Of all the cities we have visited as a family, I have to say that I was most excited when we planned our Pacific Northwest vacation. Maybe it was the allure of traveling to a part of the US that I had never been. The city has so much to offer, with a number of attractions that are especially appealing to tweens and teens. We didn’t get to do all of these on our trip, but #7 and #8 are definitely on my list for next time. Read on to learn about ten fun ideas for visiting Seattle with teens.
1. Take the Seattle Free Walking Tour of Pike Place Market. Starting with a guided tour is always a good way to get to know a city, and you can’t go wrong starting at the iconic Pike Place Market (you know, the place where they throw the fish!) Enjoy free samples while learning about the history and hidden secrets of the Market. Be sure to make a reservation for this popular, daily tour.
2. Visit the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum. First off, the design of the building is something I’m not even sure how to describe. The museum itself holds great appeal to teens, especially the popular Sound Lab, where we all enjoyed being rock stars in a music studio. Plus the current Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction exhibit has tons of cool artifacts. It’s definitely a museum like no other.
3. Go to the Top of the Iconic Space Needle. A visit to the Space Needle, built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, is just something you have to do when in town. Take the elevator up 520 feet to the observation deck, where you can view the city in all directions.
4. Hop on a Ferry. If you’ve never been on a ferry boat, Seattle is the perfect place to take a ferry ride. Visitors can opt for a short ride over to Bremerton via the Washington State Ferries or a high speed ferry like the Victoria Clipper that travels to places like the San Juan Islands. Make it a day and add a Whale and Sealife Search to your trip.
5. Visit the Museum of Flight. Rated the #2 activity in Seattle by Trip Advisor, the Museum of Flight is not to be missed for space explorers and aviation buffs. Celebrate 100 Years of Boeing at this year long special exhibit. Their website has a nice feature that allows you to customize your day based on criteria like age, whether you are a first time visitor, and specific interests such as Space, Commercial Aviation or Military History. A number of specialty tours and experiences are also available for an extra fee.
6. Stroll through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. This place is unique for two reasons: 1) It’s not often that you get to watch salmon swimming upstream, and 2) you can get up close and watch ships both small and large as they pass through some of the busiest locks in the US. The salmon are generally running from June through October. It is also the location of the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden.
7. Head Underground for a Tunnel Tour. For a different view of Seattle, try a Beneath the Streets Tour. The tour covers about 3 city blocks underneath Pioneer Square, with knowledgeable guides sharing history and architectural tidbits along with tales from the past. It’s best to book tickets ahead of time, and is recommended for kids 12 and up.
8. Chihuly Garden and Glass. Showcasing the work of Dale Chihuly, whose work can be found in over 200 museum collections worldwide, this fairly new exhibition includes 8 galleries, an Exhibition Garden, and the famous Glasshouse structure, For added fun, take the monorail from downtown.
9. Ride the Great Wheel. More and more cities are adding an observation wheel attraction, and many people think the views on the Seattle Great Wheel, which stands 175 feet tall, can’t be beat. If the weather is nice, consider taking a ride.
10. Jump off the High Dive at Green Lake. When you are done visiting everything that makes Seattle special, head to Green Lake for the afternoon, especially during the summertime. Kids will love swimming in the lake and jumping off the diving boards, or you can bring a picnic and take a stroll on the 2.8 mile path around the lake.