Traveling with children can be fun, but it can also be exhausting and difficult if your destination city is not very kid-friendly. Seattle, Washington is one of the best places to travel as a family, because it is not too big, and it offers so many different activities and cuisines.
1. Visit the Seattle Aquarium
The aquarium is located right along the water. It has exhibits of the Puget Sound, tropical areas, marine mammals, as well as several others. The underwater dome is also an incredible sight. You can stand inside and look up into the water to see ocean life from below. For younger children, the family activity center offers hands-on activities and videos to teach kids about protecting the orcas in Puget Sound.
For families who like to get outdoors, this is the place. Discovery Park has many hiking trails (all fairly easy) that go through trees or along the beach. It makes for gorgeous views, and if the kids get tired of hiking, they can always visit the playground to run around and have a good time!
3. Gas Works Park
This park was formerly the Seattle Gas Light Company. It is no longer in use, so kids can run around and even climb on some of the old equipment. It is located right on the water, which makes it perfect for parents to walk around and enjoy gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean while the kids run off some steam.
4. Pike Place Fish Market
Although the smell might be a little off-putting at first, the fish market can actually be a ton of fun! Fish freshly caught from the ocean comes in at all times of the day. Workers will yell out to each other, and then toss whole fish around the shops. Huge fish and crabs rest on ice out in the open, so families can walk by and just observe, or they can purchase some fresh seafood for dinner.
5. Fremont Troll
On Aurora Ave, a giant troll sculpture hides underneath a bridge. It’s holding an old Volkswagen Beetle like it just snatched the little car off the road. Kids can climb on the troll and take pictures, although it may be a little scary for very young children. It makes for a good fall time/ Halloween activity.
6. The Great Wheel
This Ferris wheel is the tallest on the West Coast. It is 53 meters high and offers incredible views of the water, all from inside a fully enclosed car. On Fridays and Saturdays, the wheel stays open until midnight year-round. Although the lines may be long, it will be well worth the wait.
7. T-Mobile Park
The home of the Seattle Mariners was named Safeco Field until 2019. Although it has a new name, the stadium still offers incredible baseball games. For kids who love the sport, T-Mobile Park is a great place to watch. The food is also incredible, with many options to choose from- the Mariners even have their own famous garlic fries! Baseball is a classic family activity and is perfect for even the youngest members.
The first Starbucks was opened in Seattle in 1971, and has grown into a massive business since then. Although the coffeeshops can be found nation-wide, it’s always fun to stop by the original one. Kids will love getting a drink or a snack because it will make them feel very grown-up. The actual adults can take a quick break too, drink a little coffee or tea, and relax for a few minutes while the kids are busy eating.
9. Gum Wall
A classic Seattle stop is the gum wall, which is exactly what it sounds like. Over the years, people have stuck their gum to this concrete wall. A little gross? Maybe. But it also makes for an adorable, colorful background for a family photo. (And kids can make their own contribution to the artwork). Of course, just ensure that your babies or small children aren’t getting close enough to put any of it in their own mouths!
10. Dick’s Restaurant
Dick’s is an original Seattle drive-in. They offer juicy hamburgers, fresh-cut french fries, and shakes. Since they never expanded beyond the Seattle region, they like to keep things simple. After a long day of sightseeing, Dick’s is the perfect family spot to eat some good, old-fashioned comfort food.
11. Pike Place Market
This market place is always bustling and offers many different things to do. Flower and candy shops, magic stores, fresh seafood, you name it. Pike Place is a great spot to walk around and find places to eat, so you can make a whole day of it, even with kids.
12. Pinball Museum
After paying for your tickets, you and your kids can enjoy playing dozens of vintage pinball machines for free. Snacks and drinks are available, so if the rainy Seattle weather forces you indoors, this is your best bet for a fun afternoon.
13. Explore the Tidepools
You and your family won’t even have to leave the city to find plenty of sea creatures. At low tide (make sure to check tide schedules), you can find sea stars and anemones nestled among the rocks. If you have very small children, it is best to keep an eye out for both their safety and the safety of the wildlife.
14. Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park
Seattle has plenty of history around the gold rush of the 1800s, so this park is a great way to both learn a little, and have fun. In the summer months, kids can try “panning for gold.” The best part is, it’s all free!
15. Ice Cream Ferry
On Sundays throughout the year, a boat leaves from Lake Union Park on a quick, 45-minute tour. Kids can watch seaplanes take off and land and observe a few homes that float on the water, all while enjoying hot chocolate or ice cream on board.
16. Indoor Rock Climbing
Another great activity for a rainy day is rock climbing. There are tons of indoor locations all across Seattle, and it’s perfect for kids who love to climb and play (and need to get some energy out!).
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