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The Play List: Top Seattle-Area Family Outings for August 2023

15 ways to savor summer

Nancy Chaney

Published on: July 27, 2023

Young girl holding flowers in one hand and a pine cone in the other, looking happy in the sunshine

People in other places are stocking up on fall sweaters and filling backpacks with school supplies. To that, we say, “Ha ha ha ha!” We’ve got to savor every moment of these peak Seattle summer days while they last. So, fill your days with bikes, beaches and bats, plus movies, festivals and more! Tune out those back-to-school jingles, put on your shorts and go play.

A beach day looks quite different along the shores of Puget Sound, compared with, say, a beach day in Hawaii. On our extra-low-tide days this summer, turn up to inspect all kinds of sea creatures that normally live under the cover of the sea. Meet naturalists at various beaches, Aug. 1–3, Aug. 13 and Aug. 30. Free. 

As we progress through the summer, darkness comes a wee bit earlier, making a free outdoor movie showing at dusk more doable for families with young kids. You’ll find a free outdoor movie in parks all over the Puget Sound region, with most screening on Friday and Saturday nights, but a few on other nights, too! Select dates Aug. 1–26. 

Head to Cedar Lanes Bike Park for an awesome time riding the course and learning bike safety skills. Bikes and helmets are available to borrow if you don’t bring your own, and if your kids don’t know how to ride, instructors will teach them! Tuesday and Thursday, 1–4 p.m., Aug. 3–17. Free; for ages 3–17. 

If anyone tells you that bats aren’t cool, they’re totally batty! Bat-positive org Bats Northwest is back at Green Lake this summer. Stop by to learn about the important jobs our flying furry friends accomplish for our environment. Thursdays, Aug. 3, Aug. 17 and Aug. 31, 8:30–10 p.m. Free. 

"Dad and son taking in the view at Paradise at Mount Rainier "
Paradise at Mount Rainier

Sneak out of town and soak up the beauty of our state’s three incredible national parks. Friday, Aug. 4, is a fee-free day and the perfect opportunity to visit Paradise at Mount Rainier, Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park, or, pro tip, it’s always free to visit North Cascades National Park. Diablo Lake is truly amazing!

Love it or hate it, the Blue Angels’ roaring airshow is a fixture of summer in Seattle — and the culmination of a bounty of neighborhood Seafair events. Turn your eyes to sky to spot the blazing-fast planes, or head to Lake Washington for the hydro races during Seafair Weekend, Friday–Sunday, Aug. 4–6. 

Join in the joyful celebration at Seattle’s Judkins Park, where Umoja Fest honors the strength of our local African American community and contributions from across the African diaspora. Umoja Fest features a parade, music, yummy food and plenty of fun for kids. Saturday–Sunday, Aug. 5–6. Free. 

"Chambers Bay annual kite festival"
Chambers Bay annual kite festival

Fly high at Chambers Bay’s annual kite festival, now expanded to two days! Turn up early to snag a free kite, bring your own or purchase a kite kit for $4. Enjoy demos, inflatables and food-truck fare amid all the awesome kite-flying action! Saturday–Sunday, Aug. 5–6. The festival is free; parking is $10. 

Book your tix — with a discount for ParentMap readers! — to OL Reign’s Kids’ Day, when the team will take on rival team the Portland Thorns. On Sunday, Aug. 6, get close to the soccer action and marvel at elite players such as Megan Rapinoe, Jess Fishlock and Rose Lavelle. Tickets, with discount, $16 and up. 

Pause a moment during the hustle and bustle of summer to join Green Lake’s moving From Hiroshima to Hope lantern-floating ceremony. This contemplative event commemorates victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, as well as victims of war and violence everywhere. Sunday, Aug. 6, 6–8 p.m. Free. 

Saddle up for old-fashioned county-fair fun at the Pierce County Fair in Graham. If our biggest state fair is a bit much for your crew, this fair has all the animals, rides, entertainment and food in a medium-size, rather than jumbo, package. Thursday–Sunday, Aug. 10–13. Gate admission is $6 with advance purchase; ages 5 and younger free; $10 at the gate. Discounts available. 

Join the United Way and Doug Baldwin Jr. for a community barbecue featuring delicious food, music, dancing and games. Proceeds support the Racial Equity Coalition’s after-school youth programming. Saturday, Aug. 12, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. at Renton Memorial Stadium. $10 per plate; ages 5 and younger free.

Frolic among the towering sunflower blooms at Maris Family Farm’s gorgeous annual flower fest. Entry includes one bloom, a wagon ride, a jump pillow and more kids’ activities. In addition to the sunflowers, the farm promises a new special guest, zinnias! Saturday–Sunday, Aug. 12–13, 19–20 and 26–27. Admission $18–$20; ages 2 and younger free.

Snoqualmie Days is the ideal festival for families with train lovers in their ranks. In addition to fun with trains, find Lego activities, a pancake breakfast and the grand parade! Friday–Saturday, Aug. 19–20. 

Spend a summer evening at the lovely Washington Park Arboretum, enjoying the African beats of Gansango Music & Dance, whose performance will get the kids on their feet. Apparently, there is also free ice cream, while supplies last. Wednesday, Aug. 23, 6–8 p.m., at the arboretum’s Graham Visitor Center. Free. 

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