Things to Do with Kids in Seattle: 23 Fun Activities to Try
A sparkling jewel of the Pacific Northwest, it’s no wonder Seattle is known as the Emerald City. From the pristine waters of the Puget Sound to iconic sculpture parks, Seattle is truly a treasure chest of attractions and incredible sights.
However, if you’ve been wondering what to do in Seattle with kids, you’re in luck! From heart-pounding Mt Rainier hikes to seeing the Space Needle up close, there are endless things to do with kids in Seattle. Follow along to discover the best things to do in Seattle with kids.
Don’t commit to hours of research trying to figure out family things to do in Seattle or kids fun in Seattle. Our experts have done their due diligence to bring you the best of kids fun in Seattle.
Splurge on some ice cream sundaes at an old-fashioned parlor, or observe schools of fish, sharks, and rays at the Aquarium.
Snap an Instagram-worthy selfie in front of the Seattle Great Wheel, or try to reunite with Free Willy with a wildlife and whale watching tour.
No matter if you’re yearning for some hands-on museum action, or want to tour the markets, this city of mountains, culture, and coffee is bound to impress.
Before you kick off your week (or two) of family fun Seattle style you’ll need to secure some family-friendly accommodations. Ensure you and the kiddies can relax in Rain City style when you reserve any of our top Seattle Hotels.
Enjoy modern and minimalist furnishings when you stay in downtown Seattle, just minutes from the Columbia Center, Pike Place Market, and the Aquarium. Or, cozy up in a pool luxurious suite featuring Seattle waterfront views and access to an onsite spa.
With lodgings everywhere from Woodinville to Pike Place, you’ll have the perfect launching pad for things to do in Seattle with kids. So, make your reservation stress free knowing you are always guaranteed our lowest rates online.
Fun Things to Do in Seattle with Kids
Sweeping 360-degree city views, a first-hand look at the King of airplanes, and loads of wild zoo fun. Intrepid families searching for the best things to do in Seattle with kids will be met with a bevy of options. From museums featuring laser domes and IMAX to mouthwatering tours of the famous Pike Place Market, kids of all ages will be in awe of the Emerald City.
Whale Watching Cruises
Ahoy matey! Cruise through the inky blue waters of the San Juan Islands on a once-in-a-lifetime Classic Whale Watch & Wildlife Tour. Have that phone or camera at the ready as you won’t want to miss the awe-inspiring sight of a breaching Orca or a whale tail slap. Climb aboard the 55-foot Sea Lion vessel and prime yourself for 3 to 4 hours of whale-watching entertainment.
The ideal cruise for families with young children, captivated minds will be able to pepper the onboard marine naturalists with all their questions. As you sail through these magnificent waterways, including the Haro Strait, keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales, sea lions, porpoises, killer whales, eagles, and more.
In between sightings kids will be able to check out the onboard field guide library and childrens books. The Sea Lion Vessel holds up to 40 passengers at a time, making it a more intimate whale-watching experience than the larger 85-foot Osprey.
Pacific Science Center
Explore saltwater tide pools, observe the brilliant imagery of a laser dome show, or unlock location-based challenges with the Agents of Discovery mobile education app. Designed to entice, intrigue, and challenge young minds, the Pacific Science Center has worked for over 60 years to make science accessible and fun to the local Seattle community.
Coax your child’s interest in STEM as you make your way through dozens of hands-on exhibits and shows. Watch breathtakingly beautiful butterflies flutter in their tropical habitats, or step back to the Mesozoic Era when you learn about Dinosaur diets and fossils. Stand in the footprint of a giant duckbill dinosaur, or sneak in a 3D screening of the Dinosaurs of Antarctica 40-minute documentary.
Toddlers will have a blast with the multisensory activities on deck in Just for Tots, while future spacemen will be captivated by the museum’s planetarium offerings.
Help protect the health of Puget Sound when you and your brood stop by the Seattle Aquarium. Located on Pier 59 on the Elliott Bay waterfront, this conservation institution has been educating and entertaining the public on all things marine for over 45 years. Discover what ocean life lives in Washington State’s waters or witness a live sea otter feeding.
Ooh and aah over whiskered Harbor Seals who live in the Salish Sea. Or, show some love to the Aquarium’s feathered inhabitants which include Tufted Puffins, Long-Billed Curlews, and adorable Killdeer. Become an expert on Salmon’s seasonal journey or walk underneath the glass Underwater Dome for 360-degree views of the sound’s rockfish, sharks, and sturgeon.
Don’t forget to pleasure your pint-sized companions with a pause at the Caring Cove Play Space where they can pretend to be a biologist or inspect an artificial tide pool.
Boeing Future of Flight
Drones, robots, and planes oh my! Take to the skies above when you carve out an afternoon to tackle the past, present, and future of Boeing products. Boeing Future of Flight offers a window into the wild world of aviation technology.
From historical archives that showcase the efforts of strong independent women during wartime to hands-on activities in the Kids’ Zone, there’s heaps to uncover. Check out Rosie the Riveter packing up airplane gunning equipment or become an expert on cabin air filtration and UV wand sanitizing.
Fly your own miniature quad-copters in their indoor drone cages, or watch robotic coding be broken down for the juice box set.
See the Space Needle
An integral part of the Seattle skyline, no family vacation to Jet City is complete without a visit to the 605 ft tall Space Needle. Located at the Seattle Center, little ones of all ages will be mesmerized by the dazzling views afforded by the Observation Deck. Snap selfie after selfie on the glass Skyrisers, or step onto the Loupe, the world’s first and only rotating glass floor.
Flying sky high got you feeling famished? Fuel up with a smorgasbord of options at the Atmos Cafe which features an espresso bar and local treats including Pinkabella Cupcakes and Whidbey Island Ice Cream.
Museum of Flight
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s the Museum of Flight! For almost 60 years this non for profit air and space museum has brought the wonder of air travel to life through 175 space and aircraft, tens of thousands of artifacts, millions of rare photographs, and dozens of exhibits and experiences. Your pint-sized pilot-to-be will be in awe of the wide variety of crafts on display including light planes used during WWII and the Apollo 17 Lunar Module.
Explore the conclusion of the bloody WWII conflict with the untold stories of veterans, photographers, and engineers. Spot the first images ever taken of the attack on Pearl Harbor, or watch oral clips from real veterans. Youngsters will relish the opportunity to strap in at the Kids Flight Zone where they can test their skills in one of two hang gliding simulators.
Sky View Observatory
Soar to the top of the world with tickets to the Sky View Observatory. The ultimate Seattle excursion, your entire family will be thrilled by the panoramic views provided on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center. Opt for any number of standard, combination, or all-inclusive tour options as you ascend 73 floors in 70 seconds.
Your immersive elevator ride will magically transport you to the tallest public observatory in the Pacific Northwest. The ideal locale in which to kick off your Seattle tour, you’ll be able to soak in the rugged mountain tops of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, the San Juans, and the Olympics.
Seattle Children’s Museum
Imagination, discovery, and creativity come to life at the Seattle Children’s Museum. Specifically designed to intrigue little ones ages 6 months to 8 years old, this museum prides itself on its informal and open-ended environment.
From Bubble workshops to exploring the power of the air, mini munchkins will take on 18,000 square feet of space as they make their way through 11 exhibits such as Orca Cove and the Corner Workshop.
The Mountain allows young learners to get tactile as they pursue a peak adventure in the Northwest, sans rain. While the Raindrop Reading Room provides an opportunity to chill out with stories in the company of colorful sea-themed murals.
Woodland Park Zoo
Wondering what vibrantly hued Poisonous dart frogs, Grizzly Bears, and Malayan Tigers have in common? All of these creatures call the Woodland Park Zoo home. Seattle visitors of all shapes and sizes congregate at this award-winning zoo to spot over 900 animals and 250 species.
From Tropical Asia to the African Savanna, tiny animal-loving tots will get to traverse a vast array of ecosystems and environments. Spot adorable Warty Pigs or head to the Tropical Rainforest to come face to face with Jaguars, Lemurs, and Gorillas. Need even more creature time? Spring for a Premium Animal Tour.
Kids Activities Seattle
Chubby little fingers need lots of activities and delicious snacks to stay engaged. Lock in an amazing Seattle with kids’ experience with some superior adventures. Inhale fresh mountain air with a day trip to the Cascades or savor bites of chowder and salmon at Pike Place Market.
Fortunately for you and your brood, fun things for kids in Seattle tick every box.
Take your Seattle sightseeing to the sea with an Argosy Cruise! Choose from the Seattle Locks Cruise or the Seattle Harbor Cruise and appreciate the beauty of the Emerald City from your well-appointed vessel. The Harbor Cruise is a stirring one-hour trip through Elliot Bay and the historic waterfront where you will capture epic vistas of the city skyline, the Space Needle, and possibly even Mt Rainier.
For even more time on the open water, opt for the Seattle Locks Cruise which features 2 hours of narration through the Ballard Locks. Guests of all ages will love watching the vessel rise and fall due to the changing tides of Puget Sound. Be sure to whip out that camera as you’ll be sailing past tons of large fishing vessels, seaplanes, and floating houseboats.
Visit the Theo Chocolate Factory
Rich, decadent, and downright delicious. No child can resist the promise of a chocolate treat. Spoil your little special someone with a tasty Theo Chocolate Factory Tour in Seattle. This hour-long interactive experience will walk you through the cacao beans’ humble journey from the farm to the chocolate bar. Uncover the origins of cacao, get an inside look at the factory, and sample a wide array of mouthwatering chocolate treats.
Theo Chocolate also hosts a number of kid-friendly classes and events including Kids Chocolate Bark decorating and Kids Chocolate Story Time. Gather round for a heartwarming tale of Danna and Gerald’s Big Bean-To-Bar Adventure.
This original story was written by the Theo team and lets little ones learn where their favorite dessert comes from. After the tale, stay put as you’ll get some complimentary chocolate samples and snacks.
Outdoorsy Day Trips
The Pacific Northwest is pure heaven for those who worship at the altar of REI. Thankfully, it’s never too early (or late) to convert your ragtag group of rugrats into hiking aficionados. Whether you are on the hunt for paved paths or feel up to a challenge, there’s an ideal day trip from Seattle for you:
- Gold Creek Pond – make some unforgettable Seattle memories when you hit up the famous Snoqualmie Pass. This easy 1-mile trail is well-maintained and paved, making it a great choice for the stroller crowd or younger hikers.
- Summerland – a somewhat more difficult Mt Rainier hike, this 8.4-mile hike is best suited for teens or experienced hikers. However, the sweat payoff is great as you’ll be treated to picturesque forests, streams, and alpine meadows. In addition, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as there’s a chance you could come across chipmunks, marmots, hummingbirds, or possibly even a bear.
- Lincoln Park – while technically in the city, this urban oasis still offers up 5 miles of trails and snow-dusted views of the Olympic Mountains. The park is designed with families in mind and even contains a playground, wading pool, and heated outdoor saltwater pool open in the summer.
- Wallace Falls State Park – gushing falls and a moderate climb mean this 5.6-mile trek is an awesome option for families looking for a slight challenge. Those with young children can opt for the easier hike to the lower falls.
- River Loop Trail – ready to take on the Cascade Mountain range? While North Cascades National Park is a bit farther from Seattle, this stunning park is well worth the extra car time. Complete this 1.8-mile trail with the kiddies and you’ll be rewarded with a variety of forest growth, a peaceful gravel bar, and sweeping river views.
Ride the Ferris Wheel
Carnival nostalgia with a side of Elliot Bay views? Yes, please! Hop aboard the Seattle Great Wheel at Pier 57 for a tantalizing ride. After your sky-high journey, indulge in tons of pier fun including arcade games, carousel rides, and yummy eats. Savor a super fresh seafood lunch at The Fisherman’s Restaurant. Dig into Pacific Northwest favorites such as fresh salmon, local oysters, coconut prawns, and more.
Or, pop in for a piping hot loaf of freshly baked bread at the Alaskan Sourdough Bakery. If you can, schedule your ride for the evening so you can witness the twinkling illumination of over 500,000 LED lights during their colorful light show spectacular.
Explore Seattle Center
Got some time to kill? Make a date with the Seattle Center! Engage the whole family with cultural performances, artist-created playgrounds, skate plazas, and more. This creative civic center is the happening hotspot to eat, play, and discover the very best of Jet City. Spend hours taking in the sights and smorgasbord of offerings at the Seattle Center Armory. Or splashing in the resplendent International Fountain.
Conquer the 30-foot Climbing Tower in the playground or bring along your board and pads to perfect your 180 Ollie. Inject some drama into your plans with a sensory-friendly performance of Snow White or other theatrical favorites.
Oogle delicate glass works by Chihuly at his museum, or dive into the cuisines and rituals of other cultures when you attend a fiery festival. Don’t skip out on their cornucopia of food offerings which include everything from homemade fudge to tacos.
Walk through Olympic Sculpture Park
Part public park, part contemporary art museum, Olympic Sculpture Park is simply a Seattle must-visit. Stretch those legs and sneak some culture into your family vacation plans. Tour 9 acres of this outdoor sculpture museum, indoor pavilion, and Puget Sound beach.
Be sure to snap photos of Alexander Calder’s famous red Eagle. Meanwhile, appreciate the breathtaking views of the Space Needle, Olympic Mountains, and Puget Sound.
Visit Shug’s Soda Fountain And Ice Cream
Long hikes and days filled with Bay cruises can leave your little pack feeling quite famished. Replenish your stamina with a splash of sugar and charm at Shug’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream. You’ll find this sweet treat in Pike Place Market. This old-fashioned soda fountain has been slinging shakes, sundaes, sandwiches, and more for over five years.
Locals and visitors alike swarm here to sample homemade syrups, sauces, and toppings. As well as Lopez Island Creamery’s small-batch and independent Ice Cream. Introduce your youngsters to the joy of NY Egg Cream. Or really splurge with a brownie or s’more sundae topped with hot fudge and whipped cream.
Tour Pike Place Market
The best way to truly get to know a new city is through your stomach! Got a gang of budding chefs or future foodies in your family? You’ll need to please their palates with a Taste Pike Place Market Tour. This small, intimate group tour allows your clan to marry food, history, and culture through the eclectic offerings of Seattle’s most famous market.
Come hungry as you’ll want to chow down on heaps of offerings throughout your 2.5-hour culinary journey. Swing by local restaurants such as Saffron Spice and Ellenos Greek Yogurt & Los Agaves. Your local guide will educate you on the market’s legendary characters, trivia, and history.
From crispy seafood burgers to creamy chowder, and berry-studded yogurt,* your tour will include up to eight tastings.
*Please note that food samples are subject to change.
Seattle may have been bestowed the moniker Rain City, but don’t let the whisper of showers ruin your family getaway.
This bustling Pacific Northwest metropolis delivers more than its fair share of kid-approved attractions and activities.
Look to the cutting-edge future of technology when you explore robotics and drones with Boeing. Or travel back in time to check out WWII aircraft at the Museum of Flight.
Feel your heart melt as you watch Orangutans frolic and groom at the zoo. Or reward yourself with a creamy, dreamy surprise when you book a tour of the Theo Chocolate Factory.
No matter if you’re fiending for adrenaline-pumping hikes, food, or a fantastic Ballard Locks view, the Emerald City reigns supreme as the king of the family vacation.
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