July 12, 2018 (Capitol Hill)

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 the fight against ovarian cancer. Your $35 registration fee and participation in Sunday’s 5k SummeRun & Walk supports ovarian cancer research and education. On-site registration starts at 6:30am at Marion & Minor. The run/walk begins at 8:15 and is followed by refreshments, live music, closing festivities, and Ovarian Cancer Survivor Tribute.

Join your fellow outdoor theater fans. The Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday at Volunteer Park (1247 15th Ave. E). Performances are free (donations accepted) and include Shakespeare plays, as well as Pinocchio and The Three Musketeers. Check the website for the complete schedule.

Get Out! and explore Volunteer Park… and beyond. This graceful urban park has a network of trails the criss-crosses the lawns and loops around the reservoir. You can also climb to the top of the water tower and take in the view, visit the Conservatory, or just find a big tree to relax under.

For a longer walk (or bike ride), head east out of the park on Galer (past the Volunteer Park Cafe — see below — which you may not want to pass by) to 19th and veer left into the quiet shady ravines of Interlaken Park. You can even venture further into the Arboretum. Just remember: what goes down, may have to come back up.

Fuel up at the Volunteer Park Café. This lovely neighborhood eatery (1501 17th Ave E) serves coffee, panini, salads, and breakfast fare (including Banana Brioche French Toast with caramelized bananas, vanilla orange ricotta filling & toasted pecans) (!) The cafe is open from 8am to 4:30pm on weekends and at 7am Tues-Fri. Dinner is served from 5:30pm.

Leaving the car at home?

Numerous buses stop near Marion and Minor; check Metro’s Trip Planner for options.

To bus to Volunteer Park, the #10 runs along 15th Ave E and the #49 along 10th Ave E.

If you need a ride back up the hill from the Arboretum, catch the #43 on 24th, then walk 1.4 miles on Galer to Volunteer Park.

Weather forecast: 80s with lots of sun.

June 14, 2018 (Arboretum/Montlake)

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 tree enthusiasts for a tour of the Arboretum. Trained volunteers lead free walks focusing on seasonal topics and special plant collections this Sunday (and every Sunday through November) from 1pm to 2:30pm. Tours meet in front of the Graham Visitors Center (2300 Arboretum Dr E).

Help out at the Puget Soundkeepers summer cleanup. On Saturday from 10am to 12noon, hit the waterways of the Arboretum in a kayak or canoe and help pick up trash and debris. If paddling isn’t your thing, you can clean up the shorelines on foot. A picnic lunch will be provided following the cleanup. RSVP online. This event also meets at the Graham Visitors Center.

Get Out! and bike the Arboretum/520 trail. Explore the brand new Arboretum bike path from the Graham Visitors Center to the intersection of Lake Washington Blvd and E Madison (or vice versa). Looking for a longer ride? Veer off the Arboretum path at the old footbridge (#4 on bike trail map), and follow “Lake Washington Loop” signs through the Montlake neighborhood (yes, it does meander through alleyways) to the 520 overpass. Turn right and you’ll be on the 520 bike trail, on which you can ride across Lake Washington and stop at scenic viewpoints along the way.

Prefer to explore on foot? The Arboretum has a vast network of trails among the trees and plants (with many hidden nooks and crannies to discover) and along Union Bay on a series of islands and boardwalks.

Fuel up at Fuel. The longtime Montlake cafe (2300 24th Ave E) serves Caffe Vita from 7am to 6pm on weekends (opens at 6am during the week).

Nearby Cafe Lago (2305 24th Ave E), another Montlake favorite, is open for dinner, offering wood-fired pizzas and handmade pasta from 5pm daily.

Picnic fare can be found at Montlake Boulevard Market (2605 22nd Ave E), which offers a full-service deli, groceries, and prepared items to take away from 6am to midnight.

Leaving the car at home? You (and your bike) can ride the light rail to UW station, then follow the “Lake Washington Loop” signs to the 520 trail or Arboretum.

Metro bus #11 runs from downtown to E Madison and Lake Washington Blvd. And the #43 and #48 run along 24th Ave E. Check the transit map for additional routes.

Weather forecast: This weekend’s forecast predicts mostly sunny skies with highs in the 70s (74 on Saturday and 79 on Sunday).