Top 20 Places to Visit at Seattle's Waterfront

The Seattle Waterfront is going through some MAJOR renovations right now, but don't let the construction deter you from visiting. It is a great waterfront and all that clanking and drilling just means they are working to make it even better.

Sidenote: If you haven't checked out the Seattle Waterfront Office on Western Ave. to see what they have in store for us definitely plan that into your next trip! 

Anywho, coming back to the original point, Seattle's waterfront has a lot to offer! Many places have views of Puget Sound that make you want to stay forever and even though it gets crowded in the summer it is a big place, so there are always places to escape and relax (see picnic tables, Pier 66 viewfinders, or a gondola in the Great Wheel). We picked our top 20 favorite places for you the check out. 

 Possibly the best hotdog in town.

Possibly the best hotdog in town.

 Picnic tables that come with a view.

Picnic tables that come with a view.

FOOD AND DRINK

  • Frankfurter serves the best sausages on the waterfront and with a wide variety there is something for everyone. Always add a lemonade to your order-- it is perfectly sweet!
  • Elliott's Oyster House is a little pricey, but they are sustainable and responsible with their seafood, so we pay the higher fee. Grab lunch or dinner here and if the day is nice sit on their beautiful patio; we recommend the pan friend oysters or the crab cakes!
  • Ivar's has been serving up fish n' chips on the Seattle waterfront since 1938. You can't say you've experienced Seattle without stopping here. 
  • The Alaskan Sourdough Bakery wins in our book because they specialize in carbs, one of the most delicious of molecules. These guys make sourdough bread bowls that will put you into sleepy, full-bellied heaven. 
  • Copperworks Distillery offers free tastings and tours of their operation for $10 (and more tastings!). Do we need to say more?
  • Seattle Bay Creamery fulfills that need you get on a hot summer day walking through the crowds on the waterfront. It's cold, it's creamy, and (if you are smart) it is served in a waffle cone. Seriously, make the right choice and get the waffle cone.
  • SixSeven is the swanky restaurant located in The Edgewater at the north end of the waterfront. We can't afford dinner there so we go for happy hour and eat their delicious food for a fraction of the cost. 
  • The picnic tables located at the very end of the Pier 56 are some of the best free seats in the house. Take your frankfurter or your picnic lunch down here to enjoy the beauty of Elliott Bay.
 One of the many ships in Argosy's fleet.

One of the many ships in Argosy's fleet.

 The Great Wheel gives excellent views.

The Great Wheel gives excellent views.

ATTRACTIONS

  • Argosy Locks Cruise is one of the touristy things Seattle offers that we FULLY recommend (for god's sake, stay away from those duck tours). Even for locals it is a treat to learn about the history of Seattle and little known facts and experiencing something many of us might not any other way: going through the locks.
  • Seattle Aquarium is not the best aquarium in the world, we aren't going to lead you there under false pretenses, but it is still a place where you can see marine life that you would not be able to see otherwise. Kids will love the otters and the jellyfish.
  • Seattle Great Wheel is a new addition to our waterfront, some love it, some hate it. Regardless of which camp you are in it is a unique way to see the city. On a clear day a ride in one of the gondola's is spectacular (and if you are afraid of heights it will also be terrifying). 
  • Clipper Whale Watching Tours leave from the Seattle waterfront and are something that you should absolutely shell out the $$ for if possible. Our advice? Go for the Orca day trip in the summer because...well...you get to see Orcas. Killer Whales. Like Free Willy. It's unreal.
  • The Edgewater was built for the 1962 World Fair (along with the Space Needle) and it is a Seattle establishment. Everything about it screams Pacific Northwest. The Edgewater was made famous when the Beatles stayed here on their 1964 World Tour and fished out of their hotel window into Elliott Bay. Since then it has become the place for rock legends to stay with the likes of Led Zepplin, David Bowie, and The Rolling Stones on the list. 
  • Street Artists are usually present along the busier stretches of the waterfront and can be very talented. Don't overlook them just because they aren't selling in a traditional storefront.
  • The Carousel in Miner's Landing is a great stop for people with kids. It is a bit hard to track down if you don't know where you are looking, but once you go inside the building labeled "Miner's Landing" it is all the way back at the very far end. 
  • Pier 66 Viewfinders are located up the steps/elevator by Anthony's Fish House (in a big red building). This is a great, free way to see the city and doubles as a nice place to eat lunch.
  • Take a Washington State Ferry ride to Bainbridge Island for a whopping $7/per person for a round trip. The trip takes 30 minutes each way and it isn't out of the ordinary to see whales on the journey. Once you get to Bainbridge check out its cute, island-town shopping and restaurants. 
 The viewfinders are free!

The viewfinders are free!

 The beautiful Edgewater Hotel.

The beautiful Edgewater Hotel.

SHOPPING

  • Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is one of the weirdest shops in Seattle and we love it. People of all ages can enjoy all the strange items for sale. Our favorite: the mounted animal butts, because obviously the heads get too much attention. 
  • Pirates Plunder is a shop in Miner's Landing that sells Seattle-themed items. We usually don't recommend these shops, but they have done a better job than most of collecting items you don't see at all the run-of-the-mill tourist shops. So in a nutshell, go here for the best variety of Sleepless in Seattle t-shirts and magnets.
  • Seattle Antique Market is an antique heaven located right across the street from the Seattle Great Wheel. Go in to check out all their antique and vintage goodies. You can get lost for ages.
 Ahoy! These pirates welcome you to Pirates Plunder!

Ahoy! These pirates welcome you to Pirates Plunder!

Bonus points: If you want to walk all the way down the Seattle Waterfront (about 1.5 miles) you will run right into the Olympic Sculpture Park, one of our favorite parks in Seattle, which we featured on the blog earlier this year. 

Ultimate Challenge: Start at the ferry terminal and walk the length of the Seattle Waterfront. You can actually walk all the way to Elliott Bay Marina in Magnolia on paved sidewalks. It is almost five miles of scenic paths along Puget Sound.

 Sidewalk signs so you don't get lost.

Sidewalk signs so you don't get lost.

 Little waterfront details.

Little waterfront details.