Last Updated on January 12, 2023 by admin
Planning a trip to Seattle? Wondering what you should see on your trip? In this post, I’m sharing with you the best 4 day itinerary for Seattle! I grew up in the Seattle area and I’m sharing my favorite places with you. (These are the places I take my own family and friends when they visit for the first time!) I’ll share with you some of the most iconic Seattle experiences (like eating at Pike Place Market or ascending the Space Needle), as well as some of the more quirky experiences (like the Fremont Troll and Gas Works Park). This post builds upon my perfect weekend in Seattle by adding in a full extra day with much more to see!
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Map of All Activities
We created this helpful map showing all the locations we mention in this post so that you can conveniently plan your trip.
Travel Tip: If you’re planning a trip to Seattle, consider buying a Seattle CityPASS. You’ll be able to save money if you plan on visiting multiple attractions. For instance, if you plan on visiting the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, Museum of Pop Culture, Woodland Park Zoo, Chihuly Garden and Glass, or Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, we highly recommend that you look into purchasing the CityPASS. For more information about CityPASS, click here.
Seattle is known as the Emerald City because of its evergreen trees and abundance of plant life. If you love the outdoors, there’s plenty to do in the greater Seattle area. There are hundreds of incredible hikes within driving distance of Seattle. You can easily head to the Cascade Mountains or Olympic Mountains, or you can hop on a ferry and explore one of the many islands in the Puget Sound.
Seattle is also known for its coffee. Starbucks, the largest coffee chain in the world, got its start in Seattle. Besides the large chains, though, there are dozens of local coffee roasters that have perfected the coffee-making process. You can also find some award-winning latte artists!
Seattle also gets its fair share of rain. It rains on average 152 days per year. (That’s about 42% of the year!) So, if you’re traveling to Seattle, it’s always good to prepare for rain. The months of November through February are particularly rainy, and the summer months are much more dry.
Finally, Seattle is known for its music scene! Artists like Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam all got their start in Seattle.
Tip: If you’re looking for flights, I recommend checking the SkyScanner website to see the best prices for your dates of travel!
|Customize your trip by seeing our article: 101 Things to Do in Seattle|
What to Pack for a Trip to Seattle
If you’re traveling to Seattle, we recommend that you pack the following:
- Packable rain jacket (Even if rain isn’t in the forecast, the weather can change quickly. This rain jacket folds down small and can be easily packed in a bag for when you need it.)
- Comfortable daypack (When exploring the city, you’ll want a comfortable daypack to place all of your belongings, snacks, and souvenirs.)
- Portable charger (You’ll be using your phone for maps, navigation, and photos, so make sure you don’t run out of battery while you’re on the go. We like this one because it is slim and you don’t have to worry about packing extra cables.)
- Insulated water bottle (This water bottle will keep your water cooler for longer.)
- Comfortable walking shoes (When exploring a new city, you’ll be walking quite a bit. Make sure you have comfortable shoes! Brooks has been my favorite brand so far.)
- Flannel shirt (This is Seattle after all. Time to look the part in your photos!)
(Click on any of the above images for current pricing and shipping information.)
|Visiting Seattle on a rainy day? No problem! Check out our post on 24 Rainy Day Activities in Seattle.|
Getting to Seattle from the Airport
Because of Seattle’s Link Light Rail System, it’s very easy to get from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac) to downtown Seattle. You can purchase your train ticket with an Orca Card, cash, or credit card. Trains depart every 6 to 15 minutes (see the full time schedule here). There’s a light rail station at the airport, and then it takes about 40 minutes to get to West Lake Station in downtown Seattle.
For this itinerary, we don’t think you’ll need a rental car. Most of the attractions are within walking distance. For the few that aren’t, it would be cheaper to use a ride share service or a taxi than to pay for your own car. Plus, driving in downtown Seattle is stressful. There’s not a lot of parking, and there’s a lot of hills, one-way streets, and traffic. Do yourself a favor and plan to use the Light Rail.
If you’re planning on visiting multiple Seattle attractions (as we recommend in this itinerary), then purchase a CityPASS in advance. It will save you money!
Where to Stay
We recommend that you stay in a hotel that is centrally located (preferably within walking distance) of most attractions. Here’s our choices for this itinerary:
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle | 99 Union St, Seattle, WA 98101
The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle is a 5-minute walk from Pike Place Market. It’s a gorgeous 5-Star hotel located centrally in downtown Seattle. If you can afford it, this is our first recommendation. The hotel has an outdoor infinity pool with a view of the Seattle waterfront, lots of amenities, and is within walking distance to a lot of the places we mention in this itinerary.
Moderately Priced Hotel
The Charter Hotel Seattle | 1610 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
This hotel is located one block away from Pike Place Market, and within a mile of the Seattle Center (where the Space Needle is located) and Pioneer Square (Seattle’s oldest neighborhood). The hotel is sleek and many of the rooms have nice city views.
Green Tortoise Hostel Seattle | 105 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101
The Green Tortoise Hostel Seattle is also located right next to Pike Place Market. (Just a one minute walk away.) Because it’s a hostel, you’ll share a communal bunk room with other travelers. If you want to save money and make some new friends, this is a great choice. You can’t beat the location!
For a full list of accommodations in Seattle, click here.
Coffee at Storyville
94 Pike Street Top, floor Suite 34, Seattle, WA 98101
A major part of Seattle is the coffee scene, and on your first morning in the city, we recommend that you head to Storyville Coffee for the perfect cup of coffee. Storyville sources the top 2% of coffee beans in the world for their Premium Blend, so you can rest assured that you will receive an outstanding cup of coffee. Seattle has a lot of amazing local roasters. We chose Storyville because it’s within walking distance of Pike Place Market, but read our full post here to read more about all of our favorite coffee shops in Seattle.
Explore Pike Place Market
93 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101
After grabbing your cup of coffee, we recommend that you visit Pike Place Market. The market is absolutely huge and contains over 500 different vendors. For breakfast, we recommend one of the following: Honest Biscuits (amazing homemade biscuit breakfast sandwiches), Pike Place Bar & Grill (endless Belgian waffles), and the Athenian Seafood Restaurant and Bar (try the dungeness crab benedict). We also recommend that you take a chef-guided food tour of the market!
After breakfast, explore the market! You can watch the fish mongers toss fish (one of the most iconic scenes in the market), see Rachel the Piggy Bank (the market’s bronze mascot), add a piece of gum to the gum wall (located in Post Alley), visit the market’s secret garden (an urban garden located on the roof), and see the oldest continuously-running Starbucks (sometimes mistakenly called the “First Starbucks”).
When you’re hungry again for lunch, you can try all of the different foods at the market. You can find French pastries, Russian piroshkis, Persian kebobs, Thai curries, Taiwanese hombows, Turkish baklava, Japanese bento, English crumpets, and much, much more. We especially like going to Beecher’s for their macaroni and cheese. If you want to sit down some place for lunch, check out Cafe Champagne. Looking for a brew? Head to Pike Place Brewing Company.
|See our complete guide to Pike Place Market here to find out where to eat and drink!|
Head to the Seattle Waterfront
After exploring the market, head to the Seattle waterfront. (Less than a 10 minute walk down to the piers.) There are a number of attractions at the waterfront. You might enjoy seeing the Seattle Aquarium, the Seattle Great Wheel, Wings Over Washington, or Miner’s Landing. We especially like the view of Seattle from the Bell Street Pier Rooftop Deck.
|If you head to the Seattle Aquarium, see our complete guide on what to see!|
Seattle Central Library
1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
“Betty Jane Narver Reading Room, Seattle Central Library” by Hillbraith is licensed under CC PDM 1.0
Before heading to your hotel to rest for a bit, stop by the Seattle Central Library. The building is one of the most unique in Seattle due to its glass and steel honeycomb design. The library also features a “Red Floor”, which is colored in 13 shades of red. It’s one of the most photographed areas of the library.
Dinner at Ma’Ono Fried Chicken
Inside Rachel’s Ginger Beer, 2112 7th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121
*Open Thursday through Saturday
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Within walking distance of the hotels we mentioned is Ma’Ono Fried Chicken. Ma’Ono is a quick, counter-service restaurant that has the best fried chicken sandwich we have ever tasted. The restaurant gives a Hawaiian spin on their sandwiches. For $12, you can get a super-crispy fried chicken breast on a butter-toasted King’s Hawaiian bun topped with daikon pickles, kewpie mayo, and iceberg lettuce. It’s seriously the best fried chicken sandwich. The dinner counter is tucked away within Rachel’s Ginger Beer, so it’s easy to walk by it if you don’t know about the restaurant.
While you’re there, be sure to try Rachel’s Ginger Beer. Rachel’s Ginger Beer is a classic Seattle beverage, and they have one of their stores located near Pike Place Market as well. If you’ve never had ginger beer, it’s good to know that it’s not an alcoholic beverage. Similar to root beer, the word ‘beer’ is just in the name and there is no alcohol content. We recommend that you try the classic ginger beer, but see if you can also try some of their fun flavors like caramelized pineapple, blood orange, and pink guava. You can also make your ginger beer a cocktail if you’d like. Their moscow mule is the best!
2111 7th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121
“Amazon Seattle Spheres” by GoToVan is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Right across from Ma’Ono Fried Chicken and Rachel’s Ginger Beer are the Seattle Spheres, so it’s an easy sight to see on your first evening. The Seattle Spheres were built to provide Amazon office employees a place to connect with nature. The spheres are filled with more than 40,000 plants from over 30 countries. Since they are closed to the public most days, we recommend walking by and taking some pictures from outside. (If you really want to walk inside them, you can make a reservation for either the first or third Saturday of each month.)
211 W Highland Dr, Seattle, WA 98119
If you’ve seen a postcard of Seattle, chances are the photo was taken from Kerry Park. This park has one of the best views of the city! My favorite part about this park is that you can clearly see the Space Needle front and center. Whether you arrive in time for sunset or if you arrive later in the evening, the park has a beautiful view of Seattle. We think it’s the perfect introduction of Seattle for your trip.
Cocktails at Oliver’s Lounge
Mayflower Park Hotel, 405 Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98101
If you have the energy at the end of your travel day, head over to Oliver’s Lounge for a craft cocktail. It’s within walking distance of the hotels we mentioned previously. Oliver’s Lounge is famous for their martinis. They have won Seattle’s Best Classic Martini for eight years in a row!
Coffee and Breakfast
1124 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101
Head over to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery to have a special coffee experience. You’ll get to learn about Starbucks’ coffee-making process, and you can experience some unique drinks like an espresso flight.
One of our favorite places to eat breakfast is the Portage Bay Cafe. Their South Lake Union location is less than a mile from the roastery.
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After breakfast, head to the Seattle Center. From downtown, a fun way to get to the Seattle Center is by using the Monorail. You can hop on the Monorail at West Lake Center and it will take you straight to the Seattle Center.
Seattle Center is one of the cultural hubs of the city. You’ll find the Space Needle, Museum of Pop Culture, the International Fountain, and the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. If you have time to explore all of them, we highly recommend it. (There’s also the Pacific Science Center and Discovery Center if you have more time to explore!)
400 Broad St, Seattle, WA 98109
The Space Needle is the most iconic symbol of Seattle. To get to the Space Needle viewing decks, you’ll take the elevator up over 500 feet. The Space Needle underwent a major renovation in 2018. The outdoor viewing deck now has glass walls with glass benches (“skyrisers”) that make for some incredible photos. The Loupe on the lower viewing deck contains the world’s first and only revolving glass floor. You’ll be able to see Seattle underneath your feet! The Space Needle also has a trendy lounge for cocktails, a cafe for drinks and snacks, and a gift shop.
|Before heading to the Space Needle, see our full post on what to see at the attraction.|
Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)
325 5th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
The MoPOP is another one of Seattle’s most unique buildings. The building’s exterior is curved and made from thousands of iridescent and metal panels. Inside the museum, you’ll find exhibits dedicated to Seattle musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam, as well as tons of exhibits related to movies. During our last visit, we saw the light saber Luke Skywalker used in Star Wars, the hat and jacket Indiana Jones wore, the dress Dorothy wore in the Wizard of Oz, and Harry Potter’s glasses.
|One of our favorite Seattle attractions is the MoPOP. Read all about our favorite exhibits here.|
305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109
“International Fountain, Seattle Center” by david_s_carter is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
The International Fountain was built in 1962 as part of the World’s Fair. The fountain contains 274 water jets and LED lighting. The fountain contains four ‘super shooters’ that blast water 120 feet high into the air. On a sunny day, you’re likely to see dozens of children and adults try to touch the dome and run away before the jets resume!
Chihuly Garden and Glass
305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109
Adjacent to the Space Needle, you will find Chihuly Garden and Glass. Dale Chihuly is one of the most famous glass artists in the world, and his studio is based in Washington. At the Chihuly Garden and Glass, you’ll find a museum filled with his artwork. Our personal favorite exhibit is the Glasshouse, which is a 40-foot-tall building that resembles a conservatory. (Pictured above.) Suspended from the ceiling is a large 100-foot-long suspended glass sculpture. Outside the museum, you can explore a glass garden. Chihuly’s glass pieces are blended seamlessly into the plant collection. It’s truly a unique experience to walk through this garden of glass!
For lunch, you can eat at the Seattle Center. The Armory has a bunch of different food vendors, the MoPOP has a restaurant (Culture Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck), Chihuly Garden and Glass has a restaurant (Collections Cafe), and the Space Needle has a cafe with snacks. If you don’t mind a short walk, you can also eat at Toulouse Petit, located on Lower Queen Anne Hill.
Gas Works Park
2101 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103
“064 of 365 – Gas Works Park” by IncrediblyNuming is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Next, we recommend stopping by Gas Works Park to say goodbye to Seattle. Gas Works was the former site of the Seattle Gas Light Company’s gasification plant. Many of the original structures were never cleared from the park, so there are a bunch of rusty structures in the center of the park. The park is located on the other side of Lake Union, and it has a beautiful view of Seattle from across the lake. Go to the top of the hill and find the giant sun dial (which has the best view of the city).
For dinner, see our post on the best restaurants in Seattle. There are tons of great places to eat, so choose something from our list that sounds good to you!
“Fremont Troll” by Roshan Vyas is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
After dinner, we recommend that you go to the Fremont neighborhood. You can see the Fremont Troll (a giant troll statue under the bridge) and have after-dinner drinks. We recommend Add-a-Ball (an old-school barcade), and Brouwer’s Cafe (hundreds of different beers and over 50 types of scotch).
Breakfast and Coffee
1930 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
Open Thursday through Sunday
Because Seattle is such a coffee town, each day of this itinerary we suggest a different coffee shop to try. For Day 3, head over to the Moore Coffee Shop. They are famous for their latte art. Order a latte and get ready to take some photos for your Instagram feed! In addition to beautiful lattes, they are also known for their breakfast waffles. Stay for breakfast and enjoy!
Olympic Sculpture Park
2901 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98121
After breakfast, it’s less than a mile walk to the he Olympic Sculpture Park. This park is a 9-acre waterfront park that is free to the public. The park contains a total of 20 outdoor sculptures that you can enjoy as you walk along the path. Pictured above is Beverly Pepper Perre’s Ventaglio III (1967). Enjoy the sculptures as well as the views of the Puget Sound!
Myrtle Edwards Park
3130 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121
“Myrtle Edwards Park” by Seattle Parks & Recreation is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Adjacent to the Olympic Sculpture Park is Myrtle Edwards Park. So, after you’re finished looking at the sculptures, just head north a little bit and you can explore this waterfront park. I like Myrtle Edwards Park because it has great views of Mount Rainier on a clear day. The park has a 1.25 mile trail for pedestrians and bicyclists that winds along Elliott Bay.
For lunch, we recommend stopping at either La Campagne or Matt’s in the Market.
Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour
614 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
“Seattle Underground Tour” by -JvL- is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The underground tour is one of the most popular tours in Seattle. Although I’ve lived here nearly my entire life, I only recently completed the tour and got to look at Seattle’s underground! After the Great Fire of 1889, the city of Seattle was rebuilt on top of the old city. That means that beneath the busy streets of the Seattle you see today lies the old storefronts and sidewalks. You’ll learn all about the hidden history of Seattle when you go on this tour.
506 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
“Smith Tower, Seattle, Washington” by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
A short walk away from the Underground Tour is the Smith Tower. Built in 1914, Smith Tower was the first skyscraper erected in Seattle. For many years, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. Near the top of the Smith Tower is an outdoor observation deck and indoor bar. The bar has a swanky 1920s vibe and it feels like you’re visiting a speakeasy. When we last visited the Smith Tower, we caught the sunset over the city and it was one of our favorite views of all time.
1519 14th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
For dinner, head over to the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. We recommend that you dine at Nue, which is frequently named as one of Seattle’s best restaurants. This restaurant is named after a supernatural monster in Japanese mythology that is a beast composed of many different parts. Because the menu at Nue is a fusion of many different cuisine styles, the name was a perfect fit for the restaurant. Currently on their menu you’ll find offerings like the South African Bunny Show, the Chengdu Spicy Jumbo Chicken Wings, and the Danish Drømmekage Dream Cake.
Capitol Hill is a really fun neighborhood for its night life. Here’s a few bars we recommend:
- Foreign National: This dimly lit bar features cocktails from around the world.
- Needle and Thread: This is a speak-easy style bar in which you’ll need to make reservations and then go through the ‘secret entrance’. They don’t have a cocktail menu. Instead, they customize each drink for their guests.
- Canon: This bar has thousands of liquors to choose from and was rated as one of the World’s Top 50 Best Bars.
- Redhook Brewlab: Looking for a casual bar that can handle a big group? Head to the Redhook Brewlab and try their local craft brews.
- Rhein Haus Seattle: Enjoy German beers and Bavarian food while you play bocce ball.
The Capitol Hill neighborhood is also very LGBTQIA+ friendly! You might want to check out the Wildrose and/or Pony.
Breakfast and Coffee
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If you can only visit a handful of coffee shops in Seattle, make sure that this one is on your list. They were voted as the Best Coffee Shop in Seattle by Travel and Leisure, and they were also rated as one of Food & Wine’s Top Cafes in America. (The only cafe in Seattle to be recognized on that list.)
6501 Railroad Ave, Snoqualmie, WA 98065
On your last full day, we recommend that you step out of the city and see some of the beautiful nature scenes surrounding Seattle. Snoqualmie Falls is located approximately 29 miles east of Seattle, and is one of our favorite places to take visitors. The falls are 268 feet tall, and Snoqualmie Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in Washington State. When you visit the falls, you will find an observation deck, a two-acre park, a gift shop, Salish Lodge, and a lower lot with trailhead hiking access.
The most popular place to view the falls is from the upper observation deck, which is just a quick walk from Salish Lodge. It’s definitely possible to view the falls without hiking at all. Perched right next to the falls is Salish Lodge. After viewing the falls, head to the lodge for a really nice lunch. We recommend that you book reservations in advance.
|See our full post about what to do at Snoqualmie Falls here|
Sky View Observatory
700 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
“Columbia Center / Bank of America tower – IMG_1466” by Nicola since 1972 is licensed under CC BY 2.0
If you have energy after your visit to the falls and you’re looking for an activity to do in the evening, we recommend visiting the Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Tower. The Columbia Tower is the tallest skyscraper in Seattle, so you will definitely get a great view of the city. It’s the perfect way to say goodbye to Seattle on your last night.
For your last night in the city, you might want to try the Capital Grille (fine dining steakhouse), The Pink Door (Italian), or Dough Zone (in the International District).
Summary: Seattle Travel and Leisure Itinerary
We hope that you enjoyed this post on the best 4 day itinerary for Seattle! We’ve included some of our favorite places to take our own guests when they visit the city. We hope you have a great trip!
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If you enjoyed this post, you may also be interested in the following posts:
- 101 Things to Do in Seattle
- 50 Free Things to Do in Seattle
- Complete Guide to the Best Coffee Shops in Seattle
- The Best Donut Shops Near Seattle
- What to See at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)
- The 20 Best Restaurants in Seattle
- Guide to the Space Needle
- 24 Rainy Day Activities in Seattle
- Complete Guide to Pike Place Market
- What to See at the Woodland Park Zoo
- Seattle’s 15 Best Beaches
- 6 Things to See at the Seattle Aquarium
- The 10 Best Viewpoints of the Seattle Skyline
Disclaimer: We always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please see individual websites embedded in this post for the most current trip-planning information.
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