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Plan Your Seattle Holiday: Best of Seattle

What is Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best?
This award is our highest recognition and is presented annually to those businesses that are the Best of the Best on Tripadvisor, those that earn excellent reviews from travellers and are ranked in the top 1% of properties worldwide.
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Explore Seattle

Seattle is known for its rainy days, but its (surprisingly many) sunny ones are the city’s best-kept secret. With three national parks all within reach, it’s a dream for outdoorsy types. Head to Kerry Park for great city views, visit Snoqualmie Falls for a spectacular waterfall just 30 minutes from town, or take the ferry to Bainbridge Island and stroll its landscaped gardens and trails. For a more authentic-to-Seattle experience, take in the iconic Space Needle before exploring the architecture in the famous Queen Anne neighbourhood below. But most of all, make sure to work in some time to just hang out—Seattle has so many eclectic shops, restaurants, and bars to check out. And of course, you can't skip the coffee: Grab some as you snack and shop at Pike Place Market or dip into one of the many indie cafes around town (the city really knows how to amp up the coziness so there's always a great spot to settle into, rain or shine). We've got plenty more recs below.
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Essential Seattle

How to do Seattle in 3 days

From hiking trails to ferry rides to—yes—the best local coffee
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Free things to do in Seattle

I’ve lived in Seattle for almost 10 years, and I spend most of my free time looking for hidden gems in the form of greenspaces, BIPOC-owned businesses, and bookshops. It can be hard to find free things in major cities, but it’s not impossible. Here are some of my favourite spots for when I want to experience the city without breaking the bank.
Aleenah Ansari, Seattle, WA
  • Seattle Public Library
    Everything is more fun when you’ve got a library card. The Seattle Public Library has 10 floors with dedicated study and work spaces, curated book recommendations, and architecture that frames the city. Head to the 10th floor for the best view or do some people-watching. And if you’re in the mood to buy something, the library has a shop with stickers, bookmarks, merch, and more.
  • Kubota Garden
    If you want to escape the hustle-bustle of the city but stay nearby, head to Kubota Garden, a 20-acre Japanese garden that’s dog-friendly and has free parking. Grab a map at the front to guide you or pull it up online—though half the fun is roaming the grounds and coming across the bridges, ponds, and lookout terraces.
  • Third Place Books
    There’s nothing better than getting lost in a local bookshop, and Third Place Books has three locations in Seattle that are unique in their own ways. The biggest location is in Lake Forest Park, where you find your next read based on top local sellers and staff recommendations, grab a bite to eat at their cafe, get some work done using their free Wi-Fi, and catch local authors for talks and signings. If you’re a local, make an appointment for the Book Buy Back programme, which earns you credit towards future purchases and a 10% discount for that day.
  • Olympic Sculpture Park
    If you catch a sunny day in Seattle, or want to brave the rain with a puffer or umbrella (gasp), check out Olympic Sculpture Park, the largest green space in Downtown Seattle. It’s free to enter and dog-friendly, and you can make your way all the way down to the water via the boardwalk. Plus, this park is one of the few things that’s open every single day, and you can drop by from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
  • Pike Place Market
    What’s a trip to Seattle without Pike Place Market? Get your iconic Seattle photo in front of the “Public Market Centre,” check out the bouquets of local flowers or dried flowers (depending on the season), and catch a flying fish. There’s a seating area right behind the market where you can enjoy your food if you end up grabbing something. And if you feel up to it, the Gum Wall is close by.
  • Fremont Vintage Mall
    Need Sunday morning plans? Now you have some. Head to the Fremont neighbourhood to browse the Fremont Vintage Mall, which offers furniture, collectibles, clothing, and more. Since this mall is indoors, you can stay dry and warm as you browse to get inspired for your next home project or outfit.
  • Frye Art Museum
    You may have heard of free first Thursdays at select Seattle museums, but FRYE Art Museum is free year-round. Stop by Wednesday to Sunday to see its rotations exhibits, which has built on its founding collection of 19th and 20th century European and American art. Additions to the collection are focussed on bringing in work by diverse artists that reflect the culture of Seattle.
  • Anthony's Pier 66 & Bell Street Diner
    One of my favourite ways to see Seattle is from a lookout point, and Pier 66 fits the bill. From here, you’ll be able to see the Seattle Great Wheel, cruise ships headed to their next destination, and boats along the shore. Plus, there are tons of benches, which makes this a great spot to read or listen to music.