Uncover the Best of Seattle: The Ultimate Seattle Bucket List

Updated on June 16th, 2023

Reading Time: 13 minutes

Nestled in the upper left corner of the continental U.S, Seattle offers a wealth of opportunities for newcomers to the area, including exploration, adventure, and creating lasting memories. Whether you’re you’re a long-time local, or you’re thinking about  buying a home or renting an apartment in Seattle, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this Redfin article, we have the Ultimate Seattle Bucket List—a curated collection of must-see attractions, hidden gems, and unforgettable experiences that will allow you to immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of Seattle. From savoring the local flavors at Pike Place Market to exploring the vibrant neighborhoods of Seattle that make this city unique, get ready to uncover the very best of the Emerald City. 

The Seattle Waterfront with the Seattle Great Wheel

1) Satisfy your cravings in Capitol Hill

“Definitely check out all the local eateries in Capitol Hill,” suggests recipe, travel, and lifestyle blogger Michelle of DWELL. “I love that the area is home to so many different cuisines, so there’s always something for everyone. My favorites include Kedai Makan, Ooink, Taurus Ox, and Bateau.”

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2) Discover all that Renton has to offer

Owners of Four Generals Brewing recommend popping down to Renton to find several treasures. “Erasmus, the dragon, watches over the town on Wells Ave S. just north of 3rd Street. The J at the Greenwood Memorial Park is well worth a visit for music fans. Walk along the Cedar River trail to where it empties into Lake Washington and see the airplanes in production at the Renton Boeing Plant.”

3) Check out the Seattle Central Library

“Most people would never think of going to the public library unless they are an avid reader or someone doing some research, but I always send people visiting me to the Seattle Central Library downtown,” shares Art Stone, CEO of Honest Biscuits, a restaurant in Pike Place Market serving up Southern-style biscuits & sandwiches. “I often get strange looks, but once they go they always thank me. The library is housed in the architecturally spectacular eleven story building designed by Rem Koolhaas. And the inside is amazing and fun and full of resources and fun things. Take the elevator to the top floor and work your way down to the children’s section on the first floor.”

The inside of the Seattle Public Library, a must-visit on the Seattle Bucket List

4) Experience some of the best Lebanese food at Cafe Munir

“One of the most enjoyable meals I’ve experienced in Seattle was at Cafe Munir, a Lebanese restaurant in Ballard,” shares Sylvia Fountaine, recipe blogger of Feasting at Home. “On Sundays, they offer up a ’chef’s choice’ dinner. Plates of beautiful food come to the table, and each one is a delicious and beautiful surprise. There are many vegetable-forward dishes, and options for vegetarians. Be sure to make a reservation, they fill up fast and often have a 2-hour wait.”

5) Stop by Wilkeson near Mount Rainier National Park 

Wilkeson sits near the northwest corner of Mount Rainier National Park and is approximately one hour from Seattle. Once known as the roughest coal mining town west of Butte, Montana, Wilkeson is full of history and natural beauty. With a population of just over 500, Wilkeson is the perfect day trip to take a step back in time. 

Learn some local history and enjoy the local food and beverages that make Wilkeson a bucket list destination for any local or visitor. The Carlson Block is known for their famous wood fired, sourdough pizza. Nomad serves up delicious Argentinian coffee and empanadas and the Simple Goodness Sisters Soda Shop offers craft cocktails made from their garden-to-glass simple syrups and grilled panini sandwiches that hit the spot after a day of adventuring.

6) Check out the Dr. Jose Rizal Bridge

“Every tourist and local has certainly been to Kerry Park for its iconic Seattle Skyline,” states local photographer Roddy Chung Photography. “However, there’s a spot on the other side of the city that offers a unique point of view. Just a little bit on the south side of downtown, you’ll see plenty of photographers taking long exposure shots with their tripods at the bridge. Although Space Needs is a little bit on the hideout on this side of the scenery, multiple stadiums from T-Mobile Park and Lumen Field create a stunning panoramic view with the skyscrapers on the right. It’s certainly one of the most underrated spot to visit in Seattle.”

Dr. Jose Rizal Bridge, a Seattle bucket list location

7) Take in the view at Betty Bowen Viewpoint

“After you’ve enjoyed the iconic Kerry Park, drive a little further west until you hit the Betty Bowen Viewpoint,” says Kiersten Marie Photo. “As a photographer, this hidden gem is my favorite spot in the city to capture a sunset. Hot tip—grab some picnic snacks from nearby Ken’s Market and spend the evening soaking in that unbeatable view.” 

8) Check out Book Larder – a cook’s dream come true

“If you’re getting to know the city, I suggest adding the Book Larder to your Seattle bucket list,” states Recipe blogger and author, Caroline Wright. “Located in Fremont, this amazing cookbook-only bookstore is a local hub for new, used, and vintage cookbooks, and even hosts a variety of author events & cooking classes. It’s near my house and it was one of the reasons I loved my house in the first place.” 

9) Don’t miss Seattle’s vegan food scene

“If you’re in Seattle, there are three must-go places in the neighborhood of Capitol Hill,” shares Eunice, restaurant blogger at Rated V for Vegan. “Capitol Hill is known for having a plethora of restaurants and bars, but for me it’s a hot spot for vegan cuisine, dessert, and instagrammable vibes.”

“First for lunch or dinner you must try Ramen Danbo, a restaurant based out of Tokyo with locations only in Vancouver, BC, and New York. They have the best ramen in the city and offer a fully vegan menu. Get the classic rekka ramen, medium spicy with thick noodles and nori on the side, you’ll thank me later. After, you’ll want to cool down with Frankie & Jos ice cream, raved about as amazing by vegans and non vegans alike. They offer rotating seasonal flavors but my go-to is the Chocolate Tahini Super Cookie, did I mention everything is also gluten-free? Last stop is to enjoy that ice cream around the corner to ChopHouse Row, this hidden alley is super Instagrammable and surrounded by restaurants, lights, and a fire pit – warning, you might want to take photos.”

Ice cream cone from Frankie & Joes
Photo courtesy of Rated V for Vegan

10) Check out the Fremont Street Market

“A great way for new Seattleites to get acquainted with the heart of what makes Seattle unique is to visit the Fremont Sunday Street Market held under the Fremont Bridge at 34th Street every Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm,” says travel blogger Kerri (KJ) of Travel Makes Me Happy. “We love the eclectic mix of vendors, food, music, and it is not far from the infamous Fremont Troll Sculpture near 36th so you can easily fit in a quick visit to see the iconic sculpture too. It’s a great way to become immersed in your new city.”

11) Stroll through Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market

“Pike Place Market is one of the most iconic Seattle attractions and for good reason,” states travel and lifestyle blogger The Urban Darling. “It’s a public market place that overlooks the waterfront, making for some gorgeous views of the Pier and the Puget Sound. You can’t miss the neon signs that indicate you’ve arrived! At any time of year you’ll find fresh flowers, seasonal fruits & vegetables, baked goods, and more. The bottom level of the market is filled with unique shops just waiting to be explored. Be sure to check out the first Starbucks coffee shop at Pike Place and visit Ghost Alley for a photo opp with the Pinterest worthy Gum Wall.”

“One of the best ways to get acquainted with what Seattle has to offer is spending a day wandering (and eating) your way through Pike Place Market and the waterfront,” suggests local photographer Danielle Barnum. A fun fact about Pike Place Market is that it is one of the oldest continuously operated farmers markets in the country.

“Start at Pike and 1st and make your way up to Storyville Coffee for a decadent treat with stunning views,” says Barnum. “From there, weave through the market and collect the produce, or get yourself a bouquet of flowers for your home from local vendors. Take your new bounty and meander down to the waterfront at Pier 59 for a sunset sailboat tour with Sailing Seattle, which showcases a breathtaking view of the entire cityscape and Puget Sound. Then, grab a table at the renowned Pink Door for some of the best Italian food, ambience, and nightly performances in the Emerald City.” 

Seattle's Pike Place Market at dusk

12) Uncover Seattle’s history in Ballard

“A must-visit for new Seattleites is the historic neighborhood of Ballard,” says Cagri Sener, Head of Marketing at PURA Olea, organic cooking and sautéing olive oil made in Seattle. “Explore its vibrant community and immerse yourself in its rich maritime history, delicious seafood, local shops and thriving arts and culture scene. In addition to shopping and exploring, take a stroll through the famous Ballard Farmers Market held every Sunday, where you can sample local products and meet the makers.”

For olive oil enthusiasts, don’t miss the opportunity to pick up some extra virgin olive oil from PURA Olea at Sabine Restaurant or Culinary Essentials in Ballard. 

13) Enjoy a meal at Elliott’s Oyster House

Seattle is known for its abundant and fresh seafood, and you’ll get to taste the best of it with every bite. From succulent salmon that melts in your mouth to the sweet and tender flesh of Dungeness crab, you’ll discover the true flavors of the Sound. Whether you’re a seafood aficionado or a foodie looking to try something new, Seattle’s seafood scene is sure to satisfy your cravings. 

Travel blogger Destiny Snyder of Guided by Destiny recommends checking out Elliott’s Oyster House. “Be sure to make reservations ahead of time, and try to do it around sunset. Located on the pier, the view from the restaurant is unbelievable. The food is so fresh and delicious. I suggest ordering the fresh Halibut topped with mango salsa which was absolutely to die for.”

14) Take a sip of adventure and head over to Kirkland

If you’re new to Seattle, don’t be afraid to venture outside the city to discover hidden gems and all Washington has to offer. Just outside Seattle, you’ll find the blossoming city of Kirkland – the perfect mix of urban life and relaxation you’d get from living in the suburbs. Whether you’re looking to explore its beautiful waterfronts, find the perfect date night spot, or looking to do some shopping, the city of Kirkland is the perfect place to be for any new Seattleite. And of course, grabbing boba or making a visit to Pochi Bubble Tea Cafe near Juanita Beach is an essential part of completing the Kirkland experience.

Aerial view of Kirkland, WA at sunset

15) Soak up the stunning scenery at Discovery Park

“A must-see for every new resident, Discovery Park is the largest park in Seattle and sits on a bluff overlooking Puget Sound,” states photographer Eden Bao Photography. “You’ll find hiking trails that take you on an adventure through meadows, forests, rocky cliffs, and beaches. The views are so breathtaking–a photographer’s paradise.”

“Discovery Park is the perfect oasis in the middle of the city,” adds Anthony and Marlie Love, creators and hosts of Traveling While Black, a YouTube and TikTok show rating their travel experiences. “You can go on wonderful hiking trails, to the beach, and more. You can see our full experience on our YouTube episode: Traveling While Black™ in Seattle: Episode 98- Discovery Park.”

16) Bite into the bliss of a freshly baked cookie

It’s hard to resist a freshly baked cookie, especially when it’s one of Midnight Cookie co.’s 15 irresistible flavors like classic chocolate chip or the more adventurous fruity pebble. At Midnight Cookie Co., they pride themselves in baking tasty cookies for the Seattle-area community. Get cookies delivered by placing an order online or stop by any of their 6 locations around the sound and pick some up.

17) Take a short trip to explore the beauty of Vancouver, BC

“Seattle is such a beautiful city, centered in the Pacific Northwest it really offers quite the scenery,” shares travel and lifestyle blogger Melissa of Meliss Meets World. “The real reason to visit Seattle however is the proximity to even better views just a few hours north around the city of Vancouver. A trick to visiting Vancouver is flying through Seattle to avoid international airfare prices, and then renting a car and enjoying the incredible ride through this area of the Pacific Northwest. Absolute must-sees in the Vancouver area include Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain Observatory, and the Teahouse in Stanley Park.”

Capilano Suspension Bridge

18) Step into a World of Color and Wonder at the Chihuly Garden and Glass

Immerse yourself in a kaleidoscope of beauty as you explore the Chihuly Garden and Glass, a breathtaking exhibition of world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s incredible glass artwork. From soaring installations to intricate glass sculptures, every piece in this magnificent garden is a masterpiece waiting to be discovered. As you wander through the galleries, be prepared to be awed by the vibrant colors, intricate designs, and sheer scale of Chihuly’s creations. This is an experience like no other, where art, nature, and wonder collide to create an unforgettable journey. 

19) Take a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton for scenic views of the city and surrounding islands

Embark on a journey of breathtaking scenery and serenity as you take a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton. With panoramic views of the city and surrounding islands, you’ll experience the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest like never before. The ferry ride itself is a true adventure, as you glide across the glistening waters and take in the fresh sea air. When you arrive, be prepared to be enchanted by the charming communities and breathtaking landscapes that await you. This is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, where you can reconnect with nature and soak in the tranquility of the surrounding islands. 

Ferry leaving Seattle to Bainbridge Island

20) Sail into adventure at Seattle’s Duck Dodge

Seattle Photographic Society members often enjoy meeting for Duck Dodge, the sailboat race which is held each Tuesday evening from May through September on Lake Union, ” says photographer Holly Hauser. “We enjoy the vistas both from Lake Union Park, where The Center for Wooden Boats provides additional photographic opportunities, and from Gas Works Park, where the Seattle skyline is the perfect photographic backdrop to the many colorful sails. Both parks are lively on long, warm summer evenings, and park goers enjoy the energy of the race as well as the unexpected entertainment: fire dancers, musicians, aerialists, hot tub boaters, and, yes, a variety of rather brave ducks and waterfowl.”

21) Discover the hidden charm of West Seattle

West Seattle is away from the hustle and bustle but also has a unique charm and character to it,” says travel bloggers Zac and Ine of World Wild Hearts. “Make sure to check out the popular California Avenue and browse the cute shops and restaurants. Easy Street Records is located at the main crosswalk on the avenue and is the hot spot for emerging artists, local shows, as well as vinyl classic records, and newly released albums. Seattle is known for its music and Easy Street Records is the best music store in the city in our opinion. Go to Easy Street Records on a day when there is live music in the store. There is generally a large crowd and great music for the event along with quality coffee from their cafe.”

Zac and Ine add, “If you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere and slower pace, another great place to visit in West Seattle is Alki Beach Park, the “California” of Seattle located across the water from downtown Seattle and looks out towards the city. It is full of unique restaurants, picturesque homes, and a long, sandy beach with a rollerblade and walking path for miles. I recommend going to Marination Ma Kai (Hawaiian) or Salty’s (seafood) for dinner so you can see the city and Ferris wheel lit up from across the water for the best views. La Rustica, a small but extremely tasty Italian restaurant, is also a local favorite.”

Man Running along Alki beach

22) Join the Party in Georgetown at the San Gennaro Festival

“An event that I think every Seattleite should go to at least once is the San Gennaro Festival in Georgetown,” says Content Producer and Media Consultant John Beck. “It’s a really fun Italian Festival that happens in the beginning of September celebrating the patron saint of Naples and the Italian American contribution to the PNW with tons of food, fun, and amazing people. The  proceeds from the event are donated every year to a different charity. From the Italian wine garden to the rows of prepared and pantry food ready for you, it’s an event I look forward to every year. Don’t miss the sfogliatella table (one of the few places you can get an authentic one is the PNW) or Big John’s booth for really great prices on sauces, pasta, meats and spices.” 

23) Hit Chuckanut Drive for a scenic adventure

“One of my favorite things to do in Seattle is actually outside of Seattle,” shares Seattle blogger Kerri Jablonski I Am The Maven. “Head north on 1-5 towards Bellingham, you’ll pass Everett and Mount Vernon before you get to your destination of Chuckanut Drive. Chuckanut Drive is a scenic byway that starts just north of Burlington, taking you by oyster farms, beautiful homes boasting views of San Juan Islands and Chuckanut Bay. End your drive in Fairhaven for a bite to eat or some shopping. Chuckanut Drive is a must for any new Seattleite who has already done all the typical Seattle sightseeing.”

Chuckanut Drive

24) Enjoy brews and views at Old Stove Brewing

Old Stove Brewing hosts two iconic destinations in Seattle. Their brewery and restaurant in the historic Pike Place Market is the perfect place to enjoy an award-winning hand-crafted beer, along with a delicious meal made from scratch, while overlooking a panoramic view of Elliot Bay and the Olympic mountain range. Their lively taproom in the North Queen Anne neighborhood offers a large outdoor heated and covered courtyard area, as well as a cozy and quirky bar space to enjoy live music, a variety of events, and local craft beer.

25) Hands-on cooking class for authentic Asian flavors

As a true foodie town, Seattle offers many unique cooking experiences. Dash of Soy is the highest-rated cooking school located in Georgetown, Seattle, specializing in small-group, hands-on cooking classes to bring authentic Asian flavors to everyday cooking. Classes include Homestyle Chinese Dumplings, Mochi Masterclass, Vegan Feast, and many flavors of 5-Course Meals. 

Georgetown is a small historic and industrial-chic neighborhood in Seattle with so many hidden treasures. It has Seattle’s oldest pub, Jules Maes Saloon, next to the one-and-only Georgetown Trailer Park Mall. A date night must-do at The Corson Building, plus the monthly Georgetown Art Attack that features local art, food, and drinks.

26) Don’t miss Mount Rainier

“It is great for any fitness level and has endless possibilities to explore: snow play and snowshoeing, hiking, camping, and wildlife watching, to name a few,” says Iryna Rusiaieva, travel blogger at Grazy Goat. “Mt Rainier was the place where we realized how lucky we are that we moved to Seattle.” So pack your bags, grab your camera, and come experience the majesty of Mount Rainier for yourself.Two hikers walk by a small pond in Mt. Rainier National Park

27) Visit Beast & Cleaver in Ballard

“Beast & Cleaver is a tiny butcher shop in Ballard,” shares Travel blogger Susan Stephens. “In addition to great meats like a porterhouse you could pick up and grill at home, their after-hours wine bar nights are a real treat. They have a menu of expertly cooked steaks, snacks, and surprises, making for one of the most unique dining experiences in Seattle. The meat options go way beyond steaks, like a hefty smashburger, snappy homemade sausages, and incredible custard-based desserts. Pair this with one of their great wines and you have a memorable night.”

28) Check out the West Seattle Bee Garden

“If you’re visiting the lovely city of Seattle, then you have to visit the West Seattle Bee Garden,” suggests local photographer, Lessie Blue Photography. “It’s so cute, quaint, and a great educational experience. Go check out the queens of mother nature, have a self-guided tour, and take pictures behind the plexiglass.”

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Julia Weaver

Julia is a part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about real estate and design trends. Her dream home be a charming beachside home with lots of light.

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