Seattleites know that summer doesn’t really start until after July 4th. It seems we’re right on track for that timeframe this year. While we’re all itching for those sunny days, the upside is there’s still plenty of time to check these amazing outdoor activities in Seattle off your summer bucket list. From secret beaches and spectacular water parks, to new museum exhibits, summer festivals and celebrations, here are our top 75 kid-friendly, summer activities happening in and around the Emerald City. See how many can you get through before the rain makes its return.
1. Although we haven't seen much of the sun lately, we know it'll show itself eventually. When it does, keep everyone cool at one of Seattle’s many wading pools, or head to one of the city's sprayparks or beaches that stay open rain or shine.
2. Learn about the sharks that live in Elliott Bay and other cool marine facts with a trip to a waterfront favorite.
4. Seek out a secret storybook hike that's great for tots and big kids alike.
5. Save on travel when you plan a culinary world tour right here in the city.
6. You don't have to plan too far advance to take an island daycation at this hidden gem that opens just after the 4th of July.
7. Whether your kids love wild roller coasters or epic waterslides, Wild Waves Theme & Water Park is the place to go on a hot day. Don't forget the park's Dive-In Movies on Thursday nights this summer.
8. Find gorgeous sights with our favorite waterfall hikes kids can do.
9. Grab your little paddlers and get ready to abandon land for a water adventure.
10. Immerse yourself in the C-ID where you can find urban chickens, Seattle's oldest Chinese restaurant and rice hot dogs. Our suggestion? Plan your visit during one of the Summer Food Walk Days. Because yum!
11. Who says you need a theme park for roller coaster thrills? Plan a mountain bike outing with the kids soon.
12. Spend a Friday morning volunteering as a family.
13. Bring the kids to slide and splash at Seattle's natural waterslides that are worth the trek.
14. Seattle's strawberry u-pick season may have gotten off to a slow start, but the blueberry picking season promises more fresh fruit than your berry lovers can handle. Stock the freezer or prepare to bake through the summer!
16. We love that you can tee up family fun rain or shine at a Seattle mini golf course.
17. Lead llamas, feed snakes or just cuddle with some cute barnyard animals—petting farm playdates never get old.
18. Plan a summer trip to Seabrook on the scenic Pacific coast. Between the miles of sandy beaches and the town's many amenities, there's always something fun for families to do.
19. Put your wallet away! These summer activities are free (or super cheap!).
20. August is all about sunflower festivals. You can bet your oversized flower petals you'll snap the cutest pictures ever of your crew here.
21. Lions and tigers and bears. Oh my! A trip to Woodland Park Zoo is a summertime must, especially now that the Zoomazium and Molbak's Butterfly Garden are both open again. Plus, the kid-friendliest concert series in town, ZooTunes, starts this week. Get tickets while you still can!
23. Camp without camping when you reserve a cozy cabin at one of our favorite Washington state parks.
24. Prime tide pool season is here, and Seattle Aquarium Beach Naturalists are waiting to teach your kids about sea stars, moon snails and more at a local beach. If you want to explore a new-to-you beach, check out the Tiptoe Through the Tidepools program at Titlow Beach in Tacoma.
25. Go in search of a Hobit House on a lazy summer day.
27. Snag tickets to the hottest train ride in town before they're gone. That's right, everyone's favorite blue tank engine, Thomas, will be rolling through the Snoqualmie Valley in July.
28. Visit a museum focused on play that recently got a makeover.
29. Take the kids out to a ball game at T-Mobile Park, with perks live value games and menus, fireworks nights and Run Around the Bases Days (mark your calendars for July 3, 10 and 24 if your kids want to run), it's as family-friendly as it gets.
30. The Champions of Magic are coming to Seattle in September. Get your tickets to this super hot and family-friendly show while you still can.
31. Ride a dinosaur.
32. Sure you’ve been camping, but have you been yurt camping?
33. Find summer inspo from these Seattle IG moms you totally need to follow.
34. Although Argosy isn't running to Blake Island anymore, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a boat cruise as a family this summer.
35. You never know what you'll find when you wander along Whimsy Way at this hidden sculpture forest.
36. How many of these secret spots have you found?
37. Cast your lines at one of our favorite fishing holes. Hint: kids 14 and under don't need a fishing license in the state of Washington.
38. Got a summer baby? Make their birthday one to remember.
39. We've got 17 ways to celebrate Pride Month in Seattle.
40. Who needs to go camping when you can score s'mores in the city?
41. Stay cool this summer at one of our favorite bowling alleys. (Hint: Summertime means free bowling with Kids Bowl Free.) Or grab your skates and hit one of these roller skating rinks that have stood the test of time.
42. There’s a reason the Seattle Center is one of the top visitor destinations–it’s a blast! And you don’t have to spend a dime to keep the kiddies engaged here. Let them wander around the sculpture garden, create cool sounds at the Sonic Bloom solar-powered art installation, run around the International Fountain, play at the Artists at Play playground and emote on the stage.
43. Make like the Swiss Family Robinson with a treehouse rental this summer. Fair warning—your kids may never want to leave.
44. If you've got grandparents visiting from out of town, we've got plenty of activities the whole fam can enjoy.
45. Go on a farm field trip.
46. Play ping pong, bocci or your favorite jukebox tunes over dinner.
47. Head to Waterfront Park for tons of family fun. With programming by the Seattle Aquarium, free walking tours and more, you can keep coming back all summer long. Don't forget to take a spin on the Seattle Great Wheel to get a bird’s-eye view of the city like no other. Then, head next door to Wings Over Washington where you can soar like an eagle over Washington state while you're there.
48. Whether you've got out-of-town guests or just need an excuse to be outside, these patios were made for dining.
49. There's a secret waterfall in the city. Do you know where it is?
50. Put these can't-miss water parks on your summer radar.
51. Visit with reindeer, even in the summer.
52. Because rain happens, head to one of our favorite indoor pools when the skies are unforgiving or when the temps are just too hot to be outside.
53. MoPOP is where you'll find this amazing new exhibit that features costumes from Black Panther and Do the Right Thing.
54. Gas up the family roadster and take a summer road trip within a few hours drive (or less) of the city.
55. A gurgling urban fountain can provide hours of free entertainment.
57. From indoor to outdoor to group to private, Seattle has plenty of swimming schools to suit your water bug’s age, skill level and personality.
58. Make a pilgrimage to the original lavender farm in Sequim. July is the prime time to enjoy this fragrant bloom with your little sprouts.
59. Need a break from the sun? Chill out at an indoor theater. The Regal Summer Movie Express is only $2 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through the end of August.
60. This summer's festival season is going to be epic. With everything from music fests and city fairs, there's something for everyone.
61. Find a new-to-you playground with friends.
62. Whether you're planning a family reunion or you just want to vacation with friends, these group campsites are as cost-effective as they are fun for families.
64. Find out where you can play with your food when the kids need a break and a chance to be outside.
67. We couldn't think of a better way to spend a sunny weekend day than with an ice cream cruise around Lake Union.
68. Take a vacation when you're shot on time with a trip to Bainbridge Island.
69. Trade your favorite pizza joint for something healthier when you don't have time to cook.
70. Get on your bikes and ride... along Lake Washington Boulevard on select weekends this summer. Nothing beats the view and your kids will thank you for this family adventure.
71. Take the bus downtown and stroll through the Pike Place Market to pick up dinner fixings and a bouquet.
72. There are some seriously cool donut shops that call Seattle home. We're thinking summer donut odyssey... how 'bout you?
73. If you’re itching to get out of the city, head to this seaside town that boasts an amazing food scene (including the world’s best waterside pizzeria), weird and wonderful art and the best hide-and-go-seek spot this side of Hogwarts.
74. When the need to become one with nature strikes, head out to one of these tranquil gardens chock-full of blooming blossoms, rushing waterfalls and plenty of places to relax and rejuvenate.
75. Go on an urban art adventure when you need something fun to do with the kids. Best part? It doesn't cost a cent.
—Allison Sutcliffe & Kristina Moy
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