Seattle is a vibrant hub of activity situated amid the cascading waterfalls, snow-capped peaks, and stunning coastlines of the Pacific Northwest. Don’t let the city’s rainy reputation keep you away. Families revel in the iconic sights of the city, quiet moments at the beach, and hidden gems that bring moments of pure fun and laughter. Settle into one of many spacious Seattle Vacation Rentals, making a rental your home base as you explore the city.
1. See Seattle From Above
The Space Needle helps define the Seattle skyline, and the observation deck 520 feet above ground gives you the perfect birds-eye view of the city. Walk around the circular deck to get a 360-degree view of the city. See if you can spot your vacation rental while you’re there. Kids of all ages enjoy seeing how small everything looks on the ground, but kids who are afraid of heights may want to look up at the Space Needle from the ground instead.
Another way to see the city from above is by taking a ride on the Seattle Great Wheel at Pier 57. This Ferris wheel features enclosed gondolas, so you don’t have to worry about safety or bad weather. Kids enjoy the ride aspect, and everyone gets amazing views of Seattle.
2. Get Close to Sea Life
See ocean life up close at the Seattle Aquarium. Situated along the waterfront on Pier 59, the aquarium features six major exhibits, including areas focusing on Washington wildlife. Kids love peeking at the octopus, salmon, otters, seals, jellyfish, and other species. The underwater dome puts you beneath the water surrounded by fish native to Puget Sound. Stop by the Life on the Edge display, where curious kids of all ages learn about tide pools and touch sea cucumbers and hermit crabs. You can see the aquarium in a few hours, giving you time to relax in your vacation rental.
3. Explore Transportation
Sometimes little things are the most exciting to kids. If your kids love transportation or simply enjoy new experiences, take them for a ride on the Seattle Monorail. This elevated train is a fun way for kids to ride, and it’s a great way to get a quick overview of the city. If your kids prefer airplanes to monorails, make a stop at the Museum of Flight, where you can see all sorts of aircraft. In the Kids Flight Zone, your aspiring pilot can role play inside flight simulators, which gives kids the feeling of flying.
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4. Take in a Museum
When your kids need to burn off energy, the Seattle Children’s Museum is a wonderful place to explore. Visit this indoor museum rain or shine. The museum allows your little ones to run around, explore, and be as loud as they want. Interactive displays are fascinating for kids of all ages, including babies and young toddlers, keeping kids engaged. Kids can build forts, shop a kid-sized market, pretend to be an eye doctor, and more.
5. Check Out Seattle Center
Seattle Center’s giant fountain shaped like a half-sphere shoots out water in all directions, delighting your kids while keeping them cool. The fountain also plays music to add to the experience. Another hit at the Seattle Center is the Artists at Play Playground. It’s a music-themed playground with fun elements, including a 50-foot tube slide. Older kids can scamper up the 35-foot climbing tower, while younger kids have a safe, age-appropriate toddler area to enjoy.
6. Visit the Market
Pike Place Market is an iconic stop on your family itinerary. The bustling market gives kids of all ages plenty to enjoy, including Sweetie’s Candy. Older kids enjoy comic books, trading cards, and other items at Golden Age Collectibles. Another popular spot near the market for kids is the Gum Wall in Post Alley. It’s just how it sounds: a wall covered in chewing gum. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists. While you’re at the market, grab fresh ingredients to cook in the kitchen of your vacation rental or grab a bouquet of flowers to give your rental a bright, cheery look.
7. Wander Around Sculptures
Olympic Sculpture Garden features sculptures scattered about the 9-acre park with different styles to keep kids interested. Many of the pieces are massive, making your kids feel like ants. Kids can take a break from viewing sculptures to check out passing ferries and sweeping views of the sound and mountains. Between the art and the natural beauty, it’s the perfect place to take amazing candid snapshots.
8. Hit the Beach
Seattle may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a trip to the beach, but the area features beautiful shorelines perfect for letting kids splash, play, and explore. Golden Gardens is a popular beach area, but be prepared for cold water. A creek in the area gives kids another waterway to explore, and the Burke Gilman bike and pedestrian path offer more options. At Alki Beach Park, kids can explore tide pools and take breaks on playgrounds. If your kids are older, rent a kayak or paddleboard to spend time on the water. Kid-friendly dining options are nearby.
Green Lake Beach offers the warmest water. During the summer, the beach has a lifeguard on duty. Older kids can jump off the diving boards, and kids of all ages enjoy the play areas.
9. Go Underground
Be sure not to miss experiencing an amazing glimpse of the city’s subterranean history. Guided walking tours take you through underground tunnels that were once street level before the Great Seattle Fire caused the city to rebuild above ground. This tour is better for older kids, as younger kids may find the underground location a bit scary. The underground terrain is uneven with steep stairs, so it’s not a good option for strollers. The tour is very interesting, but it makes you glad to return to your bright, above-ground vacation rental afterward.
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