Things to do in & Near Seattle

I have been asked three times in the last day for suggestions of things to do in Seattle. I figured it would be helpful to put together a list of some of my favorite things to do in Seattle for people coming to visit our beautiful city and its surroundings, plus it’s handy to have when people come visit us to think about what to do!

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Seattle is an extremely casual city that is surrounded by lakes, mountains, the Puget Sound and views that you will never forget. With a population of just over 600,000 people, our small but diverse city is home to famous musicians, actors, tech gurus, the 2014 Super Bowl Champions, and a lot of traffic. We have incredible food, world-class wines, and Washington is the world’s largest producer of hops. The people here are sometimes friendly, almost always eclectic, generally extremely smart and very environmentally friendly. We’ve got decent public transportation options, namely the city bus and there is a light rail between downtown and the airport that is undergoing a major expansion. The climate here is pretty mild year-round. Summers are moderate, but typically sunny with no humidity or mosquitoes, whereas October through June, well, it’s usually the rainy season. There are few days when you actually need an umbrella – bring a good waterproof jacket with a hood and you should stay dry and blend in with the locals. You’ll understand why we drink so much coffee if you come during the winter. I hope you enjoy your trip to Seattle!

{View of Lake Washington from Leschi}

{View of Lake Washington from Leschi}

What to do in Seattle…

Have a car and want to get out of town?…

{Skagit Valley Tulip Festival takes place in April}

{Skagit Valley Tulip Festival takes place in April}

Don’t just stick to the city of Seattle! Get out for a day or two and explore the surroundings. There are mountains just 45 minutes outside the city, incredible wineries a quick 25 minute jaunt away, and some pretty amazing scenic viewpoints you can see in just a day.

  • Drive yourself {better yet, hire a driver} to Woodinville for an afternoon of wine drinking. With more than 100 wineries to choose from there will be something for everyone! Some of my favorites are: Trust, Dusted Valley, Mark Ryan, Gorman, JM Cellars, J Bookwalter, Patterson, Darby… All of these, save for maybe JM Cellars, are within a block of each other. You’re welcome. A fantastic rainy day activity.
  • While you’re in Woodinville, check out the events happening at Chateau Ste Michelle’s incredible estate. They have an awesome summer concert series.
  • Need food while in Woodinville? The Herbfarm is Washington’s only 5-star restaurant, which of course comes with a hefty price tag. More reasonably priced is Barking Frog, The Commons, Purple and Red Hook Brewery.
  • Again, another stop on the Woodinville trip is to do a brewery tour at Red Hook, see an outdoor movie, or just grab a cheap bite to eat/beer. This is great to do on a rainy day!
  • Take a ferry {with your car} to Bremerton, drive about an hour to Hurricane Ridge. Go for a hike. Enjoy.
  • Head southeast towards Mount Rainier and go to Crystal Mountain. Incredible ski resort, but if that’s not your thing, you can take the gondola up to the top of the mountain for lunch or dinner and one of the most amazing views you may ever see {if it’s clear, that is!}. This is a great all-season option.
  • Drive east towards the Cascade Mountains and go for a hike. There are thousands to choose from. Some easy ones include: Denny Creek, Tiger Mountain, Snoqualmie Falls, Snow Lake, or visit the Washington Trails Association for more options. Or, go for a hike on Mount Rainier – there are several to choose from for all ability levels. Be mindful to note if the park/trail requires a recreation pass – these can be obtained at REI – there is one on the way to Snoqualmie Pass off of I-90 in Issaquah.
  • Take a tour of the Boeing Factory – this is about 45 minutes north of Seattle. This is a great rainy day activity!
  • Alternately, visit the Museum of Flight – this is different than the factory and is just 10 minutes south of downtown.
  • Head north to Deception Pass and/or Whidbey Island. Spend the day there and eat a lot of cheese. If you’re visiting in April be sure to check out the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. If you play your cards right, you might just have time to go whale watching...
{Ruby Beach}

{Ruby Beach}

Visiting for a while and want to go stay somewhere out of the city?…

{Cultura Winery}

{Cultura Winery}

Washington state is unbelievably gorgeous and diverse in its landscapes. We’ve got mountains, streams, an ocean, rainforests, lakes, a desert… You name it, we’ve probably got it! If you have a couple extra days and a car/other mode of transportation, I would definitely encourage exploring some of the many things that Washington has to offer.

  • Spend some time on the San Juan Islands {a 1.5-2 hour drive north to Anacortes + a ferry ride over to whichever island you choose}
  • Visit Olympic National Park and the Washington Coast {this is one of those “it’s the journey and all of the destinations” trips, so plan on stopping and getting out of the car a lot.}
  • Do a wine weekend in Yakima {2-2.5 hours from Seattle} – be sure to visit Cultura Winery, Dineen Vineyards, Two Mountain Winery and Treveri Cellars
  • Take the Victoria Clipper to Victoria, BC {about a 3 hour boat ride to Victoria}
  • Visit the idyllic Bavarian village, Leavenworth, about 2.5 hours northeast of Seattle – go in October for their annual Octoberfest, visit in December for the icicle lights or make the drive in the summer to enjoy wine and hiking. It’s great any time of the year!
{Sunset overlooking the San Juan Islands}

{Sunset overlooking the San Juan Islands}

Want to know where to eat/drink? Check out some of my favorites!