If you are planning a trip to the beautiful Emerald City, there is no better way to see Seattle in a limited time than with a pre-planned itinerary.
This thriving metropolis boasts a blend of old and new, with plenty of must-see attractions for visitors.
With this guide, you won’t miss a thing, as it covers the city’s top attractions and hidden gems in just 96 hours.
In addition to covering all the must-see spots, we also fit in plenty of hidden gems that most standard Seattle itineraries miss.
Read on for the ultimate 4-day Seattle itinerary to get the most out of your trip.
Seattle’s finest are lined up like rolling pins. Start off strong by striking through Seattle Center’s museums and stomach-dropping views, then zip over to Pike Place Market for meals that are drool worthy.
Be out in the woods without leaving the city. Seattle’s parks and gardens encircle Lake Union with enticing hiking mileage, giving you the option of forest exploration and refreshing water time.
From seaplane joy rides to Washington Park Arboretum, forget the urban life for a while.
Seattle’s best day trips lead you to cultural Bainbridge Island or the misty Mount Rainier. When evening comes, slink through the night at Capitol Hill with Seattle’s most characterful bars.
Dip into Seattle’s historical reserves as you explore Pioneer Square and its subterranean passageways. Oh, and give the coffee roasteries a whirl too. Say farewell with one last visual sweep from Sky View Observatory.
Many roads lead into Seattle (as do seaplanes and ferries), but international visitors will likely land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
It’s about an hour downtown and then off you go on your Seattle journey.
Don’t forget to bring along layers and rainy day gear as rain is a perpetual friend, especially from November to February.
For attractions, restaurants, and all the cosmopolitan delights, downtown Seattle is best as your home base.
4 days in Seattle is hardly enough, so efficient commutes are a must!
Tip: To get around Seattle on the cheap, pick up the All-Day Regional Pass for $8.
Originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, 74-acre Seattle Center is one of Seattle’s premiere entertainment complexes.
Spend the morning hopping between its 30 venues, which include museums, theaters, gardens, sports stadium, restaurants and shops.
Hold onto your hats, key Seattle experiences incoming!
At Space Needle, tilting glass benches will have you looming above Seattle’s skyline.
Don’t look down the revolving glass floor if you experience vertigo – this sleek needle-like nest takes you 605 feet off the ground.
Museum of Pop Culture, cutely styled as MoPOP, peacocks at you with its iridescent and curved exterior.
The quirkiness extends to its exhibits, which range from tributes to local musicians such as Nirvana, to cool movie props such as Luke Skywalker’s light saber.
The International Fountain will cool you right off – probably without asking.
You may predict when the ‘super shooters’ blast water 120 feet into the air, but good luck avoiding the other 270 water jets.
Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum is a must for every Seattle itinerary. Peer closer at the outdoor garden or you’ll miss Dale Chihuly’s stunning glass flowers.
The Glasshouse isn’t an ordinary conservatory either.
Pacific Science Center rotates its exhibits so visitors can sample all avenues of life. From tropical butterfly houses to laser light shows, these immersive displays will convert you into a science nerd in no time.
McCaw Hall is for the artistic, romantic souls who thrive on performing arts. Home to the Pacific Northwest Ballet and Seattle Opera, the stunning steel-and-glass building puts on magical programs all year round.
Get the CityPass to save money on attractions! Space Needle and Seattle Aquarium are two fixed attractions; choose your remaining three from a rotating list.
Snaking above ground in a futuristic zoom is the Seattle Monorail.
The straddle beam train runs straight from Seattle Center to Westlake Center for 0.9 kilometers of between-buildings shimmy. One of the best ways to sightsee 5th Avenue, no lie.
Now that you’re in downtown Seattle, snap some photos of iconic landmarks.
Seattle Central Library carries a unique honeycomb design that photographs beautifully. Sneak in for the “Red Floor” too; 13 shades of red ahoy!
The Seattle Spheres also wait for their camera moment. 40,000+ plants were corralled for Amazon office employees to bask in nature.
It’s only open to public on the 1st or 3rd Saturday each month, but do try your luck.
You could also skip the above detour and walk straight to Pike Place Market.
This huge waterfront market houses over 500 vendors; eateries, specialty food shops and craft stalls.
Take a chef-guided tour for delicious eats that will appease your growling stomach.
When you’ve nom-ed to your heart’s content, post-lunch entertainment includes various nearby attractions:
Before sunset sticks, rush up to the Bell Street Pier Rooftop Deck. The first sunset of your 4 day Seattle itinerary just cannot be missed.
For dinner, take the 10-minute walk down the piers to the Seattle waterfront. There are plenty of waterside restaurants to whet your appetite.
If exploring these two beloved Seattle spots in the same day is too rushed for you, pace through Space Center attractions until mid-afternoon, then head over to Pike Place Market for sunset and dinner.
Phew, Day 1 in Seattle sure was busy! Slow the pace down on the second day of your Seattle itinerary with the city’s most beautiful green spaces.
Treat yourself to a lazy morning and take the streetcar out towards South Lake Union. There’s no need to rush – it’s just a few stops away.
Your morning begins properly at South Lake Union where a Seattle Seaplanes experience shock you awake with glorious views.
Imagine 20 minutes in the air, looking down upon Ballard Locks, University of Washington, Bill Gates’ Estate and more downtown Seattle peeks.
When the hour hand lands on 11AM, rediscover your land legs with brunch close to the docks.
Duke’s Seafood serves Lake Union views and great seafood.
Next up is Washington Park Arboretum. Explore 230 acres of preserve free of charge; there are miles of trails and seasonal events to uncover.
The serene shores of Lake Washington tout varied plants and trees, meaning cherry blossoms in spring and stunning gardens (like the Japanese Gardens) all year round.
Dedicate the rest of your day to water activities on Lake Union. From kayaking and paddleboarding to riding the famous Ducks, there are all sorts of tours to try.
Other cool sites are as follows:
Not interested in the gardens or Lake Union? Why not see what’s on the other side?
Cross over Lake Union for Green Lake Park & Woodland Park Zoo.
Greenlake Boathouse Café is open at 7AM for early brekkie, after which you can enjoy some beach time or take a jog around the lake perimeter.
Tennis courts, baseball fields and other sport facilities are also available.
Or maybe you’re drawn towards the 92-acre Woodland Park Zoo? From vintage carousels to family farm and 300+ animal species, this conservation-focused attraction is one for families.
Stop by Fremont Troll for a quick photo. The 6.5-ton Troll Under the Bridge statue sure aged well since its 1990 creation.
The latter offers unusual sights with rows and rows of fishing boats, and varied restaurant choices.
Beer fanatics may also appreciate a brewery tour around the neighborhood.
Leave no stones unturned and see the best of Seattle with this 3-hour city tour.
Great for first-time visitors, you’ll get to experience the city without the fuss of planning.
Your schedule continues with Ballard Locks, a summer highlight where you can spot salmon the size of your leg.
The system of dams and bridges are fascinating, so join the free guided tour offered by the visitor center at 2PM.
You can also experience the locks for yourself via a Seattle Locks Cruise.
Discovery Park is just next door to Ballard Locks – Seattle’s largest green pocket is perfect for unwinding in late afternoon hours.
Numerous trails take you to the shores of Puget Sound, where Victorian-era West Point Lighthouse offers a picturesque spot for sunset viewing.
Alternatively, meander over to Kerry Park for some of the best views in Seattle instead.
Turn in early tonight because tomorrow is going to be a long day!
Every 4 day itinerary for Seattle needs a day trip. Opt between island adventures and mountain hikes.
Just 35 minutes by ferry is Bainbridge Island. Take the earlier rides for a full day out, as attractions are plenty on this floating city:
Spare two hours for a sailing adventure from Bainbridge. Depart from the Waterfront Park through Eagle Harbor – with luck, the winds will push your sails smoothly past Seattle’s skyline.
Views of Mount Rainier, Olympic Mountains, Mount Baker and the glittering expanse of Puget Sound will have you in awe.
Return to Seattle for a quirky night out at Capitol Hill. Cozy brunch spots give way to hip bars and LGBTQ+ friendly clubs – and you definitely want to find the rainbow crosswalk.
Legendary drag shows at Queer/Bar compete with craft cocktail bars like Liberty, but you can keep your night extra wholesome with some boutique shop browsing.
If the forests are calling to you, sign up for a day trip out to Mount Rainier instead. Your itinerary for the day looks like:
For a more balanced luxury-and-landscape day out, the Snoqualmie Falls and Seattle Winery Tour is a fair alternative.
Not only do you check off one of Washington’s most popular scenic stops within the rolling Cascade foothills, you can compare the wares of indie wineries and world-class Chateau Ste. Michelle.
If you still have energy, round off the night with Capitol Hill revelry.
It’s your final day in Seattle – let’s keep the schedule running! Kickstart your day with a coffee extravaganza.
The Seattle Coffee Culture Tour takes you back to Capitol Hill for all you need to know about Seattle’s coffee culture, revealing secrets behind brews that you get to taste test.
Linger at your last stop: Starbucks Reserve Roastery. Upscale, spacious and just cool, it tops the list of Seattle’s outstanding coffee must-visits.
The food trucks at Occidental Square are primed and ready, just in time for lunch. The totem poles, wood carvings and shade trees are gorgeous too.
Naturally, follow up by exploring Pioneer Square. Established in 1852, Seattle’s first neighborhood carries remnants of early history.
For even more history lessons on the birth of Seattle, the Yukon Gold Rush, Skid Row and tribal people, join an underground tour.
The Beneath the Streets tour brings you through fascinating 1890s underground passageways.
Happy hour is best at Smith Tower, but the 1914 office tower itself is a stunning icon. Take a self-guided tour of this historic attraction as you slowly approach the speakeasy-style cocktail bar.
Sunset views at the 35th floor observatory are exemplary.
Grab a quick dinner before ending your 4-day Seattle trip on a high note! Sky View Observatory at Columbia Tower peaks at the 73rd floor. Seattle glows below you for as far as the eye can reach.