Winter Play List: 35 Things to Do for Seattle-area Kids and Families
Museum-hopping, epic snow play, cool workshops, Lego-tastic play
Mid-winter break is here — do you know what your kids are doing? Here are dozens of ways to keep them entertained and active. also see also our holiday section for tips on Valentine's Day fun, our events calendar and our giant rainy-day play list.
Get outdoors and play!
Sledding, tubing and snow play: Nothing says winter like a screaming-fun time sliding down a hill and with the epic levels of snow we've had this year, every sledding area around is open. Try Suncadia, which offers tubing, ice skating, and cross-country skiing (as well a wonderful lodge for a warm-up).
Snowshoeing: If you can snowshoe you can walk, and it's the perfect mostly affordable fun family snow outing around. Check out the affordable ranger treks at local mountains.
Adventure playgrounds: Are your kids ready for steeper slides and faster lines? Check out this list of high-thrill playgrounds, starting with the Seattle Center's Artists at Play playground.
Staircase walks: Puget Sound cities are threaded with exiciting staircase walks, which lead to secret gardens, amazing views and urban adventure.
Backyard Bird Count: You don't have to be an expert to participate in this huge citizen-science project, and it only takes 15 minutes!
Winter hikes: Each of these provides an out in bad weather, to a visitors center or other educational spaces where kids can learn more.
Rain-friendly playgrounds and parks: Then there's this list of covered playgrounds, trails with cover and more puddle-jumping fun.
Day trips, museum-hopping and President's Day weekend fun
Math Moves at Pacific Science Center. Have a blast and sharpen your kids' math skills at this exhibit chock full of “muscle math” exploration with interactive stations that bring math concepts such as ratios and proportions to life. While you're there, consider seeing the new National Parks Adventure 3-D movie at the Boeing IMAX theater.
Lunar New Year explore of Chinatown-International District. The advent of Year of the Monkey is a great opportunity to explore Seattle's historic International District, including the new (free) streetcar line, Wing Luke Museum, Uwajimaya and much more.
Kehinde Wiley's New Republic at Seattle Art Museum. Opening Feb. 11, Kehinde Wiley's powerful portraits of African Americans ingeniously reworks the grand portraiture traditions. (Family Day is Feb. 27.)
Hello Kitty at EMP. If you haven't seen the exhbit on the Japanese superstar, hurry down to EMP, as it ends on May 1. The exhibit showcases rare and unique Hello Kitty pieces alongside mixed-media works inspired by the global icon and her world.
Hip-hop at MOHAI. Graffiti, deejaying, break dancing, emceeing: Curated by two Seattle natives, The Legacy of Northwest exhibit at EMP will immerse visitors in the sights and sounds of our region’s growing hip-hop culture.
Western and indigenous art at Tacoma Art Museum. Tacoma Art Museum's recently opened exhibitions of western American art and craftsmanship are on topics such as how artists represent Native American cultures.
Indoor nature spaces: Get some much-needed nature connection at one of these spaces blooming with bromeliads, butterflies and more.
More: Go to museums for free! Check out our list of free museum days.
Active indoor play
Roller skating: Time to break out those quads, the music from Xanadu, and roll on. Check out our guide for tips on learning and where to go.
Elevated Sportz: This huge trampoline/play space, has a cheap "Hoppy Hour" special Monday–Friday from 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
PlayDate SEA. Let kids get serious wiggles out at the 8,500-square-foot Undersea/Atlantis-themed, multi-level play structure.
Rainier Beach Pool boasts a lazy river, a corkscrew/water slide, lap pool, a hot tub spa/warm water area, a slide and rope swing.
Snohomish Aquatic Center: This recently opened aquatics center has it all: lazy river, warm-water pool (102 degrees), spray area, zero-depth area for tots, corkscrew slide and surf-simulation machine.
The Federal Way Community Center (south of Seattle) has a leisure pool showcases a two-story water slide with banked turns plus an interactive play structure with water sprays and a smaller slide for the younger set.
Indoor play and Lego fun
Discovery Playtown. This big new play space in Maple Valley has created a kid-size world of fire trucks, houses, stores, and a giant two-story slide. Only thing needed is your kid's imagination.
Roo's World of Discovery. This homey new Montessori-inspired play space in downtown Kirkland is welcome to kids of all abilities, with sensory-frendly hours and a special room for kids with special needs. It's also dedicated to connecting parents, with classes, cool couches and more.
Wunderkind. Located near University Village, this large new cafe offers two separate Lego play areas, good snacks (Beecher's mac and cheese), awesome coffee, happy-hour deals, and classes (Lego, Minecraft). It does charge a fee to play.
Giggle Jungle. This new indoor play area in Redmond Town Center features soft-play equipment (like WiggleWorks) and is for kids 48 inches and under. Cost is
Seattle ReCreative. This crafty studio and retail space, focused on creative reuse, opened in a new location in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood, with crafty classes, a free play space with a train table, and super-fun materials.
Tinkertopia, Tacoma: A "creative reuse center" in downtown Tacoma offers drop-in tinkering at its makerspace and fantastic second-use art materials for your DIY gifts.
Sking in B.C. If you want guaranteed snow over the holidays, head north for super-family-friendly, ski-in/ski-out resorts and outdoor ice skating and sleigh rides.
Nearby romantic escapes: Want to whoosh your valentine away for a night? Here are five spots 90 minutes or less away, from Suncadia to a treehouse resort you won't believe.
Deep-snow getaway at Mt. Baker. Mt. Baker ski area regularly breaks world records for snowpack, and nearby Bellingham offers lots of urban fun, too.
Only an hour from Portland is the best water park/flight museum in the west, guaranteed to entertain and educate everyone.
Active winter getaways: Want to hut-to-hut ski, sled or snowshoe with tots in tow? We show you where and how.
Get a front seat on nature-ific drama with a day or two of stormwatching in Oregon.
Bask in a rainshadow, learn about whales, walk the beaches on San Juan Island.
Try snow biking, dog sledding, or plain old awesome powder skiing in Bend, Oregon.