Visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival north of Seattle is an experience unlike any other in Washington. Fields of endless varieties of tulips and daffodils create a stunning rainbow across the valley floor. It makes for a remarkable contrast to the blue and green earth tones of the Cascade Mountain backdrop — and the perfect setting for sightseeing visitors and amateur photographers alike. No trip to Holland necessary!

Agriculture is big business in this valley, with local farmers producing dozens of crops and animal products here. The area’s maritime climate — cool but not freezing winters that gradually evolve into warm summers — is remarkably similar to that of the Netherlands and is ideal for bulb growth. The slow, cool transition to summer weather provides the plants with months to form large blooms and develop their signature vibrant colors. It’s no surprise that Skagit County is the number one producer of iris, daffodil, and tulip bulbs in the United States.

Seattle is “jet city,” the home of modern aviation in the United States. Here, in 1916, Bill Boeing founded the Pacific Aero Products Co. and began building seaplanes with local spruce wood. Today, over 100 years later, the Boeing Company remains a major part of Seattle’s economy and workforce. Visiting the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle is one of the best ways to experience and appreciate our region’s long history of aviation.

About 9 miles (15 km) south of downtown, the Museum of Flight features a massive hangar packed full of aircraft old and new. The place is so big that it even makes a modern 787 Dreamliner look small. As the largest independent non-profit air and space museum in the world, the Museum of Flight has something for everyone, and we think it’s one of the coolest tourist attractions in Seattle.

Aircraft on display while visiting the Museum of Flight in Seattle

The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the world’s most diverse and fascinating aquatic life, so it’s no surprise that visiting the Seattle Aquarium is a favorite activity for many tourists. It’s ranked as one of the five most-visited paid attractions in the Puget Sound area and is one of the top 10 most-visited aquaria in the United States.

We especially enjoy the Seattle Aquarium for its interactive experiences. The “Life on the Edge” tide pool exhibit is one of the few places we’ve ever visited that actually encourages visitors to get hands-on with the aquatic life. Kids and adults alike can feel sea cucumbers, sea urchins, sea stars, and more. The Aquarium is also well-staffed with engaging guides and caretakers who are eager to explain the displays and answer questions.

Thinking about including the Aquarium in your Seattle plans? Here’s everything you need to know for your visit.

Visiting the Seattle Aquarium

You can’t spend more than a few minutes at Seattle Center before running into the mammoth metallic Museum of Pop Culture. If you took the Monorail from downtown, you went right through it! Originally opened in 2000 as the Experience Music Project (EMP) by Microsoft co-founder and local billionaire Paul Allen, the museum has rebranded several times over the years and is now MoPOP, a collection of exhibits touching on music, TV, film, and gaming.

Many of MoPOP’s exhibits, from the indie video game collection to the Sound Lab of musical instruments, are highly interactive, making it a great place to bring kids and teens. It’s a charming mix of geek culture and rock and roll — a uniquely Seattle experience.

"If VI was IX" sculpture seen while visiting MoPOP in Seattle
“If VI was IX” sculpture

One of our favorite activities when we travel is enjoying local museums and art. We think the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is the perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon when visiting the city. SAM houses a diverse collection of art old and new and easily provides several hours of entertainment in a comfortable and spacious setting. It’s also just one block from Pike Place Market, making for a convenient stop on a day of Seattle sightseeing.

Thinking about including Seattle Art Museum in your travel plans? Here’s everything you need to know for your visit. Check out the KAYAK Seattle travel guide for more Seattle vacation ideas, too.

Native art at Seattle Art Museum