Bursting Onto The Seattle Scene – Family Style

I loved reading through all of your comments on my recent giveaway post. It was great to learn what kinds of posts you all enjoy reading and what kinds of posts you want more of. One request that came up a lot was trip planning, which is convenient because I love trip planning and I am going to do it anyway, complete with plastic-sleeved binders, coupons, and maps (I love how Schmerj requested pix of my binders – I will try to include some soon!).

So…Seattle. We’re going to Seattle. And I guess this is turning into a series of posts:

  1. You can read the nuts and bolts of my travel plan here (air, hotel, car rental).
  2. Today’s post is about all the fun stuff we’re going to do once we burst onto the scene.
  3. A future post will detail restaurants we’re planning on trying (my kids are old enough to be foodies, too).
  4. Of course I will share how the trip really went down.
  5. I might even have more to say.

When I plan a trip to a new city, the way I find fun and interesting things to do is a multi-step process. My family’s travel style is active, offbeat, and adventurous, so I am always looking for things that fall into those categories. We don’t care if we see all of the major landmarks, but it’s fun to see one or two. We don’t like crowds. We do like to try local food. The people in my family who are under 5 feet tall can’t handle a lot of boring talking or sitting.

I usually search online for “Fun/Cool Things To Do In (Name Of City).” I also look on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Flyertalk for suggestions. Of course I ask friends. And I cruise Groupon – I’ve found some very fun activities there.

While I have kids, I am not one of those parents who thinks that family trips should be completely child-focused. Do something for everyone, man! However, I always ask my family what they want to do at our destination, and I weave in a little of what each person is hoping for. Including me.

So far here’s what’s on our list:

  1. Walk around Capitol Hill and see if the house that mommy and daddy rented when they were first married has fallen down yet. It was well on its way to collapse over a dozen years ago…is it still there?
  2. Zip up to the top of the Space Needle.
  3. Visit the Gum Wall at Pike Place Market
  4. Watch people throw fish at Pike Place market
  5. Enjoy the EMP Museum (Music, Sci-Fi, and Pop Culture).
  6. Ride the Ducks of Seattle – UPDATE – this sounds too over-the-top touristy for us!!!
  7. Rent a rowboat from the Center For Wooden Boats and paddle around Lake Union
  8. Consignment shopping and cocktails (where there’s a will, there’s a way)
  9. Go for a hike somewhere outside the city – so beautiful!
  10. Visit Chihuly Garden and Glass

What’s missing? If you are a regular reader, you will notice that I didn’t include Hot Tub Boats! Why? Turns out they are SUPER expensive to rent ($160/hour, 2 hour minimum). Also, supposedly they don’t get very hot. So I’m nixing that idea.

For about 5 minutes, I thought it would be a good idea to purchase Seattle City Passes. For $74/adult and $49/kid, you get admission to 6 hot-ticket attractions.

Looks fun, doesn't it?

Looks fun, doesn’t it?

I even found a deal at Costco for $68/adult and $45/kid. However, I decided not to do it because I did the math and learned that the a la carte price for the things we wanted to do was less than I thought it would be, while the package included things we didn’t necessarily want to do. So that was a good reminder to price everything out before you make a final decision.

Things that have not made it on to the list, but that various members of my family would like to do include:

  1. Glassblowing. Totally random, I know. But there is a backstory: some very good family friends of ours just got back from Seattle with their 3 kids. When I asked the kids what their favorite thing to do was, they said that they LOVED making ornaments at a glassblowing studio. It sounded fantastic, until their mom disclosed that the price tag was astronomical – $120 per kid!! Gulp. I agree that my kids would love it, but for $240, they will have to sit this one out.
  2. Josh wants to take a ferry to some faraway island. Must admit I wasn’t really listening.
  3. Walking food tour. I am actually the one who really wants to do this, but I don’t think my 8-year-old son could handle it yet. Next time.

Anyway, once I have my list finalized, I do 3 things:

  1. I always check online to see if I can find any discounts or Groupons.
  2. I usually pre-purchase my tickets because normally it is less expensive that way.
  3. If possible, I make reservations in advance, which is a huge time-saver.

And then I create my binder! (Schmerj, I promise I won’t let you down).

And of course, if any of you have Seattle tips for me, I would love to hear them. Seattle, here we come!



  1. Oh I loooove Seattle. Had an amazing few days there in November that were sunny and didn’t rain. I’m itching to return. We did the Savor Seattle food tour of Pike Place. It would allow your kiddos to toss the fish themselves and sample lots of food. It’s laid back and kid friendly. I got tickets 50 percent off on Groupon. We did the Pioneer Square underground tour, which is definitely offbeat. Nearby the free Klondike Gold Rush museum is awesome and very interactive for kids. We did the glass museum. It’s very cool but soooo overpriced. It only takes like an hour tops and cost was $40 for two adults. It could make the pass worthwhile. We took the ferry to Bainbridge I believe. It was the perfect length and the town was a cute place to grab lunch. We also took a cab up to Kerry Park for awesome views. Eats I’m still fantasizing about the dungie crab ravioli at Volterra in Ballard. It is a bit upscale. A definite kid friendly place close to the space needle and an awesome record store is Toulouse Petit. We went for brunch and had to wait but it was worth it. We thought the EMP would’ve been a waste without a special Nurvaba exhibit. I wanted to rent bikes but we didn’t have time.

  2. Points Pixie says

    Sara – Wow, thank you for all of the great tips and info! I was thinking of visiting the glass museum because I think my daughter would looovvve it. She is very creative and I think it would be one of those inspirational moments for her. Will definitely look into Volterra and Toulouse Petit! And I LOVE renting bikes, too, but I think it would be slightly stressful with kids, unless I could bring a flask, which I can’t imagine would be a good idea 😉

  3. pinkisnice says

    Deciding on trip activities is the most stressful part of planning for me. Thanks for the breakdown. And here’s an awesome resource for you: Atlas Obscura http://www.atlasobscura.com/) ! You can search almost any city to see what hidden, offbeat gems await. I did a quick check for Seattle, and these first few caught my eye: Steve’s Weird House, The Fremont Troll, Walker Rock Garden, and Seattle Underground. It’s built by contributors, so the entries vary quite a bit by location. I also recommend liking them on Facebook to catch glimpses of – and get inspired by – some of the world’s most intriguing, wild, and special places.

  4. Points Pixie says

    pinkisnice – OMG I am so excited about Atlas Obscura!! Hidden, offbeat gems indeed. Thanks for the tip!

  5. I hope you have a great time in my city 🙂

    Here are a few restaurants you NEED to check out…
    1. Might O Doughnuts (way better than Top Pot & no GMOs)
    2. Cafe Flora
    3. Veggie Grill (it’s a chain but its so good!)

    If your husband wants to take a ferry, I would recommend taking the ferry to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. If you don’t want to drive your car on, you can walk on the ferry to Bainbridge and everything on the island is walking distance.

    Try canoeing in Lake Union. In the U District, there is a place that rents out canoes (wish I could remember the name!).

    Also be sure to check out Kerry Park (the Frasier view) and Gasworks park.

    Have fun!

    • Points Pixie says

      What Steph Wore – Thank you! I can tell that you get where I am coming from. I will definitely check out all of the above. Also – your blog is great! Super cute and inspirational. People, check it out!

  6. I just got back from a week in Seattle! I had a conference up there and didn’t get to do anything terribly exciting, although we did have a huge party at CentruyLink stadium which was a lot of fun. I frequent the Puget Sound area often as my work is headquartered there, and my mom lives in the area as well.

    My recommendations:
    1) Glad you crossed out Ride the Ducks, I did it once and while I did enjoy the tour part, it is SUPER CHEEZZZZZZZZY. The guides were exactly the kind of folks I DO NOT like being around (poke fun at people, try to get you to laugh all the time over nonsense), and they encourage you to squeak these duck noise makers at any opportunity. I pulled my hat down low and hoped I wouldn’t see anyone I knew. Shortly after my duck experience, they temporarily shut all ducks down as there was a duck accident w/fatalities in Philadelphia (yes the ducks are everywhere there is land/water).
    2) +1 on the Ferry ride. Kids LOVE it. It’s much different than the Bay Area ferries being they are so humongous with cars, dining, etc. I’ve done the one to Bainbridge Island, and agree with Sara – cute place for lunch.
    3) Seattle Underground as Pink is Nice mentions. I’ve never actually done this, but my friend Jolene has with her 8 yr old son and she says it was great fun.
    4) My favorite Seattle area restaurant is Purple Café & Wine Bar. They have one in Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland and some other place. I love their wine flights, they also have cheese flights, and their food is delicious. I always have to eat at Purple when I’m in the area.
    5) Pacific Science Center – http://www.pacificsciencecenter.org/ I only recently learned about this place as I attended a gala there with a friend. It’s actually a really cool place for kids with a planetarium, science shows, imax theater, hands on activities, butterfly experience, laser dome and more.

    Enjoy your trip!

  7. Points Pixie says

    Rebecca – Thank you for all the info!! So detailed! Fabulous!!

    Love that you pulled your hat down low – sounds like something I would do.

  8. Mr. Ginger says

    Hey – when you get to Seattle, I wanted to recommend a restaurant. It’s in the middle of the Pike’s Market maze, on the second floor: The Pink Door. It’s got throwback decor, a menu that changes every week, and the deck tables have a good view of the harbor.

    I’ve been there three times in five trips out that way. Never disappointed and not too pricey.


    P.S. Make sure you check out the balcony on the neighboring apartment building. Facing the harbor, it’s on the left and up one storey. Someone very creative poses and dresses a mannequin someone randomly. It’s been set up differently every time I’ve been there.

    P.P.S. Happy Birthday to Mr. Pixie!

  9. Points Pixie says

    Mr. Ginger! Josh and I used to go to the Pink Door when we lived in Seattle and I had forgotten all about it. Thanks for the reminder – and the tip about looking for the mannequin. Kids would love that I’m sure.

    I’ll pass along the b-day greetings to Josh.


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