Surrounded by stunning nature, Seattle is a fun and vibrant city and a great family destination. From its fantastic parks to riding the monorail and hitting the beach, there are lots of things to do in Seattle with toddlers. For those of you planning your own trip, we wanted to share our favourite things to do in Seattle with toddlers.
Best Things to do in Seattle with Toddlers
From the top of the Space Needle to the city’s amazing playgrounds and a troll under the Freemont Bridge, these are our 19 favorite things to do in Seattle with toddlers.
Things to do in Seattle with toddlers: our best things to do in Seattle with toddlers have have all been approved by our very own toddlers who love exploring Seattle!
Where to stay in Seattle with Toddlers
We like to stay downtown close to the Seattle Center or over by Pike Place as many of the best things to do in Seattle with toddlers are easily reached from either of these locations:
Hyatt House Seattle Downtown: located across the street from the Space Needle, the Hyatt House is one of our favorite Seattle hotels to stay with kids. We stayed here during our time in Seattle and it was perfect. The studio rooms with separate seating areas and small kitchens are our favorite and the complimentary hot breakfast is a great inclusion – check prices here!
Embassy Suites Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square: with studio room and 1 and 2 bedroom suites, the Embassy suites are a great option. The hotel offers a complimentary breakfast and the swimming pool is a fantastic addition – check prices here!
The Sound Hotel Seattle Belltown: close to the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, the 2 x queen rooms are a great option for families at the Sound Hotel. The outdoor terrace has fantastic views of the Space Needle – check prices here!
Things to do in Seattle with Toddlers: Around the Seattle Center
A great thing about Seattle is that many of its toddler-friendly attractions are located in the same area of the city. The Seattle Center and its surrounds are home to some of our favorite things to do in Seattle with toddlers with the Space Needle, Children’s Museum, Museum of Pop Culture, Artists at Play playground and the International Fountain all within easy reach.
Many of the attractions around the Seattle Center are covered by the Seattle CityPASS along with the aquarium and the zoo making it an awesome purchase when visiting Seattle with toddlers. The pass saves you almost $50 on tickets (compared to buying separately), includes 5 attractions (the Space Needle and the Seattle Aquarium and a choice of 3 attractions from the unmissable Museum of Pop Culture and the Chihuly Garden and Glass, a harbour cruise or the Woodland Park Zoo.
We purchased a Seattle CityPASS ticket on our first visit to the city and highly recommend ordering a pass when you are planning your first trip to Seattle. The pass is valid for 9 days after you activate it – check prices now!
Remember, kids age 4 and under don’t need a Seattle CityPass as they will have free entry so you won’t need to purchase one for your toddlers.
1 | Space Needle
Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle is an iconic Seattle landmark. The Space Needle is visible from all over Seattle and a visit to the observation decks is one of our favorite things to do in Seattle with toddlers.
The observation decks are located over two levels at the top of the Space Needle and offer panoramic views across the city. The lower level has glass walls and floors while the upper deck is open-air. From 160 meters up, the glass walls and floors of the observation deck offer really unique views of the city. The view of downtown is breathtaking and on a clear day, Mount Ranier is visible to the South and the Olympic mountain range to the West.
2 | Artists at Play Playground
Created by artists, the Artists at Play Playground is a highlight for toddlers in Seattle. There’s plenty of space to run around and blow off some steam. Artists at Play has some fantastic play equipment including a climbing tower, tube slides and swings. The only downside is trying to encourage your toddler to leave!
3 | Chihuly Garden and Glass
The Chihuly Garden and Glass is a colorful and captivating art museum and sculpture garden showcasing the glass works of Dale Chihuly. The outdoor garden and the Glasshouse are highlights when visiting with toddlers – buy combined Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass tickets!
The Chihuly Garden and Glass is also included in the Seattle CityPASS.
Things to do in Seattle with toddlers: The sculptures are not protected so you will need to keep your toddlers close to you at all times!
If you are planning a Vegas visit, the Chihuly Sculpture and Conservatory inside the Bellagio hotel is one of our favourite things to do in Las Vegas with toddlers.
4 | International Fountain
The International Fountain is such a fun spot for toddlers in Seattle. The huge metal dome shoots water from its 274 water jets and was designed to represent outer space exploration. Toddlers will have a great time dodging the jets and splashing around.
Things to do in Seattle with toddlers tip: there doesn’t seem to be a fixed schedule for the water display, we just happened to catch it on passing.
5 | Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop)
Housed in a colorful and quirky Frank Gehry designed building, MoPop is a shrine to the history of music, video games, movies, television, and more. Although the history of Pop Culture likely won’t resonate with most toddlers it’s still a fun place for them to explore while you tick it off your Seattle things to do list.
We loved the Hendrix and Nirvana exhibitions while the giant guitar sculpture, the Indie Game revolution, Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic exhibit and the Sound Lab were our toddler’s favorites. Note, the exhibits at the Museum of Pop Culture change regularly.
The Museum of Pop Culture is included in the Seattle CityPASS.
6 | Seattle Children’s Museum
With its interactive science, arts and culture exhibits, the Seattle’s Children Museum is another must-visit in Seattle with toddlers. With its interactive play areas, the museum is especially good for younger kids
Our toddler loved playing shopkeeper in the Post Office and Market, climbing through the Orca Cove, getting checked out at the Clinic and playing in the construction zone.
7 | Seattle Monorail
The Seattle Monorail links downtown Seattle and the Seattle Center and is really fun to ride with toddlers. The journey only lasts a few minutes but it’s fun to zoom past the city streets and buildings and, if your toddler is anything like our transport-obsessed 2-year-old, riding the monorail will bring great excitement!
Things to do in Seattle with toddlers: kids 4 and under ride free and it is stroller friendly.
Downtown Seattle is some of Seattle’s best toddler-friendly attractions including the Aquarium and Pier 57.
8 | Seattle Aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium is one of the highlights of Seattle with toddlers. Located on the historic Seattle Waterfront, the aquarium has a mix of indoor and outdoor exhibits and is great for younger kids.
There are 6 major exhibits and a variety of sea life: Window on Washington’s Waters, the Underwater Dome and the Life of a Drifter were our toddler’s favorites and they loved the otters, seals and jellyfish.
The Seattle Aquarium is included with the Seattle CityPASS.
9 | Gum Wall
One of Seattle’s most famous attractions, the Gum Wall is covered in thousands of pieces of chewing gum. It’s colorful and quirky and makes for a fantastic photo op – it’s also been voted as one of the germiest tourist sights so you might want to prevent your toddlers from getting close enough to touch!
10 | Pike Place Market
A Seattle institution, Pike Place Market is a huge farmers’ market which has operated in Seattle for over 100 years. There are more than 500 vendors in the market today and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
The neon ‘Public Market Center’ sign is a Seattle landmark and the Pike Place Fish Co, famous for its flying fish displays, is located at the entrance under the sign. The fishmongers put on an enthusiastic show, throwing the fish in the air and catching it to wrap up for customers.
A giant bronze piggy bank known as Rachel the Piggy Bank is located next to the flying fish and our toddler loved dropping some coins in (the money helps with services for the downtown Seattle community).
For food, our toddler was wowed by the sweet treats. He loved the piroshki buns at the tiny Russian bakery, Piroshky Piroshky, and the Texas Donuts at Pike Place Bakery which were almost bigger than him! Further down the street from Piroshky Piroshky, the world’s first Starbucks opened in 1971 at Pike Place Market and the original store features remain.
Other toddler friendly highlights included the delicious ice cream and gorgeous decor at Shug’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream and a wander through one of the market’s indie bookstores – we loved Lionheart Bookstore and Lamplight Books.
11 | Pier 57
Located adjacent to the Seattle Aquarium, Pier 57 is a wonderful stop in Seattle with toddlers. Collectively known as Miner’s Landing, it is home to the Seattle Great Wheel, a 175-foot tall Ferris wheel, and the Seattle Waterfront Carousel, a traditional vintage carousel. There’s also a retro arcade and some quirky stores.
12 | Take the ferry to Alki Beach
Departing from Pier 50, a quick water taxi ride takes visitors across Elliott Bay to West Seattle. The ride on the water taxi is fantastic and toddlers will love Alki Beach. There are stunning views of the Seattle Skyline back across the water.
Things to do in Seattle with toddlers tip: Make sure to stop for some food at Marination Ma Kai or Salty’s, both are great options on Alki Beach.
12 | Harbour or Locks Cruise
Boats are always a big hit with our toddlers and there are two great Seattle cruise routes which show the city from different perspectives:
- Harbor Cruise: the one-hour harbor cruise offers great views of the city skyline, Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound – book your cruise tickets here
- Ballard Locks Cruise: a 2-hour cruise which has the added bonus of passing through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, also known as the boat elevator! The elevator allows boats to move from the water level of the lakes to the water level of Puget Sound and prevents the mixing of seawater and freshwater – book your cruise tickets here
Things to do in Seattle with toddlers tip: the locks cruise is one way. You can either take a bus back to downtown (included in ticket) or stay, explore and maybe watch another boat passing through the Locks.
Our Other Favorite Things to do With Toddlers Around Seattle
13 | Snoqualmie Falls
The beautiful Snoqualmie Falls is located just 45 minutes outside Seattle. A magnificent 268-foot waterfall is a great option for a day trip from the city. There’s an upper and lower viewing area with the lower viewing area reached by an easy half-mile hike to the base of the Falls (our 2-year-old was happy with the walk down but requested a lift back up!). A great way to see Snoqualmie Falls is on a half day tour from Seattle – book your tour now!
Things to do in Seattle with toddlers: Snoqulamie Falls appeared in the television show Twin Peaks.
14 | Gas Works Park
Located on the north shore of Lake Union on the site of the Old Seattle Gas Light Company Plant, the Gas Works Park is an urban park offering family fun in Seattle.
With parts of the original plant still remaining, the park has an industrial feel. There’s an awesome web-themed playground with lots of climbing equipment and slides.
The banks of the park are a really popular picnic spot and the perfect place to relax after exploring the city during the day. There are awesome views of downtown Seattle and the Space Needle across Lake Union.
The park is also a popular hangout for hundreds of Canadian Geese who like to relax along the water’s edge and forage in the grass.
15 | Discovery Park
If you are in search of some outdoor fun, Discovery Park is a real hidden gem in Seattle. It is Seattle’s largest park and has some great trails, lush forest, and a beach with stunning views of Puget Sound.
Discovery Park Beach (also known as Ford Lawton Beach) is a highlight. Large driftwood trees line the shoreline and the views are spectacular.
16 | Volunteer Park
Located in the residential neighborhood of Capitol Hill, Volunteer Park is another great park for toddlers in Seattle. It boasts a toddler-friendly nature-inspired playground and, if you visit on a sunny day, there’s an awesome wading pool for a splash around.
17 | Freemont Troll
The troll under the bridge is an awesome sculpture in Seattle’s Freemont neighborhood. Clutching a Volkswagen Beetle seemingly swiped from the passing traffic, the Freemont Troll captured our toddler’s imagination like nothing else in Seattle!
18 | Museum of Flight
The Museum of Flight was a surprise hit for our toddler. The air and space museum is really interactive and has airplanes of every shape and size, many of which kids can board and explore – buy tickets to the Museum of Flight here!
The main exhibit features a commercial airplane and our kids loved seeing the cockpit and luggage compartments while on the space side of the museum, there’s a shuttle which is also incredible to explore. Another highlight for toddlers is, of course, the themed play area!
19 | Archie McPhee
With its quirky, funny and strange selection of gifts and toys, Archie McPhee is a fun place to visit in Seattle with toddlers. The independent curio shop is a treasure trove of the strange and the wonderful and has everything from rubber chickens to a fortune-telling machine and a giant gladiator statue welcoming customers.