Seattle Travel Guide

USA  #8 in Best Foodie Cities in the USA
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1-day Itinerary in Seattle

Explore the best things to do in Paris in 1 day based on recommendations from local experts.

Day 1

  • 1
    #13
    Pioneer Square
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    #13 in Seattle
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you like history, Pioneer Square should be at the top of your to-do list. This neighborhood was one of the first settlements in the Northwest U.S. (hence the name), and it has maintained much of its Old West identity. Today, you'll find the cobblestone area peppered with art galleries, restaurants and shops, not to mention an ornamental pergola, which provides shelter to those waiting to hop on the cable car.

    No visit to Pioneer Square is complete until you tag along on the Underground Tour. The tour leads you through a maze of subterranean passageways – which were once the city's main roads before the Great Seattle Fire in 1889 – where you learn about the quirkier side of historic Seattle, from legends of thieves to the history of the flush toilet. The Underground Tour recommends that participants be at least 7 years or older to keep up with the 75-minute walking tour. Tour tickets cost $22 for adults, $20 for seniors and students (ages 13 to 17, or with a valid college ID), and $10 for children ages 7 to 12. 

    According to recent visitors, the area is worth a stroll but the neighborhood has seen better days. Many commented that while the architecture is beautiful, there is a large homeless population in the neighborhood. To reach the neighborhood, you can take the First Hill Line streetcar, among other public transportation options. For more information on the neighborhood, including what shops and restaurants you can find there, check out the Pioneer Square website

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    10-15 minute walk
  • 2
    #8
    Seattle Art Museum
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    #8 in Seattle
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Spread across three locations, the Seattle Art Museum houses one of America's premier art collections, displaying everything from European masterpieces to contemporary sculpture. The Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park are also part of the complex. The museum receives some mixed views from recent visitors, but most appreciated its eclectic collection and recommend setting aside a few hours if you need to fill a rainy day. Recent travelers were particularly impressed with the museum's permanent collection of African art and its display of Northwest Coast Native American artists. 

    Commonly known as "SAM," the main part of the museum is located in downtown Seattle about a mile-and-a-half south of the Space Needle. SAM is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours until 9 p.m. on Thursdays. 

    The museum does charge a hefty admission fee ($24.95 for adults, $14.95 for kids ages 13 to 17 and those with student IDs), but you can get in for free if you time your visit for the first Thursday of the month. Seniors can also take advantage of First Fridays, where admission is free to those ages 62 and older on the first Friday of the month. Paid parking is available near the museum. You can also take the Link light rail to the University Street Station, which sits within walking distance of the museum. For more information on current exhibits, hours and admission prices, visit the Seattle Art Museum website.

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    5 minute walk
  • 3
    #1
    Pike Place Market
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    #1 in Seattle
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Since 1907, this bustling market near the downtown waterfront has been the go-to place for local produce. Today, you can find almost everything, from local artwork to vinyl records. Plus, the flower market is a particular must-see, according to reviewers. Though Pike Place Market is one of the most tourist-heavy attractions in Seattle (plan to run into crowds, especially during the weekend) that's no reason to scratch it off your to-do list. Recent visitors said the abundance of vendors and lively atmosphere make it an experience you shouldn't pass up, no matter how busy it gets. 

    The streets surrounding Pike Place Market are peppered with restaurants and coffee shops, and there's an information booth just west of the marketplace at First Avenue. If you want a little help navigating the massive market, guided tours and food tours are available from third-party companies. You can find a list on the market's website here.

    The market is divided into two levels – street-level and underground – which are open every day (except Thanksgiving and Christmas day). The official market bell sounds at 9 a.m., but some vendors start welcoming customers as early as 6 a.m. Closing times can also vary, but most merchants close up shop at 6 p.m. While you won't have to pay to explore the market, you'll want to have your money ready in case you find something that tickles your fancy. You can find the market a few blocks south of the Westlake Link light rail stop or by driving north of Pioneer Square. Alternatively, many bus routes will drop passengers off within walking distance of the market on First Avenue or Pine Street. There is a parking garage available one block southeast of the market. 

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    15 minute walk
  • 4
    #11
    Seattle Aquarium
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    #11 in Seattle
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    For a glimpse under the sea, head to the Seattle Aquarium, which sits along the waterfront just a few blocks west of the Seattle Art Museum. It may not be as impressive as other cities' aquariums, but Seattle's facility offers a wonderful introduction to northwestern sea life. The highlight of your visit will most likely be the "Window on Washington Waters" exhibit, which houses aquatic animals native to the surrounding area in a 120,000-gallon tank.

    Other points of interest include a coral reef tank and a kid-friendly touch tank, where your little ones can shake hands with starfish and sea cucumbers. And don't miss your chance to get the fish-eye view from the aquarium's underwater observation dome.

    Past visitors said a quick stop by the aquarium is worth your time, especially if you're interested in learning more about the animals that call the Pacific Northwest home. Though reviewers admit the facilities aren't as large as you'd expect, they did say the aquarium is the perfect size to keep children (and adults) entertained for an hour or two. 

    The Seattle Aquarium, which is located within walking distance of Pike Place Market, can be reached via several bus routes. The aquarium is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with last entry at 5 p.m. Some visitors say the admission is a little pricey, but entry to the aquarium is included if you purchase a Seattle CityPASS. Otherwise, expect to pay $19.95 for children ages 4 to 12, and $29.95 for adults. Several bus lines For more information, check out the Seattle Aquarium's website.

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Explore More of Seattle

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