For months now, we've been good - we've worn masks, we've kept our distance and we've stifled our sneezes. Now, our state is starting to open back up! As of Friday (June 19), King County has officially been approved for Phase 2 of reopening!
We still have a long way to go before we're back to "normal" again, but instead of focusing on what we CAN'T do, it's high time we take a look around us for the things we CAN do. From simple pleasures (like taking a walk on the beach) to the more complex (dangling many feet above the ground on an obstacle course) we've compiled 100 things we can all do right now or very, very soon.
Just as this COVID-19 thing has been unpredictable, our recommendations could change on a dime. So, we recommend that you visit each of the links below for the most up-to-date information before embarking on your journey.
Get Reacquainted with the Mall
Many local malls have reopened but with a lot of changes. Not all stores within each mall have reopened just yet; capacity is limited to 30% of the building's maximum occupancy, the children's play areas are closed, mall hours are reduced, etc. Some of the malls that have or are reopening include:
- Pacific Place
- The Bellevue Collection
- Northgate Mall
- Alderwood Mall
- Everett Mall
- Seattle Premium Outlets
- Westfield Southcenter
- Find the Troll: Found at 800 Troll Ave. N in Fremont, the "Troll Under the Bridge" is one of Seattle's largest and beloved statues. He looks menacing, but he actually likes his picture taken.
- Dress Up Some Statues: Created in 1978, the "Waiting for the Interurban" statues have been dressed up and down for years. Bring party hats, boas or what not to dress up the six people and the dog waiting for the bus and pose for selfies. Just remember to pack it all up before you leave.
- Become a Patches Pal: If you grew up with J.P. Patches, and have never seen the statue made in his honor, you really should. If you didn't grow up in Seattle, then never mind. You'll find him and Gertrude in front of Solstice Plaza (also near the "Waiting for the Interurban" statues).
- Dance on Broadway: Located along 12 blocks of the sidewalks along Broadway Avenue on Capitol Hill, you'll find dance step instructions for tango, waltz, rumba, mambo, even a made-up dance named "bus stop." Artist Jack Mackie created the bronze footsteps.
- Add a Wad to the Gum Wall: You know you want to. Located in Post Alley near Pike Place Market, you'll find the infamous Gum Wall. Pop in some Bazooka bubble gum and then leave it behind.
- Take a Selfie: Find the perfect prop your Instagram post at the Seattle Selfie Museum in Post Alley. It is currently open on the weekends with reduced capacity.
- Try on the Hat and Boots: You've seen pictures of them — now see them in person. The truly larger-than-life building shaped like a cowboy hat and a pair of boots was initially created for a gas station in 1954. "Hat 'n' Boots" was moved to Oxbow Park in 2003.
- Get Funky: Funko, the company that makes figurines out of every pop culture icon you can think of in Everett has reopened their doors. Part gift shop/part museum - If you've never been there, you're in for a treat. The place gets pretty popular, and with 30% capacity available, don't be surprised if you have to wait outside for a while.
- Keep Up with the Jones': Did you know that you can submit your favorite photos to be featured on an upcoming Jone's Soda label? You post the photo, and others vote on it. If Jones likes it, you could become somewhat famous.
Play a Round of Golf: General rules during this time require groups of two players or groups of three or four if all members come from the same household. Singles will be paired on a space available basis. Other rules include: no cash transactions, golf carts are restricted to single riders and flagsticks will remain in the holes and untouched at all times. Seattle Parks and Recreation owns and maintains four golf courses all waiting to set up your tee time:
Not the Only Game in Town: Many other golf courses would love to see you as well. Visit Golf Now to find information on other golf courses in the Greater Seattle area.
Create Your Own Holey Moley: King Mini Golf Park in Puyallup is taking tee times online, and when you snag your spot, they’ll give you a $5 game card to use at the adjacent King Family Fun Center when it reopens later this year. We’ve rounded up a great collection of other local miniature golf courses in the area which may be open near you as well. You can read about them here.
Improve Your Drive: The Snohomish Valley Golf Center features a driving range that is open as early as 8 a.m. to as late as 11 p.m. (depending on the day) plus an 18-hole mini-golf course.
- Climb the Ropes: Boasting of having the largest ropes course with ziplines (over 60 challenge elements) in the PNW, High Trek Adventures in Everett also offers mini-golf, tactical laser tag and axe throwing! To reserve your spot, schedule a time online.
- Race a Go-Kart: In addition to showing movies (see below), the Blue Fox Drive-In also offers a go-kart experience from 4 p.m. to dusk during the week and noon to dusk on weekends.
- Get Your Game On: Operating under modified hours and with limited attractions available, Family Fun Center in Tukwila is open for business. Right now, you can step in the Bumper Boats, drive around in the Go-Karts and pay a round or two of miniature golf. Some items are available at the snack bar too. The Edmonds location currently has more to offer, including batting cages, Euro-Bungy and more.
Enjoy the Big Screen
Go to the Movies: While movie theaters have yet to open, drive-in movie theaters have become very popular in recent weeks. Most forbid outside food, but offer super-cheap entrance fees and fully-stocked snack bars. Drive-ins that are now open include:
- Blue Fox Drive-In in Oak Harbor
- Rodeo Drive-In in Bremerton
- Auto-Vue in Colville
- Wheel-In Motor Movie in Port Townsend
- Skyline Drive-In Theatre in Shelton
Inside Theaters: For those wanting the indoor theater experience, you won't have to wait much longer. Regal Theaters has announced that they will be back open for business beginning on July 10.
Sail-In Cinema: The Port of Everett's annual "Sail-In Cinema," held at Boxcar Park, will be turned into a makeshift drive-in event that is still free, but walk-ins will not be allowed, and reservations are needed to hold your spot. This year's movies presented Friday nights from July 17 to Aug. 21 include "Midway," "Hitch," "A League of Their Own," "The Avengers: End Game," "Coco" and "Grease."
See Garth Brooks: Garth Brooks recently announced that he will be holding one concert that will be broadcast to 300 drive-ins across the county on June 27. The cost is $100 per carload. Locally the concert will be shown at both Blue Fox Drive-In and Skyline Drive-in. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster.
Get Your Steps In
- Take a Stroll: Rain or shine, Green Lake's 3.10-mile path or Seward Park's 2.4-mile trail is a great way to liven up one's goal of getting more steps in (currently the trails are open to pedestrians only).
- Take an Art Walk: Located on the waterfront, the Seattle Art Museum's Sculpture Park covers nine acres of green space and decorated with monumental, larger-than-life artwork. Best of all, it's free.
- Wander to a Waterfall: It doesn't get much more impressive than Snoqualmie Falls. It is estimated that 1,000 cubic feet of waterfalls down the 268-foot drop every second. It also guest-starred in every episode of "Twin Peaks." If you are looking for more adventure, consider taking a trip to the Boulder River Trail in the North Cascades to witness three waterfalls or Twin Falls at the Twin Falls State Park in Snoqualmie.
Pick Fresh Produce
Pick Some Strawberries: Sure, you can pick up strawberries anytime at your local grocery store, but how about picking them straight from the source? There are many local U-pick patches open right now or very soon, including:
- Duris Farm in Kent
- The Farm at Swan's Lake in Snohomish
- Biringer Farms in Arlington
- Remlinger Farms in Carnation
- Harvold Strawberry Farm in Carnation
- Picha's Berry Farm in Puyallup
- Barbie's Berries in Ferndale
- Bolles Organic Berry Farm in Monroe
- Bailey Family Farm in Snohomish
Chat with a Farmer: Many farmers markets have begun operating all over the Greater Seattle area. Visit the Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets website for information on markets open in Columbia City, University District, West Seattle and Capitol Hill. Check out the Seattle Farmers Market Association's website for information about markets opening in Madrona, Ballard and Wallingford. For everywhere else, visit the Washington State Farmers Market Association's website. Farmers are currently allowed to sell their goods at the Pike Place Market every Thursday and Saturday, and the "DownUnder" is open Thursday through Sunday.
Rediscover the Seattle Center
- Daydream by the Fountain: Originally built for the 1962 World's Fair, the International Fountain looks better than ever with its 137 mist nozzles shooting water to the sounds of a variety of music, with shows lasting about 12 minutes each.
- Listen to the Sound of You: Now through June 30, you can experience the free art installation, "Sound Traveling the Speed of You," under the covered walkway near the International Fountain. Twenty different soundscapes echo down the length of the walkway from Alpen yodeling to busy bowling alley.
- Visit the Gardens: It's almost easy to go past them without even noticing, but the Seattle Center features a variety of gardens throughout the grounds including the Broad Street Green Sculpture Garden, Donnelly Garden at Theater Commons, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Kobe Bell Meditation Garden, Neototems Children's Garden, Peace Garden, Poetry Garden and the September 11 Memorial Garden. Read more about them all here.
- Ride the Monorail: Next to the Space Needle, the Seattle Monorail just might be the second most popular attraction in town. Although she is running back and forth from the Center to Westlake Center with reduced services, it is a sign that things are getting back to normal.
Eat a Great Meal
- Dine Out: For months, restaurants, wineries and bars in Seattle have had to rely solely on takeout and delivery if they wanted to stay open in some capacity. Now, many have opened to their doors and are offering limited seating. Check out Seattle Refind's list of places in the area that are now open for some sort of dine-in service.
- Grab a Burger: Last month, we came up with a list of some of the best mom-and-pop hamburger stands where the meal is worth the wait in the drive-thru or counter window.
- Play Board Games with a Beer: Mox Boarding House, with locations in Seattle and Bellevue, features a great menu for lunch or dinner, beer and mixed drinks and a HUGE selection of board games of all types to borrow during your visit.
- Go Out for Coffee: Think all Starbucks locations are the same? Visit the Reserve Store Coffee Bar at Starbucks headquarters in SoDo. Part coffee shop, part café, part bakery, part gift shop and part bar – this place elevates your usual coffee time experience.
- Drink a Chocolate Mocha Shake: Sure, one of the claims to fame at the XXX Root Beer Drive-In in Issaquah is the root beer, but their Super Sport Jumbo Mocha Chocolate Shake is something else. Made with premium Darigold ice cream (with 6 percent butter and pure cream), Seattle's Best Coffee and topped with whipped cream, this shake is larger-than-life goodness for two.
Talk to the Animals
- Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Zoo life is different right now as well. As of June 18, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is open but is encouraging social distancing with one-way pathways and limiting the number of guests that come through its gates. You can expect a number of indoor attractions closed as well. Timed online tickets are available now.
- Take a Drive on the Wild Side: Over at Northwest Trek, you can roam partially around the grounds on foot, but be aware that many of the attractions are closed, including the iconic tram ride. However, you can opt for the Wild Drive Premier Tour, where you drive your own vehicle through roaming herds of Roosevelt elk and mountain goats. You can read more about it here.
- Take the Dog to the Park: Rover.com recently posted a list of 10 of the best dog parks in Seattle, which include Grandview Off-Leash Area, Magnuson Dog Park, Woodland Off-Leash Dog Park and more. Fido will thank you.
- Bring Home the Cat Home: While Seattle Humane isn't open to the public right now, you can set up an appointment to meet a furry friend that you fell in love with online.
Enjoy Simple Pleasures
Fly a Kite: Among the 350 acres of hiking and biking trails of Magnuson Park, you'll find what is known by many as "Kite Hill," which overlooks Lake Washington. Even if you can't get your kite up in the air, the view is still great to look at.
Wonder at a Waterfall: If you are not much of an adventurer but still want the experience, pack up a lunch and head over to Waterfall Gardens located at 219 2nd Ave. S in Seattle. This hidden gem in the city makes for a nice respite during a busy week.
Read a Book Outside: You've been cooped up long enough indoors! Drive to your nearest Barnes & Noble or Half Price Books (many locations are now open) and find something great to read. Then, head to your favorite park with a blanket and get lost in the story.
Ride Your Bike: While bike riding options are limited right now, there is still plenty of space to roll along the Burke-Gilman Trail from Ballard to Kenmore or the 30-mile long Centennial Trail that stretches from Snohomish to the Skagit County Line. For more options, check out SeattleOutdoorsInfo.com.
Appreciate a Lighthouse: The greater Seattle area is home to a number of fantastic, historical lighthouses that one needs to see to appreciate. Unfortunately, many are closed during COVID-19, but they are still charming to look at from the outside. Some of the best include:
- West Point Light at Discovery Park
- Admiralty Head Lighthouse at Fort Casey
- Alki Point Lighthouse
- Mukilteo Light in Mukilteo
Go Antiquing in Snohomish: The streets of Snohomish are beginning to bustle once more. For some, it's one of the best places to shop for antiques as well as many gift shops, coffee shops and eateries. Worth a day trip!
Get Back to Nature
- Stop and Smell the Roses: While the Woodland Park Zoo is closed right now (it reopens July 1), the beautiful 2.5 acre rose garden is open and free to visit. Opened since 1924, this garden features 200 varieties and 3,000 individual plants — which is nothing to sneeze at unless you have allergies.
- Wander Among the Lavender: If you missed not attending the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, you might want to visit Lavender Hill Farm on Vashon Island, where you can walk along rows of lavender between now and July 26, buy bunches to take home and even take a tour.
- Take a Tree Tour: Wright Park in Tacoma has a crazy amount of native and exotic trees — 145 species and 600 in all spread out through the 27-acre site. About 450 trees in the park have been labeled to check out. You can download the Champion Tree Tour Booklet here. Over at the Seattle Center, they have their own Tree Walk tour where you can take a self-guided walk around Seattle Center and learn about the rich variety of 27 different trees. Download that map here.
- Take a Swim: Just remember to wait 30 minutes after eating before you hit the water (don't worry, that's an old wives' tale). Whether you'd rather beachcomb, layout on the sand or dive right in, two of the best beaches to visit when the weather gets warmer is Alki Beach and Lake Sammamish.
- Ride the Waves: According to their website, Wild Waves Theme and Water Park in Federal Way is expected to open on July 6. Since the date isn't set in stone, you'll want to visit their website before you pack up your swim trunk and towel.
- Go Under Water: If you are a scuba diver, you might want to check out the Edmonds 27-acre Underwater Park with special features and "trails." Here you'll find a variety of human-made reef structures built in-between various sunken vessels and all connected by a network of fixed guide rope anchored to the bottom.
Take the Boat Out: While the boat ramps Eddie Vine (near Golden Gardens) and Don Armeni (near Alki Beach) opened to the public on May 30, the rest of Seattle's boat ramps will reopen on June 20. Read more about them here.
Kayak Like a King: Some of the best place to kayak in Seattle have reopened including:
- Moss Bay Kayak Paddle Board and Sail Center on Lake Union
- Ballard Kayak on Shilshole Bay
- Northwest Paddle Surfers near Juanita Beach Park in Kirkland
- The U of W's Waterfront Activities Center near the arboretum
Take a Donut Boat Out for a Spin: You may not have a boat, but you can rent one for an hour or so. Granted, the boat is donut-shaped and fly at a top speed of 4 mph, but the experience is fun and unique. Each Seattle Donut Boat seats up to six people, comes with an overhead umbrella and life jackets for all.
Set Sail: While it isn't exactly like a cruise, traveling the waters of Puget Sound aboard a Washington State Ferry is one of life's simplest pleasures. Even if you don't have a particular destination in mind, take a round trip, set outside and let the wind blow your hair like a tornado. Take a trip from Seattle to Bainbridge Island or Edmonds to Kingston or Mukilteo to Clinton and more.
Hit the Beach
- Comb the Beach: The beach on the western side of Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island is a great place to find driftwood and other natural finds. Then, explore the World War II coastal-defense fort, which features concrete bunkers.
- Dig for Dinner: While some popular beaches are closed, others are open and are allowing guests to dig for clams, mussels and oysters. Check out which is which here.
- Visit a Ghost Town: Located on the east side of Snohomish County, you'll find the remains of abandoned town of Monte Cristo, which was booming in the 1890s but almost forgotten by the 1920s. Put your hiking boots on because there is a 4-mile hike to get there.
- Investigate Old Military Bases: Fort Worden, Fort Flagler and Fort Casey were once part of the coastal defense system known as "the Triangle of Fire," which was home to about 1,000 troops. Today, they are fun to explore and learn the history of the places by using the self-guided walking tour map.
- Remember the Fallen: Many people have walked past The Garden of Remembrance memorial in front of Benaroya Hall. The memorial in honor of over 8,000 Washington State residents who have died in wars since World War II.
- Make Like a Goat: Located near Skykomish, the 12-mile long Goat Trail features about six miles of the old Great Northern railroad grade where you'll find various railroad artifacts, tunnels and more.
- Geocache to the Center of the Universe: Visit Geocaching.com and log in to print a "Geocacher's Guide to the Center of Our Universe" passport created by Geocaching HQ. The caches are within walking distance and will take between 2-3 hours to complete.