Only have one day in Seattle? You can see a lot (or most) of the best things to do in Seattle in a single day! Find out how to squeeze the best out of the city, to be efficient with your time, in just 24 hours. With so many restaurants, museums, stores, and other unique attractions in Seattle, figuring out where to start can be difficult. The following locations are all within walking distance or a quick ride away.

Start time: 7:00am - 8:00am

Before you head off to breakfast, stop by the Seattle Southside Visitor Center to purchase your link light rail tickets and CityPass.

Seattle Southside Visitor Center map Seattle Southside Visitor Center entrance under blue sky

Enjoy Breakfast in Seattle Southside (Assuming guest is staying in SeaTac hotel):

Enjoy a hearty breakfast at 13 Coins Restaurant to fuel up for the day. An old-style cornerstone of metropolitan character, serving up some of the best eggs benedict and an all day, all week breakfast for 365 days a year. Delicious food lining a dazzling 24-hour menu, engaging line chefs who banter playfully, and friendly, professional servers keep you coming back time and again. The menu offers over 130 items and every mode of preparation is represented: grilling, scrambling, flipping, tossing, sauteing, frying, and of course, flaming, all at speeds that have made not only 13 Coins, but the cooks, famous.

high-backed leather booth in black and white 13 Coins Restaurant

If you are looking for something old school, take the light rail to the Pancake Chef. They have been serving the South Seattle area affordable breakfast (and lunch) for over 50 years. Just a five-minute walk from Tukwila International Blvd Station, you’ll find an open kitchen with a bright 1950’s style atmosphere. Interested patrons can peer in to watch meals being prepared. There is nothing fancy about the ambiance or location; it's all about good old fashioned homestyle food here. The menu is varied and focuses heavily upon breakfasts, which feature pancakes, omelet’s, waffles and fresh squeezed OJ.

Pancake Chef Pancake Chef Pancake Chef

After breakfast, hop on the light rail at SeaTac/Airport Station or Tukwila International Blvd Station to head downtown.

Light Rail Stations

Your first stop should be Seattle’s original farmers market, Pike Place Market, so take some time to wonder. Just a short walk from University Street Station, you’ll find one of the country’s oldest farmers markets. Encompassing nine acres from Pike St. north to Virginia St. and from 1st Ave west to Western Ave, the Market’s historic arcade, winding alleys, stairways and lower levels offer a multisensory experience of sights, sounds, tastes, aromas and textures. Don’t forget to grab a bite to eat before you leave!

Pike Place Market Entrance Pike Place Market Entrance

Next, head down to visit the ninth largest aquarium in the U.S., the Seattle Aquarium. Experience fun, exciting ways to discover more about the amazing Puget Sound and our world’s one big ocean. Then, stroll along the pier down to your Argosy Cruise for a delightful one-hour harbor cruise. Take in the beauty and history Seattle has to offer with panoramic views of the skyline and sweeping views of the Olympic mountains.

Seattle Aquarium Scuba Diver Argosy Cruise Ship with Seattle Skyline.

Once you dock, make your way toward the Space Needle, Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) and Chihuly Garden and Glass. Walk to Westlake Center (10 mintues) and hop on the monorail for a short ride. Once you arrive, start at MoPOP first because they close the earliest. Explore some of the most significant moments in rock music, science fiction and popular culture. Next head to Chihuly Garden and Glass to immerse yourself in a world where curiosity, creativity and color come to life.

Monorail Map

After a long day, head up the Space Needle to end your day with breathtaking panoramic views over the city. Lean out over the city against tilting glass walls and Skyriser glass benches on the open-air deck. Move one floor below to The Loupe revolving glass floor, for never-before-seen views of the Space Needle and the city below. Top off your visit and sample the best of the Pacific Northwest food and drink while savoring iconic views of Seattle before heading back to your hotel.

Space Needle shot from below at an angle MoPOP Chihuly Museum of Glass

If time permits, you may find yourself wanting to visit a few of these other attractions:

  • Seattle Selfie Museum (5-minute walk from Pike Place Market)
    • Seattle Selfie Museum is way different than the other fun things to do in Seattle because it’s simple, fun, and a place built for the 21st century digital nomad. Here all you need is your phone, a couple of friends, and you’re in for an ultimate of fun! Inside the museum there are tons of selfie-ready attractions that you’re welcome to snap pictures of, touch, and experience.
  • Seattle Gum Wall (3-minute walk from Pike Place Market)
    • A unique and quirky attraction, at 8 feet high and 54 feet wide, there are an estimated over 50 pieces of gum per brick or over 250,000 wads of gum on the wall.
  • Seattle Art Museum (7-minute walk from Pike Place Market)
    • Located downtown, one block from Pike Place Market, global art collections, temporary installations, and special exhibitions from around the world bridge cultures and centuries. 
  • Pacific Science Center (5-minute walk from Space Needle)
    • PacSci has new discoveries for all ages, every day. Explore tons of interactive experiences, the Tropical Butterfly House, naked mole rats, mind-bending science shows, state-of-the-art IMAX, planetarium and laser shows, and so much more!