With almost 40 million annual visitors, Seattle is one of the most popular urban destinations in the United States. And for good reason – the city is famous for its thriving art scene, it has some of the best nightlife in the country, and many of its attractions are recgonized around the globe. More importantly, Seattle is in the top 5 for the best craft beer cities in America. We actually did the math on that last one, so we know it’s true.
Yes, visiting a city in person is a hundred times more exciting and fulfilling than doing so through a computer or phone screen. But while you are stuck at home and ongoing restrictions continue to place an embargo on your travel plans, we are here to alleviate some of that growing wanderlust with virtual tours of some of America’s most exciting cities, starting with Seattle.
From walking tours and 360-degree webcams to online exhibits and video collections, we found a way to virtually visit over a dozen places of interest across Emerald City.
Select a place from the map below or just keep scrolling to check out some of Seattle’s most popular attractions – all for free and from the comfort of your own home.
Points of Interest
Easily the most recognizable element of the Seattle skyline, the Space Needle is an observation tower that offers unrestricted 360-degree views of the city and the surrounding area. Built in the Seattle Center for the 1962 World’s Fair, it is a city landmark and it’s one of the most popular attractions in Seattle, attracting approximately 1.3 million visitors every year.
Space Needle Panocam
Even if you can’t be there in person, you can still get a front row seat to the sweeping 360-degree views that visitors enjoy at the top floor of the Space Needle. Thanks to the Panocam available on the landmark’s official website, you can explore the city skyline across different portions of the day, offering incredible views of the sunrise and sunset every day.
Thanks to the TravelTouristVideos channel on YouTube, you can enjoy a complete walking tour of the Space Needle, immersing you in the full experience – from purchasing a ticket and waiting in line to riding the 10 mph elevator and enjoying the views (and some interesting history) at every level. The best part – all that is offered in high-definition.
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is one of the oldest farmers’ markets in the United States and one of the most iconic locations in Seattle. Situated near Seattle’s Elliott Bay waterfront (just steps away from the Aquarium), the market offers a very rich variety of goods sold directly by farmers and manufacturers, including produce, crafts, wine, and a healthy assortment of specialty foods.
With more than 10 million annual visitors, Pike Place Market is one of the most visited attractions in the world. Thanks to the 4K Nature and City Walks channel on YouTube, you can take a virtual walking tour of the market and get a sense of what all the fuss is about.
We realize that most of the fun of visiting a place like this comes from browsing, sampling and shopping the various goods you encounter on your stroll, so you may be pleased to find out that many of the vendors at the market actually sell their products online. Just because you can’t be there in person, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the best part.
Ian D. Keating / Flickr
The Seattle Aquarium is located on the popular Elliott Bay waterfront, not too far from Pike Place Market. Aside from offering a window into the lives of various marine species through almost a dozen ongoing exhibits, the aquarium is dedicated to promoting marine conservation and conducting valuable research on marine life.
Harbor Seal & Sea Otter Live Cams
If you are looking for an instant dose of cuteness, look no further than the Aquarium’s live cams of its resident harbor seals and sea otters. In today’s stressful environment, watching these little fellas play, eat, groom and lounge in real time will surely bring some much needed joy into your day.
The Seattle Aquarium offers a growing library of videos capturing the everyday lives of various species, and documenting the rescue efforts their staff engage in on a daily basis. Check them out for video tours that are both visually fascinating and educational.
Capitol Hill Arts District
Emmett Anderson / Flickr
Seattle’s Capitol Hill is one of the most prominent nightlife and entertainment areas in the city. Its diverse population of artists, musicians and all types of creative individuals has continuously contributed to maintaining its status as a thriving art scene. All of that is evident through the numerous murals and graffiti paintings found on sides of buildings throughout the district.
You can see all that for yourself thanks to a virtual walking tour shared by the 4K Nature and City Walks channel on YouTube. In addition to the colorful streets of Capitol Hill, the tour will also take you through Seattle’s Cat Anderson Park famous for the Waterworks mountain-shaped water fountain, and the Bobby Morris Playfield.
javacolleen / Flickr
Seattle’s Chinatown-International District is the collective name of three neighborhoods – Chinatown, Japantown and Little Saigon – bustling with the culture of the city’s Asian-American communities. From unique restaurants offering ramen noodles and dim sum to karaoke joints and gift shops, the eclectic district boasts various attractions and historic landmarks that you absolutely must check out when you’re in town.
For a (virtual) taste of everything the area has to offer, we found a video tour that highlights the shops, restaurants and landmarks, and captures as much of the district’s distinctive atmosphere as possible.
The Seattle Great Wheel
The Seattle Great Wheel is a giant Ferris wheel located on the Elliott Bay waterfront. Much like the Space Needle, the 175-feet-tall wheel offers sweeping views of the city and its surroundings. A full ride takes about 12 minutes and features three full revolutions.
Thanks to YouTube creator Romina, you can go on a virtual tour of the Great Wheel and experience the ride from the comfort of your own couch. This is useful not only in times when the attraction is closed but if you have a fear of heights too!
Football fans will recognize CenturyLink Field as the home field for the Seattle Seahawks. Aside from NFL games, this multi-purpose stadium has hosted trade shows, concerts and various other sports events, including the 2016 Copa America soccer tournament.
This 1.5 million square feet arena has a unique layout and design, boasting a capacity of up to 72,000 people and stunning views of the Seattle skyline. Thanks to virtual tour provider LCP360, you can take a virtual stroll through CenturyLink Field and see for yourself how massive the stadium is. In case you didn’t know, there’s also a whole separate performing-arts venue inside it called WaMu Theater. And yes – it is included in the tour as well.
Seattle Art Museum
Founded in 1933, the Seattle Art Museum (or SAM) offers a variety of collections, installations, special exhibitions and programs that encompass pieces from African and Asian Art to Modern and Contemporary Art.
The SAM Blog
To keep people engaged, the museum is maintaining a very active blog where you will find art talks hosted by their team of curators, as well as tours of the establishment’s various galleries and gardens.
The Seattle Art Museum’s collection features about 25,000 works of art from around the world. You can browse through some of the highlights on the museum’s website and learn more about the origin and meaning behind each piece. Some of the collections that are currently available include African Art, American Art, Ancient Mediterranean Art, Decorative Arts & Design, and Islamic Art, among others.
The Museum of Flight
Located at Seattle’s King County International Airport, the Museum of Flight is the largest private air and space museum in the world. While there are more than 150 aircrafts on display at the museum, there are even more fun activities you can enjoy virtually on its official website.
Aircrafts Virtual Tours
Have you ever wanted to explore an airplane’s cockpits and interiors? You can do that using the museum’s 360-degree virtual tours of 12 of its most iconic aircrafts.
While the Museum of Flight remains closed for an undetermined amount of time, its team has set up a portal on its website offering at-home activities, 3D explorations, podcasts, flight facts, and much more.
The Seattle Public Library
There are 26 branches of the Seattle Public Library spread throughout the city. The most prominent among them is the Central Library which is the flagship location of the Seattle Public Library System. Famous for its unique design, it was opened to the public in May 2004 and features 11 stories full of books, activities and various events.
Even if reading is not your thing, you should take some time for a tour of the Central Library because of its truly unique architecture and the fabulous art it houses. Luckily, the library has produced several guided tours of its various features and they are freely available on its website.
Cultural attractions and points of interest are definitely a great way to experience a city, but sometimes the best way to really immerse yourself in the everyday atmosphere of a new destination is to simply walk around and let the city reveal itself to you without any plan or agenda.
With that in mind, we found a number of high-definition videos that will take you on a stroll around the streets of downtown Seattle – both by day and by night – for an authentic Emerald City experience.
As you can see, there is plenty to do and explore around Seattle. As you get ready to visit the city in person some time soon, check out these 15 free things you can do in Seattle for a trip on a budget. In fact, you’ll notice some overlap between the attractions featured in there and this list.
We hope these virtual tours will help satisfy some of your travel cravings until we are able to roam freely again. And once that happens, Wanderu will be here to help you get to Emerald City and thousands of other places around North America and Europe.