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As part of our family’s trip to Seattle this past Memorial Day, I thought I’d share some fun family friendly things to do in Downtown Seattle that we did. DISCLOSURE: I did receive complimentary admission to some of the places, which I will mention with each activity.
Our base for exploring things to do in Downtown Seattle
We stayed at the Hyatt House Downtown Seattle, which is a Category 3 hotel (12,000 points / night) located right underneath (across the street from) the Space Needle.
(SEE ALSO: Hyatt House Seattle Downtown eco-psychology)
In our case, we had come in on the Amtrak Empire Builder train from Chicago to Seattle so we didn’t have a car. The Hyatt House offers a complimentary shuttle within one mile of the hotel. This covers a lot of Downtown Seattle, but you’ll end up having to walk if you want to go somewhere further. When we came in on the Amtrak train from Chicago, we had to walk from the Amtrak King Street Station about 1 mile up to the corner of 1st and Madison, where there is a shuttle stop in front of the Hotel 1000.
Pacific Science Center
One of our favorite things to do in Downtown Seattle was visit the Pacific Science Center. It helped that it was within walking distance of our hotel, and that we got free admission through ASTC due to being members of a reciprocal museum (in our case, the Cincinnati Museum Center). There were a ton of fun things to do at PSC – some of our favorites were the remote control Robot Wars
and the food / meal builder
We actually went back a second time that weekend because that was one of the things to do in Downtown Seattle that the kids enjoyed the most.
Lake Union and the Center for Wooden Boats
A mile or so away from downtown Seattle is Lake Union and the Center for Wooden Boats. Every Sunday, the Center for Wooden Boats gives free sailboat rides to anyone that signs up. Signups begin in person at 10 a.m. every Sunday and you can’t pre-register. We got there about 9:30 and there was already a line. This picture was taken at 9:45 a.m.
It was raining (surprise!) so we all queued up. At 10 a.m., once the signups open, each group is taken inside the building and reserves their slot. Depending on which boats and crew volunteer, there are different timeslots available throughout the day that you can choose from. Since there was only one boat big enough to fit all 8 of us, we ended up taking a 12:00 time.
Lake Union is also home to the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) and a good spot to watch seaplanes taking off and landing, which is what we did since we had an hour or so to kill after we signed up before our boat reservation time.
Ballparks! CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field
We were given a free tour of Safeco Field as well as tickets to a Mariners game as well, and those were both fun things to do in Downtown Seattle.
Our seats for the Mariners game were right behind home plate, and the PR lady from the Mariners also gave the kids a swag bag with some of the giveaways they’d had throughout the year, including a cape and the Mariners Beard
Of course it’s always fun when the home team wins, and doubly so when they do it in impressive fashion! The Seattle Mariners hit 5 home runs in the first 5 innings, jumping out to a 16-0 lead before winning comfortably.
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is another Seattle tradition and another one of the best things to do in Downtown Seattle. We stopped by the Pike Place Market on our way back from the Mariners game. We didn’t spend a ton of time at Pike Place Market, but we enjoyed the chance to sit down, eat some fresh donuts, and watch some fish getting tossed around
Of course, no visit to Seattle would be complete without a trip to the Space Needle! Disclosure – my family and I did receive complimentary tickets to the Space Needle. I’d say it’s one of those things that is not that exciting (if you’ve been to one tall building, you’ve been to them all), but it is an iconic Seattle landmark and one of the things to do in Seattle for families and kids.
We signed in “Miller Family 8” into the Cincinnati slot to register visitors, which was funny because a coworker went to Seattle a few weeks after us and saw our name there 🙂
Olympic Sculpture Park
Another fun and free thing to do in Downtown Seattle is visit the Olympic Sculpture Park. It’s a 9 acre park filled with interesting sculptures a short walk down Broad Street right along the waterfront. We walked down to the Olympic Sculpture Park from our hotel and spent a few hours walking around, taking cool pictures and relaxing.
Seattle Center Playground
We were in Downtown Seattle over Memorial Day weekend, and they were having a large Folk festival at Seattle Center, which is the public space around the Space Needle (the old World’s Fair site). They have a playground there called “Artists at Play” that we saw while we were up on the Space Needle
Later in the day, we went back and it was…. not for the parenting faint of heart. Can you spot my kids in this picture?
Yeah – me either… and that’s a problem! 🙂
Actually it was quite fun, and there were a couple of other areas at the playground that were enjoyable. I don’t know if it’s always this crowded but it would definitely have been more enjoyable for me if I hadn’t had to worry about losing my kids every 5 seconds.
Other things to do in Downtown Seattle
Of course there are a ton of other things to do in Downtown Seattle that we didn’t get a chance to do while we were there. Here are a few other suggestions of things to do in Seattle Downtown, with emphasis on free and cheap things (because that’s how I roll!)
- Seattle Public Library
- Freeway park – a large park hidden between many city buildings
- Ride the Ducks tour – it actually starts right across from our hotel
- The monorail
- The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) is in South Lake Union park near the Center for Wooden Boats
What are your suggestions for the best family friendly things to do in Downtown Seattle?