WHAT TO DO IN SEATTLE IN 3 DAYS – ITINERARY
This 3-day Seattle itinerary helps you plan your trip. Find out about the best things to do in 3 days in Seattle – what to see, the best attractions, and more travel tips for your trip.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 3 DAYS IN SEATTLE
If you love art, music, and a general funky vibe, Seattle is a great spot to go to. There are tons to do and see in the city, but everything is relatively close together, so you can easily make Seattle a fun 3-day trip.
If you have more time, I’d say to combine your Seattle visit with exploring more of Washington state and the West Coast. Just outside the city lies some gorgeous natural beauty worth exploring as well. It’s a unique place merging urban life and nature, so you can definitely have the best of both worlds on your Seattle trip!
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How to Get Around Seattle for 3 Days
- There is no need for a car in the city – parking prices are high and traffic can be crazy. For day trips – e.g. to Mount Rainier National Park – a car might be a good option. But you will not need a car for the duration of the 3 days.
- There is plenty of public transportation – including Seattle Streetcars or Seattle Center Monorail.
- If you want to get around via public transportation, you could get an All-Day Regional Transit Pass for $8 and use it on all of Seattle’s public transportation services except for the monorail and on Washington State Ferries. However, you have to buy an ORCA card first (a reusable transit card that costs $5 and can be refilled) so you can buy the $8 all-day pass from a vending machine.
- Seattle is a bike-friendly city and you can rent bikes (via the Uber or Lime App).
- Another easy way to get around is via taxis and Uber.
Best Time to Visit Seattle
You can visit Seattle year-round, but going in the spring/summer months would be the best weather-wise.
- I went in late May and found it perfect. June is also a good time as it is September and early October. The weather is pleasant and during these months prices for accommodation drop compared to the summer months.
- Summer itself is high season, and the city attracts many visitors. So accommodation prices will rise, and it gets busier.
- From late October to early May it might be very rainy and cold. Seattle is not the best destination then.
Bring layers as the weather can fluctuate. The city can get windy and rainy at times, too.
Where to Stay For 3 Days in Seattle
I would recommend staying in the downtown or Belltown neighborhoods to walk and explore the area easily. Anywhere near the Pike Place Market is a great spot and not too far from the Space Needle, Museum of Pop Culture, and the Chihuly glass garden (all must-sees).
- Some of my favorite options are the Ace Hotel and the Fairmont Olympic
- If you’re on a budget, The Best Western Pioneer Square Downtown has a good location.
Tips for Solo Female / Security
- The city, like any other, has some rougher areas. There is also a considerable population of homeless, which is usual in many US major cities. During my visit, most appeared to be drug users or mentally disturbed individuals that would shout at us.
- This is something to be aware of. I recommend just continuing along your way and ignoring any such behavior. Also, do not walk around alone at night. I walked everywhere during the day with no problems, but suggest using taxi services or Uber after dark.
Costs of Visiting Seattle in 3 Days
- Seattle is pricey! Most US cities have higher costs, but I was surprised mainly at the high cost of entry for museums and art exhibits.
- I’m used to entry on a donation basis from many places in NYC, and DC, so I was not expecting to drop $30 per person every time we went into a place, so it added up quickly!
- Be better prepared than me and bring some extra funds for sightseeing.
- Tap water is drinkable. You can save money by bringing a reusable water bottle and some pre-packaged snacks on your trip.
Restaurants to Visit For Your 3-Day Seattle Itinerary
- One of my favorite stops was The Biscuit Bitch for breakfast. It was so good I had breakfast there twice. Plus, it was a lot of fun. There’s barely any seating, so it is best to get it to go. Since it’s a hot spot, you need to get there at opening time. There will most likely still be a line, but they move very fast, and you usually don’t wait too long. Their biscuits are delicious and are served in various ways- with gravy, breakfast sandwiches, or various toppings. They offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, too, so something for everyone, plus a coffee bar.
- Another recommendation would be Pike Place Market. It’s an awesome spot to explore and filled with various dining options and fresh goods.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN SEATTLE
So, now let’s talk about the best things to do in 3 days in Seattle.
DAY 1 OF SEATTLE ITINERARY
Day 1 in Seattle starts with the Pike Place Market.
Pike Place Market
I recommend trying to get a flight that lands you there in the morning, so you can still have some time to explore on your first day in Seattle.
After arriving and getting settled, I recommend heading to the Pike Place Market as it is one of the best places to visit in 3 days in Seattle. Pike Place Market is an iconic marketplace that started in 1907 and is the oldest continuously operating farmers market in the US.
- Pike Place includes a farmer’s market, a crafts market, and an array of more than 500 shops and restaurants well worth exploring.
- It attracts more than 10 million visitors annually – so you can imagine how busy it gets.
- Start your Pike Place visit with a coffee from the first-ever Starbucks before exploring everything Pike Place has to offer.
- Beware, it gets crowded! I recommend heading there earlier rather than later.
- You can even book a Pike Place Market tour and learn more from a local guide.
- If you are traveling to Seattle with kids, you might want to visit the Seattle Aquarium, located close by.
- You have free Wi-Fi at Pike Place Market!
Gum Wall in Seattle
Just near the Pike Place Market is also the iconic gum wall. It’s an alleyway in Post Alley under Pike Place Market completely covered in chewing gum. You can smell the gum (with a typical gum scent like peppermint), and yes, maybe it is a little gross but also awesome. It is worth visiting for a few photos, and this is definitely a must-see in Seattle in 3 days.
- The gum wall is a sign of Seattle’s still thriving grunge scene and was created in 1993.
- In 2015 the alleyway was scraped clean.
- It took 130 hours to remove the 2,350 pounds of gum. But it didn’t take long for Seattle natives and tourists to build it back up again.
Pioneer Square is another must-see in 3 days in Seattle and a popular Instagram place in Seattle. After all the walking, I’d recommend a stop for lunch at Piroshky Piroshky before heading to Pioneer Square with a nice walk along the waterfront.
- Pioneer Square is in the southwest of Seattle Downtown and was the heart of the city once and is especially known for its Renaissance Revival architecture.
- Pioneer Square has been around since 1852 and has several stops worth visiting, including the waterfall garden, the Klondike Goldrush historical park, or the Tlingit Totem Pole.
- You can also visit Seattle’s oldest skyscraper: Smith Tower, which is also in the Pioneer Square neighborhood. Make your way up to the 35th-floor speakeasy-style Observatory Bar.
- You can choose to do an underground tour which takes place in the subterranean passages at Pioneer Square. These passages were created in 1889 after Seattle’s Great Fire when the city was rebuilt over the ruins- they are known to have paranormal activity and are brimming with the history of the city.
When you’re ready for dinner, head back towards Pike Place for some good food and locally brewed beer at the Pike Pub.
DAY 2 IN SEATTLE
This is the day where you wake up early and get to it!
First, stop at the Biscuit Bitch by opening time (8 am) for an amazingly delicious breakfast and fun experience. There will be a line, but the line moves quickly, and it’s worth it.
The Space Needle
Afterward, head to The Space Needle. You’ll want to stop here first before lines get long. After getting your ticket and traveling to the top for amazing views, you should visit 2 of my favorites – Mo Pop and Chihuly Glass Garden. All 3 places are right next to each other.
- It was built for the 1962 World’s Fair – the Century 21 Exposition “The Age of Space” so the design was perfect.
- The Space Needle is 605 feet tall and an amazing vantage point for views of Seattle. It’s a must-do on anyone’s first trip to Seattle and the ultimate icon of the Seattle skyline with glass walls and floors.
- It also includes an upper-level outdoor observation deck with open-air glass walls and Skyriser glass benches.
- Prices range between $32.50 and $37.50 (adults) and with that ticket, you get a trip to the top of the Space Needle and access to two floors of experiences at the top.
- Plan around 1,5 – 2 hours for this attraction.
Museum of Pop Culture
Mo Pop (Museum of Pop Culture) is another unique spot to add to your 3-day Seattle itinerary. It is a non-profit museum dedicated to contemporary popular culture.
- It showcases the musical history, rock stars, and of course Seattle’s own grunge subculture. It’s a fun and interactive museum unlike any other.
- They have fun and unique pop culture on display such as the “Horror” or “Sci-fi” features I visited during my stay and plenty of rotating features as well.
- Plan 1,5-3 hours for the museum and there is an entrance fee of $30 (adults).
Chihuly Glass Garden
The neighboring Chihuly Glass Garden is a very different side of Seattle’s art scene featuring elegant glass creations indoors and outdoors by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly.
- It opened in May 2012 at the former site of the defunct Fun Forest amusement park and even those that aren’t art lovers will still appreciate the unique sculptures and beautiful gardens.
- Plan at least 1.5 hours for this attraction and the entrance fee is around $32 (adults).
All 3 stops should take up most of your day, and at some point in between, you’ll get hungry. A good local spot to grab lunch nearby would be the Skillet Counter.
Olympic Sculpture Park
While in this area, be sure to walk through the Olympic Sculpture Park as well. It’s a lovely walk right on the waterfront. The park opened in 2007 and comprises 9 acres of sculptures on display by the Seattle Art Museum (which is also nearby if you have some spare time).
- Good news: To enjoy the outdoor sculpture park with both permanent outdoor sculpture, temporary works, and site-specific installations you do not have to pay an entrance fee.
When you’re ready for dinner, head back downtown and grab a meal at Lola’s for some delicious Mediterranean fare.
If you’re a grunge music fan, grab an Uber out to Viretta Park to see the memorial bench for Kurt Cobain and his old home.
DAY 3 IN SEATTLE
Although Seattle is a big city, it is surrounded by big nature! So, whether you want to hike near Seattle or do other activities, I highly recommend on one of your days to book a day tour out of the city.
San Juan Island
My recommendation would be San Juan Island. It has a completely different feel than the city.
- Laidback island life, lighthouses, vineyards, and a charming coastal town to stroll through will give a nice break from the city’s hustle and bustle.
- You can also do whale-watching! Furthermore, sea lions approach the beaches, and you could spot deers and foxes.
- If you’d rather enjoy some active time, choose a kayaking tour, rent a bike, or hike to the top of Mt. Young.
- However, plan in 2-3 hours driving time (one way). A rental car, in this case, would be a good idea. Alternatively, there are also ferries.
- To visit San Juan Island, you need to start early or probably get there in the evening, so you can start exploring San Juan Island in the morning.
Mt. Rainier National Park
Another option is a day trip to Mt. Rainier National Park. This is a perfect choice if you enjoy hiking and wildlife spotting.
- Mt. Rainer is a glaciated volcanic peak soaring over 14,000 feet.
- It’s a gorgeous sight even from afar. If you visit over spring, you’re likely to see the slopes covered in wildflowers and rivers rushing by from melted snow.
- There are plenty of hikes: easy and panoramic ones, as well as hard ones which include climbing. The Reflection Lakes make for wonderful pictures.
- I recommend getting there early, as the parking lot fills up quickly.
- Getting here from Seattle takes about 1,5-2 hours by car.
If you are looking for something a bit more mellow, but still want some glimpses of the naturally beautiful surroundings, a day trip to Snoqualmie Falls would be a great option. Because it usually includes some vineyard visits for wine tasting.
- The 270-foot waterfall is absolutely gorgeous and doesn’t require any strenuous hiking to get to. There are upper and lower observation decks, accessible free of charge; in the evening, lights illuminate the falls.
- Nearby are several vineyards where you can taste, sample, and sip the locally-made Washington state wines.
- There is also the Northwest Railway Museum nearby.
- If you are more into some thrilling activities, you can book with companies that organize paragliding over the wonderful scenery.
- This day trip from Seattle is probably the easiest. It just takes about 30-45 minutes by car from Seattle.
No matter your style, there’s an option for everyone!
Most of these tours take up a full day, so when you get back to the city, head out to grab your last dinner in Seattle. I recommend El Borrachos. It is a tasty authentic-style Mexican spot by Pike Place with tons of options, including a vegetarian and vegan menu.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Seattle For 3 Days
Seattle is a very unique city – and there is a lot to do and see. Hopefully, this 3-day Seattle itinerary has helped you plan your trip to the city and learn how to spend 3 days in this fun city!
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About the Author
Cassandra is a US-female travel addict who loves traveling the world and works as a tour operator. She is a freelance writer for Arzo Travels, where she shares her expertise and has a special love affair with Mexico – so she knows pretty well what she is recommending to you.
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