If you’re looking for a happy, easy-going place to spend a few hours with the fam, consider heading to Gilman Village in downtown Issaquah. For almost 50 years, the small buildings and former houses from Issaquah’s historic past have served as a local landmark and make up this charming enclave of over 40 shops, restaurants and services. From a pottery painting studio to a preschool for music lovers to a family tea house, this quaint shopping center is the perfect place to visit with the wee ones.
What to Do
Mudhouse Pottery Painting
A variety of fun pottery shapes and sizes to choose from? Check. Plenty of paints, stamps, and stencils to use? Check. A welcoming and super kid-friendly atmosphere? Check. If your kiddo enjoys indulging their inner Picasso, an hour or two at Mudhouse Pottery Painting is just the ticket. They do not charge by the hour, so you pay for your pottery (from $12 on up) and spend as little or as much time with the paintbrushes and stampers as you’d like. The look on your child’s face when they later see their finished, glazed masterpiece will be worth it. Mudhouse also offers parties, summer and day camps, and painting classes.
Gilman Village, Suite 40
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
White Horse Toys
This expansive, multi-level toy store carries over 17,000 items in their 3,000 square foot store. No joke! Trust us when we say they’ve got you covered, whether you are a newborn or 99. There’s a super cool train table to occupy your little one’s hands, but the whole store is pretty friendly for exploring and touching. They’ve also got plenty of the basics, such as LEGOs and Barbies, but what they really excel in is their selection of unique, beautifully made toys and games.
Gilman Village, Suite 13
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat., 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun.,, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Operating year-round, Musik Nest offers classes for newborns to eight-year-olds. Dancing, singing, listening, and playing instruments — it’s all about fun, engaging, and nurturing music for your kiddo’s developing mind and body. The teachers, all licensed music educators, teach Kindermusik, the world’s leading program for music and movement. Sign up for a free trial class, and get ready to dance with your wee one.
Where to Eat
Issaquah Coffee Company
High-quality Stumptown coffee, knowledgeable baristas (go ahead, order a ristretto), a mouth-watering selection of locally baked pastries, free Wi-Fi, and a play area for the kiddos — this place scores the max on the parent+kiddo coffee shop meter. Plenty of comfy seating, whether you want a big armchair or a sturdy table and chairs. And gluten-free and vegan pastries from Flying Apron, so everyone has a happy tummy. Sweet!
Gilman Village, Suite 46
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 6 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat., 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Boarding House Restaurant
Since 1973 this haven of homemade, comfort food has been known for its hearty soups, salads, and sandwiches, but its the mind-blowing Macaroni and Cheese, and their house-made pastries and crisps, that people just can’t get enough of. Inside, the wood floors, comfy furniture, and warm fire give a cozy ambience, while the patio beckons on a warm day. The Kids Menu will give your little ones plenty of options, but don’t leave without their signature dessert: Apple Crisp (eat it there or take home a ready-to-bake one). Delish!
Gilman Village, Suite 7
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Mom & Me, Crépes & Tea
Both parents and kiddos give this family tea house a major thumbs up! Parents can sit back and enjoy a nice cuppa something sweet or savory from the menu, while their kiddos have a grand time in the enclosed bright, spacious play area filled with toys, books, and games. The menu offers great deals, such as the “Mom & Me Breakfast” (a filling one for $19.99), but there are plenty of à la carte options like crépes, soups, salads, and yogurt cups. Bonus: The walls feature kid-related works by local artists, and various events are scheduled throughout the year.
Gilman Village, Suite 3
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Who can play: Kids 0-6 years old; $5/child for all-day play; free play admission with $20 food/beverage purchase.
Have you spent time with the fam at Gilman Village? Share your insights with us in a comment below.
– Myriam Gabriel-Pollock
Photos thanks to: Stacia S. via Yelp, Rachel M. via Yelp, White Horse Toys, Issaquah Coffee Company, Musik Nest Facebook page, and Yana M via Yelp.