April 18, 2019 (West Seattle)

Welcome to Seattle Close to Home — a weekly round-up of ideas for time-crunched Seattle-area residents, who want to get outside, volunteer, and eat good food, but don’t necessarily want to drive far (or at all).

Join your fellow paddlers. Locally-owned Mountain to Sound Outfitters (3618 SW Alaska St) is hosting a Boat Swap on Saturday from 12pm to 6pm (co-hosted by Alki Kayak Tours) and Paddling Film Festival from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Buy and/or sell human powered watercraft (kayaks, SUPs, canoes) and accessories, see a film — and check out the store’s sale on winter gear.

Help out at Me-kwa-mooks Park. On Friday from 1:30pm to 3:30pm, volunteers will be removing ivy and blackberry to make room for native Pacific Northwest plants. Sign up online and meet on the front lawn of Me-kwa-mooks Park (4503 Beach Drive SW).

Get out! for a day at the beach. Enjoy the quiet side of Alki at Me-kwa-mooks. If the tide is out, explore the tidepools, then walk 2.5 miles along the shoreline to Lincoln Park, which has woodsy and waterside trails.

Fuel up at … We’ve been telling you about our go-to places to eat and get coffee, but we want to hear about yours! We invite you to post a comment about your favorite eateries in West Seattle.

Leaving the car at home? The West Seattle Water Taxi is operating seven days a week now, leaving from downtown. Metro route 773 will take you from the ferry dock to the Alaska junction. The C-Line also runs from Seattle to the Alaska junction and to Lincoln Park. On weekdays, bus #37 goes to the Alaska junction and Me-kwa-mooks Park.

Weather forecast: Friday may seen some rain with a high of 57 degrees. Saturday and Sunday are forecast to be sunny with patchy clouds and highs in the low 60s.

April 11, 2019 (Mount Baker/Judkins Park)

Welcome to Seattle Close to Home — a weekly round-up of ideas for time-crunched Seattle-area residents, who want to get outside, volunteer, and eat good food, but don’t necessarily want to drive far (or at all).

Join your fellow chocolate lovers. On Saturday from 2pm to 4:30pm, sample locally made chocolate treats and cocoa-based products at the Great Seattle Vegan Chocolate Meltdown. Proceeds from chocolate sales benefit the Food Empowerment Project. Tickets are available online. Takes place at the Mount Baker Community Club (2811 Mt Rainier Dr S).

Help out in the garden. Volunteers will meet at Jimi Hendrix Park (2400 S Massachusetts St) at 9am on Saturday for weeding and mulching in the rain and butterfly gardens. The park is located just off the I-90 trail, a.k.a. the Mountains to Sound Greenway, and next to the Northwest African American Museum, which is worth a visit.

Get out! and explore the I-90 trail. Whether on foot or bike, our suggested route (all or part) will take you from Jimi Hendrix Park west to Beacon Hill, east to Mercer Island (and beyond), or both! — on the Mountains to Sound Greenway.

Fuel up at … We’ve been telling you about our go-to places to eat and get coffee, but we want to hear about yours! We invite you to post a comment about your favorite eateries in Mount Baker/Judkins Park.

Leaving the car at home? Metro bus #14 goes to the Mount Baker Community Club, and also stops about a 1/2 mile from Jimi Hendrix Park. Routes 8 and 48 serve Jimi Hendrix Park, but be aware of construction reroutes.

 Weather forecast: Periods of rain are in the forecast with highs around 55.

April 4, 2019 (University of Washington)

Welcome to Seattle Close to Home — a weekly round-up of ideas for time-crunched Seattle-area residents, who want to get outside, volunteer, and eat good food, but don’t necessarily want to drive far (or at all).

Help out down on the urban farm. Saturday is Drop-in Volunteer Day at the farm at UW’s Mercer Court (3927 Adams Ln NE). The event takes place from 10am to 2pm and is open to all who want to help with weeding and transplanting, and learn about gardening, organic food, and inner-city agriculture.

Join your fellow botanical fanaticals. UW’s Botanic Gardens and Center for Urban Horticulture is hosting two plant-focused events in the Miller Library (3501 NE 41st St): opening Friday (through May 8), an exhibit of original botanical illustrations, and on Saturday from 9am to 3pm, the Garden Lover’s Book Sale, which will feature gently used books on gardening, plants, ecology and other topics.

Get Out! and paddleThe UW Waterfront Activities Center (3710 Montlake Blvd NE — behind Husky Stadium) opens for the season this week and offers canoe and rowboat rentals (kayaks will be available in May). Head north into the Union Bay Natural Area to view bald eagles, osprey (also known as seahawks), and other waterfowl. Or head south to the Washington Arboretum and its protected waterways (just be careful of motorboat traffic heading into and out of the Montlake Cut). Boat rentals are available from 10am to 5pm daily.

Fuel up at Agua Verde Cafe and Paddle Club. You can rent kayaks — and enjoy tasty Mexican food, as well as espresso — at Agua Verde (1307 NE Boat St). Kayak rentals are available on weekends from 10am to 6pm; the cafe is open on Saturdays from 9am to 9pm, but is closed on Sundays.

Leaving the car at home? Take the light rail to the University of Washington station. Several bus routes, including 4870, 71, and 73, provide service to UW. Buses 31,326567 and 75 also stop near the Miller Library.

Weather forecast: The weekend looks overcast with periods of rain and highs in the mid- to upper-50s.

March 28, 2019 (Rainier Valley/Lake Washington)

Welcome to Seattle Close to Home — a weekly round-up of ideas for time-crunched Seattle-area residents, who want to get outside, volunteer, and eat good food, but don’t necessarily want to drive far (or at all).

Join your fellow nature walkers. On Saturday, from 9am to 11am, Seward Park Audubon naturalist Ed Dominguez will lead a nature walk at Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands (5513 S Cloverdale St), focusing on the birds, beavers and other wildlife. Register online.

Help out at Genesee Park. Volunteers will be weeding at the south end of the park (4316 S Genesee St) to make way for native plants on Saturday from 9am to 12pm. Sign up online.

Get out! for a bike ride or walk through Genesee Park to Lake Washington Boulevard and continue north to Madrona Beach or south to Seward Park. Or ride to/from Rainier Beach Urban Farm.

Fuel up at Super Six before/after. Check out this Columbia City eatery for brunch, happy hour, or dinner with a Hawaiian vibe, featuring outdoor picnic tables and menu items like The 98118 Sandwich with seared SPAM. Located at 3714 S Hudson, it’s open from 8am on weekends.

Also recommended: Columbia City Bakery (4865 Rainier Ave S) and Full Tilt Ice Cream (5041 Rainier Ave S‎). And PCC for picnic items or takeout (3610 S Edmunds).

Leaving the car at home? Ride Metro to Columbia City/Genesee Park/Rainier Beach on the #7, #9, or #50, or take the light rail to Columbia City Station or Rainier Beach Station.

Weather forecast: Sun and clouds with highs around 60.

 

March 21, 2019 (Gas Works to Discovery Park)

Welcome to Seattle Close to Home — a weekly round-up of ideas for time-crunched Seattle-area residents, who want to get outside, volunteer, and eat good food, but don’t necessarily want to drive far (or at all).

Help out with planting at Discovery Park. On Sunday from 9am to 12pm, Green Seattle Partnership will be installing native plants at the park. Find a registration link, as well as details about what to wear/bring, online — and meet at the park’s north parking lot.

Join your fellow spring cyclists. Join Cascade Bicycle Club on Saturday for “Getting Ready to Ride,” a leisurely/steady-paced 21.5-mile ride. The start (10am) and finish are at Gas Works Park, and the route includes Magnolia and Queen Anne (so expect a few hills).

Get Out! and explore Discovery Park. Our favorite in-city get-away offers miles of beach and trail walking opportunities, as well as shady forests and sweeping views of the Sound and Olympic Peninsula. Find a trail map at the Environmental Learning Center (3801 Discovery Park Blvd) or online.

Fuel up with a picnic in the park. Magnolia’s Metropolitan Market (3830 34th Ave W) offers a large selection of locally-sourced take-away options.

Leaving the car at home? Metro bus #24 goes to Magnolia’s Metropolitan Market, which is just a few blocks from Discovery Park. The #33 goes to the Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center area.

To get to Gas Works, the UW light rail station is less then 2-miles away on the Burke-Gilman Trail. Buses #31 and #32 stop a couple of blocks from Gas Works.

Weather forecast: Highs are forecast to be in the mid- to upper-50s, with cloud cover on Saturday and a partly sunny Sunday.

March 14, 2019 (Downtown/Chinatown-ID)

Welcome to Seattle Close to Home — a weekly round-up of ideas for time-crunched Seattle-area residents, who want to get outside, volunteer, and eat good food, but don’t necessarily want to drive far (or at all).

Help out at the beach. If you enjoy (or think you might enjoy) spending summer weekends on the beach talking to people about marine life, the Seattle Aquarium begins its volunteer Beach Naturalist training on April 2. Find the details online.

Join your fellow theater fans. The Fern Shakespeare Company‘s production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream offers a bawdy, hilarious, and interactive take on the overlap between humans and the natural world (and its mischievous fairies). Tickets are available online; the show runs through the end of March at the Slate Theater (815 Seattle Blvd S).

Get out! on a run. The annual St. Patrick’s Day Dash takes place Sunday morning. The course starts at the Seattle Center, continues up-and-back through downtown, and finishes at the Seattle Center with a Post Dash Bash and Beer Garden. More info and registration is online.

If group running isn’t your thing, the trails crisscrossing nearby Olympic Sculpture Park offer not just views of the outdoor art, but also a stunning panorama of downtown Seattle, Puget Sound, and (weather permitting) the Olympics. Extend your walk (or bike ride) into Myrtle Edwards Park and beyond.

Fuel up with ramen. In a tiny space — but well worth the wait — Samurai Noodle (606 5th Ave S) serves steaming bowls of ramen in aromatic and delicious broths. We recently tried the mushroom ramen, which included one of the most flavorful slices of pork we’ve had. Open from 10am to 8:30pm (and until 9:30 on Friday and Saturday).

Leaving the car at home? Bus #24/19 goes to the the Seattle Center, as well as Olympic Sculpture Park. And buses #13/2 and #8 go to the Seattle Center. The International District/Chinatown light rail station is just a short walk from Samurai Noodle and the Slate Theater. Numerous buses travel to and from the C-ID, including the #7, #14#36, and #124.

Weather forecast: Sun and clouds with highs around 60.

March 7, 2019 (Seward Park/Columbia City – plus the ID)

Welcome to Seattle Close to Home — a weekly round-up of ideas for time-crunched Seattle-area residents, who want to get outside, volunteer, and eat good food, but don’t necessarily want to drive far (or at all).

Help out at a park. Green Seattle Partnership is holding workdays at North Genesee Park (9:30-12:30) and Colman Park (10am-1pm) on Saturday. Check the preceding park links for details of and directions to each event.

Join others getting their bikes ready for Spring. BikeWorks in Columbia City’s Hudson Building (3709 S Ferdinand) will open its shop on Saturday from noon to 5pm for adults to use the tools and repair stands with the help of a professional mechanic and volunteers.

Get out! on an urban hike. On Friday, The Mountaineers are leading a seven-mile walk from Seward Park to Colman Park, and then along the Mountains to Sound Greenway to the International District for a dim sum lunch. Join online by Wednesday, March 6. The organized hike is one-way. You can take light rail from the International District Station to Othello Station, then catch Metro bus #50 back to Seward Park.

You could also do all or part of the hike on your own–on foot or bike. Here is the suggested route.

Fuel up at Bua 9. This Columbia City restaurant serves reasonably-priced, delicious Thai classics and is well worth a stop. Bua 9 is located at 5020 Rainier Ave S and is open for lunch and dinner from 11am daily.

Above Colman Park and the I-90 bike tunnel, QED (1418 31st Ave S) has really good coffee, as well as baked goods, including vegan and gluten-free options. Open 7am-6pm on weekends and 6am-6pm during the week.

Leaving the car at home? Metro bus #50 goes to Seward Park and Genesee Park and connects with several other bus lines. The #14 and #27 stop near Colman Park and the #14 stops within a 20-minute walk of Genesee Park. Ride Metro to Columbia City (less than a mile from Genesee Park) on the #7, #9, or #106, or avoid traffic entirely and take the light rail to Columbia City Station.

Weather forecast: Friday is forecast to be mostly cloudy with a high of 46. Saturday and Sunday should be mostly sunny with highs of 48-50.

February 28, 2019 (South Lake Union)

Welcome to Seattle Close to Home — a weekly round-up of ideas for time-crunched Seattle-area residents, who want to get outside, volunteer, and eat good food, but don’t necessarily want to drive far (or at all).

Help out in a kayak. If you are available on a Wednesday morning, Puget Soundkeepers’ kayak patrol paddles Lake Union to collect debris from 10am to 12pm. Boats and cleanup equipment are provided. Call 206-297-7002 or email Morgan to reserve your spot(s). Meet at Northwest Outdoor Center (2100 Westlake Ave N).

Join your fellow rescuers. If you like to get out in the backcountry, REI’s slideshow and discussion, Most Common Backcountry Rescues (and How to Avoid Them), will teach you key lessons that could keep you and others safe. Takes place Monday at 6:30pm at Seattle REI (222 Yale Ave N). Pre-register online; suggested donation is $20.

Get Out! for a tree tour. A city Tree Ambassador will take you on a guided tour through the South Lake Union neighborhood and discuss the importance of trees in urban landscapes. Meet on the stairs between Whole Foods and Bank of America (2200 Westlake Ave) at 9:30am on Saturday. The tour is free; register online.

Fuel up with Neapolitan pizza. Celebrate 15 years of local chain Tutta Bella with a wood-fired pizza at the South Lake Union location (2200 Westlake Ave). Open daily at 11am, they also serve pastas, espresso, and a to-die-for tiramisu that serves two.

Leaving the car at home? Metro bus #40 runs along Westlake Avenue, and #70  goes along Eastlake and connects with several other buslines in the U-District. The South Lake Union streetcar travels to SLU from the Westlake light rail station.

Weather forecast: Partly cloudy with highs in the upper 40s this weekend.

February 21, 2019 (Bainbridge Island)

Welcome to Seattle Close to Home — a weekly round-up of ideas for time-crunched Seattle-area residents, who want to get outside, volunteer, and eat good food, but don’t necessarily want to drive far (or at all).

Join your fellow eco-music fans. Joe Reilly performs eco-friendly folk music and “songs for the earth” at IslandWood (4450 Blakely Ave NE) on Sunday at 4pm. Tickets are free, but reserve online as space is limited. An optional pizza dinner takes place afterward, but sign up today!

Help out on your bicycle. Benefitting cycling programs, including Let’s Go, the Major Taylor Project, or Cascade Bicycle Club‘s statewide advocacy, the Chilly Hilly ride happens on Sunday. For Seattle cyclists, registration is from 7am to 10am at Pyramid Ale House (1201 1st Ave S), from which you’ll bike to Colman dock and catch the 7:55, 8:55, 9:35 or 10:40 ferry to Bainbridge Island for the 33-mile ride. Online registration is open until midnight tonight. Day-of registration is available, but the ride is limited to 5,000 participants.

Get Out! in the woods. Bainbridge Island’s Grand Forest has approximately 8 miles of trails to explore on three parcels of land. It is about a 4- to 4.5-mile bike ride (or walk) from the Bainbridge ferry dock.

Fuel up at an island favorite. The Streamliner (397 Winslow Way E) serves breakfast and lunch from 7am on Saturdays (and weekdays) and 7:30am on Sundays. Menu items include an array of omelettes and scrambles, housemade biscuits, meatloaf sandwiches, pulled pork, and vegetarian options.

Leaving the car at home? Catch the ferry from downtown Seattle on your bike or on foot. If you’re not participating in the Chilly Hilly, might be best to avoid Sunday morning sailings, particularly the early ones.

Weather forecast: Saturday looks a little rainy, but Sunday looks drier. Both days will see high temps in the low 40s.

February 14, 2018 (Magnuson Park)

Welcome to Seattle Close to Home — a weekly round-up of ideas for time-crunched Seattle-area residents, who want to get outside, volunteer, and eat good food, but don’t necessarily want to drive far (or at all).

Join your fellow mountain film fans. The Mountaineers (7700 Sand Point Way NE) are screening a documentary about two ascents of Mount Kennedy, a remote peak in the Yukon named for JFK — the first (and first-ever ascent) by Jim Whittaker and Robert Kennedy in 1965; the second by the sons of the original climbing team 50 years later. Tickets are available online for the Tuesday evening event. Doors open at 6pm.

Help out with forest restoration. Volunteers will be working in Magnuson Park () on Sunday near the west side of Sports Field Drive NE, from 9am to 1pm. And on Monday (the President’s Day holiday) near Kite Hill, from 9:30am to 1pm. Check “Sunday” and “Monday” links for details and directions.

Get Out! on your own adventure. Magnuson Park has a network of trails that take you along the lakeshore, through marshlands, across fields, and past outdoor art installations. If there is still snow and/or slush on the ground, take a spin on snowshoes or try Yaktrax.

Looking for a longer trek? The Burke-Gilman Trail is easily accessible from Magnuson Park.

Fuel up at the park or along the trail. Magnuson Cafe & Brewery (7801 62nd Ave NE) has locally-made beers on tap and is open for brunch at 9am on weekends (and for lunch at 11am on weekdays). Saint Helens Cafe is located right on the Burke-Gilman Trail (3600 NE 45th St) about 2.5 miles from the park and opens at 10am on weekends and 11am on weekdays. Both places are worth a stop for coffee, brunch, happy hour or dinner.

Leaving the car at home?  Metro bus 62 and bus 75 will take you to and from Magnuson Park. But check for any route changes due to weather and road conditions.

Weather forecast: The holiday weekend is forcast to be mostly cloudy with showers on Saturday with a high of 45 degrees on Saturday, 42 on Sunday, and 39 on Monday.