Your 2015 Seattle Parks Summer Bucket List

Remember when you were a kid and summer meant three months of sleeping in and not knowing which day it was? Blissful. But now you’re older, and people send you meeting requests in July and schedule appointments in August. You’re expected to show up to work even when it’s 80 degrees and sunny. The audacity.

At Seattle Parks and Recreation, we believe that no matter what your age, you deserve to have some summertime fun. We’ve put together a Summer Bucket List that has something for everyone. So get out your day planner, and scribble some of these events in. They’re sure to turn a ho-hum week into a hopping good time.

Big Day of Play | June 28
Set the tone for your summer at the annual Big Day of Play. Mark your calendar from noon – 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 28, to see what Seattle Parks and other community organizations are offering in the way of fun activities and healthy food. This year’s event will be held at Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center. Big Day of Play is a great way to get important information about health and wellness, discover unique opportunities to become active, enjoy healthy food and learn how recreation can change your life. For more information, go here.


Summer Night Market | July 11
Maybe international travel isn’t on your agenda this year, but Seattle’s Chinatown International District is bringing it you. From 6 p.m. – midnight on Saturday, July 11, join the Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area in Hing Hay Park for the Summer Night Market. This outdoor international marketplace blends the best of ethnic street food with handmade crafts under the stars in the heart of Chinatown. Outdoor performances include breakdancing competitions, Japanese beer garden, dancing and DJs.  For more information, go here. Can’t stay up late? One of the largest Pan-Asian American street fairs, the Dragon Festival, takes place the same day from noon-8 p.m.  For details on that, go here.


Emerald City Open Water Swim | Aug. 15
When you live in a city surrounded by water, sometimes you need to think bigger than a swimming pool. Join Seattle Parks for the annual Emerald City Open Water Swim at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, at Andrew’s Bay in Lake Washington (Seward Park). There will be a half-mile triangle course and a one-mile triangle course with 30-minute and one-hour time limits. Certified lifeguards will be on duty. Awards will be given to the top overall male and female swimmers. But, the best part? Win or lose, every registered swimmer will receive a specially designed commemorative swim cap and shirt. For information on how to register, go here.


Downtown dancing event in Occidental Park.

Salsa in the Street | July 31 and Aug. 14
When Seattle Parks remodeled Bell Street and turned it into a park, the project leveled all of the pavement so the sidewalk blended seamlessly into the street. The continuous level pavement encourages pedestrians, cyclists and automobiles to share the space. It also makes the park into an ideal dance floor. On July 31 and Aug. 14, Belltown Dance Studio will teach basic foot patterns and turns of the sensual, steamy and easy-to-learn Salsa dance. Slide into your strappy heels or button up your billowy shirt and get ready to heat up the street, er, dance floor. Events last from 7-10 p.m. More information can be found here.


Art in the Park | Thursdays, July 9 –Oct. 1
Lake Union Park is home to many incredible places like the Museum of History and Industry and the Center for Wooden Boats. This summer it will also be home to a unique arts and crafts market hosted by local artists. Every Thursday, beginning July 9, you can stop by the inaugural Art in the Park market from 10 a.m. – dusk. The first Thursday of the month coincides with free admission at MOHAI. Pop over to the park, take in the lake views and support local artists. There will be wares ranging from jewelry to glass art to ceramics. There are only so many opportunities for a person to shop while getting their Vitamin D. Don’t miss out. For more information, go here.


Out to Lunch Concert Series | July 9-Sept. 4
You may have to work during the week, but on Thursdays and Fridays, you can enjoy a mental vacation of the musical variety. The Downtown Seattle Association, in partnership with Seattle Parks and many other organizations have planned a lunchtime concert series to take place in downtown parks and public spaces at noon throughout the summer. The first park show will feature the Maldives and will take place Friday, July 10, in Westlake Park. For a full concert schedule, go here.


Photo by Futoshi Kobayashi Photographer

Alki Summer Fun Fest | Sept. 1
Think of it as a one-day, West Coast Coney Island. The staff at Alki Community Center are throwing a community barbeque with all the fixins: hot dogs, burgers, potato salad and fruit from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 1. There will be carnival games, bounce toys, snow cones and cotton candy. All the food is free, but games and activities will cost you $1 each, unless you buy an unlimited $10 bracelet. Cotton candy and snow cones are sold separately. So gather up the family and head towards the beach. If you want the full New York experience, head over to Alki Beach after the festivities and get a photo with the Statue of Liberty. For more information, go here.


Summer Camp | Various dates
Singing songs around a campfire, exploring the forest, paddling across the lake; memories made at summer camp are some of the most special. Seattle Parks sponsors a wide variety of affordable summer day camps, activity camps, nature day camps and special events in many areas of the city. We have camps that range from learning about barista basics, to Jedi master engineering to basketball techniques, to nature exploration. Check out our online camp brochure and find a session that’s right for the adventurers in your family.


Choose your own adventure| Any day
Create a summer adventure of your own centered around a theme that interests you. Want to see all the historical landmarks in parks? Visit every Seattle park viewpoint?  Cross all the pocket parks off your list? Visit our website where you can create a list of parks specific to one or more feature. Grab your favorite book, pack some snacks and learn a little more about your city.

As always, share your adventures with @seattleparks on Twitter!

Seattle Parks’ ‘Big Day of Play’ returns June 28

The Big Day of Play will have boating, fitness and educational activities for the whole family.

Research shows adults can improve brain function, relieve stress and improve their connection to others by taking part in active play. But, with busy lives being what they are, few people make time for it. Luckily, Seattle Parks and Recreation has dedicated a whole day to play, and the whole family is invited. This year’s annual Big Day of Play takes place June 28.

Mark your calendar from noon – 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 28, to see what Seattle Parks and other community organizations are offering in the way of fun activities and healthy food. This year’s event will be held at Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center, 3800 Lake Washington Blvd. S.

Big Day of Play is a great way to get important information about health and wellness, discover unique opportunities to become active, enjoy healthy food and learn how recreation can change your life. Big Day of Play grew out of Parks’ Healthy Parks, Healthy You initiative, which aligns with national efforts such as First Lady Michele Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign.

There will be sample activities from Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities and programs, paddling and boating events, a main stage celebration of cultural diversity with music and entertainment, creative play opportunities, youth demonstrations and healthy food vendors.

This year’s title sponsor is PCC Natural Markets. Other sponsors include the City of Seattle, the Associated Recreation Council, Clif Kid, KIND Healthy Snacks, Seattle Children’s, Seahawks Play60, CBS Seattle and ParentMap.

If you’re interested in volunteering or participating as a vendor at Big Day of Play, please visit More information can also be found on the event’s Facebook page

There will be free shuttle bus transportation from five of our community centers to and from Big Day of Play. Call one of these locations to register for a shuttle ride to Mount Baker Sailing and Rowing Center by June 26. Seating is limited.

  • Bitter Lake Community Center, 206-684-7524, 13035 Linden Ave. N 98133
  • High Point Community Center, 206-684-7422, 6920 34th SW 98126
  • International District Chinatown Community Center, 206-233-0042, 719 8th S 98104
  • Northgate Community Center, 206-386-4283, 10510 5th Ave. NE  98125
  • Yesler Community Center, 206-386-1245, 917 E Yesler Way 98122

Seattle Japanese Garden celebrates Children’s Day May 31

A child visit Seattle Japanese Garden, photo by Aurora Santiago

Experience family-fun surrounded by the beautiful scenery at Seattle Japanese Garden on Sunday, May 31, when the garden hosts its annual Children’s Day event.

From 11 a.m.-3 p.m. there will be live entertainment and a variety of hands-on activity stations to give visitors of all ages an opportunity to enjoy Japanese cultural traditions. The Seattle Japanese Garden is located at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. S.

The performances, many of which will be interactive, include Issunboshi – The Inch High Samurai: A Modern Telling of an Ancient Japanese Story, by local puppet theatre West Cascade Puppet Brigade; an energetic taiko drumming show by youth group Kaze Daiko; an Aikido demonstration by the instructors and kids of Seattle Aikikai; and a dynamic presentation with Japanese swords by Seibu Ryu Iai-Battojutsu.

Local group Haiku Northwest will assist kids and adults with crafting garden-inspired haiku poetry. Washington Park Arboretum Education and Outreach staff will lead nature-inspired crafts, while P.A.P.E.R. volunteers will host mini-lessons on origami, including how to make wearable samurai kabuto hats. In a nod to the Japanese Garden’s Zen roots, children will be invited to rake their own miniature sand-and-stone garden and try water-based sumi-e brush painting with Japanese Garden volunteers.

Children’s Day is a Japanese national holiday that traditionally takes place on May 5, the fifth day of the fifth month. It is a day set aside to respect children’s personalities and to celebrate their happiness. It was designated a national holiday by the Japanese government in 1948.

Admission is free for all children age 12 and under. Ticket price for adults is $6; for youth 13 and over, seniors ages 65 and older, and students with ID, it is $4. Annual passes are accepted for event admission; with no additional charge.

For more information, including the exact time of the performances, visit


Loyal Heights says “Aloha” to summer at bouncefest

Get a jumpstart on summer fun at Hawaiian Bouncefest!

From 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 13, Loyal Heights Community Center will host the Hawaiian Bouncefest. There will be bounce houses, carnival games, face painting and treats. Bright, festive is encouraged.

Carnival tickets can be purchased at the event for 50 cents each, or attendees can buy an unlimited fun wristband for $10.

For more details, call Loyal Heights Community Center (2101 NW 77th St.) at 206-684-4052.

Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day in Magnuson Park

Migrate to Magnuson Park on Saturday, May 10, in honor of International Migratory Bird Day. Bring your family to learn about amazing birds that travel thousands of miles each year to Seattle.

There will be guided walks, habitat bingo and other family-friendly activities beginning at 10 a.m. at the Magnuson Community Center, 7110 62nd Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115. Talks will be given by renowned bird experts Idie Ulsh and Dennis Paulson.

International Migratory Bird Day is sponsored by Seattle Parks and Recreation, Magnuson Community Center Nature Programs and the Magnuson Environmental Stewardship Alliance.

Sign up for free bird walks and activities by clicking HERE.