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With Seattle offering some of the most jaw-dropping natural beauty of any city in the U.S., there are many ways to enjoy it while social distancing. Some of the popular attractions are open too, with special rules during the pandemic to help keep things safe. Whether you want to spend some time enjoying the fresh air or you hope to take advantage of the hot tourist spots, you’ll find plenty of options here.
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Wander Through Pike Place Market
What Is It? One of the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets in the country, open since 1907.
Why Do It? While it offers the usual fresh produce and flowers, Pike Place is famous for its fresh seafood as well as its vendors that sell everything from vintage items to handcrafted works of art and much more. There’s almost always some kind of entertainment to take in with lots of talented buskers too, as well as many top attractions within walking distance.
Good to Know: The market is open during the pandemic but face coverings are required at all times. Disposable masks are available at the Visit Seattle Information Booth, located at First Ave. and Pike St.
Enjoy the Sand and the Views at Alki Beach
What Is It? Seattle offers many great beaches, including Alki, a 2.5-mile stretch in West Seattle.
Why Do It? Alki is an ideal place to enjoy social distancing outdoors while gazing out at spectacular views of the water, the boats, the ferries that cruise by, and one of the best views of Seattle’s skyline. It’s also one of the top free attractions in Seattle.
Good to Know: Officials say the beach will remain open provided visitors remain at least six feet apart. As things change quickly, be sure to check the latest regulations before you go.
Watch a Sunset from Discovery Park
What Is It? Seattle’s largest city park is located atop Magnolia Bluff, overlooking the city and Puget Sound.
Why Do It? From here you can enjoy a breathtaking view of both the area’s mountain ranges, the Cascade Mountains to the east and the Olympic Mountains to the west. It’s also one of the best places to watch a sunset.
Good to Know: Watch the sun go down from the lighthouse at West Point, the westernmost point of the park and the entire city of Seattle.
Visit the Best Vantage Point for Viewing the Space Needle at Kerry Park
What Is It? One of the best views of the Space Needle can be enjoyed from Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill.
Why Do It? The Space Needle is preparing to open soon. In the meantime, visitors can come to this park for an incredible panoramic view of the entire Seattle skyline, including the iconic landmark from afar.
Good to Know: If you’re lucky enough to be here on a clear day Mount Rainier makes for an especially stunning backdrop.
Explore the Seattle Aquarium
What Is It? The Seattle Aquarium lies along the waterfront and features exhibits with marine life that inhabit the Puget Sound, the Pacific and beyond.
Why Do It? Fun for all ages, visitors can touch sea life like anemones and starfish in the tide pools, check out the giant Pacific octopus with arms that span nearly 20 feet across, watch the otters swim or float along the surface, and enjoy the playful harbor seals and fur seals too.
Good to Know: Tickets are capped so that no more than 300 people will be in the building, allowing for social distancing. Masks are required.
Take a Selfie in Front of the Fremont Troll
What Is It? The Fremont Troll is an 18-foot-tall, one-eyed troll that lives under the Aurora Bridge.
Why Do It? This amazing two-ton sculpture is made of concrete, wire and steel, with a hubcap that serves as the troll’s one good eye. Posing for a selfie in front of it makes for an ideal souvenir, showcasing the quirkiness of the funky Fremont neighborhood.
Good to Know: The troll was created by a team of local artists as part of a competition to promote urban renewal. While the judges dismissed it as a “hideous fiend,” locals loved it, and the troll ultimately won the right to lurk here all eternity.
Woodland Park Zoo
What Is It? One of the most highly acclaimed zoos in the country, the Woodland Park Zoo is particularly impressive when it comes to recreating its natural habitats for animals.
Why Do It? The Woodland Park Zoo is a great place to get some fresh air and enjoy a wide range of exhibits. The African savannah hosts giraffes, zebras and African lions, while gray wolves, snowy owls and brown bears, gray wolves can be found along the Northern Trail. The Temperate Forest is home to red pandas and Kunekune pigs and the Adaptations Building features animals like sloths, Indian flying foxes and meerkats.
Good to Know: To allow for social distancing, only a limited number of guests will be allowed inside the zoo at any given time. Visitors need to purchase tickets in advance with a specific entrance time.
Fremont Sunday Market
What is It? The Fremont Sunday Market is located in the Fremont neighborhood, a place where locals come to mingle, enjoy delicious food and drink, and shop for all sorts of items.
Why Do It? Visitors can get a good glimpse of what it’s like to live in Seattle in addition to enjoy the chance to buy fresh, local produce, order from some of the area’s best food trucks, and browse the many items in the indoor market like antiques, vintage clothing and a variety of flea market-type finds.
Good to Know: The market is expected to reopen in August.
Rent a Canoe, Kayak or Rowboat to Paddle Around Union Bay
What Is It? The Waterfront Activities Center (WAC) sits along the shores of Union Bay, the gateway to Lake Washington, on the south side of Husky Stadium. From spring through fall, rowboats, canoes and kayaks are available for rent.
Why Do It? It’s easy to social distance and have a good time while paddling around the Union Bay Natural Area. You can watch for wildlife like osprey (seahawks), bald eagles and all sorts of waterfowl.
Good to Know: Rentals are available to the general public seven days a week between March and October.
Go Whale Watching
What Is It? San Juan Safaris has resumed its whale watching tours with options from Seattle.
Why Do It? One of the most memorable experiences you can have while you’re here, the Classic Whale Plane tour includes a seaplane flight and whale watching adventure in one.
Good to Know: You’ll get to see the Seattle Skyline, Olympic Mountains and more from above, before heading out to watch orcas, humpbacks and a wealth of other marine life. Departures are from Lake Union.
What Is It? Theo Chocolate was the very first fair trade and organic bean-to-bar chocolate factory to open in North America, located in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.
Why Do It? While factory experiences/tours are currently unavailable due to COVID-19, Theo’s store is open for purchases, making it possible to buy right from the source.
Good to Know: If you’re interested in virtual chocolate tasting classes, you can purchase a supply kit online and then take a live class via Zoom.
Spin Around on The Seattle Great Wheel
What Is It? The Seattle Great Wheel is Seattle’s answer to the London Eye, located at Pier 57 along the waterfront.
Why Do It? The Wheel has an overall height of 175 feet, providing some of the most jaw-dropping views while soaring high above the city, including the surrounding mountains and the sparkling waters of Puget Sound.
Good to Know: During the pandemic, riders won’t be sharing gondolas with anyone who is not in their family or group.
Take a Day Trip to Snoqualmie Falls
What Is It? If you want to escape the city without having to drive far, Snoqualmie Falls is just 40 minutes east, spilling some 1,000 cubic feet of water down a 268-foot drop every second.
Why Do It? The falls are surrounded by a beautiful park and a large grassy area ideal for picnicking. Film and TV trivia buffs will recognize the falls from the cult series, “Twin Peaks,” and 1993’s “The Vanishing” starring Jeff Bridges.
Good to Know: The upper parking lot and upper observation decks are open, but the lower boardwalk, lower observation deck and restrooms are currently closed due to COVID-19.
Fly a Kite at Magnuson Park
What Is It? Magnuson Park is a 350-acre park on Sand Point along Lake Washington, the second-largest in Seattle after Discovery Park.
Why Do It? The park is a perfect place to fly a kite – in fact, you’ll find what’s known by many as “Kite Hill,” where you can get your kite up into the air and enjoy an impressive view.
Good to Know: The park is open during the pandemic, but it will close at 9:30 p.m. daily, and playgrounds are off-limits.
Ride the Burke-Gilman Trail
What Is It? A rail-to-trail pathway that spans nearly 19 miles from end to end. It has a flat, paved surface that makes it ideal for walkers, runners, and cyclists.
Why Do It? The trail links many landmarks and neighborhoods throughout Seattle, making it ideal not only for recreation but for sightseeing and commuting.
Good to Know: One of the best stretches of the trail follows the Fremont Canal, which connects Lake Union and Puget Sound. It’s a great place to take a break and watch the boat traffic go by.