I don’t know about you, but I often find myself retracing my favorite steps in Seattle over and over again. Like every time I visit Pike Place Market at breakfast time, I eat at Lowell’s, I wave a hello to Rachel the Pig on my way to DeLaurenti’s to pick up pasta, I circle back for produce at Sosio’s then grab a few macarons at Le Panier before I head happily home. It’s hard to add something different or take away one of my favorite stops. But sometimes getting out of our comfort zone allows us to find new things in our city and if you find yourself circling back to the same spots in your neighborhood with your family hopefully this list might help prompt you to get some new adventures started.
So many of our best days in Seattle have happened at Golden Gardens. The beach is easily accessible, there is lots of free parking and there is an awesome playground with a giant climbing structure. Because it is in the Ballard neighborhood there are plenty of great food choices if we want to bring a picnic to eat on the beach. (We often grab Red Mill Burgers or Paseo). On a recent visit we decided to stop in at the new Nordic Museum on our way home and signed up for a family membership. (This membership is awesome for Seattle families-It is reasonably priced and has reciprocal benefits for many museums in Washington and all over the United States!). The cafe at the Nordic Museum is also quite good and the kids and I enjoyed a cheese and Nutella board and some pastries when we visited.
I love visiting the Mohai any day because it’s such a beautiful display of Seattle’s History but it’s especially good to go on a Sunday because the nearby Center for Wooden Boats offers free Sunday sailboat rides. I would first sign up for a boat ride then head to the Mohai if you have to wait for the boating time. Like the Nordic Museum, the Mohai offers a membership which can be quite helpful if you plan to visit a few times and the membership has amazing reciprocal museum benefits as well. My kids really like the “fire video” at the Mohai about the Great Seattle Fire, and there are enough interactive exhibits to entertain them as grownups learn about how Seattle came to be. Because the Mohai is walkable to South Lake Union, it’s easy to go for a bite somewhere fabulous before or after you adventure. and a free boat ride on South Lake Union is a great way to spend the day.
Now that Westlake Center is updating its food court, taking the monorail downtown from Seattle Center is going to be an even more exciting ride. In the meantime there are dumplings at Din Tai Fung near the end of the train and a variety of fun kid-friendly food choices at Seattle Center Armory House. The monorail is a great way to entice kids on a grownup shopping trip or to get them moving on to food after a fun day hanging out at Seattle Center. Seattle Center has an amazing playground, the MoPOP museum, the Chihuly Garden and Glass, Pacific Science Center and Space Needle so there are days and days of things to do for families here.
I firmly believe you can’t visit Seattle without visiting the Woodland Park Zoo as it’s one of the best zoos in the country. There is so much here for kids and grownups to wonder about as they wander through different ecosystems learning about animals all over the world. After a day of exploring, Tutta Bella is a fun family-friendly pizza restaurant that has been an institution in Seattle almost forever. It’s a short drive from Gas Works Park where kids can run off their last bits of energy and grown ups can snap beautiful pics of the city as the sun goes down.
My kids wanted a bowling party a few years ago that led me to find bowling in the HUB at UW. They love exploring the UW as it is because there are so many open spaces they can roam freely and they enjoy being on campus. The Burke Museum on campus often has free entry days and dinosaur-themed days for preschool aged kids so it’s good outing fit the whole family. After we all run around the UW it’s easier to shop at nearby Uvillage where there are endless options for kid-friendly shopping and meals.
Even though they’ve lived here their whole lives, my 10-year old kids still haven’t seen all there is to see in Seattle. It takes months to rotate through our favorites so we have to make time in the next little while to add the Amazon Spheres and the Pinball Museum downtown and check out all the new shops and restaurants that seem to be opening up in our city every day. Do you have a favorite place to explore in Seattle with kids? Or is there a new place you’ve been wanting to visit in Seattle that you haven’t explored yet? It’s always fun to hear what other families love in our incredible city!
This post was written by Terumi Pong from “An Emerald City Life”
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