Whether you’re already downtown running errands, need somewhere to let your kiddos run wild before dragging them to yet another round of shopping, or if you’re simply looking for a new place to explore, the newly opened Westlake Park Playground is the place to go! Hitting the Seattle playground scene in early March 2013, Westlake Park Playground is small, but interesting, just as a playground in the middle of the hustle and bustle of downtown should be. There are two main pieces to the playground — a fun climbing structure that kids of all ages will adore and a turtle-esque set of metal climbing domes that also double as slides! Go tell your kids that you’re going downtown…to play!
The playground is located, literally, right in the middle of Westlake Park. If you’re standing downtown with your back at Westlake Center, looking south, the playground is straight ahead — just across Pine Street. You’ll find it near the blue painted trees!
Ditch the car
Okay, we’re going to make a really extreme suggestion here…are you ready? Leave the hassles of parking downtown far behind you and take mass transit instead! With the hub of Westlake Station literally under your feet, you can likely take a bus from wherever you live in Seattle and make it to the park in a breeze. Or, consider parking at South Lake Union and taking the Seattle Streetcar downtown! Kids ages five and under ride for free (adults are $2.50 each way and children are $1.25), new streetcars run every 15-minutes and, best of all, your kids will love it! Get off at the Westlake Hub, which will land you just across the street from the playground.
If you do decide to drive to check out Westlake Park, grab a spot at your favorite downtown parking garage! The Pacific Place parking garage (access on both Sixth and Seventh Avenues, between Pine Street and Olive Way) is always a good choice, with reasonable hourly prices during the day and weekends and large parking spots for wiggling little ones in and out of car seats. Westlake Park Playground is less than two blocks west!
Make it a day
You’re downtown, the kids are in a great mood and you’re not quite ready to head home after exploring Westlake Park… what’s a family to do? Head over to Nordstrom (500 Pine Street, Seattle) and visit the fish in the kids’ department. Walk over to the Washington State Convention Center (800 Convention Place, Seattle) and take all of the escalators to the top. Venture down to Pike Place Market and pretend you’re tourists. The possibilities are endless!
Hungry, hungry kiddos
There are kid-friendly dining options in nearly every direction from Westlake Park Playground and they’re just a soccer ball’s throw away. The Yard House (1501 Fourth Avenue, Seattle) is new-ish to downtown and to Seattle and it’s a fun place to sit down for a full meal. While the prices aren’t kids’ play, the menus — for both adults and kids — are impressive (as is their beer list!). For somewhere a little cheaper and a little quicker, perfect for post-park adventures, the food court at Westlake Center is a kid-favorite, considering food courts are childhood novelties these days, rather than staples, as they used to be! From subs to sushi, it’s also a great place to hit up for lunch or dinner if you’re with a crowd. Plus, who doesn’t want to watch the monorail come and go as they eat?
Westlake Park Playground gets major mom-points (they exist, it’s true) for having that awesome, squishy surface to protect our kids from falls, for having a fence that goes nearly all the way around the play area, and for the benches that are perfect for putting our tired mom kicks up while our kids play. Moms of kids who love to climb, keep an eye on the metal domes — they can get quite slippery after it rains… which happens every now and again in Seattle! Wink, wink!
Westlake Park Playground
401 Pine Street
Seattle, Wa 98101
At the corner of Pine Street and Fourth Avenue in downtown Seattle
Have you been to the new Westlake Park Playground? What was your first impression?
— Katie Kavulla (she took the photos too!)