The Perfect Summer Day

Our edit team takes an urban walkabout.
By: Brangien Davis | Posted May 12, 2011

Urban Walkabout
By Arts + Culture editor Brangien Davis

Dear weather gods: Just so there’s no mistake, my perfect summer day in Seattle is sunny. When the vitamin D is finally shining down upon us, I want to soak up as much as humanly possible. My husband and I are big fans of the daylong urban walk, so we grab a backpack, fill it with just-in-case layers of clothing and head out early on a weekend morning.

First thing:
Walk to Bella Dolce bakery in Madison Valley (2711 E Madison St.; 206.325.9539), resist ordering red velvet cake for breakfast and, instead, get a delicious egg sandwich to go. Commence a less than graceful walk-and-eat scenario down Lake Washington Boulevard to the path along the lake. If it’s warm enough (and on the perfect day, it certainly is), leap into Lake Washington and bask in the fact that we are frolicking in the lake with a full view of Mount Rainier.

When the sun gets high in the sky, it’s time for a walk to Capitol Hill. Stop by Cafe Pettirosso (1101 E Pike St.; 206.323.4830), grab a tasty brown-bag lunch and head to gloriously green Volunteer Park. Earn that lunch by powering up the steep steps of the water tower, at the top of which is an unbeatable 360-degree view of the city. Descend just in time to sit on the grass and eat while local actors perform Shakespeare in the Park ( and

Late afternoon: Once the final bows have been taken, walk to Cal Anderson Park for some of the best people watching in the city, including intense dodge ball and/or bike polo games on the tennis courts, and, of course, kids splashing in the fountain. At this point, an ice cream cone from nearby Molly Moon’s (917 E Pine St.; 206.708.7947; is recommended.

Evening: Walk back to our home base in Madrona, stopping by the sweet patio at Bottlehouse for a cheese plate and glass of wine. When darkness descends, drive to the Northwest Outdoor Center (2100 Westlake Ave.; 206.281.9694; for a full-moon kayak tour through the Washington Park Arboretum. Slipping silently through the water by moonlight—what a way to end an urban summer day!

Ballard Bliss

By editorial director Rachel Hart

My perfect summer day? A treat for both my family and me (read: I get some serious alone time, and then we all meet up for some family bonding). Pre-requisite: All the grocery shopping and the errand running are done.

Morning: I send my husband and kids to the Henry Moses Aquatic Center (Renton; 1719 SE Maple Valley Highway; 425.430.6780;; opens June 18) or, if time is short, the “Pop” Mounger Pool (since I am pretty sure José loves the warm 3-foot-deep kiddie pool more than the kids do) Magnolia; 2535 32nd Ave. W; 206.684.4708; I head over to Honoré Artisan Bakery (Ballard, 1413 NW 70th St.; 206.706.4035) for an iced coffee and a buttery sweet/salty kouign amann pastry.

Noon: We meet up at the Ballard Farmers Market (Sundays, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.; Ballard Ave. NW;, buy a pallet of fresh, giant local raspberries and gobs of veggies, and scarf down a Dante’s hot dog while listening to the music buskers.

Afternoon: Ship ahoy! We head to South Lake Union for the 45-minute chestnut that is the Sunday Ice Cream Cruise tour of Lake Union ($11/adults; $7 kids;, during which we enjoy a chocolate root-beer float, play a game of checkers and ogle the houseboats.

Late afternoon: Beach time, Northwest style. Rock skipping with the boys on the craggy shores of Carkeek Park (; search “carkeek”). Extra points if a train goes by.

Family-friendly sidewalk dining and more people watching at Puerto Rican restaurant La Isla (Ballard, 2320 NW Market St.; 206.789.0516;, mojito in one hand, forkful of pernil in the other.

8:30 p.m.:
Pick up pints of gelato at D’Ambrosio (Ballard, 5339 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.327.9175; and watch the sun tuck behind the Olympics at Golden Gardens’ beach.

Southern Exposure
By Fashion + Lifestyle editor Kate Calamusa

My ideal day revolves around outdoor sports, and while Safeco Field is a staple, there are other sports spots around the South Sound where I like to soak up the sun and kick back with a hot dog (which, on my perfect day, has zero calories).

Morning: A bike ride to nearby Panther Lake in Kent, followed by a latte and omelet at the Wild Wheat Bakery (Kent, 202 First Ave. S; 253.856.8919), and a fruit stop at the Saturday Kent Farmers Market (Kent, Second Avenue and Smith Street; Saturdays from 9 a.m.–2 p.m.;

Midday: Grab a $7 bleacher seat at sunny Emerald Downs ( in Auburn and beat my husband at picking the winning ponies. Head to Burgermaster drive-in (Bellevue, 10606 NE Northup Way; 425.827.9566; for a curbside lunch. Roll down windows, slip off sandals and chow down on a Burgermaster Combo 1 (burger, fries and a shake).

Hubby and I decide between high-octane and low-octane. He votes for an adrenaline rush at PGP Motorsports Park (Kent, 31001 144th Ave. SE; 253.639.7223;, where we race go-carts around the track; I vote for low-key, watching the co-ed Potlatch 2011 ultimate Frisbee tournament at Sixty Acres Park in Redmond (July 2–4; Defying the time/space continuum, we do both.

Head to the newly remodeled Cheney Stadium (Tacoma, 2502 S Tyler St.; 253.752.7707; to watch the Mariners’ triple-A team Tacoma Rainiers (hey, they won their division last year!) on the new grass-lawn seating along first-base (tickets, $10). Enjoy a brat with the perfect Mount Rainier view.

Grab milkshakes at Herfy’s Burgers (Fife, 4802 Pacific Hwy E; 253.896.5001) and head to the Valley 6 Drive-in Theatres (Auburn, 401 49th St. NE; 253.854.1250; Pop the hatch of the jeep, snuggle in sleeping bags and enjoy the double feature (preferably one is a chick flick).