Unless you’re on Instagram solely to see pics of your friends, chances are you’re putting up photos—at least in some part—for the likes. You play the hashtag game, but it’s not enough. You need awesome angles. And you need places that are at once popular enough that a hashtag of that spot will garner some interest, but also unique enough that potential likers haven’t seen the same shot a million times (or it at least should have potential for a new perspective). Look for different angles on the usual suspects—that perfect shot of the Great Wheel, finding little hidden secrets on the carousel at Miner’s Landing, or other details someone might not notice at first glance.
Fortunately, Seattle is filled with such spots. And, yes, just about all of the major tourist attractions are a given, but that’s not what this list is about. Get your snaps of Pike Place Market and the Space Needle, but then move on to these places. From amazing views to unexpected views of city landmarks, here are 10 of the most Instagrammable spots in Seattle.
Great view pics are always a winner on Instagram and there’s more than one spot you can get an overview of the city. Of course, the top of the Space Needle lets you use #SpaceNeedle and get some great snaps of the city below as well as Lake Union, the Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier and other scenery in the distance. This one is especially ideal on clear days where other viewpoints are better on both clear and cloudy days. Other viewpoints that can prove worth a visit for a photo include the top of the Columbia Tower or climbing the water tower at Volunteer Park.
The Seattle Skyline
It’s a fact. Seattle has a great skyline, highlighted by the Space Needle on one end, a lovely clump of skyscrapers at its heart, and two stadiums on the other end. Knowing where to get the perfect skyline shots can pay off in Instagram likes. Alki Beach is one of these spots as you’ll get not only one of the most picturesque shots of the skyline, but also water in the foreground – it’s especially lovely in the late afternoon or early evening. Where Alki Beach offers the quintessential skyline photo, Kerry Park offers a different view – one with the Space Needle in the foreground, the city as a backdrop and Mt. Rainier in the distance. It's like the Seattle skyline super sized. If you have a phone that can handle photos at night, a nighttime skyline shot from Kerry Park is a winner.
Flying into Seattle
Most flights into Seattle take a jaunt over downtown as they come into Sea-Tac International Airport, and this is an ideal time to get a unique shot of the city. Chances are (but it depends on your flights’ path) you’ll get better shots if you’re on the right side of the plane. Be ready to spot the downtown skyscrapers and the two stadiums. Bonus points if you get the wing tip in the same shot as the buildings. Many flights also go right past Mt. Rainier, and while that's not "in" Seattle, it's still a really amazing shot for Instagram.
It’s not every day you spot a waterfall right in the heart of a major city, but Pioneer Square’s Waterfall Garden offers just that. It’s a unique spot to relax for lunch or a cup of coffee, but the waterfall also makes a great Instagram post. Get up close, step back and capture the whole fall, or try interesting effects. Bonus, you can hashtag Pioneer Square and many people will not know that this spot exists so you’ll teach them a little about the city as well as earning a like.
Seattle is one of the best cities in the west for viewing cherry blossoms in the spring. If you’re fortunate enough to have a sunny day during cherry blossom season, don’t miss out on capturing it because it doesn’t take long before the blossoms fall away! You’ll see cherry blossoms all around the city, in parks, in neighborhoods, along streets. But if you really want to go all out, head to the Quad on the University of Washington campus where Seattle’s largest stand of cherry blossoms creates something amazing when they bloom. Whether you get up close for a macro shot or a landscape photo filled with pink, you'll get a beautiful photo here.
Seattle Art Museum Lobby
Even if you can’t or don’t want to spend time at the museum, Seattle Art Museum’s lobby is a fine spot to get an artsy Instagrammable photo. You’ll often find special exhibits previewed in the lobby, or a permanent exhibit on display (however, the very long-term display of cars with light arcs coming out of them that was so synonymous with SAM is now gone).
Not far from Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Central Library is Instagram gold. For starters, the exterior is unique—jagged and angular and just plain weird for the most part. The possibilities for interesting shots or angles are plentiful. Get near the entrance and under glass-and-metal entryway and you’ll find more potential for cool photos. Enter inside this anything-but-boring library and the possibilities continue. You’ll find red hallways, bright yellow escalators, quirky artwork, more cool glass and metalwork ceilings inside on the top floor. Also from the top floor, you’ll find some surprisingly great views.
Seattle has tons of parks with Instagram potential, but Gasworks Park is one not to miss. First, there are the rusty old structures at the heart of the park – the ruins of the former Seattle Gas Light Company. No matter how you photograph these, they look pretty cool. Then, there’s the backdrop of Lake Union and downtown Seattle across the water. Lastly, there are all kinds of surprising close-up shots to get here as you explore the gears and pipes of the equipment.
The Fremont Troll is a classic Seattle photo for many, and it’s equally as classic on Instagram. And why wouldn’t it be? How often can you get a photo of an actual troll under an actual bridge? Plus, this one is grasping an entire VW Beetle and has a hub cab for an eye, and you can climb on the troll, too. Get the popular shot of the troll overall, but then get creative – look for those unique angles, zoom up on the hub cab eye or the hand on top of the Beetle.
Garden and Glass
Garden and Glass is a major tourist attraction and you do have to pay to get inside, but what you’ll find is a photographic treasure trove of bright colors, amazing artwork and equally amazing angles on the Space Needle with glass in the forefront. Glass artwork in the exhibition is by local artist Dale Chihuly and mostly looks pretty fantastical in photos. Go ahead. Turn up the contrast on that photo. Make those colors pop. Of course, you can also find Chihuly’s artwork outside of Garden and Glass throughout the area. There’s some in the Seattle Art Museum, some at Lincoln Square in Bellevue and downtown Tacoma (Tacoma is Chihuly’s hometown) to the south is filled with glass you can see for free.