Situated on the eastern shore of Puget Sound, Seattle is a bustling port city with numerous attractions suitable for families with kids of all ages.
My two daughters (Christina and Megan) and I spent two days – the day before and after our seven-night Princess Alaskan Cruise – exploring this scenic Washington city overlooking Elliot Bay. We also got great views of Seattle’s beautiful skyline from our ship's balcony as we sailed for Alaska.
Getting to Seattle
From Los Angeles, it’s about a two-and-a-half hour flight to Seattle, WA. Princess booked us at the DoubleTree Hotel by the Sea-Tac Airport. Although initially disappointed we weren’t staying downtown, it worked out just fine. Besides the fact the DoubleTree is a magnificent hotel with many amenities (and Princess shuttled us to the ship the next day), we got a chance to ride the Link Light Rail (about $4 pp round trip) to downtown. The comfortable ride through neighborhoods was just 20 minutes and we caught a great view of Mt. Ranier.
And, while we're talking travel to and from, of course I have to think about what would happen if one of us were were to get sick while thousands of miles away from home. I checked into Medjet, an emergency evacuation membership and their key difference is that they will send you to your hospital of CHOICE and others send you to the nearest hospital. Great for college kids who are miles and miles from home.
Day 1 in Seattle
Pike Place Market
It’s a short walk from the Westlake train station to this iconic landmark in the heart of downtown. First stop: the original Starbucks at 1st and Pike, where the line is always out the door. We perused the nine-acre market (among the oldest in the U.S.), packed with fresh fish, produce, flowers, cheese, ethnic groceries and restaurants. It was July 4, and unfortunately, shops and eateries closed early. But we found a table with a bay view at Lowell’s Restaurant.
Day 2 in Seattle
A week later on an early Saturday morning, our ship (the Golden Princess) docked into port. Princess offers guided tours of Seattle, but we have a friend who lives there and graciously offered to pick us up from the pier. Karin and her two daughters (Syd and Veronica) showed us an insider’s look at Seattle – along with the must-see touristy things, too.
We saved a pretty penny with these CityPasses ($64 adults, $44 kids), which include admission tickets to the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, EMP Museum and many other top attractions.
The 74-acre urban park is home to several attractions and also hosts many outdoor festivals.
The landmark 605-foot Space Needle, built for the 1962 Seattle World Fair, has an observation deck with stunning 360-degree views of the Seattle skyline, Puget Sound and the Cascade and Olympic Mountains.
Pacific Science Center
Our girls, who ranged in age from 15 to 25, enjoyed the various science exhibits, Tropical Butterfly House, Insect Village and Saltwater Tide Pool. The center also has two IMAX theaters.
Seattle Center Monorail
Also built for the 1962 Seattle World Fair, the monorail is a convenient and fun way to travel from the center to downtown. We hopped aboard for the short ride to downtown, where we walked through Pike Place Market to access the waterfront district.
Temperatures were high the day we visited Seattle, but waterfront breezes brought relief. Numerous restaurants in various price ranges and gift shops line the picturesque waterfront. A Seattle native, Karin pointed out curio shops she enjoyed as a child as we considered our lunch options. We decided on Café 56, a casual waterfront eatery serving fish tacos, fish, oysters, chicken, sandwiches and salads. Fortified, we hit the downtown stores.
The girls shopped at places like the two-story Forever 21 and sipped on coffee drinks at another Starbucks in downtown before we headed back to the airport.