Families looking for fun and adventure have no shortage of choices when visiting Seattle in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. Nestled in a sea of greenery and waterways pocked with forested islands and surrounded by a rim of mountain ranges, Seattle not only offers stunning natural beauty but an impressive array of activities that will thrill and entice every member of the family.
Spend a Day Exploring the Seattle Center
Seattle Center is an ideal place to start your trip. With lots of exciting options all clustered together in this downtown complex, every member of the family will find something to entertain them. This is where you will find the Space Needle towering 605 feet over the city below. Take the elevator ride 520 feet up to the observation deck where kids and adults alike can enjoy a 360-degree view of the surrounding city and learn the history of this spaceship-inspired marvel.
Right next door is Chihuly Garden and Glass, a dream-come true for the art lover in the family. This collection features the stunningly colorful glass artwork of renowned artist Dale Chihuly. With both indoor and outdoor installations, the exhibits not only mimic nature, but intermingle with it in the ground’s well-landscaped gardens.
The Museum of Pop Culture is a sure-fire way to entertain the whole family. The Marvel Universe of Superheroes exhibit, opening April 20, will showcase 80 years of superhero history. The museum also hosts exhibits featuring Nirvana, Star Trek and Jimi Hendrix, as well as exhibits that display movie memorabilia from classics such as The Wizard of Oz, Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back.
Spend a Day at the Zoo
The Woodland Park Zoo, located just north of downtown, is not only a great way to enjoy the local wildlife but also to enjoy some of that fresh outdoor air Seattle is famous for. Families can spend the day exploring the many exhibits of the zoo that got its start as the personal collection of local resident Guy C. Phinney in the late 1800s. Since then, the collection has grown to include animals from all over the world and offers programs to entertain and educate the whole family. The zoo made headlines last year when Tufani, its female giraffe, gave birth to not-so-little Lulu!
Visit Starbucks — and Grab Some Pizza
Starbucks not only got its start in Seattle but it continues to revolutionize the coffee industry from its home base. In addition to maintaining its original location in Pike Place, Starbucks recently opened a brand-new take on the traditional coffee shop. The 15,000-square-foot Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room is like a factory, science lab and cozy coffee house all rolled into one. Visitors can enjoy their coffee straight or in an alcoholic beverage and the traditional Starbucks menu has been overhauled to include breads, pastries and even focaccia flatbreads baked fresh in-house. Truly a unique experience, it is a must-see for coffee lovers.
This tour is interesting for people of all ages. The aircraft manufacturer, located about 25 miles north of Seattle, opens its doors daily to visitors who want to experience first-hand how these massive marvels of aviation are constructed inside of the world’s largest (by volume) building. The facility produces Boeing’s 747, 777 and 787 Dreamliner models. Tours are wheelchair accessible, allow for service dogs and are even available in American Sign Language with advance ticket purchase.
Take in a Breathtaking View
Wow the whole family with a trip to the 73rd floor of Columbia Center for a visit to the Sky View Observatory. The 360-degree panoramic view from this height is similar to the Space Needle with the exception of an additional 300-plus feet. This towering skyscraper is the tallest building in Seattle and its Sky View Observatory is the tallest viewing area open to the public on the West Coast. It offers stunning views of the entire city, including the iconic Space Needle and Mount Rainier in the distance. The observatory is open daily until 8 p.m. so it is the ideal place to enjoy the sunset over beautiful Elliot Bay.
Insider tip: Pick up a Seattle CityPASS and get admission to five of Seattle’s best attractions. Tickets can save you up to 42 percent off attraction admission and are good for nine days. Purchase your tickets online or at one of several of Seattle’s top attractions, such as the Space Needle or the Seattle Aquarium.
No visit to Seattle would be complete without a visit to the Pike Place Market. This unique waterfront attraction prides itself on being one of the nation’s oldest farmers markets in continuous operation since it opened in 1907. This fascinating street market is packed full of stalls and shops offering everything from fresh flowers to candied salmon. Fresh fishmongers entertain visitors by tossing large fish while artists and craftsmen peddle homemade wares. The first Starbucks is located here, along with any edible creation you may desire from delicious crumpets to homemade piroshki and everything in between. Set aside plenty of time to wander the market because, with nine acres and five floors to explore, everyone in the family will find a stall that thrills them.
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As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
Does your road trip crew include young kids? We’ve been there, too, and know keeping everyone busy and entertained makes those long stretches of interstate much more peaceful.
In the market for new luggage? If you’re outfitting your entire family of travelers, you may want to check out some new offerings available at Target from travel brand Atlantic. Atlantic’s new line focuses on making travel more convenient with kiddos, and includes seven pieces to choose from, all made with durable, lightweight, sustainable materials (each item is made from up to 27 recycled plastic bottles).
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
Norwegian recently launched the newest addition to its fleet, Viva, with a spectacular debut earlier this month. The ship, launched from Trieste, Italy, and finishing its inaugural run in Lisbon, Portugal, is the second in its Prima Class of ships, set to give family travelers the ultimate vacation experience.