Has summer finally arrived here in Seattle? There’s been sun, warm weather, and the Blue Angels. That sure sounds like a Seattle summer to me. . . although a bit later than expected. Still, the countdown to the start of school is on, with stores offering their back to school sales and families trying to eke out the best days they can before it’s back to the books for another year.
Whether your sending the kids back to school before or after Labor Day, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy a Seattle summer with these family activities:
- Make it a sporting kind of day. Get out to the ballpark with a Mariner game. They may not be having a stellar year, but grab a few seats in the outfield, a hot dog, and keep an eye out for a home run coming your way. Or, find out why thoroughbred horse racing is called the Sport of Kings with a visit to Emerald Downs. All ages are admitted, and there are lots of family activities, but only those 21 years of age or older may place a wager.
- Head to the Woodland Park Zoo for a look at the lions and tigers and bears. And the lemurs and zebras and meerkats. Oh my! For a little musical entertainment scoop up tickets to one of the remaining Summer Concerts at the Zoo.
- Enjoy everything that the Seattle Seattle Campus has to offer. From the science is fun exhibits at the Pacific Science Center, to the music and the unusual at the EMP/Science Fiction Museum, to the Seattle Children’s Museum, to the amusement park rides, to the Space Needle, there’s plenty to keep you busy for a full day or more. There’s still a summer full of festivals and movies at the amphitheater left, and don’t forget Bumbershoot on Labor Day weekend.
- Soar at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. This is a great place to let kid’s imagination take flight, to explore the past and dream about the future. Whether your interest in space in aviation goes back to the era of the Wright Brothers or is focused on your next flight to Hawaii, this is a great museum for the whole family. Plenty of interactive exhibit to keep you busy and spend some time watching small planes lands on the adjacent runway.
- Have a picnic. So many parks, and not enough days, but you can’t go wrong with these favorites: Gas Works Park, Alki Beach, Discovery Park, or Golden Gardens.
- Explore Pioneer Square. Take a tour of Seattle Underground, rest up at the Waterfall Garden, and get the skyline view of the city from the Smith Tower. Add in a stop for shopping and something to eat and you can easily spend a day in this historic corner of the city.
- Visit the waterfront, with a stop at the Seattle Aquarium, some time to wander in the Olympic Sculpture Park, and a chance for the kids to let off steam at the Waterfront Arcade. Grab a bit to eat, then get away from it all with a ferry ride to Bremerton or Bainbridge Island.
- Support the local economy with a visit to the Pike Place Market, buying produce, art, handicrafts, meats and seafood, and other goods from local vendors. There’s lots to eat and drink, and throw in the entertainment value of street performers and people watching and it’s a day (and money) well spent. Favorite stopping spots are Rachel, the Market’s brass big, the original Starbucks, and fish tossing.
- Embrace the quirky with a visit to the Gum Wall, the Fremont Troll, the Statue of Lenin in Fremont, or the Statue of Liberty on Alki. There’s just no explaining why these spots are so popular, but they’ve achieved a sort of cult status.
- Get out of town. Whether it’s a quick trip to Tacoma to visit Point Defiance Zoo or the Museum of Glass, to a little further away with a trip to the mountains (Mt. St. Helens or Mt. Rainier) or to the other side of the water (Hood Canal or the Olympic Peninsula), there are plenty of family friends spots not too far out of town.
What are your plans for the waning days of Seattle summer?
Photo credit: Author’s personal collection