Seattle Culture

Birds, Brains and The Burke

Bothell is booming. Here's why.

By Rob Smith April 17, 2024

Shopping, high-end dining, music and arts, make Bothell an attractive neighborhood.

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

The crows. Bothell is known for the crows.

Each year since 2009, about 16,000 crows descend on the University of Washington Bothell campus in the fall and winter at dusk to roost in the campus trees and nearby wetlands. They truly rule the roost.

The UW Bothell campus is popular for other reasons as well. It was recently named the No. 1 higher education institute in the state for value and quality by Money magazine, and also shares the campus with Cascadia College, the newest community college in Washington.

The crows certainly put Bothell on the map, but visit downtown and enjoy how the region’s rich history seamlessly blends into a thoroughly modern experience.

Take McMenamins Anderson School. The 1930s-era school-turned-hotel includes all the amenities McMenamins hotels are known for, including restaurants, bars, a pool, games, movies, and live music, and is just a few blocks from the waterfront and Bothell Landing Park.

The delightful Bothell Landing includes a much-photographed walking bridge over the river, a children’s play area, gazebo, amphitheater, and even a museum to brush up on your local history. The Sammamish River Trail, which is part of the Burke Gilman Trail, runs right through the park and is a great spot for a casual stroll.

After a stroll along the river, pop into Beardslee Public House, a restaurant by acclaimed chef John Howie. The pub features locally sourced fare. Even the beer is brewed in-house. The brunch menu is one of the best in the city. Try a cocktail featuring Wildwood Spirits, Howie’s own distillery, which also has a Bothell production facility.

For those with a sweet tooth, T55 Patisserie is not to be missed. Singaporean chef Muhammad Fairoz and partner Katie Pohl blend traditional French pastry styles with Southeast Asian flavors for a dessert list that is unlike any other. The durian choux — a cream puff filled with the famous fruit — is a must-try.

For a high-end dining experience, venture out of downtown and head to Russell’s Restaurant & Loft. This chef-led kitchen produces modern interpretations of classic Pacific Northwest fare, and pairs it with a fantastic selection of wines from the region and around the world. For live music lovers, stop by The Cottage, a bistro that serves up delicious dishes to enjoy while catching local musicians on Friday and Saturday nights. The vegetarian-friendly spot is popular with visitors and locals alike.

Krõ Bär is one of the most unique bars in the city and really showcases the old-meets-new vibe of this neighborhood. This high-end but reasonably priced cocktail experience sits in what was once an historic hardware store and is a perfect date-night location.

A visit to Bothell isn’t complete, though, without a trip to Wanderlust Book Lounge. Browse and then settle in on the patio to dive into the latest novel. Be sure to watch the website for an eclectic list of events and book clubs.

Kick back at Zulu’s Board Game Café. The restaurant features a great tap list and is a popular family-friendly gathering spot for gamers and weekly meet-up groups. Strolling along Main Street, visitors and locals often find themselves drawn into the eclectic shops, including CoCapsules. This well-curated women-owned boutique features staples like T-shirts and jeans, as well as dresses, outerwear, and footwear for all genders.

Be sure to swing through Sankara Imports, a shop featuring a wide array of ethically sourced items from India, Nepal, and Turkey. This is a great spot to find unique jewelry, scarves, blankets, and home décor, and is just a fun store to browse the selections.

Bothell continues to attract a wide array of technology companies, particularly biotech companies, which have sought out the neighborhood for manufacturing and medical research spaces. These cutting-edge businesses have helped cement Bothell as one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the region for newcomers, and is driving significant residential development in the area.

Known for: The UW Bothell campus, rated the top higher-ed institution in the state.
Best place to escape the work from home blues: One of the Pop Shops on Main, a new retail marketplace that supports minority and women-owned businesses.
Walkability: 88 (downtown)
Median home price: $869,000
Surprising fact: Bothell straddles two counties, King and Snohomish, making some addresses confusing when crossing counties.

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