25 Activities for Kids in Seattle (Complete Guide)

Last Updated on March 30, 2022 by admin

Seattle is known for frequent rain showers and freshly-brewed coffee. Seattle also happens be a great city to visit with kids. There are numerous opportunities to visit markets, beaches, parks, museums, and theaters. I grew up in the Seattle area and have many fond memories of exploring the city with my family. Now that I have a daughter, it’s been a lot of fun to explore everything the city has to offer young families. In this post, I’m sharing my picks for the top 25 activities for kids in Seattle

Join our monthly newsletter (linked here) and never miss a post!
 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com. These sales help to run this blog without any additional cost to you. See our policy page for details.


Seattle Essentials for Kids

When visiting Seattle with kids, we recommend some of the following essential items:
 
  • Portable phone charger: You’ll want to make sure your phone is fully powered all day, as you’ll need it for maps and for taking photos. If you don’t already have fun, a portable phone charger is a must for traveling! You won’t have to worry about finding an outlet to charge your phone on the go. We like this portable charger because it is slim and you don’t need to pack any extra cords. (Which can easily get tangled or lost.)
  • Rain boots: Don’t let rain slow you down! We’ve been using these rain boots with our daughter. They are easy to put on and are high enough to allow for puddle-jumping. 
  • Sun hat: For sunny weather, we really like this sun hat because it has a neck flap and a wide brim. We used it all summer long!
  • Jogging stroller: If you’re planning on doing a lot of walking or exploring some of the local paved trails, we highly recommend this jogging stroller. We’ve used it for the last couple of years and it has held up for miles and miles. 
  • Baby carrier: If you have a toddler, you might want to bring a baby backpack carrier. (Especially if you want to do some of the hiking trails!) This is the one we have used, and it’s worked great so far. 
  • Stroller Shade: We have used the Snoozeshade to cover our stroller for naps on the go. In addition to making the stroller a dark space, it also offers sun protection. The fabric is breathable and it blocks out light. This was a lifesaver for us when we went on our three-week road trip, and we highly recommend it. 

 

 

Be sure to see our full post about our favorite products for traveling with a baby or a toddler

 

 

Map of Activities for Kids in Seattle

We created this map so you can easily find each of the activities that we mention in this post. 

 

This map was made with Wanderlog, a travel planner

25 Activities for Kids in Seattle

1. Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

One of the best places to take kids is Pike Place Market. You could easily spend half a day there and barely scratch the surface. With over 500 vendors, there are tons of unique gifts, souvenirs, and food items. Children will enjoy watching the fishmongers toss the fish back and forth to each other, as well as seeing all of the beautiful bouquets at the flower market.

One of the market attractions that children might especially enjoy is the Gum Wall, which is located beneath the market down Post Alley. The walls of the alley are completely covered in bubble gum. Most adults find this pretty gross, but most children will find it very interesting! If they’re old enough, you can also bring your own bubble gum for them to add to the wall. 

Children will also enjoy many of the food stands, restaurants, and vendors at the market. We recommend Shug’s Soda Fountain & Ice Cream, which is a classic ice cream parlor. Another vendor we recommend is the Daily Dozen Doughnut. Trying their warm mini-donuts is practically a rite of passage for visiting Pike Place Market!

We wrote an entire post on our favorite things to eat and drink at Pike Place Market – be sure to check it out! 

2. Space Needle

Space Needle

Children will definitely be interested in the uniquely-shaped building that is the Space Needle when they see it. When you let them know that there is an elevator that takes guests all the way to the top, they are sure to be excited. The elevator takes 43 seconds to reach the top and has glass windows so you can see the city as you rise to the viewing platforms.

The Space Needle was recently renovated in 2018. If you’ve been there before, it’s definitely worth a return visit after the renovation. The walls of the viewing platform are now completely made of glass, so you have unobstructed views of the city. They also added glass benches (“skyrisers”), which can make for some pretty epic photos. They also added the world’s first and only rotating, glass-floor (“the loupe”), so you’ll be able to see the city directly beneath your feet!

If anyone in your party has a fear of heights, you can feel stand on the “regular floor” of the upper viewing platform and look at the views from inside the Space Needle too. 

Be sure to check out our complete guide to visiting the Space Needle for more information.

3. Pacific Science Center

Pacific Science Center, Seattle“Pacific Science Center, Seattle” by rutlo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

One of my favorite things to do in Seattle when I was a kid was visit the Pacific Science Center. Throughout the years, this science museum has sponsored a variety of interactive science exhibits for children. 

In addition to a number of really cool exhibits, they also have an IMAX theater and a Laser Dome for laser light shows.

4. Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)

Gehry's MoPOP building: round corners everywhere“Gehry’s MoPOP building: round corners everywhere” by 4nitsirk is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The iridescent, curved exterior is one of the most unique buildings in all of Seattle. There are over three thousand colorful panels arranged in a variety of shapes. The architecture is meant to evoke the rock’n’roll experience, and it certainly accomplishes its mission! Inside, the MoPOP houses a number of permanent exhibits that are a testament to Seattle’s impact on popular culture, as well as visiting exhibits that cover the latest glimpses into music, movies, and more.

Children will enjoy the Sound Lab (where they can experiment with creating music), the Indie Games exhibit  (where they can play a variety of video games), and the Fantasy exhibit (where they can see props from the Harry Potter films, Dorothy’s dress from the Wizard of Oz, and more). 

See our post on visiting the MoPOP for more information about the exhibits!

5. Green Lake

Playground at Green Lake Park in Seattle

Looking for a place to go for a nice, long walk? Check out Green Lake! This lake is located in the city and is a popular urban green space for Seattle locals. There’s a paved path that’s approximately 3 miles long that wraps around the lake. On any given day, you’ll see parents pushing strollers, runners, and people out walking their dogs. The park also has a large playground, lawns for running around, and even a wading pool for young children during the summer. If you want to stretch out your legs, definitely visit Green Lake.

See our full post about Green Lake here to plan your visit!

6. Seattle Aquarium

What to see at the Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium is located downtown on the pier. It’s a fun place to visit because there are lots of interesting shops along the pier, and many that children would enjoy! (Like the magic shop!) The aquarium itself is definitely worth a visit. 

There are a variety of exhibits that focus on local marine wildlife. Some of our favorites include the Window on Washington Waters (a giant 120,000 gallon tank near the entrance), Life on the Edge (where you can touch the tide pools), the Underwater Dome, and the Otters Exhibit.

Interested in visiting the Seattle Aquarium? See our full post on what to see at the aquarium

7. Seattle Great Wheel

Seattle Great Wheel“Seattle Great Wheel” by Cindy Stuntz is licensed under CC BY 2.0

While you’re at the pier, you won’t be able to miss seeing the Seattle Great Wheel. This giant ferris wheel has 42 completely enclosed gondolas. Rain or shine, you can ride the ferris wheel. 

8. Wings Over Washington

Also at the pier is the Wings Over Washington experience. This attraction is very much like Disney’s Soarin’ ride. You’ll be strapped into the “flying theater” to experience what it’s like to see the State of Washington from above. 

9. Ride the Monorail

Seattle Monorail Emerging from the EMP Museum“Seattle Monorail Emerging from the EMP Museum” by Les_Williams is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The monorail is a convenient method of public transportation downtown, but it’s also fun in-and-of itself as a Seattle attraction. The monorail cruises through the city and is an excellent way to get a lay of the land. It also drives right through the MoPOP! Young children will especially enjoy riding the monorail. Trains depart every 10 minutes, so it’s easy to hop and off. The monorail has two stations: Westlake Center Station (5th Avenue and Pine Street) and the Seattle Center Station (right next to the Space Needle). 

10. Chihuly Garden and Glass

CHIHULY GARDEN AND GLASS - Seattle 2013“CHIHULY GARDEN AND GLASS – Seattle 2013” by Kyla Duhamel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Right next to the Space Needle is Chihuly Garden and Glass. When you enter this museum/gallery, you’ll see some of Dale Chihuly’s greatest works. In addition to the indoor exhibits, there’s also an outdoor glass garden where blown glass pieces are interspersed with live plants and vegetation. 

11. Museum of Flight

Museum of Flight, Boeing Field, Seattle“Museum of Flight, Boeing Field, Seattle” by InSapphoWeTrust is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The greater Seattle area is known for aviation and producing aircraft. (Boeing, after all, has its headquarters in Washington.) At the Museum of Flight, you’ll be able to see a variety of different aircraft. The Museum of Flight is the largest independent, non-profit air and space museum in the entire world. If you have a child that likes airplanes, they are sure to be mesmerized by a visit to the Museum of Flight.

12. Woodland Park Zoo

gorilla exhibit zoo
Gorilla Exhibit at the Woodland Park Zoo

 

One of our favorite things to do with our daughter is visit the Woodland Park Zoo. (We like it so much, we purchased an annual membership!) The zoo has over 900 animals from over 250 distinct species. The animals are grouped by regional habitats. Currently the Woodland Park Zoo has 11 exhibits: Africa Savanna, Assam Rhino Reserve, Australia, Molbak’s Butterfly Garden (temporarily closed for refurbishments), Humboldt Penguin Exhibit, Living Northwest Trail, Temperate Forest, Trail of Adaptations, Tropical Asia, Tropical Rainforest, and Ambassador Animals. We especially like seeing the red panda and the baby gorilla. Our daughter also enjoys the carousel!

See our guide to visiting the Woodland Park Zoo for even more information.

13. Washington Park Arboretum

Washington Park Arboretum“Washington Park Arboretum” by Seattle Parks & Recreation is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Located along the shores of Lake Washington, the Washington Park Arboretum contains 230 acres of plant and wildlife. You can start your visit at the Graham Visitors Center, and you can take one of the many trails through the woods or along the shore. We especially love visiting during the fall when all of the colors start to change. There’s also a Japanese Garden (requires an entrance fee) located at the south end of the Arboretum. 

14. Playdate SEA Indoor Playground

If you’re looking for an activity for a rainy day, check out Playdate SEA. They have a super large indoor playground. This playground requires an admission fee, but once you are in, there are three levels of fun playground activities for children. Adults can also enjoy their time there too, as there are coffee, wine, and beer selections.

15. Fremont Troll

Fremont Troll“Fremont Troll” by Roshan Vyas is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

How often do your kids get to see a full-scale troll under a bridge? When you’re in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, you can swing by to see the Fremont Troll. We often bring family and friends who are visiting us to this quirky Seattle attraction. 

16. Artists at Play

Between the Space Needle and the MoPOP is a large urban playground called Artists at Play. The playground has lots of extra-long slides, as well as plenty of climbing equipment!

17. Seattle Children’s Museum

Seattle Children's Museum“Seattle Children’s Museum” by puroticorico is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Seattle Children’s Museum contains 18,000 square feet of indoor play space, along with 11 exhibits. Babies to children 8 years old will have an excellent time playing there. They have a construction zone, a post office, a grocery market, and more. 

18. Discovery Park and Lighthouse

Discovery Park

Our favorite park in Seattle is Discovery Park. (It’s where we got engaged!) There are tons of trails to explore with your children, and there’s also a lower beach with a lighthouse. We just recommend that you exercise caution at the top of the bluffs. (Don’t let your children go near the edge.) Other than that, there are plenty of trails to explore!

19. Seattle Public Library

Seattle Public Library central branch, 2004“Seattle Public Library central branch, 2004” by Seattle Municipal Archives is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Seattle Public Library is another unique building downtown. The outside reminds me of a bee’s honeycomb pattern. Children will likely want to see what’s inside this building… books! 

20. Seattle Children’s Theatre

The Seattle Children’s Theatre puts on productions aimed especially for children. I’ve been to several shows, and they’re always a lot of fun! It’s a good way to introduce your child to the arts.

21. Enjoy a Kid-Friendly Hike

View from the lower observation deck at Snoqualmie Falls
View from the lower observation deck at Snoqualmie Falls

 

We like visiting Snoqualmie Falls with our daughter. The lower parking lot has a boardwalk to the falls that is short with a big pay off. (Our toddler walked the entire thing.) It is short, but afterwards you can view Snoqualmie Falls from the upper viewing area. 

We also like to visit Twin Falls. We might not make it all the way to the falls, but we really enjoy the first part of the trail along the river. 

We wrote a full post on visiting Snoqualmie Falls – check it out before your visit!

22. Visit the Beach

Golden Gardens
Golden Gardens

 

Seattle is surrounded by several large bodies of water: the Puget Sound, Lake Union, and Lake Washington. Because of that, there are numerous beaches within the city limits. Children might especially like visiting Golden Gardens, which has a lot sand. (In comparison to some of the beaches that are mostly rocky.) If you visit one of the rocky beaches, be sure to buy some beach shoes to protect your child’s feet from barnacles, rocks, and broken shells. 

See our post on the best 15 beaches near Seattle.

23. Visit the Locks

Ballard Locks“Ballard Locks” by Wildcat Dunny is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Ballard Locks are a fun place to visit on a sunny day. If your child likes to watch boats, it’s a lot of fun watching the water rise up and down to allow the boats through. 

24. Theo Chocolate Tour

Seattle: Theo Chocolate Factory Tour“Seattle: Theo Chocolate Factory Tour” by eliduke is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

On this tour at Theo Chocolate, you’ll learn all about how chocolate is made. Your tour guide will discuss ethical chocolate farming and show you how chocolate is made in the factory. You’ll also get to sample a variety of their chocolates. At the end of their tour, you’ll exit into the gift shop where even more chocolates are waiting for you (for purchase). I’ve completed this tour twice, and it’s been a hit with my visiting guests!

25. Seattle Pinball Museum

2018 06 01b Seattle Pinball Museum 2“2018 06 01b Seattle Pinball Museum 2” by Blake Handley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Seattle Pinball Museum contains over 50 pinball machines. It’s open for children 7 years old or older. With a single admission fee, you can then enter and play as many games of pinball as you’d like. At the time of this writing, admission is $20 for an adult and $17 for a child.

 

 

Bonus: WhirlyBall

WhirlyBall in Seattle Edmonds

If you have a group of at least 10 people, you should try out a game of WhirlyBall! WhirlyBall is a team sport in which you drive a bumper car and try to score points by tossing a whiffle ball with scoopers. It’s kind of a like a mix between lacrosse and basketball. It is such a blast to play! We played recently with my family, and we haven’t laughed that hard in a very long time. 

See our full post about how to play WhirlyBall here

 


 

Where to Stay in Seattle

Booking.com  

The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle is a 5-minute walk from Pike Place Market. It’s a gorgeous 5-Star hotel located centrally in downtown Seattle. If you can afford it, this is our first recommendation. The hotel has an outdoor infinity pool with a view of the Seattle waterfront, lots of amenities, and is within walking distance of a lot of Seattle attractions.

The only hotel that’s actually within Pike Place Market is the Inn at the Market. You can’t get a better location! You’ll be able to watch Pike Place Market come alive in the morning, and you’ll be well-positioned to grab lots of delicious meals and snacks. See our full post on Pike Place Market here for food ideas!

The Charter Hotel Seattle is a moderately-priced hotel that’s only one block away from Pike Place Market. It’s also only a mile away from the Seattle Center (where the Space Needle is located). The hotel is sleek and many of the rooms have nice city views.

The Seattle Marriott Waterfront has views of the water, as well as an indoor-outdoor pool. Every room has a view of the mountains and water.

For a full list of hotels in Seattle, click here.


Summary

 

We hope that you enjoyed this post on the best activities for kids in Seattle! We hope you enjoy all the city has to offer!

If this article was helpful to you, please consider sharing it on your social media accounts to further help support our blog. Also, don’t forget to join our newsletter. Thank you!
 
pinterest for best activities for kids in seattle
Pin for later!

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might also be interested in the following posts:


Disclaimer: We always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please see individual websites embedded in this post for the most current trip-planning information.


Feel free to follow us on Instagram to see our current stories!