Coffee, music and quirky tourist attractions are a few of the primary reasons visitors flock to Seattle, often overlooking some of the best kid-friendly sights and experiences in the city. Whether you’ve got one week or one day, there are plenty of activities in and around Seattle to keep the whole family entertained—and excited to return.
If you’re looking for a full fun day with the whole family without having to travel too far, best to start with Seattle Center. A favorite among families everywhere, the Pacific Science Center has enough hands-on exhibits and unique programs to keep children busy for hours on end. Visit the planetarium, explore the laser dome and catch a movie at one of the IMAX theaters. Be sure to keep an eye out for any interesting events and don’t forget to snap some photos of the iconic Space Needle nearby. The Museum of Pop Culture is the perfect opportunity to educate the youth on important pop culture figures before their time—including Prince—and the Seattle Children’s Museum next door never fails with the little ones.
If you find yourself down by the Waterfront, take a quick ride on The Great Wheel, which is not only fun for all ages, but also provides beautiful views of the Puget Sound and surrounding islands.
At Pier 59 across Waterfront Park, the Seattle Aquarium is worth a stop, with six major exhibits and recurring events, including diver shows and weekend story time.
With blue skies and kids in tow, a day spent tidepooling at one of the city’s coastal parks is a necessity. Search for starfish at Discovery Park—a 534-acre natural area with two miles of tidal beaches and more than 11 miles of hiking trails. Golden Gardens Park in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood is another option, with wetlands, forest trails and lots of shoreline. The park is also only a couple miles from the Hiram M. Chittenden Ballard Locks—a historic waterway and must-see for children of all ages. If West Seattle is on the itinerary, Alki Beach is a great bet for beachcombing, lying out and relaxing in the sun.
No visit to Seattle is complete without a boat ride, which is the only way visitors can reach Blake Island. In addition to a marine state park with an excess of wildlife, Blake Island is known for its Native American cultural events and experiences. Those who travel via Argosy Cruises can dig in to a Northwest-inspired buffet while watching live performances and admiring the authentic Coast Salish totems that surround the area.
Once back on the mainland, venture outside of the city to Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park in Redmond. Barn animals, open fields, picnic areas and wooded trails are just a few of the park’s coveted attractions.
When it comes to family-friendly eateries, Pike Place Market is a great place to start. In addition to quirky vendors and ongoing entertainment, places like Pike Place Chowder and Beecher’s Handmade Cheese make lunch stops easy for those with children. Beecher’s “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese is a must-try and you can view the cheese-making process while you wait in line, with large glass windows providing a peek at the behind-the-scenes action.
A Seattle staple located in downtown, Lola is a Greek-influenced restaurant that is great for accommodating families. Adult diners can enjoy upscale Mediterranean cuisine while the kids dig into chicken kabobs and “oodles of noodles.”
For families with dietary restrictions, Café Flora is a renowned vegetarian restaurant in Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood that’s known for its kid-friendly offerings in addition to its vegan and gluten-free cuisine.
It's worth a trip tp Seattle's Eastside to visit Tipsy Cow Burger Bar. With two locations in Redmond and Woodinville and a tasty menu for “little calves,” this burger joint is a great bet for quality grub, as well as excellent drink selections.