Note: this article was republished with permission from a post on Redfin (and by request of its author) as I had input into the article. I am not the author — the author for the post is Ana de Guzman.
If you’re living in Seattle, you’ve probably spent some time playing tourist in your city. Have you walked around Pike Place and seen the gum wall? Have you been on the Ferris Wheel? If you’ve done these things and want something new to check out, we created a list of unique things to do in Seattle so that you can switch up your routine. From quirky museums and vintage malls to exploring new neighborhoods and learning more about your city, there’s something anyone can enjoy. So whether you’re a long-time resident or new to the city looking for apartments for rent in Seattle, read on to get started.
1. Complete your project at the Seattle Tool Library
Do you have unfinished projects that need additional tools? Or are you looking for a place to fix your bike? If you said yes to these questions and need assistance and a place to go, the Seattle Tool Library is a great resource to check out.
With over 8,000 tools, from table saws to ice cream makers to weed whackers to catering equipment that are all free to the public, the NE Seattle Tool Library is a fantastic spot. They have a community wood shop and free bike repair, so if you need to finish your project or tune up your bike, you’ll want to check out this place.
2. Check out the Seattle Pinball Museum
Are you looking for a fun take on museums? Head over to the Seattle Pinball Museum. With many vintage pinball machines, you’ll be captivated by the interactive art.
“My favorite thing to do on a rainy day in Seattle is to head to the Pinball Museum and then to King Noodle for minced beef and noodle soup,” says Jen from Brimmer and Heeltap, a Ballard neighborhood bistro.
3. Get permanent jewelry
If you’re with your family or friends, a great way to share a lasting experience is permanent jewelry. Valerie Madison is the first black and Latina-owned fine jeweler in Seattle. They offer a luxurious experience for anyone who wants a modernized friendship bracelet. It kicks off a lovely evening in the charming neighborhood of Madrona.
Photo courtesy of Seattle Ballooning
4. Embark on a hot air balloon ride
We’ve got you covered if you’re looking for a unique way to see Seattle. The only way to fully view the fantastic landscape that Seattle offers is by air, and to create an experience of a lifetime, you’ll have to check out a hot air balloon.
“Seattle is best known for its evergreen forests, stunning mountain views, and great ways to explore nature at every turn. My favorite way to explore the beauty of Seattle is by hot air balloon,” says chief pilot Eliav Cohen. “Balloon rides are always amazing, but flying in Seattle directly in front of Mt. Rainier at sunrise is epic. Seattle Ballooning’s sunrise and sunset hot air balloon tours offer guests magnificent views of the Cascades and the entire Puget Sound. In addition to the view, you’ll experience eagles soaring above the treetops, elk and deer frolicking in meadows, and salmon swimming up the White River. There are so many fun ways to explore around Seattle; getting a birds-eye view with panoramic vistas from a hot balloon is one of the most unique things to do in Seattle.”
5. For dog lovers, visit Marymoor Park & Dog Yard
If you’re new to the city, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how dog friendly it is. From dog parks to lakes, Seattle offers residents great places your pup will love. For those looking for a top-notch dog park, head to Marymoor Park.
“I’ve gone to most dog parks in the greater-Seattle area, and Marymoor Park is an 11/10 for dogs and their doggie parents,” says Kerstin Huang, a Seattle local. “Marymoor is an off-leash park that sits on 40 acres of land for your dog to roam around while you can get your steps in and enjoy the greenery around you. They also have a doggie food truck and a self-service dog wash at the park entrance, so you can clean those muddy paws after a fun day of exploring.”
6. Shop at Fremont Vintage Mall
Unique things to do in Seattle can be simple. Just look in the neighborhoods you’re in; there’s something for everyone to love. Skip the shops around Westlake Center and explore local favorite shops like the Fremont Vintage Mall. These shops hold treasures that you’ll be lucky to find.
“One of our favorite things to do is visit the Fremont Vintage Mall,” says Christine from Hashtag Cannabis. “A collective of sellers here gather vintage and mid-century furniture, collectibles, clothing, and more. You’re sure to find oddities of all kinds here, including vintage ashtrays and accessories.”
7. Take a walk in one of the biggest parks in the city
Seattle boasts many beautiful parks throughout the city. There are many places to choose from, from Green Lake and Magnuson to Seward and Lincoln. The biggest park in Seattle is Discovery Park, which is excellent to check out for any occasion.
Brad Fitch, a Seattleite from Seattle Gummy Company, recommends spending some time in this gorgeous oasis in the middle of the city. “One of our favorite things in Seattle is visiting one of the numerous beautiful parks. Discovery park, in particular, is a 534-acre park right in the city. It contains over 12 miles of trails, so it’s a great way to feel like you’re getting away from it all and go for a hike, bike, run, or check out the panoramic views of Puget Sound.”
8. Discover a new neighborhood
Seattle is a big city, and there is a charm in every neighborhood it has. Exploring these neighborhoods is a unique experience on its own since each town captivates a different feel. Wander through the Junction in West Seattle or walk through the quaint shops in Wallingford.
“One of our all-time favorite spots in Seattle has to be Columbia City,” shares Ellen Throneberry from Community for Youth, an organization that connects Seattle high school students to a committed mentor and community. “Stop by Off Alley for delicious, locally sourced, creative bites (don’t skip the Foie Gras), then end your day with ice cream and classic arcade games at Full Tilt.”
Darby Bundy, a Seattle local, shares, “My favorite activity is to spend an entire day immersed in one of Seattle’s vibrant neighborhoods and enjoy its local shops and restaurants. In Georgetown, I love visiting Georgetown Records, Fantagraphics Books, and Gallery. You also want to try the fantastic Korean flavors at Bopbox for lunch before setting out on a local brewery tour with stops at Machine House, Jellyfish, and Georgetown Breweries. When hunger strikes again, I head to Georgetown Liquor Co. for a punk rock scene and a hearty, plant-based French Dip or Reuben Sandwich that always hits the spot.”
9. Plan a day at Lake Union Park to watch the seaplanes
Southlake Union Park is a beautiful place for those living in Downtown Seattle. As an urban park, you’ll have access to green spaces, a small beach, and docks. An excellent place for a picnic and to view the various water activities.
Annalee Shum, a Seattle local, shares, “My favorite thing to do in Seattle is to stop by Lake Union Park to watch the seaplanes, rent a boat from the Center for Wooden Boats, or just enjoy a good book on the lake. When I start to feel hungry, I head into the café in the Museum of History and Industry. If you’re lucky enough to be in town during the Seattle Design Festival Block Party in August, the park will be filled with large-scale interactive installations and pop-up programming, each inviting the community to celebrate the role design plays in shaping our world.”
10. Head to the Union Bay Natural Area for bird watching
The Union Bay Natural Area holds 74 acres of habitat and four acres of shoreline, perfect for bird watching. With over 200 species of birds sighted in the area, the Union Bay Natural Area is rated one of the best places to bird watch in Seattle.
“As someone with interest in bird photography, I love the Union Bay Natural Area and the arboretum by the University of Washington,” shares Cheryl from Pacific Northwest and Beyond, a journal for Puget Sound and Pacific Northwest nature, photographer, and things to do. “There are plenty of trails for walking, but with its marshy areas, it’s a great place for getting close to birds. At the nearby Waterfront Activities Center, you can rent a boat to launch to investigate some of these Union Bay areas by water.”
11. Come together with your community and sing
Seattle is home to many unique places of worship, and if you’re searching for one that brings your community together, a great place to start is in your neighborhood.
In the Madrona neighborhood, you’ll be able to join in on the Choral Evensong at the Epiphany, an Episcopal church. This candle-lit and choir-led service is a great way to reset and re-center. Let the ancient songs and poetry wash over us in a way that doesn’t demand anything but presence.
12. Take the ferry to one of the nearby islands
A unique thing to do in Seattle is taking a day trip to one of the islands. You have plenty of islands to choose from, like the San Juan Islands in the north and Vashon Island in the south. There are plenty of charming towns to discover. Bainbridge Island is also a great destination to explore with the ferry terminal in downtown Seattle.
“One of my favorite things to do in Seattle is to ride a bike through downtown Seattle and board one of the ferries going to Bainbridge Island,” says Sierra Jessup, a local photographer. “It’s a great way to see the Seattle skyline from the water and visit the cute and artsy town of Bainbridge Island. Blackbird Bakery is a must-visit for incredible pastries and bread. If you’re up for a longer ride, you can visit Fay Bainbridge Park and walk along the beach.”
13. Connect with your community in a different way
If you’re looking for a unique way to connect to your community in more ways than one, you’ll want to visit Doxacon Seattle, held in February at the Brightwater Center in Woodinville. This fan convention explores a broad range of Christian themes in science fiction, fantasy, gaming, and pop culture.
14. Be a part of the Duck Dodge Sailing Race
“For those with the water gene, there is nothing more fun in Seattle than being part of the Duck Dodge Sailing Race in Lake Union,” says Danny Varona, a local real estate agent. “This decades-old beer can regatta attracts 50-200 sailboats from 7-10 pm on Tuesdays. From Star Wars to Tropical Night, there’s a dress-up custom theme every week. When the sailboats tie up to each other after the race, jump from boat to boat and meet others.”
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