This year, I decided that I wanted to give my kids a new travel experience. Most of our travel excursions with the kids involves spending the week sitting on the beach (which is always fun). But this year I wanted them to be able to experience a week of enjoying the hustle and bustle of city life. So we decided to spend a week in Seattle, Washington. After seeing Seattle with kids I’ve come up with these top 5 spots for families.
The trendy and artistic vibe of this city, made it a fun one to explore with kids. It was also such a fantastic family friendly city. There were tons of great activities to do with the little ones and we always felt totally safe walking around the city them. When we told people we were headed to Seattle, they all warned us about the rainy weather, but while we were there it was beautiful 75-80 degree sunshine all week long! Perfect exploring weather.
Before leaving on our trip, our friends at CityPASS gave us 2 complimentary adult CityPASS voucher books (and we went ahead and bought 2 kids CityPASS books ourselves). If you are heading to Seattle, I would highly recommend checking into purchasing these voucher books. With these books you can get into all of Seattle‘s top attractions including the Space Needle, The Seattle Aquarium and a trip on the Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour. You also get vouchers that allow you to chose to visit either the EMP (Experience Music Project) or the Woodland Park Zoo and the Chihuly Garden and Glass or the Pacific Science Center (which also includes a ticket to the IMAX Theater in the Science Center). These voucher books save you over 50% of the cost of visiting these attractions. As we used the vouchers, I added up how much we would have spent if we didn’t use them and calculated that we saved about $35 per person even though we didn’t have time to use one of the vouchers. I also loved that it was an easy way to plan outings on the trip, knowing that all of the top attractions were already planned and paid for ahead of time.
Here is a taste of what we enjoyed in Seattle:
Top Seattle Spots for Kids
1. Seattle Space Needle: An obvious choice, but for good reason! From this 605 ft observation tower, we were able to see amazing views of the city. It was a clear day, so it felt like we could see the entire city. We even spotted our hotel room. Going up and down the elevator that goes to the observation deck was a true thrill, and at the top there were all kinds of fun interactive displays to help the kids connect with the history and significance of the Space Needle. The Space Needle is still my kids’ standard of measurement for things that are really tall.
2. The Pacific Science Center: If you are taking kids to Seattle, this hands-on science center is a must see! This place was absolutely amazing. There are eight exhibit halls that hold fantastic displays including a butterfly house, music exploration room, sea-life touch pool, dinosaur exhibit, water play area, a planetarium, bug exhibit and much much more! Everything is interactive and touch-friendly. I also loved that there was a wide enough variety of exhibits that both my 4 year old and 9 year old were fully engaged and excited. Using the CityPASS, your ticket into the Science Center will also get you free or reduced admission into a movie at the onsite IMAX theater. My only regret about our entire Seattle trip is that I didn’t plan a full day to explore the Pacific Science Center. This stop could easily be a full day adventure.
3. Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour: When visiting a new city, I always think that the most interesting part is learning a little bit about the history and culture of the city. I wanted my kids to be able to connect with this also, in a way that would be fun and interesting to them. I found the perfect way to do that from the Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour. During the 1 hour tour, we got to hop on a boat and take a cruise around the harbor, enjoying the sea breeze, stunning views of the skyline, and entertaining commentary about the history of the city along the way. The tour guide was truly fantastic, and was so funny and knowledgable.
4. Woodland Park Zoo: Using the CityPASS, you can choose to visit either the Woodland Park Zoo or the EMP. We let the kids pick and they decided to go to the zoo. The zoo is located away from the downtown area of the city, and quite a distance away from the hotels all of the other main attractions. However, Seattle has an amazing public transit system, so we were able to hop on a bus from downtown that took us right to the front gates of the zoo. Riding the bus was one of the highlights of the trip for my kids (they really haven’t ridden public transit much), and I really enjoyed getting away from the touristy areas of the city for the day, and seeing more of the life that locals experience. The zoo itself isn’t the largest that we have ever been to, but it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the bird aviary where you got to walk into a room filled with trees and birds flying freely around you. They also had an awesome exhibit featuring animals native to the Pacific Northwest. At the end of the zoo is a huge old carousel which my kids loved!
5. Pike Place Market: My personal favorite day of the trip was the day that we spent just walking around the city, enjoying the buildings, and sights, sounds and smells of the city. The highlight of this was the world famous Pike Place Market. This open air market was the original farmers market, where a group of farmers decided to sell their produce directly to customers, cutting out the middle man. I was completely fascinated by the fish sellers who throw the fish to each other while chanting songs. My daughter loved the flower market and I just couldn’t resist buying her a fresh tulip (which she happily carried around with her everywhere we went for the entire day). My kids also loved the cool stores underneath the market, especially a fun antique coin shop. For lunch we stopped at Beechers Cheese Shop, across the street from the market, and saw them making handmade artisan cheese while enjoying the best Mac & Cheese and grilled cheese sandwich that I have had in my life!
I loved Seattle and can’t wait to go back! The entire city had such a fun, friendly feeling about it that was great for kids. If you go, be sure to check out the CityPASS booklets as a budget friendly and hassle free way to see the city. Check out my video slideshow for all my photos: Seeing Seattle with Kids: The Top 5 Attractions You Need to See!