Renton is one of the most diverse cities in the nation, and from the shores of Lake Washington to the top of Cougar Mountain, there is something to do for everyone.
JIMI HENDRIX MEMORIAL
The most-visited attraction in the City of Renton is the JIMI HENDRIX GRAVE SITE, at GREENWOOD MEMORIAL PARK (350 Monroe Ave. NE). People come from all over the world to pay respect to one of the greatest guitarists of all times. Here you will find a beautiful monument, a headstone tribute and often tokens of remembrance left behind by adoring fans.
MOVIES & ENTERTAINMENT
Enjoy a night out on the town! Watch a movie at the 14-screen REGAL CINEMAS at the LANDING SHOPPING CENTER (900 N 10th Pl.). Or catch a dramatic play, engaging musical or comedic stand-up at the RENTON CIVIC THEATRE (507 S 3rd St.) (find the schedule here: rentoncivictheatre.org). This old-school performance venue brings life to a 1920s movie venue located in the heart of downtown.
Or find your way to CARCO THEATRE (1717 Maple Valley Hwy.) (find schedule here: carcotheatre.org), a long-running venue featuring a modest theater space that is known for showcasing independent productions and has a state-of-the-art sound system and accommodations for the hearing impaired, situated on the scenic banks of the Cedar River.
Visit one of Renton’s casinos, SILVER DOLLAR CASINO (3100 E. Valley Rd.), FORTUNE POKER (3650 E. Valley Rd.) or Fortune Casino Renton (111 S 3rd St.) – great gathering places for fantastic food, sports, spirits, gaming and a whole lot of fun.
SHOPPING & EXPERIENCES
The LANDING SHOPPING CENTER (900 N 10th Pl.) at the south end of Lake Washington has not only a 14-screen movie theater, but also an outdoor plaza shopping center with over 70 shops and restaurants including GLAZED ARTS (an “experience” in Renton where you can paint your own ceramics to take home), THE PRO SHOP (filled with Seahawks fan-gear) and VINO AT THE LANDING (a fantastic restaurant specializing in wine bottle service).
Another Renton shopping destination that brings in visitors from all over the world, all on its own, is IKEA (601 SW 41st St.) , a Scandinavian chain selling ready-to-assemble furniture and housewares, in a warehouse-like space.
DK MARKET (720 Lind Ave. SW) has become a hotspot for international shopping inside a local warehouse setting, where you can find a Mexican grocery setting up shop alongside a Russian deli, a Chinese herb store and an Indian restaurant & spice market with imported goods from South Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East as well.
The GREAT WALL SHOPPING MALL (18230 E. Valley Hwy.) is also located on the border of Renton. It is an indoor Asian lifestyle mall, anchored by the largest Asian grocer in the United States, 99 RANCH MARKET. The Great Wall hosts various cultural events annually with profits donated back to the community at large – making this shopping mall truly a community asset.
One of the cutest parts of the city, where life slows down just a tad and business activity blends with leisure time, is downtown Renton, a walkable part of the city that is full of different and unique boutiques & shops. Here you will find much of the “grit” that makes Renton so charming.
Every Tuesday afternoon, June through September, you can find vendors of artisan crafts and goods, fresh and locally grown produce, music and entertainment, a kids patch, master gardeners and cooking demonstrations at the RENTON FARMERS MARKET (233 Burnett Ave. S).
SPARKLE GIFTS & WHAT NOTS (824 S. 3rd St.) is the cutest gift shop around, full of reasonably priced gifts and “whatnots” you won’t find anywhere else. Here you can find a gift for a loved one, a souvenir to take home or a trinket or gift for yourself that resonates with your soul. Take a class or join in a craft project, and appreciate all the special things that are locally made with love.
4 SISTERS HOLISTIC REMEDIES (903 S. 3rd St.) is a metaphysical supply store that offers a vast assortment of herbal teas and decoctions, tinctures and glycerides, healing herbs, spices and burnables and essential oils and aromatherapies. This shop is a great place to learn about alternative healing and is also home to 4 Sisters Health & Wellness Center, encompassing a plethora of other businesses and opportunities, including tarot readings, reiki healing, spirit animal readings, health and wellness and body composition consultation.
URBAN SPROUTS (724 S. 3rd St., Ste. A) an indoor plant boutique that is not only a great place to shop, but also another one of those “experiences” Renton is becoming famous for. Here you can find owner, Jen Stearns, author of “The Inspired Houseplant: Transform Your Home with Indoor Plants from Kokedama to Terrariums and Water Gardens to Edibles,” teaching a class on jar candle making, bath bombs, bonsai terrariums, succulent wall hangings and more. Urban Sprouts was recently featured on “KING 5 Evening” for their unique approach and fantastic shop and offerings.
THE PENCIL TEST (724 S. 3rd St., Ste. D) is a lingerie store built for buxom beauties, but serves all sizes. The Pencil Test opened their second shop after their Pacific Northwest-based clientele continued to grow at their stewardship location in Portland. They have been met with open arms here in Renton and are welcoming women (and men) who are ready for a proper fit.
While strolling the streets of downtown, stop in for a cupcake or a coffee at COMMON GROUND COFFEE & CUPCAKES (900 S. 3rd St.) or for a cup of joe or a hot sandwich at LIBERTY CAFÉ (926 S. 3rd St.), owned by the first “true espresso shop” owner in Renton from Jet City Espresso. BOON BOONA COFFEE (724 S. 3rd St., Ste. C) serves beer and wine alongside their delicious coffee. Enjoy African art and entertainment while you nibble on fresh locally made pastries or artisan sandwiches and wraps. On weekends, you can meet up with friends to experience Boon Boona’s traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony, which originated in Ethiopia and is as ritualistic as tea is to England – a fascinating and beautiful experience.
Downtown Renton also has a vibrant arts scene and public art. Can you find the giant mural of BOONE “BOOM BOOM” KIRKMAN, a Renton-born heavyweight boxer who fought during the greatest heavyweight eras of all time? What about the greater-than-life-size mural of BRUCE LEE? A DONKEY STATUE? THREE ILLUMINATED HEADS? How about the PAINTED FIRE HYDRANTS of South Renton? The murals of the FLOWERS and DANCING COUPLES? The SALMON SWIMMING AROUND FORMER INDUSTRY? Or downtown Renton’s latest addition, THE ROOFTOP DRAGON where the color of the dragon’s eyes change with the season?
Speaking of art, downtown Renton is renowned for some of the greatest body art in the country. You have “Magenta” from DIAMOND TATTOO & BODY PIERCING (1017 Bronson Wy. S), a tattoo legend featured in national tattoo magazines; Amanda from SACRED SOUL (141 Park Ave. N) who was a successful contestant on the national television show “Ink Master”; and Ryan from HANDSOME DEVIL INK (719 S. 4th St.) who has won the “Best of Renton Tattoo Shop” for the past three years running. IDOLIZE TATTOO (226 Main Ave. S) makes history as the oldest tattoo shop in Renton and OBELISK BODY PIERCING (235 Main Ave. S) is a woman-owned shop that is gaining traction and momentum with lines out the door.
The RENTON HISTORY MUSEUM (235 Mill Ave. S) boasts displays of days gone by and the interesting tidbits that make Renton’s history so rich and full of life. Free admission is on the first Wednesday and third Saturday of each month (the fee on other days is incredibly reasonable). The museum is next door to the RENTON VETERANS PARK (523 S. 3rd St.), where each Memorial Day they hold a celebration and remembrance for those lives that have been lost and the sacrifices of service.
Some of the greatest food in Renton can be found in downtown Renton. The MELROSE GRILL (819 Houser Wy. S) is recognized as one of the greatest steak houses in the State of Washington, and one of the oldest steak houses around. You can expect a wait on most any night (they open at 5 p.m.) so don’t be afraid to slide up to the bar or grab a drink while you are waiting at one of the other local establishments. As a nod to the various cultures and diversity in Renton, you will also find a plethora of great ethnic dining establishments. The only German Pub around, The BERLINER PUB (221 Main Ave. S) serves up German food, beer and music and entertainment; NAAN & CURRY INDIAN FOOD (709 S 3rd St.) has been featured multiple times on KING 5 EVENING and other news sources and is ordered for delivery from all over the nation; O-CHA THAI RESTAURANT (317 Main Ave. S), is rapidly gaining reputation for being one of the best Thai restaurants in the region; and MARIANNA’S ITALIAN RISTORANTE (310 Wells Ave. S) is just as well known for the steak they cook as the cioppino stew. If you are looking for a filling breakfast, don’t miss the WHISTLE STOP ALE HOUSE (809 S 4th St.), which also serves lunch and dinner, but cannot be beat for the breakfast fare.
Have a special occasion or message you want to send? Don’t miss out on CUGINI FLORIST & GIFT SHOP (413 S. 3rd St.) for some of the most precious gifts you will find – not to mention the flowers and bouquets on display and set for delivery.
NATURE AND TRAILS
Renton has over 40 parks and trails. The BLACK RIVER RIPARIAN FOREST (north of Oakesdale Ave SW and SW 7th St.) is a wetland that hosts more than 50 species of birds in this habitat – including some of the blue herons that make up the largest flock of herons in Washington State. A bird watcher’s dream, the forest also provides a wonderful place to stretch your legs and enjoy a shot of nature, right inside of the city limits.
Near the Riparian Forest is WATERWORKS GARDENS (Monster Road SW and Oakesdale Avenue SW). This is a place where art, technology and nature join in a unique way. Along with trails, public art, native plants and wildlife, the ponds and marshes of Waterworks Gardens filter and clean stormwater from the treatment plant’s 50 acres of roads, parking lots and hard surfaces. After passing through the Waterworks Gardens, the treated stormwater then flows into Springbrook Creek. The garden rooms include a series of leaf-shaped ponds, an inlaid mosaic grotto and wetlands. The gardens are open between dawn and dusk year-round.
If getting outside and being active is your thing, you won’t want to miss the EASTSIDE RAIL CORRIDOR. It is a rail right-of-way extending north from GENE COULON MEMORIAL BEACH PARK (1201 Lake Washington Blvd. N) where the old railway has been transformed into a new path that runs clear from Renton, north to the City of Snohomish. This trail is good for walking, jogging, strollers, bikes and wheelchairs – for folks of all ages and abilities.
One of the most treasured parts of the City of Renton is the CEDAR RIVER, which runs directly through the center of town from Lansburg Dam to Lake Washington. You can see the salmon spawning in the river toward the end of September and well into October. Running parallel to the river is the CEDAR RIVER TRAIL. This is a 17.4 mile trail that runs from Lake Washington along the historic railroad route between the river and State Route 169, passing through Renton, Maplewood, Cedar Mountain, Maple Valley and Rock Creek. It offers views and access to Lake Washington, downtown Renton, Cedar River Park, Maplewood Golf Course, Ron Regis Park, Cedar Grove Park and Maple Valley.
Above the Cedar River Trail, a town gem is the RENTON PUBLIC LIBRARY (100 Mill Ave. S) the only library in the country that is built overtop of the river. From the platform, you can watch the salmon forge upstream, see a bald eagle fly into neighboring trees, experience the ducks and wild life – and check out a book!
On the shores of Lake Washington, GENE COULON MEMORIAL BEACH PARK (1201 Lake Washington Blvd. N) is full of fun things to do – visit Bird Island, eat fish at IVARS SEAFOOD BAR (1201 Lake Washington Blvd. N) on the water, rent a boat from the RENTON ROWING CENTER (1060 Nishiwaki Ln.), grab a milkshake from KIDD VALLEY (1201 Lake Washington Blvd. N) or find a spot to sit and watch the planes take off and land. Further north, you will find KENNYDALE BEACH, where Clint Eastwood got his start as a local lifeguard.
CANNABIS – ITS LEGAL IN WASHINGTON
What’s a feature that is somewhat unique to Washington State? Recreational cannabis is legal. The No. 1 cannabis dispensary in the State of Washington is right here in Renton. EVERGREEN MARKET (with two locations at 431 Rainier Ave. N and 4242 E. Valley Rd.) has won awards not only from the city, but also on a state level. BUDDYS 420 SHOP (420 Sunset Blvd. N) was voted “Best of Renton” this past year and EMERALD HAZE has had a notable mention in each of the competitions (4033 NE Sunset Blvd. #5).
The RENTON MUNICIPAL AIRPORT (616 Perimeter Rd. W) is the busiest international seaplane base in the country. Here you can watch small planes, seaplanes, helicopters, small jets and Boeing aircraft take off and land. Two of the greatest points to watch the planes is at the old Renton Chamber of Commerce building (300 Rainier Ave. S) or at the end of the Cedar River Trail (1060 Nishiwaki Ln.).
The Renton Municipal Airport is home to the WILL ROGER & WILEY POST MEMORIAL. Will Roger was known as an actor, philanthropist and aviation promoter. Wiley Post was a famed American aviator who was known as the first pilot to fly solo around the world and also discovered the jet stream. Rogers and Post departed from this point on their ultimately fatal trip to Alaska.
Reach out to SCENIC SEAPLANES and schedule your scenic tour around the Northwest. In addition to Renton, you will see whale watching, Lake Union, the beautiful University of Washington campus, Lake Washington’s distinctive floating bridges, downtown Seattle (including the sports stadiums) the iconic Space Needle as well as the majestic Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges and breathtaking Mt Rainier on one of Seattle’s premier float and land scenic planes. Call (206) 499-2135 for more information
Speaking of breathtaking views, there are few views as pretty as from amongst some of the oldest homes in Renton at the top of HISTORIC RENTON HILL (near 720 Jones Ave. S) where you can see a sweeping view of the entire City of Renton, or from the shores of Lake Washington at the HYATT REGENCY LAKE WASHINGTON (1053 Lake Washington Blvd. N), situated next to BOEING where you can watch the planes being built and assembled right next to the lake.
KIDS & FAMILY ACTIVITIES
Renton has a whole slew of options for kids as well. The 8-BIT ARCADE (916 S. 3rd St.) is a retro pinball arcade, which goes “adult only” after 9:30 p.m. (but serves beer and cider all day), and has hosted the national pinball championships. The HENRY MOSES AQUATIC CENTER, commonly called the “H-MAC” (1719 Maple Valley Hwy.) is one of the most fun spots during the summer months. Located next to the Cedar River and the Cedar River Trail, the H-MAC is opened seasonally from mid-June through Labor Day and offers a multitude of camps, lessons, programs and special events.
Into the valley near the border of Tukwila and Renton, the FAMILY FUN CENTER & BULLWINKLES FAMILY RESTAURANT (7300 Fun Center Wy.) has video games, rides, miniature golf and more. Kids and adults can test their skills mid-air at iFLY (349 Tukwila Pkwy.), an indoor skydiving center. SYKART INDOOR RACING CENTER (17450 W. Valley Hwy.) is a spot where kids can race adults (and often win!) on indoor tracks, and VIRTUAL SPORTS (17600 W Valley Hwy) is where reality blends with virtual reality in games and challenges, laser tag, dodge ball and more.
Renton is home to a number of fantastic educational institutes. RENTON TECHNICAL COLLEGE (3000 NE 4th St.) is one of the top technical colleges in the nation offering associate degrees and certificates of completion in professional-technical fields; CITY UNIVERSITY OF SEATTLE (555 S Renton Center Wy.) offers flexible online and onsite doctoral, graduate and bachelor’s degree programs and EMBRY-RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIVERSITY (1000 Oakesdale Ave., Ste. 110) has bragging rights as the first in the nation for the following programs: space and physics, college of security and intelligence, spaceflight operations, unmanned and autonomous systems engineering and undergraduate aerospace physiology degree.
FESTIVALS, SPORTS & EVENTS
If sports is your thing, look no further. Renton is home to the SEATTLE SEAWOLVES RUGBY TEAM as well as the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS FOOTBALL TEAM. During the summer months (in late July), take advantage of that home field advantage and purchase tickets to a preseason training camp at the VIRGINIA MASON ATHLETIC CENTER (12 Seahawks Wy.). These tickets sell out every year and offer more experiences as well – meet Blitz, upgrade to the VIP Patio Access, meet the players and more. The preseason camp is a fun way to spend an afternoon, whether or not you are a football fan.
Some of the festivals and events you can plan to enjoy while in Renton include:
January – Polar Plunge, Jan 1
February – State of the City
March – Ladies Night Pop Up Market and Cocktail Crawl; Eyes on Renton
April – Food Truck Rodeo; Ahead of the Class Awards
May – Summer Concert Series & Summer Movie Nights; Business Excellence Awards Gala; TOSA Multicultural Festival
June – Wine Walk downtown Renton
July – Cruise the Loop, Return to Renton Car Show, Summer Music Games, Summerfest, 4th of July Celebration & Fireworks on Lake Washington; Renton River Days
August – Renton River Days; Food Truck Rodeo
September – Wine Walk Downtown Renton, Renton City Comicon (RenCon), Renton Multi-Cultural Festival; Parking Day Parklet PopUp
October – Run Wild in Renton (an educational celebration of the return of the salmon to the Cedar River); Ahead of the Care Awards
November – Small Business Saturday
December – Annual Tree Lighting downtown and the Landing; Santa House Downtown Renton; Holiday Pub Crawl; and Clam Lights at Gene Coulon
Whatever your interest, there is always something for everyone in the City of Renton – whether you are visiting for the weekend or merely a local looking for a staycation!
Stop by the RENTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & VISITORS CENTER (625 S 4th St.) for a friendly discussion on even more to see and do in Renton, check out their digs in the old historic train station, sit and watch the Boeing fuselages travel through the center of town on the back of a BNSF railroad car. Come visit the Chamber and see what great deals and offers the Chamber staff can put together for you.