Civic Coffee Recap: Engaging Summer Activities in Seattle

audience at April 2024 Civic Coffee

On April 23, Age Friendly Seattle and the Chinese Information and Service Center collaborated to present a Civic Coffee event focused on fun and engaging activities coming up this summer. Panelists Jessica Lotz, Community Impact and Programs Coordinator at Friends of Waterfront Seattle; Elise Gaubatz, Administrative Specialist at Seattle Parks and Recreation; and Chelsea Riddick-Most, Director of Programs and Events at Seattle Center shared their insights into the diverse range of activities that will engage older adults in Seattle during the upcoming summer season.

Friends of Waterfront Seattle is a nonprofit organization dedicated to activating the Downtown waterfront through diverse programming and creating a community for all people. Their efforts involve inclusive programming, community engagement, fundraising, and stewardship, all aimed at preserving and enhancing the natural beauty and cultural significance of the waterfront.

Age Friendly Seattle thanks panelists (left to right) Jessica Lotz, Friends of Waterfront Seattle; Elise Gaubatz, Seattle Parks and Recreation; and Chelsea Riddick-Most, Seattle Center (joined by Age Friendly Seattle manager Dinah Stephens) for their insights.

Age Friendly Seattle thanks panelists (left to right) Jessica Lotz, Friends of Waterfront Seattle; Elise Gaubatz, Seattle Parks and Recreation; and Chelsea Riddick-Most, Seattle Center (joined by Age Friendly Seattle manager Dinah Stephens) for their insights.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Parks Activation Team is tasked with cultivating inviting and safe park atmospheres citywide. Park activation initiatives involve park concierges, who enrich the ambiance with seating, games, and support musicians during lunchtime, creating inviting spaces for visitors. They also host special events like the popular “Dancing Til Dusk” (free outdoor music and dancing offered at seven parks) and Center City Cinema (free outdoor movies offered at 12 locations across the city).

Elise noted efforts to make the outdoor movie screenings accessible to all by providing closed captioning in Chinese for movies at Hing Hay Park in the Chinatown-International District. Ensuring accessibility is vital for fostering inclusivity in programming, and it’s a key focus for events organized by Friends of Waterfront Seattle, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and Seattle Center.

The Seattle Center spans 74 acres and features numerous attractions, including the Space Needle, the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), the Pacific Science Center, the Seattle Center Armory, Climate Pledge Arena, and various theaters and performance venues for cultural, arts, and entertainment events. Chelsea emphasized the significance of creating an inclusive environment that welcomes everyone to partake in arts and entertainment and explore their creativity.

Seattle Center hosts various programs and events, including Seattle Center Festál, a series of 24 free festivals held annually to honor the city’s cultural diversity. Each festival features a distinct cultural experience with activities spanning food, music, dance, art, film, and more, fostering community unity and inclusivity for all ages. Additionally, Seattle Center hosts the Seattle/King County Clinic each year, which offers free dental, vision, and medical services to individuals in the region, emphasizing accessible healthcare.

Despite current construction, Waterfront Park is open and there are several arts and cultural programming that are free to the public. Programming includes weekly live music, an annual block party at the end of the summer, and health and wellness programs. Click here to view the events that will occur on the waterfront this summer—most at Pier 62 but once construction is complete in early 2025, programming will be extended across many piers.

The Waterfront was planned with Universal Design principles, ensuring a safe and accessible experience for individuals of all ages and abilities. Key accessibility features in the new waterfront include ADA-compliant curb ramps, accessible restrooms, seating, shade, and two new elevators near Union Street and The Seattle Aquarium, providing connections to Pike Place Market. Moreover, starting in May and running through late September, a free waterfront shuttle service will be available. This shuttle will operate from the Link Light Rail Chinatown-International District station, offering transportation through the waterfront area and Seattle Center. More information on the free shuttle can be found here.

For Seattle Center events, accessibility accommodations can be arranged by contacting their customer service office at 206-684-7200. Assisted listening devices are also provided to translate performances into other languages.

The events at different Seattle Park locations are tailored to suit the interests and needs of the communities in those specific areas. This is achieved by collaborating with organizations that are central to the neighborhoods to curate inclusive events that cater to all community members.

Get ready to dive into an exciting summer in Seattle with a promising array of exciting events throughout the city, including:

  • Chelsea’s recommendation: Seattle Center’s Festál cultural festivals—explore diverse cultures through art, performances, food, and fashion. Follow the link for festival dates. All are free and open to the public.
  • Elise’s recommendation: Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Dancing Til Dusk events, which begin with one hour of dance instruction followed by two hours of dancing to live music and said the atmosphere is engaging whether you dance or simply watch.
  • Jessica’s recommendation: Waterfront Seattle’s Annual Block Party, a vibrant occasion where the community gathers to enjoy live music performance, food, interactive activities, and cultural performances all along the waterfront. Another exciting opportunity at the Waterfront will be the Golden Gathering on September 14, which will include dancing, painting, food, and more. Watch for more information here.

Watch the recording of this and previous Civic Coffee events on our YouTube channel. Stay connected with Age Friendly Seattle to learn about upcoming Civic Coffees and other events. Visit and bookmark Aging King County’s Age Friendly Live—Virtual Events webpage.

Fathima GarciaFathima Garcia is an intern with Age Friendly Seattle. She graduated from Seattle Central College with an associate degree in Business Administration in June 2023. She is currently studying Human Resources Management at the University of Washington Foster School of Business.

This article appeared in the June 2024 issue of AgeWise King County