Things to do in Seattle

Itineraries for Your Trip to Seattle

Seattle locals share their perfect days.
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3 Days in Seattle for First Timers

Curated by Megan HillMegan Hill is an award-winning, Seattle-based food, travel, and outdoors writer. Her work has appeared in publications such as Lonely Planet, the Saturday Evening Post, and Global Traveler.

Seattle enchants visitors with top restaurants and attractions, including the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, and the city is equally well-situated for forays into the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges and for exploration of one of Puget Sound’s many islands. Here are a few ways to spend three days in and around Seattle.

Day 1

Seattle’s downtown is home to its most recognizable sites, including Pike Place Market and the Space Needle. Spend a full day here allows you to explore all of historic Pike Place Market’s nooks and crannies and shop for souvenirs. Then, take in the views atop the Space Needle, recently renovated to include a glass floor peering down the structure’s stem. Next, take a tour of the Seattle Underground, in the Gold Rush-era Pioneer Square district. You journey down one level below the streets to learn about the city’s colorful past. Or, take a few laps on the Great Wheel, the city’s waterfront Ferris wheel. Finally, save time to visit the Chinatown-International District, once home to Bruce Lee. The neighborhood is packed with restaurants serving dim sum, banh mi, sushi, and much more.

Day 2

Kick off your day with a scenic flight over Seattle for a bird’s-eye view of the landscape, taking in the hilly terrain, views of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, Mount Rainier, and Seattle’s many waterways and nearby islands. Then, head to the Fremont neighborhood, a quirky collection of shops and restaurants. Visit the Fremont Troll, a massive statue under the Aurora Bridge, and keep an eye out for Rapunzel’s blonde locks flowing from the bridgekeeper’s tower on Fremont Bridge. Don’t miss Gas Works Park, which overlooks Lake Union and the Seattle skyline. End your day with a tour of Capitol Hill, known for its thriving LGBTQ community. Consider a food tour of the neighborhood to get a taste for the neighborhood’s culture and food.

Day 3

Seattle is surrounded by two mountain ranges, the Cascades and the Olympics. On clear days, these peaks are visible just beyond the skyline. It’s tough to pick just one place to visit among all these spires, but you can’t go wrong with Mount Rainier National Park, which protects Washington’s tallest mountain. The 14,400-foot peak—an active volcano—is covered in glaciers, viewable from many vantage points in the park. There are plenty of alpine meadows to explore, plus alpine lakes, waterfalls, and wildlife such as elk and marmots to spot.

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