Top Things to Do in Seattle
Our families recently visited Seattle and the adults and kids loved it. After seeing some of the Emerald City’s highlights, we want to go back to visit Seattle and see more.
Sharing our list of recommendations with Top Places to stay, dine & spa and what to see & do in Seattle!
THINGS TO DO
1. Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum
Dale Chihuly is a world famous local glass artist and his creations are showcased at the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum and its’ gardens. After you visit the museum, stop at the Collections Café. Chihuly’s collection is on display at the cafe from 82-of 500-accordions, bottle openers, fishing tackle, rod iron dogs, carnival chalkware, radios, cameras, and shaving brushes to tin toys. And to top it off, the fresh, local, healthy menu –watermelon salad, salmon, scallops – so flavorful.
Located at Seattle Center adjacent to the Space Needle.
2. Duck Bus
We started our morning riding on the Duck Bus—a land/sea bus giving a full, unique tour of old and new Seattle! Our driver was excellent: part singer, part comedian with fun and interesting facts about this great Port City. Highlights for our boys were his ever changing wigs, entertaining soundtracks—that we actually drove into Lake Union and back out again(!?)–the Sea Hawks and Mariners Stadium, and the story of the 1829 fire that burned 29 blocks of downtown Seattle and how the people took 20 years to rebuild. Mom loved olde town—the beautiful hanging flower baskets and intriguing shops. Our boys said “the driver was fun and crazy!”
3. The Bullitt Center – Green Building of the Future
The Bullitt Center is the greenest commercial building in the world, and demonstrates accurately how the modern workplace can be transformed into a living building using the principles of sustainability. Tours of this living building are offered twice weekly to the public.
4. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
A meaningful highlight on our list of Seattle Things to do was a visit to the visitor’s center at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its buildings are shaped like boomerangs signifying that what we give to our world comes right back to us. Each participant is invited to “Enter Curious” and “Leave Inspired.” Our boys learned how it feels to carry water, build a shelter, and think about how to solve problems of hunger, needed vaccinations, and education. Daniel was surprised “the buckets are so heavy, and it’s hard to believe that people carry these every day over long distances”. A great center to visit and learn how you can help to make a difference in the world.
5. Space Needle
Seattle’s Space Needle is a must! Built for the World’s Fair in 1962, this structure towers over the city offering spectacular 360 degree views of the Olympic Mountain Range, Queen Anne neighborhood, Lake Union and Lake Washington as well as the Puget Sound. We travelled to the top in an exterior capsulized elevator—lots of “WOW’s” here! Will, our 7 yr. old, exclaimed “It’s really high! And I liked the binoculars.” Elijah, our 15 yr old, “I don’t do well with heights but the views are sweet in every direction, and I forgot about how high we were.”
Along the Puget Sound waterfront, the Seattle Art Museum has a beautiful outdoor Sculpture Park and we enjoyed some shadow play, as well as interacting with the latest installation by local artist Heather Hart’s “Western Oracle: We Will Tear the Roof Off the Mother”.
6. Boat Ride on Lake Washington
Ended our sunny day with a speed boat ride on Lake Washington—doesn’t get better than this! “I loved the waves—so fun!” “Got to see where Boeing builds their airplanes!” “Favorite part? Learning to drive the boat!” “Stewart Park and Mercer Island—green retreats so near to downtown.”
6. Amazon Spheres
Visit The Spheres, Amazon’s three connected glass-domed green spaces — home to 40,000 plants from the cloud forest regions of over 30 countries.
It’s incredible to see this unique architectural structure filled with thousands of plants, from orchids and passion flowers, to spike moss to fan-leaved aloe curated with the help of botanical gardens and universities world-wide. Open to the public two Saturdays per month. Book your tour 30 days in advance – click here!
WHERE TO STAY, DINE & SPA
Sharing our favorites in downtown Seattle and the surrounding area.
Sawyer is one of Seattle’s newest restaurants in heart of Ballard. This is where Owner & Chef Mitch Mayers works his magic. Mayers is a Washington native, named one of Zagat’s 2018 “Eight Under the Radar Chefs to Know” and his American fare bistro has been selected as one of the semi-finalists for James Beard Award for “Best New Restaurant.” He’s got our vote!
The whimsical menu is inspired with comfort food in mind, dishes that people savor… like cornbread muffins, nachos, burgers, but with a modern twist. The restaurant’s name “Sawyer” alludes to the building’s history when it was a 1920s sawmill and has been beautifully restored with high ceilings, exposed beams, old wooden floors, expansive windows that let the natural light in and a patio dining option.
In our cozy booth, we shared our family-style dinner starting with Wild Boar Ribs surrounded by mustard bbq sauce, chili oil and cornbread muffins, then the Asparagus Salad with avocado, pickled rhubarb, buttermilk mascarpone, pea tendrils topped with a thin puffed rice crisp Wood-Grilled Artichoke with anchovy hazelnut remoulade — divine! Our food frenzy continued…the Half Rotisserie Duck was succulent. Wood-Fired Sirloin Steak with duck fat tater tots, roasted mushrooms…then there was the Animal Style Wagyu Beef Burger. Service by Lauren was excellent.
Don’t Miss! Dessert – we devoured the Choco Tacos, a graham waffle cone with peanut butter ice cream, and the Quatro Leches Cake, crème fraiche, huckleberries and salted pistachios.
Tip! Take time to stroll the boutiques and galleries along the historic main street in Ballard before dinner.
Palihotel Seattle is located in the heart of downtown, just across the street from the city’s beloved Pike Place market. This 96-room hotel has an excellent coffee outpost with roasted beans from local Anchorhead, and a restaurant The Hart and the Hunter.
Palihotel recently restored this century-old building that was originally the Colonnade Hotel in 1895 (on the National Register of Historic Places). The lobby and hotel living room is full of personality and is designed with some quirky and fun decor.
There are a variety of rooms to choose from a mix of King, Queen, Twin and Bunk layouts alongside amenities including Smeg fridges, versatile work desks, custom bath products, fully stocked mini bars, and more. You’ll find the Pali signature “P.” on pillows, hangers, bags, products throughout the hotel.
Service is excellent and the staff helps you feel right at home. You can’t get a better location in Seattle!
Don’t Miss! Dine at the Pali Society popular The Hart and the Hunter where you’ll delight in homemade biscuits, blackened shrimp, grits and more southern- inspired cuisine with local flavors. Chef de Cuisine Jon Maley and his team source ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. We savored the crispy wild Pacific Northwest salmon!
Located just minutes from SeaTac, Cedarbrook Lodge is a Pacific Northwest sanctuary. I escaped a busy work week for a few hours to visit the award winning Spa and Copperleaf Restaurant.
Copperleaf Restaurant is located in a beautiful high-ceiling lodge with a large stone fireplace and outdoor views. The menu offers a range of Northwest farm-to-table dining. The Chef selects seasonal produce from the Lodge’s onsite garden. My lunch included the English peas hummus drizzled with honey from Copperleaf’s very own beehives, and their popular lobster mac n’cheese dish. Delish!
The Cedarbrook Spa is a haven for the body, mind and soul. Even though my treatment was only for 1 hour, I felt totally relaxed and wanted to stay longer. My therapist used natural botanicals and herbal fusions from ethical companies focused on sustainability with brands like Éminence, Farmaesthetics, and FarmHouse Fresh.
Click here to find a list of treatments. I loved my petrified wood & river stones massage. My therapist shares, “the smooth, heated pieces of petrified wood on your back, this is must do. The energy of the earth is a calming, soothing antidote for any worries on your mind.”
Can’t wait to return and stay the night. I think this is the ideal place to start your vacation before taking off on your next vacation!
Hotel Theodore is an upscale boutique hotel located in the heart of downtown Seattle and within walking distance to Pike Place Market, Museums, the Pike/Pine shopping district. Our stay was not only convenient, but very comfortable. Our room was the Made in Seattle Suite with views of the Puget Sound waterfront from our king bed with Italian linens, a writing desk and a separate seating area. Our unique suite had an American modern style with a Pacific Northwest aesthetic, created in partnership with SML . There were even two Freeman rain jackets in our closet just in case it was rainy outside and we would need them!
We love how Hotel Theodore credits Seattle’s long tradition of master builders and local innovators. Rooms and public spaces feature a curated collection of photos, items and memorabilia from local Seattle entrepreneurs, artists and craftsmen.
Our dinner at the hotel’s restaurant Rider was a highlight. The Pacific Northwest theme, the forest meets the ocean, is found in the menu offering regional specialties. Chef David Nichols is a Washington native and his dishes are inspired by the bounty of local market ingredients. He and his team create magic over the large open wood-fired grill.
“Our dishes come from farms across the state, and sustainably-sourced and locally-caught seafood, artisan cheeses provided by regional dairies, and seasonal Pacific Northwest vegetables from local farmers and sustainable foragers,” shares our server Chris.
We’d like to thank Collections Café, Amazon Spheres, The Bullitt Center, The Space Needle and Cedarbrook for the fabulous Seattle experiences, and to Palihotel Seattle and Hotel Theodore for hosting our stay.