April 18, 2019 (West Seattle)

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 paddlers. Locally-owned Mountain to Sound Outfitters (3618 SW Alaska St) is hosting a Boat Swap on Saturday from 12pm to 6pm (co-hosted by Alki Kayak Tours) and Paddling Film Festival from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Buy and/or sell human powered watercraft (kayaks, SUPs, canoes) and accessories, see a film — and check out the store’s sale on winter gear.

Help out at Me-kwa-mooks Park. On Friday from 1:30pm to 3:30pm, volunteers will be removing ivy and blackberry to make room for native Pacific Northwest plants. Sign up online and meet on the front lawn of Me-kwa-mooks Park (4503 Beach Drive SW).

Get out! for a day at the beach. Enjoy the quiet side of Alki at Me-kwa-mooks. If the tide is out, explore the tidepools, then walk 2.5 miles along the shoreline to Lincoln Park, which has woodsy and waterside trails.

Fuel up at … We’ve been telling you about our go-to places to eat and get coffee, but we want to hear about yours! We invite you to post a comment about your favorite eateries in West Seattle.

Leaving the car at home? The West Seattle Water Taxi is operating seven days a week now, leaving from downtown. Metro route 773 will take you from the ferry dock to the Alaska junction. The C-Line also runs from Seattle to the Alaska junction and to Lincoln Park. On weekdays, bus #37 goes to the Alaska junction and Me-kwa-mooks Park.

Weather forecast: Friday may seen some rain with a high of 57 degrees. Saturday and Sunday are forecast to be sunny with patchy clouds and highs in the low 60s.

April 11, 2019 (Mount Baker/Judkins 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 chocolate lovers. On Saturday from 2pm to 4:30pm, sample locally made chocolate treats and cocoa-based products at the Great Seattle Vegan Chocolate Meltdown. Proceeds from chocolate sales benefit the Food Empowerment Project. Tickets are available online. Takes place at the Mount Baker Community Club (2811 Mt Rainier Dr S).

Help out in the garden. Volunteers will meet at Jimi Hendrix Park (2400 S Massachusetts St) at 9am on Saturday for weeding and mulching in the rain and butterfly gardens. The park is located just off the I-90 trail, a.k.a. the Mountains to Sound Greenway, and next to the Northwest African American Museum, which is worth a visit.

Get out! and explore the I-90 trail. Whether on foot or bike, our suggested route (all or part) will take you from Jimi Hendrix Park west to Beacon Hill, east to Mercer Island (and beyond), or both! — on the Mountains to Sound Greenway.

Fuel up at … We’ve been telling you about our go-to places to eat and get coffee, but we want to hear about yours! We invite you to post a comment about your favorite eateries in Mount Baker/Judkins Park.

Leaving the car at home? Metro bus #14 goes to the Mount Baker Community Club, and also stops about a 1/2 mile from Jimi Hendrix Park. Routes 8 and 48 serve Jimi Hendrix Park, but be aware of construction reroutes.

 Weather forecast: Periods of rain are in the forecast with highs around 55.

March 21, 2019 (Gas Works to 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 with planting at Discovery Park. On Sunday from 9am to 12pm, Green Seattle Partnership will be installing native plants at the park. Find a registration link, as well as details about what to wear/bring, online — and meet at the park’s north parking lot.

Join your fellow spring cyclists. Join Cascade Bicycle Club on Saturday for “Getting Ready to Ride,” a leisurely/steady-paced 21.5-mile ride. The start (10am) and finish are at Gas Works Park, and the route includes Magnolia and Queen Anne (so expect a few hills).

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 with a picnic in the park. Magnolia’s Metropolitan Market (3830 34th Ave W) offers a large selection of locally-sourced take-away options.

Leaving the car at home? Metro bus #24 goes to Magnolia’s Metropolitan Market, which is just a few blocks from Discovery Park. The #33 goes to the Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center area.

To get to Gas Works, the UW light rail station is less then 2-miles away on the Burke-Gilman Trail. Buses #31 and #32 stop a couple of blocks from Gas Works.

Weather forecast: Highs are forecast to be in the mid- to upper-50s, with cloud cover on Saturday and a partly sunny Sunday.

March 14, 2019 (Downtown/Chinatown-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 the beach. If you enjoy (or think you might enjoy) spending summer weekends on the beach talking to people about marine life, the Seattle Aquarium begins its volunteer Beach Naturalist training on April 2. Find the details online.

Join your fellow theater fans. The Fern Shakespeare Company‘s production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream offers a bawdy, hilarious, and interactive take on the overlap between humans and the natural world (and its mischievous fairies). Tickets are available online; the show runs through the end of March at the Slate Theater (815 Seattle Blvd S).

Get out! on a run. The annual St. Patrick’s Day Dash takes place Sunday morning. The course starts at the Seattle Center, continues up-and-back through downtown, and finishes at the Seattle Center with a Post Dash Bash and Beer Garden. More info and registration is online.

If group running isn’t your thing, the trails crisscrossing nearby 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.

Fuel up with ramen. In a tiny space — but well worth the wait — Samurai Noodle (606 5th Ave S) serves steaming bowls of ramen in aromatic and delicious broths. We recently tried the mushroom ramen, which included one of the most flavorful slices of pork we’ve had. Open from 10am to 8:30pm (and until 9:30 on Friday and Saturday).

Leaving the car at home? Bus #24/19 goes to the the Seattle Center, as well as Olympic Sculpture Park. And buses #13/2 and #8 go to the Seattle Center. The International District/Chinatown light rail station is just a short walk from Samurai Noodle and the Slate Theater. Numerous buses travel to and from the C-ID, including the #7, #14#36, and #124.

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 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.

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.