If you are looking for an international adventure that is close to home, look no further than Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. Located just south of downtown Seattle, this thriving community is where you and your little explorers will find cultural experiences, good eats and unique gifts. The best part? No passports are needed for this adventure.

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photo: Natalia Dotto Photography

Can’t-Miss Store 

Uwajimaya
This superstore has just about everything you could possibly need or want. From Asian groceries and fresh produce, to a variety of fish and meats, to chopsticks, bento boxes and those good luck cats that wave at you, Maneki Neko. Uwajimaya has been in business since 1928, and is one of the largest Asian grocers in the Pacific Northwest. And with more than 35,000 square feet to explore, it’s quite likely that little feet will tire here. Fortunately, a neighboring food court has a bevy of kid-friendly dining options—from cream puffs to noodles to Korean BBQ. Psst! After you’ve filled little bellies, check out the Kinokuniya bookstore in the Uwajimaya Village for pens, papers and some truly unique items.

Fun Fact: If grocery shopping gets to be too much of a grind, stop by the meat department with your little carnivore and see if you can spot any Ground Meat Art on display.

600 5th Ave. S.
Seattle, Wa 98104
206-624-6248
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Online: uwajimaya.com

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photo: Natalia Dotto Photography

Where to Eat

With so many food options in the International District, it can become a bit overwhelming. But don’t fear. Ramen is often a good choice for little foodies because they can slurp to their heart’s content. Bring an appetite not a stroller into Samurai Noodles—the restaurant is tiny, however the bowls of ramen are big! Or try Shanghai Garden which gets rave reviews for their hand-shaved noodles. Dealing with more delicate palates? Try dim sum. What can be better than trays of steaming pork buns, shrimp dumplings, chicken feet and pot stickers being wheeled around the room? It all tastes so good, plus there’s that entertainment factor of food on wheels. Still want more? Jade Garden and House of Hong get big thumbs up from parents and kiddos alike. Perhaps, you’ll need to plan a few foodie treks to try it all.

Samurai Noodles
606 5th Ave. S.
Seattle, Wa 98104
206-624-9321
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Online: samurainoodle.com

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Shanghai Gardens
524 6th Ave. S.
Seattle, Wa 98104
206-340-1688
Online: facebook.com/shanghaigarden

Jade Garden
424 7th Ave. S.
Seattle, Wa 98104.
206-622-8181
Online: jadegardenseattle.com

House of Hong
409 8th Ave. S.
Seattle, Wa 98104
206-622-7997
Hours: Daily, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (dim sum); 4 p.m.-11 p.m. (dinner)
Online: houseofhong.info

House of Hong Parking Tip: Free parking is adjacent to the building and across the street. Additional pay parking is located under the bridge.

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photo: Natalia Dotto Photography

Where to Find Sweet Treats

With the main course down, you’ll want to head out for dessert. Check out Fuji Bakery for pastries that will leave your kiddos clamoring for more. How about an azuki doughnut or a milk stick, a baguette with sweetened condensed milk filling? Either way, these tasty treats are a good ending to a delicious outing.

Good to Know: If you can’t get enough of those sugar doughnuts, Fuji Bakery now has an Interbay store where you can pre-order and pick-up. Sweet!

Fuji Bakery
526 S. King St.
Seattle Wa 98104
206-623-4050
Hours: Mon.-Sun., 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Online: fujibakeryinc.com

Fuji Bakery Interbay
1030 Elliott Ave. W
Seattle Wa 98119
206-216-3616
Hours: Mon.-Sun., 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

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photo: Natalia Dotto Photography

Where to Play

Hing Hay Park
After all those good eats, you and the kiddos will either want a nap or a place to run off some of those treats. Hing Hay Park is a small park at the corner of 6th and King. And since Hing Hay means pleasurable gatherings, your outing here will be just that. During the summer months, this is a great place to sit in the Grand Pagoda and listen to music, often with the “busker of the day.” If you want to play a little table tennis, there is a ping pong table. However, it’s BYOPPP&B. Bring your own ping pong paddles and balls.

Good to Know: This tiny .3 acre park will be expanding to twice its size starting this fall. To get everyone excited for the expansion project (due to be completed in the spring of 2016), a community celebration is planned for September 5, 2015 from 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Expect to find all kinds of activities for little parkgoers including face painting, lantern making and dragon tattoos, plus catch a glimpse of the proposed park expansion and see the Bruce Lee movie, Enter the Dragon at dusk (approximately 8:30 p.m.).

Must-Visit Museums

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
Known to locals as The Wing, this popular museum showcases the culture, art and history of Asian Americans in the Pacific Northwest. During Family Fun Days, kids (ages 5 & up) can tap into their imaginations and make their own art projects. KidPLACE, the Museum’s dedicated gallery to kids and families, is always open with colorful and playful interactive exhibits and every first Thursday of the month admission is FREE from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Good to know: The next Family Fun Day is scheduled for Nov. 14, 2015.

719 S. King St. (between 7th and 8th Ave. S.)
Seattle, Wa 98104
206-623-5124
Hours: Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Online: wingluke.org

Cost: $14.95/Adults; $11.95/Seniors; $10.95/Students (13-18 or with student ID); $9.95/Kids (5-12); Under 5 Free. General Admission includes a guided historic hotel tour.

Seattle Pinball Museum Dad and daughter

photo: Seattle Pinball Museum Facebook page

Seattle Pinball Museum
Moms and dads can get a little nostalgic at the Seattle Pinball Museum and show their little gamers what gaming was all about before gaming consoles and the internet. The museum has over 50 pinball machines and a few old-school video arcades. The titles range from long-ago generic games, to contemporary sports, movie and rock ’n’ roll themed machines you’ll recognize and totally love. With all the pings, bells, lights and music, a trip here is sure to make a pinball wizard out of even the most ardent X-Box fan.

Good to Know: While it’s not always crowded, count on busyness whenever you plan to go. If you’re looking for a quieter playtime, Sundays (especially on game days), Mondays and some Fridays are the best days to get your game on.

Seattle Pinball Museum
508 Maynard Ave. S.
Seattle, Wa 98104
206-623-0759
Hours: Sun.-Mon., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs., 6 p.m.-9 p.m. (10 p.m. on tournament nights); Fri., 2 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sat., 1 p.m.-10 p.m.
Online: seattlepinballmuseum.com and on Facebook

Cost: $13/Adults; $10/Kids (12 & under) for one entry; $18/Adults; $15/Kids (12 & under) for an All Day Pass

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photo: Natalia Dotto Photography

Psst! While strolling along the streets of the Chinatown-International District, your little travelers will get a thrill out of seeing those huge fiberglass dragons on the lamp poles. With so much to do and see here, we recommend making regular visits to the area.

Does your family have a favorite shop or restaurant in Seattle’s Chinatown-ID? Tell us about it in the Comments below.

— Natalia Dotto