Looking for underrated places to visit while you’re in Seattle? Check out Burien. Located south of the Emerald City and along the banks of Puget Sound, Burien is an unassuming suburban community with a local history that goes back hundreds of years. It was first settled in the middle of the 19th century and quickly grew to become the incorporated city we know today.
With its location along the shores of Puget Sound, Burien is full of hidden treasures. There are viewpoints looking out across the water, miles of hiking and jogging trails, heavily wooded city parks (both small and sprawling), and a delightful collection of locally owned businesses you should definitely support. Continue reading for more things to do in Burien, Washington.
1. Have some fun at Seahurst Park
The Pacific Northwest is famed for its sprawling greeneries, and Washington is definitely no exception. Burien is home to lush Seahurst Park, where you can go hiking with friends and pets (leashed, of course), admire the autumnal foliage during fall and the explosion of blooms in the spring, and wonder at the tall trees that cover the entire area. Follow the forest trail to go deeper into the woodlands, or head to the coast for breathtaking views of Puget Sound.
Address: 1600 SW Seahurst Park Rd, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Website: Seahurst Park
Opening hours: 8am - 9:30pm (daily)
2. Play soccer at Chelsea Park
Feeling sporty? How about joining a soccer match at Chelsea Park? It’s a great way to burn off the calories and meet new friends from the area, as Chelsea Park is the very definition of a small neighborhood park. If you’re not up to kick it, you can just sit on the sidelines and people-watch (or pet-watch; Chelsea Park is a favorite haunt among local dogs). On a clear day, you can even enjoy the beautiful views of Mt. Rainier from the park.
Address: 839 SW 136th St, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Website: Chelsea Park
3. Check out the model railroads at Electric Train Shop
If trains pique your interest, you need to pay the Electric Train Shop a visit. This uniquely Burien attraction is home to an impressive collection of different model trains and railroads, all laid out to form one hell of an exhibit. You can watch the little trains go by and chat with the owner, Scott, who is a dedicated hobbyist. Electric Train Shop also carries models you can purchase, as well as sets and sceneries, just in case you want to build your own little railroad network at home.
Electric Train Shop
Address: 625 SW 152nd St, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Website: Electric Train Shop
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 11am - 6pm (closed on Sun & Mon)
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4. Buy freshly baked goods at Bakery Nouveau
Sweet treats. Freshly baked bread straight out of the oven. Chocolates. Great coffee! Is this heaven? Well, for everything that Bakery Nouveau offers, it may very well be a slice of paradise in Burien. Pick up breakfast pastries to start your morning, stock up on macarons and chocolate for the rest of our stay in Burien, and if available, sample some of the seasonal offerings! And in case you forgot to drop by the Burien location, Bakery Nouveau also has shops in West Seattle and Capitol Hill.
Address: 426 SW 153rd St, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Website: Bakery Nouveau
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 6am - 7pm; Sat: 7am - 7pm; Sun: 7am - 6pm
5. Take a stroll around Town Square Park
Head over to Town Square Park for a nice morning or late afternoon stroll with a bag of snacks in hand. While you’re at it, pick a nice bench, stretch out your legs (you deserve it), then happily munch away. Some of the best experiences in Burien are simple and don’t cost anything. Added bonus: the Burien Library is located nearby, just in case you want to read a book or two!
Town Square Park
Address: 480 SW 152nd St, Burien, WA 98166, United States
6. Enjoy a custom massage at Blissful Knead
After a night of gambling to test your luck, treat yourself to a custom massage or an aromatherapy facial at Blissful Knead the next day. You can choose from a short, 30-minute massage or an intensive one that lasts almost two hours, depending on your preferences! The experienced massage therapists at Blissful Knead will create a custom treatment for you based on what you need and what’s best for you right now. After spending a couple of hours at Blissful Knead, you’ll emerge cleansed and rejuvenated.
Address: 140 SW 153rd St, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Website: Blissful Knead
Opening hours: Mon: 12pm - 7pm; Tue - Sat: 10am - 7pm; Sun: 10am - 5pm (closed on Thu & Fri)
Price: From 66 USD
7. Watch a play at Burien Actors Theatre
Burien has a lively arts and culture scene, and the local Burien Actors Theatre is proof of that. They organize and host annual seasons showcasing the talents of homegrown actors, playwrights, and other creatives through a series of high-quality productions you’ll surely enjoy. You can check their official website and see what’s scheduled ahead, or just drop by and purchase a ticket for whatever’s featured for the day. Rest assured, you’ll have a grand time immersing yourself in Burien’s talent and culture.
Burien Actors Theatre
Address: 14501 4th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98166, United States
Website: Burien Actors Theatre
8. Have a drink at 909 Coffee & Wine
Ask any Burien local about the top five restaurants and cafes in the city and they will most likely point you to the direction of 909 Coffee & Wine. There really is no mystery though, because as soon as you step into this cozy hangout spot and smell the roasted beans of Caffee Umbria, you’ll easily understand why everyone adores 909 Coffee & Wine. This family-owned cafe not only serves amazing coffee and wine- they also have freshly baked pastries and house-made desserts. There’s no Wi-Fi here, so you can really enjoy and disconnect.
909 Coffee & Wine
Address: 909 SW 152nd St, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Website: 909 Cofee & Wine
Opening hours: 8am - 12am (daily)
9. Ride a hot-air balloon with Seattle Ballooning
If you’re after memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences in Burien, you only need to get in touch with Seattle Ballooning. They’ll whisk you away to a wide-open space and get you to ride a hot-air balloon so you can enjoy 180-degree views of Burien and the neighboring areas, with Mt. Rainier looming not far. Book a flight for a date with a special someone or get a bigger hot-air balloon for eight to accommodate you and all of your friends.
Hot air balloon rides with Seattle Ballooning
Address: 16247 8th Ave SW, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Website: Seattle Ballooning
Opening hours: 7:15am - 9pm (daily)
Price: From 295 USD
10. Enjoy the nightlife at Elmer's Bar & Grill
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Here’s another restaurant you need to definitely try while you’re in Burien: Elmer’s Bar & Grill. This old-school dive bar has been a local gathering spot for years. If people are not digging into the pub grub, they’re most likely dancing to live music, enjoying great drinks, playing pool, or even jamming with the musicians. One of the most amazing things about Elmer’s Bar & Grill is that even if they’re open until the wee hours of the morning, the staff is 100 percent ready to serve you some breakfast come seven in the morning.
Elmer's Bar & Grill
Address: 15027 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Website: Elmer’s Bar & Grill
Opening hours: 7am - 2am (daily)
11. Watch a movie at The Tin Theater
There’s another theater to visit in town, this time dedicated to the art of filmmaking: Tin Theater. Located in Olde Town Burien, it’s actually a local landmark, playing first-run movies ever so reliably. Once in a while, Tin Theater also plays host to comedy shows and special events. You can book the whole place for a private screening for your travel companions and your new local friends. There’s also an on-site restaurant, Tin Room Bar, where you can take dinner before your movie. Take heed, however! The Tin Theater is only open to guests age 21 years and above.
The Tin Theater
Address: 923 SW 152nd St, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Website: The Tin Theater
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 12am; Fri: 11am - 1am; Sat: 10am - 1am; Sun: 10am - 10pm
12. Try the pub grub at Smarty Pants Garage
Next stop on your Burien degustation experience: Smarty Pants Garage. It’s a fuss-free and casual eatery that’s well-known in Burien for the following specialties: Poblano benedict, field roast Reuben, troublemaker sandwich, and their take on the widely loved chili. There’s a good beer selection to try, and the biker vibes give Smarty Pants Garage an added layer of old-school cool. Did we mention the customer service is also great? We can’t forget that!
Smarty Pants Garage
Address: 626 SW 152nd St, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Website: Smarty Pants Garage
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 9pm; Fri: 11am - 11pm; Sat: 9am - 11pm; Sun: 9am - 9pm
13. Immerse yourself in nature at Eagle Landing Park
Now that you’ve had your fair share of city delights, it’s time to go back to the best thing about Burien and Washington State: outdoor recreation! This time around, let’s take the short drive to Eagle Landing Park, where you can take a wooded trail that will lead you all the way to an overlook with spectacular views of Puget Sound and beyond. We highly recommend taking this short hike just around sunset, with the sky all ablaze, or early in the morning and just in time for sunrise. If you like bird watching, you’d be pleased to know that bald eagles are also often sighted here.
Eagle Landing Park
Address: 14641 25th Ave SW, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Website: Eagle Landing Park
14. Go deeper into the forest at Salmon Creek Ravine Park
Not far from Seahurst Park is Salmon Creek Ravine Park, one of Burien’s best outdoor recreation destinations. It’s a favorite among local botanists, as there are exemplary specimens of maples, Douglas firs, madrone, and red cedars standing tall and proud here. And beneath the thick undergrowth: life. There are trails but no signs, so we recommend getting a local guide to take you around the area. Find Salmon Creek– you’ll hear it rushing when you’re near.
Salmon Creek Ravine Park
Address: 12540 Shorewood Pl SW, Burien, WA 98146, United States
Website: Salmon Creek Ravine Park
15. Watch a game at Moshier Memorial Park
This local favorite is 15.2 acres (about 6.1 hectares) of fun and competitive team sports. The athletics fields (for football, softball, soccer, and baseball) are some of the best in Burien, but if you want to play just a casual game without all the rules, the open spaces will do just as well. Moshier Memorial Park also has an art center where you can sign up for art classes for different skill levels.
Moshier Memorial Park
Address: 430 S 156th St, Burien, WA 98148, United States
Website: Moshier Memorial Park
16. Go on a nature walk in Dottie Harper Park
While you’re in Burien, take advantage of the abundance of green spaces such as Dottie Harper Park. Compared to Quarry Park and Moshier Memorial Park, this one leans on the small and cute side, but residents love it all the same. You can go for a short nature walk here to clear your mind.
In 2015, Dottie Harper Park was renovated and, thanks to that project, this area now features relatively new landscaping and a better play area for children. Picnic tables have also been added all throughout the park, just in case you fancy a spontaneous picnic under the leafy shade of Dottie Harper Park’s tall trees. You might even stumble upon an art installation or event here!
Dottie Harper Park
Address: 421 SW 146th St, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)
17. Enjoy the peace and quiet at Mathison Park
If ever Dottie Harper Park is too crowded for you (it can be especially busy at times– the kids just love the new playground and we can’t blame them), Mathison Park might prove to be the better, more peaceful option. It’s also on the small scale compared to other parks in the city (although it actually covers five acres or about two hectares), but since Mathison Park is divided into three sections, you can easily find a quiet spot and enjoy the cool breeze.
Mathison Park also holds a piece of Burien’s history. The trees here actually form a part of the last undeveloped forest in the city, preserved by the Mathison family, who moved to Burien sometime in 1944. They purchased this tract and so many developers wanted to buy this lot from them, but they all turned down the offers. In 1999, the family donated the tract to the city government, which then opened the park and named it after them.
Address: 533 S 146th St, Burien, WA 98168, United States
18. Play basketball at Puget Sound Park
Burien and Washington State might not have a formidable team out there competing in the NBA, but the basketball court here at Puget Sound Park will certainly make you think there’s some untapped talent. So, if you would like to play some ball, this is where you go. Puget Sound Park also covers five acres (about two hectares), which is typical for parks in Burien. Aside from a basketball court, there is also a short walking trail, a playground, and numerous picnic tables and benches scattered throughout the area. If you’re driving to Puget Sound Park, you also don’t need to worry about parking– there’s enough space on site for that.
Puget Sound Park
Address: 135 SW 126th St, Burien, WA 98146, United States
Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)
19. Bowl at Hiline Lanes
At Hiline Lanes, you can go for a casual game with your friends, join a league (if you’re staying in Burien for a considerable period of time), or if you’re feeling mighty confident, sign up for one of their tournaments.
Hiline Lanes has 24 Brunswick lanes polished to perfection every day, an arcade, a restaurant and lounge where you can grab food and drinks, and an events room. The place comes especially alive every Friday and Saturday nights for Cosmic Bowl, when Hiline Lanes transforms into the go-to spot in Burien for glow-in-the-dark bowling. Dance to the latest hits and enjoy the light show (and try to score a strike in the dark while you’re at it). Should you find yourself in Burien during the holidays, you might also want to hit up Hiline Lanes for their annual New Year’s Eve party.
Address: 15733 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Website: Hiline Lanes
Opening hours: Mon: 2pm - 2am; Tue: 11am - 2am; Wed - Fri: 12pm - 2am; Sat - Sun: 9am - 2am
Price: From 4 USD
20. Watch a concert at Highline Performing Arts Center
In the mood for more art and culture in Burien? It’s time to watch a concert at the Highline Performing Arts Center. The theater sits 800, just perfect for recitals, concerts, and other types of performing arts. When it’s not being used in the name of art, Highline Performing Arts Center doubles as a special venue for school events, such as commencement exercises and even conferences. Check their official calendar at their website for their show schedules before you go.
Highline Performing Arts Center
Address: 401 S 152nd St, Burien, WA 98148, United States
Website: Highline Performing Arts Center
21. Go shopping at Burien Plaza
Do you have some laundry to take care of? Running short on snacks and food to keep you full during your stay? Whatever you need, you’ll most likely find it at Burien Plaza. This cute strip mall has everything, from a grocery that offers special deals on certain days, to even a dental clinic! There is plenty of parking space so it’s never an issue, and if you want to dine out without having to go through too many decisions, Burien Plaza has great options on offer. Since Burien Plaza doesn’t really get tourists often, count this one as part of your Burien off-the-beaten-path experience.
Address: 104 SW 148th St, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Opening hours: 7am - 10pm (daily)
22. Enjoy a good cup of coffee at Burien Press
First opened in 2009, this local and independently owned coffee shop only serves beans roasted by the highly acclaimed Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, so you’re guaranteed to enjoy every sip of coffee you take. And in true local fashion, they also sell goods made by other independently owned businesses in Burien and Seattle. For instance, they get their sandwiches from Molly’s, and pastries from Macrina Bakery. Oh! And the milk they use here at Burien Press? It only comes from local dairies. This dedication to the slow and local food movement has earned Burien Press much respect in the community. It definitely helps that everything they choose to sell is also damn great!
Address: 423 SW 152nd St, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Website: Burien Press
Opening hours: Mon - Tue: 6am - 6pm; Wed - Fri: 6am - 9pm; Sat: 7am - 9pm; Sun: 7am - 6pm
23. Taste different teas at Phoenix Tea Shop
Not everyone likes coffee, we understand that, so we made sure to slip something in here for all the tea lovers out there who are planning to head to Burien. One place you’ll want to definitely check out is Phoenix Tea Shop, the local repository for classic tea blends and more adventurous types sourced from different parts of the world. Maybe today you’re in the mood for a simple cup of black tea, then the next time you’re here, you might want to try something new. Perhaps hei cha from Anhui Province, China!
If you’re also looking for exquisite tea ware so you can enjoy your tea at home, Phoenix Tea Shop carries various drinking and steeping vessels, both vintage and new, sold separately or in sets.
Phoenix Tea Shop
Address: 447 SW 152nd St, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Website: Phoenix Tea Shop
Opening hours: Wed: 10am - 6pm; Thu: 10am - 8pm; Fri: 12pm - 6pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 6pm (closed on Mon & Tue)
24. Try your luck at Wizards Casino
The people of Burien have spoken! If you want to play cards or pool, enjoy a couple of drinks, and listen to your favorite music straight out of the jukebox, the best place to go is Wizards Casino. Some even went as far as to say that the best card dealers in the entire Washington State are right here in this local establishment. Even if you don’t win, you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
Address: 15739 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, WA 98166, United States
Website: Wizards Casino
Opening hours: 5pm - 3am (daily)
One of Seattle's hidden gems
One of the best ways to explore a region is to go and check out its not-so-famous parts. It’s how you really get to know the area and what it’s like to live there. Burien fits the bill; it’s not really much of a tourist destination, off the beaten path, and offers a glimpse of local life in King County. If you’re after a more authentic Seattle area experience, we highly recommend you include Burien in your itinerary. We’re sure you will find more things to do as soon as you step into this highly underrated suburban community.
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