Seattle, a quirky city; made up of artists, computer enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers and of course coffee lovers. There’s a multitude of options to keep you entertained in the city which tailors to everyone’s needs.
This budget-friendly list consists of the best outdoor activities to do in Seattle which are bound to keep you busy. For a locals perspective, ditch the travel guides and book a local Seattleite for a personalized meet-up.
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Kubota Japanese Gardens
A hidden gem in the South Seattle area is the stunning Kubota Gardens. This property was created by the talented landscaper Fujitaro Kutoba in 1927 before being bought and up-kept by the City of Seattle since 1987.
The 20-acre garden is full of Japanese and native flora including Black Bamboo, Norway Spruce, and the stunning Japanese Maple to name a few.
Take a picnic and enjoy a little peace amongst the hills; surrounded by waterfalls, Koi-filled ponds, streams and Japanese style bridges.
Dogs are welcome but please remember to clean up after them to keep these gardens immaculate.
The oldest neighborhood in Seattle gets its name from the first settlers who built their homes here. These days it’s full of appealing architecture, bursting bookstores, cozy cafes and awe-inspiring art galleries waiting to be explored.
Every first Thursday of the month is the renowned Art Walk starting at Pioneer Square. Started in 1981, this was the first art walk offered in the United States.
Take the free self-guided tour from 5pm-8pm through the area’s galleries. With plenty of food and drink options in the Pioneer Square area, this can be made into a fantastic night out.
Check out their website on how to get free parking.
Pike Place Market
Free - $
This infamous market of Seattle is on the top of many people’s to-do list for good reason. The best farmer’s market in the country is actually Seattle’s most visited landmark.
Pike Place Market is a fantastic place for lunch offering a variety of freshly caught seafood and multitudes of other cuisines.
After a delicious meal, you should have enough energy to tackle the 200+ artisan stalls whilst being entertained by the talented street performers.
After a busy day sit back, relax and enjoy a drink at one of the many bay-side bars in the open-air plaza.
For the foodies out there, check out this Pike Place Market Walking Food Tour.
Bring your bike, car or just walk aboard the Washington State Ferry to Bainbridge Island. You’ll be able to admire the Seattle skyline and the Olympic Mountains during your 35-minute ferry journey.
Main Street, just a 5-minute walk from the ferry landing, is full of boutiques, restaurants and tasting rooms. With 150 acres of gardens, Bainbridge Island is a serene alternative to the bustling city.
Before making your way back to the mainland don’t forget to take a stop by Mora Iced Creamery. With flavors like Blueberry, Peppermint or Cheesecake with Brownies all freshly made, how could you resist?
If this doesn’t float your boat then hop on one of Seattle’s 22 ferries to your chosen destination around the Pacific Northwest on the country’s largest ferry network.
Sky High Views of the City (Not From the Space Needle)
Many visitors flock to the busy Space Needle to see the best views of Seattle. This is, however, not the optimal place to go. You should, in fact, take the manually operated elevator lift to the 35th floor of the Smith Tower, which was the first skyscraper built in the city.
It’s cheaper, has a tour inclusive of the ticket price and you will get stunning views of Seattle as well as views of the space needle. The iconic well-kept tower built in 1914 has an open-air 360-degree observation deck and a prohibition-themed bar which offers cocktails, share plates, and an unpassable view.
Plan your cocktail hour to begin at 9pm as this is when you’ll find discounted ticket prices.
Save 10% by booking online on their website.
For the outdoor adventurists who prefer to escape the city, take the hour drive out to Snow Lake in the Cascade Range.
With pristine views at the end as well as along the trail, this is a popular choice for hiking. You’ll also have the option of an extremely refreshing swim at the end.
The 7.2-mile round trip near Snoqualmie Pass is a moderately difficult path through ancient forests before reaching the sparkling alpine lake.
It's recommended you begin the hike early to avoid masses of other fellow hikers.
This small park north of the city sits high on a hill and offers superb views of the city center as well as Elliot Bay below. If you visit on a clear day you’ll be lucky enough to also catch a glimpse of Mount Rainier in the distance.
The park is always busy which makes it the perfect place to do a sneaky bit of people watching.
While you’re in the area take the opportunity to wander the streets and admire the beautiful houses sitting proudly on top of this sea-view suburb.
If you’re in need of a rainy day activity don’t go past this unusual option for discovering the region’s history.
Bill Speidel's 75 minute Underground Tour will give you the opportunity to walk through Seattle’s interconnecting underground tunnels.
The humorous and informative tour takes you past the city’s first buildings before they were built over after the great fire of 1889.
Planning a trip to Washington State?
Accommodation in Washington State
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GetYourGuide has all kinds of tours from food tours to walking tours, and of course, adventurous activities. I've found GetYourGuide has the best range of tour companies to choose from, and you can decide based on the reviews. GetYourGuide is easy to book with, and you can cancel most bookings for free up to 24 hours before they start.
G Adventures’ enthusiasm for travel is matched only by their commitment to those they serve. They provide travelers with the most genuine, life-changing adventure they can whilst traveling responsibly. I went on their tours in both India and Morocco and had the most incredible time on both of those journeys.