Top 10 off-the-beaten-path places to see in Seattle


Larry Wong

One of the many beautiful views you’ll get when visiting the neighborhood of Ballard in Seattle.

By Stefanie Wong, Staff Writer

Seattle is known for its unique architecture and music scene. When tourists visit this beautiful city, they visit the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and the original Starbucks location. Many people don’t dive deeper into Seattle and get to see the many wondrous places it offers. Read on for 10 very different and off-the-beaten-path places to see in Seattle.

1. Fremont Troll
The Fremont Troll is a public sculpture of a troll based on the fairytale, the Three Billy Goats Gruff. He is seen clutching onto a Volkswagen Beetle as if it were swiped from the road. Four Seattle artists, Steve Badanes, Will Martin, Donna Walter, and Ross Whitehead created it in 1990 as an art competition piece. The Troll is located under the north end of the George Washington Memorial Bridge. It’s set in a fun and quirky neighborhood that pays tribute to it every Halloween with a ‘Troll-o-ween’ party. Every Halloween, a birthday party is held for the Fremont Troll called Troll-o-ween. The celebration starts at 7 p.m. with performances, Scottish folktales, a costume contest, a dance party, and so much more.

2. Burke-Gilman Trail
The Burke-Gilman Trail is a popular trail for locals to walk, run, cycle, skate or picnic. It’s a 27-mile trail that offers beautiful views and the opportunity to see different areas of Seattle’s King County. The trail was originally founded on April 15, 1885 by 10 men including Thomas Burke and Daniel Gilman. Since the founding, the trail has extended and starts in the neighborhood of Ballard and goes till outside of Seattle in the city of Bothell.

3. Top Pot Doughnuts
Instead of going to the nearest Starbucks, why not try Top Pot Doughnuts in the neighborhood of Capitol Hill. It’s a local coffee and doughnut café that opened in February 2002. It has since opened a total of 18 café locations throughout the Puget Sound area as well as three in Texas. While it may just seem like an ordinary doughnut and coffee shop, it is the official doughnut at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, home to the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders.

4. Kerry Park
Kerry Park is a fairly small park that sits on top of Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. Albert and Mary Kerry donated the park to the city in 1927. It offers one of Seattle’s most popular and beautiful views of the Seattle skyline. Guests get the view of the Space Needle, downtown Seattle, Elliot Bay, and Mount Rainier. Many locals go to enjoy the view, picnic, take photos for school dances, or even spend time with family.

5. Sunset Hill Park
Make a day of driving through the beautiful Seattle neighborhoods. It’s located in the northwest corner of the neighborhood of Ballard. There are amazing views of Shilshole Bay, Elliot Bay and the Olympic Mountains. It offers more of a nature view of Seattle rather than what you may see at Kerry Park.

6. Ballard
Instead of venturing around downtown Seattle, take a stroll through the neighborhood of Ballard located in the northwestern part of Seattle. It has a maritime history and a strong Scandinavian heritage. Ballard was originally a Scandinavian seafaring community because of the salmon fishing opportunities. While the neighborhood has changed, the community celebrates the Ballard SeafoodFest and Norwegian Constitution Day (also known as Syttende Mai) on May 17 to commemorate the signing of the Norwegian Constitution. It offers a vast array of restaurants, numerous craft breweries, different shops, and hosts a weekly Sunday market.

7. Magnuson Park
Magnuson Park was formerly a naval station that has turned into the second-largest park in Seattle. It offers picnic areas, beach access with a swimming area, sail boating, paths to walk and cycle, sports fields, and a dog park that allows owners to let their dogs off the leash. During the summertime, Magnuson Park hosts outdoor movies that are dog friendly, food trucks, live entertainment, and trivia.

8. Mercer Slough Nature Park
A little bit of a drive outside of Seattle, but well worth the time spent is Mercer Slough Nature Park. It’s located east of Seattle in the city of Bellevue. It offers a variety of recreational activities such as biking, canoeing, blueberry picking, hiking, and environmental education. Mercer Slough is Lake Washington’s largest remaining wetland with hundreds of plant species and more than 170 species of wildlife. It’s the perfect place to rent a canoe, paddle around, and look for otters.

9. Theo Chocolate
Theo Chocolate is located in the northwestern part of Seattle in the neighborhood Fremont. It is the first organic fair trade certified cocoa producer in the United States. Theo Chocolate not only is store but also is the factory itself and offers tours daily for $5 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

10. Stan Sayres Memorial Pits
Known to the locals as Stan Sayres Memorial Pits but known to the public as Stan Sayres Memorial Park, this is a great location to get out on the water and canoe, kayak, and sailboat. It’s a great play to enjoy the water and the view. Every year during the first week of August, one of the most popular events in Seattle occurs, the Seafair Hydroplane Races. Seafair is one of the city’s oldest traditions in which the world’s fastest powerboats race on the waters of Lake Washington as the U.S. Navy Blue Angels fly overhead. There are activities, food vendors, live entertainment, and interactive booths.