Heading to Seattle with the kids in tow? Planning a trip with kids is a great way to explore new destinations as a family, but it can be tough finding activities that everyone will enjoy. The good news? Seattle is one of the best cities in the US to travel to with kids. With its gorgeous water views, world-class museums, and unique attractions, the city brings plenty of family-friendly activities to the table for all ages. Looking for some suggestions on what to do and see? Check out our top picks for best things to do in Seattle with kids.
1. Check out the Seattle Aquarium
Located right along the waterfront, Seattle’s aquarium is home to a huge array of marine animals, including favorites like tufted puffins, sea otters, and seals. Other cool critters include puffer fish, seahorses, a giant pacific octopus, and sea stars. With kid-friendly activities like an ocean-themed story time, diver shows, and hands-on exhibits for toddlers, you can easily spend an entire day exploring here.
The Seattle Aquarium’s website offers a list of daily and special activities to check out during your visit. It’s open daily from 9:30am-5pm. We recommend getting there early and purchasing your tickets in advance. The aquarium is located at 1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59, Seattle.
2. Indulge your inner kid at an aviation exhibit
There’s something about seeing a jumbo jet up close that brings out the inner kid in all of us. If you’ve got an airplane-loving little one, add these aviation-themed Seattle kids’ activities to your list.
- Learn more about the storied history of commercial flying and see jetliners in various stages of assembly on a tour of the Boeing Future of Flight Aviation Center
- Explore over 160 air- and spacecrafts, tour Air Force One, and get an up-close look at thousands of unique artifacts and rare photographs with tickets to the Museum of Flight
- Get a behind-the-scenes look at how some of the biggest and most technologically advanced airliners are assembled on a guided tour of the Boeing Factory
3. Visit some animal friends at Woodland Park Zoo and Pacific Science Center
An excursion to see some cute animals and critters is always a good idea when you have your little ones in tow. If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Seattle that involves some four-legged friends, check out these animal-themed activities.
- Hang out with over 300 different species, including birds of prey, primates, and gorillas, at Seattle’s award-winning Woodland Park Zoo. Save time (and spend more time exploring) by purchasing skip-the-line tickets in advance.
- Visit the 320-acre wetland nature park, catch a laser show performance, and attend a sensory-friendly family workshop at the Pacific Science Center. Get there early and buy your tickets in advance to save time.
4. Take in the gorgeous water views on a boat tour
Seattle is known for its classic Pacific Northwest scenery and beautiful water views. Set sail and enjoy the outdoors with your kids on a boat tour along the city’s waterfront.
- Learn the history behind Seattle’s storied waterfront on a narrated boat tour of Elliot Bay and Seattle Harbor
- Explore the busy Hiram Chittenden Locks (and wave to the resident seals) on a guided tour of Ballard Locks and Gas Works Park
5. Spend the day at Pike Place Market
As one of Seattle’s most popular attractions, Pike Place offers something for every age. You can easily spend an afternoon here with your kids exploring the market and surrounding landmarks.
- Kids of all ages love the “ick” factor of the Market Theater Gum Wall
- Check out the impressive collection of the world’s largest shoes at — you guessed it — The Giant Shoe Museum
- Peruse the massive array of magic supplies (and check out the famous jumping balls on the counter) at Market Magic
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with treats for all tastes at Sweetie’s Candy
If you’re planning to drive to Pike Place, your best bet is to park in one of two nearby parking garages:
- Pike Place Market Parking Garage is located at 1531 Western Avenue
- MarketFront Parking Garage is located at 1901 Western Avenue
Both parking garages are open from 5am-2am daily. Rates will run you $4/hour with a full-day rate of $30.
As you plan your itinerary for your family trip, we recommending looking into the Seattle CityPASS, which offers prepaid admission to some of the best things to do in Seattle with kids, including fan favorites like the Seattle Aquarium, Space Needle, and harbor cruises.
Looking for more things to do in Seattle? PlacePass has unique excursions and experiences for all ages, so your whole family can enjoy all that Seattle has to offer. Not traveling with kids? Check out our tips for unique things to do in Seattle and things to do in Seattle at night.