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Top Seattle Attractions

The first time you visit Seattle, or any new destination, the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice, and other information about the top tourist attractions in Seattle to help with your itinerary planning.

Underground Tour Underground Tour
Seattle Space Needle Seattle Space Needle
Pike Place Market Pike Place Market
Children's Museum Children's Museum
Microsoft Visitor Center Microsoft Visitor Center

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour

 Address 608 First Avenue, in Seattle’s Pioneer Square
 Admission $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and students and $5 for children
 Hours Tours are usually four to six times a day and leave on the hour, but vary depending on the season.
 Phone 1-206-682-4646

After the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 burned most of the city’s central business district to the ground, local developers decided to rebuild the city one to two stories higher than the original street grade. But the new structures left some old storefronts as much as 36 feet below street level. Some pedestrians continued to go between both levels, by using ladders, while others used the underground sidewalks by following glass cubes that were lit up. But as fears mounted over the bubonic plague in 1907, the city condemned the Underground and basements and storefronts were left vacant.

This walking tour begins inside Doc Maynard’s Public House, a restored 1890s saloon then winds through the historic Pioneer Square and covers three blocks of the Underground. It’s not for those with bad knees or joints—you’ll have to climb six flights of stairs and cross over uneven terrain and spotty lighting.


Seattle Space Needle

 Address 400 Broad Street, Seattle (located near the Monorail and Seattle Center House at 5th Avenue North & Broad Street)
 Admission $14 for adults, $7 for youth, $12 for seniors. Special “day & night” tickets let you ride the Space Needle twice within 24 hours, once during the day and once during the night. These tickets cost $17 for adults, $10 for youth and $15 for seniors.
 Hours Sun – Thurs 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri and Sat 9 a.m. to 12 a.m.
 Phone 1-206-905-2100

When the World’s Fair hit Seattle in 1962, the Space Needle was built as the official symbol. Its elevators travel at 10 miles per hour, or about as fast as a parachutist or a raindrop falling to earth. One fun fact a local guide might tell you on your ride up the elevator: a snowflake falls at about 3 miles per hour, so when you’re coming back down on the elevator during a snowstorm, it’ll actually look like it’s snowing up. Another fun fact: the Space Needle expands roughly 1 inch on a hot day in the summer.

The ride up the elevator takes about 41 seconds altogether. As you climb higher, you’ll see some of Seattle’s greatest scenes: the glistening Puget Sound appears after about 10 seconds, Mt. Rainer’s snow sparkles at around 20 seconds and you’re looking at the tops of city skyscrapers in 30 seconds. The “O Deck” is where you can observe a 360-degree view of the city and its surrounding area: Mt. Rainer is to the south, boats cross the Elliott Bay, Cascade Mountains tower to the east and the beautiful Olympics can be found at the west. The scenes will take your breath away, while you stand roughly 520 feet over the great metropolis. And, if you find your stomach grumbling (for food, not because of vertigo), sip back some wine at SkyCity, the tower’s magnificent restaurant.


Pike Place Market

 Transportation The best thing to do is drive and then park at the Public Market Parking Garage, 1531 Western Avenue in Seattle.
 Hours Open every day, except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Merchants set their own times, though generally, farmers are set up to sell by 8 a.m. every day.

This market features some 100 different vendors, some of whom are farmers that sell fresh produce while others are baker shop owners or craft makers. Don’t wander this area with an empty stomach, because if you do, expect to leave with your stomach packed full and your wallet emptied. Some of the stalls are connected, though many are independent shops that are situated side by side.

There are some treasure spot vendors that you’ll definitely want to find. When you catch glimpse of the large neon Pike Place Market sign (it’s hard not to see it), get close then two blocks north. There, you’ll find Le Panier, a pastry shop and bakery created in 1983 by a Frenchman who missed his daily baguette and croissant. Try one of their chocolate éclairs or almond croissants. Not too far away in the Economy Arcade, you’ll find Market Spice, a shop that has been at the market for nearly a century (they also ship their tea and bulk spices to all parts of the world).


Children’s Museum

 Address 305 Harrison Street
 Admission $7.50 for children and adults, $6.50 for seniors
 Hours Mon – Fri from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat and Sun from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Seattle’s Children Museum gives parents a unique opportunity to help teach their children about the local area, as well as other cultures. There is over 32,000 square feet of exhibition space where younger kids can learn about the Pacific Northwest forests, while their toddler siblings can explore the Discovery Bay. There are also special exhibitions, like the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, where children can engross themselves in this TV star’s famous world: they can try on a sweater or shoes just like Mister Rogers, compose songs on a piano, take a picture in a full-size replica of the Neighborhood Trolley and play dress up in the Castle, among other activities. (The Mister Rogers exhibition runs until May 7, 2006). t


Microsoft Visitor Center

 Address 4420 148th Ave. NE, Redmond, Washington, in Building 127 (adjacent to the main campus of our corporate headquarters).
 Admission Free
 Hours Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 Phone 1-425-703-6214

If you’re willing to rent a car for the day and drive out a few hours to Redmond, Washington, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to wander through a part of the empire built by Seattle native Bill Gates. The Microsoft Visitor Center allows you and the kids to explore the extraordinary exhibits that focus around software and computers. There are spotlight exhibits on everything from new hi-tech mobile devices to the very first personal computer to the most popular videogames ever played on the computer. You can even test out some of the latest of Microsoft’s offerings and meet some of the employees on staff. And for those looking to be educated about what exactly software is and how it works, you won’t be disappointed. There’s also a 30-foot timeline that takes you through Microsoft’s 30-year history.


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