Wallingford and Phinney Ridge have emerged as family-friendly ‘hoods in the heart of Seattle. The amount of outdoor activities, food, shopping makes each a perfect destination for exploration. Wallingford is full of good eats, parks, and has a bustling urban feel that makes it such a desirable neighborhood for families. Phinney Ridge sits atop the hill over-looking Ballard, nestled next to the Woodland Park zoo, and bordered on the north and south by Greenwood and Fremont. With the new infusion of children’s stores with some old standbys, Phinney should not be missed. With the arrival of urban play space playmatters, 65th and Phinney is a must-stop destination for shopping and socializing. On a sunny day, you’ll find all the locals out and about in this friendly ‘hood. We’ve conveniently broken down our picks by category: Eat, Play, Shop.

SHOP:

Alphabet Soup
1406 N 45th Street
Pining for some new books but don’t want to spend retail? Check out Alphabet Soup. They have gently used books as well as new books for sale. We love the retro Dick and Jane titles and other vintage classics.

Wallingford Center
1815 N 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98103
206.517.7773
www.wallingfordcenter.com
Wallingford Center has been a revolving door for many storefronts over the years, but now has several destination businesses to anchor the old neighborhood school house, creating a community meeting place feel once again. Some of our faves include Pharmaca, the hip, modern pharmacy that offers traditional medications plus homeopathic treatments. We love their selection of California Baby products as well as other natural baby products, and Trophy Cakes. We’re always hankering for a great cupcake. This place delivers the goods. We find ourselves making excuses to go to Wallingford just for the cupcakes. With choices like Hummingbird and Triple Coconut, you can’t go wrong here. Minis are the perfect size for junior. Bonus: they do birthdays (order in advance)

Metropolis
7220 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 782-7002
Kids in the ‘hood call this the “sticker store”. Lots of great stickers, cards, balloons, gag gifts, and recently they started selling furniture.

Rising Stars
7404 Greenwood Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98103
206 781 0138
www.rising-stars.biz
This children’s consignment store houses an impressive variety of everything kiddo. They sell many new items (See Kai Run, children’s books, an adorable pot and pan set, blankets, Moby Wraps, etc) and a large variety of gently used clothing for kids.

Labels
7212 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 781-1194
Excellent consignment store selling women’s, children’s, and maternity. Very small space and can get crowded on the weekends, but a fun place to shop for great bargains. Usually high quality used clothing and shoes. Be prepared to get addicted to this store.

Lemon Meringue
7720 Greenwood Ave, North Suite #101
Seattle, WA 98103
206 297-6071
www.lemonmeringue.us
This boutique carries clothes for mom, preggo, and babes. An RT favorite.

Honorable Mentions:

Frock Shop
www.shopfrockshop.com

Hip Zephyr
www.hipzephyr.com

PLAY:

Woodland Park Zoo & Rose Garden
750 N 50th St.
www.zoo.org (sweet URL!)
Rain or shine this zoo has it all: indoor and outdoor exhibits, different environments (Tundra to Tropical Forests), and a carousel. The newest addition (until the penguin exhibit is completed), Zoomazium, offers mom or dad a chance to sit for a few minutes while junior runs, charges, and slides his or her way around this exploration room. The kids classes are wildly popular and fill up quickly. In addition, the Zoo Tunes summer concert series is a fab event (tickets went on sale at Metropolitan Markets May 5, 2008) for the whole family.

The rose garden next to the zoo is free of charge and offers a beautiful glimpse of many different types of roses. The fountains are a great form of entertainment for kids too.

Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Association
6532 Phinney Ave. N
Seattle WA 98103
(206) 783-2244
Depending on the time of year the Phinney Neighborhood Center has different activities that are either geared specifically to kids, like the Ridge Romp, or are very family friendly. We also like the Holiday Craft Fair in early December, which includes different performances ( of varying skill levels). Last year included Polynesian, Celtic, and a sword dance that brought some new culture to town. There are also numerous other activities detailed out on their website.
www.phinneycenter.org

Play Matters
www.playmattersseattle.com
A brand new place near 76th and Greenwood, next door to Lemon Meringue for the under-5 set and their parents or care-givers to play and network. An RT Favorite.

Seattle Holistic Center
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N., Room 302
In the Good Shepard Center
(206) 525-9035
www.seattleholisticcenter.com
Housed in the Good Shepard Center, Collette Crawford leads an array of prenatal and post-natal yoga and parenting classes. Once a month, Lorraine Bayes from the Tickle Toon Typhoon graces the Mother’s Groove class for an hour of music with your baby. Additionally, toddler classes, labor preparation classes, and other classes are offered.

Honorable Mentions:

Gasworks Park
2101 N Northlake Way
There are hills to fly kites from, a child’s play barn, and a sun dial atop the hill. This park is a great way to spend a sunny or windy day in Seattle. Bring a picnic lunch. Better yet-ride your bike via the Burke-Gilman trail with your picnic and kiddos in tow! Be sure to hit the 4th of July fireworks at least once (the strawberry shortcake alone is worth it).

Meridian Playfield
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N
This park sits on the North side of the Good Shepard Center. The playground is wonderful for kids of all ages. The water spigot that makes a river is a huge hit. There is plenty of room for sack races, soccer, or Frisbee. Picnic benches, BBQ’s, and facilities make this a great family stop.

Wallingford Playfield
4219 Wallingford Ave. N
www.seattle.gov
Wading pool parks are THE place to spend a hot day in Seattle. This park has one and an age appropriate, splinter-free playground to boot! What’s not to love?

EAT:

Tutta Bella
4411 Stone Way North
www.tuttabella.com
Tutta Bella offers a simple, yet delicious menu of Napolitano pizzas. The restaurant is loud, often has a wait (although it goes surprisingly fast), offers live music many nights (with enough space for the kids to dance –hello grown-up conversation!), and is filled with families. The kids are given a small sample of pizza dough and wikki sticks to keep them busy while waiting for their bambini pizza. Delicious gelato awaits after your meal.

Olympia Pizza II
4501 Interlake Ave N.
Seattle, WA 98103
206-633-3655
www.olypizza.net

The original Olympia Pizza sits atop Queen Anne hill. Unlike most sequels, this pizza house is not lacking in substance. Very family friendly. They also deliver.

Red Mill Burgers
312 North 67th St
(206) 783-6362
www.redmillburgers.com
What can we say, except great burgers! Saturday and Sunday lunch times, especially on nice days, are really crowded. Lots of families sitting outside and a decent number of high chairs. These burgers are named the best in the city year after year. The line out the door is not only an indication of that, but a resounding nod to get in line.

Mae’s Phinney Ridge Cafe
65th and Phinney
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 782-1222
www.maescafe.com
Near 65th and Phinney
This is a very popular cafe for breakfast. If you don’t get there early expect to have to wait. Great food in large quantities. The busiest appears to be about 10am when people start to wake up from a fun previous night. Although food is only served until 3pm, in the summer they sell ice cream until dusk.

Honorable Mention:

Zeeks Pizza
www.zeekspizza.com
Very kid friendly. Nice deck in the summer when the weather is warm.

Diva Espresso
www.divaespresso.com
On the corner of 80th & Greenwood. The locals swear they have the very best latte’s in Seattle. Sounds like a challenge!

The Phinney Farmer’s Market
www.seattlefarmersmarkets.org/markets/phinney
This is the newest farmer’s market to hit Seattle.

Other/Misc

Lil Klippers
www.lilklippers.com
Looking for a kid-friendly clipper? Lil Klippers gets the job done. They have experience with tiny kids, place them in wooden, hand-made chairs, and give them a toy to occupy them while they get trimmed. First timers get a memento card with a lock of hair! Added bonus? Mom or dad can reward the child (and themselves!) with a cupcake next door after the whole affair is over.

Beachcombers Kids
www.beachcomberkidscuts.com
Near 65th and Phinney.
Children wary about haircuts are soothed by being able to watch his or her favorite movie while getting her haircut. It is small place and difficult to get appointments unless you plan ahead. Starting in June, they’ll offer drop-off child care on Fridays.