Seattle is one of the most up-and-coming cities in the country with an ever-growing list of attractions geared towards all kinds of travelers. Whether you’re interested in music, nature, food, coffee, shopping or art, you’ll find it Seattle.
With an abundance of things to do indoors, outdoors, and on the water, it’ll be hard to find things to do – especially if rainy weather decides to roll in. Considering it’s located in the rainy state of Washington, many sources of entertainment can be found indoors – so you’ll have a nice variety of backup plans if the weather shifts.
Read on for our guide to the best 15 things to do when caught in the rain – that are worth visiting even in sunny weather.
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1. Volunteer Park Conservatory
First established in the late 1800s, the Volunteer Park Conservatory has developed into a flourishing botanical garden and proclaimed as a historical landmark.
The conservatory first got its fame when of a rare Corpse flower bloomed within its confines, and the garden has seen an influx of visitors ever since. The temperature-controlled environment makes it the perfect place to hangout regardless of the weather outside, and depending on when you visit, you’ll get to see seasonal flora.
Before you even enter the greenhouse you will be amazed by its unique Victorian architecture made up comprised of nearly 3,500 panes of glass. Not only will a trip to the conservatory get you out of the rain, but you’ll get to watch and listen to the rain fall down around you without ever getting wet!
Although small, the garden is full of life – and you can admire a large variety of plant species and their colorful flowers. Add in some scenic waterfalls, ponds, and benches to relax on and you could easily spend half the a day taking in all of its beauty.
After a day at the conservatory, make your way over to the Volunteer Park Cafe just a few blocks away for a farm fresh meal with garden seating available.
2. Seattle Aquarium
Providing hands-on activities to learn about marine life, Seattle Aquarium is a nonprofit organization that prides itself on being one of the largest aquariums in the United States.
The aquarium has been going under periodic renovations to make it even bigger and better, but as of right now, there are six unique exhibits to explore:
- The Window on Washington Water is an exhibit that focuses on a 120,000 gallon tank filled with Pacific Northwest fish in an attempt to mimic the environment of Neah Bay on the Northwestern edge of the state.
- Get ready to get your hands wet at the Life on the Edge exhibit where you can interact with marine species like sea cucumbers, hermit crabs, sea urchins, and more.
- Learn about the different habitats that layer the coral reef at the Tropical Pacific Exhibit and marvel at the colorful array of fish that surround you.
- Get some fresh air at the Birds and Shores exhibit as it takes you outside to the edge of the Puget Sound where you can observe a variety of shorebirds and learn about their mannerisms.
- Step inside the Underwater Dome for an experience like no other as you’re surrounded by a 400,000 gallon tank that provides 360 views of marine life in the Puget Sound.
- Last but not least, spend some time with the marine mammals in a lively exhibit that lets you watch various types of otters and seals in action.
3. Pike Place Market
Located in the heart of Downtown Seattle, Pike Place Market is like a neighborhood within itself and is easily one of the most popular destinations in the city.
Pike Place Market as a combination of hundreds of indoor and outdoor shops to explore, many of which revolve around fresh produce, artisan goods, and crafts – not to mention the wide variety of restaurants, bars and cafes that also call the market home.
The nine acres of market space is not only a haven for shopping, dining, and socializing, but is also made up of many historic buildings to admire.
Regardless of what you buy while in the market, you’ll be supporting the local small business community of Seattle making it an enriching experience from start to finish.
The abundance of stalls can feel a bit overwhelming, so if you’re having trouble deciding what to do and buy, consider opting for a tour of the market to learn more about the area and partake in a cooking or art class.
On the western edge of the market in the Main and North Arcade, you’ll find over 200 stands dedicated to local crafts and handmade products of all kinds.
Those who like to cook will fall in love with the specialty food section where groceries can be found from all over the globe as well as fresh fish, meats and cheeses.
Be prepared to plan many trips back to the market to try some of the many dining options, including bakeries, restaurants, bars, delis, fine dining, and so much more.
4. Chihuly Garden
Dedicated to the world renowned glass artist, Dale Chihuly, the Chihuly Garden is a stunning collection of some of his finest works brought to you in combination with a vibrant botanical setting. Established by the Wright family in the late 1900s, the garden was created to honor Seattle’s creative minds and unique energy.
When the garden was first designed, artist Chihuly worked with a specialized landscaper to create a space that combines glass art and plant species in an elegant manner, unlike anything he had ever done before. There are eight galleries and three drawing walls to admire, all of which portray Chihuly’s originality through extraordinary pieces of glass artwork.
The main attraction is the Glass House that sits at the center of the garden with glass panels reaching 40 feet in the air to complement the 100-foot glass sculpture of colorful flora. Check out the theater to get some insight on how Chihuly was able to create such stunning pieces, and the perseverance needed to master them.
Before planning your visit, spend some time browsing through the garden’s website to learn about popular events that happen periodically throughout the year, including the Spring Bloom Garden Tour and the Flameworking Studio Tour.
5. Historic Underground Tour
In the late 1800’s, the entire city needed to be rebuilt after the Great Seattle Fire – and it just so happens that it was built on top of the remains of the old city. Although some of the buildings had survived the fire, most merchants created new storefronts on the higher level leaving the original city to fall into ruin.
Still used occasionally as a walkway, it wasn’t until 1907 that the village was closed off entirely due to fear of the black plague – but that didn’t stop illegal activities like speakeasies and gambling halls from operating within its depths.
Once thought to be just a local rumor, Bill Speidel spent many years fighting for the restoration of the underground village and it has since been established as a historic landmark.
Now, you can take an exciting tour through a portion of the underground village to learn more about its rich history and admire what remains of its ancient architecture. Tour guides perfectly blend education with funny marks to keep guests entertained throughout the entire experience.
As the tour comes to an end, you’ll be guided into the Underground Giftshop where you can purchase a keepsake from your adventure and grab a tasty bite to eat at Doc Maynard’s Public House.
Tickets cost $22/person, but there is a $50/person option for guests who’d like to combine the historic tour with a paranormal experience.
6. Museum of Flight
Known for being the most extensive nonprofit air and space museum in the entire world, the Museum of Flight has been reeling in visitors since 1965. The museum’s goal is to educate all who enter about air and space in hopes of create aspiring scientists and humanitarians through the use of well preserved artifacts.
Spend the entire day exploring nearly 200 aircrafts and spacecrafts, thousands of artifacts, millions of historic photographs, a massive library, and over 30 exhibits.
Popular attractions include:
- The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park, where you can pay tribute to veterans and check out the B-52G Stratofortress
- The Apollo Exhibit, which has the first rocket engine used to get to the moon
- The Untold Stories: World War II at 75 that focuses on stories overlooked in a tragic war
Aside from the many well preserved remnants of air and space history, The Museum of Flight’s Restoration Center & Reserve Collection goes a step further, thanks to its large team of volunteers that work on a daily basis to restore even more historic aircrafts that’ll one day make their appearance in the museum.
With so much to explore, you may want to consider booking a premium experience tour for added fun like private access to cockpits, exclusive looks at not yet displayed artifacts, and even inclusive options with food and drink.
7. Paramount Theatre
First opened in 1928, the historic Paramount Theatre is the perfect place to get out of the rain while also indulging in some of Seattle’s greatest history. Designed by the Rapp Brothers, the finest architects of their time, the cathedral-like theater is a sight to be seen and the small details that went into the building are truly extraordinary.
It’s also said that the theater has a haunted past; there have been multiple alleged paranormal sightings in its 100+ years of life, including the projectionist who died on the property while playing one of his favorite films.
Marvel at its Renaissance style with lavish chandeliers, vibrantly painted walls, French baroque molding, and medallions paired wonderfully with exquisite drapes, tapestries, and furniture.
Some of the most iconic performers have made an appearance at the theater, including Queen, Pink Floyd, Madonna, Bob Marley, The Grateful Dead, Nirvana, and so much more.
With nearly 3,000 seats in the theater, you’re guaranteed to have a spot to stretch out your legs and enjoy the show or watch how the theater transforms into a spacious concert hall to get your dance on.
Check out their website to see the latest shows and concerts that are scheduled to perform – like a live performance of The Masked Singer.
8. Flatstick Pub
More than just your average bar, Flatstick Pub is on a mission to create the most relaxing, fun-filled atmosphere of local beer and friendly competition.
Choose between the locations in Pioneer Square and South Lake Union – the only difference being that the Pioneer Square location doesn’t serve hard alcohol.
Both locations have different food choices. The Pioneer Square pub is partnered with Manu’s Tacos providing delicious street tacos and nachos, whereas South Lake Union works with Ethan Stowell Restaurants to bring you brick oven pizzas.
Regardless of which location you choose, you’ll have access to a wide array of local beers, wines and cider totaling out at over twenty options.
In addition to an exciting game of mini golf and beer, Flatstick Pub has created games of their own to add to the excitement – including Duffleboard, Ball Jockey, and ‘stick putt.
All games are centered around the golf theme and are easy enough for all skill levels – while also being challenging enough to keep you entertained for hours. Although reservations aren’t required, it’s highly recommended
Grab a putter and a pint glass of local beer, and get ready to spend the day (or night!) playing with friends and family to your heart’s content.
Leave the kids at home and head over to one of the most popular entertainment venues in Seattle – Garage – for a thrilling night of bowling, billiards, and drinks.
- Put on your bowling shoes and head over to one of the twenty colorful lanes to play amongst friends and download the Bowlero app to win real life prizes along the way.
- Play with friends or make some new ones at one of the twenty-five billiard tables, perfect for a competitive game or practicing your trick shot.
- Catch the game on one of the flat screen TVs that engulf the Sports Bar while you drink a craft beer, local glass of wine, or specialty cocktail.
- When you’re feeling ravenous, pig out on some crispy wings tossed in your choice of sauce, accompanied with some loaded fries or a pepperoni pizza.
Even if it’s raining, you can still enjoy the outdoor bar, as it’s covered with an awning, but on nicer nights you can cozy up by the communal fireplace and unwind.
If you’re looking to celebrate a birthday or would just prefer a private experience with friends, visit their website to inquire about booking an event. Private events offer new activities like beer pong and arcades, as well as unique meals like the behemoth burger and shareable platters paired with a 123 ounce fishbowl cocktail.
10. Fuji Bakery
Opened in 2009, Fuji Bakery creates Japanese and French baked goods using only the finest ingredients, completely free of any additives and highly processed foods. Ingredients are imported from all over the world to ensure the best possible quality of their sweets and to maintain the authenticity of Japanese and French cuisine.
The combination of Japanese and French baking styles creates goods unlike anything you’ll find in a typical bakery, and the taste is out of this world!
From sweet, savory or a combination of both, there’s something for everyone – and your taste buds will be begging for more.
Fan favorites include the milk stick, which is made up of Japanese milk bread and buttercream, the twice-baked almond cream-filled croissants, and the unique cake slices.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try the BBQ Pork Hawaiian rolls for the perfect mix of sweet and savory or the ube malasada for a different kind of bread and custard.
Aside from their extensive selection of baked goods, Fuji Bakery also offers options for lunch like beef curry bread, a chicken katsu sandwich, traditional Japanese egg salad, and ham and cheese croissants.
Before you leave, make sure to grab a loaf of the light and fluffy shokupan bread which has a special baking process and is great for sandwiches or by itself.
11. Starbucks Reserve
If you’re a fan of the famous chain, pay a visit to the Starbucks Reserve – where the company is constantly creating new blends and testing their limits.
In a sense, the Starbucks Reserve is a way for the company to get feedback about newly created roasts and combinations before hitting the shelves around the world. When you visit the reserve, you’ll be trying completely unique flavors that you can’t get anywhere else. Talk about a coffee lover’s dream!
The reserve uses beans from around the globe to create new infused coffees, iced coffees, cold brews, ice creams, and so much more.
Prepare for a caffeine overload as you taste a fine selection of coffees in different flavors – and in different methods, such as pour-over or Clover brewed. You’ll have exclusive access to new coffee blends and will also have the chance to enjoy newly designed sandwiches, desserts, and breads.
Aside from the thrilling ride you’ll give your taste buds, your eyes will be pleased with the craftsmanship of the main bar, mixology bar, roasting area, coffee library and more.
Once you find a coffee that you can’t live without, take a bag of whole beans home with you to keep the good times rolling.
12. Vif Wine & Coffee Bar
Tackling a new method of both wine and coffee development, Vif Wine & Coffee Bar is a rapidly growing café that truly stands out amongst the crowds. Vif prides itself on how it’s wine shop is made up of completely natural wines, unlike any other wine shop in the city of Seattle.
Their natural wines undergo a different kind of fermentation, and don’t receive any additives or manipulation so that you can enjoy a taste exclusively from its vineyard.
Partnered with Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, Vif chose this nearby establishment because they shared the same goal: to promote local farmers and provide fresh products.
Enjoy an ever-changing menu of simple yet delicious farm-to-table ingredients with bread delivered fresh from Columbia City Bakery and Seawolf Bakers. Place orders ahead of time at their online shop if you’re craving one of the specialty items not currently listed on the café menu.
Come in for a latte and a breakfast sandwich – and end up staying for hours, as you transition to a glass of wine and some artisan cheeses.
In addition to the fine selection of wine and coffee to take home, freshly made take-out dinners are available and change weekly. You can spend a fortune filling your cart up with dips, pastries, soups, sandwiches as well as other homemade items like yogurt, jam, granola, fresh ricotta, large selections of olive oil, cold brew and so much more.
13. Seapine Brewing Co.
Nestled in the Industrial District of Seattle, Seapine Brewing Co. first opened its doors in 2011 and has been serving top-of-the-line brews ever since.
Locals rave about the hoppy IPA, the light pilsner, the crisp golden ale, the smooth porter, and creamy stout – so there’s something for all kinds of beer lovers to enjoy.
The taps rotate seasonally, and are constantly evolving – so no two visits are the same – and there are six-packs available to take home.
Bring your furry friend along for the ride, because the brewery is pet friendly. Feel free to have a seat at one of the picnic tables or up at the bar in an open-air space that promotes socializing and making new friends.
14. Seattle Art Museum
Established in 1933, the Seattle Art Museum is part of what makes Seattle what it is today and is a staple to the city skyline.
The museum is made up of 3 very unique districts scattered across Seattle, with a focus on local art, Asian art, and a park dedicated to sculptures.
Just minutes from the iconic Pike Place Market, the main museum is located in the center of all the action and is great for full and half-day trips.
Admire art from around the world as you walk through the many collections, special exhibits, and rotating installations that call the museum home.
Check out some of their fun public programs like SAM Creates to get hands on, SAM Films to watch diverse screenings, and SAM Performs to listen to music at pop-up events.
15. Theo’s Chocolate Factory
Theo’s Chocolate Factory set the bar high for competitors with its organic ingredients that create exquisite sweets, while staying clear of artificial sweeteners so that consumers always know what they are eating.
When you visit the chocolate factory, you’ll not only have access to buy some delicious treats – but you’ll also have the opportunity to tour the factory to see how it’s done.
Factory tours are extremely popular, so it’s recommended that you get reservations up to 4 weeks in advance – but same day openings occur occasionally, and are posted on the mainboard.
The tour takes you through the history of chocolate and teaches you about the science behind its creation before guiding you through the factory to admire Theo’s special techniques.
Enjoy an endless supply of free chocolate tastings, but make sure to save room for dinner at one of the many restaurants that line the busy streets of Fremont, like seafood at the Local Tide or French cuisine at Le Coin.