As we move toward the end of summer and the sun inevitably starts to fade, it’s time to make the most of it and soak up these last few weeks by celebrating a beautiful time of year in the Pacific Northwest, as a family. There are parks left to explore, waters left untested, and of course, plenty of summer fun still to be had.
Listen to live music outdoors
Summer is the perfect time for an outdoor show. Gather the family for a picnic and a little dancing in the moonlight. Concerts at the Mural happen smack dab under the Space Needle on Friday nights, August 9, 16 and 23. Artists are all a part of Seattle’s independent music scene and chosen for their family-friendliness.
Prefer an afternoon show? Summer Concerts at the Locks run at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through August. Community bands, orchestras and combos make up the weekend lineup, and the Carl S. English Gardens are as pretty a backdrop as you could want.
Go to the fair
The Evergreen State Fair has a little something for everyone in the family—crazy animal races, a petting zoo, carnival rides and games, a rodeo, live entertainment, water balloon tossing and even a belching contest. Head out to Monroe for some good old fashioned family fun, August 22 through September 9.
And the Washington State Fair (aka Puyallup Fair to us longtimers) runs Aug. 30-Sept. 22. You might want to pick a date and put it on the calendar now.
Catch a game
No sport is more linked to the lazy hazy days of summer than baseball. Cheer on the Mariners at T-Mobile stadium before the season comes to a close. There is plenty of action to keep kids entertained even if the game is moving slowly. Meet the Mariner Moose or work out some energy at the stadium playground—complete with screens for fans who don’t want to miss any of the action. The Kids Corner on the 300 level behind home plate, lets kids lean over the kid-sized dugout rail, take swings, throw pitches and run the bases on a miniature baseball diamond. Check out this story for more details on taking the whole family to a Mariner’s game.
Watch a movie under the stars
There are myriad options for family-friendly outdoor movies playing on the big screen under the night skies this summer. Center City Outdoor Cinema has activities that start at 6 p.m., the movie starts at dusk. Screenings at Westlake Park go on rain or shine—on August 23, catch "Incredibles 2" at Westlake Park. See "Up" at Hing Hay Park on August 24 as part of the Seattle Asian American Film Festival C-ID Summer Cinema. Movie starts at sunset with free performances, crafts and family activities beforehand.
On the Eastside, Bellevue Downtown Park has movies on Tuesdays nights, while Crossroads Park shows movies on Thursday nights. Most Wednesday nights, you can find movies playing at Marymoor Park in Redmond, as well.
For a more complete list and details of where to catch an outdoor movie this summer, check out this list.
August 25 is Free National Park Day. The National Park Service was created on August 25, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Act, making this year the National Park Service’s 103 birthday. Head to your favorite nearby National Park for hiking, biking, swimming, boating—whatever your heart desires, to celebrate.
There are other fun activities happening at some nearby state parks during the month of August as well. Deception Pass hosts hour-long family-friendly guided hikes on August 7 and 8. At Cama Beach State Park, kids can attend a toy boat building workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. August 10, 17, 24 and 31. Choose a hull and sail, drill a step for a mast, and decorate your vessel with bottle caps, corks and crayons. Cama Beach also hosts crafting activities August 12, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 29 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Meet next to the historic store. Crafts vary but can include basket making, leather craft, rock wrapping, tee shirt painting, tree ring medallions and more.
Hit the water
Quite simply, there is no better time to be out on the water than summertime in the Pacific Northwest. Pick a lake, river, or favorite beach on the Sound and swim, kayak, canoe or even ride the ferry. We love the UW Waterfront Activities Center for canoeing with the kids, pedal boat rentals at Greenlake for a different way to see the well-known spot, and the Electric Boat Company for treating the whole family to a day on Lake Union.
Play tourist at Mount Rainier
Wildflowers are at their peak in early August. Paradise and Sunrise are two of the main visitor center areas at Mount Rainier National Park and both are well known for their impressive wildflower meadows. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, there are dozens of trails perfect for more wildflower viewing. The top picks from rangers for awesome kid hikes are Silver Falls, Bench and Snow Lakes, Naches Peak Loop, Twin Firs and Grove of the Patriarchs.
Get kids in the spirit by helping them become Mount Rainier Junior Rangers and earn their first badges. Junior Ranger books are available at all the visitor centers.
More things to do this summer