Outings + Activities | Travel | Family Adventure Guide

10 Seattle Tourism Makeovers for Families

How to do the top attractions right, and what to do instead

Seattle International Fountain | Photo credit: Kelly Knox
Seattle International Fountain | Photo credit: Kelly Knox

Whether you’re a weekend tourist, a local with a visiting family in town or you’re playing hometown tourist for a few days, these question always come up: Is the Space Needle worth it? Should we make the trek to Snoqualmie Falls? What museums will kids actually enjoy? Here are insider tips for how to do 10 top Seattle-area attractions with kids in mind, plus other delightful, lesser-known spots to explore.

THE VIEW: Space Needle

Seattle Center • Observation deck tickets $12–$21 (discounts for King County residents and online purchase)

>>Insider tips: Timing is the key to visiting this local icon. For starters, pick a clear-weather day when there is sure to be a view: The simplest way is to check the webcam (spaceneedle.com/webcam). Second, consider having a meal at the revolving SkyCity Restaurant. While it’s spendy (adult dinner entrées $39–$64, kids’ dinner menu $11–$14; brunch $48.95 adults, $15.95 kids), it comes with a giant helping of scenery — sunset is an especially nice time. And keep an eye out for this fun tradition: diners stick notes in the wall for others to find as the walls revolve. After you dine, stop by the observation deck for free — no waiting in line.

Other spots with a view:

Rotation with a view. Yes, it’s touristy, but kids will talk about it for weeks: Step into the eight-seat glass gondola of the 175-foot Seattle Great Wheel and ride it three rotations over Seattle’s bustling seafront ($8.50-$13, kids 3 and under free).

Fog fun. Climb to Kerry Park, a small greenspace on the south side of Queen Anne Hill not far from the Space Needle for a new perspective on the city in any weather: It’s a famously good place to watch the ebb and flow of fog over downtown.

Kerry Park, photo credit: Fiona Cohen
Kerry Park, photo credit: Fiona Cohen

Panoramic hike. Take older kids for a heart-pumping climb up Tiger Mountain to Poo Poo Point in Issaquah for vistas of parasailers and the Issaquah Alps.

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