Hey there, chirping birdies! Oh hello, fragrant flowers! Vitamin D? Yes, please! Spring is making a very welcome return to the PNW, and with it comes ample opportunity to get out and explore the array of adventures the Emerald City has to offer.

And what better way to celebrate the return of warmer days than with a day on the water? Hop aboard the Victoria Clipper ferry for a scenic jaunt across the Salish Sea. Less than 3 hours of Olympic Mountain views and back deck photo shoots later, you’ll arrive right in the heart of the action in downtown Seattle. Gather up your friends, family and travel buddies to start working your way through our list of 25 things to do in Seattle this spring!

1. Quick Getaway to Victoria or Seattle

Cruise through the Salish Sea on a day trip up to Victoria, BC. Credit: Montane Productions

Soak up the springtime sunshine with a day on the water! Stroll right onto the Clipper in downtown Seattle and cruise directly into Victoria’s Inner Harbour for a day spent exploring BC’s capital city. Visit the inimitable Butchart Gardens, shop around Johnson Street, visit the Royal BC Museum, or taste your way around the city’s craft breweries. Plus, it’s just plain fun to be able to say you visited another country for the day!

Visitors coming into Seattle from Victoria can take advantage of savings on the fast ferry with our special BC Appreciation round-trip fare as well as exclusive hotel overnight deals!

2. Discovery Park

With ample hiking trails and a sprawling stretch of rugged coastline, Discovery Park is the perfect spot to while away a sunny spring afternoon. Be sure to stop by the park’s iconic West Point Lighthouse for an unbeatable view of the Sound at sundown.

3. Tulip Festival

Washington’s pastoral Skagit Valley erupts with colorful blooms during April’s Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Roam through field after field of vibrant tulips in nearly every shade imaginable, from rich scarlet to delicate pink and golden yellow to deep purple. There is no better spot for a striking photo op!

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Enjoy the blanket of blooms at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Photo: Paweesit

4. Seattle International Film Festival

With more than 250 films from around the globe over its three week run, the Seattle International Film Festival holds the title as the largest festival of its kind in the U.S. Choose from a wide array of ticket options such as the Secret Festival Pass for your experience at this impressive showing of artistry.

5. Mariner’s Game

Cheer on the home team at a Seattle Mariners game as they kick off the season! Just a quick Light Rail ride away, T-Mobile Park is your source for hot dogs, peanuts and freshly poured beer – and offers up the chance to soak in the warm spring sunshine with the stadium’s retractable roof. Seattleites are nothing if not weather-prepared! (A heads up to our friends up north, the Mariners face off against the Blue Jays in Seattle in July. These games tend to sell out quick so snag your tickets soon!)

Seattle Mariners
Head out to the ballpark to cheer on the M’s! Photo: Malingering

6. Lake Washington Ship Canal

Providing the link between the fresh water of Lake Washington and the briny Puget Sound, the Ship Canal passes through Lake Union, Portage Bay and Union Bay. Set aside time for the Ballard Locks to watch ships pass through the complex system or walk across Montlake Bridge and peek down at kayakers passing through the Montlake Cut.

7. Snap a Sunset Selfie at the Space Needle

Grab a skyhigh selfie, check out the world’s first and only rotating glass floor and snag delicious locally-curated sips and bites while enjoying views 605 feet above the Emerald City. The Space Needle is always an experience not to be missed!

Space Needle Sunset
Guests soak in stunning PNW views with a sunset at the Space Needle. Photo: Space Needle

8. Walk Seattle’s Waterfront

Hang a right as you leave Clipper’s Seattle terminal and kick off more than a mile’s worth of seaside views as you stroll along Alaskan Way toward the Seattle Great Wheel, Seattle Aquarium and scenic Waterfront Park. Walk up an appetite? Treat yourself to some local fare from seafood mainstays like Anthony’s at Pier 66, Elliott’s Oyster House or Ivar’s Acres of Clams.

9. Golden Gardens Park

Situated right on the Ballard waterfront, Golden Gardens is a local favorite offering sandy beaches as well as exceptional views of the Olympic Mountains, Bainbridge Island and the Puget Sound. Duck in among the trees for a forest hike, let the kiddos explore the nautical-themed playground or wander through the park’s wetland areas for a chance to spot some local tortoises and waterfowl.

Golden Gardens Park
Take in golden hour over the water at Ballard’s Golden Gardens park. Photo: SK

10. Explore Pike Place Market

From famous fish tossing and seasonal fresh flowers to musicians busking (and sometimes famous musicians) to exploring specialty food shops and craft vendors, a day of exploration at Pike Place Market is chalk full of endless fun!

11. Explore Seattle’s Gardens

Now that the sun has finally decided to show up, there is no better way to celebrate Seattle’s season of bloom than to stop and smell the flowers. From hidden neighborhood pocket parks to sprawling acres of botanical gardens, the Emerald City gives Victoria a run for its money come springtime! Stroll through the Woodland Park Rose Garden for more than 3,000 roses and 200 playfully-named varieties such as All That Jazz and What a Peach. Looking for something a little more off the beaten path? Pay a visit to Queen Anne’s Parsons Gardens, often referred to as a “secret garden for non-tourists,” and you feel like a true Emerald City insider!

Fragrant blooms abound at the Woodland Park Rose Garden. Photo: Asad Nazir

12. Argosy Harbor Cruise

Sometimes a city is best viewed from a different perspective. Hop aboard an Argosy Harbor Cruise to enjoy some sun, fun and tasty drinks with a narrated waterfront tour exploring Seattle’s dynamically changing cityscape.

13. Gas Works Park

With sweeping views of the Seattle skyline alongside antique pieces of machinery from a bygone gas plant, Gas Works Park is unquestionably one of the most unique city parks around. In a true lemons-to-lemonade turn, the city made use of the lingering gas plant equipment by turning some into picnic shelters, painting others to transform them into a children’s play area and allowing the rest to sprout out of the lawns like modern urban park art.

Gas Works Park - Dave Risney
Sunny skies make for a perfect backdrop over Lake Union and Seattle at Gasworks Park. Photo: Dave Risney

14. Sample Some Craft Beer

After a day of exploring the city on foot, you’ve most certainly earned yourself a beer. Fortunately there are a wealth of breweries and taprooms scattered around the city, many of which are within walking distance of our downtown terminal! Pop into pint-sized microbrewery Cloudburst for an impressive selection of beers ranging from double IPAs to barrel-aged English barleywine. Or make a stop at the Market’s mainstay, Pike Brewing, which has been cranking out classics like their Space Needle IPA and Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale for more than 30 years! Want to pack a lot of local flavor into one stop? Pull up a chair in a taproom, such as Seattle Beer Company or The Taproom at Pike Place, and treat yourself to a flight beer and sample a selection of suds!

15. Seattle Aquarium

Become an expert on the extraordinary sea life of the Puget Sound at the Seattle Aquarium! Meander through immersive underwater exhibits that put the marine life high above you, watch the playful harbor seals splash about or stroke a sandpapery starfish in the touch tank. You are sure to walk away with a deeper understanding and appreciation of our waters and their inhabitants.

Make some otterly adorable new friends at the Seattle Aquarium. Photo: Seattle Aquarium

16. Center for Wooden Boats

Perched on the edge of the stunning South Lake Union waterfront, this experiential maritime museum is a long-standing local favorite. The Center for Wooden Boats offers a place where boat-lovers can come together through a shared passion for wooden boats, aquatic skills, history or simply their love of the water. Don’t miss their Sunday Public Sails, which allow you to cruise around the lake on a yacht, steamboat or schooner for free!

17. Climb Tiger Mountain

Just east of Seattle in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range, Tiger Mountain is one of the most popular metropolitan-area hikes in the state. If you’re looking for a manageable day hike, opt for the West Tiger 3 Trail – a three-mile hike offering breathtaking views of Lake Washington, Tacoma, Seattle and Cougar Mountain.

One of the stunning views you’ll be treated to along the way on West Tiger 3 Trail. Photo: Flickr user Brewbooks

18. Fremont Sunday Market

Dozens of food trucks, more than 100 curated vendor booths, vintage and antique shopping, plus local art and music make the Fremont Sunday Market a must-visit. The quirky market is free to the public, pet-friendly, bike accessible and happens rain or shine.

19. University of Washington Quad

The University of Washington’s acclaimed cherry trees have long marked the arrival of spring. Celebrate the season with an afternoon spent strolling among the cotton candy-hued trees and velvety green lawns of the historic campus. If your visit falls on May May 21st or May 22nd, pop over to University Way (affectionately dubbed the Ave by locals) for amazing crafts, delicious food and lively tunes at the U District Streetfair!

UW Cherry Blossoms - Michael Matti
Delicate pink cherry blossoms transform the University of Washington quad into a springtime utopia. Photo: Michael Matti

20. Northwest Folk Life Festival

A regional cultural epicenter, the Northwest Folklife Festival features more than 6,000 performers across 20 stages and offers a space to learn, dance, play and try something new. Head over to the Seattle Center for an immersive (and free!) artistic and musical experience, right in the heart of the city.

21. Seattle Sounders Game

Spend a day rollicking among raucous fans as the Seattle Sounders take the pitch at CenturyLink Field. If you luck into a winning game night, celebrate the victory (or drown your sorrows after a loss) with a frosty pint in a neighboring waterhole.

Seattle Sounders Game - Art Brom
Catch the electric energy cheering on Seattle’s hometown soccer team. Photo: Art Brom

22. Catch a Kraken Hockey Game

Check out Seattle’s brand new Climate Pledge Arena while enjoying a Seattle Kraken hockey game! No detail was overlooked in designing one of the best new sports (and eco-conscious!) venues around.

23. Ballard Farmer’s Market

Load up on some Northwest bounty in one of Seattle’s most charming neighborhoods with a Sunday spent at the Ballard Farmers Market. The city’s first year-round community farmers market, this weekly event offers local produce, fresh baked bread, vibrant seasonal flowers, live music and a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere.

Take a stroll through the Ballard Farmers Market to sample, smell and stock up on some fresh spring goodies. Photo: Heather O’Neill

24. Kubota Gardens

Tucked away in South Seattle, Kubota Garden offers 20 lush acres of landscape that blend traditional Japanese garden concepts with native Northwest plants. Kubota’s spectacular grounds are comprised of hills and valleys interlaced with streams, waterfalls, ponds, ornate bridges and rocky out-croppings with a rich array of plants that come alive with color during the spring season.

25. Alki Beach

Take a beach break in Seattle’s own backyard with a visit to Alki Beach. Hop on a water taxi and cruise over for a day of beach volleyball, sunbathing, kayaking and soaking in some gorgeous views of the downtown skyline. Keep the beachcomber vibe going through lunchtime with a classic crab melt from Salty’s or Aloha pork sliders at Marination Ma Kai.

Enjoy all the fun of a day at the beach with a unique view of downtown Seattle at Alki Beach. Photo: TIA International Photography

With glittering bodies of water every way you turn and dramatic mountain vistas to the east and west (when the clouds are feeling cooperative), the return of sunny weather in Seattle allows this scenic city to truly shine. Whether you’re braving a mountain summit, feasting on local produce or just strolling along the sprawling waterfront, it’s time to get out there and soak in the Seattle spring sunshine!

Feature photo: Oakie via Unsplash