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Seattle Urban Exploring: A Day in Downtown & Georgetown

This fun day in Seattle exploring downtown Georgetown is a great way to explore Seattle beyond the typical tourist destinations.

When I initially moved to Seattle,  typical tourist things were a fun way to spend my weekends. With new friends or sometimes by myself, I visited Pike Place market, the space needle, Bainbridge Island, and the Ballard Locks. Over time, my trips expanded to the favorite destinations of Seattle locals, like the San Juan Islands and Whidbey Island. Recently, however, I’ve been enjoying exploring obscure, off the beaten path adventures in the heart of Seattle. My Seattle day trips series catalogs staycations and adventures that lie within an hour or two of Seattle proper, but today’s itinerary keeps the fun right within the heart of Seattle.

Fun things to do with a free afternoon  in downtown seattle.

Taking Hyper-Local Adventures

Often, we miss out on fun things to do because they seem, well, ordinary! Faraway destinations – or even the PNW islands a few hours away – beckon us with adventure. Sometimes, though, in our excitement, we miss the really interesting, unique, and fascinating things in our own backyard

In this article, I share an itinerary I created after living in downtown Seattle for four years. Before I moved out of the city and took off on my remote work adventure, I wanted to have a fun, local adventure with my friends – sharing with them some of my favorite spots that I had found as a downtown local and exploring some new spaces in Georgetown. This is that itinerary, shared here so others looking for a local day trip in Seattle that’s cheap, interesting, and fun. It’s perfect for a daytime date, staycation, or friend adventure.

Morning: coffee – downtown Seattle’s best coffee shop

Moore Coffee at 2nd and Virginia

Recommended order: Taro root latte, a vibrant purple latte with intricate latte art (cost: about $5)

Seattle has a lot of great coffee shops, but of all the coffee shops I have tried in downtown Seattle, none beat Moore Coffee. At Latinx-owned Moore coffee, you can purchase homemade tamales alongside lattes with the city’s most impressive latte art. Honestly, I would take people here just for the latte art, but I don’t, because the signature roast at this coffee shop is my favorite in the city, and Americanos from the spot were once my favorite treat on the way to work.

Two tattooed forearms on a table with coffee drinks with latte art.

Late morning option one: Free tour: The haunted Moore Theatre

Recommended dates: this tour is free only on the second Saturday at 10 AM

Moore Theatre is one of the oldest live performance theaters in Seattle. Although no longer the grandest, the Moore Theatre has featured headliners for more than 100 years. Like any long-running stage, the Seattle theater has its share of ghost stories – which you can hear for free while touring of theater, once a month on Saturday morning. Pop in after your latte from the Moore coffee shop next door, and be sure to arrive by 10 AM. The free tour meets at the outside entrance and enters at 10 AM sharp.

Late morning Option two: Seattle’s Downtown National Park + Urban Waterfall

Did you know Seattle has a national park downtown? It’s true! The Klondike Gold Rush National Park is a tiny national park located in an old storefront in downtown Seattle. Unlike most national parks, however, the Klondike Gold Rush National Park is free. Pop in to take a free tour and learn about the history of Seattle and the role it played in the gold-mining rush of the 1800s.

Next-door, be sure and check out the UPS waterfall Park. Also free, the UPS waterfall Park is a several story waterfall tucked into a private (but open to the public during business hours) park owned by UPS. This waterfall stands in the location of the very first UPS store and provides a refreshing natural contemplative space in the heart of downtown Seattle.

Ups waterfall park as shown from the street in downtown seattle.

Lunch: enjoying lunch served up by Seattle’s historic restaurants

For lunch, there are actually two great options that are located not too far apart:

Seattle has no shortage of amazing restaurants, but because this Seattle adventure itinerary is all about exploring hidden gems, quirks, and history of Seattle, these 2 lunch options highlight local charm over innovative menus or even yelp reviews:

#1 Juneau restaurant at the Arctic club

For Seattle locals, you’ll know the Arctic club at 700 3rd Ave as “the walrus building). Juneau is the restaurant located on the first floor of this iconic building. I remember being enamored by this particular building when my commute took me past this building every day.

The Arctic building was originally built as a club for the men who made their fortunes in Alaska gold-mining and makes for a great place to enjoy lunch after a trip to the Klondike Gold Rush National Park in Seattle.

Pro tip: be sure to and visit the second-floor ballroom of the Arctic club while you are in the building- you won’t regret it!

Orient express

Though in perhaps a less glamorous location, the Orient Express is an Asian restaurant and bar located partially in decommissioned train cars- but not just any train cars! Included in the collection is Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s train car, which patrons to the restaurant can visit during their meal at this history-laden Seattle restaurant.

Things to do in the afternoon in downtown Seattle:

1. Union station

Like many cities, Seattle has a train station downtown. Unlike many modern cities, Seattle’s downtown train station, called union station, is a beautiful building. Built in 1911, in a style nicknamed “Railroad Italianate,” Seattle’s Union Station is well worth a visit – if only for the incredible Instagram backdrops.

2. Georgetown trailer park mall

You may think you’re a Seattle local, but you haven’t had the full local experience until you visited the Georgetown trailer park mall. This weird and wonderful destination features artists, creators, and collectors located in a collection of- you guessed it- vintage travel trailers.

3. (Not quite) world’s largest hat and boots

I confess I have a bit of an obsession with the world’s largest things, having checked a fork, cowboy boot, and teapot off my list. This giant cowboy hat and cowboy boots are NOT the world’s largest, but they’re certainly impressive and well worth a visit. They can be found in a part in the Georgetown neighborhood near downtown Seattle and located near the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall. The 44 white hat and 22-foot tall boots are located at 6427 Carleton Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108, and are a convenient stop between other destinations on this list.

4. Georgetown Castle

While you’re in the neighborhood, be sure and check out Georgetown Castle, which Atlas Obscura describes as a “allegedly haunted mansion with a tragically tawdry past.”  Technically the Gessner mansion, this castle-like house was once a casino, brothel, and is now a family home. Unfortunately, the house is not open for tours, but is visible from the street and is just a 10-minute walk from the Georgetown trailer park mall and a two-minute walk from the giant Hat and Boots at Oxbow Park.

5. Lakeview Cemetery in Capitol Hill

Visiting cemeteries can feel a bit macabre, but when they are like Lakeview Cemeary the trip is often well worth the creepiness factor when you consider the art and history contained within the walls. In this case, Lakeview Cemetery holds the grave markers of Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee. In addition to their graves, many artistic memorials in this memorial park are worth visiting.

Getting There and Parking tips

This Seattle staycation itinerary adventure is made up of about 10 different locations within the heart of Seattle. Although all of these locations are located within a three-mile radius, walking the full itinerary could be challenging, especially for families with kids.

I recommend navigating by rideshare or by public transportation in order to eliminate the hassle of finding parking in each location.

Printable Itinerary

DOWNTOWN SEATTLE HOME-VENTURE (Downtown + Georgetown)

  • 9:30 meetup at Moore Coffee on 2nd Ave for fancy purple lattes (or green. Or, IDK, brown if you’re boring)
  • (2nd Saturdays only) 10am free tour of Moore Theater (“it doesn’t suck, it’s actually really cool,” says an authoritative source) – arrive early, the group enters at 10.
  • NATIONAL PARK downtown. Yes, it’s a thing!  FREE Klondike Gold Rush National Park 
  • UPS Waterfall Park – FREE & next door to the “park” above.
  • Union Station
  • FOOD – Lunch at Juno @ at the Artic Club (the walrus building!) Be sure and visit the 2nd floor ballroom.
  • FOOD #2 – Orient Express + visit to F. D. Roosevelts train car
  • Georgetown Trailer Park Mall’s independent shops.
  • QUIRKY SIDEQUEST – “Hat N Boots6427 Corson Ave S 
  • Georgetown Castle
  • Lake View Cemetery – Capital Hill – 1554 15th Ave E. – Bruce & Brandon lee’s graves plus other artistic memorials at this site.
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