You don’t have to wait for summer to hit the West Coast to justify taking a break! When the relaxation bug hits you, take comfort in knowing there’s a ton of entertaining things to do right in your backyard. Nature lovers, art aficionados, kids-at-heart (and regular kids) can all find something fun to do, and we’ve hand-picked our favorites.
Oh, the great outdoors. Living in Seattle means you have the ideal combination of city life and scenic landscapes, but when was the last time you took advantage of the latter?
1. Since it’s winter, it’s time to dive headfirst into some snow. There’s bound to be something for the whole family: skiing at Suncadia, huge tubing hills, and the perfect scenic sledding hills at Mount Rainier National Park. Check out this full list of favorite spots and decide for yourself!
2. If you’re outdoorsy but not into rolling around in snow, take a hike through one of the gorgeous state parks! From dense woods to peaceful beaches, you could fill an entire month exploring the different terrain in Washington state.
3. Adrenaline lovers, we didn’t forget about you. When you’re ready to challenge yourself, try mountaineering! RMI Expeditions offer a range of assisted climbing groups, where you’ll get to experience the active volcano in your backyard like never before. Going through mountaineering school may seem time consuming, but you’ll have learned a new skill that you can use to explore Seattle year-round.
A staycation doesn’t have to be all fun and games; you can gain a lot of valuable knowledge and new experiences from the educational opportunities in and around Seattle.
4. You know the city like the back of your hand, so it’s time to take a different perspective…right under your feet. After a fire in 1889 destroyed a chunk of the downtown area, a new city was built on top of the charred remains, leaving a world undisturbed underground. Take guided underground walking tours to explore old storefronts, water systems, and current homes of ghosts (probably not true).
5. Out of the classroom and into the real world, the Pacific Science Center is a great local experience. Explore the latest exhibits, check out the laser dome, catch a movie at the IMAX theater or learn about NASA missions at the planetarium. With all that can be done in one stop, probably plan for a full day here.
6. For those who aren’t science-minded, the Seattle Art Museum also offers a day’s worth of educational entertainment. From contemporary American to Oceanic and Ancient Mediterranean, a trip to SAM is like a full global experience of the best of art and culture.
Since they can be harder to entertain, we’ve found a few kid-centric destinations and activities guaranteed to hold their attention (at least for a little while).
7. If the previous museums won’t do, check out the Imagine Children’s Museum. The interactive indoor and outdoor exhibits are a kid’s paradise: a construction studio, treehouse, fire station and beach are just some of the cool setups that kids are fully encouraged to explore. This could become a family favorite!
8. For those in search of creepy crawlies, the Monroe Reptile Zoo has got you covered. It’s open 365 days a year, letting kids get up close and personal to a variety of snakes, spiders, lizards and even alligators. With admission as low as $8 for adults and $6.50 per child, you can’t pass this one up.
9. It’s winter, but it doesn’t have to feel like it. Indoor pools like the Snohomish Aquatic Center offer the entire family a chance to kick back and splash. With areas designated for general swim, simulated surfing, a lazy river and indoor water slide, good luck mentally adjusting to the fact that it’s not July when you step back outdoors.
From live music to unique theaters, get in touch with some aspects of local culture that you may have missed!
10. Enjoy some dinner, drinks and live entertainment at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley. From blues to soul, talented musicians have gathered on a stage that boasts great views from any spot in the venue. And with a delicious menu of local cuisine to complement the performers, this is a perfect date night spot.
11. Make going to the movies a really special occasion at Big Picture! This upscale theater shows old and new films along with gourmet food offerings that can be hand-delivered to your seats. We don’t need to sell a place ranked in the top 20 theaters worldwide, but you should still check it out for yourself.
12. Treat your eyes and ears at the Seattle Symphony, an impressive collection of talented local musicians. From Beethoven to toddler-oriented fun, there’s a solid range of performances that break the notion of a “stuffy” symphony.
Want a taste of Seattle? These local spots provide a unique dining experience, and often the taste of food from your own backyard.
13. “Bringing order to Seattle’s seasonal mood disorder with our seasonal menus.” When you want something hyperlocal, seasonally-rotating and always enticing, head to The Hi-Life. Located inside a 101-year-old firehouse, get in touch with the past (while chowing down on the best food of the present)!
14. Another heart of the sustainable and locally-sourced movement is happening at Local 360. Most of the ingredients fall within a 360 mile range from Seattle, which lead to mouth-watering dishes like fresh seafood, garlic roasted pumpkin and bacon-chicken roulade. Eating locally has some delicious perks.
15. Have a fun day out at Old Ballard Liquor Co., an artisan distillery that specializes in everything old-school. Sample the traditional Scandinavian Aquavit and seasonal farm fruit vodka in their tasting room, and get a true (and super tasty) sense of the Ballard neighborhood’s ethnic roots.
Supporting small businesses helps boost your local economy, and gives you access to one-of-kind-goods that you probably can’t get anywhere else. What’s not to love?
16. Some of the best things are done the old-fashioned way, and Dandelion Botanical Company is no exception. With a large selection of wild herbs, essential oils and bulk spices, this family-owned apothecary has a great vintage feel. Come in and stock up!
17. A vintage shop and local institution, Old Seattle Paperworks has been a Pike Place Market essential since 1978. Dig through vintage posters, magazines, advertising prints, pin-ups and more, and maybe even stumble upon an authentic piece of Seattle history.
18. Get in touch with Seattle’s rich Native American history at Raven’s Nest Treasure, a mecca for authentic art for over 30 years. Fossilized walrus tusks, turquoise pendants and traditional masks are just some of the items that will have you digging around for more.
End your staycation by discovering everything that makes your city weird, wonderful and slightly unexpected.
19. Get to know the city’s scarier side with a Spooked in Seattle ghost tour! Paranormal investigators will take you on a 90-minute tour through some of the city’s oldest neighborhoods…maybe even near your house. If you like mixing history with creepy mystery, this is a must.
20. No one photo can do Chihuly Garden and Glass justice; you’ll need to experience this insanely gorgeous exhibit for yourself. Eight galleries contain a glass forest, sea of glass shapes, chandeliers and abstract pieces, all illuminated and insanely stunning.
21. From human skulls to haunted knick-nacks, the Nevertold Casket Company is part antique store, part curio shop, and totally fun to look through.
We hope you’ve been inspired to enjoy a staycation and see your city in a totally new way! And if you have any other must-see attractions or events in Seattle, let us know in the comments.