Photo: Talitha Photography
I'm lucky to live in a city where there is SO MUCH to do with kids. At times it can even be overwhelming trying to remember where that place was that I wanted to go, so I'm compiling a list here. I reached out to Instagram and there were some great tips there that I've included here as well. Let me know if you have any to add in the comments and I'll work them in. Happy exploring!
Green Lake Park - a classic 3 mile loop with tons of grass/picnic area, a play structure, and happy hour spots and coffee shops all around.
Maple Leaf Park - new play structure in the last few years. Zip line, sand box, the works.
Cowen - big grassy area. Coffee shop and Whole Foods nearby.
Tons more. There are over 400 parks in Seattle (!!) so it's highly likely that wherever you are, you're close to one.
Alki - a trek from North Seattle but I love going here because it has such a beachy, southern California vibe. Lots of shops line the street that faces the beach, ice cream coffee, restaurants, etc.
Mathew's Beach - mostly grass, good for picnics. Huge play structure and shallow entrance to the water, with a lifeguard and enclosed area for swimming.
Magnuson - Enclosed swim area here as well with a lifeguard.
Golden Gardens - big beach area, lots of boats to see and a beautiful view that faces the sunset.
Cloud City Coffee - smaller neighborhood coffee shop with a play area and books/toys for kids.
Third Place Books - coffee (and a bar!) in the back, used and new books, play area.
Tons more, obviously. It's Seattle.
SHOPPING WITH PERKS
University Village. Love this one for a stroll or a lunch date, so many great shops and a covered/outdoor play structure (which means fresh air even on rainy days!)
REI - indoor play area, smoothie place, rock climbing wall, free parking.
Trader Joe's - free stickers, kid sized carts, hidden stuffed animals. Grocery bribing at it's best.
Whole Foods - free piece of fruit for kids.
INDOOR PLAY AREAS
PlaySpace - at Ballard Church, T/W/Th 10:30-1:30pm. Free! Have heard great things, can't wait to try it out.
Malls - Alderwood, Northgate, Bellevue, Westlake Downtown, IKEA in Renton (drop-off kid style)
Seattle Community Centers - Two words: Toddler Gym. These are free, drop in play times for ages 5 and under. I've only been to the Magnuson one, but it's awesome. Tons of toys, bikes, etc. Check the day/time availability, Green Lake is 10a-8p almost daily, Magnuson is only Fridays 9:30a - 1:30p.
Play Date Seattle. Big, indoor play space. Membership fee or daily rates ($8 - $12 depending on age). Insider tip: admission fee is waived with two canned goods on the last Wednesday of every month.
Zoo - a fun walking loop, carousel and indoor play area. Starts at $70/yr for a family membership. (Tip: memberships are greatly discounted each year on Black Friday)
Aquarium - haven't been here yet but I hear it's worth it for the parking pass discount alone (down to $2/hr for downtown AND it's walking distance to Pike Place Market, which is always a struggle to park near and cheap with kids.) Starts at $70/yr.
Children's Museum - lots of creative play for older kids, story time, crafts. Starts at $70/yr for a family membership (free for kids under 1)
Almost all have a kids section of books and there's a free story time every day of the week across all the libraries. The Magnolia and Queen Anne branch are excellent, I've also heard great things about Ballard and Capitol Hill. I also like Green Lake, Northeast, and Lake City. My friends with older kids say their kids love having their own cards.
Ballard - Sundays, 10a - 3p, year round
Fremont - Sundays, 10a - 5pm, year round
Phinney - Fridays, 3:30 - 7:30pm, June - Oct
Lake City - Thursdays, 3 - 7p, June - Oct.
Queen Anne - Wednesday 3 - 7:30p (very family friendly, concerts for kids)
U District - Saturdays, 9a - 2p, year round
The light rail now goes all the way to UW, which means it's now a convenient, cheap, easy way to get downtown (Also: zero traffic so it's lightening fast, and no paying to park or for gas. Super win.)
BUCKET LIST/FUTURE ITEMS
The Seattle Fire Station Headquarters is what sparked (pun intended) this whole list. I walked by it in Pioneer Square, and the building was beautiful and antique-y, complete with a turquoise door with gold hardware. It looked like a museum or least a Tiffany's, but then I saw a little boy walk outside with his mom and grandma and a smile on his face, carrying a play fire hat. I asked her if she was on a tour and she said yes! They're on Wednesdays year round, (and Wednesday/Thursdays from June - August), open from 11:00 - 3pm, and free. More info here.
SPORTS FOR MINIS
Bowling, mini golf, dance classes, gymnastics, etc. etc. A million options here once they're a bit older. When Trey starts playing sports we're excited to have him play on a few Unified teams, teams that have athletes both with and without disabilities. Seattle has a strong program.
PEPS - Huge list here (and well organized!) For kid info in Seattle. Lists all the story times, consignment shops for kids, so many things.
Red Tricycle. Excellent resource for kids by city, with events specific to that day/weekend, kid-friendly restaurants, the works.
Would love to hear more beyond this list in the comments if you'd like to share!