Pacific Science Center Courtesy Pacific Science Center

Family-Friendly Seattle

No matter if you have toddlers, teens, or both in tow, here’s where to find the best activities and shops for the whole family. From sea life-filled touch tanks to electrifying sporting events, Seattle offers activities for all age ranges. Plan a travel itinerary that will excite everyone with these age-specific ideas for toddlers through teens.

By Isabelle Johnson
International Fountain at Seattle Center Photo: Shutterstock


Conveniently located in Seattle Center, Seattle Children’s Museum (*305 Harrison St) lets your little ones shape clay or build a castle—and there’s even a designated area with a fish tank and slide for children under three. Nearby Seattle Children’s Theatre’s (*201 Thomas St) summer programming showcases student performances of classics like 101 Dalmatians and Aristocats. Seattle also offers plenty of tot-friendly play areas like the salmon slides at Carkeek Park (950 NW Carkeek Park Rd) in North Seattle or the bowl-shaped spray zone of Seattle Center’s International Fountain (305 Harrison St).


Longer legs often mean more energy; thankfully, Seattle has options for keeping your active kids engaged. Take them on a wildlife journey through Woodland Park Zoo (*5500 Phinney Ave) or Seattle Aquarium (*1483 Alaskan Way), where they can watch lions, otters, and more. On the waterfront, they can discover all sorts of extraordinary treasures like shrunken heads and four-legged chickens at Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe (1001 Alaskan Way) before diving into a scoop of chocolate or butter pecan ice cream from Seattle Bay Creamery (2 University St). For an educational and interactive experience, head out to one of the city’s kid-friendly museums like Pacific Science Center (*200 Second Ave N), where topics like gravity, space, and dinosaurs become hands-on adventures.

Seattle Pinball Museum Photo: Shutterstock


Entertain your pre-teens with playable pinball machines dating back to the 1930s at Seattle Pinball Museum (*508 Maynard Ave S) or board games and burgers at Mox Boarding House (5105 Leary Ave NW). In Pike Place Market, check out Golden Age Collectables (1501 Pike Pl, Ste 401) for one-of-a-kind vintage toys and rare comics like the very first issue of Superman. Leave the tablet at home and take your kids on a scenic bike ride along the Burke-Gilman Trail (Various locations), a car-free path that winds past attractions like Fremont Vintage Mall (3419 Fremont Pl N) and Ballard’s Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (3015 NW 54th St).


The teen years can mean anything from shopping sprees to sporting games, all available in Seattle. Frappuccino devotees will love indulging in coffee poured over ice cream while watching coffee beans fly overhead in Willy Wonka fashion at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery (1124 Pike St), while aspiring computer scientists and software engineers will thrive among the hands-on supercomputers and Gamemakers Space at Living Computers: Museum + Labs (*2245 First Ave S). Sports fanatics can cheer their hearts out during a baseball or soccer game at T-Mobile Park (*1250 First Ave S) or Lumen Field (*800 Occidental Ave S) respectively. And for all the adventurers in the family, Moss Bay Kayak (1001 Fairview Ave N) offers both paddle board and kayak rentals on Lake Union, while Seattle Bouldering Project (900 Poplar Pl S) teaches proper rock-climbing techniques on impressive bouldering walls.


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