Seattle Summer Bucket List

Seattle Summer Bucket List

Credit: Caitlin Murphy

Summer is the perfect time to learn something new. Try zip lining in Bellevue, visit the MOHAI and discover the history of Seattle or take in the most Comprehensive collection of Dale Chihuly's work at the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum.


by CAITLYN MURPHY / Special contributor to

Posted on June 23, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 23 at 7:21 PM

When the sun comes out and the temperatures move into the 70s, a collective cheer rises up all over Western Washington - summer is finally here, hooray! And if you want to make the most of those sunny summer months this year, then look no further. Here are 10 ideas that take full advantage of the warm, beautiful weather and create a family friendly “Seattle Summer Bucket List."

While the Seattle plays host numerous events throughout the summer like the Bite of Seattle, Bumbershoot and of course Seafair, these 10 items are ideas you can do at anytime. So grab the kids and get ready for some fun in the sun.

Ride the Seattle Great Wheel
Rising 175 feet above the city and extending 40 feet over the water, the Seattle Great Wheel offers riders breathtaking views of the Seattle skyline, Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains. Air-conditioned, glass gondolas fit up to eight adults, making this an ideal activity for the whole family.

Beach campfire at Golden Gardens
Seattle is lucky enough to have long summer days with lingering sunsets and warm evenings. Take advantage with a sunset campfire on the beach at Golden Gardens Park. The park has designated metal fire pits on the beach and overlooking the waters, and extra points if you roast marshmallows or make s’mores.

Catch an outdoor movie

Summer is blockbuster movie season for Hollywood and outdoor movie season for Seattle. Fremont, Marymoor Park, Seattle Center, Magnuson Park, Bellevue and Redhook Brewery, West Seattle and Kirkland, just to name a few, are all setting up huge summer screens. Relax in the grass and enjoy family friendly fare like “Back to the Future” and “Finding Nemo” or more mature movies like “Moonrise Kingdom” and “The Hurt Locker.” Several locations offer food trucks or you can bring your own picnic.

Kayak or Paddleboard to Lunch
Lake Union and West Seattle both offer the opportunity to work up an appetite through stand up paddleboarding and kayaking. Both locations also allow you to quickly hop off your paddleboard or kayak and over to a delicious lunch spot.  Aqua Verde on Portage Bay near Lake Unions rents stand up paddleboards and kayaks from the paddle club downstairs and serves Mexican fare and margaritas in the cafe upstairs. Also try taking the water taxi from downtown to West Seattle since Kayak Alki and Marination Ma Kai are just steps from the dock. Kayak Alki will set you up with paddleboards and kayaks and Marination Ma Kai will temp your taste buds with Hawaiian-Korean fusion food.

Visit Mount Rainier for a day hike or walk through the wildflowers

Mount Rainier rises to greet the people of Western Washington everyday, but how many of us have been there? Well, make this summer the one where you actually visit. A two hour drive from Seattle, Mount Rainier National Park boasts scenic hikes and expansive views. Day hikes can take anywhere from 20 minutes to four hours and can include the entire family. You’ll explore an old growth forest, trek to high country to see views of Mount Rainier and the Nisqually Glacier or stand in the spray of cascading waterfalls. Not into hiking? Not to worry as you can walk the famous fields of wildflowers instead. Waves of lavender, yellow and magenta blanket the meadows making for a stunning display of nature.  Biking, fishing and climbing treks are also available.  For a full list of day hikes, check out the National Park Service website.

Root for the Mariners at Safeco Field
Nothing says summer like the crack of a bat and the roar of home team fans. Sit in the outfield bleachers and soak up the sun while Felix Hernandez and the Mariners partake in America’s favorite pastime. Good news for foodies too, as Safeco features delicious eateries like Chef Ethan Stowell’s Edgar’s Cantina featuring Mexican fare, vegan cuisine from Field Roast is popular as are Rob Roy’s small bath spirit cocktails. 

Ride a ferry to the San Juan Islands, Whidbey Island or Bainbridge Island
Ferries are as synonymous with Seattle as coffee and tech giants, and they are not just for tourists and commuters.  This summer book a day trip to Bainbridge Island where you can ditch your car and walk on the ferry from Seattle. In 35 minutes you will be transported to the quaint Bainbridge downtown filled with shops and restaurants.

Or plan a weekend trip to Whidbey Island or the San Juans. Admittedly the toughest part will be deciding what to do first, since whale watching, biking, kayaking or camping are all at your fingertips. And when visiting the San Juans, a climb up to the top of Mount Constitution on Orcas Island should definitely be on the itinerary. The views back over Bellingham with Mt. Baker in the background are not to be missed.

Enjoy an outdoor concert
The dry summer weather also lends itself well to outdoor concerts. Almost any night throughout July and August the Seattle area will echo with the sounds of music ranging from country crooning, to 80’s pop duos to mellow jazz. Lounge in the grass at the Château Ste. Michelle Concert Series or take a lunchtime stroll downtown and listen to the free “Out to Lunch” concerts that go off three times a week with venues stretching from Belltown to Pioneer Square.

Cool off with a swim
When temperatures creep into the 80s, nothing is more refreshing or summertime appropriate than taking a dip in the water. Cannonball, bellyflop or Marco Polo your way to a fun summer afternoon at Green Lake, Seward Park and Madison Park for a dip in the lake. Or if pools are more your style, Mounger Pool is a great spot in Magnolia and Colman Pool is a heated saltwater paradise on next to the beach in West Seattle. Both have huge tube slides, making these pools a summer break must-do.

Learn something new
Even though school isn't in session, summer is still the perfect time to learn something new. A zip lining course just opened in Bellevue, or visit the MOHAI and discover the history of Seattle. Another option, take in the most comprehensive collection of Dale Chihuly's work and spectacular gardens at the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum. 

Seattle summers are gorgeous, but as we all know, those warm sunny days don’t last forever. In fact, maybe that’s what makes Seattleites appreciate them all the more. And with so many ideas of outdoor activities it will be easy to make this the best summer yet.