Seattle attractions

There's more to Seattle than the Space Needle and Pike's Place Market. Here are some of our favorite places to go and things to do

Seattle telescope

Photo by Amanda Koster

Seattle: Edwin E. Ritchie Observatory

Bainbridge Island is home to a planetarium and, at 27½ inches in diameter, the largest publicly accessible telescope in the Northwest.

The Battle Point Astronomical Association holds monthly star parties, which include planetarium shows and telescope viewings that are open to the public.

  • Free
  • Located in Battle Point Park alongside Battle Point Dr., Seattle, WA
  • Neighborhood: Bainbridge Island
  • 206/842-9152
  • Visit their website for scheduled events

seattle bar and music venue

Photo by John Granen

Seattle: Tractor Tavern

Acts that can easily fill larger venues opt instead for extended-night runs at the casual, intimate Tractor.

Country singer Shelby Lynne popped by to perform recently. Other acts feature rockabilly, jazz, ska, blues, and pop music.

  • $5-$25 for most shows
  • 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., Seattle, WA
  • Neighborhood: Ballard
  • 206/789-3599
  • Open daily

Seattle dinner movie theater

Photo by John Clark

Seattle: Central Cinema

Hold the Raisinets–opt for something along the lines of a glass of French red and a stone oven-crisped pizza topped with spicy Italian sausage and organic mustard greens.

The Central screens indie flicks, old favorites, and events like the popular Arab-Iranian Film Fest in March. Read more

  • $6
  • 1411 21st Ave., Seattle, WA
  • Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
  • 206/686-6684
  • Open daily

Seattle poetry event

Photo by John Clark

Seattle: Cheap Wine and Poetry

With free admission and $1 glasses of wine, this has to be the city’s best bargain night out.

Local writers read essays, short stories, comedy, memoirs, and, yes, poetry while the audience packs the small cafe and snacks on cheese and crackers or hummus and veggies.

  • $
  • Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., Seattle, WA
  • Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
  • 206/322-7030
  • Performances happen every other month; visit website for calendar of events

Seattle park

Photo by Michael Hanson

Seattle: Seward Park

With 277 glorious, woodsy acres jutting into Lake Washington, bike paths, and sandy beaches, Seward Park Environmental & Audobon Centerhas always had a lot going for it.

The center is within a historic landmark, a refurbished 1927 Tudor, where there’s a library, a lab, and two classrooms where kids can test their science savvy.

  • Free entrance
  • 5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S., Seattle, WA
  • Neighborhood: Seward Park
  • 206/652-2444
  • Open Tuesday-Saturday in summer; Wednesday-Saturday in winter

Seattle venue

Photo by John Clark

Seattle: The Triple Door

You might hear Robert Cray while munching on salt-and-pepper squid one night and then discover a folk singer-songwriter the next.

This 1926 theater was saved from boarded-up neglect and turned into an intimate place to hear musicians who are not just run-of-the-mill mainstream.

  • $$$
  • 216 Union St,. Seattle, WA
  • Neighborhood: Downtown
  • 206/838-4333
  • Open daily

Seattle chocolate tour

Photo by José Mandojana

Seattle: Tour de Chocolat

For some schooling in the Northwest’s other brown bean, hop onto the Tour de Chocolat van, run by the Chocolate Box shop, for a three-hour edible intro to the city’s hottest sweet spots: Theo Chocolate, Oh! Chocolate, and Fran’s Chocolates.

  • $55
  • 108 Pine St., Seattle, WA
  • Neighborhood: Downtown
  • 206/443-3900
  • Tours Friday-Sunday; reservations required

Banya 5 spa and pool

Photo by Charles Gullung

Seattle: Banya 5

Patrons visit this Seattle banya (Russian for “bath”) for it’s moist sauna, Turkish-style steam room, cold plunge, and tepid saltwater pool.

Men, women, and families all enjoy the 20-ton 220° perilka oven, inside a bathhouse that is therapeutic without being froufrou. Read more

  • $35 entry; treatments from $45
  • 217 Ninth Ave. N., Seattle, WA
  • Neighborhood: South Lake Union
  • 206/262-1234
  • Open Tuesday-Sunday; visit their website for details about the Early Bird Special


Seattle birders

Photo by John Granen

Seattle: Bird watching

In autumn, flame-colored maples light up the forest edges around Seattle, chum salmon hit the creeks, and waterbirds like buffleheads and harlequin ducks come home for the winter.

Add in year-round residents like rhinoceros auklets (yes, they have horns on their bills) and the place starts looking like a zoo.

Observe from Discovery Park, where the wild beaches have tidepools, bluffs, and restored wetlands.

  • Free
  • 3801 W. Government Way, Seattle, WA
  • Neighborhood: Magnolia
  • 206/386-4236
  • Call the visitor’s center (Closed Mondays) for directions to park

Seattle ballet performance

Seattle: Pacific Northwest Ballet

You can watch professionally trained bodies bending, leaping, and twirling every which way at the venerable Pacific Northwest Ballet. Tickets normally run $25 to $150, but if you time it right you can score tickets at the little-known $10 preview days.

  • Tickets from $10
  • McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., Seattle, WA
  • Neighborhood: Queen Anne
  • 206/441-2424
  • Call for a schedule; preview days are usually the Friday before a show but tickets sell out quickly

Seattle literary theater

Photo by John Granen

Seattle: Book-It Repertory Theatre

These are not just plays based on books but theater entirely from books. Practically every word is spoken, every scene, every situation comes straight from the text.

From Don Quixote to John Irving’s The Cider House Rules, go for performances absolutely cut down to their essence.

  • Tickets $20-$40
  • Center House Theatre, 305 Harrison St., Seattle, WA
  • Neighborhood: Lower Queen Anne
  • 206/216-0833
  • Visit website for calendar of events

Seattle dinner theater

Seattle: Teatro Zinzanni

Enjoy this saucy mix of burlesque, comedy, and dinner circus.

The ever-evolving production that combines improv, dance, and sensuality is served up with a five-course gourmet dinner under a giant Belgian mirrored tent.

  • Tickets from $105
  • 222 Mercer St., Seattle, WA
  • Neighborhood: Lower Queen Anne
  • 206/802-0015
  • Open Thursday-Sunday; visit their website for special events

Weather Watch Park

Photo by John Granen

Seattle: Weather Watch Park

Make like a meteorologist or a little kid and look up. From towering cumulous castles to saucerlike lenticulars, Northwest clouds are viewed easily from the park’s wide-open western vantage point.

Pull up a driftwood log on the pebble beach just below the park, tilt your head back–and gaze.

  • Free
  • 4035 Beach Dr. S.W., Seattle, WA
  • Neighborhood: West Seattle
  • 206/684-4075
  • Open daily

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