Last update: December 5th, 2023 at 07:25 am
Affiliate Disclosure: This post on things to do with kids in Seattle contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. All opinions are entirely my own.
Seattle for Kids Introduction
Are you looking for the top things to do in Seattle with kids? Since my kids were toddlers, we have been taking them on short road trips to the Seattle area (we live in Vancouver, Canada). It’s only a few hours drive from our home and it has always provided us with an inexpensive getaway that felt a world (actually a whole country) away.
In order to keep things interesting, we have made it our goal to see and do something new on each visit. Read on to discover our top picks for things to do with kids in Seattle.
To help navigate this activities for kids Seattle guide quickly, please use the following menu. Whether you are looking for things to do in Seattle with toddlers or teens – you’ll find some great options here. Alternatively, click on the following link to go straight to the Best Activities for Kids Seattle List.
Table of Contents
Seattle for Kids Video (2 min.)
Want some visual inspiration first? Take a quick peek at our 2 minute video of our Seattle activities kids favourites.
Save Money on Seattle Kids Activities
Before we get started with the list, I just want to share with you a few money saving tips. Why pay more than you need to for kids activities in Seattle, right?
Some of the top things to do in Seattle with kids, such as selected museums, have one day of the month where they are free. Other discounts include reduced ticket prices for AAA/CAA members and discounts for purchasing tickets online.
If you are planning on visiting a lot of Seattle family attractions, you can save up to 47% with the Seattle CityPASS. Sites such as Viator and Groupon also often feature deals on Seattle activities with kids (better in off-season than in peak-summer).
I have tried to make note of all of the individual discounts that I am aware of in the following list of activities in Seattle for kids. Know of another great deal? Please share your hot tip on how to save money on family things to do in Seattle in the comments section below!
20 Things to do with Kids in Seattle
1. Ride the Seattle Monorail
Start your family fun in Seattle with a monorail ride! Running from downtown Seattle (Westlake Center) to Seattle Center (Space Needle), this short ride is especially great if you are visiting Seattle with a toddler who is is happiest on the move! It is also a convenient way to access the many fun things to do with kids at Seattle Center if you are without a car.
Learn More: SeattleMonorail.com.
2. The Space Needle – Seattle Center
Experience one of the most popular family activities in Seattle by taking an elevator up 605 feet to enjoy the view of the city and Puget Sound from the iconic Space Needle. Capture the perfect family vacation photo from one of the glass “selfie” benches and experience the world’s only rotating glass floor!
Before you visit, be sure to check the website for special events catering to kids. For example, Santa makes regular appearances in December.
Learn more: SpaceNeedle.com
3. Chihuly Glass Museum – Seattle Center
Let’s be honest, a glass museum sounds like a nightmare with a toddler. Older kids, however, love the colorful and beautiful Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum celebrating the work of Washington artist Dale Chihuly.
Chihuly Garden and Glass is located at Seattle Center, right beside the Space Needle and can be part of a fun day spent in this area.
Learn more: chihulygardenandglass.com
Save Money: Chihuly Garden and Glass is included with the Seattle City Pass. It can also be economical to buy a ticket that includes both the Chihuly Museum and the Space Needle.
4. The Pacific Science Center – Seattle Center
The Pacific Science Center has so much fun to offer – it is truly one of the best activities for kids in Seattle. There are exhibits for children of every age including a gated toddler play area, a salt water touch pond, a laser show, an IMAX theater and even a live butterfly room. The outdoor Water Works exhibit is also really fun for kids on a nice day.
Learn More: See PacificScienceCenter.org.
Save Money: If you have a membership to a science or technology museum in your home city, and they are a member of ASTC Passport Program, you may gain free entry. See participating list.
5. The Seattle Children’s Museum – Toddler Activities Seattle
This Seattle kids museum is a 22,000 square foot play space for children ages 10 months to 10 years old. Throughout the museum are 13 exhibits that invite kids to imagine, play and follow their curiosity, including a man-made mountain, a real stage with costumes (salvaged from a theater company), a grocery store, a restaurant, a construction center and more.
Note: For many years, this was one my children’s favorite things to do Seattle despite the fact that the reviews from parents can be a little lackluster (it’s a little pricey). That said, if you are looking for things to do in Seattle with a toddler, especially on a rainy day, this place can be a real sanity-saver.
Learn More: SeattleChildrensMuseum.org
Save Money: The Seattle Children’s Museum sometimes offers deals on sites such as Groupon. Children less than 1 year area always free. Members of the military (with ID) receive $2 off admission.
6. MoPOP Museum of Pop Culture (EMP) – Seattle Center
The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen as the Experience Music Project. The unique Gehry designed building regularly hosts very interesting exhibitions alongside its permanent collection.
I originally took my kids when they were quite young and they were less than impressed (preferring the fantastic playground outside). The older they get, however, the more they enjoy it. If you are looking for the best things to do in Seattle with a teen or pre-teen, this could be a good option for you.
Learn More: moPOP.org
Save Money: The MoPOP is included as an option with the Seattle City Pass.
7. Artists at Play – Seattle Center Playground
Simply one of the best playgrounds in Seattle for kids, this one is conveniently located right beside the Seattle Space Needle and the MoPOP. Make a day of it and enjoy all the attractions at Seattle Center.
8. The International Fountain – Seattle Center
No, it wasn’t my imagination, the fountain really was shooting up water to the beat of Pearl Jam’s Even Flow. This lively water feature provides all kinds of free fun for kids in Seattle Center as they run around to the music, dodging blasts of water.
The fountain is hot off of a 2022 renovation that replaced 56 of the fountain’s 274 water jets and installed new colorful LED lighting.
Note: If you are putting this on your kids activity Seattle list, you may want to bring along some extra clothes. Getting wet is almost irresistible for little ones (and big ones).
9. Explore Pike Place Market
No visit to Seattle is complete without a visit to the bustling Pike Place Market. Visit in the morning with kids before things get crazy. Pay a visit to Rachel the pig (piggy bank) out front, snack your way through the aisles and visit the secret garden.
Learn More: pikeplacemarket.org
10. The Woodland Park Zoo
This attraction is frequently ranked as one of the best Seattle activities for kids (of all ages). Even if you are not a huge fan of the modern day zoo, this one does a great job of educating children on the importance of wildlife protection.
Exhibits include many activities for small children. There is even an excellent indoor play area and education center for little ones called the Zoomazium which is perfect for rainy days.
Learn More: zoo.org
11. The Ballard Locks
On a nice day in Seattle with kids, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, otherwise known as the Ballard Locks, are great place to stop for a little visit. The locks provide the connecting link between the salt water of Puget sound and the fresh water of Lake Union and Lake Washington. It’s an exciting operation to watch as boats cruise in and then rise or fall 20 feet with the water in the lock as they pass through.
While visiting the locks, enjoy a walk around the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Gardens and see if you can spot any fish in the fish later. Ballard is also a really nice neighborhood with great cafes, restaurants, shops (including the cute candy store Sweet Mickey’s and a fantastic Nordic Museum).
Learn more: ballardlocks.org
12. Seattle Museum of Flight
The Seattle Museum of Flight houses over 175 aircraft and spacecraft (including a retired BA Concorde), flight simulators, thousands of artifacts, and dozen of exhibits. It is definitely one of the best places to visit in Seattle with kids who love airplanes and aviation! There are also many cool activities for small children including crafts, flight simulators and an interactive toddler area.
Learn More: museumofflight.org.
Save Money : The Seattle Flight Museum is free on the first Thursday of each month from 5-9pm. They offer discounts for AAA and CAA members as well as member of the military. If you have a membership to a science or technology museum in your home city that is an ASTC Passport Member, you will gain free admission. The Flight Museum is an included attraction on the Seattle City Pass.
13. Seattle Great Wheel – Pier 57 Seattle Waterfront
For a great place to enjoy a bird’s eye view of Seattle, don’t miss a whirl around The Great Wheel ! At 175 feet high, this popular Seattle family-friendly attraction offers spectacular views of the city and the Pacific Northwest.
After dark, the Seattle Great Wheel offers a fun LED light shows! This colorful display typically runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until 10pm.
Learn More: SeattleGreatWheel.com.
14. Wings Over Washington
When you don’t have a lot of time in new place, a flyover theatre experience can be a fun and exciting way for you and your family to get the lay of the land.
From the comfortable seat of the Wings Over Washington 4D “flying theater, guests experience the sights and smells of Washington State including Olympic National Forest, Mt. Rainier, the San Juan Islands, the spectacular Snoqualmie Falls and more!
Learn More: wingsoverwa.com
15. The Seattle Aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium is a great place to become familiar with the underwater world of Puget Sound and beyond. Highlights include the Window on Washington Waters (a 120,000 gallon tank holding fish, sea anemones and other sea creatures from the coast of Washington), two large touch tide pools, tanks and pools featuring jellyfish, the giant pacific octopus, harbor seals, sea otters, and more.
Learn More: seattleaquarium.org.
Save Money: The Seattle Aquarium is included in the Seattle City Pass.
16. The Seattle Art Museum
The SAM does a very good job with kids in that it has many programs for families. We first visited when my kids were 3 and 6 years respectively and found it to be quite fun on a rainy day in the city (their favorite art piece was a giant toilet).
Learn More: seattleartmuseum.org.
Save Money: The Seattle Art Museum is free on the first Thursday of each month (special exhibitions are half price).
17. Capture Family Memories
I am a longtime fan of Flytographer, a company that pairs vacationers with a local photographers to help capture their special trip memories. I love the idea of using Flytographer in Seattle, not only because it is a very picturesque city, but also because it is a little less hectic that say, NYC or London.
Packages run from a 30 minute, 1 location shoot ($285 USD), up to a 2 hour, multi-location shoot ($600 USD). It is truly some of the best trip money I have ever spent because it meant that as the only person who take photos in the family, I was finally IN the trip photos.
If you are interested in trying them out, please use Flytographer discount code MYSHOOT for $25 off your first booking or gift card purchase.
18. Theo Chocolate Factory Tour
Chocolate-lovers, this one is for you (us)! This wonderful and very high quality Pacific Northwest chocolate manufacturer offers daily one hour tours out of their Fremont flagship store (with some tasting, of course).
They also offer a really cute 45-minute kids story time on weekends, where little ones are read a Theo exclusive (Danna and Gerald’s Big Bean-To-Bar Adventure), followed by a tasting of some yummy chocolates and a peek at the factory.
Learn more: theochocolate.com
19. The Seattle Pinball Museum
The Seattle Pinball Museum started in 2010 as a creative enterprise to help fill an empty storefront in downtown Seattle. It has been delighting visitors and players ever since with a collection of dozens of pinball machines dating back decades. (Most can be played, a few are just to be admired.)
Learn more: seattlepinballmuseum.com
20. See a Game
Seattle is a great city for sports lovers. While seeing a Seahawks game is out of the question for most due to the astronomical price of the tickets, Seattle Mariners (MLB) and Seattle Sounders (MLS) games can be much more affordable for a family.