By now you’ve seen them. Kids, teenagers and yes, the ahem, grown-ups, all walking around, staring at their phones and frantically swiping up. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or a Poké Ball for the last couple of weeks, you likely know that they are playing the megahit game, Pokémon GO. If your family has jumped on this latest gaming phenomenon, we’ve searched the city for the best places to capture Pokémon and the safest PokéStops to explore.

photo: Natalia Dotto Photography 

Pokémon Go or Pokémon No?
Pokémon GO is built on Niantic’s Real World Gaming Platform and uses real locations to encourage players to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon. Played on a mobile device, the game allows players to find and catch more than a hundred different species of Pokémon, battle and train the virtual creatures, gain levels and eventually join teams and unlock achievement medals. If you are wondering whether you should allow your kids to Pokémon Go or Pokémon No, we can tell you that Seattle is chock-full of Poké-places to explore that will keep your pint-sized players safe while still satisfied at catching them all. The added benefit? Pokémon Go will have you and the fam playing tourist in your own city and discovering local landmarks you might not have known existed. And while your digital dynamos are looking for Zubats, Psyducks and perhaps a Pickachu to add to their Pokédex, they will be getting fresh air and exercise.

photo: Natalia Dotto Photography

Explore Your Neighborhood
Get Up, Get Out and Explore is one of the tag lines the game uses. By simply looking on the GPS-enabled map, you can find PokéStops and gyms at locations and landmarks throughout your neighborhood. Some of these PokéStops are well-known, others a little more random. We found them at a little free library, a local butcher’s shop and even a garden planter shaped like a boot. And the moms and dads we talked with said they are enjoying wandering their neighborhoods, discovering new ‘hoods and exploring new points of interests around town.

photo: Natalia Dotto Photography

Major Landmarks and Locations
Seattle Center
If you are new to the game, the Seattle Center has a plethora of PokéStops to get you going. We stopped counting at 12 just in and around the International Fountain. Of course, the Space Needle is a Gym. Because who doesn’t want to battle their Pokémon at a 605-foot tall icon of Seattle?

Why moms and dads like it: Little Pokémon fanatics can fling their Poké Balls to their hearts’ content and parents don’t have to worry about traffic or navigating busy streets.

305 Harrison St.
Seattle, Wa 98109

Cal Anderson Park
Rumor has it that someone caught a Dragonite at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill. If you and the fam are headed to Cal Anderson Park, know that catching them all at this location is popular among the big kids as well.

Why moms and dads like it: Little Pokémon trainers don’t have to travel far to find multiple PokéStops. The park entrance happens to be near three PokéStop landmarks and the Cal Anderson fountain is said to be a great place for water Pokémon.

1635 11th Ave.
Seattle, Wa 98122

photo: Kristina Moy

Green Lake
Take your little trainers to Green Lake to catch a Hitmonlee. What’s that you say, you have no idea what that means? Never fear, your little Pokémon player can catch you up on the game. The popular park has become a popular place for Pokémon GO. Just remember to stay on the correct side of the pathway and out of the way of bicycles, bladers and boarders.

Why moms and dads like it: Kids can walk around the lake safely and moms and dads can sneak in some exercise. The 2.8 mile walk around the lake is also far enough to hatch an egg or two. Score!

7201 E. Greenlake Dr. N.
Seattle, Wa 98104

Discovery Park
Word on the street is that a Nidoqueen was captured at Discovery Park! With its vast expanse of meadows, Discovery Park is ideal for letting the small frys wander, with watchful eyes of course.

Why moms and dads like it: With 534 acres to explore, Discovery Park offers plenty of places for kids to catch Pokémon characters while working off the crazies. Plus, the spectacular views, the two miles of protected tidal beaches and the tranquil setting can’t be beat.

3801 Discovery Park Blvd.
Seattle, Wa 98199

photo: Woodland Park Zoo Facebook page 

Woodland Park Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium 
If you’re headed to Woodland Park Zoo to see the sweet new baby gorilla, Yola, turns out there are some imaginary critters hanging out around the animal enclosures. Same holds true at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma. Pokémon trainers have spotted Pokémon characters around the carousel, near the baby goats and on the pathways near the South Pacific Aquarium.

Why moms and dads like it: Both locations offer paved walking trails and big grassy areas, perfect for pint-sized players to look for Pokémon characters.

Woodland Park Zoo
5500 Phinney Ave. N.
Seattle, Wa 98103

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
5400 N. Pearl St.
Tacoma, Wa 98407

Seattle Street Car
Take your little monsters on the Seattle Street Car First Hill line from Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill to catch some virtual monsters. You can sit back and enjoy the ride, while your kids swipe away at the PokéStops along the way.

Why moms and dads like it: Seeing Seattle from the Street Car can be a fun and new way to explore the city, especially when someone else is doing the driving.

photo: Natalia Dotto Photography

While the popularity of this game has many people shaking their heads, there is no doubt it is getting people, young and old, out and about. And even making a few new friends, even if their names are Psyduck and Squirtel, along the way.

As with any screen time, it’s always good to set limits. Little players don’t need to have their heads down staring at the screen constantly, the game will buzz when a Pokémon is nearby. Also, remind kids to be aware of their surroundings, stay alert near roadways and never wander away to catch that elusive Pokémon!

Are you catching Pokémon characters with your kids? Tell us where you’re playing Pokémon GO in the Comments below.

— Natalia Dotto

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