12 Non Touristy Things to Do in Seattle
Even if you’ve never been to Seattle, you probably know all about its classic tourist spots: the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, the world’s first Starbucks. And while these sites are certainly must-see, they don’t speak to what it’s really like to live and work in a city as vibrant as Seattle.
We talked to the folks behind some of our Best of Groupon businesses and they gave us a list of their favorite non touristy things to do in Seattle. So trade that cup of coffee for a locally brewed beer, and you’ll have tourists asking you for directions in no time flat.
Take a Deep Breath at Ladywell’s Vitality Spa and Sauna
8538 1st Ave. NW | Greenwood
Whether getting to Seattle means a short car trip or a long plane ride, travel can be stressful. Start your getaway on a relaxing note with a quick trip to Ladywell’s Vitality Spa and Sauna. The women-only spot is modeled after traditional baths and offers a relaxing line-up that includes whirlpools, an herbal steam room, and an infrared pink Himalayan salt sauna.
Try a Kinder Dinner at Plum Bistro
1429 12th Ave. | Capitol Hill
If all that relaxing has worked up an appetite, Plum Bistro should be next on your list. One of the most popular vegan Seattle restaurants, the sustainable spot wants to make vegan cuisine accessible. Expect hearty entrees such as skillet lasagna or jerk tofu and yam burgers, all made from organic ingredients.
Putt-Putt and Pints at Flatstick Pub
240 2nd Ave. S | Pioneer Square
Grab a nightcap from the extensive draft list—all the beers and ciders on tap are from local Washington breweries. But the pub’s real draw is its indoor 9-hole mini golf course.
Pro Tip: The city's top late-night eat, according Flagstick’s owner Sam Largent: a Seattle dog, topped with cream cheese and grilled onions, served from a sidewalk cart.
Make Your Toes Twinkle at Habitude Day Spa and Salon
2801 NW Market St. | Ballard
Today’s activities have you heading out on the water, so get your feet flip-flop ready with a pedicure at Habitude Day Spa and Salon. The spa has a particularly Northwest feel, with lots of rough-hewn woods and soaring ceilings. The Locks location is actually located within a working art gallery, so while you’re there you can pick up a unique piece of local art to remember your trip.
Dessert for Breakfast at Trophy Cupcakes and Party
1815 N 45th St. | Wallingford
You’re on vacation, so who says you can’t have cupcakes for brunch? Trophy Cupcakes and Party’s owner, Jennifer Shea, has become something of a food celebrity in Seattle thanks to her celebration-worthy cupcakes. Her shops’ featured flavors are always changing, but you can expect decadent creations such as dark-chocolate peanut butter, raspberry macaroon, and gluten-free red velvet.
Walk on Water at Northwest Paddle Surfers
Adams Street Boat Ramp | Seward Park
Next, throw on a swimsuit and explore the city via waterway with Northwest Paddle Surfers. When you’re talking fun things to do in Seattle, active outdoor activities top the list. So rent a standup paddleboard at the Adams Street boat launch, and spend an hour or two out on Lake Washington’s tranquil Andrews Bay.
Movie with the Masons at Ark Lodge Cinemas
4816 Rainier Ave. S | Columbia City
Go catch a pre-dinner flick at Ark Lodge Cinemas. Formerly a Masonic Lodge, the old-fashioned movie theater has a historic vibe and still sports a retro marquee. The theater’s Prestige Room is dotted with velvet armchairs and loveseats, a unique setting to watch both art-house films and blockbuster releases alike.
Dance During Dinner at The Grill from Ipanema
2313 1st Ave. | Belltown
For dinner, head to The Grill from Ipanema for an authentic Brazilian food extravaganza. The downtown rodizio spot gives diners a taste of a variety of meats cooked slowly over an open flame, including beef, lamb, and pork. And on Saturday nights, the meal is accompanied by live Brazilian music.
Morning Slice at A la Mode Pies
5821 Phinney Ave. N | Phinney Ridge
Okay, if you’re worried about doing the whole sweets-for-breakfast-thing two days in a row, know that this cafe also has savory morning quiches and a coffee bar. That being said, you may find it hard to resist any of the 9” pies available by the slice, which include options like white chocolate banana cream, bourbon butterscotch, and marionberry hazelnut. You’re on vacation: live a little.
Get Creative at Seattle Glassblowing Studio & Gallery
2227 5th Ave. | Belltown
Next up, create a one-of-a-kind souvenir with a glassblowing class at Seattle Glassblowing Studio & Gallery. The hands-on experience takes about 30 minutes per person, and you’ll leave with your very own piece of glass art, such as a bowl or an ornament. And if your piece isn’t quite up to par, there’s lots of professionally made art for sale at the shop, too.
Bites and Brews at Peddler Brewing Co
1514 NW Leary Way | Ballard
Your next stop is Peddler Brewing Co, a Ballard microbrewery and tasting room. Seattle is a bike town and Peddler is a bike brewery, with libations such as the Beach Cruiser Blonde and the On Your Left IPA. (The interior is equally as cycle-centric; be sure to check out the Wall of Fallen Bikes and the bike chains encased in the bar top). A rotating band of food trucks shows up outside the brewery most days, so you’ll be able to nosh on some local favorites.
Seaplane Tour from Kenmore Air Harbor, Inc
Lake Union | Westlake
Bid a proper goodbye to your Seattle visit with an aerial tour from Kenmore Air Harbor, Inc. Seaplane tours are a city staple, and one of the best things to do in Seattle if you want to see the sights. Take a 20-minute flight over the city to look down on houseboat communities, the downtown skyline, and all the neighborhoods you visited over the weekend. Your flight starts with a thrilling water takeoff, and ends with a gentle landing on Seattle’s Lake Union.