One of the most beautiful and fun cities in America, the real charm of Seattle lies in all of the unique things to do in Seattle. Aside from the tourist hot spots such as the Space Needle, Chihuly Gardens, and Pike Place Market, there are tons of other off the beaten path experiences to have that are just as cool and much less touristy. These unique Seattle experiences will still give you a taste of the Pacific Northwest, but will also have locals envious of your time in Seattle. Here are 10 unique activities in Seattle.
10 Unique Things to Do in Seattle
1. Rent a Hot Tub Boat
Of all the offbeat things to do in Seattle, renting a hot tub boat should be at the top of your list. Perfect for any time of the year, in the winter the hot tub will keep you warm, and in the summer it’s still a great way to get out on the lake and feel the breeze in your hair. The hot tub boat is even optimized to be used in the rain so you have no excuse to not rent one.
Every hot tub boat is handcrafted in Seattle and comes with joystick navigation, Bluetooth speakers, and storage for food and drinks. The boats are taken out on South Lake Union and are rented in 2, 3, or 4-hour time slots. The max capacity is 6 people to a boat and you need an active driver’s license to operate. Click here for more information on renting a hot tub boat.
2. Visit the Ballard Sunday Farmers Market
If you’re looking to visit Seattle, off the beaten path, then skip Pike Place Market and instead opt to visit the Ballard Sunday Farmers Market. The Ballard Market has been operating since 2000 and you can get goods sourced from all around Washington. The market is open from 10 am-2 pm and only closed on Christmas Day. The market is on 22nd Avenue NW and NW Market Street, there is free parking located around the market.
For more on Ballard, read A Guide to the Ballard Neighborhood in Seattle
3. Take a Water Taxi Instead of a Car
When you come to Seattle, I’d highly recommend visiting the neighborhood of West Seattle. Here you can eat outside at Marination Mai Kai while looking at the Seattle skyline. Or head to Alki Beach for beach activities, bars, and restaurants surrounding the area. Instead of driving to West Seattle, head to Pier 50 on the Seattle Waterfront to hop on a water taxi that drops you off in West Seattle next to Marination Mai Kai. The water taxi costs $5.75 for a one-way ticket and you can get more information on times of departure here. Please note that the water taxi doesn’t run on holidays or weekends.
If you want to adventure to Alki Beach, a free shuttle runs outside of Marination Mai Kai and will take you to Alki. There’s a bus schedule located outside of the restaurant once you arrive.
4. Visit Seattle’s Underground
Located in the Pioneer Square neighborhood, visiting Seattle’s underground makes for a unique adventure and gives you insight into the history of Seattle. Seattle was once built much lower than it is now, which caused problems when the waters started to rise and flood the city. With the streets kept intact, the people of Seattle began to build a new Seattle on top of the old one. To this day you can tour the old, underground streets of Seattle on Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour. Tickets range from $10-$22 depending on age.
While you’re in the Pioneer Square neighborhood stop for lunch at one of the most Instagrammable places in Seattle, London Plane, get drinks and small plates at Damn the Weather, or head to Casco Antiguo for Mexican food and margaritas on tap.
5. Take an Electric Boat Out
Similar to the hot tub boat, instead you can opt to take an electric boat out on South Lake Union. The Electric Boat Company offers three different boat options that you can rent year-round. During the winter and when it’s raining the boats have plastic coverings that protect the inside. And during the summer the plastic coverings can be removed or rolled up to allow for nice weather and a breeze. There are different options for choosing a boat ranging from seating for 6-12 passengers. Amenities include heating, Bluetooth, and enough room if you want to bring your food and drink or you can have your event catered for an extra fee.
6. Visit the Fremont Troll
If you’re looking for free things to do in Seattle, then visiting the Fremont Troll should be high on your list! The Fremont Troll is a sculpture that was built in 1990 under a bridge as a way to help prevent drug trafficking and crime in this area of Seattle. The plan worked and now the Fremont Troll is a highly visited attraction in one of Seattle’s most hip neighborhoods. If you’re in the Fremont neighborhood, make sure to read my guide on Things to Do in Fremont while you’re in the area.
7. See Fish Flying at Pike Place Market
Sure, Pike Place Market isn’t unique but seeing fish fly at Pike Place Market? Now that is one of the many unique things to see in Seattle. At the Pike Place Fish Co. located at the entrance of Pike Place Market, you’ll find fishmongers throwing fish to one another that aren’t wrapped yet. While it draws quite a crowd, it’s a fun thing to watch as you begin your tour through Pike Place. Aside from the fishmongers throwing fish back and forth, they also give out free seafood samples which are always delicious.
For more information on navigating through Pike Place Market read: Everything to Know When Visiting Pike Place Market
8. Participate in the Ballard Brewery Passport
Instead of coming to town and visiting one or two popular breweries, instead head to the Ballard neighborhood to spend a day checking off breweries on the Ballard Brewery Passport. In Ballard, there are 11 different breweries in a 1-mile radius. The breweries are Bad Jimmy’s Brewing Co., Hales Ales Brewery & Pub, Lagunitas Brewery, Lucky Envelope Brewing, Maritime Pacific Brewing Company, NW Peaks Brewery, Obec Brewing, Peddler Brewing Company, Populuxe Brewing, Reuben’s Brews, and Stoup Brewing. You can get a “passport” from any of these breweries and once you get a stamp from each place head to Hattie’s Hat where you’ll get Ballard Brewery commemorative drinkware. (Please note that you don’t have to purchase a drink at each brewery for a stamp. You only have to ask for a stamp).
9. Wine Taste in SODO
Located south of downtown (SODO), you’ll find an industrial type complex of wine tastings known as the SODO Urbanworks. At the time of writing, the SODO Urbanworks is occupied by 10 wine tasting rooms, one brewery, and one pizza restaurant. It’s unique in the way that it is located out of the Seattle tourist hot spots, and you can still escape to a type of “wine tasting region” within the city. (Make sure to visit Latta Wines while you’re there, it’s one of the best tasting rooms at Urbanworks).
10. Play Trivia at Tippe and Drague
Last, on the list skip your typical bar night and instead head to the dive bar located in Seattle’s most underrated neighborhood, Beacon Hill – Tippe and Drague – for trivia night. On Tuesdays, you can find Tippe and Drague hopping with trivia lovers. To participate you must bring $2 in cash to pay at the door. The winner takes home cash, second place picks the theme for the following week, and third place takes home beer.
Seattle is a popular city when traveling in America. With everything there is to do, especially tourist things, it can be easy to visit Seattle and not appreciate it for what the locals appreciate it for. Seattle is more than Pike Place Market and the Space Needle. Seattle has character and personality. It’s made up of unique and interesting bars, restaurants, and activities. And to dive in and do Seattle “right”, you have to look beyond the tourist staples. Look for the unique things that locals appreciate about the city.
For more ideas on things to see and do in Seattle, make sure to check out my Instagram page/highlight reel by searching #ppinwashington or finding “Seattle Eats”, “Seattle Drinks”, “Seattle, WA”, or “Washington” in my highlights!