Do more than visit the famous observation tower on your Seattle trip this winter. Instead, why not watch a fish fly, gum a gum wall, or listen to free music—all in one diverse city! Check out these interesting options to make your trip to Seattle unique.

As you explore this city, expect the usual weather. Seattle’s winter is mostly rain with only a few snow days. Bring good shoes and an umbrella, and the city is yours.

Seattle’s quirky gum wall is covered with gum messages from past visitors—and it still smells fresh.Photo by plusgood

Pike Place Market

One place to discover is Pike Place Market. Since the covered farmers’ market first opened in 1907, Pike has become famous for its fresh fish, flowers, and crafts. Many products are distinctly Seattle, with their use of lavender, sea salt, and “made in Seattle” stamps. The first Starbucks is still open here and is the only chain store allowed in the market.

Adriana Pinegar, a local young adult, recommends not missing the flying fish salesmen at Pike Place.  “They throw a fish only if someone buys it,” she says “so if you want to see a fish fly, you may have to invest in some world-class salmon.” Just below the market is the gum wall on Post Alley. The wall, covered in thousands of pieces of gum, is disgusting but totally unique. The market is open at First Avenue and Pike Street from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Pioneer Square

Locals and tourists alike love this district for its historic buildings, art galleries, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. The Seattle baseball and football stadiums also offer tours. Grab an umbrella and explore! Locals warn against the underground tour, saying it’s not worth the money. And for your own safety, be sure to leave the First Avenue corridor before dark. Pioneer Square is between Second Avenue and the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and between Columbia Street and King Street.

The Experience Music Project, housed in a Frank O. Gehry building, has seen 5 million visitors since its opening in 2000. Photo by Brad Coy

The Experience Music Project

The must-see museum is the Experience Music Project (EMP). Shaped like an abstract guitar, the museum contains extensive memorabilia from native Seattle bands like The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam. The EMP also features an interactive exhibit where you can put on your own rock concert. It’s located at 325 Fifth Ave. N., at the base of the Space Needle.


Winterfest is held at the Seattle Center every year from November 25 to December 3. The event draws large crowds and offers plenty of free activities. Many nights showcase local talent, such as college and community choirs and orchestras. All ages can enjoy ice sculpting, fireside singing, ice skating, and puppeteering.

The Space Needle

If you’re nearby, the famous Space Needle is fun to see. The Needle is an observation tower built for the 1962 World’s Fair. Locals recommend either going at night or viewing it from the ground and saving your money.

Safe Seattle

The Free Ride area extends from the north at Battery Street to South Jackson Street on the south and is available every day from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. This is a handy way to see downtown day and night. Seattle also offers “Night Stop” for secure night travel. The Night Stop program allows you to ask to be let off at any point along a regular route. Just approach the driver at least a block ahead of where you would like to get off. Night Stop is not available downtown.

—Kelsey Gee