There are some Seattle spots that everyone knows about, whether they’ve lived here for years or it’s their first time visiting. For example, you probably know all about Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, and Gasworks Park. Locals will also be quick to recommend iconic eateries such as Dick’s Drive-In and Canlis. Many of these popular Seattle mainstays are worth the hype, while others are overrated (the line for the first Starbucks is not worth it, take it from us).
But what about the underrated places in Seattle? Every city has its hidden gems that only the locals know about. So we took it upon ourselves to seek out the most underrated restaurants, bars, parks, and attractions in Seattle. And who better to ask than Seattleites themselves? We asked our followers to share their favorite secret spots in Seattle, and boy, did you all deliver.
We gathered the many answers into four categories: outdoor spaces (such as parks and gardens), restaurants and cafes, bars and nightclubs, and miscellaneous attractions (such as museums). Here the top 47 underrated places to visit in Seattle!
Parks, gardens, and outdoor spaces:
1. Waterfall Garden Park
This tiny pocket park located in the Pioneer Square neighborhood features a cascading waterfall. It’s a peaceful place to sit and enjoy a coffee away from the city bustle while listening to the soothing sounds of the urban waterfall.
Location: 219 2nd Ave S
2. Kubota Garden
Located in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle, this stunning 20-acre Japanese garden is open daily to the public free of charge.
Location: 9817 55th Ave S
3. Washington Park Arboretum
Located on the shores of Lake Washington, this 230-acre park is gorgeous in every season and free to visit. You can walk your dog there, see the fall leaves turning colors, take pictures of the cherry blossom trees blooming in the spring, or bring a picnic when the weather is nice.
Location: 2300 Arboretum Dr E
4. Sunset Hill
This quiet neighborhood in the northwest corner of Ballard is an underrated place for views of the Puget Sound. Hot tip: Check out Sunset Hill Viewpoint Park, located at 7531 34th Ave NW.
5. Green Lake
This Seattle park isn’t on many tourists’ radar because it’s fairly north of downtown, but locals love it for its plentiful picnic spots, its 2.8-mile path around the lake, its two swimming beaches, and (of course) Green Lake itself.
Location: 7201 E. Green Lake Drive N.
6. Dr. Jose Rizal Park
This 9.6 acre park is located in Beacon Hill and provides a stunning view of the Seattle skyline and Puget Sound. It also has an off-leash area for dogs and a play area for children.
Location: 1007 12th Ave S
7. Madrona Beach
Swing by the Madrona neighborhood to take a refreshing dip in this freshwater beach located along the western shore of Lake Washington. You’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of Mount Rainier. Lifeguards are on duty in the swimming area during the summer season. The 2022 season runs from June 26 to Labor Day (noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays).
Location: 853 Lake Washington Blvd
8. Alki Beach
You might recognize this beach in West Seattle from the classic movie Sleepless in Seattle, but it retains its underrated feel despite its moment on the big screen. It gets crowded on summer weekends (the 2022 season is May 27 to September 4) but it’s a great spot to go for views of the Seattle skyline during the off-season and on rainy days.
Location: 2665 Alki Ave SW
9. Viretta Park
This small park in the Denny-Blaine neighborhood of Seattle is charming, but what it’s really known for is the location of Kurt Cobain’s memorial bench. Many visitors come to this park expressly for the purpose of leaving a note or trinket on the bench in honor of Kurt Cobain’s memory.
Location: 151 Lake Washington Blvd E
10. Volunteer Park
Seattleites who mentioned Volunteer Park made sure to specify the Conservatory and the Water Tower as two underrated attractions. The Conservatory is a historic greenhouse located at 1400 E Galer St and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (note that it is closed on Mondays). The Water Tower is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and you can just walk right up to the top to take in 360-degree views of Seattle. The park itself is a 48.3-acre park located in Capitol Hill, and is a beautiful spot to enjoy a picnic or a relaxing stroll.
Location: 1247 15th Ave E
11. Freeway Park
This urban park located in downtown Seattle was actually the first park built over a highway but not many people know about it. It’s a peaceful respite in the middle of the city’s clamor and bustle.
Location: 700 Seneca St
12. Ravenna Park
Residents of Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood are lucky enough to enjoy this 0.5-mile wooded ravine that offers a gorgeous escape in nature for picnics, biking, and jogging.
Location: 5520 Ravenna Ave NE
13. Seattle Chinese Garden
Located at the north end of the South Seattle Community College campus, this 4.6-acre Sichuan-style Chinese garden has incredible views as well as year-round natural beauty. The garden offers private tours, events, and classes. Admission to the garden is free although donations are appreciated.
Location: 6000 16th Ave SW
14. Howe Street Stairs
Earning itself a spot on Atlas Obscura, this staircase is the longest staircase in Seattle with an elevation of 160 feet and 388 steps. It’s a common workout spot for locals—and you get rewarded with views at the top.
Location: 810 E Howe St
Restaurants and cafes:
15. Seoul Tofu & Jjim
Authentic Korean cuisine! You can find them in Capitol Hill.
Location: 406 Broadway E
16. Valhalla Sandwiches
This underrated sandwich shop in Greenwood offers filling and creative sandwiches in a casual setting.
Location: 8202 Greenwood Ave N
17. Italian Family Pizza
Located in First Hill, this family-owned pizza joint makes their dough and sauce fresh every day.
Location: 1028 Madison St
18. Columbia Center food court
Columbia Center is the tallest building in Seattle. Many people know it for its Skyview Observatory, but you can also take advantage of the building’s food court that has a large assortment of cuisines from Asian to BBQ.
Location: 701 5th Ave
19. Sunny Hill Pizza
An underrated spot to grab pizza (as well as salads and burgers) after a fun day at Golden Gardens Park.
Location: 3127 NW 85th St
20. Migoto Sushi
Seattle has no shortage of hyped-up sushi joints, so if you can’t get a reservation at Shiro’s you can go get excellent sushi rolls and cocktails at this hidden gem in Capitol Hill.
Location: 514 12th Ave
21. Red Mill Burgers
Located in Phinney Ridge, this classic burger joint is an underrated alternative to Dick’s.
Location: 312 N 67th St
22. Glo’s Diner
You have to try Glo’s “remarkable” Eggs Benedict. They are currently in the middle of a move from their tiny hole-in-the-wall spot to Capitol Hill Station.
Location: 1621 E Olive Way (we will update this with the new address!)
23. Aladdin Gyro
This U District eatery is described as “no-frills,” but who needs frills when you can have delicious authentic Mediterranean food and Turkish coffee?
Location: 4139 University Way NE
25. Shanghai Garden
Located in the International District of Seattle, this casual Chinese restaurant has been around since the early ’90s. It flies under the radar but its delicious fare keeps locals coming back.
Location: 524 6th Ave S
27. Ivar’s Salmon House
Part of the Ivar’s seafood restaurant chain, this casual waterfront eatery isn’t well-known outside of Seattle. Locals love it for the outdoor dining with views.
Location: 401 NE Northlake Way
28. Sushi Samurai
A hidden gem in Upper Queen Anne, this family-owned sushi joint has incredible miso soup and a cozy, intimate setting.
Location: 1817 Queen Anne Ave N
Another underrated alternative to Dick’s Drive-In, Burgermaster is an old-school drive-up burger joint that now has five locations in Seattle.
30. Falafel Salam
If you’re looking for a hidden gem in West Seattle, try the fresh falafel, shwarma, and gyros from this restaurant that has a food truck as well as vegan and gluten-free options.
Location: 4746 California Ave SW
31. Bryant Corner Cafe
This sweet cafe in Ravenna has a friendly ambience and a menu full of comfort food. It’s a great alternative to some of the more popular brunch spots in Seattle.
Location: 3118 NE 65th St
32. Espresso Vivace
If you’re in search of truly good coffee in Seattle, skip Starbucks: locals know to head to Espresso Vivace. This coffee shop and roaster is owned by David Schomer, who is known for kicking off the popularity of latte art in the United States.
Locations: Capitol Hill and South Lake Union
Nightclubs and bars:
33. Bait Shop
Go for the craft beer, stay for the cheeky nautical decor and lively vibe at this underrated dive bar in Capitol Hill.
Location: 606 Broadway E
34. Sol Liquor Lounge
This craft cocktail bar in Capitol Hill is a small, laid-back lounge inside a gin and vodka distillery. Their drinks are strong and made with fresh ingredients.
Location: 607 Summit Ave E
Tucked inside Pike Place Market, this little-known bar offers cocktails, craft beers, and small bites with a laid-back air.
Location: 1919 1st Ave
36. Some Random Bar
Your friends or date will be impressed when you take them here after suggesting Some Random Bar. This casual bar and grill offers craft cocktails, happy hour specials, and good food in a cute brick-walled setting.
Location: 2604 1st Ave
37. Lofi Club
Tired of the Capitol Hill bar scene? Check out this nightclub in South Lake Union. This funky dance club hosts lots of themed dance nights as well as other rotating events.
Location: 429 Eastlake Ave E
38. The Barking Dog Alehouse
This cozy neighborhood pub is an underrated but lively spot for micro-craft beer and delicious bar food.
Location: 705 NW 70th St
39. Kate’s Pub
Located in Wallingford, this casual pub hosts trivia and karaoke nights but is good for laid-back fun any time.
Location: 309 NE 45th St
40. Deep Dive
Did you know there’s a bar located under the Seattle Spheres? (More on the Spheres in a moment.) This cocktail lounge has a posh interior with a speakeasy vibe and European bar snacks.
Location: 620 Lenora St
41. Town Hall Seattle
This cultural center and performance hall located in First Hill is a gathering space in Seattle that should be more well-known. You can attend all kinds of events there, from science lectures to live music. Check out their event schedule here.
Location: 1119 8th Ave
42. Nightshade Tattoos & Plants
How many plant nurseries also offer tattoos? This Queen Anne hybrid plant shop and tattoo parlor is quintessential Seattle.
Location: 615 Queen Anne Ave N
43. The Seattle Spheres
The Seattle Spheres isn’t as well known as the Space Needle or Pike Place Market but it is an iconic Seattle attraction in its own right. You have to make an advance appointment to venture into the lush botanical interior; find out how here.
Location: 2111 7th Ave
44. Museum of Museums
Skip the Seattle Art Museum and try this less-crowded contemporary art center in First Hill.
Location: 900 Boylston Ave
45. Seattle University Campus
Everyone knows about the stunning beauty of the University of Washington campus (it gets especially crowded in the spring when the cherry blossoms bloom). Lesser-known but equally pretty is Seattle University’s campus. Since it is located in the lively and urban Capitol Hill neighborhood, it may surprise you to learn that the campus is a Designated Wildlife Sanctuary!
Location: 901 12th Ave