Exploring Seattle: A Family-Friendly Travel Guide
Seattle is an exciting and vibrant city with plenty of fun activities for all ages. From the Space Needle to Pike Place Market, there are tons of attractions that your family will enjoy. Whether you are looking for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, this family-friendly travel guide to Seattle will help you plan the perfect trip! Learn more about the best places to visit, the best restaurants to try, and the best activities to keep the kids entertained while exploring Seattle.
Getting to Seattle
Seattle is a great destination for family travel and there are many options for getting there. The most common way is by plane, with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport being the main gateway to the city. There are many major airlines that fly into Seattle, making it easy to find a flight that fits your budget and schedule. If you prefer to drive, Seattle is accessible by car via several major highways, including I-5, I-90, and Highway 99. The city is also serviced by Amtrak and several bus lines, making it easy to reach from other major cities in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Our trip begins HERE
Once you arrive in Seattle, there are several transportation options available to get you and your family around the city. Seattle has an excellent public transportation system, with buses, light rail, and ferries providing convenient and affordable ways to get around. If you prefer to drive, there are several rental car companies located at the airport, as well as in the city center. Another option is to rent bicycles or use ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to get around the city. No matter how you choose to get there, Seattle is a wonderful destination for family travel and has plenty of options to keep everyone entertained.
Where to Stay
When it comes to family travel, choosing the right accommodations is crucial. In Seattle, the Lotte Hotel Seattle is an excellent option for families looking for a comfortable and convenient place to stay. Located in the heart of downtown Seattle, the Lotte Hotel Seattle offers easy access to the city's top attractions, including Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, and the Seattle Aquarium. The hotel features spacious rooms and suites with modern amenities.
We loved the hotel's Spa, fitness center and large suites. The hotel also offers on-site dining options, including The Charlotte Restaurant and a lounge serving cocktails and small plates.
For more on Lotte Hotel Seattle read HERE
In addition to the Lotte Hotel Seattle, families can also consider other options such as Airbnb rentals, which can offer more space and privacy for families traveling with children.
No matter where you choose to stay, be sure to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, and check for any family packages or deals that can help you save on your stay.
Seattle is full of exciting and entertaining family-friendly attractions. Whether your children are animal lovers, science enthusiasts, or history buffs, there is something for everyone. Here are some must-see attractions that are sure to keep your kids engaged and happy:
Seattle Aquarium - Located on the beautiful waterfront, the Seattle Aquari is a fascinating place to explore. Here, you'll find a variety of marine creatures, including sea otters, harbor seals, octopuses, and more. The highlight for most visitors is the massive 120,000-gallon tank, where you can watch giant Pacific octopuses and other sea creatures in their natural habitat. Watch our Seattle Aquarium adventure HERE
Space Needle - No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to the iconic Space Needle. Take an elevator to the observation deck, located 520 feet above ground level, for incredible panoramic views of the city and surrounding area. You'll also find an interactive exhibit that teaches you about the history and construction of the Space Needle.
Children's Museum - Perfect for younger kids, the Children's Museum offers hands-on, interactive exhibits that allow them to learn and explore in a fun environment. Exhibits range from a treehouse to a construction zone, a rainforest adventure to an interactive storytelling studio.
Flipper Whale Watching - Seattle is a great place for whale watching, and Flipper is one of the best companies to book a tour with. On the tour, you'll see a variety of marine life, including orcas, humpback whales, and sea lions, as well as learn about the area's ecosystem and history.
Watch our Flipper Whale Watching adventure HERE
Pike Place Market - A must-visit attraction for foodies and shoppers, Pike Place Market offers an endless array of local products, fresh seafood, and handcrafted goods. Kids will love watching the fishmongers throw fish and browsing through the numerous stalls. Watch our Pike Place adventure HERE
Seattle offers plenty of opportunities for families to get outside and enjoy nature. Here are some of the top outdoor adventures to try:
1. Discovery Park: This 534-acre park is located in the Magnolia neighborhood and offers breathtaking views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Families can hike through forest trails, explore tidal pools, and visit a historic lighthouse.
2. Green Lake: This 259-acre lake in North Seattle is a popular spot for families to walk, jog, bike, and play. There's a paved path around the lake, plus plenty of grassy areas for picnics and sports.
3. Woodland Park Zoo: With over 92 acres of outdoor exhibits and naturalistic habitats, this award-winning zoo is a must-see for families. Visitors can see gorillas, penguins, lions, tigers, and more.
4. Burke-Gilman Trail: This 18-mile trail winds through urban neighborhoods, parks, and natural areas, offering families a chance to bike, walk, or jog while taking in the sights of the city.
5. Mount Rainier National Park: This stunning national park is located about 2.5 hours south of Seattle and offers families a chance to hike through meadows, forests, and glaciers, and see wildlife such as elk and black bears.
No matter what your family's interests are, Seattle has plenty of outdoor adventures to enjoy. Don't forget to pack sunscreen, water bottles, and comfortable shoes for your next outdoor excursion.
Museums and Educational Experiences
Seattle is a city filled with incredible museums and educational experiences for families. If you're looking for a unique and fun way to teach your kids something new, look no further than these great attractions.
The Pacific Science Center is a must-visit destination for families with curious kids. This museum has interactive exhibits and hands-on activities for all ages, from learning about outer space to exploring the human body. They also have a large IMAX theater that showcases science and nature films.
The Museum of Flight is another excellent choice for kids who love aviation and space exploration. They can see planes from different eras, check out the cockpit of a fighter jet, and even take a flight simulator ride. The museum also has a section dedicated to the history of space exploration, including real-life spacecraft.
For those interested in local history, the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) is a great choice. The museum has a wide range of exhibits that showcase the history of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, from Native American culture to the city's industrial growth.
No matter which museum you choose to visit, your family will come away with a new appreciation for the world around them. And, as an added bonus, many of these museums offer free admission days or discounts for kids, making it an affordable option for families on a budget.
Dining with Kids
Seattle is a great food city, but not all restaurants are family-friendly. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for those traveling with kids.
For a quick and easy meal, Seattle has no shortage of food trucks. Check out the Mobile Mavens or the Skillet Street Food for delicious burgers, sandwiches, and fries. If you're in the mood for pizza, stop by Big Mario's New York Style Pizza, which has two locations in the city.
For a sit-down meal, try Blue Star Cafe and Pub. The menu includes burgers, sandwiches, and salads, and there are plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options available. Another family-friendly option is Portage Bay Cafe, which serves breakfast all day and has a build-your-own pancake bar that kids will love.
If you're looking for seafood, take the kids to Ivar's Acres of Clams, where you can enjoy fish and chips while watching the boats on the waterfront. Or, try the Crab Pot, where they'll bring a bucket of seafood to your table and let you get messy.
When it comes to sweets, don't miss Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream. With flavors like Salted Caramel and Honey Lavender, everyone in the family is sure to find something they love.
Overall, Seattle has a variety of dining options that cater to families. Just be sure to check out the menu and atmosphere before you go, as some restaurants may not be the best fit for kids.
Tips for a Smooth Trip
Seattle is an amazing family-friendly destination that is sure to leave everyone with incredible memories. However, with a little planning and preparation, you can make your trip even smoother and stress-free. Here are some tips to keep in mind when traveling to Seattle with your kids.
First, consider visiting Seattle during off-peak times to avoid the crowds. Summer is peak tourist season in Seattle, but visiting in the fall or winter can provide you with a quieter experience and often more affordable prices. However, we did love Seattle in June. But, just some food for thought.
Next, pack appropriately for the Pacific Northwest climate. Rain is a common occurrence in Seattle, so be sure to pack rain jackets, boots, and umbrellas. Additionally, layering is key as the temperature can vary throughout the day.
When it comes to transportation, consider utilizing the public transit system. The city has a fantastic bus and light rail system, which can be a fun and budget-friendly way to explore the city. If you plan to drive, keep in mind that parking in Seattle can be expensive, so budget accordingly.
Finally, don't be afraid to ask locals for recommendations. Seattle is full of friendly people who are happy to help visitors find the best places to eat, play, and explore. By keeping these tips in mind, your family trip to Seattle is sure to be a success!