November 29, 2018 (Lake Washington-Southend, Renton)

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 those in need. It’s Christmas Ship season (through December 23)! Board an Argosy vessel this Sunday at Hyatt Regency Lake Washington (1053 Lake Washington Bl. N, Renton) from 2pm-4pm and journey to Seward Park with Bellevue Youth Choirs — or an evening cruise with The Dickens Carolers (7pm to 9:45pm) that stops at Mount Baker Beach, Stan Sayres Park, and Ferdinand Street Park. Check the website for the schedule and pricing. A portion of all ticket sales is donated to The Seattle Times Fund For The Needy.

If you’d rather stay on land, the ports of call listed above are hosting free bonfires, ship viewing, and music from the choirs and carolers. Schedule: Seward Park () at 3:05pm, Mount Baker Beach () at 7:40pm, Stan Sayres Park (3808 Lake Washington Bl. S) at 8:15pm, and Ferdinand Street Park (5018 Lake Washington Bl. S) at 8:50pm.

Join your fellow winter walkers. Seward Park Audubon Center (5902 Lake Washington Bl. S) is leading free nature walks on Sunday, which highlight the park’s plants and animals as winter approaches. Three times are offered: 11am to 12pm, 12:30 to 1:30pm, or 2pm to 3pm. Register online.

Get out! in Gene Coulon Memorial Park. Situated on Lake Washington in Renton (1201 Lake Washington Bl. N), Coulon Park features two miles of paths and trails.

The park is also on the popular Lake Washington loop cycling route, as are the ports of call on the Christmas Ship cruises above.

Fuel up at Bent Burger. This southend spot in Seward Park (5100 S Dawson St) serves my favorite burger: the Black Cat Bleu Bacon with sweet candied bacon and blue cheese crumbles. I haven’t tried the Bent Burger, but if you’re game, it has two grilled cheese sandwiches for a bun with candied bacon, a hotlink, and a fried egg. Bent also serves breakfast items, shakes, and draft beers from 11am daily.

Leaving the car at home? Metro bus #50 goes to Seward Park and Bent Burgers and connects with several other bus lines. The #14 and #27 stop within a 10-minute walk of Mount Baker Beach and the #14 within a 20-minute walk of Stan Sayres Park. You can get to the Hyatt/Coulon Park in Renton by light rail and bus by connecting to the F Line at Tukwila International Blvd. Station (it just takes between 60-90 minutes, depending on where you board the light rail).

Weather forecast: Saturday and Sunday are forecasted to me partly cloudy/mostly sunny with highs in the mid-40s.

November 8, 2018 (Mercer Island and points east)

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 habitat restoration. Mercer Island’s Pioneer Park (SE 68th & 84th Ave SE) is home to over 70 types of birds and 12 different mammals. Join EarthCorps on Saturday from 10am-2pm for weeding and removing invasive species, mulching, and planting. Sign up and find details on their website.

Join your fellow hikers at a local state park. All state parks are free on Sunday (meaning that you do not need a Discover Pass for parking). And, further afield, all National Parks that normally charge an entrance fee are free as well. Close-in state parks include Bridle Trails (5300 116th Ave NW, Kirkland) and Squak Mountain (21430 SE May Valley Rd, Issaquah).

Get out! and explore Mercer Island parks. Luther Burbank Park is along the water on the north end of the island and has 2 miles of walking trails. Pioneer Park has 7 miles of trails.

Fuel up in downtown Mercer Island. Just a 10-15-minute walk from Luther Burbank Park is Homegrown (3016 78th Ave SE), serving sustainably sourced soups, sandwiches, and bowls — and Stumptown coffee. Open daily from 7am to 8pm.

If you’re more in a pizza state of mind, Mioposto has a location on the island (2601 76th Ave SE), offering wood-fired pies, a full bar, and Caffee Vita coffee and espresso.  Open at 9am (until 10pm) on weekends and at 11am during the week.

Leaving the car at home? It is definitely quickest to drive to the locations this week. But, there is bus service to Mercer Island, and, if you’re up for a ride, you can cycle to Pioneer Park. Sound Transit #550 and #554 stop at N Mercer Way & 80th Ave SE, where you can disembark and bike 3.8 miles to Pioneer Park.

You can get within a 10-minute walk of Luther Burbank Park relatively quickly on Sound Transit buses 550 and 554.

For a longer bike ride, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail crosses I-90 to Mercer Island — and points east.

It is possible to take buses to Bridle Trails and Squak Mountain, if you don’t mind a walk to get to the trails.

Weather forecast: Currently forecasted to be partly sunny with highs in the low 50s.

September 20, 2018 (Fremont)

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 little park with a big view. Fremont Peak Park (4357 Palatine Ave N) could use some weeding. Join area residents for a work party on Saturday from 10am to 12pm.

Join your fellow cooks. PCC Community Markets celebrates the release of its first cookbook, Cooking from Scratch, with an author event. PCC’s executive chef, Lynne Vea, will discuss and demo cooking with sustainable ingredients and answer questions. The event happens on Thursday at 6:30pm at Book Larder (4252 Fremont Ave N).

Get out! for a festival tour (plus a park or two). What says fall better than the Fremont Oktoberfest? Chainsaw pumpkin carving happens Friday and beer tasting all weekend long at 35th and Canal (ages 21 and over only).

Looking for a more family-friendly, less boozy event? Head over to neighboring Ballard for the Sustainable Ballard Fest at Ballard Commons Park (5701 22nd Ave NW) on Saturday from 11am to 4pm. Activities include learning new ways to lower your carbon footprint, helping to make fresh cider and meeting farm animals.

Incorporate one or both fests with a walk or bike to Gas Works Park and Fremont Peak Park. A suggested 5-mile route is here.

Fuel up with middle eastern food. When in Fremont, we go to Cafe Turko for authentic and delicious Turkish fare, including some of our favorites: “aromatic lamb with Turkish apricots and almonds,” eggplant moussaka, and Turkish delight. Our walk/bike route goes right by its 750 N 34th St location, open from 10am daily (closes at 9:30pm Sun-Fri, 10pm on Saturdays).

Leaving the car at home? Metro bus #40 goes to Fremont and Ballard (and in between). Routes 31 and 32 and 62 go to Fremont. Biking from the UW/Husky Stadium light rail station is also an option.

Weather forecast:  Highs in the mid-60s with occasional rain on Saturday; sun and clouds on Sunday.

September 13, 2018 (Edmonds)

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 a coastal cleanup. Saturday is International Coastal Cleanup Day! Join Puget Soundkeepers Alliance to remove trash at Brackett’s Landing South (100 Railroad Ave, Edmonds). You’ll also provide data for a report that will be used to find solutions to global marine trash accumulation. Register online for the event, which takes place from 9:30am-12pm. Besides Edmonds, there are cleanups taking place around the Puget Sound area, the state, and the world.

Join your fellow birders. The Puget Sound Bird Fest happens Friday through Sunday at Edmonds’ Frances Anderson Center (700 Main St) and features speakers, guided walks, land and water-based field trips, exhibits, and educational activities. Information and a schedule of events is available online. Some activities require advanced registration.

Get out! for a showery walk. Best bets are Saturday afternoon or Sunday to explore the coastline from Brackett’s Landing North to Edwards Point, then head inland to Edmonds Marsh and the city park. Here is our suggested route (but exploring downtown is fun too!)

Fuel up at the local coffee roastery. Red Twig Bakery and Cafe (117 5th Ave S) serves coffee and espresso made with their proprietary blend, as well as seasonal menu items made with Essential Bakery bread. Open daily from 7am to 9pm (opens at 8am on Sundays).

Leaving the car at home?  You CAN get to downtown Edmonds (Edmonds Station, 211 Railroad Ave) by bus; it just takes a little while (1.5 hours on average). Sound Transit bus 512 connects with Community Transit buses 116 and 130 at the Lynnwood Transit Center.

If you’re up for a bike adventure, a suggested route is here.

Weather forecast:  Looks like you might need rain gear. Clouds with periods of rain are forecast for the weekend, with highs in the low 60s.

September 6, 2018 (Chinatown-International 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).

Help out with park restoration. Venture across the Jose Rizal Bridge (on 12th Ave S) to woodsy Lewis Park (1120 15th Ave S) and assist with fall planting and trail maintenance. Volunteers will meet from 10am to 1pm on Sunday and can register online.

Join your fellow night owls. The Chinatown-International Night Market happens Saturday from 4pm to midnight at the Historic Chinatown Gate (5th Ave S & S King St). The event features food vendors, a beer garden, an international market, live bands, break-dancers, and an all-ages dance party.

Get out! and ramble. Explore the reconfigured and newly-named Yesler Terrace Park (835 Yesler Way) and its expansive views of downtown, Elliott Bay, and Mount Rainier. As part of the Yesler Terrace redevelopment project, the park connects to the C-ID via stairs and a pedestrian pathway at 10th Ave S just north of S Jackson St.

Other nearby parks are Kobe Terrace and Gardens (), Daejon Park (near Lewis Park at 1144 Sturgus Ave S), and Hing Hay Park (), which hosts a ping pong tournament on Friday from 2pm to 5:30pm.

You can also bike to/from the C-ID — see our Mountains to Sound Trail and Chief Sealth Trail posts for details.

Fuel up at… well, there are so many options. Our favorites include the beef chow fun at the Uwajimaya food court (600 5th Ave S); really really fresh sushi at Maneki (304 6th Ave S); and pretty much anything at Tamarind Tree (1036 S Jackson St).

Leaving the car at home? The International District/Chinatown light rail station is just across the street from the Historic Chinatown Gate. Numerous buses travel to and from the C-ID, including the #7, #14, #124, and the #36 and #60, which go to Lewis Park and Daejon Park (the #60 also goes to Yesler Terrace and travels along 12th Ave S).

Weather forecast: Cloudy with a few showers possible; highs around 70.

August 30, 2018 (Green Lake)

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 cleaning up Green Lake. After the busy summer, volunteers are needed to walk around the lake and pick up trash this Sunday — and subsequent Sundays. All supplies will be provided. Meet in the parking lot at the Bath House Theater (7312 West Green Lake Dr N) by 9am. Contact the organizer for more details.

Join your fellow yoga enthusiasts. Register online for Flow Forward, a free yoga class on Sunday, 11am, at the Green Lake Boathouse (7351 East Green Lake Dr N). Bring your own mat.

Get Out! for a swim. This is the last weekend that lifeguards will be on duty at city beaches, including West Green Lake Beach (7312 West Green Lake Dr N). Lifeguard hours are 11am-7pm Saturday & Sunday; 12pm-7pm Monday-Friday.

If swimming isn’t your thing, Green Lake Boathouse (7351 East Green Lake Dr N) rents kayaks, peddle boats, water bikes, row boats, stand-up paddle boards, and more. Open 9am to 7pm daily.

And, of course, the ~3-mile path around Green Lake is a favorite of walkers, runners, cyclists, and skaters. Expand your outing with a side trip on the trails of nearby Woodland Park (1000 N 50th St).

Fuel up at Urban Bakery. For decades, this family-owned eatery has served espresso, made-to-order sandwiches, soups, and bakery treats at the north end of Green Lake (7850 East Green Lake Dr N). Open 6:30am to 6pm Monday-Saturday and 7:30am to 5pm on Sundays. For us, a trip to Green Lake is not complete without a stop here.

Leaving the car at home? Numerous buses stop near/at Green Lake, including the #45 and the #62.

Weather forecast: Sunny with some cloudiness, highs around 70 degrees. (And, hopefully, smoke-free!)

July 19, 2018 (Ballard)

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 and protect trails.  Washington Trail Association (WTA)’s annual Hike-a-Thon kicks off Tuesday (July 24) from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at Lagunitas Brewing Co. (1550 NW 49th St) At the Hike-a-Thon Trails & Ales event, you can register for the Hike-a-Thon, then hike and log your miles in August (more details to come in next week’s post) — and meet follow hikers over a beer. RSVP for the event online.

Join your fellow jazz fans. The Ballard Locks (3015 NW 54th St) is the site of free summer concerts on Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm through September 16. This weekend, the Rain City Jazz Orchestra plays big band, jazz, and blues on Saturday and Coal Creek Jazz Band offers up traditional Dixieland on Sunday.

Get Out! in the Bay — and beyond. After a stroll through the Ballard Locks area (and perhaps a concert), head out to Shilshole Bay on the Burke-Gilman Trail (biking time shown on map; walking time is approximately 30-35 minutes) and rent a kayak at Ballard Kayak (7901 Seaview Ave NW). You can explore the Shilshole Marina and venture out into Shilshole Bay and along Golden Gardens Park. Or sign up for a tour of the Locks or the Discovery Park shoreline.

Fuel up at Portage Bay Cafe. This Seattle chain serves locally-sourced, organic brunch and lunch items (and, of course, coffee) at four locations. Known for its breakfast bar, you can take your Swedish pancakes, oatmeal cobbler french toast, or other selected items and top them with your choice of fruit and nuts, and whipped cream. The Ballard cafe (2821 NW Market St) is just steps from the Locks and open from 7:30am to 2:30pm on weekends (7-2 during the week).

Leaving the car at home? Metro bus #44 will take you to the Ballard Locks and connects with several other buslines. If you’re up for a light rail/bike excursion, see our post: May 31, 2018 (Golden Gardens/Burke-Gilman Trail)

Weather forecast: Cooler temperatures (upper 70s, low 80s) are forecast for the weekend with mostly sunny skies.

 

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.

July 5, 2018 (Chief Sealth Trail/ Georgetown)

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 “Tuesdays in the Garden.” If it fits into your schedule, stop by Kubota Garden near Rainier Beach (9817 55th Ave S) on any Tuesday morning from 10am to 12pm and assist the gardeners with planting, pruning, raking, or weeding. Or visit on another day for a serene and scenic stroll (admission is free!).

Join your fellow flower fans. The annual Georgetown Garden Walk is a self-guided exploration of this eclectic southend neighborhood. Maps are available on the day of the walk (Sunday) at the Georgetown Bank of America parking lot (1112 South Bailey St) from 10am-5pm. In addition to gardens, there will be live music, plus brew pubs and artist studios to visit.

Get Out! on the Chief Sealth Trail. This rolling bike and pedestrian path spans the Beacon Hill and Rainier Beach neighborhoods, beginning just south of Jefferson Park and ending a couple of blocks from Kubota Garden. The terrain is hilly, so riding the entire 4.5-mile trail (9 miles roundtrip) offers a short, but good, workout with a view. The trail is also accessible from several light rail stations: Beacon Hill (with an additional 3.3-mile ride), Othello, and Rainier Beach (northbound towards Beacon Hill or southbound to Kubota Garden).

Fuel up at one of Georgetown’s many eateries. Get some ideas on the Garden Walk or visit seattle.eater.com for recommendations. There is no shortage of great food and drink in Georgetown.

If you’re at the Garden or the south end of the Trail, check out King Donuts (9232 Rainier Ave S), where you can eat donuts, Thai food, and teriyaki — and also do a little laundry. Open from 7am most every day, including weekends.

Leaving the car at home? In addition to the light rail stops mentioned above, Metro buslines 106 and 107. And the 124 runs from downtown Seattle to Georgetown.

Weather forecast: Temps in the 70s/low 80s with cooler weather and the possibility of showers on Saturday.

June 21, 2018 (Magnuson Park/Sand Point)

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 full moon sailors. Sail Sand Point volunteers will take you for a spin on Lake Washington by the light of the moon on Saturday evening from 8pm to 10:30pm. The evening starts on the right foot with a dessert potluck. Boat spaces are on a first-come, first-served basis so early arrival is recommended. Sail Sand Point is located at 7861 62nd Ave NE.

Help out with the fight against blood cancer. Run, walk, or volunteer at the Defeat Myeloma 5K run and 1 Mile Walk on Sunday morning at Magnuson Park. The event begins at Magnuson Park Beach, 6505 NE 65th Street. Register online or on race day.

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. Whether you’re on foot or bike, there are plenty of views to be had and places to stop for a picnic.

Looking for a longer bike ride? The Burke-Gilman Trail is just about a mile away from the park and easily accessible via 65th Ave NE. Ride north to Matthews Beach (5100 NE 93rd St.) and/or Kenmore. Head south toward the University of Washington and ride as far as Golden Gardens (featured in our May 31 post) — or connect with the 520 bridge trail and the Arboretum (see the June 14 post for details).

More interested in getting in/on the lake? Swim/wade off the shore of the park or at Magnuson Park Beach or Matthews Beach. Or rent your choice of watercraft — kayak, paddleboard or (with skills test) sailboat — at Sail Sand Point from 11am to 8:30pm on weekends (from 1:30 during the week).

Fuel up at Saint Helens Cafe. Located right on the Burke-Gilman Trail (3600 NE 45th St) about 2.5 miles from the park, this place is worth a stop. The deck is relaxing on a summer day or there is seating inside. Brunch is served on weekends from 10am to 2pm and dinner begins every evening at 5pm. We stopped on a hot day during happy hour (2pm-5pm) and shared a refreshing arugula & lemon salad, Penn Cove mussels in a tangy tomato broth, and crisp, salty fries. Beverage offerings include espresso, a full bar, and fresh lemonade.

Leaving the car at home?  Consider starting and ending your adventure at the UW light rail station and biking about 5 miles to Magnuson Park. Metro bus 62 and bus 75 run early in the morning and late at night on the weekends to and from Magnuson Park.

Weather forecast: Look for temperatures in the 70s on Saturday and Sunday with mostly sunny skies.