January 10, 2019 (North Capitol Hill to U-Village)

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 interested in the Pacific Crest Trail. Kathleen “Token” Neves will tell you what it takes to plan your own PCT adventure at Athleta University Village. She’ll provide tips on day hikes, section hiking, and walking the whole thing. The first 20 attendees through the door will receive a free goodie bag stuffed with some of Kathleen’s hiking favorites. Register online for the free event, which happens on Saturday from 7pm to 8:30pm.

Help out with a little gardening. The Volunteer Park Trust hosts monthly 2nd Saturday Work Parties and there is one this weekend from 10am to noon. Participants will clean garden beds, weed, mulch, and remove invasive plants in Volunteer Park (1247 15th Ave E). Check the sign at the Black Sun sculpture across from Seattle Asian Art Museum to find the meeting site.

Get Out! on a park-to-park hike or ride. Walk or ride a 5-mile route (down and back) through Volunteer Park, Interlaken Park, and the Arboretum. Cyclists (and hikers) can extend their mileage on the Burke-Gilman Trail (north or west) and 520 bridge path.

You could also hike a 6-mile loop with the Mountaineers on Saturday (if you are a member or would like to join). Sign up with the Mountaineers and the hike by Thursday, January 10, and meet their group at the Graham Visitors Center in the Arboretum (2300 Arboretum Dr E) at 9am.

Fuel up at U-Village or Volunteer Park. U-Village’s Veggie Grill (2681 NE University Village St) is part of a local chain that serves, among other vegetarian items, a meat-less burger that really tastes like a burger. Opens daily at 10:30am.

We also love the homey Volunteer Park Cafe (1501 17th Ave E) for coffee and housemade goodies.

Leaving the car at home? 

Buses to U-Village include the #65#67, and #75.

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

To get to the Arboretum, bus #11 runs from downtown to E Madison and Lake Washington Blvd. And the #43 and #48 run along 24th Ave E.

To access the Arboretum or U-Village, you (and your bike) can ride the light rail to UW station, then follow the “Lake Washington Loop” signs to the Arboretum or to the Burke-Gilman Trail.

Weather forecast: It’s looking pretty good with partly sunny skies and highs of around 50 degrees.

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.

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.