Seattle with Kids – A Guide

Update March 21, 2017

Essentials

The 51 Best Things To Do With Kids In Seattle

From the Aquarium to the Zoo (and everywhere in between), this city is chock-full of great family adventures, just waiting to be had. Here are Seattle’s best places to eat, play, and explore with kids.

1. Take a Tour Downtown

Seattle Food Tour with Kids
Guided tours make a good introduction to a city and are great for asking questions on where to eat, shop, and explore. If you’re local, they’re an awesome way to rediscover the city and find your next new favorite spots.

Here are a few Seattle tours that I especially recommend for kids:

Savor Seattle Chocolate Tour – I can’t recommend this enough. So much fun. Locals at Savor Seattle do a delicious and informative Chocolate Tour that usually includes stops at cupcake, cheesecake, and specialty chocolate shops in and around Pike Place Market. The guides are wonderful and give a good overview of where and how chocolate is made. Savor also does a Pike Place Market tour that’s very interesting – but if you have kids it’s hard to beat the chocolate tour.

Seattle by Foot Kid’s Tour – A downtown walking tour created with a child’s interests and attention span in mind. Get a kid’s eye view of Pike Place Market and the Seattle Public Library, make art at the Seattle Art Museum, and learn about the skyscrapers and public art you’ll find along the way. Public tours run regularly in the summer months, though private tours can be booked in advance year-round.

2. The Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium with Kids.
Located on Seattle’s wonderful waterfront and recently refurbished, the aquarium is a good stop for 90 minutes to 2 hours. (Some visitors arrive expecting a lot and leave disappointed.) Kids can touch starfish and sea anemones and (with a bit of luck) see different animals during feeding time. The scuba divers that swim in a large tank – and do show and tell with different sea life – are a hit with many kids.

3. Pike Place Market

Fish throwing at Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is a Seattle institution and while it attracts a lot of tourists, it retains its charm. Locals still shop here, and the seafood, fruit, vegetables, and flowers are top notch and fairly priced. The market is open from early morning until early evening but is at its best just before lunch. Stop by and pick up a map at the information booth at First and Pike – the volunteers who work there are really friendly, and can answer (just about) any Market-related question.

Best bets for kids at Pike Place Market:

4. Check Out Some Airplanes

Seattle used to be known as “Jet City,” and though that nickname isn’t used so much anymore, there are still no shortage of opportunities to get your airplane fix. On a nice day, pack a picnic lunch and head to Lake Union Park to watch the sea planes come and go. If you’ve got more time and are searching for something bigger, these next two spots are a must:

The Museum of Flight
Seattle Museum of Flight with kids.
A great museum for all ages, you’ll see airplanes spanning the first 100 plus years of flight. Get a look inside a Concorde, the first 747 ever built, the original Air Force One, fighters, bombers, and, well, pretty much anything that has wings or propellers. There’s a Kids Flight Zone, several flight simulators, and always changing featured exhibits. The museum is located 10 minutes by car south of downtown Seattle. There’s lots of free parking available. Bus #124 will also get you here from downtown. If you own your own plane there are 5 fly-in parking spots available. The museum is open from 10am to 5pm every day.

The Future of Flight (Boeing Factory Tour)
Seattle Future of Flight Tour.
For a different perspective on airplanes – focused on how they’re built rather than how they fly – visit the Boeing assembly plant 30 miles north of Seattle. The tour is geared towards adults (and you have to be over 48 inches) but anyone over the age of 7 that has an interest in airplanes should be thrilled. You see the assembly line where 747’s, 777’s and the new 787’s are constructed. Visit on weekdays to see the factory humming at full speed. Tours begin every hour from 9am to 3pm.

5. Woodland Park Zoo

The Seattle Zoo with Kids.
This is a great zoo within a relaxed and beautifully laid-out park, so be prepared to spend a good part of a day here. Monkeys, gorillas, Komodo dragons, and giraffes are the big draws for us – but there’s so much here your family could easily have a totally different greatest hits. Zoomazium is a fun indoor climbing playground for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, and a great place to burn off energy on a rainy day. Several restaurants within the zoo are decent, or bring your own food and have a picnic on one of many grassy areas. Bus #5 goes from downtown Seattle right by the zoo. The zoo is open 9:30am to 6pm from May 1 to September 30, and 9:30am to 4pm from October 1 to April 30.

6. The Pacific Science Center at Seattle Center

The Seattle Science Center dinosaurs.
A museum full of hands on science fun. Great for kids aged 3 and up. (There’s a special play area for toddlers.) The museum has become a bit rundown and in need of some updating, but kids notice the engaging exhibits, not the cracking paint. The Tropical Butterfly House and IMAX theater (movies currently showing) are probably the highlights. Located on the grounds of Seattle Center where there are lots of places to eat. You can easily take the Monorail here from downtown Seattle. It’s closed Tuesdays, open from 10am to 5pm Monday, Wednesday to Friday, and 10am to 6pm Saturday, Sunday, and holidays.

7. The Seattle Children’s Museum At Seattle Center

Playing Firemen at the Seattle Children's Museum in Seattle Center.
An absolutely wonderful place that is more an imaginative indoor playground than museum. Get there when the doors open and you can have the place to yourself for an hour or so – even on weekends. Superb for ages 10 months – 10 years. Located 2 minutes from the Pacific Science Center. It’s in the same building as the Seattle Center Armory and all its restaurants. Taking the Monorail here from downtown Seattle is a good option. The museum is open 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.

8. The Museum of Pop Culture

EMP in Seattle with kids.
There is just enough at MoPOP to keep kids aged 5 to 10 occupied for about an hour. Older kids might stay engaged for another 90 minutes. If this museum is something the adults in the family are excited to see you need not avoid it, but it could easily be scratched from a busy schedule. Sci-fi fans will appreciate the Star Trek souvenirs, Star Wars artifacts, and scary scenes from numerous science fiction movies and books.

9. Take the Water Taxi to West Seattle

There’s no cheaper way to cruise Elliott Bay. $4.75 buys you a 15-minute ride from Pier 50 on the downtown waterfront to Seacrest Park in West Seattle. From there, relax on the patio with some shaved ice at Marination Ma Kai, or take one of two free shuttle buses offered: head up the hill to check out the shops and restaurants at the West Seattle Junction, or over to explore West Seattle’s beautiful Alki Beach. Alki has tons for kids to do ­– it’s 2.5 miles of sand and pebble beach, with plenty of restaurant options and great people-watching. Bike, kayak, and paddleboard rental, too. The Water taxi runs all week long from April through October, and on weekdays in the off-season. Kids 5 and under ride free.

10. Tour the Seattle Underground

The Seattle Underground Tour
Tours of Seattle’s “underground” take visitors down beneath Pioneer Square, and through the maze of buried alleys and storefronts that were once Seattle’s surface streets. They’re a great crash (or refresher) course on Seattle history, and kids and adults both find them fascinating. You’ll want to buy your tickets in advance, as both companies routinely sell out. Finally, with steep wooden stairways and uneven surfaces, these tours can be a bit “rustic” – I don’t recommend them for people with mobility issues, very small kids, or strollers.

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour: This is Seattle’s original and most famous underground tour. Groups are large, and guides are friendly and knowledgable, but lean heavily on the “schtick:” you may find this super fun or supremely irritating, depending on your personality. Tours run daily, year round, and last about 75 minutes. $19/adult, $9/child.

Beneath the Streets: This is the more intimate underground tour option; groups are smaller and the vibe is less corporate, though the guides are just as knowledgable. (Rumor has it, many of them used to work for the other company.) Tours run daily, year round, and are about an hour long. $15/adult, $8/child.

11. Go on a Stadium Tour

Seattle has two world class sports stadiums: Safeco Field is home to the Seattle Mariners, and the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC play at CenturyLink Field. Both stadiums are located just south of downtown, are easily accessible by bus and Link light rail, and offer tours year round.

Safeco Field Tours: Depart from the stadium’s Team Store on 1st Ave, and are about an hour long. Tickets can be purchased through their website in advance, or pick them up at the Team Store shortly before the tour is scheduled to depart. You’ll see private suites, the visitor’s clubhouse, the press box, the field, and both dugouts. Wheelchair/stroller accessible. $12/adult, $10/child.

CenturyLink Field Tours: Depart from the Stadium Pro Shop off Occidental Ave, and last about 90 minutes. Tickets can be purchased at the Downtown Pro Shop (at 4th and Pike) and the NW Box Office (off Occidental) – they sell out quickly and cannot be purchased by phone or online, so it’s recommended that you get there at least a half hour before the tour is scheduled to start. It’s also a good idea to call ahead to confirm the tour schedule, as tours aren’t given on event days. You’ll see the field, visitor’s locker room, press box, private suites, and the famous 12th Man flagpole. Wheelchair/stroller accessible. $12/adult, $5/child.

12. Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)

Museum of History and Industry in Seattle with kids.
Recently relocated and completely refurbished, this is one of Seattle’s best museums and a fantastic destination for both kids and adults. The exhibits are hands-on, detail rich, and very well done. The museum charts the history of the region though the development of major companies and industries. It’s located next to Lake Union and easily accessible by the South Lake Union Trolley. There’s a decent restaurant within the museum, and children 14 and under are free. Open 10am to 5pm daily, open until 8pm on Thursdays.

13. Music, Food, and Cultural Festivals

Bumbershoot with kids.
Seattle’s got a lot to celebrate, and more festivals than you can shake a stick at. Check out this full list of festivals by month, and don’t miss these family-friendly favorites:
BumbershootNorthwest FolklifeSeaFair • and Maker Faire.

14. Ride the Ferris Wheel on the Seattle Waterfront

Ferris wheel in downtown Seattle.
There are amazing views of the Seattle waterfront and Elliott Bay from the Seattle Great Wheel. Don’t worry about the rain – gondolas are fully enclosed, and hold up to 8 people. Pro tip: skip the ticket line by buying online. Tickets are good anytime, and have no expiration date. Be sure to arrive with paper tickets in hand, though. If you’ve only got a confirmation code, you’ll have to wait in line anyway.

15. Seattle Public Library

This downtown modern architectural masterpiece is a great stop for kids of any age. Stop by the 1st floor visitor’s center and start a self-guided tour (available through podcast, MP3 download, and cell phone), or take the neon escalators up to the swoon-worthy views from the 10th floor reading room. There’s cool public art, a massive children’s center filled with books and computers, story time almost every day, and a café cart for snack time. The library is walkable from most points downtown, easily accessible by Metro bus, and has an underground parking garage.

16. Rent a Boat or Kayak

Renting a kayak with kids.
There are a number of different shops that rent boats, canoes and kayaks to paddle around Lake Union and Lake Washington and even little Greenlake. All supply life vests for kids and adults. The best are: the Center for Wooden BoatsMoss BayNorthwest Outdoor CenterAgua Verde Cafe and Paddle ClubUW Waterfront Activities Center • and Greenlake Boat Rentals.

17. Play Pinball

Seattle Pinball Museum: Leave the quarters at home – the Pinball Museum has over 50 vintage and modern arcade games, and all are free to play after a single entrance fee. Sodas, snacks, and local craft beers available for purchase. Ages 7 and over. It’s located in Seattle’s International District, so there’s lots of great food nearby, and is accessible by Metro bus and link Light rail.

Full Tilt Ice Cream: They’ve got classic pinball and arcade games, NW beer, and incredibly delicious all natural house-made ice cream. Flavors range from standard vanilla to the unique and exotic (Sriracha/peanut butter, anyone?), along with a good variety of vegan options. Large portion sizes and small prices for ice cream of this caliber. Four Seattle locations: Ballard, the University District, Ballard, and White Center.

18. The Ballard Locks and Fish Ladder

Fish swimming through the Ballard Fish Locks viewing area.
Ballard’s Hiram M. Chittenden Locks help boats get from sea level up to the level of Lake Union. The Fish Ladder does the same thing for spawning salmon, allowing them to return to the lakes and rivers around Seattle. There’s a viewing area where you see the salmon swim by (it’s pretty neat to watch), and free one-hour Locks tours.

19. The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture

Exhibit at the Burke Museum in Seattle's University of Washington.
It’s not as hands-on as the Science Museum at Seattle Center, but this small, well laid out museum on the University of Washington campus has a more truly scientific bent. The center of the U-District is just a few blocks away and is filled with great (and cheap) places to eat, or take the viaduct down to nearby University Village. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm.

20. Ballard and the Ballard Farmers Market

Live music at a Seattle farmers' market.
Pike Place Market is great, but if you really want to experience one of Seattle’s famous local markets then head to the Ballard Farmers’ Market (year round on Sundays). It’s every Sunday from 10-3, and is a great spot to wander, shop and eat. Ballard’s lots of fun on other days of the week, too – it’s home to the Locks and is one of Seattle’s hippest neighborhoods, with loads of restaurants, cafes, and a brand new library (with story hours for kids).

Recommended kid-friendly Ballard Restaurants: Skillet DinerThe Hi-LifeSeñor Moose CaféBallard Pizza CompanyLi’l Woody’s Burgers and Shakes

21. Hang Out at Seattle Center

Seattle Center is home to the Pacific Science CenterMuseum of Pop Culture, and the Children’s Museum and Theatre, but on a nice day there’s also at least an afternoon’s worth of fun there that doesn’t require an entrance fee:

  • The International Fountain
    Fountain at Seattle Center with kids.
    It looks so simple. The large half-ball of a fountain looks like something you’d walk by, glance at for a minute or two, say “neat” and continue on your way. But the fountain has a way of pulling you in and lulling you into an afternoon of watching water jets shoot into the air in tune with the blasting music – leaving visitors wondering where their day went. When it’s hot kids have a blast.
  • Artists at Play Playground
    Located just west of MoPOP on Seattle Center grounds, this awesome music-themed playground is a hit with kids of all ages. Anchored by a massive 35-foot climbing tower and 50-foot tube slide, the park has cool musical play sculptures, ADA accessible swing and merry go round, and separate toddler play structure. A must-do if you’re out and about Seattle Center.
  • Restaurants at the Armory
    Better than your average food court, The Armory has lots of great, locally-owned options for a quick snack or a sit-down lunch. My recommendations: Skillet CounterEltana Wood-Fired BagelsMod Pizza.

22. Go Tidepooling

Puget Sound waters are great to explore at low tide – you don’t even have to leave the city to find sea anemones, hermit crabs, sea stars, urchins, and more. Constellation Park in West Seattle, Discovery Park in Magnolia, Ballard’s Golden Gardens Park, and Carkeek Park in North Seattle all have great tide pools when the water’s out. Check the tide schedules online or use a free phone app (Tides Near Me is a good one); any time you see the tides dip into the negative range is a good time to go. And keep an eye out for folks in red hats – at very low tides, the Seattle Aquarium sends out a fleet of friendly beach naturalists to educate and answer questions.

23. Gates Foundation Visitor Center

Bill Gates Center with Kids
Just across the street from Seattle Center and MoPOP, the center explores the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, its philosophy, and the best ways to improve health and education around the world. The theme of exhibits often returns to two questions: What does it take to change the world? How can each of us make a difference? The center is a lot more fun than it might sound and there’s a fair bit of hands-on exploration. Plus, it’s free, so easy to drop in for as long or as little as you want.

24. Take an Argosy Locks Cruise

Seeing the city by boat is a not-to-be-missed experience, and Argosy corners the market on Seattle maritime tours. Their Locks Tour is especially fun: Seattle’s working harbor and Puget Sound, Ballard’s Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and Fisherman’s Terminal, and the floating homes and sea planes on Lake Union are all included. It’s two hours long, but there’s more than enough to keep kids interested the entire time. All ships have bathrooms, and drinks and snacks are available for purchase. Argosy also offers a one-hour Harbor Cruise, and a “Christmas Ship” tour in December with caroling and Santa Claus. Argosy sails out of Pier 55, right on the downtown waterfront.

25. The Center for Wooden Boats

If this gem of a museum on south Lake Union looks small, it’s because all the best bits are out on the water. It’s always free to walk the docks and explore, and there are sailboats, canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and pedal boats for rent. CWB hosts free public sails on Sundays (they’re really popular; you’ll want to get in line before 10am), and has a maritime-themed story hour (aboard a 100-year-old tugboat!) every Thursday from 11-12. Great paired with a visit to the Museum of History and Industry next door. CWB is easily accessible by bus and streetcar, and has a limited number of parking spots available. Boathouse and rental hours are abbreviated in the off season – be sure to check the website before you go.

26. Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park

Actually a small museum in Pioneer Square, this national park has artifacts and exhibits highlighting Seattle’s role in the Klondike gold rush of the 1890’s. It’s open year-round, with twice-daily gold panning demonstrations and Pioneer Square walking tours from June through Labor Day. Park rangers are friendly, and give kids a “passport” to stamp along the way. Best part? It’s all free! Definitely worth popping in if it’s summer and you’re in the area.

27. See a Play at the Seattle Children’s Theatre

Seattle Children's Museum
The Seattle Children’s Theater in Seattle Center puts on wonderful performances that are (often) just as entertaining for adults as for kids.

Seattle Children’s Theater 2016/17 Season:

28. Go Camping

Tent camping with kids.
Seattle is blessed with dozens (maybe hundreds) of great camping spots within 2 or 3 hours of the city. Read a quick overview of camping options in Washington State.

Not up for pitching a tent – or packing all the equpipment? Go Cabin Camping:

Cama Beach State Park is great for families.
The cabins at Cama Beach (pictured above) and Camp Long, or the yurts at Tolt MacDonald Park are great for families. But book early as these places fill many months in advance.

29. Visit Soundbridge

Seattle Symphony’s Musical Discovery Center is like an instrument petting zoo housed within grand Benaroya Hall. Most days of the week, Soundbridge is reserved by school groups, but it’s open to the public on Fridays, and is well worth checking out. All the instruments of the orchestra are available to try, there are musical-themed crafts, and a charming musical storytime. No need to worry about the germ factor – the friendly staff sanitizes mouthpieces after every guest. The Discovery Center also plays host to the Symphony’s First Concerts series, featuring short performances and hands-on Q&A for the juice-box set. Soundbridge is walkable from most points downtown, is easily bus accessible, and adjacent to Benaroya Hall’s underground parking garage.

30. Argosy Tillicum Village Excursion

A fascinating introduction to Seattle’s Native People’s History. 4 hours in total, the trip begins with a beautiful 45-minute boat cruise to Blake Island. There you’re treated to a Pacific Northwest-inspired buffet (the alderwood-smoked salmon is amazing) and stories and dance from Coast Salish tribe members – all in a traditional Native longhouse. Afterward, stick around to poke around the museum and gift shop, or explore the trails of beautiful Blake Island State Park. The combination of boat cruise, meal, and entertainment make this a great deal for the price. Excursions run from April through September, though July onward is your best chance for pleasant weather. Book early – these tours sell out, and an early-booking discount is offered more than 28 days in advance. Tours begin and end at Pier 55 on Seattle’s downtown waterfront.

31. Stroll Through The Sculpture Park

Seattle Olympic Sculpture Park.
The Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park displays large pieces of sculptured art along the waterfront, halfway between Seattle Center and downtown. Great views of the sound, mountains, and ferries. The museum’s main location is downtown (near Pike Place Market) and makes a good effort at being kid-friendly. The Old Spaghetti Factory is not my favorite place to eat but it is close to the Sculpture Park and very kid friendly.

32. Go For A Hike

Hikes for kids near Seattle.
There are lots of great hikes in and near Seattle. Here are 10 of the best hikes in the Seattle area for families.

33. Go to Bainbridge Island

Spend a day on Bainbridge Island – It’s a short ferry ride from downtown Seattle, and a perfect day trip for families. Here’s why you want to go:

Bainbridge Island Ferry: Departing from Pier 52 on Seattle’s downtown waterfront, this 35-minute ride offers unparalleled views of the mountains, Puget Sound, and the Seattle skyline. It operates on a first come, first served basis, and the car line can be quite long in the summer, so plan to arrive well ahead of time or, better yet, leave the car behind. (You’ll save money as a walk-on passenger and there’s plenty to do within foot distance from the ferry terminal.) All Bainbridge Island ferries have restrooms and food service on board.

Kids’ Discovery Museum (KiDiMu): It’s not large, but this sweet indoor play center provides perfect wet-day entertainment for toddlers and preschoolers. Their hands-on exhibits and play spaces are well-designed and fun, with a miniature town, pirate tree house, STEM and art centers, and year-round outdoor climbing wall. Outside food and beverage is allowed, or pop out for nearby pizza or diner food – admission is good for the entire day. KiDiMu is easily walkable from the ferry terminal and has plenty of free parking.

Waterfront Park: It’s a short walk from the ferry terminal to Eagle Harbor’s 5-acre Waterfront Park. There’s a paved half-mile path along the shoreline, a playground, public restrooms and boat launch. There’s also an excellent grocery nearby, for easy snacks and picnicking.

Back of Beyond Outfitters: See Bainbridge from the water – Back of Beyond offers kayak, canoe, and paddleboard rental at reasonable rates and within walking distance from the ferry. Tours and classes, too. Their rental location is on the public dock at Waterfront Park.

Bainbridge Island Historical Museum: Older kids will be fascinated by this excellent little museum, housed in a 1908 schoolhouse in downtown Winslow. Award-winning exhibits cover Native American beginnings, early exploration, logging and shipbuilding, and the Island’s history of Japanese-American internment during World War II. Staff is super friendly and knowledgeable, and the museum is a mere 10-minute walk from the ferry terminal. If you’ve got a car, pairing this museum with a visit to the Bainbridge Island Japanese-American Memorial is particularly poignant.

Bainbridge Aquatics Center: Clean and well-maintained, this community indoor swimming pool has just about everything a family could want – rope swings, diving boards, 180-foot slide, lazy river, toddler pool with water toys, lap lanes, sauna, hot tubs, and snacks for purchase at the front desk. Admission is $6/adults, $5/kids, and free for 2-and-unders. There’s lots of free parking and the Aquatics Center is an easy 5-minute drive from the ferry terminal.

Island Rock Gym: Indoor climbing and bouldering, a ten-minute drive from the ferry. Drop in, or reserve a class and have a professional show you the ropes. Island Rock Gym is clean, competitively priced, and offers snacks, drinks, and free coffee. Kids under 5 climb free, and admission is good all day.

Battle Point Park: The best park on Bainbridge Island – it’s got duck ponds and sports fields, and the playground is incredible. The 1.6-mile path around the park winds through grassy meadows and forests, and is paved and level. Follow the Fairy Dell trail down to the beach. Battle Point Park is a 15 to 20-minute drive from the ferry terminal and has plenty of free parking.

The Bloedel Reserve: Once a private estate, this immaculately-maintained 150-acre public garden is a wooded wonderland of lush, landscaped trails. There’s a moss garden and Japanese garden, ponds and reflecting pool, estate house and sweeping Puget Sound views. The loop trail takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete, and while the terrain isn’t tough, it might be challenging with a stroller. The Bloedel Reserve is a 15 minute drive from the ferry. No food or pets allowed.

Fay Bainbridge State Park: With sandy, driftwood-strewn beaches, this is a great park for exploring when the tide is out. Great tide pools, amazing views of Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains and (on clear days) Mount Rainier. It’s on the northeast coast of the island, an easy 15-minute drive from the ferry.

34. Take an Ice Cream Cruise

Sunday Family Ice Cream Cruise Seattle

This fun and inexpensive Lake Union boat tour operates on Sundays year-round, and is a perfect activity for kids. There’s a chance to learn some Seattle history, watch sea planes take off and land, and see some floating homes and Dale Chihuly’s glass studio – but at only 45 minutes, it’s great for short attention spans. There are ice cream treats available for purchase on board (hot chocolate in colder months), and well-behaved dogs are welcome. Tickets are $12/adult, $5/ kids 5-13 years, $3/under 5, and are cannot be purchased in advance. Cash and check only. Departs Sundays from Lake Union Park, between 11am and 3pm, on the hour. Seattle street parking is free on Sundays, and the park is easily accessible by Metro bus and streetcar.

35. Theo Chocolate Factory Tour

Kids 6 and older love touring this working chocolate factory in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, north of downtown. There’s an interesting 20-minute presentation on the bean-to-bar process, a walk through the manufacturing area, an amazing chocolate shop at the end of the tour, and plenty of free samples along the way. On weekends, Theo offers Chocolate Story Time for the smaller kids, complete with kid-friendly factory tour and samples. Tours are $10/person ($8 for Story Time), and fill up quickly – best to book in advance. Theo Chocolate has on-street parking, and is accessible by Metro Bus.

36. Go to an Indoor Climbing Gym

Whether you’re looking for a fun first foray into the rock climbing world, or have loads of experience under your harness, here are Seattle’s best indoor places to climb (with ropes) and boulder (no ropes) with kids:

Vertical World – Located in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood, Vertical World offers excellent climbing and bouldering routes under soaring 50-foot ceilings. Their experienced climbers will show you (and handle) the ropes during a one-hour Rock Climbing Experience Class (by reservation), or drop in to boulder at any time. This is a great experience to pair with a trip to Discovery Park or lunch at nearby Chinook’s at Fisherman’s Terminal. Child care is offered, with advance registration. Vertical World has both lot and street parking, with the nearest Metro bus stop a 5 to 10 minutes’ walk away.

Stone Gardens – Next door to the Ballard Locks, Stone Gardens is a fun indoor/outdoor climbing gym with two rooms dedicated to bouldering. Call in advance to book a Pro Belay (intro to rock climbing) class, or just stop by to scrabble around. Maximize the fun by combining this with a trip to the Locks and a to-die-for burger at nearby Red Mill Totem House. Stone Gardens has free on-site parking and is Metro bus accessible.

Seattle Bouldering Project – It’s a bit off the beaten path, but Seattle Bouldering Project in the Beacon Hill neighborhood is a great choice for those not interested in the ropes. They’ve got two full floors of bouldering, with cushy 2-foot thick floor mats, a children’s play area, and tons of natural light. Day pass prices are reasonable, and shoe rental is free on your first visit. Seattle Bouldering Project has ample on-site parking, and is accessible by Metro bus.

REI Seattle – More than a store, REI’s flagship location in downtown Seattle has mini hiking trails, a waterfall, and a massive 65-foot indoor climbing pinnacle. Single climbs are available in 15 and 30 minute intervals, by advance reservation on weekends or on a drop-in basis from 1:30 to 6:30pm Fridays. Group climbs are available by reservation most weekdays. REI Flagship also features a children’s play area, a café for snacking and light meals, an underground parking garage (first hour free), and is easily accessible by Metro bus.

37. Play Video Games at Gameworks

Seattle Gameworks video game arcade
A huge 2-level arcade filled with old and new video games. Gameworks is located in downtown Seattle and a short walk from Pike Place Market, the Monorail, and Westlake Mall. Bonus: Adults can order beer (though it’s expensive). Food is served in the arcade, and there’s a Cheesecake Factory directly across the street. A multiplex movie theater is on the floors above.

38. Swim at a Beach

Great beaches for kids in Seattle.
Seattle has several great beaches. My favorites are below. All have public restrooms.

  • Matthews Beach on Lake Washington – Located on the Burke Gilman bike trail. A nice swimming spot with life guards on duty during opening hours. (Like all beaches you can swim anytime at your own discretion.)
  • Madison Park Beach on Lake Washington – Located in the Madison Park neighborhood with a half-dozen restaurants, a Starbucks, and beautiful playground within 3 blocks of the beach. Life guards on duty and a raft with a diving board is moored 100 feet out into the lake.
  • Green Lake Beach – The warmest place to swim and a popular favorite. There are 2 different beaches on opposite sides of this small lake. A very popular walk/bike path (2.5 miles around) circles the lake. Life guards on duty and a raft with a diving board is moored 100 feet out into the lake. Lots of restaurants, a wading pool, and a playground are found at the north end of the lake. Rent boats, paddle boats, kayaks, and paddle boards at Green Lake Boat Rentals (on the sunniest weekend days there can be a 30+ minute wait for rentals but most of the time there’s plenty of stock).
  • Golden Gardens on Puget Sound – The water is cold here so not great for swimming but this is still one of Seattle’s most popular beaches. Barbecues are scattered along the beach and free for using (first come, first served). There’s a creek here that’s fun for kids to divert and dam. Located on the western end of the Burke Gilman bike and pedestrian path (about 1.5 miles from Ballard neighborhood). There aren’t any restaurants right at the beach (though there are 2 within a short bike ride).

39. Go Geocaching

Geocaching is a free, GPS-based treasure hunt taking place all over the world. It’s a great activity for families, and a fun way to explore a new city. (Check out Geocaching 101 to get started.) Here are a few of Seattle’s best caching spots:

Geocaching Headquarters in Fremont [GCK25B] – The mothership. Schedule a hosted visit, or just pop in during their weekday drop-in hours to log the coveted HQ cache, get exclusive swag, and meet the Lackeys who make it all happen. It’s all free. After your visit, take the GeoTour, a fun 9-stop multi within walking distance of HQ.

Olympic Sculpture Park [GC1A2TN] – Downtown multicache with gorgeous Puget Sound views and incredible artwork from the Seattle Art Museum’s collection.

Kubota Gardens [GCM2C9] – South Seattle multicache in an historic landmark. Absolutely beautiful location, with waterfalls, streams, bridges, and landscaped trails.

40. Living Computer Museum

Take a walk through computer history and a hands-on exploration of dozens of restored machines with original software. Just for kids, there’s the LCM Bit Zone, with vintage video games to play, and cool interactive circuitry and binary exhibits. Admission is a steal at $6/adult, $2/youth, and includes a museum tour. LCM is located south of Safeco Field in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, with free lot parking and easy access via Metro bus and Link light rail (SODO station).

41. Explore the Fremont Neighborhood

The Fremont Troll

Quirky Fremont is one of Seattle’s most fun and unique neighborhoods. It’s smack-dab in the middle of the best stretch of the Burke Gilman path, and is a great place to walk around, grab a restaurant bite, or have a picnic. On Sunday there’s a huge market with lots of great food and flea-market style vendors. The Urban Beer Garden at the Fremont Brewery is family-friendly and a great place to have a couple pints of a local Seattle beer – you’re welcome to bring outside food into the brewery.

Here are my top picks for kid-friendly food in Fremont: Uneeda BurgerHomegrownFrelard Pizza CompanyCafe Turko • and PCC Natural Market.

42. Fly on a Trapeze

Seattle is home to two amazing circus schools, and both offer one-time introductory classes open to everyone 6 years and older.

Emerald City Trapeze Arts is in a beautiful wood-beamed warehouse space just south of downtown. They offer tons of beginning trapeze and arial arts classes and are super easy to get to – only a block away from the Link Light Rail SODO station. Plan ahead: advance registration is required, and it’s best to reserve a few weeks out.

The School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA), the largest circus school in the US, is located south of downtown in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Most of their classes are series-based, but they do offer 2-hour single serve flying trapeze classes most days of the week. Preregistration and payment are required at least 48 hours in advance. SANCA has plenty of available parking, and is a few blocks from the nearest Metro bus stop.

43. Visit A Swimming or Wading Pool

Wading pool for kids at one of Seattle's public parks.
There are 2 very fun outdoor swimming pools with water slides in the city. Mounger Pool in Magnolia and Colman Pool in West Seattle. They get manageably busy on the hottest days of the summer.

Seattle also opens a number of wading pools that are a fun and relaxing way for the littlest ones to cool off and play when the city gets hot. (And yes, that does happen.)  My favorites are those at: Volunteer Park • Greenlake • Wallingford Park • and the East Queen Anne Playground.

44. Last Resort Fire Museum

It’s not for everyone, but kids (and adults) with a fascination of fire trucks will enjoy stopping in at this free Pioneer Square museum. The super knowledgeable museum staff will tell you everything you’d like to know about the beautifully restored antique fire engines on display, and there are printed information sheets about each engine to take home. Pairing this with a stop at the nearby Klondike Gold Rush museum makes for a fun (and free) educational afternoon.

45. Go for a Bike Ride

The Burke Gilman bike path with kids.
Seattle might not be Portland when it comes to bike friendly infrastructure but it has enough bike paths and bike lanes to give the casual bike visitor plenty of routes to enjoy the city. There are a couple of places to rent bikes and helmets. Downtown is not the best place for a ride, instead head to the Burke Gilman Bike Trail that runs through the popular Seattle neighborhoods of Ballard and Fremont – and continues out through the U-District and northeast Seattle for 20+ miles. It’s all relatively flat so it’s good for kids or parents pulling a trailer. Definitely keep a close eye on the kids and encourage them to keep to the right as some cyclists can ride the path at a pretty good clip. Recycled Cycles, Montlake Bike Shop and Ballard Bike Co. – all on or near the Burke path – are good options. Call ahead to see what’s available and reserve what you need.

46. Traxx Indoor Kart Racing

Go Kart Racing for Kids in Seattle
This is a 30 minute drive north of Seattle, but a hands-down favorite with many kids. The big track and karts (which go pretty fast) are for kids 11 and older. There is a smaller track and cars for 3 to 10 year olds, and they can use the smaller karts on the big track at a couple of select times (check the website as it changes often). Video games, pool, pizza, and beer in the waiting area.

47. Jump Around At An Indoor Gym

Foam pit at Seattle Gymnastics Academy.
Seattle Gymnastics Academy in Ballard (pictured above) offers an open gym time to jump in the foam pit, bounce on the trampoline, run and swing and flop. It’s a lot of fun but only for kids 5 and under. (There is also a Lake City location if you’re looking for an activity in North Seattle.)

PlayDate SEA is a perfect pit stop when adults need a break, but the kids have energy to spare. There’s 8,000 square feet of tunnels, slides, and climbing structures, with interactive dance floor and separate toddler play area for the kids. Adults chill in the attached lounge and café, enjoying the flat screen TVs and free WiFi access. Along with coffee, beer, and wine, the café offers snacks, kids’ meals, pizza, salad, and sandwiches. No outside food or beverage is allowed, and socks are required for kids and adults. Street parking is limited, but PlayDate SEA is easily accessed by Metro Bus.

48. iFly Indoor Skydiving

Windtunnel Skydiving for kids and adults.
Adults and kids (age 3 and up) can don a flight suit and fly in the wind tunnel here. It’s lots of fun,  though there is a fair bit of preparation to get in the chamber – safety instructions and videos, getting dressed, waiting in line – so plan your visit for a few hours.

49. Go Zip Lining

Bellevue Zip Tour offers guided zip line and aerial challenge courses for kids and adults 9 years and older. They’ve got 6.5 lines (some up to 500 feet long and 85 feet high) through lush pine forest, super friendly and helpful guides, and great mountain views. They’re located in Bellevue’s Eastgate Park, a 20-minute drive from downtown Seattle, and operate from April through October.

If you’re open to a zip lining adventure further from the city, here are some other great courses in the area:

  • Zip Wild – 5 fun zip and challenge courses located within Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville, about a hour and a half drive from Seattle. Ages 5 and up. Operates in summer only.
  • Canopy Tours Northwest – 6 thrilling zip lines in a beautiful farm and forest setting. Located on Camano Island, about an hour’s drive from Seattle. Operates year round. 65 lbs and over.
  • San Juan Island Zip Tour – 8 line zip tour over forests and wetlands on Beautiful San Juan Island, about 3 1/2 hours from Seattle (including ferry). Operates April through October, 8 years old/80 lbs and up.

50. SkyMania Trampolines

Trampoline Bounce House for Families
A very fun place for kids and never too busy. You can bounce around and do flips and spins and knee drops in a huge trampoline area or play a game of dodge ball (pictured above) in the smaller area. There are a handful of fun pinball, video, and foosball games to play afterwards. It’s in Kirkland, a 15 minute drive from downtown Seattle. Adults “can” jump too but few do and it’s pretty much all kids and teenagers on the trampolines.

51. Hit A Trendy Cafe

seattle-cafes-with-kids
Seattle is know for its awesome cafes and coffee. Most are kid friendly. Cafe Diablo on Queen Anne (pictured above) is one of our favorites. Caffe Ladro (Fremont, Capitol Hill, downtown, and near Seattle Center) and Macrina Bakery (Belltown, Queen Anne, SoDo) are also great.

The Best Places To Eat with Kids in Seattle

If you want to eat at some boring chain restaurant like Olive Garden, Red Robin or The Old Spaghetti Factory, there’s no shortage of these around. However Seattle has a ton of unique and locally-owned restaurants that serve great food, and are worth trying out. With a few accommodations and some adventurous parents the whole family will have a great time.

Here are some of my favorite places to eat in Seattle with kids:

Best Pizza

Tutta Bella – They don’t serve a whole lot else beside their thin crust pizza – not even any pasta – but what they do offer is delicious. Great desserts: tiramisu and gelato, and good espresso. Four locations: Westlake (between Downtown and Seattle Center), Stone Way (between Fremont and Wallingford), Columbia City, and Issaquah.

Best Hamburger

Red Mill – A couple different locations at Interbay (between Queen Anne and Magnolia), the original on Phinney Ridge (just north of the Woodland Park Zoo), and the Totem House location next to the Ballard Locks. If you’re in Capitol Hill or Ballard, Li’l Woody’s is great, too.

Best Sushi

SushiLand in Queen Anne is a delicious and cheap conveyor-belt sushi place. Seattle has some top notch (and very expensive) Japanese restaurants but for great sushi in a relaxed setting nothing beats this SushiLand. The seared salmon is incredible. It’s walking distance from Seattle Center and the Monorail.

Coolest Place You’re Still Allowed to Take Your Kids To

Alibi Room – OK, this is pushing the definition of Kid’s Restaurant to the absolute breaking point. The Alibi Room might also fall under the category of Singles Bar or Pick Up Joint. But it’s got great food and beer, and the happy hour specials are incredible. It’s loud enough to absorb any noise and it’s very dark, so other guests might just think you’re dining with some very short adult friends.

And regardless, it’s more an evening spot so if you visit at lunch or early afternoon you could be the only ones in the place.

It’s a little tricky to find but that keeps all the tourists away. To get there find the famous pig in Pike Place Market, descend the stairs just a few feet away to Pike Alley and walk down the lane about 100 feet. The Alibi Room will be on your right, directly opposite Gum Wall – a collection of gum that people have plastered on one of the alley’s walls. Kids love it. Parents of good taste and upbringing find it repulsive.

Best Donuts

Top Pot Doughnuts  – Locations all over the city (Upper Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, Downtown Seattle, Wedgwood, Bellevue, Mill Creek and Qwest Field). Yummy! If you’re in Pike Place Market eat some of the freshly made donuts at Daily Dozen Doughnuts.

Best Cupcakes

Trophy Cupcakes – If anyone tries to recommend Cupcake Royal to you, thank them politely and then remove them from your Christmas card list — Trophy is the indisputable cupcake champ. Locations in Wallingford, University Village, and Bellevue.

Best Ice Cream

I have 2 favorites. For the best ice cream shop visit Molly Moon’s (located in Wallingford and Capitol Hill). For the best ice cream truck track down the roaming white truck of Parfait.

Best Bakery

The best cookies (chocolate oat peanut butter chip is my fave), breads, cakes and scones can be found at Macrina Bakery in Upper Queen Anne, Belltown and Sodo.

Best Cafe

Caffe Ladro serves the best espresso drinks in the city. (Locations in Upper and Lower Queen Anne, West Seattle, Fremont, Capitol Hill, Downtown and some suburban locations like Edmonds, Bellevue and Kirkland.) Caffe Fiore (Upper Queen Anne, Sunset Hill and Ballard) has the coolest vibe. And Irwins (Wallingford) has that laid back neighborhood vibe that Seattle has come to define.

Best Cafes with Playrooms

The best playroom/cafe combo in the city is at Mosaic Coffee House in Wallingford (just behind the Dick’s Drive-in). Their huge playroom is great for ages 6 months to 6 years. Don’t go out of your way to visit Firehouse Coffee in Ballard but if you’re in the area and need a latte, it does have a decent playroom for the kids. Wunderkind Cafe in Ravenna has cool Lego and Duplo rooms and serves food, coffee, and beer.

Vios Cafe (in Capitol Hill and Ravenna) and Serendipity Cafe (in magnolia) are 2 good restaurants with nice sized play areas for children.

Photo credits

See Also

98 questions and comments

  1. Thanks!

    Hello,
    My husband and I run a small after-school school in Taiwan. (He’s from Seattle and I am Taiwanese.)
    We are taking some of our students (age 9-17) to Seattle for a month this summer. Your list has been really helpful.
    There are so many things to do and they are extremely excited.
    Thank you for sharing!!

    Sondra Otter

  2. Space Needle?

    Hi Anne,
    Do you recommend visiting the space needle? We’re coming to Seattle this weekend and have 2 boys aged 5 and 10.

    Cindy P.

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Hi Cindy,

      The Space Needle is an iconic Seattle landmark, but as an attraction there’s not much to it. If you like views, and it’s a clear day, there are some great ones up there of the mountains and Puget Sound. (You can check out just what to expect on the Space Needle’s online PanoCam.) The views aren’t cheap, though, and a trip to the top can be costly for a family of four. If you do decide to go, consider a buying a CityPass to save money by bundling attractions, or eating brunch at Sky City, the Space Needle restaurant – as restaurants go, it’s not one of your cheaper options, but the experience includes admission to the Needle’s observation deck, so it can end up being a money-saver if you were already planning to eat out.

      If you don’t decide to go, the Space Needle from below makes for a great family photo op – especially if you’re planning to visit any of the Seattle Center attractions like the Pacific Science Center or MoPOP.

      Have a great trip!

  3. Excellent List!

    I’ve lived in the Seattle area for 10 years, now have a 10 and 12 yr old, and every month, find some new/used website to suggest things to do, getting disappointed every time. Not this time. You’ve nailed it! I’ve done over 80% of the things you have listed here – and love them (unlike boring non-interactive museums). There’s a few things here I’ve not done that sound good and must try.

    Thanks for collecting an excellent list!

    Jim G

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Wow – thanks, Jim!

      If you have any ideas for fun stuff that I’ve missed, feel free to send them my way. I’m always looking to expand the list!

  4. Childcare for Seattle Visitors?

    Hi Anne,
    I just bumped into your website whilst looking for activities for my 2 children aged 11 and 8. I am from MD, and will be coming to Seattle to attend a Conference in March. I was wondering what we can do with kids in March in Seattle. While I attend the conference, my husband will take the kids around. We have never been to Seattle. Do you know if there are any childcare facilities or services for visitors or tourists like us? I would like to try a nice restaurant in Seattle while I have childcare for my kids.

    Take Care,
    Sara

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Hi Sara,

      There’s tons to do in Seattle year-round with kids – take a look at the list above, and see what catches your eye! The “Greatest Hits” are generally toward the beginning of the list: The Seattle Aquarium, Pacific Science Center, Pike Place Market, Woodland Park Zoo, Museum of Flight, etc. There’s also a fun new ride down on the waterfront called Wings Over Washington, though it’s worth noting that it’s not for those fearful of height or faint of heart!

      As far as child care services go, I’d recommend A Nanny for U. In addition to matching families and nannies, they offer temporary child care for visiting families, and all of their babysitters are vetted extremely thoroughly. A similar service is provided through another local nanny service, Annie’s Nannies. Both of these services require a one-time registration fee, however. It’s worth checking out whether your hotel might also offer child care, or have a specific agency that they work through.

      Good luck, and have a great trip!

  5. What to do with older kids at the Waterfront?

    Hi Anne,
    I am looking for fun activities to do around town for an older kid.
    She likes the waterfront a lot so do you think you could give some suggestions on what to do?
    Thanks!

    Josie

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Hi Josie,

      The Seattle waterfront has lots to do for older kids – how much time do you have to spare? If you’ve only got an hour or two, take a ride on the Great Wheel or check out the cool new Wings Over Washington ride just next door (not for those faint of heart or afraid of heights!) – but buy your tickets online in advance to skip the line. If you’ve got a few hours to spare, the Seattle Aquarium and Argosy Locks Cruise are always crowd pleasers. And if you’ve got all day to play, take a ferry over to Bainbridge Island or the Water Taxi to Alki Beach in West Seattle.

      Have fun!

  6. Day trip to Rainier?

    Thank you for this awesome blog! We are coming to Seattle in late June with kids age 5 and 7 and we’re thinking that we’d like to take a day trip to mount rainier park. Is that a doable goal? Any suggestions for how to get there from downtown Seattle?

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Definitely doable! You’ll want to leave early, and plan on spending the whole day out – while there are parts of the park that are closer to get to, it takes almost 3 hours to get to the visitor centers at Paradise or Sunrise, where you will find both wonderful alpine scenery and easy nature trails that are perfect for kids that age.

      The easiest way to get out there is to rent a car and make the drive. The Mount Rainier National Park Website has lots of great information, including driving and trail maps. It will be less crowded on the Sunrise side – my recommendation would be to enter there and continue through the park and around Paradise Valley, exiting from the Nisqually Entrance. Great stops along the way include the Grove of the Patriarchs (for old growth forest), Box Canyon, and Naruda and Christine Falls.

      If you don’t want to do the driving yourself, consider a tour company: Evergreen Escapes and Tours Northwest offer day trip options from Seattle.

      Have a great trip, and a happy new year!

  7. Thank you!

    Thanks a lot for this information. Its very useful to most of the families in Seattle.

    Thanks Again,
    Satya

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      You’re very welcome, Satya! Thanks for checking the page out – if you discover any great spots I’ve missed, feel free to come back and let me know. Happy New Year to you!

  8. Getting to Seattle from Auburn

    Anne thanks for this great info for families in Seattle! Can’t wait to check this stuff out next month.
    Any recommendations for coming in to Seattle from my mom’s place in Auburn? The sounder? Or just drive? We might have to stay in Seattle a few nights to get some fun in.
    Thanks!

    Heather

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Hi Heather,

      The Sounder is an excellent choice. The Lakewood-Seattle train will take you from Auburn to King Street Station downtown in about half an hour, much quicker than driving through traffic on I-5 – and there’s usually traffic on I-5 these days. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about the hassle and hefty expense of parking downtown. (Even the cheapest hotel parking can run $40/night.)

      Once you’re downtown, you can easily use transit to get around. Light rail runs through downtown and up into Capitol Hill and the University District, the Seattle Streetcar has two routes: one to South Lake Union, and one to the International District and Capitol Hill. The Monorail will take you to Seattle Center from downtown, or vice-versa. (The Orca Card is the easiest and best way to pay your fares – all transit systems except the monorail use it.) Hotel Five in Belltown and Maxwell Hotel near Seattle Center provide free shuttle service to local family-friendly attractions like Woodland Park Zoo.

      Have a wonderful trip!

  9. Christy Moorehouse

    Hi Anne!
    I hope this is an okay spot to post this.

    Mighty-O Donuts Capitol Hill are is having a huge family friendly event this weekend I wanted to let people know about.

    Seattle’s favorite organic donut maker is celebrating one year at its newest location in the heart of Capitol Hill with a cooperative tasting event and fun activities for all ages on Saturday, October 22nd from 7am – 5pm. Mighty-O’s Capitol Hill cafe is at 1400 12th Avenue, on the corner of Madison and 12th.

    Enjoy tastings from Columbia Gorge Juice, Frankie & Jo’s ice cream and Puget Sound Kombucha. Participate in the raffle for a chance to win delicious Mighty-O Donuts, merchandise from our cafe and product from Caffe Vita! Sit and enjoy the launch of Saturday Morning Cartoon Club with free minis!

    Mighty-O’s Capitol Hill cafe is at 1400 12th Avenue, on the corner of Madison and 12th.
    For a detailed list of events and times please see our website at Mightyo.com.

    Christy

  10. Seattle Downtown Beaches

    Great blog! We’ll be in Seattle this weekend, when the weather is supposed to be HOT. We’re staying downtown and won’t be renting a car. We’re staying at the Warwick Hotel, which has a pool, but I think our kids would really enjoy some beach time. Are there any public beaches on the downtown waterfront, or any that are easily accessible from downtown? Thanks.

    Mo

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Thanks, Mo!

      Myrtle Edwards Park is on the downtown waterfront, just north of the Olympic Sculpture Park. It has a few small beaches that aren’t great for swimming, but it’s a lovely place to take a walk and experience the shore, and some marine birds and mammals. This weekend (8/19/17), however, the park will be filled with a different kind of wildlife, as it hosts the 25th anniversary of Seattle’s Hempfest.

      Your best bet would be to catch the water taxi to West Seattle. These passenger only ferries depart from downtown once an hour on summer weekends, and drop you off across Elliott Bay at Seacrest Park in West Seattle. From here, take the free DART shuttle down the road to Alki Beach. Alki is a great, sandy beach that’s very popular on warm and sunny days. Kids can splash in the water and dig in the sand, and there are bikes, kayaks, and paddleboards to rent if you’re feeling more adventurous. Before you catch the water taxi back to downtown, stop in at Marination Ma Kai (just next door) for some shaved ice and a snack.

      Hope you have a great weekend – stay cool!

  11. Family Trip to Seattle

    We (me, husband, and two kids – 7 and 9) are coming to Seattle on the morning of Friday August 26th, and leaving the afternoon of Wednesday August 31st. We are staying downtown at the Paramount Hotel and won’t have a car. Our plan is to go to a Mariners games that weekend, and also seeing some of the usual touristy things (pikes, space needle, etc).

    My questions are…

    1. Is the light rail our best bet for transportation to our hotel from the airport?

    2. How is the zoo in Seattle? We enjoy going to zoos and are thinking about checking it out while we are there. Is it busy on the weekends in August? If so, we can try to plan that for the Monday or Tuesday that we are in town.

    3. Is it easy/safe to walk around downtown? How about with kids? We like to explore on foot, but we want to be safe. Are there any areas we should avoid?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Hello there!

      1. The light rail is a cheap and easy way to get from the airport into downtown. $3 for each adult, $1.50 per kid. Trains depart every 10 minutes or so, and the trip will take about 35 minutes. For the Paramount Hotel, you’ll want to get off at the Westlake station and walk three blocks east. A cab might get you there faster (though with Seattle freeway traffic these days, that’s a big might) and drop you at your door, but expect to pay $45-$50 for the added convenience. Me? I’d rather pay $10 for light rail and bank the rest to spend on a good meal.

      2. I may be biased, but I think that the Woodland Park Zoo is one of the better ones I’ve been to. They’ve got a great selection of animals, lovely walking paths and trails, and in recent years especially, have taken great care to make the animal enclosures seem more natural. I think you should go for it. It’ll be less crowded on a Monday or Tuesday than on the weekend, and taking the bus there (the northbound 5 will take you from 3rd Avenue downtown to the zoo’s west entrance on Phinney Ave N) will save you $2 per admission. As zoo-lovers, you should also consider a trip to the Seattle Aquarium – it’s a great, kid-friendly facility located just down from Pike Place Market on the downtown waterfront.

      3. Downtown Seattle is extremely easy and safe to walk around, with a couple of caveats: Some of the inclines down to the waterfront are a bit steep, and there is a sizable homeless population, especially around Pioneer Square. These folks are more down on their luck than they are dangerous, though – you’ve got nothing to fear from them besides some panhandling. I’ve been bringing my own daughter downtown since she was small, and we’ve never run into any problems.

      Have a great trip!

  12. Kid-Friendly Breweries?

    Hello! Love your site – so many great ideas!

    I’m very excited about our upcoming trip and especially trying all the great local craft brews! The problem I have run into is that a lot of the best places I’ve found do not allow kids. I am specifically looking for recommendations for great craft breweries that allow kids around Seattle. If nothing else, it appears that many restaurants serve great local beer, so that’s an option too. Just wondering if you know of any based on experience that allow kids as well.

    Thanks much!

    Kyle

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Hi Kyle,

      You’ve come to the right place. Many of my favorite craft breweries and tasting rooms are family-friendly. Some, like Georgetown’s Machine House, even have play corners or offer kids’ activities while the adults imbibe. Reuben’s Brews and Stoup in Ballard are extremely cool with kids, and have nice outdoor areas for when the weather’s agreeable. Some breweries are kid friendly til a certain hour: Ballard’s Bad Jimmy’s and gluten-free Ghostfish in SoDo welcome kids until 7pm, and Capitol Hill’s Elysian is family-friendly until 11.

      For more information, check out my Best Breweries page: of the 9 I’ve included, all but 2 are kid-friendly.

      Happy tasting!

  13. Free Museum Admission Programs

    Hey! I just found this list and I love it! 🙂

    I just wanted to add that you can get into the EMP, Seattle Aquarium and more for free if you have a local library card (find out how here), and kids between the ages of 5-18 can get a free Museum of Flight membership (here).

    Thanks for compiling this awesome list! 🙂

    Nicole

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Hi Nicole,

      You’re right – these are great programs to know about and promote. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you were able to get in soon enough), the Museum of Flight Connections program has been so successful that they’ve temporarily suspended open enrollment, starting May 1. (Though hopefully the program will be back to welcoming new kids in very soon.)

      Readers can find out more about the Seattle Public Library’s popular Museum Pass program, as well as sign up for a free library card, on the SPL website.

      Thanks for the heads up!

  14. Fishing Excursion

    These are all FANTASTIC – love these kid-friendly activity ideas…have done some already and glad to see them on the list, but it’s always great to have more on the “Fun To Do” list!

    #52. Should be the “Take Me Fishing!” package for parents and kids offered by fishing guide, Larry Ford, of Blue Heron Guide Service. Larry is passion for fishing and appreciation of nature had him created a special fishing package for parents and children to experience the joys of fishing on Washington’s beautiful Olympic Peninsula near Olympic National Park. He’s extremely patient and you can tell he genuinely likes to teach the techniques of fishing to all ages (mom’s and dad’s too).

    Floating down a river in a boat seeing deer, elk, bald eagles, otters and other wildlife while fishing is not only fun and exciting, but it’s such quality time with your kids – away from the hustle and bustle. What’s also great about this particular kid-friendly activity is that it includes a night’s lodging in a riverfront cabin, and it is only a 1/2 day of fishing for short attention spans.

    Oh and…yes, the kids catch fish! You can see a slide show of kids and the fish they caught on the Trips/Rates page of BlueHeronGuideService.com as well as picture and information about the cabin accommodations. There’s also a couple of videos of a father and son on a fishing trip with Larry, if you want to get an idea of what to expect. The experience is something kids will remember for a lifetime!

    Fishing is year-round, but this is a great summer break staycation activity for a quick 1 or 2 nights away that’s not too far from the Seattle area. While you’re out there, you’re right near Olympic National Park for hiking, the Hoh Rain Forest, and beaches for the second half of your day. Definitely a recommended fun kid adventure and affordable getaway!

    Jules

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Hi Jules,

      Thanks for letting me know about this. It looks like a great time. My kid is a big fan of fishing, and so I’ll be sure to check it out if/when the list gets expanded to include areas farther afield.

      Thanks again!

      Anne

  15. Visiting Seattle while Pregnant

    Hello Anne, thanks for posting this site. Great information and lots of options. We are definitely going to have a hard time narrowing it down. However, I’ll be 5 months pregnant in July when my family and I will be visiting the Seattle area. So unfortunately I think my options will be limited. I think the Great Wolf Lodge would be a blast but not sure it would be a good idea to tackle the water slides (which is exactly what I would want to do). Maybe the Ferris Wheel on the Waterfront would be do-able?!
    Thanks again,
    Nikki

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Hi Nikki,

      Glad you like the site! Having once been five months pregnant myself, I would agree with you that Great Wolf Lodge is perhaps not the best option. You’ll be perfectly fine taking a spin on the Great Wheel, though. The compartments are roomy and fully enclosed – not like a fairground ferris wheel where you’re open to the elements, squished in, and tightly buckled. I recommend buying tickets in advance , as they can be used anytime, and will save you from having to stand in a long line to purchase seats. Be sure to print them out and bring them with you, though – if you don’t, you’ll need to have them do it for you and end up waiting in line anyway.

      Have a great trip with your family!

      1. Thanks!

        Hi Anne,
        Thanks for the heads up on the Ferris Wheel tickets etc. Really appreciate all the info I can get 🙂 I’ll have to save the Great Wolf Lodge for next time because it looks like such a blast! I agree it would not be a good idea to do while pregnant. But that’s ok because I see that there are lots of other options-thanks to your great post! I’m so excited!

        Nikki

    2. Mickey

      Nikki,
      I worked at GEL for about 2 years. Depending on how old your kids are, they will have a freaking blast. For adult, the place can be a little intimidating, and over- whelming. Kids are literally running all over the place, having a great time. It’s pure madness. But I can almost guarantee that your kids will have and absolute blast. Plus there is more to do there than just the water park. It’s very expensive to stay there, but it’s truly worth it when you see what a great time that your kid(s) is having

  16. Argus Ranch for Dogs

    One interesting place for kids is the Argus Ranch for Dogs in Auburn. The dog ranch is a training and competition facility–not a kids’ attraction, but when I emailed for permission for bring my grand kids, the ranch folks were very gracious. Check the website for a day when events are scheduled and then email the ranch. You’ll see dogs (with their owners running along with them) jumping barriers and climbing ramps. Visitors should not try to pet the dogs without explicit permission from their owners because the dogs may be keyed up for competition and not in the mood to be petted. There’s a bit of a snack bar, but you probably don’t want to count on it for lunch or snacks.
    http://www.argusranch.com/

    David F.

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Thanks, David – Sounds like a fun visit and a great resource. I’ll have to check it out!

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Thanks, Caitlin!

      I’ve got more great ideas in the hopper, so be sure to check back!

  17. Seattle Water Parks

    Excellent job on the listing. I will definitely be referring to it on my next trip to Seattle with the grandkids. I am going to share your blog with other parents and grandparents. Thank you so much!

    Do they still have that water park?

    Sandy

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Thanks, Sandy! I’m glad you like the blog. Seattle’s such a great place to experience with kids – incredibly, there’s even more to do than what I’ve listed here. I’ll be continually updating the list with even more fun ideas, so be sure to check back.

      As far as water parks go, I’m guessing that you’re referring to Wild Waves, 45 minutes south of Seattle in Federal Way. It’s the most and biggest slides and is the most traditional amusement/water park in the region, with rides and games in addition to water activities. It’s open from late May through early September, and daily admission ranges from $15 to $40, depending on the date, and are cheaper if you purchase online in advance.

      If you’re looking for something closer to the city, less expensive, and less frenzied, Henry Moses Aquatic Center in Renton is a great option. They’re open mid-June through Labor day, and admission is $8 to $14 for non-residents. There’s no amusement park attached, which can be a plus or a minus, depending on what you’re looking for. There are two admission shifts daily, from noon to 3:30 and 4 to 7:30. Both sell out quickly, so it’s a good idea to show up 1/2 hour or so in advance, especially on a sunny day.

      And at any time of the year, if you’re feeling brave, you can take the grandkids for an overnight stay at Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor water park resort located 1 1/2 hour south of Seattle in Grand Mound, WA. It’s not cheap (suites run upwards of $400 per night), but they’ve got a great water park, tons of activities, fitness center, kid and adult spas, and fun themed rooms that kids go crazy for. There’s a Starbucks and a bar for frazzled adults, and lots of food options on-site – but you can also bring your own food in, which I recommend. If you’re planning on going, it’s worth doing an internet search for Great Wolf Lodge discounts, they pop up often on sites like Groupon and LivingSocial.

  18. Two Days in Seattle with Kids

    I am loving the list. And the insight. My parents are coming in the first week of April. They are wanting to enjoy the Seattle area with us and our two kids (6 and 1year old). There is so much listed above I’m just overloaded. What would you recommend for two days in Seattle, Tacoma area? Not lots of time but we thought we could get a hotel so less driving more sights.

    Kara

    1. AnneAnne Post author

      Hi Kara,

      One of the great things about Seattle is that there’s so much to do within a fairly small area – many of my “must dos” with visitors are all along the same stretch of downtown. If your group is up for a full day of adventuring, you could hit Pike Place Market (#3 on my list) in the morning when it’s not so busy, then head down to the waterfront to spend some time at the Seattle Aquarium (#2), and take a ride on The Great Wheel (#14) or an Argosy harbor or Locks cruise (#24). Area lunch options would include the Aquarium’s 2nd floor cafe, the many restaurants along the waterfront, or packing up some snacks from the Market for a picnic on the pier.

      Your second day could be spent exploring one of the great attractions away from the downtown core: you could easily spend a full day at The Woodland Park Zoo in north Seattle (#5) or at the Museum of Flight just south of the city (#4). And I haven’t added it to the list yet, but there’s a fantastic zoo/aquarium set within a large and beautiful waterfront park in Tacoma that would make an excellent day trip.

      Another option for narrowing the field is to consider the Seattle City Pass, which offers discounted admission to seven great Seattle attractions. Most of what’s covered by the Pass is on my kids’ list above, but you can find information on the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass on my general list (#10 and #11). Definitely consider how much you’re likely to fit in before you buy, however, as it’s generally only a great deal if you take advantage of five or more of the offers.

      And lastly, if you’re looking to treat yourself to a great upscale hotel in the downtown area, be sure to check out my list of Seattle’s 15 best luxury hotels. With kids, I’d especially recommend the Edgewater (on the waterfront), the Four Seasons (at the market), or Hotel Monaco (a few blocks farther to walk, but kitty-corner from the downtown library and very kid-friendly). Good luck!

  19. Seattle in November with Child

    Hi. I have to be in Seattle in mid November and am thinking about bringing my 8 year old daughter. Is it typically nice enough outside for her to enjoy walking around downtown and doing things? It looks like November is the wettest month there. I don’t want to have to pay to do indoor events the whole time. Just wondering what people usually do this time of year.
    Gale

    1. AnneAnne

      November can be a wet grey month, for sure. But it’s the norm in Seattle to be out and about even on the rainy days. It typically doesn’t pour rain here – it’s more wet and drizzily, so walking about downtown probably won’t be a problem, but you might not be out at a playground every day. Weather can be surprisingly nice too – spring-like sunny days are not impossible. I’d recommend a November visit as with just a tiny bit of luck you should have a fun visit.

  20. Gluten Free Donuts in Seattle

    Are there any donut shops that have gluten free donuts? Also, do you know of any apple orchards where we can pick apples? Thank you!

    Sarah Knapp

    1. GlutenFree in Seattle

      Flying Apron Bakery is entirely gluten free (and vegan too). Their selection of baked goods changes daily, but they do have donuts some days and they are delicious! They also have several lunch options (soups, salads, mac-n-“cheese”, personal pizzas, shepherds pie, etc). Very kid-friendly too!! Two locations: Fremont and Redmond

  21. Food and Drinks at Kid-friendly Restaurant in Seattle

    Thanks for the list! Will be putting it to good use this weekend… Any other (borderline) kid-friendly restaurant recommendations? Would like to go somewhere with good food and drinks, but not feel like total jerks bringing our kids…
    Christie Bauer

    1. AnneAnne

      I love the vibe, music, pizza, and beers at Serious Pie (downtown). Busy and fun. Good gelato too.
      If you don’t mind heading out of downtown check out Murphy’s Irish Pub in Wallingford neighborhood (10 minutes by taxi/uber from downtown). There’s live music many nights, large selection of beer, good (not great) food. Kids allowed until 8 or 9pm.

  22. Seattle Cascades

    Another addition to your excellent list of attractions should include the Seattle Cascades professional ultimate team, who play out of Memorial Stadium.

    The Seattle Cascades are a professional ultimate team. Ultimate, more commonly known as Ultimate Frisbee, is played with a disc and is an explosive combination of soccer, basketball, and football. The Seattle Cascades play out of Memorial Stadium, which is located at the base of the Space Needle.

    The sport is fast and exciting. The game day staff does an intentional job at involving the kids – whether in halftime shows or by selecting them to win prizes, and it is almost guaranteed that your child will leave with a Cascades item. Every week, there are a group of kids that cheer the team on, and are welcome to all other fans. Make sure to check them out.

  23. Nicole Luckenbach

    Hey There!

    Come down to Golden Gardens Friday, Saturday and every other Sunday to get a custom FACE PAINTING! Prices range from 3-15 dollars. If you can think it, I can paint it! Come down to the beach and check it out!

  24. Shana

    Just left the city and had a BLAST! This list was awesome…absolutely LOVED the Alibi Room. SPOT ON!! Thanks!

  25. Alex

    Great list! I’m also a local, but my kids (two boys, ages 10 and 6) have dietary restrictions (they have dairy allergies). May I suggest some lovely vegan restaurants for your list?

    Pizza: Zeek’s! They do dairy free pizza (they also have a gluten-free option). Several locations, including Green Lake, Bellevue, Kirkland, Bothell

    Donuts: Mighty-Os in Wallingford. Vegan donuts full of deliciousness! BONUS – if you call ahead, you can also get a FREE tour of how to make donuts!

    Bakery: Violet Sweet Shoppe. THE BEST VEGAN BAKERY IN SEATTLE, also serves delicious shakes. Located near Woodland Park Zoo in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood.

    Other activities my boys love:
    –On sundays Lake Washington boulevard is closed to car traffic, so it’s bikers and pedestraians only. Lovely for a family bike ride! (Bicycle Sundays)
    –Seattle by Foot kids tour, pretty easy and fun introduction to downtown Seattle
    –Junior Rangers program at any of the local National Parks. there is the National Klondike Park in downtown Seattle, Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, and any of the parks that make up the North Cascades national park system.
    -Outdoor movies! Redhook brewery holds them, also Marymoor Park, and in Fremont (warning – check what movies are playing, they usually have one more “family” themed week, and most of the others are adult)

    Love your blog! 🙂

    Here are some more playgrounds that weren’t listed in your list when we did our summer of playgrounds.

    1. Stef

      The article was really awesome!

      Thank you for adding the vegan places. My 9 year old needs to avoid dair, eggs and nuts. I will call or research whether the above work for her.

    2. Jodi

      Thanks for the list. My son has many of the same dietary restrictions due to allergies so finding restaurants when traveling can be difficult!

  26. Christen

    Thanks for compiling this helpful list – we are actually in air to Seattle now with our 2 1/2 yr old daughter and will try to attend the cupcake fundraiser tomorrow! Super blog, thanks!

  27. Cupcake Camp Seattle

    Cupcake Camp Seattle: Seattle’s Biggest Tasting Event

    Cupcake Camp Seattle is a chance for the community to come together in an effort to fight back against cancer. It is an event designed for the cupcake and dessert lovers among us; those who love to eat them and those who love to make them! Cupcake Camp has been held all over the world. It was even held in Seattle for several years in the past where over 5,000 cupcakes were donated by bakers in our community! We are very excited to announce that it will be back this year on May 30th, 2015 as a fundraiser for the Northshore Relay for Life!

    Our theme this year is Disney and we will be having cupcake contests, a Disney photo booth, live music, and lots of fun games and activities.

    What: A gathering of those who love all things cupcakes.

    Who: Bakers, Sponsors, Cancer Fighters and Cupcake Lovers!

    When: Saturday May 30th, 2015. Relay for Life Kickoff is at 12:00pm and Cupcake Camp will be open for entry at 1:00pm until we run out of cupcakes!

    Where: Skyview Junior High during the Northshore Relay for Life

    The Contest: There will be a contest with lots of great prizes for the following categories for Professional and Amateur bakers: Best Theme, Best Decorated, Best Tasting, Best Display and Most Unique Ingredients.

    The Cupcakes: All the cupcakes will be donated by our local community by bakers of all ages and levels. Whether you own a bakery and are a professional baker, or just love baking for fun, we invite you all to bring cupcakes to share at our event and help us raise money for cancer! You can choose to enter our contest, but it is not required. We are expecting 1,000 – 2,000 people in attendance.

    Where the Money Goes: All proceeds from Cupcake camp will go to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event. Relay for Life is the largest cancer-fighting movement in the world. Each year, more than 4 million people in over 20 countries take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer. In fact, Relay for Life will be going on at the same location as Cupcake Camp, so be sure to come early and check out our Opening Ceremony and Survivor’s Lab at 12:00pm. We raised $143,582 last year and had over 1,000 participants!

    How You Can Help: We look towards our community and local businesses to help make our event successful! By supporting the American Cancer Society through a Relay for Life event, you are sending the message that you care about the well-being of your community and are committed to saving lives by partnering with the world’s largest fight for more birthdays This is the perfect way to advertise your business by getting your name out there and supporting an incredible cause! All donations are tax deductible. You can help us in several different ways:
    • Donate cupcakes: Register as a baker and donate cupcakes or any other baked goods!
    • Donate prizes: Gift cards/certificates, movie passes, baking supplies, tickets, baking books, etc.
    • Donate supplies: Supplies such as gloves, decorations, table cloths, napkins, forks, paper plates, etc.
    • Donate services: We are looking for people who can donate all kinds of services such as photographers, make-up artists, face painters, balloon artists, etc.
    • Volunteer: Help out with advertising, finding sponsors and bakers, and day-of event activities.
    • Suggest an activity or sponsorship: We’re open to suggestions. Tell us what you want, and we will try to make it happen!

    Thanks for your support,
    Aakanksha Gavali
    [email protected]
    425.780.5062

  28. Stu

    Downtown Waterfront Construction
    Get away from the construction and noise on the Downtown waterfront. It’s easy to catch the West Seattle Water Taxi at pier 55 and cross Elliot Bay to Alki Beach. The beach has the best views of the Seattle Skyline and the Olympic Mountains.
    There are also many other activities on Alki Beach including, volley ball skateboarding, bicycle riding, hiking and kayaking just to name a few.
    From the Elliot Bay Water Taxi you can catch a shuttle bus that takes you to the top of the hill on California Ave. to visit Alki Bike and Board. There you can rent a variety of bicycles including electric bikes. Children’s bikes and trailers are also available to rent as well as longboards.

  29. J.B. from Seattle Children's Theatre

    Hi there,

    Love that you included Seattle Children’s Theatre. Our Summers are full of awesome plays, too! We have a summer season run by the SCT Drama School. Here is our summer season for 2015!

    Gulliver’s Travels – July 16 – July 18
    Dracula July 23 – July 25
    Into the Woods Jr. – July 30 – August 1
    Urinetown: The Musical – August 7 – August 9

    Tickets are only $10!

  30. Xena

    I very much enjoy your website, and I’m glad I stumbled across it. I would like to suggest that Seattle is very North-centric, and it would be great to see some South end and West Seattle suggestions as well. So many Seattle people think of the Central District as the edge of town! Here a few of my favorites that you could add:
    –Kabota Gardens: Seattle’s most beautiful (and free,) park.
    –Full Tilt: Local, homemade ice cream, pinball and old school games (It isn’t as good as Molly Moon, but they do have very delicious vegan options.)
    –Uwajimaya: Such a fun outing and across the street from Daiso, Japanese dollar store
    –The Pinball Museum: Pay a fee and play unlimited old school pinball!
    –Alki Beach
    –Seward Park & Audoban Center: The best park in Seattle, by far. The Audoban Center has all kinds of cool nature walks including a night time owl prowl.
    –Columbia City! A great hidden shopping area with a fantastic local toy store.
    There’s a whole other world down here. C’mon down!

    1. AnneAnne

      Great suggestions. I’ve been to some of those (we’re regulars at Uwajimaya) and should add those to the list. Thanks!

  31. Colleen

    Whoot! Whoo! I traveled to Seattle with my two boys (6 & 8) for spring break, and this was the perfect guide for our trip. We took the Amtrak train up from SoCal and explored Seattle without a car so I really appreciated the advice about what bus routes served the various destinations. We managed to see the science center, pikes place, the aquarium, the international fountain, the wheel, Mohai, the zoo, and we went on a duck tour, and rented a canoe at UW. My kiddos also enjoyed taking the ferry over to the indoor pool on Bainbridge Island and taking a tour of Safeco Field was also a highlight of the trip (I hear the Century Link tour is also a hit with kids). Thanks for sharing your city with our family – we can’t wait to come back!

  32. Saman Syed

    Hi there,
    I love your blog. Its very informative and easy to follow. I recently visited Seattle, unfortunately it was too cold for us to do any of the outdoor activities. I hope it’s okay with you, im putting a link to your post about Seattle on my blog (www.teenytravelers.wordpress.com) . It will be a better guide for my viewers with older kids.

  33. Gluten Free Restaurants in Seattle

    Hi, my family and I are planning to visit Seattle soon and have a gluten free member of our family. Do you know if many restaurants accommodate gluten free selections?
    Thanks for your help
    Cristie

  34. Rental Vehicle for Seattle

    We will be traveling to Seattle in may for 3 days and head to Vancouver for 2 days in a big group with kids. We will be staying in downtown area, would u recommend us renting vans while we stay in Seattle for transportation? ?? Thanks so much
    Thuy

    1. AnneAnne

      Not sure what you have planned but if you’re staying in downtown Seattle most things are within walking distance. If you go to Seattle Center you can hop on the Monorail. Having a van to park and pay for is a bigger hassle than it’s worth.

  35. Is Seattle Bus and Monorail Stroller Friendly?

    Wonderful list! Will be planning my visit based on this. Just wondering how stroller friendly is public transit like the monorail and buses. I have a 1 and 3 year old, was planning on bringing a double umbrella stroller. Or perhaps do you advise renting a car? Thx.Emily

    1. AnneAnne

      The monorail is fairly stroller friendly. The bus less so and when it’s busy (morning and evening) there’s no way you’re getting on a with a stroller that isn’t collapsed. But if you stay in a central location you shouldn’t need to take the bus very often, if at all. I would not recommend renting a car unless you’re staying outside of downtown or Seattle Center area.

  36. Rebecca

    I think the Everett Children’s Museum is worlds better than the Children’s museum at Seattle Center. Also, the Inflatables area (bouncy house) at Magnuson Park is great. In the summer the outdoor movies there are very fun. There’s a new-ish skate park (skateboards) in Fremont underneath EVO called All Together Skate Park (or very close to that) – it’s indoor and almost any age can go and free skate or take a private or group lesson. Awesome people and its indoors for a rainy day. My 7 year old also likes to draw, so we hit the Burke Museum or the Japanese Garden in the Arboretum sometimes to have some drawing time.

  37. Sharon

    Theos Chocolate Factory, in Freemont, is a great stop for kids and adults alike. The showroom has samples of all their delicious chocolate bars for tasting. If you book in advance, can also do a tour of the factor to learn about how they start with sustainable/fair trade harvesting and turn it into bars and confections.

  38. zara parks

    Great list. I’d like to add horseback riding though. We’re locals and my daughter loves everything you have listed but when I surprised her with horseback riding I thought she was going to pass out with excitement. It really is a dream for a lot of girls and we have beautiful countryside here.

  39. Seattle with 4 Year Old

    Hi,
    Thanks for the wonderful places you have shared. we are visiting Seattle with a 4 year old and was wondering what to do, now I have more than what I want to do. Keep up the good work!!

  40. Diana

    Just in case you’re looking to update some more, Tutta Bella has another location in Bellevue (Crossroads) that opened earlier this year. Great list, there are definitely some places I need to take my kids!

  41. Sarah Johnson

    I would like to add to #19. There is also a Seattle Gymnastics Academy location in Columbia City (South Seattle). The times for that Indoor Playground are Monday-Friday 12:00-1:00 and 2:15-3:15. The cost is $4 per child for members, and $6 for non-members. On Tuesday, all proceeds go to Rainier Valley Food Bank with $2 cash or check and a can of non-perishable food. We are considering opening a 8:00-9:00am time slot for all those early risers. Would love feedback! Thanks!

  42. Ami

    Great post, thanks for the tips. Im Seattle born and raised, but only recently became a parent so Im rediscovering the city in a different capacity. I agree that the Pacific Science Center is nothing like it was growing up in the 90s. My last visit was in 2012 for the King Tut Exhibit, and I recall being less impressed than I was as a child. Seemed like it was missing a few exhibits. Regardless, this was an awesome list and thanks for the toddler tips. I plan on checking out the Academy, looks like a great place to run some energy out of the kid!

  43. Kris

    A few others:
    Space Needle (expensive and our kids 10 and 12 not willing to go up), museum of glass (Tacoma) is place we have wanted to go, have kid activities and Bridge of glass by Chihuly and glass garden near space needle. Monorail. Kids loved just taking taxi as monorail down on our way back to hotel.

    We live here and they
    had a blast staying downtown. Hotel swimming pools always a fave. Lake Union cool and there is a kite shop
    near gas works park to fly them. This was awesome. The looks and laughter of wind in their faces-priceless.

  44. vicky

    I’m a Seattle native and TOTALLY concur with your list!! I LOVE it and am using it with my grandkids. I hope that you will one day be able to update the camping section (so many with no links). I especially like that you have current dates for the Seattle Children’s Theatre!! Keep up this great site!

  45. Hang

    Hi.
    Thank you so much for the article. I so appreciate the fact that you put how you felt about each places. I have a 6 and 9 y.o. and there is a reason why I searched out for these articles to learn what others with children have experienced. Thank you again.

  46. susan

    Well said in response to the last comment. Your personal experiences and views are exactly what we need as we are travelling from New Zealand with 3 children and will be in Seattle for 3 days. I’ve jotted down places to go, things to do and ideas of where we might eat – so many thanks for all your info!

  47. Jen

    Great list! Thank you for taking the time to share it. We were not sure about what to do with a 2&7 y/o, next week when vacationing in Seattle. Thanks for the “biased” opinion…that’s what “tourism articles” are all about, otherwise Grace, it would be a Yellow Pages list of places.

  48. Grace

    Good info but I wish you weren’t so biased. Putting your own personal opinion on certain things is not professional.

    1. AnneAnne

      Huh? Isn’t all of it my personal opinion? What point could any of it have if it wasn’t my personal opinion?

    2. Shannon

      By expectation… A blog generally is personal. I prefer downright honest vs the alternative. As a scientist I seek out non-biased needs elsewhere. Blogs are for feelings.

  49. Fay

    Great information and site, this info will help me plans for my family visit to Seattle.
    Great job!

  50. Janice

    Wow! What a great list! We were thinking about coming to Seattle this summer with our six year old son, but I was not sure there would be enough for him to do. Well, now I know there is more than enough. We will be using your list during our trip without a doubt…thanks!

    1. AnneAnne

      Both great picks. I’m always updating this and adding suggestions. Thanks for the input.

  51. Hillary

    Happy New Year! If you’re looking to visit Seattle for the first time or if you’re a seasoned Seattle veteran, you may want to check out CityPASS. CityPASS sells ticket booklets for discounted admission to the top attractions in Seattle. In Seattle, admission to each of these attractions would be $132, but with CityPASS, it’s just $74.

    They’re also having a Winter Special which lets you use your Seattle CityPASS from now until February 28, 2014.

    Here’s all of the attractions you can visit: http://www.citypass.com/seattle

    And here’s more information about Winter Special: http://www.citypass.com/winter-special

  52. Manny Cawaling

    I love your list. You really captured the best of what Seattle can offer to inspire kids with activities, fun and play. We hope you will pay a visit to Youth Theatre Northwest, centrally located on Mercer Island. We aspire to be a favorite place for children to experience the thrill of live performance and the magic of theatre. Theatre by kids and for kids is a very empowering experience, inspiring an immediate reaction of, “I can do that!” Come to our production of The Hobbit, performing November 8-24, as our special guests. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] for tickets and visit our website at http://www.youththeatre.org. Best Wishes, Manny Cawaling, Executive Director

  53. Erin

    You missed the underground tour. My kids loved that tour and it changes each time you see it.

  54. Laura Merritt

    Thank you for this great list! We spend a month in Seattle each summer and have hit a lot of these spots, but am looking forward to trying some new ones based on your suggestions. We are thinking of taking a weekend on Vancouver Island and were wondering if you had any suggestions for good kid-friendly (ages 5 and 7) farm-stays or other bed and breakfast type spots? I am sorry to treat you like my personal travel agent but I’ve never read a travel blog that lives so much in my head (and am happy to return the favor should you ever need advice about Texas!). Thanks for this wonderful blog!

    1. AnneAnne

      Hi Laura. Sorry, I don’t have any input on farm-stays. It sounds like fun though. Good luck.

      1. Laura

        Thanks! We found a few that looked very promising, but given time constraints, we’re just doing to do one of those quick Victoria Clipper thingies and stay one night. We can’t wait to get there this summer – Texas has already had more than a few 100 degree-plus days.

  55. thellea

    thanks for this. i’m a local, too and always looking for new stuff. FYI your link to the alibi room is the one in LA not the seattle one…
    cheers!

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