The Beautiful, Iconic, and Weird Attractions of Downtown Seattle
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The Beautiful, Iconic, and Weird Attractions of Downtown Seattle

Getaway Staff

Whether you're an art enthusiast or a coffee lover, Seattle is an urban metropolis bustling with exciting locales ranging from big tourist attractions to small, local shops that imbue the city with diversity. As the largest city in Pacific Northwest, Seattle has many things and places to do and see that mix up the world-famous with the esoteric and ultra-local.


01 Stroll along the Seattle Waterfront

The sunset over the Seattle waterfront LoweStock / Getty Images

With the beaches and waterfront shops on one hand and the bay stretching off into the distance, the Central Waterfront is the ideal destination to soak up the atmosphere of Seattle. If you get tired of walking, you can hop aboard a ferry and enjoy a new perspective from the comfort of the boat.


02 Enjoy the view from Kerry Park

USA, Washington State, Seattle skyline and Mount Rainier. Taken from Kerry Park at sunset time.

Any trip to Seattle should prioritize finding a great spot to snap a picture of the city's skyline. Look no further, because one place stands above the rest: Kerry Park. The view is absolutely picture-perfect, and any shot from the park ought to look postcard-worthy. It offers a gorgeous view of the Seattle Space Needle and the surrounding skyline, but that’s not all. When the weather is clear, you can catch a full view of the mountains beyond the city, particularly the famous Mount Rainier.


03 Step back in time at the Smith Tower

The Smith Tower july7th / Getty Images

Known as Seattle’s first skyscraper, the Smith Tower is an astonishing engineering feat that has stood tall for over a century. Eventually, the city of Seattle turned it into a historic attraction—a popular destination for architecture enthusiasts and anyone who wants to learn more about the Smith Tower and even about Seattle's history.


04 Pay a toll to the Fremont Troll

The famous Fremont Troll under the Aurora Bridge, Washington.

Located beneath the Fremont Bridge, you can find the famous Fremont Troll. It’s a bizarre stone sculpture that’s a bit frightening and creepy, which is what makes it such an interesting sight. In 1990, the locals agreed to the construction of the troll as a tactic to deter drug abuse beneath the bridge. It worked, but now gawkers congregate under the bridge to take a look at this peculiar work of art.


05 Visit the abandoned, underground remains of Old Seattle

A shot of the Seattle underground zrfphoto / Getty Images

A catastrophic fire destroyed over 30 city blocks in Seattle near the end of the 19th century. Instead of clearing the ruins, everyone simply decided to build on top of them. Some new homes and buildings even made use of the remains in their own construction. You can often find a modern building that has a basement with a window looking out to nothing for this reason. If you like your urban adventures with a touch of eerie, post-apocalypse horror, then the abandoned city is an absolute must.


06 Take a ride on the Grand Wheel

Seattle's Ferris Wheel on Pier

The iconic Grand Wheel of Seattle is one of the simple joys that you and your companion can have during your visit to Seattle. It’s one of the major symbols of the city and at one time it was the largest Ferris wheel on the entire U.S. West Coast. You can enjoy amazing views from atop of the Grand Wheel, but don’t hop on if you have a fear of heights.


07 Marvel at the Seattle Space Needle

The view of the Space Needle at sunset dibrova / Getty Images

Some popular attractions are played up, and some deserve their fame. When you visit the Space Needle, you’ll see that it belongs to the latter group and definitely deserves its status as a symbol of Seattle. The city spent $100 million on a recent makeover that’s added all sorts of spectacular new features to the Seattle Space Needle, such as the world’s only rotating glass floor. The Space Needle is truly an unmissable location, and no trip to Seattle will be complete without paying it a visit.


08 The Pike Place Starbucks

A newly opened Starbucks Spencer Platt / Getty Images

There are countless amazing local cafes in Seattle, so Starbucks might not sound like much of a stop. However, the Pike Place Starbucks is the original Starbucks and a unique destination. This fun, old-school coffeehouse is also home to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, where you can experience an immersive demonstration of how their coffee is sourced and crafted. If you love coffee or you’re a retro design enthusiast, you need to visit the original Starbucks.


09 Visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum

Chihuly Garden and Glass in the Seattle Center showcasing the studio glass of Dale Chihuly.

The Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum is one of Seattle’s most underappreciated hidden gems. It’s dedicated to the work of Dale Chihuly, an artist who made his studio entirely out of glass. His pieces are skillfully crafted into incredible shapes with striking colors. The garden serves as a backdrop to a selected collection of his artworks.


10 Participate in the Seattle Gum Wall

The Seattle gum wall jfairone / Getty Images

Have you ever wanted to be a part of an art exhibit? The Seattle gum wall offers you a gag-worthy chance at fulfilling that dream. You might call the wall decked with thousands of pieces of gum an interactive work of art, or you might call it disgusting. Either way, visiting this fascinatingly gross spot is a rite of passage for the Seattle visitor. Don’t be too shy about adding your own work to the exhibit.


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