Located in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is an ideal destination for families.  The city shines in the summer months with tons of outdoor activities; but is equally as fascinating during rainy season where there’s tons of indoor cultural and educational activities.  From walking along the waterfront to visiting the Space Needle or discovering marine life at the Seattle Aquarium, the city has a variety of family-friendly activities throughout the year.  This is your ultimate guide to spending a weekend in Seattle with kids!

Day 1 – Downtown Seattle, Seattle Waterfront, West Seattle

Spending the Morning in SeattlePike's Public Market

Start your day with breakfast at Bacco Cafe, located near Pike Place Market.  From breakfast, head down to Pike Place Market to check out the produce, flowers, and handcrafted goods.  Pike Place Market is one of the most famous attractions in Seattle, and is the longest continuously run farmers market in the United States, operating since 1907.  When you visit, make sure to stop by the bubblegum wall in Lower Post Alley; a wall that’s been collecting gum since 1990!  (This is continuously cleaned but somehow gum continues to collect.)  You’ll also want to make sure to stop by the famous Pike Place Fish Market to watch the workers throw fish around.  Even as an adult, it’s always fun to see.

Before leaving Pike Place, stop for a pick me up at Indi Chocolate where you can buy some of the best chocolate chip cookies.  From Indi’s head down to the Seattle waterfront area where you can go on a ferris wheel ride and/or visit the Seattle Aquarium.  Currently, the waterfront is undergoing construction until 2025 where it will then be known as “Waterfront Park”.

How to Spend a Weekend in Seattle with Kids

Spending the Afternoon in Seattle

For lunch, head to Pier 50 where you can get a water taxi over to West Seattle to eat at Marination Mai Kai.  Not only is the food here incredible, but it’s very family friendly without outdoor picnic tables making it easy for kids to run around while waiting for food.  Plus you’ll get amazing views of the Seattle skyline!

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To take the water taxi, walk to Pier 50 (801 Alaskan Way).  The ride from downtown to West Seattle only takes about 15 minutes and the taxi leaves every hour (but times are different depending which day of the week you go).  For more information on ticketing and times, check out this website.  Once you arrive in West Seattle, Marination Mai Kai is directly to the right of the dock.

If it’s raining in Seattle, instead of taking the water taxi to West Seattle, I’d recommend lunch at The Athenian Seafood Restaurant & Bar at Pike Place Market, and going on Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour to learn about the darker side of Seattle’s history.

Weekend in Seattle with Kids

Spending the Evening in Seattle

As for spending the evening in Seattle with kids, head to Gas Works Park for sunset.  The kids can run around and the adults can enjoy the beautiful skyline and watch the seaplanes come and go.  (Tip:  When you’re at Pike Place Market earlier in the day, pop into Wines of Washington to grab a bottle of wine to enjoy at Gas Works Park).

From Gas Works Park, walk 8 minutes west to Fremont Brewing.  Fremont Brewing is a large, open space with picnic tables and board games.  You can get Mammoth sandwiches or get takeout from one of the nearby restaurants, enjoy some beers, while the kids run around or you play games.  Restaurants nearby that I recommend include Fiasco, My Friend Derek’s Pizza, Pablo y Pablo, or Jai Thai.

Day 2 – Seattle Space Needle, Chihuly Gardens, Museum of Pop Culture

Spending the Morning in Seattle

For breakfast, head to Beacon Hill, one of Seattle’s quieter neighborhoods.  To get to Beacon Hill, you can take the Link Light Rail south towards Angle Lake and get off at “Beacon Hill”.  When you get off the train, take the elevator to the street, and you’ll find a coffee shop called Fresh Flours directly to the right of the train station.  Here you can grab some pastries and coffee before walking around the neighborhood.  As I mentioned, this is a quieter part of Seattle so it’s a really great, family-friendly area.  And depending on how small your children are, from Fresh Flours the Beacon Hill Playfield is only a 14 minute walk.

Space Needle in Seattle

The Space Needle in Seattle

Spending the Afternoon in Seattle

From Beacon Hill, head to see some of Seattle’s most famous sights, starting with the Space Needle and Chihuly Gardens.  Unfortunately, there is not a light rail stop near the Space Needle.  So you can either get an Uber from Beacon Hill – or if your kids are too young and need car seats, you can take the light rail and walk from the Westlake station.  To get from Beacon Hill to Belltown on the Link Light Rail, get on the train heading north towards North Gate where you’ll get off at “Westlake”.  From Westlake, it’s about a 30 minute walk to the Space Needle.

Chihuly Glass museum in Seattle

Chihuly Garden and Glass

If you’re planning to visit both the Space Needle and Chihuly Gardens (they are located next to each other and this is something I would recommend), I’d suggest purchasing a bundled ticket to save money.  You can check ticket prices and book here.

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Another great museum to visit with kids is the Museum of Pop Culture, which is only a 1-minute walk from the Space Needle.  If you plan to visit all three of the attractions listed, you might want to consider purchasing a CityPASS to save money.

Museum of Pop Culture formally the Experience Music Project

Spending the Evening in Seattle

As long as the weather permits, a really unique and fun activity you can do in Seattle is rent an electric boat and take it out for a spin on South Lake Union.  It’s a fun way to spend time in Seattle and it’s very family-friendly. You’ll rent from The Electric Boat Company and prices vary depending on which boat you rent and for how long you rent it.  There is no age limit and life jackets are available in both kid and adult sizes.

For dinner, I suggest dining out or getting takeout.  If you want to eat at a sit-down restaurant, I would head to Ballard where you can eat at an incredible Lebanese restaurant called Cafe Munir.  I love this spot for kids because you can share a bunch of different small plates and the atmosphere is pretty relaxed.

However, if you’d prefer to stay at the hotel, my favorite place for takeout food in Seattle is Cherry Street Thai.  They don’t offer delivery, but I promise it’s worth it to pick up and bring back to the hotel.  (You could even pick up the food before heading out on your electric boat.)

 

Family Friendly Hotels in Seattle

As far as where to stay in Seattle, I would recommend staying somewhere near a light rail station so you can easily get around the city.  My top neighborhood recommendations are Downtown, First Hill, Capitol Hill, and Pioneer Square (with my top recommendation being Downtown Seattle).  Fremont, Queen Anne, and Ballard are also great neighborhoods, but the Light Rail doesn’t currently operate in these neighborhoods which might make it tricky getting around.  Please know, there are many people experiencing homelessness in Seattle and I would exercise caution taking the light rail at night or walking around at night.

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My top family-friendly hotel recommendations include…

 

How to Get Around Seattle

Seattle is relatively easy to get around on foot or train (depending on where you stay), and has limited parking spots.  For those reasons I would not recommend renting a car for the weekend.  Instead, I would rely on taking the Link Light Rail (the train), walking, or getting Ubers.

If you plan to utilize the Link Light Rail, it runs in a straight line from north to south and is very easy to navigate.  If you’re heading north, you’ll take the light rail to “North Gate” and if you’re heading south, you’ll take the light rail to “Angle Lake”.  To get tickets, you can buy it at the station or you can download the “Transit Go” app and upload your tickets from your phone.  The price of a ticket varies based on where you’re going.

Lastly, you can also get a rideshare to get around Seattle.  Both Uber and Lyft operate in Seattle.

Best Time to Visit Seattle

The rooftop pool at Silvercloud Inn

The rooftop pool at Silvercloud Inn

The best time to visit Seattle is from July-September.  There is very little rainfall and the weather is perfect at this time.  However, if you like to avoid and the crowds and are looking for better prices, Seattle is rainy – but welcoming all throughout the year.  This guide is based on visiting during the summer months, but I did try to give suggestions on things to do if you decide to visit during the rainy months.

I hope this guide convinces you just how much of a family friendly city Seattle is.  It’s the perfect place to spend a weekend with your kids.

Guest Author: Kylee is a NICU nurse passionate about making travel affordable and accessible to nurses. Inspiring nurses to travel both near and far, Kylee began Passports and Preemies in 2017 while volunteering in Skopje, North Macedonia as a way to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling.

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