Where Your Family’s Inner Hipster Goes Out to Play

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If Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie came to Seattle, you’d be sure to find them walking around with their gaggle of kids in Capitol Hill – decked out in leather jackets, pants that you’re pretty sure must have a hidden zipper somewhere and $200 tennis shoes that they bought looking that beat up. They’d fit right in. But beyond Capitol Hill’s hipster-meets-grunge-of-the-early-90s-meets-bad-parking, you’ll find some of the best places to eat, play and explore… and we mean with your kids, natch. So, cancel your babysitter (who probably hangs out on Capitol Hill after she leaves your house, by the way), throw on that old band t-shirt that’s been sitting in the back of your closet for the past 20+ years, and start checking these off your Seattle to-do list with your family. They’re Brangelina approved. Really.

1. Bootyland Kids: If you come to Capitol Hill wearing anything that came from gasp the mall, make a quick stop at Bootyland (1317 East Pine Street, Seattle) to funk up your kid’s outfits a bit before hitting the streets. They’ve been a staple in Capitol Hill for nearly a decade, carrying the hippest in baby and children’s clothing and products. This is also a great place to pick up gifts for all those upcoming birthday parties your child has on her social calendar!

2. Vios Café & Marketplace: Tucked away near Volunteer Park, Vios Café & Marketplace (903 19th Avenue East, Seattle) is, undeniably, one of the most kid-friendly, if not the absolute most kid-friendly restaurant in all of Seattle. With a philosophy that parents should be able to dine out with their kids and still enjoy amazing food and booths that surround a cool play area, Vios is perfect for lunch or dinner when visiting Capitol Hill.

3. Old School Frozen Custard: Every outing needs a little something sweet, don’t you agree? We’re pretty sure your kids do! Check out Capitol Hill’s take on the ice cream parlor at Old School Frozen Custard (1316 East Pike Street, Seattle). What is frozen custard? Your kids will love it because it’s a little softer and easier to eat than traditional ice cream, but it’s not as soft as soft-serve that seems to melt in an instant. Psst! It’s also lower in butterfat and calories, so go ahead and order yourself some too!

4. Elliott Bay Book Company: With their new relocation to Capitol Hill from Pioneer Square, Elliott Bay Book Company (1521 10th Avenue, Seattle) is now a mainstay for families exploring the ‘hood. In fact, you and your kids could likely spend all afternoon getting lost in the shelves of both new and used books at Elliott Bay Books, so be sure to plan enough time to do so. Check out their website for upcoming story times and author visits.

5. Victrola Coffee & Art: In every new neighborhood you explore, a parent needs to know where to grab a good cup of coffee and thankfully, your options are plentiful for a caffeine fix in Capitol Hill! Victrola Coffee & Art (411 15th Avenue East, Seattle) is the perfect spot to grab a latte and a pastry to re-fuel for the rest of your exploring. There are comfy couches and chairs for your kids to lounge in while you wait for the caffeine to hit your veins and often they have performance art or readings happening throughout the day that will surely hold everyone’s interest.

6. Po Dog: But when coffee and a pastry won’t cut it for your mini-hipsters, trek over to Po Dog (1009 East Union, Seattle) for some serious noshing. A menu that’s full of hotdogs is sure to please any kiddo and while they keep it simple with ketchup and mustard, or whatever their fave may be, you can kick it up a bit, choosing from over 25 different toppings for your ‘dog. The Doggie Sliders are great for little appetites too.

7. Volunteer Park: If you had to pick a crown jewel of Capitol Hill for families, Volunteer Park (1247 15th Avenue East, Seattle) would certainly be it. Spanning 40-acres in the middle of the city, no less, Volunteer Park includes a conservatory, a water tower to climb, a wading pool (open summers only), plenty of trails to wander on and countless other places to play. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch, because you’re never going to want to leave… and neither are your kids!

8. Poppy: With so many to-die-for restaurants on Capitol Hill now, it’s hard to pick out ones that are kid-friendly… in other words, the places where the super hip won’t be staring at you over their chic fake glasses when your toddler drops his cup on the floor for the 18th time. Oops. Poppy (622 Broadway East, Seattle) is not one of those places. Not only is the food unique and innovative – the menu is served exclusively in small plates that come out all at once – but the staff embraces children and encourages them to find new foods to try. Even the décor is light and bright, for an all-together uplifting dining experience… well, despite all that cup dropping, that is.

9. Cal Anderson Park: Another park that is smack dab in the middle of Seattle and also one of the coolest and most well-maintained parks in the city, Cal Anderson Park (1635 11th Avenue, Seattle) is a must-stop on your next Capitol Hill adventure, if not an entire day of its own. There are multiple cool water features to splash in on hot days, including a wading pool, giant chess sets, and a path that goes around the park (perfect for scooters!).

What’s your favorite Capitol Hill spot with your kids? For dinner, playing, shopping? Tell us in the comments below. We’re pretty sure Brad and Angelina will be reading…

— Katie Kavulla

Photos via the Po Dog Facebook page, the Poppy Facebook page,