Seattle has a special place in my heart because my sister attended the University of Washington and I have fond memories of our many weekend visits to the city and surrounding area. Marissa took her family for a fun adventure and found there is plenty to do for kids of all ages.
Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, and the perfect place for a weekend getaway with the kids. There is so much to see and do here, with iconic buildings, engaging museums, eclectic markets, and beautiful waterfront. While the area is known for its trendy cafes and restaurants, family friendly dining options are widely available. We have visited the area several times, and always look forward to our trips. While there are many fun things to do here, we certainly have our favorites – if you are looking for a good excuse to visit this fun city, check out some of our top reasons below.
1) Woodland Park Zoo
This 65 acre zoo was our kids’ very favorite part about our trip to Seattle. Voted as one of the very best zoos in the United States, the zoo itself is certainly world class, housing over 1,000 animals from 290 species. While we were there, we saw elephants, snow leopards, penguins, gorillas, lions, and more. We recently heard that they have added cheetahs to the mix, and we look forward to a future visit to see them. We loved how closely the enclosures mimicked the natural habitats of the animals – they have actually won awards for their natural looking exhibits.
We found the place to be well maintained, and there were plenty of fun activities available for the kids – you could easily spend several days here without getting bored. While we had a gorgeous sunny day for our adventures at the zoo, we did notice that there are also many indoor exhibits and viewing shelters; these would make excellent places to escape to if the rain prone Seattle weather chose not to cooperate.
2) Seattle Space Needle
This symbol of Seattle is their most recognized tourist attraction. A trip to the top is well worth the trek; from 520 feet above the ground, you can see panoramic views of the surrounding area below. We went up during the day, but I would imagine that going up at night, with Seattle lit up below, would also be a fun experience. We look forward to doing this when our little ones are a bit older, and able to handle a later night out.
3) Pike Place Market
No family trip to Seattle is complete without a trip to the city’s original farmer’s market, Pike Place. Aside from watching enthusiastic fishmongers toss salmon back and forth, you can browse a wide variety of toy shops, food stands, and book stores. We are a family of fruit fanatics, and loved touring through the colorful stalls of towering fruit. This is a great place to visit around lunch time, as there are many delicious delicacies available to choose from, with many kid-friendly options.
Located right next to Pike Place Market, you can visit the very first Starbucks. Starbucks opened its first store here in 1971; because the building is located in the historic district, it still retains its original sign and charm. While the little ones may not be as excited about coffee, it is a great place for mom and dad to grab a pick me up.
4) Experience Music Project
One of the most eccentrically shaped buildings in Seattle is home to the Experience Music Project. This family friendly museum is anything but ordinary – here kids can mix their own music, practice their DJ skills, and view a wide variety of music and movie memorabilia. While visiting, we had the opportunity to pose in front of the wedding dress from “Princess Bride”, stand next to Superman’s cape, and even sit in the Iron Throne from “Game of Thrones”. The museum is highly entertaining for both adults and the younger set.
5) Seattle Underground Tour
In this not-to-miss tour, an enthusiastic guide leads you on a three block adventure underneath the sidewalks and streets of Seattle. After the downtown area burned down in the 1800s, the city was lifted up and rebuilt on top of the existing city below. The kids loved learning about the history of the area, and discovering that these subterranean passages were once the main roadways and first-floor storefronts of downtown Seattle. This is a great tour for families, with enough education and adventure to keep both adults and little ones entertained.