Saturday, January 7, 2017

Top Five places our family loves in Aberdeen, WA

Once again, as I said in this post, I often wonder where the locals really hang out in the places I visit (or when I move to a new place). So, I am going to share my top five local hang out spots from the places I have lived.   I posted about OmahaSpokane, and Scottsdale so far. Today's city is not as big or as well known, but equally loved by our family: Aberdeen, WA! 
Today's Top 5: Aberdeen
If you have heard of Aberdeen, you either live in Grays Harbor or are a Nirvana/Kurt Cobain fan. Aberdeen is known as the place where Kurt Cobain grew up, the place he "escaped". But locals don't really like to be know for that. And to be fair, it is so much more than just the place Kurt Cobain was from. When driving through Aberdeen to get the the ocean, you probably get a poor impression of the city because the area you drive through is basically the part of town that is in the worst shape. Plus there is a big homelessness problem in Aberdeen and you will see it as you drive through. 
But at the heart of Aberdeen is everyday working people that are quirky, and loving, and fun. It is a small community where the mayor is your neighbor and little league football field is the place to be on Saturdays. Where Friday nights in the fall will find the whole town at the high school football game, Where a thriving theater community is prevalent. It is a place where kids have opportunities to really develop their talents with involved families and community members. It is a place where the neighbors all know each other and watch out for one another.
And this little community is the place that I most recently left a little piece of my heart! The people make this city what it is, so it's good to know where they all hang out. 
Here is my list of the Top 5 Places where I hung out in Aberdeen with my family: 

What is it? A gym, swimming pool, sports center, preschool, etc.

My Experience with it: When I moved to Aberdeen, several people told me to joint he YMCA. I did because I thought it would be good for sports and activities for the family and I hoped I would be motivated to work out. I had no idea how much time I would spend at the Y. It is really a hub of activity for the community. I worked out there, my kids took swim lessons and played sports, and my youngest even went to preschool there (best preschool in town!). So, I had a lot of experience with the YMCA in a lot of different areas. And I can tell you, I talked to half the town at the Y each week! People participate in Y programs and work out there. It is a local hang out! I miss the Y!

Where is it? 2500 Simpson Ave, Hoquiam, WA 98550

What does it cost and what can you do there? OK, so admittedly as a visitor to Aberdeen/Hoquiam, this might not be the main hang out, but it is on my list because I was literally here daily.  Often I was there multiple times a day. There is a ton to do there-free swim or swimming lessons, working out, playing sports, taking classes, preschool, etc. There is even a drop in child care area so parents can work out in peace for an hour and a half/day. If you are living in or near Aberdeen/Hoquiam, you really should get an annual membership (Membership rates and details can be found here) AND as a visitor, you CAN get a day pass-it would be worth the cost to swim during open pool time with the family! 
2. Little League Football field and baseball field

What is it? Little league football and baseball fields/games

What is my experience with it? My sons played little league football every year we lived there. They did not play baseball, but baseball is even bigger in town than football. The little league games are actually fun to go watch and they have great facilities, The little league baseball fields are in south Aberdeen and the football little league plays home games on the same field that Aberdeen High school plays their games on. Lots of the locals come to the games. If you are visiting town you will likely find a big group of people to meet or visit with at these events. Plus they are entertaining (my husband was assistant coach and he got booted out of the game by the ref at the very first away game. The ref was an idiot...BUT, It can get a little heated out there, but is just pure entertainment to watch). There are always great concessions to buy that help support the programs too, so come hungry and just plan to stay for the day and watch all the games! :) 

Where are they? Aberdeen Little League Baseball fields/Pioneer Park Sports Complex: 214 S Tildon . The Aberdeen Little League Football plays at Stewart Field: 800 Willard St  Stewart Field is also where you will find half the town each Friday night in Fall cheering on the Aberdeen football team, the other half of town is usually cheering Hoquiam high school! :) 

What does it cost and what can I do there? Go watch some kids sports and eat some food to support the organizations! Admission to games is usually a donation and food prices vary, 

3. Bishop Center 

What is it? A performing arts center/theater

What is my experience with it? Right after moving to Aberdeen, my oldest son was asked to sing with the Grays Harbor Symphony at a Christmas performance at the Bishop Center (You can watch his performance here). Shortly after that, my husband, oldest son and I were in Les Miserables there, and just this year my middle son played Michael Banks in Mary Poppins there. We have also gone to watch quite a few shows there. The shows are Phenomenally well done and the special events are always entertaining! 

Where is it? Located on the campus of Grays Harbor College. Address is: 

What does it cost and what can you do there? There is a variety of special event shows that come here as well as Orchestra and Choral performances and main stage theater productions twice a year. Prices vary for each show. They are currently rehearsing for Anything Goes which will open in March. Check out all the upcoming events here.

4. 7th Street Theater

What is it? A theater in Hoquiam

My Experience with it: This theater, like Bishop center, has special events that come through (even Macklemore stopped here on his small town tour last year!). There are monthly movie nights as well. BUT my main experience with this theater was working as a board member for the group 7th Street KIDS. Each summer the KIDS group puts on a musical in 6 weeks with kids ages 7-16. And they are great! They also do a mini-camp show that is a 2 week long program with a short musical for ages 6-12. My kids were in Honk!, My Son Pinocchio, and my younger daughter played Baloo in Jungle Book Kids version (at mini camp). So, I have a special place in my heart for the summer show put on by 7th Street KIDS! 

Where is it? 313 7th Street, Hoquiam, WA 98550

What Does it cost and what can you do there? There are a lot of special events happening at the theater with varying prices. Check out the list of upcoming events here. (Notice Hoquiam High school performs their musical here each year-I wish I could see Little Shop of Horrors next month!!!) And take note of their popular Movie series!

5. Sam Benn Park and Finch Park

What are they? Parks, they are both parks

My experience with them: Yeah, I know I am cheating on this one as this is clearly two different parks. But guys, I have to include both because my kids liked Sam Benn best, but Finch has a spray ground, so I couldn't ignore that appeal. So, this is a two for one! 

Where are they? Sam Benn: 300 Hanna Ave, Finch: 608 W Sumner.

What can I do there and what does it cost? FREE! Parks to play at for free! Sam Benn is my kids favorite as it has disc golf, a playground, basketball courts, and usually their friends were there! But I am including Finch here too because on a hot summer day you will find LOTS of friends cooling off at the spray ground there. Finch also has a playground, covered picnic tables, basketball courts and a baseball diamond. 

Honorable mentions: 
  • Rainier Lanes Bowling at 415 W Heron, Aberdeen (Fun place to bowl with a mini golf area and some arcade games. It's right by Safeway)
  • Lake Sylvia at 1812 N Lake Sylvia Rd, Montesano, WA 98563. LOVE this place. The only reason it's not on my list is because it is Montesano! Go there! (You need a Discover Pass
  • Harborena at 2112 Simpson Ave in Hoquiam. Fun Skating spot. My kids loved it.
  • Extreme Fun Center in the Mall at 901 S Boone St in Aberdeen. This place opened right about the time we moved away, but we went back to visit and spent some time here. If we lived in Aberdeen still, this would be a major hang out I am sure! It is a lot of fun! Check it out! 
  • Coming Attractions Movie Theater in the mall at 1017 S Boone St (the other side of the mall from the Extreme Fun Center).