Seattle with Kids – A Guide

Updated September, 2015


The 35 Best Things To Do With Kids In Seattle

Seattle is our hometown and I’ve picked the best family places to eat, play, and explore with kids.

1. Museum of Flight

Seattle Museum of Flight with kids.
A great museum for all ages, you’ll see airplanes spanning the first 100 plus years of flight. Get a look inside a Concorde, the first 747 ever built, the original Air Force One, fighters, bombers, and, well, pretty much anything that has wings or propellers. There’s a Kids Flight Zone, several flight simulators, and always changing featured exhibits. The museum is located 10 minutes by car south of downtown Seattle. There’s lots of free parking available. Bus #124 will also get you here from downtown. If you own your own plane there are 5 fly-in parking spots available. The museum is open from 10am to 5pm every day.

2. The Future of Flight (Boeing Factory Tour)

Seattle Future of Flight Tour.
For a different perspective on airplanes – focused on how they’re built rather than how they fly – visit the Boeing assembly plant 30 miles north of Seattle. The tour is geared towards adults (and you have to be over 48 inches) but anyone over the age of 7 that has an interest in airplanes should be thrilled. You see the assembly line where 747’s, 777’s and the new 787’s are constructed. Visit on weekdays to see the factory humming at full speed. Tours begin every hour from 9am to 3pm.

3. The Pacific Science Center at Seattle Center

The Seattle Science Center dinosaurs.
A museum full of hands on science fun. Great for kids aged 3 and up. (There’s a special play area for toddlers.) The museum has become a bit rundown and in need of some updating, but the kids notice the engaging exhibits, not the cracking paint. The Tropical Butterfly House and IMAX theater (movies currently showing) are probably the highlights. Located on the grounds of Seattle Center where there are lots of places to eat. You can easily take the Monorail here from downtown Seattle. It’s closed Tuesdays, open from 10am to 5pm Monday, Wednesday to Friday, and 10am to 6pm Saturday, Sunday, and holidays.

4. The Seattle Children’s Museum At Seattle Center

Playing Firemen at the Seattle Children's Museum in Seattle Center.
An absolutely wonderful place that is more an imaginative indoor playground than museum. Get there when the doors open and you can have the place to yourself for an hour or so – even on weekends. Superb for ages 10 months – 10 years. Located 2 minutes from the Pacific Science Center. It’s in the same building as the Seattle Center Armory and all its restaurants. Taking the Monorail here from downtown Seattle is a good option. The museum is open 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.

5. Museum of History and Industry (Mohai)

Museum of History and Industry in Seattle with kids.
Recently relocated and completely refurbished, this is one of Seattle’s best museums and a fantastic destination for both kids and adults. The exhibits are hands-on, detail rich, and very well done. The museum charts the history of the region though the development of major companies and industries. Located next to Lake Union and easily accessible by the South Lake Union Trolley. There’s a good restaurant within the museum. Children 14 and under are free. Open 10am to 5pm daily, open until 8pm on Thursdays.

6. Woodland Park Zoo

The Seattle Zoo with Kids.
This is a great zoo (within a relaxed and beautifully laid-out park) so be prepared to spend a good part of a day here. Elephants, monkeys, gorillas, Komodo dragons and giraffes are the big draws with my kids – but there’s so much here you could easily have a totally different greatest hits. There’s also a fun indoor climbing playground for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. Several restaurants within the zoo are decent. You can also bring your own food and have a picnic on one of many grassy areas. Bus #5 goes from downtown Seattle right by the zoo. The zoo is open 9:30am to 6pm from May 1 to September 30, and 9:30am to 4pm from October 1 to April 30.

7. Ride the Duck Tour

Ride the duck in Seattle with kids.
Yes, locals will laugh at you for riding an amphibious duck through the city. But so what! This is a lot of fun. The tour takes you around a collection of  the city’s sightseeing highlights and the bus-boat does indeed enter the water and takes you around Lake Union. The driver tells stories throughout and has particpants singing songs and clapping hands. Kids love it.

8. Music, Food, and Cultural Festivals

Bumbershoot with kids.
Bumbershoot, Northwest Folklife, and SeaFair are 3 of the most popular festivals – and all are very family friendly. The Maker Faire is also very cool for kids and adults into tech and innovation. Check out the full list of festivals by month.

9. Swim at a Beach

Great beaches for kids in Seattle.
Seattle has several great beaches. My favorites are below. All have public restrooms.

  • Matthews Beach on Lake Washington – Located on the Burke Gilman bike trail. A nice swimming spot with life guards on duty during opening hours. (Like all beaches you can swim anytime at your own discretion.)
  • Madison Park Beach on Lake Washington – Located in the Madison Park neighborhood with a half-dozen restaurants, a Starbucks, and beautiful playground within 3 blocks of the beach. Life guards on duty and a raft with a diving board is moored 100 feet out into the lake.
  • Green Lake Beach – The warmest place to swim and my personal favorite. There are 2 different beaches on opposite sides of this small lake. A very popular walk/bike path (2.5 miles around) circles the lake. Life guards on duty and a raft with a diving board is moored 100 feet out into the lake. Lots of restaurants, a wading pool, and a playground are found at the north end of the lake. Rent boats, paddle boats, kayaks, and paddle boards at Green Lake Boat Rentals (on the sunniest weekend days there can be a 30+ minute wait for rentals but most of the time there’s plenty of stock).
  • Golden Gardens on Puget Sound – The water is cold here so not great for swimming but this is still one of Seattle’s most popular beaches. Barbecues are scattered along the beach and free for using (first come, first served). There’s a creek here that’s fun for kids to divert and dam. Located on the western end of the Burke Gilman bike and pedestrian path (about 1.5 miles from Ballard neighborhood). There aren’t any restaurants right at the beach (though there are 2 within a short bike ride).

10. The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture (on the UW campus)

Exhibit at the Burke Museum in Seattle's University of Washington.
Not as hands on as the Science Museum at Seattle Center, this small but well laid out museum on the University of Washington campus has a more truly scientific bent. The U-District is just a few blocks away and is filled with great (and cheap) places to eat. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm.

11. Rent a Boat or Kayak

Renting a kayak with kids.
There are a number of different shops that rent boats, canoes and kayaks to paddle around Lake Union and Lake Washington and even little Greenlake. The best are the Center for Wooden Boats, Agua Verde Cafe and Paddle Club, UW Waterfront Activities Center and Greenlake Boat Rentals. They all supply life vests for kids and adults.

12. Pike Place Market

Fish throwing at Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is a Seattle institution and even though it attracts a lot of tourists it retains its charm. Locals still shop here and the seafood, fruit, vegetables, and flowers are top notch and fairly priced. The market is open from early morning until early evening but is at its best just before lunch. Kids will love the freshly made donuts (delicious) and gum wall (disgusting).

13. Ballard Farmers Market

Live music at a Seattle farmers' market.
Pike Place Market is great but if you really want to experience one of Seattle’s famous local markets then head to the Ballard Farmers’ Market (year round on Sundays). It’s a great spot to wander, shop and eat. Ballard is one of Seattle’s hippest neighborhoods and there are restaurants, cafes, and Ballard’s brand new library (with story hours for kids) within a short walk of the market.

14. The Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium with Kids.
Located on Seattle’s wonderful waterfront and recently refurbished the aquarium is a good stop for 90 minutes to 2 hours. (Some visitors arrive expecting a lot and leave disappointed.) Kids can touch starfish and sea anemones and (with a bit of luck) see different animals during feeding time. The scuba divers that swim in a large tank – and do show and tell wiith different sea life – are a hit with many kids.

15. Go for a Bike Ride

The Burke Gilman bike path with kids.
Seattle might not be Portland when it comes to bike friendly infrastructure but it has enough bike paths and bike lanes to give the casual bike visitor plenty of routes to enjoy the city. There are a couple of places to rent bikes and helmets. Downtown is not the best place for a ride, instead head to the Burke Gilman Bike Trail that runs through the popular Seattle neighborhoods of Ballard and Fremont – and continues out through the U-District and northeast Seattle for 20+ miles. It’s all relatively flat so it’s good for kids or parents pulling a trailer. Definitely keep a close eye on the kids and encourage them to keep to the right as some cyclists can ride the path at a pretty good clip. Recycled Cycles, Montlake Bike Shop and Dutch Bike Co. – all on or near the Burke path – are good options. Call ahead to see what’s available and reserve what you need.

16. Explore the Fremont Neighborhood

The Fremont Troll

The Fremont neighborhood is one of Seattle’s funnest and most unique neighborhoods (it’s also smack in the middle of the best stretch of the Burke Gilman path) – and is a great place to walk around, grab a bite to eat (numerous restaurants are sprinkled around the neighborhood) or shop for snacks and picnic supplies (PCC Natural Market). On Sunday there’s a huge market with lots of food and flea-market style vendors. The Urban Beer Garden at the Fremont Brewery is family-friendly and a great place to have a couple pints of a local Seattle beer. You’re welcome to bring outside food into the brewery.

17. The International Fountain at Seattle Center

Fountain at Seattle Center with kids.
It looks so simple. The large half-ball of a fountain looks like something you’d walk by, glance at for a minute or two, say “neat” and continue on your way. But the fountain has a way of pulling you in and lulling you into an afternoon of watching water jets shoot into the air in tune with the blasting music – leaving visitors wondering where their day went. When it’s hot kids have a blast.

18. Visit A Wading Pool or Swimming Pool

Wading pool for kids at one of Seattle's public parks.
The city opens a number of wading pools that are a fun and relaxing way to cool off and play on one of Seattle’s 3 annual hot days. My favorites are at: Volunteer Park, Greenlake, Wallingford Park, and the East Queen Anne Playground.

There are 2 very fun outdoor swimming pools with water slides in the city. Mounger Pool in Magnolia and Colman Pool in West Seattle. They get manageably busy on the hottest days of the summer.

19. Jump Around At An Indoor Gym

Foam pit at Seattle Gymnastics Academy.
The Academy in Ballard offers an open gym time to jump in the foam pit, bounce on the trampoline, run and swing and flop. It’s a lot of fun but only for kids 5 and under. Runs from 12:00 to 1:00. (There is also a Lake City location if you’re looking for an activity in North Seattle.)

20. The Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum

EMP in Seattle with kids.
There is just enough at the EMP Rock N’ Roll museum to keep kids aged 5 to 10 occupied for about an hour. Older kids might stay engaged for another 90 minutes. If the EMP is something the adults in the family are excited to see you need not avoid it, but it could easily be scratched from a busy schedule. The Science Fiction Museum (connected to the EMP) has 30 minutes worth of Star Trek souvenirs, Star Wars artifacts, and scary scenes from numerous Sci Fi movies and books.

The Indie Game Revolution (focused on video game culture and development) is currently running at the EMP into 2016.
Indie Game Revolution – Video Game Exhibit for Kids

There is also the Star Wars and the Power of Costumes exhibit at the Science Fiction Museum until October 4, 2015.
Star Wars Costume Exhibit with Kids

21. Go Camping

Tent camping with kids.
Seattle is blessed with dozens (maybe hundreds) of great camping spots within 2 or 3 hours of the city. Read a quick overview of camping options in Washington State.

22. Go Cabin Camping

Cama Beach State Park is great for families.
Not up for pitching a tent – or packing all the equpipment. The cabins at Cama Beach (pictured above) or the yurts at Tolt MacDonald Park are great for families. But book early as these places fill many months in advance.

23. Ride the Ferris Wheel on the Seattle Waterfront

Ferris wheel in downtown Seattle.
Great views of the waterfront from the brand new Seattle Great Wheel. Gondolas are fully enclosed (don’t worry about the rain) and hold up to 8 people.

24. Go For A Hike

Hikes for kids near Seattle.
There are lots of great hikes in and near Seattle. Here are 10 of the best hikes in the Seattle area for families.

25. Hit A Trendy Cafe

Seattle is know for its awesome cafes and coffee. Most are kid friendly. Cafe Diablo on Queen Anne (pictured above) is one of our favorites. Caffe Ladro (Fremont, Capitol Hill, downtown, and near Seattle Center) and Macrina Bakery (Belltown, Queen Anne, SoDo) are also great.

26. Stroll Through The Sculpture Park

Seattle Olympic Sculpture Park.
The Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park displays large pieces of sculptured art along the waterfront, halfway between Seattle Center and downtown. Great views of the sound, mountains, and ferries. The museum’s main location is downtown (near Pike Place Market) and makes a good effort at being kid-friendly. The Old Spaghetti Factory is not my favorite place to eat but it is close to the Sculpture Park and very kid friendly.

27. See a Play at the Seattle Children’s Theatre

Seattle Children's Museum
The Seattle Children’s Theatre in Seattle Center puts on wonderful performances that are (often) just as entertaining for adults as for kids.

The Children’s Theatre is now off for the summer but will be back in the fall of 2015.

28. Play Video Games at Gameworks

Seattle Gameworks video game arcade
A huge 2-level arcade filled with old and new video games. Gameworks is located in downtown Seattle and a short walk from Pike Place Market, the Monorail, and Westlake Mall. Bonus: Adults can order beer (though it’s expensive). Food is served in the arcade and there’s a Cheesecake Factory directly across the street. A multiplex movie theater is on the floors above.

29. Do a Seattle Food Tour

Mac and cheese on a food tour of Pike Place Market with kids
These are a lot of fun. 2 to 3 hour walks that take in some of Seattle’s best food. The tour guides are out-going and entertaining. The food is delicious and while it might not suit the palette of all kids I think most will – at the very least – find it interesting. Savor Seattle’s 2 most kid-friendly tours are Pike Place Tour and Chocolate Indulgence Tour.

30. Tour the Seattle Underground

The Seattle Underground Tour
The Underground tour takes visitors around Pioneer Square and down through the maze of buried alleys and storefronts that were once the surface streets. Kids and adults both find it fascinating. Tours start on the hour between 10am and 7pm from April to September, 11am to 6pm from October to March.

31. The Ballard Locks and Fish Ladder

Fish swimming through the Ballard Fish Locks viewing area.
The locks help boats get from sea level up to the level of Lake Union. The fish ladder does the same thing for spawning salmon allowing them to return to the lakes and rivers around Seattle. There’s a viewing area where you watch the salmon swim by. It’s pretty neat to watch. There are also free one-hour tours of the locks.

32. Skymania Trampolines

Trampoline Bounce House for Families
A very fun place for kids and never too busy. You can bounce around and do flips and spins and knee drops in a huge trampoline area or play a game of dodge ball (pictured above) in the smaller area. There are a handful of fun pinball, video, and foosball games to play afterwards. It’s in Kirkland, a 15 minute drive from downtown Seattle. Adults “can” jump too but few do and it’s pretty much all kids and teenagers on the trampolines.

33. iFly Indoor Skydiving

Windtunnel Skydiving for kids and adults.
All ages 3 and up can fly in the wind tunnel. Lots of fun though there is a fair bit of preparation to get in the chamber – safety instructions and videos, getting dressed, waiting in line – so plan for a few hours here.

34. Traxx Indoor Kart Racing

Go Kart Racing for Kids in Seattle
This is one of our kids favorite things to do in the area – though it is a 30 minute drive north of Seattle. The big karts (which go pretty fast) and track are for kids 11 and older. There is a smaller track and cars for kids 3 to 10 and they can use the smaller karts on the big track at a couple of select times (check the website as it changes often). Video games, pool, pizza, and beer in the waiting area.

35. Gates Foundation Visitor Center

Bill Gates Center with Kids
Just across the street from Seattle Center and the EMP the center explores the work of the Gates Foundation, its philosophy, and the best ways to improve health and education around the world. The theme of exhibits often returns to two questions: What does it take to change the world? How can each of us make a difference? The center is a lot funner than it might sound and there’s a fair bit of hands-on exploration. Plus, it’s free, so easy to drop in for as long or as little as you want.

Best Hotels for Kids

  • Four Seasons Hotel Seattle – Wonderful hotel, steps from Pike Place Market and walking distance to the Monorail, waterfront, shopping, and loads of restaurants. A heated outdoor swimming pool with nearby fire pit overlook the Puget Sound and passing ferries.
  • The Westin Seattle – Close to the Monorail, restaurants, and shopping. The best views of any hotel in Seattle and a large indoor pool with hot tub.
  • Maxwell Hotel – A block from Seattle Center and close to many restaurants and a grocery store. Along with the Hampton Inn the Maxwell is good if you need a break from the frenetic pace of downtown but still want to be close to the action. There’s also a small indoor pool.
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Seattle-Downtown – King suites sleep 4 and 2-bedroom suites will fit a family of 5 or 6. Walking distance to the Monorail, Seattle Center, a grocery store, and a handful of restaurants.
  • Courtyard Seattle Downtown/Lake Union – Indoor pool and jacuzzi. Close to a park, the superb Museum of History and Industry, and several restaurants. Large buffet served for breakfast and dinner.

Kid-friendly Rentals

Large basement apartment in Wallingford – This is a great space for longer stays. Kid-friendly vibe with friendly owners. Great Seattle neighborhood with easy access to the University of Washington and several bus routes. (Full disclosure: the owners are friends of mine.)

The Best Places To Eat with Kids in Seattle

If you want to eat at some terrible chain restaurant like Olive Garden, Red Robin or The Old Spaghetti Factory these places abound. However Seattle has a ton of cool restaurants that serve great food. With a few accommodations and some adventurous parents the whole family will have a great time. (Remember: don’t blame it on the children – it’s usually timid parents that underestimate their kids and order boring food.)

Here are my favorite places to eat in Seattle:

Best Pizza

Tutta Bella – They don’t serve a whole lot else beside their thin crust pizza – not even any pasta – but what they do offer is delicious. Great desserts: tiramisu and gelato, and good espresso. Four locations: Westlake (between Downtown and Seattle Center), Stone Way (between Fremont and Wallingford), Columbia City, and Issaquah.

Best Hamburger

Red Mill – A couple different locations at Interbay (between Queen Anne and Magnolia) and the original on Phinney Ridge (just north of the Woodland Park Zoo). If you’re downtown Li’l Woody’s is the almost as good.

Best Sushi

SushiLand in Queen Anne is a delicious and cheap conveyor-belt sushi place. Seattle has some top notch (and very expensive) Japanese restaurants but for great sushi in a relaxed setting nothing beats this SushiLand. The seared salmon is incredible. It’s walking distance from Seattle Center and the Monorail.

Coolest Place You’re Still Allowed to Take Your Kids To

Alibi Room – OK, this is pushing the definition of Kid’s Restaurant to the absolute breaking point. The Alibi Room might also fall under the category of Singles Bar or Pick Up Joint. But it’s got great food and beer, and the happy hour specials are incredible. It’s loud enough to absorb any noise and it’s very dark, so other guests might just think you’re dining with some very short adult friends.

And regardless it’s more an evening spot so if you visit at lunch or early afternoon you could be the only ones in the place.

It’s a little tricky to find but that keeps all the tourists away. To get there find the famous pig in Pike Place Market, descend the stairs just a few feet away to Pike Alley and walk down the lane about 100 feet. The Alibi Room will be on your right, directly opposite Gum Wall – a collection of gum that people have plastered on one of the alley’s walls. Kids love it. Parents of good taste and upbringing find it repulsive.

Best Donuts

Top Pot Doughnuts  – Locations all over the city (Upper Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, Downtown Seattle, Wedgwood, Bellevue, Mill Creek and Qwest Field). Yummy! If you’re in Pike Place Market eat some of the freshly made donuts at Daily Dozen Doughnuts.

Best Cupcakes

Trophy Cupcakes – If anyone tries to recommend Cupcake Royal to you, thank them politely and then remove them from your Christmas card list — Trophy is the indisputable cupcake champ. Locations in Wallingford, University Village, and Bellevue.

Best Ice Cream

I have 2 favorites. For the best ice cream shop visit Molly Moon’s (located in Wallingford and Capitol Hill). For the best ice cream truck track down the roaming white truck of Parfait.

Best Bakery

The best cookies (chocolate oat peanut butter chip is my fave), breads, cakes and scones can be found at Macrina Bakery in Upper Queen Anne, Belltown and Sodo.

Best Cafe

Caffe Ladro serves the best espresso drinks in the city. (Locations in Upper and Lower Queen Anne, West Seattle, Fremont, Capitol Hill, Downtown and some suburban locations like Edmonds, Bellevue and Kirkland.) Caffe Fiore (Upper Queen Anne, Sunset Hill and Ballard) has the coolest vibe. And Irwins (Wallingford) has that laid back neighborhood vibe that Seattle has come to define.

Best Cafes with Playrooms

The best playroom/cafe combo in the city is at Mosaic Coffee House in Wallingford (just behind the Dick’s Drive-in). Their huge playroom is great for ages 6 months to 6 years. Don’t go out of your way to visit Firehouse Coffee in Ballard but if you’re in the area and need a latte, it does have a decent playroom for the kids.

Vios Cafe (in Capitol Hill and Ravenna) and Serendipity Cafe (in magnolia) are 2 good restaurants with nice sized play areas for children.

Photo credits

See Also

52 questions and comments

  1. Gluten Free Donuts in Seattle

    Are there any donut shops that have gluten free donuts? Also, do you know of any apple orchards where we can pick apples? Thank you!

    Sarah Knapp

  2. Food and Drinks at Kid-friendly Restaurant in Seattle

    Thanks for the list! Will be putting it to good use this weekend… Any other (borderline) kid-friendly restaurant recommendations? Would like to go somewhere with good food and drinks, but not feel like total jerks bringing our kids…
    Christie Bauer

    1. David Post author

      I love the vibe, music, pizza, and beers at Serious Pie (downtown). Busy and fun. Good gelato too.
      If you don’t mind heading out of downtown check out Murphy’s Irish Pub in Wallingford neighborhood (10 minutes by taxi/uber from downtown). There’s live music many nights, large selection of beer, good (not great) food. Kids allowed until 8 or 9pm.

  3. Seattle Cascades

    Another addition to your excellent list of attractions should include the Seattle Cascades professional ultimate team, who play out of Memorial Stadium.

    The Seattle Cascades are a professional ultimate team. Ultimate, more commonly known as Ultimate Frisbee, is played with a disc and is an explosive combination of soccer, basketball, and football. The Seattle Cascades play out of Memorial Stadium, which is located at the base of the Space Needle.

    The sport is fast and exciting. The game day staff does an intentional job at involving the kids – whether in halftime shows or by selecting them to win prizes, and it is almost guaranteed that your child will leave with a Cascades item. Every week, there are a group of kids that cheer the team on, and are welcome to all other fans. Make sure to check them out.

  4. Nicole Luckenbach

    Hey There!

    Come down to Golden Gardens Friday, Saturday and every other Sunday to get a custom FACE PAINTING! Prices range from 3-15 dollars. If you can think it, I can paint it! Come down to the beach and check it out!

  5. Shana

    Just left the city and had a BLAST! This list was awesome…absolutely LOVED the Alibi Room. SPOT ON!! Thanks!

  6. Alex

    Great list! I’m also a local, but my kids (two boys, ages 10 and 6) have dietary restrictions (they have dairy allergies). May I suggest some lovely vegan restaurants for your list?

    Pizza: Zeek’s! They do dairy free pizza (they also have a gluten-free option). Several locations, including Green Lake, Bellevue, Kirkland, Bothell

    Donuts: Mighty-Os in Wallingford. Vegan donuts full of deliciousness! BONUS – if you call ahead, you can also get a FREE tour of how to make donuts!

    Bakery: Violet Sweet Shoppe. THE BEST VEGAN BAKERY IN SEATTLE, also serves delicious shakes. Located near Woodland Park Zoo in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood.

    Other activities my boys love:
    –On sundays Lake Washington boulevard is closed to car traffic, so it’s bikers and pedestraians only. Lovely for a family bike ride! (Bicycle Sundays)
    –Seattle by Foot kids tour, pretty easy and fun introduction to downtown Seattle
    –Junior Rangers program at any of the local National Parks. there is the National Klondike Park in downtown Seattle, Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, and any of the parks that make up the North Cascades national park system.
    -Outdoor movies! Redhook brewery holds them, also Marymoor Park, and in Fremont (warning – check what movies are playing, they usually have one more “family” themed week, and most of the others are adult)

    Love your blog! :)

    Here are some more playgrounds that weren’t listed in your list when we did our summer of playgrounds:

    1. Stef

      The article was really awesome!

      Thank you for adding the vegan places. My 9 year old needs to avoid dair, eggs and nuts. I will call or research whether the above work for her.

  7. Christen

    Thanks for compiling this helpful list – we are actually in air to Seattle now with our 2 1/2 yr old daughter and will try to attend the cupcake fundraiser tomorrow! Super blog, thanks!

  8. Cupcake Camp Seattle

    Cupcake Camp Seattle: Seattle’s Biggest Tasting Event

    Cupcake Camp Seattle is a chance for the community to come together in an effort to fight back against cancer. It is an event designed for the cupcake and dessert lovers among us; those who love to eat them and those who love to make them! Cupcake Camp has been held all over the world. It was even held in Seattle for several years in the past where over 5,000 cupcakes were donated by bakers in our community! We are very excited to announce that it will be back this year on May 30th, 2015 as a fundraiser for the Northshore Relay for Life!

    Our theme this year is Disney and we will be having cupcake contests, a Disney photo booth, live music, and lots of fun games and activities.

    What: A gathering of those who love all things cupcakes.

    Who: Bakers, Sponsors, Cancer Fighters and Cupcake Lovers!

    When: Saturday May 30th, 2015. Relay for Life Kickoff is at 12:00pm and Cupcake Camp will be open for entry at 1:00pm until we run out of cupcakes!

    Where: Skyview Junior High during the Northshore Relay for Life

    The Contest: There will be a contest with lots of great prizes for the following categories for Professional and Amateur bakers: Best Theme, Best Decorated, Best Tasting, Best Display and Most Unique Ingredients.

    The Cupcakes: All the cupcakes will be donated by our local community by bakers of all ages and levels. Whether you own a bakery and are a professional baker, or just love baking for fun, we invite you all to bring cupcakes to share at our event and help us raise money for cancer! You can choose to enter our contest, but it is not required. We are expecting 1,000 – 2,000 people in attendance.

    Where the Money Goes: All proceeds from Cupcake camp will go to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event. Relay for Life is the largest cancer-fighting movement in the world. Each year, more than 4 million people in over 20 countries take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer. In fact, Relay for Life will be going on at the same location as Cupcake Camp, so be sure to come early and check out our Opening Ceremony and Survivor’s Lab at 12:00pm. We raised $143,582 last year and had over 1,000 participants!

    How You Can Help: We look towards our community and local businesses to help make our event successful! By supporting the American Cancer Society through a Relay for Life event, you are sending the message that you care about the well-being of your community and are committed to saving lives by partnering with the world’s largest fight for more birthdays This is the perfect way to advertise your business by getting your name out there and supporting an incredible cause! All donations are tax deductible. You can help us in several different ways:
    • Donate cupcakes: Register as a baker and donate cupcakes or any other baked goods!
    • Donate prizes: Gift cards/certificates, movie passes, baking supplies, tickets, baking books, etc.
    • Donate supplies: Supplies such as gloves, decorations, table cloths, napkins, forks, paper plates, etc.
    • Donate services: We are looking for people who can donate all kinds of services such as photographers, make-up artists, face painters, balloon artists, etc.
    • Volunteer: Help out with advertising, finding sponsors and bakers, and day-of event activities.
    • Suggest an activity or sponsorship: We’re open to suggestions. Tell us what you want, and we will try to make it happen!


    Thanks for your support,
    Aakanksha Gavali

  9. Stu

    Downtown Waterfront Construction
    Get away from the construction and noise on the Downtown waterfront. It’s easy to catch the West Seattle Water Taxi at pier 55 and cross Elliot Bay to Alki Beach. The beach has the best views of the Seattle Skyline and the Olympic Mountains.
    There are also many other activities on Alki Beach including, volley ball skateboarding, bicycle riding, hiking and kayaking just to name a few.
    From the Elliot Bay Water Taxi you can catch a shuttle bus that takes you to the top of the hill on California Ave. to visit Alki Bike and Board. There you can rent a variety of bicycles including electric bikes. Children’s bikes and trailers are also available to rent as well as longboards.

  10. J.B. from Seattle Children's Theatre

    Hi there,

    Love that you included Seattle Children’s Theatre. Our Summers are full of awesome plays, too! We have a summer season run by the SCT Drama School. Here is our summer season for 2015!

    Gulliver’s Travels – July 16 – July 18
    Dracula July 23 – July 25
    Into the Woods Jr. – July 30 – August 1
    Urinetown: The Musical – August 7 – August 9

    Tickets are only $10!

  11. Xena

    I very much enjoy your website, and I’m glad I stumbled across it. I would like to suggest that Seattle is very North-centric, and it would be great to see some South end and West Seattle suggestions as well. So many Seattle people think of the Central District as the edge of town! Here a few of my favorites that you could add:
    –Kabota Gardens: Seattle’s most beautiful (and free,) park.
    –Full Tilt: Local, homemade ice cream, pinball and old school games (It isn’t as good as Molly Moon, but they do have very delicious vegan options.)
    –Uwajimaya: Such a fun outing and across the street from Daiso, Japanese dollar store
    –The Pinball Museum: Pay a fee and play unlimited old school pinball!
    –Alki Beach
    –Seward Park & Audoban Center: The best park in Seattle, by far. The Audoban Center has all kinds of cool nature walks including a night time owl prowl.
    –Columbia City! A great hidden shopping area with a fantastic local toy store.
    There’s a whole other world down here. C’mon down!

    1. David Post author

      Great suggestions. I’ve been to some of those (we’re regulars at Uwajimaya) and should add those to the list. Thanks!

  12. Colleen

    Whoot! Whoo! I traveled to Seattle with my two boys (6 & 8) for spring break, and this was the perfect guide for our trip. We took the Amtrak train up from SoCal and explored Seattle without a car so I really appreciated the advice about what bus routes served the various destinations. We managed to see the science center, pikes place, the aquarium, the international fountain, the wheel, Mohai, the zoo, and we went on a duck tour, and rented a canoe at UW. My kiddos also enjoyed taking the ferry over to the indoor pool on Bainbridge Island and taking a tour of Safeco Field was also a highlight of the trip (I hear the Century Link tour is also a hit with kids). Thanks for sharing your city with our family – we can’t wait to come back!

  13. Saman Syed

    Hi there,
    I love your blog. Its very informative and easy to follow. I recently visited Seattle, unfortunately it was too cold for us to do any of the outdoor activities. I hope it’s okay with you, im putting a link to your post about Seattle on my blog ( . It will be a better guide for my viewers with older kids.

  14. Gluten Free Restaurants in Seattle

    Hi, my family and I are planning to visit Seattle soon and have a gluten free member of our family. Do you know if many restaurants accommodate gluten free selections?
    Thanks for your help

  15. Rental Vehicle for Seattle

    We will be traveling to Seattle in may for 3 days and head to Vancouver for 2 days in a big group with kids. We will be staying in downtown area, would u recommend us renting vans while we stay in Seattle for transportation? ?? Thanks so much

    1. David Post author

      Not sure what you have planned but if you’re staying in downtown Seattle most things are within walking distance. If you go to Seattle Center you can hop on the Monorail. Having a van to park and pay for is a bigger hassle than it’s worth.

  16. Is Seattle Bus and Monorail Stroller Friendly?

    Wonderful list! Will be planning my visit based on this. Just wondering how stroller friendly is public transit like the monorail and buses. I have a 1 and 3 year old, was planning on bringing a double umbrella stroller. Or perhaps do you advise renting a car? Thx.Emily

    1. David Post author

      The monorail is fairly stroller friendly. The bus less so and when it’s busy (morning and evening) there’s no way you’re getting on a with a stroller that isn’t collapsed. But if you stay in a central location you shouldn’t need to take the bus very often, if at all. I would not recommend renting a car unless you’re staying outside of downtown or Seattle Center area.

  17. Rebecca

    I think the Everett Children’s Museum is worlds better than the Children’s museum at Seattle Center. Also, the Inflatables area (bouncy house) at Magnuson Park is great. In the summer the outdoor movies there are very fun. There’s a new-ish skate park (skateboards) in Fremont underneath EVO called All Together Skate Park (or very close to that) – it’s indoor and almost any age can go and free skate or take a private or group lesson. Awesome people and its indoors for a rainy day. My 7 year old also likes to draw, so we hit the Burke Museum or the Japanese Garden in the Arboretum sometimes to have some drawing time.

  18. Sharon

    Theos Chocolate Factory, in Freemont, is a great stop for kids and adults alike. The showroom has samples of all their delicious chocolate bars for tasting. If you book in advance, can also do a tour of the factor to learn about how they start with sustainable/fair trade harvesting and turn it into bars and confections.

  19. zara parks

    Great list. I’d like to add horseback riding though. We’re locals and my daughter loves everything you have listed but when I surprised her with horseback riding I thought she was going to pass out with excitement. It really is a dream for a lot of girls and we have beautiful countryside here.

  20. Seattle with 4 Year Old

    Thanks for the wonderful places you have shared. we are visiting Seattle with a 4 year old and was wondering what to do, now I have more than what I want to do. Keep up the good work!!

  21. Diana

    Just in case you’re looking to update some more, Tutta Bella has another location in Bellevue (Crossroads) that opened earlier this year. Great list, there are definitely some places I need to take my kids!

  22. Sarah Johnson

    I would like to add to #19. There is also a Seattle Gymnastics Academy location in Columbia City (South Seattle). The times for that Indoor Playground are Monday-Friday 12:00-1:00 and 2:15-3:15. The cost is $4 per child for members, and $6 for non-members. On Tuesday, all proceeds go to Rainier Valley Food Bank with $2 cash or check and a can of non-perishable food. We are considering opening a 8:00-9:00am time slot for all those early risers. Would love feedback! Thanks!

  23. Ami

    Great post, thanks for the tips. Im Seattle born and raised, but only recently became a parent so Im rediscovering the city in a different capacity. I agree that the Pacific Science Center is nothing like it was growing up in the 90s. My last visit was in 2012 for the King Tut Exhibit, and I recall being less impressed than I was as a child. Seemed like it was missing a few exhibits. Regardless, this was an awesome list and thanks for the toddler tips. I plan on checking out the Academy, looks like a great place to run some energy out of the kid!

  24. Kris

    A few others:
    Space Needle (expensive and our kids 10 and 12 not willing to go up), museum of glass (Tacoma) is place we have wanted to go, have kid activities and Bridge of glass by Chihuly and glass garden near space needle. Monorail. Kids loved just taking taxi as monorail down on our way back to hotel.

    We live here and they
    had a blast staying downtown. Hotel swimming pools always a fave. Lake Union cool and there is a kite shop
    near gas works park to fly them. This was awesome. The looks and laughter of wind in their faces-priceless.

  25. vicky

    I’m a Seattle native and TOTALLY concur with your list!! I LOVE it and am using it with my grandkids. I hope that you will one day be able to update the camping section (so many with no links). I especially like that you have current dates for the Seattle Children’s Theatre!! Keep up this great site!

  26. Hang

    Thank you so much for the article. I so appreciate the fact that you put how you felt about each places. I have a 6 and 9 y.o. and there is a reason why I searched out for these articles to learn what others with children have experienced. Thank you again.

  27. susan

    Well said in response to the last comment. Your personal experiences and views are exactly what we need as we are travelling from New Zealand with 3 children and will be in Seattle for 3 days. I’ve jotted down places to go, things to do and ideas of where we might eat – so many thanks for all your info!

  28. Jen

    Great list! Thank you for taking the time to share it. We were not sure about what to do with a 2&7 y/o, next week when vacationing in Seattle. Thanks for the “biased” opinion…that’s what “tourism articles” are all about, otherwise Grace, it would be a Yellow Pages list of places.

  29. Grace

    Good info but I wish you weren’t so biased. Putting your own personal opinion on certain things is not professional.

    1. David Post author

      Huh? Isn’t all of it my personal opinion? What point could any of it have if it wasn’t my personal opinion?

    2. Shannon

      By expectation… A blog generally is personal. I prefer downright honest vs the alternative. As a scientist I seek out non-biased needs elsewhere. Blogs are for feelings.

  30. Janice

    Wow! What a great list! We were thinking about coming to Seattle this summer with our six year old son, but I was not sure there would be enough for him to do. Well, now I know there is more than enough. We will be using your list during our trip without a doubt…thanks!

  31. Hillary

    Happy New Year! If you’re looking to visit Seattle for the first time or if you’re a seasoned Seattle veteran, you may want to check out CityPASS. CityPASS sells ticket booklets for discounted admission to the top attractions in Seattle. In Seattle, admission to each of these attractions would be $132, but with CityPASS, it’s just $74.

    They’re also having a Winter Special which lets you use your Seattle CityPASS from now until February 28, 2014.

    Here’s all of the attractions you can visit:

    And here’s more information about Winter Special:

  32. Manny Cawaling

    I love your list. You really captured the best of what Seattle can offer to inspire kids with activities, fun and play. We hope you will pay a visit to Youth Theatre Northwest, centrally located on Mercer Island. We aspire to be a favorite place for children to experience the thrill of live performance and the magic of theatre. Theatre by kids and for kids is a very empowering experience, inspiring an immediate reaction of, “I can do that!” Come to our production of The Hobbit, performing November 8-24, as our special guests. Feel free to contact me at for tickets and visit our website at Best Wishes, Manny Cawaling, Executive Director

  33. Laura Merritt

    Thank you for this great list! We spend a month in Seattle each summer and have hit a lot of these spots, but am looking forward to trying some new ones based on your suggestions. We are thinking of taking a weekend on Vancouver Island and were wondering if you had any suggestions for good kid-friendly (ages 5 and 7) farm-stays or other bed and breakfast type spots? I am sorry to treat you like my personal travel agent but I’ve never read a travel blog that lives so much in my head (and am happy to return the favor should you ever need advice about Texas!). Thanks for this wonderful blog!

    1. David Post author

      Hi Laura. Sorry, I don’t have any input on farm-stays. It sounds like fun though. Good luck.

      1. Laura

        Thanks! We found a few that looked very promising, but given time constraints, we’re just doing to do one of those quick Victoria Clipper thingies and stay one night. We can’t wait to get there this summer – Texas has already had more than a few 100 degree-plus days.

  34. thellea

    thanks for this. i’m a local, too and always looking for new stuff. FYI your link to the alibi room is the one in LA not the seattle one…

  35. Kevin

    Nice post David. I’ve been to most of these places (I’m not from Seattle BTW) and I have to agree about Red Mill having the best burgers. If you may, I would like to suggest for anyone who wants to know the latest events on Seattle. The activities they list are usually those that you can bring your kids with. They cover New York too and maybe more cities in the future.


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