisk growth was suddenly halted by a great fire in 1889 that destroyed many of its wooden structures. The town was quickly rebuilt with brick and mortar atop the rubble and Seattle boomed again as a primary staging area for the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s when more than 70,000 prospectors passed through town. Today, visitors are still drawn to Pioneer Square. The Underground Tour offers a look at the remnants of the old town below street level. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park interprets Seattle’s critical role in the gold rush. And antique-hunters, gallery-walkers and bar-hoppers keep the neighborhood bustling.

Contact Information:
www.pioneersquare.org

The Seattle Center

The legacy of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, Seattle Center is a 74-acre urban park and home to the landmark Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Pacific Science Center, EMP Museum, Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Children’s Museum and many other attractions. The Seattle Center also hosts many of the city’s largest festivals, including Bumbershoot, Seattle Arts and Music Festival, the Northwest Folklife Festival, the Bite of Seattle and many other community events.

Contact Information:
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 684-7200
www.seattlecenter.com

The Seattle Waterfront

Seattle’s natural deep-water harbor, Elliott Bay, teems with trade, ferry boats, luxury cruise liners, sightseeing tour boats and myriad pleasure craft. Prime harbor views can be found on the city’s central waterfront, stretching along Alaskan Way from Pier 70 on the north to Pier 48 on the south. Midway, built atop Pier 59 is the Seattle Aquarium. Pier 66 is home to the Bell Street Cruise Terminal, homeport for luxury cruise liners bound for Alaska’s Inside Passage (a second cruise ship terminal is located at Pier 90). At Pier 55 and 56, Argosy Cruises features decidedly smaller vessels for sightseeing trips and evening dinner cruises. Also departing from Pier 55, Tillicum Village offers a scenic boat trip to nearby Blake Island for a Northwest Coast Native American stage show. New to the city is the Seattle Great Wheel on Pier 57. The Seattle Waterfront also features souvenir and gift shops and an array of Northwest seafood dining.

Contact Information:
www.seattlewaterfront.org

Chinatown-International District

Chinese immigrants originally landed in Seattle in the 1860s, finding work at the town’s saw mills, rail lines and on its fishing boats. Today, the Chinatown-International District spans some 44-blocks south of downtown Seattle, bound by Yesler Way and Dearborn Street on the north and south and Interstate-5 and Fourth Avenue on the east and west. Seattle’s Asian population has grown steadily to 14.4 percent (according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 Census), and today it’s the only neighborhood in the U.S. where Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Vietnamese and Southeast Asians coexist. Chinatown Discovery Tours offers guided walks through the district. The tours of the Chinatown-International District showcases Seattle’s busy Asian neighborhood on the southern fringe of downtown Seattle. Tours include A Touch of Chinatown, a 90-minute introduction to the neighborhood and a Taste of Chinatown private group tour which includes a six-course dim sum lunch. Don’t miss Uwajimaya, one of the largest Asian grocery and gift stores in the United States at Fifth & Weller.

Contact Information:
Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Association
507 S. King St.
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 382-1197
www.cidbia.org

Chinatown Discovery Tours
719 S. King St.
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 623-5124
www.seattlechinatowntour.com

Uwajimaya
600 5th Ave South
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 624-6248
www.uwajimaya.com

Museums & Attractions

Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture

One of the foremost natural history museums in the region, The Burke Museum features both natural and cultural artifacts from the Pacific Northwest and the Pacific Rim ranging from Native American totem poles and hand-carved cedar canoes to dinosaur skeletons, fossils, gems and minerals.

Contact Information:
University of Washington
(at 45th Street NE and 17th Avenue NE)
Seattle, WA 98195-3010
(206) 543-5590
www.washington.edu/burkemuseum

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass is located below the Space Needle on Seattle Center’s 74-acre campus. The exhibition showcases the most comprehensive collection of Washington-native Dale Chihuly’s artwork ever assembled. It includes a collection of glass, sculpture and other media displayed in both interior and exterior exhibits. The interior exhibit highlights the wide variety of Chihuly’s most popular works. The exterior features some of his large, signature works amid a lush garden. The exterior also includes a 40-foot Glass House structure with an expansive Chihuly installation flowing from the ceiling covering 4,500 square feet. The eight expansive galleries are accompanied by a Chihuly bookstore and the Collections Café.

Contact Information:
305 Harrison Street
Seattle, WAS 98109
(206) 753-4940
www.chihulygardenandglass.com

The Children’s Museum, Seattle

The Children’s Museum, Seattle offers a fun, interactive learning environment for kids and families with exhibits such as a Global Village, Mountain Forest, Imagination Studio, Discovery Bay for toddlers, The Neighborhood, Cog City, Storytelling Circle and a traveling exhibit gallery.

Contact Information:
Seattle Center
305 Harrison Street
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 441-1768
www.thechildrensmuseum.org

EMP Museum

The brainchild of Microsoft co-founder, Paul G. Allen, EMP Museum is dedicated to exploring creativity and innovation in American popular music, from rock ‘n’ roll, to jazz, soul, gospel, country, blues, hip-hop, punk and other genres, and pop culture. Visitors to the Frank O. Gehry-designed, 140,000-square-foot museum can view rare artifacts and memorabilia and experience the creative process by listening to musicians tell their own stories.

The EMP’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame is a one-of-a-kind collection of artifacts and memorabilia including works by Isaac Asimov, Ursula Le Guin, H.G. Wells, George Lucas, Gene Rodenberry, James Cameron and Steven Spielberg and other luminaries of the genre.

Contact Information:
325 Fifth Avenue North (at the Seattle Center)
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 770-2700
(877) EMP-SFM1
www.empmuseum.org

Henry Art Gallery

The Henry Art Gallery is the art museum of the University of Washington, located in a striking Charles Gwathmey-designed glass and textured steel building on the west side of the campus. One of the Pacific Northwest’s premier modern and contemporary art museums, the Henry Art Gallery showcases exhibitions and their related programs which invite dialogue about contemporary culture, politics, aesthetics and the traditions of visual art and design of the last two centuries.

Contact Information:
University of Washington
15th Avenue NE and NE 41st Street
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-2280
www.henryart.org

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, often called Ballard Locks, lie at the western end of the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Seattle. They were constructed to raise and lower ships (between six and 26 feet depending on the tides) to allow them to pass between fresh water (Lakes Union and Washington) and salt water (Puget Sound). Operated by the Army Corp of Engineers, the locks are one of Seattle’s most popular visitor attractions and offer a visitor center, fish ladder for salmon, steelhead and other fish and a botanical garden.

Contact Information:
3015 NW 54th St. (in Ballard)
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 783-7059
www.hirammchittendenlocks.mil

Klondike Goldrush National Historic Park

Operated by the National Park Service, the Seattle Park Unit of the Klondike Goldrush National Historic Park (there is another unit in Ketchikan, Alaska) is actually a free museum commemorating Seattle’s role as a gateway to the gold rush in the 1890s, when the young town provided provisions and transportation to some 70,000 prospectors.

Contact Information:
319 2nd Ave S. (Pioneer Square)
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 220-4240
www.nps.gov/klse

The Museum of Flight

From the Wright brothers to outer space, the wonder of flight comes alive at one of the world’s largest air and space museums. With more than 150 historic aircraft on display, interactive exhibits and activities for the whole family, The Museum of Flight offers an exciting experience for the aviation enthusiast and general visitor alike. Museum exhibits include a retired British Airways Concorde jetliner, one of three in the world on display, Air Force One and the Personal Courage Wing which showcases 28 rare and restored World War I and II fighter aircraft.

Contact Information:
9404 East Marginal Way S. (at Boeing Field)
Seattle, WA 98108-4097
(206) 764-5720
www.museumofflight.org

The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour

The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour is located in Mukilteo, approximately 30 miles north of Seattle. The 73,000-square-foot commercial jet interpretive center is located at the west edge of the Paine Field airstrip, directly across from Boeing’s largest jet assembly plant. The center features an aviation gallery with interactive exhibits on commercial aviation, a theater and a roof-top observation deck to view the airport’s take-offs and landings. Exhibits include a flight simulator, cut-aways from fuselages of several Boeing airplane models and an airplane design program where guests can design an aircraft and have its airworthiness tested by computer. Tours of the nearby Boeing plant, which begin and end at the center, feature a 90-minute guided exploration of the largest building in the world by volume where Boeing’s 747, 767, 777 and 787 Dreamliner are built.

Contact Information:
8415 Paine Field Blvd.
Mukilteo, WA 98275
(425) 265-9808
(888) 467-4777
www.futureofflight.org

Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art

Dedicated to contemporary art with a sustained concentration on the medium of glass, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma features works by internationally-known artists. The Museum features 13,000 square feet of open exhibition space and a striking 9,200-square-foot hot shop Amphitheater which includes a hot glass studio where artistic teams blow and cast glass, a cold glass studio for completing artworks and raised seating for 138 visitors, complete with large video screens offering live glass blowing footage. Linking the museum with downtown Tacoma, the Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a 500-foot-long pedestrian overpass shrouded in glass art from renowned local artist Dale Chihuly.

Contact Information:
1801 Dock Street
Tacoma, WA 98402
(866) 4MUSEUM
www.museumofglass.org

Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI)

MOHAI celebrates the rich history of the Pacific Northwest and features noteworthy exhibits from the Smithsonian and Library of Congress. MOHAI showcases a large collection of regional historic and cultural treasures and the museum is an indoor playground for all ages. With more than 50,000 square feet, the museum holds four million historic artifacts, including photographs, videos, costumes and interactive objects such as a World War II-era periscope, reflecting the rich history of Seattle’s Puget Sound naval culture. MOHAI provides five different venue options for private events. Rentals include the Grand Atrium; Lakefront Pavilion; Lakeview Terrace; West Patio; and Meeting Rooms. Additionally, MOHAI offers four permanent exhibits and various seasonal displays. For more information on MOHAI and other upcoming exhibits, visit http://www.mohai.org.

Contact Information:
860 Terry Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 324-1126
www.mohai.org

Pacific Science Center

The Pacific Science Center is a hands-on learning center for kids and families offering permanent and traveling exhibits. Permanent exhibits feature Professor Wellbody’s Academy of Health and Wellness, an interactive dinosaur display, Tropical Butterfly House, Insect Village, Puget Sound Model and Saltwater Tide Pool, plus other exhibits showcasing animals, technology and more. Two IMAX theaters showcase the latest in big-screen and 3-D films; the Boeing IMAX Theatre features a screen six stories high and 80 feet wide, with 12,000 watts of stereo sound.

Contact Information:
200 Second Avenue North (located at the Seattle Center)
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 443-2001
www.pacificsciencecenter.org

Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium features a stunning 40-foot, 55,000-lb. viewing window into a 120,000-gallon aquarium filled with salmon, colorful rockfish, vibrant sea anemones, other native Washington marine life and interactive divers. Other exhibits include two pools filled with sea anemones and sunflower sea star, a pacific coral reef exhibit, marine mammals and an underwater dome, the aquarium’s largest exhibit. For more information call (206) 386-4300 or visit www.seattleaquarium.org.

Contact Information:
Pier 59 (Seattle Waterfront)
1483 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 386-4300
www.seattleaquarium.org

Seattle Art Museum

Located in downtown Seattle, Seattle Art Museum (SAM ) occupies a Robert Venturi-designed building connected to a more recent Allied Works-designed major expansion of the museum. Notable exterior features include Jonathan Borofsky’s Hammering Man and Doug Aitken’s Mirror. SAM boasts a collection of approximately 23,000 objects, ranging from native and Mesoamerican art to contemporary American photo and video installations. The museum offers noteworthy permanent collections of Asian, African, Northwest Coast Native American, modern and contemporary art, European painting and decorative arts. SAM also maintains an ambitious schedule of traveling exhibitions.

Contact Information:
1300 First Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-2902
(206) 654-3100
www.seattleartmuseum.org

Seattle Asian Art Museum

Located in a 1930s art modern building in the heart of Volunteer Park on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, the Seattle Asian Art Museum features noteworthy collections of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Southeast Asian art. The museum’s Japanese collection is considered one of the top-five in the U.S. and among the most distinguished outside of Japan.

Contact Information:
Volunteer Park
1400 East Prospect Street
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 654-3100
www.seattleasianartmuseum.org

Seattle Great Wheel

The Seattle Great Wheel is a 175-foot Ferris wheel located at the end of Pier 57 on the Seattle waterfront. The 42 Euro-designed gondolas are equipped with heating, air conditioning and glass see-through floors with views of Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains and the Seattle city skyline. The structure extends nearly 40 feet out from the pier, hovering over Elliott Bay.

Contact Information:
1301 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 623-8600
http://seattlegreatwheel.com

Olympic Sculpture Park

This nine-acre sculpture park features a 2,500-foot descending, Z-shaped path connecting the Belltown neighborhood in downtown Seattle with a beach on the waterfront. The path takes visitors past a range of permanent and rotating sculptures and major works by world-renowned artists such as Richard Serra, Alexander Calder and Mark di Suvero, while allowing visitors to take in the scenery offered by Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The park also features the PACCAR Pavilion, a glass and steel structure that houses a fluctuating exhibit, public event space as well as a café. The Gates Amphitheater sits adjacent to the pavilion, featuring descending grass terraces for outdoor films and performances.

Contact Information:
2901 Western Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 654-3100
http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/visit/olympic-sculpture-park

Smith Tower Observation Deck

Once Seattle’s tallest building, Smith Tower, built in 1914 and restored in 1999, offers 360 degree views of the city, sound and mountains from its 35th floor observation deck. The deck is reached via the human-operated elevators.

Contact Information:
506 Second Avenue (Pioneer Square)
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 622-4004
www.smithtower.com

Space Needle

A legacy of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the 605-foot Space Needle observation tower is an ever-futuristic icon of Seattle. The Space Needle features an observation deck at the 520-foot level with 360-degree views of the Seattle skyline, Puget Sound and the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. Just below, SkyCity restaurant rotates on the hour and specializes in Pacific Northwest cuisine. A gift store is located in the Space Needle lobby.

Contact Information:
400 Broad Street (at the Seattle Center)
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 905-2111 (information)
(800) 937-9582 (reservations)
www.spaceneedle.com

Woodland Park Zoo

Often ranked among the top zoos in the country, Woodland Park is famed for setting international standards for animal care and its realistic landscape exhibits that allow animals to thrive and be seen in naturalistic environments. Popular exhibits include an African Savanna, Northern Trail, Tropical Rain Forest, Bug World, Temperate Forest Zone, Willawong Station and Australasia Zone.

Contact Information:
601 North 59th Street (North Seattle)
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 548-2500
www.zoo.org

Tours & Cruises

Argosy Cruises

Argosy Cruises is Seattle’s largest water sightseeing tour operator, offering excursions of Seattle’s harbor, Lakes Union and Washington, the Hiram Chittenden Locks and Puget Sound. The one-hour, narrated Harbor Cruise departs from Pier 55 on the Seattle waterfront and cruises Elliott Bay (Seattle’s busy harbor) several times daily with hours changing seasonally. Argosy offers a two and a half hour Locks cruise which departs from the Seattle waterfront and cruises Elliott Bay through the Hiram Chittenden Locks into Lake Union, featuring Seattle’s floating houseboat community. Lake cruises offer either a two-hour trip from AGC Marina on South Lake Union or a 90-minute cruise of Lake Washington from Kirkland (ten miles east of Seattle). Argosy also offers dinner, brunch and lunch cruises year-around aboard the Royal Argosy, a 180-foot classically designed cruise ship featuring white linen tables, mahogany trim, marble tops, chandeliers and several accessible decks. Live music on selected sailings. The Royal Argosy departs from Pier 56 on the Seattle Waterfront.

Contact Information:
Pier 55 Ticket Booth and Argosy Visitor Center at Pier 56
Seattle Waterfront
1101 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98101
(888) 623-1445
www.argosycruises.com

Tillicum Village and Blake Island Marine State Park

A scenic boat excursion from Pier 55 on the Seattle waterfront combines a taste of traditional Northwest Coast Native American culture with the pristine beauty of Blake Island State Park. The four-hour tour includes a delicious appetizer of steamed clams and nectar, a traditional salmon bake and dances and legends from Northwest Tribes. Blake Island State Park offers visitors the chance to extend their stay to explore a lowland forest with 16 miles of hiking or biking trails and five miles of saltwater beaches. While there, browse the gift gallery and enjoy artifact and craft displays and demonstrations.

Contact Information:
Pier 55
Seattle Waterfront
(888) 623-1445
http://www.argosycruises.com/tillicum-village/

Horizon Seattle (Gray Line of Seattle)

Operated by Gray Line of Seattle, Horizon Seattle offers an array of motor coach tours in and around Seattle. For travelers seeking more flexibility, the Hop-On/ Hop-Off Double Decker loop offers plenty of downtown sightseeing options and reservations aren’t required (tickets are available on board). Gray Line also offers sightseeing excursions to Mt. Rainier National Park, Tillicum Village, Future of Flight & Boeing Tour and in partnership with Clipper Vacations, the San Juan Islands and Victoria, B.C.

Contact Information:
4500 West Marginal Way SW
Seattle, WA 98106
(206) 626-5200
(800) 824-8897

Kenmore Air

The largest full-service seaplane operation in the world, Kenmore Air boasts a fleet of 25 planes which annually log more than two million miles and carry more than 125,000 passengers. Regular flights between the airline’s two Seattle terminals (at Lake Union just north of downtown Seattle and Kenmore, ten miles north on Lake Washington) feature the San Juan Islands, Oak Harbor, Victoria, B.C., the Gulf Islands, Vancouver B.C. and the Inside Passage. Special packages and excursions including sport fishing, whale watching, waterside picnics and more are also offered. From Seattle, Kenmore also features 20-minute scenic “flightseeing” trips that popular with visitors.

Contact Information:
Kenmore Air Harbor:
6321 NE 175th Street
Kenmore, WA 98028-0064

Lake Union Air Harbor:
950 Westlake Avenue
Seattle, WA 98109

(866) 435-95245
www.kenmoreair.com

Ride the Ducks

Tour Seattle by land and sea with Ride the Ducks. The tour features vintage DUKW vehicles (“Ducks”), amphibious landing craft developed by the United States Army during World War II. The Seattle tour encompasses downtown Seattle by land and Lake Union by water.

Contact Information:
516 Broad Street (near Seattle Center)
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 441-DUCK
(800) 817-1116
www.ridetheducksofseattle.com

Seattle Seaplanes

Seattle Seaplanes offers year-around 20 minute sightseeing flights from Seattle’s Lake Union, in addition to “dinner flights” to popular restaurants and resorts in the San Juan Islands, Victoria, B.C., Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula and the towns of Port Ludlow, Port Hadlock and Poulsbo on the Kitsap Peninsula. Charters, special occasion flights and flight instruction are also available.

Contact Information:
1325 Fairview Avenue East (Lake Union’s south shore)
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 329-9638/1-800-637-5553
www.seattleseaplanes.com

The Underground Tour

The Underground Tour offers a 90-minute guided tour below the streets of the Pioneer Square neighborhood in Seattle’s historic district. The tour takes visitors though the subterranean passages that once served as the main roadways and first-floor storefronts of old Seattle. The great fire of 1889 destroyed much of the original wooden city, but Seattle was rebuilt with brick and mortar atop the ruins. Today visitors can tour the remnants below the streets via guided tours that are rich with history, anecdotes and a subterranean joke or two.

Contact Information:
614 First Avenue (Pioneer Square)
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 682-4646
www.undergroundtour.com

Victoria Clipper

Clipper Vacations operates regular catamaran service between Pier 66 on the Seattle Waterfront and Victoria, B.C. (year-around), and the San Juan Islands (seasonally). Victoria Clipper IV, which can travel up to 30 knots, is known as one of the fastest passenger vessels in the western hemisphere, making the Seattle-Victoria trip in just two and a half hours. Schedules and fares vary depending on the season and destination. Additionally, Clipper Vacations offers a wide range of single and multi-day excursions via catamaran, motor coach and train throughout the Northwest and Canadian Rockies.

Contact Information:
2701 Alaskan Way, Pier 69
Seattle, WA 98121
(800) 888-2535
www.clippervacations.com

Washington State Ferries

The Washington State Ferry system is the largest in the U.S., carrying more than 23 million passengers each year aboard 28 vessels operating from 20 terminals. From the Seattle waterfront, ferries carrying up to 2,500 passengers and 202 automobiles travel to and from Bremerton on the Olympic Peninsula (60 minutes one way) and Bainbridge Island (35 minutes one way). Both routes offer panoramic views of the Seattle skyline and harbor and visitors often jump aboard for quick cross-sound sightseeing trips.

Contact Information:
Pier 52
801 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 464-6400
(888) 808-7977
www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries


Media Contacts:

David Blandford – (206) 461-5806, dblandford@visitseattle.org

Kauilani Robinson – (206) 461-5839,krobinson@visitseattle.org

 

(Updated 4/14)

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