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.

January 31, 2019 (Downtown/Alki)

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 “Step Forward” participants. Whether you’re curious about the new tunnel or nostalgic for the viaduct, you can explore them this weekend at events taking place from the stadiums to the Seattle Center. Saturday includes an 8K fun run, tunnel walk, STEM activities, and a community celebration and art festival on the viaduct. Sunday offers a registered bike ride through the tunnel.

Help out at Alki. On Friday, from 10am to 1pm, volunteers will pick up garbage (click Feb 1 on the calendar) at Alki Beach and neighborhood to prevent it from ending up in the Sound. Bring gloves and a garbage bag; pick-up sticks provided. Meet at Alki Beach (2452 Alki Ave SW). Contact the organizer for more details.

Get Out! on water and wheels (or feet). On Friday and this Saturday, you can take the West Seattle Water Taxi to the Alki Beach Trail — and beyond — for a bike ride or walk. Bikes can be brought on board the water taxi.

Fuel up downtown or on Alki. Sitting atop the new tunnel, Von’s 1000Spirits has, as you might imagine, a full (spirited) bar, as well as pizzas, pastas, and giant burgers on buns made from their own sourdough. Located at the top of the Harbor Steps at 1225 1st Ave, Von’s is open at 11am daily.

Need a break from all the changes in Seattle? Step back in time at Alki Spud Fish and Chips (2666 Alki Ave SW). Since 1935, Spud has been serving up fried fish and shrimp, chowders, and shakes from 11am to 9pm daily.

Leaving the car at home? The West Seattle Water Taxi normally operates on weekdays only in the winter, but will also run this Saturday. The entrance is at the foot of Madison Street (801 Alaskan Way). From the West Seattle (Seacrest) dock, the free DART shuttle (#775) runs along Alki Ave SW.

Weather forecast: Friday could see some rain, with a high of 51 degrees; Saturday is forecast to be mostly cloudy with a high of 50 degrees; Sunday should be mostly cloudy, but colder with a high of 44 degrees.

December 20, 2018 (UW/U-District)

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 art walkers. The University District Art Walk happens on Friday from 6-8pm at local businesses on The Ave.

Help out artists and a library. UW’s Miller Library (3501 NE 41st St) at the Center for Urban Horticulture is hosting a Holiday Arts and Crafts Sale through Saturday. Locally-made arts and crafts are for sale, with 25% of the proceeds benefiting the library. The event takes place from 9am-5pm on Thursday and Friday, and from 9am-3pm on Saturday.

Get Out! and explore UW’s trails. Walk or bike for miles on and around the UW campus. Options include the Burke-Gilman to Green Lake (via Ravenna Park), the Burke-Gilman (north and west), and along the UW Waterfront (option: continue on to the Arboretum). A walk through the beautiful main campus is also a favorite of ours.

Fuel up at a year-round farmers market. The University District Farmers Market (5031 University Way NE) is open from 9am-2pm on Saturday. Local produce includes pears, apples, squashes, beets, rutabagas, parsnips, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, kale, cabbage, and fresh herbs, plus other ingredients for winter feasts.

Leaving the car at home? Take the light rail to the University of Washington station, which is 1.4 miles to the Ave/Farmers Market or a mile to the Miller Library. You can bring your bike aboard the train or LimeBikes are readily available. Several bus routes, including 4870, 7173, and 74, provide service to the UW/University District. Buses 31,326567 and 75 also stop near the Miller Library.

Weather forecast: A cloudy (but mostly dry) weekend is forecast with highs in the upper 40s.

October 11, 2018 (Queen Anne/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 with the fight against heart disease and stroke. Join the Puget Sound Heart & Stroke Walk as a volunteer or participant. The event takes place at the Seattle Center and walkers/runners can choose between a 1-mile or a 5k route.

Join your fellow enlightened. The inaugural BOREALIS festival happens this weekend (rain or shine) at Lake Union Park and the South Lake Union neighborhood. Each evening, Thursday through Sunday, features a competition and exhibition of technology and light art, live music, street art performance, lighting art installations, and multi-media video mapping. The festival is free, but tickets are needed for the video mapping performances.

Get out! and up the hill. Take in one of the best views in Seattle (and get a pretty good workout too) at Kerry Park. From the Seattle Center, head up the hill to W Highland Dr and turn west to the park (211 W Highland Dr).

Fuel up at Toulouse Petit. Beignets, catfish sticks, and other New Orleans-inspired fare are available at this Lower Queen Anne favorite (601 Queen Anne Ave N). Weekend brunch is served from 8am to 3pm, as well as Early Happy Hour (4-6pm), dinner (5-11pm), and Late Night Happy Hour (10pm to closing).

Leaving the car at home? To get to the Seattle Center, you can take buses #8#13/2, and #24/19. For South Lake Union, bus #40 runs along Westlake Avenue and #70  goes along Eastlake. The South Lake Union streetcar travels to SLU from the Westlake light rail station.

Weather forecast: Low 60s and mostly sunny (!)

September 27, 2018 (Belltown/Lower Queen Anne)

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 the Olympic Peninsula. Join the Wild Olympics Campaign and learn about the effort to protect the ancient forests and wild rivers of the Olympic Peninsula and how to take action. Two short films will be shown, followed by a Q&A. Takes place on Thursday evening (7:30-9:30pm) at Patagonia (2100 1st Ave).

Join your fellow outdoor art lovers at the Olympic Sculpture Park. The Site, Sculpture, Shoreline: Discover Olympic Sculpture Park tour happens on Saturday and Sunday at 1pm. If you haven’t been here (or it’s been a while), you’ll learn about the park’s landscape design, environmental planning, sculpture, native plantings, and works of art. Meet outside the PACCAR Pavilion (2901 Western Ave).

Get out! on a park tour of your own. The trails crisscrossing the 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.

Extend your walk to the Seattle Center via the Thomas Street Pedestrian Overpass and check out the Italian Festival. Activities include cooking demonstrations, “Opera for Kids,” a grape stomping competition, and an expansive food court and vendor market — all happening Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 7pm.

Fuel up at Le Pichet. We always feel transported to Paris when at this Belltown/Pike Place Market cafe (1933 1st Ave). The french onion soup is not to be missed. Open daily from 8am to midnight.

Leaving the car at home? Bus #24/19 goes to the Olympic Sculpture Park and the Seattle Center. And buses #13/2 and #8 go to the Seattle Center. These routes (except the #8) stop within a block or two of Patagonia and Le Pichet.

Weather forecast:  Saturday is forecasted to be as warm as 72 degrees and partly sunny; Sunday might see a few showers and a high of 68.