Trying to plan the perfect Seattle family vacation but don’t know what to do? As a local Seattle mom, I’ll share the best things to do in Seattle with kids that are perfect for the whole family!
This list of the best things to do in Seattle with kids was written by Seattle family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
I’m a local Seattle mom who LOVES taking my boys out on Seattle adventures as often as we can. From visiting Seattle with babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary-age kids, I’ve got you covered in this post!
These are our tried and true recommendations for families visiting Seattle or for local families who need some inspiration!
Don’t have time to read a bunch of Seattle blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Seattle with kids.
Popular Seattle Tours/Activities
- Seattle Harbor Cruise (it’s the best way to see the Seattle skyline)
- Pike Place Market Food Tour (it’s the easiest way to hit all the tasty highlights)
- Space Needle and Chihuly Glass Museum (this combo ticket is the cheapest option)
- Seattle Underground Walking Tour (this is perfect for older kids)
- Woodland Park Zoo (great for younger kiddos)
- Flytographer photo shoot (they are easy to book are really affordable)
Kid-Friendly Seattle Hotels
35 Spectacular Things to do in Seattle with Kids
This sprawling complex features numerous family-friendly attractions, including the iconic Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP).
Let me break it all down for you below.
Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)
Explore interactive exhibits on pop culture, music, movies, and more at this unique museum designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry.
They usually have some cool traveling exhibits, like the super heroes one in the photo above. My kids always like hanging out in the Sound Lab (where kids can play instruments) or the video game area. Check out all my MoPOP tips for families.
I actually interned here when it was called the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum!
In the last few years, the Seattle Space Needle was renovated and it’s right up there with the best observation towers across the U.S. Get Seattle Space Needle tickets.
They have a slowly revolving glass floor that gives people a sweeping view of Seattle as well as the Olympic mountains, Cascade mountains, and sometimes even Mount Rainier!
There are snacks and drinks available at a premium price. There’s also a bar if the adults want to brag that they had a beer on top of the Seattle Space Needle! Check out my Space Needle tips for families.
Pacific Science Center
This interactive science museum features hands-on exhibits, live science demonstrations, a planetarium, an IMAX theater, and a tropical butterfly garden.
They sometimes have cool special events or traveling exhibits (like Terra Cotta Warriors or King Tut) so it’s worth checking out the website before you go.
If you go on a sunny day, you’ll probably end up spending a lot of time in the outdoor courtyard with the water cannons. Check out my Pacific Science Center tips for families.
Seattle Children’s Museum
This interactive museum provides hands-on, play-based exhibits that encourage learning and exploration for young children.
Honestly, it used to be pretty dilapidated, but they did a major refresh during the pandemic and now it’s actually something I recommend.
It’s located on the lower level of the Seattle Center Armory and you’ll be able to see parts of it from the food court if you want your kids to get a sneak peek.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
Discover the beautiful and colorful glass sculptures created by renowned artist Dale Chihuly at this unique museum in the Seattle Center.
It’s an indoor Chihuly glass museum that also has an outdoor garden exhibit.
Personally, I’ve found it less stressful to strap toddlers into strollers when visiting the Chihuly exhibits. It’s not a place for kids to run around or anything. Get your Chihuly Garden and Glass tickets.
Seattle Children’s Theatre
Attend a live performance at this renowned children’s theater, which presents a variety of age-appropriate plays and musicals.
Of course, you’ll want to check their website to find out dates and times and reserve your tickets.
We’ve probably been to at least 20 Seattle Children’s Theatre shows and they have all been really good. Plus, they have one of the best gift shops!
Artists at Play Playground
Located near MoPOP, this creative playground features unique climbing structures, slides, and musical elements, including a 30-foot climbing tower and a merry-go-round.
This is what I’d consider a destination playground in Seattle.
My kids really started loving to play here when they were about 5 years old, since it’s really geared for older kids instead of toddlers.
Book a Family Photo Shoot
Whenever we travel, we almost always book a family photo shoot with Flytographer. They are super easy, affordable, AND guarantee that I’ll be in some photos. You can get $25 off if you book through this link or use the code HAWAIITRAVEL.
Seattle Center Monorail
The historic monorail, built for the 1962 World’s Fair, offers a short ride between Seattle Center and Westlake Center, providing a unique perspective of the city.
The ride is only about 2 minutes each way but it’s pretty thrilling for little kids!
It’s also a fun and convenient way to get between Pike Place Market and Seattle Center. Check out my top Seattle Monorail tips for families!
If you’re visiting Seattle in the summer, you’ll probably see a gazillion kids running around the International Fountain at Seattle Center.
It’s fun to bring an extra set of clothes and let your kids run wild playing in the fountain. It’s basically a giant sprinkler and one of the top places to cool off in the city.
There are also lots of places to sit and enjoy snacks or lunch.
Woodland Park Zoo
Home to hundreds of animal species from around the world, this award-winning zoo offers children an opportunity to learn about wildlife and conservation. They even have hands-on opportunities like feeding giraffes! Get your Woodland Park Zoo tickets.
What I like about the Woodland Park Zoo is that it feels like the right size. You can easily explore the entire zoo in half a day. And there are plenty of play structures to get all the wiggles out.
They also have an indoor play area that is perfect for rainy days in Seattle! Get all my top Woodland Park Zoo tips!
Seattle Art Museum
The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is a great destination for families because it offers a wide range of exhibitions and activities that are both educational and fun.
SAM has several interactive exhibits that allow kids to engage with art in a hands-on way, such as the Art Projector, where they can use their bodies to manipulate and create digital art.
SAM offers a variety of family-friendly events, such as story time, art-making workshops, and guided tours, that make art accessible and enjoyable for kids.
We think they do an especially awesome job with their Lunar New Years activities.
The Seattle Waterfront is one of my FAVORITE places in Seattle to bring tourists. It’s currently under construction as they are building a cool park that will connect the Seattle Waterfront to Pike Place Market.
It’s supposed to open in 2025, but who knows?
Located on the waterfront, the Seattle Aquarium showcases a variety of marine life, from sea otters to giant Pacific octopuses, and offers hands-on activities for kids.
There’s a mix of indoor and outdoor exhibits. My boys have a love/hate relationship with the diving show that happens in the big tank.
They are currently working on an Ocean Pavilion that is slated to open sometime in 2024.
Olympic Sculpture Park
Stroll through this free outdoor sculpture park, showcasing stunning works of art along the waterfront.
We’ve done this a few times with friends and it’s fun to let kids run around checking out the art installations.
Seattle Great Wheel
This giant Ferris wheel on the waterfront provides stunning views of the city and Puget Sound, offering a thrilling experience for kids.
It’s like a smaller version of the London Eye and it goes really slowly for three rotations.
We always go during the daytime and we switch seats mid-way through so everyone can see everything. I’ve heard it’s really pretty at nighttime. Get my insider tips for exploring Pier 57 in Seattle with kids.
Wings Over Washington
Experience this state-of-the-art “flying theater” at Pier 57, which takes you on a thrilling, simulated aerial adventure over Washington State’s most iconic sights.
It’s like Seattle’s version of “Soarin’ Over California” and my oldest LOVES doing it! It’s perfect for families who don’t have time to explore the whole state but want to get inspired to plan their next trip to Washington State!
Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe
I’ll admit, this store freaked me out as a kid. It’s one of those places filled with oddities like human skeletons, taxidermied animals, Mexican jumping beans, and unusual things.
It’s probably one of the most quirky things to do in Seattle with kids.
Pike Place Market
A bustling marketplace where children can watch the famous fish-tossing, sample local treats, and explore unique shops. It’s one of the most iconic Seattle attractions.
Don’t miss snapping a photo of Rachel the Pig (a giant piggy bank), shopping at Golden Age Collectibles, seeing the tiny fairy houses, and adding your mark to the Seattle gum wall.
It can get super crowded on weekends and pretty much any day that is sunny in Seattle.
You really could spend half a day meandering through this market because it’s sort of a maze. I suggest doing a Pike Place Market tour if you’d like to hit the highlights and try some amazing food.
Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream
With multiple locations around Seattle, Molly Moon’s serves up delicious, homemade ice cream in a variety of creative flavors, made from locally-sourced ingredients.
They have a great selection of classic flavors, as well as interesting combinations and seasonal flavors. There’s really something for the whole family.
We like stopping here because Molly Moon’s is committed to supporting the local community and uses its platform to raise awareness for various causes and organizations.
Explore this iconic novelty store, filled with unusual toys, gifts, and quirky souvenirs that kids and adults alike will enjoy.
My boys’ faces light up so much each time we enter this store. It’s totally worth the drive!
This is also where you’ll find the Rubber Chicken Museum, which my family finds delightful!
Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)
This museum in South Lake Union focuses on Seattle’s history, offering interactive exhibits and engaging displays that appeal to children.
I know the name of the museum sounds a little boring to kids, but I swear they will go nuts when they get there. It’s just a really well-done museum to learn all about pioneer life, Seattle technology, and more!
Plus, it’s right on Lake Union and sometimes you can rent toy boats to play with in the pond.
See a Seattle Mariners Game
Out of all the Seattle sporting events, the Seattle Mariners games are by far the most kid-friendly. It takes place at T Mobile Park in the stadium district and baseball game tickets are generally inexpensive.
They have a kids’ play area, photo ops with the Mariner Moose, and kids can even get a certificate for their first game. It’s fun for the whole family!
Located on the University of Washington campus, the Burke Museum is a natural history museum that also highlights Native American heritage. It features exhibits on dinosaurs, fossils, and Pacific Northwest Native American art.
There’s also a little indoor play area that is great for toddlers and preschoolers. But my boys come for the T-Rex skull!
They also have a cool Native American cafe with all kinds of tasty items. It’s one of the few museums in Seattle where the food is as good as the exhibits! Get my top tips for exploring the Burke Museum with kids!
Shug’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream
Shug’s has a vintage, nostalgic atmosphere that takes families back in time to the classic soda fountains of the past. Kids and adults alike will love the old-fashioned atmosphere and classic sodas.
The playful and colorful decor at Shug’s ice cream shop creates a fun and memorable experience for families. Kids will love the bright colors and playful accents almost as much as the ice cream floats!
This makes a great afternoon treat if you’ve been exploring Seattle by foot all morning.
See a Seattle Kraken Game
This is the newest Seattle sports team and you’ll see tons of Seattlelites sporting their logo items. Part of the reason is that the Kraken logo is just super cool. But, people are also pretty stoked that we have a pro hockey team.
The games take place at the new Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle Center.
Ride a Ferry
If you’ve seen Grey’s Anatomy, you might assume that everyone in Seattle takes a ferry to work or something. That’s not really the case unless you live on Vashon or Bainbridge Island.
But, it can be super fun to take a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island. I suggest just walking on as a pedestrian. There are plenty of things to do near the ferry terminal including cute shops and restaurants.
Seattle Underground Tour
This guided tour takes visitors beneath the streets of Pioneer Square, exploring the hidden passages and history of the city.
The tour is best for older children and offers a fascinating glimpse into Seattle’s past.
I first did this when I was on a field trip in 3rd grade and it honestly freaked me out (but I’m a total scaredy cat). I’m waiting until my kids are a bit older before we do this. Check the latest rates and availability.
A whimsical, oversized sculpture of a troll hiding beneath the Aurora Bridge in the Fremont neighborhood. Kids will enjoy exploring and climbing on the giant troll sculpture.
It’s a really quick stop to snap a few photos and run around. There’s often a crowd of people and it’s a good idea to see if people are casually taking turns to get their photos without too many people in them.
I will warn you that in the heat of the summer months, sometimes it smells.
Ballard Locks (Hiram M. Chittenden Locks)
Kids will be fascinated by watching boats navigate the locks and can also visit the adjacent fish ladder to observe salmon migration.
It’s one of the top free things to do in Seattle with kids.
I personally thought this was boring when I was a kid, but both of my boys were really into it as toddlers and preschoolers.
Theo Chocolate Factory Tour
Located in the Fremont neighborhood, this local chocolate factory offers tours that allow children to learn about chocolate making and sample delicious treats.
Their tour provides an in-depth look at the chocolate-making process, from bean to bar. Kids and adults alike will learn about the history and science of chocolate, as well as the ethical and sustainable sourcing practices of Theo Chocolate.
The tour also includes samples of Theo’s delicious, organic, and fair trade chocolate, making it a sweet and enjoyable experience for all ages.
Museum of Flight
As one of the largest aviation museums in the world, kids can explore a vast collection of aircraft and spacecraft, participate in interactive exhibits, and even try out flight simulators.
We were members for years, especially when our kids were toddlers and preschoolers.
My favorite exhibit is the WWII area. My kids love the indoor play area as well as the outdoor play area in the aviation pavilion. That’s where you can actually walk through real airplanes like Air Force One. Check out my top tips for families visiting the Museum of Flight.
Gas Works Park
This unusual park was once a gasification plant and has been transformed into a public space.
Children can explore the old machinery and structures while enjoying views of Lake Union and downtown Seattle. There’s also a fairly new playground here that’s pretty fun.
We like to bring our kites here because it’s probably the best place to fly kites in Seattle. It’s also where they filmed the classic 2000’s movie 10 Things I Hate About You.
Living Computers: Museum + Labs
This interactive museum in the SODO neighborhood provides hands-on experiences with vintage and modern technology, allowing children to explore the evolution of computers and gaming.
I feel like families visiting Seattle should do something techy, and this is a great option!
This 20-acre Japanese garden in the Rainier Beach neighborhood offers picturesque landscapes, water features, and walking trails for kids to explore.
We’ve been coming here since our kids were toddlers and it’s the perfect size for them to get out some energy before naptime.
We’ve also done family photos here because it’s simply gorgeous.
Explore the International District
Seattle’s diverse cultural hub is home to the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, where kids can learn about the history and culture of the area, as well as enjoy the many delicious food options.
We usually go to Mike’s Noodle House and Cake House when we do lunch there.
I also suggest going to Uwajimaya. It’s technically a Japanese grocery store but it has all kinds of Asian food, a food court, a gift shop, and a book shop.
Giant Shoe Museum
The Giant Shoe Museum in Seattle is a unique and quirky attraction that some people may find worth visiting. The museum is home to a collection of over 2,500 pairs of shoes, including giant shoes, novelty shoes, and historical shoes.
If you have a specific interest in shoes or are looking for a fun and unusual experience, the Giant Shoe Museum could be worth a visit.
However, it’s important to note that the museum is relatively small and may not be the best choice for families with young children who have a limited attention span.
The Red Balloon Company
This Capitol Hill store is a one-stop shop for unique gifts, offering a variety of toys, games, books, and party supplies for kids and families.
Capitol Hill has a lot of eclectic shops like this as well as some cool restaurants and coffee shops. It’s definitely a fun place to wander around during the day.
Lincoln Park Playground
This West Seattle playground features play equipment for all ages, a wading pool in the summer, and is just a short walk from the beach and hiking trails.
If you’re planning to venture out to West Seattle, this is definitely worth spending an hour or two.
Smith Tower Observatory
Ride the historic Otis elevators to the 35th-floor observatory, where you can enjoy panoramic views of Seattle and explore the building’s unique history.
The Smith Tower Observatory is a historic building that (as my mom always likes to tell me) was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.
It’s a great alternative for people wanting to see the Seattle skyline at a cheaper rate than paying for tickets to the Seattle Space Needle. Or do both observation attractions!
Kayaking on Lake Union or Lake Washington
Another idea is to rent kayaks or paddleboards and explore the city’s beautiful waterways, offering unique views of the skyline and houseboats.
Honestly, we’ve never done this as our family isn’t super outdoorsy. However, we know SO many Seattle families that do this every summer. It’s definitely one of the most popular family activities in Seattle for both locals and tourists.
Fremont Sunday Market
Fremont is definitely one of the quirkier Seattle neighborhoods and it’s a fun place to explore if you have extra time.
I suggest visiting this European-style street market, featuring arts and crafts, vintage items, and food trucks. It’s a fun destination for the entire family.
This spacious park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood offers beautiful gardens, walking paths, a playground, and a wading pool during the summer months.
Volunteer Park is home to several cultural attractions, including the Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Volunteer Park Conservatory. These attractions provide educational and cultural experiences for families.
We also know some families that do family photos here because it’s so pretty.
Elliott Bay Book Company
Elliott Bay Book Company is known for its extensive selection of books, covering a wide range of genres and interests.
Whether you’re looking for the latest bestseller or a rare and out-of-print title, you’re likely to find it at Elliott Bay.
They also host a lot of events that are really cool. I suggest checking their website to see what’s going on. It’s a great place to experience the literary culture of Seattle.
Located in the Bryant neighborhood, Wunderkind combines an indoor play space with a café, offering a variety of toys, games, and activities, as well as food and drinks for both kids and adults.
The Spheres in Seattle are an interesting and unique attraction that some tourists may find worth visiting.
The Spheres are three interconnected glass domes that house a lush indoor rainforest, and they serve as a workplace for Amazon employees.
But, visitors can schedule a tour via their website to check it out for themselves. My kids think it’s cool.
Visitors to The Spheres can admire the unique architecture and the lush, tropical environment, and they can also learn about the building’s sustainable design and its role as a workplace. Get my top tips for visiting The Spheres in Seattle.
Seattle Bouldering Project
The Seattle Bouldering Project is a popular destination for families in Seattle who are interested in rock climbing and indoor climbing activities.
Test your climbing skills at this indoor bouldering gym, featuring a dedicated children’s area and a variety of climbing routes for all skill levels.
Explore Seattle’s largest city park, featuring miles of hiking trails, a sandy beach, and a historic lighthouse.
The best way to get here is by car and you’ll need to stop and get a parking pass.
It’s a popular place to do family photos, too.
Seattle Pinball Museum
The Seattle Pinball Museum is a unique attraction that is a must-visit for families who are interested in pinball, arcade games, and classic video games.
The main attraction at the Seattle Pinball Museum is the collection of over 50 pinball machines, ranging from classic machines from the 1970s to the latest and greatest games. Visitors can play as many games as they like for a flat admission fee.
In addition to pinball, the Seattle Pinball Museum has a collection of classic video games, including Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Donkey Kong. These games are a blast from the past and provide a fun and nostalgic experience for visitors of all ages.
A Little Further from Seattle (but worth the drive)
Imagine Children’s Museum
Though not in Seattle itself, this nearby museum in Everett is worth a visit for its interactive exhibits, play spaces, and art studio designed to spark imagination and creativity in young children.
They recently renovated and it’s even cooler than it was before. You can easily spend half a day here.
This is also in Everett and pairs nicely with the Imagine Children’s Museum.
It’s like a Funko flagship store that also has giant Funko photo ops and even a place where you can design your own Funko.
It’s PACKED with stuff so you can easily spend an hour wandering around, especially if you are a Funko POP collector. Check out my top tips for visiting.
High Trek Adventures & Zipline Park
Just north of Seattle, this aerial adventure park offers ziplines, rope courses, and other thrilling activities for kids and adults.
Hands-On Children’s Museum in Olympia
This is another really cool children’s museum, but it’s about an hour south of Seattle in Olympia.
You could easily spend 3-4 hours here because there are so many things to do.
If you are visiting Seattle in the summer months, Wild Waves is a popular water park. I admit that it feels a bit dated, but older kids and teens still have a good time here.
Seattle Family Friendly Attractions FAQs
The Seattle Space Needle is by far THE most popular Seattle tourist attraction.
There are tons of places to go in Seattle with kids who are toddlers. A few of our favorites include the Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Center (Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, Seattle Center Monorail, and Seattle Children’s Museum), and the Seattle Aquarium.
The ideal length of time to spend in Seattle with kids can vary depending on your family’s interests and the pace at which you’d like to explore the city. However, a 3-4 day trip should give you enough time to enjoy many of the things to do in Seattle with kids, while still allowing for some downtime.
It’s relatively easy to get around Seattle with kids, and public transportation is generally family-friendly. However, strollers and car seats may need to be folded or secured while riding buses or trains.
The best months to visit Seattle with kids are typically June through September, when the weather is warm and sunny, and many outdoor attractions and events are open.
Some good restaurants in Seattle that cater to families with kids include Dick’s Drive-In, Red Robin, Blue C Sushi, and Kidd Valley.
Yes, Seattle is a great place for kids! There are plenty of things to do in Seattle with kids, from visiting the famous Seattle Art Museum and Olympic Sculpture Park, to roaming around downtown Seattle. The city offers a wide range of activities, from indoor play spaces and museums to outdoor parks and zoos, making it a fun and exciting destination for families.
It depends on what you’re looking to do and see. If you’re interested in experiencing some of the city’s most iconic attractions, such as the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and the Seattle Aquarium, a day trip to Seattle can be a great way to get a taste of the city. However, if you’re looking to fully immerse yourself in Seattle’s culture and see more of what the city has to offer, it’s best to plan a longer trip. There are also many popular nearby destinations, such as Mount Rainier National Park and Puget Sound, that can be combined with a visit to Seattle for a more complete Pacific Northwest experience.
The San Juan Islands are located about 80 miles northwest of Seattle. The quickest and most convenient way to reach the islands is by ferry, which departs from Anacortes, Washington, which is about a 2-hour drive from Seattle.
Seattle Kids Activities Wrap Up
There is no shortage of exciting things to do in Seattle with kids, making it a perfect family destination.
The city, often referred to as the Emerald City, offers a variety of activities and attractions, such as the iconic Seattle Center, which is home to numerous museums, parks, and the Space Needle.
A ride on the Seattle Great Wheel not only provides stunning views of the city’s skyline but also creates lasting memories for children and adults alike.
With its rich cultural offerings, beautiful parks, and countless family-friendly activities, Seattle stands out as a must-visit destination for families exploring Washington State.