Surrounded by either body of water or mountains, Seattle’s unique geography mixed with its fascinating culture is among the best cities to visit in the United States.
This Pacific Northwest’s state is located on the Puget Sound and bordered by the Cascades mountain range, making it both an ideal weekend getaway for those looking for outdoor activities or simply want to check out a fascinating city.
With its diverse landscapes and interesting neighborhoods to explore, three days might not seem enough but if you’re after the best of Seattle and just enough local culture, three days might be jam-packed but totally worth it.
Be sure to wear comfortable and sturdy travel shoes, though. Seattle may have an amazing transport system but if you’ve only got three days — do as the Seattleites do: explore on foot.
The city is pretty hilly so this 3 days in Seattle itinerary also lists where you can get drinks and snacks to continuously keep you energized. Here’s a handy three-day guide on where to go, what to see and what to eat in Seattle.
3 Days in Seattle: Itinerary With Maps and Tips
Day 1 of 3 Days in Seattle Itinerary
1. Pike Place Market
Start your first day early and head straight to Pike Place Market. Be sure to get here before 8 in the morning to avoid the crowds and for you to fully enjoy the atmosphere, and the food.
Have your breakfast here, and buy some takeaway for you to snack on for the rest of the day.
Check out the first Starbucks which often has long lines so just snap a few photos from the window and have coffee somewhere else instead, like Seattle Coffee Works or Storyville, then pair it with doughnuts from Daily Dozen.
Visit the Pike Place Fish Market to see fish being thrown, then enjoy sone healthy greek yogurt at Ellenos.
Get a taste of Russia in Seattle by buying some takeaway piroshki (Russian pie) at Piroshky Piroshky, which you can pair with refreshing ginger beer from Rachel’s.
As an alternative, try the mac and cheese at Beecher’s or have a bowl of Pike Place chowder.
You’d probably be full by just reading all that so your next destination should have you resting and relaxing for a while.
2. Seattle Waterfront
This is located right next to the Pike Place Market, so you simply have to walk from there to get to this area. And it’s one of the best free things to do in Seattle.
Relax your feet at Myrtle Edwards Park, which has sweeping views over the city.
From there you can see the Seattle Great Wheel (the Ferris wheel), or you may want to visit the Seattle Aquarium.
While here, you can also hop on a ferry or water taxi to view Seattle from the water, enjoy some fresh air or admire the city skyline.
Once back on the waterfront, it’s just a quick walking distance to your next stop, the historic Pioneer Square.
3. Pioneer Square
A historic Seattle area that’s a must-visit as there’s plenty to do here. Devote a few hours in exploring Pioneer Square to learn more about some intriguing local history and culture.
First off, take the Underground Tour where you’ll learn about the Great Fire of 1889 and check out the remnants of an underground city.
Visit the tiniest urban park you’ll ever see called the Pocket Park, and the artificial waterfall. Stroll along with the 50 galleries and do your own art walk.
Stop by for a drink at the iconic Central Saloon, which is Seattle’s oldest pub. It was built in 1892 and is also an important hub for the city’s music scene.
It’s probably late afternoon by now when you’ve pretty much seen most of Pioneer Square, so it’s time to head onto Seattle Center, which you can easily reach via a 20-minute bus ride.
4. Seattle Center
Another face of Seattle that’s located in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood north of downtown is Seattle Center.
Here you’ll find more green spaces, interesting sculptures and art museums such as the Chihuly Garden & Glass and the MoPop (the Museum of Pop Culture).
There’s also the fascinating Pacific Science Center, with its max screen, laser shows, and planetarium.
A must try while you’re on the Seattle Center is to look for the Dog in the Park, a hotdog stand that serves the traditional Seattle Dog.
This is your usual hotdog but topped with cream cheese and sautéed onions. That sounds like a strange combo but a definite must when you’re in the city.
Wash it down with some cool refreshing soda and rest a bit before heading on to another iconic Seattle attraction — the Space Needle.
5. Space Needle
Still located in the Seattle Center is the Space Needle, a fixture in most photos of the city and its skyline.
It is Seattle’s most iconic building, and a ride to the top is a great way to end your first day as you watch the sunset.
The Space Needle underwent extensive renovation recently and the top disc now features a rotating glass floor where you’ll get to look directly at the city below you, as well as stunning 360-degree views.
It’s quite thrilling and probably the best way to see the rest of Seattle so be sure to make it part of your visit.
Seattle Itinerary Route for day 1
Day 2 of 3 Days in Seattle Itinerary
1. Go Hiking
Your second day in Seattle could be spent away from the busy downtown area and right into nature.
There are a number of hikes you can take that’s suited for every fitness level, and exploring hills and mountains is a must while you’re here.
Be sure to pack some raingear and slip-proof hiking boots because Seattle is notorious for its ‘surprise’ rainfalls.
Some of the best hikes in the Seattle area include Mount Si with its stunning views of surrounding mountains, Mailbox Peak which is more difficult but has sweeping views over the entire mountain region, the easy Twin Falls, the popular Rattlesnake Ledge and the Wallace Falls which leads to lovely waterfalls nestled among tall evergreen trees.
Most of these hikes are within 49 minutes from the city by bus, but you can also rent a car if it’s more convenient.
2. Bainbridge Island
Seattle has a great ferry system that allows locals and visitors alike to visit nearby beaches and islands.
After your early hike, you’d want to venture into an island to relax, and a must-visit is the charming Bainbridge Island which is only 35 minutes away.
Here you can visit quaint cafés and eateries to enjoy delicious food — a great reward after your hike.
Have dome coffee or brunch in places like Blackbird Bakery, Streamliner Diner, or the hole in the wall eatery at Jake’s Pickup.
Buy some takeaway food in any of these places or whichever takes your fancy, and have a picnic at the waterfront park.
Spend an hour or two browsing the shops in Winslow Way for some unique finds and souvenirs before heading back to the mainland waterfront, to go to another fascinating destination, which is less than an hour away by bus.
3. Tour the Boeing factory
As a traveler who’s been in several plane rides, have you ever wondered how an airplane is made?
Be sure to add this activity to your Seattle trip and book a guided tour and spend the rest of your afternoon at the Boeing Factory, as well as the Boeing Aviation Center.
Here, you’ll learn about everything that goes into the manufacturing and production of aircraft.
You will see how the planes are constructed and assembled, as well as meet the great people who do it every day.
It’s a fascinating learning experience that’ll give you a different perspective and a deeper appreciation for traveling and the amazing technology involved in aircraft engineering.
Seattle Itinerary Route for day 2
Day 3 of 3 Days in Seattle Itinerary
1. Capitol Hill
Set out early and spend your morning in buzzing Capitol Hill.
It is known for its thriving coffee culture, as the heart of LGBT and alternative lifestyle communities, art and as the center of the1990s grunge movement.
While here, be sure to have some artisan coffee, such as the barrel-aged cold brew at Starbucks Roastery.
Wander through Volunteer Park, and it’s garden that‘s home to many species of plants. You’ll also find here the Seattle Asian Art Museum housed in a unique building.
Grab another cup of coffee and snacks and enjoy great view of Seattle’s skyline from here.
There are 11 rainbow crosswalks in Capitol Hill, so show your support and snap a photo of yourself as you celebrate love and acceptance.
Check out some live music or just visit some of the pubs that are open early to see where a lot of famous musicians got their start.
Lastly, visit the popular independent bookstore Elliot Bay Book Company, with its wide-open room full of fantastic reads.
An easy bus ride from Capitol Hill and downtown is the charming old fishing village of Ballard, with its quaint small-town feel.
Being a fishing village, it is a must to check out the Chittenden Locks & Fish Ladder, here you can see boats crossing from Lake Union to Elliott Bay (and back) through a unique lock system.
Ballard is also a haven for foodies and you’ll find some of the city’s best restaurants here located in the streets of Larry and Ballard so take your pick and enjoy your lunch.
Be sure to order from the seafood selection as they’re the area’s specialties.
After your meal, head onto the fascinating Nordic Museum to learn about Seattle’s Nordic settlers, with its pocket park with a mural and Nordic flags.
Only 23 minutes by bus from Ballard is Fremont, a fun area to spend your afternoon (after most likely a hefty lunch at Ballard).
It’s a great place to stroll around in and some of the places you must visit are the Lenin Statue, Noogie, Rio de Janeiro and Troll.
The last one is a definite must, a giant troll who lives under the Highway 99 overpass. Be sure to snap a photo with the Troll as well as his giant Volkswagen bug.
The Fremont area is also home to a variety of bars abd restaurants so stop by in one of them for afternoon drinks or snacks before going to your last destination before you end your three days in Seattle— the Gas Works Park.
4. Gas Works Park
Another unique place to visit in Seattle that’s located within walking distance or a short bus ride from Fremont is the Gas Works Park.
This used to be a plant for the Seattle Gas Light Company which closed in 1956 and known for the stunning view over Lake Union to the Space Needle as well as the Seattle skyline.
It’s definitely a lovely place to sit back for a while as you watch the sunset while taking in Seattle for the last time for now.
Seattle Itinerary Route for day 3
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