Over the river and across the bridge to the High Point neighborhood you go. When was the last time you braved the bridge for a West Seattle adventure? If it’s been a while it’s time to make the trek. First conceptualized in 2001, and currently nearing the final stages of completion, this redeveloped urban neighborhood is one of the kid-friendliest around. Whether you’re looking for a rainy day escape or a sunny day adventure, there’s always something going on in this walkable community. So, get ready to take some notes, cuz here’s the dish on this West Seattle gem!
Neighborhood House Classes
Get out of the soggy springtime showers and enjoy some indoor activities at the Neighborhood House High Point Center. Cure your case of the Mondays with a little toddler art therapy. The weekly Art & Block class, from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm on Mondays, provides budding vanGoghs with all they’ll need to cut, paste, paint and color away their blues in this specially designed class aimed at toddlers and pre-schoolers. Wednesday’s child won’t be woeful for long at the weekly Play & Learn class, held from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm. This class has a little bit of everything for crawlers through kindergarteners, including toys, stories, music, crafts and even special guests. All Neighborhood House classes are free and no pre-registration is necessary, so feel free to just drop-in.
Rainy Day Playbook Faves
Home to two classic Seattle mom rainy day go-to spots, library story time and toddler indoor gym are also part of the High Point ‘hood adventure. Toddler story time is Thursdays at 11:30 am at the High Point Library. It’s hard to resist stories, music and crafts, whether you’re 2 or 92. And the High Point Community Center toddler indoor gym has a bouncy house that turns the others green with envy, alongside a slew of other indoor toys. Indoor Gym is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. At $3 per kid it’s always a great value.
High Point is bursting with parks and open spaces. It’s hard not to bump into one or the other while walking around. Picking the perfect playground here is kind of like choosing your favorite ice cream flavor. They’re all awesome! The Little Park (so named by locals) on SW Raymond Street, has a killer downtown view that overlooks the High Point pond. If you stay to play here, bring some stale bread and visit the ducks in the pond post playtime. The Big Park (yep, that’s its official name) on SW Graham Street has plenty of play equipment and a viewing mound that little legs can’t help but climb. While the kiddos are focused on the up and down of this mini mountain, moms will appreciate the Mt. Rainier view. A little bit of Zen in your crazy mothering day.
The newest neighborhood playground, Kaboom Park (and here you thought we’d say medium park) on Bataan Street, was designed by the neighborhood children and built by neighborhood volunteers. This is where you’ll find some swings and an added mommy bonus: the Outdoor Fitness Zone. One of two in the Seattle area, this free public space includes 8 weight machines you’d normally find in a gym. It’s an awesome way to get your sweat on while the little ones play. All three neighborhood parks have grassy spaces and picnic benches perfect for lounging, lunching or snacking. So pack a lunch and take a load off after your day of outdoor play.
Urban Farm to Table
High Point is home to two P-Patch Gardens farmed by local residents. Your curious kiddos will enjoy getting up close and personal with some of their favorite veggies, and being introduced to some new ones too. Who knows, it might even inspire them to eat a few! In the summer you’ll often find people gardening in their plots, harvesting their crop for P-Patch subscribers. The High Point Market Garden (on SW Juneau Street) sells veggies and flowers from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm every Wednesday starting in July. Did someone say farm to table dinner when you get home? That’s about as fresh as it gets without growing it yourself!
The Latest “Buzz”
On May 19, the High Point residents will welcome their newest neighbors, and they’re all abuzz. About 20,000 honeybees will be joining the community, taking up residence in their newly constructed observational beehive. Brainchild of High Point resident Lauren (that’s her in the photo below), who was troubled by the declining bee population, this new home is one way to help the bees. More than a year in the making, this homecoming is being celebrated West Seattle style. A parade led by the Sound Wave Marching Band (go Sounders!) will be followed by a family-friendly party that’s sure to please all the bees in your hive.
Families are welcome to join in the parade. A flower craft making station will be set up at West Seattle Elementary School, the parade start route. Be sure to arrive around 10:30 am if you’d like to craft a flower and march alongside the beehives. Don’t worry mom and dad, the hives are sealed and completely safe. Then stay to play after the parade is over. The streets around the beehive will be shut down, The Tall Boys will play some music, and local merchant and food vendors will be there until the party ends, around 3:00 pm. Your wee ones will love getting their faces painted, playing games and crafting. Don’t “bee” left out of this exciting weekend event!
High Point is easy to find. Once you’re over the West Seattle Bridge, turn left on 35th Avenue SW. Then turn left into the neighborhood at either SW Raymond Street or SW Graham Street. Either turn takes you straight to the heart of the neighborhood. Free street parking is easy to come by and no special permits are needed.
What to Bring
Most activities are within walking distance, so be sure to bring a stroller and wear some good walking shoes. A snack or picnic will also come in handy. There are plenty of places to plop for a little food break if you need it. And if you plan to visit the Market Garden this summer, be sure to have cash and a reusable grocery bag for your tasty dinner fixings.
While You’re in the Neighborhood…
The High Point’s central location makes it easy to explore other West Seattle hot spots. Head down to the Junction and grab a sinfully delicious bite to eat at Bakery Nouveau. Then take in a little kid-focused shopping at Curious Kidstuff or The Sneakery. Top it all off with a new-to-you read for mom from the Pegasus Book Exchange and an album from Easy Street Records for dad. Nearby Camp Long has trails and a climbing wall for more outdoor fun. Or kids can play the day away at nearby Lincoln Park. With two playgrounds, a beach, trails, and a wading pool, your kids might just want to take up residence!
What activities do you plan to try in the High Point Neighborhood? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
–Allison Sutcliffe, words and (many of the) photos
Photo credit: Karen Stensrude Huling, West Seattle Bee Garden’s Facebook page