Seattle is quickly becoming one of the fasted growing cities in the U.S. While this is largely fueled by the dominating tech ecosystem, there are a myriad of reasons families enjoy visiting and residing in the Emerald City. From paragliding simulation experiences in the Museum of Flight, to soaring views of the city skyline in the Great Wheel, this Coffee Capital is home to adventures you and your kids won’t quickly forget. Take your family bonding time to the next level with these exciting Seattle staples.

Center for Wooden Boats

The Center for Wooden Boats

Just a short, 12-minute walk away from Level Seattle, you will stumble upon a City-designated landmark dedicated to preserving and documenting the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest area. The Center encourages free, one-hour rentals in their peapod rowboats. They also offer charter cruises, sailing lessons and a fleet of rental boats including classic wooden sailboats, canoes, kayaks, SUPs and more. The Center for Wooden Boats is open Wednesday through Sunday all year, except for a 3-week winter holiday closure. Be sure to check the website for seasonal exhibit and livery hours.

Seattle Great Wheel

seattle great wheel

One of the most popular sites since its 2012 opening, the Seattle Great Wheel attracts thousands of visitors and families to its waterfront location on Pier 57 each year. The 175-foot-tall structure is the largest Ferris wheel on the West Coast and is covered in more than 500,000 LED lights. In addition to its climate-controlled gondolas and bird's-eye view of the city's landmarks, families also can enjoy colorful light show displays that usually run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Each gondola holds up to eight adults and it is also wheelchair accessible.

The Seattle Aquarium

Photo via The Seattle Times

The family fun continues a 2-minute walk from the Seattle Great Wheel at this next exciting location on Pier 59. The Seattle Aquarium has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and features salmon, colorful rockfish, vibrant sea anemones, along with other native Washington marine life. The 120,000-gallon aquarium also has two touching tide pools, and underwater dome and a pacific coral reef exhibit. The aquarium promotes marine conservation and educates over 800,000 visitors each year. It is open daily from 9:30am through 6pm, with last entry at 5pm.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Open year-round, this Seattle staple is located directly next to the iconic Space Needle, featuring vibrant influences from the artist Dale Chihuly. Dale’s work is displayed in more than 200 museums worldwide and has been the recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the arts, in addition to twelve honorary doctorates. This whimsical, kid-friendly Exhibition highlights an expansive 100-foot-long sculpture in a color palette of reds, oranges, yellows and ambers. Families can also enjoy full-service dining in the adjoining Collections Café, which takes reservations ahead of time.

The Museum of Flight

Museum of Flight

Travel through time and space in the largest independent, non-profit air and space museum in the world. You can find more than 175 aircraft and spacecraft displays, in addition to tens of thousands of artifacts, rare photographs and experiences. Kids can test their piloting skills while strapped into flight harnesses in one of two hand gliding simulators. Younger children may also taxi by a mini-air traffic control tower on a soft runway floor mural. The Museum of Flight is open daily from 10am through 5pm.

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