Seattle in a Hurry: 5 Sights in 7 Hours

If you have limited time in the city, don't miss these attractions.

By: Shannon Petrie

Seattle is home to one of the country's busiest ports, so many visitors have a short window to squeeze in as much sightseeing as possible before embarking on a cruise. Luckily, it's easy to hit up some of the city's best attractions quickly; I recently visited Seattle and saw the Space Needle, Pike Place Market and other essentials in less than a day. If you have time to spare, you'll want to linger at some of these spots, but if you're in a rush, here are five attractions you can see in seven hours.

9 a.m. – Space Needle

Photo by: RRuntsch/Shutterstock

RRuntsch/Shutterstock

Regular tickets for the Space Needle are $10 cheaper from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., so we started our day off at this can’t-miss attraction. (If you’re a night owl, there's also a $10 discount from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.) Order tickets in advance so you can hop straight in line for the elevators. At the top, you can read fun facts about the Needle and interact with a huge, touchscreen "SkyPad" – not to mention admire incredible 360-degree views of the city.

10 a.m. – Chihuly Garden and Glass

Photo by: Jill Werderitch

Jill Werderitch

Located right next to the Space Needle, this gorgeous exhibit features the work of Washington-born artist Dale Chihuly. Stroll through the Glasshouse to see one of his largest pieces: a 100-foot-long suspended glass sculpture in stunning hues of red, orange and yellow. (Tip: Order your Space Needle and Chihuly tickets together for even more savings.) 

11:30 a.m – Museum of Pop Culture

Photo by: Brady Harvey/Museum of Pop Culture

Brady Harvey/Museum of Pop Culture

Also next to the Space Needle, this curvy, colorful museum is a must for movie/TV buffs and music aficionados. As a huge fan of Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic exhibit was a major highlight for me, featuring props and costumes from these and other films. There are several exhibits for sci-fi enthusiasts (including two floors devoted to Star Trek), and music fans won't want to miss the Guitar Gallery.

Photo by: Suzi Pratt

Suzi Pratt

1:30 p.m. – Pike Place Market

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157732167

Photo by: Kativ/iStockphoto

Kativ/iStockphoto

Just steps from the MoPOP, you can hop on the monorail, which travels between Seattle Center and Westlake Center Mall. From there, you’re just three blocks from the famous Pike Place Market. Give yourself plenty of time to eat your way through this massive marketplace. Most places offer samples so you can try a wide variety of foods before you buy, from smoked salmon to chocolate pasta to fresh cheese curds

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pdir0534\Hi_j0074.JPG

An employee at Beecher's Handmade Cheese arranges the display window at the Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington on Thursday, March 2, 2006. Photographer: Kevin P. Casey/Bloomberg News

Photo by: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Bloomberg/Getty Images

Beyond the food, Pike Place Market is home to many other intriguing shops and crafts sellers. Once you’ve had enough to eat, check out Old Seattle Paperworks (for vintage prints and postcards), Magic Market & Novelty Shop (for fun gadgets and fortune-telling machines) and BLMF Literary Saloon (for stacks and stacks of used books to peruse).

4 p.m. – Post Alley

Photo by: f11photo/Shutterstock

f11photo/Shutterstock

Located under Pike Place Market, this street is home to Seattle’s stickiest attraction: the Gum Wall. This tradition started in the 1990s, when patrons waiting in line for Post Alley's Market Theater would stick their chewed gum on the wall. Since then, thousands of others have added to the collection, some even creating designs like hearts and peace signs. The wall was scrubbed clean in 2015, but you’d never know it now. It makes for a good photo op – just don’t get too close.

National Parks Near Seattle

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San Juan Islands National Monument

The San Juan Islands is an archipelago located between the Washington mainland and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Photo By: Addie Navarro

Getting to the San Juans

To reach the San Juan Islands, travelers can take the Washington State Ferry from Anacortes, WA, or fly to any of small airports located on one of the four major islands: Lopez, Orcas, Shaw, or San Juan.

Photo By: David Hollerith

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park protects 73 miles of wild Pacific coast located on the Olympic Peninsula.  Further inland, the land extends out into temperate rainforests and the towering glacier-capped Olympic mountains.

Photo By: Andrew Carey

Check Out the View

At an elevation of 5,242 feet, Hurricane Ridge holds spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains leads to hiking trails that traverse mountain ridges and descend into the subalpine valleys full of lush forests.

Photo By: Andrew Carey

North Cascades National Park

Known for its wild snow-capped peaks and the countless waterfalls that spill down the sides of the mountains, the Cascade Mountain Range is often called the "American Alps."

Photo By: David Hollerith

The American Alps

Ross Lake in North Cascades is a major travel destination that offers tons of opportunities for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, backpacking and camping.

Photo By: Addie Navarro

Find Your Way

Though North Cascade National Park Highway provides an adequate way to see the park's rugged beauty, visitors who want to explore the park’s alpine wilderness can plan their route at one of the park’s eight visitor centers.

Photo By: John Mulloy

Crater Lake National Park

Over the dormant volcano Mount Mazama, Crater Lake is 21 square miles of intensely blue water and the deepest lake in America.

Photo By: Jarrod Clift

Mount Rainier National Park

Though it's a long car ride from Seattle, Glacier National Park is well worth the journey. Naturalist John Muir, also known as the Father of the National Parks, referred to the Glacier landscape as "the best care-killing scenery on the continent."

Photo By: Matt Koher

Glacier National Park

Though it’s a long car ride from Seattle, Glacier National Park is well worth the journey. Naturalist John Muir, also known as the Father of the National Parks, referred to the Glacier landscape as "the best care-killing scenery on the continent."

Photo By: Bailey Brandon

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