Seattle is one of the most beautifully located cities in the United States, thanks to its views of Puget Sound and Lake Washington. The area is popular amongst outdoor enthusiasts and boasts fantastic hiking, kayaking, cycling, and rock climbing. In recent years the city has become a foodie destination thanks to the many shops and restaurants of Pikes Place Market. The most famous culinary item to come out of Seattle would be their particular brand of coffee shops.
The Space Needle is the first thing that comes to mind when most people think about Seattle. It was built in 1962 as part of the World's fair, and since that day, over 2 million people have traveled to the top of the tower to take in the views. If you want to spend time enjoying the views of the mountains and the Olympic Peninsula, have a meal at the Sky Restaurant at the top of the Space Needle.
Discover the history of flight at this fascinating museum. There are over 150 planes, spacecraft, and artifacts housed in the building. Altogether the collection spans the entire history of flight from the Wright brothers to modern jets and flights to the moon. Older children will love the interactive flight zone that includes two hang glider flight simulators and a section that teaches children how planes are built.
Pike Place Market has a unique setup with a number of lower levels that house antiques and collectibles shops. The main level is a large farmers market with a wide variety of stores. Pike Place Market began operating in 1907 and is the oldest continually running farmers market in the United States.
Safeco Field is commonly referred to as The Safe by locals and is home to the Seattle-based baseball team, the Seattle Mariners. The stadium has a clever retractable roof system that allows games to continue in any weather. Food trucks often park outside the stadium so you can grab a delicious meal before or after the game.
Green Lake Park is set in the center of the city of Seattle, making it a popular place with office workers to enjoy a bit of greenery during their lunch hour. Take a stroll on the 2.8-mile trail that goes around the lake and enjoy looking at the different species of trees, birds, and flowers that occur in the park. There are a number of authentic coffee shops nearby for those needing some caffeine after their walk.
The Seattle music scene was famous around the world in the early 1990s as grunge became a big part of the music world. This museum celebrates that part of musical history and a number of other musical genres. A separate section is home to a collection of memorabilia from the Star Wars franchise and a variety of items from horror movies set in the surrounding area.
Seattle is known as the home of a number of famous tech companies and is a very intellectual city. This museum houses a collection of working versions of computers from their earliest days to modern laptops and tablets. You can interact with the computers and have fun learning about the early days of computing. This is a great place to take children to show them how things used to be.
The Pacific Science Center was built for the World's Fair in Seattle in 1962. You will find a number of interactive exhibits explaining the world of science to children as young as 3. There is a popular IMAX theatre that shows new and interesting scientific shows from around the world. The butterfly house and laser lights show is fun for the whole family.
Enjoy the spectacular views of Puget Sound, Elliot Bay, and the city of Seattle from this 175-foot Ferris wheel. Each gondola is fully enclosed, so you can enjoy your ride even if the infamous Seattle weather is rainy and windy. The gondolas hold up to 8 people so the whole family can take in the ride at the same time.
This is one of the best zoos in the United States. The enclosures are very large, and the animals have plenty of space to roam. Great care has been taken to make sure that the exhibits match the natural habitats of each animal. Children under the age of 8 will love the Zoomazium, which houses nature-themed areas, games, and interactive exhibits. There are a number of restaurants in the zoo, but you are welcome to bring a picnic and enjoy the lawns if the weather is sunny.
Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle is a permanent art exhibition that opened in 2012, and it has been a popular attraction both with tourists and the locals ever since. Here you can explore the stunning glass-blown pieces of art crafted by the renowned artist Dale Chihuly. The exhibition features an indoor section with eight galleries and three "drawing walls," a Glasshouse (like a greenhouse, but with glass-blown flowers), and an outdoor section, where Chihuly's work integrates with the lush greenery.
This outdoor Sculpture Park is a section of the Seattle Art Museum, and it’s filled with artworks by iconic sculptors like Claes Oldenburg, Alexander Calder, and Roxy Paine. Not only is the displayed art impressive, but the location itself is also rather spectacular. When you’ve had your fill of culture, you can sit back in the shade and turn your attention to the magnificent view that stretches from Elliott Bay to the Olympic Mountains. The Sculpture Park is located just a few blocks from the Space Needle, so combining those two sights can make for a great day.
Discovery Park is Seattle’s largest green space. This is a great place to spend time if you’re feeling outdoorsy but not quite ready to leave town. The park covers over 500 acres in northern Seattle, and here you’ll find hiking trails, beaches, meadows, and dunes to explore. One essential stop is the West Point Lighthouse that you reach by following the North Beach Trail. If, instead, you opt for the South Beach Trail, your reward is a fantastic view of Mount Rainier and Seattle’s skyline. Discovery Park has something for everybody, with a cultural center, a tennis facility, and a playground for kids.
This impressive museum houses one of America's most outstanding collections. Here you can enjoy a wide range of quality art, from historic European paintings to contemporary sculpture. The museum spreads over three different locations, as it also links to the Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park. Don't miss this eclectic collection, and be sure to set aside enough time as you will need a few hours to see everything. The permanent collection of African art and the display of Native American artists' work are among the gems you don't want to miss.
About 30 miles east of Seattle’s city center sits the beautiful Mount Si, offering plenty of great hiking opportunities. This can be a great place for hikers to warm up before taking on the more challenging trails of Mount Rainier. The trail up to the summit is an 8-mile hike back and forth. The views from the mountain are stunning, but the hike can be quite challenging, and it is probably not the best place to start if you’re a complete novice. Less experienced hikers can instead get great practice and beautiful nature experiences on the trails in Discovery Park.