Seattle’s Top Bucket List Attractions

By Niki Stojnic

June 10, 2019

What to see, hear and do when it comes to pop culture, amusements and the arts

This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of Seattle Magazine.

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Image Credit: 

Seattle Cinerama


This article appears in print in the June 2019 issue, as part of the 150 Must-Do Summer Experiences cover story. Click here to subscribe.

> Catch an action thriller or a cinematographic masterpiece at the Cinerama, the 1963 movie theater that has seen major upgrades both technological and edible; among the top-notch concession treats is its famous chocolate popcorn. Belltown, cinerama.com

> Channel your inner lumberjack with your crew—or join a team—at one of the several axe-throwing venues, such as Axe Kickers, Blade and Timber and Ninja Axe Throwing, that have cropped up across the city. Times and prices vary. Fremont, ninjaaxethrowing.com; White Center, axekickers.com; Capitol Hill, bladeandtimber.com

> Take a ferry—any ferry. We suggest a voyage to Bainbridge Island at sunset for a gorgeous view of the city, or to Vashon Island, where you might encounter our resident orcas along the way. Times, prices and locations vary. wsdot.wa.gov/ferries

> Visit The Letter Farmer’s bright red mobile truck and write an old-fashioned “wish you were here” letter to anyone. The truck is often parked at Westlake Park or Occidental Park, and is stocked with pens, stationery and postage. Owner Rachel Weil will even seal your letter with wax. Times, prices and locations vary. theletterfarmer.com

> Travel the SoDo busway between light rail’s SoDo and Stadium stations to scan the SODO Track, a 2-mile stretch of murals by 64 artists from 20 countries in a collaboration that explores motion, speed and progress. (As an alternative to taking a bus, you could walk or cycle along the busway’s bike path.) SoDo, sodotrack.com

> Take in Seattle’s renowned houses of culture: a literary lecture at Hugo House (Capitol Hill, hugohouse.org); theater, music or dance at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (Central District, langstonseattle.org); a concert at the 1908 Washington Hall (Central District, washingtonhall.org); or a screening at Northwest Film Forum (Capitol Hill, nwfilmforum.org).

> Check out the city’s lively theater scene by viewing a production by one of its small or experimental groups: Washington Ensemble Theatre (Capitol Hill, washingtonensemble.org); Sound Theatre Company (various locations, soundtheatrecompany.org); or Book-It Repertory Theatre (Seattle Center, book-it.org), which features stage adaptations of books.


An everyday scene at Occidental Park. Photo by Alex Crook

> Play pingpong in Westlake Park, chess in Hing Hay Park or cornhole in Occidental Park—Seattle’s urban parks always have something going on, rain or shine (but especially shine). Downtown, Chinatown–International District, Pioneer Square; seattle.gov/parks/find/parks

> Attend one of the city’s legendary festivals such as the Fremont Solstice Parade and Fair (6/22–6/23. Times vary. Free. Fremont, fremontartscouncil.org/parade), iconic folk music fest Northwest Folklife (5/24–5/27.Times vary. Free. Seattle Center, nwfolklife.org) and outdoor music and arts showcase Bumbershoot (8/30–9/1. Times and prices vary. Seattle Center, bumbershoot.com).

> Go record shopping—or catch a free in-store concert—at one of the city’s most beloved record shops, Easy Street Records (West Seattle, easystreetonline.com).

> Cruise the creaky floors of book mecca Elliott Bay Book Company, then grab a pint at Comet Tavern and a seat on Ethel’s stool, named for the woman who co-owned the bar and whose ashes are reportedly in the chair itself. Capitol Hill; elliottbaybook.com, thecomettavern.com

> Pay homage to the late Bruce Lee (along with city notables Denny, Chittenden, Yesler and Nordstrom) at Lake View Cemetery (Capitol Hill, lakeviewcemeteryassociation.com) and Jimi Hendrix at Greenwood Memorial Park (Renton, jimihendrixmemorial.com).


New glass floors make a Space Needle visit more essential than ever. Photo by John Lok

> “Top” off your list with a step onto the mesmerizing glass floors of the newly renovated Space Needle (Seattle Center, spaceneedle.com); take in the 360-degree vantage from Columbia Tower’s 73rd-floor Sky View Observatory (Downtown, skyviewobservatory.com); and have a seat in the Wishing Chair, a gift from China’s Empress Dowager Cixi, at Smith Tower’s 35th-floor Observatory (Pioneer Square, smithtower.com)


A collection of pieces at Chihuly Garden and Glass. Photo by Alex Crook

Entering a Period of Discovery