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21 Free or affordable things to do in Seattle with kids

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rainbow seattle center international fountain @funfrugaladventures

Looking to get out and explore Seattle and its surrounding areas with your kiddos?

There are endless things to do for free or cheap that your family will absolutely love. From outdoor activities like hikes (kid friendly of course) to family friendly activities like the Seattle center. 

I was born and raised in Seattle, and was fortunate to have parents that made sure that I explored the city. Now that I have two little ones and I am always on the hunt for budget friendly family activities to do in and around Seattle.

Here is the inside scoop on fun things to do with your kids in Seattle the budget friendly way. 

So grab your coffee, pen or phone and Let’s get started!

free things to do with kids

1.Seattle Center

Seattle Center was one of my favorite places to go as a kid, and now that I have kids of my own, it is still one of my favorite places to go. Yes, Seattle Center is “touristy” however it is super fun for kids and adults.

One of the great things about the Seattle Center is that you don’t have to spend money and your kids will still have a ton of fun. 

And I’m going to tell you how.

There are tons of things to do here including the famous Space needle, Artist at Play playground, Music of pop museum, Children’s Museum, International fountain (basically the biggest splash pad, ever lol), Pacific Science Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass museum, and more.

Free things to do at Seattle Center 

  • International Fountain 
  • Artist at Play Playground 
  • Skate Park 
  • Gardens and open grass areas.
  • as Seattle Center events, like movies, plays and more at the mural amphitheater. Check out seattle center event calendar, you can also filter the events to find what you’re interested in quickly. 

Tip – Pack a lunch and snacks, so that you do not have to spend money on food court food. You can even set up a little picnic in the grass area.

Tip- You can save money with parking by not parking in the Seattle center garages. Simply drive around the Center and park on the side streets. Go early and on a weekday if possible to find free or meter parking. The meter parking was around $5-$7 for about 5 hrs, which is way cheaper that garage parking.

2. Alki Beach 

If you love relaxing at the beach, then Alki Beach is the place to go. This beach has lots of fun things to do for families from volleyball to swimming and yummy foods to try like Salty’s on Alki Beach.

3. Lake Washington

Lake Washington is a local favorite and has been one of my go to places for years. Listening to the calming waters and taking a stroll down the trails by the water is one of the most relaxing and fun things to do in Seattle. 

There are multiple access points and if you visit in August you may be able to catch the blue angels show (cool, fast jets flying in the sky) during the Boeing sea fair. 

4. Pike Place Market 

This market is free to visit and features a variety of fresh foods to explore. This is also where the famous” fish flipping” happens in the center of the market, which is super fun to watch for kids and adults. You can also visit the very first Starbucks located right across from the market entrance and purchase unique cups that you can not get anywhere else. 

  Visit one of Seattle’s Awesome Parks  

5. Greenlake park

At Greenlake you will for sure find fun things to do for your family. There is a 2.8 mile paved walkway that goes all the way around the lake, that you can walk, skate or bike ride around. 

Things to do at Greenlake 

  • Take a walk around the lake 
  • Swimming (in the lake and also a small wading pool)
  • Rent a bike 
  • Rent a kayak, boats, pedal boats and more.
  • Have a picnic 
  • Play basketball
  • Play at the playground 
  • Play baseball or soccer 
  • Skate at the skatepark

6.Gas Works Park 

Gas Works Park is a unique park that was an old Seattle gasification plant. Pretty cool right!

This park is 19.1 acres and has plenty of open space for the kiddos to run and play.

7. Kerry Park

If you’re looking for the perfect view of Seattle, then this is it. Kerry Park is a small park just outside of downtown that you can get a clear view of the Seattle skyline. You can capture stunning photos here and your kiddos can let out some energy and play. 

More Fun things to do in Seattle with kids 

8. Visit Mt. Rainier 

Wanting to explore the great outdoors! With beautiful views, the Silver falls and short trails that are perfect for hiking with kids, Mt. Rainier is a perfect outing. I absolutely love hiking with my kiddos, not only is it a great learning experience but it is also a fun bonding experience. 

9. Seattle Aquarium 

Jellyfish, octopus, sea otters and a lot more to discover here at the Seattle Aquarium. If you have kiddos that love fish and sea animals, this is an awesome place to take them. The Seattle Aquarium also has a new expansion coming soon is the ocean pavilion that is scheduled to open in 2024. 

10. Ride the monorail 

The monorail goes from downtown Westlake Center to the Seattle Center and can be an exciting experience for kids. There are also more monorail locations being built, so I’m excited to see it expand in the future. 

11.Woodland Park Zoo

You can never go wrong with a zoo outing! Tigers, bears, bats, giraffes, and more…Going to the zoo is a great choice for a fun day and educational too! Learn More about woodland park zoo

12.Ride the Seattle Great Wheel 

Have a view of Seattle from the Seattle Great Wheel located near the Seattle aquarium. You can go here during the day or at night and enjoy the city lights. 

13. Whale Watching 

Whale watching is super fun! For a fee you can go on whale watching tours and check out the whales in their natural habitat. This will for sure be an unforgettable experience. Learn More. 

14. Seattle Center 

This is a tourist favorite and to be honest it was my favorite as a kid and now that I have kids of my own we love coming here when I go back home to Seattle to visit. The Seattle Center has so much to offer from the museum of pop, Chihuly garden and glass museum, the famous space needle, playgrounds, Pacific Science Center, the International fountain, and so much more. 

Check out our post on things to do at Seattle Center and we even have some free things to do as well.

15.Take a tour 

There are tons of amazing tours in Seattle that even I am looking to experience next time I visit like the doughnut tour, the pike place chef tour, or the Seattle harbor cruise. Some of these tours are very reasonable prices as well like the cruise tour is only $43 per person. Learn More
Tours and activities: Reserve now and pay later.

16. Museum of Flight 

If you have kiddos that love airplanes or if you love airplanes the Museum of Flight is a super exciting outing. You can take a tour of the coolest airplanes, check out the museum store and even have private events here. There is also a kids art and flight area that is more fun for the kiddos to enjoy. 

Free and cheap things to do near Seattle

17.Wild Waves Theme and Water Park 

For many locals, Wild Waves is the place to go in the summer. From Rides to games, water rides, wave pools and more. We have been here many times and my kids absolutely love going here. 

18.Children Museum of Tacoma  

Tacoma Children’s Museum is a free museum in downtown Tacoma and is about 30-40 minutes away from Seattle with no traffic. Although the museum is free, they do encourage you to donate any amount that you would like to give when you enter. 

19.Bellevue botanical garden 

The Bellevue Botanical Garden is free to enter and is a fun nature walk. This garden features beautiful flowers, shrubs, a Japanese Yao garden, and even a cute little coffee shop. Check out these beautiful photos of the garden!

20.Ruston Way Waterfront

Located in Tacoma, WA Ruston way waterfront is a beautiful community with a movie theater, splash park, beautiful views of the lake, shops and lots of tasty food options to eat. You can also walk along the trails or have a picnic at one of the picnic tables right next to the lake. Ruston way is a 30 minute drive from SEA airport  Here is my review of Ruston Way and more photos here!

21. Snoqualmie falls 

Snoqualmie falls is a 268 foot amazing waterfall that you can enjoy with your family. You can walk the trails and explore the great outdoors. There is an option to  drive to have a view from the bottom of the falls or you can hike up to have a view from the top of the fall. Snoqualmie falls is a 50 minute drive from SEA airport and is well worth it. 

Check out things to do and tours at the Snoqualmie falls!

what to eat @funfrugaladventures

Can’t miss foods to try in Seattle

  • The crab pot on the pier 
  • Ivars
  • Catfish corner 
  • Ice cream place 
  • Molly Moon’s ice cream
  • Matcha man ice cream and taiyaki
  • Pecos pit bbq 
  • Wood shop bbq 
  • Simply thai 

These are just a few notable mentions of the amazing foods that you can try in Seattle, however there are sooo much more amazing finds. If you have a Seattle favorite let us know in the comment section at the end of this post. We would love to hear all about it! 

Where to stay in Seattle 

I love finding hotels that will make things go smoothly while traveling with kids. So I created a list of hotels in Seattle that are family friendly. 

Downtown Seattle 

Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square  – I love a good Hilton hotel and this one is a great choice. With free hot breakfast, swimming pool and suites. When traveling with family having a suites gives us parents a chance to have a little alone time 😉.

Residence Inn Downtown/Lake Union  – Free breakfast, an indoor pool, rooms with a kitchenette, and beautiful views. 

Silver Cloud hotel Seattle Stadium – If you plan on going to a game at the T-Mobile stadium, which is where the football and baseball games are, then this is the best location. With free internet and an outdoor pool, and great views this hotel is a great option for your visit to Seattle . 

Luxury 

Seattle Marriott Waterfront – This hotel is definitely on my list of hotels to stay. This hotel is right on the waterfront near the pike place market, Seattle Aquarium, the famous gum wall and more. Plus they have free internet and an indoor/outdoor swimming pool. 

Four Seasons Hotel Seattle – If you would like to splurge on this trip the four seasons is a great option. The view of Seattle alone will make you want to stay here. This hotel is located near the Seattle art museum, Seattle Aquarium, and the pike place market. The four seasons also offer free wi-fi and a beautiful swimming pool. 

Tip: If you would like to visit other areas of Washington state. Like Wild Waves amusement park or Mt. Rainier. When visiting Seattle I would suggest staying near the airport, this will put you in a great location. 

Hotels Near the Seattle/ Tacoma (sea) airport 

Doubletree by hilton – Childcare services, kids club area, and free wi-fi. 

Hampton Inn by Hilton and Suites Seattle Airport – free breakfast, swimming pool. 

Country inn and suites by Radisson Seattle Airport – free breakfast , indoor pool.  

What to pack when headed to Seattle 

When visiting Seattle you want to be prepared for any weather and having a packable rain jacket for the kiddos and a raincoat for you is a must. Also you may want to pack a swimsuit, with kids a pool is a must whether you are visiting in the hot summer or winter. And yes Seattle does get hot during the summer. So don’t forget to pack shorts and sun hats if visiting in the summer. 

Okay guys, I hope this article inspired you to get out there and explore Seattle. I know that you will love it just as much as I do. There are so many more things to do in Seattle with the whole family. If there are any other Seattle family friendly activities that you love, feel free to leave a comment below and share it with our readers. 

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What are you looking forward to seeing at Seattle Center?

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things to do in seattle with kids
Things to do in seattle with kids

Looking for more things to do in Seattle and its surrounding areas?

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