Pier 57 in Seattle with Kids
Whether you are visiting Seattle with kids on a family vacation, or you are a local Seattle family, Pier 57 is the ultimate spot for family fun in Seattle. I mean, they really thought about everything! My husband and I had our 2nd date on the Seattle waterfront and I rode The Seattle Great Wheel on my birthday a few days after it opened to the public. It’s a place that is very special to me. May contain affiliate links.
After our kid-free getaway to New York City last month, my husband and I thought it would be fun to plan a family outing in Seattle. We figured we’d focus on Pier 57, since that’s home to The Seattle Great Wheel, Wings Over Washington, a waterfront carousel, the coolest souvenir shops, and several ice cream shops. We are so lucky to live in the Seattle-area so we can enjoy these Seattle attractions.
The Seattle Great Wheel
Our first stop on our Seattle waterfront with kids adventure was The Seattle Great Wheel. It’s that big Seattle ferris wheel you can see when you drive on the Alaskan Way Viaduct or practically anywhere near the Seattle waterfront. It’s Seattle’s version of the London Eye.
Anyway, The Seattle Great Wheel is a family-friendly activity in Seattle. The ride is slow and smooth. It’s safe for people of all ages, pregnant women, and babies. Plus kids ages 2 and under can ride for free. We brought our 18 month old and he sat on our laps during the ride. But, babies and young toddlers can also be worn in a carrier.
The first thing we did was pose for a family photo with their green screen. The photo featured The Seattle Great Wheel and was available for purchase after the ride. It’s an easy way to get a memorable souvenir!
The Seattle Great Wheel in Seattle is baby-friendly. We had our son in a stroller through the line. But, you can’t bring the stroller into the gondola. So, you park it by the entrance and a staff member moves it to the exit so it’s ready for you when you’re done.
Standing 175 feet tall, the Seattle Great Wheel is the largest observation wheel on the West Coast. There are 41 regular gondolas and 1 VIP gondola. Each gondola can fit 8 people and is fully enclosed.
We went in the late afternoon and the lighting was really pretty! But, it would also be cool to come at night and see the Seattle skyline all lit up! I’ve heard some people ride it once during the day and then come back at night to get the full experience.
My kids loved looking at the buildings, the cranes, the boats, and everything else. We even switched sides half-way through to see if there was a “better” side. We thought they were equally cool!
The whole experience lasts about 12-15 minutes. It takes awhile to load in all the passengers. Then the ride typically does 3 rotations. The day we were there, they did 4 rotations. And then they have to get everyone off the ride. This takes longer during peak seasons.
If you are on the Seattle waterfront at night, make sure to take a look at the Seattle Great Wheel. Typically, the wheel is lit up with standard white lights. However, they do have LED light shows for special occasions and during the holidays. And, they do light shows for the UW and Seattle Seahawks home football games.
Wings Over Washington
Our next stop was Wings Over Washington. It’s the newest addition to Pier 57 and features the latest technology. They use 5K cameras, laser projection, drones, and surround sound to take you on the adventure of a lifetime, without leaving your seat.
This ride is for people 40″ or taller. That means my 18 month old had to sit this one out. Babies aren’t allowed in carriers and kids aren’t allowed on laps. But, they do offer a “rider swap” option so families with babies can still enjoy Wings Over Washington.
I took my 4 year old and we were ushered into a waiting room. It felt like we were in a log cabin. There were totem animals around. Then, after we were seated, a video started playing with a park ranger moving from screen to screen welcoming us to Wings Over Washington. He gave us some history of Washington State and provided safety tips for the ride itself.
Throughout the presentation, the totems started moving and my son was thoroughly entertained by this! It was kind of like a Pacific Northwest version of Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.
Then, we headed into the ride. It was so COOL! It’s a lot like the Disney ride “Soarin’ Over California” with the sights, sounds, and smells. But, it’s of Washington State. We got to see the Olympic National Forest, Mt. Rainier, the San Juan Islands, Snoqualmie Falls, Husky Stadium and so many other Washington sights.
My 4 year old held my hand during the ride and he kept laughing and yelling “Oh no! We’re going to crash!” It was just the right amount of excitement for us. I’m usually not much for rides, but I loved every minute of this. I’d go back in a heartbeat! In fact, my son’s been asking when we can go back!
Miner’s Landing is located on the historic Pier 57 in Seattle. It’s called Miner’s Landing because it was originally part of the Klondike Gold Rush. This is the site of the first gold to be carried back to Seattle and inspired many more to strike out to make their riches.
Now, Pier 57 is home to many of Seattle’s top attractions and waterfront dining. We love browsing Pirates Plunder. While it has your typical Seattle souvenirs, it also has a massive selection of pirate-themed shirts, costumes, party supplies, toys, etc. It also has mermaid-themed stuff and it’s just fun to walk around.
My 4 year old hasn’t met a carousel he didn’t like. When he saw a Seattle waterfront carousel inside Miner’s Landing, he insisted we check it out. So the whole family climbed aboard! What makes this carousel extra fun is that it’s housed inside near some vintage carnival games. So, the whole experience has a retro vibe!
The ride lasted about 2.5 minutes, I think. There were only a few of us riding that evening, and I’m pretty sure we got a few extra spins.
If you can, take a few moments to just look around Miner’s Landing. I get a kick out of seeing all the wooden carved statues around. Some feature celebrities or local icons. But, the coolest thing we saw was this giant gumball machine! We couldn’t even guess how many gumballs were inside!
Our kids aren’t used to carnival games, so even just looking at some were a treat. My 4 year old seemed a little short for this shooting game, but he’s headed for a growth spurt. Next time, we’ll bring some quarters and have some friendly competition!
The BEST Seattle Waterfront Treat
So, we ended up doing ice cream for dinner after our day at Pier 57 in Seattle. My kids eat a lot of ice cream when we travel and we figured we would pretend like we were on vacation. I mean, with experiencing The Great Wheel and Wings Over Washington, it really felt like a vacation in Seattle.
There’s a few ice cream stalls located right in Miner’s Landing at Pier 57, which makes it really convenient. They also sell cotton candy, kettle corn, caramel corn and other tasty treats.
Thanks to Pier 57 for providing tickets for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Seattle Waterfront Restaurants That Are Kid-Friendly
You can’t really go to the Seattle waterfront and not stop at one of their restaurants. I mean, this is where you can get some of the best seafood in Seattle!
THE FISHERMAN’S RESTAURANT & BAR
This is usually where I take the boys to eat after a day on the Seattle waterfront with kids. They have a grab and go option with fish and chips, that’s usually a hit. I usually order a crab louie salad to go (it is SO good.)
THE CRAB POT
This is a family favorite! If you’ve never done a seafood boil with your kids, you have to try The Crab Pot. You can order seafood, potatoes, corn, etc and they will dump it on your table. Kids love wearing the bibs and getting messy. And don’t worry if your kids don’t eat seafood, they have a full kids menu available.
My husband and I had our second date here so I always consider it a “romantic” spot. However, they do have a full kids menu. We like to eat outside with the kids, so we don’t feel as bad when they are noisy. Plus, they like to watch the Argosy boats go in and out.
Extend You Day With Additional Seattle Waterfront Activities
If your family likes aquariums, the Seattle Aquarium offers a lot of programs throughout the year. It’s one of Seattle’s top attractions. And by 2023, the Seattle Aquarium will have completed it’s $100 million expansion.
If you want to go on a mini adventure, how about taking the Seattle Water Taxi over to West Seattle. Kids will love the little boat. Plus, it drops you right at Marination Ma Kai, a top Hawaiian restaurant that serves shave ice in the summer!
There’s really no better way to see Seattle than from a boat. Especially in the summer! We’ve done a few Argosy Cruises around Elliott Bay. In fact, we rented out one of their boats for our wedding rehearsal dinner. Their food is top notch and the views are incredible. They even have a cruise that goes to Tillicum Village for a whole Native American experience, that’s pretty cool.
Hotels Near Seattle Waterfront
If you are planning a Seattle waterfront staycation or a family trip to Seattle, consider staying at a hotel near the Seattle Waterfront. Pike Place Market and the Seattle Waterfront are two of the top areas to explore in Seattle with kids.
The luxury Edgewater Hotel with stunning water view, has a perfect location right on Pier 67. It’s the only actual Seattle waterfront hotel. In fact, the Beatles fished from the window of one of the rooms back in the day.
If you are looking for a Seattle waterfront hotel, the Inn at the Market is in the ideal location. Recently renovated, the Inn at the Market is the only downtown Seattle hotel located directly in the famous Pike Place Market, just steps from the Seattle waterfront.
This is definitely a spendy option, but the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle is located so close to the waterfront. Parents will love the childproofing materials, high chairs, cribs, baby toiletries, and on-site babysitting. Kids will love the child-size bathrobes and welcome treats.
A bit further away, Hotel Andra is just blocks away from Pike Place Market. This hotel features the Tom Douglas restaurant Lola and offers on site cooking classes.
Seattle Family Photographer
Zoe Burchard took these amazing photos of our family exploring Pier 57 in Seattle. Now, you can’t tell but my 18 month old was in a “mood” and wasn’t being super cooperative. Zoe was able to charm his socks off and get so many sweet faces! The whole family felt so relaxed around Zoe and she really captured our family dynamic to a tee. You can also check out her work on Instagram and Facebook.
Things to do in Seattle with Kids
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6 Reasons Your Kid Should Ride Seattle’s Monorail
Waterways Cruises Review
Seattle Aquarium Toddler Play Date