We’ve been planning, or rather dreaming, about our vacation to Seattle since last June. We knew we couldn’t drive to Vancouver without stopping in Seattle as soon as the TBEX organisers announced that it would be held in Vancouver.
It has been a busy time in our home, although you may not have realised due to our lack of activity on social media. Anyway, as much as we dislike making commitments, we now have a basic idea of what we want to accomplish in Seattle.
What is Seattle best known for?
Seattle provides culture, cuisine, and (of course) coffee as a coastal city retreat in the stunning Pacific Northwest area of the United States. Exploring Seattle, often known as the Emerald City, gives you access to the vast outdoors, with lush national forests and craggy islands nearby. Seattle is well-known for its Starbucks and coffee culture, grunge music scene, Seahawks, Space Needle, Pike Place Market, headquarters of many IT companies (including Amazon and Microsoft), hiking, kayaking, and general outdoor lifestyle (think REI).
Seattle is noted for its vibrant waterfront, evergreen woods, and craggy islands set against the magnificent Cascade Mountains. Tourists are drawn to this city because of its rich culture and peaceful lifestyle. There is a long list of activities to do in this fantastic city in Washington State, from riding the Great Ferris Wheel to admiring the unique aquatic life at the Seattle Aquarium to just enjoying a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
It was hard to narrow down many great things to do in the Emerald City to fit into 7 days itinerary but we think we did it.
So here it is…
Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in Seattle
1. Pike Place Market Tour with Shutter Tours
There is no doubt that Pike Place Market is one of the most popular tourist destination in Seattle. What not to love when you have the bustling of people and vendors with the fresh food and produces all in one place. But we don’t want to just wander around aimlessly without guidance. Sure, we can print out various tips online or bring our trusty Seattle Guide Books but we also look for a different experience that we will remember.
Entering Shutter Tours! We don’t remember how we found out about them but after reading about their walking tour, we knew this is one experience we want to do with our kids. We love to take pictures but how cool is it to have a professional photographer help you out while walking around this famous place!
2. Seattle Aquarium
With the convenient location in downtown waterfront, the Seattle Aquarium is definitely a must-see for us during our visit. Yes, we do have Georgia Aquarium in our backyard with many family favorite moments but we also love to explore and visit different aquarium. It’s just steps away from the Pike Place market so it’s easy for us to add that to our itinerary for our day in Seattle downtown.
We have read many great reviews about the jelly fish so I will most likely come back with a bunch of photo for the jelly fish.
3. Seattle Art Museum
We don’t pretend to be the art expert but we do enjoy a leisure day at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta whenever we have a chance. So to hear so many praise about the Seattle Art Museum, we just have to add that to our list.
Also we will be there during the first week of the month so it’s a great opportunity to take advantage of free admission for first Thursday of the month. Nothing makes us happier than saving on our family trip.
4. Seattle Central Library
We love visiting library especially one with a unique feature. We have been to a hidden library in downtown Bangkok and now we can’t miss check out the Seattle Central Library. Right next to Hotel Monaco where we will be staying, it will be an easy walk.
We have read that the children section is amazing and the architect is awesome and inspiring. Plus it’s free to visit which is always a big plus for our trip planning.
5. Pacific Science Museum
We are a big fan of Science museums in general. Wherever we travel, we always find time to visit local science museum. The Pacific Science Museum seems like a great place to explore for the whole family. With a minimal fee, kids can also enjoy IMAX movie or watch the laser show but I know that the hand-on exhibits will keep them busy for hours here.
Plus, we are hoping that now the kids are a bit older and have been in school for a few years they will slow down and learn something fun from the Pacific Science Museum. Maybe we might learn something new as well. We are never too old to learn.
6. Space Needle
An iconic landmark for Seattle is something we just have to check it out. Yes, it’s touristy but the Space Needle also gives us a bird’s eye view of the city and beyond. But we have to make sure that the weather is clear though seeing how weather can change easily in this Pacific Northwest city.
7. Experience Music Project (EMP) & Science Fiction Museum
The advantage of traveling with school-ages kids is that their interests have expanded and we tend to have more in common than in the past. My big sci-fi kids will disown me if we don’t visit the Science Fiction Museum while we are in Seattle.
Also with all the buzz about how unique the EMP is we just have to see it for ourselves.
8. Kerry Park & Olympic Sculpture Park
We love spending time at a park while we travel. It gives kids some down time to relax and a great way to people watching locals going on with their everyday life. If we have more time, we will want to visit more parks. But these two are on the top of our list.
Kerry Park is a great spot for photography enthusiast to capture the picturesque view of the city. It might be just a view point but certainly can be a great competitor to the view from the Space Needle.
Olympic Sculpture Park seems like a fun place to visit and check out. What kids wouldn’t want to see unique & fun giant sculpture that they can check out.
Yes, it’s just a supermarket. BUT, it’s an Asian supermarket with a wide variety of Asian products and food. We (Ok… *I*) just have to pay homage to this place and take it all in while I can. Seattle is one of the largest Asian population in this country so I expect to try out many authentic dishes that I don’t find it in my hometown. Just like when we went to Los Angeles this destination is purely for my own craving for food!
Ha! Another store but this time the mother of all outdoor store. We are a huge fan of REI. Yes, we do have REI store in Atlanta but it’s nothing fancy.
Their service is amazing. One time, we were able to exchange Mr. Rojo’s shoes that he bought 18 months ago and paid only a fraction of the cost for the new shoes! Talking about GREAT customer service. This might not be your typical tourist destination that you find in normal guidebook. But we found that visiting local store is a great way to learn about the town.
Read also: Camping With Kids – Tips For Parents
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to stay in Seattle?
As the Pacific Northwest’s cultural hub, the ideal time to visit Seattle is as soon as possible. From September through October is the finest time to visit Seattle. Summer is the city’s busy season, which means accommodation costs increase and availability decreases, while frigid winter weather might turn off even the most ardent tourists.
Winter is the best season to visit Seattle since it has the lowest hotel costs and the fewest tourists. This time of year, the city is still buzzing with concerts, coffee shops, and less-crowded museums. Winter is also the greatest season to visit Seattle for snow activities in the nearby mountains. From early July through September, the weather in Seattle is generally dry, sunny, and warm, making it ideal for local hiking, bicycling, and boating. April, May, June, and October are often unexpected, ranging from wet and cold to warm and bright, so come prepared.
Summer, like all things Seattle weather, has no hard and fast rules. Some years, late spring and early autumn might seem like summer, with May and October also being warm and dry, but it all depends on the year. If you can’t come to Seattle during the summer, don’t feel like you’re missing anything if you come in the spring or autumn. If you’re going for a holiday, you should probably avoid the winter unless you like getting drenched for days on end.
How much does it cost to have dinner at the Space Needle?
The Space Needle restaurant provides an amazing perspective and rotates so you can see a lot of the city while eating. They use experienced waiters, and you’ll be properly taken care of throughout your dinner. SkyCity above the Space Needle is one of Seattle’s most costly restaurants. The average price of an entrée is $44.93.
The $17 admission price to the top of the Space Needle is waived for SkyCity diners, but don’t assume you can have a drink and an appetiser while rotating around admiring the view: There is a $35 minimum meal and beverage fee per person. Two Dungeness crab cakes for $18 came apart at the fork owing to sheer mushiness – forget about any lumps or crab flavour. Their pink sauce was “rhubarb lacquer,” while an unlabeled yellow beurre blanc-esque sauce was somewhat less sugary.
A little clump of wilted pea sprouts on the side were overwhelmed by a pickled allium that was too salty-sour to identify. A few marcona almonds seemed to have fallen on the dish by chance. The price of dinner at the Space Needle restaurant is determined on what you order.
A dinner at the Space Needle restaurant would easily cost more than $200 on average.
What is Pacific Science Center’s admission policy?
The Pacific Science Center offers a variety of activities and experiences for people of all ages. The Tropical Butterfly House, Willard Smith Planetarium, and our makerspace Tinker Tank are all favourites. It also has the state’s biggest IMAX screen and the world’s longest-running Laser Dome.
Pacific Science Center has two entrances. South Entrance on Denny Way (open exclusively during the day) and North Entrance (open throughout the day and evening) on the Seattle Center side of the Science Center. During the summer, the displays are open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the remainder of the year. Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat-Sun-Holidays. They are closed on Christmas Day and on Thanksgiving Day, while cinemas may be open.
How do kids get around in Seattle?
If you’re heading to Seattle with the tadpoles, you’ll need to be well prepared in terms of transportation, activities, weather, and more! Seattle has an abundance of public transit, which makes getting about the city relatively easy… which is great news for families visiting the city. The Link light rail system runs through downtown Seattle from Angle Lake Station to the University of Washington. It stops multiple times in downtown Seattle and even at Sea-Tac Airport.
For a city of its size, Seattle traffic is excessively intense and chaotic, and parking is rare and costly. Add to that the city’s jumbled grids, mountainous topography, unexplained left-lane highway exits, and a prevalence of one-way streets, five-way crossroads, and drawbridges, and it’s easy to understand why driving may be difficult.
A car is not essential if you are staying in downtown Seattle. Parking is tough and costly, and traffic in Seattle is terrible. A vehicle is required if you are planning a day trip to Mount Rainier National Park. A car also makes it easy to visit Seattle areas such as Ballard, Fremont, and Capitol Hill (though you still have to find a parking space when you get there).
It’s not a complete list but it’s a start for us. So what else would you recommend of a can’t-miss visit in Seattle with kids?