How to spend a magnificent day in Seattle
I'm sure you've heard it before – one day is not enough, they say. Which, in fact, tends to be true, most of the time. One day is never enough when you're traveling or on vacation, who are we kidding?
However, sometimes that's all we've got. And so we try to make the best out of those 24 hours (well, less because .. sleep). So, if you ever find yourself near the Evergreen state and have a few hours to spare in Seattle here is a great itinerary to follow, in no particular order (this just happens to be the order in which we did things.)
We drove into Seattle after spending two nights in Port Angeles and you can find that awesome itinerary in a link here once it goes live.
Visit the Fremont Troll and take a picture to share with your insta friends!
Okay, so maybe this doesn't compare to the popularity of the Space Needle, but c'mon – it's a troll under a bridge, literally! I loved trolls as a kid (any 90's kid would understand) so I thought it would only be proper to pay a visit and snap a pic.
Please be polite and kind, as this is in a residential area and parking and traffic can get a bit out of hand. If it's too full when you visit, simply drive around for a while or come back at another time.
Length of time: 10 to 15 minutes (not including time it may take to find a parking spot)
The good: Great for a quick break, stretching of the legs, kids will love to play and climb the troll.
Not-so-good: Parking is limited and located in a residential area
Stop by gasworks park and take in the city views across the water.
After your quick stop to the Fremont Troll, head on over to Gasworks Park, located about 5 minutes away by car. So, hear me out, this isn't just your regular city park with sandboxes and swings. Gasworks, formerly an abandoned industrial park, has something for everyone. The kids, and grownups alike, will enjoy marveling at the old industrial structures and factory (of what once use to be a gasification plant, hence the park's name) which still remain intact today. Plenty of photo ops in this area – but no climbing the structures please (as per the signs).
Once you've enjoyed the industrial part of the park, head on over to the Lake Union water front where you can lie down on the grass, enjoy a picnic, and take in the beautiful Seattle city views from this side of town. If relaxing is not your thing – you can rent kayaks and paddle boards to enjoy on Lake Union. However, do note, there aren't any rentals inside Gasworks Park that I am aware of. But there should be several within a few minutes drive.
Lastly, walk the paved path up the climbing hill, where you will reach the highest elevation in the park which will give you even better views of Seattle's cityscape. Up here you can also sit on the grass, relax, enjoy a picnic, or play around with the famous Sundial, built in 1978, it uses your body's shadow to tell time. Pretty neat if you ask me.
Length of time required: From as little as 10 minutes to as much as a few hours. Depends on what you want to do.
The good : great for a quick stroll through the park, picnics, photography, instagram worthy shots, and those curious about sundials!
Not-so-good: I can't find a negative to this park, there was plenty of parking, restrooms available, it was clean, and even though there were a ton of people it was spacious enough to not feel crowded. There is quite a bit of walking so keep that in mind.
Enjoy a few hours at Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is almost synonymous with Seattle. Have you really been to Seattle if you skip out on Pike Place Market? Who knows. And we didn't care to find out, so we definitely made a stop in this quirky side of town.
Pike Place Market is a public farmer's market that has been operating since 1907 (Hey, it just reached 100 years old!). This place is fun, quirky, and different. Here you will find a ton of open air, individually owned markets selling anything and everything from fresh fruits and juices (for all you vegans), other not-so-healthy appealing foods (for the non vegans), coffee (the 1st starbucks can be found here), and other non-food related items like clothes and handmade jewelry and other arts and crafts.
Pike place is a great place to spend an afternoon people watching, walking around, and taking in the overall feel of Seattle life. It is located overlooking the Elliot Bay waterfront where one can sit down on benches, enjoy plenty of photo ops, and rest the legs a bit from all that walking.
Cost: Free to visit
Length of Time: You can easily spend 1 to 3 hours here
The good: Plenty to eat, great people watching, nice waterfront for photo ops.
The not-so-good: Can be crowded and loud
Check out the sticky situation at 'The Gum Wall'
One does not come to Seattle and not pay a visit to the famous gum wall. Yes it's a wall, and yes it's full of gum. Trust me you're going to want to see this, in person, and maybe even chew a piece of your own gum and leave a mark. Enjoy, take pictures, and remember don't get too close to the wall or you might stick there forever.
Length of Time: A few minutes
The Good: It makes for great Instagram pics, and there's a lot of gum. A lot.
The Not-So-Good: Can be crowded, and there's nothing really else to do but see the gum and snap a pic.
Seattle Ferris wheel
Another icon of Seattle is The Seattle Great Wheel. It's located on Pier 57, a pretty popular tourist attraction with many restaurants and gift shops. The atmosphere here is lively and tons of fun. The is a modern Ferris wheel with closed gondolas, not like your typical fair Ferris wheels. The views from up here are amazing during the day (you can see Mt.Rainier) or at night when the city lights up. Each gondola fits up to 8 people – but keep in mind – parties under 6 may have to ride with other riders not in your party. However, if the place is not packed you might luck out and ride with your party of 2, like we did!
Cost: Prices vary from children to adults ranging from $9 to $14.
Length of time: About 30 minutes to an hour depending on how busy it is.
The good: It's a different way of enjoying spectacular views of Seattle.
The not-so-good: Can be pricey if it's a large family, also lines can be long on weekends and holidays.
Climb upwards 520 feet to the Space Needle's Observation Deck.
When you think Seattle – the first thing that probably comes to mind is the Space Needle. It is a landmark, an icon of Seattle and all of Washington. Experience 360 views of the Emerald City and its surrounding beauty. On a clear day you can see Mt. Rainier – Washington's tallest active volcano. If you choose to come at night, you will experience Seattle's city lights glimmering throughout the night landscape. If all you have is one day, I'd recommend you visit the Space Needle at night. It is open until midnight giving you plenty of time to accomplish other things throughout the day. You can even have dinner and end your night here at the Space Needle.
Cost: Between $13 to $29 – prices vary by age and time of visit.
Length of Time: Anywhere between 1 to 2 hours.
The good: Great views from the very top.
The not-so-good: People with fear of heights might want to make sure they know how high up they are going, can be crowded at the observation deck.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
I am not a big art museum enthusiast, I won't lie, but this museum was pretty cool. It's not your typical art museum, I'll tell you that much. Yes it has art, but art that is made out of blown glass! How cool is that?! Seriously, this takes some talent and Dale Chihuly definitely has some. He is a local Washingtonian (born in Tacoma) and is very well known in this field of glass blowing art. His pieces in this museum are complex, bright, colorful, and just simply awe-inspiring.
I definitely recommend you pay a visit here – and it is conveniently located next to the space needle which means you can visit the museum while you wait out your reservation for the space needle visit. Also, another tidbit, you can save some money if you buy both tickets (space needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass) together at the same time.
Cost: Prices vary depending on age and time of visit ranging from $18 to $29.
Length of Time: Anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
The good: Great pieces of blown glass art that will captivate anyone's attention, from kids to big adults.
The not-so-good: Can be expensive for a large family but try to save by purchasing your space needle ticket together or finding out about special offers like coming in before 10am to save $10 each ticket. (always check website for updated specials)
I'll be writing another article with suggested day trips out of Seattle if you have more than 24 hours.
Have you been to Seattle or planning a trip soon? Let me know in the comments below!
with love + gratitude,
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Wow great shots! That space needle and market pics are such great pictures! I was in Seattle for a day and did some of these. Great suggestions. I wish I was there longer though there is so much to do there!
Hey Michelle! Thank you for the picture compliments. 🙂 I totally agree, I wish I had more than 24 hours to see Seattle. There is so much to do in that area that the options are endless. But hey, that gives us an excuse to go back! 😉