Just about everyone knows that Seattle is a rainy city. Although most don’t realize that oftentimes the rain is just “mist,” with lots of grey, cloudy days, which means there are plenty of opportunities for enjoying the outdoor activities the area is so famous for. But when it does pour, you’ll find plenty to do indoors too.
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The Seattle Aquarium sits along the waterfront and features exhibits with marine life that inhabits the Puget Sound, the Pacific and beyond. One of the most popular creatures here is a giant Pacific octopus with arms spanning up to 20 feet across. The adorable sea otters are always popular too, watch them swim and dive under the water or hang around on the surface, along with the harbor seals and fur seals. In the tide pools, visitors can touch starfish and sea anemones too. The aquarium also hosts educational displays providing information on a variety of topics like the region’s resident orca whales, along with a cafe and gift shop.
SPike Place Market
The majority of Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market is covered or totally indoors, making it perfect to visit on a rainy day. In fact, the wet weather is likely to keep it from getting this top-rated attraction too crowded. There are almost always talented buskers along with the famous fishmongers who toss the fresh catch of the day to keep you entertained. And, of course, the market hosts countless vendors selling fresh seafood, produce, baked goods, local art, clothing, vintage goods, toys, books and much more.
Browse the Seattle Art Museum
Seattle’s art museum is top-notch as one of the best institutions to visit in the city, easily spotted by the 48-foot Hammering Man sculpture that sits out front. Its growing collection features nearly 25,000 works of art from across the globe that date back from antiquity to the present, representing a wide range of global cultures, including African, European and Native American art. Visitors also have the opportunity to view special exhibitions, take in live performances, classes and regularly-scheduled lectures.
Tour and Enjoy Samples at Theo Chocolate
What’s better than chocolate to brighten things up on a dreary day? Theo Chocolate was the very first fair trade and organic bean-to-bar chocolate factory to open in North America. Visitors can take a tour into the world of chocolate and taste lots of creative flavors. Learn about the story of cocoa, how the cocoa fruit is transformed into chocolate and all about environmental issues related to cocoa farmers while as you tour through the facilities where chocolate is made. But, of course, the highlight is sampling the delicious products with unique options like Coffee and Cream, Salted Almond, Ghost Chili, and Bread & Chocolate.
Take the Boeing Future of Flight Tour
While the Boeing plant is about 25 miles north of Seattle, it’s considered one of the area’s top attractions as the only publicly available commercial jet assembly plant tour in North America. It’s also the largest building in the world at 472 million cubic feet by volume. Watch a short film about the company’s contributions to aviation, innovation, and aerospace throughout the past century and then check out the planes, including 747, 777, and 787 Dreamliners that are in various stages of assembly and manufacture on the 90-minute tour.
Tour a Historic Theatre
Seattle is home to some magnificent architecture, including buildings that house performing arts venues like the Paramount Theatre, which offer free tours. The historic landmark opened in 1928, originally built for showing films and occasionally vaudeville Performances. Today it serves as a performing arts venue for Broadway theater, concerts, dance, comedy, and more. On the first Saturday of the month, complimentary tours are available. The 5th Avenue Theatre, one of the most lavishly appointed theaters in the west when it opened in 1926, offers free tours of its ornate space on most Mondays at noon.
Admire Exhibits at Museum of Pop Culture
MoPOP is dedicated to the history and culture of pop music and science fiction. Located in a building of shimmering sheet metal designed by architect Frank Gehry resembling a smashed electric guitar, it showcases exhibits that span diverse areas that not only include sci-fi and music but fantasy, horror, fashion, sports and video games. With Seattle widely considered to be the birthplace of the grunge music scene, spawned back in the early 1990s, it pays special tribute to Nirvana with a permanent exhibit that includes 200 rare artifacts, photographs, and oral histories.
Browse Books at Seattle Central Library
The Seattle Central Library is a lot more than rows of books, it’s an exceptional building just to wander around with neon escalators, a floor of wooden letters and a fantastic view from the 10th floor. You could easily spend hours here. Free self-guided tours are available with information at the main desk – they can also be taken via your cell phone or podcast.
Marvel at Pieces in Chihuly Garden and Glass
Chihuly Garden and Glass is located near the Museum of Pop Culture and has become one of the city’s most highly rated attractions. There are 45,000 square feet of galleries with impressive soft-glass works and fine chandeliers created by internationally renowned glass sculptor, Washingtonian Dale Chihuly, along with gorgeous landscaping.
Explore the Underground
Pioneer Square was Seattle’s original downtown area, but almost 40 years after it was first settled in the mid-1800s, a fire destroyed much of the area, including the waterfront, leaving the city to rebuild on top of the ruins. Today, the labyrinth of streets, alleys and buildings that still lie underneath can be explored by taking an underground tour. And, as it’s underground, there’s no need to worry about the rain. Multiple operators offer the tour, with each one uniquely entertaining thanks to the insider tips from a professional, local guide.