Northwest of Downtown Seattle, Queen Anne is a hilly residential neighborhood with marvelous views of the city's skyline. Magnolia, a wealthy residential neighborhood, sits on a peninsula west of Queen Anne, separated from Queen Anne by Interbay, an unexpected commercial and industrial strip in the valley between the two hilly neighborhoods.
Seattle Center, at the southern base of Queen Anne Hill, was built to host the 1962 World's Fair. Today, Seattle Center is a park-like facility surrounded by many of Seattle's finest event venues and museums, as well as two notable survivors from the World's Fair: the Monorail and the Space Needle, both of which have become icons of the city.
Directly north of Downtown is South Lake Union, a former industrial neighborhood that is one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Seattle. A wave of gentrification has made South Lake Union home to Amazon's new headquarters and a range of biotech organizations, and brought a lot of new housing developments, and a new streetcar line.
Seattle Center and South Lake Union lie within easy walking or bicycling distance of Downtown. Climbing up Queen Anne Hill, on the other hand, is more of a workout. Aurora Avenue (SR-99) is a highway that divides Seattle Center and South Lake Union and can only be crossed in a few spots.
Note that Queen Anne Avenue is the dividing line between the "North" and the "West" roads. So don't be surprised if you cross 1st Avenue N, and then shortly thereafter find yourself crossing 1st Avenue W without having changed direction!
Due to its geography, Queen Anne Hill can be difficult to navigate for the unfamiliar, especially by car. There are two simple ways to get to the center of the neighborhood: The first is via Queen Anne Avenue from the south (though take note: Queen Anne Avenue traffic is south-only when south of Roy Street). The second is by 3rd Avenue W from the north side, near Seattle Pacific University. Approaching by Dexter Avenue, Gilman Avenue, W Dravus Street 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 Street Bridge over 15th Avenue towards the 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 frequent and all-day bus routes 1, 2/13, 3/4, 8, and the RapidRide D line, all of which which make stops close to the Seattle Center. South Lake Union is served by frequent bus route 62 on Dexter Avenue, while Fairview Avenue is served by frequent bus route 70. Magnolia is served by the all-day bus routes 24 and 33, with 33 serving Discovery Park. See the King County Metro website for schedules and maps.
- Seattle Center Monorail, ☏ . M-Th 7:30AM-9PM, F 7:30AM-11PM, Sa 8:30AM-11PM, Su 8:30AM-9PM. A bit of an attraction in itself, the historic monorail makes a direct connection between Westlake Center in Downtown and the Seattle Center. One-way $3 adults, $1.5 seniors/youth/military, ORCA cards accepted, no paper 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 the southeastern shore of Lake Union. The streetcar was 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, $1 seniors, $1.50 youth.
- 1 Discovery Park, 3801 W Government Way, ☏ . The highest point in the city, this can be thought of as Seattle's unofficial central park given its huge, somewhat secluded nature, with a number of trails that meander through the green forests down to the lighthouse at the beach. The park also contains wildlife you don't typically find in a large city. A visitors' center with information about the wildlife living in the park and the best trails to hike are in the center of the park.
- 2 Kerry Park, 211 W Highland Dr, ☏ . A photographer's paradise, this is perhaps the most obvious spectacle in Queen Anne. This park affords the quintessential view of Downtown Seattle with the Space Needle in the foreground, and (depending on the weather) Mount Rainier and the Cascades, as well as across the Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island.
South Lake Union
- 3 Lake Union Park (on the Lake Union Waterfront). Home to the Center for Wooden Boats and the Museum of History and Industry.
- 4 The Center for Wooden Boats, 1010 Valley St, ☏ . Opens daily at 10AM except Mondays November through mid-April; closing hours vary by season. Free boat sails Sunday 10AM (signup), 11AM-3PM (cruise). 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. On Sundays, rain or shine, you can get a free boat ride on a classic wooden boat around the lake for an hour. At times artist-in-residence Saaduuts leads programs. Free.
- 5 Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), 860 Terry Ave. N, ☏ . Daily 10AM–5PM, Thursdays until 8PM. The museum focuses on the history of Seattle and the greater Puget Sound region, with exhibitions focusing on the maritime history of the city and the rise of the region's technology industry, as well as a set of changing exhibits. $17 adults, $12 seniors, children under 14 free; always free the first Thursday of the month.
- 6 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, a steamer, and several others.
- 7 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.
- Amazon have their headquarters in South Lake Union, including the visually-striking Spheres, a building made of three glass domes filled with lush plants. The expansive construction of Amazon buildings and new apartments and shops has made SLU practically synonymous with Amazon.
- Amazon HQ tour. W 10AM, 2PM. 90-minute tour of Amazon's urban campus including Doppler, Day 1, and the Spheres. There is also a self-guided audio tour; you can even get a free pair of headphones to keep from the receptionists at Day 1 (2121 7th Ave; M-F 7AM-6PM).
- 8 Seattle Spheres, 2117 7th Ave. 1st and 3rd Sa of the month 10AM-6PM. Take an unguided stroll through the tropical heart of the Spheres. Free; reservations required, available 30 days in advance.
- Understory, 2101 7th Ave. M-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 11AM-7PM. Visitor center about Amazon and the Spheres' flora and design. It's in the bottom floor of the Spheres and doesn't get you access to the upper floors where the plants live, but it's available 7 days a week unlike public access to the building. Free.
- 9 Public Art at Amazon Headquarters, 426 Terry Ave N. While the Amazon 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.
- 10 Space Needle, 400 Broad St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 8AM-11:30PM. The iconic Seattle landmark, built for the 1962 World's Fair and still a wildly popular attraction for visitors. The view is spectacular on a clear day when the sun sets, when 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; the Sky View Observatory downtown is taller and also has good views.
Renovated in 2018, there are now floor-to-ceiling windows on both levels, a rotating glass floor ("The Loupe") on the lower level that completes one revolution every 45 minutes, and open-air glass walls where you can lean backwards and take a selfie. The revolving Sky City restaurant has been closed due to renovations, but the wine bar is still open. Lower price available in morning only; $27.50-37.50 adults, $25.50-32.50 seniors, $22.50-28.50 ages 5-12; tickets are $2 less if you buy them online in advance. Day/night tickets, which allow you to visit twice within 24 hours, are available; Combined tickets available for Chihuly Garden and Glass.
- 11 Pacific Science Center, 200 2nd Ave N, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. 10AM–6PM daily. An interactive science museum featuring permanent and temporary exhibits, a butterfly atrium, IMAX theater, planetarium, and laser shows. General exhibits: $10 adults, $8.50 seniors, $7 children; exhibits + IMAX: $15 adults, $13.50 seniors, $12 children.
- 12 Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), 325 5th Ave N, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Summer (Memorial Day-Labor Day) 10AM-7PM daily; rest of year 10AM-5PM daily. An excellent pop culture museum housed inside a visually striking building designed by Frank Gehry to "evoke the rock 'n' roll experience", with exhibits on all manner of popular culture: film, television, music, video games, fashion, etc. There's a particular focus on science fiction and Seattle musicians, with a sci-fi hall of fame and exhibits dedicated to Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana. Top-notch special exhibits have included the likes of David Bowie, Star Trek, the Marvel comic and movie universe, and Minecraft. There are many interactive exhibits, but don't expect to get a turn without a long wait. Outside, the large playground is a big hit with kids. $28 adults, $25 seniors/students, $22 military, $19 youth, children 4 and under free. $2 discount if purchased online. Additional $8 for special exhibit.
- 13 Seattle Children's Museum, 200 2nd Ave N, ☏ . M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa Su 10AM-6PM. An independent non-profit museum which hosts popular traveling exhibits and features permanent exhibits and programs geared towards children. General exhibits: $7.50, $6.50 seniors, children under 1 free; no adults admitted without a child.
- 14 Chihuly Garden and Glass, 305 Harrison St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Mo-Th 10AM–10PM, Fr-Su 10AM-11PM; last ticket sold one hour prior to closing; combined tickets with Space Needle available. This museum provides a look at the inspiration and influences that inform the career of artist Dale Chihuly. The on-site exhibition hall contains eight galleries and three drawing walls, offering visitors a comprehensive look at Chihuly’s significant series of work. The centerpiece of the museum is a glasshouse with a suspended 1,400-piece, 100-foot-long sculpture. Also on the grounds is a lush garden, which serves as a backdrop for four monumental sculptures and other installations. $19 adults, $17 seniors, $12 children, children 3 and under free.
- Bite of Seattle, Seattle Center. Mid-late July. Part of the Seafair festivities.
- Bumbershoot, 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. Runs 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 donation suggested).
- South Lake Union Saturday market, 217 9th Ave. 10AM to 5PM on Saturdays. Farmers market on Saturdays (10AM to 5PM) starting in early May thru October featuring food booths and vendors selling crafts. Free admission.
- 1 Seattle Chamber Music Society, 10 Harrison St, ☏ .
- 2 McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St (Northeast corner of Seattle Center). Home of the Seattle Opera and the Pacific Northwest Ballet, each considered among the best in the United States.
- 1 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.
- Play It Again Sports, 1304 Stewart St, ☏ . M-F 10AM-8PM, Sa-Su 10AM-6PM. New and secondhand sports equipment, usually in excellent condition. Skis and snowboards, bikes, and a small assortment of other sporting goods.
- 2 REI, 222 Yale Ave N, ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-9PM, Su 10AM-7PM. 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. The sprawling store also has an outdoor trail for test-driving mountain bikes, a climbing wall, and a small "mountain" in the shoe section for trying hiking boots.
There are a number of food carts that typically cater to office workers at the South Lake Union complex. They generally open for lunch on weekdays, with tenants changing each day.
- 3 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 is good and reasonable priced, but be prepared to wait during busy periods, especially weekend brunch. Lunch up to $12, dinner $10-$18.
- 4 Bamboo Garden, 364 Roy St, ☏ . Daily 11AM-10PM. 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. $7-$12.
- 5 Art Marble 21, 731 Westlake Ave N, ☏ . American cuisine and prime sports viewing. Large game room with free arcade games, billiards, giant Jenga, cornhole, bocce ball, and more.
- 6 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. 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.
- 7 Lunchbox Laboratory, 1253 Thomas St (across from REI). Previously the Southlake Bar and Grill.
- Cafe Goldinblack, 621 Queen Anne Ave N, ☏ . M-Th 11:30 AM-9:30PM, F Sa 11:30AM-10:30PM, Su 11:30AM-8:30PM. A good and inexpensive Korean restaurant with good bibimbap and good lunch specials that also serves alcohol. Located across the street from the Marqueen Hotel and a few doors down from Peso's.
- 8 Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream, 321 W Galer St (in Lower Queen Anne, near 4th Avenue West), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Noon–11PM. Molly Moon's offers 14 flavors of ice cream, homemade on the premises within sight of the customers. One vegan option is usually offered. Many staff have learned some basic American Sign Language. Craving something sweet after an evening at the Seattle Repertory Theatre? Take bus route #2 or #13 five stops north, then walk four short blocks west. $5 for an enormous single scoop.
Queen Anne is a relatively upscale neighborhood, and generally the restaurants rise to the occasion.
- 9 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 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.
- 1 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 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 is a short latte, and for good reason.
- 2 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, bottled beer, and excellent cakes. Courtyard seating allows for people-watching on nice days.
- 3 Top Pot Doughnuts, 325 W Galer St (At 4th Ave W), ☏ . Lodged in a former neighborhood grocery, this place offers "hand-forged" doughnuts, coffee, juice, and the like. Free wireless available.
- 4 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.
- 5 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 a 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.
- 6 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 8AM-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.
- 1 Comfort Suites Downtown - Seattle Center, 601 Roy St, ☏ .
- 2 Holiday Inn, 211 Dexter Ave N, ☏ , fax: .
- 3 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.
- 4 Inn at Queen Anne, 505 1st Ave N, ☏ .
- 5 MarQueen Hotel, 600 Queen Anne Ave N. Boutique lodging accommodations.
- 6 The Mediterranean, 425 Queen Anne Ave N, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: .
- 7 The Maxwell Hotel, 300 Roy St (between Nob Hill and Third Ave), toll-free: . Unique dog and earth-friendly lodging with a business center, free parking, and views of the Space Needle.
- 8 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.
- Queen Anne Chiropractic Center, 1905 Queen Anne Avenue North (across from Metropolitan Market on top of Queen Anne Hill), ☏ . M W F 8AM-7PM, Tu-Th 10AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-noon.
Nearly all coffee shops offer wi-fi.
- 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.
- 3 US Postal Service (USPS), 415 1st Ave N, ☏ , toll-free: . M-F 8:30AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-3PM.
- 4 US Postal Service (USPS), 3211 W McGraw St, ☏ , toll-free: . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-3PM.