Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Auburn, WA

  • Published 2022/09/30

Auburn is the perfect destination if you have a few days of vacation to spare and you’re looking for a place to have some urban fun mixed with outdoor adventure.

This city in King County, Washington, combines a small-town feel with big-city vibes, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Nestled among the cities of Seattle and Tacoma in Western Washington, Auburn is in the ideal location.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is only 14 miles away, while you only need to ride a 20-minute from Seattle or Tacoma to reach Auburn.

You can explore excellent hiking spots, stay and enjoy the breathtaking outdoors and explore the nearby mountains.

Moreover, Auburn is also home to a vibrant downtown area with many shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.

For a complete experience, you should check out the best things to do in Auburn, Washington!

Hike the Popular Flaming Geyser State Park

Trail at Flaming Geyser State Park

GeorgeColePhoto /

Explore the great outdoors and exercise by hiking one of Auburn’s many trails, Flaming Geyser State Park, one of the most popular parks in the city.

The trail’s intriguing name dates back to 1911 when explorers looking for coal deposits drilled into a reservoir of water and natural gas.

The explorers saw a geyser shooting 1,000 feet in the air when they attempted to cap the well.

The park’s geysers and methane seeps are its most distinctive feature; although the well is gone, you can still examine the remnants and a tiny bubble geyser.

A person fishing at Flaming Geyser State Park

Kevin Cass /

The Flaming Geyser State Park is a 480-acre day-use park with miles of freshwater beachfront on the Green River.

This place is perfect for swimming, fishing, and picnicking in the summer.

Rafting on the Green River and other summertime activities are very popular; there is even a place where you can fly model airplanes remotely.

Picnic tables along Flaming Geyser State Park

Beach Creatives /

Pay Respects at the Veterans Memorial Park

Formerly known as the City Park, Veterans Memorial Park is known for its Veterans Memorial structure, built in 2000.

During the same year, they renamed the park Veterans Memorial Park to recognize the Auburn Veterans’ contribution to the memorial’s construction.

The park has a play structure for the kids, a half-court basketball hoop, and outdoor barbecue grills.

You can also explore the William C. Warren Building inside the park and see its backyard idea garden and plants.

Veterans Memorial Park is just a short distance away from Downtown Auburn.

If you need a break from all the action, this is the best place to go.

Discover the Charms of the Les Gove Park

Les Gove Park is a favorite place for locals and visitors and one of the most accessible parks in the city.

The Les Gove Park is a beautifully landscaped 20-acre park with something for everyone.

Those looking to stay active can take advantage of the park’s climbing wall, Discovery Playground, Bocce Courts, and the Les Gove Multipurpose Building.

A half-mile looped trail will let you and your kids lose that pent-up energy.

Then, walk along the beautiful bermed and wooded area with 100 blossoming cherry trees.

Participants can join several events offered at the Les Gove gymnasium, including free gym activities, an indoor nursery park, and rock climbing.

The Auburn Community & Event Center, located in the picturesque Les Gove Park, is the ideal venue for your upcoming special events.

Its exquisite oak flooring and massive floor-to-ceiling windows enhance the center’s splendor.

Watch a Concert at the White River Amphitheatre

Gwen Stefani at White River Amphitheatre

RideTheLightning728, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the best things to do in Auburn is to attend a concert at the White River Amphitheatre.

This world-famous outdoor concert venue is on the Muckleshoot Indian Reservation and has a capacity of nearly 16,000 people.

With its acoustically enhanced ceiling and enormous television screens, White River Amphitheatre is an excellent location to see the most outstanding musical performances.

Jimmy Buffett, Matchbox 20, Evanescence, and Iron Maiden are just a few well-known musicians that have performed at the venue.

In addition, the amphitheater frequently hosts music festivals like the Vans Warped Tour, Crüe Fest, and The Mayhem Festival.

You can also wait and participate in promos to score low-price tickets for some of the upcoming shows at the White River Amphitheatre.

Unwind at Game Farm Park

One of Auburn’s most significant and busiest neighborhood parks, Game Farm Park offers a wide range of outdoor recreational activities for people in the area.

There are several amenities for you, as the Game Farm Park offers areas for organized sports, recreation, and unique local projects.

The Game Farm Park has an incredible location due to the backdrop and closeness of the rolling hills to the White River, which will give you a sense of peace and relaxation.

The park boasts play areas, outdoor fitness equipment, tennis courts, a picnic shelter, a mile-long walking trail, and barbecue grills.

The park offers many rental facilities, especially the Len Chapman Ampitheater, perfect for events such as weddings and concerts.

Game Farm Park is the perfect spot for you if you’re looking for a place to have a picnic or unwind and relax.

Learn Auburn’s Glorious Past at the White River Valley Museum

Pharmacist tools in White River Valley Museum

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spend a day at the White River Valley Museum and learn about Auburn’s glorious past.

The museum is in Les Grove Park, under the management of the White River Valley Historical Society.

The museum also features exhibits such as “Like Mother and Labor of Love Museum.”

Otherwise, you can learn about the Black History in King County when you visit the Black in Valley Exhibit and read about the struggles and triumphs of Black workers from 1830 to 1870.

Firearms displayed in White River Valley Museum

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also join White River Valley Museum’s events, such as Cracking the Cemetery Code, Drag Culture with Ceasar Hart, or Preserving your Family History.

Field trips and group tours allow a more intimate experience with the White River Valley Museum.

You can also visit the Mary Olson Farm nearby to taste early 1900s farm life.

Catch a Show at the Auburn Performing Arts Center

Opening in April 1981, the 950-seat Auburn Performing Arts Center has become a source of entertainment for the citizens of Auburn and visitors for almost four decades.

This center, located in Auburn Senior High School, hosts a diverse array of local and touring shows and performances, such as musicals, dance recitals, school functions, and much more.

The Auburn Performing Arts Center is also a great venue to catch a live show or performance by your favorite artist.

Some shows that have graced the Auburn Performing Arts Center stage are the Nutcracker and the Auburn Rotary Scholarship Show.

After a significant renovation, the magnificent, state-of-the-art theater reopened in October 2015.

If you’re looking for a night of entertainment, check the Auburn Performing Arts Center schedule and catch a show during your visit.

Soak up the Sun at Interurban Trail

Cycling along Interurban Trail

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Interurban Trail is just a few minutes from downtown Auburn.

The Interurban Trail is one of the most popular trails in Auburn, owing to its accessibility and the many activities you can do there.

Along the historic Interurban Rail Line, the 14-mile-long Interurban Trail passes through four other cities aside from Auburn.

It rewards you with spectacular views of the Southcenter area, downtown Kent and the Algona community.

The route travels across a range of sceneries and offers magnificent sights of various local landmarks that will make you forget your tiredness.

The terrain passes between former industrial districts and residential areas before traversing the expansive Green River Valley.

The Interurban Trail is an established non-motorized route popular with commuters and cyclists.

Stroll through the Soos Creek Botanical Garden

Feast your eyes on beautiful and colorful flowers as you stroll through the Soos Creek Botanical Garden.

The Soos Creek Botanical Garden is located in the cities of Auburn and Kent in Washington and features a diverse collection of native and international plants.

The 200 acres that Maurice Skagen’s Norwegian immigrant family acquired between 1891 and 1905 included the 22 acres on which the garden now stands.

The Heritage Garden is closest to the road and brimming with lovely flower blooms.

You can also explore gardens, like Demonstration Garden, the Garden Room, Soos Creek, and Cedar Grove.

If you love nature and flowers, visiting the Soos Creek Botanical Garden is a must.

Browse the Local Shops at Historic Downtown Auburn

Night scene at Downtown Auburn

© Steven Pavlov /

The quaint Historic Downtown Auburn area is an eclectic mix of businesses, including thrift stores, furniture, bookstores, collectibles, and more.

With origins that go back to the 1850s, today’s Auburn is the ideal fusion of a contemporary metropolis and a rich, historic charm.

To highlight its pioneer background, focusing on early 1900s architecture, the city has renovated downtown, filling it with reused brick buildings from those early days.

Today, downtown Auburn is the focal point for cherished yearly events like the nationally renowned Veterans Day Parade.

Giving off a friendly small-town vibe, the Historic Downtown Auburn is a great place to browse the local shops, have a bite to eat, or people-watch.

You can explore a wide assortment of taverns, distilleries, specialty coffee, casual to fine restaurants, and sweets & treats shops.

Play a Round of Golf at the Washington National Golf Course

Avid golf players will be delighted to know that the Washington National Golf Course is open to the public.

The Washington National Golf Course is in Auburn, a half-hour away from downtown Seattle, and boasts a scenic golf course in Washington.

This 18-hole golf course is perfect for players of all levels, from beginner to expert.

It has ruggedly rich, emerald fairways cut by rough transitional sections filled with native grass and stunning, white-sand traps amid immaculately kept greens.

The Washington National Golf Course is a favorite among regular golfers.

It is one of the Northwest’s most sought-after locations for group trips and other competitions, thanks to its world-class gameplay, extensive practice facilities, and first-rate service.

The NCAA regional championships were among many collegiate competitions held at the Washington National Golf Course.

Players can enjoy delicious food at the Varsity Grill, the on-site restaurant that overlooks the course’s 18th hole.

The Varsity Grill at Washington National offers a delicious meal and bar area while delivering a vibrant setting that epitomizes the college spirit.

Multiple TVs and an airy architecture generate a terrific sense of community among those that have finished tackling the challenging Washington National loop.

Watch a Game at the Emerald Downs

Aerial view of Emerald Downs

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Emerald Downs is a world-class horse racing track that first opened in 1996.

This racetrack, located in Auburn, hosts live thoroughbred races from April to September yearly.

During the Emerald Downs season, several significant events, such as the Longacres Mile and the Washington Oaks, occur on the track.

Emerald Downs is a great place to watch live horse racing, and a restaurant around the race track offers a great view of horse racing.

Public admission seats and a grassy park area with free kid-friendly weekend activities are on the track level.

EwingCole, an American architectural firm, built the contemporary racehorse facility called Emerald Downs Grandstand.

Emerald Downs is a one-of-a-kind horse racing track you shouldn’t miss in Auburn.

Stroll through the Boardwalk Trail of Auburn Environmental Park

Auburn Environmental Park is the perfect place to explore for those who love the outdoors.

Nestled inside the Auburn Environmental Park, you can walk a portion of the lovely 250-acre wetland park with views of marshland areas and wildlife along the 1/4-mile boardwalk pathway.

The trailhead begins on Western Avenue close to the Bird and Wildlife Viewing Tower and meanders through a marsh until coming to an end on West Main Street.

Marvel at the beauty of the wetlands as you stroll through the boardwalk.

Bring your camera so you may take pictures of the various animals living in the Auburn Environmental Park, including insects, birds, hummingbirds, newts, and wrens.

If you want to learn more about Auburn Environmental Park and the animals living there, the trail also has picnic areas, chairs, and several informative signages along the Boardwalk trail.

Shop at the Outlet Collection Seattle

Exterior of the Outlet Collection Seattle

Saucy, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Formerly the Supermall of the Great Northwest, The Outlet Collection Seattle is an outdoor shopping mall in Auburn, Washington.

The Outlet Collection Seattle is the biggest retail complex in the Pacific Northwest and features more than 130 stores.

For example, it has Adidas, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Cherry Hill, Bath & Body Works, Coach, Guess Factory Store, and Kate Spade.

The Outlet Collection Seattle also has a food court that features a variety of dining options, such as Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon, Subway, Red Robin, and Johnny Rockets.

You can bring the kids to enjoy the kiddie rides, the Doxon Playland, and the carousel, or join their KidX Club to earn exclusive discounts and attend free entertaining activities.

Watch for clearance sales and take advantage of the great deals on quality branded items.

Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends or want to grab a bite to eat, the Outlet Collection Seattle is the perfect place for you.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at the Gosanko Chocolate – Factory Outlet

Gosanko Chocolate – Factory Outlet is a chocolate lover’s dream.

The shop offers a wide variety of chocolate treats, from truffles and bonbons to barks and bark bites.

The chocolates at Gosanko Chocolate – Factory Outlet use only the finest ingredients.

Likewise, they make each confection by hand.

The shop also offers a wide selection of chocolates, such as the exquisite truffle, the creamy caramel kind, or its colorful garden collection.

Gosanko Chocolate – Factory Outlet now offers wines, beers, ice creams, and jams infused with their chocolate.

You can also buy a box or two of chocolates to take home as a souvenir or a gift for a loved one.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Return to the Olden Times at the Mary Olson Farm

Daytime view of Mary Olson Farm

Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Considered King County’s best-preserved family farm, Mary Olson Farm sits on a 60-acre property with a barn, weaving house, and other outbuildings.

The White River Valley Historical Society restored this working farm.

The Mary Olson Farm sits amid forested mountains and boasts essential historical items, such as traditional buildings and an heirloom orchard.

Likewise, the farm juices apples, pears, and cypress are juiced for visitors to taste.

Children will love the Farm’s Chicken Coop, looking for eggs that the chickens lay.

Your kids can also try how to create butter the old way and clean the barn for that authentic farm experience.

The Mary Olson Farm is also perfect for adults, as it offers a glimpse of what life was like in the early 1900s.

Find the historic property in Kent, Washington, eight minutes from Auburn.

Final Thoughts

Auburn is a charming city that offers something for everyone, whether you want to travel solo or with your family.

The city has a rich history and plenty of things to see and do.

You can explore the great outdoors, visit museums and historical sites, go shopping and dining, satisfy your sweet tooth, or take in some stunning views.

Pack your bags and discover the best things to do in Auburn, Washington!

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