The official motto of the city of Auburn, WA is “More Than You Imagined”, and they couldn’t have created a more appropriate description. The Seattle suburb is often overlooked when planning a U.S. based vacation but shouldn’t be. It’s filled with tons of fun attractions and historic sites that attract visitors of all ages.

Popular places that are unique to the charming city include the Emerald Downs thoroughbred racetrack, Soos Creek Botanical Garden, the White River amphitheater, and Flaming Geyser State Park - which is especially fun during the warmer months since you can go tubing or rafting down the river. But no matter what time of the year you decide to visit, Auburn will welcome you with friendly faces and guaranteed good times.

1. Emerald Downs

Emerald Downs
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Emerald Downs is a popular attraction in Auburn; the thoroughbred racetrack opened in 1996 and is owned by the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe. For over twenty years now, it has been a place of entertainment housing several annual races such as the Longacres Mile Handicap. When visiting Emerald Downs, you’ll be astounded by the one-mile track with Mount Rainier in the background. Additional aspects to look out for are the Grandstand, a grassy park area with children’s activities, eleven barns to house the horses and horsemen, a 17,300 square foot sales pavilion, a mitigation site, and an equine hospital with a surgery suite, two recovery rooms, a radiology room, isolation stall, and much more.

Address: 2300 Ron Crockett Dr, Auburn, WA 98001, Phone: 253-288-7000

2. The Outlet Collection Seattle

The Outlet Collection Seattle
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The Outlet Collection Seattle was established in 1995; it was formerly called the SuperMall of the Great Northwest. The outlet mall is a wonderful place for the entire family to spend a day shopping, dining, and having a wonderful time. You can find all of your favorite brands at low outlet prices - some of the most popular stores there are the Ann Taylor Factory Store, Lane Bryant Outlet, Banana Republic, Men’s Wearhouse, Marshalls, Burlington Coat Factory, Old Navy, Eddie Bauer, Van Heusen, and more. After a day of shopping for clothes, accessories, shoes, home goods, and other items, you can feast at their food court or at restaurants such as Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen, Mr. Wu’s Chinese Gourmet, and Que Chido Mexican Food.

Address: 1101 Outlet Collection Way, Auburn, WA 98001, Phone: 253-833-9500

3. Flaming Geyser State Park

Flaming Geyser State Park
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Flaming Geyser State Park can be found on Green River near the city of Black Diamond. It was named after a flame fueled by a methane gas pocket that burned through a concrete basin a thousand feet below the surface. The same methane pocket is what causes the “Bubbling Geyser” nearby. Today, most of the visitors of the park come because of its array of summer outdoor activities that are available there. You can go tubing or rafting down the river, hiking on the trails, or fly remote-controlled model airplanes in the specially designated area; the Salmon Interpretive Trail has signs which explains tons about the ecological environment of the area.

Address: 23700 SE Flaming Geyser Rd, Auburn, WA 98092, Phone: 253-735-8839

4. Soos Creek Botanical Garden

Soos Creek Botanical Garden
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Soos Creek is a gorgeous public botanical garden comprising a heritage center, ravine gardens, and a diverse array of fruits, vegetables, and other plants. Visitors often describe a scroll through the gardens as peaceful and inspirational. You’ll get a better understanding of the many plants housed there as well as the conservation of horticulture. With an early request, you can take a docent-led tour to really get an in-depth understanding of everything you’ll come across at Soos Creek. Picnicking is allowed in the designated areas, so bring along a basket lunch and enjoy yourself in the breathtakingly beautiful garden. More day trips from Seattle

Address: 29308 132nd Ave SE, Auburn, WA 98092, Phone: 253-639-0949

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5. White River Valley Museum

White River Valley Museum
© White River Valley Museum

A historical museum which was established in 1996, the White River Valley Museum was created by the White River Valley Historical Society and the City of Auburn as a place for future generations to learn about the rich history of the area. The public is welcome to explore the museum and its array of well-preserved regional historical artifacts. The museum’s permanent collection focuses on Northwest Indian culture, local Puget Sound history, Japanese-Americans, and the Northern Pacific Railroad. You’ll be able to see a 1915 Japanese farmhouse, a river canoe display from the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, and what Downtown Auburn was like back in the 1920s. Located in: Les Gove Park

Address: 918 H St SE, Auburn, WA 98002, Phone: 253-288-7433

6. Things to Do in Auburn, WA: White River Amphitheatre

Things to Do in Auburn, WA: White River Amphitheatre
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Managed by Live Nation, the White River Amphitheatre is a popular concert venue located on the Muckleshoot Indian Reservation. It’s quite large as the total capacity can house 16,000 people, with over half of them in covered seats. The 98-acre project wasn’t completed until the year 2000s and cost over $30 million to include modern upgrades. Amenities include video screens on both sides of the stage and an acoustically treated metal roof. Notable concerts that have been held there throughout the years include Jimmy Buffett, Iron Maiden, and Sting. There are also tons of music festivals hosted there, especially during the summer, so keep an eye out on their schedule when you’re visiting.

Address: 40601 Auburn Enumclaw Rd SE, Auburn, WA 98092, Phone: 360-825-6200

7. Auburn Pioneer Cemetery

Auburn Pioneer Cemetery
© Auburn Pioneer Cemetery

The Auburn Pioneer Cemetery may be more popularly known by its previous names: Faucett Cemetery or the Cemetery at Slaughter. Housing the burial of thousands of people, the cemetery showcases the rich history of the city of Auburn and the people who shaped the land over the years. The cemetery is closed to new burials, but visitors today go there instead to learn about the lives of the people buried there - many of whom were Japanese and Japanese Americans who resided in White River Valley prior to WWII. The plots are separated as Japanese burials with Kanji markers, Japanese burials with English markers, unmarked Japanese burials, “Pioneer” burials, and unmarked “Pioneer” burials. Though many of the people who visit are descendants of those who have been buried there, many others go to learn about an important part of Auburn’s history.

Address: Auburn Way N, Auburn, WA 98002, Phone: 253-931-3028

8. Neely Mansion

Neely Mansion
© Neely Mansion

The Neely Mansion is a Victorian-style structure that was built in the late 1800s as a residence for the David Neely family - one of the first families to arrive in Washington’s Green River Valley. The Neely family was renowned for opening their doors to friends and neighbors, who often spent nights there on their way to Auburn. Together, they would hire local fiddlers and dance well into the night. The Neely family owned the mansion until the mid-1970s but it wasn’t until 1984 that the Neely Mansion Association bought the property and began restoring it for the public to view. It’s such a marvelous and historic piece of architecture for people to visit; you’ll be able to see unique design and decor aspects such as the intricate scrollwork, the central round window, and the high ceilings in the spacious parlor. More day trips from Tacoma

Address: 12303 SE Auburn-Black Diamond Rd, Auburn, WA 98002, Phone: 253-833-9404

9. Athens Pizza and Pasta

Athens Pizza and Pasta
© Athens Pizza and Pasta

Athens Pizza and Pasta is a Greek eatery that serves an array of authentic Greek cuisine alongside Mediterranean dishes and delicious pizzas and pastas. The family owned and operated restaurant has been in business for over 30 years and prides themselves on being an integral part of the community. Local and visiting patrons love coming back to Athens to have a chat with the friendly staff while they dine on mouthwatering cuisine. They’ve been voted as the “Best Pizza in Auburn” by the Auburn Reporter, but there are so many other dishes on their menu that you should try as well. Be sure to try their Fettuccini Louie which is a ribbon-style pasta sautéed with zucchini and boneless chicken. More weekend getaways from Seattle

Address: 959 E Main St, Auburn, WA 98002, Phone: 253-939-7444

10. Las Margaritas

Las Margaritas
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Las Margaritas is a family-owned restaurant chain which offers an array of authentic Mexican cuisine. Their menu comprises some of the best Mexican food that you’ll come across in the area, all of which is created with authentic, original ingredients to guarantee that patrons have a healthy and hearty meal. Their traditional Mexican dishes have been around for over 30 years and have become a favorite with Auburn’s residents and visitors. Popular items to try are the Mexican stir-fry, the beef carnitas served with rice and refried beans, spinach and cheese quesadilla, and Enchiladas Divorciadas which comprises three tortillas stuffed with chicken or beef and topped with three different homemade sauces. More WA getaways

Address: 1525 A St NE, Auburn, WA 98002, Phone: 253-735-1526

11. Sunny Teriyaki

Sunny Teriyaki
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If you’re in the mood for Chinese staples and standard teriyaki combos that are made quickly to order and hit the spot each and every single time, then you need to visit Sunny Teriyaki. The no-frills restaurant is managed by a Master Chef who has over thirty years of experience. Their main focus is to serve patrons with authentic Chinese cuisine and teriyaki that is made with authentic ingredients and using original methods which have been passed down generations. If you love teriyaki, be sure to try their spicy chicken teriyaki or the short rib teriyaki, both of which come with salad and steamed rice. Other popular menu items are the Szechuan beef, kung pao chicken, shrimp yakisoba, and beef fried rice.

Address: 914 D St NE, Auburn, WA 98002, Phone: 253-333-0100

12. Sushi Konami

Sushi Konami
© Sushi Konami

At Sushi Konami, you’ll find everything from beef teriyaki and agedashi tofu to salmon skin rolls and Hawaiian tuna poki. They are constantly creating new rolls and dishes to keep the menu modern, but without losing the authenticity of traditional flavors. The restaurant opened in 2013 with the aim of standing out from the many sushi bars that popped up all over Seattle by offering homemade-style food for their patrons. Dine of all ages love sitting at the bar and watching the chefs master their craft in the open kitchen. If you’re a sushi pro, you’ll feel right at home, and if you’re new to the restaurant, the friend chefs and crew will guide you through everything you need to know to enjoy your lunch or dinner. Located in: Lakeland Town Center

Address: 1410 Lake Tapps Pkwy E Suite H103, Auburn, WA 98092, Phone: 253-987-5202

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