5 Things for tweens & teens to do in this hip Pacific Northwest city
Seattle has a well-deserved reputation for being a cool, hip, and cutting-edge kind of city. It’s a natural fit for tweens and teens. We’ve teen-tested several spots in Seattle, and these are the attractions that make the cut.
1/Chihuly Garden and Glass
305 Harrison St., Seattle Center
I know, I know. Starting off with a museum - let only, an art museum - doesn’t seem like it would be a teen-pleaser. But of all the art museums that I’ve dragged by kids through, this is probably their favorite. Located at the base of the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass is home to the largest collection of glass art by Washington native Dale Chihuly. Seriously, the eye-popping galleries here are simply stunning. Your kids will be posting to Instagram from the SeaLife Room all the way through to the 40-foot-tall Glasshouse with its suspended, glass flower blossoms. And don’t miss the small garden outside where real and glass “plants” stand side by side. Cost: Youth (4 & under) Free; Youth (5-12) $17; Adult $26.
KidTripster Tip: The Glasshouse is sometimes closed for special events. Check the website in advance, as it’s something that you won’t want to miss.
KidTripster Tip: You can play a free audio tour from your cell phone while you walk through the exhibits. It really helps to give your teens context to what they’re seeing. Remember to bring your own earbuds or headphones.
KidTripster Tip: Professional photographers are stationed in the SeaLife Room and Glasshouse to take free photos of your family. You simply stop at a kiosk on your way out and email them to yourself. The photos make a nice souvenir.
400 Broad St., Seattle Center
The recipient of a $100-million-dollar “spacelift,” the iconic Space Needle is far more interesting to visit than ever before. A glass, rotating floor has been added, allowing you to see straight down to the ground below. It’s especially cool to see Chihuly Garden and Glass and MoPOP from above. Feel free to sit - or even lie down - on the floor and take a “ride.” You’ll also find designated selfie stations positioned around the observation deck. Snap a photo and then email it to yourself. Cost: Youth (4 & under) Free; Youth (5-12) $24.50-28.50; Adult $32.50-37.50.
KidTripster Tip: Time your visit right before sunset for some stellar views over the Puget Sound.
KidTripster Tip: You can purchase a discounted combo ticket for the Space Needle and Chihuly. Cost: Youth (4 & under) Free; Youth (5-12) $36; Adult $49.
3/All Things Amazon
2111 & 2131 7th Ave.
Honestly, I wouldn’t have thought to put this stop on my family’s list, but my 16-year-old son insisted that we go to the Amazon Go store (2131 7th Ave.) On the surface, it looks like just a convenience store that sells snacks, but it’s actually one of the most advanced shopping experiences that you currently can have. Start by downloading the Amazon Go app onto your cell phone. As you enter the store, you scan the QR code. Then just shop and go. That’s right, you don’t stand in line to pay. Whatever you pick up is automatically added to your virtual cart and charged to your Amazon account. You should have seen the smile on my son’s face as he walked out of the store without paying (well, at least the traditional way). He thought it was so cool, he did it twice.
Right next to Amazon Go, you’ll find Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. Fans can take a guided tour on most Tuesdays or Thursdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The 90-minute tour includes several buildings on the Amazon campus including Doppler, Day 1 and The Spheres. You also can visit The Spheres during public open houses on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. These domes house employee lounges and workspaces in addition to 40,000 plants, many of which are planted on a four-story “living wall.”
KidTripster Tip: If the tour times don’t work out for you, check out the free audio tour on Audible.
4/Bill Speidel's Underground Tour
614 1st Ave.
There’s more to Seattle than meets the eye. Head underground. Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour is 75 minutes of entertainment plus a little Seattle history lesson as you explore storefronts and sidewalks that were buried when the city was rebuilt following the Great Fire of 1889. Cost: Youth (6 & under) Free; Youth (7-12) $10; Youth (13-17) $20; Adult $22.
5/Future of Flight Aviation Center
8415 Paine Field Blvd., Mukilteo
Do you have an aspiring engineer in the family? About 25 minutes north of downtown Seattle, you’ll find the Future of Flight Aviation Center which is the starting point for the 90-minute Boeing Factory Tour. This factory is the only place in North America where you can see jets being assembled. After you take this tour, you’ll never look at air travel in the same way! It’s truly fascinating. Tour and Aerospace Gallery cost: Youth (15 & under) $15; Adult $25; book in advance online.
KidTripster Tip: To see the most action on the factory floor, I’d recommend reserving the first tour at 9 a.m.