North West Outdoor Center marked on a map

Kayaking Seattle: The Best Spots & The Best Shops

Comprised of 66 campsites and 160 day-use sites scattered between Olympia and the Canadian border, the Cascade Marine Trail makes it possible to kayak throughout the Washington waterways for days or weeks at a time. Some stops along the way are nearly impossible to reach by car, making the juice all the more worth the squeeze.

Kayaking Seattle

First, we’ll look at the best kayaking spots in Seattle, then dive into the best kayak rentals in town.

Seattle’s Most Scenic Kayaking Locations

Blake Island

View of Mount Rainier from Blake Island between Seattle and Bremerton

Isolated in the middle of Puget Sound between Seattle and Bremerton, this island is only reachable by small boats and local wildlife. If you’re lucky, you may see deer swimming across the sound, using the island as a rest stop. Visitors come to watch wildlife, go clamming and crabbing, play horseshoe and volleyball, and explore 8 miles of trails.

Washington Park Arboretum

Washington Park Arboretum trail over water with ducks and aspen trees

East of Portage Bay is the green and vibrant Union Bay with a cluster of trails along and over the water. A gorgeous sight is guaranteed to anyone who kayaks along this natural space. Carry a picnic in your kayak for a memorable afternoon on the arboretum.

West Point Lighthouse

West Point Lighthouse in Discovery Park  overlooking Puget Sound

Following the Lake Washington Ship Canal west from Lake Union leads to the open waters of Puget Sound. Discovery Park, filled with lush greenery, wraps around to the western shore to the south. The park has a naturally occurring pointed tip, embellished with an elegant lighthouse built in 1881. Watch vessels large and small pass through the canal as you make your way to this historical landmark.

The many islands of Washington make Seattle the perfect kayaking locale. On a clear day, Mount Rainier can be seen from nearly any point on the Cascade Marine Trail, peeking between the evergreen trees. Kayak for an hour or two around one of the popular rental locations, or journey around the most enchanting spots in the Seattle area.

Kayak Rentals in Seattle

Unless you’ve already invested in your own kayak, your journey begins at the rental shop. Choose a shop location then hit the water straight from the rental dock.

Northwest Outdoor Center

Northwest Outdoor Center on Google Maps east of Lake Union

Just north of China Harbor in Seattle’s Westlake neighborhood is a popular rental shop providing single, double, and triple kayaks as well as stand-up paddleboards. The rental shop is open year-round, offering rentals by the hour as well as annual passes. The outdoor center hosts classes and day trips as dictated on their calendar.

Agua Verde Paddle Club

Agua Verde Paddle Club on Google Maps North of Portage Bay, Seattle

Southwest of University of Washington along Portage Bay is a rental shop open March through October. The club offers rentals by the hour for single and double kayaks in addition to stand-up paddleboards. Also on the menu are guided kayak tours May through September.

Moss Bay

Moss Bay kayak rental on Google Maps south of Lake Union

At the southern edge of Lake Union, west of Volunteer Park, single and double kayaks as well as stand-up paddleboards are available for rent April through October. The shop closes on most holidays and rainy days, so it’s best to call ahead at (206) 682-2031.

For Frequent Kayakers:

Rent your kayak by the year rather than the hour, and explore every sector of the Washington waters one at a time. Eden Apartments residents enjoy year-round kayak rentals within walking distance of home at Northwest Outdoor Center.

Sicilian Italian pasta traditional in handmade wooden bowl

Seattle Neighborhoods: Queen Anne vs. Capitol Hill

Queen Anne and Capitol Hill are arguably the best Seattle neighborhoods: vibrant and full of life night and day. Both have a lot to offer: artisan restaurants, chic nightclubs, parks filled with greenery, and tons of things to do. Let’s explore both neighborhoods side by side and declare a winner.

Queen Anne vs. Capitol Hill – Point-by-Point Comparison

Restaurants


Pizza, sides, and cocktails at Rocco’s

There is a place for foodies in every Seattle neighborhood. One of Queen Anne’s most famous locales is How to Cook a Wolf, an artisan restaurant featuring culinary delights made from simple ingredients. For a more casual setting, visit Rocco’s for handmade pizza and a stellar drink selection. Capitol Hill has a great variety of unique fare, including Adana, a gorgeous restaurant serving a combination of traditional and unique Japanese fare, and Poppy, a hotspot for modern thali.

Nightlife

Each bar and club in Seattle has its own flavor. T.S. McHugh’s in Queen Anne is an Irish pub with all of the classics and its own local favorites. Bar games are free all night long, including pool and darts. Keys on Main is famous for their dueling grand piano shows, but an honorable mention goes to their experimental cocktails. Bait Shop in Capitol Hill is a nautical-themed gastropub with fun cocktails and a full bar. Herb & Bitter Public House is the place to go for its quality menu of spirits, wine, and beer with matching cheese plates.

Parks and Nature

In terms of greenery, the winner is Queen Anne, hands down. Spacious parks encircle the neighborhood, from Kinnear Park to the Northeast Queen Anne Greenbelt. Perhaps the most famous outdoor space in the neighborhood is Kerry Park with its jaw-dropping view of the Seattle skyline. The largest park in Capitol Hill is Volunteer Park with ample space for lounging but minimal wooded areas.

Sightseeing

At the southern tip of Queen Anne is the most famous locale in all of Washington: the Space Needle. Below the quirky tower is a series of museums and theatres, and year-round carnival activities. The sights around Capitol Hill are not nearly as well known, but many fans come to visit the gravesites of Bruce Lee and his son, Brandon Lee.

Recreation


Inside Puzzle Break HQ

The two Seattle neighborhoods provide much the same recreational offerings: baseball and soccer fields, spray parks, and tennis courts. There are two main advantages to Queen Anne: a public outdoor pool and the interactive Seattle Children’s Museum. Capitol Hill is worth visiting for its Puzzle Break room escape center, though each puzzle is best enjoyed only once.

Cost of Living

Capitol Hill may the most coveted neighborhood in Seattle, but it’s also the most staggering in price. A one-bedroom apartment in the center of town requires either a 6-figure salary or a throng of roommates. It may be invigorating to live in the center of downtown, but at what cost? The right apartment in Queen Anne can save up to $500 per month for each bedroom without losing quality.

Introducing The Eden, state-of-the-art city living without breaking the bank. Each home is furnished with lush carpets and luxury vinyl floors with noise reduction padding. Residents enjoy a private, off-leash dog park and a rooftop lounge.

Both Capitol Hill and Queen Anne have a lot going for them. Both have an ample selection to fill your belly, and local nightlife to fall in love with. In terms of sightseeing and recreation, however, Queen Anne is certainly the winner. It will also save you a buck on rent. Despite the popularity of Capitol Hill, it’s easy to name Queen Anne as the top neighborhood in Seattle.

The Pharmacy Seattle club underground

Hidden Gems in Seattle

Whether you’re moving to Seattle or have been in the Emerald City for years, there are treasures all over the place waiting to be discovered. If you’ve already explored the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, it’s time to turn your attention to rarer finds.

Places to Check Out in Seattle

Steve’s Weird House

Steve's Weird House Seattle bird room

Your Seattle hazing begins and ends with this self-made museum of things that go bump in the night. Owned by a man named Steve who spent a little too much time playing Call of Cthulhu, this slice of modern history more or less speaks for itself. If you think the bird section is weird, wait until you climb the stairs to the hall of angels. There are no official business hours. In fact, it’s just a house. However, if you ask politely to look around, you may just get your wish. Otherise, you can enjoy an online tour.

Marine View Park

wooden stairs in forest

A narrow cliffside path followed by a steep flight of stairs leads to a quiet beach along Puget Sound. Even from above the cliffside, the view is a showstopper. For an unforgettable view in easier reach, the West Point Lighthouse in Discovery Park is always a treat.

The Pharmacy

The Pharmacy Seattle club underground

There is nothing quite like a hidden basement bar. With its tucked-away location and inconspicuous logo, it’s a genuine speakeasy in every way except the liquor license. The spread-out layout and quiet music create a relaxed yet social atmosphere.

Butter Home

handmade stuffed animals store

Just east of the Paramount Theater is an indoor marketplace called Melrose Market. Hidden in the basement of this rowdy marketplace is a little shop filled with handmade decor, jewelry, cards, and gifts. It’s easy to spend hours looking at each unique piece in the store.

La Medusa

Sicilian Italian pasta traditional in handmade wooden bowl

What makes La Medusa unique is its dedication to creating genuine Sicilian food, a commitment that has carried on for the last 20 years. Each dish is prepared from scratch using local, organic ingredients. The ever-changing seasonal menu ensures each mouthful contains fresh, healthy ingredients.

Underground Tour

Seattle underground tour dark passage

It may be called Bill Speidel’s World Famous Underground Tour, but famous it is not – at least not anymore. When the tour began in the 1950s, it was only a rumor that there were deserted passageways beneath Pioneer Square: brothels and opium dens and other things that have since moved to the dark web. Today, a tour will take you under the city to see the wreckage of Seattle’s secret past.

Fremont Troll

Residents take this monster for granted, but it’s not every bridge that has a giant troll lurking beneath it. Inspired by Scandinavian folktales, the troll was constructed in 1990. The troll now belongs to the city, and unlike at the museum, visitors are encouraged to climb onto its giant shoulders. Unfortunately, the troll is camera-shy, so you will have to see it in person.
Seattle is a many-layered city, and not just because of the secret underground.

The more you look, the more sights there are to see. Looking for an apartment close to the action? Browse The Eden just north of downtown.

The Showbox in Seattle

The Seattle Music Scene

One of the top perks of living in Seattle is being surrounded by some of the most exciting concert venues in the country. Seattle is the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix and the origin of Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Heart, The Foo Fighters, and Death Cab for Cutie. Jet City fueled the grunge movement in the 90’s and set the stage for the indie takeover. Also coming out of Seattle was Sir Mix-a-Lot and the rise of hip-hop. Today, artists big and small dream of performing in the historied city. Check out the best venues in Seattle – a great way to see your favorite musicians in person or learn about new, up-and-coming ones.

The Best Concert Venues in Seattle

Paramount Theater

It may not look like much from the outside, but the interior of The Paramount Theater has intricate architecture that transports its guests to a more elegant time. The theater was built in 1928 at the dawn of modern cinema. In its time, The Paramount has been a ballroom, a vaudeville stage, and finally a concert hall.

The Showbox

This beautiful venue is perhaps the best spot in Seattle for an intimate musical experience. Crowds lean over the edge of the stage so close they can reach out and touch the musicians. The building has a welcoming indie energy that makes everyone feel like a part of the music. For a modest price, visitors can sit at a table by the bar. Sound resonates beautifully throughout the chamber, creating an unforgettable night.

Neumos

This building all but rose from the ground as grunge took over Seattle in 1994. With three full service bars and a small, intimate stage, the concert space is as dank on the inside as it is on the outside. The walls echo with the angst of a thousand musicians.  

KeyArena

KeyArena Seattle

The unspoken motto of this multipurpose space is the bigger, the better. In 1962 when it was built, the arena could house 13,200 people. It has been reworked, expanded, and remodeled 8 times in the past 45 years, and can now contain 15,354 attendees. A complete remodel has already been approved for 2020, which will bring the number up to 18,600. Though not built with acoustics in mind, the Key Arena is where most big names perform due to the size of the venue.

Seattle is the home of the music lover. Looking for a place to live in the heart of it all? The Eden may be exactly what you’re searching for.

A cocktail close-up, a wedge of pineapple garnishes the rim.

Seattle’s Favorite Drinking Spots

It seems as if there is a club on every street corner and a microbrew around every bend in Seattle. It’s tough to narrow down where to go. We asked regulars at Seattle clubs, bars, and speakeasies about their favorite drinking spots and built this quick list.

The Best Bars and Clubs in Seattle

 

Just Hanging Out – The Pine Box

Serving the ultimate combination of beer and pizza, this late-night eatery has a focus on local craft brews with a few choice international selections. Patrons can enjoy table service or enjoy the ample space at the bar. Also on the menu are fresh, flavorful salads and giant burgers.

Date Night – Foreign National

With a dark ambiance and a sultry atmosphere, this downtown Seattle bar is the perfect place to bring a date. Each cocktail is quirky, fun, and terribly tempting. The Asian fusion menu is baffling and mouth-watering at the same time, from gooey cheeseburger bao to curry-filled puff pastries.

Brunch – Peso’s Kitchen

Friday through Sunday, lounge with your friends enjoying bottomless Mimosas or a bucket of Coronas. Share a few taco plates around the table or explore the nearly endless menu for your favorite Latin American cuisine. The margarita menu is full of fruity flavors, and there are more than a few exciting cocktails to try.

Grabbing a Drink – The Toledo

This unassuming bar may serve the best old-fashioned in the state. Comfort food is served on oven trays alongside draft beer, wine, and craft cocktails. With a casual atmosphere, this is the perfect place to meet an old friend or get a group together. The Toledo is down the street from The Eden, a modern cluster of apartments in downtown Seattle.

There are more than a few hidden gems in Seattle with luscious craft brews and experimental cocktails. Checking out these four serves as an appetizer before digesting all the possibilities Seattle provides.