Discovery Park Checubus/Shutterstock

23 Ways to Get Outside in Seattle

Scampering along sandy beaches, socializing on landscaped patios, boating around scenic lakes and bays, watching open-air concerts and films — these are but a handful of exhilarating ways to experience the outdoors in our beautiful city.

1. Go on a Scenic Hike

By Allison Williams
A white lighthouse with a red roof is surrounded by brown sand, driftwood, and green grass. People wearing summer clothes stand on the beach and on the rocks near the lighthouse. The blue Puget Sound water sparkles on the left.

Discovery Park Checubus/Shutterstock

Hiking is basically the unofficial sport of Seattle, and fortunately we don’t have to go far to hit the trail. Discovery Park (3801 Discovery Park Blvd) in the Magnolia neighborhood is webbed with 12 miles of trails, including the North Beach trail that swings by a picture-perfect lighthouse. North in Ballard, Pipers Creek Trail in Carkeek Park (950 NW Carkeek Park Rd) follows a waterway that tumbles through the forest and past a restored orchard, down to Puget Sound. The waterfront makes an appearance on dozens of Seattle trails, including the Union Bay Natural Area (3501 NE 41st St) near the University of Washington, where—don’t let the name fool you—the Yesler Swamp route is absolutely gorgeous.

Many city walking routes travel through gardens that remain lush year-round thanks to the city’s temperate climate. In 230-acre Washington Park Arboretum (2300 Arboretum Dr E), Azalea Way moves through the signature flowers, among other meticulously maintained plants. Kubota Garden (9817 55th Ave S) in South Seattle has paths traversing its 20 undulating acres of Japanese landscapes, and it sits at the end of the nearly nine-mile paved Chief Sealth Trail, a green strip that curves northwest into the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Just east of the city, things turn to near-wilderness quickly, and you can be hiking in the wild in less than an hour’s drive. The Issaquah Alps, a trio of small mountains, hold forest hikes that lead to stunning overlooks; Poo Poo Point on Tiger Mountain and Coal Creek Falls on Cougar Mountain are two local favorites. Visit for details about these and other hikes in the area.

2. Pedal along an old railway line

By Matthew Lombardi

Biking on the Burke-Gilman Trail is a quintessential Seattle experience. This 19-mile stretch of former train tracks, which is dedicated to nonmotorized traffic (and e-bikes), extends from Golden Gardens Park along the Ship Canal and up the shore of Lake Washington. The trail passes through urban and wooded scenery and accesses several noteworthy sights, including the Ballard Locks, Gas Works Park, and the University of Washington campus. Need a bike? Evo Seattle (3500 Stone Way N) and Recycled Cycles (1007 NE Boat St) offer rentals, and you can pick up an e-bike through the city’s Lime and Veo bikeshare programs.

3. Admire amazing public art

From storefront murals to sculpture parks, Seattle is a city of art in every form. Here are some of Seattle’s beloved public art installations to explore.

By Aleenah Ansari


An orange building on a street corner with a large scale mural painted on it depicting snakes, dragons, butterflies, and other creatures in bright colors.

Crossroads Trading Mural by Stevie Shao Nate Watters

A highly popular form of public artwork in Seattle for decades, creative murals add color and joy to walls and building facades all over the city. Born and raised in Seattle, Chinese-American artist Stevie Shao is one of the city’s most prolific and exciting muralists—notable examples of her work include the facade of Crossroads Trading (4300 University Way NE), the animals mural by Cal Anderson Park (Nagle Place at E Pine St), and the phoenix and tiger mural at Hing Hay Park (423 Maynard Ave S). Also watch for works by Ryan Henry Ward, especially in Ballard, which is home to his depiction of a buffalo and Sasquatch sharing a cup of coffee on the wall of Mighty Mugs (4351 8th Ave NW) and a fox grilling dinner with rabbit onlookers on the side of Sutter Home and Hearth (920 Leary Way NW). And then there are the vibrantly colorful works of Ten Hundred, a.k.a. Peter Robinson, which include the exteriors of Seattle Coffee Works (108 Pine St) and the “CV20” mural on the side of Capitol Hill’s Caffé Vita (1005 E Pike St).


For a lovely art stroll, walk through the free, nine-acre Olympic Sculpture Park (2901 Western Ave). Also explore the sculptures around Seattle Center (305 Harrison St), including Grass Blades near the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), SeaWave, the tubular Olympic Iliad, and the music-generating Sonic Bloom, which is made up of flowers that respond to the movement of those gathered around them by emitting harmonic sounds.

Check out 20-foot Angie’s Umbrella (Western Ave between Lenora St and Blanchard St) and Giant Red Twin Popsicle (2101 Fourth Ave) sculptures near Belltown, and the life-size statue in Capitol Hill of Jimi Hendrix (1604 Broadway) shredding on the guitar. There’s also the Black Sun sculpture by Isamu Noguchi, in front of the Seattle Asian Art Museum (1400 E Prospect St) in Volunteer Park. If you line things up just right, you can view the Space Needle right through the center of the sculpture.

In Pioneer Square, you’ll find a Tlingit totem pole (100 Yesler Way) that was originally carved to honor a leader named Chief-of-All-Women. And outside the Burke Museum (4303 Memorial Way NE), be sure to view Guests from the Great River, an installation comprising upright paddles in the shape of a canoe that offer a peaceful welcome to museum visitors.

4. Ride the wheel

By Malia Alexander

Painted against a backdrop of shimmering skyscrapers, The Seattle Great Wheel (1301 Alaskan Way) soars to a height of 175 feet and extends 40 feet over glistening Elliott Bay. During the 15-minute ride on this iconic attraction, you’ll be treated to eye-popping views of the waterfront and both the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. After sundown, you can watch the city light up—along with the illuminated Great Wheel. Adjacent Miner’s Landing holds a handful of eateries and souvenir stands as well as another terrific attraction, Wings over Washington, which takes riders on an aerial adventure across the Evergreen State, including the dazzling landscapes of Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks. It’s a short walk south to Elliott’s Oyster House (1201 Alaskan Way), a go-to for delicious seafood since 1975.

5. Dine alfresco

In warm weather—and often even if it’s cool and rainy—Seattleites flock to the seemingly endless supply of sprawling terraces, landscaped patios, and sheltered sidewalk nooks to dine in the open air.

By Andrew Collins


(2501 N Northlake Way; Watch sailboats and yachts glide across Lake Union over brunch on a gently breezy deck with downtown’s shimmering skyscrapers in the distance.


(6501 Aurora Ave N; Steps from the multiuse trail around Green Lake, soak up the island vibe of this welcoming Caribbean and Cuban restaurant with colorfully painted outdoor tables.

The Nest

(110 Stewart St; The chic rooftop space atop the Thompson Hotel offers bird’s-eye views of the downtown waterfront and the Olympic Mountains beyond.

Terra Plata

(1501 Melrose Ave; Soak up skyline views on this leafy, triangular roof terrace while noshing on Tamara Murphy’s sublime farm-to-table cuisine.

Bangrak Market

(2319 Second Ave; Brightly colored pennants, chairs, and tablecloths lend a celebratory air to the popular sidewalk patio of this sensational Belltown Thai restaurant.


(1416 34th Ave; Dine on cheese and charcuterie and sip wines from a well-curated list on the leafy deck of this restored 1905 bungalow in the Central District.

Flora Bakehouse

(1511 S Lucile St; Watch for Mount Rainier’s snowy peak from your Adirondack chair on the sunny deck of this beloved Beacon Hill cafe serving great coffee and heavenly pastries, including plenty of vegan and gluten-free options.

Marination Ma Kai

(1660 Harbor Ave SW; Spam musubi sliders, kalua pork tacos, and other delicious Hawaiian-style eats are the draw at this friendly West Seattle eatery with picnic tables overlooking Elliott Bay.

An outdoor patio at a restaurant with white and tan striped umbrellas. People sit at tables on the patio. The water of Lake Union can be seen in the background.

Westward Seattle Sea Creatures

6. Take a guided walking tour

You’ll discover some of the city’s historic gems while working in a little exercise on these engaging excursions that touch on everything from culinary treasures to haunted history. 

By Malia Alexander

Show Me Seattle

Explore five of the city’s biggest neighborhoods on the three-hour City Tour, which features a thoughtfully curated collection of very cool attractions.

Ghost City Tours

Get spooked in Seattle’s most haunted spots with the world’s number one ghost tour company.

Seattle Architecture Foundation

Learn about the different landscapes and urban design practices that influenced Seattle’s signature skyscrapers and most distinctive buildings.

Underground Donut Tour

What Seattle isn’t especially famous for? Doughnuts. What Seattle has an abundance of? Impeccable doughnuts.

Seattle Cocktail Tour

Discover grunge history, city origins, and prohibition-era stories while indulging in cocktails carefully crafted by some of the city’s most talented mixologists.

Coffee Culture Walking Tour

Because why wouldn’t you sample a bevy of local beans in the coffee capital of the world?

Seattle Cocktail Tour Maksym Fesenko

7. Kick off your morning with local coffee and a stroll

One of the simplest and most relaxing ways to explore the city’s verdant and vibrant neighborhoods is with a leisurely walk, preferably with a locally roasted latte in hand.

By Andrew Collins

At Pike Place Market, try the cold brew with cinnamon, maple, and burnt honey at Anchorhead (2003 Western Ave) or a mocha with house-made chocolate sauce at Storyville Coffee (94 Pike St) and explore the unique shops before heading up Western Avenue through bustling Belltown and then over to the famous attractions of Seattle Center (H305 Harrison St).

Boon Boona Coffee (1223 E Cherry St) sources its beans from Africa. Order a single-origin drip coffee, then walk through the leafy campus of Seattle University and amid the boutiques of Capitol Hill’s hip Pike Street and Pine Street corridors. Vietnamese coffees brewed with condensed milk or oat milk are the specialty of Hello Em Viet Coffee & Roastery (1227 S Weller St) and Phin (913 S Jackson St). Sip these sweet, robust elixirs as you explore the bustling Chinatown-International District, stopping to soak up the greenery in Yesler Terrace Park (917 Yesler Way), Kobe Terrace (650 S Main St), and Hing Hay Park (423 Maynard Ave S).

Specializing in breakfast burritos and hearty tamales, friendly Cafetal Quilombo Cafe (4343 15th Ave S) turns out a delicious, lightly spiced cafe de olla, which you can savor as you wander around Beacon Hill’s expansive Jefferson Park (3801 Beacon Ave S). Perfectly crafted cappuccinos at cozy Espresso By Design (511 S Mead St) are the ideal companion for a morning meander amid the indie shops and art galleries of historic Georgetown.

8. Savor a pint in a beer garden

Here in this city of ardent ale appreciators, gathering with friends or making new ones in a lush beer garden is practically a rite of summer. Even on cooler days, covered seating and heat lamps make for pleasant outdoor sipping and socializing. Try one of these lively brewpubs with splendid open-air seating.

By Andrew Collins

Fremont Brewing

(H1050 N 34th St;

Known for convenient bike trail access; family-friendly vibe; huge sandwiches; stellar IPAs; expansive seating with beautiful landscaping.

Beveridge Place Pub

(6413 California Ave SW;

Known for tons of games (foosball, darts, board games); lush landscaping; huge selection of taps and bottles from all over the planet; by restaurants where you can pick food to enjoy on the patio.

Citizen Campfire

(706 Taylor Ave N;

Known for gathering by the outdoor firepits; plenty of lawn games; dog-welcoming atmosphere; interesting rotation of local taps.

Métier Brewing

(2616 E Cherry St;

Known for rotating works by local BIPOC artists; live music; Japanese-style street food from Umami Kushi; interesting limited-edition cask brews.

Cloudburst Brewing

(5456 Shilshole Ave NW;

Known for covered and heated seating; spicy Chinese food; ideal for going on a bar crawl (it’s near several other great Ballard breweries).

Future Primitive Brewing

(9832 14th Ave SW;

Known for tasty eats on weekends from Lenox Afro Latin Soul Food; rotating beer slushies; play area for the kiddos; friendly vibe.

9. Eat your way through Pike Place Market

By Corrine Whiting

There are few more delightful places to savor sun-kissed afternoons than historic Pike Place Market (85 Pike St). Buskers send melodies down swirling sidewalks, as visitors happily flock to pop-up patios in Post Alley at Sisters European Café (1530 Post Alley) and Pike Place Chowder (1530 Post Alley), and to outdoor terraces down the lane at Parisian-inspired Café Campagne (1600 Post Alley) and festive Kells Irish Restaurant and Bar (1916 Post Alley). Across the way at the acclaimed Italian eatery The Pink Door (1919 Post Alley), the dog-friendly deck offers a romantic view across Elliott Bay.

With its second-story balcony offering great people-watching, Copacabana (1520½ Pike Pl) has served tasty Bolivian fare and elevated views since 1964. Pike Place Market’s dramatic 2017 expansion increased the market’s outdoor space with the addition of the lower-level MarketFront, which offers ample outdoor seating with exquisite, water-centric panoramas and great dining. Enjoy goodies from market vendors at an open-air picnic table, or dine on the deck of kid-friendly Old Stove Brewing (1901 Western Ave).

two people wearing while long-sleeve shirts, red shorts, and red life jackets stand on paddle boards in the middle of blue Lake Union. The Seattle skyline and boats are seen in the background. Paddle Boarding on Lake Union Stephen Matera / Shutterstock

10. Paddle around town

By Andrew Collins

Savor the salt-aired breezes, glimpse sea birds and maybe even a whale, get a fantastic core workout, enjoy astounding panoramas of the skyline and surrounding mountain peaks—the rewards for paddling around Seattle’s waters are endless. Numerous companies along the shores of Puget Sound and the city’s lakes offer kayak, canoe, and stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rentals, and some even offer guided tours and personal instruction.

If you prefer gentler waters, consider one of the access points along the typically calm shoreline of Lake Washington. Northwest Paddle Surfers rents SUPs at Adams Street Boat Ramp, near Seward Park. At the University of Washington Waterfront Activities Center (3710 Montlake Blvd NE), the public can rent kayaks and canoes to explore nearby Union Bay Natural Area (3501 NE 41st St) and the Washington Park Arboretum (2300 Arboretum Dr E) waterfront trails. Near Magnuson and Matthews Beach parks, you can rent SUPs and Hobie kayaks from Sail Sand Point (7861 62nd Ave NE), along with a variety of sailboats.

On the picturesque north shore of Portage Bay, Agua Verde Paddle Club (1307 NE Boat St) rents kayaks and canoes—and offers lessons. Celebrate your adventure afterward with guac and chips, tacos, and prickly pear margaritas from Agua Verde’s lively waterfront Mexican cantina. You can also pick up kayaks on Lake Union at Moss Bay (1001 Fairview Ave N) and Northwest Outdoor Center (2100 Westlake Ave N).

Take advantage of the knowledge of local experts by booking a guided trip through Ballard Kayak & Paddleboard (7901 Seaview Ave NW), which offers tandem, beginner-friendly sea kayak adventures from Puget Sound’s Shilshole Bay Marina. Options include exhilarating paddles around the Sound and fascinating tours through the Ballard Locks and its massive “boat elevator.” They also rent sea kayaks and SUPs, as does Alki Kayak Tours (1660 Harbor Ave SW), which is known for their spectacular guided sunset, Alki Lighthouse, and Elliott Bay kayak tours.

11. Treat yourself to a scoop (or two)

A hand holding a waffle cone filled with two scoops of ice cream drizzles with chocolate and peanuts.

Courtesy Molly Moon’s

“What flavor should I order?” It’s a question with no wrong answer, yet for serious fans of ice cream, gelato, sorbet, frozen yogurt, shave ice, and their similarly delicious frozen cousins, it can cause a serious case of indecision. And let’s face it, Seattle’s growing crop of artisan ice cream parlors aren’t helping matters with their long menus of tantalizing, often seasonally rotating flavors. There’s so much deliciousness to choose from.

Our advice: always order a size of cup or cone that allows for at least two flavors, and remember that whatever your choice today, you can always try a new combination tomorrow. To help inspire your next trip to the ice cream shop, here’s our list of 13 sensational flavors and the parlors where you’ll find them.

By Andrew Collins

Melted Chocolate

Molly Moon’s
1622.5 N 45th St

Beet Strawberry Rose (vegan)

Frankie and Jo’s
1010 E Union St

Lemon Custard Cookie

Nutty Squirrel
7212 Greenwood Ave


Bluebird Ice Cream
7415 Greenwood Ave N

Cardamom Rosewater Pistachio

Sweet Alchemy
4301 University Way NE

Thai Iced Tea

Full Tilt
9629 16th Ave SW

Vanilla Lavender

Emma and Otto’s
488 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island

Rainier Cherry

Milk Drunk
2805 Beacon Ave S

Hokkaido Milk

Indigo Cow
1911 N 45th St

Matcha Tea

Matcha Man Ice Cream & Taiyaki
6014 12th Ave S 


Fainting Goat Gelato
3415 Fremont Ave N A

Crème Brûlée

1400 Third Ave

Rum Truffle

Husky Deli
4721 California Ave SW

12. Watch a movie under the stars

By Andrew Collins

Stargazing takes on a new meaning when Seattle’s outdoor movie venues come to life. One of the most magical places for open-air cinema is Movies at the Mural (H305 Harrison St). Bring a picnic and set up a blanket at Seattle Center’s Mural Amphitheatre lawn to watch family-friendly flicks on a 40-foot screen on Fridays in August. Arrive on time to watch the film short produced by students at Cornish College for the Arts.

All summer, view top Hollywood releases at Movies at Marymoor Park (6046 W Lake Sammamish Pkwy NE, Redmond), and also at different venues during the West Seattle Outdoor Movies series in the Junction district. Also check out Cinema Under the Stars (4721 Rainier Ave S) at Columbia Park, C-ID Summer Cinema (423 Maynard Ave S) in Hing Hay Park; and Three Dollar Bill Cinema’s LGBTQ+-focused OUTdoor Cinema series.

A ferry ride away in Bremerton, the Rodeo Drive-In (7369 Hwy 3 SW) is the region’s largest drive-in cinema—it presents movies on three giant screens.

A photo of Movies at the Mural at Seattle Center. The Space Needle is lit up in the background. A crowd of people sit on a lawn in camping chairs and watch a movie on large projector screen.

Movies at the Mural Christopher Nelson

13. Watch live music

Catch everything from local bands to internationally renowned superstars at these fresh-air performance spaces.


Pier Sounds

(1951 Alaskan Way; This free summer concert series on the waterfront at Pier 62 features a diverse lineup of mostly Pacific Northwest talents.

Chateau Ste. Michelle

(14111 NE 145th St, Woodinville; This Woodinville Wine Country summer concert series annually rocks the lawn of Washington’s oldest winery, and offers up some of the tastiest picnic fare around.

Marymoor Park

(6046 W Lake Sammamish Pkwy NE, Redmond; This 5,000-seat concert venue, 15 miles east of Seattle, is tucked into the Willowmoor Farm historical district.

Woodland Park Zoo

(5500 Phinney Ave N; The popular ZooTunes music series brings melodies to a tranquil wooded green space that’s not far from the property’s array of resident animals from around the world.

Seattle Center

(305 Harrison St; The city’s 74-acre downtown cultural hub hosts live music throughout the year during popular festivals like Bumbershoot and Day In Day Out at the Fisher Pavilion.

T-Mobile Park

(1250 First Ave S; The stunning 9-acre home of the Seattle Mariners, with its state-of-the-art retractable roof, also plays host to mega music stars, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, and Beyoncé with Jay-Z over the years.

14. Splash and scamper around with the kids

Playgrounds with whimsically designed structures and equipment, refreshing spray parks and wading pools—Seattle abounds with cool places for kids to play safely outside.

By Andrew Collins

International Fountain Shutterstock

Artists at Play Seattle Center (305 Harrison St). This imaginatively designed playground outside MoPOP features equipment dreamt up by creative artists and is perhaps best known for its climbing net and tubular slide. It’s next to the Seattle Center Armory, which contains a family-friendly food hall and the Seattle Children’s Museum, and a short stroll from the International Fountain, with its LED lighting and 274 water jets—kids love to cool off in the water on warm days.

Alki Playground and Whale Tail Park (5817 SW Lander St). Kids can climb on the signature whale tail sculpture in this beautifully landscaped West Seattle park with a play area designed with accessibility to children with disabilities in mind. Favorite features in the nautically themed playground include the sand area and lighthouse-inspired climbing structure, and kids can go for a dip in the bay at Alki Beach, half a block away.

Meridian Playground (4649 Sunnyside Ave N). One of the city’s largest and most popular outdoor kids’ venues is framed by a lush garden wall and dotted with whimsical sculptures based on characters in beloved children’s books. The playground has well-designed play structures and is set amid grassy lawns with picnic tables behind Wallingford’s Good Shepherd Center, a former Catholic girls’ school that dates to 1906, and the grounds include the original gardens and an apple orchard.

Powell Barnett Park (352 Martin Luther King Jr Way). A favorite among several inviting parks in the Central District, this 4.4-acre green space stands out for its large wading pool, basketball hoops, free fitness machines (for kids and adults), and extensive playground with a good range of structures geared to all ages.

15. Hop aboard

Surrounded by water, Seattle is a boating paradise. Local companies offer countless ways to enjoy the scenery from the breezy deck of a boat.

By Andrew Collins

Get a novel perspective of the downtown skyline on a one-hour narrated harbor tour with Argosy Cruises, which also offers fun two-hour trips through the historic Ballard Locks. Sweet sailing is a guarantee on the 45-minute Ice Cream Cruise around Lake Union offered by Seattle Water Tours—ice cream treats and other goodies are sold onboard. Have a blast captaining your own little ship on Lake Union with a rental from the Electric Boat Company (2046 Westlake Ave N), which describes their covered 10-passenger boats as being as easy to drive as a golf cart. Or let an expert navigate—while you and up to 13 buddies sip brews and take in city views—on a pontoon ride with Cycle Saloon (2301 N Northlake Way).

16. Meet the animals

Since 1899, Woodland Park Zoo (5500 Phinney Ave N) has fostered the conservation of wildlife from around the world and intrigued visiting animal lovers. A pioneer in naturalistic, immersive landscaping, this incredibly lush 92-acre zoological garden is home to more than 1,000 animals and some 300 species. Observe sloth bears, Malayan tigers, orangutans, and Indian rhinos in the extensive Tropical Asian section, before moving through some of the other beloved exhibits—an African Savanna with giraffes and lions, a butterfly garden, and a Living Northwest Trail based on Denali National Park and housing a grizzly bear, elk, river otters, and more.

17. Watch for Whales


Monika Wieland Shields / Shutterstock

So beloved are Washington’s local and migrating whales that several companies offer daily viewing tours—their captains adhere to strict regulations that ensure that boats maintain a respectful distance. The region’s Southern Resident killer whales, which inhabit Puget Sound, number fewer than 100 but have become a relatively familiar sight, as have Bigg’s orcas, which are known as transients. These signature black-and-white whales are most commonly seen around the San Juan Islands in summer; in spring, gray and humpback whales frequent Seattle waters, and everything from dolphins and porpoises to seals and sea lions make appearances year-round.

You can view whales on half-day tours from downtown’s Pier 69 on the FRS Clipper (2701 Alaskan Way). From the town of Edmonds, just north of the city, Puget Sound Express (459 Admiral Way) offers departures from March through December and its owners are so confident you’ll see a whale that they offer guests a free second cruise if they don’t. Or try watching for wildlife from land—reports of orca fins and gray whale spouts from the city’s waterfront parks are not uncommon, especially West Seattle’s Alki Beach (2665 Alki Ave SW) and Ballard’s Golden Gardens Park (8498 Seaview Pl NW).

18. Try these accessible outdoor experiences

Seattle is committed to creating a landscape with as few barriers to entry as possible. Throughout the city, parks and outdoor attractions have features that help ensure accessibility for all.

A photo of five kits on a playground that has green, blue, and orange flooring. One kid in a white shirt and black track pants pulls a red wagon with two children sitting it in. A kid in the wagon pulls an additional red wagon with two more kids in it.

Courtesy Seattle PlayGarden

Woodland Park Zoo (5500 Phinney Ave N). Helpful features: wheelchair-friendly paths, tactical and auditory tools, noise-canceling headphones, maps showing less-crowded areas.

Seattle Aquarium (1483 Alaskan Way). Helpful features: sensory bags with weighted lap pads to prepare guests for face-to-face experiences with marine life.

Seattle Mariners games (T-Mobile Park, 1250 First Ave S). Helpful features: accessible and companion seating, wheelchair escorts, noise-canceling headphones.

Seattle PlayGarden (1745 24th Ave S). Helpful features: flower and vegetable gardens and whimsical play structures designed for differently abled kids, weekly wheelchair basketball games open to all ages.

Pacific Science Center (200 2nd Ave N). Helpful features: sensory kits with sand timers, sunglasses, and coloring books; complimentary wheelchairs; “Exploration for All” events that provide a sensory-friendly experience with dimmed lights and reduced noise levels.

The Seattle Great Wheel (1301 Alaskan Way). Helpful features: a lift and ramp provides easy wheelchair boarding onto each gondola.

19. Take your dog out to dinner

Here in animal-loving Seattle (also see our Dog Days story on page 47), you’ll find countless bars and restaurants with patios that roll out the red carpet for four-legged customers. Here are six standouts.


Voff Dog Park

9731 Greenwood Ave N;

Greenwood’s low-key “bar made for dogs by dog people” serves 30-plus beers and ciders, plus wines, mimosas, and hard seltzers; BYO food is allowed too.

Hellbent Brewing Co.

13035 Lake City Way NE;

Rotating food trucks dole out tasty dishes at this pup-welcoming craft brewery in northeast Seattle.

Dog Yard

1546 NW Leary Way;

This 21-and-over Ballard venue is a fusion between an indoor/outdoor off-leash play park and a tavern serving adult beverages and tasty snacks, from quiches to flatbreads.

JM Cellars

14404 137th Pl NE, Woodinville;

This venerable Woodinville outpost with a relaxing pastoral setting welcomes wine lovers with on-leash pups to its lush outdoor spaces.

Twilight Exit

2514 E Cherry St;

One of Central District’s favorite dive bars, it’s known for hearty food, awesome happy hour specials, and a dog-friendly patio

Linda’s Tavern

707 E Pine St;

This welcoming cowboy-flavored watering hole in Capitol Hill boasts an enormous pet-inclusive patio and downright delicious pub fare.

20. Celebrate at a festival

From globally inspired art and food events to multiday music concerts, Seattle draws tens of thousands of participants and spectators to exciting annual festivals.

By Andrew Collins


Throughout the year, more than 24 different events celebrating the city’s rich diversity—including Seattle Arab Festival, Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival, Día de Muertos, and Seattle Hmong New Year—take place at Seattle Center and feature authentic foods, dance and music shows, storytelling, and more.

Seattle Pride and PrideFest

One of the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ parades and celebrations takes place at Seattle Center, Capitol Hill, and other parts of the city and includes top musical performances, great food vendors, and beer gardens. Late June;,

People wearing summer attire play tug-of-war on a grassy field at Gas Works Park.

Seafair Summer 4th Daniel McMorrow


This family-friendly, city-wide series of block parties, parades, and other local celebrations includes the Summer Fourth fireworks display, the colorful Alaska Airlines Torchlight Parade, Fleet Week’s Parade of Ships, and Seafair Festival Weekend, which features hydroplane races and the Boeing Seafair Air Show with amazing maneuvers by the Blue Angels. Early July–early August;

Capitol Hill Block Party

Fans of indie rock, EDM, R&B, and other current music genres gather to watch both major headliners and emerging performers during this three-day neighborhood fest in one of Seattle’s most dynamic neighborhoods. Late July;

Day In Day Out

Top indie and pop acts like Bon Iver, Leon Bridges, Dominic Fike, and Willow are headlining this year’s installment of this popular outdoor festival held at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion. Mid-August;


Returning to Seattle Center over Labor Day weekend following a four-year hiatus, this beloved global music and arts festival that launched more than a half century ago features a diverse slate of musicians performing on multiple stages along with creative art programming that includes film, burleskaraoke, large-scale sculpture, and a cat circus. Early September;

Fremont Oktoberfest

Grab a stein and sample more than 100 beers and ciders during this three-day fall neighborhood party devoted to all things Germanic, including bratwurst, sauerbraten, and other hearty delicacies. Late September;

Freakout Festival

Dozens of both regional and international bands—with an emphasis on garage rock and psychedelic sounds—perform at a half-dozen of Ballard’s top music venues as well as outside on 20th Avenue NW during this rollicking four-day fall music jam. Early November;

21. Watch local sports

There’s excitement in the air on home game days of the city’s pro and college sports teams. You’ll see locals in jerseys and caps, and in bars and brewpubs watching games on TV. The best way to be a part of the buzz, of course, is to attend a game.

By Andrew Collins
A baseball player in a blue uniform top and great pants holding a bat.

Conor P. Fitzgerald / Shutterstock

Climate Pledge Arena

(334 First Ave N; climate- Home to the Seattle Kraken (National Hockey League; early October–early April) and the Seattle Storm (Women’s National Basketball Association; mid-May–mid-September).

T-Mobile Park

(1250 First Ave S; Home to the Seattle Mariners (Major League Baseball; April–October).

A soccer player wearing a blue and red uniform dribbling a soccer ball.

Jane Gershovich / OL Reign

Lumen Field

(800 Occidental Ave S; Home to the Seattle Seahawks (National Football League; early September–January), the Seattle Sounders FC (Major League Soccer; late February–late October), the OL Reign (National Women’s Soccer League; late March–mid-October), and the Seattle Sea Dragons (XFL American football; mid-February–April).

A rugby player wearing a white, blue and bright green uniform holding a rugby ball.

Seattle Seawolves / Caean Couto

Starfire Sports Complex 

(14800 Starfire Way, Tukwila; Home to the Seattle Seawolves (Major League Rugby; mid-February–mid-June).

If you’re a fan of college sports, check the sports schedules of the University of Washington, Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, and Washington State University.

22. Browse for gourmet goodies at a farmers market

Pike Place Market (85 Pike St) is one of the country’s most famous and oldest continuously operating farmers markets, and it is indeed a spectacular setting to shop for local eats—it’s also open daily, year-round. But the entire city abounds with terrific farmers markets. In early summer, load up on strawberries, blackberries, cherries, peaches, and plums. By Labor Day, markets teem with tomatoes, apples, pears, and cantaloupes. And just about any time of year you can score a plethora of herbs, legumes, and hearty greens along with artisan prepared goods of every kind, like honey, jam, kimchi, salsas, cheeses, baked items, canned and fresh seafood, and more.

Here are a few of the most popular and distinctive markets in Seattle.

Ballard Farmers Market

5345 Ballard Ave NW;; Sundays year-round.

University District Farmers Market

5031 University Way NE;; Saturdays year-round.

Fremont Sunday Market

3401 Evanston Ave N;; Sundays year-round.

Capitol Hill Farmers Market

E Barbara Bailey Way;; Sundays year-round.

Queen Anne Farmers Market

Queen Anne Ave N and W Crockett St;; Thursdays June–mid-October and some Saturdays and special autumn events.

Columbia City Farmers Market

37th Ave S;; Wednesdays May–early October and second Saturdays the rest of the year.

23. Laze on the beach

With more than 200 miles of picturesque shoreline, Seattle is a bonafide beach town. What’s more, the city offers an array of both saltwater and freshwater sands. Whatever your style—easygoing sunbather, active swimmer, curious tidepooler—you’ll find many options for an idyllic beach day.

By Andrew Collins

The Sound

West Seattle’s Lincoln Park (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW) is a great choice for active families who appreciate the long, curving biking and walking path that flanks the sandy beach, the Olympic-size heated saltwater pool, the wooded hiking trails, and the big playground. Alki Beach Park (2665 Alki Ave SW) delights beachgoers with its dazzling Elliott Bay and downtown views, and its festive promenade that attracts dog walkers, cyclists, bladers, and joggers. It’s one of the only beaches that allows bonfires, and there are numerous restaurants steps from the sand.

It’s not just the breathtaking mountain and bay vistas that make downtown’s compact Myrtle Edwards Park (3130 Alaskan Way) a visual feast. Traversed by a 1.25-mile bike and pedestrian path, the park also contains part of the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park. The sliver of beach is ideal for dipping your toes in the sand within walking distance of downtown hotels. With scenic trails that descend from a dramatic bluff to a pebbly stretch of sand and historic West Point Lighthouse, Discovery Park (3801 Discovery Park Blvd) is the city’s largest green space—it occupies a former army base and features an Environmental Learning Center and the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center. In Ballard, Golden Gardens Park (8498 Seaview Pl NW) stands out for its awesome Olympic mountain range vistas and pristine wetlands, beach boardwalk, and access to kayak rentals and boat tours.

The Lakes

With gentle swimming conditions, Green Lake Park (7201 E Green Lake Dr N) has Seattle’s calmest beach—there’s even a wading pool and watersports equipment rentals. Lake Union Park (860 Terry Ave N) is a beautiful beach for admiring sailboats and pleasure craft. With its proximity to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington, the beach at Madison Park (1900 43rd Ave E) is a favorite of students, LGBTQ+ folks, and other social butterflies, and it’s close to several excellent restaurants. Perfect for curling up in a beach chair with a book or crashing out on a blanket with friends, leafy Madrona Park (853 Lake Washington Blvd) offers stupendous views of Mercer Island and the Cascades; kids love the wooden float and a diving board. Set on a dramatic 300-acre peninsula, Seward Park (5900 Lake Washington Blvd S) offers a 2.4-mile paved biking and walking loop, trails through old-growth forest, great swimming, and an Audubon Center.

A photo of Green Lake showing a dock sticking out into the water where people are standing and laying down. People in yellow peddle boats and on standup paddle board dot the blue water. Green trees line the background.

Green Lake Park KMeg / Shutterstock


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