Now that Owen is 2, we both came to the decision that he is old enough for a big family vacation! We tried putting it off for awhile until he was old enough to explore on his own and enjoy his independence, and not be carried everywhere. We thought the idea of a road trip sounded better than a plane ride, so we went with Seattle, which is a little under 4 hours away from where we live. A cooler full of snacks, good music and a portable DVD player were the top priorities for our road trip and they made the trip so great!
Seattle sounded perfect because it had so many kid-friendly options. And boy were we right!!
We booked a hotel right in the middle of everything so we wouldn’t have to drive very far, and it was the best decision we made. Everything was within 2-5 miles of where we stayed and it made it easier to hop from place to place or get out of the car and walk all around.
I’ve become quite the list-maker ever since I had Owen, my pregnancy brain never really disappeared, so lists are my go-to. Before our trip I wrote down a page full of things we could try to do while in Seattle and I actually think we did about 95% of it all! (Sadly we left before the Seahawks game on Sunday which was one of the only things left on the list)
We checked into our hotel and got settled, and were itching to go explore the city. So we headed right back out and went straight for the Seattle waterfront pier to grab a bite to eat. We ate at Red Robin on the pier, because we tried sticking to places where Owen could be a crazy 2 year old and have fun. And who doesn’t love a RR burger! By the time we finished eating we were just in time to walk outside on the docks and see the sunset. The pier is GORGEOUS at night, all lit up. And the night life in this area is pretty entertaining. We ventured up to Pike Place to walk through the market (the stores were all closed already) and saw all the glowing lights and loud music coming from the bars next door. We walked for awhile and decided to get back to the hotel and relax since we were all pretty tired from the drive.
The next morning we woke up early and went back to Pike Place to grab breakfast. We stopped at a bakery and picked up donuts, and wandered a little further to get some breakfast sandwiches and coffee. Then we walked down the alley to stop at the gum wall and wander through Post Alley. If you go to Seattle, you NEED to do both of these! Most of the alleys we walked through had little cafe’s and small shops along the way.
Since we were in the area, we decided to take Owen to the Seattle Children’s Museum which is right next to the Space Needle, and it's only about a 5 minute drive from Pike Place. We spent almost two hours at the museum, this place is awesome! Owen had a blast and it was so much fun watching him explore on his own all the different rooms and activities they provided. Outside of the museum is a cool little area, it has a big fountain that shoots water out to the beat of loud music playing. Down a little ways was a super modern park that had forts 20 feet up in the air and instruments for kids to play.
We’re BIG Grey’s Anatomy fans, so one thing we wanted to check off was to see Meredith Grey’s house where they filmed parts of the show at. It was easy to find, on the very top of Queen Anne Hill. The neighborhood was very quiet and pretty, and the owners didn’t seem to mind us snapping a few photos in front of their house.
After that we headed down to the Bell Harbor Marina, to show Owen all the boats. He loved them! There’s a long pier you can walk out on and it’s also the same spot as the Center for Wooden Boats. This is a must, if you are planning to go to Seattle! It was fun to see the super expensive yachts and walk along the Marina to see wooden sail boats being built.
Once we finished at the Marina we were all pretty tired, so we headed back to our hotel room to relax and let Owen take a nap. After dinner we went down to the hotel pool and splashed around for awhile. I made sure to find a hotel that had a nice pool and I’m so glad I did. We crashed early that night from such a busy day.
The next day we planned to sight see and go to a few parks to let Owen run around. We started with the Bellevue Botanical Gardens, and holy cow. If you’re an outdoor person or if you have kids or a dog, GO HERE. It’s a HUGE place that has trails in all directions and the entire place is beautiful to look at. Reminded me so much of Oregon. It was peaceful and quiet, and so full of nature. It has a cool Ravine Bridge and hobbit houses!
Then we went 1 mile down the road and stopped at the Mercer Slough Nature park. It has two trails (2 miles, or 3 miles depending on the trail you choose) you can walk in separate directions that both lead you to a small lake. And almost the whole thing is made up of wooden boardwalks over the swamp areas. It was unique and fun to explore here. Next door is a blueberry farm so if you’re in season it’s a U-pick farm!
We decided to get lunch next, so we went to downtown Bellevue to the Bellevue Center and grabbed some mexican food at a shop there. It was a perfect area to walk around inside, and on the very top floor they made it just for small kids. We took Owen up there and he went crazy!
Then we went outside and walked down Main St to see all of the cute little shops and bakeries.
The whole vacation was so family oriented and I couldn’t be happier that we chose Seattle as our destination. I think we spent about 90% of our time exploring which was a great choice for Owen. Just make sure that if you head to Seattle, to bring an extra bank account for the parking! Anywhere you park is at least $8 an hour so keep that in mind. We unfortunately did not find any free parking lots anywhere in Seattle, but Bellevue certainly had free parking and I would highly suggest checking that area out! Just across the bridge from downtown Seattle.
We packed a ton of food for our trip which made it much less expensive for us, I think we hardly spent any money on food during our trip. (We bought more coffee than we did food, us dang coffee lovers)
For our next vacation I think we’ll go on a plane somewhere tropical and warm. Now that we lived the city life for a few days, I’ll be sure to plan a trip with a beach, warm water, sunshine and sand!