Things to Do in Seattle

Seattle has a lot to offer disabled travelers. Most of the city’s popular tourist attractions are accessible to wheelchair users. Sit atop the Space Needle, ride Seattle’s Great Wheel, or roll through the lively Pike Place Market. In this guide, I share my experiences accessing those attractions and more in my wheelchair. Many are free, while others require paid admission. You can save quite a bit of money (nearly 50%!) and support my blog in the process by purchasing the Seattle CityPASS. The CityPASS is a ticket that grants you admission to many of the city’s popular things to do. In the list of attractions below, I’ve made sure to label which ones are part of the pass.

Public Transportation:  Getting around on the Seattle public transportation system is easy, and can take you to all of the places I’ve written about below. For each attraction, I have included the nearest Link Light Rail station, city bus stop or street car stop.

View from the top of the Space Needle

Space Needle (CityPASS)

The Space Needle is the icon of Seattle, and a place you’ll definitely want to visit. It was built for the 1962 World’s Fair, and stands at 605 feet tall (to the top of its spire). The needle contains an observation deck at 520 feet, where you’ll get incredible views of the city skyline, Mount Rainier, and Elliott Bay! You can take in the sights while sipping a drink inside (where the photo above was taken), or venture outside to the open-air viewing deck. There are a few steps down to the outside viewing platform, but an electronic stair lift transports wheelchair users down ‘(and back up) the stairs safely. One level below is the incredible SkyCity revolving restaurant, which will give you a true 360-degree view of the city while you eat.

If you purchase the CityPASS, you’ll get access to the Space Needle for both daytime and night views – two chances to access the incredible view within 24 hours. More information is available at
Subway Metro Icon Nearest STREET CAR station:  0.6 miles from Westlake Ave. & 9th Ave.

Seattle Aquarium (CityPASS)

The Seattle Aquarium first opened in 1977 and is located on Pier 59 along Elliott Bay. Attracting more than 800,000 visitors per year, the aquarium is the 9th largest in the United States by attendance. A large collection of animal species are housed across six major exhibits: Window on Washington Waters, Life on the Edge, Pacific Coral Reef, Birds & Shores, the Underwater Dome, and Marine Mammals. The Window on Washington Waters exhibit features a 120,000-gallon take with multiple daily dive shows.

My experience at the Seattle Aquarium was extremely positive. It was located on the water and close to several other attractions, including the Puget Sound Harbor Cruise launching point. The exhibits and pathways throughout were wheelchair accessible, as were the bathroom facilities, gift shop, ticket counter, etc. The aquarium was a great place to spend a couple hours interacting with wildlife! Tickets for adults are $22.95, but there is a $2.00 discount for persons with disabilities. You can get a much larger discount on the 5-attraction Seattle CityPASS. For more information on visiting the aquarium and its exhibits, check out its website at
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Link station:  4 blocks from University Street

Seattle Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Established in 1907 and sitting on the bank of Lake Washington, Pike Place Market is Seattle’s most popular public market. Inside, you’ll find stands selling fish, baked goods, produce, specialty items and more. There are more than 80 restaurants located within the market or just a short walk away. The Pike Place Market is an excellent place to spend a portion of a day — or all of it!  There is a beautiful (but small) park right next to the market and along the waterfront, offering incredible views of the Pacific Northwest scenery.

Wheelchair access through the market is good. Some of the neighboring streets are composed of cobblestone, but remain passable to wheelchair users. Sidewalks can be crowded, but people will move out of the way. Wheelchair accessible restrooms are available. For more information on the market, hours and its tenants, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Link station:  3 blocks from Westlake

Original Starbucks Coffee Shop

The Original Starbucks Coffee Shop

Opened in 1971, the original Starbucks in Pike Place Market has grown into a worldwide coffee empire. The original coffee shop, located at 1st & Pike Place, attracts Starbucks fans from across the globe. Pair a visit to the original Starbucks with a trip to the historic Pike Place Market. Will you have a tall, grande or venti size drink?
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Link station:  3 blocks from Westlake

Puget Sound Harbor Cruise & Tillicum Village (CityPASS)

The Puget Sound Harbor Cruise, included with the CityPASS, is a one-hour long, narrated cruise of Elliott Bay and the Seattle Harbor. You’ll get a panoramic view of the city skyline, surrounding shipyards and the Cascade and Olympic Mountain Ranges. Is one hour not enough? Check out Tillicum Village instead. Tillicum Village is one of the must-see Seattle attractions listed in countless travel guide books. The tour, offered by Argosy Cruises, allows visitors to experience the Northwest’s tribal culture. Tours of the village last four hours (including transit by cruise with a guided tour) and include a Native American Salmon Bake and performance on Blake Island. The cost for adults is $79.95 plus tax (72.95 for seniors 65+). If you purchase the City Pass, it is possible to upgrade the included Puget Sound Harbor Cruise ticket to the Tillicum Village tour for an additional $52.00. This increases the value of the City Pass and includes access to many of Seattle’s top premium attractions.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Link station:  4 blocks from University Street

The Experience Music Project at the Seattle Center. Photo by Cacophony.

The Museum of Pop Culture (CityPASS)

Formerly the EMP Museum, MoPOP is dedicated to contemporary popular culture. Explore some of the most significant moments in music, science fiction, fantasy, horror, sports and video games in the museum’s colorful Frank Gehry designed building!
Subway Metro Icon Nearest STREETCAR station:  0.6 miles from Westlake Ave. & 9th Ave.

5th Avenue Theatre

Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre showcases local talent in musical theatre performances Wednesday through Saturday. The theatre is a top rated venue with highly touted productions. Wheelchair accessible seating is available on the orchestra level at stage left and stage right. Free tours of the theatre, which offer insight into its history, are available on Mondays at 12:00 p.m. For more information on the theatre, show schedules, tickets or free tours, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Link station: 2 blocks from University Street

Olympic Sculpture Park

Opened in 2007, the Olympic Sculpture Park sits on land formally owned by the oil company Unocal. The park is operated by the Seattle Art Museum and is free to access. Many of the sculptures are permanent installations, while others are on temporary display. The park looks out over Lake Washington and is one of the few green spaces in the downtown area. For more information on the park and the sculptures on display, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Link station:  1 mile from Westlake

Seattle's Great Wheel

Seattle Great Wheel

The largest ferris wheel on the West Coast of the United States, the Seattle Great Wheel stands 175 feet tall. Located on Pier 57, the wheel offers excellent views of Lake Washington and the city’s skyline. The wheel is composed of 42 enclosed gondolas, which keep out the winter cold or rainfall/snow. The wheel and gondolas can be accessed by users or both manual and powered wheelchairs. Tickets are available for $13.00 per person. Discounted tickets for seniors are available, but only at the pier’s ticket booth. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Link station:  4 blocks from University Street

Woodland Park Zoo (CityPASS)

Discover gorillas, elephants, lions, birds, snakes, turtles and more at a top award-winning zoo. See penguins “fly” underwater along a desert coast. Enjoy squealing Asian small-clawed otters. Explore Zoomazium’s nature play space.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest BUS route:  5/21 (20 minutes to/from downtown)

Pacific Science Center (CityPASS)

Washington’s leading institution for fun and engaging learning for children, families and guests of all ages. Explore hundreds of interactive exhibits, wander among fluttering butterfiles, touch live marine animals, explore distant galaxies and immerse yourself in a giant-screen IMAX® movie.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest STREETCAR station:  0.6 miles from Westlake Ave. & 9th Ave.

The Museum of Flight (CityPASS)

The history of aviation and aerospace comes alive at The Museum of Flight! Walk the aisles of Air Force One and the Concorde. Stand beneath the Blackbird spy plane. Marvel at the heroics of WWI and WWII. Plus, flight simulators, 3-D movies, the Space Shuttle Trainer, and a celebration of Amelia Earhart.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest BUS route:  124 (30 minutes to/from downtown)

A KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 787 on the assembly line at the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington.

Boeing Aircraft Factory & Museum

Boeing operates the Future of Flight Museum located 25 miles North of Seattle at its factory in Everett, Washington. The museum features exhibits on the history of Boeing, aircraft design, propulsion systems and the future of passenger jets. After visiting the gallery, visitors may partake in a 90 minute tour of the Boeing factory. Witness the construction of Boeing 747s, 777s and the new 787 Dreamliner in the world’s largest building by volume. Wheelchair accessible tours of the factory available, but are only offered at 10:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. If you are able to ascend/descend stairs and walk a distance of one mile, other tour times may be reserved. Reservations, particularly for the wheelchair accessible tours, should be made in advance. For more information on the Future of Flight Museum, the Boeing factory tours or to purchase tickets, visit