I love Seattle! It is such a beautiful and fun place to visit in the summertime. Our family visited to attend a wedding and to visit with family members. We stayed for about a week and purchased the Seattle City Pass in which you could go to the most popular city sites for a discounted price.
We were looking for things to do in Seattle with kids so it worked out perfectly for us to find the City Pass. Our kids ages 11, 8, and 5 were finally old enough to really enjoy (and remember!) all the fun things there are to do there. We really liked the city pass and felt like it was definitely worth it! We got to go to the following attractions (plus some other ones too that I will mention later in the post.
The Seattle city pass was $69 for adults and $44 for kids. We went to all the attractions so it saved us a few hundred dollars. We even got to do things we probably wouldn’t have otherwise, so we felt like it was worth the price. The pass can be purchased at any of the venues listed below or here on their website. They have an expiration date, so make sure to note that before purchasing.
NOTE: I left my camera on Alki Beach accidentally and someone took it. So, I only have a few random photos that I took on my cell phone at these attractions. I apologize that I can’t post more photos, but it is what it is I guess!
Pacific Science Center
The Science Center in Downtown Seattle was wholly entertaining for all of my 3 kids. It’s quite large and is housed in several buildings. We got to see everything that we wanted to in about 4 hours including the exhibits, the space planetarium (a small fee involved), a 3D movie (we recommend the polar bear movie, it’s very good), and the butterfly conservatory. These were all included in the city pass price. There are lots of things for kits to explore here including a small touchy-feely aquarium and lots of sciency type things. You will need to pay for parking, just like anywhere in Downtown Seattle. It was $10 for us to park in the garage next door. TIP: bring a lunch. They do allow you to eat food outside in an outdoor mezzanine area. It was $35 for my family to eat “snacks” at PCC cafeteria. They were yummy snacks, but sheesh… $35!
The space needle is the quintessential touristy thing to see. Luckily it’s right next to the Science Center so you can see two attractions while only paying to park once, yes, I’m cheap and I think of things like that! It’s pretty cool to go to the top at least once in your life, after that it’s not as cool. The elevator ride is fun because it has large glass windows in which you can see out of. Then you walk around the top and come back down again. There is a fancy restaurant at the top of the needle that rotates very slowly. Expect to pay $100-$200 a plate. I’ve been there a couple times and it’s fantastic for special occasions. My kids had already been on the space needle before and they thought it was ok. But, like I said if you had never done it before, it’s a cool experience to do once. With the City Pass, you can go up twice within a 24 hour period. We wanted to go up once during the day and once at Sunset, but we ended up being too busy and didn’t make it for the second time. The space needle doesn’t take long to explore, maybe 30 minutes max.
Argossy Boat Tour
This one hour boat tour was a huge hilight for me. I generally wouldn’t have thought of doing it and the price tag was pretty steep ($35+) per person. But since we had the city pass, it was already paid for. I totally loved it! They take you on a guided boat tour of Elliot Bay and the scenery was just lovely and I learned a lot about Downtown Seattle and Seattle in general. My oldest really liked it too. My younger kids, however, were bored to tears and couldn’t wait until we were off that boat. A couple of the employees were down right rude before we got on the boat (not to the kids, but to me) and I wasn’t happy about that, but the boat ride made up for it. Again, you will have to pay for parking at this location.
After the tour it’s fun to visit Ye Old Curiosity Shoppe that has all kinds of oddities and trinkets as well as the new Ferris Wheel on the Pier. The Ferris wheel was about $16 per person and 6 people can fit in 1 car. It was simply amazing. It was so worth it! The scenery was breathtaking and we did it right at Sunset. It was quite a long ride for a ferris wheel (4 times around). Get this, the cars are AIR CONDITIONED in the summer and HEATED in the winter. It was stunning and well worth it.
If you want to catch a restaurant while you’re down there, Ivars has some of the best fish and chips in the world and it’s a famous restaurant. You can sit down and eat there or go to the takeout window. It’s reasonable priced ($10 and up) and is very tasty. Wash it down with some fresh squeezed lemon aid from any number of stands on the Pier/ Waterfront area.
We didn’t have time to make this attraction, but I’ve heard it’s mostly for older kids and adults. It’s pretty expensive to get in ($35 a pop), so I was hoping we could see it, but it wasn’t in the cards for us. It’s apparently a museum of pop culture and rock music legends etc.
Woodland Park Zoo OR Boeing Museum of Flight
We attended the Museum of Flight because it was raining. I’m a pretty big WWII history buff (having traveled all around Europe and Russia and visiting all of those historical sites in person) and my husband’s grandpa was a bomber pilot in WWII. Our whole family had a great time exploring the museum. It took a couple hours to see it all. My favorite part was being able to walk through an old version (from the 1950’s) of Air Force One. That was pretty awesome! I don’t believe we had to pay for parking here (it’s not in Downtown Seattle like the other attractions). If we did, it was an insignificant amount.
That’s the end of the City Pass attractions, if there are additional things you’d like to do here are some ideas for other things to do in Seattle with kids.
EXPLORE WEST SEATTLE
West Seattle is where my family lives and it is a wonderful area. I just love it! You will find many organic markets and specialty stores as well as Alki Beach. The water at Alki Beach is cold and pretty rocky. There are a few sandy areas, but don’t let that turn you away. It is so lovely there. You can rent a Kayak, take your bike and ride along the miles of beach, play volleyball, walk on the beach and collect shells or rocks. There are docks and lots of things to explore. My kids went down there several times to play and were thoroughly entertained. And it’s free! There is a water taxi that will shuttle you to Downtown Seattle so that’s nice to not worry about traffic or parking fees.
Alki Beach is a nice place to take family photos or just to relax and unwind. Life goes at a slower pace on the beach!
Go to a Park (West Seattle)
There are also many beautiful parks like Schmidt’s park which have beautiful hiking and walking trail with old trees and stunning landscapes as well as Lincoln Park which is a wooded park that also borders Puget Sound. Make sure to take a ferry ride to Vashon Island if you explore Lincoln Park as the ferry dock is right next to the park.
Visit the West Seattle Junction
I love to look through the unique specialty stores in the West Seattle Junction. My favorite store is Northwest Art and Frame where you can find unique papers, gift wraps, art supplies, and just about anything else. I love to eat at Husky Deli. They have the most amazing sandwiches and ice cream. Please do try to go there, you won’t regret it! Also, if you are gluten and dairy free like my daughter and I are, you will go absolutely crazy over the Great Harvest Co in the Junction. They have a whole CASE of deserts that are gluten and dairy free and very very tasty. They also have a wide variety of sandwiches that are GFDF. It was hard for me to leave that place, and I ate there 3 or 4 times during my vacation!
Dig for Oysters and Clams
We had a family reunion in Marysville, Washington (about an hour from Seattle). We were in a house right off the water and we got to pick wild blackberries every day and the kids had lots of fun digging for clams.
We figured they found 10-20 pounds worth right on the beach! Even the tiny kids were digging and found a lot. We cooked them and ate them and they were fresh and wonderful.
The best part about being right on the water is enjoying the spectacular sunsets. There’s nothing more peaceful to me than watching the sun set over the water!
We enjoyed our time in Marysville immensely and can’t wait to go back again some day.
Pike Place Market
Last but not least, you must visit the Pike Place Market or Public Market in Seattle.
The public market is in Downtown Seattle near the waterfront and Piers. It is a place where farmers, fishermen, and other craftsmen and craftswomen come to sell their fresh and unique wares.
Think of it as a giant covered Farmer’s Market. It was a very fun and upbeat and you MUST visit at least once where you will find large bouquets of flowers for $10, fruits you’ve never heard of but taste heavenly, and lots of interesting clothing and gifts.
You will be able to sample lots of yummy treats. We got to sample local flavored honey and home made jam and ended up spending a fortune to bring some home with us because it was so yummy!
We got to sample a pluot fruit which is a cross between a plum and an apricot. It was really yummy!
See a video of the Public Market here
If you have any additional ideas for things to do in Seattle with kids, please post a comment to help other people. We’d love to know what you enjoy doing there with your family.
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