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All aboard! Do you have a tiny sailor who loves all things marine? A little aquatic aficionado who can’t wait to get out on the waves? Fortunately, we live in a city that has boatloads of places that will thoroughly entertain any water-loving adventurer. From the best boat rides in Seattle to museum exhibits, this on-point navigational tool includes the all the cool places in Seattle for kids who love boats!

Salish Sea Tours

If you haven’t heard of Salish Sea Tours before, it might be because they are brand new! This one-of-a-kind Miner’s Landing waterfront boat touring company is Native-owned and offers an Elliot Bay tour like no other. The narrated tour shares not only the history of Seattle but focuses on its Indigenous people as well. With a fleet of two, 93-foot Native-designed catamarans, creatively called Orca 1 and Orca 2, you and your Littles can take the hour-long tour of the Bay, learn about the city’s history, be captivated by its Duwamish heritage and ride the waves in style. The boats have numerous seating options that accommodate just about anyone. Stadium seating in the front for outside viewing, indoor seating great for snack time or our plethora of rainy days and open deck seating for those beautiful summer afternoons. Plus, two full service bars (with snacks!), parents! It’s a unique and exciting addition to Pier 57, and one that is perfect for even your tiniest seafarers. Get tickets online and don’t forget those jackets. The wind can get a bit chilly out on the water.

Launch Hours: 1:30, 3, 4:30, & 6 p.m.
Cost: $30/Adult; $20/Kids (3-11); $27/Senior; Free for kids 2 & under

Pier 57-Miner's Landing
1301 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98101

photo: Kristina Moy

Argosy Cruises Blake Island Fast Ferry

While Argosy Cruises are revamping many of their water tours this year, one is still up and running and would make a great day trip for your enthusiastic mariners. Check out the Blake Island Fast Ferry. Departing from Pier 55 nearly every hour, jump aboard their vessel for the 30 minute trip to the 1,127-acre Blake Island State Park to experience the trails, nature life, beaches, clam digging, views and all that this little island has to offer. Stay for a couple hours or make it an overnight excursion by camping! Blake Island is only accessible by boat and makes for a great day trip away from the hustle and bustle or, better yet, a smart way to occupy kiddos on these long summer days. And you won’t be left wondering how to nosh. Hit up the Longhouse Cafe for eats and treats if exploring sets that belly rumbling. Take a break and make it to Blake, for goodness sake!

Cost: $29/Person; Free for kids 3 & under

1101 Alaskan Way
Pier 55, Suite 201
Seattle, WA 98101

Ballard Locks

If watching boats is more your kiddos’ speed, look no further than the Ballard Locks, the busiest locks in the nation! Located just north of the city in the Ballard community and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, these locks will ooh and aah you little ship lovers. Watch along the railings as boats and ships both large and small pass through. Or bring a blanket and a picnic and sit in the grassy hill adjacent to the Locks as you watch the boats go by. Swing by the visitor center and admin building for further historic facts or stroll the botanical garden while you're there. It is also a great way to watch migrating salmon from June through September as they pass through the salmon ladder of the viewing windows. Not a bad way to spend a day with your nautical nuts.

Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
Cost: Free

3015 N.W. 54th St.
Seattle, WA 98107

Center For Wooden Boats

If the nostalgia of a good ole traditional wooden boat is strong with you and your cadets, Seattle has just the place for you! Check out the Center for Wooden Boats, located on Lake Union. Founders Dick and Colleen Wagner, who had previously been renting out their wooden boats for the past decade, started this hands-on, living museum in 1976 to showcase and educate others about their collection. Now expanded to include the Wagner Education Center, you will be able to see more historic wooden boats than ever. Visit the gallery installations, hanging boat exhibits, restoration projects and art displays while you are there. But that’s not all. Since this is a living museum, you can rent out a wooden boat yourself! Their fleet, from rowing boats, to cats, to sailboats, are rented out for personal use right on Lake Union. ‘Wood’ you like to sail? You bet!

Hours: Weds.-Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Closed Mon. & Tues. Last boat out at 5:45 p.m.

South Lake Union
1010 Valley St.
Seattle, WA 98109

The Electric Boat Company

What’s that? Captain your own boat? Yes, you can! The Electric Boat Company located on Lake Union lets you drive around your very own crew of up to 12 people. Easy to maneuver and navigate, with plenty of seating for all your skippers, these leisurely electric boats are where it’s at for a DIY glide on the water. We recommend the Duffy boats, perfect for a family. The kiddos will be able to check out all manner of boats and ships on the lake, as well as the draw bridge, the floating house community, and all the other quintessential Lake Union sights. Life jackets are complimentary for adults and kids and you can even bring your own food and bevvies while out on the ride. A pro when touring the lake this way is that the Duffy boats can also be fully enclosed and are heated if you book outside the summer months!

Cost: $125/hr. (minimum 2 hours)

2046 Westlake Ave. N., Suite 102
Seattle, WA 98109

photo: courtesy MOHAI

Maritime Seattle at MOHAI

Anyone who has been to Seattle knows how important our waterways are to our region. Lakes, chilly glacier runoff rivers, the Sound and the Pacific are all within our fingertips. It’s no wonder we have so many little lovers of water ready to learn and explore more! Check out the permanent Maritime Seattle exhibit at the Museum of History and Industry with your aquatic, inquisitive bunch. Located in MOHAI’s Naval Reserve Building, this gallery features old-timey diving equipment, a WWII-era submarine periscope with 360-degree views of Seattle, a Fresnel lens from the Smith Island Lighthouse, a real working ship’s wheel, an engine telegraph system and a tour of many historic ships with interesting tales to tell. You and your gang will leave here with tons of maritime knowledge that you won’t soon "castaway!"

Good to know: Check out MOHAI's newest exhibit Da Vinci-Inventions when you visit.

Hours: Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs. in Aug., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Cost: $22/Adult; Free for kids 14 & under

860 Terry Ave. N.
Seattle WA 98109

photo: Kristina Moy

Emerald City Pirates Family Treasure Cruise

Arrr, Matey! Climb aboard for a pirate treasure cruise on the Emerald City Pirates’ ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge! Your buccaneers can join in this floating, interactive marauder experience while you toil around Lake Union in a pirate ship! You can take in the awesome view of the city skyline, but the real treat is the treasure search, games and the talk-like-a-pirate lessons your kiddos get while on board the hour-long swashbuckling cruise. They also have the chance to try their hand at the water cannons and will get a gift of their choice from the ship’s treasure chest. It’s truly all the fun your little hearties are searching for. You will want to walk the plank to the ship about 30 minutes ahead of time to board. And make time to check out the booty, swag, snacks and drinks at the ship’s store beforehand, too!

Hours: Sat. & Sun., hours vary
Cost: $32/Adult; $27/Kid (18 mos.-14); $15/Kid (18 mos. & under)

860 Terry Ave. N,
Seattle, WA 98109

photo: Alaina Weimer

Lake Sammamish State Park Boat Rentals

With so many glorious lakes in our PNW region, it is hard to pick just one that is great for kayaking. But Lake Sammamish State Park is one of many worth the mention. If you are hitting up the Eastside and your Littles are eager to hit the waves, check out Lake Sammamish. There is a boat launch with kayak and board rentals at Tibbetts Beach. Get the kiddos jacketed up and send them out into the calm waters of the lake for a great day of paddling. Glide past the swimming area, hit the sand bar or check out the connected salmon creek. Don’t forget to keep your eyes on the sky. There are always bald eagles to be spotted here! Then, once your Littles get oar-arm, hit up the huge playground as well as the large sand beach for some picnic or sandcastle-building time. The concession stand is open now, too. Grab some ice cream, or if everyone is feeling the tummy rumbles, they also serve hot dogs, chicken sausages, nachos and…wait for it….Zeek's pizza! You won’t famish at Lake Sammamish! Full summer day filled with water fun? Check! Just remember your Discover Pass.

Foodie footnote: If a non-concession lunch or dinner is in the plan, hit up the XXX Root Beer Drive-In restaurant a few miles away for a monstrous burger, fries and a root beer float. There are only two of these themed eateries left so you won’t want to miss this novelty. Plus, it’s filled to the brim with groovy, nostalgic decor, making it a fun and unique place worthy of the visit while in the area!

2000 N.W. Sammamish Rd.
Issaquah, WA 98027

King County Water Taxi

If bigger is better when it comes to boats, consider taking an adventure on one of the King County Water Taxis! Departing from downtown Seattle, there are two trips you can take on the Taxi. Head to either West Seattle or Vashon Island for the day. Departing from Pier 50, the taxis leave just about every hour for the Seacrest Dock in West Seattle, or if you are heading to Vashon to play for the day, the taxi leaves in the morning and evening commute times. These vessels hold 278 people and there is room on board for bicycles if you feel like biking instead of hiking. If a day in West Seattle or Vashon is on your bucket list, your itty bitty cruisers will find this means of getting there totally up their waterway! The online schedule has exact taxi times.

Foodie footnote: About half a mile down Harbor Ave, Salty's on Alki Beach is a must for their famous brunch (on Saturdays and Sundays), lunch or dinner! You get one of the very best views of the Seattle skyline plus award-winning Northwest seafood cuisine (think: crab, lobster, salmon, halibut, name it!), and it’s absolutely worth a pop over! And, yes, they do have a kids menu if your kiddos prefer to see their sea life in the water as opposed to on their plate!

201 S. Jackson St.
Seattle, WA 98104

Ice Cream Cruise

Claimed to be the “sweetest trip around Lake Union,” the Seattle Water Tours’ 42-passenger Ice Cream Cruise is clearly meant to be enjoyed by your kiddos with ice cream treats in hand. Their ship, the Fremont Avenue, leaves on Sundays, every hour on the hour for a 45-minute trip around the lake. Youngsters can learn about some of the hot spots on Lake Union including the history of Boeing, the floating homes community and a shipyard that has been working for over 100 years. It’s even dog-friendly, if you feel like bringing the pooch! The excursion is on a first-come, first-served basis for cruises on Sunday year-round, and also for select times on Saturdays in the summer. Perfect for your little boaters and your sweet tooth. I scream, you scream, we all scream for cruising with ice cream!

Days & Hours: Sun., year-round sailings every hour, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. summer-only sailings at 11 a.m., noon & 1 p.m.
Cost: $15/Adult; $10/Kids (3-12); $4/Kids (2 & under)

860 Terry Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109

Woodmark Waterfront Adventures

Tweens and teens and even brave little teenies, we haven’t forgotten about you! If hitting the waves means taking your kiddos out for a bit more of an audacious ride, you may want to consider looking into Woodmark Waterfront Adventures. Located on Lake Washington at Carillon Point in Kirkland, this boat rental outfit has everything from ski/wakeboard passenger boats to jet skis, and from one and two-seater kayaks to SUP boards. They are all up for grabs! You can captain your own crew on a passenger boat, zoom around with your wild child on a jet ski, or, if you are feeling a sightseeing vibe, they also offer a captained boat to motor you around the scenic lake where you can see all the luxury real estate along the shore. You never know who’s house you may glimpse!

1200 Carillon Point
Kirkland, WA 98033

—Alaina Weimer


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It’s time for you and your kiddos to hang out with your favorite “buds.” Seattle’s on the cusp of our floral awakening, between the cherry blossoms and spring blooms in our city gardens. That means getting those darling, quintessential springtime photos of our little ones romping around in the petals, right?  Lucky for us, our community has a basketful of green spaces and parks filled with springtime’s bounty waiting to inspire your little gardeners to smile. Read on to find your picture-perfect spot.

University of Washington Campus

The University of Washington campus is by far one of the most popular places to view (and take pictures with!) spectacular blooms, especially if cherry blossoms are your jam. If you really want to wow your kids, the Quad is the place to be. You'll find 29 huge cherry trees, planted over 86 years ago, and capture them frolicking around in the beautiful, fluffy pink and white flowers. Don't forget you can celebrate all of the above at the Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival, taking place virtually this year, from April 9-11, 2021

COVID update: The University of Washington is asking people to enjoy the blooms virtually again in 2021. Check out the live webcams, take a virtual tour or stay up-to-date with @uwcherryblossom on Twitter.

1410 N.E. Campus Pkwy.
Seattle, WA 98195

Washington Park Arboretum

Speaking of UW, your photo opp hop would be remiss if it didn’t include the Washington Park Arboretum. Spanning from Madison Park to Montlake, just south of the U District, the Arboretum is alive with flowers this spring, including cherry blossoms, cascading yellow gold chain trees and blooming true ashes. Start your trip outside the Graham Visitor’s Center (currently closed), then let the little ones burn off some pre-pic energy as they explore the more than 200 acres of foot trails, lawns and paths leading to ponds. Once you are ready to get your Ansel Adams on, check out the iconic Azalea Way. It’s a 3/4-mile walk through the heart of the Arboretum, chock full of gorgeous flowering plants and trees. You are sure to find a spot or two perfect for snapping some heart-warming pics of your kiddos. Also, consider reserving tickets for access to the gorgeous Seattle Japanese Garden. It just reopened for the season March 6th. Psst…after your shots, don't forget to take advantage of the two-mile Arboretum Loop Trail that was just completed a couple years ago. A perfect stroll for after the camera roll!

Good to know: The cherry blossoms at the Arboretum are lower to the ground than on the Quad, so this location might be ideal for your tiniest models.

2300 Arboretum Dr. E.
Seattle, WA 98112

Kubota Garden

Rainier Beach’s gorgeous Kubota Gardens was built by Fujitaro Kubota in the late 1920s. Red and purple flowers, including large magnolia blossoms, are on display this time of year. Kiddos can navigate rocks, streams and serene ponds on the 20-acre property. Any of the gardens here provide you with a great photog opportunity, but the Waterfall At Mountainside and the Moon Bridge can also add a nice whimsical air to any Japanese garden-esque springtime shots. View the self-guided tour online here to plan out your trip. And if you want to bring Fido along as a prop, dogs are welcome, provided they are on a leash and you clean-up after them. Bonus: It’s free admission to the public.

Insider tip: While bigger kids should be able to freely explore without much trouble, toddlers might need a little help making their way across the garden’s narrow paths and bridges.

Good to know: If you plan to use a professional photographer, make sure they call the Garden ahead of time to get fee information and a permit from the city.

9817 55th Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98118

Volunteer Park

An almost 50-acre refuge in Capitol Hill, Volunteer Park was designed by the famous Olmstead Brothers in the early 1900s. The park houses the completely renovated Seattle Asian Art Museum (not currently open to the public) and a climbable water tower with 365 degree views of the city. Snap up some cutesy kiddo photos throughout the park’s immaculate landscaping and then let the little ones explore the Block play sculpture and playground. Hello, Insta!

1247 15th Ave. E.
Seattle, WA 98102

Bellevue Botanical Garden

This self-described "urban oasis" easily wears the mantle of "photo-worthy" for Eastside families, but it's definitely worth the drive for Seattle families too. Its 53-acres is divided into eleven smaller gardens, each with a distinct floral theme that makes finding the right spot for your family photo shoot (informal or otherwise) a breeze. Rhododendron Glen is blooming now through summer, when the hydrangeas will make themselves known. And the Urban Meadow adds a little pollinator education to its gorgeous and colorful blooms with the Mason Bee exhibit (psst... get the details on how your family can rent mason bees to help pollinators do their job.). It's hard to go wrong at this expansive garden.

12001 Main St.
Bellevue, WA 98005

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

This little-known garden just south of the city is a quiet spot to enjoy spring blooms and take sweet photos of your crew on a warm day. It's open daily from dawn to dusk, and families will find seven distinct garden landscapes on the 11-acre property. Look for draped vines, bodacious blooms and secret bridges as you make your way around the property. It's a great spot to stop and smell the flowers, learn about each garden's history and say cheese!

13735 24th Ave. S.
SeaTac, WA

South Seattle College Arboretum & Seattle Chinese Garden

These gardens, nestled high atop a ridge in West Seattle, count as a two-fer in the land of garden photo-ops. Not only do fragrant, colorful blooms (and stunning views of the Seattle skyline and Elliott Bay) abound at the South Seattle College Arboretum, but you can find equally lovely flowers at the 5-acre Seattle Chinese Garden, located on the north end of the campus. The Arboretum is a “living laboratory” used by college students studying plant (and other) sciences. But it’s also a spot where kids can strike a pose worthy of framing. Parents can find more spots for a photo op at the Seattle Chinese Garden where traditional Chinese architecture blends seamlessly with the dynamic flora and fauna you can find here.

6000 16th Ave. S.W.
Seattle, WA 98106

Discovery Park

The largest city park in Seattle, Discovery Park sits in the Magnolia neighborhood on land previously occupied by Fort Lawton. Here, kids can experience woodland trails, open fields and a beach flanked by a lighthouse. If it’s a clear day, both the Olympics and Cascades can be seen from the beach. In addition to blooming plants and wildflowers, an assortment of birds, including mallards, grebes, and—if you’re especially lucky—bald eagles can be spotted in the spring. Between the beach, the mountains, the lighthouse and the flowers in bloom, we are pretty sure your inner Anne Geddes will show through, as Discovery Park has just about everything a spring photo shoot requires. Psst...during your visit be sure to check out the awesome playground. You know your kids will want to let loose after cheesing it up for the camera.

3801 Discovery Park Blvd.
Seattle, WA 98199

Seward Park

Surrounded by Lake Washington on three sides, south Seattle’s Seward Park offers pristine views of Mount Rainier (a pic with your mini and the mountain? Yes, please!) and plenty of spots for picnics and portraits. A plethora of fresh flowering plants join conifers and ferns in making the park especially beautiful this time of year. Wanting to capture that wilderness vibe? Head on into the Magnificent Forest where the kids can explore Seattle’s biggest block of old-growth trees, with some dating back more than 250 years. Find an awesome Douglas Fir, plop your little explorer by it, and, bam!, you’ve got your PNW-vibing pic for grandparents in the books!

Good to know: If you’ve got a kiddo or two with grabby-hands syndrome, be sure to look out for signs warning about poison oak.

5900 Lake Washington Blvd. S.
Seattle, WA 98118

— Alaina Weimer, Kristina Moy & Sara Billups


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12 Amazing Women Who Changed Seattle Forever

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As Michelle Obama said, “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” Our fair city of Seattle has an impressive list of ambitious, intelligent and accomplished women who have dug deep, polished and taken the Emerald City beyond its limits, and we’re here to celebrate them. So if you’ve got a go-get-’em kiddo looking for some local girl-power inspo, look no further. These 13 unbelievable women have made their mark on Seattle throughout the years.


Let’s start at the beginning... Our city’s grandaddy, Chief Seattle, along with Doc Maynard, paved the way for the birth of our town through their peaceful friendship and support of each other. Chief Seattle’s oldest daughter, Kikisoblu (a.k.a Princess Angeline) kept that legacy alive for years when she remained in Seattle, even when her beloved Duwamish people were treaty-forced onto reservations. She stayed in her home near what's now Pike Place Market and became a mainstay around the city. Streets around the area are named after her, as is a shelter for the YWCA that provides support for women experiencing homelessness. She was the last direct descendant of Chief Seattle and is known for her kindness, acceptance and friendship with the early settlers who built up the city.

Bertha Landes

This adventurous lady was not only the first female of Seattle, but also the first female mayor of a major American city. She served on the Seattle City Council in 1922 (she and Katheryn Miracle were the first women ever elected to the council), became council president in 1924 and mayor in 1926. Landes was highly active in women’s organizations including the Women’s Century Club, the Women’s University Club and the League of Women Voters. She also served as madame president of the Seattle Federation of Women’s Clubs, representing thousands of women, and even launched a conference that helped establish Seattle as a sophisticated, modern metropolis. During her mayoral term, she appointed experienced professionals to head up city departments, improved public transportation and parks and put the city's finances in order. The Seattle Opera House is one of her many accomplishments.

Bonnie Dunbar

This lady is out of this world. Literally! Bonnie Dunbar, aerospace engineer and retired NASA astronaut, flew on five Space Shuttle missions in the '80s and '90s. She has logged more than 1,208 hours, or 50+ days, in space! Following her formal education at the University of Washington, and her first stint at Boeing, Dunbar became a flight controller at NASA and finally an astronaut in 1981. On her space missions, she served as mission specialist and Payload Commander, and has since proved that any little girl has the power to break through that aeronautic glass ceiling if she puts her mind to it. Dunbar also served our community as the president and CEO of The Museum of Flight until April 2010. If anyone has wings to soar, it's Bonnie!

Thelma Dewitty

We all know how important it was to fight for educational equality, so who better to mention than Thelma Dewitty, the first African American educator ever hired by the Seattle Public School system. In 1947, Dewitty started at Cooper Elementary. Although there was one request for a different teacher, she ultimately won over all her students and their parents. Throughout her prolific career, Dewitty worked at numerous Seattle schools, where she fought against strict school traditions and carved the road for her future African American and women colleagues to follow. Dewitty also worked with the NAACP, the Washington State Board Against Discrimination and the Board of Theater Supervisors for Seattle and King County.

Sue Bird

Sue Bird, our very own Israeli-American basketball player for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, is certainly a b-baller force to be reckoned with, a mighty Miss amping up the level of women’s sports. Bird was first drafted by the Storm in 2002 as the overall draft pick and has since won four WNBA championships, four Olympic gold medals, two NCAA championships and four FIBA World Cups. She is only one of 11 women to ever attain all four accolades. She has also been honored as one of the WNBA’s top 15 players of all time. In fact, she is the first player in all of WNBA history to win championships in three different decades. In 2021, Bird re-signed with the Storm for another year (her 18th in total) making her the player with the most seasons played in the WNBA. She reminds all the little ladies out there to not fade away from the hoop dreams!

Ana Mari Cauce

We can’t talk about progress of the education system without mentioning Ana Mari Cause. She is an American psychologist, college administrator and the current president of the University of Washington. Born in Havana, Cuba, she relocated to Miami, Florida and then to the Seattle area in 1986. She has grown from being an Assistant Professor to become the first permanent woman president of the institution, as well as the first gay and ethnic minority president at the university. Prior to her appointment as president in 2015, she served as the chair of the American Ethnic Studies Department, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and helped launch The Husky Promise, a tuition-funding initiative at UW. Beyond her academia positions, Cauce also lends her talents as board Vice President at MoPOP. What a testament to barrier breaking if we ever had one!

Ijeoma Oluo

The written word has unspeakable power. When it is penned by an earnest and enthusiastic author, you can’t help but listen intently. Ijeoma Oluo, a Nigerian-American writer and editor, who was named one of the most influential women in Seattle, gives a voice to issues such as racism, misogynoir, harassment, feminism and social justice. She started out in tech and marketing, but then turned towards blogging and subsequently writing her best-seller, So You Want To Talk About Race, that was released in 2018. It was met with rave reviews and has become a significant guidebook for conversations around American racism. As one of Seattle’s most well known conversationalists about race issues and the invisibility of Black women’s voices, Oluo is here to fight for these important issues and have wit when she does. 

Melissa Arnot

Can you imagine climbing Mt. Rainier? Now, imagine climbing Mt. Everest! It’s quite the unbelievable feat that only a tiny percentage of people will ever do successfully. Unless you are Melissa Arnot and have climbed Everest no less than six times! As a young climber, she first climbed Mt. Rainier in 2001, only later to become a guide in 2004 and a lead guide in 2006. After years of honing her skills and a few thwarted attempts at climbing the world’s tallest mountain, she became the first American woman to summit and survive the decent of Mt. Everest without supplemental oxygen. She is currently sponsored by Eddie Bauer and is a participant in the development of their First Ascent brand. She has not only made herself an international climbing expert, but a savvy businesswoman and contributor for this popular Seattle-based outdoor gear company. Climb on!

Maiko Winkler-Chin

If there was the perfect voice for our city’s International District, it would come straight from Maiko Winkler-Chin. Winkler-Chin is the Executive Director at the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority. She has been instrumental in keeping up the vibrancy and the ethnicity of this unique area. Chin brings in over 20 years of experience in the community economic development arena and aims to find areas of business growth and revitalization to the ID. Her goals include bringing in business that fits with the cultural character of the area, making sure community members are hired in new positions and influencing projects that may otherwise overtake small shops and local homes. She has also recently been appointed to the Mayor’s task force to help set up a plan for a $100 million set of investments allocated for communities of color.

Olga Sagan

Pike Place Market is the quintessential place to visit in Seattle for locals and visitors alike. As we all know, there are a few places that garner a bit more attention than others, recognizable by the long lines that extend out of the door at all hours of the day. One of those places that people just can’t get enough of is the nationally renowned Piroshky Piroshky bakery. A mainstay at the historic market since 1992, Olga Sagan (sole owner since 2017) has been offering hand-made savory and sweet pastry pies ever since. As an immigrant from Russia, she had to overcome a handful of obstacles, but her determination and her pastry prowess has built a Seattle bakery dynasty. Now with four locations, a food truck and relationships with other well-known Seattle foodie operations, she is on a path to take over the city, one pie at a time.

Megan Rapinoe

One of our favorite locals, Megan Rapinoe, has catapulted women’s sports into a whole new sphere. Rapinoe is a professional soccer player who currently captains the OL Reign as well as the US National Team. She is a gold medalist in the 2012 London Summer Olympics, the 2015 FIFA’s Women’s World Cup, and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and finished second in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She is well known for her play and her activism in many LGBTQ+ and BLM issues. In the past, she has also played with the Seattle Sounders Women in 2012 in preparation for the Olympics. Attendance of those games skyrocketed in her time there. She signed with OL Reign in 2013 and quickly became their leading scorer, garnered her first professional hat trick and was recognized as a Reign FC Legend in September 2019, solidifying herself as a femme footballer and powerhouse who has made her name in not only Seattle sports but women’s sports the world over. 

Marie-Claire King

Without Mary-Claire King, we might not have the insight into the intricacies of breast cancer and its susceptibility that we have now. King, an American geneticist, was the very first to show that breast cancer can be inherited in some families due to mutations in the BRCA1 gene. If it wasn’t for her and her team’s efforts and research on linkage analysis to prove the existence of this major gene, the race to finally clone the BCRA1 gene (used to repair mutations) would never have happened. Currently, King's primary focus includes breast cancer, ovarian cancer and schizophrenia; she is also interested in discovering genes that cause common disorders. It’s no wonder she is recognized as one of the 50 most important women in science!

—Alaina Weimer


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Shhh…11 Secret Seattle Spots Worth Finding

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One of the best things about going on adventures is doing it ‘local’ style. You know, finding little-known Seattle hidden gems that only local peeps and insiders are privy to. If you’re jonesing for an excursion, or you’ve got visitors who can’t wait to get the nitty gritty on what the Emerald City residents love, here is a list of 11 secret spots that you might not even know existed!

The Alligator Tree

Well, if this local spot doesn’t sound intriguing, we don’t know what does! Schmitz Park Preserve is a quaint, just over 50-acre park located in West Seattle that offers an old growth forest filled with walking paths, hiking and nature galore. Sure, it sounds like many of the parks in our area, but the hidden gem in this preserve is the Alligator Tree—a fallen tree cut and painted to resemble a huge, you guessed it, alligator! It’s perfect for a photo opp (stick that head inside like Captain Hook!)

5515 S.W. Admiral Way
Seattle, WA

E. Highland & Harrison St. Beaches

Did you know our area has over 200 miles of shoreline? When that sun comes out, locals love nothing more than to bask in the brightness at their favorite community beach. This also means some get downright crowded. But, lucky for us, there are still some hidden beach treasures out there where you can avoid the bustle. Two secret beaches to put on your radar? One is at E. Highland Dr. and 42nd Ave. East, north of the Seattle Tennis Club, and the other is a little further south, above Denny Blaine Park, on 39th Ave. E. and E. Harrison St. These low-key, community-improved public beaches sit at the edge of Lake Washington and offer beautiful views and a serene place to take in the lake life. East Highland secret beach has a pebble beach, log seating and lots of trees for shade (plus a couple of parking spots). The Harrison Street beach offers a sand beach, plus a place to wade, have a picnic or watch the sun go down. For more covert street-end beaches to explore, check out this interactive map here. There are actually around 150 secret beaches just waiting to be discovered!

Highland Beach
E. Highland Dr. & 42nd Ave E.
Seattle, WA

Harrison Beach
E. Harrison St. & 39th Ave. E.
Seattle, WA


Georgetown Trailer Park Mall

This artistic little shopping area is something you won’t want to pass by. Built in 2010 and nestled among the industrial atmosphere of Georgetown, this teeny retail oasis is home to vintage travel trailers that house independent shops filled with local artsy items. You will find eclectic goodies such as planters, jewelry, ceramics, art, vintage clothing, vinyl records and home decor. Don’t forget to hit up the super scrumptious Lowrider Baking Company for some mouth-watering homemade cookies while you're there. The Trailer Park Mall is a peculiar, yet totally adorable, spot you’ll be glad you stumbled upon!

5805 Airport Way S.
Seattle, Wa. 98108
Open Sat. 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Shakespeare Garden

Doesn’t this place sound poetic? This darling garden, located in front of the Fine Arts Building at Seattle University, is a living tribute to the many references made to herbs, flowers and plants within Shakespeare’s most famous works. Swing by to see the beauty of lavender, rosemary, thyme, roses and lilies when they're in bloom. It's the perfect secret garden to take in some rays and the words of the Bard, where we know parting will be such sweet sorrow.

901 12th Ave.
Seattle, WA

photo: NW MLS

Montlake Spite House

Have you ever heard of a "spite house"? This quirky term refers to a home that is constructed for the sole purpose of irritating one’s neighbors. And guess who has one? Yep, Seattle has its very own—the Montlake Spite House. Built in 1925, this odd, tiny home is shaped like a pie. The front is about 15-feet wide and it tapers to a mere 55 inches in the back! While we know when it was built, the story behind its construction varies. One local legend says that the landowner built it after being insulted by a low ball offer for his land from his next door neighbor. But it’s also been circulated that it was built by a vengeful divorcee who was awarded the small front yard of the home she once shared with her ex. Story has it she built a house on her tiny parcel out of, you called it, spite. Plan a visit to check out this skinny, iconic domicile for yourself.

2022 24th Ave. E.
Seattle, WA

photo: courtesy Wedgwood Duck House

Wedgwood Duck House

This hidden gem will quack you up! Head to the Wedgwood neighborhood to visit the abode locally known as the Wedgwood Duck House. Approximately every month, the owners of the house, Robert and LaFaye, arrange rubber duckies in the most elaborate formations in their yard. The kiddos will surely get a chick...errr...kick out of their fabulous designs. What started as one lone duck Easter decoration has now hatched into more than a thousand duck donations from all over the world that this imaginative couple uses to build the most creative designs. Psst…while you’re in the area, you might as well stop by the Wedgwood Rock, too. It is a 19-foot, 700-ton, 14,000-year-old gneiss rock in Ravenna that was left over by glacial drift during the last ice age. Go check that huge sucker out, and have a picnic while you’re there, too!

Wedgwood Duck House
West of 35th at 82nd St.
Seattle, WA
Online: Facebook

Wedgwood Rock
7200 28th Ave. N.E. (at the intersection of N.E. 72nd St.)
Seattle, WA
Online: Facebook

West Seattle Bee Garden

Another West Seattle hidden gem! Located in the High Point neighborhood, inside the Commons Park P-Patch, make a beeline to the West Seattle Bee Garden, an educational spot where your young'uns can have a close encounter with their favorite honey makers. The bees are viewed in their natural habitat from behind clear plexiglass walls of an adorable enclosure. Take a self-guided tour of the garden, and don’t forget to read the posted signs to learn a few new tidbits about these little stingers while you are there.

3201 S.W. Graham St.
Seattle, WA

Fourth & Madison Building

This 40-story building in the middle of downtown Seattle hardly seems to be a ‘hidden’ towny treasure. But it’s the seventh floor rooftop that sets this building apart from the surrounding high rises. On this clandestine rooftop sits a secret public garden! This low-key, yet lush retreat is perfect for checking out the views of downtown and taking a gander at Puget Sound. If you and your fam are in the area, it’s a great insider spot to relax and soak in the jewels of the city.

925 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA

Orient Express Restaurant

Ah, just when you thought the days of traveling by train and eating in a dining car have been rendered archaic, in comes a little-known Seattle fave you and your little engineers will go loco-motive over. Located just south of downtown is the Orient Express Restaurant. This unique eatery is housed in seven railroad cars, including one car that was the private travel car of President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his presidential campaign of 1944. OG fixtures, décor and photographs still fill the restaurant, so it provides a fun slice of history as well. The cuisine certainly adds to the unusual charm, too. They serve up Chinese and Thai dishes, because what else would you serve in an old-timey train car? It’s definitely a legit Seattle original.

2963 4th Ave. S.
Seattle, WA

Edith Macefield House

Another house makes this insider's list. Fondly known as the Up house, it’s the Edith Macefield House in Ballard (the photo is from it's cute, quaint days, but it's boarded up now). Homeowner Edith Macefield, who was already in her 80s, refused to sell her farmhouse when commercial developers where building up the area. They wanted to buy her land, but spunky ole Edith refused the hefty million-dollar offer. She has since passed, but her legend and the house remain. Her whimsical, 100-year-old home still sits wedged between the looming, modern buildings that were built around her. When you visit this amazing piece of Seattle nostalgia, bring a balloon. Many people leave them on the fence in honor of the Pixar film.

1438 N.W. 46th St.
Seattle, WA

Ballard Corners Park

You could come to Ballard Corners Park for the walking path, the abstract jungle gym, the rain garden or the interpretive park entryway. But the real funky jewel of this pocket park is the stone living room. Built as an homage to a corner book store, this concrete couch and loveseat set is perfect for the kiddos to climb all over and it looks super cute to boot. Bet you never knew you would be encouraging your Littles to jump on the furniture, did you?

1702 N.W. 62nd St.
Seattle, WA

—Alaina Weimer


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Editor’s note: Please remember to recreate responsibly by wearing a mask and socially distancing when you’re out and about.

Looking for a little-known spot to check off your summer bucket list? We’ve got a doozy of an idea for you and your crew, especially if water play and wilderness are your bag, baby. Check out Denny Creek trail waterslide, located about an hour east of Seattle. It’s a must-do beauty of a hike that ends at a natural rock slip-and-slide your kids will go gaga for. Read on for the Denny Creek deets!

Hit the Trail

The Denny Creek trail, situated between North Bend and Snoqualmie Pass, is a popular hike, full of lush old-growth beauty, creek crossings, bridges and that quintessential PNW foliage, while still being totally doable for the kiddos. The trail is nestled under oodles of coniferous trees with canopy shade a-plenty. It’s also about 3-feet wide, so there's plenty of room to bring the whole gang and Fido, too. This well-kept trail can be rather rooty and rocky in places, but it won’t be more than your mini hikers can handle.

Wander Towards the Waterslide

About a half-mile from the trailhead, there's a picturesque bridge that crosses over the Denny Creek waters and eventually goes right under the I-90 viaduct (cool!). From there, set your sights on the next delightfully scenic area, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, a sure sign you’re getting closer. Then it's on to the piece de resistance, the natural waterslide.

Pro tip: Although this trail can be six miles round trip (Keekwulee Falls is about a mile further up the trail and hiking to Snowshoe Falls adds another half-mile), it's just a little over a mile from the trailhead to the waterslide—perfect for little legs!

Ride the Waves

Once you get to the waterslide, you will no doubt be super stunned by the beauty of this natural wonder. It truly is a gem and well worth the hike. The waterslide area is enclosed in the forest and the ginormous rocks you'll find there have formed natural chutes from the continuous running waterfall and creek. Kiddos can splash around and play in the water to their hearts' content or sit right in and push themselves through the slide to the waiting, shallow pools below. This rock area is also picture perfect for setting up a picnic, relaxing and soaking in the stunning scene while the kids bound off gleefully to ride the slick rockslide again and again.

Pro tip: Plan your Denny Creek excursion on a weekday morning when it's less crowded, if you're able. Or try a later afternoon visit and pack a picnic dinner so the kids are worn out just in time for bed.

Safety First

The actual waterslide rock is flat-ish so you won’t have any worries about your tiny explorers being launched, Niagara-style. It is, however, a good idea to assess the water level and current when you get there. Since summer is drier (and the perfect time to go since the water temp can be pretty chilly), you will probably find a safe spot to cross over the waters to the slide/picnic area. There are also a couple of logs that people use to cross over to this side, but it may be a bit precarious for the teensiest of feet. 

On that note, it's a great idea to bring along water shoes for extra traction while on the rocks and wading through the waters. They do get a bit slippy. And when you're all wiped out from a day of riding the slide and basking in the gorgeousness, don’t forget your towels. It is definitely cooler under the canopy on the way back.

Grab your GPS

Denny Creek Waterslide isn’t hard to find, nor is it too far from the city, making it an ideal summer day excursion. From Seattle, head east on I-90 to Exit 47 Denny Creek/Tinkham Road where you'll turn left and head back over the freeway. Next, turn right at the stop sign on Forest Road 58. The road goes back under the freeway; then turn left. Keep going straight for about 3 miles, past the Denny Creek campground, until you see the large paved parking area on the right.

Pro tip: If you see a sign at this lot for Franklin Falls parking, you're in the right place. The Denny Creek trailhead starts by the bulletin board. Move along down that way, cross the street you came in on, head past the bathrooms (hello, pitstop!) and the gate, go over the bridge and follow the signs towards Denny Creek as it veers off from Franklin Falls. Guess what? Now, you and your whole H2O-happy troop are on your way to a fun-filled summer adventure you won’t soon forget. It is bound to become a family fave!

What to bring

1. Be sure to pack masks, sunscreen, towels, full waterbottles and sturdy water shoes in your beach bag for the trip. It wouldn't hurt to throw a warm outer layer in there too, in case the kids get chilly on the shaded hike back to the car.

2. Add some extra food and snacks to keep the kids fueled, whether you're planning a picnic or just handing out snacks when the kids need them.

3. Stick five dollars to park or your Northwest Forest Pass in pocket to enjoy Denny Creek.


—Alaina Weimer

all photos courtesy of the writer


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L.A.U.G.H: The App That Uses Art to Calm Kids

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Oh, how quickly our daily lives have adopted a new normal! If all this at-home time has morphed into more screen time for your kids, finding online platforms suitable for our little ones is probably on your list. Enter local artist, Catherine Mayer, who just released a free version of her art-based mindfulness app, The L.A.U.G.H® App. It’s built to reduce anxiety and stress, provide an outlet for creativity and increase learning, belonging and confidence in our tiny students. Read on for the 411 on this new drawing app!

photo: Michael Graubard, WHY FOR GOOD

UnwrAPPing the Details

The L.A.U.G.H® App, which encourages users to ‘Let Art Unleash Great Happiness’, is a novel way to deliver mental and emotional relief to our kids. After years of doing her research, and working in conjunction with sociologists, psychologists, behavioral specialists and physicians, Catherine Mayer has gifted us with this drawing tool that is designed to engage several senses simultaneously, such as vision, tactile, listening and focused breathing. Our kid testers dove into The L.A.U.G.H® App’s features to find out what it’s all about, what features they liked best and what parents will be excited to hear about!

photo: Michael Graubard, WHY FOR GOOD

The Initial APProach

When you first open the app, your kiddos will be able to choose the emoji that corresponds with how they are currently coping emotionally (which also gives parents that sneak peek into our kids’ mental well-being). Then, it's on to an uber-encouraging tutorial where kids are introduced to an initial breathing exercise to relax and prepare their minds for the upcoming activities. Ahhhh! After finding their zen, kids are ushered to the art exercise, where they're taught to draw pictures by focusing on each individual shape, contour, shadow and texture. After a few follow-alongs, it's on to selecting a photo from the gallery (about 30 options in all) to complete your own drawing/tracing exercises, while listening to relaxing music that you can change to fit your mood. There are three cool options!

The app's toolkit, with various digital pens, paintbrushes, erasers, chalk and more, ensures each picture can be completely customized. The app also inspires its users to work at their own pace, relax and recognize that there is never a wrong way to draw or trace a picture. Parents will love how it encourages personal expression! After your kiddos create their masterpieces, they can then save their artwork in their own gallery or they can produce a slideshow to show off their work to you. Very user-friendly!

photo: Michael Graubard, WHY FOR GOOD

For some kids the hardest part of the exercise may be going slow. But The L.A.U.G.H® App reminds kids to relax, breath and allow themselves the time to be completely absorbed in a creative and calming activity. It's easy to see how this app provides an outlet for creativity and can also help reduce anxieties and stressors our kids face everyday!

photo: Michael Graubard, WHY FOR GOOD

If You APPreciate Proof

While there's no doubt our family testers enjoyed the app and what it offers, it’s important to point out that The L.A.U.G.H® App has gone through its own testing and trials (including research with University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Research Institute) to make it just right. In school trials, researchers found that the app had significant influence on students’ moods over time. In fact, after around seven sessions of L.A.U.G.H® Time, students showed a 4.7% improvement in their moods, and measurable increases in the kiddos’ joy of learning and school connectedness. As they studied this phenomenon, they found that the joy of learning score was 18.7% higher, and school connectedness was 19.2% higher at the end of L.A.U.G.H® Time. That means that belonging directly affects joy of learning and together they have a positive influence on a student’s mood. Hence the importance of launching this app at a time like this.

photo: SchoolPRPro via Pixabay

How They APProach the Future

So what will The L.A.U.G.H.® App look like in the future? “We know there is a considerable appetite in our world for calm, less anxiety and a creative outlet for kids, families – and really everyone,” said Mayer. “In future versions of the app we will be adding features appropriate for the classroom–including the ability to share to multiple screens (Ambient Art®), as well as new adventures focused on music, movement, breathing and other elements that reinforce mindfulness, focus and social emotional learning and behavior.”

If we’ve whet your APPetite, you can download The L.A.U.G.H. ® App for free in the Apple App Store for iPad only and in the Google Play Store for tablet or phone.

—Alaina Weimer

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Seattle, you give us so much to love. From lush greenery (ahem, awesome parks), to soothing waterfronts (we’re talking about you, beaches), to a bustling cityscape (hello, Market!), we know you so well… or do we? Check out these fun facts about Seattle even our most enthusiastic big and little residents might be surprised to hear.

photo: Seattle's Space Needle

The Space Needle

Sure, if you and your family have been up the Needle then you know a thing or two about this iconic symbol of Seattle. For instance, you might be aware that it was constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair; that its space design concept was first drawn on a napkin; and that it stands 605-feet tall.

But did you know...that if you were to ride up the elevator (which takes 43 seconds) in a snowstorm, it would look like the snow was falling up? That’s because the speed of the elevator at 10 m.p.h. is faster than the speed at which a snowflake falls at 3 m.p.h. Cool! Also, your little ones might be excited to know that if you were to walk up the Space Needle, there are exactly 848 steps in the main stairwell. Just FYI…because, you know they will ask!

photo: Alaina Weimer

Mt. Rainier

As the symbol of our state and the recipient of our unending adoration, Mt. Rainier (originally called Tacoma or Tahoma) has a special place in the heart of any Seattleite. But how much do you really know about this magical mound? We know our favorite volcano stands 14,411 feet tall and that it is the highest mountain in the Cascades.

But did you know... that Mt. Rainier has 25 named glaciers, the most of any mountain in the lower 48? The biggest one is called Emmons Glacier, a 4-mile behemoth that also happens to be the largest glacier in the contiguous United States. Now that’s a big ice rink! But there is also something unique about the glaciers on Mt. Rainier we bet you didn't know. Did you know that Mt. Rainier’s ice is home to iceworms? These iceworms are the only type of worm to live their entire lives on the ice. These small creepy-crawlies are exclusively found in the glaciers of Washington, Alaska, Oregon and British Columbia.

photo: Alaina Weimer

Pike Place Market

Guess what? The famous Pike Place Market wasn’t created to showcase the fish throwers or to scare the heck out of little kids with a lurching Monk fish. It actually started due to overpriced onions in the early 1900s. The price of produce had skyrocketed, so our city and residents proposed a public market, where food could be bought directly from farmers (keep it local!). So in 1907, Pike Place Market was formed and has been operating ever since. It is now the oldest operating farmer’s market in America.

But did you know... the bronze piggy bank that stands in the middle of the market is named Rachel? She weighs 550 pounds and was named after a real 750-pound pig who won the 1985 Island County Fair. What a ham!

photo: Alaina Weimer


We all know how Seattle gets a lot of drizzly and overcast days. There's no disputing that.

But did you know... the people in Seattle buy the most sunglasses per capita, more than any other U.S. city? It sounds strange, but some of the reasons that contribute to this phenomenon include: the need for protection against sun glare off wet roads; the unique PNW lighting that causes brightness even when it's overcast; our preference for outside and water activities that might require eye protection; and the fact we may forget our sunglasses when we leave the house, so we are left to purchase another pair. Something to think about stashing in that stroller when taking Junior out for a walk.

photo: Alaina Weimer

Fremont Troll

Did you know that Seattle has a big ole troll living under one of its bridges? In the community of Fremont, located under the Aurora Bridge on N. 36th Street and Troll Avenue N., is an 18-foot-tall, 30-year old concrete troll just lying in wait to meet your acquaintance.

But did you know...Fremont's famous troll was born thanks to a 1990 art competition intended to revamp the area under the bridge? Artist Steve Badanes led the team that made this Billy Goat’s Gruff-inspired sculpture into a local masterpiece. If you can find the troll, look under his hand. He is doing more than just lurking. He is crushing a Volkswagen Beetle under his grasp. So many quirky things to love about this guy. Also, check out his uncovered eye. It’s made of metal and shiny. So delightfully sinister!

Floating Bridges

Have you driven on a floating bridge? If you have ever piled the kids in the car and gone from Medina to Seattle, then you have. The bridge that connects these two areas and runs across Lake Washington is actually called the Governor Albert D. Rosellini Bridge at Evergreeen Point. It’s not the only one of its kind in this area, either. When you travel on the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge on I-90 from Seattle to Mercer Island, that bridge floats too.

But did you know...that if you drive either of these floating expanses you will be on the world’s first and second longest floating bridges (one of which actually sank during reconstruction in 1990, eek!)? Who knew? Now that is something we know your kiddos will flip over!

Seattle's Geography

Every Seattleite knows how hilly it can be (clutch drivers beware!). All these hills in our community are a result of glaciation. Glaciers moving south first dug out our terrain, but when they receded, huge mounds of rock debris were left in their path. These rock hills are thought to be what is now First Hill, Yesler Terrace, Cherry Hill, Denny Regrade, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne Hill and Beacon Hill.

But did you know... that Denny Regrade was originally a big hill, too? This particular hill was removed and regraded in the years between 1898 and 1930. Regrading started on First Avenue in 1897 and 1899. Then years later, the hill was sluiced right into Elliot Bay. The last pieces of the left-over hill were finally removed by steam shovels in 1929 and 1930.

Seattle Underground

Any local should know that Seattle was rebuilt on top of a city that was destroyed by the Great Seattle Fire of 1889. But if you have yet to hear this story, you're in for an unusual ride. This city-built-on-a-city gives birth to the very famous Seattle Underground, a network of underground passageways and basements in Pioneer Square that used to be at ground level before the fire. Instead of revamping the city where it originally was, the streets were regraded and elevated one to two stories higher (about 22 feet). That means Seattle sits right on top of the old city. The businesses underneath eventually fell into disuse, but certain sections have now become a major tourist attraction. You can still walk over some of the pavement lights that were used to light up the underground sidewalks below.

But did you know... one of the reasons for building the streets higher up was that it kept the sewers that drained into Elliot Bay from backing up at high tide? Thankfully, because of this, our ‘new’ Seattle is far less stinky than it could have been!


If you ask a local they'll tell you Seattle is named after Chief Sealth, a leading figure of the Suquamish and Duwamish. And they wouldn't be wrong.

But did you know... Seattle was first known as Duwamps? Say what now? It’s true. A group of travelers known as the Denny Party came to claim land on what is now Alki Point (formerly and funnily named New York Alki). After a hard winter, most of the Denny Party relocated across Elliot Bay to claim more land at the site of present-day Pioneer Square, which they promptly named Duwamps. After these two settlements competed for dominance, New York Alki was eventually abandoned and everyone moved across the bay. After that, Duwamps' name was changed to “Seattle” to honor the very accommodating and welcoming Chief Sealth of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes.

Emerald City

We all know Seattle's brilliant nickname: the Emerald City. But where did it come from? Well, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau ran a competition to come up with a slogan for an advertising campaign. Sarah Sterling-Franklin (from California) won the contest and came up with the slogan, “Seattle, the Emerald City. Seattle is the jewel of the Northwest, the queen of the Evergreen State, the many-faceted city of space, elegance, magic and beauty." And it has stuck ever since.

But did you know... it wasn’t Seattle’s first fun moniker? It’s first common nickname was actually “Queen City.” This name was given to the city in 1869 by a Portland real estate company who used it in a pamphlet saying it was the “Future Queen City of the Pacific.” That nickname stuck until 1982.

—Alaina Weimer



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34 Rainy Day Activities for Every Day of the Week

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Just because it’s rainy and cold outside doesn’t mean you have to coop up your troop at home. The Emerald City offers a plethora of indoor activities for kids. From museums and aquariums to bookstores, art studios and trampoline parks, we’ve rounded up 35 rainy day activities to keep you and your crew from going loco during the drizzly months. Scroll down!

Plan a Day at the Museum

Sure, museums may be the go-to rainy day rendezvous places. But, they are for a good reason! Kids love them, they’re educational, they get you and your tiny monsters out of the house and the Seattle area is chock-full of fantastic ones. On the next drizzle or downpour, choose from any of the following adventure-filled museums to help you conquer the day:

photo: Jennifer B. Davis

1. KidsQuest Children’s Museum
Migrate out of the mist and head over to the Eastside to enjoy this hands-on, interactive children’s museum. You may remember this place o’ fun being located in Factoria Mall, but in 2017 the museum moved to a new home in downtown Bellevue. The fun and brightly colored exhibits are geared towards the 0-10 set and emphasize skills in science, technology, engineering, art and math. Kids love playing in the big rig, at the large train table, in the atrium climber, at the water gallery or in the story tree. Check out the Museum’s daily calendar for programs to fit your schedule. Your wee ones won’t want to leave!

KidsQuest Children’s Museum
1116 108th Ave. N.E.
Bellevue, WA 98004

photo: Daniel Stockman via Flickr

2. Pacific Science Center
Run from the rainfall and take your little Einsteins to Seattle’s premier science center. The PSC not only offers a safe haven from the weather, but most importantly it gives your young scientists a day to explore the many wonders science, nature and culture PSC has to offer. Flutter about in the Butterfly House, take in the critters in the living exhibits, see how the body works, play in the Science Playground or stomp around with the dinosaurs. You will experience all that and more during your visit!

Pacific Science Center
200 Second Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109

photo: Alaina Weimer

3. The Museum of Flight
Sprint in from the sprinkle and make a rainy day visit to The Museum of Flight. Your tiny Earharts and Lindberghs will go gaga over the full size aircraft they get to tour, the space exhibits they get to explore and the kid’s aviation play area they get to conquer. This huge museum will keep you tied up for hours as your mini pilots and astronauts learn about all things flight and space. Psst! Take advantage of free admission on the first Thursday of each month from 5 p.m.-9 p.m.

The Museum of Flight
9404 E. Marginal Way S.
Seattle, WA 98108

photo: Kristina Moy

4. MoPOP
Take a break from the torrent and pop over to MoPOP, Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture located next to the Space Needle. This museum is so full of wonders your minuscule inquisitive types won’t know what to check out first. Get the feel for various instruments in the Sound Lab, step through the intricacies of science fiction or jump into the world of video gaming, MoPop’s got all this and more. And for all those Minecraft fanatics, celebrate the game’s 10th anniversary at the world premiere exhibit that combines immersive activities, photo ops, arcade play and more on display through September 7, 2020.

Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)
325 5th Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109

photo: Seattle Aquarium

5. Seattle Aquarium
Wade in out of the wet stuff and add the Seattle Aquarium to your indoor rainy day fun list. All the delights of our local underwater habitat are there to greet you and your mini marine biologists. Wonder at the huge Windows on Washington Waters tank (and learn about the PNW waters from a real scuba diver!), watch giant Pacific octopuses eat lunch, dab at the sea cucumbers and urchins in the touch pool and surround yourself with your water-faring friends in the Underwater Dome. The Seattle Aquarium is a great option to get you and your little fishies out of the house and into some seriously fun aquatic adventures.

Seattle Aquarium
1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59
Seattle, WA 98101

photo: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

6. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Race out of the raindrops and add the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to your rainy day, get-the-wiggles-out fun list. A zoo? In the winter? Why yes, because Point Defiance Zoo has two awesome indoor aquariums. Hightail it to the Pacific Seas Aquarium, a 35,000 square foot aquarium that was years in the making and now has its doors open to you and your nautical Nates and Nellies. Mingle with hammerhead sharks and sea turtles, touch sea stars, get a glimpse into the waters of the Puget Sound and be mesmerized by the moon jellies. You and your crew will be drowning in the wonders of the sea in no time. It’s indoor fun at its finest.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
5400 North Pearl St.
Tacoma, WA 98407

photo: Seattle Children’s Museum

7. Seattle Children’s Museum
Yep, another great kid-centric spot next to the Space Needle is the perfect place to play the rainy day blues away. The Seattle Children’s Museum has over 22,000 square feet of play space with numerous exhibits to delve into as well as programs and activities that are free with admission cost. Send your tots around to figure out how gravity works in Cog City, hit up the play Eye Clinic (no pupil dilation required!), make art of all sorts, get your favorite munchies in the mini Metropolitan Market and more. This is yet another rainy day classic sure to occupy even your most rambunctious rascal.

Seattle Children’s Museum
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, WA 98109

Spend the Day Sliding, Climbing & Bouncing

Maybe a day at a museum or aquarium just isn’t your kids’ jam. No worries. Indoor play spaces abound in and around the city. And more than likely, there’s at least one near your neck of the woods that is worth a visit. From tunnels and slides, to climbing nets and bounce houses, here are some solid ideas to wear your suckers, er sweeties, out!

photo; Brigit Stadler/Life As A Voyager

8. Outer Space Seattle
Head on over to the newly-opened and innovative Outer Space Seattle, an out-of-this-world playspace recently opened by a West Seattle mom. This enclosed, inclusive, custom-built play area is perfect for astronauts 0-12 of all abilities. Let them climb inside the structure’s rocket, fly like a comet through the tunnel slides, blast through the ropes and rollers and overlook their friends in the bubble planet…Outer Space Seattle has got the right mix of awesome space-centric playthings. When tummies start to grumble, you can purchase pizza, sandwiches, salads, fruits, veggies and snacks, right on site.

Pro tip: This place is hoppin’ during Saturday open play. But not to worry, families can simply pre-register for two-hour play spots before heading over. Keep in mind, they are closed on Sundays for parties. Consider booking one for your future astronaut’s birthday to guarantee an out-of-this-world bash.

2820 Alki Ave. S.W., Suite #2
Seattle, WA 98116

photo: Jennifer B. Davis

9. JuzPlay Kids
Dash in from a drencher and get ready to let the kiddos let off that steam at JuzPlay Kids. Located in Issaquah, this cute indoor play space is perfect for the younger set. But don’t let the word “cute” deceive you. It’s actually a decent sized play area filled with tubes, big and little slides, ball launchers, climbing structures, tunnels and moving rides perfect for entertaining your wee one for hours on a less than ideal weather day. Watch your kids go berserk from the sidelines or, bonus, bring another parent friend along and chit-chat it up while you let your tiny buffaloes roam.

JuzPlay Kids
1430 N.W. Mall St., Suite B
Issaquah, WA 98027

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

10. Play Date SEA
Looking for a place to park your bum while your lovely lads and lasses go loco? Then, saunter out of the showers and head to Play Date SEA. With a huge play structure, ball launchers, fast slides and sky-high climbing options, this place is a mecca for happiness during the rainy months. Need another incentive to check it out? Play Date SEA has a café at your disposal, and it’s more than just popcorn and goldfish. They offer a full menu filled with kid and adult–friendly options such as pizza, salads, wraps and paninis, plus apps like hummus and mozzarella sticks as well as coffee and drinks (ahem, mom and dad!).

PlayDate SEA
1275 Mercer St.
Seattle, WA 98109

photo: Arena Sports 

11. Arena Sports
Hop over those puddles and hit up this one-stop shop for indoor fun. Sure, it’s a place for indoor youth soccer leagues, but it’s also so much more! With locations throughout the area (Issaquah, Magnuson, Mill Creek, Redmond, SoDo), each Arena Sports has an Inflatable FunZone to get out those rainy day wiggles out, and some even have bowling, laser tag and arcades. Make sure and check the FunZone times before you head out as each location offers different hours. Really, what more could a cooped up kiddo ask for?

Click here to find the Inflatable FunZone nearest you!


12. Dave and Buster’s
Guess what? There is only one Dave and Buster’s in the whole state of Washington, and we’ve got it right here in Auburn! Dodge the droplets and head down to D&B’s for an afternoon filled with every arcade game your gangly little gamers can think of. Grab a family table outside of the bar area (you’re free to stay as long as you like, just keep a coat in your booth and you’ve claimed it ’til you leave!) and set your little ones loose, Pac-Man style, to devour as much video game time as they like (or that your prepaid card will allow!). There’s also carnival-type games for your tiny Wreck-It Ralphs in addition to more sophisticated games for the bigger Donkey Kongs in your crew. Since you’ve got that table, take the opportunity for lunch, if you can wrangle the kiddos back into seats, that is!

Dave and Buster’s
1101 Outlet Collection Dr. S.W.
Auburn, WA 98001

photo: Elevated Sportz

13. Elevated Sportz
The weekends aren’t exempt from the drizzles, so when it happens, you might find that you have more than your precocious preschooler to entertain. As you know, the big kids need outlets, too! Avoid that precipitation and cloudy day fatigue and let the energy escape at Elevated Sportz Trampoline Park. With 10,000 square feet of bounce habitat, including a foam pit, a ninja course and trampoline dodge ball area, you will have no problem wiping the kids out. And tiny tykes, you aren’t forgotten. There is also a Kidz Adventure area just right for pint-sized sprouts. No better way to get the jumping beans out!

Elevated Sportz
18311 Bothell-Everett Highway, Suite 140
Bothell, WA 98012

photo: Allison Rasmussen

14. Wunderkind
Another indoor play space fit for both parent and child? Seattle, you have our backs! Escape the elements and head to the 1,800 square foot Wunderkind facility, dedicated to kiddos and their vivid imaginations. You’ll first enter the DUPLO space with bins full of pieces, just waiting for little hands. This area is also filled with train sets and figures for your young conductors to create their own train world. The older set will also find an upstairs room full of LEGOs, train tracks and the hit of the second level—a remote control train! Best part? Think of Wunderkind as a safe space where you won’t have to live in fear of stepping barefoot on a forgotten LEGO piece in the middle of the night! Psst…the other half of Wunderkind is for you, parents! Complete with a café serving espresso and coffee concoctions as well as sammies, salads, kiddo foods, and, wait for it, local craft beers and wines if you want to unwind.

Wunderkind Seattle
3318 N.E. 55th St.
Seattle, WA 98105

Hit the Mall

Looking for an indoor play place for Little Mr. or Miss Wiggle Wart, but you also need to get some shopping done? On a the next rainy day, kill two birds with one stone. Seattle is full of ways for your minis to get the cloudy day squirmies out and for you to hit that flash sale you’ve been eyeballing. Scroll down to see some of our favorite shopping malls with fantastic play spaces.

photo: Jennifer B. Davis

15. Funtastic Playtorium- Factoria Mall/Alderwood Mall
Definitely one of the more active, crowded and wild of play indoor spaces, the Funtastic Playtorium is a large, friendly, ready-to-romp spot in Factoria Mall (with an additional location at the Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood). Don’t let the clouds keep you down. Head to this space to entertain your most climby-est, slidey-est adventurer. Within a huge meshed-in structure, kids up to 10 years old can tunnel, side, bounce, creep, climb, blast and ride. Unlike smaller play areas, it’s tough to keep an eye on junior the entire time, but the structure is sturdy enough for adults should you need to venture in and be a hero. Psst… bracelets are provided for adults and kids alike to monitor comings and goings.

Funtastic Playtorium – Factoria
4077 Factoria Square Mall S.E., Suite F-16
Bellevue, WA 98006

Funtastic Playtorium – Alderwood
3000 184th St. S.W., Suite 676
Lynnwood, WA 98037


photo: Safari Place via Yelp

16. Westfield Southcenter Mall – Safari Place
Don’t just hang at the homestead. Check out Safari Place at Westfield Southcenter, a prime play spot for kids under 52 inches. The facility is equipped with moving structures, padded surfaces, slides and a ball pit which are guaranteed to stimulate your sidekick. So wear out your little angels and then hit the Nordstrom sale. Bonus: Westfield Southcenter also has a free play space on the first floor if you need a quick drop-in area to kick back and take a break before your next stop!

Safari Place
2867 Southcenter Mall (2nd Floor near JCPenney and H&M)
Tukwila, WA 98188

Westfield PlaySpace
2800 Southcenter Mall (1st floor by Crazy 8 and JCPenney)
Seattle, WA 98188

photo: Wiggle Works

17. Crossroads Mall – WiggleWorks Kids
Leave the low clouds behind and make a date with your little monkey to get all the wiggles out at WiggleWorks Kids in Bellevue or Puyallup. This soft indoor play spot, complete with moving parts, is a toddler’s dream. And the great bar stool seating along the counter makes is a no-brainer when it comes chillaxing, or keeping a covert eye on your little daring darling while he or she plays. The $10 weekday admission for the first kiddo ($8/child after that) in Bellevue includes a wristband, so you can grab food in the mall and then come back for more!

Crossroads Mall
15600 N.E. 8th St., Suite F15
Bellevue, WA 98008

South Hill Mall
3500 S. Meridian, Suite 215
Puyallup, WA 98373


18. Northgate Mall – Children’s Play Place
If your neck of the woods happens to be north of Seattle near Northgate Mall, you can avoid the drizzle by stopping by the Children’s Play Place for a little indoor entertainment. The lengthy, enclosed play area is long enough for a few games of tag and perfect for getting lots of energy out. There are also comfy seats for parents along the perimeter, and lots of options for kids to explore (think: rocket ship, tugboat, car and slides!).

Children’s Play Place
401 N.E. Northgate Way (across from Old Navy)
Seattle, WA 98125

photo: Shweta M. via Yelp

19. Bellevue Square – The Kid’s Cove
If the cloud coverage is making you and your crew antsy and you feel like a Bellevue Square visit would be just the ticket for a pick-me-up, head to The Kid’s Cove located on the 3rd floor. Geared towards kids under 42 inches tall, this enclosed play space is home to soft climbing toys with fun maritime themes. There are boats to steer, a ferry to crawl through and lots of sea critters to touch and explore. There’s also plenty of room to sit with your mom or dad squad and catch up while your wee ones work out their wiggles. Psst…if you can’t get your sidekick to come out of The Kid’s Cove, entice him or her with a trip to Pinkabella Cupcakes, across from the play space.

The Kid’s Cove
575 Bellevue Square (3rd Floor, above Center Court)
Bellevue, WA 98004

Go to the Movies!

Maybe going to the movies seems like a no-brainer on a super soggy day, but going to the movies with your mini film aficionados is a crowd-pleaser, and should definitely be on your indoor funday list. Check out what these family-friendly theaters have to offer and plan a day at the movies for the next weather-challenged day!

photo: NYSCI

20. Cinemark Theaters
Located throughout the area, Cinemark will give you and your mini movie lovers that quintessential movie experience. With nearby locations in Federal Way, Lincoln Square, and Point Ruston, there is probably a theater relatively nearby your area. Cinemark also offers discounted pricing and special showings, so check their website to see if your neighborhood theater participates and what discounts you can get your deal-seeking hands on. Psst…every Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Lincoln Square location parents and infants under age one can take advantage of the Mommy & Me showings, where parents and tots can watch current movies without having to worry about bothering other movie-goers with a fussy baby. Strollers are accepted and encouraged and the theater even leaves the lights on a bit brighter, so that parents can attend to their little one while they watch!


21. Regal Theaters
Throw a stone toddler-style and you will probably hit a Regal Theater. They’ve got locations all over Western Washington from Bonney Lake to Puyallup and Auburn, to Seattle, Tukwila, Renton, Redmond, Issaquah and Bellevue. There’s no doubt you’ve got a location close enough to easily pull your whole motley crew in and out of the drizzle. Check the Regal website for movie listings at your preferred location and don’t forget to check out their promotions link to see the Regal Value Days or if there are any buy one get one deals you can snag. Psst! If you’re a Regal Crown Club member, get 25% off candy every Monday or 50% off popcorn every Tuesday. Food for thought, quite literally!


photo: Skate Tiffany’s Roller Skating & Family Fun Center Facebook page

22. Rolling With Your Homies
Does your bevy of babes need more than a movie to get the energy out? What about a day at the roller rink? Strap on those rad rollers and get your giddy gliders out on the floor! There are several family-centric roller rinks around the area that are just waiting to take the brunt of your beginning skater’s flails. Seattle, Bremerton, Auburn, Federal Way, Lynnwood, Everett, Marysville, and Puyallup all have skate centers perfect for getting rid of the drizzle downers. Click here for all the insider details and tips on these local rinks. Then, get out there and show your budding bladers how it’s really done!

Hit Up Your Local Bookstore

Seriously, what’s more cozy than a bookstore when it’s raining? Hmm, not much. The next time you’ve got to get your bouncing-off-the-walls bambino outta the abode when Mother Nature rears her head, consider one of these amazing local bookstores. Here are some of our favorites for your drizzly day trip. And be sure to click here for even more bookstore beauties.

photo: Elliott Bay Book Company

23. Elliott Bay Book Company
Clouds moving in? Head over to Capitol Hill and visit the Elliott Bay Book Company. It’s a full service bookstore, home to over 150,000 titles, and features one of our area’s best selections of new books, including a stellar collection of children’s books. The bookstore has great character and an inviting atmosphere for book lovers of all ages. If you have a tween or teen, check out the Underground YA Book Group. The friendly and helpful staff can help you find the perfect book or spend time scanning the shelves to find something that strikes your fancy. While you’re there, be sure to visit Little Oddfellows, the cozy, in-house café that offers baked goods, sandwiches, coffee from Caffe Vita and beer and wine for the more mature patrons.

Elliott Bay Book Company
1521 10th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122

photo: Third Place Books Lake Forest Park Facebook page

24. Third Place Books
Third Place Books is more than a bookstore; it’s a community gathering place where families, friends, and neighbors can connect over a love of books and playfully lament over the lack of sun. With three Seattle-area locations, you can find one close by that has just what you’re looking for. The flagship store in Lake Forest Park offers a large public commons area, three restaurants, free WiFi and a jam-packed events calendar. Moms and dads, perch yourself at the half-wall, hit up the Honey Bear Bakery and let your toddlers giggle with glee in the safe, enclosed play space. Then, consider breaking up the day with story time at the Lake Forest Park library (just below the bookstore) where kids can participate in toddler story time on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. or hear stories for preschoolers on Wednesdays at 11 a.m.

Town Center at Lake Forest Park
17171 Bothell Way N.E.
Lake Forest Park, WA 98155

25. Secret Garden Bookshop
Just off bustling Market Street in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, you’ll find Secret Garden Books. This full-service, independent bookstore offers something for everyone, but their primary focus is children’s literature. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, this neighborhood icon continues to expand its positive impact on our local community by featuring author visits, cultural events and book fairs. The knowledgeable staff includes longtime booksellers who are ready to help pick out books for all readers. And they offer two special book groups for young readers: The Young Readers Society for ages 8–11 and the Teen Book Club for ages 11–14. For the wee ones, there are toddler-sized tables perfect for looking at books. Stop by and peruse the shelves (and shelves!) of books that are waiting to spark your child’s imagination.

Secret Garden Books
2214 N.W. Market St.
Seattle, WA 98107

photo: Abbey McGee

26. University Bookstore
You don’t have to be a Husky to enjoy the University Bookstore. Yes, the store is filled to the brim with purple and gold, but it also boasts an amazing children’s lit department. Don your raincoats and head to the UW Bookstore which has morphed into a Seattle-area favorite, serving every reader from college student to preschooler. The main U-District location hosts dramatic readings of the best in new and class kids’ books, as well as a graphic novel book club geared towards future cartoonists and comic book fans the second Wednesday of every month at 3:30 p.m. The Mill Creek location hosts a weekly story time, complete with refreshments for readers ages 3–7 on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. Check the calendar at your go-to location for what’s on the ever-changing agenda.

To find a location near you, click here.

Go Swimming!

27. Indoor Pools
Dreaming about lounging by the pool? Grab your pool floats, goggles and cooped up kids and head to one of our favorite indoor pools for lots of energy burning fun. It’s an easy and fun way to banish those rainy day blues. Click here for the all the deets!

photo: Snohomish School District

Pass the Day With Pottery

Hey, mini Monets! You know what’s a fab way to brighten a gray day? Throw some art in it! It can be sunny inside even if it isn’t on the outside. Consider taking your angels to a create-your-own-pottery studio the next time it downpours or when the wee ones are going cuckoo. Check out these amazing art studios below or click here for additional shops and details!

photo: Color Me Mine-Mill Creek Facebook page

28. Color Me Mine
This cheery (not dreary!) spot in the Mill Creek Town Center offers you and your tots (all ages welcome—they even have high chairs for the Littles) the chance to create a pottery masterpiece in a fun setting. Studio fees are only $6/kids and $8/adults with pottery averaging $14, plus you can come back as many times as you want to finish your creation with no additional fees (perfect for moms of wee ones who can only handle an hour of art time). Just pick up your glazed and fired piece in a week’s time and you’ll have a rainy day keepsake to treasure for years.

Color Me Mine
15603 Main St, #105
Mill Creek, WA 98012

photo: Mudhouse Pottery

29. Mudhouse Pottery Painting
This relaxed studio in Gilman Village offers daily hours for any time the pottery painting bug bites you. There are no studio fees and their prices range from $12 to $45, depending on the piece you choose. Their friendly staff will also help you with your arty ideas, and when you’ve completed your masterpiece, they’ll glaze it, fire it and have it ready for pickup in 7 days. No need to make a reservation—just stop on by anytime, rain or shine!

Mudhouse Pottery Painting
317 N.W. Gilman Blvd.
Issaquah, WA 98027

30. Paint Away
When the rain, rain won’t go away, step out and head to Paint Away, your one stop shop for everything arty. Conveniently located in Redmond Town Center, Paint Away’s pottery prices include studio fees and glazing and firing of your bisqueware piece within a week. If you want to try something new, check out their glass-fusing center, which is a unique way to create an art-tastic piece for yourself or as a gift. You start with a blank glass base and create a design on top with smaller glass pieces. They even have “kiddie glass” which is glass that’s been fired to give it rounded, smooth edges, perfect for little fingers.

Paint Away
7329 164th Ave. N.E.
Redmond, WA 98052

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

31. Paint The Town
It’s raining, it’s pouring, what will you do in the morning? Paint The Town! This ideally located paint your own pottery place in U Village offers up a wide variety (as in 250!) do it yourself painting options, from mugs to bowls, figurines to picture frames, in prices ranging from $6 to $60. One price includes the piece you choose and all paints, glazing and firing of your piece. Best of all, you can drop in anytime during business hours to create your masterpiece.

Paint The Town
4611 Village Ct. N.E.
Seattle, WA 98105

Visit an Art Store

If you are filled to the brim with vases and mugs, consider these venues for a day of art classes and crafting. Your eager artists will adore exploring and getting their creative curiosity piqued at these toy/project/art studio hybrid stores. The kids will stay dry during the day, but we can’t guarantee they will stay paint free! Check out these places below or click here for additional artsy fartsy options!

photo: Curious Kidstuff

32. Curious Kidstuff
Originally 3,000 square feet of glorious toy store goodness (providing non-violent and green toys), this popular store in the West Seattle Junction has expanded to include toddler, preschool and elementary art classes. Curious Kidstuff currently offers two all ages classes on Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m.–11 a.m. for $12. Or stop by the store during regular business hours and let your petite Picasso participate in hands-on play with the many tables set up around this fully engaging store.

Curious Kidstuff
4740 California Ave. S.W.
Seattle WA 98116

photo: Leah Singer

33. Lakeshore Learning
Not only does Lakeshore Learning have one of the largest assortments of learning toys, games, books and projects (and extremely knowledgeable and helpful staff), they offer drop in, no reservation required free craft projects every Saturday. Stop by the store anytime between 11 a.m.–3 p.m. with your determined DaVinci (3 & older) and craft away. Their website has a great calendar listing of projects for the month, ranging from butterflies to lions and chicks–oh my!

Lakeshore Learning
11027 N.E. 4th St.
Bellevue, WA 98004

photo: Kristina Moy

Go Bowling!

34. What better way to burn off that rainy day energy than rolling an 8-pound ball down a big ol’ lane! These days, many of our area’s lanes are fantastically family-friendly and accommodate even the tiniest Lebowskis. Most also boast cool extras like arcade games, groovy jams, gourmet grub and even ginormous screens playing your favorite sports teams. From souped-up hipster havens to totally traditional lanes, click here for a uber comprehensive list of where to go for strikes and spares.

—Alaina Weimer


14 Indoor Pools to Dive Into This Winter

10 Free (or Super Cheap) Things to Do with Kids Under Five

100 Things Every Seattle Kid Must Do at Least Once

Where to Find the City’s Best Parks & Playgrounds

Read next

The Emerald City is chock-full of fantastic family restaurants where you and your crew can let your foodie flags fly. But for those times when you want to celebrate something special or spice up a mid-week meal, we’ve compiled a list of the best themed restaurants in Seattle and beyond. From entertainment, games and animals to over-the-top sweets, there’s something for everyone at these 10 themed restaurants. Scroll down to learn more!

Rhein Haus Tacoma

Eins, Zwei, Drei! Time to "mach schnell" over to the Rhein Haus in Tacoma (there is also one in Capital Hill). This Bavarian-themed restaurant might sound like it’s only fit for those of Octoberfest age, but it’s actually great for the kinders, too! Newly opened in February 2017, Rhein Haus Tacoma boasts indoor bocce ball courts, a 9-hole putt putt course, an outdoor biergarten (ahem…mom and dad) and views of Wright Park. While it tends to lean more towards a bar atmosphere the later you get into the night, if you head out there early, you can challenge your tiny ballers to a game of Bocce (you can rent a court by the hour, reserve yours one day in advance here) or mini golf (just $5 a person). They have a full kinder menu for your diminutive Deutschers or nosh on the homemade sausages and a giant pretzel the entire family can share. Das ist gut!

Good to know: Do it on Dienstag. Kids 12 & under eat free on Tuesdays, with a purchased adult entrée!

649 Division Ave.
Tacoma, WA 98403


Who doesn’t love a good beach excursion? We know that when you are toting around a youngster or two, there is a good chance your beach outings include more digging sand out of toddler pants than sitting with a cocktail and watching your beach bums build a sand castle. But maybe, just maybe, you can have it all when you check out Bongos, a beach-themed Caribbean restaurant near Green Lake! Bongos is the ideal place to let your tiny sand crabs do their thing. Along with an indoor seating area and a patio, there is an outdoor dining area filled with sand where you can all enjoy palate-pleasing Caribbean and Cuban food like pork and cuban sandwiches, jerk chicken, black beans and yuka fries with your toes in the sand and your tots preoccupied with the restaurant's sand toys in the dunes. It’s pretty much a win-win. Great island food, relaxed ambiance and your little beach beauties playing away in their faux seaside happy place!

Good to know: Bongos is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so plan for a Hump Day or after chow down!

6501 Aurora Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98103

photo: Kristina Moy

Sugar Factory

Holy cow! This next brasserie would even coax Vanellope to make Wreck-It-Ralph knock down the door to get inside! And it goes by the name of Sugar Factory. You and your little chocolate covered peanuts will go nutty over this sweets-themed restaurant. Located in Bellevue at The Shops at The Bravern, Sugar Factory offers up the most tempting meals and desserts you can imagine. The vibe is fully sacchariferous, luscious and luxe, but perfectly suited for families. The large menu consists of apps, soups, salads, sandwiches, ridiculously large burgers, pastas and entrees alongside insane milkshakes that are awe-inspiring pieces of edible art, and will likely leave you wondering who the creative candy genius is who thought them all up. Psst! The restaurant also serves their signature goblets filled with confectionery garnishes and dry ice as well as martinis and cocktails, all of which can be served sans alcohol, too. Don't forget your camera! 

11111 N.E. 8th St., #120
Bellevue, WA 98004

The Pink Door

Move over, PT Barnum. The greatest show on earth might just be housed right here in Seattle! If your kids are ready to be a ring leader, let their imaginations run away with the circus at The Pink Door, a spectacular trapeze and entertainment-themed Italian-American restaurant in Post Alley. Each night features an eclectic mix of entertainment such as jazz and blues musicians, tap dancing, and tarot card reading. While some of these gigs start a bit late for the miniest of maestros, don’t let this culinary, old-timey experience pass you by. You will want to hit this joint up on either Sundays or Mondays for their delightful aerial performances, with all the twists, turns and contortions performed right above you! There are four performances between 6:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m., so make sure to set up your reservations on their website in advance. Then take your little tots to get their big top on. This is one pasta and farm-to-table eatery where you and your posse can enjoy your vittles while someone else swings from the rafters!

1919 Post Alley
Seattle, WA 98101

Drunky Two Shoes

Well, we’ll be! If this barbecue place isn’t fixin’ to knock it outta the park! With two locations in White Center and Ballard, this Wild West-themed joint is where you go if your little cowboys and cowgirls are jonesin’ for a meat fix! Menu items include pulled pork, ribs, chicken and brisket, plus sandwiches, pot pie, mac and cheese, wings and more. Psst! Order a few meats and a couple of family-sized sides to share and we guarantee you'll go home with the bona fide buckaroo vibe you were searching for and some amazing barbecue grub, too. 

White Center
9655 16th Ave. SW
Seattle, WA 98106

4105 Leary Way N.W.
Seattle, WA 98107

photo: Alaina Weimer

XXX Rootbeer Drive-In

There is no place more decked out in mid-century nostalgia then the one and only vintage-themed restaurant, XXX Rootbeer. Literally covered from floor to ceiling in '50s and '60s memorabilia and antiques, this former drive-thru will be so captivating for your groovy little gang they won’t want to leave. One of only two XXX Root Beer restaurants in the entire country (with the largest lighted Plexiglass sign in the west!), it’s definitely a landmark you will want to experience. Grab some American diner fare for your little sock hoppers from the kids’ menu (hot dogs, burgers, fries), play a few songs on the old-fashioned jukebox and grab a sweet for the road from the ginormous gumball machine.

Good to know: The restaurant also has outdoor seating for sunny days and a classic car show on most Sundays. It's always a good day to check this eclectic diner out!

98 N.E. Gilman Blvd.
Issaquah, WA 98027

NEKO: A Cat Cafe

Got a crew of feline fanatics? Head over to this Capital Hill cafe right meow! It’s not just a cat decorated cafe with "Hang In There" posters on the wall. It’s an actual café where you can dine and also play with the furry critters IRL. At NEKO (it means cat in Japanese, and where the cafe got its inspiration), your little kittens can nibble on light treats (think: donuts, cookies, bentos, savory breads), while you sip on coffee, wine or beer. If an afternoon spent petting the purr-fect pal is on your bucket list, also make a reservation in the cat room. It’s $11 per person for 55 minutes. Reservations are highly recommended, but if the kitty room is full, the café is always ready to welcome you and your feline fanatics. This will be an experience your tomcats and tabbies won’t want to hide from!

Good to know: Kids ages 13 & under must be accompanied by an adult and there must be one adult for every two kids under the age of 10 when in the cat room. Also, the feline friends here are adoptable!

519 E. Pine St.
Seattle, WA 98122

photo: Shug's Soda Fountain & Ice Cream

Shug's Soda Fountain

O Decadence, Decadence, wherefore art thou Decadence? As it turns out, apparently in downtown Seattle. Tiny confectionery cuties, we know where you want to be. And that is at Shug’s Soda Fountain, a nostalgic old-school soda fountain and ice cream parlor located at Pike Place Market. Leave your no-dessert-for-me persona at the door. You and your wee Willy Wonka wannabes will be in a candy-coated oasis. Shug's serves everything from extravagant ice cream, shakes, sodas and floats, to embellished sundaes, sugarlicious cocktails and coffee. This adorable, pastel-hued joint is dripping with sweetness, so go ahead and cap those little monsters off with a sweet sugar high.

Good to know: Shug's is opening a mini version of their Pike Place Market soda fountain in West Seattle. Stay tuned for the details! 

1525 1st Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101

Queen Mary Tea Room

Who says you have to be a queen to enjoy a spot of tea? The petite lads and lasses in your life can feel like princes and princesses when they visit the Queen Mary Tea Room. Located in Ravenna, this quaint tea room and Victorian-themed restaurant will charm your booties off. Come for brunch, lunch or afternoon tea and let your kids order off the kids' menu which includes shortbreads, sorbets, fruit, tea cakes, tea sandwiches and grilled cheese (plus they can don crowns and tiaras!). Set up your two-hour reservation, get your little royalty ready to put their pinkies up and head over to Queen Mary for a tea-rrific time!

Good to know: Blimey! Booster seats and highchairs are not available, so plan accordingly. Also, Queen Mary needs her beauty sleep on Mondays and Tuesdays, so schedule your visit Wednesday through Sunday!

2912 N.E. 55th St.
Seattle, WA 98105

Summit House, Crystal Mountain Resort

Want to dine with your adolescent alpine lover? While not a themed-restaurant per se, this place certainly has its own particular milieu that makes it worthy of this list, and your pocket-sized explorers will go gaga over it. It’s Washington’s highest elevation restaurant, the Summit House at Crystal Mountain Resort. While it’s got the lodge/ski resort feel, the novel fun for your young cliff connoisseurs is how you get there. When you get to Crystal Mountain Resort, you will need to climb the mountain. And by climb, we mean ride the enclosed ski gondola all the way up to the top, to 6,872 feet! Summit House gives you the most spectacular views of Mt. Rainier. (Like you could reach out and touch it views!) The Summit House offers a full kid's menu with all the traditional faves, as well as a scrumptious "pasture, land and sea" menu for adults. There is also outdoor seating (yes, please!) available first-come, first-served. Walk-ins are welcome at lunch, but reservations are strongly recommended and are only open on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Good to know: Always check the website before you go. If bad weather strikes, the gondola may not be operational. Also, your reservation does not include the gondola ride ($25/Adults; $15/Youth; Free for Kids (0-4). Want to save some money? Tickets can be purchased an hour before your reservation for 50% off! Also, be sure to arrive 30 minutes in advance to accommodate for the trip up.

33914 Crystal Mountain Blvd.
Enumclaw, WA 98022

—Alaina Weimer


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