Eight Fun Activities in Seattle for Families

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In just a short time, we will be leaving Seattle, right at the height of tourist season, when activities in Seattle for families are abundant.

For about nine months out of the year, Seattle lives under an almost perpetual cloud of grey, interspersed with showers and drizzles. Occasionally, we get days during the winter and spring months when the sun makes an appearance. However, the bulk of the sunny days are in the months of mid-June to mid-September, when the rains take a break and the sun takes the stage.

8 Fun Activities In Seattle For Families | The Wandering Daughter |
Suggestions for activities to do in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. with kids. #familytravel #Seattle #USA

Activities in Seattle for families

As we say our good-byes to the city we’ve called home for the past seven years, I want to share with you our favorite activities in Seattle for families. Although these activities are great to do in the summer, you can pretty much do them any time of the year.

Visiting the Gum Wall at Pike Place Market (April 2016)

See animals at Woodland Park Zoo

We are lucky to have a zoo right here in our city. Open daily, except on Christmas, the Woodland Park Zoo offers families a chance to learn about animals from all over the world. The zoo has gorillas, rhinos, elephants, lions, bears, and even flamingos!

Summer time events at Woodland Park Zoo include live concerts, wine tastings, and private tours. And in the winter, the zoo grounds come alive with holiday lights to get zoo visitors in the festive spirit. Tickets are $20.95 for adults aged 13-64, and $12.95 for children aged 3-12. Toddlers aged 2 and under are free. If you have a membership to another city’s zoo that participates in the Reciprocal Zoos and Aquariums program, you can get half-price admission to Woodland Park Zoo!

A komodo dragon at the Woodland Park Zoo, a place for activities in Seattle for families.
The Komodo Dragon exhibit at the Woodland Park Zoo (November 2015)

Admire the city skyline from the Seattle Great Wheel

Located on Seattle’s Pier 57, the Seattle Great Wheel captures the eye of almost every passerby driving through Seattle’s waterfront. We love taking a ride in the wheel, which can fit up to eight people in each gondola. The Seattle Great Wheel reaches 175 feet tall. It offers views of Seattle’s downtown skyline, as well as the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains, as it cycles through three revolutions.

In the evening, the colorful lights on the wheel create dazzling patterns. This usually happens whenever there is a University of Washington football game, or a Seattle Seahawks football game in nearby Century Link Field. Tickets to the Seattle Great Wheel are $14 for adults aged 12 and older, and $9 for kids aged 3-11. Toddlers 2 and under are free. The Seattle Great Wheel is open every day of the week, and is one of the most scenic activities in Seattle for families.

A large white ferris wheel sits on a dock, with a city skyline in the background. This is the Seattle Great Wheel, one of the activities in Seattle for families and tourists.
The Seattle Great Wheel along the waterfront

Explore the city’s many urban hikes

We love going on hikes. We are blessed to live in a city that has so many city parks. Many of these parks are filled with trails for hiking. They make for some fun outdoors activities in Seattle for families.

Our favorite parks with hikes within the Seattle city limits include Discovery Park, Washington Park Arboretum, and Lincoln Park. We also like Camp Long, Schmitz Prezerve, and Carkeek Park. All of these parks are free and open to the public. They are usually open during daylight hours.

Having fun at Kubota Gardens (January 2018)

Learn about Seattle on the Underground Tour

My husband’s cousin currently works as a tour guide in Seattle’s quirky Underground Tour. We love going on this tour because it gives us a glimpse of Seattle’s history, back when it was just starting out in the 1800’s. Located in the historic area known as Pioneer Square, the Underground Tour takes visitors under Seattle’s streets. You can actually see where the original downtown Seattle was located. There is even a chance to see one of Seattle’s oldest toilets (I told you it was quirky)!

Tickets to the Underground Tour are $22 for adults aged 18-59, $20 for students aged 13-17, and $10 for children aged 7-12. This type of tour is geared towards older kids and adults, as the tour involves walking and standing for approximately 75 minutes. Make sure your kids are able to do that (or you’re willing to carry your kids).

A totem pole in downtown Seattle, WA, U.S.A. in front of the entrance to  the Underground Tour, one of the activities in Seattle for families
The Underground Tour in Pioneer Square (February 2015)

Observe sea life at the Aquarium

Another one of our favorite activities in Seattle for families is the Seattle Aquarium. We love learning about the marine life in our area, and especially seeing the famous octopus!

The Seattle Aquarium is located in Seattle’s waterfront, near the popular Pike Place Market. Entrance into the aquarium is $19.95 for kids aged 4-12, and $29.95 for adults aged 13 and older. Kids 3 and under are free. Aquarium hours are 9:30am to 5pm daily.

Having fun at the Seattle Aquarium (May 2016)

Climb aboard an airplane at the Museum of Flight

Before Amazon came along, Seattle was known for its aeronautical industry. We love learning about aeronautical history at the Museum of Flight, located in Tukwila, just south of Seattle. If you’re looking for plane-themed activities in Seattle for families, this is it!

The Museum of Flight houses more than 175 aircrafts, and some of them you can actually go into! The hours are 10am to 5pm daily, with extended (and free) hours on the first Thursday of each month from 5pm – 9pm. Admission is $15 for kids aged 5-17, and $24 for adults aged 18 and older. Kids 4 and under are always free.

Climbing into an old plane at the Museum of Flight (January 2015)

Play with computers at the Living Computers Museum + Labs

When it comes to unique activities in Seattle, another one of our favorites is visiting the Living Computers Museum + Labs. We’re a pretty tech-loving family (my husband is a web developer, after all!) so this museum is right up our alley, with a floor full of robots and computers that our kids can interact with and learn.

The second level of the museum houses computers dating back to the 60’s and 70’s, many of them still functional! Hours of operation are Wednesday to Sunday from 10am – 5pm, with free admission and extended hours on the first Thursday of each month. Admission for regular hours are $16 for the general public, aged 6 and over. Kids 5 and under are free.

Take in a 360 degree view of downtown from Smith Tower

Most tourists will go to the Space Needle to get views of the city, but for us locals, we know that the better city views can be found at the historic Smith Tower. Built in 1914, Smith Tower used to be the tallest building in Seattle, and even the tallest building west of the Mississipi!

These days, the building seems like a dwarf compared to nearby Columbia Tower, but you can still get beautiful 360 degree views of the city from its observatory. Tickets are $19 for adults aged 13 and over, and $15 for kids aged 5 to 12, but locals with a valid Washington state ID can get in for just $12. The observatory is open daily from 10am to 9pm.

A view of Seattle from the Smith Tower (November 2017)

Saying good-bye to our favorite city

As we say good-bye to our favorite city in the United States, we can’t help but think fondly on all the memories we made while doing these fun activities in Seattle for families. We truly were lucky to be able to live in such a great city with so many things available for families. If you’re planning a visit, we hope you’ll check out these activities in Seattle and see for yourself why we love this city so much.

Do you have some favorite activities in Seattle for families that I missed? Share them in the comments!

museum of glass at seattle center
A view of the Space Needle from the Chihuly Garden of Glass

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20 Responses

  1. This is a really nice post, I am still grossed out by the gum wall though. Great pictures and I think it would be really nice to visit Seattle one day. Thanks for sharing

    1. I’ve actually been to the Experience Music Project several times, but since they renamed it to MoPop (Museum of Pop Culture), I haven’t had a chance to visit.

  2. Seattle has been on my list of cities to visit for a long time! The area is so beautiful. It’s great to know what spots are the best from an insider’s point of view! I’d definitely prefer to get the less-touristy view from Smith Tower. And that Underground Tour sounds quirky but very entertaining!

    1. Yes, you should definitely visit Smith Tower and the Underground Tour. Those are great places to learn about Seattle’s history!

  3. Great list! I didn’t know about the Smith Tower. It really does sound like the best spot for a great view of the city. And, next time I am there, I’m going to have to take the Underground Tour to see the city’s oldest toilet. Quirky, but amusing!

  4. I didn’t know there were so many urban hikes in Seattle, I would love that! And that ferris wheel looks like a blast too. I’ve never been to Washington or any of the PNW for that matter, but it’s definitely high up on my list!

    1. I hope you get to visit some time, Erika. What parts of the United States have you had a chance to see so far?

  5. Seattle looks like such a great place to visit! I have an aunt who lives out there, but have never taken a trip there myself. Your post has definitely inspired me to plan something there soon!!

  6. I’ve been to Seattle lots of times and have done pretty much everything on this list! I didn’t know about Smith tower though! I’d love to give that a try.

  7. Seattle is on my bucket list…It is such an awesome post.. I would like to visit Seattle for Northwest Flower & Garden Show….You have summarise it really nicely :)..I would refer it when I go to Seattle 🙂

    1. Sadly, I haven’t had a chance to check out the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, but I hear that it’s a pretty nice turnout each year.

  8. Seattle looks like such a fun city to visit. I don’t have kids but we are big kids at heart and I know we would love to do most of these things. I have always wanted to visit Seattle as we are big grunge fans too.

    1. Ooh, then you should definitely check out MoPop (previously known as the EMP). I didn’t list it in my post, but it has a lot of cool music artifacts. I would also suggest visiting some of the record stores, like Easy Street and Bop Street records.

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Hi, I'm Astrid

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I'm a travel-loving mom of three from Seattle. Join our adventures as we explore the Pacific Northwest and the world!

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