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Neighborhood Spotlight: Green Lake

Your family will finds lots to do in this fun, family-friendly neighborhood

Madison Miller

Published on: January 24, 2024

Green Lake neighborhood things to do

The Vibe

The eclectic and comfortable neighborhood of Green Lake is just a few minutes north of downtown Seattle. Home to approximately 10,000 residents, this small north-central Seattle neighborhood is named after its centerpiece, Green Lake. Geologists believe the Vashon glacier formed Green Lake around 50,000 years ago. Fun fact: Dredgings of Green Lake have brought up volcanic ash from an eruption of Glacier Peak that occurred about 6,700 years ago.

Play on

The 2.8-mile-long path around the lake provides an idyllic spot for runners, walkers and parents pushing strollers, and thanks to our mild climate, it’s a year-round destination. At Green Lake Park, many use the athletic fields or visit the park for boating, picnics, swimming and playground fun during the summer months. During the cooler months, families can take refuge from the rain inside the Green Lake Community Center to play at the recently reopened Toddler Room. Families can once again drop in for free playtime (after registering for a Quick Card) during open hours. Plus, the Pool Playland time at Evans Pool is another draw for those looking to do something different on a dreary winter day. Nearby Cowen Park offers a quieter playground option for families.

A great indoor option is the Seattle Public Theater. This month, catch a showing of “Once More, Just for You.” Consider planning a date night to see this production.

"A young boy up close to a bear at Woodland Park zoo near the Green Lake neighborhood"
Up close and personal with a bear at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo credit: Kari Hanson

For those willing to brave the cold and rain to see animals, stop by Woodland Park Zoo, where visitors can easily spend an entire day wandering the 92-acre property in search of lions, tigers and bears. The bears are a particular favorite among kids, who often have the chance to marvel at the bears from the other side of the glass as the animals take a dip in a shallow pool. The zoo is divided into bioclimatic zones that feature more than 800 animals from more than 250 different species. Visitors looking for native Northwest animals will find them along “The Living Northwest Trail” exhibit.

Eats + Treats

We’ve never known a kid to say no to a cold treat even in the dead of winter. That’s why we always recommend stopping by Seattle Pops for delicious frozen pops. Good news: Seattle Pops is expanding to offer catering services. We all rejoiced when Beth’s Cafe reopened last year. While the cafe is open for breakfast and lunch, you’ll have to look elsewhere for a tasty casual dinner after a long day playing around Green Lake. That’s why Rain City Burgers is a great dinnertime spot. We recommend the Sonics Burger with a raspberry milkshake. If everyone is tuckered out from the day’s activity, swing by Frelard Tamales and pick up some uncooked tamales to heat up at home. Please note: Construction of a larger, dine-in Frelard Tamales restaurant is underway in Fremont; the Green Lake location will close once the new restaurant opens.

"enjoying a frozen treat from Seattle Pops"
Enjoy a cool, sweet treat. Photo courtesy of

More great areas to explore

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