Volunteers hand out children's books during this year’s Back2School Bash.

The South End Fall Activities and Back-to-School Resource Guide 2023

by Patheresa Wells

Fall is around the corner, and with that comes the return of the rain and time for kids to return to school. One of the best things about Seattle summer is all the events and offerings available outdoors, but with the season change comes a plethora of opportunities for kids and families. From community center events to vaccine clinics, the Emerald has assembled a resource guide to help you and your family get the most out of fall. And even better, most options are free, and financial aid is available for those that are not. 

Read on for a roundup of South End resources — click the header links in each section to go directly to each one.

Think we missed something? Let us know at Community@SeattleEmerald.org.

Back-to-School Vaccine Clinics

Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic will offer COVID-19 and routine childhood vaccines to people 19 and under from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 23 at Meadow Crest Early Learning Center in Renton, and from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 11 at Federal Way High School. A legal parent or guardian must accompany anyone under 18 years old. The clinics are walk-in, and language interpretation is available. Each patient who gets vaccinated will receive two free tickets to a Seattle Storm home game while supplies last. 

King County Library System

The King County Library System has branches in Des Moines, Federal Way, Renton, Auburn, Kent, Tukwila, SeaTac, and Southcenter. These branches offer a wide variety of events for students and families to enjoy. Tutoring and homework help is available both in person and online. Reading Buddies pairs students with volunteers to practice reading out loud. There are youth game nights, Lego brick parties, and art classes where you can learn things like embroidery or how to make slime. They also offer family storytimes in multiple languages (English, Arabic, Mandarin, Spanish) to encourage a love of reading. There are even online math clubs and a video game design/coding club. Search the KCLS website for events online and near you. 

Seattle Community Centers 

Seattle Parks and Recreation has community centers in numerous South End locations, including Chinatown-International District, Van Asselt, Rainier, and Rainier Beach. Each location offers different free drop-in programs that include tot gym, teen game night, and teen peer-to-peer tutoring, as well as Friday night movie nights, chess club, and painting and cooking classes. Drop-in sports include pickleball, volleyball, basketball, family Zumba, and more. There will be a 10th Anniversary/Reopening of Rainier Beach Community Pool Party on Sept. 23, and several locations will hold Halloween events. Check the citywide recreation guide for information on offerings near you.

Seattle Public Library Student Success

The Seattle Public Library has numerous programs to help students of all ages with success in school. Library Link is a program that allows Seattle students to access online resources using a student ID. Resources include academic coaching, one-on-one tutoring, college prep help, and more. There are also elementary, middle school, and high school programs that offer exploration guides; a Global Reading Challenge; and college readiness and job readiness help. And the SPL Event Calendar lists in-person events at branches with options like homework help, storytime, and play groups. 


The City of Seatac will hold numerous events this fall, including a Resource Fair on Sept. 15 and a Fall Evening Market on Sept. 22. It will also have a Community Kitchen Night, Great Pumpkin Night, Dia De Los Muertos, and more. SeaTac Parks and Recreation has yet to put out its fall program but usually offers free youth sports classes and provides scholarships for classes that have fees. Check the City of SeaTac Recreation & Services Guide and the Special Events guide, and keep your eyes peeled for the hard copy that will be mailed to residents soon. 


The city of Tukwila will be offering multiple free, family-friendly events. On Oct. 26, it will hold a Fall Carnival where you can dress up in costume and enjoy a night of carnival games and activities. On Thanksgiving, it will offer a free lunch at the Tukwila DoubleTree Suites by Hilton. The community center also offers a free toddler time playgroup, an after-school teen room, and a teen late-night event on Fridays. Plus, it offers free basketball and Cultures United Football (soccer) clinics. Scholarships are available for classes with a fee, including African drumming, kung fu, and family martial arts. 

Patheresa Wells is a Queer poet, writer, and storyteller who lives in SeaTac, Washington. Born to a Black mother and Persian father, her experiences as a multicultural child shaped her desire to advocate for and amplify her community. She is currently pursuing a B.A. in creative writing. Follow her on Twitter @PatheresaWells.

📸 Featured Image: Volunteers hand out children’s books during this year’s Back2School Bash. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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