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5 must-do Seattle fall family-fun activities

Puget Sound Express/Renee Beitzel

SPONSORED — You’re trading in your iced Starbucks for something hot and frothy and pulling out the scarves and rain boots. Yes, there’s no question autumn has arrived in the Pacific Northwest. And while Seattle offers some spectacular summer days, there’s just something about fall’s crisp air, golden foliage and salty sea spray from the Sound. Give your calendar a kiss because there are myriad reasons to fall (pun intended) in love with this season in Seattle.

Get to know your (largest) neighbors

If you thought a day on the water was a summer-exclusive activity, think again. Autumn is the perfect time to enjoy the beauty of the Puget Sound — and its residents. Board a half-day whale watching tour in Seattle/Edmonds and get a once-in-a-lifetime view of spectacular sea life, from majestic humpback whales to sleek orcas — including some of the most identifiable pods in our region. Witness some playful fun or an impressive breach as you enjoy the sunshine and crisp autumn sea air. Puget Sound Express offers fully guided, narrated tours that guarantee exciting wildlife sightings.

On Puget Sound Express’s jet-powered catamarans, cruise to wherever the whales are in the Salish Sea; the Seattle waterfront, the San Juan Islands, or even Victoria, B.C. Trips on warm, heated boats are 4.5 hours – leaving you time to explore more of Seattle upon your return. Find out more and book your trip at Puget Sound Express.

Take a flight

…without leaving the ground. Take advantage of the cooler weather by experiencing the region’s trademark industry. The Museum of Flight pays homage to, well, anything that flies – animal life not included. See historical aircraft like the Lockheed M-21 Blackbird, the sole surviving example of this kind of Blackbird. For your budding astronauts, the history of space travel comes front and center with a contemporary technological duplicate of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1, as well as a mock up of the Apollo 17 lunar module.

Get a warm bite at Pike

The air’s getting crisp, but the doughnuts are still just as warm and sweet as you remember. If it’s been a while since you’ve experienced the bounty of Pike Place Market, it’s time to get all the things in your belly. With summer gone and school in session, the Market crowds have thinned out, leaving room for you and your stretchiest pants. Combat the chill of the afternoon with a warm bowl of chowder or a freshly baked cinnamon roll. There’s always something new – and always something hot – in downtown Seattle. Go where the coffee flows like wine and the cheese is always fresh: Pike Place Market.

Head inside

Summer might be over, but there’s no need to mourn the sunshine because Seattle’s got plenty to do under a roof. Escape the wind and drizzle at one of the city’s most popular attractions. If the Space Needle is still on your bucket list, take advantage of the smaller crowds and zip to the top. Stay on trend with a visit to Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture, where you can experience fascinating exhibits focusing on music, movies, culture and lifestyle.

See the Sea(Life)

While it might not be quite as exciting as snagging a glimpse of a whale in its natural habitat, the Seattle Aquarium offers a unique experience at one of the city’s most exciting locations: Pier 59. Meet Marine mammals – and even watch as they enjoy their lunch. Meet an octopus or relax with the little ones during daily weekday story time sessions. Learn more about the sea’s most spectacular resident – the orca whale – at the Family Activity Center, which offers hands-on activities and educational visits. Once you’re an orca expert, you’ll be ready to head out with Puget Sound Express to see them yourselves.

Autumn comes but once a year, and with the days getting shorter, now’s the time to pack in all the fun the season has to offer.

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