When in Downtown Seattle whether you are a visitor of the city or a resident looking to enjoy some time with your family, there is plenty to do to keep everyone happy, beyond just the playgrounds and children’s museums (though those have their place too). Without leaving the downtown core, Seattle has destinations that older babies and toddlers will find fascinating while keeping parents engaged and entertained too!
Best visited during off peak times so that wandering toddlers are not misplaced, you and your little one will love exploring our year-round public market. Watch the fish fly at the Pike Place Fish Market, visit Rachel the Pig, listen to talented and entertaining musicians found throughout the area, and make sure to grab some of the world famous Macaroni and Cheese at Beechers. We also never leave the market without at least a half dozen of delicious mini-doughnuts from the Daily Dozen Doughnut Company.
While it might seem like a splurge, the Seattle Aquarium located on Seattle’s Waterfront has a lot to offer both kids and parents, and if you truly are traveling with a toddler (from 0-3 years), they’ll get in for free. Bergen loves watching animals, and fish and water really seem to captivate him.
3. The Monorail
Hop on the Monorail at Westlake Center, and for $2.25 you can enjoy a ride to the only other stop: Seattle Center in the “Lower Queen Anne” neighborhood. Along the way you’ll see beautiful views of the city skyline from thirty feet above the street level. Riding the monorail is fun, and it’s a cheaper, faster alternative to taking a taxi or walking.
Once you arrive via the monorail, there are so many choices at Seattle Center. For a free adventure, visit the International Fountain, and watch the choreographed water spraying performance. In hot (or even mildly warm) weather, kids and adults flock here to get a little wild and crazy, and cool off. At this point, Bergen just loves the surprise element of not knowing when each “super shooter” will spray. For hungry visitors, check out the newly renovated “Center House” for it’s many local and casual dining options. Just some of the other destinations include: The Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, Experience Music Project, Seattle Children’s Museum, and the brand new Chihuly Garden and Glass.
Libraries aren’t just for checking-out books. Rebuilt and opened in 2004, Downtown Seattle’s Central Library is an architectural masterpiece with11 floors, a “Book Spiral”, and amazing views of the Puget Sound from the top floor reading room. Once you have the chance to explore the design and unique elements of the building, take your little one to the children’s section to enjoy the play area, use the computers, and most importantly, cozy up with a good book. Room for strollers and family restrooms are also available.
For this next public transportation experience, you’ll head underground to ride our recently established Link Lightrail System. If you’re using a stroller to tote your tot around, you’ll find it easy to roll off and on the trains. Currently, the lightrail goes as far North as Westlake Center in Downtown Seattle and as far South as the Seatac Airport.
Ride the lightrail just a few stops to Pioneer Square, the birthplace of Seattle. Visit the Smith Tower, which was the tallest building West of the Mississippi in it’s completion in 1914, run around Occidental Park and climb on the firefighters memorial. Then have cup of coffee or a picnic at the Waterfall Garden Park (between S 2nd Avenue Extended & Main St) and watch your tot become mesmerized while you relax. A visit to Magic Mouse Toys on 1st Avenue will also be a lot of fun for all.
A perfect place for little ones to burn off some energy while parents explore over twenty beautiful and interesting sculptures. The park is located at the Northwest edge of Downtown Seattle, and boasts gorgeous views of Elliott Bay and of course, the Olympic Mountains.
One last public mode of transportation takes you (appropriately) on the street level. Ride the car from the Westlake Hub to Lake Union Park. Kids under 5 ride free, and they’ll love watching the world go by as they move along in the streetcar without their carseat.
10. South Lake Union
Explore the Center for Wooden Boats, Museum of History and Industry, and celebrate Seattle’s maritime history. There’s plenty of green space for kids to spread their wings, fun trails, a splash fountain, and a tempting footbridge. Go on a scavenger hunt for a pirate ship, dragon boat, seaplane, kayak, and any other lake related item you can think of! Then hop back on the streetcar to get back downtown.
Downtown Seattle has much more to offer than a Top 10 list can provide. What would you add? Please leave a comment below!