What to Do in Seattle When It's Raining
Seattle, Washington has a reputation for gray days and misty rain. However, if you're visiting Seattle, don't let the rain get you down and ruin your fun. There are plenty of indoor attractions to keep you occupied and let you experience a taste of Seattle.
Surround Yourself with Flowers at the Volunteer Park Conservatory
Volunteer Park Conservatory is a beautiful indoor garden with five different display houses. The flowers and plants on display range from succulents to orchids and more. The wide abundance of gorgeous blooms makes the conservatory a popular destination for locals during a dreary gray Seattle winter.
The Conservatory is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10am to 4pm. It is located on 1400 E. Galer Street. As of February of 2013, there are now fees for entering the conservatory. Adults must pay $4 and teens must pay $2. Children 12 and younger can visit for free.
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Go Back in Time at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
The Burke Museum is located on the University of Washington campus. One popular exhibit looks at the history of Washington state, starting when the state was covered by an ancient ocean. The exhibit includes dinosaur bones and an impressive mastodon skeleton. Another highlight is the Pacific Voices exhibit that displays information about 17 different Pacific Rim cultures.
The Burke Museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm. Admission varies between $10 for adults and $7.50 for children five and older. The first Thursday of each month is free for everyone, and the museum doesn't close until 8pm on free Thursdays. The museum is located at 17th Ave NE and NE 45th Street.
Seattle Aquarium Fun Facts
- The Seattle Aquarium first opened in 1977.
- The underwater tank holds over 400,000 gallons of water.
- Every February, the aquarium hosts a special Octopus Week event.
See the Amazing Seattle Aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium is a highlight for many locals and tourists alike. This incredible place features a giant Pacific octopus, coral tank, a huge population of stunning marine fish, and exhibits devoted to the local wildlife. Killer whales are just about the only sea creature you won't find here, but there is an exhibit devoted to them all the same. One of the major highlights of the aquarium is the massive underwater tank with sharks and other creatures from Puget Sound. For children, the aquarium's open water tank is a delightful treat. Visitors are free to touch the sea stars and plankton that live in the tank.
Tickets for people over 13 cost $19.95 while child tickets cost $13.95. The aquarium is open from 9am to 5pm daily and is located at 1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59. Visit the Seattle Aquarium's website for more information.
Take in the Art at the Seattle Art Museum
The Seattle Art Museum, better known as the SAM, beckons visitors inside with the iconic “Hammering Man” just outside the doors in downtown Seattle. The SAM is Seattle's premier art museum, with international art in addition to the extensive collection of Northwestern art. Though most of the art leans towards the modern, there are also some older pieces from ancient cultures. Modern art highlights include full-size cars arranged in crazy ways with tubes sticking out of them, representing an explosion. The SAM also has a sister museum, the Seattle Asian Art Museum, which houses a fantastic collection of Asian art.
Downtown's SAM can be found on 1300 First Ave. The museum is open Wednesdays through Sunday. If you don't mind leaving downtown, you can also visit the SAM's sister museum, The Seattle Asian Art Museum. This museum is located next to the Volunteer Park Conservatory, mentioned earlier.
There are many original and local places to get a real taste of Seattle's fine food. But if you want to sample some original Washington chains with multiple locations for easy availability, try Dick's Drive In, Kidd Valley or Ivars. Ivar's Clam Chowder is both famous and delicious.
Once you've figured out dinner, it's time to get dessert. Ice cream lovers can check out Molly Moon's Ice Cream for homemade ice cream. For gelato, be sure to check out Washington's own Sirena Gelato. Cupcake aficionados have multiple options, including Trophy Cupcakes and Yellow Leaf Cupcake.
If you'd prefer some good old chocolate, visit the Theo Chocolate factory in Fremont for a tasty and informative tour. Each tour costs $7, lasts about an hour and includes delicious samples.
Play a Game
Several Seattle stores offer a place to rest and place a board game or two. Card Kingdom lets you play a number of their games while you much on snacks from the adjacent cafe. The store is located at 5105 Leary Ave NW (in the Ballard neighborhood) and is open every day from 10am to 12am. Other stores in the Seattle area also let you play games, including Blue Highway Games at 2203 Queen Anne Ave N. and Gamma Ray Games at 411 E Pine St.
Visit the Pacific Science Center
The Pacific Science Center displays permanent and rotating exhibits. The permanent exhibits provide science fun for the whole family. Highlights include a model of the Puget Sound, a saltwater tide pool, animated dinosaur robots and more. You can also catch a variety of IMAX shows.
Recently, the Pacific Science Center opened a new exhibit titled "Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health & Wellness." In this exhibit, your family can learn more about health and fitness. In the "Cafédium," for example, you'll learn about the nutrients in foods. The "Playdium" will encourage your family to move around in a variety of exercise-themed games.
Current temporary exhibits include a look at the devastation in Pompeii 2,000 years ago and a collection of photos of life under a light microscope.
The Pacific Science Center is located at 200 Second Avenue North and open all week from 10:00am to 5pm (6pm on the weekends). Admission fees vary, depending on what you want to see. For more information, please visit the pricing page directly.
Enjoy the Music at the EMP Museum
The EMP Museum is a pop culture destination full of a little bit of everything, with special emphasis on music and science fiction. If you want to take a little tour of music history, you can check out the museum's collection of rare artifacts, including handwritten lyrics and musical instruments from Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. If you'd prefer to focus on your own musical future, you can throw a rock concert for virtual fans in another exhibit. Science fiction fans can head over to two exciting exhibits currently on display: Fantasy, Worlds of Myth and Magic and Icons of Science Fiction. Both exhibits display props from popular fantasy and science fiction works, including "Harry Potter" and "Doctor Who."
The EMP Museum is located right under the Space Needle, within steps of the previously mentioned Pacific Science Center. During the summer, the museum is open daily from 10AM to 7PM. In the winter, the museum closes at 5PM. For more information, including ticket prices, please visit the museum's website.
Did you know?
- Nordstrom's first store only sold shoes.
- Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Mt. Everest, was the first full-time REI employee.
- Seattle is the headquarters of a number of major retail companies, including Amazon.com, Zulily and Costco (now based in nearby Issaquah).
Seattle has a lot of fun and funky stores to check out. Sure, there's the flagship Nordstrom and the original REI downtown, but there's plenty of more unique options too. Try Uwajimaya for Asian groceries, delicious varieties of candy and Asian-themed decorations for your living space. Visit Made in Washington for souvenirs like Seattle chocolates, glass art and smoked salmon. Check out Archie McPhee for bacon-inspired gifts. If you need some presents for kids, visit Schmancy in downtown Seattle or one of Top Ten Toys' locations.
Don't let Seattle's misty rain force you to spend your whole trip in your hotel room. The city still offers plenty of amazing indoor excursions to entertain you and your whole family.