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Create New Family Memories

Seattle staycations are a great chance to get the kids (and the parents) out and about.

Presented by Visit Seattle By Ben McBee April 14, 2021

Masking up for a day of family fun

After more than a year attending school virtually and missing out on sleepovers with their friends, the kids need something exciting to look forward to. They deserve it, and so do you. With Covid-19 travel restrictions and everyone’s busy schedules, a Seattle staycation is the ideal way to safely enjoy family bonding, outside the confines of the house. No one has to miss work; just pick a weekend, mask up, and give these activities a try.

Home away from home

Sometimes what kids remember more than anything from a vacation is the hotel, and these lodging options are both memorable and comfortable. Centrally located, The Westin Seattle will dazzle even teenagers with views of the big-city lights, and Four Seasons Hotel Seattle has a rooftop infinity pool that opens in June. Belltown’s Residence Inn Seattle Downtown/Convention Center has suites with kitchens, an indoor pool, and complimentary breakfast—a perfect place to nest with younger children. The Maxwell Hotel at Seattle Center has amenities for all ages, including a pool, beach cruisers for rent, plus pineapple-inspired beverages and bites. It’s dog-friendly, too, so the family pooch can join the fun. After a good night’s sleep, you’ll be ready to see the city with fresh eyes and an open mindset.

Downtown discovery

Downtown treasures like the Seattle Aquarium (open with timed ticketing and limited attendance), The Seattle Great Wheel (each group gets its own cabin), and Pike Place Market never get old.

Pike Place Market

Spend some time supporting local businesses at the Market. The cards, juggling equipment, yo-yos, joke books, and gags at Market Magic Shop, the Pacific Northwest’s longest-running magic store, will provide equally lengthy hours of entertainment. Golden Age Collectables is a comic fan’s dream, and though there aren’t enough words to describe Orange Dracula 5 & 10, the wacky dime store is good for gifts and laughs for the adolescent in your life.

Next, stick close by the Market to forage for sweet treats at Daily Dozen Doughnut Company, Ellenos Yogurt, or Crêpe de France. Gazing through the window at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese’s swirling vat of gooey goodness will also probably work up your appetite. You could either grab a lunch of mac and cheese, soups, and sandwiches there, or indulge in a piping hot bowl over at Pike Place Chowder.

Pike Place Chowder

When was the last time you rode the Monorail? Hop on for a ride above the city to the Seattle Center. MoPOP, with its exhibits that appeal to a variety of ages, is open with reduced capacity, so advanced tickets are recommended, especially if you want to catch the upcoming exhibit Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume in October.

The Seattle Monorail connects Seattle Center and Downtown.

End the day with dinner in Lower Queen Anne. Share a slice on the patio at Coltiva Pizzeria, or take a pie across the pedestrian bridge to Myrtle Edwards Park on the waterfront. Stella Deli and Market also has kid-friendly to-go bites, such as corn dogs and sandwiches.

Westside wanderings

For some adventure across the bay, use the King County Water Taxi, which departs from Pier 50 and drops you off at Seacrest Park. When sustenance is required, go to Salty’s for unrivaled fish and chips and skyline vistas on their deck. Yummy Hawaiian-Korean fusion fare and outdoor seating await at Marination Ma Kai. Carry out bagel sandwiches at Unwind Café for another convenient option.

Marination Ma Kai

A short climb to Hamilton Viewpoint Park, or a slightly longer trek around the point, offers plenty of scenery (and a chance to burn off some energy). If you take the latter route, you’re in for a beach day at Alki Beach, where you can rent a double surrey or other specialty cycles at Wheel Fun Rentals, fly a kite, see who can build the biggest sandcastle, or venture further to Constellation Park and search for critters in its many tide pools.

Bike rentals are a great way to explore Seattle's neighborhoods and natural beauty.

If you have a car, drive over to the Seattle Chinese Garden, a beautiful yet lesser-known attraction, which honors the sister-city relationship between Seattle and Chongqing. Admission is free, so spend the afternoon on a self-guided tour, learning about a different culture as a family. Afterwards, keep the sense of globe-trotting going with a visit to Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant for authentic empanadas and tres leches cake.

Navigate a new neck of the woods

There’s no shortage of family fun in the many neighborhoods north of Downtown. For a new way of seeing the world, try Geocaching, the all-ages-friendly scavenger hunt navigated from your smartphone; follow a riddle-driven tour of Fremont that involves looking for “troll droppings” and other curiously stashed items. Your sleuthing skills will also come in handy while searching for good finds at the Fremont Sunday Market. In the spirit of uncovering hidden treasures, exploring Burke Museum’s paleontology exhibit is a logical next step.

Burke Museum

Not far from there, the Edith Macefield House, which served as the inspiration for the animated classic Up, is a must for any Pixar superfans. Snap a photo and share the moving story of how the owner refused a commercial real estate developer’s offer of $1 million for her property. Then, make reservations to let the kids literally climb the walls at the Seattle Bouldering Project. At cozy cat café Seattle Meowtropolitan, you can snuggle friendly felines, socially distanced from other humans, or challenge much bigger kitties (tigers, lions, and ocelots) to a staring contest at the Woodland Park Zoo, where designated entry times are in place. When you need to shift to a lower gear, take time to sniff the vibrant blooms in the Woodland Park Rose Garden.

Woodland Park Zoo

Though not quite as aromatic, it’s hard to argue that watching the garbage company pick up your trash isn’t one of life’s simple pleasures, especially if you’re between the ages of 3 and 5. At the North Transfer Station’s kid-approved J.P. Patches Viewing Room, it’s entertainment on a grand scale—the fascinating mess in motion will captivate your tykes for hours (face coverings and social distancing required).

No matter which path you take, it’s important to follow government Covid-19 health guidelines and check in with each business about their individual policies and hours.

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