top of page
  • Writer's pictureDaniel Bates

What to do and see when in Seattle for one day

Updated: Feb 18

OK, so am I saying that one day is enough for Seattle in the United States Pacific Northwest? Hell no, but this is my guide if visitors coming to the city for the first time only have a day to check out the area. This city for sure I would come back to as well as exploring the scenic surrounding area. After exploring a few cities in the United States, Seattle is one of my favourites. The city has its own character and charm, one of the most friendly, laid-back and fun to check out. Famous for its hipster scene, coffee and whale spotting nearby, the natural beauty of the Puget Sound and the surrounding mountains is undeniable, which makes the city an ideal base to go and explore the nearby vast forests and hike up huge mountains. The sight of Mt. Rainier in the morning light is simply perfect. Seattle has a bit of everything. So, here I go, all the fun things one can cram in a day in Seattle, which to me, are a must do or see.

Seattle view line from the harbour front
A view of Seattle's downtown (without the Space Needle, its hiding!) from the harbour front.

Pike Place Market

One of my favourite markets in the world because of its history and atmosphere has to be Pike Place Market located on the edge of Elliot Bay near Downtown. This market has a lot of fresh produce, seafood, flower stalls, cheese and has stood here since 1907. A great sight to see is when vendors are throwing fish to another vendor. Not quite sure why they do this but it is fun to watch.

Also located here is the first ever Starbucks which opened in 1971 and, if visitors don’t know what Starbucks is (come on, everyone has heard of them surely), they offer fresh-roasted coffee beans, spices and tea from around the world to which people can drink in or takeaway. I have to admit, I went in there but I didn’t fancy a drink but I looked around. I could have been in any other Starbucks in the world, I wouldn’t have known this was the original one if I hadn’t done my research. There wasn’t even a sign saying that the cafe is the first Starbucks in the world.

Seattle is the home of Starbucks
Starbucks in Seattle

Space Needle

This giant stationary UFO building can be seen from anywhere in the city and is one of the most famous structures in the region, let alone the Seattle Skyline. This place has stunning views of the city. The Space Needle is 184 metres (605 feet) tall and has stood here since 1962. The best bit of advice here is to buy tickets in advance as queues on the day for tickets can be quite long.

Columbia Tower’s Sky View Observatory & Bar

However, another great place for a view of the city is from the tallest skyscraper in the Pacific Northwest, the observation deck at the Columbia Tower located at 700, 4th Avenue. At 284 metres (933 feet), and seventy-three storeys high, this makes the observation deck the highest public observation deck on the west coast of the United States (and also west of the River Mississippi). Ideally this is also the perfect place to check out the views with a meal or a drink from the cafe or bar. I much prefer this view from here because the view also includes the Space Needle and a much clear view of the nearby mountains to the east.

The Arctic Club Building

This building is a nine-story hotel located at the Northeast corner of Third Avenue and Cherry Street. Built in 1916 for the Arctic Club, a social group established by wealthy individuals who experienced Alaska's gold rush, it was occupied by them from construction until the club's dissolution in 1971. It is entirely faced with cream white terra cotta with blue and orange-brown accents. It has terra cotta walrus-heads lining the third floor of the building and was also adorned with a polar bear. It is one of the best examples of multi-colored matte glaze terra cotta work in Seattle. The building was designed by architect A. Warren Gould.

Amazon Spheres

One of my favourite architectures in the city, the Amazon Spheres which is a new part of the building which makes up Amazon Headquarters. The Spheres are used by Amazon employees as a chillout lounge as well as a place to work. However, two Saturdays a month, the Spheres are open to the public. The Spheres are located at 700 Lenora Street.

The headquarters of Amazon are located at the Amazon Spheres  in Seattle
Amazon Spheres

Downtown Waterfront

One of the best places to take a stroll in the city is down by the waterfront. Here there are lots of little shops, plenty of eateries and a few attractions to check out like the Aquarium or taking a ride of the Seattle Great Wheel. Also this is one of the top places to watch the sunset from.

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour

This is probably one of the most unusual attractions I have come across whilst spending time in a city, strolling through some of the ruined streets and buildings underneath the present-day city. Confused, part of the city was destroyed after the Great Fire of 1889 and instead of clearing the debris, the locals just built a new city on top of the old. The tour lasts seventy-five minutes and is located at Pioneer Square (the birthplace of Seattle) at Doc Maynard’s Public House. This is the best and only tour where visitors can go into the tunnels of the city. Tickets for the tour can be purchased at the venue but I would recommend buying online in advance as this is hugely popular tour.

The oldest saloon in Seattle

This saloon has stood here since the 1890s as it was opened a few years after the Great Fire of 1889 and when the city was being rebuilt. The bar has had several names but the decor and what it stands for has never changed. There are few establishments that have stood the test of time, and even fewer that have changed the landscape of American music. The Central Saloon has accomplished this while remaining at the forefront of live music all while being the oldest saloon in Seattle. In the 1980s there was a sea change for the saloon. It saw new ownership and with that, a strong desire to bring live music to the venue. In time, the charming venue became the birthplace of Grunge. American music greats such as Soundgarden, The Melvins, Mother Love Bone, Alice in Chains and Nirvana all have played at the Central. The saloon is located at 207 1st Avenue South.

Sitting outside the Central Saloon in Seattle
Just chilling with a Rainier lager

Ferry to Bainbridge Island

This was a truly amazing experience, to get the epic views of Seattle’s skyline from the waterfront in the daytime and during sunset. I highly recommend this ride just for this. However Bainbridge Island is worth checking out but I have to admit, I didn't spend a lot of time here, just enough time to grab a bite to eat before heading back on the ferry. The ferry terminal can be found in Seattle at 801 Alaskan Way Pier 52, 98104 and tickets can be bought on the day.

Final thoughts

There you have it guys, if you have one day in Seattle, then these sites are not to be missed. I hope I will be back soon in the city to spend a lot longer and to do the places I missed. Again, I was very welcomed by the locals. There is something about the city which has a different feel in the air compared to other cities on the western seaboard which I can’t put my finger on. It's laid-back, it's beautiful, it has character, charm and of course, history. Maybe I will find out another day in the not-so-far-distant future. Seattle, you are amazing!

Sunset shot of Seattle Downtown from the Harbour Front
Goodnight from Seattle

Need insurance? Safety Wing offers coverage for a lot of adventure activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and so forth. I never travel without travel insurance. I highly recommend them for those who need travel insurance.

If you would like to share my blog post via Pinterest, please share the pin below.

Please note that while I was not working with the companies mentioned in this blog post (apart from the Columbia Tower’s Sky View Observatory to whom was a delight working for), my review and experiences written about in this post are 100% genuine. I value my readers too much to lie to you. My blog would be nothing without you and your continued support! There maybe some links above which are affiliate and are at no additional cost to you. If my readers use them, I earn a commission to buy their products and remember, I only mentioned products and companies I use. The income from this keeps this website going. Thank you.


bottom of page