Updated September 18, 2019

That telltale coniferous whiff of pine sap mixed with afternoons bathed in golden, glancing sunlight. The bounty of the harvest delivered through sensational sips and unforgettable meals. Fall in the Pacific Northwest is arriving in full force!

 

It’s high time to soak in the sensory overload of the season, whether it’s more your style to bundle up for a leaf-peeping stroll or get cozy with a hot cup of joe and a rich pastry indoors. Our list of 50 things to do in Seattle this fall has activities to suit any autumnal mood, so kick-start your fall adventures with a Clipper Vacations trip to the Emerald City!

1. Catch a Seahawks or Sounders Game

SEA! HAWKS! SEA! HAWKS! Ready to jump into the fall spirit with the most exciting football team around? Watch the Seattle Seahawks work to make a run for the playoffs at CenturyLink Field! Also home to the Seattle Sounders, this is the best spot in town to catch a game and skyline views of the city in a 67,000-seat arena.

Game time! Enjoy sweeping views of CenturyLink field and the Seahawks as the crowd roars all around. Credit: Dale Ryan
Game time! Enjoy sweeping views of CenturyLink Field and the Seahawks as the crowd roars all around. Credit: Dale Ryan

2. Seattle Space Needle

Already a show-stopping landmark, the Seattle Space Needle’s recent 100 million dollar “Space Lift” freshens the look of the 55-year-old building. With the world’s first revolving 37-ton glass floor offering a peek at the ground below AND seamless floor-to-ceiling glass windows that serve up unobstructed 360-degree vistas of the Puget Sound, the Space Needle still boasts the classic views you’ve grown to love, but a million times better.

See for miles from the saucer-like top of Seattle Space Needle. Credit: Chad Copeland
See for miles from the saucer-like top of Seattle Space Needle. Credit: Chad Copeland

3. Volunteer Park Conservatory

While wandering through Volunteer Park, be sure to stop in at the Conservatory, a 100-year-old greenhouse made up of 3,426 glass panes (but who’s counting?). Inside, you’ll find a cactus room and hundreds of tropical plants, some as old as the building itself!

The Volunteer Park Conservatory is made of an intricate wood and iron framework, with 3,426 glass panes.
The Volunteer Park Conservatory is made of an intricate wood and iron framework, with 3,426 glass panes.

4. Feast on Fall Fare

Need to refuel? Pop over to the brick-walled Taylor Shellfish to feast on fresh oysters and other seafood creations. Or follow the locals to the casual Tavolata to enjoy amazing house-made pasta paired with meticulously crafted drinks. You may even make some new friends at the giant communal table!

5. Market Ghost Tour

Who doesn’t like a good scare? Check out the spooky side of one the busiest spots in the city with a rare night tour of the Pike Place Market. Creep through remnants of several graveyards, a former brothel and the nation’s first Mortuary, which are all found inside the market’s halls.

6. Savor Seattle Pike Place Market Tour

Get a taste of the Emerald City with Savor Seattle’s food tours as you travel through some of Seattle’s tastiest neighborhoods on a guided walking tour. Where better to nosh on delicious eats than at the city’s source for local and fresh food, Pike Place Market. Book this tour with Clipper, learn more.

See fish fly and stock up on delicious Beechers Cheese at the world-famous Pike Place Market.
See fish fly and stock up on delicious Beechers Cheese at the world-famous Pike Place Market.

7. Seattle Beneath the Streets Tour

What’s the best way to escape the rain in Seattle? Go underground! Experience a side of the city you never knew existed with a trek through the Emerald City’s catacomb-like passageways on the Beneath the Streets Tour. Explore three city blocks underneath the historic Pioneer Square and gain insight into the history of Seattle’s subterranean storefronts and sidewalks entombed by the Great Fire of 1889. Book this tour with Clipper, learn more.

8. Refract

Celebrating one of Seattle’s most beloved art forms, Refract is the Emerald City’s newest festival showcasing creative uses of glass and the craft of glassblowing in the Pacific Northwest.

Hosted by Chihuly Garden and Glass, the region’s luminaries of glass art will dazzle you with epic exhibitions, tours and live demos as well as fascinating discussions with experienced artists. The festivities continue through to the closing party, held at Pike Place’s Marketfront in all of its waterfront-viewed glory!

9. Cozy Up with a Cocktail

After spending a day in the crisp autumn air, sometimes all you want is a soul-warming, expertly-crafted cocktail. Make your way to Greenhouse the woodsy, rustic The Cozy Nut Tavern and snuggle up in one of their intimate booths. Or stop by the speakeasy-style Knee High Stocking Co. on Capitol Hill for cocktails on the hush-hush.

Warm wood and soft lighting lend cabin vibes to the inside of The Cozy Nut Tavern. Photo: Andy Hitchins
Warm wood and soft lighting lend cabin vibes to the inside of The Cozy Nut Tavern. Photo: Andy Hitchins

10. Kubota Gardens

Tucked away in South Seattle, Kubota Garden perfectly marries Japanese garden design with native Northwest plants. Stroll over bridges, among waterfalls and beside ponds as you make your way through the grounds.

11. Washington Park Arboretum

A true hidden gem, the Arboretum showcases 230 acres of diverse plant life, some found nowhere else in the Northwest. Wind your way around its scenic trails or find a bench and soak up the landscape. With its varied and vibrant colors, the tranquil garden is hands down one of our favorite places for fall colors in Seattle.

Vivid hues combined with tranquil waters make for a magical landscape. Photo: Rachel Samanyl
Vivid hues combined with tranquil waters make for a magical landscape. Photo: Rachel Samanyl

12. Water Tower at Volunteer Park

After a stroll through the park and a visit to the conservatory, make your way to the top of the water tower. The 107-stair climb is a bit of a workout, but the view is well worth the trek. Breathtaking vistas of the city – including the Space Needle, waterfront and downtown skyscrapers – meet the eye in every direction.

13. Seattle Art Museum

Home to numerous permanent and rotating exhibits from around the globe, if it’s amazing art you’re after, there’s no better place to find it than at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). Swing by on the first Thursday of each month to enjoy half-off tickets!

Discover both ancient and modern art from all corners of the world at the Seattle Art Museum. Credit: Benjamin Benschneider
Discover both ancient and modern art from all corners of the world at the Seattle Art Museum. Credit: Benjamin Benschneider

14. Catch a Show

Though Seattle’s grunge days might be over, the city is still breaking new ground in the music scene. Catch shows from both local and international artists at Belltown’s Crocodile, Capitol Hill’s Neumos or Tractor Tavern in Ballard.

15. Smith Tower

Once the tallest building in Seattle, the historic Smith Tower boasts incredible bird’s-eye views of downtown Seattle, Space Needle, stadiums and the waterfront. Pop into one of the original brass Otis elevators and ride up to the 35th-floor and soak in the views from the open-air “Bird Cage.” Stop in the speakeasy-style Observatory Bar for happy hour to indulge in hand-crafted cocktails and shareable plates full of heavenly goodness.

See all the way to the Seattle waterfront from the Smith Tower. Photo: David Lee
See all the way to the Seattle waterfront from the Smith Tower. Credit: David Lee

16. Diverse Dining in Columbia City

Columbia City boasts one of America’s most diverse zip codes, and as a result, also offers an impressive variety of dining options. Stroll along its Rainier Ave. core and you’ll spot Caribbean, Mediterranean, Ethiopian, Italian, Thai and Asian fusion in the span of a few blocks!

17. Seattle Aquarium

Perfect for the kiddos, meet the fabulous sea life of Puget Sound at the Seattle Aquarium! Wander through immersive underwater exhibits that put the fish high above you or pet a sticky sea anemone in the touch tank. You can even get up close and personal with the region’s impressive Giant Pacific Octopuses.

The 360-degree underwater dome at the Seattle Aquarium puts viewers inside a 400,000-gallon tank filled with hundreds of fish! Photo Joe Mabel
The 360-degree underwater dome at the Seattle Aquarium puts viewers inside a 400,000-gallon tank filled with hundreds of fish! Credit: Joe Mabel

18. Seattle Antiques Market

It’s easy to overlook this tucked-away gem, as it’s located on the opposite side of the waterfront from the Seattle Great Wheel. Look under the Alaskan Way Viaduct, however, and you’ll find a sprawling showroom of antique furniture, art and knick-knacks.

19. SoDo’s Filson Store

Originally founded to outfit gold prospectors in 1897, Filson’s newly updated headquarters offer quality garments made in-house. Stop in for a slew of quality, house-made garments ranging from plush wool socks to shearling-lined caps that are sure to keep you toasty all season long. Take a complimentary factory tour, which is available every Tuesday at 10 am and Thursday at 1:30 pm!

Comfort and quality reign supreme at Filson, an outfitter established in 1897. Credit: Paul + Williams
Comfort and quality reign supreme at Filson, an outfitter established in 1897. Credit: Paul + Williams

20. Elliot Bay Bookstore

Located on the ultra-hip 10th Avenue block of Capitol Hill, the Elliot Bay Book Company is where you’ll not only find countless books, magazines and gifts but also Little Oddfellows, a newly opened café known for their pastries and small bites.

21. Savor Seattle Chocolate Indulgence Tour

Give in to Seattle’s sweet side! Learn about where chocolate comes from, how it is made and tips on the best ways to savor this crave-worthy confection. Sink your teeth into 16+ decadent chocolate tastings on this chocolate lover’s tour of Seattle. Book this tour with Clipper, learn more.

Sample delicious salted caramels (Obama’s favorite chocolates) and dark chocolate truffles from Fran’s Chocolates. Credit: Savor Seattle
Sample delicious salted caramels (Obama’s favorite chocolates) and dark chocolate truffles from Fran’s Chocolates. Credit: Savor Seattle

22. Grab Brunch

Is it an early lunch? Late breakfast? We don’t care as long as pancakes are involved. Grab the best bites in the city at Oddfellows in Capitol Hill, The London Plane in Pioneer Square or at Portage Bay Café, with multiple locations around town.

23. Georgetown Trailer Park Mall

Walk along Airport Way near Fran’s Chocolates and you’ll spot the Trailer Park Mall, a collection of retrofitted walk-in trailers offering everything from vintage goods to art to jewelry.

24. Sample Some Local Suds

It’s well known that Seattle knocks it out of the park when it comes to craft brewing, and this time of year is no exception. Pay a visit to the industrial-chic taproom of Optimism Brewing on Capitol Hill to sample their autumnal Thankful Toasty Thanksgiving Lager. Head down the road to nearby Elysian Brewing for a range of limited-time taps, such as the pumpkin-spiced Night Owl or opt for a twist of coffee with their Punkuccino. Or cruise over to Ballard and sip on a crisp Ginger Lime cider at Locust Cider & Brewing’s artsy tasting space.

Toast to the harvest season at one of Seattle’s celebrated craft breweries.

25. Skagit Valley

Pick a season, Skagit Valley is guaranteed to be bursting with color! From pumpkin patches to corn mazes in the fall, it’s the perfect destination for a family weekend adventure.

26. Boeing Future of Flight Tour

Spend the afternoon at Boeing’s Future of Flight aviation center to learn how these enormous mechanical marvels are created. Tour the factory and see gargantuan 747s being constructed before your very eyes. Book this tour with Clipper, learn more.

Get up close and personal with jet engines and 747s at Boeing’s Future of Flight aviation center. Credit: Joe A. Kunzler

27. Seattle Children’s Festival

Enjoy an ode to the dynamic arts, cultures and traditions that thrive in the greater Pacific Northwest community at the Seattle Children’s Festival. Join in the fun with your little ones and catch a live performance at one of two main stages, roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty at the Discovery Zones or even learn to beatbox!

28. Pacific Science Center

Chilly day? The Pacific Science Center offers the perfect respite! Duck into the Planetarium for a show that’s out of this world, then immerse yourself in their indoor jungle full of butterflies and colorful tropical plants. While you’re there, don’t miss the chance to catch a movie on one of the world’s largest IMAX screens!

Located near the base of the Space Needle, the Pacific Science Center offers up interactive exhibits the entire family is bound to enjoy! Credit: Pacific Science Center

29. Slurp a Bowl of Soup

Grab a spoon and dig into Seattle’s array of slurp-worthy concoctions from across the world. Whether you’re craving a fragrant bowl of Tom Kha from Noi Thai Cuisine, classic clam chowder from Etta’s or brothy minestrone from Machiavelli Ristorante, the Emerald City offers a nearly endless supply of steamy soups that will please your palate and warm your bones.

30. Challenge Friends to a Game Night

Get all the cozy vibes of game night without the cabin fever with a trip to Mox Boarding House, a game cafe with locations in Ballard and Bellevue. Grab a board game from their impressive library, then huddle into a booth with a few friends and a frosty pint of local craft beer.

Want to upend the “Seattle freeze” stereotype? Snag a seat at one of their communal tables and recruit some new playmates to join in the friendly competition!

Settlers of Catan (pictured) is just one on the long list of games available to borrow at Mox Boarding House. Photo: Michael Guio

31. Fremont Oktoberfest

Prost! Celebrate the season with a sudsy stein full of malty brews at Fremont Oktoberfest. Sip on offerings from breweries and cideries all over the region, plus some authentic imported options straight from Germany. Heading over with a furry friend? Be sure to swing by Dogtoberfest for a cover dog model contest, a “fly dog” jumping competition and other pup-friendly activities!

32. Chihuly Garden & Glass

Explore a jungle of vibrant colors blended into tangled, swirling structures as you walk through Chihuly Garden & Glass. Soak in room after room of floor-to-ceiling, colorful creations as you learn all about the artist, local legend Dale Chihuly. Book this tour with Clipper, learn more.

Whether you’re inside the Glasshouse or strolling through the outdoor garden, there’s rainbow-hued beauty every way you turn at Chihuly Garden & Glass.

33. Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

Bid farewell to bathing suit season with an indulgent sweet treat! Head to Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery for decadent concoctions that range from the classic vanilla bean crème brûlée to an innovative grilled dark chocolate sandwich.

Grab a cookie to go at Capitol Hill’s Hello Robin Cookies, where you can find everything from a brown butter snickerdoodle to a rich, flourless Mexican chocolate confection. Or if creamy cheesecakes are your weakness, you can’t go wrong at Pike Place’s The Confectional!

34. Stroll the Waterfront

Spend an afternoon exploring the scenic Seattle waterfront! Dotted with fun activities such as the must-visit the Seattle Great Wheel or the exhilarating Wings Over Washington, there are more than enough things to do along the banks of Elliot Bay. You may even catch an early dusting of snow on the Olympic Mountains across the water!

Packed with exciting attractions, the Seattle waterfront offers a full day of family fun. Credit: Curtis Cronn

35. Conquer a Corn Maze

Weave your way through soaring stalks at the Carpinito Brothers’ corn maze! On a clear day, you’ll be treated to a spectacular view of Mount Rainier looming in the distance, taking this autumnal tradition to the next level. Be sure to bring the kiddos – the sprawling grounds also offer a u-pick pumpkin patch, petting zoo and hay slides!

36. Pinball Museum

Transport yourself straight back to childhood days of arcades, flashing lights and the delightful cacophony of zig-zagging pinballs at the Seattle Pinball Museum! Order up a glass of local beer, slip it into one of the pinball machine’s cupholders and get your flipper fingers ready for some world-class pinball playin’. With more than 50 machines ranging from modern to classic, you’re bound to find one that brings on a bout of nostalgia.

Situated in the heart of Chinatown, the Seattle Pinball Museum is sure to make you feel like a kid again. Credit: Amber Case

37. Seattle Restaurant Week

It’s no secret that Seattle is a veritable foodie Mecca. The city has everything from Spanish small plates at Green Lake’s Tapas Lab, to high-end seafood right on the water at AQUA, to classic Italian by way of Orfeo downtown.

It may sound impossible to narrow down your dining options, but thanks to Seattle Restaurant Week’s special three-course deal, you don’t have to choose just one to keep your palate pleased and your wallet intact. Just be sure to visit one of the participating eateries between October 27 and November 7!

38. Catch Some Global Cinema

Fancy yourself an international cinephile? Then get ready to be on an all-popcorn diet this fall! Settle into a theater seat on a rainy day and enjoy movies hailing from France to South Asia, Poland and Latin America during their respective film festivals this season.

39. Explore the Craft Cocktail Scene

Duck into one of the city’s plethora of hip watering holes for a hygge happy hour. Whether you’re looking for a stiff Prohibition-era classic or you have your heart set on sipping a drink straight out of a coconut, Seattle has a bar to fit the bill.

Up the hill from our terminal, Tiki-themed Navy Strength can offer up some sunshine in a glass on a drab day. Or trek up the Pike Street Hill Climb for boozy bevs that put Seattle’s bartending scene back on the map in the early aughts. Cheers!

One of Zig Zag’s skillful bartenders shakes up his newest creation. Credit: Flickr user heelslide

40. Earshot Jazz Festival

Grab your porkpie hat and prepare your ears for some of the best live music in the city at Earshot Jazz Festival. With more than 50 performances across the city, the festival celebrates the genre’s leading artists and rich cultural heritage. Plus, with events held at venues all over the Emerald City – from Benaroya Hall to Nectar Lounge to SAM – it’s a great excuse to get out and explore Seattle!

41. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Spend a day at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center to learn all about how the world’s largest private philanthropy works in the city as well as around the globe. After a visit here, you might just be inspired to help change the world yourself!

With interactive exhibits that explore bold, innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges facing communities around the globe, the Gates Foundation Discovery Center will inspire and inform you. Credit: Merlijn Hoek

42. Celebrate Halloween in the Emerald City

Whether you’re looking for family fun or spooky celebrations, Seattle’s got you covered. Enjoy some spine-chilling stories with a humorous twist at Campfire: Improvised Ghost Stories, presented by Pike Place’s Unexpected Productions.

Or get Fido involved in the spirit of the season with a turn in the Halloween Pet Parade at Volunteer Park! Perhaps you’re looking to sip a witches’ brew or two? Join the 9th annual Halloween Pub Crawl through downtown Seattle for some festive fun!

43. Frye Art Museum

Right in the heart of downtown, Frye Art Museum boasts an astounding collection of contemporary art in a chic, beautifully appointed space. The kicker? Admission is always free. If you’re planning a visit with some kiddos in tow, don’t miss their exhibition on Storytelling Through Animation, on display through early December.

44. Dig Into a Doughnut

Enjoy a snug morning with a steaming cup of coffee and its eternal a.m. sidekick – the doughnut. If a filled confection is your preference, General Porpoise should be your first stop. Keep things light with an apricot jam-filled or go all out with their chocolate & marshmallow.

With multiple locations around the city, odds are good that you’ll encounter local favorite Mighty O. Plus, with their focus on respecting the environment and organic, all-vegan menu you’ll leave feeling slightly less guilty than your average doughnut run! 

Start your day out on the right note with a flavorsome vegan doughnut courtesy of Mighty O. Credit: Bryan Ochalla

45. Seattle Women’s Show

Who runs the world? Girls. Tackle a little early Christmas shopping while supporting local female artisans at the Seattle Women’s Show! Browse through more than 75 vendors offering accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, health & wellness products and tons more, all with a glass of champagne in hand and food trucks at the ready when you need to refuel.

46. Seattle Eats Festival

Eat and drink your way through some of the most incredible food, wine and cocktails the region has to offer at this year’s Seattle Eats Festival. Presented by America’s Test Kitchen, one of the country’s leading authorities on all things food and drink, your ticket gains you access to numerous live cooking demos, on-site pop-up shops and unlimited (yep, you read that right!) samples from participating local chefs and restaurants. Bon appetite!

47. Oyster New Year

Celebrate one of the PNW’s trademark seafood offerings at Oyster New Year. As the biggest oyster party on the West Coast, get ready to slurp more than 30 varieties of local bivalves, all shucked to order. Add live music, raffled prizes, a full fresh seafood buffet and 60 wineries pouring on-site to the mix and you’ve got yourself a can’t-miss culinary event!

Slurp down some of the freshest half-shells in the city at Oyster New Year. Credit: Mike Urban

48. Visit MoPOP

Never met a trivia tournament you didn’t love? Then the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) should be on your must-visit list! As you approach the distinctive building, take a moment to soak in its design – a kaleidoscopic creation of architect Frank Gehry.

Next, enjoy an afternoon of experiential exhibits, covering everything from the horror flicks to the career of Prince to an ode to local legends Pearl Jam.

49. Northwest Chocolate Festival

Chocoholics rejoice! Cocoa nirvana is on its way to Seattle by way of Northwest Chocolate Festival. Boasting the largest instructional program on chocolate in the world with a massive lineup of workshops ranging from various uses for cacao butter to chocolate making at home to forest conservation, the festival is as much an educational experience as an edible one. Exhibitors include San Francisco’s Tcho Chocolate, local fave Fran’s and Al Nassma all the way from Dubai.

50. Free National Park Day

Every year the country’s national parks are available to the public free of charge on November 11th for Free National Park day. Don’t let this budget-friendly opportunity go to waste, especially with multiple spectacular national parks all within driving distance of the city!

Want to skip the hassle of renting a car – not to mention the uncertainty of navigating? Opt for a narrated, guided tour to two of Washington’s most beloved nature destinations on a day trip to Mount Rainier or Olympic National Parks. Book this tour with Clipper, learn more.

The glaciated peak rises above dense pines at Mount Rainier National Park. Credit: Brenna Ciummo

From its sweeping waterfront vistas to tree-lined back roads, the greater Seattle area is the perfect autumnal playground. Whether you’re mourning summer’s end with a new round of adventures or literally jumping for joy (into a pile of leaves), this is the season to fall in love with the region’s changing landscape.

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