Seattle, with its diverse range of activities and attractions, offers many activities for families with kids. Emerald City offers everything from educational experiences to outdoor activities, so you can find something to keep kids busy despite the weather.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best things to do with kids of all ages in Seattle. Our list includes museums, parks, interactive exhibits, outdoor adventures, sporting, and foodie activities suitable for kids and the young at heart.
The best 32 things to do with kids in Seattle are:
- Seattle Children’s Museum
- Pacific Science Center
- Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)
- The Museum of Flight
- Living Computers: Museums + Labs
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center
- Wing Luke Museum
- Discovery Park
- And more…
Seattle’s Best Educational and Cultural Activities for Kids
We’ll start our comprehensive list with excellent educational and cultural activities for kids in Seattle. These activities provide a history and knowledge about science, technology, animals, aquatic creatures, and music.
1. Seattle Children’s Museum, Seattle Center
305 Harrison Street
The Seattle Children’s Museum is a paradise for young explorers. It offers hands-on activities and interactive exhibits designed to educate and engage children of all ages. Two of their themed areas are “Imagination Studio” and “Global Village.” Here, children can learn about various cultures, arts, and sciences through curated play and other activities.
2. Pacific Science Center, Queen Anne
200 2nd Avenue N
Seattle’s Pacific Science Center is a non-profit hub of scientific exploration and learning. The center features interactive exhibits, live science demonstrations, a tropical butterfly house, planetarium shows, and IMAX movies. They encourage kids to participate in hands-on activities related to biology, physics, and astronomy, with the aim of fostering a love for science and discovery.
3. Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), Seattle Center
325 5th Avenue N
MoPOP is a unique museum that explores pop culture in music, video games, movies, and science fiction. Children and adults can explore the exhibits of their favorite films and characters, play video games, and even make music in the museum’s sound lab. MoPOP is designed to be an engaging experience for young minds and creatives.
4. The Museum of Flight, Tukwila
9404 E Marginal Way S
If your child is a budding aviation enthusiast, Seattle’s Museum of Flight is a must-visit. The museum offers a vast collection of aircraft, spacecraft and interactive visits that guide visitors through the history of aviation and space exploration. Highlights include sitting in a jet cockpit, flight simulation, and learning about the aviation pioneers.
5. Living Computers: Museum + Labs, SoDo
2245 1st Avenue S
Living Computers: Museum + Labs is a fascinating place where you can learn about the history and development of computers. The large, interactive exhibits include old and new computers, vintage video games, and old software. Visitors can see how computers have changed from giant machines that could fill a room to the compact and powerful devices we use today.
Note: At the time of writing, the Living Computers Museum was temporarily closed. However, their website and online resources are still available.
6. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center, Queen Anne
440 5th Avenue
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center is where kids and adults can learn about global issues like health, education, and poverty. The center’s interactive exhibits, stories, and displays show how philanthropists and invested parties work to solve these problems. Entrance to the center is free of charge.
7. Wing Luke Museum, Chinatown-International District
719 S King Street
The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience is a museum that celebrates the history, culture, and art of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States. It showcases the stories of immigrants and their contribution to American society. The museum features exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays that promote the understanding and appreciation of the rich heritage.
The Best Outdoor and Nature Activities for Kids in Seattle
There’s no shortage of outdoor adventures for kids in Seattle. The city’s proximity to natural wonders allows for outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, or exploring lush gardens. The following activities may help instill a love for nature and the city while promoting an active lifestyle:
8. Discovery Park, Magnolia Bluff
3801 Discovery Park Boulevard
Discovery Park is the Emerald City’s largest public park and offers a serene escape from the urban hustle. The park is home to diverse ecosystems and wildlife and has nature trails for young trekkers. Additionally, families can enjoy the sandy beaches, breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains, and the dedicated picnic sites within the park.
9. Seattle Great Wheel, Miner’s Landing
1301 Alaskan Way, Pier 57
The Seattle Great Wheel is a giant Ferris wheel offering panoramic views of Emerald City and Elliot Bay. Aside from the thrilling experience it promises, riding the Great Wheel provides a unique perspective of Seattle’s waterfront and skyline. The ride is especially enchanting during pleasant evenings when the city lights create a magical atmosphere.
10. Washington Park Arboretum, Broadway/Capitol Hill
2300 Arboretum Drive E
Washington Park Arboretum is a beautiful, public botanical garden jointly run by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and Seattle City. Entrance to the 230-acre arboretum is free, and visitors can enjoy leisurely walks, guided tours, and educational events. It’s a lovely spot for nature lovers, budding horticulturalists, and those interested in environmental conservation.
11. Seattle Japanese Garden, Washington Park Arboretum
1075 Lake Washington Boulevard E
Seattle’s Japanese Garden is located within the Washington Arboretum. It is designed to emulate the late 16th-century Japanese style, offering visitors a feel and taste of meticulous landscaping and Japanese culture. Visitors must pay to enter these gardens and enjoy the meandering pathways, koi-filled ponds, authentic tea houses, and vibrant flora.
12. Seattle Parks and Playgrounds, Various Locations
305 Harrison Street, plus other locations
Seattle has an abundance of playgrounds to explore. Many are themed and include huge jungle gyms, slides, swings, and merry-go-rounds. Still, others include musical instruments, exercise equipment, ball fields, and nature trails. Some favorites include Artists at Play in Queen Anne and Oxbow Park, which has the world’s largest cowboy hat and boots.
Seattle’s Family-Friendly Entertainment Options
Next up, we’ll explore the family-friendly entertainment options in Emerald City. These include activities for kids who love drama, comedy, reading, and classical music.
13. Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Center
201 W Thomas Street
Seattle Children’s Theatre is an exceptional resident theatre where actors perform exciting plays for kids and families. The organization started in 1975 and has two theatres in Seattle. Aside from their productions, the Children’s Theatre offers drama camps and classes. It’s a great form of entertainment and expression for young kids and teenagers.
14. Jet City Improv, University Heights Center
5031 University Way NE
If you’re looking for entertaining and unscripted theater performances, Jet City Improv offers just that. This theater was established in 1992 and showcases talented actors who create hilarious, interactive, and unpredictable shows that rely entirely on audience suggestions. Jet City Improv also offers workshops and classes in unscripted theater and how to think and perform on your feet.
15. Seattle Public Libraries, Downtown
1000 4th Avenue
The Emerald City is renowned for its excellent public libraries. Many libraries host regular storytelling sessions, educational programs, and arts and crafts workshops for kids of all ages. Families visiting a local library can promote a love for reading while enjoying quality time together in a peaceful setting.
16. Seattle Symphony, Downtown
200 University Street
The Seattle Symphony is renowned for its exceptional musical performances and accompanying the Seattle Opera. The orchestra was established in the early 1900s and now plays at the Benaroya Hall. Beyond concerts, the Seattle Symphony engages with the community through educational initiatives, outreaches, and collaborations that make classical music accessible in Seattle.
Sports and Physical Activities for Kids in Seattle
Below are some popular sports and physical activities for families with kids to enjoy:
17. Rat City Roller Derby, Various Locations
9646 17th Avenue SW
Rat City Roller Derby is an electrifying all-female roller derby league in Seattle. The league was founded in 2004 and is known for its fierce competition, sportsmanship, and empowering female athletes. It makes for fascinating and fast-paced entertainment for kids and adults alike.
18. Seattle Bouldering Project, Fremont
3535 Interlake Avenue N
Seattle Bouldering Project (SBP) is a dynamic indoor climbing gym and community hub. Bouldering is a rock-climbing style without ropes; it provides exciting and challenging routes. Kids and adults with differing skill levels can enjoy the colorful climbing walls in this inclusive facility.
19. Arena Sports, SoDo
4636 E Marginal Way S
Arena Sports is a premier indoor sports facility offering various activities for all ages. The expansive center features indoor soccer fields, inflatable playgrounds, and multiple sports programs. Families and groups can enjoy different sports and games while fostering teamwork and fitness in a safe and fun environment. Arena Sports is also an ideal place to host a birthday party for sporty kids.
Seattle’s Best Creative and Artistic Activities for Kids
If you’re looking for creative activities for kids in Seattle, look no further. Below are some of the popular creative and artistic things geared toward children:
20. MOHAI Maker Days, South Lake Union
860 Terry Avenue N
MOHAI Maker Days is a creative event series hosted by the Museum of History and Industry. Classes take place on the last Saturday of every month, providing a platform for makers, artists, and innovators to showcase their talents and engage with the community. During Maker Days, kids can participate in hands-on workshops, like learning how to do woodwork and 3-D printing.
21. Pinot’s Palette, Federal Way (And Other Locations)
1066 S 320th Street
Pinot’s Palette in Seattle is part of a popular nationwide chain where kids and adults can unleash their creativity in a relaxed, social atmosphere. Pinot’s offers beginner and advanced art classes for young and old and supplies all the necessary art supplies. This hassle-free setup is ideal for parties and creative kids looking for a way to express themselves through art.
22. Seattle ReCreative, Greenwood (And Other Locations)
8408 Greenwood Avenue N
ReCreative is a creative reuse center that inspires eco-friendly art and craft projects. It offers creatives an array of donated and reclaimed materials, including fabric, paper, buttons, and more, encouraging people to be imaginative, creative, and environmentally conscious. ReCreative offers classes and workshops and helps reduce Seattle’s waste through artful reuse.
23. Young Rembrandts, Eastside
14105 NE 73rd Street
Young Rembrandts is an innovative art enrichment program designed to nurture creativity in children. The chain has branches across the United States, including Seattle. They offer drawing classes for kids aged 3 to 12, and their curriculum combines artistic instruction with educational concepts.
Food and Culinary Experiences for Foodie Kids in Seattle
Seattle boasts an eclectic culinary scene with plenty of family-friendly restaurants and food-related activities. Two firm favorites are outlined below:
24. Pike Place Market, Pike Place
1531 Western Avenue
Pike Place Market is a vibrant and lively place incorporating wonderous fare for foodies of all ages. Kids can watch fishmongers toss and prepare freshly caught fish and savor delicious treats like freshly baked pastries and decadent handmade chocolates. Families can also enjoy entertainment by local musicians and street performers, which add to the lively atmosphere.
25. Cupcake Royale, Ballard (And Other Locations)
2052 NW Market Street
Cupcake Royale is a beloved bakery in Seattle renowned for its wide variety of delectable and creative cupcakes. Their range includes gluten-free and vegan cupcakes, ensuring everyone can savor a delicious sweet treat. Additionally, they offer unique flavors, including lavender, pear ginger, blood orange cranberry, and pumpkin pie. You and your kids will undoubtedly be spoilt for choice!
Animal Encounters for Kids in Seattle
Seattle has some interesting farms, zoos, and an impressive aquarium. The following ones offer animal encounters for kids:
26. Fox Hollow Family Farm, Issaquah
12123 Issaquah-Hobart Road SE
Fox Hollow Family Farm is a charming family farm just outside of Seattle. It offers interactive and educational experiences geared toward children. Kids can partake in hands-on activities like feeding and petting various farm animals, including goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, and rabbits. Seasonal activities include pumpkin picking in the fall and baby animal encounters in the spring.
27. Seattle Reptile Guy, Various Locations
The Reptile Guy, or Marc, offers a portable and interactive show of between 40 and 50 reptiles and amphibians, which he displays at kids’ parties, classroom shows, and events. Marc was featured in Seattle’s Child magazine for his unique and fun animal encounters. Some of his pets include tortoises, snakes, lizards, spiders, bearded dragons, and other wonderful critters.
28 Woodland Park Zoo, Phinney Ridge
750 N 50th Street
Woodland Park Zoo is a must-visit destination for families with kids. The zoo houses over 1,000 animals representing various species around the world. The zoo’s exhibits are designed to emulate the animals’ natural habitats and allow kids to learn about wildlife conservation. The interactive exhibits at Woodland Zoo enable children the opportunity for animal encounters, providing an entertaining and educational experience.
29. Seattle Aquarium, Pike Place Market
1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59
Seattle Aquarium provides a delightful and immersive marine experience for families. Some favorite exhibits include the playful sea otters, majestic sea lions, and colorful fish. For the more hands-on kids, the aquarium offers touch pools where visitors can interact with various sea creatures and understand more about marine life and conservation efforts.
Seattle’s Indoor Play Centers
A Seattle kid’s activity list wouldn’t be complete without a list of indoor play centers for those rainy days. Here are a few to check out:
30. Outer Space Seattle, West Seattle
2820 Alki Avenue SW
Outer Space in Seattle is a galactic-themed indoor playground open to the public on weekdays – no reservation required. All kids must be accompanied by an adult, and adults are welcome to enjoy the park, too! Since Outer Space is a restaurant, visitors may not bring along picnics. Note the indoor playground is reserved for parties and functions on weekends.
31. PlayDate SEA, South Lake Union
1275 Mercer Street
PlayDate SEA is a family-friendly indoor playground and entertainment center. It is a triple-story building with play areas for kids of all ages. The facility includes imaginative play structures, ball pits, slides, arcade games, and more. It is a safe and fun environment for kids and ideal for birthday parties and group events.
Seattle’s Big Special Event for Kids
We’ll end off with a special event in Seattle dedicated to kids:
32. Seattle Children’s Festival, Seattle Center
305 Harrison Street
Seattle’s Children’s Festival is a vibrant cultural event celebrating diversity and creativity. The event is held annually and showcases an extensive array of arts, music, dance, and interactive activities for children and families. The Seattle Children’s Festival is organized by Northwest Folklife, which aims to encourage cultural exchange and understanding among attendees.
Children can participate in hands-on workshops, storytelling sessions, and crafts that foster a love for the arts and world cultures. It’s a lively, educational, and entertaining experience for kids that emphasizes the importance of cultural appreciation, acceptance, and community engagement.
Seattle welcomes families with kids with open arms and endless opportunities for fun and exploration. From educational museums and interactive exhibits to outdoor adventures with animals and delightful culinary delights, Seattle has something fun and memorable for kids of all ages. So, pack your bags, bring your kids, and immerse yourselves in the wonders of Emerald City.