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McMenamin’s Anderson School is an Escape For Grown-ups, Families

This “Disneyland for adults” is just north of Seattle.

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McMenamin’s is a Portland, Oregon-based family-owned business who specialize in making old properties new again. And man, can they really make things sparkle.

They specialize in flipping old properties in the Pacific Northwest— taking the “bones” and original character of a place, updating everything, and putting in modern amenities, typically with lodging, dining, and indoor/outdoor recreation. The resulting properties that they manage are destinations for adults and families looking to have fun and stay in a retro-classy place.

Take McMenamin’s Anderson School. The building is in Bothell, Washington— a small historic city just twenty minutes outside of Seattle. The property was a functioning school, once upon a time. After McMenamin's got done it was an all-inclusive destination with a unique school-hotel, a swimming pool, several restaurants, bars, and a movie theater.

The school’s inner courtyards are now immaculately landscaped to provide perfect outdoor chillouts next to fire pits or dining al fresco. The eateries and pubs at the school are themed but not in a corny way— more like old-school Americana with reclaimed wood, stained glass windows, shuffleboard, billiards, and pinball. McMenamin’s brews beer on site and they have live music in the summers for dancing outdoors.

A friend recently described the Anderson School as “a Disneyland for grownups”, which is a pretty accurate description. IT’s a full day of fun in the form of a variety of novel experiences.

Now the Anderson School is a top destination for local, regional, and national tourists, who want to access Seattle, but may not want to pay Seattle prices for lodging.


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Trip inspiration

Make it a full Seattle area trip by enjoying these other nearby attractions.

1. The Skykomish and Stillaguamish river valleys

Stay at the Anderson School and use it as a “launch pad” to explore northwest beauty. The local river valleys in the Cascade Mountains are ridiculously scenic and you could spend weeks exploring them. You can always come back to the hotel to grab a beer and sit in the hot tub afterward.

2. Wine country & Bothell Landing

The Bothell Landing is the start of the Sammamish River Trail. The trail leads bicyclists and walkers to northwest wine country in Woodinville. Bike to a full day of wine tastings, and live music. Kayakers can also navigate the waters of the Sammamish River in their crafts.


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3. Snohomish, Washington

If you like the juxtaposition of old world charm with modern amenities, try Snohomish. It’s a small, cute town done good. Its red brick downtown is adorned with hanging baskets, gazebos, and bakeries and it’s best known for its antique stores. Windowshopping is always in order on these Americana streets.

4. Funko Flagship Store

Internationally-known toymaker Funko is headquartered in downtown Everett, Washington, just up the interstate from Bothell. Their flagship store downtown is part pop culture amusement park, part retail store, and all family-friendly fun.

5. The Aviation District

The Boeing plant in Everett, Washington is the largest building in the world by volume (its full of airplanes in progress). Get a tour of where flight is made. And be sure to also check out the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum, where you can see lovingly-restored vintage aircraft and other war weaponry on display. A few time in the year they even roll out the replica tanks so be sure to check out their schedule online.

Want to stay in Bothell? More info on lodging options here.

Richard Porter
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