Guests visiting Seattle often ask us for recommendations for what to do. The tough part is narrowing down the list to something reasonable whether you are staying one day or a week! Here is our favorite 3-day itinerary.
After a scrumptious breakfast at Greenlake Guest House, visit the Pike Place Market (Downtown waterfront) for a stroll through merchant stalls with local food, crafts, and beautiful and inexpensive flower bouquets. This is the most famous attraction in Seattle, so visit right after breakfast and beat the crowds! There is a large parking lot below the market, or you can easily take public transportation or a ride share like Uber or Lyft.
From the market, it’s an easy walk (downhill) to the waterfront. Our top recommendation there is the 2-hour Argosy Cruise of Locks (Downtown waterfront). This is a great way to explore the city on the water with a narrated cruise of the downtown waterfront of Elliot Bay and on through the Ballard Locks and Lake Union. See the famous Alaska fishing boats featured on “The Deadliest Catch” and the Lake Union Houseboats as featured in “Sleepless in Seattle.” Snacks and Bar available on the boat.
Return to the Greenlake neighborhood for an easy walk along the lake to a casual seafood dinner at Duke’s Chowder House or enjoy seasonal, European-inspired dishes at Nell’s, the fine dining restaurant in the neighborhood. For more details on where to eat at Greenlake, see https://www.greenlakeguesthouse.com/things-to-do/greenlake
Feeling energetic? Walk the entire loop around Greenlake (2.8 miles) in about an hour. In summertime. It will be light until 9 or 10pm.
After another great breakfast at Greenlake Guest House, head to Chihuly Garden & Glass (Queen Anne/Seattle Center) . This unique exhibit located at the base of the Space Needle features stunning glass installations by famous glass blower (and Seattle local) Dale Chihuly. Be sure to visit the outdoor garden as well as the excellent on-site restaurant, “Collections Café.”
After you are finished with the Chihuly Garden & Glass, walk next door to the iconic Space Needle , which was built in 1962 as a symbol of the Seattle World’s Fair. Enjoy 360-degree views of Seattle and the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mt. Rainier, and Puget Sound. The 2018 “Spacelift” renovation added multi-level floor to glass viewing windows and a rotating glass floor for an even more spectacular experience.
In the evening, we’d recommend a trip to the Ballard Locks, also called the Hiram Chittenden Locks , a 10-minute drive away. The Locks are open until dusk so it’s a nice time to see the boats passing through between the salt water of Puget Sound and the fresh water of the cut to Lake Union. Be sure to go below to the fish ladder viewing window to watch the salmon swimming upstream.
From the locks, it is just a few blocks to get to lively Ballard Avenue, home of dozens of locally owned restaurants and bars…a foodie’s dream! Stroll along the cobblestone streets for window shopping and people watching. Some of our favorite restaurants there include Staple & Fancy , Bastille , Walrus & the Carpenter , and the Ballard Annex .
Enjoy your made to order breakfast at Greenlake Guest House, then consider a trip to visit airplanes. We would recommend either a tour of the Future of Flight Boeing Assembly Plant (30 minutes’ drive north in Everett) to see the Dreamliner and other wide body jets being assembled, or a trip to South Seattle to enjoy the Museum of Flight , a huge world class museum dedicated to all types of aviation and space. Both facilities have cafes for a quick lunch.
Have more time? Add a spectacular day trip to Mt Rainier or Whidbey Island or Woodinville Wineries on Day 4. See details on our favorite day trips at https://www.greenlakeguesthouse.com/things-to-do/puget-sound