Everything You Need to Know About the Seattle Center
As a follow-up to our 101 Things to do in Seattle with Kids, I’m so excited to be sharing a guest post from Marcie of Marcie in Mommyland with EVERYTHING you need to know about the Seattle Center with Kids, including tips you could only get from a local.
Seattle Center Washington with Kids
Guest post by Marcie Cheung of the Seattle-based family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland
Since I’ve lived in the Seattle-area my entire life, many of my readers ask me for my top tips for Seattle with kids.
I always recommend that they set aside lots of time for the Seattle Center. It’s so much more than just the Space Needle! And there’s something for every age group.
So, let’s dive into everything you need to know about the Seattle Center!
Be sure to pin this post for your Seattle Family Vacation planning!
The Seattle Space Needle was recently completely renovated. It’s the first time it’s had an upgrade since it was built for the 1962 World’s Fair, and boy did it need one.
What’s cool is that it’s the first place in the world to have a revolving glass floor! You can sit on one of the reclined benches and see sweeping views of Seattle.
And they expanded their glass windows so even toddlers can see the gorgeous views without needing to be lifted up.
Oh, and older kids and adults will get a kick out of the virtual reality bungee jump experience!
They also have one of my favorite Seattle gift shops that highlight local artists.
Insider Tips: Check the weather before you go because it’s best on a clear day. And bring a carrier because you’ll need to park your stroller at the base of the Space Needle.
PACIFIC SCIENCE CENTER
One of our favorite places to take kids in Seattle is the Pacific Science Center.
They host a lot of interesting traveling exhibits like King Tut, Terra Cotta Warriors, and Pompeii. And they do themed weekend events featuring model trains, Hawaiian culture, engineering and more.
For younger kids, they have a neat indoor play area and staff members do a cute story time and science activity throughout the day.
They also have a private nursing area with toys for toddlers.
They also have an IMAX theater where you can see popular movies as well as interesting documentaries.
CHIHULY GARDEN AND GLASS
This is one of the most beautiful museums in Seattle and you’ll see it pop up all over Instagram. It’s also a popular wedding spot.
It’s one of our first stops with out-of-town guests and we geek out every time.
Dale Chihuly is a famous Seattle-area glass artist and this museum showcases his work. There’s both indoor and outdoor art installations.
Families can watch a video that shows how glass artists create their work and it’s pretty fascinating to see the whole process.
And you can join upgrade to a private tour or join a free talk to get more out of your experience.
Insider Tip: This museum is best for families with older kids or babies/toddler who can be in a stroller or baby carrier. Parents might stress out having their toddler or preschooler running around all the glass exhibits.
SEATTLE CHILDREN’S THEATRE
We’re so lucky to have an incredible children’s theatre here in Seattle. They run family-friendly shows for kids of all ages.
Some shows are so popular they sell out quickly, but other times you can get tickets right before the show starts.
They usually have a fun photo booth set up in the lobby and sometimes have crafts before the show.
And kids will love playing in the puppet theatre in their impressively cool gift shop.
THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
While this isn’t my favorite children’s museum in Seattle, it does have a few really stellar components.
They do a great job highlighting world cultures. Kids can explore the countries of Ghana, the Philippines and Japan by playing in houses, stores, and on cultural vehicles.
And they have created a grocery store based on Seattle’s Metropolitan Market. It has a great assortment of pretend foods, grocery carts and a working check out area.
They also have a massive train table area that showcases Seattle-area cities and the Sound Transit stations.
Insider Tip: Make sure to get a hand stamp so you can return later in the day to get some final wiggles out!
MUSEUM OF POP CULTURE
Formerly the Experience Music Project, the Museum of Pop Culture (aka MoPOP) is the ultimate spot for fans of movies and music.
Kids love their Sound Lab, where they can learn to play an array of instruments. And there’s a whole exhibit dedicated to indie video games!
Some of our favorite areas are the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic (which features items from Harry Potter and Game of Thrones) and Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction (which has items from Star Wars and Star Trek amongst other things.)
They also host special exhibits featuring Prince, Marvel, Queen, Minecraft, etc.
Insider Tip: While it’s not geared for young kids, kids ages 4 and younger are free.
ARTIST AT PLAY PLAYGROUND
Right outside MoPOP is the fairly-new Artist at Play playground. It’s mainly designed for older kids, but there are a few areas for toddlers and preschoolers.
It’s what you’d consider a “destination” playground because it’s worth the drive from anywhere in Seattle!
My 5 year old loves climbing up the ladder to go down massive slides! And my 2 year old can’t get enough of the merry go round and musical areas.
SEATTLE CENTER ARMORY
Here’s where you’ll find the Seattle Center food court. They have a good mix of sit down restaurants, fast food, Starbucks, and global cuisine.
Plus, there’s Seattle Fudge, where kids can watch staff make salt water taffy!
Families can also bring their own food and eat at one of the many tables inside.
They often have entertainment on their stage or exhibits set up in the Seattle Center Armory.
Insider Tip: Walk around a bit to discover the giant chess set!
If you are staying in Downtown Seattle, I highly recommend taking the Seattle Monorail to get to Seattle Center.
It’s a quick 2 minute ride from Westlake Center, but your kids will have a blast!
You can also take it from Seattle Center to go get lunch and then come back to finish exploring.
SEATTLE CENTER PARKING
There are several options for parking near Seattle Center. If you go on a Sunday, there’s free (but limited) street parking.
Otherwise, there are a few garages nearby.
I usually park at the Mercer Street Garage because it’s the closest to the freeway.
Families with young kids might want to park at the Pacific Science Center Garage because there’s a bit less walking.
Be sure to check online to see what events are happening at McCaw Hall or if there are any festivals going on.
And in the warmer months, the International Fountain is a huge hit with kids of all ages!
If you are planning a trip to Seattle with kids, make sure to explore Seattle Center!
Guest Post by Marcie Cheung
Marcie in Mommyland
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Be sure to pin this post for your Seattle Family Vacation planning!
For more resources on planning a Seattle Family Vacation, check out our 101 Things to do in Seattle with Kids or our 10 Food Family Restaurants in Seattle.