Looking for the best photography spots in Seattle for your upcoming trip to Washington State? This one’s for all the fellow shutterbugs out there!
In the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is known for its stunning city skyline, vibrant arts scene, and of course, the iconic Space Needle. With a population of just more than 750,000, this bustling metropolis offers a fantastic mix of urban and natural beauty. In fact, it’s the perfect playground for photographers!
Seattle has a plethora of Instagrammable spots just waiting for you to explore. And, if you’ve only got a few days to soak in the sights, you’ll want to make sure you’re hitting up the best places around.
From the iconic Pike Place Market to the serene Bainbridge Island, these spots are guaranteed to make your Instagram feed pop!
Ready to dive in and discover the most Instagrammable places in Seattle? Read below for a list of the best photography spots in Seattle and get clicking!
How to Get to Seattle Washington
You’re all set to start exploring the best photography spots in Seattle, but how do you actually get to these spots? It’s easier than you might think! Seattle is well-connected to most major cities in the U.S., with its main airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). Nearby airports like Portland International Airport (PDX) and Vancouver International Airport (YVR) also offer flights to Seattle, providing plenty of options to reach this gem in the Pacific Northwest. Depending on the season, you can find affordable direct flights from most major U.S. airports.
If you’re more of a road-tripper, there are options for you too! You can drive to Seattle from nearby cities like Portland (about 3 hours), Vancouver (around 3 hours), and even Spokane (about 4.5 hours). Once you arrive, getting around is a breeze thanks to the city’s efficient public transportation system including buses, light rail, and even ferries.
Weather in Seattle Washington
Before you set out to explore the best photography spots in Seattle, it’s good to know what kind of weather to expect. Seattle boasts a classic Pacific Northwest climate with mild summers and cool, wet winters.
In the summer months (June to August), you’ll enjoy average highs of around 75°F (24°C) and lows of 55°F (13°C). This is a great time to do outdoor photoshoots. Fall (September to November) experiences cooler temps, with highs around 60°F (16°C) and lows near 45°F (7°C). Winter (December to February) can be chilly, with average highs of 50°F (10°C) and lows of 36°F (2°C). And spring (March to May) brings slightly warmer temps, with highs around 60°F (16°C) and lows of 45°F (7°C).
Tip: November is typically the rainiest month, so bring rain boots and waterproof equipment for your camera gear to stay dry during those iconic Seattle drizzles! Check weather patterns and safety conditions via a reliable travel safety app in the weeks leading up to your trip.
Photography Tips for the Most Instagrammable Spots in Seattle
Want to level up your photography game in Seattle? Here are some tips to make the most out of your visit to the city’s most Instagrammable spots:
Use a DSLR camera
While iPhones work wonders for casual snaps, high-resolution photos demand something more robust. Leave your phone in your pocket and pick up a reliable DSLR camera for capturing stunning shots. These cameras offer superior image quality, better low-light performance, and more control over the depth of field. Remember to pack extra batteries and a 128 GB memory card, and consider investing in a few lenses to cover different focal lengths for maximum versatility.
Research the area
Taking the time to research your chosen photography spots can make a world of difference. Familiarize yourself with the area by studying maps, reading local guides, and checking online reviews. Look up the sunrise and sunset times, as the golden hour (shortly after sunrise or before sunset) often provides the best lighting conditions. Take note of the busiest times to avoid crowds and find out whether there are any entry fees, restrictions, or safety concerns.
Map out your photoshoot route
Once you’ve researched the best photo spots in Seattle, create a logical route that connects your chosen locations. By planning your journey, you can maximize your time, reduce travel costs, and avoid unnecessary detours or backtracking. Consider using public transportation, like buses or the light rail, to save on parking fees and navigate downtown Seattle with ease. Additionally, look for spots that are within walking distance of each other, so you can easily move from one location to another.
Invest in a tripod with a remote
A tripod is an essential tool for any photographer, especially when traveling solo. It allows for stable, blur-free shots and provides the freedom to experiment with different angles and compositions. A tripod with a remote is even better, as you can take photos without physically touching the camera, eliminating the risk of a camera shake. Look for a lightweight and compact tripod that’s easy to carry around and set up, and make sure it’s compatible with your DSLR and the remote.
12 Best Photography Spots in Seattle
Now that you’ve got the tips and tricks under your belt, it’s time to explore the best photography spots in Seattle! From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, this beautiful city has something for every photographer.
No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to the iconic Space Needle. This iconic structure is not only a symbol of Seattle but a must-visit spot for photographers. Designed for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle has been wowing visitors with its futuristic design and breathtaking views ever since. Standing at a towering 605 feet tall, it’s the perfect spot to capture the essence of the Emerald City.
But that’s not all! The Space Needle offers a unique experience with its rotating glass floor, known as the Loupe. This one-of-a-kind attraction provides a thrilling 360-degree view of downtown Seattle, Puget Sound, and the surrounding mountains. You’ll definitely want to have your camera ready to snap some incredible shots from up here!
Pikes Place Market
Pike Place Market is a bustling hub of activity, and it’s one of the best places for photography in Seattle. This historic market has been around since 1907. It’s filled with colorful produce stands, quirky shops, and, of course, the famous fish-throwing spectacle. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more lively and vibrant spot to snap some fantastic photos.
And speaking of quirky, don’t miss the infamous Gum Wall while you’re there! This peculiar attraction in Post Alley features a brick wall covered in layers of chewed gum. It might sound gross, but it’s actually an oddly fascinating sight and one of the most Instagrammable places in Seattle. Just remember to bring your own gum to contribute to this ever-growing piece of art!
Hop on a ferry from downtown Seattle and take the ferry to the charming Bainbridge Island in just 35 minutes. The ferry ride itself is an experience, offering stunning views of the Seattle skyline and Puget Sound. Once you arrive, you’ll be welcomed by picturesque beaches, cute restaurants, and quaint shops, all waiting to be explored.
As you stroll through the island, you’ll discover beautiful parks, tranquil waterfront spots, and even art galleries. Make sure to stop by some of the local eateries for a taste of the Pacific Northwest’s culinary delights. And if you’re into wine, you’ll be happy to know there are several wineries on the island, perfect for sampling the local produce. Bainbridge Island is truly a great place for capturing the essence of the Pacific Northwest, so get your camera ready and start snapping away!
Chihuly Garden and Glass (Seattle Center)
Nestled within the Seattle Center, you’ll find the breathtaking Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit. Showcasing the exquisite glass art of Dale Chihuly, a world-renowned artist hailing from Washington State, this mesmerizing attraction has become a must-visit spot in the city.
As you wander through the exhibits, you’ll be captivated by the vibrant colors, intricate details, and sheer beauty of Chihuly’s creations. The stunning Glasshouse, with its 100-foot-long suspended sculpture, is a sight to behold. And don’t forget to explore the outdoor garden, where you’ll discover glass sculptures seamlessly blending with nature, creating a magical experience. You’ll want to capture every moment in this one-of-a-kind art space!
Seattle Great Wheel
The Seattle Great Wheel, a colossal Ferris wheel on the edge of the waterfront, is an iconic symbol of this beautiful city. Towering over Puget Sound, it offers breathtaking views of the city skyline and the surrounding natural beauty. Is there a better way to capture the essence of the Pacific Northwest?
For the best photo spot, head over to Pier 62. From this vantage point, you’ll get an amazing shot of the Great Wheel, perfectly framed against the backdrop of the sparkling water and city skyline. This is also an amazing place to get photos at night with all of the neon colors from the wheel glistening on the water.
Nestled in the heart of Seattle, Kubota Garden is a hidden gem. This tranquil, 20-acre Japanese garden provides a lush, green oasis amidst the bustling city. In fact, it’s one of the most Instagrammable places around! What sets Kubota Garden apart as a photographer’s paradise? It’s bursting with mesmerizing water features, charming bridges, and vibrant foliage that transforms with the seasons.
As you meander through the winding paths, you’ll be swept away by the serene ambiance and captivating scenery. The interplay of light and shadow, along with the rich textures and colors of the garden, creates the perfect canvas for jaw-dropping photography. With each visit, you’ll uncover new angles and compositions, ensuring that your photographic journey through this enchanting garden is nothing short of magical.
Cruise the Puget Sound
If you’re searching for a unique way to experience Seattle’s stunning city skyline, embark on a Puget Sound cruise! The view from the water is absolutely breathtaking! Argosy Cruises is the go-to choice for many, and it has become a favorite for locals and tourists alike. As you glide along the Seattle waterfront with Argosy Cruises, you’ll enjoy incredible views of the iconic Space Needle, downtown Seattle, and the Pacific Northwest’s picturesque landscape.
And guess what? You’ll have the chance to capture amazing photos of the city from a one-of-a-kind perspective that simply can’t be replicated on land. Plus, the expert guides on board will share fascinating tidbits about Seattle’s history, culture, and famous landmarks. Remember, when planning your Seattle adventure, don’t miss out on the chance to see the city from the water.
You might be wondering why a library would make it to the list of best photography spots in Seattle. Well, here’s what you need to know: the Seattle Library is no ordinary library! It’s a modern architectural marvel, and its unique design makes it a fantastic place to snap some truly captivating shots.
Head inside and explore the different floors to find your perfect photo spot. The dramatic escalators, colorful walls, and stunning glass facades make for amazing backdrops. Don’t be afraid to unleash your creativity, because this place is just begging to be photographed!
If you’re looking for that iconic Seattle skyline shot, Kerry Park is the place to be. Located in the charming Queen Anne neighborhood, it’s a favorite spot for both locals and tourists alike. You’ll fall in love with the breathtaking views of downtown Seattle, the Space Needle, and even Mount Rainier on a clear day.
To get the best photo at Kerry Park, bring a tripod and arrive just before sunrise. As the sun starts to rise, the cityscape will glow in a warm, golden light, creating a magical scene that you simply can’t miss. So set up your tripod, frame your shot, and watch the city come to life right before your eyes.
This iconic landmark in downtown Seattle is not only a great place to learn about the city’s history but also a fantastic spot to snap some amazing photos. With its 360-degree views from the 35th-floor observation deck, you’ll be able to capture some unique perspectives of the city skyline and the beautiful Puget Sound.
To beat the crowds and get the perfect shot, visit the Smith Tower during a weekday morning. This way, you’ll have more space to set up your camera and take your time composing your shots. Just remember to bring your patience and creativity: you’ll walk away with some truly memorable images!
You can’t talk about Seattle without mentioning its deeply-rooted history with Starbucks. In fact, the city is home to the very first Starbucks cafe! But for a unique twist on your coffee-loving experience, head over to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. This spot not only offers exclusive, small-batch coffee blends, but is a great place to capture some fantastic photos.
From the impressive brewing machinery to the chic and modern design, this coffee haven is a feast for the eyes. Seattle’s love affair with coffee began here, and what better way to commemorate your visit than by visiting the place where it all started? You can immerse yourself in the rich coffee culture of the Pacific Northwest and leave with some truly memorable photos.
Speaking of unique and picturesque spots in Seattle, you can’t miss Oddfellows Cafe! Finding it’s home in the the trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood, this quirky eatery is a must-visit for foodies and Instagram enthusiasts. With its cozy atmosphere and vintage charm, Oddfellows is the perfect spot for capturing candid brunch and food photos.
The best part, is the cafe’s interior is adorned with interesting wall art and rustic wooden furniture. You’ll find yourself snapping away at every little detail, making your followers wish they were there too. Be sure to indulge in some photo-worthy food, and snap away at one of the most Instagrammable places in Seattle.
FAQs: Best Photo Spots in Seattle
What is the most photographed place in Seattle?
This may come at no surprise, but it’s the Space Needle! This iconic, futuristic landmark has been wowing visitors since 1962. It continues to be a favorite spot for both professional and amateur photographers to capture the essence of the city.
What is the highest viewpoint in Seattle?
The Sky View Observatory, located on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center, boasts the highest viewpoint in Seattle. Here, you’ll enjoy a stunning 360-degree panorama of the city skyline, Puget Sound, and the surrounding mountains. It is a must-visit destination for photographers and sightseers alike.
Where can I take pictures at night in Seattle?
As you likely learned in this post, there are endless places to take photos in Seattle! However, for incredible night photography, Seattle’s waterfront is the place to be. You will see city lights illuminating the skyline, and watch as their reflections dancing on the Puget Sound waters. This picturesque location offers a magical setting that’s perfect for capturing the beauty of the city after dark.
Is there an app to find the best photography spots in Seattle?
Yes! Apps like Spot and Trover will help you find Instagram-worthy locations near you. Simply search for your location, and you’ll be able to explore recommendations from fellow photography enthusiasts. This will ensure that you’ll find the most picture-perfect spots for your next photo adventure. To ensure that the locations you will be shooting at are safe prior to arriving, use apps such as OZZI Travel Safety to learn of potential risks including violent crime, weather, protests, and more.
Final Thoughts on the Best Photography Spots in Seattle
So there you have it… your ultimate guide to capturing the essence of Seattle through your lens! You’ve got a stellar lineup of the best photography spots in Seattle to choose from, whether it’s a clear day or a classic Pacific Northwest drizzly one. Seattle is a city that offers an incredible mix of urban landscapes, natural beauty, and unique attractions that’ll keep your camera clicking away…
Don’t forget to share your adventures and tag your photos with #SeattlePhotography to inspire others to discover these amazing locations. So grab your gear, hop on public transportation, and get ready to unleash your inner shutterbug in the beautiful city of Seattle!