As you get older, certain responsibilities begin to fall away, such as work and raising children. This leaves more time for you to spend on the activities you enjoy, such as volunteering, pursuing your hobbies, or getting out on the town.
For many seniors, a sedentary lifestyle isn’t an option. Fortunately, Seattle is brimming with activities for you to pursue with your newfound freedom. Whether you enjoy outdoor activities, cultural experiences, dining, or shopping, you’ll find plenty of options from which to choose in the South Puget Sound area.
Staying Active in Seattle
Even if your retirement community in West Seattle offers scheduled programs, events, and activities, it can still be enjoyable to get off campus and explore the culture, heritage, and natural beauty of the area. Whether you’re heading out on your own or going with friends and family members, here are a few fun activities and attractions in Seattle to check out:
1. Chihuly Garden and Glass
Chihuly Garden and Glass, a long-term exhibition that opened at Seattle Center in 2012, pays tribute to the Tacoma-born artist Dale Chihuly. The visually stunning exhibition includes eight galleries, the centerpiece glasshouse, and a lush garden. Additionally, through community partnerships, Chihuly Garden and Glass supports opportunities for education and involvement in the arts.
2. Seattle Art Museum
The Seattle Art Museum, commonly referred to as SAM, is a world-class institution situated in your backyard. The mere expanse of the museum and its growing collection containing nearly 25,000 works of art from around the world gives you reason to go back and visit time and again. The Asian Art Museum, located in the 1933 Art Deco building that served as SAM’s original home, also reopened in February 2020.
3. The Museum of Flight
The Museum of Flight in Seattle, one of the largest independent air and space museums in the world, encompasses 75 aircraft and spacecraft, tens of thousands of artifacts, dozens of exhibits, a 3D movie theater, and a world-class library. You can tour the museum on your own or go with a group. The museum also hosts a range of interesting events and activities to enhance your visit.
Related reading: Celebrating Memorial Day in West Seattle
4. Pacific Science Museum
Life-long learners can have a fun yet educational experience at the Pacific Science Museum. The museum offers interactive exhibits and live planetarium shows daily, along with lectures, events and guided tours of the biologically diverse Mercer Slough wetlands.
5. Olympic Sculpture Park
Active seniors can enjoy the merging of nature and art at the Olympic Sculpture Park, created and operated by SAM. The park, which is free and open to the public 365 days per year, consists of a 9-acre outdoor museum featuring monumental sculpture and beach along Seattle’s waterfront.
6. Kubota Garden
A stunning 20 acres of hills and valleys hidden in south Seattle, the Kubota Garden features streams, waterfalls, ponds, rock outcroppings, and an exceptionally rich and mature collection of plant material. This unique urban refuge displays nearly 60 years of vision, effort and commitment by horticulture pioneer Fujitaro Kubota. The city acquired the property, which is an historic landmark, in 1987.
7. Pioneer Square
Described as Seattle’s “first neighborhood,” Pioneer Square is now home to some of the city’s best shopping, dining, and cultural experiences, along with stunning Romanesque Revival architecture. You can attend first Thursday Art Walks, or head down to Pioneer Square any time to visit the Waterfall Garden Park, charming boutiques, and exceptional restaurants.
8. Washington Park Arboretum
Active seniors can also take a walk within the Washington Park Arboretum, jointly managed by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and the City of Seattle. The park covers 230 acres of diverse plants, including some that can’t be found elsewhere in the Northwest. They are displayed in a variety of thematic gardens—such as Azalea Way, Rhododendron Glen, and Woodland Garden—sprawled across the grounds. Located at the south end of the arboretum, the city’s Japanese Garden offers another unique botanical experience.
9. Seattle Underground
Beneath the streets and sidewalks of the city rests the Seattle Underground, which was created incidentally as the city rebuilt following a fire in the late 19th century. In the 1950s, Seattle local Bill Speidel started campaigning to preserve the neglected Pioneer Square area, promoting the story of the underground city. Beginning in 1965, Speidel began giving guided tours of the Seattle Underground. His company, Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour, continues to this day. You can also take guided tours through other local companies.
10. National Nordic Museum
Visit a place where history comes alive and contemporary artists and community activities are celebrated with vibrant exhibits and events. Dedicated to collecting, preserving and educating visitors of all ages since its founding in 1980, the National Nordic Museum honors the legacy of immigrants from the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The museum also facilitates unique events, which include film viewings, lectures, and crafting workshops.
11. Fremont Sunday Street Market
If you want to experience a thriving, European-style street market, head to the Fremont Sunday Street Market, which runs year-round come rain or shine. The market takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Sunday. Established in 1990, the market features up to 200 vendors that offer antiques, collectibles, hand crafts, world imports, and estate sale treasures. You also can grab a bit to eat from an eclectic mix of gourmet food trucks and street food vendors.
12. Enjoy Seafood
Situated on the Pacific coast, Seattle is home to numerous top-notch seafood restaurants where you can get your fix of fresh oysters, halibut, prawns, and seafood stew. If you’re in the mood for seafood in Seattle, check out The Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard or RockCreek in Fremont.
The Best of Senior Living
Whether you’re living on your own or within an active adult or independent living community, retirement gives you time to engage in a wide range of opportunities, hobbies, and activities. You can take advantage of Seattle’s ever-expanding collection of sites and attractions to explore the city, embrace new experiences, and enjoy life as an active, independent senior.