Renton is a city in King County, Washington south of Bellevue and north of Kent. It is a quiet suburb of Seattle at the base of Lake Washington. Its relatively inexpensive property prices make it a solid choice of stay while visiting Seattle, and the downtown area has many quiet charms of its own that make a visit worthwhile.
Renton was named for Captain William Renton, the financial backer of the Renton Coal Company which was founded by one of Renton's first white settlers, Erasmus Smithers. Built on Duwamish land, Renton gained settlers looking for jobs in the coal mines until Boeing began to open plants for aircraft construction in World War II, resulting in a population boom. Today, Renton is primarily known as the site of the Boeing 737 plant, where the popular commercial jetliner is built. Renton is also notable for being the resting place of rock legend Jimi Hendrix.
As of the 2010 census, Renton had a population of 90,927.
This article covers more than the City of Renton as it includes three potential annexation zones that are typically considered part of Renton (though some have addresses in Seattle and Issaquah). (The Renton School District has different borders than the city and unincorporated parts of King County are given Renton addresses.)
The city is also served by King County International Airport (BFI IATA), also known as Boeing Field. The main hub scheduled commercial flights is, of course, SeaTac International Airport, accessible by public transit.
- 1 Renton Municipal Airport (RNT IATA). You can fly in right next door to the Boeing 737 Plant, although you would need your own plane to do so.
As with many American suburbs, Renton is difficult to navigate without a car. If you're trying to use public transit to go anywhere that's not the Landing or downtown core, you should expect that you will probably have to walk at least a mile out of your way to get to your destination.
There are several car rental agencies with locations in Renton, including Avis, Enterprise, and Hertz.
Renton does not have bike lanes like Seattle does, but many trails exist throughout the city that are exclusively available to cyclists and pedestrians that can make biking a great option for getting around.
By public transit
Renton is served by a lot of bus routes. The main hub is the 2 Renton Transit Center. The easiest way to plan trips is by using the route planners for King County Metro and Sound Transit. For Link light rail services, the nearest station is Tukwila International Boulevard Station.
- King County Metro, ☏ . Operates bus, streetcar, and monorail routes in King County. Communities within the county served by this operator's routes include Auburn, Bellevue, Bothell, Burien, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kent, Kirkland, Mercer Island, North Bend, Redmond, Renton, SeaTac, Seattle, Shoreline, Tukwila, Vashon Island, White Center, and Woodinville. Routes that go through Renton:
- Rapid Ride 'F' Line Burien to Renton via Tukwila International Blvd Station, Southcenter Mall, Tukwila Sounder Station
- Route 101 runs from Downtown Seattle to Downtown Renton via I-5 and MLK Blvd.
- Route 105 runs from the Renton Highlands to Downtown.
- Route 148 goes south from the RTC into Fairwood.
- Route 153 Renton to Kent on SW Lind Ave (Renton), E Valley Hwy (in Tukwila) and Central Ave (in Kent).
- Route 342 connects Renton to Shoreline through Bellevue, Bothell, Lake Forest Park, Ballinger Way
- DART Route 908 runs from the RTC through the Highlands and into Maplewood.
- Sound Transit, toll-free: . Has regional public transit routes including Sounder trains, Link light rail, and express bus in King County (e.g. Bellevue, Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Seattle), Snohomish County (e.g. Everett, Lynnwood), and Pierce County (e.g. Puyallup, Tacoma).
There are many other routes that go through Renton on their way to and from other cities. Using a trip planning app is advised if you want to get somewhere specific.
Renton doesn't have very many sights, but it does have some of note.
- 1 Coulon Beach Park (Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park). On Lake Washington, it is home to an Ivar's and Kidd Valley and right next to the Renton Boeing plant. Lots of open areas for picnics and relaxing. Free.
- 2 Jimi Hendrix Memorial, 350 Monroe Avenue Northeast, ☏ . A beautiful memorial in tribute to one of the greatest rock musicians of all time. Jimi was born in Seattle, but his father laid him to rest here.
- 3 Liberty Park, 113 Houser Way N. Sunrise to sunset. Right next to the Renton Library, Liberty Park has basketball and tennis courts, picnic areas, play equipment, a skatepark, and access to the Cedar River Trail. It's often visited in September when you can see the salmon making their way up the Cedar River from the Renton Library's bridge. Free.
- 4 Renton History Museum, 235 Mill Avenue South, ☏ . Tu-Sa 10AM–4PM. A small museum that houses historical artifacts, most relating to the pioneer era. It includes a permanent exhibit on the Duwamish, whose land Renton is built on. $5 adults, $2 children, free for children 8 & younger.
- 5 Virginia Mason Athletic Center (the VMAC), 12 Seahawks Way. The official training center of the Seattle Seahawks. Offers tours of the facilities. Great for football fans.
Hiking is perhaps the most rewarding experience the Pacific Northwest can offer you. Renton has an assortment of beautiful trails, including:
- 1 Cedar River Trail, 901 Nishiwaki Lane (Runs five miles from Lake Washington to Jones Road). The longest trail in Renton and may be the most beautiful. Especially nice during September when you can see the salmon returning to spawn.
- 2 Honey Creek Trail (Trailhead at NE 27th St and Ferndale Ct NE). Includes the local attraction of Devil's Elbow, a closed road which was known for its devilishly sharp curve that sent several cars tumbling into a ravine during rainy weather. With its "abandoned civilization" vibe, it makes for a great hike.
- 3 May Creek Park Trail, 12983 SE May Creek Park Dr. In Newcastle.
Renton also has other things to do for those less outdoorsy:
- 4 Carco Theatre, 1717 SE Maple Valley Highway, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Local non-profit theatre with a nearly half-century of history in the city (the oldest theatre in Renton!). Located in Cedar River Park, Carco is always putting on at least one performance.
- 5 Henry Moses Aquatic Center (Open mid-June through Labor Day), 1719 SE Maple Valley Highway, ☏ . noon–3:30PM, 4PM–7:30PM daily. Huge swimming pool located near downtown. Big draw for residents during the summer. Features a wave pool, lazy river, island lagoon, two water slides, play structures, and more. Lap pool is also available (and cheaper). Ticket sales start 3 hours in advance of the session you wish to attend; see the website for more details. $15 for non-residents age 5+.
- 6 Renton Civic Theatre, 507 S 3rd St, ☏ , email@example.com. RCT frequently puts on dramas, comedies, and musicals in the heart of Renton's downtown.
- 7 Renton Farmer's Market (June through September), 233 Burnett Ave S (in the Renton Pavillion), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu 3–7PM. Great market with food trucks and lots of fresh local produce.
- Ivar's Clam Lights (late November through January 1) (at Coulon Beach Park). 5PM–9PM. An entrancing light display throughout Coulon Beach Park during the holiday season. Definitely worth a visit if you're in town. Bonfires are also lit at various fireplace stations throughout the park for warming up and mingling. Free.
- Renton Comic Con (Usually the second or third weekend in September), info@RentonComicon.com. Renton (especially the downtown area) has a fairly active comics and games scene. Renton's comic con is smaller, but still attracts a variety of great cosplayers and celebrity guests. Features the usual panels and autographs in addition to a cosplay contest, a "burlesque show," a LARPing tournament, and a menagerie of trading card, video, board, and role playing games and tournaments. Day Pass $30; weekend pass $55; kids 10 and under free.
- Renton River Days (Varies, but usually the last week of July). Renton's major summer event. There are parades, live music, food, and lots of festivities. You'll see a lot of locals out, but it is a tourist attraction as well.
- Seahawks Training Camp (Several sessions from the end of July to mid-August), toll-free: . Very popular summer activity—be on the sidelines up close during a Seahawks training session at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Provides opportunities for some fan interaction with the players. You cannot drive directly to the facility; instead, you will board a bus at 1 the Landing (911 C N 10th Place). $9/person.
- 1 Antiques District, Wells Ave S & S 3rd St. Downtown Renton is host to a few antiques shops all within about a block of each other. Makes for a fun walk during the day.
- 2 Comic Hut, 822 S 3rd St, ☏ . M–F noon–6PM; Sa 11AM–5PM; Su 11AM–4PM. Cute comic shop in downtown with a pretty wide selection. The owner is a comic buff and will gladly help you find anything you might want.
- 3 Game-Xplosion, 918 S 3rd St, ☏ . Su–W 11AM–6PM; Th 11AM–8PM; F 11AM–10PM; Sa 11AM–9PM. Huge collection of video games downtown, consoles, accessories, and vinyl records as well. Just about anything you could be looking for from any era of gaming can be found here. The owner is friendly and helpful and will gladly talk your ear off about vintage consoles.
- 4 The Landing. Renton's main outdoor mall, halfway between the Highlands and Downtown. In addition to being within walking distance of Coulon Beach Park, there are lots of great shops and restaurants, and it's generally considered to be a great place to hang out.
- 5 Modern to Vintage, 407 Williams Ave S, ☏ . Su 10AM–5PM; Sa M 10AM–6PM; Tu W 11AM–2PM; Th 5PM–8PM. A neat second-hand furniture store with lots of vintage pieces operated out of a century-old house in the downtown area.
- 1 Blossom Vegetarian Restaurant, 2502, 305 Burnett Ave S, ☏ , email@example.com. Su-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-9:30AM. Vegetarian and vegan Vietnamese restaurant with a focus on providing imitation meat and fish dishes. $12-$18.
- 2 Heaven Sent Fried Chicken, 509 S 3rd Street, ☏ . 11AM–8PM daily. The local restaurant chain owned by the founder of Ezell's Chicken. The best place in town for fried chicken, hands down. $2.50/piece; $20-$40 for family meals.
- 3 Jay Berry's Cafe, 16341 Renton Issaquah Road, ☏ . 7AM–9PM daily. Good American (especially breakfast) fare for reasonable prices. Well-liked by locals. $10-$20.
- 4 Jimmy Mac's Roadhouse, 225 SW 7th St, ☏ . 11AM–10PM daily. A steakhouse known for the novelty of serving peanuts out of barrels and then allowing you to toss the shells on the floor. Also has locations in Everett and Federal Way. $15-30.
- 5 Melrose Grill, 819 Houser Way South, ☏ . Su–Th 5PM–9PM, F Sa 5PM–10PM. A restaurant in a building almost as old as the town, with gourmet steaks, cocktails, and desserts. Usually fairly crowded; consider making a reservation. Seafood options available; no vegetarian options aside from salads. $30-$50.
- 6 Naan -N- Curry, 709 South 3rd Street, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu–Th 11:30AM–8:30PM; F 11:30AM–9:30PM; Sa noon–9:30PM; Su noon–8:30PM. Locally-owned authentic Indian-Pakistani restaurant with delicious food. Lots of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Also has a location in Issaquah. $14-$18.
- 7 Over the Rainbow Tea Bar, 4820 NE 4th St (Ste A101), ☏ . Su–Th 11AM–10PM; F Sa 11AM–11PM. A local treasure: one of the best bubble tea shops in the Seattle metropolitan area. Low-key atmosphere; popular with many of the local youths. $3.
- 8 Peyrassol Cafe, 1083 Lake Washington Blvd N #30, ☏ . Tu W 5PM–close; Th F 11AM–2:30PM, 5PM–close; Sa 10AM–2:30PM, 5PM–close. Southern French style cafe with delicious brunch, lunch, and dinner options and lakefront views. $15-$30.
- 9 Sunset Bistro, 354 Sunset Blvd N (tucked away off I-405 near downtown), ☏ . Tu–F 11AM–8PM, Sa 11AM–7PM, Su noon-7PM. A Romanian bistro that is well-liked by locals. $11-$30.
Surprisingly for a seemingly quiet suburb, Renton has a fairly lively nightlife scene that dates back to its years as a coal mining town. The majority of the good bars are concentrated in the downtown area.
- 1 8-Bit Arcade Bar, 916 S 3rd St, ☏ . M–F 4PM–2AM, Sa Su noon–2AM. Vintage arcade and video games. Beer & pizza served; most games are only a quarter to play. $3-$6.
- 2 The Brick Pub & Grill, 1190 Sunset Blvd NE, Ste E, ☏ . Closed Mon; Tu W 3PM–10PM; Th F 3PM–midnight; Sa noon-midnight; Su noon–10PM. The food is good, but the bar is better. A little on the pricey side. $9-$11.
- 3 Dog & Pony Alehouse, 351 Park Avenue North, ☏ . M–W 11AM–10PM; Th 11AM–11PM; F 11AM–midnight; Sa noon–midnight; Su noon–10PM. Thirty-two taps that rotate on a daily basis, including IPA, ciders, wines, and lagers.
- 4 [formerly dead link] The Local 907, 907 S 3rd St, ☏ , email@example.com. M–F 11AM–2AM; Sa noon–2AM; Su 9:30AM–2AM. Good food and drinks. Open mic comedy on some Saturday nights. $4-$8.
- 5 Uncle Mo's Snappy Inn, 321 Williams Ave S, ☏ . Su–Th 8AM–midnight; F Sa 8AM–2AM. The "best dive bar in town" that brands itself as the "Cheers of Renton." Fun crowd, decent food, and good karaoke nights. $3-$8.
- 6 Vino at the Landing, 800 N 10th Pl, Ste E, ☏ . Su–Th 11AM–10PM, F Sa 11AM–midnight. Cute wine bar and restaurant at the Landing. Outdoor seating available. $8-$12/glass for most bottles; $5 for craft beer.
- 7 Whistle Stop Ale House, 809 S 4th Street, ☏ . M–W 9AM–10PM; Th–Sa 9AM–midnight; Su 9AM–9PM. Well-established craft beer bar that's loved by locals and also serves good comfort food. Happy hours are M–F 3PM–6PM. $4-$8.
- 1 Econo Lodge Hotel, 4710 Lake Washington Blvd, ☏ , fax: . The northernmost option for staying in Renton proper; near the border with Newcastle. $70-$100.
- 2 Quality Inn, 1850 SE Maple Valley Highway, ☏ , fax: . Centrally located on Maple Valley Highway; not far from Downtown. $80-$110.
- 3 Clarion Hotel Renton, 3700 East Valley Road, ☏ , fax: . Southernmost hotel in Renton. $120-$150.
- 4 Hilton Garden Inn Seattle/Renton, 1801 E Valley Road, ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $120-$140.
- 5 Larkspur Landing Renton, 1701 E. Valley Rd, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. $95-$130.
- 6 SpringHill Suites Seattle South/Renton, 200 SW 19th St, ☏ , fax: . $100-$135.
- 7 Hyatt Regency Lake Washington, 1701 E. Valley Rd, ☏ , email@example.com. Opened in 2017. Beautiful waterfront views of Lake Washington. $170-$210.
- 8 Red Lion Seattle/Renton, 1 South Grady Way, ☏ . $135-$200.
- 9 TownePlace Suites Seattle South/Renton, 300 SW 19th St, ☏ , fax: . $155-$215.
For free internet access, Renton has two libraries that are lovely to visit.
- 1 Renton Library, 100 Mill Avenue South, ☏ . M–Th 10AM–9PM, F 10AM–6PM, Sa 10AM–5PM, Su 1PM–5PM. The larger of the two libraries, beautifully situated over the Cedar River. During the fall, it's not uncommon to see salmon swimming upstream.
- 2 Renton Highlands Library, 2801 NE 10th Street, ☏ . M–Th 10AM–9PM, F 10AM–6PM, Sa 10AM–5PM, Su 1PM–5PM. The smaller library still has an ample selection and plenty of computers in addition to a beautiful interior with lots of natural lighting.
- For bourgeois shopping and a glitzier downtown, Bellevue is just to the north.
- For aviation nerds hoping to get a glimpse of a Boeing plant, the Boeing Future of Flight[dead link] includes a tour of their Everett facility.
- Also consider visiting SoDo to check out the Museum of Flight next to Boeing Airfield.
- To get the most of what the Puget Sound (and Washington) has to offer, a trip to Seattle is absolutely necessary.
|Routes through Renton|
|Lynnwood ← Bellevue ←||N S||→ Tukwila → Ends at|
|END ←||N S||→ Kent → Tacoma|