*This post was updated June 2016
CityPASS is a budget friendly way to see several of Seattle’s popular tourist attractions.
For $74 per adult and $54 per child (4-12 years old), families can save up to 50% on Seattle’s 5 best attractions with CityPASS:
- The Space Needle,
- Seattle Aquarium,
- Argosy Harbor Cruises,
- a choice between Museum of Pop Culture or Woodland Park Zoo,
- a choice between Pacific Science Center or Chihuly Garden and Glass.
If tickets for all of these attractions were purchased separately, it would set each adult back $146.65 and each child 4-12 years old $96.40.
Using Seattle CityPASS when Visiting Seattle with Kids
On top of saving money, Seattle CityPASS can also save you a lot of time with fast pass entry – a life saver when travelling with young, hungry and possibly cranky children.
Being able to skip the long lines can be a sanity saver – especially at the Space Needle where the wait was estimated to be around 25 minutes during the middle of the week. On weekends, expect 40 – 60 minute wait time.
Five of the seven CityPASS attractions are located in Seattle Center (a park and entertainment area in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood) – Space Needle, EMP Museum, Chihuly Garden and Glass and Pacific Science Center.
If you are staying in a downtown Seattle hotel like the Hotel Monaco (you can read our full review here), families can get to Seattle Center easily and quickly via the monorail from Westlake Shopping Center in downtown Seattle.
Here’s a brief overview of 6 of the 7 attractions – our family has yet to visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit but hopefully one day, we can share our feedback on that attraction too!
Museum of Pop Culture
The Museum of Pop Culture (formerly known as the Experience Music Project Museum – EMP for short) is a modern museum dedicated to music, science fiction and all things pop-culture.
Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana exhibits as well as memorabilia from popular science fiction, fantasy and horror movies can all be found here.
We spent the majority of our time at the Sound Lab learning how to play different instruments – drums, electric guitars and keyboards to name a few.
Best for: School aged children and older
Time needed: 2-3 hours
The Space Needle
The CityPASS allows for two visits within 24 hours to the top of the Space Needle – one during the day and one at night.
We only made it up during the day and did not have a chance to visit SkyCity, the revolving restaurant, at night.
Nevertheless, the views of downtown Seattle and surrounding neighborhoods and buildings from 520 feet above ground level were spectacular.
Best for: All Ages
Time needed: 1-2 hours (dining at SkyCity restaurant not included)
Pacific Science Center
The Pacific Science Center has many interactive exhibits and an IMAX theater.
The day we visited, several school groups were also in attendance. It was quite busy but we managed to walk through all the exhibits within 2 hours.
Some of our favourites were the naked mole rats and the moving dinosaurs. This is a fairly small science center and a visit to Seattle’s “Pacific Science Center” can be accomplished in the morning or afternoon.
Best for: Toddler to 10 years old
Time needed: 1-3 hours
Woodland Park Zoo
Woodland Park Zoo is located in downtown Seattle and is a 92-acre zoological garden. There are close to 300 species of animals here including penguins, turtles, otters, snow leopards and parakeets.
Kids will love the outdoor playground areas, the vintage carousel, and feeding the animals activities (feed the birds, feed the penguins, feed the giraffes).
Woodland Park Zoo was our kids’ favorite attraction on the Seattle CityPASS and the one that took up an entire afternoon. A full review of the Woodland Park Zoo is currently in the works so keep your eyes open for that!
Best for: All Ages
Time needed: 2-4 hours
We took a one hour harbor tour around Elliott Bay a few hours after landing in Seattle.
It was raining and windy out so we spent the majority of the time indoors.
The cruise was a relaxing way to see the city and learn about its history.
Our guide was engaging and informative and we managed to get some great photos of Seattle’s famous skyline despite the weather outside. Because of the nature of the cruise and length I would recommend visiting Seattle’s “Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour” if you have older children or infants. Toddlers and preschoolers may find it uninteresting.
Best for: School aged children and older.
Time needed: 1 hr
The Seattle Aquarium was my family’s second favorite attraction from the Seattle CityPASS booklet.
The Seattle Aquarium is small in size and great for families with young children. It isn’t overwhelming and can be completed easily within several hours.
We really enjoyed the touch tanks (we might have screamed a little as we touched the starfish and sea anemone wrapped around our fingers) and seeing the otters and seals up close.
Best for: All ages
Argosy Cruises and the Seattle Aquarium are walking distance from each other and can be done on the same day.
As with other cities that have CityPASS available, this is a budget friendly way to explore Seattle with kids and is also a good way to stay dry should you be visiting during a rainy week.