Solo travel in Seattle: the best activities for the lone explorer

Discover the best things to do alone in Seattle. Explore the city at your own pace with activities like live music shows and kayaking on Lake Union.

Solo travel in Seattle is one of the best ways to experience the city of rain, coffee, and grunge music. Washington State’s largest city offers an array of activities that cater perfectly to the lone explorer. Traveling alone means you can explore Seattle at your own pace, whether that's sipping on drip coffee, discovering indie bookstores, or hiking.

Meander through Capitol Hill’s hip streets and get lost in cozy bookstores and trendy coffee shops. Explore pop culture at MoPOP, soak up some history with Seattle's best museums, or experience the city's music culture with live shows always happening in the city. And don't forget the outdoors; with mountains and water all around, you're never far from hiking trails or kayaking adventures. When it comes to things to do alone in Seattle, there are endless opportunities to explore Pacific Northwest culture, art, and outdoor activities.

Ready to start planning an amazing solo trip? Here are some of the best activities in Seattle when traveling alone.

1. Explore the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)

Step into a world where pop culture reigns supreme. MoPOP is a kaleidoscope of music, sci-fi, and all things pop culture. Located near the Space Needle, this museum offers interactive exhibits that let you dive deep into your favorite fandoms. You can save on entry to both and some other top attractions with a Seattle CityPASS.

Why it's great for solo travelers:

The interactive nature of the museum allows you to immerse yourself in pop culture without needing a companion to appreciate the nuances.

Address and opening hours:

325 5th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109. Open Thursday-Tuesday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM (closed Wednesdays).

2. Kayak on Lake Union

Lake Union offers a unique vantage point of Seattle's skyline. Rent a kayak from somewhere like the Northwest Outdoor Center and paddle your way through houseboats and scenic vistas. It's a peaceful yet invigorating way to see the city.

Why it's great for solo travelers:

Kayaking alone gives you the freedom to choose your own route, explore hidden nooks of the lake, and experience Seattle’s natural beauty with no distractions. Don't miss the Gas Works Park view from the water.

3. Wander through Capitol Hill

Known for its bohemian vibe, Capitol Hill is a neighborhood that invites exploration. Vintage shops, artisanal cafes, and street art make this area a feast for the senses.

Why it's great for solo travelers:

The neighborhood's eclectic atmosphere is perfect for solo wandering. Make sure to check out the Jimi Hendrix statue and the Volunteer Park Conservatory. An LGBTQIA+ walking tour is a great way to fully immerse yourself in the neighborhood’s vibrant culture.

4. Visit the Seattle Art Museum

Art lovers, rejoice — the Seattle Art Museum is a treasure trove of global art, from European classics to Indigenous masterpieces. There’s plenty to see, with art collections featuring international artists, exciting temporary installations, and themed exhibitions on display.

Why it's great for solo travelers:

The museum's diverse collections mean you can tailor your visit to your interests. Don't miss the Native American galleries, which offer a deep dive into the region's history.

Address and opening hours:

1300 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98101. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.

5. Hike Discovery Park

Craving nature? Discovery Park is an urban oasis. With miles of trails and sweeping views of Puget Sound, it's a breath of fresh air to stroll through one of Seattle’s most popular green spaces.

Why it's great for solo travelers:

The park's extensive trail system lets you choose your adventure, and there’s just something special about a solo walk with nothing but the outdoors surrounding you. Don't miss the Loop Trail for a comprehensive tour of the park's diverse ecosystems.

Address and opening hours:

Seattle, WA 98199. Open every day, 4:00 AM-11:30 PM.

6. Travel from sweet to savory at Pike Place Market

From fresh seafood to artisanal cheese, your taste buds are in for a treat at Pike Place Market. The market is busiest from Thursday to Monday, so for shorter lines and fewer crowds, your best bet is to visit on an off day or in the morning before noon.

Why it's great for solo travelers:

The market's bustling atmosphere is perfect for people-watching. If you want to enrich your culinary exploration of the market, take a food tour and let a chef lead the way.

Address and opening hours:

Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101. Open every day, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM (hours may vary).

7. Take a ferry to Bainbridge Island

Escape the city and hop on a ferry to Bainbridge Island. The 35-minute ride offers stunning views and a chance to explore a charming island community.

Why it's great for solo travelers:

The ferry ride offers a moment of solitude with the added perk of panoramic views. Don't miss the island's Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, a poignant cultural experience.

8. Attend a live music show

Seattle may be the birthplace of grunge, but its music scene is much more diverse. From jazz clubs to indie venues, there's always a beat to follow, and a live performance is a great way to soak in Seattle's creative energy. Take the chance to discover up-and-coming local bands for a truly authentic experience.

Why it's great for solo travelers:

Surrounded by like-minded music lovers, fellow travelers, and Seattle locals, you won't feel alone at any show you visit.

FAQs

Is it safe to travel alone in Seattle?

Yes, Seattle is generally considered a safe city for solo travelers. Like any urban area, staying aware of your surroundings is important, especially in crowded or less well-lit areas. Stick to well-traveled streets and consider using rideshare services or public transportation at night. Always keep your belongings secure. Overall, the city is friendly and welcoming, making it a good destination for those venturing out on their own.

What are some other great things to do alone in Seattle?

Consider visiting the Fremont Troll, an iconic public sculpture, or taking a scenic bike ride through the Olympic Sculpture Park. For a dose of history, an underground tour offers a fascinating look at Seattle's past. If you're a book lover, the Seattle Central Library is an architectural marvel worth exploring. For a quick escape into nature, Alki Beach offers sweeping views of the city skyline.

How do I meet people in Seattle?

Seattleites are known for being friendly but reserved, often described as the "Seattle Freeze." However, there are plenty of ways to meet people. Many cafes and bars have communal tables where you can start a conversation. Joining a group activity or tour can also be a great way to meet like-minded individuals. If you're into the outdoors, consider signing up for a group hike or an organized kayaking trip. There’s always a variety of events happening in Seattle, from book clubs to tech meetups, where you can mingle with locals and other travelers.

What’s the best way to get around on your own in Seattle?

Seattle has a robust public transportation system that includes buses, light rail, and ferries, making it easy to get around without a car. The ORCA card is a convenient way to pay for all modes of public transportation. For shorter distances, walking is often a great option, especially in pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods like Capitol Hill and Downtown. Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are widely available, and for those looking to explore at their own pace, you can find bike rentals and electric scooters throughout the city.