At the beginning of 2022, I thought about which destinations I really wanted to visit that year. Domestically, Seattle was at the top of my wish list, as I had never been at that point and I’ve heard so many great things about it. Since it is one of the biggest cities in the U.S., I felt like I needed to experience it before another year passed by. And I’m happy to say that I was able to check Seattle off my wish list in October. I’m even happier to say that Seattle blew me away and I was amazed at the overwhelming number of wheelchair accessible Seattle attractions and things to do!
From visiting iconic attractions like the Space Needle and the world-famous Pike Place Market to discovering my new favorite museum (it might be Chihuly Garden and Glass, but keep reading to find out), I had so much fun over the course of five days in Seattle. If you haven’t been to this phenomenal city in the Pacific Northwest yet, I urge you to start planning your trip. Check out my recommendations below for some of the best wheelchair accessible Seattle attractions and where to stay during your trip.
Wheelchair Accessible Seattle Attractions & Things to Do
Sky View Observatory
After arriving in Seattle, my first stop was the Sky View Observatory! With stunning views, this was quite the introduction to the city for me. I never knew that Seattle was so beautiful until I visited the Sky View Observatory.
While Sky View Observatory isn’t the most famous observatory in Seattle (that undoubtedly has to be the Space Needle), it is the observatory with the highest view in the city. Honestly, I thought the view from here was better than the one from the Space Needle because you could actually see the Space Needle in the distance. I loved that! Both observatories are absolutely worth visiting during your trip though!
The Sky View Observatory is on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center (an elevator takes you to the top!) and as you gaze out the windows, you’ll be 902 feet above the ground. There is a cafe and bar as well, so you can have epic views while you eat and drink. I enjoyed “The Edgar Flatbread” from the Sky View Cafe. It was a flatbread with grilled chicken, bacon, smoked gouda, olive oil, apricot preserve, and honey on it. I would highly recommend getting this flatbread, as it was delicious and became one of my favorite meals in Seattle.
This was the perfect introduction to Seattle for me and if you’d like to visit, keep in mind that Sky View Observatory is only open from Thursday-Sunday every week. You can find ticket information here.
The Seattle Aquarium has many animals that you can see, which is awesome, but they also do a fantastic job of teaching visitors about the animals and the surrounding waterways, including Puget Sound. While this aquarium is on the smaller side, it’s definitely worth checking out while at the Seattle waterfront. You could easily spend a full day enjoying everything that the waterfront area has to offer.
There are a ton of animals on display at the Seattle Aquarium and you can easily see them all from a wheelchair. Some of my favorites were the seals, otters, and puffins, but no matter what kind of marine life you’re in the mood to see, there’s a good chance that it’s at the Seattle Aquarium.
The aquarium is wheelchair accessible and I was able to enjoy it in its entirety. However, some of the areas within the aquarium are a bit steep (I’m thinking of the section with the seals and otters), so if you use a manual wheelchair, you may need some assistance. Aside from that small section though, it was great! If you need to borrow a manual wheelchair during your visit, they are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis at the Guest Services desk.
Discover ticket information on their website here or through the Seattle CityPASS. I used the Seattle CityPASS throughout my time in the city and it granted me admission to five of Seattle’s top wheelchair accessible attractions at a discounted price. It really is a great money saver option if you’re planning to visit multiple attractions.
Harbor Cruise with Argosy Cruises
I always love being out on the water, so while in Seattle, I cruised the harbor with Argosy Cruises. I enjoyed a one-hour sightseeing tour, where we had amazing views of the Seattle skyline. The cruise was narrated as well, so I learned a lot about the city!
Argosy Cruises’ Salish Explorer ship is wheelchair accessible. I was able to board via some slightly steep ramps, but my powered wheelchair had no issues at all. It was super easy thanks to the Argosy crew, who were very helpful with boarding. They helped me down the ramps and promised that I’d have a spectacular time during the cruise. They were correct!
Once onboard the ship, I was able to use an elevator to access two levels and I could enjoy both the indoor and outdoor areas. I was thrilled to see companion care restrooms onboard as well. Accessibility on the Salish Explorer by Argosy Cruises was fantastic and I had a wonderful time seeing Seattle from a different point of view.
The Harbor Cruise is one of the attraction options on the Seattle CityPASS, or you can purchase individual tickets from Argosy Cruises here. If you use a wheelchair and have accessibility requirements, just call Argosy Cruises in advance to let them know what accommodations you’ll need.
The Seattle Great Wheel
Another fun Seattle waterfront attraction is The Seattle Great Wheel! Every pod on this Ferris wheel, except for the one VIP pod, is wheelchair accessible. A portable ramp is used to enter the pod and one set of seats inside the pod are removed to allow plenty of space for a wheelchair. I entered the pod very easily in my powered wheelchair.
The pods on The Seattle Great Wheel are enclosed, but have floor-to-ceiling glass windows, so you will have fantastic views during your ride. Each guest gets to enjoy three full revolutions and since it is nearly 200-feet tall, you will be able to see much of Seattle, including the iconic Space Needle in the distance. You can purchase tickets online in advance here.
Once you have finished riding on the largest observation wheel on the West Coast, be sure to check out Miner’s Landing at Pier 57 (this is the same pier where The Seattle Great Wheel is located). Miner’s Landing is a shopping and entertainment center, where you can find multiple restaurants and grab the perfect souvenir to remember your time in Seattle.
I shopped around for a bit and then had lunch at The Crab Pot, which is inside Miner’s Landing. The Crab Pot is a seafood lover’s dream, as they are famous for their Seafeasts, which are giant steamed buckets of seafood that are dumped onto the table. It was tempting to get a Seafeast, but I opted for a cup of clam chowder and fried salmon and chips instead. Everything was delicious and this was a perfect lunch stop on the Seattle waterfront.
When you think of Seattle, you probably immediately picture the Space Needle if you’re anything like me. I love heights, so I have wanted to go to the top of the Space Needle for years. It’s been a dream of mine for a long time and it did not disappoint.
My visit to the Space Needle started by going through a museum area, where I learned all about how the attraction was built and why. It was really interesting and I learned a lot. For example, did you know that the Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair?
There is an elevator to get to the Space Needle’s observation deck, which is more than 500 feet above ground. There is an interior section, an outdoor section, and a section with a revolving glass floor. Unfortunately, the outdoor area was not accessible when I visited due to a broken lift, but I have received confirmation that the lift has since been fixed, so you should be able to enjoy the entirety of the Space Needle when you visit. I loved rolling on the revolving glass floor and checking out the views down below! To be honest, it was a little bit scary, but a lot of fun.
The Space Needle is open year-round and tickets can be found online here. Since this is undoubtedly the city’s most popular attraction, you can also find the Space Needle on the Seattle CityPASS.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
I have visited hundreds of museums throughout my travels, but this is the most beautiful one that I have ever been to…by far. The entire time that I was at Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle, my jaw was on the floor in amazement.
Chihuly Garden and Glass is located right beside the Space Needle, and the next two attractions I’ll talk about (the Museum of Pop Culture and the Pacific Science Center) are as well. You can enjoy a full day of exploring the attractions just in this area, known as the Seattle Center. It’s a fantastic area with a lot of wheelchair accessible Seattle attractions, but Chihuly Garden and Glass may very well be my favorite.
At Chihuly Garden and Glass, you can see the incredible glassworks of artist Dale Chihuly in an indoor museum and an outdoor garden. There are eight different galleries, a glasshouse, and a sprawling garden, which showcase some of Chihuly’s best work. You’ll also be able to learn more about Chihuly’s glassmaking process in the on-site theater.
Chihuly Garden and Glass is fully wheelchair accessible. There are no stairs, as all exhibits are on the same floor. If you need to borrow a wheelchair during your visit, they are available complimentary on a first-come, first-served basis at the coat check station.
Information on ticketing for Chihuly Garden and Glass can be found here and it is also one of the options on the Seattle CityPASS as well. Without a doubt, this attraction should be at the top of your list of wheelchair accessible things to do in Seattle!
Museum of Pop Culture
I love anything related to pop culture, so I was super excited to check out the Museum of Pop Culture while in Seattle. This museum has exhibits dedicated to hip hop, gaming, horror movies, fantasy, guitars, Pearl Jam, and so much more. If you’re a fan of pop culture, there’s a good chance that you will absolutely love this museum.
I spent about 2.5 hours exploring every inch of this museum, but you could definitely stay longer or you could shorten your visit if you just hit the highlights. I’d suggest planning at least 2 hours to see it though. My favorite exhibit was definitely Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film, as I always love a good horror film, but the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic exhibit was a close second for me.
As far as accessibility goes, the Museum of Pop Culture was wonderful. I accessed every exhibit and they were all spacious enough for my powered wheelchair to easily maneuver around. Elevators were available to get to the various floors of the museum and I was happy to see all-gender/companion care restrooms inside the museum as well.
The Museum of Pop Culture is open every day of the week except for Wednesdays. Learn more about ticket options here, or visit using the Seattle CityPASS.
Pacific Science Center
The last attraction that I visited in the Seattle Center area was the Pacific Science Center. This is a fantastic family-friendly attraction that has something for everyone. With an IMAX theater, science museum, laser dome, and more, you are sure to be entertained for hours.
Some of my favorite areas and exhibits at the Pacific Science Center were the dinosaurs exhibit (I mean, you can never be too old for dinosaurs, right?!), the butterfly atrium, and the laser dome…just to name a few. The laser dome has various shows throughout the day and I would recommend planning your visit around one. I saw a Disney themed laser show and it was awesome!
Accessibility at the Pacific Science Center is exceptional. I was able to explore all areas of the Center that I wanted to and I was really impressed to learn that they allow people with disabilities to bring one aide/caregiver for free. And if you need to use a wheelchair while at the Pacific Science Center, they are available at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis.
Details on admission to the Pacific Science Center can be found here. Unfortunately, this wheelchair accessible Seattle attraction is not on the Seattle CityPASS, but you can save up to 20% on admission by booking your tickets through Pacific Science Center’s website at least 24 hours in advance of your visit.
Olympic Sculpture Park
The Olympic Sculpture Park is a beautiful place to enjoy a nice day in Seattle. There are smooth paths throughout the park, a number of huge sculptures to admire, and great views of the waterfront from the park.
If you’re looking for a place to relax and unwind in the bustling downtown area, this is a fantastic option! On the day that I visited, it was really sunny and warm, so the park was packed with people having picnics and relaxing in the sun.
Spread across nine acres, Olympic Sculpture Park is Seattle’s largest downtown green space. And best of all, it’s completely free to visit and open 365 days per year. Whether you have a spare hour or want to spend a whole day outside here, Olympic Sculpture Park is a beautiful place to spend some time in downtown Seattle.
Pike Place Market
In the weeks leading up to my trip, every time that I told someone that I was planning to go to Seattle, the first thing they usually said was “Oh, you have to visit Pike Place Market while you’re there!” I am a big fan of visiting local markets in different destinations, so I was looking forward to exploring Pike Place. With all of the hype in advance of my trip, I started to expect that it’d be pretty spectacular. After visiting Pike Place Market, I can confirm that it is indeed a special place and a definite must-visit during any trip to wheelchair accessible Seattle.
I met up with my new friend, and longtime Curb Free with Cory Lee follower, Hannah, her caregiver Cindy, and Hannah’s service dog Stark for a fun-filled few hours at Pike Place Market. Hannah lives in Seattle, so she knew all of the best spots in the Market. Pike Place has over 220 independently owned shops and restaurants, more than 150 craftspeople, over 70 farmers, and more, so there is a lot to see!
We started by grabbing a drink at the world’s first Starbucks, which is located at Pike Place Market. This Starbucks is very popular and we waited for about 45 minutes to even get inside the store, but it’s a cool experience, so I enjoyed it. And the chai tea latte was delicious…as always!
After getting our drinks at Starbucks, we explored some of Pike Place Market’s vendors. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, fresh fish, flowers, baked goods, or pretty much anything else that you can imagine, I can almost guarantee that you’ll find it. It was amazing to see all of the vendors and you could really spend an entire day here shopping around and eating.
Two of the most unique things to see at Pike Place Market are flying fish and the chewing gum wall. At the Pike Place Fish Market, employees will literally throw fish to each other while doing a chant or singing a song. It’s entertaining to watch and part of the Pike Place experience. Then, The Gum Wall is exactly what it sounds like. There is an alley at Pike Place Market that is covered floor-to-ceiling in chewing gum. It’s colorful, kind of disgusting, and a must-see. Of course, I couldn’t leave without putting my own piece of gum on the wall.
Pike Place Market is open every day of the week and the only days it closes are Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of shops and restaurants here, so you may want to plan your stops in advance. You can plan out your day at Pike Place Market on their website here.
Woodland Park Zoo
I always love visiting zoos and seeing animals, so while in Seattle, I wanted to check out the Woodland Park Zoo. It was so much fun and I saw many animals during my visit! From gorillas (even a baby one!) to giraffes, zebras, and more, this zoo is huge and has tons of animals to see.
There are paved paths throughout the zoo and it is mostly flat, so I had no problems getting around as a wheelchair user. I also love that they don’t charge admission for aides/care attendants. If you need a family restroom, you’ll have no problem finding one at Woodland Park Zoo as well.
The zoo is open seven days a week. Click here to learn about ticket options, including a $2 discount if you are a person with a disability. Woodland Park Zoo is also one of the options on the Seattle CityPASS if you’ll have it during your trip in the city.
Where to Stay in Seattle: Lotte Hotel Seattle
While in Seattle, I stayed at Lotte Hotel. It is a luxury hotel in a great location, just minutes from most of the attractions listed above. Lotte also has an on-site spa and a restaurant and lounge named Charlotte.
My wheelchair accessible room was on the 15th floor. It had two beds, a mini fridge, a desk, and a large TV. The beds were a great height for self-transferring, but there wasn’t any clearance underneath the beds for a Hoyer lift, unfortunately.
In the bathroom, there was a pull-under sink, grab bars by the toilet, and a roll-in shower. The roll-in shower had smooth entry and a fold-down bench was available in the shower. The shower was a bit small, but it worked for my accessibility needs.
Overall, I enjoyed my stay at Lotte Hotel and would stay here again if/when I’m in Seattle in the future. If you’re looking for a luxury hotel in a nice location, and if you think the wheelchair accessible room will work for your needs, I’d certainly recommend staying here.
My five days in Seattle were packed with nonstop fun and I am already looking forward to returning one day and experiencing even more wheelchair accessible Seattle attractions! If Seattle has been on your bucket list for a while, there’s no time like the present to start planning your own getaway to this incredible destination. With so many accessible things to do in Seattle, the only problem you’ll have is figuring out what to do first!
Thank you to Visit Seattle for working with me on this trip and showing me the best of wheelchair accessible Seattle! While my experiences were complimentary, all opinions expressed are authentic and my own.