the seattle skyline with the buildings lit up at dusk before a purple sky

15 Beautiful Seattle Photography Spots To Capture Your Memories

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There are so many things to love about Seattle. It is a coffee lover’s dream with all the local shops. If you are interested in the outdoors, Seattle can’t be beaten with all the green park spaces. And it has three national parks located nearby including the North Cascades.

But what about all the awesome Seattle photography spots?

The city is actually great for photography. It has incredible views to see, like #6 down below which is our personal favorite. It also has some really unique shooting opportunities.

From cityscapes to parks to the waterfront, we have compiled a list that should have every photographer adding at least one, if not all, of these locations to their list.

15 Captivating Seattle Photography Spots

1. Space Needle & Observation Deck

We know, we know. You most likely were already planning on heading to the Space Needle as it is one of the most famous sights in Seattle. But how can we have a list like this and not include it?

seattle space needle

The needle is iconic and synonymous with Seattle. Standing at 605 ft (184 m) it was built for the World Fair back in 1962.

There are two ways to partake in photographing the Space Needle.

First, you can see it from the ground. As it is so tall, consider this a “bug’s eye view.” There are tons of places to stand nearby where you can get a great view by looking up at the needle from a low vantage point.

Second, head up to the observation deck at the top of the Space Needle to see the views of Seattle. The top of the needle has two levels to visit.

The lower level is what they call the loupe. It has a rotating floor, which means if you stand in the same spot for a while you will eventually see a 360-degree view of Seattle. The upper level is called skyrisers, and has floor-to-ceiling glass walls for a completely unobstructed view.

๐Ÿ“Ž Tip: Head up to the top of the Needle at sunset to take in some of the incredible views while the sun sets and the lights of the city come on.

Address: 400 Broad St

2. Museum Of Pop Culture

The Museum of Pop Culture is a fun way to spend an afternoon. The interactive museum is dedicated to pop culture, and you will see items ranging from the ape costumes from Planet of the Apes in the 60s to current Marvel memorabilia.

the museum of pop culture building makes our list of cool seattle photography spots

But the reason it makes our list for photography is the building and surrounding area itself. The building is not only very unique in its shape, but it is also covered in reflective panels.

The panels’ colors and brightness range from silver to blue to bronze to purple. And the way it looks can change depending on the lighting and weather conditions.

Wander around the outside and see what interesting shots you can take. Incorporate the surrounding landscape as we did for our photo.

Address: 325 5th Ave N

๐Ÿ“– If you are in Seattle for a visit, we can’t recommend spending time in Olympic National Park enough. The whole park is amazing, but especially the beaches.

3. Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is next on our photography spots to check out when in Seattle. Again, this is a popular one you most likely would have visited anyway, but it has to make our list. We definitely recommend not missing it.

pike place market is a seattle photography spot not to miss

From visiting the first Starbucks to watching fish thrown at the stalls to eating food, the market has tons to offer everyone.

One of the most popular things to do at Pike Place Market is a food tour. And the market is the best place for it as you can get everything from fresh seafood to produce to pastries.

We recommend the original tour. It tends to sell out so book your tickets in advance.

Book your Pike Place Market food tour now!

In terms of photography, we have a couple of areas of the market we want to highlight next. But please wander and see what you find interesting as well as this is a really cool place with tons to see.

Address: 85 Pike St

Pike Place Market: Gum Wall

In a small alleyway called Post Alleyway, you will find the gum wall. Gross yet fascinating, this is “art” that you can be an active participant in.

the gum wall at pike place market

Starting back in the 1990s, the gum on the wall has grown and expanded, taking up more and more space in the alley each year.

In terms of photography, it is a great location to do some macro photography. Take some time to use your camera to find patterns, colors, or designs in the gum itself. We found someone who had created a smiley face during our visit.

Just don’t lean in too close and get someone’s gum on your lens!

Pike Place Market: Street Entertainers

On almost every street corner of Pike Place Market, you will find an entertainer. We saw musicians, artists, and jugglers just to name a few.

a balloon maker at pike place market

Try your hand at some street photography. Capture the entertainers in an unexpected moment if possible. Maybe when they receive some applause and have a genuine smile or if they have their pet along and you can capture a moment between them.

4. Chihuly Garden And Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass is a museum dedicated to the work of Dale Chihuly and his artwork with blown glass. A native of Washington, his work is incredibly bright and photogenic and so makes a perfect addition to our list.

The museum houses around eight exhibits along with glass gardens outside.

We think there are tons of photographic opportunities here as each new piece is incredible. But by far one of our favorite spots is in the glass house where you can look up at his large-scale installation of flowers and see the Space Needle behind.

Address: 305 Harrison St

5. Olympic Structure Park

Olympic Structure Park is an art sculpture park located near the waterfront.

olympic structure park is on our list of seattle photography spots not to miss

Free to visit, many of the art installations are quite large and impressive. In addition to the artwork, this is a green space with trees and walking paths. In the spring and summer, you will find flowers.

Use the artwork to try some new ways to photograph. Try shooting from down low (lay down and shoot up at the subject), or see if there is a position where you can look down on any of the art for a bird’s eye view. Many of the art exhibits are reflective so see what you can do creatively with that.

The good thing about art is that it generally doesn’t move so you can take your time and try a bunch of different shots to see what you like best.

Address: 2901 Western Ave

6. Kerry Park – One Of Our FAVORITE Photography Spots In Seattle

If you want an iconic view of downtown Seattle and the Space Needle, this is a MUST. This is the postcard shot, and one of the best places to take pictures in Seattle. On a clear day, Mount Rainier may be visible behind the cityscape, making it much more magnificent if you’re lucky enough to see it.

view of seattle skyline from kerry park

This small park is located in the Queen Anne Hill neighborhood and gets very crowded with photographers at sunset because of the amazing view. As the daylight fades and the city turns on its lights, the scene can seem unreal.

There is nothing but a metal fence at the viewpoint. So don’t forget to bring your tripod if you are shooting the sunset.

This view can’t be described as anything other than incredible.

โ˜˜๏ธ If there is one place on this list you should take your camera to photograph the city…it is here.

Address: 211 W Highland Dr

7. Alki Beach Park

This park, located in Western Seattle, has a bit of everything.

On a warm day, crowds flood this beach as it is one of the only sand beaches on Puget Sound. But if photography and not sunbathing is on your agenda there are still things to see and photograph here.

There are incredible views of the waterfront and city, including being able to see part of the Space Needle. There are tons of walking paths, and an old anchor on display. The beach also has a small 6-foot-tall (1.8 meters) replica of the Statue of Liberty and a monument to the first white settlers who arrived in 1851.

A lighthouse can also be found here, but if you really want to photograph a lighthouse then we recommend the one in Discovery Park coming up next.

Address: 2665 Alki Ave SW

8. Discovery Park

The largest city park in Seattle is called Discovery Park. This park’s boundaries include more than 500 acres (202 hectares), and there is a ton of variety to see here.

flowers and puget sound in the distance on the trail at discovery park

It has forest areas, sea cliffs, meadows, and beaches. To top it off it has amazing views of Puget Sound, and on a nice day, you can see the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges in the distance.

With so much variety to see within one park, it is the perfect place to spend an afternoon photographing. Consider walking the discovery trail loop. The nearly 3-mile (4.8 km) route passes through a number of the park’s ecosystems and offers some of the park’s best views.

Would you rather ride than walk? This guided tour is a fun way to see Discovery Park on electric bikes.

Book the Discovery Park Electric Bike Tour!

Address: 3801 Discovery Park Blvd

Discovery Park: Lighthouse

In our opinion, one of the best things to do in Discovery Park is the see the West Point Lighthouse.

west point lighthouse on the seattle photography spots not to miss

This location is a must-visit if you’re at the park because it offers views of Puget Sound, with the lighthouse perched at the end of the beach.

You have a few different trail options to pick from that will take you down to the lighthouse. Please note that the walk back can be a bit strenuous for some. But check with the visitor center because they sometimes have a shuttle running that can give you a ride.

๐Ÿ“Ž Tip: The lighthouse at sunset is phenomenal. Besides Kerry Park, this is our next choice for sunset.

9. Fremont Troll & Art Neighborhood

The Fremont Troll is a local celebrity in its own right. When we were researching what to do on our visit to Seattle, the troll came up again and again.

fremont troll under the bridge

We went to see it and can highly recommend it, therefore, it had to make our list of Seattle photography spots to check out.

The area under the Fremont neighborhood bridge back in the 80s was becoming a hot spot for drug addicts and trash. So the council ran an art competition, and the troll was born.

In addition to the troll, Fremont is a really cute little art neighborhood. If you have come for the troll, stay for the rest. You can visit the drawbridge, find dinosaurs, catch Rapunzel letting her hair down, and become a star on the TV.

If you just want to wander a bit, you will find there are tons of interesting art installations to photograph here.

Address: N 36th St

10. Gas Works Park

Another park? Yes, because Seattle has so many that make for great photography spots. Gas Works Park is a 19-acre (7.7 hectares) park that sits at the location of a former gas factory.

It is the sole remaining coal gas plant factory in the USA (though it is not being utilized for its original purpose). Because of its significance, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The park still has much of the old equipment and factory which is why it makes our list. Sitting on the shore of Lake Union, the park has so many great elements to photograph.

The staircases and cylinder shapes, the parts of the factory that are being retaken by nature, and the view of the city and lake behind are all reasons to stop by this park.

If you are wanting to see the Fremont Troll AND Gas Works Park, then consider this tour. You will get to see these plus more while visiting some unique neighborhoods.

Book your Explore Unique Neighborhoods in Seattle tour now!

Address: 2101 N Northlake Way

11. Smith Tower & Observatory

Smith Tower and the observatory have been open for more than 100 years, and it is the oldest skyscraper in the city.

view from the smith tower observatory is on our seattle photography spots list

Its grand opening was on Independence Day back in 1914, and the elevators ridden on that first day are the same ones that you will ride today (with a few minor updates).

We advise you to take your camera to the 35th floor, which is where the observatory is located. The great thing about the Observatory is that it has an outdoor viewing deck with just bars for safety.

Why are we pointing out the bars? Why is this good? Because looking through glass, like at the Space Needle, can sometimes create reflections or sun flares depending on the time of day. No glass means you can squeeze your lens through the slots and get great unobstructed views of Seattle.

๐Ÿ“Ž Tip: Make sure to sit in the famous wishing chair. It is said to have been a gift from a Chinese empress, and supposedly if you sit in the chair you will be married within the year (so maybe you don’t want to sit in it).

Address: 506 2nd Ave

12. The Waterfront

You can’t visit Seattle and not stop by the waterfront. If you are visiting Pike Place Market (which is #3 on our list of Seattle photography spots to see), you are practically already here.

the ferry at seattle's waterfront

The waterfront is a great place to spend an hour or two. Take a ride on the Seattle Great Wheel (a 52 ft Ferris Wheel) or hit up the aquarium. Check out the waterfront park for great views and free activities during certain times of the year.

A block away from the waterfront you will find Victor Steinbrueck Park. Stop by to see one of Seattle’s famous totem poles and enjoy the lovely green park for some downtime.

If you have a bit of extra time, consider hopping on board the ferry. It is a relaxing, fun way to see Puget Sound. And can be an added way to get some great shots of Seattle’s skyline as you pull away from the city.

Address: 1301 Alaskan Way (Ferris wheel)

13. Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square is considered the “original neighborhood” of Seattle. So history abounds in the area.

pioneer square totem pole is on our awesome photography spots in seattle

The iron pergola is among the locations you shouldn’t miss. Built in 1909 it was a shelter for those waiting for the trolley cars in inclement weather. While most of the structure is reconstructed and not original, it is based on the original blueprints.

The other important structure with high historical significance is the totem pole located near the pergola. Carved in 1790 in Alaska, the totem pole was stolen by a businessman and gifted to the city.

Other attractions in the area include seeing the fallen firefighters memorial, visiting the Victorian Cadillac Hotel, and looking at the flowers and falls in Waterfall Garden.

Overall, Pioneer Square is just a wonderful place to wander for a while with your camera and see what you can spot.

Address: 1st Ave & Yesler Way (pergola)

14. Seattle Central Library

The Seattle Central Library is gorgeous both inside and out and is worth a stop for a few photographs.

Coming in at 11 stories, this public library building is insane. Made of steel and glass, it has a reading room on the 10th floor with awesome views of Elliott Bay just to start.

It is the perfect place to try your hand at photographing repeating patterns and shapes like the image here. There are long columns of books, repeating desks and chairs, bright colors, and more.

Our suggestion is just to take a look inside and see what catches your eye. Each of us will see something different to photograph.

Address: 1000 4th Ave

15. Volunteer Park

And finally, the last item on our list of spectacular Seattle photography spots not to miss is Volunteer Park. The park sits on 48 acres (19.4 hectares).

black sun sculpture and space needle in volunteer park

There is plenty to see here including a water tower with an observation deck on top not to miss, a conservatory built in the early 1900s, an art museum, and a koi pond.

The biggest attraction is probably the sculpture Black Sun which is also known as the donut. There is an interesting photograph that can be created with the Space Needle inside this donut-shaped sculpture and is part of the reason this makes our final spot.

Address: 1247 15th Ave E

Map of Seattle Photo Spots

To help you find all the photo spots in Seattle we have discussed, we have created this personalized map.

If you want to use it on the go, open this post on your phone and click on the box in the top right corner of the map. The map opens directly in the google maps app and is ready for use!


Photography Tips For Seattle

Get Up Early/Stay Out Late

As most photography enthusiasts are aware, just after sunrise and before sunset are the best times for photography. There is a reason they are called the golden hour.

If you have flown in and are dealing with a time change, we get it. But make sure you take advantage of these times for the best photography lighting.

Use People To Your Advantage

Most of the photos we shared today didn’t have many people in them. But Seattle is a bustling city with tons of people.

Places you want to go to photograph will be crowded at times. Use people in your shots to show scale, to show crowds, to show real life. Use this as an opportunity to practice your street photography.

Small Details

It is easy to get stuck on looking at the big picture when in a city like Seattle. Tall skyscrapers and entire waterfronts can pull you in and make you want to constantly get a wide shot or panorama. But don’t forget about the small details.

Focus on bits of a building, the small flowers along the path in the park, or a small section of an art installation.

a close-up of pink flowers illustrates picking up small details even in a big city

What Camera Gear Do You Need In Seattle

Camera

We always recommend bringing a true camera with you on your travels. Your camera phone will do in a pinch or for your social media, but if you want good quality photographs, then bringing a camera is key. Our favorite and what we carry is the Canon 5D.

Lenses

Medium Telephoto Lens

We believe about 99% of the places on this list can be photographed with just a medium telephoto lens. This would be something like the Canon 24-70.

Long Telephoto Lens

As we mentioned, the majority of your photographs here in Seattle can be taken with a medium telephoto. But we specifically used our long lens for some of the photographs from the observatory of Smith Tower, and a couple of close shots of the skyline from Kerry Park at sunset.

If you are planning on hitting Mount Rainier or Olympic National Park, we believe this is when a long telephoto will be more useful.

A lens like the Canon 70-200 would most likely suffice, but the Canon 100-400 would give you the most range. Equivalent in size to these but easier on the budget is the Sigma 150-600.

Tripod

We understand carrying a tripod is a pain. We feel you, there are lots of times we don’t bother with it and just figure it out.

That said, we came away with some amazing sunset and night shots of the Seattle skyline from Kerry Park. This would not have been possible had we not had our tripod that night.

So if you want to do some sunset photos, bring your tripod. If you think you will only be out during the day or have no interest in night photography, you can probably forego it for this trip.

a snail sculpture located down by the space needle which is one of the seattle photography spots not to miss

FAQs For Visiting Seattle

How Many Days Do You Need In Seattle

As many as you can to be perfectly honest. We spent about four days there, but there was so much more we could have seen if we had more time. With a large US city like Seattle, there is almost never enough time if you are there only for a few days.

Two days would be the bare minimum for a visit, and you probably wouldn’t be able to see everything on our list in that time. But you would have a great time!

Where To Stay In Seattle

Luxury ๐Ÿ’ต ๐Ÿ’ต ๐Ÿ’ต – Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

  • Located downtown, including only about a mile from the Space Needle
  • Rooftop infinity pool
  • Views of the waterfront and Pike Place Market area

Click here to book your stay at Four Seasons Hotel Seattle!


Mid-Range ๐Ÿ’ต ๐Ÿ’ต – citizenM Seattle South Lake Union

  • Convenient location to downtown attractions
  • Stream your Netflix, etc via the provided Chromecast in the room
  • Colorful art vibe with a contemporary vision

Click here to book your stay at citizenM Seattle South Lake Union!


Budget ๐Ÿ’ต – Seattle Gaslight Inn

  • Charming inn that is a “recognized Seattle landmark”
  • Close to all the downtown attractions
  • Cozy, old-school interior

Click here to book your stay at Seattle Gaslight Inn!


Is Seattle Worth Visiting For Photography Purposes

Absolutely!

Seattle is great for photography in that there are so many different types of photography you can do here. If you like street photography or architectural photography or even nature photography (so many green parks!) you can find it here.

With the waterfront and the backdrop of Mount Rainier on sunny days, Seattle is a gorgeous city to photograph.

a cityscape taken from seattle's waterfront

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The Absolute 12 Best Beaches In Olympic National Park
17 Gorgeous Photography Spots In Banff To Blow Your Mind
Incredible Wildlife In Jasper National Park


To Finish – 15 Beautiful Seattle Photography Spots To Capture Your Memories

Did you find some new photography spots to add to your list when you visit Seattle?

We know that this list is not all-encompassing and there are so many other cool locations throughout the city. But these were some of our favorites during our trip there. We would love to go back and try to find some more.