UPDATED Dec 4, 2020—Check out all the Seattle attractions we hit during our ‘Seattle Urban Adventure,’ made affordable with our Seattle City Pass.
Living in rural America, my husband Dan and I always get a kick out of using the public transportation when we visit ‘The Big City,’ wherever that may be. And although we usually chase adventure via dirt bike or downhill skis, mapping out the light-rail system to get to the airport, scrambling aboard the monorail or asking street people about a bus connection can get the Adrenalin flowing for us country kids. In Seattle, ferry boats can be thrown into the public transportation equation. Here’s where we went – all via public transportation:
[Note: Check for COVID closures and hours of operation before you go, as you would for any travel during this time of Coronavirus.]
Pike Place Market beats with a happy vibe
The heart of Seattle – Pike Place Market – beats with a happy, metro vibe that infects visitors as well as the locals. Long stalls stocked with brilliant and fragrant floral bouquets entice hoteliers and restaurateurs looking for fresh table garnishment while the fish market brings in chefs and shoppers searching for the special catch of the day. Bargain hunters stalk tiny eclectic shops for pipes, antique jewelry or crystal geodes and string musicians fill the stairwells with precious sound.
If you’re not claustrophobic, head down to the market on a Saturday morning. You could spend all morning there. We enjoyed egg sandwiches on newly-baked ciabatta with market-fresh tomato and lettuce at Sound View Café (go under the Market’s clock and then straight down the hallway.) You won’t need a window seat to get a view of the blue waters below or the backdrop of snow-capped Olympic Mountains. Conversely, you could get a cup o’Joe at the nearby Starbucks – the very first Starbucks – where Japanese tourists clamor for photos near its front door. Hey, so did I!
Seattle fishmongers throwing whole salmon
You’ll either love the energy of fishmongers throwing whole salmon and local farmers slicing off juicy hunks of peach for you to try right off their knives, or you won’t. “I don’t know why your mother wants to come down here every Saturday,” bemoaned one local father to the toddler he pushed in a stroller. Mother loves it; daddy’s got a different opinion. Nevertheless, Dan agreed with me that Pike Place Market makes for impressive people watching and remarkable photo ops.
Spirit of Seattle Harbor Cruise
Just down the hill from the market is Argosy Cruises
which leave from Pier 55 for a one-hour narrated harbor tour. (Adult fare, $31.) The fun cruise aboard the ship-shape Spirit of Seattle was a great way to acclimatize to the city in a short amount of time. We learned about the Seattle Space Needle and the development of the spectacular downtown skyline. We also discovered that the Lion’s Club was holding their national conference in town over the Fourth of July weekend. No wonder hotels were booked and we had difficulty finding an affordable room.
Seattle City Pass Helps Balance Accommodations Cost
Because Seattle room accommodations were a bit pricey, it was a good thing that we had procured the Seattle City Pass (Seattle CityPASS.) The CityPASS
allowed us to experience six major attractions at a much reduced rate.
Museum of Flight
We spent a full day at the Museum of Flight
that rivals any air and space museum in the country. I was able to walk through a Concorde supersonic airliner (the closest I will get to my life’s dream of flying to France in half the time of a regular passenger jet.) And we heard the history of World War II through sound recordings of actual bombers and videos that showed the stories of the young men and women aviators as we walked among the full-sized aircraft. (Adult admission without CityPass $25. I promise you, you will not be able to see the whole museum in one day.)
Meet the world at the Space Needle
You can meet the world at
the Space Needle
. We met visitors from Spain, India and the UK who were all having a “jolly good time.” The views of harbor ferries, lake regattas and Mt. Rainier were so enjoyable that we went back a second time to buy a Coke, watch the sunset and then view it all again under city lights. Beer, wine and coffee are also available on the observation deck. (Adult day and night pass without CityPass, $49.)
Pacific Science Center
At the foot of the Space Needle, head on into the PacificScience Center
where the IMAX theater shows all day long. I loved the ugly bug zoo and enjoyed chasing butterflies with my camera in the 4,000-square-foot Tropical Butterfly House. (Adult admission with IMAX sans CityPass, $26.)
Experience Music Project EMI
We sailed through the Frank O. Gehry-designed Experience Music Project — now the Museum of Pop Culture or MoPOP — when we boarded the monorail. “Avatar: The Exhibition” was showing ($30 without CityPass for adults.)
3-Day Itinerary for your own Seattle Urban Adventure
For a 3-Day Itinerary of the Ultimate Weekend in Seattle, check out:
On our final Seattle day before boarding the light rail for the airport ($2.25 per person,) we returned to Pike Place Market for a few last photos and then walked down the stairway to the bay front where we experienced the Seattle Aquarium
. The cheery sea otters are not to be missed by those of any age. Wonderful docents and interactive exhibits make this a must-see! (Adults without CityPass, $33.00.)
Seattle CityPASS Savings
So, if you’ve done your arithmetic, you can
see that Seattle CityPASS got us into $194 worth* of top attractions. And the price? A drum roll, please. Only $99 for adults and they offer a child (ages 5-12) pass for only $79. The pass is valid for 30 days, and we were able to skip most ticket lines. Go to citypass.com
for more information. CityPASSes are also available for Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver
, New York
, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Southern California
, Tampa and Toronto.
*Please note that some of these attractions are currently closed due to COVID
, but plan to open in the future. Check CityPass
for current programs.
“UNSTOPPABLE Stacey” Wittig is a freelance travel writer based in Flagstaff, Arizona. Like this article? Get a message sent to your email when a new article is posted. Simply click to “Subscribe” now