Seattle isn’t all Space Centers and Starbucks. Oh no, my friends, it is also home to a troll, a Lenin and a lot of Scandinavians. We spent a day in North Seattle checking out a few of the attractions on offer up there.
Ok, so North Seattle has loads of neighbourhoods, and I’m only covering a few of them here. If you’d like to find out about the others, then check out the North Seattle Guide. When I make it back to Seattle, I’ll try and explore a few more places for you!
While we didn’t have a car of our own to use while we were in Seattle, and we were staying down in Capitol Hill, we did have friends who spent a day giving us a tour of some places in North Seattle.
We started our day in the right way with a tasty breakfast at The 5 Spot in Queen Anne. They earned extra points for being the only place in America where I’ve ever been asked whether I’d brought those nice little princes over with me. Sadly for them, I had not. On the plus side, the food was great. Ben went for a Slinger, and I had the Val Verde Scramble. My meal came with a chub, which the waitress told us was a link, which was, in fact, a sausage. We truly are separated by a common language.
There’s some debate about whether Queen Anne includes the Seattle Center (home to the Space Needle), but I’ll be covering that in another post, so let’s pretend it doesn’t for now. Aside from that, Queen Anne is also home to a lot of historic buildings, with the area’s name deriving from the most commonly used architectural style. The commercial hub of the area is located on Queen Anne Avenue N, and Kerry Park offers some of the best views of the city.
Where to Stay
This stunning historic hotel is located in the commercial hub of the area, so it looks like a great place to base yourself.
If you’d like something a bit more modern and quirky, then The Maxwell Hotel, owned by the Pineapple Hospitality Company, could be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s located close to the Space Needle and Queen Anne.
Seattle’s quirkiest neighbourhood, Fremont, is a must-visit. Residents refer to it as the centre of the universe, and an unofficial motto De Libertas Quirkas (freedom to be unique) suits the neighbourhood well. As Brighton residents, we felt right at home.
The first stop for us was Lenin. This statue was imported from Slovakia in 1994 to much uproar. The man who imported it died around this time, and his family have been trying to sell it ever since. Local artists often dress Lenin up, and when we were there, his hands were painted red and he’d had murder written on his leg. I dangled off him for a while, which I’m sure he appreciated. You can find him on the corner of N 36th Street and Fremont Place.
Next, we took a trip to see the Fremont Troll, who lives at Troll Avenue, appropriately enough. He was part of a plan to regenerate an area which had become home to a lot of drug dealers, and he’s doing a pretty good job of it.
Fremont is also home to a couple of other sculptures, a rocket, and Waiting for the Interurban.
Where to Stay
Located in the heart of Fremont, Hotel Hotel is located between Lenin and the Troll. If you’re planning to base yourself in Fremont, then this could be a fantastic pick.
Gas Works Park
At the bottom edge of Wallingford, this park is on the site of the former Seattle Gas Light Company plant, and it’s super cool. Rather than removing the old structures, they’ve left some of them standing – this park was opened in 1975, and the whole concept seems pretty forward thinking for those days. Nice one, Seattle!
The park has some pretty amazing views across Lake Union to downtown Seattle, but sadly the weather wasn’t with us when we visited, so I have no long distance shots for you.
Added bonus: My friend was telling me that he went there once and they’d closed sections off because of some tar oozing out of the ground.
Historically the centre of Seattle’s Scandinavian seafaring community, Ballard is now a cool hub for people from all walks of life. We popped in to visit the farmer’s market, and thoroughly enjoyed the cinnamon covered doughnuts we found there. We thought the area had a really friendly vibe and if we lived in Seattle we’d spend a lot of time at that market!
Where to Stay
I am loving the look of Hotel Ballard, and reviews on TripAdvisor really rate the friendliness of the staff. If I was planing to stay in this area, then I think I’d struggle to find somewhere I wanted to stay more.
Have you been to North Seattle? What were your top picks?