From Lake Union to NW 60th Street, sturdy old houses with large, friendly evergreens stand guard against grey skies. Yards and parking strips are dotted with carefully tended gardens, where kale stalks and rose bushes live in lush harmony. While the primary business district lining N 45th Street between Stone Way N and Interstate 5 is nearly always packed with traffic, Wallingford’s primary directive is the opposite of chaotic: Stay warm and chill out.
Don’t miss: Sushi, enviable cocktails and evening jazz at Seamonster Lounge. Wallingford Center draws fair-trade stylistas, aficionados of wee toy trains and lovers of fine cupcakes. And the pizza at Irwin’s Neighborhood Bakery & Cafe is always temptingly accessible, with the café cozied halfway between the Burke-Gilman Trail and 45th.
Go-to for out-of-town guests: Take a stroll through the grounds of the Good Shepherd Center, an Italianate-style former Catholic home and school for young women in the heart of the ’hood. Now home to nonprofit organizations, dwelling/work spaces for artists, a farmers’ market, playground and eclectic music venue Chapel Performance Space, it’s the epitome of the Wallingford existence—richly cultured, quietly urban and simply awesome.
Famous for: Runaway chickens, musical superstar Dave Matthews laden with groceries.
Melody Datz writes for the Wallyhood blog and has lived in Wallingford for three years.