Capitol Hill is Seattle's most densely populated neighborhood and the heart of the city's counterculture. Lying directly east of the downtown retail core, Capitol Hill is unofficially bounded to the east by 23rd Ave, to the west by Interstate 5, to the south by E Union St, and to the north by E Interlaken Blvd. Included here is the neighboring district of First Hill, immediately to the south adjacent to Downtown.
The Central District is located southeast of the downtown area of Seattle and is bordered by the International District, First Hill, and Capitol Hill. It's the traditional center of Seattle's African-American population, and it has attracted young first-time homeowners from throughout the city because of the undervalued property, creating a boom in new home construction and new business. Nonetheless, it is still the center of Black culture in Seattle and has the highest concentration of black residents in the Pacific Northwest, with African-Americans making up 51% of the population. It also has a significant Ethiopian population, whose restaurants and shops lend the area an interesting character.
Also included here are the chain of small, residential neighborhoods to the east, running along the shore of Lake Washington. From north to south, they are: Montlake, Madison Park, Madison Valley, Madrona, and Leschi. Continuing south past Interstate 90 (partially hidden in a tunnel) leads into South Seattle's Beacon Hill and Mt. Baker neighborhoods.
Capitol Hill is the most densely populated neighborhood in the city. Historically, the hill was where you would find the homes of the merchants who made their wealth from Seattle's early growth, living in grand houses that overlooked the working-class homes of the valleys below. In the 1960s, much of the neighborhood was up-zoned for apartments built to house the influx of visitors expected for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, and many of these mid-century modern apartment buildings survive to this day.
Through the 1970s, 80s, and 90s the hill became more bohemian and the center of the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, sprucing up the old mansions and creating a vibrant arts and music scene. Capitol Hill has also has been the center of Seattle's counterculture community for decades, serving as one of the birthplaces of the country's grunge movement in the 1980s and 90s, with Kurt Cobain and other famous grunge musicians frequenting Capitol Hill establishments. Today, Capitol Hill is still the center of Seattle's independent music community.
The Central District, known as CD, has seen many demographic shifts over the decades, and there are still areas with heavy Jewish and Japanese-American populations. By the 1970s, as many as 80% of CD residents were African-American, and it was known as a rough neighborhood marked by poverty and crime. Rising housing prices elsewhere have led to gentrification and pushed African-American residents further south into other neighborhoods, but CD is still around 20% black, and its ties to black history remain strong.
Given its proximity to the downtown offices of many major tech companies, Capitol Hill has become a playground for tech industry people with numerous restaurants, bars and music venues. Famous residents include Ben Haggerty (better known as the pop music artist Macklemore), Jerrick Hoffer (better known as comedy drag queen Jinkx Monsoon), Benjamin Putnam (better known as drag queen BenDeLaCreme) and Dan Savage, an American gay and alternative sex advice columnist who well-represents Capitol Hill's population of hipsters and homosexuals.
Popular retail districts within Capitol Hill include Broadway, the Pike/Pine corridor, and 15th Avenue E. There are a variety of restaurants, bars, music venues, clubs, boutiques, and other shops here, while the surrounding blocks are filled with condominium and apartment buildings and cafes. There are many grand old homes in "mansionland" to the north, near Volunteer Park. Capitol Hill residents are generally some of the most politically progressive in the country, exemplified by the fact that many of the 1999 WTO protests spilled from Downtown into Capitol Hill, which has had an impact on the mindset of the community.
From Downtown, it's a pleasant walk up the hill (emphasis on the "up"). Broadway is roughly a mile from the downtown retail core.
By public transit
By bus, King County Metro serves the area with numerous routes, most of which run frequently. Good options from Downtown include Routes 10 (Pine St/15th Ave E, and the most convenient option to Volunteer Park and the Asian Art Museum), 11 (Pine St/E Madison St), 43 (John St/24th Ave E), and 49 (Pine St/Broadway), all of which can be boarded along Pike Street in Downtown. First Hill is served by the 2 (continuing along Union Street out to Madrona) and the 12 (turning north on 19th Avenue into Capitol Hill).
The Link light rail stops at Capitol Hill Station on Broadway on its way between Downtown and the University of Washington. Entrances are at either end of Cal Anderson Park, at John Street or Pine Street. The First Hill Streetcar line runs along Broadway through Capitol Hill and First Hill, connecting the two neighborhoods to Pioneer Square and the International District.
- 1 Northwest Nikkei Museum (Japanese Cultural Community Center of Washington), 1414 S Weller St, ☏ +1 206-568-7114. M-F 10AM-5PM. Small exhibits relating to the history of nikkei (Japanese immigrants) in the Pacific Northwest. Free.
- 2 Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM), 1400 E Prospect St (in Volunteer Park), ☏ +1 206-654-3100. F-Su 10AM-5PM. An offshoot of downtown's Seattle Art Museum that reopened in Feb 2020 after extensive renovations, SAAM displays a portion of the permanent collection balanced with rotating, consistently well-curated special exhibitions. The focus is usually on Chinese or Japanese art, where the collection reflects long-established ties across the Pacific, but does include works from as far as India. The Art Deco building (the Seattle Art Museum's original home) is an attraction in its own right. $15/adult, $13/seniors, $13/military, $10/student, children free, first Thursdays, last Fridays free.
- 3 Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave, ☏ +1 206-622-9250, fax: +1 206 223-1707, email@example.com. Tu-Su 11AM-5PM, Th 11AM-7PM. A small private collection on First Hill. Parking is always available and the place is worth a visit. Free.
- 4 Cal Anderson Park, 1635 11th Ave (near Broadway and E Pine St). A park near Broadway and E Pine St that is very popular on sunny days. It includes a signature fountain and pond, a basketball court, tennis and softball fields, and a playground. Great for peoplewatching, and you can often see groups of people doing activities varying from hackeysack to drum circles to freeze tag to bike polo to twirling around with colorful scarves.
- 5 Lakeview Cemetery, 1554 15th Ave E (at junction with Garfield), ☏ +1 206-322-1582. Summer 9AM-8PM; spring 9AM-6PM; winter 9AM-4PM. Incorporated in 1872, Lakeview Cemetery is set on a hillside with views of Lake Union, the Cascades, Lake Washington and the Olympic Mountains. The site holds the final resting places of Seattle's first families, many with diverse backgrounds. Many come to pay tribute at the graves of Bruce Lee and his son Brandon. Free.
- 6 Volunteer Park (at Prospect St.), 1247 15th Ave E. Designed by John Charles Olmsted and Fredrick Law Olmsted Jr, this is the largest park in Capitol Hill and is the site of a botanical conservatory and the Seattle Asian Art Museum (above).
- 7 Water Tower, at Prospect St. park entrance. 10AM-sunset. The 1906 tower at the highest point of Capitol Hill has an observation deck at the top, with views from the Cascades to the Olympics interspersed with a series of panels explaining the history of Seattle's Olmsted-designed park system. The views are somewhat obstructed by metal grates, but the clever photographer can work around them. No elevator - the only way up is the staircase wound around the water tank, seven stories high. Free.
- 8 Washington Park Arboretum, 2300 Arboretum Dr. E. Daily, dawn-dusk. The Arboretum is a 230-acre park additionally serving as a botanical garden and horticultural research center, with thousands of trees and plants from temperate climates represented. An extensive network of walking trails covers the park. The visitor's center, near the northeast corner of the park, is open from 10AM to 4PM daily, and has limited parking available. Guided tours are offered on the first and third Sundays of every month, and free trail maps highlighting the major parts of the collection are available at any time.
- 9 Seattle Japanese Garden, 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E (southwest area of the Arboretum), ☏ +1 206-684-4725. Hours vary seasonally: generally Tu-Su 10AM until sunset. Extended hours from May to September, closed December to February; check the link above for more detailed information. A small, formal Japanese garden within the grounds of the Arboretum. $6 adults, $4 children over 5 years and seniors.
- 10 Streissguth Gardens, on E Blaine St. between 10th Ave E and Broadway E (park at E Blaine Street and 10th Avenue East and go down the public stairs; the gardens will be on your left). A small, family-maintained garden on the northwest side of Seattle's Capitol Hill, on a steep hillside. Noisy but offering great views over Lake Union, Downtown Seattle, and the Olympic Mountains in the distance.
- 11 Madison Park, 4000 E Madison St (south of Evergreen Point Bridge), ☏ +1 206-684-4075. 4AM-11:30PM. Activities include swimming, bathhouse, restaurants, tennis court (with lights), and great views of the floating bridge and the Cascades. Lifeguards patrol the area during the summer, which creates a safer playground for kids, but it's still a beautiful park to hang out for teens and adults.
- 12 I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Skills Park (I-5 Colonnade), Lakeview Blvd E and Harvard Ave E. 4AM-11:30PM. Built underneath a section of 12 elevated lanes of Interstate Highway 5, the I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Skills Park consists of several mountain bike skills trails, including novice, intermediate, and advanced sections, a dirt jumping section, pump track, and trials area. Skills classes, organized by the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, are occasionally held at the park.
- The 13 Jimi Hendrix statue rocks out on the sidewalk at the NE corner of E Pine Street and Broadway, Seattle being the birthplace of Hendrix.
- 14 Seattle University, 901 12th Ave, ☏ +1 206-296-6000. A private Jesuit university. Scenic campus makes a good walking detour.
The northern portion of the Arboretum includes several small islands, and on one of Seattle's characteristically lovely summer days, exploration by water is enjoyable. Watercraft rentals are available from two locations in the University District just across the Ship Canal.
- 1 Hothouse Spa & Sauna, 1019 E Pike St, ☏ +1 206-568-3240. A small urban women-only spa with an industrial/basement vibe. Great for a relaxing soak in the tub. Expect to be nude and quiet, and bring your own towels.
- 2 Club Z, 1117 Pike St, ☏ +1 206-622-9958. On the other end of the spectrum, Club Z is a gay male bathhouse with no tubs and a lot of glory holes! Don't walk in if you expect to do any dancing or, um, bathing.
- 3 Club Comedy Seattle, 340 15th Ave E #201. Boutique style stand-up comedy club.
- Capitol Hill Block Party. Takes place in the heart of Capitol Hill for one weekend in the summer, attracting both local and national musicians.
- 4 Raygun Lounge, 501 E Pine St, ☏ +1 206-812-2521. M-F 3PM-midnight, Sa-Su noon-midnight. All-ages gaming bar with board games and pinball machines. The atmosphere is more like a dive bar: the beer, cider and wine are good, but the food is mediocre, and the TVs are usually playing B-movies (but sometimes have some good campy sci-fi like Doctor Who).
- 5 Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave, ☏ +1 206-686-MOVI (6684) (listings), +1 206-328-3230 (office). A unique, smaller movie theater that shows older films as well as plenty of late night movie screenings of hilariously bad films. All seats have table in front of them so you can have excellent food and beer during the show. A couple times a month there are $1.99 movie nights for popular older or cult films. $8.
- 6 Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, ☏ +1 206-829-7863. A Seattle-based non-profit organization for film artists, showcasing American and international cinema as well as quarterly world premiere live performances.
- Seattle International Film Festival. The largest and one of the best film festivals in the country takes place in Seattle from the end of May to early June every year. Most venues are located on Capitol Hill and in Downtown.
- 7 SIFF Cinema Egyptian, 805 E Pine St, ☏ +1 206-464-5830. General admission $14, matinee $11. One-screen theater showing art, indie, and foreign films and documentaries. "The Egyptian" also sometimes plays cult classics on Fridays and Saturdays at midnight.
Window shopping is a great way to explore Capitol Hill's numerous shops; the best areas for a shopping stroll are the north end of Broadway (from Olive/John St up to Roy St) and the densely-packed Pike/Pine St corridor. Clothing stores abound, whether you're looking for boutiques, consignment, or thrift stores (several of which appeared in the music video for the hit Macklemore & Ryan Lewis song "Thrift Store", if you've only got $20 in your pocket). Other shops fill the gaps with vinyl records, arts and crafts supplies, accessories for your dog or cat, and other niche products.
- 1 Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave (between Pike and Pine), ☏ +1 206-624-6600, toll-free: +1-800-962-5311. M-Th 10AM-10PM, F Sa 10AM-11PM, Su 10AM-9PM. In 2010, Seattle's largest independent bookstore moved up onto the Hill from its old home in Pioneer Square. The wide, wooden-shelved spaces are a pleasure to browse. There's a small cafe tucked in the back of the lower level, which is good but rather expensive.
- 2 Twice Sold Tales, 725 E. Denny Way (at Harvard Ave). Daily 9AM-10PM. Capitol Hill's last remaining used bookstore. A good selection of literature, philosophy and more contemporary reads. Home of numerous cats, who appear to have free rein.
- Capitol Hill Broadway Farmers' Market (E Denny Way btwn Broadway & 10th Ave E). Su 11AM-3PM. This year-round farmers' market has local produce and meats, and tasty ready-to-eat foods. In the colder months, try a cup of seafood stew or some tamales.
- 3 VAIN, 1121 Pike St (2 blocks north of Pike Place Market), ☏ +1 206-441-3441. Tu-Sa 11AM-7PM. Vain is a community space, boutique and hair salon. The upper two floors are 20 working art studios. They have an active arts calendar and host other cultural events and fundraisers. Known for supporting "alternative visions of beauty," you can expect to find an 8-year-old getting their first mohawk alongside a 68-year-old having a conservative bob trimmed up. $15-65.
- 4 The Green Door Seattle, 828 Rainier Ave S, ☏ +1 206-618-7133. M-F 8AM-10PM, Sa 10AM-10PM, Su 10AM-8PM.
- 5 Forbidden Cannabis Club Seattle Central (Ponder), 2413 E Union St, ☏ +1 206-420-2180. Daily 10AM-11:45PM; happy hour noon-4:20PM.
- 6 The Reef, 1525 E Olive Way, ☏ +1 206-466-6286. Daily 8AM-11:30PM.
- 7 Ruckus Recreational Cannabis, 1465 E Republican St, ☏ +1 206-257-3429. Daily 8AM-11:45PM.
- 8 Uncle Ike's Capitol Hill, 501 15th Ave E, toll-free: +1-800-438-3784. Daily 8AM-11:45PM. Large dispensary with bright clean displays. Wide selection of products and accessories for all different forms of consumption, including lots of edibles and beverages. Cash only; ATM available.
- 9 Uncle Ike's CD, 2310 E Union St, toll-free: +1-800-438-3784. Daily 8AM-11:45PM. Large dispensary with bright clean displays. Wide selection of products and accessories for all different forms of consumption, including lots of edibles and beverages. Cash only; ATM available.
In such dense residential areas, it's not surprising that the food scene is outstanding. Bad restaurants simply don't last long, and better ones take their place.
There's lots of good Ethiopian food in the Central District. Capitol Hill holds an outrageous number of Thai restaurants; occasionally one goes out of business and like a head of the Hydra, is immediately replaced by another one or more.
- 1 Big Mario's New York Pizza, 1009 E Pike St (on Capitol Hill just east of Broadway), ☏ +1 206-922-3875. Daily 11AM-4AM. Seattle's only true New York-style thin crust pizza. Huge, foldable slices or whole pies. Full bar with lots of local beers. Pizza window open late night. 18" pizza $19-26, slices $3.25-4.75.
- 2 Bakery Nouveau, 137 15th Ave E, ☏ +1 206-858-6957. M-F 6AM-7PM, Sa 7AM-7PM, Su 7AM-6PM. Everything you'd want from a French-style bakery: pastries, breads, elegant desserts, macarons, chocolate confections by the piece, sandwiches, quiches, and pizzas, plus coffee of course. Very popular; the line often stretches to the door and beyond, but it moves quickly enough. The limited seating is usually pretty full; in a pinch there's a park across the street with a bench of two.
- 3 Coastal Kitchen, 429 15th Ave E, ☏ +1 206-322-1145. Daily 8AM-11PM. A casual restaurant that serves excellent food at a reasonable price. It has specials that change monthly, as they serve the cuisine of a new coastal region every three months. Very popular for brunch on weekends, with long waits at peak times. Pizzas up to $17, others less than $10.
- 4 Crumble & Flake, 1500 E Olive Way, ☏ +1 206-329-1804. W-F 7AM-3PM, Sa Su 9AM-3PM. A small patisserie whose crispy croissants were named the best in Seattle. Also try their kouign-amann (kween-ah-mahn, a layered dough like a croissant, but with lots of extra butter and caramelized sugar; popular in Seattle's bakeries) or assorted flavors of macarons, but you can't go wrong with any of their other dozen or so sweet or savory pastries. Go for breakfast, as they start selling out by afternoon. Add a cup of their coffee to start your morning right. No seating, but there's a sort of patio on the sidewalk for the bar next door, if you want to stand and eat. Croissant $4, macaron $3.
- 5 Dick's Drive-In, 115 Broadway E. Daily 10:30AM-2AM. Where the cool hang out (according to Sir Mix-a-Lot's song "Posse on Broadway"). Dick's is a local fast food staple; perhaps the most iconically "Seattle" restaurant around. The menu is simple: unsophisticated yet satisfying burgers in just a couple of variations (try the Deluxe, it's not that large), hot greasy fries, and tasty hand-dipped milkshakes. Drive up or walk up; this place will be hopping on a Friday or Saturday night, even if it's cold and rainy outside. Be sure to get in line by 1:45AM because they slam the order windows shut promptly at 2AM. Dick's cashiers have an amazing ability to instantly add up your bill in their head. There are other branches throughout the city (Lake City, Wallingford, Lower Queen Anne), but because the Capitol Hill one is easiest to walk up to, it's also the best for people watching.
- 6 Ezell's Famous Chicken, 501 23rd Ave (at Jefferson), ☏ +1 206-324-4141. M-Th 10AM-10PM, F Sa 10AM-11PM, Su 11AM-10PM. This Central District mainstay gained wide renown when Oprah Winfrey declared it her favorite, but it really needs no celebrity endorsements; it's hands-down the best stuff around. This flagship location sits directly across from Garfield High School. There's no seating, but they accept credit cards. Spicy and original; the spicy chicken isn't too spicy, but you can get a side of hot sauce for 11 cents extra. Daily specials vary based on forecasted surplus of unsold chicken; you can sometimes get thighs for $1/each. $6-12.
- 7 Hot Mama's Pizza, 700 E Pine St, ☏ +1 206-322-6444. Su noon-midnight, M-W 11AM-midnight, Th 11AM-2AM, F Sa 11AM-2:30AM. Classic New York-style pizza by the slice. You can't go wrong here and the pesto is particularly popular. slices $2.50-3.00, 14-inch $12-16.
- 8 Italian Family Pizza, 1028 Madison Street (intersection of Madison & Boren), ☏ +1 206-538-0040. Daily 11AM to 8PM. Very good East Coast style pizza with large servings and 1.50$ beer served all day in a restaurant operated by East Coast transplants. Relocated from downtown Seattle to a larger restaurant in First Hill.
- 9 Jamjuree, 509 15th Ave E, ☏ +1 206-323-4255. Su-Th 11:30AM-9:30PM, F Sa 11:30AM-10PM. A Thai place that's fairly quiet and upscale, with excellent specials -- try the Lime Light Chicken if you have a chance. On request they can make truly vegetarian Thai food (i.e., without fish sauce). Entreés $5-10.
- 10 Moonlight Cafe, 1919 S Jackson St, ☏ +1 206-322-3378. 9AM-10PM daily. Serves excellent vegan mock-meat versions of Vietnamese and Chinese dishes such as noodle bowls and sesame beef. In fact, they boast a full vegan menu with as many dishes as their separate carnivorous menu offers. $7-10.
- 11 Ooink, 1416 Harvard Ave (upstairs above the QFC), ☏ +1 206-568-7669. Tu-Th 11:30AM-9PM, F Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su 11:30AM-9PM. One of several excellent ramen shops in Capitol Hill. Depending on what style of ramen you prefer, you may like others such as Ramen Danbo, Betsutenjin, or Menya Musashi.
- 12 Americana, 219 Broadway E, ☏ +1 206-328-4604. Su M 9AM-3PM, Tu-Sa 9AM-10PM; brunch daily 9AM-3PM. Eclectic menu of American fusion fare and some delicious simple cocktails. Extremely popular on weekends with their large brunch menu and Bloody Marys. Brunch mains $9-15, dinner mains $7.5-17.
- 13 Ayutthaya, 727 E Pike St (at Boylston St), ☏ +1 206-324-8833. M-F 11:30AM-3PM & 4-11PM, Sa Su noon-11PM. Inexpensive, quality Thai food. Standing since 198, it specializes in Thai classics such as coconut chicken & drunken noodles, with happy hour. Mains $10-$16.
- 14 Ba Bar, 550 12th Avenue, ☏ +1 206-328-2030. Su-Th 7AM-2AM, F Sa 7AM-4AM. A myriad of cocktails plus Vietnamese street fare, which also includes a bakery. Known for its rotisserie meat, pho, banh cuon (rice noodle roll), and macaroons. Opens late night with comfort food options. No reservations needed. Lunch up to $12, dinner up to $20.
- 15 Cactus, 4220 E Madison St (multiple locations), ☏ +1 206-324-4140. M-Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-11PM, Sa 10AM-11PM, Su 10AM-10PM. A local favorite. A creative mix of Mexican, Southwestern and Spanish cuisine complemented by great cocktails. Always full, with outdoor seating in the summer. Mains $10-17.
- 16 Cafe Flora, 2901 E Madison St (in the Madison Valley neighborhood), ☏ +1 206-325-9100. M-F 11AM-9PM, Sa 9AM-2PM & 5-10PM, Su 9AM-2PM & 5-9PM. Upscale, all-vegetarian cuisine in a casual atmosphere. Menus change weekly. $7-15.
- 17 Cafe Lago, 2305 24th Ave E (at E Lynn St in Montlake neighborhood), ☏ +1 206-329-8005. Su M 5-9PM, Tu-Th 5-9:30PM, F Sa 5-10PM. Established Italian restaurant popular for vegetarian lasagna, apple-wood fired pizza, and fresh hand-made pasta (they have an employee dedicated solely to making pasta). An excellent environment for families, they even have paper tablecloths for kids to draw on.
- 18 Julia's On Broadway (Le Faux Playhouse), 300 Broadway E (at Thomas St), ☏ +1 206-860-1818 (restaurant), +1 206-334-0513 (show and dinner theater reservations). M Tu 11AM-10PM, W-F 9AM-midnight, Sa 8AM-midnight, Su 8AM-5PM. Drag shows Th 8:30PM; F 9PM; Sa 1PM, 9PM; Su 1PM. Julia's serves Northwest cuisine along with good ol' American food, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Average quality, expensive meals and cocktails are prepared in a charming old building that used to house a seriously divey gay bar until they gutted it and put in a tasteful interior. The location is excellent, but the service can be less than stellar. That's because the real attraction is not the food but the drag shows. Long-time residents decry the "loss" of a gay bar, but Julia's drag shows remain popular with tourists, bachelorette parties, and the like, particularly the weekend brunch shows. Everyday food menu $7-28. Show & dinner package $45-65, general seating $20-45.
- 19 Monsoon, 615 19th Ave E, ☏ +1 206-325-2111. M-F 11:30AM to 3PM, Su-Th 5-10PM, F Sa 5-11PM, Sa Su 10AM-3PM. Contemporary Vietnamese dishes (mainly southern Vietnamese) mixed with Pacific Northwest innovation. Dim sum brunches on the weekends. $10-20.
- 20 Pizzeria Pagliacci, 2400 10th Ave E. Su-Th 4-11PM, F Sa 4PM-midnight. Serves unique Seattle-style pizza, reminiscent of thin-crust, by-the-slice New York pizza, but with an imaginative collection of toppings that change with the seasons. Walk in and ask for two slices of "primo" and you won't be disappointed. The Pagliaccio salad is a good starter. There are branches in the University District and Queen Anne, plus delivery throughout the city. $14-27.
- 21 Annapurna Cafe, 1833 Broadway, ☏ +1 206-320-7770. Tu-Sa 4-9PM. Perhaps the crown of Seattle's Indian food scene, Annapurna also serves excellent Nepali and Tibetan food. A charming atmosphere, quality food, and a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan options make it a great location for dinner.
- 22 Cafe Soleil, 1400 34th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122, ☏ +1 206-325-1126. W-F 5:30-9PM, Sa 8:30AM-2PM and 5:30-9PM, Su 8:30AM-2PM. A casual and laid-back Ethiopian restaurant, serving both traditional Ethiopian food and adaptations using Northwest ingredients. Housed in a beautiful building with excellent natural light, with outdoor seating as well. Well-stocked with Ethiopian beers. $20.
- 23 Carrello, 622 Broadway E, ☏ +1 206-257-5622. Tu-Sa 5-10PM. Artisanal Italian food in small portions so you can construct a meal however you like. Carts roll past tables offering cheaper antipasti to supplement your meal or wash down your cocktail. Main plates $11-21 but expect to average more than 1 per person.
- 24 Rione XIII, 401 15th Ave E, ☏ +1 206-838-2878. Su-Th 5-10PM, F Sa 5-11PM. Simple but well-constructed Roman Italian foods from local chef Ethan Stowell. Plates $6-15, Roman pizza $18-21, pasta $18-23, secondi $30-32.
- 25 Taneda, 219 Broadway E, ☏ +1 206-457-8921. Tu-Th Su 5:30-9:30PM, F Sa 5-10PM. Small Japanese bar serving prix fixe sushi in the style of kaiseki, a traditional multi-course meal consisting of several small dishes. Reservations required, and with only 17 seats and two dinners per night, they are booked up to 2 months in advance. $124 and up.
If Seattle takes its coffee seriously, then Capitol Hill takes it very seriously. This is a good neighborhood to spend some quality time in one of Seattle's numerous coffee shops.
- 1 Ada's Technical Books & Café, 425 15th Ave E (between Harrison and Republican), ☏ +1 206-322-1058. Su–Th 8AM–9PM, F Sa 8AM–10PM. A delightful combination of bookstore and café. The bookstore is long on technical books, or technical takes on every other genre. For example, they have a children's book, Goodnight Lab, an homage to Goodnight Moon featuring science labs. The café has the usual range of teas, coffees, and pastries. There are tables scattered throughout, which people use for eating, working or reading. Medium latté etc $5.
- 2 Bauhaus Capitol Hill, 515 Harvard Ave E Unit 121 (Storefront at Rubix Apartments on Harvard Ave between E Republican and Mercer St.), ☏ +1 206-913-2838. M-F 7AM-3PM; Sa-Su 8AM-3PM. Toned-down version of cafe and bookstore that it used to be in another location.
- 3 Caffé Vita, 1005 E Pike St, ☏ +1 206-709-4440. Coffee roaster with a warehouse feel, where patrons can clearly see how the coffee beans are roasted.
- 4 Espresso Vivace Roasteria, 532 Broadway E, ☏ +1 206-860-2722. Daily 6AM-11PM. Founded by an engineer who's been developing progressively more sophisticated roasters for twenty years. Their beans, plus Mighty-O doughnuts, are also available at the sidewalk Vivace at 321 Broadway E, between Harrison and Thomas.
- 5 Macrina Cafe & Bakery (Aloha Cafe), 746 19th Ave E (19th Ave E & Aloha), ☏ +1 206 328-7573. Daily 7AM-6PM. 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.
- 6 Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room, 1124 E Pike St, ☏ +1 206-624-0173. Daily 7AM-11PM. A giant split-level store with a lot to draw your attention. Watch and ask questions as they roast specialty beans that get sent to Starbucks locations around the globe. Enjoy a tasting with your pick of coffees and brewing methods. Scoop your own bag of the Roastery-exclusive coffees. Is your problem too much caffeine? Then relax instead with a cocktail from the bar. Fill your stomach with artisanal pizzas, pastries, and sandwiches, and your shopping bag with Starbucks clothing and merchandise. Enjoy the artistic wood and copper decor, which is marred somewhat by the constant crowds getting in the way and taking up all of the seats.
- 7 Realfine Coffee, 616 E Pine St, ☏ +1 206-395-6808. Social coffee-drinking environment.
- 8 Broadcaster Coffee Roasters, 1918 E Yesler Way (at 20th Ave.), ☏ +1 206-322-0807. Daily 7AM-4PM. A neighborhood shop across from Pratt Park, serves Stumptown coffee and pastries from Alki Bakery. Free wi-fi. Great for meetings.
- 9 Top Pot Doughnuts, 609 Summit Ave. E, ☏ +1 206-323-7841. M-F 6AM-9PM, Sa Su 7AM-9PM. Nestled into the neighborhood and a favorite weekend hang-out for locals. Incredible doughnuts (try the feather boa doughnut!) in a very Seattle-y atmosphere. Drip coffee isn't so hot, but the freshly-brewed options are all good.
- 10 Tougo Coffee, 1410 18th Ave (at Union St.), ☏ +1 206-860-3518. Somewhat out of sight in a mostly residential part of the Hill. The staff will cheerfully discuss coffee roasting and preparation at length, and the quality of the coffee suggests they know what they're talking about.
- 11 Victrola, 411 15th Avenue E. M-Sa 6AM-10PM, Su 6AM-9PM. Neighborhood place in a hip neighborhood. This place is more spacious than most. Their roastery also has a (smaller) space at 310 E. Pike St., closer to Downtown.
Bars and taverns
Bars of all styles dot the map in Capitol Hill, whether you want drinks, dancing, or even a quiet speakeasy (if you can find one). Friday and Saturday nights are busy around the Pike/Pine corridor where Capitol Hill and First Hill blend together.
- 12 Cha Cha Lounge, 1013 E Pike St. A weird cross of dive bar and trendy spot, the ambiance of their old location was successfully transplanted to this location after their former building was razed for yet more condo construction. Your bartender may have had an album in the charts circa 1992.
- 13 Pine Box, 1600 Melrose Ave (at Pine St.), ☏ +1 206-588-0375. M-F 3PM-2AM, Sa Su 11AM-2AM. Located in a former funeral home (rumored to have handled Bruce Lee's body) that has now been converted to offices and a beer bar. Enjoy one of the best beer selections in the neighborhood.
- 14 DeLuxe Bar and Grill, 625 Broadway E (at Roy). Dark, but appealing for a beer, stiff drink or bar food (hearty burgers, thick fries, etc.) More restaurant than bar.
- 15 Garage, 1134 Broadway Ave, ☏ +1 206-322-2296. 3PM-2AM. A trendy billiards hall and bowling alley, built in a spacious former garage that has no problem handling large groups. Multiple bars with food service, and an outdoor patio (weather permitting).
- 16 Herb & Bitter Public House, 516 Broadway E, ☏ +1 206-708-6468. M-Th 4PM-1AM, F Sa 3PM-2AM, Su 3PM-1AM. An excellent spot for their gourmet and slightly modernist food, but even better for their ever-changing cocktails, expertly designed using seasonal flavors and uncommon ingredients. A patio in the back with a sliding glass roof means you can enjoy the sky view (boxed in by surrounding buildings) rain or shine. Cocktails $10-14, wine $8-10, beer $6-16, small plates $5-17.
- 17 Liberty, 517 15th Ave E, ☏ +1 206-323-9898. Free wifi, large couches, decent sushi, good drinks and attractive servers conspire to make this one of the better Capitol Hill bars.
- 18 Linda's Tavern, 707 E Pine St. The outdoor patio makes this the perfect place to enjoy a few drinks under the stars.
- 19 Poco Wine + Spirits, 1408 E Pine St. 4PM-2AM. A self-billed bistropub, home to a hefty list of wines by the glass (including on tap), full bar, and beers on tap. Quiet and friendly on weeknights.
- 20 Smith, 332 15th Ave E, ☏ +1 206-709-1900. Another bar owned by Linda Derschang of Linda's fame. Although Smith regularly becomes packed in the evening, large communal tables in the center of the establishment mean you can usually find a place to sit.
- 21 Stumbling Monk, 1635 E Olive Way (at Belmont Ave. E). Its dark appearance from the outside makes it easy to miss, but worth stepping inside. As the name suggests, you’ll find an excellent selection of Belgian beer strong enough to make your walk home a challenge. The Stumbling Monk’s unpretentious atmosphere makes it a down-to-earth oasis on trendy Capitol Hill.
- 22 Summit Public House, 601 Summit Ave. E. Offers many beers on tap and is home to one of the best BLTs in the city.
- 23 Rhein Hause, 912 12th Ave, ☏ +1 206-325-5409. Beer Garden with indoor bocce courts and Bavarian bratwurst and pretzels
Although locals may be quick to tell you that Capitol Hill's gay bar scene "isn't what it used to be" due to social changes and gentrification, it's still very much the gayborhood of Seattle.
- 24 C.C. Attle's, 1701 E Olive Way, ☏ +1 206-726-0565. M-F 3PM-2AM, Sa Su 2PM-2AM. Laid-back bear bar with strong drinks and good bar food. Pool tables and electronic darts.
- 25 Crescent Lounge, 1413 E Olive Way, ☏ +1 206-720-8188. Daily noon-2AM. Small dive bar with nightly karaoke.
- 26 The Cuff Complex, 1533 13th Ave, ☏ +1 206-323-1525. Su-Th 2PM-2AM, F Sa 2PM-3AM. Gay bar and dance club, often attracts a leather crowd.
- 27 Diesel, 1413 14th Ave, ☏ +1 206-322-1080. M-F 2PM-2AM, Sa Su noon-2AM. Bear and cub bar.
- 28 Madison Pub, 1315 E Madison St, ☏ +1 206-325-6537. Daily noon-2AM. Unpretentious and crowded gay sports bar. Pool tables and darts.
- 29 Neighbors, 1509 Broadway (on Wednesdays and Sundays, entrance only from the alley behind the building), ☏ +1 206-420-2958. W 9PM-2AM, Th 10PM-2AM, F Sa 10PM-4AM, Su 10PM-2AM. Gay dance club. The place to take your straight friends. Cover $10.
- 30 The Pony, 1221 E Madison St, ☏ +1 206-324-2854. M-Th 5PM-2AM, F-Su 3PM-2AM. Small dive bar in an old building with a year-round patio and fire pit. Wide variety of music, and a schedule full of go-go dancers, karaoke, and tea dancing.
- 31 Queer/Bar, 1518 11th Ave, ☏ +1 206-687-7491. M-F 5PM-2AM, Sa Su noon-2AM. Inclusive bar with a variety of quality performances, and excellent pub food.
- 32 The Seattle Eagle, 314 Pike St, ☏ +1 206-621-7591. Daily 4PM-2AM. Classic gay leather bar. Underwear parties on Saturdays.
- 33 Wildrose, 1021 E Pike St, ☏ +1 206-322-8828. M 5PM-midnight, Tu-Th 3PM-1AM, F Sa 3PM-2AM. One of the oldest lesbian bars on the West Coast. Very cheap tacos and Tecates on Tuesdays, and cheap well drinks on Thursdays.
- 1 11th Avenue Inn, 121 11th Avenue East, ☏ +1 206-720-7161, firstname.lastname@example.org. An eight-room bed and breakfast built in 1906 on a tree-lined side street two blocks east of Broadway, just north of Cal Anderson Park. Free on-site parking, queen beds, private bathrooms, wifi. AAA 3-diamond. $69-169.
- 2 Gaslight Inn, 1727 15th Ave, ☏ +1 206-325-3654, email@example.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Bed and breakfast. $128 – 198 (Look for specials Sept-May).
- 3 Homewood Suites Seattle Convention Center Pike Street, 1011 Pike Street, ☏ +1 206-682-8282, toll-free: +1-855-277-4942. The all-suites hotel brand of the Hilton group. Each suite has a full size kitchen where you can cook, or roam the restaurants at the nearby Capitol Hill for more delectable options. Complimentary breakfast and wine social hour Monday-Thursday evenings. From $200.
- 4 Silver Cloud Inn, 1100 Broadway, ☏ +1 206-325-1400. A local chain brand. Inexpensive option in between downtown and Capitol Hill. Rooms are generously spacious. Complete facilities such as complimentary Wi-Fi, a restaurant, gym and swimming pool, which considering the typical price, is a giveaway. From $150.
- 5 The Sorrento Hotel, 900 Madison St, toll-free: +1-800-426-1265. This historic hotel has crowned the First Hill since 1908. It is a posh, Italinate, 7-story hotel with fine dining in the AAA - 4 diamond Hunt Club - For a classy night out before the "hopera". From $280.
As of 2017, Seattle has a relatively low violent crime rate compared to other major U.S. cities, while its property crime rate remains among the highest. However, the neighborhood is fairly safe at daytime. Walking in the District at night is not advised.
Wireless Internet is available at nearly every coffee shop, though some disable it during peak hours on weekends to keep the crowds moving.
- Seattle Public Library. All branches of the Seattle Public Library have open wireless, using the SSID spl-public. Public computers with Internet access and basic office software are available for up to 90 minutes at a time, but require either a SPL library card or a temporary pass available from the circulation desk. Free.
- 1 Capitol Hill Branch, 425 Harvard Ave E, ☏ +1 206-684-4715. M-Th 10AM-8PM, F Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 1-5PM.
- 2 Montlake Branch, 2401 24th Ave E, ☏ +1 206-684-4720. M Tu 1-8PM, W Th Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM, Closed F.
- 3 Broadway Post Office (USPS), 212 Broadway E (along Broadway between E Thomas and John), ☏ +1 206-324-5474, toll-free: +1-800-275-8777. M-F 9AM-5:30PM, Sa 8:30AM-3PM.
- 4 East Union Post Office (US Postal Service), 2207 E Union St, 98122, ☏ +1 206-329-0155, toll-free: +1-800-275-8777. M-F 9AM-1PM & 2-5:30PM.