Tips for your family while in Seattle
Other things things you should know
Seattle's Visitor Center and Concierge Services have free bookings and reservations for dining, tours, and transportation. Open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Washington State Convention & Trade Center's Upper Pike Street lobby, 7th and Pike streets. 206-461-5800.
- Downtown parking is expensive and is challenging to find. Keep it simple -- walk, ride Metro Buses or take a cab.
- One-way streets and steady construction can cause direction confusion; ask for directions.
- The city's scenic waterfront-area hills are steep. Pack each family member's most comfortable shoes.
- At dusk, avoid historic Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market areas (hangouts for rowdy, alcohol-slugging vagrants).
- During late spring and summer, throngs of visitors and cruise passengers frequent popular spots; arrive early in the morning. Arrange a meeting place if family members get separated.
- Summer air conditioning is scarce, so plan accordingly. November kicks off the cool rainy season. In winter, dusk arrives come late afternoon.
Most top children's attractions are conveniently located near Seattle Center, a 74-acre urban park, including the Space Needle, the modernistic 1962 World's Fair landmark.
Seattle's climate is refreshing from July through September. Pack a light jacket or sweater, but most humidity-free temps range from 50s Fahrenheit to the 80s.
Dressy attire not required. Seattle is casual and laid-back, with layered comfort a fashion standard.
Multiple public parks, with green space for running and hiking (some with beaches) offer kid-friendly places for dissipating energy.
Caught in a downpour? Cool weather? The towering, downtown flagship REI, billed as the world's premier outdoor gear store, has a 65-foot freestanding indoor climbing wall. (Residents typically shun umbrellas).
At Pike Place Information Booth, corner of Pike Street and 1st Avenue, buy half-priced concert and play tickets for day of performance.
While walking downtown, have kids look for Seattle's iconic bronze pigs. Take pictures.
During the winter, rent a car for the day and take the kids skiing. Crystal Mountain has the state's highest vertical drop, along with scenic chairlift rides, hiking trails and biking trails (www.skicrystal.com). Also, the Summit at Snoqualmie has easy accessibility and lessons, both skiing and snowboarding, for adults and kids (www.summitatsnoqualmie.com).
Late fall, winter and spring are Seattle's cool, rainy seasons. Plan to visit art, cultural and historical museums and take advantage of a lively Seattle Children's Theatre scene with seven seasonal productions for kids. With toddlers, visit the Children's Museum.
Save nearly 50 percent on six-attraction tickets with Seattle City Pass (www.citypass.com), available at Seattle Visitor Center & Concierge Services. $39 (kids 4-12); $54 per adult.
A credit card-sized Go Seattle Card (GoSeattleCard.com) offers 20 percent discounts, mini-guides, and a map. Buy one- to seven-day visit passes, starting from $49.99 for a one-day adult card (age 13 +) and $37.99 for a one-day child card (3-12).
Plan picnics after visits to the Pike Place Market area. Fresh fruits, cheese, meats and sweet treat food choices are abundant. Don't miss Beecher's for cheese near the market; kids love the homemade mac and cheese on a cool day.