Visiting Seattle with kids? You and your children are in for a great time – There are so many amazing and fun things to do with kids in Seattle, and you can stay quite busy with great free activities all around the “Emerald City”. With great activity options like playing in the refreshing International Fountain in the Seattle Center, or taking a thrilling ride on the Wings over Seattle ride, or standing on the glass observation deck of the Space needle suspended 500 feet in the air – We’ve put together a fun list of kid-friendly activities to help you plan your next Seattle trip.
If you are visiting Seattle and looking for a list of activities that don’t break the bank, see our list of the top 28 Free Things to Do in Seattle. Or, if you want to see all the top destinations and activities in Seattle, check out the 50 Best Things to Do in Seattle.
1. Pikes Place Market
Coming in as the top tourist destination in Seattle, Pikes Place Market is a lively top place to visit in Seattle. You can experience the legendary fish market where you can see all of the day’s freshest seafood caught in the local waters and watch the workers throw fish through the air in a sort of mesmerizing fish ballet! With many great restaurants, shops museums along this great waterfront district, there is always something to do and usually happy crowds.
In operation since 1907, this public market is full of interesting farm-fresh products, and craftspeople selling their wares. Throughout the waterfront district, there are usually many street entertainers and musicians that are fun to stop and watch as you explore. One notable spot you should check in the Pikes place market is the original Starbucks Coffee location – That’s right, Pikes Place Market is the birthplace of Starbucks, so why not order a tasty coffee while you stroll this fantastic waterfront destination.
2. Space Needle
Of all the amazing buildings and structures in Seattle, there is none more recognizable and striking than the Space Needle tower. At 605 feet tall, this amazing tower was built for the 1962 World’s Fair which was held in Seattle and has been a top attraction for visitors ever since.
You can take the quick 41-second elevator ride up to the top where there is an observation tower that gives you epic 360-degree views of all of Seattle and surrounding areas. With part of the observation floor deck being made of revolving glass, it can really be a thrilling experience to feel what’s like to walk 500 feet above the ground. Though it’s not a free thing to do in Seattle, the Space Needle is definitely a fun one and at the top of our list things to do in Seattle.
3. Museum of Pop Culture
For the most interesting museum to visit in Seattle and great thing to do in Seattle with kids, check out the Museum of Pop Culture in Downtown. The first thing you’ll notice is that this 140,000 square foot museum itself is an architectural work of art with interesting red, blue, and silver-colored panels wrapping the outside structure, giving it the appearance of something flowing and alive.
There are many fun and interactive areas and exhibits throughout the museum, including the “Sound Lab”, where visitors can experience the thrill of performing on various instruments for a virtual live audience. You can also see one of the largest collections of music artifacts, such as the hand-written lyrics from many famous songs and Seattle musicians like Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana.
In addition to the fun music-related exhibits, there is also a Science Fiction Museum that showcases famous rare memorabilia, props, posters, and more from famous movies and tv shows like Star Trek and Star Wars.
4. Woodland Park Zoo
For a fun thing to do with kids in Seattle, the Woodland Park Zoo is a great option. With over 1,000 animals to see and spread out over 92 lush acres, you can spend a good part of a day exploring and seeing all that this Zoo has to offer. Some of the popular exhibits include the Tropical Rain Forest with animals like a Jaguar, Gorilla, and Lemurs. Another popular exhibit is the Rhino Reserve, which showcases the endangered one-horned Rhinoceros. For a trip to the north, the Northern Trail exhibit features animals from the Alaskan Wilderness, like the Gray Wolf, Mountain Goat, Brown Bear, and elk.
With so many amazing animals and exhibits, the Woodland Park Zoo is at the top of our list of things to do in Seattle with Kids.
5. Gas Works Park
One of the most interesting parks in Seattle, Gas Works Park is a public park that sits on the industrial ruins of the Seattle Gas Light Company. Gas Works Park is located on the edge of Lake Union and serves up some of the best views of the Downtown skyline.
The grassy hills of Gas Works park make it a great picnic spot and the remnants of the old factory are fun to explore. One interesting feature of the park is the “Great Mound” that is a grassy hill built on top of rubble from the surrounding factory buildings that were demolished. The top of the hill features an enormous sundial made by local artists out of shells, concrete, glass, and rock among other materials. The most interesting part of this unique sundial is that the visitor can only see the time when they stand directly in the center of the dial, effectively becoming part of the sundial itself!
For another great thing to do in Seattle with kids, Gas Works Park should be at the top of your must-do list.
6. Seattle Center
As the top thing to do in Seattle with kids, the Seattle Center is home to many of the famous Seattle attractions, like the Space Needle, Museum of Pop Culture, and the Chihuly Garden and Glass. There are so many interesting things to see here, like the piece of the Berlin Wall on display, or the curious historical Kobe Bell landmark.
The International Fountain is also a fun activity in Seattle Center on hot days and features a massive water fountain that you can walk through and cool off. The fountain’s spouts are coordinated with recorded world music and is a fun interactive part of the Seattle Center. If you are visiting Seattle in the summer, then we’d highly recommend cooling off at the Seattle Center.
7. Museum of Flight
If you’re interested in visiting the largest privately run air and space museum in the whole world, then you need to see Seattle’s Museum of Flight. With many aviation themed exhibits, the center of the museum is the large collection of real aircraft that you can tour and explore. Many of the aircraft have historical significance, such as “de Havilland Comet”- the world’s first jetliner that first flew from the United Kingdom in 1949.
The museum is a popular one in Seattle and sees more than 500,000 visitors each year.
8. Seattle Great Wheel
For a nostalgic activity and great view of downtown, why not ride the Seattle Great Wheel? This 175-foot tall Ferris Wheel features comfortable enclosed gondolas and takes 12 minutes to complete your ride. If you want the most deluxe experience, you can pay extra to ride in the special VIP gondola that features rich red leather seats, and a glass floor.
Since this Ferris Wheel is located on the waters-edge, you get wonderful views of the islands that surrounding downtown as well as a wide view of the Seattle Skyline. We’d vote this as one of our top romantic things to do in Seattle. For more info and tickets, see their website here: Seattle Great Wheel.
9. Pacific Science Center
With more than 1 million visitors each year, the Pacific Science Center is Seattle’s most popular museum for kids. With hundreds of hands-on exhibits, a planetarium, a tropical butterfly house, and a massive Laser Dome. In addition to the great exhibits, The Pacific Science Center has not one, but two Imax theatres, showing amazing science, and earth-related films. For an engaging thing to do in Seattle with kids, this is a great option.
10. Fremont Troll
The Fremont Troll is an impressive public sculpture that is located under the George Washington Memorial Bridge in the Fremont neighborhood close to Lake Union. This nearly 20-foot tall troll was designed by 4 local creative artists and is made out of concrete and steel. The troll is actually holding a Volkswagen Beetle car as if it had just grabbed it from the road overhead.
We think that the Fremont Troll is one of the top public art installations in all of Seattle, so it’s worth a quick trip under the George Washington Memorial bridge to see this amazing work of art.
11. Alki Beach
For beach activities in the summer months, Alki Beach is one of our favorite destinations. Though Alki Beach isn’t like the beautiful white sand beaches of Hawaii, it is still a great beach and full of fun activities for the whole family. From Paddleboarding in the crisp Seattle water to exploring the tidepools at low tide, to eating at one of the great beachside restaurants, there’s something for everyone here. There’s also a 2-mile boardwalk that you can find visitors and locals walking, riding bikes, or rollerblading to soak up the summer rays.
It’s a short drive from downtown Seattle, or for a more convenient way to enjoy Alki Beach, take the water taxi that runs between downtown and the beach. For another great free thing to do in Seattle during the summer months, you need to visit Alki Beach.
12. Ballard Locks
The Ballard Locks is an interesting place to visit in Seattle if you want to see the curious mechanism for moving boats from the lower saltwater bay of the Pacific Ocean, up into the fresh water of Lake Union. Surrounding the Ballard Locks is a beautiful park and botanical gardens. Since this is one of the most trafficked locks in the entire US, you are sure to see many boats being lifted or lowered in these curious locks.
The Ballard Locks also features an amazing man-made fish “ladder” where you can watch salmon swim upstream through a complex maze of twists and turns that lead the fish up into Lake Union. The fish ladder features clear panels where you can watch the fish fight their way uphill.
13. Seattle Aquarium
For a view into life under the cold Seattle Waters, you need to visit the Seattle Aquarium. opened in 1977 along Seattle’s waterfront, this fun aquarium sees over 800,000 visitors each year and has some incredible exhibits that showcase the local sea life. One of the main attractions is the “Window on Washington Waters” – a 120,000-gallon tank that offers a window into the prevalent local sea creatures including Salmon and Rock Fish. Multiple times per day you can watch divers put on a show inside this huge tank.
Other attractions include a wave pool that replicates the shoreline environment and a tidepool exhibit where you can get hands-on with some of the interesting sea creatures.
14. Saint Edward State Park
For another great nature destination near Seattle, we’d recommend Saint Edward park. This 326-acre public park is located on the shore of Lake Washington and features multiple playground areas for kids, picnic tables, and miles of trails surrounded by rich foliage and forests of trees. Because of the extensive trails, Saint Edward Park is a popular spot for runners and mountain bikers. And since it borders Lake Washington, you can enjoy the many lake activities like Kayaking and paddleboarding.
15. The Gum Wall
Another unusual, but fun place to visit in Seattle is the famous Gum Wall which is located downtown right next door to the Market Theater. If you want to leave your mark on Seattle, you can add your chewed gum alongside the thousands of others who have contributed to this colorful and sticky gum mural. With some spots on the wall reaching 1 inch thick of gum, this has been voted one of the top 5 most “germ-infested” tourist destinations in the world
For an unusual thing to do in Seattle, a visit to Gum Wall should be near the top of your list.
16. Seattle Pinball Museum
If you’re looking for Seattle’s most unique museum, then you should pay a visit to the Seattle Pinball Museum. While it’s technically a pinball arcade, this museum features over 50 new and classic pinball machines and is a fun place to visit with Kids in Seattle. With pinball machines from as early as 1934 in their collection, you can see and experience the development of this unique arcade game as it changed throughout the decades.
17. Wings Over Washington
For another fun thing to do in Seattle with kids, we’d recommend heading over to the Wings over Washington experience. With a high tech theater, surround sound and mechanical seats, visitors are taken on an incredible flying tour through the beautiful sights of Washington state. From skimming above mountain rivers, to soaring over the pine forests of the Cascade Mountains, this amusement ride offers a truly unique experience that you won’t soon forget.
Located on pier 57 near downtown and Pikes Place Market, Wings over Washington is a great thing to add to your todo list for when you are visiting Downtown.
18. Kerry Park
If you are looking for the best viewpoint for watching sunsets over Downtown Seattle and Lake Union, then Kerry Park is worth a visit. This small park is located in the Queen Anne neighborhood and sits on a hill with a perfect view of Downtown and the surrounding landscape.
Kerry Park is also great for kids, with fun play equipment and grassy areas. On warm summer evenings, Kerry Park can get quite crowded with locals and visitors alike taking in the panoramic sunset views.
19. T-Mobile Park
To see a fun professional sporting event, T-Mobile Park is the place to visit in Seattle. As the home of the Major League Baseball team, the Seattle Mariners, you and thousands of other fans can cheer on the local team and experience this massive stadium. Located in the Industrial district of Downtown, this stadium seats over 40,000 guests and has a retractable roof so that games can happen even in the worst weather conditions. Check out the schedule here to see what’s happening at T-Mobile Park during your stay.
20. Ballard Farmer’s Market
For another fun experience of local Seattle culture, the Ballard Farmers Market is a fun destination to visit. As the first all-year farmers market in Seattle, you can browse and shop the local produce, baked goods, and arts and crafts from local artisans. The Ballard Farmers Market is located in the Ballard neighborhood just north of Downtown and happens on Sunday Mornings, rain or shine.
Coming in near the top of our list of free things to do in Seattle, we’d highly recommend strolling through the Ballard Farmer’s Market.
21. REI Flagship Store
If you are an outdoor enthusiast then you know that REI is one of the largest outdoor and adventure retail stores in North America. And Seattle is home to their amazing and incredible large REI Flagship store, which although it has much of the same merchandise that is offered at their “regular” stores, it offers so much more.
Throughout this sprawling 100,000 square foot store, REI has created many cool outdoor experiences within the outdoor departments that give you a tangible immersive outdoor experience even though you are indoors. From feeling the mist from the massive indoor waterfall, to sitting around a campfire next to a wooden yurt, to trying out climbing shoes on their rock-climbing walls, you are in for a retail experience unlike any other.
22. Olympic Sculpture Park
For another fun outdoor thing to do in Seattle with kids along, we’d recommend exploring the Olympic Sculpture Park. Located on the waterfront, this free outdoor sculpture park features many interesting permanent and temporary art installations that will capture your imagination. There is also a beach and many open grassy areas at the edge of the park, so you can enjoy the water on warm summer days. The Olympic Sculpture Park is our favorite outdoor museum in Seattle and we think you’ll enjoy this fascinating and award-winning park.
23. Seattle Seaplane Tour
Since Seattle is surrounded by lakes, ocean and rivers, It’s no wonder that Sea Planes are a common mode of transportation. Sea Planes are just like normal planes, except they take off and land on the water using their buoyant pontoons and offer an amazing experience of the water and the air all the same time. With tour options for visitors, you can take scenic Seaplane tours of Seattle and the surrounding destinations, like flying over the San Juan Islands, or getting an air tour of the Olympic mountain range, or even taking a tour of the famous Mt. Saint Helens volcano.
For a unique and exciting way to see Seattle from a different perspective, we think a Seaplane tour from Seattle should be on your Seattle bucket list.
24. Seattle Ferry Ride
For a fun and cheap thing to do in Seattle, you can take a ferry ride out to one of the many island communities close to Downtown, such as Vashon Island, or Bainbridge Island. Riding the Seattle ferry gives you a scenic view of Seattle and lets you experience a different perspective from the water. Visiting one of these neighboring cities can transporting you to a world that feels very different from the business of city life, and you can experience life a more relaxed island pace and get a feel for these more rural communities just miles from the heart of Seattle.
Seattle ferry rides are great thing to do in Seattle with kids as the ferrys have plenty of room for kids to move around on the decks and they get to experience the fun of being out on the water. To see a list of all the Ferry destinations from Downtown, check out the schedules and routes here.
25. Future of Flight Aviation Center
If you are at all curious as to what goes into making a modern jet airplane, the Future of Flight Aviation Center can tell you all about it. this aviation center is part of the Boeing factory tour and is located a short drive from downtown Seattle in Everett. This aviation center is also home to a museum that features hundreds of airplane and flight-related exhibits and historical and modern airplanes.
In addition to exploring the museum, you can take a full Boeing factory tour that uncovers how these amazing planes are made and reveals the technological advances behind modern flight. See more and learn about the factory tour here.
26. Discovery Park
As the largest public park in Seattle, Discovery Park features over 500 acres of forested wilderness situated on a long peninsula. Discover park is not far from downtown and is a popular spot to walk and bike out into the over 11 miles of official trails that weave throughout this protected area. Many say that Discovery Park is the best place to see and experience the Seattle wildlife and there are over 270 known species of birds that can be spotted here. The West Point Lighthouse is also located within Discovery Park and is a popular place to walk out on the trails.