Visiting Seattle is an adventure any day of the year. Getting to see some of Seattle’s greatest attractions is something your family will never forget! Recently, our family used Seattle CityPASS to see seven of the most sought after stops in the city. MANY of these can be done in the same day. Bring a sack lunch or swing by a local food truck to make sure you and your family are fueled for a full day(s) of fun!
What is a CityPASS?
CityPASS is a handheld booklet filled with coupons and tickets to seven hot attractions in the city. Each attraction was specifically picked for the program to enhance your experience at an unmatched value. In nine consecutive days, you have access to a handful of local attractions in your CityPASS booklet. Starting on your day of purchase, you can visit each attraction in any order that you choose. (We will share what we found to be easiest to see multiple locations in one day!)
Spend less and experience more with CityPASS
Why opt for a CityPASS instead of seeing Seattle on your own watch and dime? The truth is, the CityPASS’s goal was to give everyone the opportunity to spend less and experience more. To spend less time researching and digging through brochures, and quit worrying about what will work for kids in different phases. Instead, to feel confident in their plan without second guessing, and gain more time connecting instead of directing a group in the city. With all the hype that CityPASS gets, you’d expect their sticker price to be astronomical. Luckily, this isn’t the case. Each Seattle CityPASS ticket saves travelers 46% or more on combined admission to Seattle’s top attractions. You’ll see your CityPASS pay off in the first three to four visits.
Explore the City with a Plan
We opted to drive up and explore the city in three different “time blocks.” Many of the attractions are in walking distance of each other and make it easy to hit multiple stops in one day! We will give you the scoop on what worked for our family and hopefully that will simplify your trip to Seattle with (or without!) the kids.
Seattle Space Needle
First things first, one of the things we learned at the gate while using our CityPASSes at the Space Needle was that you get TWO visits included to ride up to the top! (One during the day and one at night.) Our recommendation would be to start your day early at the Needle. Get there when they open and soak in the morning views. It might sound scary to let your toddler “toddle” around the Needle, but it actually is one of the best places to let your kids roam! Every floor of the Space Needle is completely safe, so instead of worrying about their safety, you’ll just have to work on keeping a brave face (if you’re afraid of heights!)
You have to leave your stroller at the bottom, so pack a backpack full of snacks and treats to enjoy and encourage the kids to sit still (for a second!) so you can enjoy the view! If you’re bringing an infant with you, bring along your favorite baby carrier so you can be hands free. The Space Needle has snacks and food available for purchase at the top, and CityPASS has a coupon for the gift shop inside. A recent addition to the Space Needle experience is their virtual reality bungee jumping down in the gift shop. Its free, but I definitely recommend doing it AFTER you’ve taken the elevator down from the top!
Chihuly Garden and Glass OR Pacific Science Center
Seattle’s CityPASS gives you the option to choose between the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit OR the Pacific Science Center. We opted to visit both to share our experience, but in all honesty we will share what works best for different age groups! If you’re visiting the city and don’t want to miss an attraction, inside your CityPASS are coupons to make your visit more affordable. (Both are at the base of the Space Needle so you can save time and money on your day in the city too!)
Chihuly Garden and Glass
Right next to the Space Needle, Chihuly’s Garden and Glass exhibit is a beautiful spot in the middle of downtown. You feel like you’re in a whole other world because the indoor and outdoor glass sculptures, flowers, plants and treasures created by Dale Chihuly feel whimsical and enchanting.
The exhibit has done a great job of keeping the glass directly out of arms reach (which was a relief with a busy three year old!) In our honest opinion, it is the perfect place for a date with your loved one, to enjoy with your older kids while reading Dale Chihuly’s history and inspiration, or to enjoy solo while your baby sleeps soundly in a carrier or being pushed in the stroller along the way.
The Pacific Science Center
The Pacific Science Center is a complete 180 experience from the Chihuly exhibit. Depending on which day of the week that you visit, the Pacific Science Center is a hot spot for school field trips and fun family days. It is the place you go to let the kids be KIDS! From prehistoric dinosaur exhibits, to virtual reality and outer space, the Pacific Science Center’s ideal audience is kids of all ages or adults ready to play like kids!
The Science Center has a total of 20 exhibits to keep your family engaged and entertained. They even have a TOTS exhibit if you’re worried your crawler/toddler won’t have anything to do! Truthfully, you could spend an entire day just at this stop alone, so start early if you want to hit a few stops in one day. Bring lunch and camp out, or buy tickets to an IMAX movie to break up the day and kick up your feet and enjoy some R&R. The Pacific Science Center’s IMAX movie theater shows different movies throughout the day.
Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) OR Woodland Park Zoo
Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)
If you’re wanting to continue with your epic downtown Seattle Center day, hit the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) last! Just like Chihuly and the Science Center, Seattle’s CityPASS gives you the option to choose between the MoPOP or the Woodland Park Zoo. We’d never visited the MoPOP before so this was a completely new experience for us- but WOW it was worth the wait! Head to the MoPOP and explore “some of the most significant moments in rock music, science fiction and pop culture with hands-on experiences, iconic artifacts and award-winning exhibits featuring music, literature, television, and video games.”
The Fantasy and Music exhibits were my kid’s favorite stops. When you enter into the Fantasy exhibit you are welcomed with iconic pieces from the Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, Zorro and Narnia. It was exiting and shocking for all of my boys to see pieces from the actual movies right in front of them. The music exhibit was fun because it stirred up their creative instincts and encouraged all of my kids to work together. In part of the music exhibit you can learn to play guitar, drums, and keyboard in different sound proof booths. The best part was, you can connect them all to make your own band. In our case, our very own boy band! I definitely recommend checking out the MoPOP if you haven’t before. There is a lot to see and explore for families and kids of all ages, and if you’re like us, to try a new place maybe you wouldn’t have thought of without your CityPASS.
Woodland Park Zoo
The Woodland Park Zoo is a Seattle staple. Their mission is to save wildlife and inspire everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives. What a cool lesson for kids to learn, right? We have been visiting the Woodland Park Zoo since my nine-year-old was a tiny baby! After almost a decade of visiting and enjoying Seattle’s home zoo, there is still always something new being dreamt up to keep interests high. The zoo welcomes visitors to join in and enjoy feeding and volunteer experiences to connect with the wildlife. One of our favorite things to do at the Woodland Park Zoo is feed the giraffes! Its always a hightlight – but its seasonal. (Check which feeding experiences are available when you arrive.)
We save the indoor Zoomazium as a final reward for our kids at the end of a long day. Inside you can kick back and watch the kids climb inside a three-story tree house, build puzzles and craft, or let your toddlers and crawlers hop inside the TOT-friendly area separate from the big kids. The Woodland Park Zoo is so big that is it nearly impossible to add the zoo to another stop on your bucket list on the same day. In our opinion, carve out a day just for the zoo and let your kids lead the way!
Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour
Carve out a day at the waterfront and start with Argosy Cruises and the Harbor Tour! This was the highlight of our week! Our family has visited the Seattle waterfront many times, but NEVER have we been out on the water. Seattle’s CityPASS helped us financially make it work to take a family of six. Surprisingly when we got to the ticketing booth we actually found out that most of Arogsy Cruises sales are based off of sales directly through CityPASS!
The Harbor Cruise was unlike any other experience on the list of CityPASS attractions. As you walk aboard the boat, you are greeted by their friendly staff who are ready to help load your stroller and direct you where to experience the tour depending on your needs and the group you are traveling with. You can hang down below and watch the views go by through large bay windows, find a table on the middle deck and head outside to enjoy the breeze, or climb up top and find a seat in the sunshine and enjoy 360 degree views of the water and Seattle sightseeing as your tour guide shares history and facts about our favorite city.
The Harbor Cruise is only an hour long and its packed with amazing views and sightseeing. If you’re from the Seattle area or are traveling in from out of town, I would definitely recommend adding Argosy Cruises to your bucket list and splurging for a CityPASS to get the best bang for your buck!
The Seattle Aquarium is one of our favorite stops on the waterfront. Down past Argosy Cruises and the Great Wheel (also a must do!) the Seattle Aquarium welcomes families and friends any day of the week. We wrapped up our CityPASS visits at the aquarium with our Argosy Cruises stop as an epic day on the waterfront. It’s great to be downtown in the city but it’s even better to smell the fresh sea breeze! The Seattle indoor and outdoor aquarium gives you those great sightseeing views of Seattle and also welcomes you to spend time with some beautiful wildlife beneath the sea!
The aquarium really has thought of everything. They have a huge glass wall aquarium right as you enter that sets the stage for the tone of your visit. Around every corner is an opportunity for learning or play! They have a full room of touch and feel tide pools, kiddy activities for toddlers, a prek (or older) dress up area, and different exhibits full of wildlife!
My kids loved the underground aquarium that hosts many large species of fish! They do a feeding every day at 1 PM that is fun to come watch! You can listen to their guided tours and talks or roam around the aquarium and soak it all in at your own pace. I’ve been by myself with girlfriends and our babies, and I’ve also been with our big kids as a large family affair. I can honestly say the Seattle Aquarium welcomes all different types of groups and serves everyone equally! They really hit the nail on the head by getting looped in with the CityPASS deal.
Summer is for Seattle CityPASS
Summer is officially here and families are busy in the city! As school wraps up and schedules open wide, I can’t express enough how valuable a CityPASS can be for your family! If you’re from Seattle or planning a trip to the city, make CityPASS part of your summer plans!
This post was produced in partnership with Teeter Totter Mom.
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