Seattle is the largest city in the picturesque Pacific Northwest and it’s also one of the most photogenic. If you’re visiting Seattle soon or thinking of going there it has plenty of beautiful and diverse photo spots for you to photograph.
Here are the best photo spots in Seattle just waiting for you and your camera.
The iconic Seattle photo spot. Appearing on everything from postcards to Etsy stores, t-shirts to Instagram. This is the Seattle photograph. So it’s no surprise that this is a busy spot, especially at the prime times of sunset and sunrise.
It’s a steep climb to Kerry Park if you’re walking from the Queen’s Anne area but the view is worth it and then some. Although it’s a busy spot and photography space can be at a premium try to move around Kerry Park so you can get different perspectives on the classic view, which will help your photo stand out more.
The iconic view comes from the west side of the park but you’ll need to stake a claim nice and early.
Another one of the signature photo spots in Seattle is Pike Market. This is an extremely popular tourist spot but this time that’s a good thing for a photographer. Because once you’ve taken a photo of the famous sign the best photos will come from snapping the crowds as they bustle around the crowded market.
Take some time to put the camera away and enjoy the market for yourself. The smells of the market are hunger-inducing with some of the best food available to buy in Seattle found at Pike Market.
For a view of the whole of the Seattle skyline head across Elliot Bay to Luna Park. Situated in the North Admiral Area of the west side of Seattle this spot gives a beautiful panoramic view of the city.
Elliot Bay is teeming with boats both, pleasure and business, and they add an interesting foreground element to your picture. From Luna Park, you get a great perspective of the size and scale of this next Seattle photo spot.
Seattle’s most famous and distinctive landmark. Impressively built in just 400 days to be the centrepiece of the 1962 World’s Fair. It’s worth going to the top just for the full story on how this beautiful structure was built.
Of course, you also get amazing views across Seattle from the top. Although there are perspective shields for safety there are some gaps you can fit your camera lens through to get the clearest shots. Making it one of the must-visit Seattle photo spots.
Because of the Space Needle’s size, it towers over the surrounding neighbours so there are numerous places in the city you can photograph it. However, the 3 listed below are among the best locations for photographing the Space Needle.
This park and fountain sits in the shadow of the Space Needle and frames the tower well. You can place the pretty fountain in the foreground and have the vast Space Needle behind it. If the sun is out it’s also a beautiful place to spend an afternoon.
Columbia Center – Sky View Observatory
Not many buildings reach over the Space Needle but the Columbia Centre does. This means you can get some unique shots of the Space Needle. You have to pay to get to the Sky View Observatory but it’s inexpensive at $20 and you get a 360-degree view of Seattle and the surrounding area.
Get out in the bay and you can get some fantastic shots of the Space Needle. There are plenty of tours available that will take you around the bay or you can hop on the ferry out to Bainbridge Island.
The Seattle Great Wheel
Down by the waterfront is the Seattle Great Wheel. Opened in 2012 and standing tall at 175 feet it’s a distinctive landmark on the city skyline. Take a ride in the air-conditioned gondolas for a birdseye view of Seattle’s top attractions.
The iconic office tower was built in 1914 and is is the oldest skyscraper in Seattle. On the 35th-floor of Smith Tower is an observation deck and as well as a speakeasy-style cocktail bar. You can get some great photos of Smith Tower from the waterfront and into the bay and for close-ups head to the nearby City Hall Park.
Mount Rainier is a large active stratovolcano located 59 miles from Seattle. It forms part of the Cascade Mountain range. Towering in at 14,411 ft, it is the highest mountain in the state of Washington.
The sheer size of this domineering mountain means that it can be seen in multiple locations across the city. However, for some of the best views, you can out of the city and visit these places.
You will get some of the best photos of Mt Rainer from the shores of Lake Washington. The dock at Mt Baker Beach Park, the shores of Madrona Park Beach or the Leschi Park Beach all offer spectacular views of the mountain as well as interesting features to help frame your photo.
Just to the south of Olympia is Tumwater Airport where you can get some fabulous views of Mount Rainier. This is a great spot for photographing Mount Rainer at sunset and sunrise.
Mount Rainier National Park
Of course for the views of the mountain, you can head to Mount Rainer National Park. Across the numerous trails of the park, you will get some of the most spectacular views of Mt Rainer possible.
With Jose Rizal Bridge in the foreground, you can get some wonderful shots of the southside of downtown Seattle. That includes both Century Link Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks and T-Mobile Park where the Seattle Mariners play baseball.
Because of the traffic streaming along the Jose Rizal Bridge, this is an excellent spot for fans of light trail photography. This is another one of the popular Seattle photo spots.
Ballard & Golden Gardens
Ballard started out life as a Scandinavian fishing community but has since turned into a neighbourhood filled with nightlife, shopping and a growing food scene.
This neighbourhood is a perfect spot for street photography with its host of small boutiques, cafes and Sunday Farmers Market. Chittenden Locks is nearby with its abundant wildlife that includes sea lions and every so often you might even spot a whale.
It’s not often you find a park where a coal gasification plant is the major feature. That’s what you get with Gasworks Park as the historic plant dominates the view.
At night, though, you can get some fantastic skyline views of the city. When the water is calm you can capture the reflections of the city lights on Lake Union.
Jumping on the ferry and visiting Bainbridge Island is one of the most popular things to do in Seattle. It makes for a great day trip with some wonderful photo spots.
The downtown area of Winslow is beautiful and has some lovely restaurants and cafes. The ferry ride itself is one of the best places to get pictures of Seattle and the surrounding area.
Sunset Hill Park
To the north of downtown Seattle is the neighbourhood of Ballard, home to Sunset Park. Placed above the busy bay it’s a wonderful spot to watch the sailboats and ships glide on by. As you can tell by the name the sunset views are the real appeal of this hidden Seattle gem.
Volunteer Park Water Tower
Given its name, it is no surprise that the Volunteer Park Water Tower is this park’s biggest attraction. Built over 100 years ago the Water Tower is a fun way to get a wonderful view of the Seattle skyline. Climbing it’s 107 stairs rewards you with 360-degree views of Seattle and the surrounding area.
Around the corner from Luna Park is Alki Beach. Being one of the few sandy beaches in the area means it is usually packed in the summertime. It also has a wonderful view of the city from its spot across the Puget Sound.
The views are great during the day but it’s at sunset that you will get the best photos of the Seattle skyline.
Hidden within Madison Park is the beautiful Seattle Japanese Garden. For just a small fee you can walk the grounds of this vibrant garden. Visiting in spring coincides with the blooming of many of the garden’s flowers.
While visiting in autumn means experiencing some of the most beautiful colours in the garden.
Waterfall Garden Park
Hidden away in Pioneer Square is Waterfall Garden Park. In all the hustle and bustle of downtown Seattle lives a tony park with a waterfall in it. Waterfalls always make a great photo spot and this one is a real surprise given its location towards the heart of the city.
Pioneer Square Street Art
When you’re finished photographing the waterfall it’s time for something more urban. Pioneer Square is a popular location for local artists and their street art.
The location in the downtown area makes for a contrasting backdrop for some of the contemporary designs. This is a perfect spot for your Instagram selfie.
Ella Bailey Park
Ella Bailey Park is further north of Kerry Park so that means Queen Anne Hill creeps into the view of the city skyline. Photographing from here will give your Seattle skyline photos a unique feel to the others being shot in the more popular Kerry Park.
This photo spot isn’t in the City but if you’re visiting Seattle you should consider travelling the 45 minutes out to Snoqualmie Falls. The waterfall is one of the most popular locations in Washington State.
There are plenty of great options for photographing Snoqualmie Falls including the observation deck. There is a trail that runs to the bottom of the falls where you have a great vantage point of the falls.
There you have it, the best Seattle photo spots (and a few just outside of the city). Have I missed anything? If your favourite spot isn’t there let me know in the comments below. Or if you have any great tips for photographing these spots tell us all in the comments.