Heading to Washington State with the family? Or looking for somewhere quiet to stay when visiting the Emerald City? The laid-back residential neighborhood of West Seattle is ideal. Surrounded by nature yet close to the city, West Seattle is ideally placed for both exploring and relaxing. From lovely beaches and coastal hiking paths to casual eateries and coffee shops, you’ll find plenty to do in West Seattle.
Embraced by beautiful beaches and verdant forests, West Seattle oozes tranquility. Spend time on the lovely Alki Beach playing volleyball or kayaking. Hike along spectacular coastal paths overlooking Puget Sound or enjoy a swim in Lincoln Park’s unique heated saltwater pool.
Time is not an issue in West Seattle, and locals march to the beat of their own drums. Brunch at sunny corner cafés and picnic at one of the many lovely parks. Sip sundowners at a waterside eatery and soak up the spectacular city skyline views. West Seattle is all about kicking back and enjoying life.
Looking for more ideas for your trip? Check out our Seattle Travel Guide for more recommendations on when to visit, where to go & what to do!
What to see & do in West Seattle
Alki Beach Park
This must be one of West Seattle’s most beautiful and popular attractions. Whether you feel like being a beach bum or want some action, Alki Beach Park won’t disappoint. Set on the shores of Elliott Bay, Alki Beach Park has endless things to do. Take a gentle stroll, jog along the shoreline, or don your rollerblades and show off your moves.
The long beach at Alki Beach Park is ideal for a game of volleyball or beach bats, and there are always plenty of sun worshippers to admire. Brave the cool waters for a dip or hop in a kayak and explore the coastline.
Picnic tables also dot Alki Beach Park; pack a picnic and relax to seaside views over lunch. When you’ve had enough of the sun, visit the little art gallery in the park to admire works by local artists.
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The fun doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down. Grab some snacks, make a small bonfire and enjoy the sweet treats under the night sky.
Alki Point Lighthouse
There’s something romantic about lighthouses, and this one is a gem. Marking the southern entrance to Eliott Bay, Alki Point Lighthouse has protected ships in the bay for over a century. The beautiful, fully functioning lighthouse is steeped in history and is well worth a visit.
Located less than a mile from Alki Beach, the historic landmark is open to the public for tours during the summer season. Join a free guided tour led by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and learn about the lighthouse and its rich history. First lit in 1912, the tower has been an aid-to-navigation for merchants in the bay and U.S. Coast Guard ever since.
If you’re visiting during the off-season, you can still walk around the property to admire the building and the gorgeous views over Puget Sound.
Hamilton Viewpoint Park
Just as the name infers, Hamilton Viewpoint Park is a wonderful place to go for fantastic views of the Seattle skyline. Besides the spectacular vistas, Hamilton Viewpoint Park is also a lovely spot to spend the day with family and friends.
Large trees provide cool, shady spots for picnicking, and open grassy areas are perfect for ball games. Benches are sprinkled around the park, where you can sit and soak up the views.
Head over to Hamilton Viewpoint Park at sunset to watch the sun catching the glass walls of the skyscrapers in Downtown Seattle.
Schmitz Preserve Park
Yet another splendid park in West Seattle is Schmitz Preserve Park. This one is special as it’s right in the middle of the neighborhood and home to a beautiful old-growth forest. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in the middle of Olympic National Park as the gigantic trees are centuries old!
Schmitz Preserve Park was donated in the early 1900s by Emma and Ferdinand Schmitz to save a piece of land in its natural state. Thanks to them, this enchanting forestland with towering trees and tinkling streams offers a tranquil escape from the city.
The park is fantastic for hiking and mountain biking, but it’s advisable to take a map as it’s easy to get lost on the 1.7 miles of forested trails.
Lowman Beach Park
One of the best things to do in West Seattle is to enjoy a few hours out on the water on a canoe or kayak exploring the shoreline of Puget Sound. One of the best places to launch a trip on the water is from Lowman Beach Park on Beach Drive.
The park’s large grassy lawn is ideal for family gatherings or picnics, and there are swings for the kids. You can even have a game of tennis if you are feeling active – reserve a spot, though, as the courts are always full.
Lowman Beach Park is popular with the boating crowd as the shoreline is perfect for boat launching by hand. Rent a canoe or kayak and hit the water for some summer fun.
It’s also a great spot for sailing and soaking up the beautiful views of the city skyline and the Cascade Mountains in the background.
For a fantastic day out in the fresh air with loads of activities to enjoy, head to Lincoln Park on Fauntleroy Way. One of West Seattle’s most popular parks, Lincoln Park is home to beautiful landscapes and a host of fun things to do. You’ll find forests for hiking, rocky beaches for sunbathing, meadows for picnicking, and an exquisite outdoor heated saltwater pool for swimming.
Lincoln Park’s pièce de resistance is the Colman Pool, a large, heated, saltwater pool with a waterslide. It’s set right on the shore with splendid views of Puget Sound to admire while you swim.
Another fantastic attraction is the Driftwood Sculpture Park. Take a stroll around the outdoor art gallery and admire some amazing driftwood sculptures made by local artists and park visitors. Get creative and construct your own artwork from pieces of wood.
Where to eat & drink
West Seattle has a thriving restaurant scene with everything from award-winning Italian to sustainably sourced sushi. The quiet neighborhood has its own smokehouse and butcher shop and plenty of places to relax with a cold craft beer overlooking the Sound.
But first things first… coffee! Kickstart your day with a boost of caffeine from Olympia Coffee Roasting. This quirky Scandi-style corner café is the local go-to for freshly brewed specialty coffee. Order it to go or relax at one of the outdoor tables and watch the world go by. Grab a few bags of roasted beans to take home.
For superb seafood and spectacular views, Salty’s on Alki Beach takes the cake. Located on Alki Beach with the most incredible views of the Seattle skyline, Salty’s is the perfect spot for a special date or a treat-yourself night out.
You’ll find fresh seasonal seafood and Pacific Northwest Coastal cuisine on the menu, award-winning wines, and outstanding service. Salty’s also serves a luxurious buffet brunch for those lazy Sunday mornings.
For a more laid-back approach to just-as-fresh seafood, head to Duke’s Seafood to get your fill. Tuck into heaving platters of prawns, local Whidbey Island mussels, or Dungeness crab from Alaska. If you prefer land-based food, there are also grass-fed steaks and burgers on the menu and a full-service bar for drinks.
Hawaiian-meets-Korean at Marination Ma Kai, an upscale seaside snack shack overlooking Puget Sound. Tuck into kimchi quesadillas, tacos with miso ginger chicken, and thick pork katsu sandwiches. Grab a table outside under the string lights and keep the lychee margaritas coming while you soak in the best waterfront view in the city.
Craving cold beer and classic pub grub? Head to Elliott Bay Brewery and Pub, where you can feast on fat pulled-pork sandwiches and towering beef burgers accompanied by local craft brews. Try their range of pungent Belgian-style ales or stick to lighter lagers – the range is endless.
Another great spot for sharing stories over a pilsner with the locals is Prost! West Seattle. Sip imported German bier and tuck into bratwurst and pretzel in a warm, convivial atmosphere.
In the mood for some live music? Shadowland on California Avenue is a laid-back neighborhood joint that serves eclectic fare and fun drinks, and hosts live gigs. Watch the game, listen to some jazz, or enjoy a languid brunch on the weekend.
Where to stay
The Grove West Seattle Inn
Set in a simple, motel-style building, The Grove West Seattle Inn is an unfussy, budget-friendly hotel a few miles from downtown. Comfortable rooms have all the basics, including flat-screen TVs with cable and coffeemakers. Family suites have bunk beds if you’re traveling with the family, and a hearty continental breakfast is served every morning.
Alki Beach House
Perfectly located within a short walk from Alki Beach, Alki Beach House is a comfortable holiday home with all the amenities you need for a home-away-from-home stay. The three-bedroom house is ideal for families. The kitchen has everything from a dishwasher to a washing machine. Relax on a sunny patio overlooking the garden.
Another great spot with a homely feel, The Treehouse is a cozy studio just a mile from Lincoln Park. Surrounded by lush greenery, it’s peaceful and convenient and has everything you need, from air-conditioning to Wi-Fi. Pups are welcome, so you don’t need to leave your best friend at home this time!