Seattle in a Hurry: 5 Sights in 7 Hours
If you have limited time in the city, don't miss these attractions.
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
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
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
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.
1:30 p.m. – Pike Place Market
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.
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
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.