West Seattle Triangle
Bordered by Fauntleroy Way SW, 35th Avenue SW and SW Alaska Street
Though the area is currently as strollable as an airport runway, the chin wagging continues about plans to fashion a trendy, tree-lined “gateway” neighborhood patch out of this area east of the Junction. While signs of new life are few at the moment, the 200-unit mixed-used Link Apartments complex (38th Avenue SW and SW Alaska Street; linkapts.com) is slated for a spring opening, and the long-awaited Trader Joe’s at 4545 Fauntleroy Way SW is rumored to be breaking ground this year. Meanwhile, there is a Diva Espresso (4480 Fauntleroy Way SW; 206.937.5225; divaespresso.com) and newer entrants Jones Barbeque (4417 Fauntleroy Way SW; 206.257.4946; jonesbarbeque.com), Wax Bar (4462 37th Ave. SW; 206.935.4990; thewaxbarseattle.com), Mountain to Sound Outfitters (3602 SW Alaska St.; 206.935.7669; m2soutfitters.com), Cycle University (4550 Fauntleroy Way SW; 206.432.9982; cycleu.com) and The Bridge bar (4439 35th Ave. SW).
16th Avenue SW between SW Roxbury and SW 100th streets
Colorful, small-town character meets Sons of Anarchy biker-style grit along this short stretch of 16th Avenue SW (its southern reaches revealing the sketchier street scenes). White Center’s expected annexation by Seattle, possibly this year, may further boost its prospects. Meanwhile, there’s a diverse population of businesses, many immigrant owned, including pie palace 3.14 Bakery & Coffee (9602 16th Ave. SW; 206.420.4784; 314bakery.com)—the best play on a name ever (get it?)—where single slices are just $3. The original Full Tilt Ice Cream location (9629 16th Ave. SW; 206.767.4811; fulltilticecream.com) packs pinball, fabulous flavors (blackberry cinnamon) and spin-your-own-vinyl nights with $3 beers and $2 root beer floats. For unbridled people pleasing, it’s hard to beat NY-pie-style Proletariat Pizza (9622 16th Ave. SW; 206.432.9765; proletariatpizza.com) and the sunny environs and rib works of Uncle Mike's Barbecue (9640 16th Ave. SW; 206.588.2713; unclemikesbbq.com). Other not-to-miss nearby faves are Big Al Brewing (9832 14th Ave. SW; 206.453.4487; bigalbrewing.com), Salvadorean Bakery and its fabulous flan (1719 SW Roxbury; 206.762.4064; thesalvadoreanbakery.com), and Carniceria el Paisano (9629 15th Ave. SW; 206.767.5526) for authentic Mexican fare.
Between Lake Street S and S State Street
While it’s long been a case of retail roulette for Lake Street, downtown Kirkland’s main thoroughfare, a perky commercial cachet has evolved on Kirkland Avenue around The Heathman Hotel (220 Kirkland Ave.; 425.284.5800; heathmankirkland.com), outfitted with the chic Penterra Spa and popular dining-and-drinks spot Trellis Restaurant. Joining established venues Kirkland Bicycle (208 Kirkland Ave.; 425.828.3800; kirklandbikes.com), the Kirkland branch of the King County Library (308 Kirkland Ave.; 425.822.2459; kcls.org) and the Kirkland Performance Center (350 Kirkland Ave.; 425.893.9900; kpcenter.org) is the 100-unit Kirkland Central Condominiums and its ground-floor retail mix: coffeehouse Terra Bite Lounge (219 Kirkland Ave.; terrabite.org), offering Xbox gaming along with its java and baked goods; popular, pastry-rich The French Bakery (219 Kirkland Ave.; 425.898.4510); nonfat frozen yogurt purveyor Shnoo Yogurt (223 Kirkland Ave.; 425.289.9600; shnooyogurt.com); and the Yoga at Studio Be (223 Kirkland Ave.; 425.614.8887; yogastudiobe.com). (Swing behind the Heathman for a hidden alley of tasty offerings on Park Lane, including Howard/Mandville Gallery, Sweet Cakes, Mu.shoe, Simplicity Décor and Haley’s Cottage Gifts & Decor.)