Things to Do in Seattle with Kids | Washington

Are you planning a trip to Seattle with kids? Looking for the best things to do while you explore the city? Then look no further; we’re covering it all! We’re sharing our favorite indoor and outdoor attractions, restaurants, and views so that you can make planning your next trip to Seattle a breeze.

pin for planning Seattle trip

Thank you so much to the Seattle Aquarium and Argosy Cruises for hosting us – we received complimentary admissions, but all opinions are honest and my own. This post may contain affiliate links and we may earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you!) if you choose to purchase when you click on the links. Thank you for supporting Love Dwells Here!!

Outdoor Things to Do Near Seattle with Kids

Seattle is an outdoor lover’s dream, and there are tons of options if you’re looking to stay outside.

Pike Place Market

Kids standing in front of Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is one of the first places people think of when you say Seattle. This giant farmers market is open to the public every day of the week. While hours vary a bit seasonally, most stands are open from 9am-5pm, and restaurants are open considerably later. Parking is available in two parking garages on Western Ave and Alaskan Way, and early bird and evening specials are available. Go early in the day for fewer crowds while shopping and later in the evening after the market closes if you want pictures with minimal people (this one was taken at 845pm).

Pike Place Fish Seattle with kids

Pike Place Fish is where you can normally catch them throwing fish all day long – they’ve suspended the fish throwing due to Covid, but hopefully, it’s back again soon. This is the perfect place to pick up fresh seafood to cook at your vacation rental or order and ship it home to enjoy when you get back from your trip.

Fruit stand at Pike Place Public Market Seattle

We loved walking along the highstalls to see what people were selling. These year-round produce stands sell the highest quality produce around and, in non-COVID times, often hand out samples. The produce looked absolutely amazing, and they had the best variety I have ever seen.

Seattle Underground Tour

Underground tour Seattle with kids

Did you know that Seattle has an underground history? We did an underground tour with Beneath the Streets and while parts of the tour were in the tunnels underground, the bulk of the tour is actually outside. This one-hour tour is a can’t miss for the whole family. With group size limited to 20 for a more intimate experience, this walking tour covers four city blocks of Pioneer Square – the first neighborhood in Seattle. The tour covers the birth of the city, the architecture of Pioneer Square, and the history of the underground tunnels.

Freemont Troll

We didn’t have a chance to visit the Fremont Troll when we were in Seattle this summer, but it looks like a fun stop if you have the time. The troll is nestled under the Aurora Bridge and has been entertaining visitors since 1990. He’s 18 feet tall, made of rebar steel and 2 tons of ferroconcrete, and has a shiny metal eye. TIP: Use Troll’s Knoll Park in your GPS to get to the right spot.

Seattle Spheres

Amazon Seattle spheres with kids

We really enjoyed just wandering around the city and seeing the sights. While visiting the Seattle Spheres is technically an indoor activity if you go inside, they were closed when we visited, so we walked around and enjoyed them from the outside. The spheres are part of the Amazon headquarters campus and serve as an employee lounge and workspace. Limited public access is available on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, and reservations are available 15 days in advance here.

Waterfall Garden Park
UPS Waterfall park Seattle with kids

Did you know that there is a park with a waterfall hidden in the city? Our tour guide on the underground tour mentioned it, so we knew we had to go check it out. Waterfall Garden Park was built in honor of all the men and women of the United Parcel Service (UPS). It’s an excellent place for some tranquility in the middle of the bustling city. There are tables and chairs as well as a few benches, so it’s the perfect place to bring a cup of coffee and just enjoy the sound of the falling water.

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier things to do in Seattle with kids

There are three national parks close to Seattle: North Cascades, Olympic, and Mount Rainier but Mount Rainier is definitely the easiest to do on a day trip from the city. In fact, on a clear day, you can see the towering volcano from many places throughout the city. Mount Rainier National Park is about two hours from Seattle, so make sure to get an early start in the morning to beat the crowds if you’re only spending one day in the park.

Mount Rainier National Park Myrtle Falls Skyline Trail

We started at the Nisqually entrance – the most popular and only entrance that is open year-round. After doing a quick hike and eating an early lunch, we headed to the Paradise parking area and hopped onto the Skyline Trail. This 5.5-mile trail is one of the most popular in the park and is filled with views of waterfalls, glaciers, and flower-filled meadows (at least in July/August). We only did the half-mile trek to Myrtle Falls (and back, so 1 mile total) and it was a beautiful hike with amazing views!

Indoor Things to Do in Seattle with Kids

If you’re looking for indoor activities or for something to do on a rainy day, there’s plenty to do indoors in Seattle with kids.

Seattle Aquarium

visiting the Seattle aquarium with kids

The Seattle Aquarium is top-notch. We’ve visited many aquariums over the years, and this one is definitely towards the top of the list. Like many attractions nowadays, tickets are timed, and plan-ahead pricing is available, so make sure to book in advance. The aquarium is regularly open from 930am-6pm, but the last entry is at 5pm – and honestly, you need more than an hour to fully explore, so I recommend getting there no later than 3pm!

things to do in Seattle with kids

Ellie was completely fascinated by the Crashing Waves exhibit. Every 60 seconds, a wave comes through, and you can see how all of the fish and sea life that live in the intertidal zone react to the waves. It’s such a neat exhibit and one I’ve never seen before in another aquarium.

Seattle aquarium touch tanks

And the Life on the Edge touch tanks were phenomenal. So many different things to touch, and the naturalist staff was engaged and informative. We spent close to an hour learning about tide pool life and touching the anemones, sea urchins, and other tidepool inhabitants.

Seattle aquarium with kids underwater dome

But perhaps my favorite part of the Seattle Aquarium was the giant underwater dome. Lots of aquariums have tunnels that you can move through on a moving walkway, but this giant dome has benches on the perimeter so that you can just sit and take in the view of the Puget Sound sea life (including salmon, sharks, sturgeon, and rockfish) swimming all around you.

Museum of Flight

The Museum of Flight is the largest independent, nonprofit air and space museum in the world and brings the history of flight to life. We didn’t have time to visit when we were in Seattle, but it is absolutely a worthwhile stop, from what I’ve heard. Tickets are available online or on a walk-up basis, and docent-led tours and premium experiences are available. Plus, they participate in the ASTC Travel Passport Program, so you can get free admission if you’re a member at your local science center.

Museum of Pop Culture

The Museum of Pop Culture definitely deserves a few hours when you’re exploring Seattle, especially if you’re visiting with teens. I will say that Ellie was a bit bored, and the exhibits didn’t hold her attention very well, but the older kids all really enjoyed this museum. Tickets are timed and there are discounts for buying in advance, so make sure to do that if you’re interested in checking out MoPOP. They also have special exhibitions that require an additional ticket. Currently, their special exhibit is “Heroes & Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume” and includes original costumes worn in many popular Disney features.

Wings Over Washington 4D Ride

Wings over Washington flying ride must-do in Seattle

Located on Pier 57, the Wings Over Washington 4D Ride is very similar to Soarin’ at Disney World/Disney’s California Adventure. The flying theater ride takes you all over the state of Washington on an incredible aerial journey, though the journey is relatively short. You can purchase tickets online or in-person, and it’s right next to the Seattle Great Wheel (the tallest Ferris wheel on the West coast!) so you could do them at the same time if you’re interested.

Space Needle

We didn’t have the chance to visit the Space Needle on this trip but for many people, visiting this Seattle icon is a must to do in the city. Standing 605 feet tall, the Space Needle was built in 1962 for the World’s Fair and offers unsurpassed views of Seattle and the Puget Sound through floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor observation deck. Tickets are timed so make sure to purchase in advance if you want your choice of times. And I highly recommend getting the combo Space Needle + Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit tickets so that you can see both while you’re in town.

Where to Eat in Seattle with Kids

Seattle is a foodie paradise, and while there are MANY places to choose from and MANY that we did not have time to try, these were our favorites.

The Crab Pot

Sourdough and clam chowder where to eat in Seattle

Located on Pier 57, The Crab Pot is an easy stop if you’re in the area visiting the Seattle Aquarium or the Seattle Great Wheel. We started with the sourdough loaf and clam chowder, and both were delicious.

where to eat in seattle crab

These two fellas opted to split a pound of crab legs + red potatoes and corn on the cob, along with crab-stuffed salmon. Let me tell you; it was allllll delightful! Honestly, everyone at our table thoroughly enjoyed what they ordered. Happy faces and full bellies all around!

First Starbucks

outside the first Starbucks Pike Place Market

If you’re a coffee lover you can’t miss the first Starbucks, located in Pike Place Market. We waited in line for over an hour(!) for the chance to go inside, buy some exclusive merchandise, and get drinks from the first Starbucks.

kids inside the first Starbucks Pike Place Market Seattle

These coffee lovers all agreed that visiting the first Starbucks was definitely worth the long line! This isn’t one of those things that I would do on EVERY trip to Seattle, but for first-timers that are Starbucks fans, it was a fun experience.

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

Beecher's Handmade Cheese Seattle Pike Place Market

Another favorite from our trip and recommended by a local friend, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, was a delicious option for lunch. The line wraps around the block but once you get inside service is quick. It can be challenging to find somewhere to sit, but we lucked out and found a few seats along the side where we could watch them making cheese. And my grilled cheese, complete with grilled chicken, arugula, and Mama Lil’s pepper mayo, was to die for.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Seattle

Continuing with the coffee love, the first Starbucks Reserve Roastery is located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Another place with a long line -though we found it to be shorter towards closing time – is a can’t miss if you’re a coffee lover. They have exclusive drinks, including whiskey barrel-aged cold brew – which was a little strong for my taste, but it is VERY popular.

Pike Place Chowder

Line and ordering at Pike Place Chowder Seattle

Waiting in long lines to try all of the popular spots seemed like how we spent a lot of our time in Seattle. However, Pike Place Chowder, with a line down the block, was totally worth the wait, and offered some of the best chowder we had on our trip.

where to eat in Seattle with kids Pike Place Chowder

We ordered a couple of clam chowder bread bowls plus a smoked salmon chowder bread bowl to share, and it was perfect for a light lunch. There is some seating inside and outside the restaurant, but do NOT get a table until you have your food and you are ready to eat. This one is a must-do in Seattle if you’re a chowder fan!!

Best Views in Seattle

Kerry Park (especially at sunset)

Kerry Park things to do in Seattle with kids

If you’re looking for one of the most iconic views of the Seattle skyline, often with Mount Rainier in the distance, then Kerry Park is where it’s at. This small park is located on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill on West Highland between 2nd and 3rd Avenue West. Photographers and families, tourists and locals all flock to the park, especially near sunset, to take in the breathtaking views. Because of the crowds, parking can be difficult. We drove around for about 15 minutes before finding a spot to parallel park on a neighborhood street about a block away.

Gorgeous Seattle skyline and Mount Rainier views from Kerry Park

But seriously, this view was wholly worth the parking headache!! And if you walk down the stairs, there’s a great playground on Prospect Street. Plus, Meredith Grey’s house from Grey’s Anatomy is located about a block away at 303 W Comstock St if you want to drive by – we passed it several times, and I didn’t even realize that’s where it was until we got home.

Ballard Locks Cruise – Argosy Cruises

Ballard Chittenden Locks Seattle

Sometimes, when two bodies of water are connected with a canal, a system of locks is needed to move between the different water levels. Locks are like an elevator for ships. They’re necessary for Seattle because it was important to connect Lake Washington/Lake Union that sits at 20-22 feet above sea level, with the Puget Sound, roughly 20 feet lower. Additionally, the locks help to prevent the mixing of seawater from Puget Sound with the freshwater lakes.

We did the Ballard Locks Cruise with Argosy Cruises and set sail from Lake Union, went down the Lake Washington Ship Canal, into Salmon Bay, and then through the Ballard Locks (above), where we were lowered about 20 feet into the Puget Sound.

Smiling kids sailing in Puget Sound

Once through the locks, we were out in the more open waters of the Puget Sound. There’s a full-service bar plus various snacks available onboard, so we enjoyed popcorn and sodas as we sailed along.

View of Mount Rainier across Puget Sound

As we rounded the corner into Elliot Bay and back towards Seattle, Mount Rainer was visible!

view of Seattle skyline from Puget Sound

For one of the best views of the Seattle skyline, you have to head out onto the water and look back towards the city. The Ballard Locks Cruise with Argosy Cruises was a great way to learn about the history of Seattle and the creation of the locks while also getting those great skyline views. It is important to note that the Ballard Locks cruise departs from the AGC Marina in Lake Union and arrives at the Seattle waterfront – you are responsible for getting back to your vehicle at Lake Union. It’s about a 1.6 mile (hilly!) walk north to Lake Union from the waterfront, but we did it with no problems.

There’s truly so much for families to do, eat, and see in the Seattle area. We were there for four days and still didn’t have time to see it all. Have you been before?? Let me know your Seattle tips in the comments!!

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