A view of the Downtown Seattle, Washington skyline with a park bench in the foreground

Making the Most of 24 Hours in Seattle

A view of the Downtown Seattle, Washington skyline with a park bench in the foreground

Making the Most of 24 Hours in Seattle

If you only have 24 hours in Seattle, Washington, use this itinerary to make the most of it, with the best food, shopping, and attractions.

Depending on when you were born, you might know Seattle best for the movie “Sleepless in Seattle,” the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy,” grunge music, or coffee. The waterfront city is frequently on the forefront of new cultural trends, thanks to its tuned-in population of chefs, musicians, and multi-cultural engineers at cutting-edge tech companies. With its compact city center, Seattle is well suited to travelers who want to pack the most into short trips. Try this fun-filled itinerary to make the most of 24 hours in Seattle.

Morning to Mid-Day: Pike Place Market

People often say, “No visit to this city is complete without …,” and this sentiment is definitely true when it comes to Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Featuring fresh produce, seafood, honey, nuts, flowers, and crafts produced by Washington locals, Pike Place Market first opened its doors in 1907. A visionary city councilman pushed for the opening of the public market. With hundreds of vendors onsite everyday to greet customers, the market focuses on the vital connection between producer and consumer to this day.

The Pike Place street sign with the Historical District Pike Place Market sign under it in Seattle, Washington
Source: Shutterstock

Original Starbucks

Start your day in Seattle with breakfast at one of the many cafés and bakeries in the market, or stop by the >original Starbucks, which lies just outside the covered central area. With a constant line during operating hours, the café is reminiscent of the brand’s less corporate days when it was a natural fit near the handmade Russian pastries at Piroshky Piroshky and the creamy cheeses at Beecher’s cheese production shop.

Independent Shops

After breakfast, spend the rest of the morning exploring the many delights of the marketplace. Independent shops offer everything from vintage items, such as vinyl records and memorabilia, to handmade craft items. The screening process only allows the top craft artisans to sell items.

Be sure to stop for lunch at one of the markets more than 80 restaurants, cafés, and food counters. The culinary possibilities include fresh seafood, international dishes, and fresh farm-to-table selections.

Afternoon: Seattle Center

After lunch, head to the 74-acre entertainment complex known as Seattle Center. The city added the phenomenon known as Chihuly Garden and Glass next to the base of the Space Needle in 2012. The museum honors local glass artist, Dale Chihuly, who uses techniques learned from Venetian glass blowers to create signature aerial sculptures of trumpet-like, jewel-toned flowers. His creations grace museums, public spaces, and buildings throughout the world, including the Louvre in Paris and the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem.

The red and yellow glowing glass flower sculpture suspended near the roof of the Chihuly Garden in Seattle, Washington
Source: Shutterstock

The museum consists of an exhibition hall, garden installation, and Glasshouse — a visually stunning creation that pages homage to the botanical garden conservatory. It features a 40-foot-tall structure of transparent glass filled with a 100-foot-long glass sculpture that alters its colors with the changing light throughout the day.

Evening: Space Needle

Built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the Space Needle is the product of architects and engineers who were heavily influenced by the Space Age. It attracts millions of visitors each year who make the journey to the top and photograph it from below. At 520 feet in the air, the view from the observation deck is worthwhile, but the best way to justify the cost is to have dinner in SkyCity, the revolving restaurant at the top. Admission to the observation deck is free when dining in the restaurant.

Sky City

Featuring cuisine created by Executive Chef Jeff Maxfield, SkyCity offers everything from seafood selections to local favorites. Try fresh waterfront seafood choices, such as razor clams, mussels, and wild salmon, or opt for selections that feature fresh ingredients from the surrounding mountain forests, including wild huckleberries and mushrooms. SkyCity is open daily for lunch and dinner and on weekends for brunch.

If you enjoyed seeing the sights in Seattle, check out our Instagram page for other great travel ideas.