SEATAC airport is one of the United States’ largest airports, making it a possibility you’ll have a layover there at some point if you travel frequently. If you find yourself set for a longer layover and are looking to get out of the airport for a bit, here are 7 fun things to do in the nearby city that don’t require much planning in advance.
1. Pike Place Market
This is a great option for any trip to Seattle – Pike Place Market is one of those quintessential Seattle attractions. Located a little under 20 minutes from SeaTac Airport, Pike Place isn’t too far out of the way if you just have a few hours in the city. Plus, the variety of experiences you can have at just one stop makes it worth considering. Check out the original Starbucks (though there can be a considerable line – if you’re especially short on time Storyville Coffee is a few shops down and offers some delicious drinks). Catch a glimpse of the famed fish throwers, then check out a variety of quirky and unique shops deeper into the market. Finally, if you’re looking for a meal, the market offers a variety of options from sit-down restaurants to grab-and-go meals.
2. Seattle Center
Seattle Center is probably best known for being the home of the world-famous Space Needle. It also offers a variety of other interesting attractions. A few examples include Chihuly Glass and Garden as well as an expansive playground kids will love. This a great option for traveling families looking to burn off some energy while in the city. While some of the options, such as the Space Needle, aren’t ideal for a tight schedule, if you’re looking at a longer layover, you’ll definitely want to check out Seattle Center. Seattle Center is located a little under 20 minutes from SeaTac Airport.
3. Angle Lake Park
This one’s a hidden gem for those who have a limited amount of time, but still want to get out of the airport for a bit. Angle Lake Park is a short 7 minutes from SeaTac. This makes it a great option for those who only have a few hours to spare. If you visit during the summer, kids may love splashing around on the lakeshore (however, lifeguards are not on duty, so keeping a close eye on them is best). Year-round, the park is home to some nicely manicured walking paths and beautiful views.
4. The Seattle Great Wheel
Located on Pier, the Seattle Ferris Wheel is a great way to experience some beautiful views of the city and Puget Sound. Tickets are required, however, all tickets are valid for a year after purchase for any date or time. This makes it a great low-risk option for those looking for a little flexibility who foresee themselves in Seattle again over the next year. If plans do change suddenly, you won’t have to worry about trying to cancel or change ticket dates last minute. The Great Wheel is located about 20 minutes from SeaTac Airport.
5. Seattle Aquarium
Located on Pier 59 – within walking distance of a number of other attractions, including Pike Place Market and the Great Wheel – the Seattle Aquarium is a great way to spend a few hours in the city. This option is excellent for a variety of visitors, from those with children to solo travelers. However, unfortunately, it doesn’t have quite as much flexibility as some of the other options on this list. A timed-entry ticket is required, as well as a negative covid-19 test. If your plans are pretty finalized and solid, and you’ve already acquired a test for travel purposes anyways, this is still a worthwhile choice to consider.
6. Ye Old Curiosity Shop
If you’re looking for a short but out-of-the-box and all-around memorable stop, you’ll want to check out Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. Located in the heart of Seattle, the shop is nearby several other attractions such as Pike Place Market. This makes it a convenient addition to your day. You won’t have to go very far out of the way to check this eccentric stop out. This little shop is the perfect place to pick up some quirky souvenirs. Shrunken heads and scarab beetles are just a few of the many eccentric wares offered. It’s also home to some interesting (if not grotesque) exhibits, such as an actual mummy.
7. Highline SeaTac Botanical Gardens
If your layover is a little too short to comfortably check out some of the other options on this list, consider spending it unwinding at the Highline SeaTac Botanical Gardens. The gardens are located just a few minutes from the airport. This spot features 3 gardens that are home to stunning flowers, peaceful ponds, and an all-around calming ambiance. They feel a good deal more secluded than they actually are, especially if you are visiting during a less popular time to travel. Admission to the gardens is free and no advance planning is required.
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