Planning to visit the Seattle Southside region and looking for some fun activities to do with older kids? Whether you’re planning a local Seattle staycation or looking for things to do near Seattle airport, check out this list!
Seattle Southside is made up of the cities of Des Moines, SeaTac, and Tukwila, and you can reach downtown Seattle in about 15-20 minutes, while still staying close to the airport for traveling convenience.
One of the things locals love best about the Pacific Northwest (aka the PNW) is our beautiful nature. We have oceans, lakes, mountains, and lots of trees, so it’s no surprise that getting outside is one of our favorite activities. Two of the most popular spots to hang outside in Seattle Southside are Des Moines Beach Park (and Marina) and Redondo Beach.
At Des Moines Beach Park, you can explore the rocky shore, you might spot some shells and sea life in addition to a few shorebirds hoping to catch a bite to eat. If you’re a fan of fishing, you can even fish off the Public Fishing Pier while watching boats sail by and planes pass overhead.
And for some extra exploration, you can hike along the Des Moines Creek Trail which is a paved easy walking trail through the middle of a lush forest. After your hike, stop at Quarterdeck to grab a drink and sit outside in the sunshine.
Redondo Beach is another popular outdoor spot in the area where you can find a small beach, boardwalk, and pier, and you can even rent kayaks or paddleboards and head out for a paddle.
If you’re searching for where to eat in Des Moines, try via Marina Wood Fired Pizza & Italian Cafe for a delicious Italian dinner and Jack’s Country Restaurant for a big plate, old-fashioned breakfast.
DEFY Trampoline Park
If you’re looking to burn off some energy and escape indoors, head to DEFY Seattle in Tukwila. It’s a huge indoor trampoline park but has more to offer than just bouncing. We took a shot at completing their ninja obstacle course, they even have a warped wall! And you can also ride a zipline into a foam pit and try your hand — or should I say foot — at slackline walking. Trust me, it’s harder than it looks!
This is the perfect place to escape on a rainy Seattle day. And, if you get hungry while visiting, they do have a small snack booth where you can grab some food.
Round 1 Entertainment
If you’re into bowling and arcades, Round 1 Entertainment is a must-stop for your Seattle Southside trip. It’s a large game complex at the Westfield Southcenter shopping mall. Inside families can go bowling, play pool, sing their hearts out with karaoke, and play for prizes in the large arcade.
We loved bowling at Round 1, they have fun-themed scoreboards and big-screen TVs at the end of each bowling lane. It’s a great atmosphere for groups and a perfect activity for families. And if your kids (and even yourself) have outgrown Chuck E Cheese, Round 1 will reawaken your love of arcade games as you play for tickets with basketball, bowling, and any number of random video games.
While at Southcenter, you can grab lunch or dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory, a popular family chain. If you have a small party, you might even request a table in their train car. And all meals come with ice cream at the end, sure to be hit with kids of any age!
Family Fun Center
If you’re looking for more family fun center activities, check out the Tukwila Family Fun Center. You can play some mini-golf, race go-karts, battle with bumper boats, take a swing in batting cages, and go for an attack with laser tag. They also recently added a large 16-lane bowling alley, so families can enjoy a day of fun with each other.
One tip: look online in advance for deals and specials. Depending on what activities you want to do, you might be able to get a wristband for activities and save some money.
iFLY Indoor Skydiving
If you’ve seen photos of people doing indoor skydiving, you have your chance to give it a try while in Seattle Southside. iFLY has a Seattle location in Tukwila near the Westfield Southcenter Mall. It’s a unique experience and can be quite challenging but fun! You’ll get suited up and get a lesson on what to do before heading into the chamber to give “air riding” a try.
Be sure you budget for their professional photos and/or videos if you think you might be interested in having a memento of your flight.
Museum of Flight
One of our family’s favorite museums in the Seattle area is the Museum of Flight. If your family has any interest in aviation and old planes, this shouldn’t be missed. They have one huge room that is filled with old planes, including a plane just like the one Amelia Earhart flew. They also have a large exhibit of WWI and WWII planes, sure to be of interest for history buffs. They even have a space shuttle!
And I’ll mention that the museum has a pretty nice cafe where you can grab some food in case you visit during mealtime. They also have a 3D theater with various films about flight and space (currently closed for safety).
If you’re interested in learning about the sea life that calls the Puget Sound home, you should head to the Highline College Marine Science and Technology Center. This aquarium and teaching center is located at Redondo Beach in Des Moines and serves as the learning center for Highline College students as well as a public learning center.
Their center features 15 tanks that use flow-through seawater straight from Puget Sound. You can view over 250 native marine species, and even have a chance to touch some! Take note that the aquarium is only open to the public on Saturdays.
Bonus: Visit IKEA!
I had to add this in since it’s a favorite stop for our family! IKEA is a popular furniture store that started in Sweden. My girls love shopping there and we’re always browsing their mocked-up rooms for decor and layout ideas. They also have a cafe featuring a popular Swedish meatball meal.
While downtown Seattle gets a lot of attention, hopefully, you can see from this list that there are some fun things to do in Seattle Southside with your tweens and teens. Again, you can head down for a day trip from Seattle or perhaps you’re just looking for something fun to do near the Seattle airport before or after your flight. Enjoy!