If you’ve come to the Pacific Northwest looking for lesser-known things to do in the region, then our list of 10 hidden gems in Seattle is a great place to start. We’ll leave the Fremont Troll off this list, because we think everyone knows about that one by now. Instead, consider taking a trip on the water with the Center for Wooden Boats, checking out some of Seattle’s creative urban art, or hosting a private party or photo shoot at one of Seattle’s memorable Peerspace venues.
1. The Center for Wooden Boats
No trip to Seattle is complete without an outing on the water. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to mean spending your entire travel budget on a private vessel. The Center for Wooden Boats offers free public sailing trips every Sunday, giving you the chance to sail on a schooner, steamboat, sprit boat, and more. Get there early to ensure you get one of the 200 available spots!
2. A historic lounge and theater in Bellevue
Seattle is known for its live music and performance venues, and this lounge and theater is the perfect space to host a private event of your own. With 1920s-themed decor and room for up to 100 people, you can plan a birthday party, karaoke night, live music performance, and more. It has a full menu and cocktail bar, as well as A/V equipment and an on-site tech team. Contact your host directly to arrange for an open bar or other food and beverage options.
3. A private bowling alley in Columbia City
Another great place to host a private event, this 2-lane bowling alley can fit up to 20 people for a private game. There are automatic bumpers, making it suitable for players of all ages. Since the space is part of a residential community, you’ll have a more personalized experience than you would at a traditional bowling alley. Ask your host about renting additional spaces on-site, such as the indoor lounge with a pool table and kitchen or rooftop deck with an outdoor BBQ.
4. The Fin Project
No, Jaws hasn’t learned how to swim through solid ground. These fins come from submarines that were formerly used by the U.S. Navy and have been turned into a public art display. Found in Seattle’s Magnuson Park, you can spend hours admiring the art installation and the views of Lake Washington. Depending on the season and time of day that you come, you’ll encounter a variety of shadows and lighting conditions, making it look like a modern-day Stonehenge.
5. An art gallery and arcade in Capitol Hill
This quirky bar and art gallery will offer you a peek into Seattle’s art scene. The bar itself offers a cozy environment featuring exposed brick, while the gallery space has plain white walls ideal for a private art show or musical performance. There’s also a baby grand piano and sound system, as well as vintage pinball and arcade games to keep your guests entertained. Whether you want to host an album launch or throw a New Years’ Eve party, this venue will immerse you and your guests in the artsy, industrial aesthetic that made ’80s and ’90s Seattle so famous.
6. A modern concert hall in West Bellevue
This hidden gem in Seattle is a modern event space that has all of the amenities you need for a professional performance, while still being small and affordable enough to rent for a private show or an intimate wedding. Rates are based on a minimum spend that includes the bar tab and A/V gear. The venue fits 100 seated or 180 for a standing cocktail reception. With lots of natural light and acoustics designed for live performances, it’s a great choice for a music video or to host a piano recital. A grand piano, projector and screen, and furniture are all available on site.
7. The Red Hall at the Seattle Library
In most cities, if a library makes it onto a top 10 list, it’s probably because it’s a historic building with a grand hallway and marble staircases. Not so in Seattle. The Central Library is one the top hidden gems in Seattle — in part because the exterior of this glass and steel building looks like a freshly-cut diamond! Instead of separate floors, the main bookshelves are arranged in a “book spiral,” a continuous ramp on levels 6-9. But the quirkiest part of all is the Red Hall, a glowing corridor of curving red walls that looks like something out of a science fiction movie!
8. An elegant dining room in Capitol Hill
This venue in a historical Capitol Hill building is ideal for formal dinners, weddings, photo shoots, and more. With historic charm both inside and out, you’ll be surrounded by antique furniture, blue printed walls, red rugs and drapes, and other period decor, including chandeliers, a grand piano, and a grandfather clock. Tableware and linens are included in your rental, and you can contact the host directly for a list of preferred caterers and bartenders.
9. An augmented reality venue in downtown Seattle
Seattle has long been at the cutting edge of technology and computer science, and this private VR session hosted by Chronos Global Academy is your chance to see it for yourself. Whether you’re planning a team building workshop or just an outing with a small group of friends, put on your VR headset and explore the ocean, the International Space Station, or even VR paintball! Book with the Peerspace Concierge to add on a catered breakfast or lunch package.
10. A waterfront home on Lake Sammamish
One of the most impressive hidden gems in Seattle is Lake Sammamish, a freshwater lake just a short drive from downtown. At this waterfront home, you can enjoy a day out on the lake from your own private backyard, which has a spacious lawn and an outdoor deck suitable for BBQs and outdoor movie screenings. It also has a dock directly on the water, so ask your host about arrange for boat or jet ski rentals from a third-party vendor.
No matter which hidden gems you decide to visit, Seattle’s creative energy will shine through. From modern art and music venues, to hi-tech A/V (and VR) gear, these venues will offer you an array of options to enjoy your time in Seattle. You can always browse Peerspace for even more ideas, and contact the Concierge service to personalize your event or outing.