With the ski resorts and tubing parks open for business, winter is in full swing. Since we know the cold, dark days of winter can be challenging with kids, we’ve put together 50 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. Scroll down and start making plans now!
photo: Rachael Brandon
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 just sit back and enjoy the beauty of this snowy magical alpine town.
2. The Pacific Science Center is the best place to learn about weather. Take a trip on a stormy day and discover how Mother Nature works.
3. Jump, hop, climb, swing and burn off the winter stir-crazies at DEFY Seattle—an awesome indoor sports park that also boasts awesome birthday party packages.
4. Take your Minecraft-loving crew to MoPOP to celebrate the game’s 10th anniversary through immersive activities, photo ops, arcade play and so much more!
photo: Kristina Moy
5. Put on your conductor’s hat and take your train loving kids to the 46th Annual Model Railroad Show at the Pacific Science Center. It’s a blast!
6. Many Seattle restaurants offer free or nearly free kids’ meals, on just about every night of the week. Take advantage of a cheap meal to get everyone out of the house.
7. Spend the day at this Eastside haven that is bursting with fun parks, museums, play spaces and shopping malls to explore, along with delicious restaurants to feed your squad.
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. Relive your glory days with your kids by dusting off your roller skates and hitting one of these retro-fun spots that have stood the test of time
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. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time in Seattle. See how many of these free or super cheap activities for kids under 5 you can check off the list this winter.
13. Rain or shine, Woodland Park Zoo is open year-round and offers both indoor and outdoor animal encounters and activities to keep your little monkeys entertained.
14. Thank goodness for indoor ice skating rinks in our (kinda) temperate climate. Check out these super spots near Seattle to lace up your skates.
15. Take your little chocolate lovers to one of these Seattle cafes that serve cups of hot chocolate that are a step above the rest.
16. Haven’t been to the Sky View Observatory at the top of the Columbia Tower? Plan a visit on a clear day (we always get a couple of nice dry streaks during the winter) and experience uninhibited 360-degree views of the city, Mt. Rainier, the Cascade Mountains, Mt. Baker, Elliott Bay and more!
photo: Kristina Moy
17. Take advantage of our area’s free and super cheap museum days to check out a new museum. You might just find a new family fave!
18. Bundle up your crew and head out to one of our favorite playgrounds to get the winter wiggles out.
19. Too tired to cook? These restaurants offer fantastic food and the family-friendly environment you’ve been searching for.
20. Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you can’t go swimming. Dive into one of our favorite indoor pools.
photo: Snohomish Aquatic Center
21. Rain, schmain. Check out our list of 35 fun rainy day activities guaranteed to keep you and your crew from going loco during the drizzly, winter months.
22. Visit the bobblehead company that makes POP! figurines out of every form of pop culture imaginable. Psst! Be sure to make your own custom POP figure in the POP! Factory.
23. Winter is the perfect time to take a weekend escape. Plan a mom’s only getaway at one of our favorite places not too far from Seattle.
24. They’re pretending Seattle is in the tropics at the Seattle Aquarium this winter–ukulele players included!
25. Disney’s FROZEN is everything you want in a musical and more! Experience an unforgettable theatrical experience filled with sensational special effects, stunning sets and costumes and powerhouse performances.
photo: Deen VanMeer
26. Head to Everett to explore this popular children’s museum where there’s always something fun going on.
27. Dial up the sitter and try one of these date night activities to get the sparks flying.
28. Plan a mommy-daughter day and pamper your digits together.
29. Take a tour of Theo Chocolate—the first organic and fair-trade bean-to-bar chocolate factory in North America, located right in our backyard!
30. Jump in the car and head south to Portland for some winter fun in a new city.
photo: Portland Aerial Tram
31. Got a big day of shopping planned? Hit these popular shopping centers that also boast awesome play spaces to work the wiggles out.
32. A perfect indoor activity on a rainy winter Seattle day is bowling! Head to one of our favorite family-friendly alleys to try for a strike or a spare.
33. If your kids are (literally) climbing the walls, take a trip to one of our favorite indoor climbing gyms to burn off some mental and physical energy.
35. No tropical plans for mid-winter break? You can still go on an ocean adventure at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s South Pacific Aquarium. Psst! Be sure to also check out the new Pacific Seas Aquarium.
photo: Oona Copperhill for Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
36. Bundle up the kids and visit a Washington state park for free. That’s right! No Discover Pass is required on several days this winter.
37. Featuring over 200 shops and more than 80 restaurants, the Pike Place Market is a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and smells to experience with kids any day of the year.
38. Check out the latest at the Seattle Children’s Theatre–this winter, they’re performing Snow White (Feb. 6-Mar. 15).
39. Think ahead to summer by trading that too-small bike for a bigger version at the Seattle Bike Swap. Psst! Kids are free!
40. Explore Seattle’s past, present and future in the heart of the Emerald City’s historic Pioneer Square.
41. Pretend it’s summer and try a scoop or two at one of our favorite ice cream shops.
photo: Kristina Moy
42. Find your neighborhood community center’s toddler play time for some cheap, easy rainy day fun.
43. Take a ride in Seattle’s state-of-the-art flying theater where you can view Washington’s most scenic attractions.
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. The Kindiependent Kids Rock Series is jam-packed with a host of totally awesome shows to keep you rockin’ all winter long!
photo: Mount Baker Community Club
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 from 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
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.
50. Mark your calendars for The Snow Queen—a family concert adapted from the same acclaimed fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson that inspired Disney’s beloved movie Frozen.
Feature image courtesy of Rachael Brandon.