Long summer vacations aren’t in the cards for all of us, but long weekends and day trips are a far more manageable, affordable way to get out and enjoy the summer season. With the kids in tow, there are plenty of fun (and often free!) daytime activities and destinations in the city and beyond. After a weekend outing with the kids, head to a nearby spot for an energizing meal and delicious drinks!
It’s a busy tourist spot, but also a great place to introduce the kiddos to local vendors and craftspeople. After a day spent wandering the stalls and shopping at Pike Place Market, head down to Hamanasu (formerly Benihana) to finish the day with a delightful dinner and tableside performance. The Japanese restaurant even offers a nice selection of non-alcoholic beverages for a special treat!
Hamanasu: 1200 5th Ave | 206-682-4686
Kids of all ages enjoy watching the animal activities at the Woodland Park Zoo, and they’re bound to work up quite the appetite after traipsing through the zoo’s trails to find the monkeys or watch the penguins get their lunch. Julia’s of Wallingford is a quick drive east, with a family-friendly environment and a menu stuffed with adult- and kid-friendly items. The outdoor patio is prime seating on sunny summer days!
Julia’s of Wallingford: 4401 Wallingford Ave N | 206-633-1175
During the summer, the beach is the place to be! The closest sandy beach to the central Seattle area is at Golden Gardens in Ballard, where families can also enjoy forest trail hikes, fishing, and more. Spend a day playing, and then visit the state’s first and best Puerto Rican restaurant, La Isla, for a taste of the Caribbean! The restaurant offers tasty soups, refreshing salads, savory sandwiches and flavorful entrees made with traditional Puerto Rican spices and preparation.
La Isla: 2320 NW Market Street | 206-789-0516
Spend the day flying kites, throwing the ball around, or exploring the expansive acreage of Discovery Park on the west end of Magnolia, or check out the salmon migration from the fish ladder at the Hiram Chittenden Locks nearby. There’s lots of opportunities for outdoor summer fun in this corner of the city. And after a long day, the Highliner Public House is a great family-friendly spot to stop and recharge. Here you’ll find delicious fresh seafood and pub fare with favorites for the whole family.
Highliner Public House: 3909 18th Ave W | 206-216-1254
The landing spot for Seattle’s founders is a popular park year-round, and especially during the summer. Help the kiddos find ‘sea glass’ on the rocky waterfront, play volleyball and build sand castles on the sandy beach section, and enjoy a beautiful day at Alki Beach. Once the kids are wiped out, Cactus at Alki Beach offers delicious and satisfying Mexican cuisine in a family-friendly atmosphere.
Cactus: 2820 Alki Ave SW | 206-933-6000
Head out of the city to Remlinger Farms to spend a day playing in the Family Fun Park and doing u-pick to stock the fridge with fresh fruit. Your kids can enjoy the experience of picking their own food, and you can appreciate the benefits of stocking up on locally grown strawberries and raspberries for summery desserts. After the busy day in the fields, grab some takeout from Amono’s Mexican Kitchen - just a 20-minute drive away in Duvall. From quesadillas to tacos and burritos, Amono’s fare will fill up hungry tummies in no time.
Amono’s Mexican Kitchen: 15321 Main St NE Unit 201 | 206-972-3000
A day trip to Bainbridge Island is a classic summertime experience! Hop on the ferry and check out all of the shopping and seasonal island activities - it’s sometimes more fun to walk-on. After you and the kids have had your fill of the sights and events, head to Doc’s Marina Grill to enjoy some delicious fresh seafood and grill-style dishes. During the summer, Doc’s can get quite busy, so reservations are highly recommended.
Doc’s Marina Grill: 403 Madison Ave S | 206-842-8339