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5 Activities to Do in Seattle This Summer

Many people think that Seattle is nothing but gray skies and rainfall year-round. But those people clearly haven’t been to Seattle during the summer. Seattle is an incredibly beautiful and lively place to reside during the summer months. The cloudy weather takes a break and the air heats up to a hot, but comfortable temperature. As soon as the school year ends, I’m personally eager to spend as much time as possible outdoors, basking in the sunshine and admiring the natural beauty of Washington.

If you’re about to have your first summer in Seattle, you’re in for a treat. Especially with the COVID-19 vaccination circulating, there is hope that this summer will be more exciting than that of 2020. There is so much to do within and outside of the city that it can be overwhelming to decide what to pick first! So I’ve compiled a brief list of some less conventional activities to do in Seattle this summer, as I’m sure we’ve all been told to go to the Space Needle, Gas Works Park, and Pike Place Market more times than we can count. 

three silhouettes in the middle of the road
Photo by Karina Lago from Unsplash

1. Take a ferry trip

There is no better time to take a ferry trip than in the summer months when you can enjoy the ride from the sundeck, admiring the Puget Sound and the view of the Seattle skyline behind you in the distance. Take a ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, where you can shop and pick up some pastries from the delicious Blackbird Bakery. If you want to plan ahead for a weekend getaway, make a reservation for a ferry trip from Anacortes to the San Juan Islands. Or stay a bit closer to home, and take the water taxi over to West Seattle to explore Alki Beach or the shops and restaurants of the downtown “Junction” area.

2. Attend a museum

Use some of your free time this summer to view exhibitions at some of Seattle’s most iconic museums. The Olympic Sculpture Park is a must-see during the summer months, as it consists of an entirely outdoor array of sculptures and a beautiful view of the water. But if you’re looking to beat the heat, check out the coveted Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum to see some beautiful blown glass creations by the famous local artist Dale Chihuly. Or explore the current exhibitions on display at the Seattle Art Museum.

3. Ride The Seattle Great Wheel

While this may be an especially “touristy” activity, the Seattle Great Wheel is particularly enjoyable to ride during the summer, when the skies are clear and the sun reflects off of the water and the city. If you can secure a ride in the evening, there isn’t a better place to view the sunset than The Seattle Great Wheel.

4. Attend Seafair

Check out some of the events put on by the annual nonprofit festival Seafair, including the iconic Seafair Weekend Festival from August 5-7. Watching the Blue Angels fly overhead during Seafair Weekend is practically a rite of passage for Seattleites (just make sure you bring earplugs if you have an aversion to loud noises!). Seafair also plans to incorporate virtual events in addition to its usual in-person programming, in light of COVID-19.

5. Visit the Washington Park Arboretum

It’s no secret that the Seattle area has some beautiful green spaces to visit from Gas Works to Discovery Park. However, the Washington Park Arboretum doesn’t receive nearly enough attention. Managed by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and the City of Seattle, the Washington Park Arboretum features 230 acres of pathways and gardens to explore. It’s the perfect place to take a book and a small picnic or to wander through for hours on end.


woman with headphones under tree
Photo by Charlotte May from Pexels

After navigating an emotionally taxing year of COVID-19 and remote learning, we all deserve to have a light, relaxing, and amusing summer. If I were to list every fun activity to do in Seattle this summer, it would take hours to read through. Use this list as a starting point, and explore the beauty of the city after a year of isolation, because you deserve it!

Madison Huizinga

Washington '23

Madison Huizinga is currently a sophomore at the University of Washington and plans on studying communication. Madison is local to the Seattle area and has lived here her whole life. When Madison isn't writing, she loves dancing with Intrepidus Dance, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her friends and family.
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