What to Do with Two Days in Seattle

What to do with Two Days in Seattle, Washington

How to spend 48 hours in a beloved Pacific Northwest city without overdoing it.

We were ecstatic as we left the city of Portland behind us. Seattle was calling us to it’s shores and we were happy to oblige for a weekend away exploring more of the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle was one of those spur of the moment decisions. It wasn’t until about a week before that we decided we were definitely going to head further north and check out a new city I had only been to briefly before. The simple joys of having a car again after living abroad mainly without one.

The drive up to the city was 3 hours in total and we were surprised to find sunny and dare I say warm blue skies welcoming us as we drove towards the skyscrapers in the distance. The nice weather would last for the two days we were in town, clouding up again on the day we left.

Seattle Blue Skies - Washington State

With not having much planned I was astounded at the amount of sights we saw around the city and everything we experienced in our short 48 hours in town. It didn’t even feel rushed, I guess because we knew we didn’t want to fit everything in this trip, so we still managed to have a relaxing time.

The reason for this, and the aspect I like so much about Seattle, is due to the walkability and convenient proximity of the city’s popular attractions. We were able to squeeze in A LOT around the city because we stuck to two main areas – Pike Place Market & the Seattle Center. We enjoyed the best activities in a short amount of time without overdoing it or feeling overwhelmed.

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Seattle Washington, Pacific Northwest

Here is a good overview of what we did and what we saw in our 48 hours.

Pike Place Market

Perhaps the most famous attraction of all in Seattle, besides the Space Needle, Pike Place Market is popular for good reason with its never-ending stalls and attractions. The market opened in 1907 and it one of the oldest continuous farmer’s markets in America, with multi-levels of kitschy shops, fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, and every souvenir you could imagine. You could easily spend a whole day here if you’re so inclined.

Pike Place Market - Seattle, Washington

It’s a great place to start out your Seattle adventures and people watch. The guys that work behind the fish market have to be the most hilarious people at Pike Place. They’re constantly joking with customers and trying to scare passerbys with dead fish, and they do their famous fish tossing routine on a regular basis.

Pike Place Fish Market - Seattle, Washington

Mariner’s Baseball Game

The only live baseball games I’d been to previously were at AT&T park to watch the San Francisco Giants, since I grew up going to the games with my dad. It was a nice change seeing a different ballpark and cheering on a new team. The stellar hostel we were staying at, the Green Tortoise, was hosting an outing to a Mariner’s game our first night in Seattle, so of course we had to join in on the fun!

Mariner's Baseball Game - Seattle, Washington

It was Kendall’s first experience at an American baseball game so that was exciting in itself. Sadly, the Seattle Mariner’s lost to the Houston Astros that night, but it was such an all-American outing, with garlic fries included, of course, it was hard not to have a good time.

Mariner's Baseball Game - Seattle, Washington

The Original Starbucks

Did you know that the Starbucks’ founders were inspired by Peet’s coffee to open their own store? They even bought beans from Peet’s when first starting out. I know this because I used to work at Peet’s and I’ve never been a huge Starbucks fan. That is, until I moved to Portland, where you can’t help but be inundated with Starbucks on every single corner. It’s grown to be an endearing spot for me to work now, especially with their quality wi-fi.

The Original Starbucks - Seattle, Washington

Anyway, I digress. Starbucks, as any fan of the chain should know, started in Seattle in 1971. Although this location across from Pikes Place Market is called the “original Starbucks” there was actually an even earlier location north of the waterfront. That place no longer exists; however, so technically this is the oldest Starbucks still standing.

There was a constant line out the door while we were there, but we decided to brave it our second morning just to buy a drink from the semi-original location. It’s a classic Seattle experience to have and one of many proud points of the city’s successful history.

Piroshky Piroshky Bakery

The name of this Russian bakery kept popping up everywhere when I read a few various blog posts on Seattle before I left. Located right next to the original Starbucks, Piroshki Piroshki is meant to be the best bakery in the city.

Piroshky Piroshky Russian Bakery - Seattle, Washington
Photo via Flickr

I don’t believe I had ever been to a Russian bakery before this trip but I was pleasantly surprised with their sweet and savory choices and friendly staff, even with the huge line out the door. This is a great place to come for a light and unique breakfast to try favorite Russian delicacies.

The Pike Brewing Company

We had to get in at least one brewery while we were in town. I was bummed we didn’t get to try more, but I’m happy we were at least able to get to the popular Pike Brewing Company, right next to Pike Place Market and across the street from our hostel.

The Pike Brewing - Seattle, Washington

It was recommended to us from local blogger, Marissa at Postcards to Seattle, and I was not disappointed. The interior was huge and funky and the beer decently refreshing and just unique enough. With such large space, they use a gravity-fed brewing system to brew their beer. It’s not something you come across often and it was cool to be greeted by the gravity brewing system as you walk into the foyer.

EMP Museum

My favorite attraction during our two days in town, the EMP Museum is a huge interactive complex filled with music & film history and new exhibits all the time. As you walk in, there’s the largest screen you’ve probably seen, that fills up the auditorium sized-wall behind it and plays a random mix of media throughout your time at the museum.

EMP stands for Experience Music Project and the name quickly became relevant as you continue on to the rest of the museum and you’re immediately stopped by the Trimpin Guitar Sculpture. It goes up multiple stories and is made out of that more than 500 different musical instrument. You could actually listen to music played by the sculpture through headphones at the base. It was an amazing feat of creativity and ingenuity, and that only set the tone for the rest of museum.

EMP Museum - Seattle, Washington

We walked through everything from an indie video game revolution exhibit, to various historical memorabilia from some of the most popular musical greats that came from Seattle, such as Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, the whole grunge era groups, and, or course, Macklemore. We also made sure to see the Fantasy, Horror and Sci-Fi rooms with costumes, themes, and interactive videos from some of the most influential movies over the years from those genres.

If you only have time to see one museum while you’re in Seattle, this would be the one to see, especially if you’re into music or film.

International Fountain

Both the International Fountain and EMP museum are a part of the Seattle Center, as is the Space Needle. We didn’t actually pay the extortionate price to go to the top of the Space Needle – there are better views of the city at a lesser price – but walking to the International Fountain from the EMP Museum was the perfect way to get every angle of the Space Needle from down below.

International Fountain - Seattle Center

The International Fountain was simply a fun place to hang out on a nice day. The fountain was actually from the World’s Fair, but it has since been completely replaced and expanded on. Sometimes the water is timed to music and it’s fun to go run through the water and dance in the sunshine.

Kerry Park

Speaking of the best views in the city that don’t cost a dime, Kerry Park is one of those spots. As a bonus, you actually get the Space Needle in your pictures, which is the best since it’s the most iconic feature in Seattle.

Kerry Park - Seattle View

Kerry Park is a bit of a hike to get to if you’re walking from the city, but once you get to the top you’re rewards with a 180 degree view of the expansive city, Mount Rainier, and the harbor. It was the most stunning view I’ve found in Seattle and we just happened to time our arrive to right before the sun went down. Besides the uber-hyper kids around us it was a pretty perfect moment.

Kerry Park - Seattle View

Olympic Sculpture Park

On our last night in Seattle, after enjoying the view at Kerry Park, we walked down along the waterfront on our way back to our hostel. We soon found the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is part of the Seattle Art Museum. It’s a free park to walk through and a great place to watch the sunset.

Olympic Sculpture Park - Seattle, Washington

We tried to spot as many unconventional sculptures as possible before we were kicked out at sundown. I loved how the colorful and artsy sculptures only made the stunning surroundings looking out over the harbor that much more attractive and beautiful.

Olympic Sculpture Park - Seattle, Washington

What To See Next Time

  • Gum Wall – I can’t believe we forgot to check this out! The gum wall is located just under Pike Place Market and is exactly what it sounds to be, a wall full of used gum. Yeah, kinda gross..but kinda cool too. Right?
  • Capitol Hill – The alternative, slightly hipster part of Seattle. Capitola Hill is meant to have some of the best local hangouts, nightlife, and boutiques in the city, I definitely want to see it next time I’m up there.
  • More Breweries – We only went to Pike Brewing Company, but there is such a great craft beer scene in Seattle. The major ones we missed that I would love to drink at would be Elysian, Pyramid, Epic, and Fremont.
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass – I went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum when I was in the city once before, looking at colleges with my dad, and I remember it being a really beautiful and interesting museum of blown glass. It would be worth going back to as I wasn’t the best traveler at the age of 17, and probably missed out on some of the best aspects.
  • Bainbridge Island Ferry – I’ve heard this is one of the best day trips from the city and also provides you with a great view of the city from the harbor. It’s at the top of my to-do list next time I’m in Seattle!

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Two days in Seattle, Washington
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Many thanks to Marissa from Postcards to Seattle for giving me such great recommendations on what to do and meeting up with me for a pint while I was in Seattle.

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Mimi McFadden
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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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