Summer Story Ideas
Explore the Many Sides of Seattle Southside for Outdoor Adventure, Beachside Dining and More.
Fresh Air Aplenty: Nature and Adventure
Boat, Kayak or Paddle through Seattle Southside’s Waterways
You can spend an entire day hanging out on the water when you bring your own vessel to the Des Moines Marina. No boat? Head to the Redondo Beach Boardwalk, rent a stand-up paddleboard or single or double kayak at the Olympic Outdoor Center (lessons are available) and peacefully paddle your way along the waterfront. While you're there, sign up for a wildlife or adventure tour, take a class and enjoy the rich marine environment and spectacular Olympic Mountain scenery. The Marina District is also home to large sailing yachts, small fishing boats, the newly opened SR3 Marine Animal Hospital and a variety of fresh-seafood restaurants. Make sure to stop by the Des Moines Snack Shack located in Saltwater State Park, which serves specialty hot dogs, nachos and ice cream. It also provides kayak rentals for those looking for a delicious bite and adventure to go.
Now Open for Summer! Kids Splish-Splash for Free at Splash and Spray Parks
Seattle Southside offers aquatic playgrounds full of watery fun, a summer favorite for all. Enjoy the spray at Angle Lake Park and the Tukwila Community Center Splash Park, featuring water shooting up from the ground, fish spouts to aim, fountains to run through and car wash–style play areas. There are also benches around the edges and grassy space. Pack some treats and make it a playdate! Both are open Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Scuba Dive in Des Moines
Jump in and explore the variety of sea life and vegetation in the waters of Puget Sound. The Des Moines Marina has great facilities, 24-hour access and easy entry to the water, making it the perfect destination for divers of all experience levels. Seattle Dive Tours will pick you up and provide equipment and guided scuba tours. An underground wonderland for experienced divers awaits at Des Moines Wreck, a 55-foot, wooden-hulled sunken ship.
Redondo Beach, Pier, Boat Launch and Boardwalk
Activities are endless at Redondo Beach, Pier, Boat Launch and Boardwalk! Stroll along the boardwalk and beach, or explore the MaST Center, Highline College’s marine biology and aquarium facility, featuring a hands-on aquarium and a 38-foot gray whale skeleton! The small neighborhood of Redondo showcases tranquil waterfront homes designed to please the eye.
Hike, Bike or Stroll Along Seattle Southside Trails
From Pacific Northwest marine life to stunning forest fauna, regional trails provide exceptional views for nature lovers of all types. Catch a glimpse of resident orcas, otters and seals as you walk along Redondo Beach’s boardwalk and Whale Trail. Explore the diverse temperate forest, urban topography and waterways along Des Moines Creek Trail, or take to the bike paths on Interurban Trail—a popular, mostly flat route that winds through many cities past rivers, historic sites and suburban landscapes.
Living That Beach Life
Looking for some waterside rest and relaxation? There are plenty of options for soaking up the sun and just spending a day reenergizing. Redondo Beach and Des Moines Beach Park both offer sand, people-watching and great views. Angle Lake Park is especially nice for waterfront events and gatherings in its barbeque area and picnic shelter—not to mention its dedicated amenities for kids.
No Sun? No Problem. Jump, Drive and Fly Through Seattle Southside
Need an Adrenaline Boost? Head to Tukwila for Trampolines and Indoor Skydiving
If the summer sun is on hiatus, head to Defy, the world’s largest extreme air sports park, in Tukwila. It’s the perfect place to bring friends and family of all ages. There are trampolines, foam pits, obstacles, climbing walls, basketball hoops and so much more. Prices range from $17 to $25 for those aged 7 and up; tickets can be purchased online. Still looking to catch some air? Take flight at iFLY, a vertical wind tunnel where you can fly with professional and experienced instructors. It’s safe and fun for anyone aged three and up!
Endless Entertainment and Education for the Whole Family
Seattle Southside is the perfect destination for a family getaway filled with adventure. If you’re looking for an-all ages activity on a Northwest rainy day, head to the Museum of Flight. Enjoy the wonder of aviation in one of Seattle’s most spectacular settings. The 15-acre campus features over 175 aircraft and spacecraft, the original Boeing Aircraft factory, flight simulators, fantastic 3-D aviation and space movies, and dozens of fun, interactive exhibits and family activities. Another great educational exploration stop is the Highline Heritage Museum in Burien, where the new “Like Mother” exhibit, an artistic invitation to reflect on heritage, stories, struggles and triumphs, will be displayed from June through August.
Need a break from the beach or an escape inside on the occasional summertime rainy day? Check out Des Moines’ Waterland Arcade in the Marina District. This family-friendly neighborhood spot has 50 classic arcade and pinball games and over 40 craft beers and ciders by the can. If virtual reality is more your thing, head to the new Legacy Gaming in Tukwila for PC, console and VR gaming offerings.
Sykart Indoor Racing Center is the place to be for novice drivers or the next Mario Andretti. Get ready for a thrilling ride an inch off the ground at 30-35mph! If go-karts are more your speed, Tukwila’s Family Fun Center and Bullwinkle’s Restaurant is the place to be, complete with miniature golf, bumper boats, a 16-lane bowling alley, batting cages, laser tag and endless arcade games. When hunger strikes, head to Bullwinkle’s for Thai chicken or a Philly cheesesteak pizza.
Relax and Escape in Seattle’s Backyard
Indulge in a Spa Retreat
Need a little pampering before a long flight or just because? Head to The Spa at Cedarbrook Lodge for a midweek retreat. Open Wednesday through Sunday, this hidden oasis in SeaTac offers massages, facials and revitalizing treatments from its sustainability-focused spa menu. Enjoy natural botanicals and herbal fusions as you are spoiled with products from brands like Éminence, Farmaesthetics and FarmHouse Fresh. After your treatment, head to the outdoor patio for a cocktail and seasonally inspired bite at Copperleaf Restaurant Bar & Terrace, overlooking the expansive grounds of Cedarbrook Lodge.
Gene Juarez Salon & Spa, on the first level of Westfield Southcenter mall between Nordstrom and Macy's, is the ultimate retreat, in which you can escape, replenish and feel beautiful. There, aromatic essences, the soothing sounds of trickling water and luxurious surroundings envelop your senses, creating a multidimensional experience. Gene Juarez offers a competitive range of award-winning salon services and exclusive spa treatments essential to maintaining your well-being. It’s the perfect escape from a day of shopping or as a detour when exploring Seattle Southside.
Stop and Smell the Roses
Welcome to one of the region’s most unique and beautiful gardens: Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden, a hidden gem for many. Immediately after stepping foot into this colorful, multiregional oasis, you’ll forget you’re only a few blocks from the airport. This garden is a hidden treasure in Seattle Southside. People of all backgrounds adore the streams running through the lush greenery and a rainbow of various flower species scattered throughout. Enjoy the serenity of the sensory garden or the wild colors of Elda Behm’s Paradise Garden and find your inner Zen in the Seike Japanese Garden.
Sip and Savor the Seattle Southside Food Scene
Local Produce Galore at the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market
Beginning June 5, the farm comes to you at the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market, every Saturday through September 25. Commemorate opening day of the 15th season with a ribbon-cutting ceremony—the first 1,000 visitors can grab a complimentary shopping bag with goodies from vendors and local businesses. Fresh, local and sustainable are the norm at the market, which brings together more than 50 farms, crafters and food vendors by the Des Moines Marina for a relaxing shopping experience. More info can be found at dmfm.org.
Alfresco Dining: Local Brews and Waterfront Patios
During the warm-weather months, quench your thirst across Seattle Southside. For waterfront decks, enjoy fresh and local seafood at Anthony’s HomePort Des Moines, or for more casual fare, Wally’s Chowder House serves award-winning New England clam chowder and an unmatched selection of fish and chips, including giant Alaskan cod fillets. Additional items include halibut, Dungeness crab, salmon, local steamer clams, coconut prawns, scallops, oysters and a variety of seafood tacos. Looking to enjoy a cold beer with a water view? Check out Quarterdeck at the Des Moines Marina, featuring a constantly rotating selection of beer, over 30 wines by the glass and cider. Drop by in the morning for a cup of coffee and a pastry before taking a walk on the beach.
Japanese Donuts, Anyone?
Tucked inside Lam’s Seafood Market is the new and popular Dochi donut store. This addition to Seattle Southside is wildly popular, so we recommend getting there early before the line is out the door. Its mochi donuts are a sensational cross between the sweet and chewy Japanese rice dessert and the classic American fried donut, with a slightly crisp exterior and soft, chewy center—the perfect bite! Plus, they're glazed with many exotic flavors and delicious toppings you won't find anywhere else.
Sweet Tooth? Take a Tour through the Seattle Chocolate Factory
Experience the magic of this celebrated chocolate maker in the Northwest on a factory tour in Tukwila. Adults and children six and over are welcome to come taste signature, smooth chocolate recipes straight from the source, including the new “Scoops” line of ice cream-inspired flavors, including Neapolitan, mint chip, malted milkshake and vanilla orange cream. Learn about all the machines used in the process, and witness start-to-finish creations. Reservations are encouraged.
How to Plan Your Trip? Some Excellent Tools to Enjoy the Region
- Seattle Southside Scenes explores the art, culture and history of the Seattle Southside region. As one of the most unique areas in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle Southside is filled with public art, historic landmarks and a diverse populous with rich cultural heritages. Seattle Southside Scenes uncovers and documents the fascinating stories behind iconic landmarks, hidden gems and the area residents. All the locations mentioned can be found in SeaTac, Tukwila, or Des Moines.
- Save money with the Seattle Southside Do More–Save More Passport, which offers savings at attractions, restaurants, retailers and more. Both one-time and repeating offers allow you to save all year long. Get your free Passport today!
New 2021 Attractions and Upcoming Events
- Element Seattle Sea-Tac Airport: Experience the new Element Seattle Sea-Tac Airport hotel in Tukwila during your visit to the Seattle area. The new eco-friendly Marriott property, located just 5 miles from Sea-Tac Airport, provides a convenient home base for travelers and groups. Rest well during your extended stay in spacious suites with productive workstations, fully equipped kitchens, and signature Heavenly Beds®. There is also an indoor pool, a state-of-the-art fitness facility, and 1,728 square feet of green meeting and event space.
- Tru by Hilton Tukwila: Just 5 minutes from Sea-Tac Airport can be found a cost-conscious hotel featuring “The Hive,” a large lobby space for working, lounging, eating or playing; a build-your-own breakfast bar; a “Play Zone” for stadium-seating TV viewing and table games; and a fitness center.
- Oppegaard Meadery: Fancy drinking like the Vikings? Head to this new mead-maker in Tukwila, which produces honey wine with various fruits, hops, spices and herbs sure to please your palate. The tasting room is kid- and dog-friendly.
- SeaTac International Mall: Enjoy exploring East African home décor, traditional African clothing and shelves of sparkly tea sets at this new mall at the intersection of International Boulevard and South 208th Street. Twenty-one small business owners, many immigrants or refugees, add to the diverse offerings in this Seattle Southside venture, which also features an attached grocery store.
- Free Music and Theatre in the Park: The City of SeaTac and 4Culture present free concerts and live performances throughout the summer at Riverton Heights Park. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy the following performances:
- Wednesday, July 7, 6:30 p.m.: TwoZeroSix (covering the music of various bands from the Seattle area)
- Wednesday, July 14, 6:30 p.m.: Alfredo Chavez (Latin American and world music)
- Wednesday, July 21, 6:30 p.m.: Jessica Lynne Witty (country artist)
- Friday, July 23, 7:00 p.m.: Seattle Shakespeare Company – Comedy of Errors
- Wednesday, July 28, 6:30 p.m.: Triple Treat Band (fun, party, old-school and R&B)
- Friday, July 30, 7:00 p.m.: Burien Actors Theater – Hay Fever (not yet confirmed)
- Burien PRIDE Drag Queen Bingo in the Park: On June 5, this year’s Burien Pride celebration will consist of a full day of your favorite drag queens starring in three different safe and socially distanced bingo sessions in Burien Town Square Park. This timed and ticketed event will include music, beverages and food. Tables may be purchased for a friend/family group in advance; single and day-of tickets are available, too!
- Discover Burien’s Strawberry Days: Enjoy this festive event in Burien on June 19 and 20, in which families can gather safely to walk among craft vendors, partake in kids' activities, eat strawberry shortcake, and enjoy more summertime fun.
- Father’s Day Car Show in Burien: This annual event featuring lean, mean machines has become the perfect date for dads of all kinds. Classic cars will line SW 152nd Street in downtown Burien from 4th Avenue SW to 10th Avenue SW.
- 2021 Poverty Bay Blues & Brews Fest: The Rotary Club of Des Moines & Normandy Park is pleased to announce the return of the Poverty Bay Blues & Brews Festival! Save the date: on Saturday, August 28, enjoy four earth-shaking blues performances and dozens of craft beers from the Northwest's best brewers. Tickets go on sale on June 1.
About the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority
The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) is the official destination marketing organization for Seattle Southside, including the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines. The organization is responsible for competitively marketing the area as an ideal travel destination for leisure and business travelers who wish to explore Western Washington and an idyllic place for meeting and event planners to hold their events. The Seattle Southside RTA is funded by a self-assessed hotel fund and supported by a lodging tax from the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines.