|Diversity and tradition fill the streets of
Seattle, however short the city's history may be. This medium-sized city
is booming economically, growing and evolving at a rapid rate, with much
help from international corporations like Microsoft, Boeing and Starbucks.
For most of us who live here, it's the blue skies, abundance of water and
picturesque mountain ranges that keep us firmly planted in this beautiful
About as close as Seattle gets to California, this sandy beach in West
Seattle draws swarms of walkers, joggers, bikers, skaters, scuba divers
and volleyball players. Cafes like the Alki Bakery and restaurants like
Salty's on Alki line the main street ready to nourish those who've played
at the beach all day. Alki Beach, directly across Elliott Bay from
downtown, is the spot where the first European settlers stayed in the
winter of 1851 before they moved to the more sheltered area that is now
Ballard, Scandinavian Hub of Seattle
Affectionately known for slow drivers and the lilting accents of its many
residents of Scandinavian descent, this area was first settled by
immigrant Nordic fishermen and mill workers more than 100 years ago. Visit
the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks to watch boats travel from salt water to
freshwater, then take a trip to Golden Gardens to watch the sunset.
Popular restaurants include Ray's Boathouse and Bad Albert's Tap and
Grill. Stop by Fisherman's Terminal for a look at the boats that keep the
fishing industry thriving, and then head to Chinook's for a taste of the
fresh seafood caught from those very boats. Although the Scandinavian
traditions are strong in Ballard, you may have do some searching to find
lutefisk or lefse.
Yes, this Washington has one, too, and its mix of eclectic shops,
art-house theaters, wonderful restaurants and interesting people make it
one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Seattle. Some of the city's most
historic houses are located here, as is the renowned Seattle Asian Art
Museum and Volunteer Park. Seattle University and Cornish College of the
Arts also grace this hill. Popular Capitol Hill restaurants include Cassis
Bistro and 611 Supreme. For movies check out Broadway Market Cinemas in
the middle of the Broadway strip or Harvard Exit a little further north.
Sometimes hip, sometimes eclectic, Fremont is always a fun place to go.
The sign saying "Welcome to the Center of the Universe" is the
first clue you've arrived. Oddities like a car-eating troll, a smoking
rocket and a bronzed Vladmir Lenin statue (purchased for $150,000) will
leave you laughing. The Saturday gallery walks and the Fremont Sunday
Market will have you browsing, and El Camino or Seattle Catch will fill
you up. Say hello to the group waiting for a bus, but don't expect an
answer: they're just life-sized statues often dressed in celebration of
someone's birthday or another grand event. Need a guitar string or an
art-quality mandolin? Descend the stairs to Dusty Strings.
Quaint shops, restaurants and cafes fill this upper-crust neighborhood on
the shores of Lake Washington. Everyone at restaurants like Madison Park
Café and Manca's seems to know one another, and everyone always appears
to be on the way to someplace important. Walk down the street to the
beach, take in the beautiful view of the Eastside and dream about your new
Pungent aromas and delectable dishes emit from restaurants like Bush
Garden in this primarily Asian neighborhood. Specialty shops filled with
unusual treasures line the streets. The district is home to the inner-city
oasis Hing Hay Park, complete with pagoda, Nippon Kan Theater and the Wing
Luke Asian Museum.
Across Lake Washington from Seattle lies the "Monterey of the
Northwest," so called for its posh art galleries, boutiques,
restaurants and waterfront. Bistro Provencal and the waterfront Yarrow Bay
Grill are popular stops for see-and-be-seen lunches and dinners. While
close to the city, Kirkland manages to maintain its small-town atmosphere,
which adds to its appeal.
Pike Place Market
This is the heart of Seattle and the number one tourist site in the area,
attracting frenzied crowds of visitors and locals alike. The oldest
continually operating farmer's market in the country, Pike Place features
fresh fish, fruits and vegetables, and arts and crafts as far as the eye
can see. Abundant restaurants include Maximilien in the Market and
Lowell's. Shops offer goods from around the world. Bring some change as
there are always street musicians singing for their supper.
This is where it all started. Seattle's oldest neighborhood, it's where
the term "Skid Row" originated. Lumberjacks skidded logs down
"Skid Road," now Yesler Street, to a mill at the bottom of the
hill. Saloons and brothels lined the street, and the term took on its
derogatory connotation locally and nationwide. The Underground Tour leaves
from here and explores the now submerged storefronts of the original
neighborhood from before the great fire of 1889. Today Pioneer Square is a
historic neighborhood filled with art galleries, small shops, bookstores,
including Elliott Bay Book Company, and restaurants like the elegant Il
Terrazzo Carmine. At night the square comes to life with a variety of
popular nightspots, including Central Saloon, one of Seattle's oldest
bars, and New Orleans. Many clubs feature live music, and one group of 11
bars and clubs allows admittance for a single cover charge. Pioneer Square
also plays hosts to Seattle's Fat Tuesday celebration.
Queen Anne Hill
A combination of a quiet hilltop neighborhood and a young trendy hot spot,
Queen Anne has popular restaurants like the funky 5 Spot Café and Peso's
Taco Lounge as well as coffee shops and nightspots like trendy Tini Bigs.
The view of the city from the west slope is incredible, especially from
Kerry Park, which offers the most photographed view of Seattle.
Thriving due to corporate residents like Microsoft and Nintendo, Redmond
is the unlikely yet appealing combination of countryside and technology.
The software industry brings money here and with it good shopping at
Redmond Town Center. Cyclists appreciate the velodrome at Marymoor Park
and the Lake Sammamish Trail (for those of us too slow for the velodrome).
Part amusement park, part festival grounds and always a nice place to
stroll on a summer day, the center hosts The Bite of Seattle, Bumbershoot
and many other popular festivals. Permanent fixtures of this 74-acre park
include the Seattle Opera, Intiman Theater, Bagley-Wright Theater, Paul
Allen's Experience Music Project, the Pacific Science Center and the Space
This area is home to the University of Washington, known to locals as
"U-Dub." The park-like 700-acre campus is perfect for a midday
stroll. Boats filled with die-hard Husky fans fight for space around the
waterfront stadium on game days. Cheap eats and pubs like Flowers line the
"Ave" (University Avenue), and stylish teens and
twentysomethings fill the streets. The University Bookstore supplies
students with textbooks but also maintains an excellent selection of
general books, art supplies, UW apparel and souvenirs.
Elliott Bay, an inlet from the Pacific Ocean, laps against Seattle's
waterfront. On summer days visitors pack the area to enjoy the fresh air,
quaint shops and many seafood restaurants, including Elliott's, Anthony's
Homeport, Fisherman's Restaurant and Ivar's. Catch a ferry to Bremerton
and beyond, or take a water tour to Blake Island's Tillicum Village for a
salmon dinner and Native American dance show.