South of beautiful and rainy Seattle lies one of the metro area’s most charming and bustling communities, the city of Tukwila, Washington.
This city is named after the Duwamish word for hazelnuts, which have been growing in the area since the first Native Americans settled in it.
Today, the location serves as home to a diverse and thriving populace where work and play are placed in equal priority.
That’s why you’ll find lots of recreational attractions in Tukwila alongside the commercial centers and business establishments.
In addition, the city contains the King County International Airport, making it one of the primary transportation hubs on this side of the US.
So if you’re looking for an urban paradise offering many attractions while also being easy to reach, this city is your best bet.
Here are the 15 best things to do in Tukwila, WA:
Marvel at the Aircraft in The Museum of Flight
At the King County International Airport, you’ll find a grand museum complex housing the aviation and space exploration history of the country.
It’s the largest private air and space museum worldwide, drawing in hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.
Within the property, there are several hangars showcasing specific types of aircraft from various eras.
In total, you’ll find 175 intact aircraft and spacecraft and even more artifacts and photographs within the halls, suspended in the ceiling or parked outside.
There’s even a library containing reading material about the pursuit of humanity to conquer the skies and the stars.
So if you want to get up close and personal with these magnificent jets, space shuttles, passenger planes, and more, make sure the museum is at the top of your itinerary.
Immerse in Culture and History at Duwamish Hill Preserve
Next to the Duwamish River lies a 10-acre patch of land with immense historical and cultural importance, the scenic Duwamish Hill Preserve.
Through the partnership of private entities and local city government, this place was purchased in 2004 and has been under restoration efforts since.
Today, the location serves as a public open space preserve where Native American heritage and local wildlife are celebrated and enriched.
Duwamish Hill Preserve has several sections where organizers hold activities.
The Cultural Garden contains restored habitats with native plants, which were essential to the indigenous groups who once lived in the area.
It also serves as one of the gathering places for the outdoor classes held on the preserve.
These educational opportunities allow learners to immerse themselves in local history and learn about the hill’s features.
Shop ‘Til You Drop at Westfield Southcenter
The bustling Westfield Southcenter is a large shopping complex in the eponymous village, located a block away from iFLY Indoor Skydiving - Seattle.
It’s one of the retail hubs this side of the Seattle metro area, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.
With 218 stores scattered across 1,680,000 square feet of space, the mall has turned itself into an expansive shopping paradise.
So come check out the trendy restaurants, established clothing boutiques, spas, movie theaters, and other establishments.
There are also occasional events held on the grounds, especially during holidays, and everyone is invited to attend!
Defy Gravity at iFLY Indoor Skydiving - Seattle
Are you looking for something unique and exhilarating to do when in Tukwila?
Make a stop at the exciting iFLY Indoor Skydiving - Seattle.
This is the place where you can defy gravity and experience winds that can reach up to 120 miles an hour—as fast as Category 3 hurricanes!
All this happens inside a wind tunnel where you can simulate a real sky diving experience!
And don’t worry if you’re a beginner as the facility offers classroom training regarding proper technique and safety.
You’ll also be accompanied by a trained professional while inside the wind tunnel.
So put on your skydiving gear—minus the parachute—and feel the howling winds suspend you in the air.
There’s nothing quite like the experience!
Stroll the Gorgeous Green River Trail
The scenic Green River Trail is a long greenway that follows the meandering path of the Duwamish and Green River.
It’s one of the longest continuous trails in the Puget Sound Region, spanning 19 miles of paved roads from Seattle to Kent.
Thanks to Tukwila’s shape, a lengthy trail segment passes through the city.
There are plenty of access points from various neighborhoods, so choose the one that’s nearest to your hotel or accommodation.
For most people, biking is the preferred mode of transport since it allows them to quickly traverse the trail in a couple of hours.
But rollerblading and walking are also great since you can slow down and take in the riverside views.
The trail will lead you to other scenic spots, like Tukwila Community Center and Duwamish Hill Preserve.
Bounce for Hours at DEFY Seattle
The thrilling DEFY Seattle is part of an established trampoline park chain offering the best experiences for the whole family.
Their establishment here is no different, with large sections covered in power trampolines for hours of fun.
There are regular trampoline areas where you can bounce around all day.
Then there are modified ones that add an extra level of thrill!
So watch for the incoming balls on the Extreme Dodgeball area or shoot a hoop or two on the basketball section.
You’ll also find foam pits where everyone can sink into the soft clouds and forget about their worries.
For those who are into more extreme activities, check out the obstacle courses and rock climbing walls.
These will test your endurance, coordination, and problem-solving skills while giving your muscles the workout they need.
Let the Kids Play at Tukwila Community Center
On the eastern banks of the Duwamish Rivers lies the Tukwila Community Center, an all-around recreational facility.
This 48,000 square foot attraction has indoor and outdoor facilities, so there’s plenty of room for every visitor.
Outside, you’ll find a baseball field and a well-equipped skatepark frequented by skating enthusiasts.
There are also walking trails and splash pads on the edges near the scenic body of water, attracting kids and families for some afternoon of fun.
It’s no wonder that the center has been a hit to the locals ever since it opened.
Inside the big building, you’ll find many rooms designed for sports, fitness activities, and private celebrations.
These include weight rooms, gyms, basketball courts, and events places.
Score a Strike at Bowlero South Seattle
If you want to experience the thrill of striking down a set of pins in one shot, check out Bowlero South Seattle.
This is another family entertainment destination located on Southcenter, a village in Tukwila that doubles as a commercial and retail center.
The attraction takes the sport to the next level by providing a refined, upscale experience.
That’s because Bowlero South Seattle has private lanes offering exclusive equipment and other perks.
You’ll also find an arcade section filled with old-school classics and the latest video games, giving your hours of fun.
On one part, there are several billiard tables where you can play a round of pool or two.
Don’t forget to visit the in-house restaurant for refreshing drinks, burgers, finger food, and other laneside delights.
Have a Picnic under the Trees at Tukwila Park
The leafy Tukwila Park is the oldest park in the city, having been around since 1934.
So instead of verdant fields and open spaces, you’ll find a green space filled with old trees like firs and rhododendrons.
These cover much of the park's 6.5-acre area, but you’ll still find plenty of amenities and attractions under the canopy.
There are numerous picnic shelters and tables, areas for grilling, and clean public restrooms.
Since all these are shaded, visitors would feel like they’re in the middle of a forest and away from the city.
For those who like more sporty activities, the park has basketball and tennis courts in the clearings.
There are also walking trails that bring walkers and joggers to the more isolated sections of the park, including lookouts next to Green River and access to the Green River Trail.
Make a Stopover at Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden
Just five minutes away from Tukwila is one gorgeous attraction frequented by nature lovers and budding horticulturists, the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden.
The 10-acre facility is located in neighboring SeaTac and hosts a wide range of plant species, amongst many other sights.
Its purpose is to preserve some of the original gardens in the region, so it’s no surprise that some gardens were literally uprooted from another location and moved here.
So you’ll find a hodgepodge of scenes: zen Japanese gardens, fields of irises, fairytale-like rose gardens, and a stream irrigating most of the complex.
If you have time to spare, then head to this place and smell the flowers blooming beside the walking trails.
Check Out the Flowers at Macadam Winter Garden
The unassuming Macadam Winter Garden may not look like much, but it didn’t win the Best Park recognition from Washington Recreation and Parks Association for nothing.
This green space is composed of various sections connected by winding trails.
And within each section are plants that thrive in specific seasons, making the garden an all-year attraction.
The specimens in each area are arranged to imitate natural settings while maintaining some landscaped qualities.
This way, visitors can marvel at the small bushes and tall trees while staying well within the paved trails.
Of course, the most prominent of these sections is the winter plant section.
Most of the plants bloom during the cold months, so people flock to see the flowers even when there’s snow.
Bring Your Loved Ones to Tukwila Family Fun Center & Bullwinkle's Restaurant
If you’re looking for an exciting destination where the whole family can have fun, check out Tukwila Family Fun Center & Bullwinkle's Restaurant.
This large complex is one of the premier amusement parks in the city, offering plenty of attractions and activities to try.
One of the more prominent is the mini-golf course, which boasts 36 holes and two themes.
Your putting skills will be put to the test!
Another favorite activity is the bumper boat ride, where you get to play in a large pool!
So try not to get wet as you attempt to drench friends or family with water guns and squirters.
After an afternoon of fun, visit Bullwinkle's Restaurant for some savory dishes that will energize you right back up.
They offer pizzas, chicken, and vegetarian options along with refreshing drinks.
Watch a Game at Fort Dent Park
The verdant Fort Dent Park is the unopposed go-to park of Tukwila’s residents, owing to its size and the number of activities available.
This destination is the biggest park in the locality, spanning 54 acres.
It’s also the premier attraction for all things sports-related, thanks to the Starfire Sports Complex located inside it.
This complex houses softball, soccer, and rugby fields as well as a 4,500-seat soccer stadium.
So if you want to catch a game while visiting the city, this location is your best bet.
But if you just want to enjoy a day under the sun with the family, you can simply explore the rest of the park.
There are plenty of modern amenities like picnic sites, well-equipped playgrounds, and paved hiking trails.
The latter will bring you to waterside lookouts offering great views of the Duwamish River.
Try Your Luck at Great American Casino Tukwila
The city has a well-known place for those who like to chase the thrill of gambling: Great American Casino Tukwila.
It’s one of the few facilities of its kind in Tukwila, distinguishing itself with its New York-themed atmosphere and Las-Vegas style games.
You’ll find 15 tables here offering house-banked games.
While you bet and play, you’ll be entertained with live acts and performances, which vary every day.
In fact, Friday nights are dedicated to Asian musical acts that will serenade you with their great voice and music.
Don’t forget to visit the bar and lounge for refreshing cocktails and savory dishes to complement a great night.
Find Peace in the Middle of the City at Tukwila Pond Park
Not to be confused with Tukwila Park, the Tukwila Pond Park is a larger attraction located at the heart of Southcenter.
This destination was built to bring back nature in this highly urbanized section of Tukwila, allowing wildlife to have a haven amidst modernity.
Within the 25-acre park, there’s a large body of water from which it's named after.
It serves as an oasis where waterfowl, amphibians, and a few small mammals live in relative peace and comfort.
The rest of the park is composed of forests and a developed section near the entrance.
There, you’ll find amenities like picnic benches, barbeque grills, and restrooms.
It also serves as the trailhead for the path that goes to the areas near the marsh pond.
Many people will find Tukwila the perfect blend of modernity and nature with its many green spaces, amusement parks, indoor entertainment centers, and riverside attractions.
So whether you’re an adventurer, thrill-seeker, or a busy person looking to unwind, this is the place to be.
Reference this guide when planning your itinerary so you won’t miss the best destinations!