From sky-high aviation exhibits to historic streets, there’s plenty to see and do in Seattle and its surrounding cities. Here is a list of not-to-be-missed Metro Seattle landmarks to check out during your Washington vacation.
Take a 41-second ride to the top of this 605-foot-tall symbol of Seattle in a window-clad elevator, then wander the open-air observation deck. Or dine on wild king salmon in the rotating restaurant, with its ever-changing view out the window.
Museum of Flight
Seattle’s Museum of Flight, one of the largest air and space museums in the world, is a must for its 150-plus aircraft, not to mention NASA’s space shuttle trainer. Find more Seattle museums.
Pike Place Market
Seattle’s famous 107-year-old public market is perched above Elliott Bay. Wander the stalls to gather a bouquet of fresh-cut dahlias, discover handmade artisan wares, leave your sticky mark on the gum wall in Post Alley, watch overall-clad fishmongers toss fish and drop a coin in the rotund belly of 550-pound bronze piggy bank Rachel the Pig, who collects donations for nonprofit social services.
The oldest skyscraper in Seattle—it turns 100 on July 4, 2014—is a neoclassical building in historic Pioneer Square. Ride to the 35th floor in an old-timey, copper-and-brass elevator, then step out to admire the ornate Chinese Room and the views from the outdoor observation deck.
Find picture-perfect views at this hillside park in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood. Its 1.26-acre swath of grass offers a dreamy vista of the city skyline, Elliott Bay and—on clear days—Mount Rainier.
Attractions in the Seattle’s Surrounding Cities
Olympia’s capitol building may be the seat of state government, but it’s also the city’s most popular attraction. The 287-foot-tall structure is the tallest masonry dome in North America and houses one of the world’s largest collection of Tiffany lights. Tours are available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends.
Chihuly Bridge of Glass
Consider it a 500-foot-long thank-you gift from renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly to his hometown, Tacoma. This art-display-meets-walkway is packed with thousands of Chihuly’s glass masterpieces, including 2,364 pieces suspended overhead and 109 featured in an illuminated display.
An appearance on Twin Peaks earned this Snoqualmie natural wonder international fame, but it’s the thunderous sight of water plunging 268 feet over rocky cliffs that draws 1.5 million visitors every year. A groomed trail leads to an observation deck below, while a viewing platform at top is wheelchair accessible.
Before pro golfers and hordes of spectators descend here for the 2015 U.S. Open, test your game on the championship-caliber course in University Place. This links-style stunner features green fairways, dramatic dunes, native grasses and unbeatable views of Puget Sound. See a complete list of Metro Seattle golf courses.
Find vintage planes at Olympia’s Olympic Flight Museum, Everett’s Flying Heritage Collection and Mukilteo’s Historic Flight Collection. Or head to The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour in Mukilteo to see 747s, 777s and 787s being built in the factory.
Photo credit: Seattle's Space Needle, iStock