36 Hours In Seattle, Washington, USA - Updated 2024

36 hours in seattle
Contributing Writer
| 6 min read

Seattle, Washington, the emerald city, is known to be the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, encompassed by water, lush forests and the Olympic mountain to the west and Cascade mountain ranges to the east. It is nestled between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington in King County. Home to giant businesses like Microsoft, Amazon, Costco, Nintendo, and Starbucks, the city has never ceased to impress visitors. It consists of great museums such as the renowned Museum of Pop Culture and iconic Pioneer Square which holds a historical and cultural significance to the locals. There are countless interesting things to do and places to visit, but that can be a bit overwhelming. Check out this planned itinerary giving you suggestions on how to spend 36 hours in Seattle, Washington.

Day 1: Afternoon - Visit the Museum of Pop Culture and Pioneer Square

Start a wonderful afternoon tour at the Museum of Pop Culture, an epicenter of ultra-modern architecture and legendary rock-and-roll history which swept the nation and became an icon in the Western pop culture. The idea behind this sublime museum was of Microsoft co-creator Paul Allen and it was designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry. The building is encased in 3,000 wavy stainless steel and aluminum panels which have been meticulously cut and wrapped around the complex like metallic tablecloths. The fascinating trick behind the design is the fact that its colors change depending on lighting and angle, which makes it quite interesting. It also holds a fine exhibition of creative artworks of the film industry from the famous hat of Indiana Jones to the work and imaginations of Terry Gilliam, Jim Henson, George Orwell and not to mention Tim Burton’s big-headed stop-motion aliens from the 1996 film Mars Attacks! Get a memorable shot at the sci-fi exhibit section where you will get the chance to pilot a spaceship.

Afterward, you can take a nice stroll at the historic Pioneer Square, a neighborhood located in the southwest corner of Downtown Seattle. It is believed that the city’s founders settled there in 1852, which was initially made with wooden structures which were nearly all burned in the Great Seattle Fire in 1889. It was rebuilt and now displays the late 19th century Romanesque Revival architecture. It represents the perfect coexistence of the old and new. There are various interesting things to look out for, such as the lively arts, chic boutiques, top-rated eateries, and amazing nightlife options. There are several attractions such as Chinatown, CenturyLink Field and Central Waterfront which surrounds the park.

Museum of Pop Culture

Address: 325 5th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, USA

Website: Museum of Pop Culture

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Day 1: Evening - Dinner at Cafe Munir

Posted by Cafe Munir on Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Ranging from the aromatic flavors of the Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisine, choosing to dine at Cafe Munir is definitely your best bet. This top-rated sophisticated restaurant is tucked away in north Ballard and serves some of the most authentic dishes in a warm-welcoming and unwinding atmosphere with an airy interior accented with wood. Some of its recommended dishes to taste are the lamb sizzled in butter, pears mixed with tahini, pomegranate, and parsley, baby onions preserved in Lebanese wine and honey with fresh cheese, and not to forget the hummus. The restaurant will introduce you to the Middle Eastern flavors in a unique way in a relaxing setting. Take a refreshing sip of the traditional Lebanese spirit or arak.

Cafe Munir

Address: 2408 NW 80th St, Seattle, WA 98117, USA

Website: Cafe Munir

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Day 1: Night - Tour at Seattle Center and hang out at the Vera Project

If you’re still looking forward to exploring more of the city’s culture then you should head to the Seattle Center, a must-visit attraction which is a 29-hectare (74-acre) complex built in 1962 for the World’s Fair. It is home to Seattle’s version of the Eiffel Tower, notably the Space Needle. The complex is a perfect location to browse museum galleries or catch an art performance either at the Seattle Repertory Theatre or the Seattle Opera, the list is endless. If you are traveling in summer then chances of witnessing the city’s vibrant culture through festivals like Northwest Folklife Festival are high.

If you’re not too tired, then you can enjoy the rest of your night at the Vera Project, an art venue where you will likely find locals playing music. The complex is just close to the Space Needle.

Seattle Center

Address: 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109, USA

Website: Seattle Center

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Day 2: Morning - Breakfast at Porkchop & Co and ride the Seattle Great Wheel

This wonderful short trip takes you to the next morning at the Porkchop & Co Ballard restaurant which was opened by its owner Paul Osher who comes from a long line of kosher butchers. With extensive years of experience in deli products, Paul now proudly presents its wide range of menus to its customers. The restaurant is one of the best places in the region where you can savor some delicious breakfast. The place offers made-from-scratch bowls, sandwiches, and salads. On the menu, you can find Kimchi Hash House kimchi, fingerling potatoes, spicy cauliflower which is a must-try, among others.

After you have replenished yourself, get ready to hitch a ride to the exciting giant Ferris wheel located close to the Pike Place Market and the Seattle Aquarium. This 175-foot Ferris wheel will show you the spectacular views of the city skyline, and majestic Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. The rides are rather smooth and slow, lasting a duration of 15 to 20 minutes with a total of 3 revolutions. Each gondola can cater for up to six people. As it rotates, you will instantly feel as if you might just dip into the water.

Porkchop & Co

Address: 5451 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA

Website: Porkchop & Co

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Day 2: Afternoon - Visit the Seattle Aquarium and Pike Place Market, and coffee at Copacabana Cafe

Talking about water, if the marine life interests you then the next attraction you should definitely visit is the Seattle Aquarium located on a pier that juts into Elliott Bay. This family-friendly attraction is practically in water. It includes an underwater dome where you will learn about the interesting facts on how tide pools are formed, and about the aquatic marine life. The aquarium gives a particular focus on the fish life of Puget Sound. You can catch some glimpses of fish at the salmon hatchery, fish ladder and at a glass-roofed aquarium.

Your next stop is at the famous Pike Place Market which is just some minutes close-by. This farmers market is a vibrant, and lively place to hang out and stroll along. It has over 500 shops, restaurants, and bars, all of which have attracted about 10 million people annually! The market is known to be a century old and it has continuously been operated by local farmers. Large parts of the market are officially designated as National Historic Districts. There is always something interesting to look at such as street performances or fishmongers doing their usual activities. Before leaving the market, make sure you go to the Bolivian Cafe, Copacabana, located on the second floor of Pike Place Market. Sip a hot coffee and enjoy the sublime view of the market from an outdoor patio.

Seattle Aquarium

Address: 1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101, USA

Website: Seattle Aquarium

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Day 2: Evening - dinner cruise on Lake Washington

For the evening, be ready to partake on a romantic dinner cruise on the scenic Lake Washington where you can bask in the magnificent views of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade mountain ranges. Dining on a gorgeous yacht and feasting on a gourmet menu which sometimes might include banana-leaf-wrapped salmon, or wood-grilled beef tenderloin with a complimentary champagne toast, while listening to live music entertainment is just a real treat you don’t want to miss while visiting Seattle.

Lake Washington

Address: King County, Washington, United States

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Day 2: Night - Show at Jet City Improv

To end this wonderful night in beauty, catch an improvised show at the Jet City Improv located in the University District neighborhood of Seattle. The show uses audience suggestions to create comedy in a variety of scenes, games, songs, and stories.

Jet City Improv

Address: 5510 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105, USA

Website: Jet City Improv

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Day 3: Morning - Breakfast and shopping at Pacific Place

Spend the last hours of your trip in Seattle with a delicious breakfast and then head to the Pacific Place which is an upscale shopping center located in downtown Seattle, Washington on the 6th Avenue and Pine Street. The complex consists of five floors and the top floor features an 11-screen AMC Theatre and several restaurants. You will have a wide range of options to shop such as at Tiffany & Company, Michael Kors, II Fornaio, Gordon Biersch and many more.

Take the best souvenirs of your Seattle trip as it is now time to say goodbye.

Pacific Place

Address: 600 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101, USA

Website: Pacific Place

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The emerald city


You’ve got 36 hours to spend in Seattle and don’t know what to do, and where to go? Then check out our 36-hour itinerary to spend in Seattle, Washington.

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Heyleena is a passionate travel writer who enjoys writing travel articles for people who seek to explore new places in a more conscious way. From travel guides to recommended vacation rentals, get...Read more

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