Now that the ski resorts and tubing parks are open for business and Seattle has seen a dusting of snow, it’s beginning to look (and feel) a lot like winter. Since we know the cold, dark days of winter can be challenging with wee ones, we’ve put together 50 fun winter activities to keep you and your crew from going stir-crazy. Psst! If you’re lucky, by the time you’re finished with this list, spring will be knocking on the door.
photo: Mark Grantor
1. Take advantage of a three-day weekend or take a day off (cough, cough) to explore the snow-covered town of Leavenworth. The Bavarian-themed village is bustling with families during the winter months and is a great spot to go snowmobiling or skiing, take a sleigh ride or dog sled ride or just sit back and enjoy the beauty of this snowy magical alpine town.
2. The Pacific Science Center is the best place to learn how weather works. Take a trip on a stormy day and discover how Mother Nature works.
3. Spend the day exploring the new Living Computers Museum + Labs and learning about today’s tech.
4. Roll, jump, hop, climb, slide, swing and burn off the winter stir-crazies at BoomShaka—the world’s largest indoor aerial arts park!
photo: Allison Sutcliffe
5. Kids can learn about urban farming techniques, vegetable gardening and more at this year’s Northwest Flower & Garden Show.
6. Take your young foodies to one of our favorite pizzerias to indulge in a ooey gooey pie.
7. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean your little ones can’t play on the playground. This awesome new playground at Lake Sammamish State Park features rubber surfaces and weather protection to ensure tykes are safe whether they play on the wet or dry playground.
8. Get out of the house and learn about Seattle history with a visit to MOHAI. Psst! Admission is always FREE on the first Thursday of the month.
9. Check out Seattle’s newest wishing tree on the north slope of Queen Anne and add your wishes to the branches.
10. Winter = snow! At least in the mountains. Head to one of the local passes for sledding and tubing fun!
11. The Reptile Zoo in Monroe is every lizard lover’s dream. With a warehouse filled to the brim with reptiles, spiders and crocodiles, it’s a haven for the creepy crawly enthusiasts.
12. Put down the electronics and enjoy a family game night at Crossroads Bellevue on the second Saturday of each month.
13. Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you can’t go swimming – check out these fab indoor pools.
14. Take your train lovin’ tykes to the 43rd Annual Model Railroad Show. In addition to lots of hands-on activities, kids can ride on the Iron Horse Railway—a kiddie-sized train!
15. Treat your crew to a chocolatey cup of goodness at one of Seattle’s best spots for hot chocolate.
16. Thank goodness for indoor ice skating rinks in our (kinda) temperate climate. Check out these super spots near Seattle to lace up your skates.
17. Take the entire fam to A la Mode Pies’ new West Seattle shop to indulge in pie fries, pie flavored ice cream and a huge selection of sweet and savory pies. Or leave the tykes with grandma and head to A la Mode for a boozy milkshake date.
18. The Pied Piper Family Event Series will be jam-packed with plenty of magic and lots of audience participation.
19. Things will be getting snowy inside the Seattle Children’s Theatre this winter.
20. On one of Seattle’s beautiful cold, clear winter days, bundle up and head to the top of the Space Needle to check out the view with the tourists – can you spot your own house?
photo: Wildcat Dunny via flickr
21. Are your kids bouncing off the walls, literally? Take them to the Seattle Gymnastics Academy for lots of high-flying fun during indoor playground time. Psst! You have three locations to choose from: Columbia City, Lake City and Ballard.
22. This year’s Tet Festival at the Seattle Center will feature live performances, hands-on activities, food, crafts, games, martial arts demonstrations and a lively marketplace.
23. Need some well-deserved, kid-free time? The Pacific Science Center will entertain your kids while you enjoy a night out on the town or quiet night in.
24. Learn about one of the coolest creatures in Puget Sound, the giant Pacific octopus, during the Seattle Aquarium’s annual Octopus Week.
25. Bundle up your little reindeer and dash over the hills for a trek through a wintry wonderland.
photo: Bruce W. via Yelp
26. Take advantage of free or super-cheap museum days to get your culture on without breaking the bank.
27. Sign up for a mom-friendly fitness program this winter and be beach ready by the spring.
28. The Seattle Children’s Film Festival kicks off its 2017 showcase in January with nearly 170 short films and 12 feature films that represent 52 countries and 37 languages.
29. Who says wine bars don’t pair well with kids? Head out to one of our favorite wine bars that not only welcome kids, but embrace them.
30. Jump in the car and head south to Portland for some winter fun in a new city.
photo: Scott Swigart via flickr
31. January is jam-packed with fun offerings—from new stage productions to car-crushing action at the T Dome.
32. No tropical plans for mid-winter break? You can still go on an ocean adventure at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s South Pacific Aquarium.
33. All winter long, Seattle’s best kindie bands will be performing on Saturday mornings at the Mount Baker Community Club. Get your tickets now!
34. They’re pretending Seattle is in the tropics at the Seattle Aquarium this winter—ukulele players included.
35. A perfect indoor activity on a rainy winter Seattle day is bowling! Here are some family-friendly alleys to try for a strike.
photo: jess2284 via flickr
36. Bundle up the kids and visit a Washington State Park for Free.That’s right! No Discover Pass is required on several days in 2017.
37. Think ahead to summer by trading that too-small bike for a bigger version at the annual Seattle Bike Swap on Sun., Feb. 12, 2017. Kids under 15 are free!
38. Mark your calendars for the annual Lake Chelan Winterfest Festival. A community favorite for almost 30 years, this family-friendly event commences over two weekends and features ice sculptures, live music, wine and ale tasting, activities for kids, a polar bear splash and much more.
39. See what happens when the world famous Harlem Globetrotters dribble into town and hit the courts at Key Arena.
40. Take a delicious journey (minus the calories) through MOHAI’s newest exhibit.
41. Get ready for the 2017 Mariners baseball season at this year’s FanFest at Safeco Field.
42. Find your neighborhood community center’s toddler playtime for some cheap, easy rainy day fun.
43. With an awesome water exhibit and winter-themed workshops and special events, the Imagine Children’s Museum is the perfect winter destination for curious kids.
44. Just as winter is coming to an end, the whales start to arrive in Puget Sound. Take your family out to see these magical beauties during their short visit.
45. The penguins at Woodland Park Zoo love the winter! Come help feed them their lunch… if you don’t mind some smelly fish.
46. Jump, climb and slide until your little ones tucker out at these parks with amazing slides.
photo: Natalia Dotto Photograhpy
47. Kidstock! 2017 is back and better than ever. Need we say more?
48. For little airplane lovers who are going winter stir-crazy, book a tour at the Boeing Museum in Everett and see where those planes are made. Psst! There’s a minimum height to go on the tour. Or take advantage of First Thursdays at The Museum of Flight when admission is free!
49. Each month, the Seattle Children’s Museum picks a new theme. From castles and dragons, to everything hearts, to Gaelic and green, you’re sure to find lots of wintertime fun at this kiddie hot spot.
What’s on your winter bucket list this year? Tell us in the Comments below!
— Kristina Moy