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Be A Tourist in your Own Backyard

Be A Tourist in your Own Backyard

by Mary Clymer on August 4, 2020

4 Tourist Activities to do in Renton 

Be A Tourist in your Own Backyard

It’s the year of stay-cations! I’m sure you are getting bored, as your home is getting hot, and just like the rest of us Washingtonians you are desperate for something new and exciting to do. As you look for a safe and responsible way to keep active and healthy, consider the benefits of your own backyard.

We might not be able to move around as much as we are used to, but there are a lot of benefits to exploring your hometown. Helping small businesses stay open at a time when brick and mortars are disappearing is an obvious one. Wandering through a Renton neighborhood by foot is a way to stay curious about what you’ll find. Taking your camera for a walk is another fun way to discover new treasures hidden just around the corner. Side benefit, you’ll get some sun on your shoulders and a little bit of exercise giving your immune system a boost.

I know you feel like you know Renton inside and out. But trust me, there is always something to be found. A piece of art hidden in a neighborhood (have you seen all the South Renton fire hydrants?), a view you’ve never stopped to see (hike up Historic Renton Hill and turn around- Wow!), a path or trail you’ve never taken (Black River Riparian Forest is my favorite hidden trail).


Here are 4 things you can do now in Renton to feel like you're on vacation today.


1. SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve

A mossy paradise for those of you who love dark damp Northwest woods. This bog is a perfect family outing for a hot summer day. This wet landscape is right in your backyard, yet many have yet to discover the rich preserve. This destination is great for learning about local ecology.

Looking for fun the whole family can enjoy? Sign up for Wild Warrior Adventures, happening now at SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve (21656 184th Ave SE). This is an educational experience in nature. During your 2-hour adventure, you will complete a series of educational challenges about nature. Learning about the habitat and how to conserve the ecosystem and take care of the animals who live here. These hands-on activities were designed to get the whole family to work together. Playing outdoors while solving problems. Sanitation and surface cleaning is in effect. 6-feet between households will be maintained. Click the link for more details. Registration is required and you can sign the family up for only $45 per household. There are only 4 days left, so don’t delay.

2. Cedar River Trail

You’ve probably found yourself walking along the Cedar River Trail at some point. Whether you were taking a stroll on the riverwalk to watch the duck derby during Renton River Days, or in the fall to see the salmon returning upstream to lay their eggs. This 17-mile trail is a gateway to many adventures. 

Hop on your bike and go explore the depths of it. If you start in downtown Renton you can fill your tires and give your bike a quick tune-up at GHY Bikes before heading out. This is a relatively flat ride and takes you all the way out to Maple Valley. Along the way you can pick blackberries, bird watch, spy on friends floating down the river, sightsee as you pass Ron Regis Park and enjoy some lunch in the shade before turning around and returning home. 

If you are just way too hot to want to bike ride, then join the floaters. This is prime time to do a socially distanced float down the cedar. It is cold, but memories will be made. A nice watering hole is just behind Carco Theatre, but be warned, it can get pretty crowded on a hot day. 


3. Pay Honor to Jimi

Making the list of 16 Seattle Day trips by planetware.com is the Jimi Hendrix Memorial. Located right here in Renton at the Greenwood Memorial Park and Cemetery. People from all over the nation come here to pay respect to the rock legend, and all you need to do is head up Cemetery road.

  This 30-foot granite dome is supported by three columns. You can usually find someone inside playing music or paying respect in some fashion. Very often a kind letter of inspiration, a half smoked joint, or some other kind of unique treasure has been left behind by fans in this gazebo shaped memorial. 
The park is stunning on its own, and a great place for peace and quiet on a sunny day. You are welcome to walk the park during business hours as long as you are respectful of your space. Across the street is ReFuel Cafe, so grab a beverage and take a nice social distancing stroll.

4. Lake Washington 

We are so blessed to live at the southernmost tip of Lake Washington. And there are so many ways to enjoy the view. A fun itinerary would be to park at Renton Memorial Stadium and head down Nishawaki Lane. It’s a beautiful walk that ends at the Boeing plant where it’s not uncommon to see a brand new airplane crossing the river on its way to take its maiden voyage. Continue forward to the Cedar River Boathouse. The Renton Rowing Center operates out of this hidden gem located at the far north end of the Cedar River Trail. Here you can rent a canoe or a kayak. A fun activity to do with a friend or have a solo adventure. You can take your kayak out on the lake or down the Cedar. It’s up to you, just enjoy the hour-long rental and explore what Renton looks like from the water. 

Coulon Beach Park is another fantastic way to spend an afternoon. This is one of King County’s busier parks, so expect it to be full. Still, it’s a great place to cool off, watch the geese (beware of droppings!), and enjoy this magnificent lake of ours. Ivar’s is open! You can catch some fish & chips and enjoy it outside in Coulon’s beautiful seating area. Just be sure to bring the disinfectant wipes. Shared spaces means shared germs too. 

Don’t forget about the Hyatt Regency at Southport. Water’s Table is open for dine-in and takeout. Both indoor and outdoor dining are available, and stunning views of the lake can be seen from any table in the joint. 3-hour complimentary boat parking available for those traveling by water. Check out their website for upcoming events like the highly successful Mark Ryan Dinner.

Get Going!

Don’t spend another gorgeous day indoors. Go fall in love with the treasures here in Renton. From nature to local finds, there is something here for everyone. Now that you have a couple of ideas to get you going, so round up your family, friends, or anyone in your COIVD circle and get out there. 

Be sure to report back to the Chamber activities you like to do that are local and are within COVID guidelines for our City. We’d love to hear what gems you’d add to the list. Click here: My FAVORITE things to do in Renton are... 

Decals are available for $7 each at the Chamber.

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