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Stalls at Pikes Place Market

Top Things To Do In Seattle

Find the top things to do in Seattle before or after your cruise. The Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Chihuly Garden & Glass, along with the best local tips.

Lucky duck. If you’re setting out on an Alaska cruise from Seattle, you’re in store for amazing seafood, unique local boutiques and a serene, walkable waterfront. Not only is Seattle one of Holland America Line’s Alaska cruise departure ports; it’s the home of our headquarters. We know every nook and cranny of the Emerald City. 

Here are the top things to do in Seattle, whether you have a couple of hours or a few days. These attractions are all a quick ride away from the Seattle cruise port. 

Meet Seattle, A City Of Neighborhoods

Seattle is a city of well-defined neighborhoods. Each has its own little quirks, favored drinking holes and cozy cafés. Queen Anne, Fremont, Wallingford and Ballard are north of downtown, while SODO and Georgetown are south. West Seattle is on a peninsula that’s across a major bridge to the south and west. Stay downtown or in lower Queen Anne and you will be near the best Seattle sightseeing, and the Seattle cruise port. SeaTac Airport is about 30 minutes south of downtown with connections via Light Rail or easy ground transportation. 

Amble Pike Place Market

Founded in 1907, Pike Place charms with an old Seattle feel, a lively and noisy marketplace against a backdrop of gleaming skyscrapers. Arrive hungry. Meander a maze of Northwest produce stands overflowing with every food imaginable. Watch the fishmongers, tossing fish to one another and entertaining the crowd with raucous banter. Listen to local buskers play their hearts out. 

Get a seasonal latte at the original Starbucks® coffee, a Russian pastry at Piroshky Piroshky Bakery and sample Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. When it’s time for lunch, fill up on chowder or Dungeness crab at one of the many seafood restaurants with panoramas of the Puget Sound. Head north to the Space Needle for more Seattle sightseeing.

Drink In The Views At The Space Needle

The best view in town revolves. Renovated recently, Seattle’s most iconic attraction now boasts the world’s first (and only) rotating glass floor. Have a cocktail and drink it all in. The nature scenery is stunning, from craftsman homes stacked on hillsides to blue ridges that beckon from across the water. When you come back down—and you may never want to—refresh near the cooling spray of the International Fountain, a playful water feature designed by Tokyo architects in the 1960s.

Soak In Seattle Art And Culture

You can’t (and shouldn’t) miss the Museum of Pop Culture, (MoPOP). Near the base of the Space Needle, MoPOP has an in-your-face design inspired by rock ‘n’ roll. On display, well-curated exhibits on science fiction and pop culture, along with music memorabilia from Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain. Nearby, The Chihuly Museum of Glass calls with its vibrant glass garden and atrium. If short on time, achieve a modern art fix with a stroll through Olympic Sculpture Park.

Watch The Boats At Ballard Locks

When it comes to things to do in Seattle, you can’t beat the Ballard Locks. Boats of all kinds pass through Lake Union and the Puget Sound. The process of the boats moving through the passage is entertaining to watch. When you tire of the constant parade of yachts and yacht-partiers, there’s a visitor center, a fish ladder, and grassy knolls. This is one of Seattle’s best places to unwind with a book.

Laugh And Learn On The Underground Tour

Seattle today hums with coffee-fueled tech workers, but the Underground Tour in Pioneer Square tells the story of its wild past as a provisioning town for miners. Storefronts and sidewalks were entombed after the great fire of 1889 and the Seattle we know today was built over it. The Underground Tour blends bawdy humor and intriguing historical facts that get everyone laughing and learning.

Find A Stretch Of Sand

When the sun is shining, locals flock to Seattle’s beloved strips of golden sand, longboards and kayaks in tow. Golden Gardens in Ballard and Alki Beach in West Seattle are the two most popular, as most beaches in the city are pebbly. Water taxi from a downtown pier right to West Seattle and from there, rent a bike or hoof it to Alki, a long stretch of heavenly sand with eateries serving tacos, fish n’ chips, ice cream and coffee.

Things To Do In Seattle: Runners Up

There are endless things to do in Seattle, but not enough space to list them all. One of the most scenic areas of the city, Kubota Garden in the Rainier Beach neighborhood is a 20-acre Japanese garden near Lake Washington. If you have a few extra hours for Seattle sightseeing, rent a car and head east to Snoqualmie Falls, a dramatic waterfall about thirty minutes from the downtown. 

Seattle is a one-of-a-kind city that’s worth exploring before you set out for the Great Land. Our Alaska cruises offer convenient weekend departures and leave roundtrip, making Seattle an easy getaway before or after your cruise. Once you book your cruise, plan hotel stays and flights.