Top Five Kid-Friendly Activities in Seattle

This is a guest post by Debbie Dubrow of

Seattle’s walkable urban areas, beautiful natural setting, and laid back atmosphere make it a great vacation destination for anyone, but you might be surprised to learn how accommodating the city is for kids. Seattle’s major sites (and some of its most popular restaurants) are just as much fun for kids as they are adults, and many popular activities seem tailor made for kids.

Seattle Kid-Friendly Activities

Pike Place Market Pike Place Market is the classic Seattle tourist site. The colorful market, filled with fresh fruit and flowers is interesting for everyone, but kids will be drawn in by the life-sized piggy bank at the market entrance, the live crab displays, and the “flying fish” at Pike Place fish company. On summer weekends, scheduled kids activities make the bustling market even more fun. Stop in one of the many restaurants for lunch, or grab a snack and take it to the park located at the North end of the market.

Central Library

Seattle’s new Central Library attracted architecture buffs from around the world when it first opened, but it’s also appealing to young children. Designed by Rem Koolhaas, this thoroughly modern building mixes modern building practices, eco-friendly materials, public art, and library science in a totally new and engaging way. Daily library tours provide insight into redesigning a public space that needs to serve many different needs. Even toddlers will be engaged as you explore the library’s unique spaces and see all the different building materials. Best of all, the enormous children’s area has toys, puppets (and of course lots of books) alongside cozy chairs for parents. It’s the perfect place to take a quick rest while your children play. The teen area has comics and music listening stations.

Seattle Art Museum

Parents might be wary of trying to visit the Seattle Art Museum with kids, but every effort has been made to create a kid-friendly environment. Even if you aren’t interested in visiting the entire museum, consider ducking into the (free) art ladder and WAMU Open Studio Craft Area for a little break. Kid-friendly art and one or more hands-on crafts give your child a chance to explore or create for a little while. Inside the galleries, there is a cozy play area with dress up clothing, blocks, drums, engaging toys for all ages and art related books.

Seattle Center

Seattle Center is home to many of Seattle’s kid-friendly attractions, including the Children’s Museum, the Pacific Science Center, a small amusement park, and the famous Space Needle. Our favorite spot on a sunny summer day is the (free) International Fountain where kids can get soaked running in, around, and through the choreographed spray. You can reach Seattle Center from downtown via the Monorail that leaves from Westlake Center.

Ballard Locks

If you have a rental car, a visit to the Ballard Locks is fun and memorable for young children. Kids love the opportunity to watch up close as boats pass through the locks from salt water to fresh water (and vice versa). In season, they will also learn about Salmon and watch through a glass viewing area as salmon jump up a salmon ladder. The visitor center has helpful exhibits that explain what you are seeing in more detail. Best of all, kid-friendly Ballard has plenty of food options for lunch or dinner and several offbeat, locally owned stores for children and adults.

Need more to do? Other family friendly destinations in Seattle include the Woodland Park Zoo, a newly renovated Aquarium, and the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Relevant Links:

Fun things to do in Seattle with kids by Red Tricycle

Ciao Bambino recommended Seattle family hotels

Debbie Dubrow is a mother of two (ages 3 1/2 and 2) living in Seattle, WA. Her blog, is about traveling with babies, toddlers and kids, and is filled with personal travel stories, family-friendly city guides, and lots of tips and advice for traveling with kids.

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