Are you visiting Seattle for a weekend and looking for an efficient schedule that’ll show you all the awesome spots in the Emerald City? Here are the top things the Fun Stuff WA team recommends doing during your Seattle three-day itinerary.
It’s perfect for weekend or short trips (business or otherwise), where you need to cram in all you can. We think you’ll be left craving more and feel compelled to return!
Seattle offers visitors so many attractions and activities, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But it’s all good — our itinerary should give you plenty of ideas (and alternatives). Keep reading, and we’ll run through the essentials.
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Day 1: The Traditional Stops
Start your trip by visiting two of Seattle’s most important tourist attractions: Pike Place Market and Seattle Center. The Olympic Sculpture Park offers intriguing outdoor sculptures. In the evening, stroll to Kerry Park and watch the sunset.
Go to Pike Place Market
Although most locals don’t go to Pike Place Market unless they’re showing a friend or family member around the city, it’s still an incredible place to visit.
Pike Place is a great place to be during the day because the market closes at 5 p.m. Peruse the fresh produce stands and the arts and crafts tables. Then, see the Gum Wall and visit the urban garden in the spring and summer.
If you’re a coffee aficionado, grab a cup of Seattle’s finest while you’re there. People often go to the world’s first Starbucks, which is located in the market, but other coffee shops nearby are much more intriguing.
One of the best parts of visiting Pike Place Market is trying the food. If you’re a foodie, consider going on a guided food tour. You’ll have the opportunity to try artisan cheeses, homemade clam chowders and mouthwatering desserts.
See the Olympic Sculpture Park
The park’s an ideal place for stretching your legs, gazing at the scenery and breathing in fresh air. It’s also close to other worthwhile destinations, so it’s a great stop on a three-day Seattle itinerary. Plus, admission is free, and the park is open year-round.
Visit Seattle Center
If you visit the Space Needle, be prepared for high admission fees and long wait lines. Nevertheless, you’ll catch a great view of the city (if the weather allows).
If you’d like to avoid the hassle, check out Seattle Center, which is near the Space Needle. There, you’ll find the awesome Museum of Pop Culture and Pacific Science Center. When traveling with kids, both the museum and center are fantastic options.
The Pacific Science Center has interactive exhibits. Most are permanent, but it also hosts rotating seasonal exhibits.
Watch the Sunset at Kerry Park
If you skipped the Space Needle, you might still want to find a great place to glimpse the city’s skyline.
Luckily, the view from Kerry Park is spectacular. You’ll need to make a brief climb up a hill to get there, but you’ll be able to see the entire city. You can even gaze at Mount Rainier on the horizon.
For an even better view, see downtown Seattle from Alki Beach in West Seattle.
Some options may not suit you, so we’ll offer a few alternatives.
Visit the Amazon campus. You’ll find the Amazon Spheres, an urban rainforest in the middle of downtown Seattle. It’s open to the public on the first and third Saturdays of each month, with limited hours.
Check out 2nd Ave, where you can hop in the many bars and restaurants in the area. Visit Bathtub Gin and enjoy a craft cocktail. Then, head over to List to enjoy yummy truffle cream gnocchi and other Italian- and Spanish-style dishes.
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Day 2: The Neighborhoods
After spending your first day doing traditional touristy things, spend your second day visiting some of the city’s most-beloved neighborhoods.
Remember — if you want to get the full city experience via a three-day Seattle itinerary, you’ll have little time for leisure! Seattle’s packed with things to do and see. If you want to feel less rushed, visit only places you feel you can’t miss out on.
Explore Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill is located just east of downtown and boasts some of the coolest activities in the city. It’s also home to a few of the city’s best coffee shops, like Victrola Coffee Roasters and Analog Coffee.
Do you love reading? There are gorgeous bookstores in the neighborhood. The Elliott Bay Book Company is one of Seattle’s most popular bookstores and often holds events like readings and signings.
If you’re traveling without kids or have a babysitter, we suggest enjoying Capitol Hill’s nighttime party scene. Scores of restaurants and bars are open into the wee hours.
Have Lunch in Fremont
Fremont is located on the opposite side of Lake Union in downtown Seattle. It’s yet another great place to catch a spectacular view of the city.
This hip neighborhood has many small restaurants and bars. However, Fremont’s top restaurants can be expensive, so make sure your budget can accommodate dining there.
While in Fremont, check out the Fremont Troll under the Aurora Bridge and the Fremont Sunday Street Market. At the market, you’ll find locally produced foods and crafts. It also has loads of antique vendors, and you can buy unique items at fantastic prices.
Watch the Sunset at Gas Works Park
After you’ve gotten a taste of Fremont, make your way to Gas Works Park. It’s a must-visit destination on your Seattle three-day itinerary. Take in its rolling grassy hills and gorgeous scenery. You might bring leftovers or takeout for a restful hour or two at one of its picnic areas.
Do you want more? We’ve got a few suggestions.
Walk down Queen Anne Ave, close to Kerry Park. Check out the area’s numerous stores, restaurants, artisanal shops, pet stores and more. If you need a great brunch spot, there are tons of restaurants on upper Queen Anne.
If 5 Spot is open when you visit Seattle, enjoy its rotating menu and immersive atmosphere.
[Related: Cool Things to Do in Seattle]
Day 3: The Outdoors
It’s your last day in Seattle (for now)!
When you want to experience all that Seattle has to offer, don’t miss spending time outdoors. For your third day, explore more parks and get out on the water.
Take a Morning Stroll at Discovery Park
Go Paddle Boarding
If you’re an adventurer, don’t miss out on the opportunity to go paddle boarding. You can find at least a dozen fantastic paddle-boarding spots.
Lake Union is one of the most popular places for paddle boarding. Green Lake is also a great option because you can launch from practically any part of the lake. If your schedule is flexible enough, try visiting several of the lovely lakes in the vicinity.
If you have enough time left in the day after going paddle boarding, swing by super-hip Ballard. However, it’ll take you a while to get there — it’s not close to downtown Seattle. Regardless, it has one-of-a-kind restaurants, bars and businesses.
If you’re not the outdoorsy type, skip right to Ballard.
The neighborhood boasts an eclectic mix of establishments, so you’ll have plenty to do and see — again, if your wallet allows. Sip a cocktail on an al fresco dining patio and bask in the area’s laid-back charm.
[Related: Fine Dining in Seattle]
Your Seattle Three-Day Itinerary: The Possibilities Are Endless
After you explore the places we’ve listed, the city and its beauty will captivate you.
We love traveling and exploring Washington State, and we want to help you do the same!