Top Landmarks Walking Tour in Seattle (Self Guided), Seattle

Seattle is known all over the world for its internationally recognized landmarks. It has amazing monuments, spectacular architecture, and impressive religious sights. Take this walking tour to explore some of the most beautiful landmarks in Seattle.
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Top Landmarks Walking Tour in Seattle Map

Guide Name: Top Landmarks Walking Tour in Seattle
Guide Location: USA » Seattle (See other walking tours in Seattle)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Author: doris
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Pike Place Market
  • Olympic Tower
  • Seaboard Building
  • Ben Bridge Clock
  • Coliseum Theater Building
  • Paramount Theatre
  • Eagles Auditorium Building
  • Rainier Tower
  • Arctic Building
  • Frye Art Museum
  • Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
Pike Place Market

1) Pike Place Market (must see)

This farmers market has operated continuously since its establishment in 1907, making it the oldest market in operation in the USA. The facility has over 10 million visitors each year who come to browse and buy the unique products available at the many quaint stores.

Pike Place Market is built at the edge of a steep hill overlooking the Elliot Bay waterfront. The market has one main level at the summit and many lower levels. The market also has some of the last remaining Head Shops in Seattle. Head shops sell utensils and instruments, like rolling machines and vaporizers, used for legally consuming cannabis and other drugs. Other products available here include antiques, fish, fresh farm produce, crafts, comic books and artwork. The market also has small restaurants and eateries serving an array of cuisines, including American northwest cuisine. Entertainment at the venue is provided by Buskers or amateur musicians who create a festive atmosphere for visitors.

The market also has residential quarters housing over 500 residents. In the past, the market had low-income residents but today high-end residential apartments are also found. The facility is run by the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority. The market drew thousands of visitors in 2007 when it celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Why You Should Visit:
One of Seattle's highlights – includes beautiful views of the harbor from various market venues, great authentic local restaurants & shops, colorful produce & food stands, and even great bakeries.

A must-see is the kiosk famous for “fish throwing” to a willing customer. This area can get crowded, but just be patient and you'll get your picture/video.
This kiosk is right next to a medium size statue called Rachel the Pig, which makes for a good photo opportunity too.
Bathrooms are available in different areas, just make sure you follow the sign.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-1am
Sight description based on wikipedia
Olympic Tower

2) Olympic Tower (must see)

The Olympic Tower, originally known as the United Shopping Tower, then the Northwestern Mutual Insurance Building, and later, the Olympic Savings Tower, is a historic 12-story office tower located in Seattle, Washington and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was originally built in 1929 at the Southwest corner of Third Avenue and Pine Street for the United Pacific Corporation under the control of Seattle investment firm Drumheller, Ehrlichman and White. It was designed by Henry Bittman who would also design additions to the building in 1939.

The building consists of a ten-story reinforced concrete and terracotta tower set back from 3rd Avenue but flush with Pine Street, on top of a three-story (originally two-story) base that fills the 113-by-108-foot (34 by 33 m) lot. Large windows consist a large part of the facade bringing natural light into almost every interior space. It was reported at the time of construction that the shopping tower had more glass in proportion to its size than any other building in Seattle.

The building's original purpose was to house retail tenants, one per floor with a tea room on the tenth floor. The building was an early incarnation of the indoor shopping center and the only of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. Also in the original plans, grass was to be planted on the roof of the second floor for a putting green owned by a sporting goods store on the third floor (the base of the tower). By the end of 1932, the retail concept proved to be a failure and the building was converted into offices for the Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company. It later housed the headquarters for the Olympic Savings Bank, after whose closure in 1994 was sold to private investors and converted into office space. The building became a City of Seattle Landmark on May 18, 1987.

Why You Should Visit:
To see a classic example of Art Deco architecture reflecting the luxury & glamour of roughly a century ago.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Seaboard Building

3) Seaboard Building (must see)

The Seaboard Building in Seattle located on Westlake Avenue in the Central Business District is an eleven-floor high rise steel building with a terracotta façade. The 100,000 square foot building has both office and residential spaces.

The first tenant of the Seaboard building when construction was complete in 1909 was the Northern Bank and Trust Company. Today, the first five floors are used by offices while the higher floors have 25 residential condominium units. The building was given City Landmark status in 1989. The design of the construction is in the Art Nouveau, Beaux art style. The highlight of the lobby is its ornate ceiling and moldings. Extensive renovations were carried out to make the interiors modern and suitable to modern tenants. Some of the recent changes to the building include a U shaped light well and addition of a penthouse floor. The top four floors now have luxury condominiums with large windows overlooking the Seattle cityscape. The condominiums also have newly redecorated kitchens with the finest available modern appliances.

The unique architecture of the 100-year-old Seattle Landmark Seaboard Building draws many visitors. The structure is an important location in the city and walking tours around Seattle’s landmarks always bring visitors to view its elegant architectural style.

Why You Should Visit:
Located in downtown, close to Pike Place Market, Belltown and the waterfront, with easy access to the wealth of great urban amenities of Seattle.
Ben Bridge Clock

4) Ben Bridge Clock

Ben Bridge Clock is one of Seattle's most famous and beautiful landmarks. It is the last clock remaining in Pike Street. Ben Bridge was installed in 1912 and renovated in 1980.
Coliseum Theater Building

5) Coliseum Theater Building

The Coliseum Theater, a former cinema in Seattle, Washington, opened January 8, 1916. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, and is also an official Seattle city landmark. Designed by B. Marcus Priteca, it was Seattle's first theater built specifically for showing movies, and was one of the first cinemas anywhere to strive for architectural grandeur. When it opened, it was advertised as "the world’s largest and finest photo-play palace." In 1931, the Journal of the Royal Institute of Architects called it "the first of the world's movie palaces." The exterior features elaborate terra cotta work, and the original interior was comparably ornate. When it opened in the silent film era, it boasted a 7-piece orchestra plus an organist; the giant organ was made by Moller, and the musicians—all Russians—were reputed to be the highest-paid movie theater musicians in the country. Anita King attended the opening night to give a speech dedicating the theater. The Coliseum continued as a first-run theater into the late 1970s, and continued to show films until 1990. In 1995, the building was rehabilitated as a Banana Republic Shopping Center.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Paramount Theatre

6) Paramount Theatre

Located in 9th Avenue and Pine Street, the Paramount Theatre of Seattle finds a place in the National Register of Historic Places in the USA. The theater is owned by and run by the nonprofit group called the Seattle Theatre Group.

The Paramount Pictures company of Hollywood established theaters in almost every city in the US to expand its distribution base. In 1928 the Paramount Theatre in Seattle opened its doors to movie goers. Cornelius W and George L Rapp of Chicago designed the theater while the apartments and offices around the theater were the architectural creation of Seattle-based Benjamin Marcus Priteca.

The theater auditorium has nearly 4000 seats and the first convertible floor in the US that transforms the theater into a ballroom. There is also an original installation Wurlitzer theater pipe organ. From its early years as a movie theater, the building has now become a major performing arts venue hosting major shows and music concerts.

The main floor of the theater known as the orchestra level has free standing chairs in the orchestra pit. The facility also offers balcony seating and cabaret style main floor seating. Major music performances held here included the 1972 gig by Grateful Dead and Madonna’s early concerts.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Eagles Auditorium Building

7) Eagles Auditorium Building

One of the many Seattle Buildings that finds a place in the National Register of Historic Buildings, the Eagles Auditorium Building was a place where a group of theater owners fraternized. The building remains one of the most beautiful terra cotta structures in the city.

The Fraternal Order of Eagles, an organization that aimed to make human life more meaningful by lessening its ills and promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope had its roots in the business community of Seattle. The ideals of the society spread all across the US. The auditorium building is the symbol of the ideals of the fraternal organization.

Henry Bittman, a Seattle based architect who designed several terra cotta buildings in the city, designed The Eagles Auditorium building. In 1925, the building became the grand lodge of the fraternity. It later served as the Unity Church of Truth. The building has hosted music and other events in recent times and also goes down in history as one of the many places where Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in 1961. Today, the auditorium houses the ACT theater, 2 stages, 2 cabarets and 44 residential apartments.

The location of the Eagles Auditorium Building is 1416, 7th Avenue and is now known as the Kreielsheimer Place. Visitors are still welcome to view portions of the building and will be fascinated by the unique architecture of the structure and the philanthropic purpose of the fraternity that started it all.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Rainier Tower

8) Rainier Tower

The Rainier Tower in the Metropolitan tract of Seattle at 150 Fifth Avenue towers above an underground shopping mall called the Rainier Park. Both get their name from Rainier Bank that later merged with Security Pacific that later became the Bank of America.

The unique feature of the tower is its shape. The 31 story skyscraper stands on top of an 11 storey pedestal that gives the structure the appearance of an upside down pyramid. The tower stands on 25% of its site at the bottom and the high rise structure stands on a narrow pedestal. The intention was to allow maximum space for retail around the block. Minoru Yamasaki, a Seattle born architect designed the tower and the Pacific Science Center. The building stands on the site of the former White Henry Stuart Building that was a landmark in Seattle till it was torn down to make way for the Rainier Tower.

The unusual design of the building is bound to inspire awe in visitors to Seattle and high rise building enthusiasts. A pedestrian concourse connects Rainier tower with other properties around and shelters visitors during bad weather. The location has a range of well known shops featuring the finest brands of clothing and luxury items and restaurants that offer a variety of delectable fare from an array of cuisines.
Arctic Building

9) Arctic Building

A. Warren Gould, one of the best known architects in Seattle was commissioned to build this imposing white building known as the Arctic Building. The 9 story structure made of cream white terra cotta was completed in 1916 and is another of Seattle’s architectural gems that finds a place in the National Register of Historical Buildings.

The Arctic Building began as the official meeting place of the members of the Arctic Club and remained the home of the institution till it was dissolved in 1971. The members of the Arctic Club consisted of men who had struck gold in the Yukon Gold Rush. The cream facade with walrus heads remains a symbol of those who did not return from the gold rush empty handed.

The building was built of steel reinforced concrete with terra cotta panels in white, submarine blue and orange. The club once had a lady’s tea room, private dining rooms, card rooms, billiard rooms, bowling alley, barber shop and an elegant roof garden. The elegant main meeting room with an ornate ceiling still remains.

Today the Arctic club has become an office building with commercial establishments occupying all the spaces including those once reserved for Arctic Club members. Visitors are welcome in normal business hours and location of the building is 306, Cherry Street Seattle.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Frye Art Museum

10) Frye Art Museum (must see)

Seattle’s first free art museum, the Frye first housed the art collection of Charles and Emma Frye. The couple had a collection of over 230 painting and Charles Frye gave the money to build the museum under his will.

The Frye art museum was designed by the architect Paul Thiry within the strict instructions of the will of Charles Frye, the owner of a successful meat packing industry. The art collection belonging to the Fryes was to be constantly displayed in rooms of a specific size with cement floors and lighting specified under the terms of the will. The Frye testament also required that no charge could be made for admission. The museum was opened to the public in 1952.

The Frye art collection consisted of late 19th-century and early 20th-century German art and some Italian and other European dramatic and psychological paintings. Subsequently, several art pieces were purchased or added to the first collection by a succession of trustees. The museum also hosts art lectures, classes and storytelling sessions. The location of Frye Art Museum is on First Hill at 904 Terry Avenue.

Art lovers will enjoy a visit to this free art museum. The institution organizes guided tours, music discussions and concerts and the tea and tour sessions where visitors can discuss their experience in the museum with the curators over tea.

Why You Should Visit:
Very comfortable museum, professional permanent & temporary exhibits and friendly staff.
Very eclectic as well, as they have started putting more new art on display – even some Pop Surrealism.
The museum cafe serves fresh sandwiches, salads & soups, and the staff there is well organized and friendly.

Make sure to pick up the book of identification in the permanent/core room so you know who the artist is and the name of each piece.

Operation Hours:
Tue, Wed, Fri-Sun: 11am-5pm; Thu: 11am-7pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

11) Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (must see)

Named after the first Asian American elected to public office in the American Northwest, the Wing Luke museum opened in 1967 in a small storefront in 8th Avenue Seattle.

The Wing Luke Museum later purchased the Kong Yick East building and employed Olson Kundig Architects to renovate the old building to accommodate the museum’s growing collection of exhibits. The museum now hosts meetings of the Asian Community, theater performances, art exhibitions of emerging Asian American artists and family oriented learning programs. The original building was built by Chinese laborers as a meeting place for early Chinese emigrants in 1910.

The museum showcases Asian American folk art, photographs, oral histories, video histories and a library. Permanent exhibits show the journey of Asian American emigrants in the Pacific Northwest, the story of Wing Luke, the history of the Seattle Chinatown and its surroundings and community portrait galleries showing the stories of different Asian communities including Indian Americans, Vietnamese Americans and a Cambodian cultural museum with a special memorial for those who perished in Pol Pot’s Killing Fields.

The Wing Luke Museum is open to the public and the library is open Monday through Saturday. The museum shop features an array of Asian American crafts and has books on the Asian American experience. Asian visitors and visitors from all over the world will learn a great deal from the museum about the life and times of Asian immigrants to the American Pacific Northwest.

Why You Should Visit:
Great museum for history buffs and Asiaphiles.
They also have a really cute gift shop – don't forget to take a peek before leaving.

The docent-led tours of the private rooms are by far the most captivating part of the museum – well worth it.
Their culinary themed tours are seasonal and often sell out. Note: this is by advance reservation and payment and a separate event from visiting the main museum area and the docent-led tour.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-5pm

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