Top Recommended Layover Activities:
1. Space Needle
219 4th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 - 206-443-2150
One of the best-known landmarks in the area, this attraction affords breathtaking scenery from its observation deck. Detailed maps provide exact locations of sights within its panoramic view. As an added bonus, the Needle hires between-job actors and comedians to accompany visitors on the ride to the top, entertaining them with facts and fun along the way. The guides are quite knowledgeable and challenge you to best them on any trivia or city-related fact.
2. Seattle Aquarium
1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59 at Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101 · 206-386-4320
The Seattle Aquarium harbors a variety of marine life, especially creatures found in the Pacific Northwest. One of the facility's most interesting features is an underwater dome, where visitors can watch fish and sea mammals swim around above them. There's also a touch tank where children can handle sea creatures and learn to treat them gently. Other attractions include a display on spawning salmon and the antics of several adorable sea otters, who really earn their keep at feeding time.
3. Washington Park Arboretum
2300 Arboretum Dr E, Seattle, WA 98112-2300 · 206-543-8800
This beautiful arboretum, designed by Edmond S. Meany, covers 200 acres and features many species obtained via a seed exchange with universities throughout the world. The Japanese Garden is a lovely, quiet refuge from the busy city, and the waterfront trail leads visitors through a Native American burial ground to the Duck Pond. If you're in the mood for some time alone, you can take a canoe out on the pond and relax in Mother Nature's care. Free tours given Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm. BUS: 11
4. Woodland Park Zoo
5500 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103 · 206-684-4800
The Woodland Park Zoo spreads across 65 acres, houses over 1000 animals from 290 species, and draws over a million visitors annually. Exhibits mimic the natural habitats of the animals, which helps create a lush forest-like setting throughout the zoo. Popular exhibits include Bug World (walkingsticks, beetles, and ants, oh my!), elephant forest, African savanna, snow leopards, and jaguars, but with such a wide variety of animals, you’re sure to have your own favorites. During uncooperative weather, take advantage of the zoo’s many indoor exhibits and viewing shelters. There are plenty of cafes and food kiosks to choose from as well, or you may bring a picnic lunch.
5. Bainbridge Island Ferry
801 Alaskan Way, Coleman Ferry Dock Pier 52, Seattle, WA 98104 · 206-464-6400
From Seattle's downtown waterfront, it takes only 35 minutes to arrive at the island of Bainbridge. Along the way, you can enjoy all the wonderful sights that make Seattle so unique. The snowcapped Olympic Mountains, Seattle's skyline, and the eastern view of Mount Rainier are all points of interest along the way. peak season is early May through mid-October.
6 .Downtown & Pike Place Market
1st Ave at Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101
Business people crowd the sidewalks of Seattle’s bustling downtown during the day while clubbers take the night shift. An incredible variety of restaurants, theaters, bars, galleries, and shops can be found here, as can City Center, one of Seattle’s most popular malls. Seattle's heartbeat, the Pike Place historic district, inundates visitors with sights, sounds, smells, and the best people watching in town. Whether in suits or tie-dyed t-shirts, wearing boutonnieres or strewn with wildflowers, people of all persuasions find the market a fabulous place to spend the day.
7. Burke Museum of History and Culture
17th Ave NE and 45th St NE, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195 · 206-543-5590
On display in this museum you'll find informative hands-on and voice-activated exhibits concerning the history and culture of the region. One of the permanent displays, "The Life and Times of Washington State," includes unique dinosaur exhibits, including casts of the 40-foot long Elasmosaur and the actual skeleton of a 140 million year old carnivorous Allosaurus. A second exhibit, "Pacific Voices," focuses on the 35 Native American tribes common to the Pacific Northwest, along with other cultures that have influenced the region. Exhibits dealing with archaeology, zoology, herpetology, and geology are also popular. Don't forget to drop by the the cafe for some coffee and a snack; the Museum Shop carries a wide assortment of books and gifts to commemorate your visit.
Top Weekend Getaways And Day Trip Excursions:
1. Mount Ranier National Park
Tahoma Woods, Star Route, Ashford, WA 98304-9751
Visitor Information 360-569-2211 x. 3314
Established in 1899, Mount Rainier (14,410') is an active volcano encased in over 35 square miles of snow and ice. The park contains outstanding examples of old growth forests and subalpine meadows. Whether hiking on its flanks, climbing its summit, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on its slopes, camping along its glacier-fed rivers, photographing wildflower displays in subalpine meadows, or just admiring the view, nearly two million people come to enjoy the grandeur and beauty of Mount Rainier each year.
2. Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue, Port Angeles, WA 98362-6798
Visitor Information Recorded Message (360) 565-3130
Visitor Information (TTY) 1-800-833-6388
Glacier capped mountains, wild Pacific coast and magnificent stands of old-growth forests, including temperate rain forests -- at Olympic National Park, you can find all three. About 95% of the park is designated wilderness, which further protects these diverse and spectacular ecosystems.
3. North Cascades National Park
North Cascades National Park, 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284-1239
Visitor Information 360/856-5700
Few experience the rugged beauty of the North Cascades – jagged peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls and over 700 glaciers. North Cascades National Park Service Complex contains the heart of this mountainous region in three park units which are all managed as one and include North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. Each area offers different experiences and contains wilderness.
4. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (Operated by Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission)
Mount St. Helens Visitor Center
3029 Spirit Lake Highway, Castle Rock, WA 98611. (360) 274-0962
At 8:32 Sunday morning, May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted. In 1982 the President and Congress created the 110,000-acre National Volcanic Monument for research, recreation, and education. Inside the Monument, the environment is left to respond naturally to the disturbance.