When people think of Seattle, they usually think of rain. And yes, while it rains a LOT in this region, visiting in the summer can provide some really gorgeous weather! For those of you planning a trip to Seattle, think beyond the typical touristy sites that include the Space Needle and Pike’s Marketplace. Yeah, these are quintessential Seattle, but there is so much more that this city has to offer. Here are our top 5 things to do in Seattle that you may not have thought of.
1. Parks With a View
There are many beautiful parks in the Seattle area. And when the weather is good, these parks will come alive with locals. Nobody wants to miss enjoying a day of great weather. You will find people having a picnic, playing lawn games, flying kites, and enjoying all kinds of outdoor sports!
Because the city is spread across islands and hills with different waterways in between, you will find a number of parks that have stunning views! Whether you want to enjoy a view of the water, neighborhoods, or the city skyline, there are so many great parks to choose from.
On a recent visit, we really enjoyed Gas Works park, just north of downtown. The park sits along the water and looks out directly at downtown. It’s beautiful anytime, but is gorgeous at night. Take a hike to the top of the hill at the park for some really great views, but watch out for all the kites!
2. Enjoy the Quirky Neighborhoods!
There are a number of great neighborhoods all around Seattle, each with their own unique vibe and attractions. Often, visitors stick to the downtown area along the pier and Seattle Center. But venturing beyond the downtown district is one of the best ways to get to know the real Seattle. Some of the neighborhoods we like to explore are Fremont, Ballard, Queen Anne, and Capitol Hill!
3. Cruise the Waterways
Seattle is built all around the water, so it’s a given that you need to go out and cruise the seas. This is a major port for cruise ships going up to Alaska, but you can also take short cruises out to one of the many nearby islands, such as Orcas Island.
There are also a few scenic cruises around Seattle that take you on tours around the area. The Blake Island tour is a bit touristy, but it’s a relaxing 45 minute trip (one-way) to a remote island where you can have dinner, learn all about the native tribes of the area, hear some of their stories, and watch some of their traditional dances.
Another option is to be active on the water while enjoying some water sports. On a nice day, the waterways will be filled with people who are kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, and maybe even doing a bit of water skiing. Whether you enjoy these adventure activities on the water or if you prefer to rent a boat and do a bit of fishing, spending a day on the water is a great way to experience Seattle.
4. Go Geocaching in Seattle
Another unique activity that you may enjoy around Seattle is Geocaching (of course we had to throw this one in here!). For those of you who are unfamiliar, Geocaching is an international treasurehunt-type game that uses GPS coordinates to find a container that has been hidden at a location. After finding the cache, sign the log and replace it for the next person behind you to find.
One of the many reasons that we enjoy Geocaching when we travel is that it takes you on a unique adventure. This is a great way to see a city, especially a fun city like Seattle! In fact, the headquarters for Geocaching is based in Seattle – even more reason to check it out! We actually took some time out of our recent visit to do the Geocaching HQ GeoTour, which made for an awesome day of sightseeing.
This is another great aspect about Geocaching. Along this GeoTour we were taken to a number of historical, and interesting sights that we wouldn’t have otherwise known about. While other times we went to popular sights that we wanted to check out anyway (like the famous Troll under the bridge). The funny thing was that while we were at the Troll discovering a cache, a tour bus pulled up with a group of tourists. They paid to go on this tour, while we found it ourselves through Geocaching!
5. Check out the Fremont Sunday Market
When you get out of the main touristy areas of downtown Seattle, you never know what you might find. We were delighted to run across the Fremont Sunday Market, one of many markets that you will find in different neighborhoods around town.
Running every Sunday year-round, this market is one of 4 markets run by the same family in this city. Going on 24 years now, the market is a mix of eclectic pieces, from local artwork, furniture, clothing, and antiques. They also have a great food truck area where you can take a break and snack on a variety of local and international foods!
On our recent visit, we happened to run into Ryan who’s dad started the market. He said his father initially began the market for his mother, who is an artist, as a way to sell her goods. Now it has grown into a huge market, and on a busy weekend they may see 5,000 to 12,000 people!
The family was inspired by the concept of international markets, where locals come out of their homes to socialize with each other. Having coffee or a meal, doing a bit of shopping, people watching, and catching up with friends and family. This is one of the things that Josh and I really love about visiting international markets too. So we really enjoyed our visit to the Fremont Sunday Market. They have succeeded in creating exactly what they set out to do. We saw people from all walks of life mingling with each other and just enjoying the day.
Don’t Miss Seeing the Real Seattle!
So while we are not saying to skip out on the typical tourist sites in Seattle (I mean, who doesn’t want to catch a fish at Pike’s Market?), be sure to make time to venture out to other areas of Seattle. With so many great neighborhoods to check out and things to do, you will certainly not be bored.