Whether you live nearby or you’ve never been, bump Bothell up to the top of your need-to-check-out list this fall. Because this once small town has spent the last few years growing. And just like your little sprout, it wants to show you all the things! From parks and playgrounds, to historic buildings and ones soon-to-be-unveiled, we’ve got the 411 on where to take the fam to eat, play, shop and even stay in Bothell.
photo: courtesy of McMenamins
Visit the Village
When it comes to the heart of Bothell, nothing says community more than Country Village, a collection of local indie-owned shops and restaurants, complete with chickens and ducks wandering around the country setting. It’s where locals and not so locals go to play, eat and visit with neighbors at the many events hosted here. From ladies’ shopping nights to their seasonal farmer’s market to the sweet little train that loops kids around the Village, mark it as a must-visit on your Bothell exploration list, then be sure to check out these family-friendly spots:
photo: Shirley M. via Yelp
Tickled Pink Spa and Party Place for Girls
This by-appointment-only shop, bedecked in pinkalicious décor, is where local parents take their girliest kiddos for some spa time. Their Mommy and Me package ($60) includes a petite pedi or extended massage and scrub for mom paired with a petite pedi or mini mani for your sidekick. Or make an appointment for Littles-only with some friends where they can choose from a Pampered Princess ($50), Enchanted Princess ($60) or VIP (Very Important Princess, of course) ($75) packages tailored just for them. There are cute add-ons too, like favor bags, juice and cookies to make the afternoon complete. Owner Heather, a mom herself, has flexible appointment times, but be sure to call ahead before heading over for some spa time.
photo: Tash Lehman at T-elle Photography
Adventure Children’s Theater
The dynamically dramatic duo of Chris Whalen and Sarah Seigneuret make up the Adventure Children’s Theater, a drama studio just for kids located in County Village. They teach classes, they put on productions and they dress up as characters and roam around the Village on special events days all season long. It’s enough to make your parenting schedule look tame… maybe. Be sure to check out their upcoming shortened season that starts in November with their popular Winnie the Pooh double feature show, where Sarah and Chris go on a Woozle hunt. That’s followed by their special Christmas show, ‘Tis the Season, one of their signature clown shows, featuring Vaudevillian stylings, door prizes, singing and lots of audience participation with total kid appeal. Expect to pay between $6-10 for either of these sweet productions.
photo: Sara Sokolowski
Be sure to put the free family events, sponsored by the Village, on your radar. They’ll be staging a Great Pumpkin hunt at this year’s Harvest Festival (Oct. 10-11) and recreating the classic film Frosty the Snowman on December 19. The spirit and enthusiasm these two bring to their productions is contagious and little theatergoers will find them irresistible. If yours just can’t get enough or wants to try their hand at some of that zany dramatic play, Sarah and Chris teach weekly classes at the studio for kids as young at 4, all the way through to stage-savvy 7th graders. The class schedules vary between 8 and 10 weeks and tuition ranges from $144-$180, depending on the program you choose. Bravo for this program!
Village Eatery & Tea Company
Bring your kidlet to the Village Eatery and Tea for a white glove affair. The Jack and Jill’s Favorite Afternoon English Tea ($12.95/child) has all the makings of Downton Abbey episode, but for kids! A spot of tea, hot cider or cocoa paired with a few kid-friendly noshables add to the atmosphere of this classic British tradition. When you’re making plans, remember there’s a maximum of three people for this one, unless you call ahead to make other arrangements. They’re open 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday to serve your fam!
photo: Sarah D. via Yelp
October starts the high tide of holiday happenings at Country Village, if you need an excuse to visit. Mark your calendars for the Witches Night Out shopping event and the ever-popular Harvest Festival, now in its 28th year. It’s got all the fall faves your kiddos long for: pony rides, face painting and pumpkin decorating!
For those cooped up on fall days and when you just need to get out of the house to let the tot lot do their thing, Bothell has some great places (that aren’t your living room) for a little jump and tumble, kid-style. The Bothell Gymnastics Club hosts a daily Preschool Playtime ($7/kid for non-members) to help preserve your furniture and your sanity. Wiggle worms ages 5 and under can work that endless energy out on the trampolines, obstacle courses and in the giant foam pit alongside other tiny gymnasts while parents gab and gather or join in the fun. This place gets busy on those wet winter days, so be sure to arrive on the earlier side to get a spot. Preschool Playtime runs Mon.-Fri. from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and on the third Saturdays of the month from 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
photo: Bothell Gymnastics Club Facebook page
When older kids are in the mix, Elevated Sportz is the bound to bounce destination of choice. It takes the typical soft tumble spot to the next level, with four main trampoline areas that include a standard wall-to-wall tramp court, a 3-D dogeball court, a foam pit and a high-flying basketball court, so your little wannabe player can dunk like Jordan, even if she’s only 4. And we love the different packages and programs designed for little bouncers of all ages (and you, too!). A monthly Parent’s Night Out, Saturdays’ cosmic laser party nights and even a monthly Uplift Playtime for kids with special needs means each family can find a way to get in on the action. With the rainy season around the corner, we recommend buying tickets ahead of time to reserve spots for your crew.
photo: Danielle Dolbec
Playgrounds and Parks and Trails. Oh my!
There are plenty of places to get your outdoors on in Bothell. Exploring new playgrounds for the munchkins and trails for the fam are a great way to round out a day here. A stop at the Park at Bothell Landing, along the Sammamish River, could take up a whole day when it’s sunny because there’s just so much to do. But it’s a great spot to hit if you’ve got a short window and a kidlet with energy to burn too. The playground’s stocked with preschooler faves and the nearby historic buildings are just as interesting from the outside as they are from the inside. But if you want that insider’s perspective you can peek into the Beckstrom Cabin, the original schoolhouse and the Hannan House (home to the Bothell Historical Museum) on Sundays between 1 p.m.-4 p.m., through the end of October.
photo: Danielle Dolbec
Bikes and sturdy walking shoes are welcome in this park too. Families can use them to stroll or bike the Sammamish River Trail that connects the Burke Gilman to Marymoor Park, and makes its way through the Park at Bothell Landing. This park is a mecca for water sports in the summer and early fall as well. Canoeing, kayaking and SUP-ing are the best way to explore the peaceful Sammamish River that skirts the park. Bring your water sport stash or rent what you need from WhatsSup. They recently switched over to their limited fall schedule (Wed.-Fri. 2 p.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.) which is also weather dependent. But as long as the sun holds out, you can take the kiddos out on a canoe to watch the leaves change color.
photo: WhatsSup’s Facebook page
Little birders and their parents should spend some time along the North Creek Trail. This expansive trail-in-progress connects with the Sammamish River Trail and provides some easy walking for little busy bodies who want to explore the great outdoors. North Creek Park is another wildlife viewing spot for little rangers and their parents. After romping on the playground, stroll the boardwalk through the wetlands to spot some wild finds in the marsh. Frogs and herons and ducks. Oh my! (Psst… The city has spent the last two months repairing the boardwalk, but it should be ready to welcome little feet at the end of September.)
Carry the nature theme through with a trip to the (somewhat) recently opened Miner’s Corner Park. Playground? Check. Nature trails and paths? Check. A sand and water garden? Big time bonus check for this outdoor water play that changes with the seasons. Expect a mess with this one, so bring boots and a towel for some post play clean up.
photo: Angela Alanis
No matter where you are in Bothell, you’ll find good local eats for mom, dad and the kids. We love breakfast at the Hillcrest Bakery, an authentic Danish bakery that just celebrated its 50th year in town. All of their pastries, cookies, doughnuts and breads are worth a nibble, but since calories actually count, and you can only burn off so many chasing after your mini me, we suggest spending your daily allotment on the Almond Kringle or a slice of German Chocolate Cake. The Crystal Creek Café is another great breakfast option. It’s served up any time of day with an old school diner feel and some aviation flair that’s sure to amuse your future pilot. The kitschy décor fits the place and the airplane that’s suspended from the ceiling will keep little eyes upward, unless they’re busy eyeing a big plate of eggs and hash browns in front of them.
photo: Hillcrest Bakery Facebook page
When it comes to food that’s as entertaining as it is tasty, try taking your bunch to The Sushi Zone on Main Street. The conveyer belt-style sushi makes feeding hungry kiddos super quick and easy, and let’s face it, those minutes count when avoiding a meltdown is on the menu. Alexa’s Café is another local haunt that hits the spot for breakfast or lunch. We love their laid-back feel and the half-size portions that make feeding the fam a simple matter of math, dividing up whole and half servings so everyone’s plate can be just right. Burger lovers of all sizes should stop by Teddy’s Bigger Burgers for some Hawaiian inspired burger creations, garlic fries and some fish tank love for the mini me’s. They can hang with the fishes while you gobble down a gigantic burger. And kids eat free Mon.-Wed, so there’s that too!
photo: Tien T. via Yelp
This October, Bothell will solidify its place on the map when McMenamins opens Anderson School. The brothers are at it again and this time they’re bringing their unique resort compound style to the Seattle area (lucky us!), opening a 72-room hotel in the fully restored former Bothell Junior High Campus. Like many of their Portland properties, the Anderson School will feature a movie theater, indoor swimming pool and numerous food and drink venues peppered around the property, all with a school-theme set to tip the nostalgia scales for mom and dad. Detention never sounded so good! Whether you’re interested in a family staycation this fall or an outing for the day, this is one place to keep an eye on after it opens. School’s set to be in session October 15, 2015.
photo: courtesy of McMenamins
What are your favorite spots to hit in Bothell? Tell us about them in the Comments below.
— Allison Sutcliffe (and Bothell mom Danielle D.)