All in a Day: Visiting Seattle

So what if it rains in Seattle? There are still plenty of great things to see and do.

When you think of Seattle, your mind might immediately go to the Space Needle, one of the city’s most iconic attractions. But the Emerald City has much to offer beyond its towering skyline. Checking out the city’s interesting architectural feats, museums and places to grab a delicious meal that will help you feel like a local. You’ll blend in with the locals even further if you come prepared for the weather. Rain gear is a must, as wet weather is just a fact of life in Seattle; it rains about 50 percent of the time, with the heavy rain season running October through January. Pack an umbrella, raincoat and rain boots or waterproof hiking boots. Start planning your trip to the Pacific Northwest by checking out this list of places to see and things to do while visiting Seattle.

The Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library resembles an open book.

Photo: Visit Seattle/Howard Frisk Photography

Seattle Central Library

Stop by the Seattle Central Library when visiting Seattle. The dramatic steel-and-glass structure—designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus, who’s originally from Seattle—features a four-level book spiral that displays the library’s nonfiction book collection. The 11-story library is the Seattle Public Library’s flagship branch, and though it currently has 1 million items in its collection, the building has the capacity to hold more than 1.45 million books and materials.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Near the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass is a permanent exhibition of incredible sculptural glassworks by world-renowned glass artist and Washington native Dale Chihuly. The exhibition’s centerpiece is the Glasshouse, which features one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures. You’ll also find eight galleries and a garden filled with trees, plants, flowers and, of course, more glass sculptures.

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour

Get a close-up look at the Seattle Underground with a tour of the subterranean passages that were the city’s main streets before the Great Fire of 1889. The 75-minute walking tour was founded by the late Bill Speidel, a journalist who spearheaded the preservation of Pioneer Square—downtown Seattle’s oldest neighborhood.

The Museum of Pop Culture and the Space Needle share space on the Seattle Center grounds.

Photo: Visit Seattle/Tim Thompson

Museum of Pop Culture

Hop on the Seattle Monorail to the Museum of Pop Culture, formerly known as the Experience Music Project. This cutting-edge pop culture museum is housed in a spectacular Frank Gehry building near the base of the Space Needle and is a must-do when visiting Seattle.

Molly Moon’s

If you’re looking for a sweet treat while visiting Seattle, stop by one of the eight Molly Moon’s locations. Founded in 2008, the sustainability-minded small business sources 90 percent of the ingredients for its 14 ice cream flavors from the Pacific Northwest. The shops serve up 10 signature flavors, including Melted Chocolate, Earl Grey and Stumptown Coffee, along with four seasonal flavors.

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is in the Pike Place Market, one of the nation’s oldest continuously operated farmer’s markets.

Photo: Visit Seattle/Alabastro Photography

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

While visiting Seattle, dine on the world’s best macaroni and cheese—except your mom’s, of course—at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in the Pike Place Market. The company’s original storefront and cheesemaking facility still sit in the market, and you can watch cheesemakers at work in the glass-walled kitchen while eating your meal.

Seattle Meowtropolitan

Seattle is known for its coffee—Starbucks and Tully’s Coffee both find their roots here—which means an abundance of cafés. If you’re looking for a coffee experience that’s a bit out of the ordinary, then stop the city’s first cat café while visiting Seattle. At Seattle Meowtropolitan, you can hang with felines (with advance reservation) while having a meowca or catpuccino made with Herkimer Coffee beans. You can also pop in for a drink without a reservation and peek at the kitties through large glass windows.

For another west coast adventure, spend a day visiting Portland.

Spend a day exploring Seattle before or after your next cruise. Browse available sailings online or call 877-396-7159 to talk to a AAA Travel Counselor.

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David Kallas, AAA Travel Counselor, Murray, Utah

I'm all about once-in-a-lifetime trips to destinations such as the Cook Islands, Australia or an African safari. I love to plan trips that my clients return from not regretting anything.

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