Take a stroll along the Waterfront

The Seattle Waterfront runs from the Pioneer Square shore roughly northwest past Downtown Seattle, ending at the Broad Street site of the Olympic Sculpture Park. The Waterfront was once the hub of Seattle's maritime activity. Now there are several parks, an aquarium, and an over-water hotel.

Some docks remain on the Central Waterfront, under the authority of the Port of Seattle, including a cruise ship dock, ferry terminals, and a fireboat dock. There are many piers that remind visitors of the waterfront's past status as the heart of a port, and a handful of businesses have remained in operation since that time.

Pier 50 and Pier 52 are operating terminals of Washington State Ferries. Passenger-only ferry service runs from Pier 50 to Vashon Island, while ferries carrying both vehicles and passengers run from Pier 52 to Bainbridge Island and Bremerton. Pier 53, is the site of Seattle Fire Station No. 5.

Pier 54 is home not only to Ivar's Acres of Clams, but also to the current incarnation of Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, which has occupied a number of venues on the Central Waterfront since its founding in 1899. Besides the usual tourist souvenirs, it sells a variety of Northwest Native Art; the store prides itself on dealing directly with the artists. They also carry Russian lacquer boxes, matreshka dolls and porcelain figurines, copper and wooden postcards, music boxes, and a variety of other unusual items. The store also has curiosities (hence the name Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe), which are not for sale: "Sylvester" the mummy, fetal conjoined twin calves, a number of shrunken human heads, a woven cedar bark hat worn by Chief Seattle, whale and walrus oosiks, and a number of items that appeared in Ripley's Believe It or Not.

Pier 55 is the downtown terminus of the Elliott Bay Water Taxi to West Seattle, which runs from May to October. Between Piers 55 and 56, and utilizing parts of both piers, Argosy Cruises offer Harbor Tours and moor the tour boats Royal Argosy, Spirit of Seattle, Lady Mary, Goodtime II, and Sightseer. Among its routes is the boat to Tillicum Village on Blake Island which is a great tour and dinner to see native American dances and enjoy a very nice salmon dinner.

Pier 57 now known as the "Bay Pavilion", has restaurants, shops, an amusement arcade, and an early 20th century carousel. Pier 58 is the site of Waterfront Park. Pier 59 is the site of the main building of the Seattle Aquarium. Pier 66 is the official designation for the Port of Seattle's Bell Street Pier and Bell Harbor complex. Facilities at the Bell Street facility include a marina, a cruise ship terminal, a conference center, the Odyssey Maritime Discovery Center, restaurants, and marine services.

Pier 67 is the The Edgewater hotel which is a hotel built entirely over the water. The hotel boasts that you can "fish from your window." The hotel has hosted numerous celebrities over the years, most famously the Beatles who came to Seattle in 1964 during the height of Beatlemania.

Pier 69 is the site of the Port of Seattle headquarters and the Seattle terminus of the Victoria Clipper, a foot passenger (walk-on only) ferry with regular service to the Inner Harbour in Victoria, British Columbia.

Pier 70 marks the northern end of the Central Waterfront.

The Olympic Sculpture Park is a public park that opened on January 20, 2007. The park consists of a 9-acre outdoor sculpture museum and beach. As a free-admission public outdoor sculpture park with both permanent and visiting installations, it is a unique museum in the United States.

Here's what you'll see:

The Seattle Waterfront is a great place to get a feel for Seattle. It has just about everything you could want – sea air, piers, seagulls, boats, ferries, shops, restaurants and some unique views of the city, Puget Sound, and Olympic mountains. You could spend hours just wandering around the waterfront. Here are some of the don't miss activities on the Waterfront:


Photo of Ye Olde Curiosity Shop


Ye Olde Curiosity Shop – You definitely need to spend at least a few minutes browsing this tourist trap shop. They have a lot of cool things on display including a real mummy! It is a great place to get souvenirs from your trip.


Statue of Ivar feeding the gulls


Ivar's Fish Bar – Lunch or dinner time is a fantastic time to buy some Fish and Chips at Ivar's Fish Bar located right next to the Seattle FireBoat station and the ferry terminal. Order your fish and chips and then sit at the tables that extend down the pier. Watch the ferry boats come and go and feed the seagulls by throwing a French Fry into the air and watch them catch the fries mid-flight. You will never see fatter seagulls. If you want to have a more fine dining experience – you can go into the restaurant and have a nice meal.


The Eagle sculpture at Olympic Sculpture Park


Olympic Sculpture Park – At the far north end of the waterfront is the Olympic Sculpture Park. Although this will require a decent walk from the core of the waterfront area, the sculpture park is a very unique free museum. You can walk through the park and admire the beautiful sculptures while at the same time enjoying nice views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.


Picture of the Spirit of Seattle Argosy cruise ship


Argosy Cruises – If you would like to take a boat ride, Argosy Cruises offer a 1 hour narrated Harbor Tour on Elliott Bay, as well as longer tours if you have some extra time. This is another good way to see the waterfront.


Inside the dome in the Seattle Aquarium


Seattle Aquarium – Seattle has an excellent very nice aquarium right in the middle of the Waterfront. If you have a couple hours, it's a great way to spend more time learning about marine life and even handling some of the sea creatures.