How to Spend a Weekend in Seattle, Washington

The Spheres are part of the Amazon company and offer weekend tours
The Spheres are part of the Amazon company and offer weekend tours | © Adrian Celaya / Unsplash
Photo of Elena Alston
17 July 2020

A seaport city in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is Washington’s largest and most famous metropolis, surrounded by lush evergreen forests and renowned for its cultural scene. Explore inner city locations such as Downtown and Capitol neighborhood, then venture further afar towards Puget Sound. Get the best out of Seattle in one weekend with Culture Trip’s local insiders top recommendations.

Sky View Observatory at Columbia Center

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Seattle Skyline. Aerial view of downtown Seattle from the Sky View Observatory Tower, WA, USA.
© MLouisphotography / Alamy Stock Photo

The Space Needle is what the London Eye is to England, but visitors can get a higher and cheaper view of the city skyline at the Sky View Observatory. Located on the 73rd floor, it’s the city’s tallest viewing platform coming in at 902ft (275m). Experience panoramic views of Mt Rainier, Mt Baker, the Cascade Mountains and the Space Needle. If you’ve got the stomach for it, you can map out the whole city with a drink (or two) from the bar. If the wind picks up while you’re up there, fear not – it is the safest building in the Pacific Northwest, built to withstand earthquakes and hurricanes. Recommended by local insider Grace Coleman

MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture)

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MoPop (Museum of Pop Culture) Building with the Seattle Center Monorail coming out of the building and the Space Needle on right; Seattle, Washington
© Blaine Harrington III / Alamy Stock Photo

This museum (previously known as the Experience Music Project Museum) was founded by Microsoft co-creator Paul Allen and designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. The exterior packs a grunge punch with its purposefully designed resemblance of a smashed guitar. Inside, visitors are privy to the sounds of Seattle, with an emphasis on Jimi Hendrix, as well as science fiction and fantasy exhibits from classics such as The Wizard of Oz (1939). Recommended by local insider Grace Coleman

The Pike Brewing Company

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Every traveler’s schedule should include a pit stop at the Pike Brewing Company, located in Downtown Seattle. Craft beer and artisanal ale are served by the pint. There’s also the Microbrewery Museum that offers visitors a peek into Charles Finkel’s (the brewery’s owner) personal collection of memorabilia. The company’s separate seafood restaurant in Pike Place Market, Tankard & Tun, also serves (arguably) the best oysters and Alaskan snappers in the Pacific Northwest. Recommended by local insider Grace Coleman

Discovery Park

Natural Feature, Park, Hiking Trail
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Sandy path leading to West Point Lighthouse, Discovery Park, Seattle, King County, Washington, USA
© David L. Moore - US West / Alamy Stock Photo

Located on the shores of Puget Sound, Discovery Park boasts 534 acres (216ha) of parkland, including open meadows, forest groves, sea cliffs and active sand dunes all on the grounds of Fort Lawton. It has lots of hiking trails and is home to a Victorian-era lighthouse. Recommended by local insider Eric Coleman

The Spheres

Natural Feature
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Located in the commercial district of Downtown Seattle, these three spherical conservatories house more than 40,000 plant species from the cloud forest regions of 30 countries. Promoted as “a direct link to nature” – which is often amiss in other offices – the Spheres are part of Amazon (the company, not the rainforest) and serve as a workspace for the brand’s employees. Tours are available on two Saturdays each month. Recommended by local insider Eric Coleman

Elliott Bay Book Company

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Located in the thriving Capitol Hill neighborhood, this multilevel, family-owned bookstore is a local haunt that has been around since the ’70s. It offers regular author readings and a public space for book clubs. There’s plenty of plush leather armchairs dotted about the store, so grab a book and plan to spend a couple of hours here. Recommended by local insider Eric Coleman

These recommendations were updated on July 17, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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