Top Things to do in Seattle this Spring
Seattle is as well known for rain as it is for coffee. But don’t let the moisture fool you. While there can certainly be dreary days, all that rainfall makes for a lush landscape. During the spring, Mother Nature starts to bless the region with sunshine and new growth.
Flowers abound, turning the plethora of city parks into a colorful playground. Waterfront walks become dazzling displays. Farmers markets start to take on a new life as fresh produce evolves from root vegetables into sweet fruits.
From sporting events and museums to tours and natural habitats, there’s a wide range of things to do in Seattle for those of all ages.
23 Things to do in Seattle this Spring
The following list only begins to scratch the surface. Seattle is a city you could spend months (even years) exploring and still discover new and exciting things. Nor is this list presented in any particular order. Rather think of this list of things to do in Seattle this spring as a vision board. Make a few plans, start exploring, and see where the day takes you. There are endless possibilities!
Seattle’s Top Tours & Museums
1. Seattle Seaplane Tours
Let’s call a plane a plane — we’re biased. We think seaplane tours are pretty darn spectacular. We offer two unique tours of Seattle, one departing from Lake Union and one from Lake Washington.
Each narrated tour is roughly 20 minutes and gives each passenger a window seat. During the tour, you’ll be treated to iconic views such as the beautiful University of Washington campus, the iconic Seattle Space Needle, Washington State Ferries sailing through Elliot Bay, and more.
2. Seattle Whale Watching Tour
There are few things as exceptionally humbling as watching a whale breach the surface of the ocean, its mammoth body lifting up above the water and crashing back down. And spring is an exceptional time to take advantage of a Seattle whale watching tour.
There are a host of operators that provide tours directly from Elliot Bay in downtown Seattle. These all-day tours require long boat ride to the Salish Sea where the whales are typically seen. Alternatively, you could take a tour with a San Juan Island-based tour company, like San Juan Safaris that departs from Friday Harbor Marina. These half-day tours allow you to see a plethora of wildlife (seals, eagles, dolphins, porpoises, and more) while still leaving time to explore the San Juans, make it to a dinner reservation, and more!
3. Argosy Cruises
Argosy Cruises offers two unique water-based tours of the city: a Harbour Cruise and a Locks Cruise. Each tour takes you past vantages you can only get from a boat, while offering the comfort of an indoor cabin, bathroom, and refreshments.
4. Chihuly Garden of Glass
One of the most popular and influential glass artists in the world, Dale Chihuly’s work can feel otherworldly. The Chihuly Garden and Glass offers a chance to immerse yourself in his genius, as your imagination dances among the colors and reflected light.
Eight different galleries flow through this dazzling museum, with the star of the show found in the breathy Glasshouse. The 4,500-square-foot glass terrarium is flooded with natural light. From the 40-foot tall ceiling hangs a 100-foot glass sculpture in a riot of reds, oranges, yellows, and ambers.
3. Seattle Underground Tour
The Seattle you know today stands upon its original foundation — quite literally. The city’s first neighborhood, Pioneer Square, rests beneath the sidewalks and buildings that you see today. Small remnants of the underground can be seen from above, most noticeably skylights built into the city’s sidewalks to illuminate the underground.
Guided tours of the long-since evacuated lower level, giving you an up-close look at how the city used to operate, how it developed, and even how indoor plumbing used to work!
5. The Pacific Science Center
The Pacific Science Center is a fascinating adventure for those of all ages. It offers interactive exhibits, including a butterfly house and a dinosaur adventure. On chilly, drizzly days, the plethora of indoor activities can be an excellent source of dry entertainment. On sunny days, water exhibits invite outdoor exploring.
6. Art Walk at the Olympic Sculpture Park
Previously an industrial site, the Olympic Sculpture Park spans nine acres along Seattle’s downtown waterfront. This is the largest downtown green space in the Emerald City, it features a stunning collection of sculptures. Plus, it’s free to visit.
While wandering the zig-zagging path, you may also want to head to the sculpture park’s parent destination — Seattle Art Museum (SAM). Though there’s paid admission to SAM, it’s one of the most popular museums in the city, offering the chance to view collections from throughout the world.
7. Learn About Seattle’s History at MOHAI
Seattle’s origins are layered with innovation and development. It was here that the first seaplane was developed and here that one of the major IT innovators, Microsoft, put down roots. MOHAI, the Museum of History and Industry, allows you to walk through the city’s development with a series of informational and interactive exhibits.
Seattle’s Top Parks & Flower Displays
8. Discovery Park
Spanning 534 acres, Discovery park is nestled along the coastline. It’s home to a wide array of hiking trails that wind through natural habitats and offer expansive views. There are several paths that offer beach access, including the park’s iconic West Point Lighthouse (which is a fabulous place to watch the sunset).
9. Wander Beneath the Cherry Blossoms at the University of Washington
During the spring, March specifically, the University of Washington’s quad bursts into an idyllic floral wonderland. Twenty-nine cheery blossom trees have been planted in and around the quad and at their peak bloom (when 70 percent of the blossoms are out), they look a bit like balls of cotton candy from the sky.
Come here to wander, snap selfies, and enjoy flower viewing. The quad can get quite crowded though, so it’s best to come early in the day if you want to wander with fewer folks.
10. Gas Works Park
Located on the north side of Seattle’s downtown Lake Union, directly facing MOHAI, Gas Works Park offers sweeping views of the city. The waterfront park (though there is no beach) also offers views of mega yachts, sailboats, kayaks, and hot tub boats. It’s the perfect place to have a picnic while seaplanes take off and land or explore the children’s play area.
A former gas plant, you can still see some of the machinery. But be sure to view it from behind the fence. That section is off-limits.
11. Ballard Locks
Arguably the most heavily used locks in the United States, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, is also one of Seattle’s top tourist attractions. (The site is also known as the Ballard Locks or simply ‘the Locks’.) Completed in 1917, it allows boats to sail from the saltwater of Puget Sound to the freshwater of Lake Union and into Lake Washington.
Boats as large as 760 feet and as small as a kayak can be seen making this water exchange. But it’s not just people and vessels who make this trek. Fish also migrate back to freshwater to spawn, using the specially designed fish ladder installed at the locks. Additionally, the locks are home to the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Gardens, one of the most beautiful parks in Seattle.
12. Kubota Gardens
Hidden in South Seattle, the Kubota Gardens is often an overlooked gem of the city. It spans 20 lush acres, showcasing native Northwest plants with the concepts of a traditional Japanese garden. Throughout the grounds, waterfalls and streams are interlaced with ponds, ornate bridges, and rocky outcroppings. The colors of this park are particularly stunning during the spring.
13. Tulips, Tulips, Tulips at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
While not technically ‘in Seattle,’ the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is an event not to be overlooked. Just a short road trip from the city, the fertile farm ground along the Skagit River becomes a brightly colored quilt of flowers, tulips, and daffodils of all colors and varieties.
If possible, go on a weekday. It can be quite crowded during the weekend. And be sure to bring a camera. You’ll want to capture this stunning sight.
14. Seattle’s Arboretum
Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum (known to locals as ‘the Arboretum’) spans 230 acres along Union Bay and inland, past some of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods. The managed grounds range from natural wetlands interwoven with boardwalks and forested walking trails to finely manicured gardens and expansive playgrounds.
Guided tours are available, but exploring on yur own is also particularly enjoyable. Be sure to stop by the Japanse Gardens. They are one of the most beautiful spots in the Arboretum.
15. Seattle’s Sandy Beach at Alki Beach
Head over on the West Seattle Bridge to visit Alki Beach, one of the few sandy beaches you’ll find in the area. I always love taking a long stroll here on sunny spring days in Seattle and observing the people coming out of winter hibernation to play volleyball on the beach or rollerskate on the sidewalk.
16. Waterfall Garden Park
Another hidden Seattle gem, Waterfall Garden Park is an urban oasis. While a pocket park, it’s filled with intrigue, including a 22-foot-tall waterfall that delivers a charming ambiance to the space. This is a favorite destination for a mid-day break or lunch. But keep in mind, it’s only open during the day.
17. Iconic Seattle View at Kerry Park
Arguably the most photographed view of Seattle, Kerry Park’s skyline view is beautiful both day and night. While small, the park is scattered with several benches and a few art installations. Spots along the railing (the best spot for shooting pictures) can be competitive to snag. If you’re looking to shoot the sunset, be sure to arrive early.
Seattle’s Top Spring Farmers Market
18. Pike Place Market
Seattle’s original farmers market, Pike Place Market operates year-round. Its vendor footprint expands during the warmer months, peaking during the summer. But no matter when you visit, you’re sure to find a plethora of locally grown and locally produced products.
This iconic destination is certainly a tourist hit that bustles with long lines throughout the day. If you want a more ‘local’ experience, come early. The fish might not be flying, but the piroshkis will be hot, getting a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s first location won’t take you an hour, and the produce vendors will have longer to tell you about the season’s best picks.
19. Ballard Farmers Market
One of the best pop-up farmers markets in the greater Seattle area, the Ballard Farmers Market operates year-round. The weekly event offers a large array of local produce, freshly baked bread, live music, and local artisans.
20. Fremont Sunday Market
Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood is anything but traditional. Heck, this funky little enclave has dubbed itself the Center of the Universe, marking the location with a sign located at North Fremont Avenue and North 35th Street in the early 1970s.
A year-round market, it offers a wide array of locally grown products, a host of food purveyors, and eclectic arts. The neighborhood is also home to Theo Chocolate Factory (a great place to tour if you have the time). Another neighborhood favorite is the Fremont Troll, a lifesize troll located under the Fremont Bridge that holds a real VW Bug.
Seattle Sporting Events
21. Watch a Hockey Game
Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena (formerly Key Arena) recently underwent an extensive remodel. No detail was overlooked as this stadium was transformed into one of the premier indoor sports stadiums.
An eco-conscious design, it also showcases an array of local food vendors. But indeed, the most exciting thing about Climate Pledge Arena is the chance to see Seattle’s new professional hockey team — the Seattle Kraken.
Really love hockey and want to get your fill? Head north to the Angel Of The Winds Arena where the Everett Silvertips play. (Pro Tip: Everett is also home to Paine Field, one of two Seattle area locations where Kenmore Air offers regularly scheduled wheeled plane flights to the San Juan Islands.)
22. Watch a Soccer Game
Make sure you wear your standing shoes. You aren’t likely to sit down during a soccer game in Seattle. Home to the Seattle Sounders (Seattle’s professional men’s team) and the Seattle Ol Reign (Seattle’s professional women’s team), this Pacific Northwest city has an avid fan base. From the pitch at Lumen Field (formerly CenturyLink Field), you can join in the raucous fun of cheering on the local championship teams.
23. Watch a Baseball Game
Few things say spring quite like enjoying a hot dog at a baseball game. Unless you’re in Seattle and then garlic fries might be more your style. Seattle’s professional baseball team, the Seattle Mariners, start their regular season at the end of March. And a game at T-Mobile Park is a must for visitors and locals alike.