The Puget Sound is a large body of water that lies east of the Admiralty Inlet, where its ocean waters reach nearly 50 miles inland from the Pacific Coast. The waterway is an intricate and complex system of inlets, channels, embayments, estuaries, and scenic islands. The Puget Sound provides visitors with access to the Pacific Northwest’s majestic side; where whale and eagle sightings are frequent; and where on clear days, Mount Baker, the Olympic Range, and Mount Rainier add to the wonderful panoramic views of the sea and sky.
1. Bainbridge Island
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Bainbridge Island is a beautiful, small island that is located in the Puget Sound, just west of downtown Seattle, Washington. The island itself is considered to be a small city within the state, reachable from Seattle via a short ferry ride. The lushly-forested Bloedel Reserve features magnificent, landscaped gardens and scenic trails. Visitors exploring the island for the first time will want to check out the coastal Fay Bainbridge Park and Campground – equipped with an eastward-facing beach that offers breathtaking views of the snowcapped Cascade Mountains and shimmering Puget Sound. Everything from welcoming accommodations to scenic vistas to eclectic boutiques to outdoor adventures, await.
395 Winslow Way East, Bainbridge Island, WA, Phone: 206-842-3700
2. Blake Island
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Blake Island is a small island that has been designated a State Park with Kitsap County, Washington. The island situated just south of Bainbridge Island, north of Vashon Island, and southwest of downtown Seattle. The island is only accessible by boat, offering a slower pace than that of Seattle. Aside from Native American-themed Tillicum events, the island also features beautiful blue waters, driftwood-scattered beaches, peaceful trails, along with scenic views of Mt. Rainier and the city. Once on the island, visitors can explore the miles of trails by hiking or mountain biking; fish or SCUBA dive the island’s waters; or dig for clams along its beautiful shores.
Kitsap County, WA, Phone: 360-731-8330
3. Chihuly Garden and Glass
Chihuly Garden and Glass is an art museum that is situated along Harrison Street in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The museum is surrounded by a number of popular Seattle attractions that can be easily reached by foot, such as the Pacific Science Center, Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle Center, and the Space Needle. The museum exhibit showcases the beautiful studio glass works of Dale Chihuly. The museum officially opened its doors in May of 2012, on the previous site of the Fun Forest. The museum hosts a number of fun events for visitors to attend, such as Yoga Under Glass, Exploration of Drawing, A Closer Look; Glassblowing, and The Art of Taichi.
305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA, Phone: 206-753-4940
4. Deception Pass
Deception Pass is a straight that separates Fidalgo Island from Whidbey Island, in Oak Harbor, Washington. It connects part of the Puget Sound, along with Skagit Bay, to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. There are a pair of short bridges that cross Deception Pass, collectively known as the Deception Pass Bridge. It is also recognized as a State Park, and happens to be one of Washington’s most visited. The stomach-dropping-high bridges, rugged cliffs, mysterious coves, and jaw-dropping sunsets make this gorgeous park a go-to for international/domestic travelers and locals alike. Visitors can take a swim in Cranberry Lake, hike through lush-green forests, or search for shells along several miles of scenic Puget Sound beachfront.
41229 State Route 20, Oak Harbor, WA, Phone: 360-675-3767
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5. Discovery Park
Discovery Park is a sprawling, 534-acre park that is situated along the shores of the Puget Sound, within the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. Discovery Park is Seattle’s largest public park, containing 11.81 miles of scenic walking trails for locals and traveling visitors to use. The park offers magnificent views of both the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges. This natural park features protected tidal beaches and open meadowlands, thicket and streams, active sand dunes, forest groves, and dramatic sea cliffs. It’s a place for locals and visitors to find peace and tranquility, and a wonderful sanctuary for wildlife. Park amenities include restrooms, drinking fountains, basketball courts, tennis courts, hiking trails, and a play area.
3801 Discovery Park Boulevard, Seattle, WA, Phone: 206-386-4236
6. Elliott Bay
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Elliott Bay is a large body of water that is part of the Puget Sound’s Central Basin region, within the US state of Washington. The city of Seattle was founded on Elliot Bay in the 1850s, the city now encompasses the bay completely. There are several iconic landmarks and attractions all around Elliott Bay for visitors to explore, such as Olympic Sculpture Park, Pike Place Market, Pier 66, CenturyLink Field, T-Mobile Park, the Seattle Aquarium, and much more. There are plenty of fun ways to hit the water on Elliott Bay, including a sunset sailing tour, a sightseeing boat ride, or a romantic dinner cruise.
701 Pike Street, Seattle, WA, Phone: 206-461-5840
7. Fort Worden Historical State Park
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Fort Worden Historical State Park is a 433-acre state park that is situated along the Admiralty Inlet in Port Townsend, Washington. The restored Victorian-era Officers homes, expansive parade lawns, and hidden gun emplacements put history at the forefront within Fort Worden Historical State Park. About 100 years ago, the park was home to approximately 1,000 officers and troops who were stationed there to protect the Puget Sound from any potential enemy invaders; today it’s used to host festivals, workshops, and family reunions. The park features a variety of amenities that visitors will appreciate, such as campground space, restrooms, hiking trails, meeting spaces, and vacation rentals.
200 Battery Way, Port Townsend, WA, Phone: 360-344-4400
8. Future of Flight Aviation Center
© Future of Flight Aviation Center
The Future of Flight Aviation Center is a massive airplane assembly building that is owned and operated by Boeing, located about 25 miles north of Seattle, in Mukilteo, Washington. Airplane, engineering, and technology enthusiasts will have the opportunity to partake in a 90-minute tour that will take them inside the production and assembly process for Boeing’s 747s, 767s, 777s, and 787 Deamliners. Because the tour takes place inside of an operating assembly plant, it can be quite active and noisy depending on the time and day. Much of this fascinating tour takes place on balconies, equipped with four-foot railings – so anyone taking the tour will need to be at least four feet tall.
8415 Paine Field Boulevard, Mukilteo, WA, Phone: 800-464-1476
9. Museum of Pop Culture
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The Museum of Pop Culture, also known as MoPOP, is a fascinating, non-profit museum that is dedicated to modern popular culture. The museum was founded in 2000 by Microsoft’s co-founder, Paul Allen – originally as the Experience Music Project. Since its beginning, the museum has organized dozens and dozens of exhibits, some of which have reached such heights in popularity that they’ve toured both domestically and internationally. Some of the museum’s current exhibitions include Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes, Perl Jam: Home and Away, Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses, Sound Lab, Hendrix: Wild Blue Angel, and the Infinite World of Science Fiction. Visitors should look out for events like the Campout Cinema: Black Panther screening.
325 5th Avenue North, Seattle, WA, Phone: 206-770-2700
10. Olympic Sculpture Park
The Olympic Sculpture Park is a nine-acre sculpture park that is situated outdoors in Seattle, Washington. The park originally opened to the public on January 20th of 2007. The park was created by, and continues to be operated by the Seattle Art Museum; admission to the park is free. The general public has the opportunity to take advantage of this marvelous space by planning a venue experience, hosts can treat their guests to breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains, Elliott Bay, and wonderfully-colorful sunsets. Some of the park’s more prominent sculpture works include the Eagle, Bunyon’s Chess, Father and Son, and Eye Benches I, II, and III.
2901 Western Avenue, Seattle, WA, Phone: 206-654-3100
11. Pacific Science Center
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The Pacific Science Center is a non-profit, independent science center that is located on 2nd Avenue North in Seattle, Washington. The science center’s mission is to ignite a passion and curiosity for discovery, critical thinking, and experimentation. The center has several exciting features, such as the Laser Dome – where visitors can watch stunning laser imagery with concert-like sound – like the Laser ODESZA and Laser Cardi B shows; the center is also equipped with an impressive IMAX theater that plays today’s Blockbuster hits, educational films and documentaries, and much more. There are several fun and informative events for visitors to be on the lookout for, including Science in the City, Final Fridays, and Today at PacSci.
200 2nd Avenue North, Seattle, WA, Phone: 206-443-2001
12. Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is a bustling public market that overlooks the Elliott Bay waterfront in downtown Seattle, Washington. The market was established in the year of 1907 to connect farmers and citizens, this “Meet the Producer” practice continues in the form of year-round farmer’s markets, fish markets, owner-operated bakeries, produce stands, specialty food stores, and butcher shops. The market is Seattle’s epicenter for independent businesses, fresh produce, and high-quality, specialty foods. Within the market’s nine-acre historic district, visitors will find a crafts market, dozens of farmers, over 200 unique shops, and more than 80 restaurants. Pike Place Market is one of Seattle’s most iconic places to visit.
85 Pike Street, Seattle, WA, Phone: 206-682-7453
13. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
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The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is a combined aquarium and zoo that are located in beautiful Tacoma, Washington. Situated on a marvelous 29-acre property in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park, the aquarium and zoo are owned by Metro Parks Tacoma, and are home to more than 9,000 specimens from 367 different animal species. It’s the perfect place to spend the day with friends, or the whole family, within the Pacific Northwest’s only combined aquarium and zoo. Point Defiance Park offers visitors breathtaking views of the nearby Puget Sound and snowcapped Mount Rainier. Some of the favorite animals to see include the Polar Bear, Arctic Fox, Sumatran Tigers, and Asian Elephants.
5400 North Pearl Street, Tacoma, WA, Phone: 253-404-3800
14. San Juan Islands
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The San Juan Islands a collection of islands, or archipelago that are located off the coast of Washington State, within the Salish Sea. The islands are known for Pacific Northwest wildlife and rural landscapes. Orcas Island has a horseshoe shape, and is one of the primary islands. It is home to Mt. Constitution and an important old-growth forest of Moran State Park. The islands offer a one-of-a-kind experience for all who visit, from Orca Whale watching to hiking through lush-green forests to taking a drive along the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway, visitors will find beautiful entertainment around every corner. Visitors should also check out the fine art galleries and charming boutiques at Eastsound, Friday Harbor, and Lopez Village.
640 Mullis Street, Friday Harbor, WA, Phone: 360-378-3277
15. Seattle Aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium is a large, public aquarium that first opened its doors in the year of 1977, located along Elliott Bay’s waterfront, on Pier 59 in Seattle, Washington. It is considered to be the region’s top resource for conservation education and hands-on marine experiences. The aquarium offers exciting, fun ways to learn more about the Puget Sound and the world’s one large ocean. In 2007, the aquarium added an additional 18,000 square feet to the facility, which included a marvelous 120,000-gallon exhibit, café, gift shop, meeting and event spaces, and much more. The six major exhibits include; Marine Mammals, the Underwater Dome, Birds & Shores, Pacific Coral Reef, Life on the Edge, and Window on Washington Waters.
1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA, Phone: 206-386-4300
16. Seattle Art Museum
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The Seattle Art Museum is an impressive art museum that is situated along 1st Avenue in downtown Seattle, Washington. The museum maintains a few major facilities; the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill, the open Olympic Sculpture Park on the Seattle waterfront, and its main museum within the downtown area. Some of the museum’s current exhibits include In This Imperfect Present Moment, and Claire Partington: Taking Tea; past exhibits include Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India, and Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis, Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, and Will Wilson. The SAM Shop features locally-made jewelry, Native carvings, ceramics, textiles, children’s toys, and books for sale.
1300 1st Avenue, Seattle, WA, Phone: 206-654-3100
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17. Seattle Great Wheel
The Seattle Great Wheel is a massive Ferris wheel that is located at Pier 57, on the Elliott Bay waterfront in Seattle, Washington. When the Great Wheel opened in June of 2012, it was recognized as the tallest of its kind on the United States’ West Coast, measuring in at a total height of 175 feet. This is a must-visit attraction for those visiting Seattle for the first time. This iconic landmark will offer its riders views of the city like never before. Every gondola can hold up to eight people, providing an incredible ride that will light up the night sky.
1301 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA, Phone: 206-623-8607
18. Smith Tower
Smith Tower is a 484-foot-tall skyscraper that is situated along 2nd Avenue in Pioneer Square, in downtown Seattle, Washington. The 38-story tower was completed in the year of 1914, making it the city’s oldest skyscraper. During the time of the tower’s completion, it was recognized as one of the tallest skyscrapers in the United States, outside of New York City. This iconic tower offers its visitors breathtaking, panoramic views of the city and beyond. The ground floor is equipped with an area that offers treats, souvenirs, and gifts; there also historical exhibits on display for visitors to peruse. The tower is also equipped with a speakeasy-style bar and an open-air observation deck.
506 2nd Avenue, Seattle, WA, Phone: 206-624-0414
19. Space Needle
The Space Needle is a high-rise observation tower that is located in the heart of Seattle, Washington. The tower is one of the most recognized landmarks in the Pacific Northwest, and a major icon in the city of Seattle. It was built within the Seattle Center, for the World’s Fair in 1962, which drew in over 2.3 million visitors; approximately 20,000 people used the elevators each day during the event. Visitors will the chance to experience exciting thrills, as well as take in breathtaking views between the lower level’s all-glass floor, and the upper level’s floor-to-ceiling glass. Visitors can also grab some souvenirs and girts one their way out at the Spacebase Gift Shop.
400 Broad Street, Seattle, WA, Phone: 206-905-2100
20. The Bloedel Reserve
© The Bloedel Reserve
The Bloedel Reserve is a gorgeous, 150-acre forest garden that is located on Bainbridge Island, Washington. This wonder of nature was created by the vision, imagination, and passionate love for the natural world that is shared by founders, Virginia and Prentice Bloedel. Working with the natural geography of the reserve’s land, they artfully transformed this rough-hewn Pacific Northwest forest into a wonderfully-harmonious collection of curated gardens, distinctive landscapes, and structural features, with nature being the canvas and paint. The Bloedel Reserve is internationally-recognized for its preserved forests, natural gardens, and refined gardens, as well as for its environmental stewardship over its picturesque, 150-acre property.
7571 Northeast Dolphin Drive, Bainbridge Island, WA, Phone: 206-842-7631
21. The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, commonly referred to as the Ballard Locks, are locks that are located on Salmon Bay’s west end, along the ship canal of Lake Washington in Seattle, Washington. They’re situated between the waterfront neighborhoods of Magnolia and Ballard. This National Historic Site is one of the nation’s major tourist attractions; where visitors can see small boats and large ships up close, view migrating salmon during the summer months, stroll through a world-class botanical garden, and explore the visitor center/museum. The locks are home to a number of summer activities, some of which include weddings, picnics, and summer concerts.
3015 Northwest 54th Street, Seattle, WA, Phone: 206-780-2500
22. The Museum of Flight
The Museum of Flight is a non-profit, private space and air museum that is located within the Pacific Northwest, in Seattle, Washington. Visitors will find the museum situated at the very southern end of the King County International Airport, just south of downtown Seattle. The museum was established in the year of 1965, and fully-accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. There’s a large collection of spacecraft, aircraft, objects and artifacts, and exhibits on display for visitors to check out. Some of which include the Lockheed M-21 Blackbird, NASA Full Fuselage Trainer, XCOR Lync Spaceplane, the Lunar Focus exhibit, Apollo 17 Mission Models, and 737 Airliner Theater.
9404 East Marginal Way South, Seattle, WA, Phone: 206-764-5700
23. Tillicum Village
Tillicum Village is a tourist attraction that is located on Blake Island, within the Pacific Northwest. The island is a Washington State Park, located in the Puget Sound. The island is only accessible by boat, and is just off of the coast of Seattle, Washington. The Tillicum Excursion is operated by Argosy Cruises, which offers a four-hour cruise that leaves out of Pier 55. Visitors will have the chance to explore the beautiful 475-acre island, eat Northwest-inspired flavors, and listen to Northwest Native American stories. The experience includes a fire-roasted fish buffet – prepared traditionally, a decorated Tillicum longhouse, authentic Coast Salish totems, and a gift shop. Visitors will also have plenty of scenic beaches and trails to explore.
Blake Island, Port Orchard, WA, Phone: 206-623-1445
24. Vashon Island
Vashon Island is the largest of the islands within the Puget Sound that are south of the Admiralty Inlet, in King County, Washington. Part of the island’s allure is its lack of day-trippers. Visitors will definitely want to convert themselves to island time as they prepare to explore its woodsy trails, sandy beaches, and charming galleries. Visitors can start their days off with a warm cup of coffee from the Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie, before grabbing a quick bite from The Monkey Tree. Then it’s off to shop the day away at Heron’s Nest, Kronos, and the Giraffe. Visitors can end the day with a tasty spicy ginger martini at Gusto Girls.
17141 Vashon Highway Southwest, Vashon, WA, Phone: 206-463-6217
25. Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience is a fascinating history museum that displays the art, history, and culture of the Asian Pacific Americans that are located within Seattle, Washington’s Chinatown-International District, which was founded in 1967. Admission includes all-day gallery access to Museum exhibitions, as well as a 45-minute guided Historic Hotel Tour. Some of the museum’s current exhibitions include Worlds Beyond Here: The Expanding Universe of APA Science Fiction, A Dragon Lives Here, and Vietnam in the Rearview Mirror. Past exhibitions include Our Roots Run Deep and Broad, Cambodian Cultural Museum and Killing Field Memorial, and Honoring our Journey.
719 South King Street, Seattle, WA, Phone: 206-623-5124
What are the 25 Best Places to Visit in Puget Sound (Pacific Northwest)?
The 25 Best Places to Visit in Puget Sound (Pacific Northwest) according to local experts are: