Urban Safari: Green Lake
This waterfront neighborhood is most often associated with summer strolls, but don’t let the colder months keep you away. December brings the magical Pathway of Lights, a luminaria-lit holiday walk around the lake (12/11; 4:30–7:30 p.m.). And with a recent influx of new restaurants and shops, you may want to plan your next daycation on Green Lake’s welcoming shores.
EAT AND DRINK
Family-owned and -operated Mykonos Greek Grill (310 NE 72nd St.; 206.523.8929) opened last summer and has been wowing diners with homemade delicacies packed with Mediterranean flavor. Owners Taki Skepetaris and Bob Kokkovas hail from Greece, so you know their classic falafel ($6.50) and gyros ($5.95) are the real deal. If you’re hankering for a sizzling slice, head to Turnpike Pizza (6900 E Green Lake Way N, Suite D; 206.708.1860; turnpikepizza.com), open since late 2009 and offering a variety of handcrafted New York–style pies—including vegan options. Pair a slice of the Green Lake (artichoke hearts, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto) with a pint from the selection of rotating draught beers, including local brew Manny’s ($7.25 for a beer/slice combo). 72nd Street Cafe (308 NE 72nd St., 206.523.5623; 72ndstreetcafe.com) is a cozy, lakeside retreat ideal for midafternoon daydreaming. The baristas brew local Middle Fork Roasters coffee, and are happy to whip up a seasonal drink of your choice. Sandwiches, including grilled cheese and turkey clubs, are prepared in house and served on Essential Baking Co. bread ($6.95–$7.95). For distinctive treats, head to Jodee’s Desserts (at press time, planning to open this month; 7214 Woodlawn Ave. NE; 206.525.2900; jodeesdesserts.com). At this “unbakery,” organic desserts are wheat-, gluten- and dairy-free and prepared without an oven—resulting in custard-like cakes and pies. Seasonal offerings include pumpkin pie with a dollop of cashew whipped cream and chocolate peppermint pie ($6.95–$7.50/slice).
SHOP AND SWEAT
Just below the historic Great Hall building, Mockingbird Books (7220 Woodlawn Ave. NE; 206.518.5886; mockingbirdbooksgl.com) houses an extensive selection of children’s books, ranging from bestsellers to faves from Seattle authors such as Bonny Becker and Laura McGee Kvasnosky. Stop by for regular storytelling hours (11 a.m., Monday–Saturday) and readings. Get your blood pumping on the coldest Seattle days with a visit to I Love Hot Yoga (6900 E Green Lake Way N, Suite L; 206.523.4569; ilovehotyoga.net). Nestled in the base of a luxury apartment complex, the petite studio has been open since June 2009, boasts more than 10 instructors and specializes in Bikram, hatha flow and vinyasa-style yoga classes with temps maintained at a toasty 104–107 degrees. If you’re feeling creative, Exit Space School of Dance (414 NE 72nd St.; 206.949.8643; exitspacedance.com) offers classes in ballet, hip-hop and jazz, ranging from beginner to professional levels (one-class drop-in try-out: $8–$15). Cool down afterward with a visit to Red Spa (6900 E Green Lake Way N, Suite 126; 206.256.6214; redseattle.net), where owner Angela Castagnola—who uses her own line of all-natural skin care products—provides facials and body treatments that will leave you glowing even when the sun is nowhere in sight ($18–$255).
Tucked into an unassuming spot, Nell’s (6804 E Green Lake Way N; 206.524.4044; nellsrestaurant.com) may be easy to miss, but is well worth seeking out. This foodie fave has been quietly serving up delicious, European-inspired dishes featuring locally sourced ingredients for 11 years.