As the sun sets over the calm water of Puget Sound, Seattle comes alive at night. With a variety of exciting evening activities available in Washington’s largest city, there’s no shortage of things to do as the day fades into dusk in the Emerald City. From breathtaking views to guided tours, there are plenty of sights to take in and experiences to enjoy. So grab your coat (and maybe an umbrella) and discover all that Seattle has to offer as night falls. For this article, I’ve focused on Seattle activities that you can do after 5 p.m.
Note: Some of my experiences were hosted. All opinions are my own.
1. Enjoy The Sunset
One of the best experiences available on the West Coast is watching the sun set over the water. Although Seattle is about 100 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, it’s still surrounded by water, thanks to Elliott Bay, Lake Washington, and Lake Union. Gorgeous sunsets can also include views of Mount Rainier and Bainbridge Island.
At more than 500 acres, Discovery Park is Seattle’s largest park. From here, you can enjoy sunset views of the Olympic Mountains, downtown Seattle, and the ferries.
Overlooking downtown Seattle, Kerry Park is one of the city’s most visited parks. It provides phenomenal views of Elliott Bay and the Seattle skyline.
Gas Works Park
Built on the former grounds of the Seattle Gas Light Company’s gasification plant, Gas Works Park delivers panoramic views of Seattle that are especially impressive at sunset.
Alki Beach Park
Located in West Seattle, Alki Beach Park’s variety of bars and restaurants line Elliott Bay, making it a great spot to grab a sip or a bite while watching the sunset over the water.
2. Space Needle
The Space Needle was built for the Seattle World’s Fair and has been a popular destination for more than 50 years. And if it looks like a building from a space-age cartoon, that’s because The Jetsons used the tower’s design to create its “skypad” apartment buildings.
As the sun sets and the city lights up, the Space Needle transforms into a stunning beacon that is the crown jewel of the skyline. On the observation deck, located 520 feet above ground, floor-to-ceiling glass walls allow you to enjoy breathtaking views of the city, Puget Sound, and the surrounding mountains. For an extra-special experience, grab a drink at The Loupe Lounge, the world’s only revolving glass-floor bar.
Pro Tip: To save money on the top tourist attractions in Seattle, consider purchasing a Seattle CityPASS, which includes admission to the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, and three other attractions.
3. Smith Tower
Want a beautiful evening view that includes the Space Needle? Head to Smith Tower, Seattle’s original skyscraper and the tallest building west of the Mississippi River when it was built in 1914. After enjoying an impressive nighttime view of the city from the open-air observation deck, head to the speakeasy-style bar for a classic cocktail.
Pro Tip: Looking for a great place to stay in Seattle? Located in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, Level Seattle offers spacious, apartment-style suites that feel like home away from home.
4. Sky View Observatory
Located on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center, the Sky View Observatory is the tallest observatory in the Pacific Northwest, delivering phenomenal city views. Make any hour happy with a snack, pint of beer, glass of wine, or specialty cocktail from the Sky View Cafe or High Bar as you drink in the view. Raise a glass to native son Jimi Hendrix by sipping the purple haze of a Lavender Sunset, made with gin, housemade lemonade, and lavender syrup. With comfortable seating and a relaxed atmosphere, the bar and lounge area is the perfect place to unwind from a day in Seattle while admiring the city from above.
Pro Tip: Known for its beginnings in the coffee industry, check out these nine delicious coffee shops to try in Seattle that aren’t Starbucks.
5. Seattle Waterfront
The Seattle Waterfront promenade stretches from the Olympic Sculpture Park to the professional sports stadiums. It allows pedestrians to walk from the ferry terminal at pier 50 all the way to pier 70 without crossing a single street. It also delivers beautiful views of the Seattle skyline on one side and the snow-capped Olympic Mountains on the other.
As you wander, keep an eye out for sculptures, fountains, murals, and other amazing works of public art along the waterfront. And don’t assume that each pier is the same; each one you pass offers unique eateries and interesting shops.
6. The Seattle Great Wheel
As you explore the Seattle Waterfront, you can’t help but notice the Seattle Great Wheel stretching 40 feet out over Elliott Bay at the end of pier 57. At 175 feet tall, this Ferris wheel is the largest observation wheel on the West Coast and delivers stunning views of the city, Puget Sound, and the surrounding mountains. Each of the 42 gondolas is fully-enclosed and climate-controlled, so you can enjoy the ride year-round regardless of weather conditions.
7. Sunset Cruise
If you’d rather welcome the end of the day from the water than on land, book a
sunset sail, sunset cruise, or sunset dinner cruise. Options are available through several local operators, but regardless of the package you pick, you’re sure to enjoy unique views of the city skyline and surrounding mountains from the water. Many of the cruises take you through Elliott Bay, where you’ll see the iconic Space Needle and other Seattle landmarks from an extraordinary vantage point.
8. Haunted Seattle Ghost Tour
To add a little fright to your night, take a haunted Seattle ghost tour. The walking tours offered by Seattle Terrors take place nightly — rain or shine — and include spooky tales that range from Chief Seattle’s daughter, Kikisoblu, who haunts Pike Place Market, to a serial killer with the title of “doctor” who starved her patients to death.
9. Underground Tour
For a phenomenal, phantom-free walking tour, try the Underground Tour. It takes visitors on a journey through the passageways beneath the streets of Pioneer Square (the city’s original downtown) and past the storefronts that were once the city’s street level. This immersive, 75-minute tour is a combination of walking and standing. If you prefer this tour in a spooky format, book the paranormal experience.
10. Visit A Brewery
With its thriving craft beer scene, visiting a brewery in Seattle is a must-do activity for any beer lover. Pike Brewing Company is an independent craft brewery that’s just a 1-minute walk from the Gum Wall in Seattle’s Pike Place Public Market neighborhood. It offers a unique blend of history, atmosphere, and great beer. To enjoy a beer and beautiful weather, head to Fremont Brewing, where a massive outdoor beer garden — just a few blocks from the Fremont Troll — awaits.
11. The Tasting Room
If you prefer fermented grapes to liquid bread, then check out The Tasting Room. Operated by several regional wineries and conveniently located in the heart of Pike Place Market, this cozy wine bar allows wine lovers to sample up to 60 different wines from across the Evergreen State.
Fun Fact: The oldest winery in Washington State is Chateau Ste. Michelle. Founded in nearby Woodinville on the estate of Seattle lumber baron Frederick Stimson, its roots date back to the repeal of Prohibition.
12. Go To A Game
Whether you love American football, baseball, soccer, rugby, or hockey, the Seattle sports scene has you covered. Seattle is home to several major league sports teams including the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, MLB’s Seattle Mariners, MLS’s Seattle Sounders FC, MLR’s Seattle Seawolves, and NHL’s Seattle Kraken. One of the best parts of attending a professional sporting event in Seattle is the atmosphere. The city is well known for its passionate and enthusiastic fans who come together to create an electric atmosphere in the stadium.
13. Wild Lanterns At Woodland Park Zoo
If you visit Seattle in the late fall or early winter, these are nine reasons you’ll love WildLanterns at the Woodland Park Zoo. Gaze at a wide range of large-scale and natural-scape lanterns that represent wild creatures and rugged places from around the world. You can also get your fill of Christmas lights by strolling through the Discovery Loop, where hundreds of thousands of lights add their glow to trees and other structures.
From amazing sunset views to historic walking tours, from relaxing beer gardens to a live sporting event, there are many fantastic things to do in Seattle at night.
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