Visiting Seattle With Kids
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Seattle wasn’t really a destination I had in mind in the near future, however when we were in Portland for a few days, Milana asked if we can continue traveling instead of going home. Since Seattle was such a short flight, I decided to extend our trip by a few days. Thanks to Southwest’s awesome no change fees policy, we were able to re route our flight from Seattle back home and booked a one way flight from Portland to Seattle using points. We were in Seattle for 2.5 days but in that short time, we did a ton even though I had to scramble and plan everything within a day!
We stayed at the Courtyard Seattle Downtown Lake Union using Marriott points and got upgraded to a room with a lake view which was awesome! You can see sea planes right from your room. One of the best parts about this hotel was their nicely heated indoor pool, which Milana utilized every night! So many hotels have indoor pools that are freezing so this was definitely a nice way to relax in the evenings! Get the Starwood Luxury Card to earn points and get your room for free!
THINGS TO DO IN SEATTLE WITH KIDS
Seattle is a great place for families with young kids! We love visiting playgrounds and one of the best ones is the Artists at Play playground at the Seattle Center.
The Seattle Center has lots of other attractions as well. Milana loved seeing the space needle (though we didn’t go inside).
The Pacific Science Center is there too, and since it’s a member of the ASTC Passport program, our admission was free! This museum is great, much better than the children’s museum just down the street! They had lots of attractions for younger kids and an entire area dedicated to little ones for playing and exploration. They also have a butterfly garden, which was a hit!
The Seattle Children’s museum is in the same area, however I would pass on it. We bought the Groupon so didn’t pay full price however it’s quite possibly the worst children’s museum we have been to! It’s super outdated with not many interactive exhibits. Super tiny too, definitely not worth the cost. If you go to a children’s museum, make the trek to Bellevue, you won’t be disappointed!
Just like in Portland, I rented a car for just the day in Seattle as well so that we can visit some things not so close to the city center. One of those was the Kid Quest Children’s Museum in Bellevue. This is a great facility, with lots of engaging exhibits for little ones. And we didn’t have to pay admission here either due to the reciprocity agreement with our home museum!
The Flight Museum is really great too and we drove ourselves here as well since the Uber ride would have cost quite a bit given the distance from the city center. Milana loves airplanes and loved seeing so many different ones inside the building. Such a cool facility that is definitely worth a visit! And, again, free admission thanks to ASTC reciprocity!
I told Milana about the Fremont troll and showed her photos, and she said we have to go see it! So the day we had our car rental, we headed to Fremont to see the famous troll. We were the only ones there and she loved climbing all over him.
One of the most popular attractions in Seattle is the Pike Place market. While it’s not my favorite market, we did go to check it out. The first time we went was a Saturday afternoon and I quickly realized it was a mistake since you couldn’t move in there! So we left and came back Monday morning, and it was very empty.
The pig you see in the photo is Rachel the piggy bank. Money collected inside of her is donated to various social services groups in the city. Another thing to note is when you see Rachel, look for the staircase right next to her. When you go down those stairs, you will end up in gum alley. There is a gum wall with lots and lots of chewing gum! Milana was mesmerized by this and it was probably her favorite part of the trip! We had to go buy gum just so she can leave a piece of herself in Seattle. Here’s a video of the area:
If you have more time to spend in Washington, the I highly recommend a trip up to Leavenworth!
WHERE TO EAT IN SEATTLE WITH KIDS
Two days wasn’t enough to try everything we wanted, but we did our best! After checking in at 11am, we walked over to Portage Bay Cafe. Keep in mind this place is super popular and very busy. However, I made a reservation via Yelp as we were leaving for 20 minutes from then and when we arrived, we only had to wait 10 minutes. The place was packed and people were being told the wait is 45 minutes-an hour. I’m not sure why locals don’t utilize the Yelp reservation system, it works so well! This cafe is known for their fruit bar. When you order things from a certain spot on the menu, you have access to unlimited fruit toppings. This sounded great, so Milana ordered a “mouse” pancake from the kids menu and I got the banana French toast. We were quickly disappointed as we realized the fruit was awful. No flavor and super sour, we ended up not eating much at all. The best part of our meal was their organic roasted potatoes, which I highly recommend as a side dish. Also if you are getting coffee here, check the creamer that’s in the container on the table BEFORE you pour it in! I poured without opening the lid and chunks of rancid cream came out. The woman at the table next to hers made the same mistake and had rancid cream as well. Don’t be like us!
A much better dining experience was at Frelard Pizza Company. We went here when we had our rental car and it was awesome! The pizza place is similar to what we used to have back on the East coast. It’s so hard to get good pizza in SoCal so we were very excited to eat here! The best part about this place is their fairly large play area. Milana played while we waited for the food and kept coming to the table for bites. More restaurants need play areas!
After pizza and just before returning our car, we headed to Molly Moon for some ice cream. This is a cute little local shop with some awesome ingredients! The ice cream was excellent and Milana loved sitting on the little swings outside while enjoying hers.
Another fun place we had dinner at was the Lunchbox Laboratory. Kids get wiki stix and crayons/coloring page to keep them occupied. Their happy hour is awesome, so if you can time it to be there during happy hour, do it! I ordered a huge plate of brussels sprouts for us to share and they were so good! They have slider versions of many burgers on their happy hour menu, so I tried the one with the gorgonzola. Milana had a cheeseburger from the kid menu and we each tried their awesome shakes. The place is decorated with old school lunch boxes, she loved seeing them all! They also have flavored salts at each table. When Milana learned that one of them is bacon flavored, she of course had to try it.
The last place we ate at was across the street from the Pike Place Market is Beecher’s, home of cheese curds galore and some of the best mac and cheese you will ever have! You can watch them make the curds while enjoying your food. This place gets packed on weekends, but not many people here on a Monday morning. Milana loved the mac and cheese and said it was the best she’s ever had.
On the way home, Milana played at the airport playground which was pretty awesome! While 2 nights in Seattle doesn’t seem like much, we definitely fit a lot in that time and had a blast on this very last-minute trip!
Tread Lightly, Retire Early
Next time you’re in my neck of the woods, let me know, and I can give you a list of other kid friendly places to check out 🙂
And if you’re ever here for more than a couple of days, it’s worth hopping on a ferry and heading out to the peninsula or the San Juan Islands.
I’d really love to visit Seattle one day, and try and see some of these places. Milana looked like she really enjoyed herself, even though the children’s museum was a disappointment. That mac and cheese sounds so tasty, I wouldn’t say no to a bowl right now!
Awesome post! I agree with all your assessments, especially about the museums! Glad you got to check out the new KidsQuest Museum! My oldest could spend hours and hours moving those boxes on the conveyor belt!
Seattle was one of those places that I didn’t really expect to like. I actually stumbled upon the Troll, but didn’t get as awesome as a picture as you did…there were quite a few people around. I know that people usually don’t care for Pike Place too much, but I loved it. My friend and I always went super early because we wanted to avoid the crowds and watch the fish getting tossed around!
Sara Essop -In Africa and Beyond
It sounds like there’s quite a bit to do in Seattle with kids. I’m impressed that you managed to fit in so much in just two days. My kids would enjoy the Science Centre and the Flight Museum.
I have never been to Seattle but it looks like such a cool place to travel. Especially with kids. The little one seemed to have had a blast. She is so cute!
Your little girl is adorable! She is so photogenic. I’ve heard so many great things about Seattle. After all, looks like extending your vacation was definitely the right move. Glad you had a great time and thank you for sharing! xo, – Mariella
Looks like Seattle offered much more than you thought. Your hotel looks amazing and the many parks were so entertaining. I wouldn’t mind exploring Seattle too!
It looks like you had a great trip with lots of fun filled activities for Milana! It seems like she had a brilliant time exploring. It seems Seattle is definitely worth visiting with kids!
Tread Lightly, Retire Early
Funny that you mention how terrible the Seattle Children’s Museum is – if you go south an hour and a half or so to Olympia, they have THE best one I’ve ever been to. Giant outdoor play area too.
We went to the Bellevue one and it was great!
Tread Lightly, Retire Early
Somehow I’ve never been to the Bellevue one. Will need to rectify that soon!
agh this makes me want to go to Seattle. The playground, butterfly garden, and the museum with all those planes were the highlight for me when reading this post. Really, your little one is so adorable with her hair and how careful she wanted to be around those butterflies was so cute!