Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Staycationing (or vacationing) in Seattle

Last week my kids were very excited to get to go with me on a press trip that I was taking for Trekaroo. We packed our suitcases, loaded them in the car... and then took the bus less than a mile to the hotel we were staying at (Daniel brought the luggage after work that evening).  We were staying at a hotel that's been renovated recently- and it's now hip and bright and fun and at the same time really comfortable and family-friendly. The hotel is the Hotel FIVE, and it's in a great part of the city- walking distance to Seattle Center or Westlake Center, close to the bus lines and not far from the waterfront. My kids had a blast staying there, and in their minds, two nights went by too quickly!
There may have been some jumping on the bed

And there was definitely a lot of watching cable channels that we don't get at home!
Other than enjoying the hotel room, we spent three days checking out all the city has to offer. The first night we got to ride the newest attraction in Seattle, the Great Wheel! My kids have been dying to ride this and they were so excited when we finally were at the front of the line and ready to get into our capsule! The ride was about 15 minutes long and we got to see the pretty Seattle skyline and had great views of the mountains and water. 

While we were down on the waterfront, we also took some time to play at Miners Landing at Pier 57. This is a building with lots of shops, some restaurants, a merry-go-round and lots of arcade games.  Vivian enjoyed a ride on the merry-go-round, then they faced off in a highly contested game of air hockey.

The next day the kids had to go to school, so I continued my staycation on my own. But all the places I went are definitely ones that my kids love or will love! First I got to visit the amazing new Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum.  This is a new museum located on the Seattle Center campus and it's just incredible. Every room has a glass sculpture or two or three that are just breathtaking. And outside the museum there's a beautiful garden where nature and glass are perfectly combined.  I will definitely be taking my kids with me next time I visit (after having a long talk about keeping their hands to themselves and not touching!)

Next it was off to the top of the Space Needle where I enjoyed the views on the beautiful September day and took pictures of my condo building (we live really close to the Space Needle). My kids were SO jealous when they heard that I went up the Space Needle with them- it's a journey they love to take as often as possible.

The next morning was the end of my press trip, so we had to check out of our hotel, but our exploration of the city wasn't done yet! We were off to Woodland Park Zoo to meet friends. We're so lucky to have an amazing zoo like the Woodland Park Zoo so close to our house. It's got a great assortment of animals, lots of trees and pretty walkways and good places to stop and snack.  I've never had anything but fun when my family visits this zoo.

But we STILL weren't done with the local fun! Saturday morning was the Smithsonian Free Museum Day (every September- be sure to check it out next year if you missed this year!) so we were off to the Seattle Art Museum. I hadn't been to the museum in years and was worried that my kids would be bored. On the contrary- they had a great time! The art museum has a nice assortment of art from around the world, both modern and very not-modern (not the technical term, I know).  And if you're visiting with young ones, it has several fabulous play areas. These saved us- whenever the kids would get tired of walking and looking at art, we'd go to the play areas to draw or read books or do puzzles or just play. SAM is always free for kids under age 12, and adult admission is at a "suggested" price.

Then it was time for a late lunch in one of the many great little restaurants tucked away inside Pike Place Market before taking the bus home to get ready for an opening night performance at the Seattle Children's Theatre. If you missed it, you can see my review of the play here. Spoiler alert- it was fabulous!

Yes, we were exhausted by the time Sunday rolled around, but it was a great tired. Adults and kids alike really had a good time exploring this great city. And there's so much more we could have done! Seattle is such a great city and has something for everyone!

Disclosure: I received the hotel stay and entrance to several of these activities thanks to the venues and Richmond PR, as part of a press trip that I took for Trekaroo.  Zoo admission was my own, Pike Place market meal was on our own, Seattle Art Museum was complimentary, thanks to Smithsonian's Free Museum Day, and the SCT tickets were so I could write a review on this blog. ALL opinions are mine and mine alone and I was under no obligation to write any of the reviews or to write this article!