Two Days in Seattle: A Quick Guide for First-Timers

How to spend two days in Seattle: Visit the famous Pike Place Market

When I recently spent two days in Seattle with my fiancé and some visiting friends, I wasn’t sure how much we’d be able to accomplish–could we really show them the best of Seattle in 2 days?

Despite living in Washington much of my life, I’m actually still getting to know Seattle as a travel destination myself, but this most recent visit gave me another chance to discover some amazing things to do on a weekend trip to Seattle.

Some of the things we did were classic Seattle must-dos, and others were quirky things we tried on my fiancé’s recommendation (he spent 5 years living in Seattle, so he was definitely the expert in the group).

If you’re planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest, here are some of the best things to do if you have just two days in Seattle.

First time in Seattle? Here are 5 fun and quirky things to do in a weekend.Click To Tweet

Classic: Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continuously operating farmer’s markets in the country, having first opened its doors in August of 1907.

Two days in Seattle: Visiting Pike Place Market

It’s located in Downtown Seattle just steps from the Seattle waterfront where you can enjoy captivating views of Puget Sound, the Seattle Great Wheel, and fiery Pacific Northwest sunsets.

At Pike Place Market, you’ll find many of Seattle’s best tourist attractions all wrapped up in one.

Watch fishmongers toss freshly caught fish through the air, pay a visit to the infamous Gum Wall in Post Alley, grab a cuppa at the original Starbucks location (the first one to ever open in 1971), and make a donation to Rachel the Piggy Bank while rubbing her nose for good luck (proceeds benefit Pike Place Market social services).

Two days in Seattle: Visiting Pike Place Market

Of course, it’s also worth it to simply take in the happenings at this bustling market–there’s never a dull moment! Don’t forget to snap your own photo of the iconic red ‘Public Market Center’ sign before you leave.

I hadn’t visited Pike Place Market since I was a young girl, and I can say without question that it’s worth a visit even if it’s not your first time in Seattle.

Don’t let people convince you it’s overrated–go see it for yourself and come to your own conclusion!

Two days in Seattle: Visiting Pike Place Market

Quirky: Add-a-Ball Arcade & Bar

There are quite a lot of unique things to do in Seattle, my friends, and visiting the Add-a-Ball Arcade & Bar is definitely one of them.

While searching for a fun evening activity, my friends and I found ourselves in the Fremont neighborhood and decided to pop into Add-a-Ball, a funky bar and vintage arcade that feels a bit like a secret underground speakeasy.

Except it’s no secret, and there’s no password required for entry (just a valid ID).

Add-a-Ball Arcade & Bar boasts the largest collection of coin-operated arcade games in the city and more pinball machines than you’ll know what to do with.

Their bar is basic but has a number of beers on tap as well as some local ciders, and while there’s not exactly ample seating, there are cup holders attached to every game so you can keep your drink close while you rack up a high score playing Ms. Pacman.

It’s a fun and peculiar way to spend an evening (and pretend you’re 16 again), even if you just stop by to enjoy the people watching and the larger-than-life mural of legend Patrick Swayze. I can’t say for sure why he’s there, but I can tell you that I liked it.

Bonus: Also located in Fremont are popular tourist attractions including the Fremont Troll (a perfect photo op), a seven-ton (not to mention controversial) bronze statue of Vladimir Lenin, and the scrum-diddly-umptious Theo Chocolate Factory (whose scents can be enjoyed ’round the clock).

You could easily spend an entire afternoon exploring this funky, low-key neighborhood.

Classic: Kerry Park

There are many places to go for a great view of the Seattle skyline, but Kerry Park is definitely one of my favorites.

Two days in Seattle: Visiting Kerry Park in Queen Anne

You’ll find this small park on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill–it’s a popular place for sunset seekers and provides an absolutely stellar view, particularly on clear days.

If you get lucky, you’ll be able to see the Seattle Space Needle AND the majestic Mount Rainier (an active volcano and Washington’s highest peak) in one incredible panorama. Two of Seattle’s greatest icons, side by side.

Fun fact: The view from Kerry Park was used as the backdrop to Frasier Crane’s apartment in the TV sitcom Frasier.

Two days in Seattle: Visiting Kerry Park in Queen Anne

Quirky: Bruce Lee’s Grave

Legendary martial artist Bruce Lee moved to Seattle at the age of 18. Here, he studied at the University of Washington and taught martial arts.

He eventually developed his own style of martial arts known as Jeet Kune Do, which incorporated much of his own personal philosophies and experiences.

He’s been an inspiration to martial artists the world over and helped introduce Eastern martial arts to Americans through his work as a film actor.

He’s revered for his many accomplishments (martial artist, film director, producer, screenwriter, philosopher, and actor) but also for his resilience–he recovered from a serious back injury he suffered in 1970 and remarkably continuing to fight.

The Bruce Lee grave site is located in Capitol Hill’s Lake View Cemetery (where he is buried alongside his son, Brandon Bruce Lee) is visited by thousands of people each year.

If you find yourself in the neighborhood on weekend a trip to Seattle, consider paying homage to this Chinese American icon.

Classic: Volunteer Park Conservatory

What led us to Bruce Lee’s grave in the first place was its proximity to another Seattle highlight, the Volunteer Park Conservatory.

Two days in Seattle: Volunteer Park Conservatory

This gorgeous botanical garden is a city landmark and makes a great addition to any Seattle weekend itinerary. It’s especially nice to visit on a cold or rainy day when you need an excuse to warm up.

For the honor of exploring this treasure trove of beautiful plant species, you’ll have to pay the small price of $4 as an entry fee.

We meandered through the glass building, stopping to “Oooh” and “Ahhh” at the variety on display. Palms, bromeliads, orchids, succulents, and plenty of species we’d never before seen. We were enthralled!

Two days in Seattle: Volunteer Park Conservatory

This place is also kind of a photographer’s dream, but if you want to use the space for a portrait session, you’ll need a special permit for that. Taking photos of the plants as you wander is no problem, however, and I really went wild.

There’s also a small gift shop on site, and they occasionally host special events as well.

If you love plants like I do, you’ll appreciate the Volunteer Park Conservatory–it’s well worth the trip, and it’s a bargain to boot.

Two days in Seattle: Volunteer Park Conservatory

Bonus Tip: If you love Thai cuisine and/or vegan food, head to Araya’s Place following your visit to Volunteer Park. It’s not located in Capitol Hill, but it’s just a short drive away in the next ‘hood over.

Looking for an amazing place to stay in Seattle? There are tons of great options on Airbnb, and first-time users can claim $40 in travel credit by signing up with this link!

What do you like to do if you only have two days in a new city?

How to spend two days in Seattle, Washington. The perfect guide for a weekend in Seattle for first-time visitors! #seattle #pacificnorthwest #traveltips