Seattle Off The Beaten Path
Space Needle. Check. Pike’s Place Market. Check. Kerry Park. Check.
If you’re hosting an out-of-town guest who’s made it through the typical hit list of Seattle sights or visiting Seattle and feeling adventurous, what hidden gems can you add to your itinerary?
Here are some Seattle spots that don’t make most lists, but can add some unexpected fun to your romp around the city.
Georgetown Neighborhood: 5805 Airport Way S, Seattle, WA
One way we love supporting local businesses is taking a trip to Georgetown Trailer Park Mall. It’s a charmingly eclectic shopping destination in the rapidly changing Georgetown neighborhood. Located on a converted parking lot and dotted with vintage trailers, this outdoor mall showcases designers, artists, and bakers selling their goods. Upholding the mall’s mission of promoting “sustainable, locally sourced, upcycled, reused and handmade products,” each trailer is a permanent and independently run shop. Open every weekend year-round, you can buy everything from organic produce, potted plants, reclaimed wood furniture, just baked macarons, vintage clothing and local art.
Also, since you’re already in the Georgetown neighborhood, there are plenty of places to grab a pint of beer, sip some wine at a tasting room, or enjoy a delicious meal along Airport Way.
Capitol Hill and Eastlake Neighborhoods: between Howe St and Franklin Ave E, Seattle, WA
Built in 1911, Howe Street Stairs are the longest public outdoor staircase in Seattle. Linking Capitol Hill and Eastlake they have a sweat-inducing 388 steps broken into 13 flights. The Howe Street Stairs are among more than 650 other such outdoor staircases that zigzag up and down the hills all across the city. Some of these public staircases are short cuts between streets, offer amazing views or lead to otherwise hidden Seattle spots. The Howe Street Stairs are all these, plus one of the best free workouts you can get. It’s even described as a “gym” on Google Maps. We recommend exploring the staircase from the top down to ensure you get to enjoy it fully. Start at the end of Howe St in Capitol Hill (Howe and 10th Ave). Making your way down the steps, take in the peek-a-boo views of Lake Union and Portage Bay. When you reach Lakeview Blvd E, you’ll discover the rather hidden Colonnade Park, a cool mountain bike course under I-5. From there, continue to the bottom of the stairs which end at Franklin Ave E. Reward yourself with a goodie from Grand Central Bakery on 1616 Eastlake Ave E. Then, burn those calories on the way back up to Capitol Hill as you remind yourself that every step makes you stronger.
Ballard Neighborhood: around NW Leary Way and 14th Ave NW, Seattle, WA
If walking up and down flights of stairs aren’t your thing (and we don’t blame you), how about some walking with a little bit more purpose. We’re talking about a brewery crawl. Seattle has long been a stronghold for beer-making with Rainier Brewing Company making beer from as early as the 1880’s. Brewing beer has exploded in Seattle since then with more than 40 breweries in the Seattle area.
The Ballard neighborhood is chock-full of breweries within a few blocks of each other, making it the ideal location for strolling and sampling some of Seattle’s local brews. With 10 breweries within a few square blocks of NW Leary Way and 14th Ave NW, there’s plenty to choose from. Ten breweries are probably too … ambitious? … to visit in one day, but their proximity to each other makes it easy to stroll through the neighborhood, popping into other shops in between. Not to mention, Ballard has some of the best restaurants in the city, so there are plenty of opportunities to grab some grub to soak up those beers.
Belltown Neighborhood: 2100 4th Ave, Seattle, WA
“What? Go to a movie theater? That’s crazy!” Well, we disagree, respectfully of course. Sometimes after walking around all over the city, it’s nice to have a seat and take a breather and there are few places better to do that than Cinerama.
Cinerama is a historic movie theater owned by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. It plays classics as well as select new releases. It’s quite a pleasant movie-going experience - solving all the little annoyances of movie-going so you can fully enjoy the show. First off, you reserve your seats online so no more stressing out about finding good seats. It’s comfortable stadium seating so every seat has a great view. Plus, there’s plenty of leg room such that you don’t even have to get up when people pass. The screen is huge and the sound quality is awesome. It’s rare that one raves about concession food, but Cinerama has a solid selection. We love that they support local businesses and feature Washington beer, wine, cider and snacks like Brave Horse Tavern Pretzels, Uli’s Famous Sausage and Theo’s chocolate. Not to miss: Their chocolate-covered popcorn is so addictive it’s hard not to finish it off before the movie even starts.
Whether you’re visiting the crazy-crowded tourist trap or the local neighborhood spot that has the best cold-brew coffee, it’s having exciting new experiences that matter. Have fun!