You may be wondering whether there are actually any fun things to do in Auburn, Washington. That question is valid! Auburn is a suburb of Seattle that’s nestled between Green River and White River. It’s east of Tacoma and south of Renton, and it’s not exactly known for having a lively atmosphere.
However, there’s more to Auburn, Washington than meets the eye. It has several attractions that are pretty well known – from a huge shopping complex to one of the best casinos in Washington state.
Sure, it’s unlikely that Auburn is at the top of anyone’s must-visit list. That said, the city’s motto, “more than you imagined,” really does sum up some of the discoveries you’ll make if you find yourself in Auburn, Washington. Expect great outdoor recreation and some fun, local gems.
Feeling intrigued? Here are 11 things to do in Auburn, WA from shopping to axe throwing!
11 Best Things to Do in Auburn, Washington
The Outlet Collection Seattle
It may surprise you, but Auburn is a great place to go shopping. This is because it’s home to The Outlet Collection Seattle, one of the best outlet malls near Seattle.
The Outlet Collection has 140 shops, eateries, and services and was called the Supermall of the Great Northwest when it first opened. Nearly 30 years later, it continues to be a top destination for shoppers all over the greater Seattle area.
Tons of popular chains have outlets here so you can find deals on your favorite brands. Get deep discounts on clothes and purses from Guess, shoes from Nike, and even select jewelry pieces from the Kay Outlet. No matter what you’re searching for, you have a good chance of finding it at The Outlet Collection.
And if you need a place to refuel while out and about, you have tons of dining spots to choose from too. Find everything from pizza, burgers, and stir fry, to pretzels, cinnamon buns, and bubble tea.
Muckleshoot Casino is considered one of Washington’s best casinos, and it’s one of Auburn’s top attractions.
The casino is large and has over 3,000 games to choose from. Test your luck on these or come for the entertainment. Enjoy live music performances, dance parties, comedy shows, live MMA fights, and more at Muckleshoot Casino.
The dining options are varied, and include things like a popular all-day breakfast menu and free soft drinks in the casino. By Fall 2023, there will be a hotel and resort added to the Muckleshoot Casino to accommodate overnight stays.
Game Farm Park + Game Farm Wilderness Park
Go to Game Farm Park or Game Farm Wilderness Park if you’re sporty or love recreational activities. You’ll find courts and fields for pickleball, soccer, tennis, softball, disc golf, and much more.
These parks are on either side of White River and both are well-maintained and clean. Game Farm Park has picnic shelters, walking trails, and a playground where kids can run wild. Occasionally, there are shows and live music performances in the park’s amphitheater.
Game Farm Wilderness Park feels a bit more remote. It has tons of tree cover, walking trails, and sites for RV and tent camping.
Flaming Geyser State Park
Flaming Geyser State Park is one of Washington’s coolest, under-the-radar state parks. It’s just twenty minutes from Auburn’s city center and makes for a fun adventure.
The park gets its name from the flame at the flaming geyser, which is an area of once-active methane seeps. The flame is occasionally out, but, you can bring matches, and light it yourself to see this cool geological wonder. It doesn’t last long, but it’s a neat feature that will charm both young kids and adults.
While the flame is the main draw, there are plenty of other things to do at the state park. Bring snacks and huddle up with friends at a picnic shelter, or explore the hiking trails. Green River runs through the park, so kayaking, river rafting, and tubing are popular activities. Come in the fall to watch the salmon run or at the height of summer to cool off on a hot day.
Emerald Downs is a popular place to watch horse racing in Auburn. Come here if you’re curious about the sport. It’s a family-friendly establishment and an affordable outing, starting at $13 for adults, and $5 for kids.
If horse racing doesn’t interest you, attend one of their special races. The corgi, wiener dog, and bulldog races are admittedly silly, but they’re fun to watch, and good for a daily dose of cuteness. Make sure to check the calendar for family fun weekends where kids can enjoy pony rides, face painting, and other activities.
Les Gove Park
Les Gove Park is pretty easy to find, especially if you enter on the southwest end. Here, you’ll find the distinctive and quirky sculpture of a giant crow helping itself to a container of French fries.
Les Gove Park is a nice city park with walking trails, a playground, bocce ball courts, and spots for picnicking. The park contains some of Auburn’s community-focused attractions. These include the White River Valley Museum, Auburn Library, and Community and Event Center.
In addition, Les Gove Park hosts the Auburn Farmers Market on summer weekends. Come to market days to stock up on fruits, veggies, and baked goods. Come anytime to hang out with the locals on lazy, warm days.
Soos Creek Botanical Garden
Visit the Soos Creek Botanical Garden in Auburn, WA if you love nature and pretty outdoor spaces. This Botanical Garden is perfect for strolling, flower peeping, reading, painting, or searching for tiny frogs. It also has a little aviary with doves, cockatiels, peahens, and parakeets.
The garden is open from March to November from 10 am to 4 pm daily. It’s always completely free to visit the garden or attend one of the events. The botanical garden is only about 23 acres, but there’s so much to see here. Take a self-guided tour, or book a docent-led tour for $5 per person if you want to learn a little more about the plants in the area.
West Hill Deli
West Hill Deli is one of the best restaurants in Auburn. Come for some phenomenal Filipino food. The restaurant is located in northwest Auburn, and it’s clean, casual, and bright. It’s a great place for breakfast or lunch, and the menu is massive, with plenty of great options to choose from.
Try the pandan fried chicken, pancit, or adobo braised pork belly bowls for a savory lunch. If you visit in the morning, don’t miss the ube pancakes or toasted coconut waffles. For a delicious sweet treat, I suggest getting an order of turon or halo halo.
Looking for a restaurant that the locals love? Go to Zola’s Cafe in downtown Auburn. This casual restaurant serves the usual cafe fare. Expect great coffee, mouthwatering pastries, and tasty paninis. The food and drinks are well-priced, and Zola’s even has some vegetarian and vegan options.
The atmosphere is cozy and inviting. The cafe hangs works by local artists on the walls, and even hosts live music on Fridays. If you’re searching for a great place to hang out and begin your day in Auburn, put Zola’s Cafe at the top of your list.
Rail Hop’n Brewing Co
Rail Hop’n Brewing Co is easily one of the best places to grab a beer in Auburn. It’s a family-owned brewery with a laidback vibe and some seriously tasty beer. Try the jalapeno amber, and whatever IPA they have on tap to get started. If you want something without alcohol, their root beer also gets rave reviews.
You can easily spend an hour here playing games, chatting with the owners and friendly bartenders, or watching sports. And the brewery certainly lives up to its name. It’s decorated with railroad signs, makeshift tracks, a large train painting, and other railroad-related details. To top it all off, the brewery is even located right beside the Auburn train station.
Want to test your axe-throwing skills? Head to SEA AXE in downtown Auburn. This axe-throwing venue is perfect for a date night, gathering with friends, birthday parties, and tons more. It’s a locally-owned business too. While the building may be on the small side, the experience they offer more than makes up for it.
The owner and workers are kind and patient. They’ll teach you how to safely throw the axes and get you comfortable with the movement. Once you get the hang of it, you and your party can mix it up with some games.
SEA AXE has digital overlays for the axe-throwing so you can throw axes at “zombies,” try tic tac toe, a 21-card game, and much more. You’re welcome to bring in any outside food, and the place sells beer and other snacks as well.
There you have it! There are fun things to do in Auburn, Washington. Whether you want to hit up the casino, get great shopping deals, or simply wander through an awesome state park, it’s possible in Auburn.