Pop culture and Major League Baseball: Seattle suits travelling families

Attractions like the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass make a visit appealing to teens and their parents

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      Seattle is famous for being the birthplace of Starbucks and Amazon and the hometown of grunge. It’s also known for its bursting-with-pride 12th Man: the roar of Seattle Seahawks’ fans has been proven to trigger minor earthquakes.

      What may be less obvious is that is also a fantastic city to explore as a family.

      Here are a few suggestions for a wicked weekend in Emerald City when you’ve got tweens and teens in tow.


      Seattle Mariners baseball game

      A Major League Baseball game is a cultural experience for Canadian sports fans unaccustomed to nachos served in plastic ball caps, flying packs of peanuts, and standing during the seventh inning stretch to sing along to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”.

      Games take place at T-Mobile Park—formerly Safeco Field—which has a retractable roof and views of the city skyline and Puget Sound. Arrive early to boost your chances of getting a free souvenir bobblehead and to see relief pitchers warm up in the bullpen before settling in your seats with a local craft beer and garlic fries.

      It doesn’t matter if you’re die-hard fans or completely clueless when it comes to the rules of America’s favourite pastime, whether it’s a matinee or an evening at the field; taking in a Mariners game really is fun for the whole family.

      seattle's Space Needle has been recently revitalized, with the world's only rotating glass floor.
      Gail Johnson.

      Space Needle

      This isn’t your 1962 tower. The 605-foot-tall landmark with a saucer-shaped top has recently gone through multimillion-dollar renovations.

      It now boasts slanted floor-to-ceiling windows, an outdoor observation deck with open-air glass walls and glass benches, two interior observation levels, and the world’s only rotating glass floor. That means you can look down, waaaaay down, at the barrel itself, all the way to the ground as if floating.

      We got a CityPASS for tickets, a prepaid booklet that offers discounts on major attractions, including…:


      Forget air guitar: you can play the real thing at MoPOP.
      Gail Johnson.

      MoPOP Museum of Pop Culture

      You could easily spend a whole day inside this incredible place (formerly known as the Experience Music Project, founded by Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen) designed by Frank O. Gehry, with an exterior of bendy metal.

      Start by watching music videos on a 33-by-60-foot HD LED screen in the 5,400-square-foot Sky Church with its 65-foot ceiling and state-of-the art acoustics.

      Unleash your inner rock star or DJ in the Sound Lab, where you can jam with drums, guitars, and keyboards and play on samplers and mixers.

      Current exhibits include Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses; Pearl Jam: Home and Away; and Prince from Minneapolis; Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic; and Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film—all awesome.


      The glass sculptures at Chihuly Garden and Glass are mind-bending.
      Gail Johnson.

      Chihuly Garden and Glass

      The world’s leading glass artist, Dale Chihuly was born in Tacoma and held exhibitions everywhere from the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, in Paris; he installed his striking, vividly coloured glass sculptures over the canals of Venice and in England’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

      Chihuly Garden and Glass at Seattle Center showcases the iconic avant-garde maker’s pieces within eight galleries, the centrepiece Glasshouse, and outside amid Japanese maple and handkerchief trees, hydrangea and honeysuckle, clematis and black mondo grass, and other wild flora.

      It’s impossible not to be mesmerized and awe-struck on a stroll past Chihuly’s otherworldly shapes in shades ranging from red lava to cobalt blue.


      The Seattle Aquarium specializes in sea otter conservation and marine turtle rehabilitation.
      Gail Johnson.

      Seattle Aquarium

      Situated at Pier 59 next to Waterfront Park (easily accessible from Pike Place Market), the aquarium is dedicated to marine conservation with a particular focus on sea otters. Among its four resident northern sea otters is Mishka, who was caught in a fishing net as a young pup and deemed non-releasable by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Adaa, who was discovered on an airport runway at Port Heiden, Alaska.

      The non-profit also features Puget Sound and tropical Pacific fish, harbour and Northern fur seals, jellies and a giant Pacific octopus, and more.

      See Visit Seattle for more ideas for travelling families.