WHAT TO DO WITH KIDS IN SEATTLE

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!

PARKS

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. In the summer the splash parks and wading pools are the ultimate "city kid" experience and really fun.

BEACHES

Alki - West Seattle. 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.

Edmonds - so fun to watch the ferries dock, and the trains go by.

KID FRIENDLY COFFEE SHOPS

Cloud City Coffee - Maple Leaf. Smaller neighborhood coffee shop with a play area and books/toys for kids. They also serve ice cream in the summer and Maple Leaf Park is just down the street.

Third Place Books - North East Seattle. Coffee (and a bar!) in the back, used and new books, play area.

The Dane - Greenwood. Tuesday/Thursday free story time at 11:30.

Green Bean Coffeehouse - Greenwood. Train table, craft station, and story time Tuesdays at 10am.

KID FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS

Chaco Canyon - indoor play area

Phinney Market - indoor train table

Frelard - outdoor play space

Bongos - outdoor sand pit

Cupcake Royale - $2 Tuesday ice cream cones

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 & PCC - free piece of fruit for kids.

INDOOR PLAY AREAS

PlaySpace - at Ballard Church, T/W/Th 10:30-1:30pm. Free indoor play space.

Malls - Alderwood, Northgate, Bellevue, Westlake Downtown.

IKEA in Renton (drop-off kid style, and an age requirement)

Wunderkind. Lego play. $6 all day pass. 9am -1pm and 3p-6p weekdays, 9a-6p weekends

REI indoor play area.

PlayHappyCafe - A big indoor play space and cafe in Lynnwood. $12 1st child, $9 sibling, adults and babies free. 9a-4p M-TH, 9a-8p F, 9a-10p weekends

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.

Lynnwood Rec Center Pool - big play area for kids, like a shallow indoor splash park in some areas. Great for kids of all ages and even an extra roomy hot tub. Really fun on a cold night in the winter.

Baby Jam - drop-in style music classes in Fremont. Age birth - 5, Fridays 10:30 - 11:00am, and 11:15 - 11:45am. $12/class

Seattle ReCreative - art classes for kids in Greenwood and also sells used art supplies. The play space is reserved for classes in the morning but free and open to the public in the afternoons.

MEMBERSHIP PASSES

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 (only $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 $80/yr.

Children's Museum - downtown ($11.50 per person) and Everett locations ($10.70 per person), both closed Mondays. Starts at $90/yr for a family membership (free for babies under 12 months). Lots of creative play, story time, crafts.

The Seattle Public Library offers free passes to a variety of museums that you can reserve. Check the events section on their website.

LIBRARIES

Almost all have a kids section of books and there's a free story time every day of the week across all the libraries. Make sure to get there early - they do cap at capacity for the popular ones.

Lake City: 10:30am - 12pm Mondays (All ages, and includes a craft!)

Green Lake: 11:15 - 12:15 Wednesdays (Toddlers)

Northgate: 10:15 - 11:15 Wednesdays (Toddlers)

FARMERS MARKETS

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 - Thursdays 3 - 7:30p June - Oct.

U District - Saturdays, 9a - 2p, year round

Edmonds - Saturdays, 9am - 2pm, May - Oct.

TRANSPORTATION

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.

RESOURCES

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!