Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Renton, WA

  • Published 2022/10/12

The City of Renton is the eighth largest city in Washington, best known as an aviation hub that has manufactured and sold Boeing airplanes for several decades.

Situated just 11 miles from downtown Seattle and six miles from a busy airport, Renton possesses a strategic position for businesses and families to prosper.

Located in King County, Renton is also an exciting travel destination with diverse attractions and outdoor activities, from its historic downtown to its verdant trails and open spaces.

Read more about the best things to do in Renton, Washington, to discover what makes this city worth your visit.

Try Sailing at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park

Scenic view of Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park

Roman Khomlyak /

Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park spans 57 acres of developed parkland where you can try land-based and water-related recreational activities.

Located along the southeastern shore of Lake Washington, the park was named after Eugene “Gene” Louis Coulon in 1978 in recognition of his service as parks director and the army.

The development of Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park finished in 1982.

The park has amenities to entertain visitors of all ages, such as picnic sites, sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, a fishing pier, and a swimming beach with restrooms.

Pier at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park

Checubus /

If you haven’t tried sailing yet, you may do so with Renton Sailing Center, which opens membership to the public.

The non-profit organization established in 1965 has skilled instructors to walk you through the sport of sailing.

There are also restaurants in the park, including Ivar’s Seafood Bar, where you can indulge your seafood cravings.

Otherwise, try Kidd Valley if you’ve been drooling for burgers and shakes.

Pavilion at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park

Norm Lane /

Create Memories with Your Dog at Cedar River Dog Park

Are you traveling with dogs?

Just alongside the Cedar River Trail, a four-acre park awaits dogs and their fur parents!

Cedar River Dog Park was created in 2009 in the historic Denny Clay Company location through the collective efforts of citizen volunteers and donors.

The park is now maintained by the City of Renton Parks and Trails Division.

Create memorable moments with your fur babies as you bond with other dog-loving visitors in the park.

Fill your phone with snaps of your dogs as they run off-leash and play around in the large, open area.

The Cedar River Dog Park has two shade structures, picnic tables, and an agility course for training dogs.

Wander at Riverview Park

Along Maple Valley Highway sprawls the Riverview Park, an 11-acre recreation ground that serves as a vital part of the Cedar River Greenway System.

The Greenway covers more than 550 acres of parks, open spaces, trails, and a golf course along the Cedar River.

The site is perfect for strolls and picnicking while standing in awe of the lush greenery and local wildlife.

Riverview Park also has access to the river trail, and you may launch canoes and kayaks through the soft-surface route to the river.

The park used to have an old wooden bridge over the river in the 1960s.

Debris from flood waters, however, wore down the bridge through time.

A single-span, pedestrian aluminum bridge with a light penetrating the grated surface replaced the old one.

Go Birdwatching at Cedar River Trail Park

The grounds of Cedar River Trail Park

GeorgeColePhoto /

Along Nishiwaki Lane, you will spot another popular park that will guarantee you a day well spent.

Cedar River Trail Park is a 24-acre park at the mouth of Cedar River, where it flows north into Lake Washington.

Admire the scenic views as you rest in the picnic areas near the water, or observe blue herons, ospreys, bald eagles, and other birds in their natural habitat.

The park is also a spot to see the annual salmon migration in the Cedar River Watershed.

Cedar River Trail Park's paved trail

Robert Ashworth from Bellingham, WA., USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Other features in the park include a playground and a non-motorized boat launch.

To make the most of your day here, go down the paved trail along Cedar River, spanning over 17 miles, where it enters Lake Washington to the boundary of Cedar River Watershed at Landsburg.

Cedar River Trail Park provides sublime views and access to other famous spots in the state.

Dive in the Waters at Kennydale Beach Park

Kennydale Beach Park is another ideal place to splash or bask in the sun along Lake Washington.

The 1.8-acre sunny, sandy park features a swimming beach, picnic tables, shade structures, and playground equipment.

Kennydale Beach Park is also the new home of Tommy the Turtle, a concrete replica of a turtle previously installed outside the Newberry’s and Sears stores in the 1960s.

It was then moved outside the Renton Highlands Public Library for a time before arriving at the beach park for people to enjoy.

There are lifeguards on duty to ensure the safety of visitors, and a pier and log boom define the swimming area.

Moreover, there is a designated area south of the pier where you can launch a canoe or kayak if you want to paddle around on the lake.

Bond with Your Kids at Meadow Crest Playground

Regarded as the Pacific Northwest’s most excellent playground, Meadow Crest Playground on Northeast 16th Street provides inclusive play for children of all ages and abilities.

The vibrant and colorful outdoor space is a product of the collaboration between the city and the Renton School District.

Children aged 2 to 12 years can enjoy the playground features that are fun and designed to help their physical and sensory development.

They could play around different swings, climbing walls, slides, and spinning rings at the Meadow Crest Playground.

Otherwise, they could gather and share stories in the Nature Area surrounded by tall, evergreen trees.

Walk through History at Renton History Museum

Interior of Renton History Museum

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

A trip to a new city is never complete without heading down to the museum for a glimpse of its rich history.

Located in the historic downtown Renton at Mill Avenue, you can choose between the two self-guided walking tours offered at Renton History Museum to explore the city’s past.

One tour covers 22 markers highlighting historically significant places, people, and events throughout the city.

The other tour, meanwhile, presents a different theme where stories of the past are told through old trees.

Aside from the tours, the Renton History Museum also hosts changing exhibits, programs, publications, and events where tourists can ponder Renton’s evolving story.

Take Pictures of Downtown Murals

As you roam the streets of Renton, look closer at the downtown murals that make this area even more vibrant and lively.

The murals celebrate the city’s history and prominent figures while representing the community’s support for its talented artists at the same time.

At Liberty Park, you will see the Renton Athlete’s Mural, which showcases the history of iconic athletic figures and faces from different backgrounds and periods in time.

Head to Downtown’s main street, and you will spot a mural dedicated to Daniel Victor “Boone” Kirkman, a former amateur and professional heavyweight boxer.

With Renton as an aviation hub, there is also a mural embodying this along South Wells Avenue, which shows an early 1900s B&W Seaplane.

The information on the city’s website is available to appreciate the stories behind these Downtown Murals.

Grab a Bite of Melrose Grill’s Tender Steak

Melrose Grill brands itself as a neighborhood steakhouse serving an alternative to “downtown dining.”

The restaurant promises its customers exceptional food made of top-quality ingredients and first-class service.

Its steaks come from corn-fed Midwest beef, which it claims to be hand-selected and aged for 28 days to bring out its best flavor and tenderness.

Aside from its food, what makes the restaurant unique is its location in a former tavern built in 1901.

The atmosphere and features of the place bring you back to its historical origins.

You can also look at the vintage photos on the wall that present the changes at Melrose Grill over the years.

Enjoy a Quality Theater Experience at Renton Civic Theatre

Exterior of Renton Civic Theatre

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

Watching shows or movies at streaming sites is entertaining, but going to cinemas and theaters is an incomparable experience.

At Renton Civic Theatre along South 3rd Street, you can catch a variety of theater productions, from mainstream musicals to unusual off-beat productions.

It is a famous theater among patrons due to its family-friendly productions and the quality and affordable community theater experience it provides.

Renton Civic Theatre began as an old movie palace.

Renovation of the 1920’s building succeeded with the help of local businesses and individuals.

Its first show was “Yo!” while its first musical production was “Grease” in 1987.

Grab a Drink at Red House

Red House, located on Burnett Avenue South, is a remarkable place to have a glass of cocktails, wine, and beer.

The restaurant gives its customers comfortable and rustic vibes, as it occupies a historic boarding house from the 1920s that previously housed railroad workers and coal miners.

Red House boasts a menu of excellent food, a wide selection of drinks, and friendly and professional service.

You can order salads, snacks, pasta, tapas, and more.

It also offers vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options to suit different diets.

Challenge Yourself at Maplewood Golf Course

Open for over 90 years, Maplewood Golf Course is one of the best public golf courses in the Pacific Northwest.

This certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary was initially constructed in 1927 and was acquired by the city 58 years later.

It is a haven for golfers looking for a challenging but fun experience with the par 72 layouts.

The tree-lined fairways, ponds, and creeks are clean and well-maintained.

The facility has a 30-station covered and heated driving range and a pro shop featuring a wide selection of merchandise.

You may also request lessons from their teaching staff, mainly in the driving range.

Remember a Famed Musician at Jimi Hendrix Memorial

Guitar sculpture at Jimi Hendrix Memorial

Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz /

The Jimi Hendrix Memorial is a historical landmark in Greenwood Memorial Park near Monroe Avenue, dedicated to rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix.

Hendrix is one of the most creative and influential musicians of the 20th century due to his extraordinary musical language and innovative style.

The landmark serves as an excellent place for fans of Hendrix to come together, celebrate his legacy, and draw inspiration from his life as a musician.

Daytime view of the Jimi Hendrix Memorial

Glenn Watkins from Vancouver, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Jimi Hendrix Memorial features a granite dome supported by a trio of pillars and several pictures and portraits of Hendrix.

A new electric guitar sculpture was also installed as a fitting tribute to his historic feat.

Cool Down at River Rock Grill

After spending time at the golf course, you can unwind and enjoy casual dining at River Rock Grill.

The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and different desserts made with fresh ingredients.

Treat yourself at their full-service bar offering several bites such as cheese quesadillas, flatbreads, pan-roasted jumbo prawns wrapped in bacon, grilled chicken, and nachos.

Take a sip and choose from their curated selection of wines, signature drinks, and beers.

River Rock Grill also has a patio for dining and a place where you can chill with their live music on weekend evenings.

Shop and Dine at the Landing

Cap off your vacation in Renton by checking out The Landing for your ultimate dining and shopping experience downtown.

This destination encompasses 614,000 square feet of retail stores of every kind, whether for entertainment, health, beauty, or different dental and medical services.

Thanks to Vietnamese, Mexican, and Chinese restaurants, you will also enjoy different cuisines at the Landing.

There are events hosted in the area, so there is always something new to look forward to with your friends and family.

Adjacent to Boeing’s 737 manufacturing site, the Landing is at North 10th Place with access to public transit and parking spaces.

Final Thoughts

Aside from its strategic location and reputation in aerospace innovation, Renton strikes a perfect balance among life, work, and play, making it a desirable place to plan your trip.

Several outdoor activities await you in its parks, open spaces, trails, and beaches, while historic sites and other main attractions across urban streets introduce you to new cultural experiences.

Take a break from your daily grind, schedule a vacation, and bookmark this page for the best things to do in Renton, Washington!

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