Uptown Seattle: What to See & Do + Where to Eat, Drink & Stay

Culture, history, and spectacular views: Uptown Seattle has it all! Just northwest of downtown Seattle, Uptown, previously known as Lower Queen Anne, is a vibrant and culturally rich neighborhood packed with attractions and activities.

Uptown is a Seattle hotspot for culture. There are theaters aplenty, including within the famous Seattle Center complex, where you can catch the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Opera, and the Seattle Repertory Theatre. The KeyArena, now known as Climate Pledge Arena, is another iconic venue in the area, hosting concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment shows.

At the heart of Uptown Seattle lies the Seattle Center, a sprawling 74-acre complex that hosts a wide range of cultural, entertainment, and educational institutions. The Seattle Center also houses the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), which celebrates the history of popular music, science fiction, and pop culture. The center’s iconic Space Needle, built for the 1962 World’s Fair, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the surrounding area.

You’ll find a diverse culinary scene in Uptown Seattle, with various restaurants, cafes, and food trucks. The neighborhood is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars and clubs if you’re looking for a night on the town.

Ready to hit the streets of Emerald City’s funkiest neighborhood? Check out this in-depth guide about what to see and do in Uptown Seattle.

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What to see & do

Space Needle

Your first stop in Uptown Seattle should be the iconic Space Needle. Standing proudly on Broad Street in the Seattle Center, the Space Needle is the city’s most famous landmark.

Designed by architect John Graham and built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle’s design is a testament to futuristic 1960s architecture. The observation deck, at 520 feet (158 meters), offers breathtaking 360-degree views of Seattle and the surrounding area.

Whizz up to the observation deck on some of the fastest elevators in the world to soak up spectacular city views. On a clear day, you can spot Mount Rainier, the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges, and even Elliott Bay.

Space Needle

Brave the heights and walk on the ‘Loupe,’ a rotating glass floor on the lower level of the observation deck. It provides an exhilarating experience as you look straight down to the ground below. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, try the ‘Skyrisers,’ tilted glass benches that allow you to lean back and take in the scenery.

Enjoy a one-of-a-kind dining experience at SkyCity, the restaurant at the top of the Space Needle. As you dine, the restaurant slowly rotates, providing ever-changing city views.

Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)

Delve into the diverse realm of popular culture at the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop). Whether you’re a music aficionado, a sci-fi fanatic, or simply intrigued by all things pop culture, MoPop offers an exciting journey.

Formerly known as the Experience Music Project (EMP) Museum, MoPop embraces the entirety of pop culture. Designed by the renowned architect Frank Gehry, MoPop’s distinctive appearance resembles a stylized, crumpled electric guitar, making it a striking and unmistakable landmark.

The Museum of Pop Culture boasts an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibitions that pay homage to the vibrant universe of pop culture. Immerse yourself in the rich history of science fiction and fantasy at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. Roam through captivating showcases featuring iconic characters, creators, costumes, and memorabilia.

Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop)

As the birthplace of grunge music, Seattle honors the legendary band Nirvana with a dedicated exhibit. Here, you can explore rare instruments, handwritten lyrics, and personal items associated with the band.

The Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction exhibit is a paradise for sci-fi enthusiasts, showcasing props, costumes, and concept art from beloved science fiction films and television shows.

Unleash your inner rock star with hands-on musical instruments like guitars, keyboards, and drums. This interactive experience is suitable for all ages. Check the schedule for film screenings in the Museum of Pop Culture’s theater, featuring classic and contemporary movies connected to pop culture themes.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Step into the dazzling world of Chihuly Garden and Glass to enjoy a feast for the senses and a visual treat! Based in the Seattle Center, this mesmerizing gallery is a must-visit if you’re an art enthusiast, a nature lover, or just looking for a unique and beautiful experience in Seattle.

Chihuly Garden and Glass is a tribute to the incredible glass artist Dale Chihuly, who is renowned for pushing the boundaries of glass art, and this place showcases his fantastic work. Wander through a series of galleries filled with Chihuly’s spectacular glass creations. It’s a visual feast, from the vibrant Macchia to the intricate Venetians.

Chihuly Garden & Glass

The Glasshouse is like something out of a dream, with one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures inspired by nature and its forms. It’s truly breathtaking. The outdoor garden is where glass art meets nature. You’ll be surrounded by Chihuly’s vibrant glass sculptures amidst lush greenery. The interplay of glass and the changing natural light throughout the day is magical.

Consider taking a guided tour for fascinating insights and stories about Chihuly’s art. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop. You can find unique glass art pieces and souvenirs to remember your visit.

McCaw Hall

If you’re looking for an enchanting cultural experience, there’s no better place than McCaw Hall. Located in the Seattle Center, McCaw Hall offers a world-class stage for enjoying the arts in Seattle.

McCaw Hall is home to some of Seattle’s top performing arts organizations, including the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Seattle Opera. Watching a ballet or opera performance here is an exquisite and artistic experience.

McCaw Hall

The entertainment venue is renowned for its exceptional acoustics, making it a top choice for opera and ballet performances. The hall’s design includes state-of-the-art sound systems and acoustic treatments to ensure that every note and every movement on stage is clearly heard.

McCaw Hall itself is a visual delight. With its grand foyer, exquisite chandeliers, and majestic sweeping staircases, it radiates elegance. It’s an ideal spot for a leisurely pre-show stroll and capturing memorable photos.

Beyond ballet and opera, McCaw Hall hosts various events, including concerts, lectures, and private events. Check their event calendar to see what’s happening during your visit.

Climate Pledge Arena

Catch the Seattle Kraken NFL hockey team in action or one of your favorite music bands at the Climate Pledge Arena. Sports and entertainment come together for an unforgettable experience at this fantastic venue.

Previously known as the KeyArena, the Climate Pledge Arena is part of the famous Seattle Center. After undergoing a significant transformation, it’s now a cutting-edge, sustainable arena with a brand-new look and name. Sustainability is at the core of the arena’s design and operations, making it a groundbreaking and eco-conscious venue.

Climate Pledge Arena

If you’re a sports fan, this place is a must-visit. The Seattle Kraken, the city’s NHL hockey team, calls this arena home. Watching a live hockey game here is an electric experience. The Climate Pledge Arena also hosts some of Seattle’s biggest concerts and events. Watch their schedule for your favorite artists or shows coming to town.

The Climate Pledge Arena boasts a public plaza and outdoor space before and after events. It’s a great place to soak in the atmosphere, meet with friends, or enjoy a post-event celebration.

Pacific Science Center

Discover the magic of science at the Pacific Science Center. Initially established for the 1962 World’s Fair, this institution has transformed into a vibrant science museum, igniting curiosity and exploration in individuals of all ages.

Take a step back in time as you come face-to-face with life-sized dinosaur replicas, fossils, and interactive exhibits that breathe life into these ancient creatures. Wander into a lush tropical rainforest environment where numerous vibrant butterflies flutter freely around you.

Embark on a cosmic adventure with captivating planetarium presentations that delve into the mysteries of space, stars, and celestial marvels. In the iconic geodesic dome, you can immerse yourself in mesmerizing laser light performances synchronized with your favorite music.

Pacific Science Center

Plunge into interactive displays encouraging you to grasp scientific principles through playful experimentation. Catch an oversized cinematic experience in the IMAX theater, transporting you to extraordinary landscapes and scenarios. Make sure not to overlook live demonstrations and experiments that shed light on science’s enjoyable and fascinating aspects.

While there’s a café available on-site, you can bring your own food and savor a picnic in the nearby Seattle Center grounds.

Seattle Children’s Museum

Let your little ones’ imaginations soar while having a blast at the Seattle Children’s Museum. This gem is located at the Seattle Center, which is conveniently close to other iconic spots like the Space Needle. It’s a win-win for parents and kids alike!

The Seattle Children’s Museum has been a hub of playful learning since 1979. Your little explorers are in for a treat! There’s a kid-sized grocery store where they can play and learn about shopping, a construction zone to unleash their inner builder, and more.

Seattle Children's Museum

Imagination Studio: Creativity takes center stage at the Imagination Studio. Kids can jump into art projects, conduct experiments, and get hands-on with activities that let their imaginations run wild. Take a mini world tour at the Global Village, a cool, immersive space where children can experience different cultures through imaginative play.

Keep an eye on their schedule for storytelling sessions and live performances. They’ve got a café on-site, but you can take snacks and enjoy a picnic at the Seattle Center grounds nearby.

Centennial Park

Take a break from the bustle of the city and spend a few hours unwinding in the beautiful Centennial Park. Stretching along 5th Avenue in the heart of Uptown Seattle, the park is a scenic spot for a picnic and a tranquil place to enjoy the outdoors.

Centennial Park holds a special place in Seattle’s heart. It commemorates the city’s 100th birthday in 1951, hence the name ‘Centennial.’ Over the years, it has evolved into a charming urban oasis, providing a peaceful escape from the bustling city life.

Centennial Park

Stroll through the garden with its lush canopy of trees and well-maintained lawns. There are plenty of benches and picnic tables to enjoy a quick lunch or relax. Keep an eye out for various art installations and sculptures dotted around the park.

If you have a furry friend with you, Centennial Park is dog-friendly! It’s a wonderful place to take your four-legged companion for a walk or playtime.

Where to eat & drink

Uptown Seattle is a food lover’s paradise. If you’re craving the flavors of Mexico, a seafood feast, or a wood-fired pizza, the neighborhood’s dining scene has something delicious waiting for you at every turn.

Craving classic Chinese chow? Head to Uptown China Restaurant on Uptown Avenue. The place oozes charm with its cozy lighting, tasteful décor, and a blend of traditional Chinese aesthetics and modern flair. Expect a mouthwatering array of dishes, from timeless classics like Kung Pao Shrimp to creative innovations like truffle-infused dumplings. Save some room for dessert; their mango pudding and green tea cheesecake are pure bliss! 

For a little slice of Mexico in the heart of Seattle, Sal y Limón is your go-to. Walking into Sal y Limón, you’re instantly transported to the colorful streets of Mexico. The décor is all about vibrant art and cozy vibes. Expect to be wowed by rich Mexican flavors – think tacos, enchiladas, and fresh tableside guacamole. Their margaritas and Mexican beers hit the spot when it comes to drinks.

At Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar, the waterfront view is just the beginning. The ambiance is pure coastal charm, and the menu is a seafood lover’s dream, featuring freshly shucked oysters, delectable crab, and clams from the Pacific Northwest. If oysters aren’t your thing, their seafood chowder is a must-try. Pair your picks with local wines or craft beers.

Toulouse Petit brings a taste of the South to Seattle with its Creole-inspired dishes and elegant French Quarter-inspired ambiance. Expect mouthwatering Creole and French-inspired cuisine that is nothing short of exquisite. From the classics like gumbo and jambalaya to innovative dishes like their Dungeness crab cakes, every bite celebrates flavors and creativity. And the cocktails? They’re Creole-inspired wonders. Swing by during happy hour for discounted small plates and the must-try ‘Beignet Flight,’ a sweet treat you won’t forget.

On the hunt for a good time? Queen Anne Beerhall is a fun-loving, beer-soaked haven for folks who love brews and grub. It’s all about the beer here! Enjoy a wide selection of local and international brews and hearty German and American dishes like bratwurst, pretzels, and schnitzel. And if you’re into soccer, this is a prime spot to catch a match.

Looking for a neighborhood sports bar with a friendly vibe? Look no further than Buckley’s in Queen Anne. The atmosphere is comfortable and inviting, making it the perfect spot to enjoy classic American dishes like juicy burgers, mouthwatering buffalo wings, and loaded nachos. There’s an array of draft beers and cocktails to choose from. Game day is the best time to soak up the atmosphere, and their ‘Buckley’s Special Sauce’ is a game-changer!

Love great pizza? Pop into The Masonry, a cozy and rustic pizzeria and beer haven that promises to delight! You’ll find a friendly, laid-back atmosphere where you can enjoy piping hot pizzas straight from the wood-fired oven. Expect artisanal wood-fired pizzas with creative toppings and a curated selection of craft beers. Check out their seasonal pizza specials; they’re always a delightful surprise.

Tucked inside the historic MarQueen Hotel, the Tin Lizzie Lounge is your go-to spot for a fun evening out with friends! Settle into a cozy nook and try one (or two) of their signature cocktails, from a classic martini to a refreshing mule. The cocktail menu features classics and inventive concoctions, and the small plates menu flawlessly complements your drink. Challenge the bartender to whip up a custom cocktail tailored just for you – their mixology skills are top-notch!

Where to stay

Homewood Suites by Hilton, Downtown

Homewood Suites by Hilton Seattle Downtown

Homewood Suites by Hilton Seattle Downtown is nestled right in the heart of Downtown Seattle, making it super convenient for exploring the city’s attractions. Spacious suites boast separate living and sleeping areas – perfect for traveling with family or on an extended stay. Perks include a complimentary hot breakfast daily, free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, and a rooftop deck with fantastic city views.

Hyatt House

Hyatt House Seattle Downtown

Expect spacious, modern suites with separate living areas and fully equipped kitchens at the Hyatt House Seattle Downtown. Smack dab in downtown Seattle, the hotel is ideally located for exploring all the city offers. Start your day with a complimentary breakfast, and in the evening, savor handcrafted cocktails and bites at H Bar.

The Mediterranean Inn

The Mediterranean Inn

Laid-back and relaxed, the Mediterranean Inn is in the heart of Uptown and close to attractions like the Space Needle, KeyArena, and Seattle Center. The hotel offers comfortable rooms and suites with fully equipped kitchenettes, perfect for extended stays. Enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast each morning and enjoy the panoramic city views from the rooftop deck. There’s also free Wi-Fi and a fitness center.

Four Points by Sheraton Downtown

Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Seattle Center

With fabulous views of the Space Needle, Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Seattle Center is within walking distance of Seattle’s top attractions. Comfortable rooms and suites have modern amenities, including free Wi-Fi. Tuck into Pacific Northwest cuisine at the on-site restaurant, Fireside Café, and enjoy access to the 24-hour fitness center. Relax in the courtyard with a fire pit and comfortable seating.

Staypineapple, The Maxwell Hotel

Staypineapple, The Maxwell Hotel, Seattle Center Seattle

Quirky and vibrant Staypineapple, The Maxwell Hotel, Seattle Center Seattle, offers a unique spot to make your base. Enjoy complimentary pineapple cupcakes upon arrival and coffee in the modern and playfully designed lobby. The Maxwell also has a heated indoor pool, free Wi-Fi, and a 24-hour fitness center.

Treksplorer

Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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