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.

March 28, 2019 (Rainier Valley/Lake 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).

Join your fellow nature walkers. On Saturday, from 9am to 11am, Seward Park Audubon naturalist Ed Dominguez will lead a nature walk at Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands (5513 S Cloverdale St), focusing on the birds, beavers and other wildlife. Register online.

Help out at Genesee Park. Volunteers will be weeding at the south end of the park (4316 S Genesee St) to make way for native plants on Saturday from 9am to 12pm. Sign up online.

Get out! for a bike ride or walk through Genesee Park to Lake Washington Boulevard and continue north to Madrona Beach or south to Seward Park. Or ride to/from Rainier Beach Urban Farm.

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 open from 8am on weekends.

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).

Leaving the car at home? Ride Metro to Columbia City/Genesee Park/Rainier Beach on the #7, #9, or #50, or take the light rail to Columbia City Station or Rainier Beach Station.

Weather forecast: Sun and clouds with highs around 60.

 

March 7, 2019 (Seward Park/Columbia City – plus the ID)

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 park. Green Seattle Partnership is holding workdays at North Genesee Park (9:30-12:30) and Colman Park (10am-1pm) on Saturday. Check the preceding park links for details of and directions to each event.

Join others getting their bikes ready for Spring. BikeWorks in Columbia City’s Hudson Building (3709 S Ferdinand) will open its shop on Saturday from noon to 5pm for adults to use the tools and repair stands with the help of a professional mechanic and volunteers.

Get out! on an urban hike. On Friday, The Mountaineers are leading a seven-mile walk from Seward Park to Colman Park, and then along the Mountains to Sound Greenway to the International District for a dim sum lunch. Join online by Wednesday, March 6. The organized hike is one-way. You can take light rail from the International District Station to Othello Station, then catch Metro bus #50 back to Seward Park.

You could also do all or part of the hike on your own–on foot or bike. Here is the suggested route.

Fuel up at Bua 9. This Columbia City restaurant serves reasonably-priced, delicious Thai classics and is well worth a stop. Bua 9 is located at 5020 Rainier Ave S and is open for lunch and dinner from 11am daily.

Above Colman Park and the I-90 bike tunnel, QED (1418 31st Ave S) has really good coffee, as well as baked goods, including vegan and gluten-free options. Open 7am-6pm on weekends and 6am-6pm during the week.

Leaving the car at home? Metro bus #50 goes to Seward Park and Genesee Park and connects with several other bus lines. The #14 and #27 stop near Colman Park and the #14 stops within a 20-minute walk of Genesee Park. Ride Metro to Columbia City (less than a mile from Genesee Park) on the #7, #9, or #106, or avoid traffic entirely and take the light rail to Columbia City Station.

Weather forecast: Friday is forecast to be mostly cloudy with a high of 46. Saturday and Sunday should be mostly sunny with highs of 48-50.

February 28, 2019 (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 in a kayak. If you are available on a Wednesday morning, Puget Soundkeepers’ kayak patrol paddles Lake Union to collect debris from 10am to 12pm. Boats and cleanup equipment are provided. Call 206-297-7002 or email Morgan to reserve your spot(s). Meet at Northwest Outdoor Center (2100 Westlake Ave N).

Join your fellow rescuers. If you like to get out in the backcountry, REI’s slideshow and discussion, Most Common Backcountry Rescues (and How to Avoid Them), will teach you key lessons that could keep you and others safe. Takes place Monday at 6:30pm at Seattle REI (222 Yale Ave N). Pre-register online; suggested donation is $20.

Get Out! for a tree tour. A city Tree Ambassador will take you on a guided tour through the South Lake Union neighborhood and discuss the importance of trees in urban landscapes. Meet on the stairs between Whole Foods and Bank of America (2200 Westlake Ave) at 9:30am on Saturday. The tour is free; register online.

Fuel up with Neapolitan pizza. Celebrate 15 years of local chain Tutta Bella with a wood-fired pizza at the South Lake Union location (2200 Westlake Ave). Open daily at 11am, they also serve pastas, espresso, and a to-die-for tiramisu that serves two.

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 with highs in the upper 40s this weekend.

February 21, 2019 (Bainbridge Island)

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 eco-music fans. Joe Reilly performs eco-friendly folk music and “songs for the earth” at IslandWood (4450 Blakely Ave NE) on Sunday at 4pm. Tickets are free, but reserve online as space is limited. An optional pizza dinner takes place afterward, but sign up today!

Help out on your bicycle. Benefitting cycling programs, including Let’s Go, the Major Taylor Project, or Cascade Bicycle Club‘s statewide advocacy, the Chilly Hilly ride happens on Sunday. For Seattle cyclists, registration is from 7am to 10am at Pyramid Ale House (1201 1st Ave S), from which you’ll bike to Colman dock and catch the 7:55, 8:55, 9:35 or 10:40 ferry to Bainbridge Island for the 33-mile ride. Online registration is open until midnight tonight. Day-of registration is available, but the ride is limited to 5,000 participants.

Get Out! in the woods. Bainbridge Island’s Grand Forest has approximately 8 miles of trails to explore on three parcels of land. It is about a 4- to 4.5-mile bike ride (or walk) from the Bainbridge ferry dock.

Fuel up at an island favorite. The Streamliner (397 Winslow Way E) serves breakfast and lunch from 7am on Saturdays (and weekdays) and 7:30am on Sundays. Menu items include an array of omelettes and scrambles, housemade biscuits, meatloaf sandwiches, pulled pork, and vegetarian options.

Leaving the car at home? Catch the ferry from downtown Seattle on your bike or on foot. If you’re not participating in the Chilly Hilly, might be best to avoid Sunday morning sailings, particularly the early ones.

Weather forecast: Saturday looks a little rainy, but Sunday looks drier. Both days will see high temps in the low 40s.

February 14, 2018 (Magnuson 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).

Join your fellow mountain film fans. The Mountaineers (7700 Sand Point Way NE) are screening a documentary about two ascents of Mount Kennedy, a remote peak in the Yukon named for JFK — the first (and first-ever ascent) by Jim Whittaker and Robert Kennedy in 1965; the second by the sons of the original climbing team 50 years later. Tickets are available online for the Tuesday evening event. Doors open at 6pm.

Help out with forest restoration. Volunteers will be working in Magnuson Park () on Sunday near the west side of Sports Field Drive NE, from 9am to 1pm. And on Monday (the President’s Day holiday) near Kite Hill, from 9:30am to 1pm. Check “Sunday” and “Monday” links for details and directions.

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. If there is still snow and/or slush on the ground, take a spin on snowshoes or try Yaktrax.

Looking for a longer trek? The Burke-Gilman Trail is easily accessible from Magnuson Park.

Fuel up at the park or along the trail. Magnuson Cafe & Brewery (7801 62nd Ave NE) has locally-made beers on tap and is open for brunch at 9am on weekends (and for lunch at 11am on weekdays). Saint Helens Cafe is located right on the Burke-Gilman Trail (3600 NE 45th St) about 2.5 miles from the park and opens at 10am on weekends and 11am on weekdays. Both places are worth a stop for coffee, brunch, happy hour or dinner.

Leaving the car at home?  Metro bus 62 and bus 75 will take you to and from Magnuson Park. But check for any route changes due to weather and road conditions.

Weather forecast: The holiday weekend is forcast to be mostly cloudy with showers on Saturday with a high of 45 degrees on Saturday, 42 on Sunday, and 39 on Monday.

February 7, 2019 (Snoqualmie Pass)

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 snowshoers. Strap on snowshoes (which are provided if you don’t have your own) for a ranger-led trek at Snoqualmie Pass. Choose from 1-mile or 5-mile routes or a winter photography outing. Trips take place on weekends through March 24. Pre-register and find the details online.

Help out at Outdoors for All. While up at the Pass, chances are you will see Outdoor for All volunteers skiing/riding with adaptive, visually-impaired, and developmentally-disabled athletes. OFA is always looking for new volunteers and runs programs and events year-round, including the SPREEFEST at Alpental on March 9.

Get Out! on the hill. The snow has been plentiful lately (even at sea level!), and the Summit at Snoqualmie is only 45-minutes from Seattle. Storms this week should make for great skiing and riding from your choice of five base lodges.

Fuel up on the mountain. The Pass has no shortage of eateries. Other options are located in the small commercial area on the road linking the base areas (NF-9041).

Leaving the car at home? On Sundays, from now until March 24, you can catch the Seattle Ski Bus to Snoqualmie Pass from the University District, Downtown Seattle, or Bellevue. Book your seat and find information online.

Weather forecast: Snow is forecast for the weekend, with high temps in the mid-20s at the Pass.

January 24, 2019 (Parks & Trails, North & South)

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 city park.

South: If it fits into your schedule, stop by lovely and serene Kubota Garden, (9817 55th Ave S) on any Tuesday morning from 10am to 12pm and assist the gardeners with planting, pruning, raking, or weeding.

North: On Sundays, volunteers are needed to walk around Green Lake and pick up trash. 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.

Get Out! on a city trail.

South: The rolling Chief Sealth Trail 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/walking the entire 4.5-mile trail (9 miles roundtrip) offers a good workout with a view. The trail is also accessible from several light rail stations: Beacon Hill (with an additional 3.3-mile walk/ride), Othello, and Rainier Beach (northbound towards Beacon Hill or southbound to Kubota Garden).

North: The Green Lake loop is about 3 miles (depending on whether you use the inner or outer path). From Green Lake, you can walk primarily on greenbelt to Cowen and Ravenna Parks — where you’ll find 4.5 miles of trails within the two contiguous parks, which take you into a ravine and past Ravenna Creek. From there you can access the Burke-Gilman Trail for a longer ride or walk.

Fuel up at one of our faves from past posts.

South: July 5, 2018; May 17, 2018

North: November 15, 2018; August 30, 2018

Leaving the car at home? Metro bus 106 goes to Kubota Garden. Numerous buses stop near/at Green Lake, including the #45 and the #62

Weather forecast: The forecast looks mainly dry with highs around 50 degrees.

January 17, 2019 (Central District, Downtown)

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 marchers. The Seattle MLK Organizing Coalition and Seattle Womxn Marching Forward are co-organizing an event that includes marching, rallying, workshopping, and healing, on Monday, Martin Luther King Day. The all-day activities begin at 8:30am with an Opportunity FairWorkshops, and a Rally in the Gymnasium — all at Garfield High School (400 23rd Ave) — followed by a march from Garfield to another rally Downtown (Westlake Park, 4th and Pine) and a community meal. Other activities happen throughout the weekend.

Help out at the MLK event. Volunteers are needed to help out at the march and other events above. Sign up online.

Get Out! for a walk among the lights. Sunday is the last day of Snow Day in Denny Park (100 Dexter Ave N), an Immersive Winter Lighting Display hosted by Friends of Denny Park, Downtown Seattle Association, and the South Lake Union Chamber from 4pm-9pm nightly through January 20.

Fuel up with a hot beverage (or two). It looks to be a bit wet this weekend. Dry out at the Central District’s Golden Wheat Bakery (2908 E Cherry St) with horchata lattes and housemade pastries and tamales. Opens at 7:30, just 1/2-mile from Garfield High.

Uptown Espresso in Belltown (2504 4th Ave) and is about a 5-minute walk from Denny Park, and serves velvety espresso from 6-6 on weekends. The 5 Point Cafe (415 Cedar St) is also nearby for all-day (and night) breakfast and other diner fare (open 24 hours).

Leaving the car at home? Metro buses #3, #4, #27, and #48 stop at or near Garfield High School. Numerous buses, as well as the light rail, go downtown. The #8 and #62 will take you to Denny Park.

Weather forecast: Rain with highs in the upper-40s, low 50s on Saturday and Sunday. Monday looks cloudy, but mainly dry with a high of 49 degrees.

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.