July 26, 2018 (Magnolia/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 at Discovery Park work party. On Saturday from 9am to 1pm, volunteers are needed to remove invasive species and spread mulch in preparation for planting native vegetation in the fall. Find a registration link, as well as details about what to wear/bring, online — and meet at the park’s south parking lot.

Join your fellow swimmers. The heat is on so head to Mounger Pool (2535 32nd Ave W) for a cooling dip. With two pools and various swim time options, the pool can accommodate those who want to do laps and those who prefer the 50-foot corkscrew slide.

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 at Serendipity Cafe & Lounge. Serving locally-sourced meals from 7am to 9pm, there is something for everyone at this neighborhood spot (3222 W McGraw St), including good coffee and a full bar.

If you’d rather take a picnic to the park, Metropolitan Market (and its large array of take-out options) is nearby (3830 34th Ave W).

Leaving the car at home? Metro bus #31 goes to Magnolia Village (Mounger Pool, restaurants). The #33 goes to Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center area and the #24 goes to the south parking lot area.

Weather forecast: Hot and sunny. Saturday’s high is 87 degrees, Sunday’s is 91 degrees.

July 19, 2018 (Ballard)

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.

June 28, 2018 (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 at an on-water fireworks cleanup. If you are available Thursday morning (July 5), Puget Soundkeepers’ kayak patrol will fan out across Lake Union to collect debris from 8am to 12pm. Boats and cleanup equipment are provided, and a picnic lunch will be served at Lake Union Park following the event. Register online.

Join your fellow restaurant patrons to support Special Olympians. South Lake Union restaurants invite you to help them raise funds to support Special Olympians – and all you have to do is eat! Purchase the featured dish from a participating restaurant and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Special Olympics USA Games, which are taking place in Seattle through July 6.

Get Out! on Lake Union. Strike out on your own adventure in a kayak, electric boat, or a floating hot tub (yes, really!) from one of the many rental outlets on the lake, including Center for Wooden Boats (1010 Valley St), Electric Boat Company (2046 Westlake Ave N), Hot Tub Boat Rentals (1200 Westlake Ave N), and Moss Bay (1001 Fairview Ave N).

Fuel up at Grand Central Bakery. This Eastlake gathering spot (1616 Eastlake Ave E) offers good coffee, house-made pastries, soups, salads, and sandwiches from 7am daily. The Everything Croissant is a personal favorite.

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 skies with temps between 65-70 degrees.

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.

May 31, 2018 (Golden Gardens/Burke-Gilman Trail)

Join your fellow orca fans. Puget Soundkeeper and the Orca Salmon Alliance kick off Orca Month on Sunday with music, sand-sculpting, and other activities from 1-5pm at the Golden Gardens Bathhouse.

Help out at Golden Gardens. If you’re at the park on Saturday, you can join volunteers for a beach clean-up from 9:45am-1pm. Contact the organizers for details.

Get Out! and explore the tide pools. Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists will be on hand at Golden Gardens and other area beaches during low tide (1pm-3pm) to answer questions about in-shore marine life. And, if you’re looking for a 4-mile round-trip beach walk, the low-tide window allows you to trek from Golden Gardens to Carkeek Park. Be safe and carry a tide table.

Fuel up at Little Coney. We’ve stopped here for soft serve, burgers, and fries at this little seaside eatery for years. Fancy it is not, but crowds do line up on a nice day. (It’s always has been worth the wait.) Open from 10:30am to 5pm, it is located just south of Golden Gardens Park (8003 Seaview Ave NW).

Leaving the car at home? Consider jumping on the Burke Gilman Trail and biking to Golden Gardens. If you don’t live near the trail, take the light rail to the University of Washington station for easy access via the new pedestrian/bicycle bridge to the trail. LimeBikes are readily available (as well as the orange and yellow ones) or you can bring your bike aboard the train. Multiple bus lines stop near the trail, and the #45 runs from the UW station to Golden Gardens (.5 mile walk to the beach).

If you’re biking the trail, we recommend Solsticio in Fremont (1100 N Northlake Way), which serves great coffee, smoothies, and breakfast fare from 8am to 5pm on weekends (from 6:30am during the week).

Weather forecast: Partly sunny with a high of 68 degrees on Saturday; cooler and cloudy on Sunday with a high of 61 degrees.

May 24, 2018 (Mount Baker/I-90 Corridor)

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 hikers. While the destinations aren’t in the metro area, access to the trails is via free weekend transit to trailheads along I-90. Metro vans will pick you up from the Mount Baker Light Rail Station and take you to the trailhead of your choice in the Issaquah Alps. Vans from the Capitol Hill Station and other Capitol Hill stops go to Mount Si and Mount Teneriffe in North Bend. Crowds can be thick on these close-in trails, so an early departure is recommended.

Help out at a neighborhood park. Volunteers are needed to help restore and maintain parks throughout the city, including Mount Baker Park and Mount Baker Ridge Viewpoint. Inquire by email about helping at these two parks, or investigate other opportunities throughout the city.

Get out! and explore Mount Baker Park, Colman Park and the I-90 trail. Whether on foot or bike, our suggested route (all or part) begins at Mount Baker Park, joins Lake Washington Boulevard to head up through Colman Park, then down to the South Irving Street to join the Mountains to Sound Greenway through the tunnel and along the trail to Beacon Avenue.

Fuel up at Mioposto before/after. This locally-owned Italian-style bar, located at 3601 S McClellan across from Mount Baker Park (with 3 other Seattle-area locations), serves wood-fired pizzas, espresso, gelato, local beers, and more from 7:30am to 10pm daily. The breakfast pizzas are recommended, as is our favorite: the Clam Bake pizza topped with whole roasted Hood Canal claims and pancetta.

Need picnic supplies? A couple of doors down from Mioposto at 2809 Mt Rainier Dr S, The Feed Store offers sandwiches and grocery items to take away. Open Tuesday-Saturday from 8am to 8pm and Sundays 9am to 6pm.

Leaving the car at home? Meet your hiking van at the Mount Baker or Capitol Hill light rail stations. The Mount Baker Station – as well as the Mount Baker Transit Center – is just one-half mile from Mioposto and Mount Baker Park. Several buses stop at the transit center, including the #14, which continues on to Mioposto/Mount Baker Park.

Departing from/Arriving at the Capitol Hill Station? Nearby Tacos Chukis (219 Broadway E) serves authentic (and inexpensive!) Mexican street food daily from 11am to 10pm. For caffeine needs, local coffee roaster Café Vita (1005 E Pike St) opens at 7am on the weekends and is just a four-block walk from the Capitol Hill Station.

 Weather forecast: Upper-60s to low 70s with sun and clouds.

May 17, 2018 (Columbia City/Seward 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).

This is our inaugural post; future posts will be available on Wednesdays.

Join your fellow cyclists. Bicycle Sunday on Lake Washington Boulevard starts this weekend and continues on selected dates through September. From Mount Baker Beach to Seward Park, enjoy a peaceful, view-filled, car-free ride, walk or run from 10am to 6pm. Up and back is about 6 miles – add 2-1/2 miles by doing the Seward Park Shore Loop. Bring your bike or grab a LimeBike on the trail.

Help out and repair bikes. BikeWorks in Columbia City’s Hudson Building (3709 S Ferdinand) is hosts regular a drop-in volunteer party, where you can learn to repair bicycles for a good cause — and there’s one on Sunday from 10am to 1pm.

Get out! in the woods of Seward Park. Old growth forest awaits, and you’ll feel like you’ve left the city once you duck into the canopy and explore the inner trails. Download or pick up a map at the Seward Park Audubon Center (worth an in-person visit).

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 a great jumping-off point for a bike ride or walk through Genesee Park to Lake Washington Boulevard (about 1-1/2 miles).

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).

Closer to Seward Park? Try Both Ways Cafe for coffee and breakfast (don’t miss the fresh-baked biscuits) (open 7am-3pm M-F, and 8-2 on Sundays) and next door neighbor Flying Squirrel Pizza Company (opens at 5pm). Both are located at the corner of Genesee and 50th.

Leaving the car at home? Ride Metro to Columbia City on the #7, #9, or #106, or avoid traffic entirely and take the light rail to Columbia City Station. The #50 stops near Seward Park.

Weather forecast: Mostly sunny, low 70s.