Nestled in the Pacific Northwest you’ll find Seattle. Surrounded by mountains and water, and buzzing with a fab brewery, food and coffee culture, it’s not surprising that Seattle has become one of the must-see destinations in the United States.

Here are the top five things to do in Seattle for any traveller looking for fun, food and culture.

1. Visit Pike Place Market

Grab a snack and get amongst it at this historic marketplace.

This waterfront market opened in 1907 and is now home to over 500 restaurants, shops and food vendors. Shop for unique trinkets, pose for a pic in front of Rachel the Piggy Bank, and watch out for the catch of the day being tossed nearby at the world-famous Pike Place Fish Market.

With plenty of food, drink and souvenir options, not to mention Instagram opportunities at every turn, you can easily spend the better part of the afternoon exploring this iconic area.

Local tip: Grab a bag of mini doughnuts at Daily Dozen Doughnuts located right in Pike Place. We recommend the powdered ones!

2. Grab a coffee at the first ever Starbucks

first starbucks top things to do in seattle

It’s hard to imagine, but there was a time when the green mermaid wasn’t on every corner in America. Founded in 1971, Starbucks actually began as a modest café next to the Pike Place Market.

Don’t miss the chance to grab a Grande Mocha Frappuccino at the Starbucks site in Seattle where you won’t find the same generic layout you see in other local haunts. The walnut wood used for the tables and doors is sourced from local farms, the leather is recycled from shoe factories and the wall tapestry is made from repurposed burlap coffee bags.

This coffee shop still feels intimate and homey – how far the coffee giant has come!

Local tip: Ok, so this isn’t actually the first Starbucks that ever opened. The original no longer exists, but this one is in the same neighbourhood as the first and was opened only four years later. Good enough for us! 

3. Get that Insta shot at the Gum Wall

gum wall top things to do in seattle

Once you leave Pike Place, seek out the adjacent hidden alleyway. Here, you’ll discover Seattle’s very own Gum Wall.

This chewed-up and spat-out living art piece began taking on a life of its own in the 90s. Grunge-era audiences queued up and ditched their gum before entering the Post Alley’s Market Theater and the wall’s new aesthetic developed from there.

Today, this brick wall is covered in the multi-coloured sticky stuff, having only been cleaned once in 2015. It’s also the must-have Instagram shot when visiting Seattle, so don’t forget to strike a pose.

Local tip: Don’t just watch, get involved! Bring some chewing gum of your own to add to the wall (and maybe some hand sanitizer as well…)

4. Check out the Space Needle

top things to do in seattle sunset view

The towering Space Needle, the most recognizable building in the Seattle skyline, is an absolute must-visit for any visitor or local.

Head 520 feet up the Needle to see incred views of the mountains, Puget Sound and of course, Seattle itself.

Newly renovated, the Space Needle now has a glass-floored rotating observatory and tilting glass walls for those looking for an extra rush. Eeeek!

Local tip: Check out the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit located next to the Space Needle. You can purchase a combo ticket for a lower price and wander through the colorful exhibit featuring work by Dale Chihuly, a Washington native!

5. Explore The Museum of Pop Culture

… or MoPOP for short, is an entire museum dedicated to the art and history of pop culture.

From the Marvel Universe to Pearl Jam, this museum was designed for all walks of life to celebrate modern entertainment and creative risk-taking.

Learn about punk, pop, sci-fi and horror all under one roof. And when you’re done, walk around the grounds of this eye-catching museum. Designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, you’ll want to take the time to explore the curves and dips of this 140,000 sq. foot steel beast.

Local tip: Check out MoPOP’s Campout Cinema events where they bring the outdoor movie experience indoors with LED lights, blankets and cushions. They usually screen classic films, and the drinks, giveaways and trivia are all themed accordingly. You’ll also receive gallery access and tickets to some exhibitions with your ticket. Winning!

Inspired by our top things to do in Seattle? Take a look at our Topdeck trips that travel through Seattle: Pacific Northwest and All-American Outdoors.

Kristen Dennison
A native New Yorker who now calls the sunny west coast home, Kristen has turned her hobby of travel into her career as a Product Manager at Topdeck. When she’s not travelling, you can find her exploring the many nooks and crannies of downtown Los Angeles.