Seattle/Queen Anne-South Lake Union
Queen Anne and Seattle Center are northwest of Downtown Seattle. This article also incorporates the neighborhoods of South Lake Union, due north of downtown and slowly becoming Seattle's newest mixed use district; Magnolia, the wealthy residential neighborhood on a peninsula west of Queen Anne; and Interbay, the unexpected strip of commerce and industry between the two.
Seattle Center, at the southern base of Queen Anne Hill, was originally built to host the 1962 World's Fair. The theme was 'Century 21' and it featured many corporate sponsored, science-based exhibits. The two most notable survivors were the Monorail and the Space Needle which has fantastic views of Seattle, both of which have become Icons of the city. Today, Seattle Center is a park-like facility surrounded by many of Seattle's finest venues and museums; Key Arena, McCaw Hall, Intiman Theater and the Experience Music Project. The Center becomes a venue in its own right when it hosts several of Seattle's premier events, including Northwest Folklife Festival, Bite of Seattle, Bumbershoot and several others.
South Lake Union was a industrial neighborhood in the late 20th Century, but also one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Seattle. Today, South Lake Union is home to Amazon.com's new headquarters and a range of biotech organizations, a large growth in both market rate and subsidized housing, and a new streetcar line.
Please note: Queen Anne Ave. is the dividing line between the "North" and the "West" roads. Don't be surprised if you cross 1st Ave. N and then 1st Ave. W without changing direction!
Seattle Center and South Lake Union lie within easy walking or bicycling distance of Downtown. Climbing up Queen Anne Hill is more of a workout! Aurora Avenue (SR-99) divides Seattle Center and South Lake Union and can only be crossed in a few spots.
Due to its geography, Queen Anne Hill can be difficult to navigate, especially by car if you're unfamiliar. There are two simple ways to get to the center of the neighborhood. The first is via Queen Anne Ave. from the south (though take note: Queen Anne Avenue traffic is south-only when south of Roy St.). The second is by 3rd Ave. W from the north side, near Seattle Pacific University.
Approaching by Dexter Ave., Gilman Ave., W. Dravus St. or any of the numerous side-streets should not be attempted unless you have time to kill.
Denny Way runs along the south side of Seattle Center. Parking is plentiful, albeit often expensive.
Dexter, Westlake, Fairview, and Eastlake Avenues pass through South Lake Union. Mercer Street is the primary east-west route and most convenient access from I-5, although it's amongst the most traffic-congested streets in the city.
To access Magnolia:
From the north: take Emerson St Bridge over 15th Avenue towards Fisherman's Terminal From the South: take 15th Avenue W (Elliott), exiting at the Magnolia Bridge.
By public transit
- King County Metro. Queen Anne is served mainly by bus routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 13, and 45. South Lake Union is served by bus routes 26 and 28 on Dexter Avenue, and on Fairfax Ave it's served on weekdays during the day by route 70 and at other times by routes 71, 72, and 73. See the Metro Transit website for all bus listings.
- Seattle Center Monorail. The monorail makes a direct connection between Westlake Center in Downtown to the Seattle Center. The 1962 vintage Alweg monorail is perfectly good transportation and kind of cool, but it doesn't go anywhere else. Round-trip $4 adults, $2 seniors, $1.50 youth, no transfers accepted.
- South Lake Union Streetcar. M-Th 6AM-9PM, F Sa 6AM-11PM, Su 10AM-7PM, all at 15 minute intervals. South Lake Union is served by the South Lake Union Streetcar, which runs from the Westlake Center in Downtown to Lake Union. The streetcar was initially announced as the "South Lake Union Trolley", until the developer realized the unfortunate acronym — which is still used by many residents. Local coffee shop Inner Chapters on Fairview Avenue sells T-shirts that say, "Ride the S.L.U.T.". $2.25 adults, $0.75 seniors and youth.
South Lake Union
- Lake Union Park, on the Lake Union Waterfront. Opened in September 2010, the park is home to the Center for Wooden Boats and the Museum of History and Industry.
- Center for Wooden Boats, 1010 Valley St, ☎ . An intriguing museum where you can learn about Maritime culture and experience sailing traditional wooden boats. The center's programs allow you to get a hands-on feel, putting in control of crafting and sailing your own wooden craft. Visit on Sunday for a free boat ride on a classic wooden boat. Rides are offered year-round. At times artist-in-residence Saaduuts leads programs.
- Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), 860 Terry Ave. N, ☎ . Daily 10 AM – 5 PM, Thursdays until 8 PM. The museum focuses on the history of Seattle and the greater Puget Sound region, from pre-European settlement to the rise of local companies in three exhibitions that features the distinctive features that makes the city in shape: the Maritime Seattle, the Bezos Center for Innovation, and the True Northwest:The Seattle Journey. Adult $17, seniors $12, children under 14 free; always free the first Thursday of the month.
- Northwest Seaport/Maritime Heritage Center, 1002 Valley St (in Lake Union Park), ☎ . Home to a number of historic ships, including a schooner, a tugboat, a fireboat, a lightship, and a steamer, along with several others.
- South Lake Union Discovery Center, 101 Westlake Ave N, ☎ . 11AM-6PM daily. An introduction to the neighborhood, with displays explaining the history of South Lake Union. There is also a model of the whole neighborhood in the building.
- Public Art at Amazon.com Headquarters, 426 Terry Ave N. While the Amazon.com buildings are not open to the public, there are several signed outdoor art pieces around the complex and other nearby buildings, and you can hob-nob with "blue badges" at local restaurants and coffee shops. Seattle Architecture Foundation also leads guided walking tours.
- Space Needle, 400 Broad St. 8AM to Midnight-365 days a year. The most expensive elevator ride in America. However, the view is spectacular on a clear day when the sun sets. Downtown Seattle contrasts beautifully with the ocean to the west and the snow-capped mountains in every other direction. You can get a comparably good view for free from Bhy Kracke Park (pronounced "By Crackie") atop Queen Anne Hill. If you are going to eat at the revolving restaurant near the top, called Sky City, the elevator ride is free. Sky City is surprisingly good given its touristy setting, and a three-course brunch adds $45.95 (tax and gratuity not included) to the cost of going up the tower. The restaurant completes one revolution per 45 minutes as you eat. (Day and night admission tickets -visit once during day and once during night for a higher price are available, summer hours have off peak discounts up to 4$ per ticket are available, VIP pass (expedited entry) tickets are available- check website for exact details and prices.) . Adults $19, age 4-12 $13, under 4 free, 65 and over- $19, tickets 1$ less if you buy them online in advance.
- Pacific Science Center, 200 2nd Ave N, ☎ , fax: +1 206 443-3631, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 10AM–6PM daily. An interactive science museum featuring permanent and temporary exhibits, a butterfly atrium, IMAX theater, planetarium, and laser shows. General exhibits: $10, age 65+ $8.50, 3-12 $7; exhibits + IMAX: $15, 65+ $13.50, 3-12 $12.
- Experience Music Project (EMP), 325 5th Ave N, ☎ , fax: +1 206 443-3631, e-mail: email@example.com. Memorial Day-Labor Day: 10AM-7PM daily, Labor Day-Memorial Day: 10AM-5PM daily. A rock 'n' roll museum, designed by Frank Gehry, and which has the Jimi Hendrix special exhibit. Do not expect to get your turn with the many interactive exhibits. Adults $18 ($15 if purchased online), aged 65+ or military $15, aged 5–17 or student $12, 5 and under free.
- The Children's Museum, Seattle, 200 2nd Ave N. M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa-Su 10AM-6PM. An independent non-profit museum which hosts popular traveling exhibits and features 11 permanent exhibits and programming. General exhibits: $7.50, aged 65+ $6.50, under 1 free; No adults admitted without a child.
- Chihuly Garden and Glass, 305 Harrison St, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mo-Th 10AM–10PM, Fr-Su 10AM-11PM Last ticket sold one hour prior to the closing time.. The museum provides a look at the inspiration and influences that inform the career of artist Dale Chihuly. It includes an exhibition hall, the centerpiece glasshouse and a lush garden. The exhibition hall contains eight galleries and three drawing walls, offering visitors a comprehensive look at Chihuly’s significant series of work; the glasshouse presents a suspended 1,400-piece, 100-foot-long sculpture; and the Garden is a backdrop for four monumental sculptures and other installations. Regular $19, Age 65+ $17, King County special $15, Age 4-12 $12, Age 0-3 Free..
Perhaps the most obvious spectacle in Queen Anne is the quintessential view of the Seattle Skyline from Kerry Park.. The park affords an excellent view of downtown Seattle, the Space Needle, West Seattle/Alki and across the Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island (depending on the weather).
A few blocks southwest of Kerry Park is Kinnear Park., which stretches down to the lower Queen Anne/Mercer Avenue area and has a good view of the Olympic Mountains over the top of Magnolia Hill, if the weather is clear.
North of this area, along 8th Ave. West., the hill opens up to excellent views of the Olympic Mountains to the west and enormous homes on the east.
- Discovery Park. Located at the tip of the Queen Anne peninsula and one of the best places in the city to view wildlife. Beaches, forested areas, and good views over the bay.
- The Ballard Locks. Are accessible from the north end of Magnolia.
- Bite of Seattle (Held in the Seattle Center.). Mid-late July. Part of Seafair festivities.
- Bumbershoot (Held in the Seattle Center.). Early Sep. A music and arts festival featuring dozens of local and world-class musical acts.
- Seattle Center WinterFest, Seattle Center. Various activities/events during the holidays such the WinterFest Ice rink (skate rental available for fee), Winter Train & Village, Ice Sculpting displays and other events from late November to late December/early January (check website for exact schedule and times).
- Northwest Folklife Festival. Memorial Day weekend (end of May). A more low-key and global version of Bumbershoot. free ($10 donations suggested).
- Easy Street Records, 20 Mercer St, ☎ . M 9AM-midnight, Tu-Sa 9AM-11PM, Su 10AM-9PM. Large record store featuring many local artists and a large vinyl selection.
- REI, 222 Yale Ave N, ☎ . Seattle is one of the best cities in the world to buy high-quality secondhand outdoors equipment — good to know, because brand new equipment is often really expensive. REI's flagship store in Seattle has a twice-yearly Garage Sale clearance event and a clearance section downstairs where you can often find boots, down sleeping bags, tents, etc. with easily repairable damage at a fraction of the cost.
- Blue Moon Burgers, 920 Republican St.
- Mad Pizza, 1263 Thomas St, ☎ . 11AM-10PM.
- Dick's Drive In, 500 Queen Anne Ave N.
- The 5-Spot, 1502 Queen Anne Ave N, ☎ . Daily 8:30AM—midnight, closed Sa-Su 3PM-5PM. A busy diner with an ever-changing theme based menu and decor to match. Sometimes it's New York City, sometimes Hawaii. The food good for a reasonable price, but be prepared to wait during busy periods, especially weekend brunch.
- Bamboo Garden, 364 Roy St. Serves up delicious food from the rich tradition of Chinese vegetarian cooking. With a menu that boasts over 120 items, there's a lot to choose from, and the servings are generous. Also one of the few certified Kosher restaurants in Seattle.
- Jillian's Billiards on Lake Union, 731 Westlake Ave N, ☎ . American cuisine and prime sports viewing. Over 30 premium billiard tables, ping pong, darts, an extensive arcade room as well as the latest gaming systems such as Xbox, Kinect and Wii.
- Phuket, 517 Queen Anne Ave N, ☎ . M-Th 11:30AM-9:30PM, F 11:30AM-10:30PM, Sa 12:30PM-10:30PM, Su 12:30PM-9:30PM. A cozy and well-appointed Thai restaurant across from Dick's, Phuket is a neighborhood restaurant in a downtown location. It can get very crowded, especially during events at Key Arena. The menu is not as extensive as in some other Thai restaurants, but has ample selections to choose from. Try the Green Papaya Salad or the Panang Curry with Salmon.
- Lunchbox Laboratory, 1253 Thomas St (across from REI). Previously, Southlake Bar and Grill, it has now been converted to the new location of Lunchbox Laboratory (formerly in Ballard).
Queen Anne is a relatively upper-scale neighborhood, and generally the restaurants rise to the occasion.
- Canlis, 2576 Aurora Ave N, ☎ . 5:30PM-close. Great, high-end restaurant , with a wonderful view overlooking Lake Union and Queen Ann Hill. Live piano music. Best to make a reservations well in advance (a week or two ahead) and dress well. $150.
True to Seattle form, you need never go more than a few blocks without stumbling into a coffee shop. At the corner of Queen Anne Ave N and Boston St, for example, there is a Caffe Ladro, a tea shop called The Teacup, and a Starbucks.
- Caffe Fiore, 224 W Galer St (W Galer Ave at 3rd Avenue W). Daily until 7PM. An organic coffeeshop three blocks north of Kerry Park, offering a true experience of the Seattle coffee house culture: good local art on display that changes on the first day of every month, consistently excellent coffee, environmental consciousness to a fault (the straws are compostable), and neighborly vitality that's easy to witness but hard to describe. Handsome baristas remember the orders of regular patrons, and most everyone you see is a regular patron. The coffee is rich, aromatic, and consistently excellent. Outdoor seating for sunny summer days. The most common order: a short latte, for good reason.
- El Diablo Coffee Company, 1811 Queen Anne Ave N (mid-block between Blaine and Howe.). Attached to an independent bookstore, this two-story perennial student favorite features interesting (if loud) murals that style the upper and lower sections into "Heaven" and "Hell". Different from the Seattle norm, they offer coffee in the Cuban style; the Cafe Cubano, a strong sugared espresso, is highly recommended and a good deal. The most important aspect of all Cuban espresso varieties is that they are sweetened while the espresso is being brewed. There is no such thing as unsweetened Cuban coffee. Also served are fresh lemonade drinks, beer in bottles, and excellent cakes. Courtyard seating allows for people-watching on nice days.
- Top Pot Doughnuts, 325 W Galer St (At 4th Ave W), ☎ . Lodged in a previous neighborhood grocery, "hand-forged" doughnuts, coffee, juice, and the like are available here while you read the daily news with your laptop using their free wireless.
- Macrina Bakery, 615 W Mcgraw St (At 6th Ave W). A premier local bakery whose chef was a finalist for a 2007 James Beard Award. Selection changes seasonally and daily, but there's always something delicious on offer. An excellent choice for a breakfast or light lunch; cafe-style seating encourages you to sit down and stay a while. Espresso can be inconsistent, if you're picky, grab food to go and walk elsewhere for coffee.
If you're looking for something to balance out all that caffeine as a stimulant, Lower Queen Anne fits the bill.
- Chopstix, 11 Roy St, ☎ . Tu-W 5PM-midnight, Th-F 5PM-2AM, Sa 6PM-2AM. A 'dueling piano' bar on lower Queen Anne. Chopstix is fun, lively place where two grand pianos occupy center stage. There are plenty of sing-along opportunities and requests are taken (tipping helps). Dinner available until 10PM. $7 cover charge F-Sa.
- Ozzie's, 105 W Mercer St, ☎ . 8AM-2AM daily. Karaoke is the name of the game at Ozzie's and is available every night starting at 9PM.
- Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge, 601 Queen Anne Avenue North, ☎ . Daily 8:00AM-2AM. Excellent restaurant and lounge featuring New Orleans-style food and drink that was listed as a 2012 Travelers Choice Awards winner for one of America's best restaurants and one of the best happy hours in the USA by CNBC survey (great beignets). Happy hour every day from 4PM to 6PM and 10PM to 1AM with a breakfast happy hour from Monday to Friday from 8AM to 11AM.
Much of this area is residential or light commercial, with lodgings few and far between; downtown offers far more options. However, the Seattle Center area hosts several smaller hotels.
- Comfort Suites Downtown - Seattle Center, 601 Roy St, ☎ .
- Holiday Inn, 211 Dexter Ave N, ☎ , fax: +1 206-728-2779.
- Homewood Suites by Hilton Seattle, 206 Western Ave W, ☎ . All suite hotel with views of Elliott Bay, 4 blocks from Seattle Center and the Space Needle, 6 blocks from the Olympic Sculpture Park.
- Inn at Queen Anne, 505 1st Ave N, ☎ .
- MarQueen Hotel, 600 Queen Anne Ave N. Boutique lodging accommodations near the Space Needle and local tourist attractions.
- The Mediterranean, 425 Queen Anne Ave N, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: +1 206 428-4699.
- The Maxwell Hotel, 300 Roy St (between Nob Hill and Third Ave), toll-free: . Unique dog and earth-friendly lodging with a business center and free parking and views of the Space Needle.
- Travelodge Seattle Center, 200 6th Ave N, ☎ . Two blocks east of the Space Needle and monorail terminal, adjacent to Belltown. About a mile's walk (or a few minutes on the monorail) from the downtown core.
- Swedish Physicians (Group of physicians in the community of Queen Anne Hill.), 2211 Queen Anne Avenue North (Next to Video Isle and Communique.), ☎ . M-F 8:30-5:30.
- Queen Anne Dentistry (Family Dentistry in downtown Seattle.), 1911 Queen Anne Avenue North, ☎ .
- Queen Anne Chiropractic Center (Chiropractors in downtown Seattle on top of Queen Anne Hill.), 1905 Queen Anne Avenue North (Across from Metropolitan Market on top of Queen Anne Hill.), ☎ . M-W-F 8-7 Tu-Th 10-6 Sa 9-12.
Nearly all coffee shops offer wi-fi.
Seattle Public Library branches have wi-fi and Internet terminals. You'll need a library card, or if you lack one, ask at the front desk for a one-day login.
- Queen Anne Branch, 400 W Garfield St (at 4th Ave W). M-Tu 1PM-8PM, W-Th 10AM-8PM, F-Sa 10AM-6PM, closed Su.
- Magnolia Branch, 2801 34th Ave W (at W Armour St). M-Tu 1PM-8PM, W-Th 10AM-8PM, F-Sa 10AM-6PM, closed Su.