43 Places Around Seattle We Bet You Didn’t Know About

It's summer, so get out and explore with this insider's guide to our city's best-kept secrets

By Ali Brownrigg, Brangien Davis, Rachel Hart, Lauren Mang, Julien Perry, Lisa Wogan and Hayley Young June 27, 2014


This article originally appeared in the June 2014 issue of Seattle magazine.

Seattle’s charms can be a little showy—the snow-capped mountains, the glimmering bodies of water, the bounty of locally grown food and hand-crafted goods, not to mention our rivers of high-caliber coffee. So it’s nice to know that the city holds secret wonders as well. We’ve gathered up a slew of hidden gems well worth unearthing, from under-the-radar parks to tucked away arts to back room bars that feel like your own private hideaway.

1. The Back Door at Roxy’s

Accessed through a separate entrance behind Roxy’s Diner in Fremont, The Back Door feels like a hideaway from another era. The joint has the atmosphere of a speakeasy-meets–Teatro ZinZanni tent, dripping with chandeliers, awash in red hues and surrounded with huge murals portraying cacophonous carousers living it up. Which is exactly what you should do, since the cocktails are stellar—try the staff favorite Bitter Old Coot ($11), made with bonded rye, Fernet Branca, Drambuie and bitters. Fremont, 462 N 36th St.; 206.632.7322; backdooratroxys.com

Photo by Hayley Young

2. Ping Pong Plaza in South Lake Union

BYO paddle and ball to the Ping Pong Plaza, designed by Seattle’spublic-art king Buster Simpson, and try to recognize the famousscientist silhouettes he carved into the legs. South Lake Union, at Harrison and Terry; bustersimpson.net/pingpongplaza

Photo by Matt Owens

3. Brass Tacks

If you make your way toward the restrooms of this Georgetown gastropub, you’ll see a fireplace. That fireplace, friends, is actually a facade—a facade that, if given the slightest push, opens up to uncover a hidden private room. There are only two couches and a handful of barstools (belonging to the cutest, tiniest bar you ever did see, accommodating as many as 15 people), so if you’ve got an intimate gathering in mind, this place is perfect. The room may be requested for free, but the entire party must be on one check. 6031 Airport Way S; 206.397.3821; georgetownbrass.com

4. Open Books: A Poem Emporium

(a haiku)
Wow, free verse for sale!
This tiny, mighty shop blooms
open like haiku.
Wallingford, 2414 N 45th St.; 206.633.0811; openpoetrybooks.com

Photo by Benjamin Benschneider

5. SAM Gallery

There is simply no excuse for blank walls, thanks to SAM Gallery—a little sibling to Seattle Art Museum—and its incredibly affordable art rental program. Stocked with more than 1,000 paintings, photographs, drawings and other work by Northwest artists (including Kate Protage, Junko Yamamoto and, seen here, Troy Gua), the gallery allows anyone with a SAM membership to rent artwork for three-month stints. Most pieces cost in the $100–$200 range (total for three months), and at least half of the rental price goes toward the purchase, if you decide you can’t live without it. Browse the wonderful pieces on view at the gallery’s new location at the back of the SAM gift shop, and enliven your living space with art. Downtown, 1300 First Ave.; 206.343.1101; seattleartmuseum.org

6. O.O. Denny Park

We all know the drill: As soon as the sun rears its fiery head, Seattleites flock to the nearest beachside patch of green and sprawl all over it. But if you prefer a sunshiny spot with a little less social exposure, consider O.O. Denny Park in Kirkland. Located between a woodsy grove and private waterfront properties, this public park on Lake Washington offers both real estate and ample parking—and an afternoon’s escape from the usual haunts. The western exposure promises extra hours of evening light, and the beach here is pebbled, which is a pleasant change from the mysterious underwater plants that slither across swimmers’ legs on the Seattle side of the pond. Kirkland, 12032 Holmes Point Drive NE; parksofkirkland.com/o-o-denny-park

Photo courtesy of Frolik

7. Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails

Walk south along Fourth Avenue just past Pike Street and look up: This drinking deck (you’d never know it was there!), on the fifth floor of the *Red Lion Hotel, attracts plenty of locals and tourists alike for its lengthy happy hour (2–10 p.m.) and giant, sunny patio, which offers some of the best urban vistas in the city. On a clear evening, test your skills on Frolik’s outdoor Ping-Pong table and shuffleboard court (the full-fledged, cruise-ship version), or cozy up with a glass of bubbly near the mod fireplace. Downtown, 1415 Fifth Ave.; 206.971.8015; frolik.seattleredlionfifthavenue.com 
*Red Lion Hotel became Motif after this issue went to press

8. The Upstairs

This Belltown bar is located in an old, two-story, mixed-use apartment complex, and if it wasn’t for the small sign dangling out front, you’d never know it exists. The cozy upstairs watering hole is fancified with chandeliers, old barstools, antique mirrors and artwork. There’s even a “doorbell” sound to alert the bartender when someone enters from the front door off Second Avenue. (Don’t worry, it’s more charming than annoying.) Adjoining is a pretty parlor (called “The East Gallery”) filled with furniture for lounging and lots more artwork. Craft cocktails, wine and beer are on offer, as well as small plates, courtesy of sibling Pintxo, next door (daily, 5–8 p.m.). A treat awaits restroom users: a wall awash in old rock ’n’ roll images and articles. Belltown, 2209 Second Ave.; 206.441.4013; theupstairsseattle.com

Photo by Jonathan Vanderweit

9. The Forge Lounge

A post-work, pre-home staple for Seattle’s legion of Bainbridge Island ferry commuters, The Forge Lounge is located one story above the sidewalk, just off the pedestrian bridge connecting the Colman Dock ferry terminal to Western Avenue. The small, casual space is big on charm, serving up cocktails made with local spirits (Mischief, BroVo, Temperance), local beers (Manny’s, Elysian, Diamond Knot), panini and quesadillas, and on Thursday nights, bar bingo—the last of which amps up the already tangible camaraderie. Waterfront, 65 Marion St.; 206.623.5107; theforgelounge.com

10. Holla for Friday Challah!

It’s not just about the cookies. Darling little Hello Robin bakery also makes delicious, honey-topped challah bread on Fridays so people can grab it for the evening Shabbat. (We won’t tell if you throw a few cookies in the bag as well.) Loaves come out around 1 p.m.; call ahead to be absolutely sure and to reserve a loaf. Capitol Hill, 522 19th Ave. E; 206.735.7970; hellorobincookies.com

11. Lightsticks

Daydreamers, take note. If you are the rare light rail commuter whose eyes aren’t always locked on a mobile device, you may think you’re seeing things in the dark tunnel deep under Beacon Hill—perhaps the words “Good morning” or a playing card, for example. But it’s not a hallucination; it’s Massachusetts artist Bill Bell’s “Lightsticks” installation, flashing at one-30th of a second, playing tricks on—and rewarding—your wandering eyes. Beacon Hill, Beacon Avenue S and S  McClellan Street; soundtransit.org

Photo by Hayley Young; Joey Petosa (at left) with father Joe Petosa, two of four generations involved in the squeezebox biz

12. Petosa Accordion Museum

Father and son Joe Petosa and Joey Petosa represent two of four generations that have worked at Petosa Accordions since its founding in 1922. It’s the local source for accordions, but even if you aren’t in the market for a squeezebox, stop at the shop to see the impressive lobby museum (seen here), housing a huge range of antique accordions, including what’s believed to be the first model with a keyboard (instead of push buttons). Wallingford, 313 NE 45th St.; 206.632.2700; petosa.com

13. Fifty Four Sixteen Artist Collective

Five artists working in three different mediums share the space at Fifty Four Sixteen, a collective and gallery space beneath Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen in Ballard. Organized by De Cicio Artisan Glass artist Greg Clark, the group includes letterpress stationer Wendu Ink, leather bag designer Michelle Pozniak, and glass artists Granite Calimpong and John Hogan. Open by appointment only, and usually during Ballard’s hopping Sunday Farmers Market. 5416 Shilshole Ave. NW; fiftyfoursixteen.com

Greg Clark shapes a glass work at Fifty Four Sixteen collective, Photo by Jonathan Vanderweit

14. Use your Seattle Library card to get free passes to Seattle cultural centers

A Seattle public library card gets you access to more than books—it also serves as carte blanche for several local museums and cultural centers, including EMP, MOHAI, The Center for Wooden Boats, Seattle Art Museum and Seattle Aquarium. Head to the website, enter your library card number and PIN, select your venue and date, and print out a pass (limit one pass per week per library card). Just like the commercial said, membership has its privileges. Downtown; spl.org/library-collection/museum-pass

15. Namaste Healing Spa

You don’t see many WWII-style Quonset huts in Bellevue—not even in old Bellevue, where this little, round-roofed spa is located. Nestled at the edge of a parking lot just off Main Street, this sweet spot offers waxing and tinting, facials, hot stone massage, deep tissue massage, craniosacral therapy and, for those beset with bad vibes, home and office energy clearing. 13 102nd Ave. NE; 425.455.1222; namastebellevue.com

16. Tougo Coffee Co. on the fourth floor of the convention center

Whether you’re slogging through booths at a conference or just looking for an excellent java escape downtown, the new Tougo Coffee on the fourth floor of the Washington State Convention Center is an oasis. Serving Stumptown coffee, baked goods from locals La Toscanella and Skydottir Epic Cookies, and sandwiches from Seattle-based Molly’s, Tougo (the original location is at 18th and Union) is as a locally flavored break from, er, convention. Open Monday–Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., plus some weekends (convention-dependent), the shop also makes for excellent people-watching by way of badged conventioneers—especially when Comicon is in town. Downtown, 800 Convention Place; 206.860.3518; tougocoffee.com

17. Seattle Art Resource

Just as you tired of that Fendi baguette bag you splurged on in the ’90s, art collectors sometimes change their minds about big-name art purchases. Which is where Seattle Art Resource comes in. A consignment program for high-end art (think Kandinsky, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg), the gallery allows you to benefit from other collectors’ fickle tastes. At press time, you could purchase a Chuck Close self-portrait for $7,500, an original watercolor comic panel by Lynda Barry for $1,800, and a Jay Steensma oil painting for $2,100. It ain’t Value Village, but if you know the art market, it can make for some thrilling finds. Pioneer Square, 625 First Ave., Suite 200; 206.838.2695; seattleartresource.com

18. Randy’s Restaurant

For anyone who works at Boeing Field, Randy’s is a given. But if you haven’t been, this old-school diner—run with military efficiency for more than 30 years by owners Richard and Lucia Roadenizer—is a joyful find. Walking into the restaurant feels like time-traveling to a retro paradise (except for the fact that Wi-Fi is available), decorated with bright orange-and-pink booths, counters and swivel stools. Aircraft memorabilia abounds, including an impressive collection of model airplanes hanging from the ceiling. A warning to the gluten-free, vegan, organic crowd: The menu is basic diner food—love it or leave it. Tukwila, 10016 East Marginal Way S; 206.763.9333; randys-restaurant.net
Photo by Matt Owens

19. Chapel Performance Space

One of Seattle’s loveliest music venues, the Chapel Performance Space is housed on the fourth floor of the Good Shepherd Center. The small, two-story space—once the chapel of the former Catholic school for “wayward” girls—features amazing acoustics and 27 stained glass windows. The local Wayward Music Series presents about 10 concerts per month in the airy space, with an emphasis on innovative, experimental music, such as free jazz, contemporary classical, sound installations and electro-acoustic music. Wallingford, Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N; waywardmusic.org

20. The Ernestine Anderson Room

This is as close as most of us will ever come to wandering around Ernestine Anderson’s dressing room (without getting arrested). Perched above and offering an intimate view of the Paramount Theatre stage, this sumptuous green room—dedicated to the world-famous Garfield High School grad—is decked out in chiffons, braided threads, reflective accessories and a gold chain curtain inspired by the jazz legend’s performance wardrobe. Soak in the diva’s vibe during a free, 90-minute tour of the historic Beaux Arts–style theater. No reservations necessary, just meet at the theater entrance the first Saturday of the month at 10 a.m. Downtown, 911 Pine St.; 206.682.1414; stgpresents.org

21. Foss Estate Sales

In-the-know treasure hunters, avid collectors and antique seekers queue up early at estate sales held by Foss Appraisal Service (fossappraisal.com) for a first go at the hidden gems within. Professional estate liquidator Chris Foss and his wife, Alison Guinn, typically run sales for three days—with prices slashed by an additional 25 percent each day—with a wide range of inventory. Recent finds include a trove of Native American cultural collectibles (think baskets and oars), hundreds of pieces of vintage clothing (including dozens of pairs of size 5 shoes in pristine condition), and a sizable stash of vintage Christmas ornaments and decor. To keep apprised of Foss sales, visit Facebook, “Foss Appraisal & Estate Sales.”

Photo by Alexander Crook

22. Bellevue Zip Tour

Open since April, Bellevue Zip Tour welcomes adrenaline junkies ages 9 and older to whiz through the treetops in Eastgate Park at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. The two-and-a-half-hour adventure includes seven zip lines (ranging from 76 feet to 600 feet long), the highest of which is 80 feet above the ground. Open Fri.–Sun. in June; daily in July-August. $44–$69. Reservations
recommended. 425.452.4240; bellevueziptour.com

Photo by: Lara Swimmer

23. Chapel of St. Ignatius at Seattle University

Built in 1997, this breathtaking chapel is one of Seattle’s architectural marvels. Architect Steven Holl, a Bremerton native and University of Washington graduate who has created award-winning buildings all over the world, conceived of the sacred space as “seven bottles of light in a stone box.” Inside the cool exterior, glass lenses cast seven soft hues across different sections of the building, adding a sense of wonder and timelessness that recalls the past and welcomes the future. Capitol Hill, 901 12th Ave.; seattleu.edu/chapel

Photo by Alexander Crook

24. Kinokuniya Bookstore

If you’re a paper and pen lover for whom no ordinary Bic will do, get thee to Kinokuniya, the bookstore that shares space with amazing Asian grocery Uwajimaya. In the back of the bookshop are hundreds of writing utensils in a rainbow of colors and with micro-fine-point options down to the millimeter (try the practically hypodermic-needle point on the .25mm–.5mm Pilot Hi-Tec C gel ink pens, $3.95 each). Along the back wall are scores of composition-size notebooks with plenty of page styles beyond lined and unlined (dots? diagonal lines? Yes and yes, $1.40–$7.25), so you can be the most unique note taker at your next meeting. Did we mention the desk accessories? Visualize: a stapleless stapler, rolls and rolls of Japanese rice tape, and auto “winding” mechanical pencils. We’re pretty sure buyer Makiko Snøddy (an artist who sells tote bags with her cute, cartoony animals on them at makimanga.com) has one of the best jobs in the city. Chinatown–International District, 525 S Weller St.; 206.587.2477; kinokuniya.com

25. Annapurna Cafe

It’s easy to drive right by this understated Nepalese/Tibetan/Indian restaurant, which keeps company with a teriyaki joint, a parking lot and a U.S. Postal Service branch on Capitol Hill’s Broadway Avenue. (At press time, there was a chain-link construction fence surrounding the premises, giving it even more of a feeling of being shrouded in mystery.) But don’t miss it. Amble down two short flights of steps to this cozy, cave-like, curry-filled mecca, which serves up some of the most fragrant chicken tikka masala we’ve ever tasted. On a random sunny Tuesday in April, it was packed to capacity, so expect a wait. It’s absolutely worth it. Capitol Hill, 1833 Broadway Ave.; 206.320.7770; annapurnacafe.com

26. FarWest Toys, Games & Hobbies

This magical store, located in a nondescript warehouse facing busy Elliott Avenue W, is filled with all manner of kitschy curiosities, ranging from a menagerie of papier-mâché animals to model cars, brass candlesticks, Betty Boop clocks, English china, Thai teak and Italian glassware. Owner (and nonagenarian) Arthur Hays started his business as a distribution company in 1962, importing and wholesaling a rich assortment of goods to small, now-defunct mom-and-pop variety stores, including Seattle classic Chubby & Tubby. In 2011, Hays opened his vast treasure trove to the public—featuring boxes upon boxes of things you didn’t know you had to have. Interbay, 1465 Elliott Ave. W; 206.284.7004; Facebook, “FarWest Toys Games Hobbies” Photo by Matt Owens

27. Shell Gas Station & Food Mart

Offal probably isn’t the type of snack you’re seeking while popping into a gas station, but if you’re ever near the Shell station on Beacon Hill, give the gizzards a go. They’re perfect, chewy little fried bites (likely more al dente than any restaurant version you’ve had) that taste best with hot sauce (don’t forget to ask for some). At $5.69 a pound, a half-order will easily fill you up. Beacon Hill, 2424 Beacon Ave. S; 206.322.7861

28. Quick Pack Food Mart

The sign in front of this purple-hued mini-mart on the corner of Jackson Street and MLK Way boasts “The best fried chicken in town!” and that claim isn’t too far off—the chicken here is legit. For less than $7, you can get a little sampler of a breast, thigh, drumstick and wing. You might find it surprisingly crowded during lunch hour, which will make complete sense as soon as you bite into the juicy, flavorful bird. Central District, 2616 S Jackson; 206.328.2127

29. Better Meat Inc.

Exemplifying the word “unassuming,” the Better Meat Inc. butcher shop is so modest, you might drive right by and assume it’s a well-preserved but abandoned 1940s relic. But inside this family-owned business in residential Greenwood is a bustling neighborhood shop, where customers joke with longtime owners Mike Evensen and Paul Volpone as they pick up meat for the week or a holiday. (Better Meat goes through 2,000 pounds of 75-day aged prime rib around the holidays and cures its own corned beef for St. Paddy’s Day.) Prices are comparable to other fine butchers, as are its offerings to those of trendy local meat purveyors (such as St. Helens Beef and Double R Ranch), but you won’t find a gleaming artisanal butcher selection case here. Simply make your request at the nondescript counter and the staff will pull it from the walk-in fridge, cut it exactly the way you want it and either neatly wrap it in butcher paper for tonight’s dinner or vacuum-pack it for later in the week. What the shop may lack in style is more than made up for in substance, and the community connections go deep—supplying meat to dozens of restaurants, from whole pigs for Tamara Murphy’s annual Burning Pig event to stocking dinner for the fishing crews of The Deadliest Catch boats. Just be sure to get your order in before the shop closes at 4 p.m. Greenwood, 305 NW 82nd St.; 206.783.0570

Butchers Mike Everson, left, and Paul Volpone, photo by Jonathan Vanderweit

30.Café Turko

In 1991, husband and wife Gencer and Süreyya Gökeri combined their retail and food expertise by opening a Turkish café in the back of their decades-old Fremont shop, Istanbul Imports. Homey (and largely vegan) Turkish foods can now be found among the store’s colorful handmade rugs, jewelry and scarves. The hummus, stuffed grape leaves and eggplant moussaka are some of the best around, and can be picked up to go. (Café Turko also caters.) Pita pocket dürüms (similar to gyros) make for an incredibly filling and comforting lunch. Traditional Turkish breakfasts are served all day. Fremont, 754 N 34th St.; 206.284.9954; istanbulimports.com

31. Puzzle Break

Twelve people. One locked room. One hour to escape. Welcome to Puzzle Break, the live gaming experience that has puzzle-inclined peeps in a frenzy of figuring. Housed in a nondescript warehouse on Capitol Hill, the game asks you and your team (sign up solo or with a group of friends) to solve a series of tough riddles and logic puzzles that lead to a key—and sweet freedom. It’s tough! With a success rate of only 5–10 percent (yes, you are let out even if you fail to find the solution, and the answer is revealed to participants after each game), you might think it would be more frustrating than fun. But fans are already clamoring for the second Puzzle Break theme. Capitol Hill, 1423 10th Ave., Studios B and D; 716.795.2759; puzzlebreak.us

32. Jolie Nails

Get your nails done (manicure $13, pedicure $23, both $33) with a side of guilty pleasure in the form of live-concert DVDs looping through three large flat-screen televisions. Amid the visual blend of stars such as Beyonce, Duran Duran, Tina Turner and Adele, time stops in this no-frills salon—and you won’t mind, just as long as you can catch Britney Spears’ 2001 encore before your toes dry. Help yourself to a soda or juice from the fridge, or to the candy dishes that are always just an arm’s length away. The staff here are all sweethearts, so don’t be surprised if your new name is “Honey.” Capitol Hill, 714 12th Ave.; 206.709.7778

Photo by Jonathan Vanderweit

33. Take Five Market’s Meat Loaf Sandwich

This mild-mannered corner market on the Ballard/Phinney border has a secret superpower: upscale takeout. More of a burger than a sandwich, Take Five’s beef and pork meatloaf is puréed into a smooth, delicate foie gras–like texture, formed into a thick, round patty, grilled and topped with grilled red onions, melted cheese, lettuce, pickles and tomato on a mayo-smeared Grand Central Bakery roll. Saucy, messy and delicious, it’s worth every napkin (and you’ll need plenty). 6757 Eighth Ave. NW; 206.420.8104, take5urbanmarket.com

34. Dis-N-That

For the past three years, Maui transplant Maile Tran Carlson has packed all her passion for her home island into a narrow slip of a shop in Mount Baker. The result, the aptly named Dis-N-That, offers a full South Pacific immersion (fresh leis, kukui nut necklaces, paper lanterns, clamshells, ukuleles, et al.) with a refreshing dose of the practical (notary public and faxing services, sunglasses and mouthwash) you expect from an islander. Mount Baker, 2802 S McClellan St.; disnthat.com

35. Imperial Foot Massage

Don’t expect oceanic music, aromatherapy oils and privacy at Imperial Foot Massage (a beloved example of the many Chinese foot massage parlors dotting the city). Do expect: a large, darkened room chockablock with clothed people (except for their bare feet) relaxing on soft loungers, enjoying blissful head-to-toe massages with only slaps, karate chops and the snoring of their fellow citizens as a soundtrack. Best of all: At $27 for an hour-long massage, you won’t tense up all over again when it’s time to pay the bill. For the total relaxation package, stroll up Jackson another block or so and down a lychee martini at Tamarind Tree; then, take an Uber ride home for the best night’s sleep you’ve had in a long time. Reservations accepted but not required. Chinatown–International District, 900 S Jackson St.; 206.903.0878

36. Hall Spassov Gallery

While the intersection of Eighth Street and Bellevue Way isn’t what you’d call off the grid (hello, Crate and Barrel!), you might have missed the small, independent art gallery nestled into Bellevue’s shopping mecca. Open in this location since 2009 (formerly called Hallway Gallery), the space features provocative mixed-media work by artists from all over—many from the West Coast, including surreal paintings by Seattle-based Francesca Sundsten, boldly graphic poster-style pieces by L.A.’s Ellwood T. Risk and light-infused encaustics by Eileen P. Goldenberg of San Francisco. (Pssst: In July, a second location is opening in the old Grover/Thurston Gallery space at Third and Jackson in Pioneer Square.) 800 Bellevue Way NE, Suite 150; 425.453.3244; hallspassov.com

Photo courtesy of Tanja Baumann

37. Southgate Roller Rink

Opened in 1937 and rolling for nearly 70 years before it closed in 2006, the Southgate Roller Rink in White Center was renovated and reopened in 2011 by self-proclaimed “rink rat” Josh Rhoads (a former Team USA world competitor in artistic roller skating and previously a manager of several roller rinks in the region), who refinished the original maple flooring and added a back bar for grown-ups. Rent a pair of traditional quad skates (no inline blades here) and crack the whip, shoot the duck or skate backwards to classic hip-hop, funk and ’80s hits, just like you did in the good old days. White Center, 9646 17th Ave. SW; 206.707.6949; southgaterollerrink.com
Photo by Hayley Young

38. Karaokegrass

The first Tuesday night of the month, all summer long, Nectar Lounge presents the glorious clash of cultures known as Karoakegrass, wherein daring participants sing karaoke accompanied by a live bluegrass band. Yes, all the songs sound like bluegrass. No, you don’t have to sing with a country accent. The lengthy (and always expanding) list of songs to choose from consists of familiar hits—from Radiohead’s “Creep” to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer”—so don’t worry about brushing up on your Bill Monroe, just show up ready to sing. Fremont, 412 N 36th St.; 206.632.2020; nectarlounge.com and karaokegrass.com

The Karaokegrass house band backs a brave singer, photo by Alexander Crook

39. The Edgewater Hotel Gift Shop

Hotel gift shops don’t typically traffic in locally sourced, artisan-made items, which is why the Edgewater’s is so singular. Beyond the usual offerings (sunglasses, sweatshirts, snacks and toiletries), shoppers will find Glassybaby votives, Fran’s caramels, Butter London nail polish and T-shirts from local design team Ames Bros, in addition to gifts for kids, home decor and clothing from well-known national brands (Baggu, Voluspa, Roost)—all of which make it worth a visit, even if you aren’t a guest at the hotel. Waterfront, 2411 Alaskan Way; 206.728.7000; edgewaterhotel.com

40. Paper Hammer

Visit this cool paper shop downtown on the corner of Second Avenue and Union Street for clever cards, beautifully bound blank books, cheeky posters, artisanal gift tags, photo albums and other gift items, most of them printed or bound by owner Ed Marquand and his team, who do all their letterpress printing and binding at Paper Hammer Studios headquarters in the tiny town of Tieton, Washington. Downtown, 1400 Second Ave.; 206.682.3820; paper-hammer.com

41. Ascona Chocolate Suisse

Embodying the phrase “Good things come in small packages,” this sliver of a space on the ground floor of a condominium delivers big on sweets. Opened last August by the endearing Hans Riechsteiner—known to many as the founder of waffle haven Arosa Cafe, which he sold years ago—Ascona is the only place in Seattle where you can find exquisite Läderach chocolates, imported from Switzerland. The shop’s single sleek case features a huge range of beautiful choices, including nougatine, champagne, passion fruit, cardamom, pistachio, and expected options in the chocolate and dark chocolate palette. Custom-select your own sampler (8 pieces/$18, 18 pieces/$38, 24 for $48) or just pop in to pop one in your mouth. Madison Valley, 2914 E Madison St., Suite 103; 206.329.0153

42. Bradner Gardens Park

Seattle may be dotted with pocket parks, but too many are little more than lonely patches of grass. Secreted away on the north end of Mount Baker, just south of the I-90 lid, is the inspiring exception: Bradner Gardens Park. Beloved by the surrounding community—which fought a city effort to build there and dedicated 40,000 volunteer hours to establish it as an anchor for the neighborhood—Bradner remains largely unknown to the general public. But all are welcome to enjoy its peekaboo views of the Olympic Mountains and downtown. The 1.6-acre square is home to a P-Patch, kids’ garden and demonstration gardens; a busy basketball court; plus all sorts of artful elements, including a salmon-shaped weather vane by Buster Simpson, an old tractor and funky garden implements, winding paths, and a pavilion with a leaf-shaped roof designed and built by University of Washington architecture students. Even the restroom walls are covered in a gorgeous mosaic of giant insects. Most importantly, rain or shine, there are always people here—working their plots, taking classes, listening to concerts, learning to press cider, stoking bonfires and more—fulfilling the founders’ dream of a vibrant neighborhood center. Mount Baker, 29th Avenue S and S Grand Street; bradnergardenspark.org

Photo by Alexander Crook

43. Slate Coffee Roasters


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