What to Do on a Rainy Day in the Seattle-Tacoma Area

Seattle Central Library

Spend enough time in the Seattle-Tacoma area and you will see some rain. It’s just how it goes, especially in late fall and winter months when the weather is generally overcast and frequently rainy. Whether you live here or are visiting, rainy weather is the biggest of bummers when you have a young child who needs to get outside and run around. Sure, you can do it anyway, but it’s cold and wet and even with the right gear, everyone ends up a little soggy. If you’re like me and soggy is not your thing, here are some things to do on a rainy day in Seattle, Tacoma and cities in between!

Things to Do on a Rainy Day in Seattle and Tacoma

Go to a Library

Libraries have story times and other events that can be a nice way to do something different during the day, or just hang out in the kids section and look at new books together. Sometimes kids sections even have some toys to play with and new toys are always a boon. But other times the library itself can be an attraction. Seattle’s Central Library is one of the most impressive, most innovative, most neato-ist buildings in the area. With huge glass walls, bright yellow escalators, vivid red hallways, art all over the place, and a great kids section, the Central Library is large enough to hang out at for a while. If you go to the top floor, you can also admire a really nice view of the water, even on rainy days.

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Seattle Central Library
The Seattle Central Library is filled with surprising little spaces, like this bright yellow escalator.

Go to a Toy Store

Toy stores do still exist! Granted, not a ton of them, but there are a precious few. Archie McPhee is great if you have older kids. It’s more of a novelty store than a toy store so the items are not exactly toys, but for older kids, the collection of quirk and weirdness might just hit the spot. Magic Mouse Toys in Pioneer Square in Seattle is a classic toy store with childhood favorites and a touch of nostalgia. Curious Kidstuff sells toys, books, music, and art for kids up to age 12, and also offers art classes for toddlers, preschoolers, and young kids. Curious Bear Toy & Book Shop in Tacoma is small yet mighty toy store on the edges of Fircrest that has a great selection of toys as well as weekly story times.

Children’s Museums

There are a few children’s museums in the Seattle-Tacoma area and all of them are worth a visit. Of the museums below, all have an admission fee that ranges from $10-$30+ except for the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, which has a unique pay-as-you-will admission system.

Go to a Mall

Malls are always a fine place to go with younger kids and toddlers. They have play areas and eateries and coffee shops. If you’re not a fan of mall crowds, go before opening hours and enjoy less-crowded play areas and corridors. Usually a Starbucks or other coffee shop is open early too. There are several malls in the area, including Northgate Mall in Seattle, the Bellevue Collection, South Center Mall in Tukwila, Tacoma Mall, South Hill Mall in Puyallup, The Commons in Federal Way, and Capital Mall in Olympia.

Bellevue Collection
The Bellevue Collection is home to Bellevue Square, a large mall with play areas and lots of places to walk.

Indoor Play Spaces

Seattle and Tacoma are both home to plenty of indoor play spaces. Most of these cost money either in food or admission.

Family Fun Center in Tukwila is the kind of indoor place you take your kids to as a reward. It’s just all kinds of kid fun crammed into one building. Play arcade games, go bowling, play laser tag, enjoy some VR or a ride in the XD theater, ride bumper cars and a few other small rides, or eat at the on-site restaurant. On nice days, there’s even more to do outside!

Trampoline places are great for older kids, or younger kids during hours open to toddlers and littles. There are several in the area, but DEFY has locations in both Seattle and Tacoma and is always a good bet.

Wiggle Works has locations at the South Hill Mall in Puyallup and in Bellevue and is an indoor soft play space. Look for special play times that also include arts and crafts or that have a focus on toddlers.

Odyssey 1 in Tacoma has arcade games, laser tag, and an indoor jungle gym.

Seattle Aquarium

Where the local zoos obviously involve a lot of time outdoors, Seattle Aquarium is mostly indoors or at least under cover. Visit the octopus, all kinds of fish and seahorses and invertebrates, and other Northwest sea critters. There are also larger animals like otters and seals, and the always impressive Underwater Dome soon after you walk in that’s always a nice place to just sit and watch the fish go by.

seattle aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium has everything from large mammals like sea lions and otters, to little guys like hermit crabs.

Star Center Tacoma

Star Center is run by Tacoma’s Metro Parks and has one of the best indoor playgrounds you’ll find in the area. There is a fee to play, but if you have stir-crazy kids who need to run their sillies out on a rainy day, that fee is totally worth it. And it’s under $10 so it’s reasonable. Parents need to stay with their kids. Star Center also runs day camps, a preschool/pre-K program, fitness programs and more.

Find a Bakery or Pizza Place

Did your parents ever take you out for a doughnut or a slice of pizza? Mine did and it was always a treat. Look up bakeries or doughnut shops or pizza places near your current location with the handy dandy internet and take the kids out for a date.

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