Up and At ‘Em: Early Morning Escapades

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Are your kids constantly waking before the sun rises? When your own living, breathing alarm clocks like to start the day at zero dark thirty, most likely you’re ready to hit the streets by the time the clock strikes 7 a.m. Instead of turning to electronics to pass the time, mix up your early morning routine by checking out these local adventures that open early.

French Bakery

photo: The French Bakery

Pastries and Playscapes
Petits amis j’aime The French Bakery. Located at Bellevue’s Crossroads Mall, The French Bakery serves up freshly baked, made from scratch, breads, pastries and croissants as well as delicious sweet and savory crepes with unique flavor combinations. Psst! The French Bakery offers a full coffee menu, sure to perk up the sleepiest of moms and dads.

The French Bakery
15600 N.E. 8th St., K-4
Bellevue, Wa 98008
Online: thefrenchbakery.com
Doors open: 7 a.m., daily

Following breakfast, walk (or wiggle) your way over to WiggleWorks Kids. This indoor soft playground, specifically designed for tykes less than 48 inches, offers some good old-fashioned, energy-burnin’ fun, guaranteeing an epic afternoon nap.

WiggleWorks Kids
15600 N.E. 8th St.
Bellevue, Wa 98008
Online: wiggleworkskids.com
Open: 9 a.m., Mon.-Sat.; 11 a.m., Sun.


photo: Kristina Moy

Nothing Says Morning Like A Donut
Craving something sweet in the early morning hours? Skip the grocery store pastry case and visit Mighty-O Donuts, just south of Green Lake in Seattle’s Tangletown neighborhood. This local favorite makes and bakes their own donuts, icings, and glazes entirely from scratch using certified organic ingredients. Mighty-Os are made with real food, no artificial ingredients, so you can feel good about giving your kids a little yummy sweetness in their tummies.

Mighty-O Donuts
2110 N. 55th St.
Seattle, Wa 98103
Online: mightyo.com
Open: 6 a.m., weekdays; 7 a.m., weekends

Mighty O Donuts

photo: Mighty-O Donuts Facebook page

Bikes and Scooters and Boats. Oh My!
Seattle’s Green Lake Park is a favorite family destination with its 2.8 mile flat, paved loop around the lake, perfect for biking or scootering, and its awesome playground. As the weather gets warmer, consider adding a paddleboat or canoe rental to your morning playdate. Before or after you cruise around the water, grab a bite to eat or coffee from one of the area’s many eateries or fuel up at the Boat Rental Coffee Shop.

7351 E. Green Lake Ave. N.
Seattle, Wa 98115
Online: greenlakeboatrentals.net
Rentals open: 9 a.m. on weekends starting in April; 9 a.m., daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day; coffee shop opens at 8 a.m.

green lake paddleboat

photo: Kathleen W via Yelp

When Tummies are Grumbling
If you’re looking for good grub to start your day, head to The Dish Cafe. With two Seattle locations, The Dish serves up simple, wholesome food, with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. Hungry peeps line up for this homemade goodness, so get there right when it opens to enjoy delicious breakfast favorites (and avoid hangry kiddos).

The Dish Cafe – Green Lake
301 N.E. 65th St.
Seattle, Wa 98115

The Dish Cafe – Ballard
4358 Leary Way
Seattle, Wa 98107

Online: thedishseattle.com
Open: 7 a.m., Tues.-Sat.; 8 a.m., Sun., closed Mon.

The Dish Seattle

photo: Bianca D. via Yelp

A Waterfront Adventure for Little Artists
Do you have budding artists in the fam? Take him or her to the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park to explore 8.5 acres of outdoor art. The park is free to the public and opens its gates 30 minutes prior to sunrise. Can you say early nap time?

Olympic Sculpture Garden
2901 Western Ave.
Seattle, Wa 98121
Online: seattleartmuseum.org

cody at sculpture park2

 photo: Stacy Ebstyne

After experiencing some art, head towards the water and enjoy the beauty of the Elliott Bay waterfront at Myrtle Edwards Park. The park’s 1.25-mile bike and walking path is perfect for little tykes with trikes who may not go the distance.

Myrtle Edwards Park
3130 Alaskan Way
Seattle, Wa 98121
Online: seattle.gov/parks

myrtle edwards

Breakfast and Books
We can’t think of a better way to start your day than with a bakery and books. And guess what? Lake Forest Park has both! Honey Bear Bakery serves a full breakfast menu of scrambles, waffles, and croissant sandwiches on weekends as well as a limited menu during the week. If you’re not in the mood for a full breakfast, choose one of their generously portioned, homemade pastries and a delicious cup of locally sourced coffee.

Honey Bear Bakery
17171 Bothell Way N.E.
Lake Forest Park, Wa 98155
Online: honeybearbakery.com
Open: 7 a.m., weekdays; 8 a.m., weekends

Honey Bear Bakery

photo: Joel S. via Yelp

Just steps from the bakery is Third Place Books, home to over 200,000 new, used, and bargain books. A bookstore geared towards all bookworms, Third Place Books values community and encourages visitors to browse, linger, read, play, and explore.

Third Place Books
17171 Bothell Way N.E.
Lake Forest Park, Wa 98155
Online: thirdplacebooks.com
Open: 9 a.m., daily


photo: familymwr via Flickr  

Hit the Trails and Make a Pit Stop 
Seattleites don’t wait for sunshine and heat to enjoy a bike ride. Bundle up and hit the Burke Gilman Trail starting at Seattle’s Golden Gardens and linking up with the Sammamish River Trail in Bothell where it continues all the way to Redmond. Wherever you hop on the trail, there is bound be a delicious bakery or breakfast joint serving up yummy eats and hot coffee. We suggest:

Essential Baking Company
Just a couple blocks off the trail in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood, the Essential Baking Company is a hoppin’ bakery and café that features a rotating seasonal menu, highlighting the freshest flavors, including egg sandwiches, crepes, and freshly baked bread and pastries.

1604 N. 34th St.
Seattle, Wa 98103
Online: essentialbaking.com
Open: 6 a.m., weekdays; 7 a.m., weekends


Photo: Essential Baking Company via Yelp

Specialty’s Café and Bakery
Whatever you’re craving, Specialty’s most likely has it. This University Village establishment has a wide selection of breakfast sandwiches, coffee cake, sweet and savory croissants, sticky buns, muffins, and scones. Order your food online and have it ready when you arrive.

2690 N.E. Village Lane
Seattle, Wa 98105
Online: specialtys.com
Open: 8 a.m., Sat.; 9 a.m., Sun.-Fri.


photo: Kate via Urbanspoon

Soulfood Coffee House and Fair Trade Emporium
Treat your biking buddies to a Zebra or a Minty Moo, one of the many specialty drinks designed just for kids, at Redmond’s Soulfood Coffee House. The artsy vibe of this coffee shop makes it a fun place for kids and their parental units to refuel after a morning ride. Bonus: Check out the gift shop featuring some of the finest handiwork of local artisans and craftpersons as well as gifts from around the world.

15748 Redmond Way
Redmond, WA 98052
Online: soulfoodcoffeehouse.com
Open: 7:30 a.m., weekdays; 9 a.m., weekends


photo: Soulfood Coffee House Facebook page

Ride the Rails  
Downtown Seattle is awake and waiting for you and your crew every day of the week. Hop on the above-ground monorail at the Seattle Center and head towards the heart of the city. Explore Pike Place Market and stop at The Crumpet Shop for some fresh-baked organic crumpets and scones with kid-pleasing toppings. After filling your belly, ride back to the Seattle Center and take in one of the many on-site museums and exhibits or run around the International Fountain.

Seattle Center Monorail
370 Thomas St.
Seattle, Wa 98109
Online: seattlemonorail.com
Open: 7:30 a.m., weekdays; 8:30 a.m., weekends

The Crumpet Shop
1503 First Ave.
Seattle, Wa 98101
Online: thecrumpetshop.com
Open: 7 a.m., daily


photo: Seattle Center Monorail Facebook page

Hit the Seas 
Hit the high seas with your early risers and travel by ferry to a bustling island. With a crossing time of just 35 minutes, Bainbridge Island offers all the fun of a ferry ride without having to commit to a day trip. Ferries start running at 6:10 a.m. on weekends and even earlier on weekdays. On the island, head to the Madison Diner for an authentic diner-style breakfast in a historic 1948 stainless steel dining car. If you want to extend your stay, visit the Kids Discovery Museum or the Bainbridge Aquatics Center.

Washington State Ferries
Online: wsdot.wa.gov/ferries

The Madison Diner
305 Madison Ave. N.
Bainbridge Island, Wa 98110
Online: themadisondiner.com
Open: 7 a.m., daily

Islands Ferry July 2013

photo: Erin Cranston

Make a Splash!
Little fish can roll out of bed and get their swim on at the Mountlake Terrace Pavilion Recreation Pool. Happy hour on Saturday morning costs just $2 and gives you access to the leisure pool and lazy river, a fun-filled aquatic adventure for kids of all ages.

5303 228th St. S.W.
Mountlake Terrace, Wa 98043
Online: cityofmlt.com
Open: 7 a.m., Sat.

MLT pool

Photo: Mountlake Terrace Recreation Pavilion Pool via Yelp

Where do you like to go with your early risers? Let us know in the Comments below!

— Abbey McGee