seattle skyline view

If you are headed to the Pacific Northwest, there are so many awesome things to do in Seattle with kids! Located in Washington State on the coast, this fun, vibrant city is incredibly kid-friendly.

Seattle is known for its moderate temperatures, rainy weather, Starbucks headquarters, and outdoor adventures. But it is also full of family-friendly adventures.

A unique city full of fascinating innovation, art, cuisine, and culture – not to mention history and, of course, coffee – Seattle is a great place to visit and live. It is also a fantastic starting or ending point for many Washington state road trips you won’t want to miss.

We spent six months in this city and absolutely loved it! I can vouch for its family-friendliness. With family still in the area, we return every couple of years because there are so many things to do in Seattle with kids!

This guide will share with you some of our family’s favorite things to do on your Seattle family vacation!

This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase using these links. See my disclaimer. Featured photo credit: © Sorincolac |

seattle with kids seattle aquarium
Photo credit: © Afagundes |

Why is Seattle great for kids?

Seattle is a very family-friendly city. Located right on the ocean, with Mount Ranier in the background, it offers families plenty of outdoor experiences. Depending on where you stay, one of the best hotels in Seattle for families, many Seattle attractions are within walking distance to downtown.

But more than that, this city is home to fascinating innovation, history, creativity, music (remember the Grunge bands?), and art. It is a fun, vibrant, and diverse city with a unique vibe sure to engage kids and teenagers alike. Plus, it has a bit of the laid-back West Coast feel.

While it is known for its coffee culture, with a coffee shop on every block, as the home of the original Starbucks, it is also a foodie’s paradise with delicious seafood and cuisine from around the world.

Seattle is also not far from many of the Pacific Northwest’s gems, such as the beaches of Washington. In fact, Long Beach makes a great weekend trip in the summer and is one of the top 10 longest beaches in the world! It is a must-see if you are spending a bit more time in Seattle and are looking for a gorgeous nature paradise.

Best Things To Do in Seattle with Kids

The longer you visit the Emerald City, the more of these great Seattle family activities you can enjoy. But whether you are planning a day or a three-day itinerary in Seattle or more, these are some of our favorite fun things to do for families visiting Seattle.

1. Pike Place Market

If you do one thing on your visit to Seattle, you have to go to Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. There is something for everyone to love in this iconic Emerald City location, as Pike Place Market has been a famous Seattle icon for over 100 years!

Founded in 1907, Pike Place Market spans nine acres in the center of downtown Seattle and is a place where locals and tourists alike go to eat and shop. Let the kids make their mark on Seattle Pike Place Market by adding their gum to the gum wall. And they must meet Rachel, the bronze pig of Pike Place Market.

Pike Place Market has a range of handicrafts, flowers, groceries, treats, seafood, and flowers; this is worth a walk-through. It is also a great place to grab a souvenir. There are so many cool things to do in Pike Place Market you don’t want to miss, so be sure and include this on your bucket list to Seattle with kids.

Pikes Place Market Seattle
Photo credit: © Asterixvs |

One of the hallmarks of Pike Place is watching the fishmongers throw the fish when someone orders one! It is well worth watching their entertaining performance while preparing fish for customers.

Right across the alley is the original Starbucks store. Not only can you get your flat white or mocha latte, but you can also get a special souvenir if you are a Starbucks fan.

This is the one thing I would not miss in Seattle with kids.

2. The Underground Tour

For a unique tour experience, our family loves The Underground Tour to see a world of “old Seattle” that is literally, underground! This tour is as humorous and fascinating as it is educational – in fact, school groups actually visit The Underground Tour.

Underground tour seattle with kids
Photo credit: © Christinadcox |

The tour begins above ground and eventually goes underground to reveal a subterranean world of storefronts, sidewalks, and a complete city that went underground after Seattle rebuilt itself. This occurred after The Great Fire of 1889. The tour guides share fun and hilarious stories kids love!

The Underground Tour is one of the best activities in Seattle for kids!

3. Space Needle

Seattle’s iconic Space Needle is definitely one of the best things to do with kids. The Space Needle gives you a 360-degree view of Jet City.

Seattle Space Needle
Photo credit: © Photoquest |

It is a 184-meter tower where you can take a 43-second ride in a glass elevator to the top. The attraction has an all-glass floor on the lower floor and a floor-to-ceiling glass view on the upper view, giving you a high-flying experiential view. The kids will love the rotating glass floor in The Loupe.

As one of the most iconic American landmarks, the Space Needle is visited by nearly 20,000 daily. I recommend getting there early and starting your day with this.

Also, keep in mind that strollers are not allowed inside the Space Needle, so I recommend a baby carrier for toddlers and infants if you travel with them to this attraction. Use the Seattle City Pass to save on admission.

4. Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo has been a favorite of my kids since they were babies. Every time we visit, we love to stop by this North Seattle zoo.

Entrance To The Woodland Park Zoo

A very well-done, well-laid-out zoo, this easy-to-get-around attraction will keep your kids busy all day. With a variety of animals, from elephants to gorillas to meerkats and penguins, and its petting zoo, it is a delightful experience for kids of all ages!

My kids love feeding the giraffes and interacting with the knowledgeable staff about the collection of nearly 1,100 animals.

From its Butterfly Garden all the way to the indoor Zoomazium to a ride on the carousel, your whole family will have fun here. Use the Seattle City Pass to save on admission.

Seattle Woodland Park Zoo
The Penguin exhibit is a favorite of my kids at Seatttle’s Woodland Park Zoo.

5. Seattle Aquarium

Another of our favorite fun things to do with kids in Seattle is a trip to the Seattle Aquarium. Although this aquarium is not huge, it is jam-packed with octopuses, seals, touch tanks, and even an underwater exhibit.

seattle aquarium
Photo credit: © Afagundes |

Located right on the Seattle waterfront, not far from Pike’s Place Market, this museum is a great half-day experience. Kids learn about whales, animals in the Pacific waters of Seattle, and much more.

Touch Tank at Seattle Aquarium
The touch tank at the Seattle Aquarium is fun for kids! Photo credit: © Oliver7perez |

Not only will your kids love the aquatic atmosphere, an aquarium is also a great place for learning more about marine life and sustainability. Use the Seattle City Pass to save on admission. Fun yet educative, this is one of the best Seattle kids’ activities.

6. Seattle Children’s Museum

If you are looking for fun things to do with toddlers in Seattle, this museum is a great choice. I spent many days here during our six-month stay in Seattle with our toddler.

seattle with kids children's musuem
Photo credit: © Artyooran |

This Seattle kids’ museum has many different attractions within it, such as Global Village, Cog City,  and Mountain Forest, just to name a few.

There are also places to create art, climb, and do lots of imaginary play.

This is a great thing to do with younger kids in Seattle or on one of their rainy days.

7. Ballard Locks

The Ballard Locks, also referred to as the Hiram Chittenden Locks, is a unique Seattle attraction. It allows you and your family to watch the boats on Lake Union, Lake Washington, and Puget Sound pass through the Locks. Any transportation-loving kid will think this is a great thing to do with kids in Seattle!

What makes this attraction fascinating is that boats aren’t the only thing to visit here. Fish – mainly salmon – also visit it and use the manmade ladder as part of their journey upstream to Lake Washington!

Ballard Locks Seattle With Kids
Photo credi: © Sainaniritu |

When you visit this Seattle family attraction, you will enjoy seeing the Ballard Locks, The Fish Ladder, The Visitor Center, and The Garden. To see the fish swimming upstream (between June and September), you can watch them through an underwater window. It is a great way to learn about the fishing industry and the fishing history of the city.

This 100-year-old attraction is a fascinating, quintessential Seattle experience. And it is one of the fun things to do in Seattle with kids!

8. Pacific Science Center

Another fun thing to do with kids in Seattle is the Pacific Science Center. It has five different buildings to explore, each filled with interactive activities. The entire family will enjoy the IMAX theater and living exhibits.

In addition to the living exhibits, Butterfly House, technology exhibits, and more, the Pacific Science Center is expanding its offerings. Beginning in October 2021, they will launch the history and science of hockey, a great exhibit for any sports fan!

seattle with kids pacific science center entrance
Photo credit: © Mickem |

When you get your ticket for this center, make sure to check out the other attractions you can add on like the science playground and waterworks.

If you want to have some fun as a family, check out the PacSci At Night, where you all can dance in the dark with LED lights around!

9. Museum of Flight

One of my favorite Seattle activities for kids is the Museum of Flight. This fascinating museum of air and space is one of the largest in the world.

Museum of Flight Seattle Wtih Kids
Photo credit: © Us40637 |

Plane-loving kids and toddlers will love the fascinating range of military and personal aircraft. It is a fascinating look into the history of flight and see real-life planes, some suspended in the air.

Kids will love the true-to-size spacecraft and rare aircraft and even check out a simulated flight over Seattle.

There is also an aviation tour that will take your kids through what it is like as a pilot, how the aircraft are built, and even the history of some WW1 and WW11 planes. It is one of our favorite things to do with kids in Seattle.

10. Ferry To Bainbridge Island

Another great thing to do with kids in Seattle if you have a day to spare is to take the ferry to this island. Located in Puget Sound, Bainbridge Island is a great full or half-day adventure.

Ferry going to bainbridge island from Seattle
Photo credit: © Artyooran |

While on the island, there are interesting museums, shops, and restaurants. There is also a lovely walk around Eagle Harbor. The Waterfront walk is a few miles long, but it is a great way to enjoy parks, beaches, nature, and restaurants.

It is about a 35-minute ride to Bainbridge, but the boat ride alone is another way to enjoy Seattle from a different view.

If you have a car with you, you can bring your car on the ferry and enjoy even more of the island. Check out Chief Seattle’s grave, the Suquamish Museum, and gorgeous hiking trails, and take in the incredible sites of the island.

This is definitely a great thing to do with kids in Seattle.

11. Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum

The Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum is one of the fun activities for kids in Seattle. Not only is Chihuly’s work captivating for kids with its whimsical style, unique shapes, delicate details, and bright colors. But his incredible designs and his finely detailed glasswork are simply awe-inspiring, and the glass museum has one of the best gift shops in the city.

Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum Seattle With Kids
Photo credit: © Outline205 |

Kids will enjoy these mesmerizing creations. And I highly recommend encouraging kids to bring their sketchbooks and colored pencils from their kids’ carry-ons to capture what they see.

Located right next to the Space Needle, this exhibit is well worth a walk around and discover Dale Chihuly’s work. Watch a glass-blowing demonstration, visit the glasshouse, walk through the garden, take an audio tour, enjoy lunch or a snack in the Art Plaza, and discover the work of one of the most talented artists in the world.

This is one of the most inspiring things to do in Seattle with kids. Use the Seattle City Pass to save on admission.

12. Argosy Cruise Tillicum Excursion

If you would like to learn about Native American culture in Seattle, then a trip to The Tillicum Village is one of the family activities in Seattle. Located on Blake Island in Puget Sound, this four-hour experience is a fun and interesting experiential activity kids will love.

The experience includes a 45-minute ferry ride to get to Blake Island. Once there, your family will learn about Native American culture, experience a 25-minute performance, explore the village, and enjoy a Chinook Salmon meal. You can also enjoy some time around Blake Island State Park.

This experience is educational and a fun thing to do with kids in Seattle. Use the Seattle City Pass to save on admission on the Argosy Cruise.

** Please note this activity is currently suspended through the end of 2021**

13. Visit Discovery Park

For more of an outdoor kid-friendly Seattle activity, Discovery Park is a lovely place to visit. I loved bringing my son here when he was a toddler, but it is great for kids of all ages.

Lighthouse in Seattle Discovery Park
Photo Credit: © Davidgn |

Discovery Park includes two miles of protected tidal beaches, meadowlands, dramatic sea cliffs, forests, sand dunes, and more. It is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Discovery Park is one of the best beaches in Seattle to visit!

It is a great place for hiking and biking. But my son also loved investigating the tide pools for starfish, sea anemones, urchins, and even more fun sea creatures! You can also see the park lighthouse.

Discovery Park is definitely one of our favorite fun things to do with kids in Seattle.

14. Museum of History and Industry

Budding engineers and history buffs will love the Museum of History and Industry to learn more about Seattle’s history. Located in South Lake Union, this is another great thing to do in Seattle with kids.

seattle with kids museum of industry exhibit
Photo credit: © Jackbluee |

This fascinating museum showcases a range of interactive exhibits that explore innovation and growth. Its permanent exhibit, True Northwest: The Seattle Journey shows the city went from the 1790’s to what it is today. It includes the city’s rich history of invention and innovation, including many modern-day Seattle companies and their impact on the world.

There are several other fascinating exhibits, including some temporary ones, that are very educational for kids.

This museum is a wonderful thing to do in Seattle with kids!

15. Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park

Another fascinating kids’ activity in Seattle is the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. Not only is it one of the best educational and historical experiences in the Seattle area, but it is part of the National Park Service.

If you and your family enjoy learning about the Alaskan Gold Rush, this is the best place to get all the information about Seattle’s part in it.

The museum includes two floors of exhibits, including temporary exhibits in the Kerr room. Kids can become junior rangers and learn even more about the gold rush and Seattle’s role in it. Visitors can also follow along with three 25-minute films which will talk about Seattle’s gold rush history, as well as participate in a guided walking tour in Pioneer Square.

This educational experience is definitely one of my favorite things to do with kids in Seattle. It is also a great activity to mention in your kids’ road trip activity pack travel journal!

16. Seattle Center

When you visit Seattle with kids, you won’t want to miss visiting the Seattle Center because it has some of the best family-friendly attractions. There are many fun things to do besides the Seattle Space Needle, Seattle Children’s Museum, and Pacific Science Center.

Our kids loved riding the Seattle Center Monorail because it’s a unique transport method. It is inexpensive to ride at $3.25 one way per adult and $1.75 one way for children ages 6 to 18. There’s just something fun about the Seattle Center Monorail that kids find fascinating. The Seattle Center Monorail only goes back and forth from the Seattle Center to the Westlake Center.

The Museum of Pop Culture at Seattle Center; is great for everyone into science fiction, horror, and fantasy, but this gateway museum attracts multigenerational audiences. The whole pop culture museum is dedicated to the innovative ideas and risk-takers that have fueled pop culture as we know it. Some exhibits include:

  • Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses
  • Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume
  • The Minecraft Exhibition
  • Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction
  • Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic
  • Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop
  • Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame

The Seattle Center Armory is a great indoor food court with lots of places to eat lunch. Honestly, we were blown away by all the food options at the Seattle Center Armory food court.

And the Artists at Play playground at the Seattle Center is a great place for children of all ages to slide, hang, play, and swing. The Artists at Play playground offers some of the best playgrounds in the city. Kids will also love the Seattle Children’s Theater, which offers fun activities and classes.

Your kids will also love the International Fountain to cool down in the summer. There’s an International Fountain show with synchronized music that plays every 12 minutes, so you can sit back and watch your kids play.

Also, Chihuly Garden and Glass is another great attraction for older kids, but you probably don’t want to take young kids there.

The Seattle Center really is the one-stop place for fun. The whole family could be entertained for a day or more here, but I would at least allot three to six hours to fully explore the Seattle Center.

More Ideas of What To Do With Kids in Seattle

In addition to the activities mentioned above, here are a few additional ideas for more family fun with kids in Seattle that we like to include when we can on our trips.

  • Boeing Factory Tour
  • Visit Alki Beach Park on Elliott Bay in West Seattle
  • Whale Watching Boat Tour To See Orcas
  • Get a cupcake from Cupcake Royale (chocolate salted caramel is my favorite!)
  • Theo Chocolate Factory Tour
  • Seaplane Ride (for older kids/teens)
  • Olympic Sculpture Park – Visit Olympic Sculpture Park on the Seattle waterfront. (The Olympic Sculpture Park is a great outdoor activity for kids.)
  • Seattle Harbour Cruise
  • Seattle Art Museum – The Seattle Art Museum is conveniently located in downtown Seattle.
  • The Center for Wooden Boats – A waterfront living museum where you can learn all about wooden boats
  • Giant Shoe Museum in Downtown Seattle
  • Take in the gorgeous views of downtown Seattle from Capitol Hill.
  • Seattle Pinball Museum (The Seattle Pinball Museum has over 50 games, with one dating back to 1934.)
  • Seattle Bouldering Project
  • Golden Age Collectibles – The world’s largest comic book shop
  • The Seattle Great Wheel – Lids will enjoy riding the Seattle Great Wheel Ferris wheel.
  • Day trip to Bainbridge Island
  • Take an afternoon trip to the San Juan Islands
  • The Bloedel Reserve to enjoy the beauty of the Japanese garden and the moss garden.
  • Seattle waterfront
  • Visit the Volunteer Park Conservatory is the perfect place to dry off if it starts raining or just unwind amongst the cultural attractions after a long day exploring the city.
  • Visit Voodoo Donuts or General Porpoise Doughnuts
  • The Elliot Bay Book Company – The Elliott Bay Book Company is known for its vast collection of books on many genres and topics.
  • The Seattle Asian Art Museum at Volunteer Park Conservatory
  • Museum of Flight – The world’s largest independent air and space museum
  • Watch a Seattle Mariners game at T Mobile Park.
  • The Stone Gardens Climbing Gym
  • Spend the day at Lincoln Park in West Seattle.
  • Visit Gas Works Park to play in a large play barn or fly kits on the Seattle waterfront.
  • Enjoy a show from the Candle Light Concert series that older kids will love.
  • Stop by the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, which has exhibits on fossils, dinosaurs, and Native American heritage. We found Burke Museum fascinating and loved the Native American cafe that makes this attraction one of the few locations with food as good as the exhibits.
  • Visit the unique Rubber Chicken Museum with the world’s biggest rubber chicken.

Getting To and Around Seattle

If you are flying into Seattle, the closest of the Washington State Airports is Seattle Tacoma International Airport. You can either rent a car or take the Link Light Rail from the airport to Westlake Station in downtown Settle.

When exploring Seattle, you can drive, walk, bike, use rideshare, or take public transportation with the streetcar and bus service. Note that if you drive, parking can be expensive and tricky to find in some areas.

Our family likes to walk as much as possible in Seattle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Take My Kids in Seattle for Dinner?

Seattle is a foodie’s paradise, and it is very kid-friendly. So, there are plenty of wonderful, kid-friendly restaurants in Seattle. Some of ours include:

Visiting Seattle on a Road Trip? You might like my post: The Best Road Trip Food: 101+ Easy Meal & Snack Ideas You’ll Love!

Is Seattle Good For Families?

Seattle is a great place to visit as a family because there are so many kid-friendly activities. And it makes the perfect spot for a family road trip! In addition to the kid-friendly activities in this post, there are many restaurants with kid play areas, plenty of community playgrounds, lakes to walk around (like Green Lake), and more.

Many families live in the neighborhoods in Seattle, so no only is it good for families. Seattle is GREAT for families!

Check out Viator’s Family Tours of Seattle!

What Should You Not Miss in Seattle?

Although I recommend checking out absolutely everything that you can in your time in Seattle, I highly recommend these three attractions if you are short on time:

  • Pike’s Place Market
  • The Underground Tour
  • The Space Needle

What Is The Best Time of Year To Visit Seattle?

While the temperature is going to be most ideal in the summer months (or really between April and October), this will also be Seattle’s busiest season. If you have flexibility, September and October is the best time of year to visit Seattle.

The winter is rainy, although it is not as cold as in the Northeastern parts of the United States. So, you could come in the winter and participate in the best indoor fun things to do in Seattle from my list!

Where To Stay With Kids In Seattle?

There are many great hotels to stay with kids in Seattle. I have a few favorites, listed below:

Room inside McMenaman's Hotel Seattle with Kids
One of the whimsically decorated rooms at  McMenamins Anderson School Hotel in Bothell.
If you don’t mind being a bit outside the city and have a car, there is a fun hotel in Bothell called McMenamins Anderson School Hotel. This hotel chain has refurbished old buildings and turned them into hotels, but keeping the charm and character of the building’s former life. This one is a former school, and the whimsical rooms are lovely hotel rooms while the hotel is charmingly decorated with features from its days as a high school. In fact, Happy Hour was served in “The Principal’s Office.” A gorgeous dining room has a wonderful breakfast. The property has lovely grounds with three great restaurants, five lounges/bars, a gift shop, and a fun indoor swimming pool in a building across the parking lot.
McMenaman's School Hotel
You won’t mind being sent to the Principal’s Office at this fun, thematic hotel in Seattle!

Final Thoughts On The Best Things To Do In Seattle with Kids

Seattle is a great place to visit with kids. Not only is this fun, unique city family-friendly, but there are plenty of historical, fun, and unique Seattle activities to do with kids they will love. It is well worth a visit for kids of all ages!

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