Next up in our Summer City Guide series we’re heading over to the Pacific Northwest with 10 amazing things to do in Seattle with kids! The Pacific Northwest is a great place to visit in the summer as temperatures tend to stay a bit more moderate than they do in other parts of the country. The summer months are also the dry season in this part of the US that sees over 150 days of precipitation per year! You may still get some rainy days on a summer trip, but we’ve got a list that’s a great mix of indoor and outdoor things to do with kids in Seattle so we’ve got you covered no matter the weather!
1. See the View from the Space Needle
While it’s admittedly a little touristy, there’s nothing more iconic in the city of Seattle than the Space Needle! You’ll want to get photos of the Space Needle from the ground- don’t worry, there are tons of great shots all over town. But if you’re in Seattle on a clear day you’ll also want to take a ride UP the Space Needle in the glass elevator to the two viewing floors! On the lower level of the viewing floor, you can look down on all of Seattle through a glass floor! The upper level boasts floor to ceiling windows and on clear days not only can you see all of Seattle but also Mount Rainier, the Olympic Peninsula, and the Cascade Mountains!
2. Explore Pike Place Market
Another location that is quintessentially Seattle is Pike Place Market. The market is always bustling with activity and is home to numerous restaurants, shops and even entertainment. Kids will love stopping by the Giant Shoe Museum, the Magic Market, and the Golden Age Collectibles comic book store. They’ll also love Sweetie’s Candy, Daily Dozen Donuts and Shug’s Soda Fountain! There are multiple family-friendly food tours of Pike Place Market- from chocolate tours to tours guided by gourmet chefs- so grab a tour guide if you want the inside scoop on one of the most famous markets in the US!
3. Ride the Seattle Great Wheel
This giant Ferris wheel on Seattle’s waterfront offers amazing views of the city and of Elliott Bay. The 8 person gondolas are covered- so even though you could technically ride on a rainy day (and we all know Seattle has plenty of those), aim for a clear day for the best views during your ride!
4. Visit the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)
MoPop is a unique museum that celebrates pop culture and the Seattle music scene. Kids can explore indie video games, sci-fi memorabilia, play instruments plus explore the Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Hendrix exhibits. Just outside the museum there’s an amazing music themed playground that even older kids will love thanks to the 35 foot climbing tower and 50 foot long slide! There’s also a separate music themed play are for preschoolers so this stop is fun for the whole family!
5. Play at the Seattle Pinball Museum
This could be one of the most unique things to do with kids in Seattle! What kid wouldn’t love an entire museum dedicated to pinball games?! The museum has more than 50 modern and vintage arcade games but don’t worry- this place won’t bleed parents dry. Pay the entrance fee ($18 for adults and $15 for kids) and the games are all free to play for the duration of your stay! Of note, kids must be 7 years old to play- so this spot is best for families with kids age 7+.
6. Take an Underground Tour
Sitting below Pioneer Square is Seattle Underground– a unique network of underground passageways and basements. This “underground” actually used to be street level, but after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, new codes had the city rebuilt one story up, thus burying these original areas “underground”. Parts of the Seattle Underground have been restored and can be visited with guided tours. Beneath the Streets tours offer a truly unique way to learn about the history of the city and see a part of Seattle most visitors don’t even know exists!
7. Go Tide-Pooling
You don’t have to leave Seattle to get your feet wet! Exploring the waters of the Puget Sound is fun for the whole family. In West Seattle visit Constellation Park in, Discovery Park in Magnolia, Ballard’s Golden Gardens Park, or Carkeek Park in North Seattle at low tide to find tide-pools that are teaming with sea life including sea urchins, anemones, hermit crabs and even sea stars! And if you happen to see someone wearing a red hat while you’re tide-pooling, those are beach naturalists from the Seattle Aquarium who go out at low tide to help people explore and answer their questions.
8. Take a Chocolate Tour
Seattle may be best known for it’s coffee- but it’s also well known for it’s chocolate! Fair trade chocolate is popular among the cities finest chocolate makers and Theo’s Chocolate was the first Fair Trade chocolate company in the United States. Theo’s gives chocolate tours that not only offer delicious tastings while teaching about how chocolate is made, but their tours also focus on educating guests on the fair treatment of cacao farmers and sustainable practices in chocolate making. On the weekends, Theo’s offers a chocolate story time for kids that also includes a tour plus chocolate tasting which is a perfect way for families with really little ones to enjoy this unique experience!
9. Visit the Museum of Flight
Little jet-setters will absolutely love exploring the history of aviation at the Museum of Flight. You can take a look inside a Concord and even explore the very first Air Force One! Kids can try out a hang gliding simulator and explore the cockpit of a helicopter, and check out a hot air balloon. Really little ones will enjoy the Kidsport- a mini airport where they can learn all about how airports work by checking their bags and following them all the way through until they’re loaded on the plane!
10. Explore the Center for Wooden Boats
Another great place to learn about the history of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest is the Center for Wooden Boats. This hands-on maritime museum has exhibits right in the water! They aim to teach guests through hands-on experience with the historic wooden boats- meaning you can experiencing building and riding in one of these gorgeous vessels!
So which of these exciting things to do in Seattle with kids is at the top of your list this summer?! Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to check out the rest of our Summer City Guides series!
- 10 Things to do in Chicago with Kids
- 10 Things to do in New York City with Kids
- 10 Things to do in Atlanta with Kids
- 10 Things to do in Los Angeles with Kids
- 10 Things to do in Vancouver with Kids