20 Best Things to Do in Federal Way, WA

Federal Way, WA

Welcome to Federal Way, Washington, a lesser-known jewel nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.

This city, with its enduring allure, promises fresh discoveries at every turn. Every nook and cranny holds an invitation for a unique experience, waiting to be embraced.

For the nature aficionado, the culinary seeker, the history enthusiast, or those desiring a relaxed day amidst lively surroundings, Federal Way has a rich palette of offerings.

Delve into this curated guide, spotlighting the must-visit attractions and experiences in Federal Way, Washington.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: James Williamson, Wesley Bryant, Chester Henderson, Andre Dooley, Sandra Brown, Raul Ross and Terry Farr.

Embrace Nature at Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden

A pathway lines with plants at Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden
Dmitry Kovba / Shutterstock.com

If there's one thing you should know about me, I have quite a knack for plants.

I have spent countless hours tending to my little green friends, and this one place in our town always amazes me with its stunning collection of flora - the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden.

Every time I visit, I immerse myself in the vast sea of rhododendrons and azaleas, all blossoming in various colors that would put a rainbow to shame.

But the garden isn't just about rhododendrons and azaleas.

It's a celebration of all things green and beautiful, with seasonal and perennial plants showcasing magnificence at every corner.

I took my mother there for the first time not long ago, and she was captivated.

With her camera, she immortalized the blooms' ethereal beauty.

Pastel-colored flowers at Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden
TayaJohnston / Shutterstock.com

If I had a dollar for every picture she took, I'd be rich!

I usually visit towards the end of March when the blooms are about to burst into life.

The indoor plant area is also a sight, with a serene walkway and cozy benches to rest and soak in the tranquility.

There's a small entrance fee, which you can pay at the gift shop, but I assure you, it's worth every penny.

I still remember my first visit to the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden; I knew right then that I had to get a membership, and I did.

Now, I have the privilege of witnessing the stunning transformation of the garden all year round.

And trust me when I say it's an experience like no other. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves the green and the serene.

A pretty flower at Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden
Dmitry Kovba / Shutterstock.com

Transform Yourself at FitTheorem, Federal Way

I have to say, I'm not one to be easily impressed, but the FitTheorem in Federal Way has genuinely blown me away.

I've been kickboxing at this location for some time, and the experience has been spectacular.

Indeed, I can't stress enough how much this has changed my life.

I feel stronger more confident, my endurance has increased dramatically, and I now feel like I can protect myself if ever I need to.

It's a liberating feeling that I never expected from a workout regimen!

And it's not just about the physical benefits.

The community at FitTheorem is one of a kind. Everyone I've met is there to support, help, and cheer you on.

There's no judgment - just a shared commitment to fitness and personal growth.

A few weeks after I joined, I can testify that it's been one of the best things I've ever done.

I've lost 15 pounds, learned discipline, and gained confidence.

This is, undoubtedly, the best way I've found to lose weight and keep fit.

If you're looking for a fitness routine that makes a difference, I can't recommend FitTheorem enough.

Dive Deep with Underwater Sports Inc.

I've always had a thing for the ocean, and when I discovered Underwater Sports Inc., I knew it was the perfect place to indulge in my underwater fantasies.

Tucked in the heart of the city, this dive shop is a treasure trove for both newbies and experienced divers.

I remember being nervous when I first walked in for my open water certification.

The course blended fun and profound learning, focusing on the critical skills needed for a certified diver.

Two weekends of intensive training later, I emerged feeling confident that I could handle any issue underwater.

One of the things I love the most about Underwater Sports Inc. is the opportunity it gives to experience the rich biodiversity of Puget Sound.

Diving puts you in the middle of the marine life, offering an up-close and personal view of the underwater world.

Taking the plunge with Underwater Sports Inc. has been a gratifying experience.

The open water course and the opportunity to dive into the deep blue sea make it a must-visit for anyone looking to dive deeper.

A Night at Centerstage Theatre

Upon entering the Centerstage Theatre, you instantly feel this place is where great art happens.

The atmosphere is vibrant and alive with anticipation, making every visit a delightful experience.

I've had the pleasure of being on both sides of the curtain here, and they are both equally impressive.

The treatment of their actors is nothing short of exceptional.

The respect and care exhibited here are evident in the quality of the productions that consistently make their way to the stage.

Every performance I've witnessed has been masterfully executed, garnering a deserved standing ovation from the audience.

The setting of the theater is picturesque.

It's one of those places where I doubt there are bad seats.

Each time I've visited, I've fully immersed myself in the performances, undisturbed by the typical discomfort that comes with theater seating.

The venue's design ensures that every seat feels like the best seat in the house.

One of the most memorable performances I've seen here was Sherlock Holmes.

The portrayals were brilliant, with the scene transitions being a particular highlight.

Watching a character chased across the stage was fascinating, with props swapped out seamlessly.

The performance of Sir Henry was also particularly delightful. It was fun and engaging, reminding me why I keep returning to this theater.

Of particular note is the creative utilization of the small space.

Centerstage Theatre boasts a wide array of lighting options for a venue of its size, enhancing the viewer's experience.

They know how to make the most out of their space, turning what could be a limitation into a strength.

Whether you're an avid theater-goer or just looking for a fun night out, I highly recommend visiting Centerstage Theatre.

Enjoy a Tranquil Experience at the Pacific Bonsai Museum

A larix laricina bonsai in Pacific Bonsai Museum
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Venturing off the beaten path often presents the most rewarding experiences, which is true with the extraordinary Pacific Bonsai Museum.

Upon entering the lavish grounds filled with walking trails, I was instantly taken by the bonsai trees' serene ambiance and exquisite beauty.

Each of the over 100 trees from countries like China, Japan, Canada, Korea, Taiwan, and America was a delicate masterpiece showcasing the meticulous care and attention that went into maintaining them.

The bonsai museum operates on a donation basis, and to my surprise, I found out that they even offer some plants for sale near their gift shop - a perfect souvenir to carry back home!

Calling this place a museum does not do it justice.

It's more like a living art gallery, where nature's tiny marvels are displayed.

A sequoia bonsai in Pacific Bonsai Museum
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The placards accompanying each tree narrate their unique stories, bringing them to life.

This infuses a learning aspect to the visit, making it an enriching experience for all ages.

From the stunning assortment of bonsai trees to the picturesque views, the Pacific Bonsai Museum promises an unforgettable experience.

Whether you are a bonsai lover, this place will not disappoint.

And with a vast, free parking lot, it's a breeze to visit.

It's undoubtedly one of those hidden gems you stumble upon and can't help but fall in love with!

Take a Personal Wine Journey at Abbe Vineyard Winery

Stumbling upon hidden gems in my town is my thing, and I have to say, my latest discovery, the Abbe Vineyard Winery, has been nothing short of delightful.

Tucked away in the city's heart, this vineyard offers an authentic, cozy experience that's hard to find without driving for miles.

The wine-tasting event was charming in every sense.

Moreover, the dry wines, with sharp notes, were a refreshing change from my usual preferences.

One thing that I missed was a glass of water between tastings to cleanse my palate.

A charcuterie board would have been a pleasant addition, too, but the rustic appeal of the vineyard more than made up for it.

It became the perfect setting for a quaint afternoon date.

Their tasting areas are a dream.

It offers indoor and outdoor options and a perfect blend of comfort and natural beauty.

The covered outdoor section is a delight, and the patio overlooking the vineyard is genuinely breathtaking.

Their wine selection is commendable as well!

Their impeccable service and exquisite estate make me eager to plan my next visit.

For instance, the chardonnay was paired with perfectly cooked, flavorful scallops.

It was such a serene afternoon that I almost forgot I was still in Federal Way.

The Abbe Vineyard Winery is a local gem embodying the spirit of intimate wine-tasting experiences.

This place also offers a beautiful escape from the everyday hustle without straying too far from home.

Enjoy a Peaceful Retreat at PowellsWood Garden

Sometimes, amidst the busy pace of life, you stumble upon a tranquil oasis that seems to slow down time.

That's what PowellsWood Garden was for me: a peaceful retreat nestled in a captivating forest landscape.

With its three acres of beautifully tended gardens, it was like stepping into another world.

Meandering through the well-maintained paths, I reveled in the tranquility and the splendid array of colors around me.

The small pond, bustling with life, and the softly babbling stream added to the soothing ambiance.

It was so serene I almost forgot I was in the middle of a bustling city.

On one of my visits, I was lucky to come during an in-between blooming season.

You'd think the garden would seem barren, but that was far from the case.

There was still abundant beauty, with the evergreen foliage providing a backdrop for the few resilient flowers that had chosen to bloom.

I remember the elegant conservatory, a beautiful structure that was home to a myriad of exotic plants.

With its glass walls and roof, this cozy indoor garden provided a unique viewing experience, particularly during rainy days when droplets trickled down the glass, creating a mesmerizing pattern.

Moreover, the lack of crowds was a significant advantage.

It wasn't well-known or overly busy, which made my visits even more enjoyable.

I could silently sit on one of the many benches and enjoy the scenery without any distractions.

So, if you need a breath of fresh air, a quiet corner to read a book, or want to appreciate nature's beauty, then PowellsWood Garden is the place for you.

Enjoy Afternoons at Town Square Park

There's a little haven in our town where the magic of childhood comes alive - the Town Square Park.

It's become a ritual for me to spend my afternoons there, basking in the laughter and joy that fills the air.

The park offers the perfect respite with its water sprinklers for those summer days when the heat is relentless.

I've often seen the children around town reveling under these sprinklers, their squeals of delight ringing through the air.

The park also has a splash pad, a favorite amongst the kids.

There's no need to worry if you're not a fan of the water.

The rope-climbing structure promises an adventure that's dry yet equally, if not more, exciting.

But what I find most compelling about the park is the amalgamation of modernity and nostalgia.

On the one hand, you have contemporary play equipment like the jungle gym catering to the young and the young at heart.

On the other hand, the traditional basketball court with short and adult-size hoops takes you back to the good old days.

Town Square Park also has covered picnic tables, as with every good park.

I've attended countless parties and get-togethers there, always leaving with a heart full of joy and a belly full of good food.

The park also boasts a scenic picnic spot with tables and benches.

It's an ideal place to spend a leisurely afternoon, lost in a good book or simply soaking in the serenity.

If you want a glimpse into the soul of our town, there's no better place than Town Square Park. It's a memory in the making.

Discover Serenity at West Hylebos Wetlands Park

Wooden pathway lined with trees at West Hylebos Wetlands Park
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One could argue that the authentic charm of our city is best displayed amidst the picturesque paths of West Hylebos Wetlands Park.

As a lover of the outdoors, I've often strolled through the network of trails and boardwalks crisscrossing the park's wetlands.

Emerging from home one morning, guided by the tranquility of dawn, I ventured into the park.

The path was empty, save for the humming of nature's orchestra, creating a serene solitude.

Along the trail, I took a moment to appreciate the informative signs offering knowledge about the native plants and trees of Washington - an educational journey wrapped in an outdoor expedition.

The boardwalks, well-maintained and easy to navigate, provide a charming path through the wetlands, a wonderfully surprising oasis next to the city's busiest areas.

You wouldn't believe the hustle and bustle beyond the park's edges as you immerse yourself in its tranquil beauty.

A lake at West Hylebos Wetlands Park
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On another day, I decided to jog along the trail.

It's a fantastic place for a light workout, with the bonus of the stunning view at the end.

The park provides a few spots with picnic tables and benches, perfect for anyone needing a small break or simply looking to soak in the scenery.

One particular walk stands out, my first at West Hylebos Wetlands Park.

I was delighted to spot several wildlife creatures along the trail, an authentic nature experience in the city's heart.

West Hylebos Wetlands Park is a highlight in our community.

Whether seeking a peaceful walk, a light jog, or a nature-filled adventure, it is a lush, welcoming haven.

Exterior of Denny Cabin at West Hylebos Wetlands Park
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bring Your Pets to French Lake Off-Leash Dog Park

I've been to many parks with my pet dogs over the years, but I must admit, none have quite matched the magic of the French Lake Off-Leash Dog Park.

Something about the vastness combined with the simplicity keeps drawing me back to it.

The first time I stepped foot in this park, I was taken aback by the sheer size.

It takes a couple of laps around the place to truly appreciate how much space your dog has to run wild and free.

I remember losing sight of my Basset hound on our first visit because there was so much ground to cover!

It's a haven for dogs who love to explore.

One of the features I appreciate most about this park is the particular area for special needs dogs.

It's thoughtful, considerate, and greatly appreciated by dog owners like me who have pups with unique needs.

Moreover, its presence here speaks volumes about the commitment to inclusivity.

And let's not forget about the facilities!

The park provides good-quality poop bags, saving me the trouble of always remembering to bring my own.

Plus, there's always clean water available for the dogs, ensuring they stay hydrated during their playtime.

French Lake Off-Leash Dog Park has become one of my favorite spots to visit with my dog.

Unravel History at the Historical Society of Federal Way

There's something incredibly thrilling about diving into the annals of our town's past at the Historical Society of Federal Way.

Through each exhibit, every artifact, and vintage photograph, I find myself drawn deeper into the intriguing history of Federal Way.

It's an enlightening and enthralling experience, a journey back in time.

One of the most recent additions to the museum, an exhibit dedicated to World War II, is a testament to the Society's commitment to preserving our past.

It's meticulously curated and rich in detail, revealing our town's crucial role in the war.

The exhibit is informative and engaging, making history come alive in a truly immersive way.

Apart from this, the current exhibit stands as a tribute to the South King County Fire & Rescue.

This exhibit splendidly captures the valiant efforts of our fire and rescue teams, shedding light on their countless contributions to our community.

It's a reminder of the resilience and courage ingrained in Federal Way's spirit.

Visiting the Historical Society of Federal Way is an opportunity to explore our community's roots, appreciate our journey, and understand the forces that have shaped the Federal Way into the town it is today.

Spend the Day at Steel Lake Park

It's hard not to fall in love with Steel Lake Park, nestled in the heart of my city.

This park is my go-to spot for a day out with the family or even when I need a quiet place to unwind after a long day.

Additionally, the 52-acre park, located right here in my city, is a treat no matter what season it is.

But come summertime, the place bursts into life with live concerts and a bustling crowd of families and friends basking in the warm sun.

One of the best things about the park is its massive lake.

It's perfect for a swim on a hot day and has plenty of space for everyone.

My kids can't get enough of the large playground while I enjoy a good volleyball game in the park's dedicated pit.

And if you're keen on BBQ, you can bring your pit and cook up a storm.

The park's walking paths are a godsend when you need a breather.

They are quiet, easy to navigate, and take you around the beautiful park.

There's even a fishing pier if you're in the mood for some catch-and-release fun.

And don't worry about the restroom facilities - they're clean and well-maintained.

Oh, and did I mention it's a dog-friendly park?

So, my pets are always welcome here.

And then there's the ice cream.

The park boasts an impressive ice cream area with various treats that are a hit with the kids (and let's be honest, us adults, too!).

At an average cost of just around $4.00 per person, it's a sweet way to end the day.

So, if you're looking for a family-friendly place with fun, relaxation, and natural beauty in one package, you can't go wrong with Steel Lake Park.

Go Camping at Dash Point State Park

Sandy beach at Dash Point State Park
Roman Khomlyak / Shutterstock.com

Dash Point State Park is my go-to escape from the humdrum of city life.

Just a short drive from downtown, this 400-acre heaven is nestled on the Puget Sound and offers a barrage of outdoor activities.

My ultimate de-stressing ritual is camping under the stars amidst the beautiful greenery.

You would be surprised at how big the park is!

Over 120 camping spots provide ample space for all tents, making it equally popular with solo campers and families.

The park offers various camping options, including ones with electrical hookups and cabins.

Moreover, the cleanliness of the camp is commendable, with tidy bathrooms and showers available at your disposal.

One of the things I love about Dash Point is the proximity to the local grocery.

It's just a stone's throw away, making it convenient if you need any provisions.

Wooden bridge walkway at Dash Point State Park
GeorgeColePhoto / Shutterstock.com

Surprisingly, even though the park is close to residential areas, it feels remote and tranquil.

The park's hiking trails are another crowning glory.

Well-maintained and located at higher elevations, they offer stunning views of the pebbled beach below.

For those who prefer a little more activity, biking or hand-launching boats are also options.

What I appreciate the most is how well spaced out the campsites are from each other, ensuring you have your private nook.

The showers and restrooms were clean during my stay, and the trails were impeccable, with no trash in sight.

Moreover, the drive or walk to the beach is an experience in itself and one that you wouldn't want to miss.

So, if you're looking for a spot to unwind and reconnect with nature, Dash Point State Park is the place to be.

Picnic area overlooking a beach at Dash Point State Park
Beach Creatives / Shutterstock.com

Play Soccer at Celebration Park

Every Sunday, I trek to the one place that serves as my weekly escape from the city's hustle and bustle - Celebration Park.

This public playground is more than just a park; it's a sprawling expanse of lush greenery dotted with lighted baseball fields, soccer pitches, and even a dedicated play area for children.

With its rich offerings, the park is a true gem in our beloved city of Federal Way.

My usual routine starts with a brisk jog on the park's winding trail — a feature that fitness enthusiasts like myself adore.

Lined with towering trees, the path makes each jog a refreshing experience, filling the lungs with crisp, clean air, a rare commodity these days.

Post jog, it's time for the main event — soccer.

The park boasts two professional-grade soccer fields, making every game feel like a championship.

My team and I usually spend hours on this well-maintained turf, with the thrill of competition keeping us on our toes.

There's a certain charm in the park's competitive spirit; it's here that we recently won a tournament organized by the local Korean community, and the feeling was nothing short of exhilarating.

Apart from soccer, the park also hosts a playground with safe and exciting features for children.

I often see the little ones laughing and enjoying themselves in the play areas, their happiness infectious.

Celebration Park, in essence, creates a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone, making it an excellent spot for family outings.

One more thing worth mentioning is the cleanliness of the park.

The city takes great pride in maintaining it. And to cap it all off, the park also offers convenient parking facilities, making it all the more accessible for visitors.

So, head to Celebration Park next time you're looking for a place to kick back and relax or get your adrenaline pumping.

Whether it's the lure of a soccer match, jogging amidst nature, or simply watching your kids have a gala time, this place has something for everyone.

Go on an Adventure at Catapult Adventure Park Federal Way

Have you ever had one of those days you need to let loose and release some energy?

Maybe it's been a long week at work; the kids are bouncing off the walls, or you want to do something different.

That's when I turned to Catapult Adventure Park Federal Way, which delivers fun and adventure.

Recently, I signed up for a membership for myself and my daughter.

We were both enthralled by the multitude of activities available.

Her favorite was the zip line obstacle course, which she adored.

On the other hand, I was pleased to see how clean the park was. Not a dust bunny in sight, even on the colossal blow-up towers.

One of the things I appreciate the most about Catapult Adventure Park Federal Way is how it's not too crowded during the weekdays.

It's a great place to escape the heat and let the kids burn off some energy in a cool, fun environment.

The place has become our go-to spot for action-packed fun, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a day out of the ordinary.

Spend the Day at Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center

Pool of Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center
Tanis Coralee Leonhardi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There's just something about the exhilarating thrill of diving into a pool that never gets old.

The Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center encapsulates this in the best way possible.

Trust me, I've frequented the place enough times to vouch for it.

You're greeted with anticipation and excitement when you step into the center.

The vast 50-meter competition pool, complete with its moveable bulkheads, is a sight.

I've had the pleasure of witnessing several state swimming competitions here, and let me tell you - the scoreboard that displays the swimmers' names and scores is simply amazing.

It brings an added level of excitement to the matches.

The aquatic center is more than just a pool.

It's also a place of beauty.

The architecture, the design, and the overall ambiance are breathtaking.

With plenty of seating for spectators, it's always a pleasure bringing my family here and cheering on the competitors.

And if you're a fan of diving, the 25-yard diving well, complete with platforms and springboards, is a sight to behold.

I've spent countless laps in the 25-yard lap pool. It's shallow – perfect for a beginner like me. But don't let that fool you. This pool produces some of the fastest swimmers I have ever seen.

The Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center is iconic, hosting national championships every few years.

It's a source of pride and joy for our community. Collegiate and local meets are also held here, bringing together swimmers from all walks of life.

The saying goes, 'Home is where the heart is.'

For many locals, that heart lies in the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.

Final Thoughts

After spending years exploring the beauty and charm of Federal Way, I can honestly say that this city never ceases to amaze me.

Federal Way offers something for all, whether you're into botanical wonders, adventurous sports, or indulging in the rich cultural scene.

So pack your day with fun, adventure, and relaxation in Federal Way, Washington. You're in for a treat!

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