Museums, aquariums, bookstores, and more. These indoor activities Seattle kids love will keep them happy (and dry) all season
Seattle parents know that rain is no excuse if the kids need to play. Thankfully, Seattle offers a plethora of rainy day indoor playspaces for kids of all ages. From museums and aquariums to bookstores, art studios and trampoline parks, we’ve rounded up 30 Seattle rainy day activities for kids to keep you and your crew from going loco during the drizzly months.
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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 kids out of the house; and Seattle is chock-full of fantastic ones. On the next drizzle or downpour, find an adventure-filled museums to help you conquer the day.
1. KidsQuest Children’s Museum
Migrate out of the mist and head to the Eastside to enjoy this hands-on, interactive children’s museum. Located in downtown Bellevue, this area favorite is filled with fun and brightly colored exhibits, geared toward the 10 and under set. All the exhibits emphasize skills in science, technology, engineering, art, and math, but don't tell your kids—they'll just think they're fun. Kids love to play 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 (think art, engineering, and more), and remember to reserve your timed play session in advance. Trust us on this one, your wee ones won’t want to leave.
1116 108th Ave. N.E.
2. Pacific Science Center
Run from the rainfall and take your little Einsteins to Seattle’s premier science center. PacSci 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!
200 Second Ave. N.
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...the Weekend Workshops are great for families.
9404 E. Marginal Way S.
Related: To the Moon & Back! Your Guide to the Museum of Flight
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.
325 5th Ave. N.
5. Seattle Aquarium
Duck out of the wet stuff with more wet stuff at Seattle Aquarium. 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.
1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59
Related: One Fish, Two Fish: Your Insider's Guide to Seattle 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.
5400 North Pearl St.
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.
305 Harrison St.
Spend the Day Sliding, Climbing & Bouncing
Maybe a day at a museum or aquarium just isn’t your kid’s 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 kids out.
8. PlayDate 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 PlayDate 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? PlayDate 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.
1275 Mercer St.
9. 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?
Insider Tip: The new Issqauah Family Fun Center is now open.
Locations in Issaquah, Magnuson, Redmond, SODO & Mill Creek
10. Dave and Buster’s
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.
11639 N.E. 4th St.
11. 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!
18311 Bothell-Everett Hwy., Suite 140
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.
3318 N.E. 55th St.
Hit the Mall
Looking for an indoor play place for your little 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. Here are some of our favorite shopping malls with play spaces.
13. Funtastic Playtorium
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 locations at the Alderwood Mall and Tacoma Mall). 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.
Locations in Factoria Mall, Alderwood Mall & Tacoma Mall
14. Safari Place
Don’t just hang at the homestead. Check out Safari Place at Southcenter Mall, 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.
Insider Tip: 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.
2876 Southcenter Mall
15. 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.
15600 N.E. 8th St., Suite F15
South Hill Mall
3500 S. Meridian, Suite 215
Puyallup, WA 98373
16. 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 for parents to catch up while your wee ones work out their wiggles.
575 Bellevue Square (3rd Floor, above Center Court)
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.
17. 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, Totem Lake 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!
18. 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 the perks offered by the Regal Crown Club for frequent movie-goers.
Related: Lights, Camera, Action! Movie Theaters That Cater to Families
Roll & Bowl & Putt
What better way to keep the kids busy on a drizzly day than with sports? But when it’s too wet to go outside, you can play inside at these area arenas and rinks.
19. Go Roller Skating
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, Auburn, Federal Way, Lynnwood, Everett and Puyallup all have skate centers perfect for getting rid of the drizzle downers. Get out there and show your budding bladers how it’s really done.
Related: Skate into Seattle's Best Roller Rinks for Families
20. Go Bowling
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 littlest 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, these Seattle bowling alleys are where families go for strikes and spares.
Related: Strike Up Serious Fun! 11 Bowling Alleys for Seattle Families
21. Play putt putt
Although usually reserved for the summer months, Seattle's got a few spots where families can play mini golf inside during the rainy fall and winter months. Flastick Pub (with a few city locations) is a prime spot to eat and play, and maybe try your hand at Duffleboard when you've made your way around the course. The Forum Social House in Bellevue is another family favorite, and not just because you get to sit on a Game of Thrones-style throne.
Head to Your Local Bookstore
Seriously, what’s more cozy than a bookstore when it’s raining? The next time you’ve got to get your bouncing-off-the-walls bambino outta the abode, consider one of these amazing local bookstores.
photo: Elliott Bay Book Company
22. 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.
1521 10th Ave.
23. Third Place Books
Third Place Books at the Third Place Commons 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.
Town Center at Lake Forest Park
17171 Bothell Way N.E.
Lake Forest Park, WA
24. Secret Garden Books
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. The knowledgeable staff includes longtime booksellers who are ready to help pick out books for all readers. 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.
2214 N.W. Market St.
25. 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, that's morphed into a Seattle-area favorite, serving every reader from college student to preschooler.
4326 University Way N.E.
26. 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.
Pass the Day With Pottery
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.
27. 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!
317 N.W. Gilman Blvd.
28. 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. If you want to try something new, check out their glass-fusing center, 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.
7329 164th Ave. N.E.
29. 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. 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, and they've got indoor and outdoor tables where you and the kids can paint.
4611 Village Ct. N.E.
30. Board game stores
If getting the kids out of the house is key, why not head to a local game store and raid their library? Not only do they have the coolest and newest games out there, they've also got knowledgeable staff on hand to help you find the perfect game for your crew and help you play it, too. Did we mention that many also have cafes inside? Grab a bite and a warm drink to enjoy while you play.
Related: From Board to Virtual: Where Seattle Families Go to Game