I never thought I’d consider a mall play area a destination, but I am mighty impressed with the space at the north end of Northgate Mall. I have to admit that part of my enthusiasm is that the mall has finally installed a space for kids after all these years, but overall it is a nice place to let your little ones roam free. This is a great spot for rainy weekday mornings, or those rare Seattle days when you need to escape the heat.
The space is clean and bright, the floors and climbing toys are soft and squishy and there are activities available for a wide range of ages. Cushioned benches surround the main play floor, so you can kick back and watch the kids work out their sillies.
One of my favorite features of the play area is the huge electric piano mounted on the wall (basically a vertical version of the one Tom Hanks plays with his feet in Big). Even my 9-month-old liked that!
There’s also a playhouse with a little slide; a soft boat, car and rocket ship and games and funhouse-style mirrors mounted on the walls.
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One major drawback of the play area is that it is in kind of a dead zone as far as amenities go. The food court, bathrooms and most of the popular stores are at the other end of the mall. This may appeal to you if you want to get away from the crowds, but it could also be horribly inconvenient for quick diaper changes, or if your little one needs to find a restroom right away. Barnes and Noble, Macy’s and Nordstrom are the closest spots for facilities.
My solution: park in the JC Penney parking garage (this is especially nice if you can park within access to the sky bridge), take care of any bathroom breaks or snacks on the way in and then work your way towards the play area. It doesn’t work for every situation, but I’ve often found it to be a decent way to go.
There are a few restrictions in the area. Food, drink and shoes are not allowed. Strollers must also be parked at the entryway. While it would be nice to enjoy a coffee while watching the kids play, I do think the restriction will help to keep the area nice for a long time. I’ve also found that it’s not too inconvenient to keep a drink in the stroller beverage holder and hop over for the occasional sip.
401 NE Northgate Way
Seattle, WA 98125
Mon to Sat: 10:00am – 9:00pm
Sun: 11:00am – 7:00pm