To be honest when we knew we were going to be visiting Seattle I knew next to NOTHING about the city. The only thing I associated it with was coffee and a space needle. My husband had been traveling out there for work often and said he couldn’t wait to show us this city. I am glad we tagged along on this work trip of his because we had a great time exploring this new city!
Where we Stayed
We stayed in the Residence Inn Seattle Downtown/Lake Union for the 8 nights of our trip out to Seattle. Our family was fortunate enough to have a one bedroom suite which was very convenient for a trip over a week long. The hotel was clean and the staff was friendly. Our room had a full kitchen that we took full advantage of for snacks and some meals for the kids. The room also had a separate bedroom with a king-sized bed, and a pull-out sofa in the main living room. This was a perfect sized room for our family of four. We didn’t spend a ton of time in the hotel but it was great for the kids to spread out and run free! Another perk of choosing this hotel was that it included a free breakfast each day. It was a breakfast buffet that had eggs, toast, fresh fruit, waffles, cereal, and many other yummy breakfast options. We also stocked up on some snacks and other groceries and the Whole Foods which wasn’t too far from the hotel.
Since we were here for over a week I decided that it was easier to pack lighter and take a day or two to do laundry during the trip. Honestly, I dreaded this, especially while dragging two little kids with me. But fortunately, the laundry room was situated right next door to a kid’s playroom which was stocked with some toys for the girls to play with. While waiting for loads to finish washing and drying I watched them play in this closed in play area. Also, right next door was the indoor pool! The Residence Inn was also in a great location since it was right across the street from Lake Union. You could see the lake from our balcony and could constantly hear the sea planes taking off and landing in the water. Also, right outside the hotel entrance was a street car stop which we took advantage of often!
For this trip to visit Seattle we chose to forego the rental car and relied solely on public transportation. In addition, because we had two small children with us we didn’t use cabs or Uber at all. Not bringing car seats with us made life much easier. The only time we would have needed them was the ride to and from airport. We used a car service with car seats for that ride.
Majority of the time we walked places within Seattle. While I will tell you, Seattle is a walk-able city, it does have a lot of extremely steep hills all over the city. For walking I do recommend a good sturdy stroller that is still lightweight and easy to fold. For the most part, we chose walking because it was just nice to explore that way and honestly easier with a stroller anyway. We could easily walk from the South Lake Union area where were staying to downtown Seattle and Queen Anne areas.
Right outside our hotel room was a stop for the street car which connected South Lake Union to the Westlake Center in downtown Seattle. This was by far our favorite way to get around if we didn’t feel like walking – the cars came frequently, were very clean and extremely easy to navigate. Only thing was it only took you a short distance which also happened to be one of our favorite routes to walk anyway. It only cost $2.25 per ride and kids 5 and under are free. A few other great things about the street cars were that we dint have to close the stroller, just took it right on open, they were never packed and the drivers were friendly. Throughout Seattle there are a few other street car routes and according to their website it looks as if there are plans to add more.
I will be honest, buses intimidate me because they always seem so confusing and the numbers and routes are just so overwhelming to me. So, we avoid them as much as possible. But with no other options, we had no choice but to take the bus to three different places we wanted to see, The Museum of Flight, The Woodland Park Zoo and back to hotel from a restaurant up near the University of Washington. Somehow, we figured out what bus to get on and made it to our destinations thanks to google maps and pretending to know how to read some signs. The buses weren’t very busy for most of our experiences on them and we were always able to find a seat. I did struggle figuring out which bus to take from the Fremont area back to South Lake Union and because it was around 5pm we just gave up and walked back. It was a long walk but it was really nice and worth it.
The last type of transportation we used was the monorail ride. We only took this from Westlake Center to Seattle Center. We only took this once just for fun but it was cheap and easy ride if you didn’t w ant to walk that distance between the two locations.
Check out my review on the Seattle City Pass where we took full advantage and used the city pass for everything it is worth.
I wasn’t sure how much my two young daughters would enjoy the Museum of Flight. Therefore, we saved it for one of the last days as a thing to do if we had nothing better. Wow was I wrong – they LOVED this museum. Now no, we weren’t reading all the information or learning much, but there is almost nothing cooler than seeing all different types of real airplanes. There is also nothing cooler than getting to go INSIDE of actual airplanes. I think this place would be a totally different experience if you wanted to learn a ton about the history of airplanes. But, for my 1 and 5-year-old they enjoyed the sights and interactive experiences that were offered here. I would love to go back when they are older though.
This was a Ferris wheel ride offering great views of Seattle.
Free Things to See & Do
This statue of at giant troll is located under an overpass in Fremont. We were able to walk to it from the Woodland Park Zoo (1.5 miles) and probably spent no more than 15 minutes taking pictures and climbing on it.
Located in Queen Anne, Kerry Park is a small park that offers amazing views of Seattle and Mount Rainier. We walked from South Lake Union area up to the park and it wasn’t an easy walk because it was up steep hills. It was worth it in the end and luckily downhill on the way back. There is also a small playground at Kerry Park. My kids loved taking a break from the walking and riding in the stroller to play for a little.
We spent a good amount of time at Lake Union mostly because our hotel was right near the lake. The water is super clean and my girls enjoyed wading in the water playing with the smooth rocks. We also loved looking at the house boats and watching the sea planes take off and land in the water all day long. Near the park on the south end there is a museum, some restaurants, and a fountain park that my kids liked to run through to get wet in. On the north end you can find Gas Works Park.
There are many things to see at the Pike Place Market, although it was awfully busy when we were exploring. My two daughters liked to watch them throw the fish back and forth at the fish market. There are tons of yummy places to get food around here and we also made sure to grab fresh fruit from the farmers market. We still talk about the peaches we got from the market. In Pike Place Market, you can also find the first Starbucks, which is impossible to get into unless you wait on the line. If I had any reason to I would also have bought some of the beautiful flowers for so cheap at the market as well. Don’t forget to put some money in the big brass piggy bank right in front of Pike Place Market.
Tucked sort of behind Pike Place Market is an alleyway with walls that are full of peoples old chewing gum. That’s pretty much all I have to say about that… LOL
Located in Seattle Center this giant fountain is synced up to music. Perfect place to relax by the water or run through and get wet.
We tend to eat a lot of ice cream when we are on a vacation. Molly Moon’s did not disappoint. Be prepared to wait on a line but it moves quickly and it is worth the wait. We went to 2 different locations in Seattle – both were awesome!
We went here with a big group of friends and it was one of my first times having dim sum. The place was packed, and it was only a Tuesday night. We waited a while for a seat large enough to fit our big group. Once seated service was great and the food came out quick and was super fresh. We haven’t found dim sum nearly as good on the east coast yet. Even my girls loved it and tried new things.
This was a quirky little diner style restaurant that my girls enjoyed – mostly because of the milkshakes! We tried this one because of the high reviews and the proximity to South Lake Union area.
We came here twice for two different experiences. First time we just got pizza and a root beer float which were so tasty! The second time we had brunch and I wasn’t looking forward to it because I am not a biscuit person. But still decided that I would try one of the biscuit sandwiches and I am sure glad I did. Delicious. Glad we experienced the pie and the biscuit here 😉
Dukes was located right on Lake Union right across from our hotel room. We also ate here two times because it was very convenient and also the food was excellent. My favorite part was getting to watch the sea planes fly over our heads repeatedly as they landed on Lake Union.
We came here for brunch one morning to fuel up for our walk up to Kerry Park. The food was so fresh and the restaurant was very charming!