Situated on the north end of Lake Washington, Kirkland’s charm and scenic locale draws visitors from both far and near. An easy drive from Seattle, spending two hours in Kirkland’s family friendly downtown can be a pleasant escape. A leisurely stroll will uncover a handful of stops that any family will enjoy:
1. Your child’s eyes will light up upon seeing the display cases at Sweet Cakes filled with homemade cupcakes, cookies, bars, and cakes (many of which are gluten-free, I should note). Near the window is a recently added old fashioned candy bar, sure to entice passerby from the sidewalk. Be advised to inquire about the ingredients before ordering for your little one though. The pink champagne cake and margarita cupcakes could be enjoyed in place of your five o’clock cocktail! Before leaving with your sweets, peruse the selection of colorful aprons, vintage cake platters, party napkins and more. — 128 Park Lane
2. Next, your children will steer you toward Simplicity ABC. Specializing in quality educational toys and books, ABC opened two years ago in response to growing customer demand for the children’s items offered at its sister store, Simplicity Decor (located across the street). The owner envisioned creating not just a store but a place where families could gather, stay a while and enjoy the selection of toys and books. There is a small table and set of chairs in the back where parents and children are invited to sit and play. — 107 Park Lane
3. If your little ones are obsessed with trains then be sure to spend time at Eastside Trains. With shelves full of every kind of model train imaginable and one of the longest model train tables I’ve ever seen, you could easily while away your day here. Keep in mind the store is closed on Sundays! — 217 Central Way
4. It’s summer, time to take advantage of the warmer temperatures and longer days. Marina Park is the perfect place to enjoy outdoor family time. An easy walk from Kirkland’s town center, kids and adults can kick off their shoes, play on the beach or run in the grass. Make way for the mallards though! You’ll find them congregating on the rocks or waddling around the steps near the water. Lake Washington and Seattle’s skyline provide the perfect backdrop for the park’s summer concert series. Starting July 10th and running until August 21st concerts are held Thursdays at 7:30pm. Take note, a Kids Concerts series is offered Thursdays at 10am in nearby Juanita Park.
5. For the more adventurous family, head to the Northwest Paddle Surfers tent found near the beach. Starting every Memorial Day weekend you can rent boards by the hour for $20, price includes safety and instructional lesson. Although there is no age minimum, children must know how to swim and children under 12 are required to be accompanied by an adult.
6. For a scenic tour of Lake Washington hop on board an Argosy Cruise, located at the Kirkland City Dock at the end of Kirkland Avenue. Tours run an hour and a half. Along with admiring lakeside luxury homes you’ll learn about the lake’s naval history and fun facts about what lies beneath the water. Check out the website for summer departure times and rates.
7. Kirkland has several walking paths. The Lake View Walk is a popular six mile walk along the water. You can pick it up at Marina Park and follow it south. If six miles is too far for your little legged companions, it’s easy to hop off at any point. The Explore Kirkland website is a helpful resource to plan your walk.
8. After all of that walking and beach fun, your family will be ready for some grub! Head to The Slip, a local dining and watering hole with a sunny patio that has been cooking up juicy burgers for 18 years. One of their more popular menu items is the peanut butter bacon burger. I couldn’t convince my kids to try one but they gave their plane jane cheeseburgers the thumbs up! — 80 Kirkland Ave.
9. Head back to Park Lane for dessert at Sirena Gelato. Drool over the colorful display of flavors like “Rococo Coffee,” “Sea Salt Caramel,” and “WA Raspberry.” Treat yourself to samples before making a decision. Kid sized cups offer just the right portion amount! — 109 Park Lane
10. Should you be fortunate enough to hand the kids off to a sitter for the evening, spend some adult time at Maison DeLille Cellars on Lake Street. Sip on the wines of DeLille Cellars inside this sophisticated wine bar and plan out your next trip to Kirkland. — 15 Lake Street
About the Author
Meg Butterworth lives in NW Seattle with her husband and two children. She’s been a part of the PEPS community for almost nine years. WOW! When she has a couple of kid free hours she enjoys writing, exploring Seattle, and enjoying a couple of beverages with her life line of fellow Mom friends.