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Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures

April 24, 2024

Don’t let a cloudy winter day or moments of light rain keep you from having fun in the Emerald City! Shake off the drizzle as you head inside and have a great time with this list of Seattle attractions. No matter the forecast, there’s still so many things to do in Seattle in winter.

Seattle Aquarium

Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures Seattle Aquarium
Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures Seattle Aquarium

With its prime location along Seattle’s central waterfront, the Seattle Aquarium is the perfect place to start a day—or several days—of water-themed fun. From the moment you step inside, it’s clear that caring for, and conserving, the Puget Sound marine life and habitat is core to the Aquarium’s mission. On Pier 59, discover the Life on the Edge touch habitat and get a snapshot of life on a Pacific Coral Reef.

When you reach Pier 60, you’ll experience the Underwater Dome and see entertaining marine mammals and coastal birds. Be sure to check out the schedule of daily activities like feedings and expert presentations for additional opportunities to dive in and learn about Washington’s waters from the Aquarium.

Tours Northwest

Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures Tours Northwest - Jesse Calixto
Photo Credit: Jesse Calixto

Make the most of your visit to Seattle with a sightseeing bus tour from Tours Northwest! On the Premier Seattle City Tour, relax and travel in climate-controlled comfort while getting to know the city and heading to must-see landmarks and neighborhoods. 

During this popular 3-hour tour, an expert local guide gives an insider’s perspective into the city’s rich history. You’ll also explore outside the city center, into the eccentric Fremont neighborhood (Hello Fremont Troll!), and north to Ballard, with its boat locks and salmon ladder. This is the perfect thing to do in Seattle in winter if you’re looking to see the area but want to stay out of the cold. Head online to browse availability and book your tour today!

SAM / Seattle Art Museum

Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures Seattle Art Museum SAM - Chelsea Leingang
Photo Credit: Chelsea Leingang

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) has been a leader in visual art in the Pacific Northwest for over 90 years. Just steps away from Pike Place Market, SAM is as much a part of Seattle’s landscape as the rain, the coffee, and the mountains. Perfect for browsing global art collections that bridge cultures and centuries, including galleries of American, Chinese, Japanese, Native, Modern, and Contemporary art, to name a few. SAM truly personifies culture through art. Be sure to check out SAM’s winter hours before heading out or reserve tickets online.

Seattle Children’s Museum

Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures Seattle Childrens Museum - Lily

Beat boredom with THE perfect place for young kids this winter…Seattle Children’s Museum! This must-visit, hidden gem in Seattle Center’s Armory Building’s lower level sparks kids’ creativity and curiosity through pretend play and hands-on exhibits. Kids will enjoy touching, building, creating, and exploring the world around them through play. This is one of our favorite things to do in Seattle in winter with the kids, especially if you need to burn off some of that pent-up energy. Pop in and let the fun begin today! Check out their website on your way in to time up your visit with their hands-on daily programming.


Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures MoPop Donovan Alkire
Photo Credit: Donovan Alkire

The Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP for short, is a hard-to-miss building in Seattle Center whose colorful and wavy design conveys all the energy and fluidity of music. Inside, the good vibes continue with immersive collections of artifacts and hands-on experiences celebrating popular culture, ranging from Seattle’s ties to Grunge and Hip-Hop music to science fiction, horror, fantasy, film, gaming, and more. MoPOP’s mission is to make creative expression a life-changing force by offering experiences that inspire and connect our communities, and they invite you to visit. There’s something for everyone at MoPOP.

The Museum of Flight

Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures Museum of Flight Teddy Huetter
Photo Credit: Teddy Huetter

Aerospace is at the heart of Seattle’s history and culture, so of course the world’s largest independent air and space museum is located here. The Museum of Flight’s sprawling campus on historic Boeing Field includes five buildings with over 160 air and spacecraft, the original Boeing aircraft factory, dozens of fun interactive exhibits, family activities both inside and outdoors, plus new programs almost every weekend. It’s the only place to see the world’s original fighter plane, the only full-scale NASA Space Shuttle Trainer, the first Boeing jetliners, and the initial Air Force One jet. You will be awed by the sights and touched by the stories behind them. Enjoy the wonders of flight—and feel the heartbeat of the Northwest’s hi-tech history—at The Museum of Flight. Located only minutes south of downtown Seattle, and there is always ample free parking.

Pacific Science Center (PacSci)

Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures PacSci Tracy Sawan
Photo Credit: Tracy Sawan
Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures Pacific Science Center
Photo Credit: Tracy Sawan

Rediscover the wonder of science at Pacific Science Center (PacSci). This historic science and technology center has been educating and entertaining visitors for over 60 years, ever since it first opened as part of the World’s Fair in 1962, which was hosted by Seattle. With its commitment to igniting curiosity in every child and fueling a passion for discovery, experimentation, and critical thinking in all of us, you’ll find hands-on and interactive exhibits for all ages.

During your visit, be sure to reserve a spot in the Planetarium for a live, immersive presentation that will blast you to the outer reaches of the universe or explore the planets in our own solar system. Or visit the Laser Dome for a live laser show custom-programmed to accompany popular musical artists. This is one of those things to do in Seattle in the winter that is perfect for the whole family.

Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture

Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture Joanne Matsusaka
Photo Credit: Joanne Matsusaka

The Burke Museum offers a one-of-a-kind experience where you’ll see dinosaurs, ice age creatures, fossils of all kinds, Native arts, cultural items from around the world, plant and animal collections, and more. See into working research labs, watch as museum professionals remove rock and sediment from dinosaur and other fossils, learn about Native cultures, and try your hand at arts and crafts projects. With three floors of galleries full of interesting and inspiring cultural and scientific items, the Burke Museum is a perfect outing for the whole family.  The Burke is located on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, Wash.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures Chihuly Garden and Glass Mary Catherine Frantz
Photo Credit: Mary Catherine Frantz

Nothing brightens a cloudy winter day like a stroll through Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle Center. The renowned artist Dale Chihuly is a pioneer who pushed the boundaries of what glass could be, transforming a molten material into awe-inspiring, vibrant sculptures that will leave you wondering how they were created. The amazing glass art installations fill 8 indoor galleries and a beautiful outdoor garden. One highlight is the massive hanging sculpture that shifts appearance as light changes throughout the day inside a 40-foot-tall glasshouse. Plan your visit today and walk away with a renewed appreciation of creativity and beautiful color.

National Nordic Museum

Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures National Nordic Museum Laura Burgos
Photo Credit: Laura Burgos

The National Nordic Museum has something to offer everyone. Immerse yourself in the rich cultures of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, and explore the fascinating heritage of these Nordic countries through artifacts, art, events, and interactive exhibits. You’ll learn about contemporary Nordic culture, Viking history, folklore, and traditional crafts. During the winter months, The National Nordic Museum hosts special events like Julefest, a festive celebration of Nordic holiday traditions and the ongoing influence of Nordic culture in the Pacific Northwest. Check their calendar for specific event dates and museum ticket information.

Wing Luke Museum

Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures Wing Luke Museum Otto Greule
Photo Credit: Otto Greule

Unlike many museums, the Wing Luke Museum is dedicated to the experiences of over 27 Asian and Pacific Islander communities. This allows for a deep dive into the cultural heritage, struggles, and triumphs of these groups. Explore recreated spaces like a historic Yick Fung Company store, which offers a glimpse into the lives of early Asian immigrants. The exhibitions are developed with community members, ensuring authenticity and a fresh perspective. The Wing Luke Museum is where history comes alive, sparking conversations about identity, immigration, and the ongoing contributions of Asian Americans to American society. The Museum hosts winter holiday celebrations like Lunar New Year and community events like Japantown Jingle, with annual visits from Santa! Keep an eye on their website for upcoming events to make your visit even more engaging.

Washington State Fair Events Center

Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures Washington State Fair Events Center Holiday Magic

Holiday Magic at the Washington State Fair Events Center is a dazzling winter wonderland that will jump-start the holiday season for your whole family. Stroll through millions of twinkling lights, enjoy festive treats and drinks to warm you up, and enjoy rides like the Wonder Wheel or festive games for even more wintery fun. If you’re searching for things to do in the greater Seattle area this winter, this is one you don’t want to miss. Mark your calendars for December and create lasting memories with your friends and family. Experience Holiday Magic!

Boeing Future of Flight

Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures Boeing Future of Flight Norm Mah
Photo Credit: Norm Mah

Journey into the world of aviation at Boeing Future of Flight, home to the renowned Boeing Everett Factory Tour, located in Mukilteo just north of Seattle. Step inside the world’s largest building by volume and enjoy sweeping views of the 777/777X assembly line. Explore the Gallery, featuring interactive exhibits that delve into flight history and showcase future concepts. Catch amazing views of planes from the Sky Deck, and ignite a passion for flight in the Kids’ Zone filled with hands-on fun. Space enthusiasts can even explore a full-scale mockup of the U.S. Space Lab, an integral part of the International Space Station. Whether you’re an aviation enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun, educational family outing, Boeing Future of Flight holds an experience like no other. Plan your visit today and start by securing your tickets online.

Tours at Climate Pledge Arena

Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures Tours at Climate Pledge Arena
Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures Tours at Climate Pledge Arena

Feel like a VIP as you explore Seattle’s eco-friendly Climate Pledge Arena on a 75-minute tour! This behind-the-scenes journey includes the arena’s recent transformation story and sustainability commitment, like how the arena cuts waste, saves energy, and even uses rainwater for the plants! Plus, peek into hidden areas like team locker rooms (not on game days, sorry!) and performer dressing rooms. This tour is perfect for anyone curious about what goes on behind the scenes at the arena and those interested in modern sustainable practices. Remember to book your tour in advance since reservations are required.

Gates Foundation Discovery Center

Guide to Winter Seattle Adventures Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center

The Gates Foundation Discovery Center highlights the foundation’s mission and partnerships that work together to solve world-wide challenges in global health, gender equality, sanitation and more. The Discovery Center galleries are filled with interactive experiences designed to spark curiosity and inspire visitors to get involved in causes they care about.

You’ll see real-life innovations and technologies used to combat diseases like polio, malaria, and learn about cutting-edge solutions for sanitation challenges across the globe, and much more. The Discovery Center sheds light on these success stories and continued global challenges, showcasing the power of innovation and collaboration. The Gates Foundation Discovery Center is an all-ages, free space open Wednesday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm with public tours at 2 and 3:30 pm.

This list of unique adventures proves that winter in Seattle is anything but dull (and there’s SO MUCH to see and do!) So grab your jacket, embrace the mood, and create unforgettable memories in the Emerald City.

Things to do during Summer in Seattle by Seattle Premium Attractions - Pacific Science Center Tracey Sawan
Photo Credit: Tracy Sawan
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