Beyond the Mall: What to See, Do & Explore in Tukwila

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This may come as a shock, but there’s more to Tukwila than just Westfield Southcenter. Admittedly, the mall is one of our area’s largest attractions (yes… a large shopping center does qualify as an attraction), but with 29 parks sprinkled throughout the city, a variety of family restaurants and many kid-friendly attractions, the city of Tukwila is a destination worthy of repeat visits. Read on for our list of the best places to visit while you’re in town.

Tukwila Sign

photo: Jenifer Castillo

Places to Play

Tukwila Community Center
Tukwila takes pride in having over 29 parks (including a pool) interspersed throughout the city. You will likely run into several without even trying. One of the most popular parks is located at the Tukwila Community Center. This gathering place has most everything you’re looking for to keep the tots busy at play. With a baseball field (great for running), skate park and playground equipped with a large pirate ship, you will find yourself walking the plank at the persistence of your pint-sized buccaneers. Psst! For a complete list of parks (with a map), check the City of Tukwila’s recreation page.

Good to Know: During the summer months, this locale includes a splash pad surrounded by a large grassy seating area. The Community Center also hosts a variety of events including a weekly summer concert series with popular kindie musicians such as Caspar Babypants and Recess Monkey.

12424 42nd Ave S.
Tukwila, Wa 98168

photo: King County website 

Fort Dent Park & Starfire Sports
Home of Starfire Sports (and the Sounders Football Club), is where you will find this hidden retreat inside the city. Sprawling over 54 acres, Fort Dent Park is well-known for its sporting affiliation, but also offers two play areas, a duck pond (bring some bread!) and indoor facilities including Mad Pizza. Take note that due to the popularity of soccer tournaments, there is a $5 charge to park on the weekends; however, weekdays are generally free of charge.

Good to Know: Starfire Sports offers soccer-themed birthday parties on their indoor fields—perfect for those winter or early (cold) spring birthday months.

Fort Dent Park
6800 Fort Dent Way
Tukwila, Wa 98188

Starfire Sports
14800 Starfire Way
Tukwila, Wa 98188

photo: Jenifer Castillo

Family Fun Center
If you have ever been on I-405 near Westfield Southcenter, your back-seat drivers have likely spotted the giant Bullwinkle Moose on the side of the Family Fun Center. And what lies inside is nothing short of exciting. The Family Fun Center has a large indoor playground called Kidopolis (where kids climb up and slide down an extravagant play structure) as well as small indoor rides, rows of games, and an entire floor dedicated to Laser Tag. Outside is equally as entertaining with two miniature golf courses, batting cages, kiddie rides, bumper boats, bumper cars and go-karts to keep everyone in your brood amused.

Good to Know: The Family Fun Center hosts birthday parties for partygoers of all ages including teens and adults. With five unique birthday party packages to choose from, there’s something fun for everyone!

300 Fun Center Way
Tukwila, Wa 98188

photo: Maddie K. via Yelp

iFly Indoor Skydiving
For the family who seeks adventure, iFly Indoor Skydiving could be just the ticket. The bright red building sticks out like a sore thumb, but there is nothing sore about this experience. Your small crusaders can enjoy the delight of flying like a superhero without having to plunge out of an aircraft (phew!). The vertical tunnel generates wind at speeds that will allow for a safe and thrilling journey.

Good to Know: iFly serves fliers ages of 3-103. Be sure to check out Little Ninja Night: The Newest Thrill for Adventure Seekers, specifically tailored for adventurer seekers ages 6-12.

349 Tukwila Parkway
Tukwila, Wa 98188


photo: Natalia Dotto Photography 

Located in the adjacent parking lot to the iFly Indoor Skydiving facility is ACME Bowl; a 30-lane bowling alley, billiards and arcade establishment. ACME Bowl offers high-tech score keeping systems (with fun animations), automatic bumpers that can be set and removed for each bowler, and weekend cosmic bowling that will bring on the black lights and neon pins.

Good to Know: ACME Bowl offers a separate set of 10 lanes that can be reserved as a private bowling lounge—perfect for a birthday bash or large family gathering. The private lanes have cozy seating, service from the on-site restaurant and ample space for vivacious birthday guests.

100 Andover Park W.
Tukwila, Wa 98188

photo: ACME Bowl Facebook page

Places to Eat

Southcenter Mall
Although there is more to Tukwila than Westfield Southcenter, it should be noted that the mall is still worthy of a visit. With a multitude of kid-friendly restaurants such as Olive Garden, The Cheesecake Factory, Duke’s Chowder House and B.J.’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Westfield Southcenter is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat or spend a cold weather afternoon. For the mammas with little ones in tow, the mall provides a lavish lounge with private breastfeeding facilities, a large diaper changing area, and small play area with a TV and microwave. Additionally, there is an indoor playground (conveniently located near a Starbucks so you can recharge while your little monkeys play), a Disney store (complete with mini theater and coloring area), and Rainforest Café (where kids eat for just $2.99 on Wednesdays).

2800 Southcenter Mall
Seattle, Wa 98188

photo: Westfield Southcenter Facebook page

Seattle Chocolates Factory Store
One word: Chocolate. The Seattle Chocolates Factory Store (locally known as Tukwila’s best kept secret) is located in the warehouse district and is definitely worth a visit (or two or three!). This chocolate paradise is the perfect place to pick up a gift or a few bars to stash in the cupboard for when the kids go to bed. A word of warning: Samples are plentiful at this location and they are known for selling $5 bags of “seconds,” which are bags of scrumptious chocolate that contain slight imperfections (for the record, “imperfect” chocolate tastes every bit as delightful as the bars that made the high standard cut).

photo: Jenifer Castillo

Good to Know: There are far too many variations to list them all, but one is a standout among the rest. Try the Extreme Dark Bar, which was once featured in Oprah’s O Magazine. Not only does the dark chocolate truffle bar hit the spot, 100% of the profits from the sale of these bars are donated to help fight breast cancer. It doesn’t get any better than satisfying a sweet tooth while donating to charity.

Insider Tip: See a bar that you would like to try? The store employees are more than happy to serve up samples. All you have to do is ask, and you shall receive. Bonus: Get a punch card when you buy the bags of seconds; buy 12 bags, get one free. Now, that’s a sweet deal!

1180 Andover Park W.
Seattle, Wa 98188

Places to Explore

The Museum of Flight
Located just a few minutes from the heart of Tukwila (near the southern end of Boeing Field), The Museum of Flight is the perfect place for your flight crew to earn their wings. Get up close and personal with aircraft from a F-14A Tomcat Fighter Jet to a retired Air Force One. Kids will enjoy climbing in and out of cockpits, exploring space through the New Frontier Exhibit and the interactive Kid’s Flight Zone. Psst! The Museum hosts Free First Thursdays which means you and your crew can explore the Museum on the first Thursday of the month for free between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.

photo: Museum of Flight Facebook page

Good to Know: As a bonus, the runway for Boeing Field runs parallel to the parking lot for the Museum. Pack a picnic lunch and park along the fence to give your wide-eyed tot a front row seat as planes take off and land. Psst! This parking lot also serves as the perfect place to catch a glimpse of the active Air Force One (that typically lands at Boeing Field) when the President travels to Seattle.

9404 E. Marginal Way S.
Seattle, Wa 98108

What is your favorite thing to do in Tukwila? Let us know in a comment below. 
—Jenifer Castillo
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