Capitol Hill is a neighborhood in Seattle, directly east of the downtown retail core. The neighborhood is one of the most densely populated in the city, and has a largely urban, walkable character with a variety of restaurants, stores and services reachable within a short walk. Capitol Hill is regarded as the center of the city's LGBT community, but is culturally diverse, with a high concentration of arts organizations and performance locales. It is unofficially bounded to the east by 23rd Ave E, to the west by Interstate 5, to the south by E Union St, and to the north by E Interlaken Blvd. Included here are the neighboring districts of Madison Valley, Madrona and Leschi which extend north, south, and east towards Lake Washington and have a quiet, upper-middle-class residential character.
The Central District is located southeast of the downtown area of Seattle bordered by the International District, First Hill, and Capitol Hill. It was once center of Seattle's African-American population, though recently it has become majority caucasian and asian, attracting young techies and first-time homeowners from throughout the city because of the undervalued property. This has created a boom in new home construction, and new business. It 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. North to south: Montlake, Madison Valley and Madison Park, Madrona, and Leschi. Madison Valley and Park are relatively wealthy neighborhoods of single-family homes with tree-lined streets (including streets with deciduous trees, rare in this city of pine cones) and a number of notable restaurants. Continuing south past Interstate 90 (partially hidden in a tunnel) leads into South Seattle's Beacon Hill and Mt. Baker neighborhoods.
Capitol Hill is one of the most densely populated residential neighborhoods in the city (along with Belltown) and is the center of the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Famous residents include Dan Savage, a popular American gay alternative sex advice columnist and writer for Seattle's Stranger newspaper, who well represents Capitol Hill's population of hipsters and homosexuals. The neighborhood is not exclusively gay by any means, and there are almost no establishments that aren't integrated with homosexual and heterosexual customers.
Capitol Hill has also has been the center of Seattle's alternative community for decades. During the 1990's, Capitol Hill was one of the birthplaces of the country's grunge movement. Kurt Cobain and other famous grunge musicians frequented Capitol Hill establishments. Capitol Hill is still the center of Seattle's independent music community.
The major retail districts within Capitol Hill include Broadway (running from Broadway and Union up to Roy Street), the Pike/Pine corridor (along the namesake streets from Melrose near downtown all the way east to 15th), 15th Ave E (primarily from John street north to Mercer street), and 12th Ave E (running south from Pine to Jefferson). There are a variety of restaurants, bars, music venues, clubs, boutiques, and other shops here. Broadway and Pike/Pine have more nightlife and urban character, especially Pike/Pine in recent years, while 15th and 12th have a more quite neighborhood and family-oriented character. Condominium and apartment buildings surround these areas, with most of the area West of Broadway consisting of multiple-family buildings and mostly single-family homes East of Broadway and North of Pine. 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. Many of the 1999 WTO protests spilled from downtown into Capitol Hill.
From downtown, it's a pleasant walk up the hill on a nice day (the Broadway area is roughly a mile from the retail core).
Metro Transit serves the area with numerous routes, including the 10, 11, 43, 47 and 49 , all of which run up Pike Street, roughly every 10-15 minutes. The number 8 bus connects the Queen Anne neighborhood, including Seattle Center, with Capitol Hill along Denny Way, E John, E Thomas and down on MLK Way. The number 9 bus connects points south (Rainier Valley, Columbia City, Rainier Beach, running along Rainier Ave South) with Capitol Hill. The number 12 bus connects downtown with Capitol Hill, running up 19th Ave and Madison from downtown. Beacon Hill, Georgetown and First Hill are connected to Capitol Hill by the 60 bus. There is currently a light rail station under construction under Broadway with the station at E John & Broadway, but it is not scheduled to open until 2016.
- Seattle Asian Art Museum, 1400 E. Prospect St. (in Volunteer Park), ☎ 206-654-3100, . Wed–Sun 10 AM–5 PM, Thu 10 AM–9 PM, closed Mon and Tue. An offshoot of downtown's Seattle Art Museum, 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 (SAM's original home) is an attraction in its own right. $5 (some special exhibitions may be higher, usually $7); free the first Thursday of every month.
- Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Av., ☎ +1 206 622-9250 ([email protected], fax: +1 206 223-1707), . Tu–Sa: 10AM-5PM, Su: 12PM-5PM, Th: 10AM-8PM, closed on Mondays. A small private collection on First Hill, always has parking and worth a visit. Free admission.
- Cal Anderson Park, 1635 11th Ave. (near Broadway and E Pine St), . A newly renovated 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.
- Lakeview Cemetery, 1554 15th Ave E (at junction with Garfield), ☎ +1 206-322-1582, . Summer 9 AM—8 PM; spring 9 AM—6 PM; winter 9 AM—4 PM. 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.
- 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).
- Water Tower, at Prospect St. park entrance. 10 AM - 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 Olmstead-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.
- Washington Park Arboretum, 2300 Arboretum Dr. E (from 40th Ave. and E. Madison on the south to Lake Washington and SR-520 on the north), . Open daily, dawn to 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 10 AM to 4 PM 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.
- Seattle Japanese Garden, 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E (southwest area of the Arboretum), ☎ 206-684-4725, . Hours vary seasonally: generally 10 AM until sunset, Tuesday through Sunday. 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, recently renovated. $6 adults, $4 children over 5 years and seniors..
- 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 stairt. The gardens are on your left), . A small, family maintained garden located on the northwest side of Seattle´s Capitol Hill, on a steep hillside. Noisy but offering great views over Lake Union, of downtown Seattle, and of the Olympic Mountains in the distance.
- Madison Park, 4000 E Madison St (South of Evergreen Point Bridge), ☎ 1+ 206 323-5677, . 4am-11:30 pm. Activities include swimming, bathhouse, restaurants, tennis court(with lights), and great views of bridge and Cascade region. Lifeguards are patrolling the area during summer which creates a safer and more security playground for kids. This is beautiful park to hang out for both teens and adults.
- A Jimi Hendrix statue rocks out on the sidewalk at the NE corner of E Pine Street and Broadway, though there's no particular historical connection between the location and the man.
- Seattle University, 901 12th Ave, ☎ +1-206-296-6000, . A private Jesuit university. The Chapel of St. Ignatius on campus is an architectural landmark in the city, designed by Steven Holl. The chapel is a combination of a thick-walled Spanish Colonial style with a modernist sensibility, and is interesting and peaceful even for the non-religious and non-Catholic.
- Northwest Museum of Legends and Lore, 954 E Union St (at junction with 10th), ☎ +1 206-328-6499, . Mon-Fri 12 PM—8:30 PM; Sat 12 PM—10 PM; Sun 1:30 PM—5:30 PM. Not so much a museum as a curio collection, featuring a hodge-podge of mysteries, from Bigfoot print casts to rare tarot card collections. Also has a gallery on Bruce Lee's days in Seattle. $3 adults; $2 children 8-16; free for children below 8.
- Hothouse Spa & Sauna is 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.
- Club Z - 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.
- Seattle International Film Festival  The largest and one of the best film festivals in the country takes place from the end of May to early June every year. Most venues are located on Capitol Hill and downtown.
- Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, ☎ +1 206 829-7863, . Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) is a Seattle-based non-profit organization dedicated to becoming the nation's leading center for film artists. Our cinemas showcase the best in American and international cinema, 360 days a year, as well as quarterly world premiere live performances.
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.
- University of Washington - Waterfront Activities Center, behind Husky Stadium at Montlake Blvd. and NE Pacific St., 206-543-9433, . Hours vary, call for details. Rents canoes and rowboats, with all the necessary accessories. The ramp is also a good location to launch canoes and kayaks of your own. $10.00/hour weekdays, $12.00/hr weekends, with discounts for UW students, staff, and alumni.
- Agua Verde Cafe, 1303 NE Boat Street, 206-545-8570, . Rents 1- and 2-person kayaks. $15/hour single and $18/hour double, with discounts for longer times.
- Central Cinema, 1411 21st Avenue, ☎ 206-686-MOVI (listings) / 206-328-3230 (office), . A unique, smaller movie theater that shows older films. Has excellent food and beer that is served during the show. If you happen to be in town for the monthy screening of The Room, check it out as it's the best worst movie you'll ever see. $8.
- Melrose Market, Melrose between Pike and Pine. A modern urban market -- combining restaurants, butcher shop, cheese shop, wine bar/shop, and small retail stores. Notable restaurants, both of which have garnered national media coverage, are Sitka and Spruce and Terra Plata. Still bar downstairs completes the complex, with occasional free music and a lively clientele most nights.
- Neumos, (Pike at 10th Ave), . A Seattle institution -- one of the primary live-music venues in the city for smaller acts with a national draw. Mostly rock, but also hip hop, folk-rock, hardcore. Well layed out, with a mid-size standing-room-only tall-ceilinged performance space with a stage, a larger upstairs bar, and a second level with views down to the stage. Partners with the next-door (accessible without going outside) Moe Bar, although be careful not to confuse the two, you can't enter a show at Neumos from Moe without a ticket. Shows are extremely varied, so check the website to make sure you know what's on that night.
- Paris Eastside, 816 E Pike, Seattle (on Pike, between Broadway and Harvard), ☎ 206 452 3622, . Paris Eastside is a French lifestyle boutique located at 816 East Pike Street in Seattle, Washington. Opened in December 2012, Paris Eastside is part cooking school, part boutique, part specialty food shop, offering a curated collection of the most popular French products including clothing, jewelry, pantry items and cookware. Paris Eastside hosts a series of French-inspired cooking classes and craft workshops for both children and adults.
- Twice Told Tales, 1833 Harvard Ave (Along Harvard between E Denny Way & Howell St., 1 block west of Broadway), ☎ +1 206 324-2421, . Daily 9:00AM to 10:00PM. Capitol Hill's used bookstore before the arrival of Half Price Books. A good selection of literature, philosophy and more contemporary reads. Home of numerous cats who appear to have free reign.
- Take 2, 430 15th Ave E, ☎ +1 206 324-2569. Mon-Sat 11:00AM to 7:00PM & Sun 11:00AM to 6:30PM. Excellent consignment store for women's clothing & accessories, with a small men's section. Great condition & quality brand-name items at very good prices.
Capitol Hill, the CD and points East offer a variety of restaurants including a number of the most critically acclaimed in the city (such as Sitka and Spruce or Crush), a variety of ethnic restaurants, larger eateries with a lively nightlife scene (Poquitos), vegan/vegetarian offerings (Plum, Cafe Flora), and a set of neo-comfort-food locales (Skillet) . The Central District is especially notable for quality, and good value Ethiopian food, for example Mesob on 14th and Jefferson.
In the last few years a few definite trends have been felt in Capitol Hill dining: The food tends to focus on "new american" recipes with a local, artisanal set of ingredients. For example, pork is from a certain farm and butchered in the restaurant, with freshly prepared cuts and sausages. Decor has moved overwhelmingly to a rustic-industrial world of wood, metal and concrete with big glass windows and plenty of light. Chefs have also seemingly re-discovered american food, especially simple dishes like burgers and macaroni and cheese; ethnic (non-european-american) options have not kept up the pace. Do hip urban dwellers in 2013 only want burgers, artisanal beer, and locally-raised beef roasts, but not dumplings or curry? Apparently, yes.
- Bluebird Microcreamery & Brewery, 1205 East Pike Street, ☎ 206-588-1079, . 3PM-10PM weekdays, 12PM-10PM weekends.. Excellent ice cream shop which also serves beer and soda with everything made in-house. The Peanut Butter ice cream is outstanding. Listed as Best Ice Cream joint in Seattle in 2013 by the Seattle Weekly newspaper.
- Kurt's Farm Shop, 1424 11th Avenue, Ste C2, . Daily 11AM to 6PM (summer hours 11AM to 9PM daily). Excellent ice cream and cheese shop made from cows from the owner's farm on Vashon Island. Lots of interesting ice cream flavors, the flora cheese ice cream is excellent. The entrance to the mixed use building where the ice cream shop is located is right by Cafe Pettiroso.
Italian and Pizza
- Big Mario's New York Pizza, 1009 E Pike St (On Capitol Hill just East of Broadway), ☎ 206-922-3875, . 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.
- Cafe Lago, 2305 24th Ave E (at E Lynn St in Montlake neighborhood), ☎ +1 206 329-8005, . 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).
- Hot Mama's Pizza, 700 E Pine St. Classic New York style pizza by the slice. You cannot go wrong here and the pesto is particularly popular.
- Pizzeria Pagliacci, (On Broadway, across from the market), . 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.
- Rover's, 2808 E. Madison St. (Madison Valley; Madison at 26th), ☎ 206-325-7442. 5pm - 9:30PM. Perhaps Seattle's best-regarded French restaurant, with a bit of a Pacific NW touch, from locally famous chef Thierry Rautureau Expensive.
- Luc, 2800 E. Madison St. (Madison Valley; Madison at 28th), ☎ 206-328-6645. 5pm - 9:30PM. A more informal cafe concept to complement nearby Rover's, from the same team. Excellent on a rainy day after a walk around the nearby Japanese garden. Best burger in the city, juicy and topped to perfection. Mid-range.
American Diner and Fast Food
- Dick's Drive-In, 115 Broadway E (On Broadway between E Denny & John), ☎ 206 323-1300. Where the crew hang out (according to Sir Mix-a-Lot's song "Posse on Broadway"). Gloppy Dick's Deluxe cheeseburgers, hot 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. 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.
- Ezell's Famous Chicken, 501 23rd Ave (23rd Ave at Jefferson), ☎ +1 206 324-4141. 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 recently started accepting credit cards. Spicy and original. The spicy is not 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.
- Julia's On Broadway, 300 Broadway E (Broadway at Thomas St). 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 bar (Eileens's) until they gutted it and put in a tasteful interior in 2001. On sunny days offers ring-side seating to the throngs of passers-by. The location is excellent, but the service can be less than stellar.
- Skillet, 1400 East Union St. (One block south of Pine at 14th in the Pike/Pine corridor). What if you were to open a classic American diner, but source high quality ingredients, execute the recipes with modern techniques (say, don't use frozen pre-formed beef patties from a factory farm), and give the place a makeover that doesn't make it too uppity and still references Americana? You would get Skillet. If comfort food for you is a burger or mac and cheese, but with great beef and quality cheese, you will be comforted, as this is fancy comfort food. Decor is concrete and wood and gingham on servers with lots of light and facial piercings and friendly service. Often hard to get a table at this no-reservations spot, but deservedly so.
New American and Diverse Cuisines
- Coastal Kitchen, 429 15th Ave E. A casual restaurant that serves excellent food at a reasonable price. It has specials that change monthly, as they explore the cuisine of a new coastal region every three months. Very popular for brunch on weekends, with long waits at peak times, but excellent food.
- Crush, 2319 E Madison St (Madison Valley), ☎ +1 206 302-7874, . Su-Th 5PM-10:30PM, Fr-Sa 5PM-midnight. Rated among the best 10 new restaurants in the U.S. after it opened. Under Chef Jason Wilson's stewardship it continues to be one of the more well respected haute cuisine houses in the country. Has received countless awards, the food is good, an adventurous twist on traditional American cuisine. Reservations are strongly recommended. $20-$30.
- Lark, 926 12th Avenue (12th Avenue three blocks south of Pike), . New American food with a strong artisinal, Pacific Northwest focus from chef John Sundstrom. Part of the eat local food movement that is so popular on the Hill, with excellent critical reception. Lots of small plates, very rich flavors. Expensive.
- Sitka and Spruce, 1531 Melrose Ave (Melrose at Pike), . New American food from Matt Dillon, a well-known locale chef, focusing on local ingredients with weekly menu updates to guarantee seasonality and freshness. Small plates, strong Mediterranean inflection. Communal tables, high ceilings, lots of wood, and a rustic country (in the city) decor with lots of light during the day. Located inside Melrose Market.
- Terra Plata, Melrose Market. Part of the early-twenty-first-century farm-to-table movement in cuisine. Local ingredients, simple preparations focused on quality sourcing. Mostly New American style cooking. Has received critical acclaim and some national media attention. Spacious roof deck in the summer. Priced on the higher end, entrees $20 to $30.
Mexican and Tex-Mex
- Cactus, 4220 E Madison St (multiple locations), +1 206 324-4140 . A local favorite. A creative mix of Mexican, Southwestern and Spanish cuisine complemented by great cocktails. Always full, outdoor seating in the summer.
- Tacos Guaymas, Several locations: one is on Broadway near Pine. . Offers authentic Mexican meals (like you find in the Oaxaca market). Try the Sopa de Tortilla or the Wet Green Burrito.
- Rancho Bravo, 1001 E. Pine Street (Pine at 10th). An unassuming, even a bit grungy, but authentic and excellent value taco truck located in a former fast food building. Roasted meats are executed just right, including carnitas (salty roasted pork) and al pastor (barbeque roasted pork); fresh tamales; authentic beverages; all as good as you would find in Mexico or LA. Low prices. Lacking only in decor, really, but that adds a certain authenticity as well.
Greek / Middle-Eastern or Mediterranean
- Byzantion, 601 Broadway E, ☎ +1 206 325-7580. 5PM-11PM. Greek food is hard to find on the Hill, but this excellent little place serves up Spanakopita, gyros, lamb, seafood dishes, fresh vegetables, baklava and more. Good wine selection and the staff is quirky, but attentive. $10-$20.
- Mediterranean Express, 1417 Broadway, ☎ 206 860-3989, . 11:30AM-9PM. Gyros, Shawarma, Kabob, salads with a wonderful light lemony dressing. Clean and simple decor, with a cafeteria feeling and easy for take-out with free parking. We're not sure which mediterranean country they are expressly delivering food from, but with tasty food and generous portions we're happy to get our fix here. Did we mention the salads are great? Not a place for an upscale dinner, we prefer to have take-out. $5-$15.
- Cafe Flora, 2901 E Madison, , closed Mondays. In the Madison Valley neighborhood. Upscale, all-vegetarian cuisine in a casual atmosphere. Menus change weekly.
- Plum Bistro, 1429 12th Ave (Pike and 12th), . A relatively new vegan restaurant with a number of "I can't believe its not meat" dishes, a wide variety of salads, and excellent and complex cocktails with lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Recommended even to meat eaters looking for something inventive and different. More upscale than most vegan restaurants.
- Monsoon, 615 19th Ave. E, ☎ (206) 325-2111, . Contemporary Vietnamese.
- Ba Bar, 550 12th Avenue (12th and Jefferson), . Vietnamese cuisine with a focus on "street food" -- simple recipes that are commonly served at food carts in southeast asia. Ba Bar is notable for the strong execution across all of their dishes -- these are authentic, not westernized versions of recipes -- along with a contemporary decor built into a former warehouse with high ceilings and a design conscious clientele.
- 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.
- Pho Cyclo, 406 Broadway E, . Serves pho on Broadway - in addition to 4 other pho establishments.
- Than Brothers Pho, 516 Broadway E. Complimentary cream puffs and frighteningly large portions make this an always busy spot. There is plenty of seating though and a nice clean environment, be sure to try the French style coffee. Other locations on Aurora Ave N and the University District.
Indian and South Asian
- Travelers, 501 E Pine St (2 blocks E of Bauhaus Coffee Shop and 3 blocks W of Broadway), ☎ +1 206 329-6260, . CLOSED. Chef has lived in India and speaks fluent Hindi, offering distinct home cooked food. Monthly themes, unique home style "thali," a platter much more indicative of the food eaten by native Indians (served Sa-Su 1PM-7PM $12 "full thali"). Wide selection of bulk herbs, essential and perfume oils, grocery products, and many other imported items. Give it a try on a weekday when it's quieter, and be sure to try the famous masala chai, brewed with the best quality spices and tea, and served hot and fresh with your choice of milk. $3.50-$12.
There are an outrageous number of Thai restaurants in Capitol Hill. Occasionally one goes out of business and like a head of the Hydra, is immediately replaced by another one or more.
- Ayutthaya, 727 E Pike St (at Boylston St). Inexpensive Thai and the quality is very good.
- Jamjuree, on 15th Ave E. Quieter and more upscale than Siam, 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).
- Bauhaus Books & Coffee, 301 E Pine St.. Cozy and fun, at the base of Capitol Hill. A great place to people watch and enjoy the view of the Space Needle. Wonderful baristas, fun latte art, decent coffee.
- Caffé Vita, 1005 E Pike St., ☎ 206-709-4440. Coffee roaster with a warehouse feel, where patrons can see clearly how the coffee beans are roasted. Average coffee.
- Espresso Vivace Roasteria, 532 Broadway E, ☎ 206-860-2722, . 6 AM – 11 PM daily. 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.
- Frank, 2406 10th Ave E. 6:45-4:15. Tiny find in North Capitol Hill, hand crafted tables with objects in resin, always great art from around the world and local. They serve Caffe Vita coffee with beautiful latte art, always delicious pastries from Louisa's and local and organic sandwiches wraps and salads from Molly's. It is a hidden gem with very cool decor.
- Insomniax Coffee, 15th Ave. E at Denny Way. Closed weekends. Nestled inside the Group Health complex, this coffee house caters to medical professionals and a diverse group of locals who enjoy freshly blended fruit smoothies (try the Big Apple!) and great conversations with the baristas.
- Pettirosso, 1101 E Pike St. (at 11th Ave.). Cozy, intimate place full of regulars and good for a quiet conversation.
- Stumptown Coffee Roasters, 616 E Pine & 1115 12th Ave., ☎ 206-329-0115, . Portland transplant serves up delicious high quality drinks at two tastefully decorated, minimalist shops on the hill. One of the best cups of coffee you'll ever taste. Hosts free cuppings for the public every day at 3 PM, head downstairs and learn about your beans!
- SoHo Coffee Company, 1918 E Yesler Way (at 20th Ave.), ☎ 206-322-0807, . A neighborhood shop across from Pratt Park, serves Stumptown coffee and pastries from Alki Bakery. Free wi-fi. Great for meetings.
- Top Pot Doughnuts, 609 Summit Ave. E, . 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.
- Victrola, 411 15th Avenue E, . Neighborhood place in a hip neighborhood. More spacious than most.
Capitol Hill nightlife has grown tremendously over the last few years, and the nightclub category has expanded far beyond its roots in the LGBTQ scene to include a more diverse set of options, especially more upscale and less "camp" focused.
- The Baltic Room, 1207 Pine St.. A rather elegant club, mostly with DJ sets and occasionally a live music venue, though less so than in past years, and very different crowds on different nights depending on the style of music and promoter. Just across the I-5 freeway from downtown. Cover varies..
- Havana, 1010 E Pike St.. A well-appointed take on an urban bar and dance club, with tall-backed leather banquettes and small palms to evoke a vaguely Caribbean experience. Lively drinks-and chatting crowd, trending to the 20s and 30s, many nights, with dancing later in the evening on weekends and some weekdays. Music depends on the DJ, but can include contemporary pop music and hip hop, often with classic older tracks mixed in (80s, Michael Jackson, etc.). Clientele trends a bit more professional, yuppie if you will, than other spots in the area -- a jacket or cocktail dress is definitely not out of the question. Cover varies..
- Q Nightclub, 1426 Broadway (Pike at Broadway), . A starkly modern dance club with a powerful sound system and DJs playing up-to-date House music most nights. Friendly to all comers, especially those into the latest House or EDM music. Not a great place for a quite drink and conversation. Terrific place for a night of dancing in hip surroundings to creative dance music with a minimal bridge-and-tunnel (viaduct and bridge?) crowd, almost unique in that regard in Seattle. If a night out is not complete without hearing at least one great new song you've never heard before, this the likeliest spot in the city to achieve that. Cover varies..
Bars and Taverns
- Bill's off Broadway, 725 E Pine St., ☎ "(206)420-7493 ([email protected]), . M-TH 11 AM-12PM, F 11AM-2AM Sa 10 AM-2 AM Su 10AM-11PM. Bill’s off Broadway is a family-owned and operated sports bar serving Capitol Hill since 1980. Serving breakfast every day until 2 p.m. and lunch/dinner menu available until an hour before close. Known primarily for great pizza, Bill’s also offers fantastic Italian entrees, classic pub fare, and an array of salads. Bill's has a full bar, 18 taps featuring mostly local brews and a limited but nice wine list. Happy Hour menu and prices Monday – Friday 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. With 14 large screen TVs and all the cable sports channels this is the place to catch the game or match you want to see. Friendly atmosphere with good people and good food./drink> * <drink name="Canon" alt="" address="928 12th Avenue" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">An elegant cocktail bar with a rustic exterior. Focused on whiskey and bitters, and averse to the too-simple cocktail, this is a place for mixology, and a place to be impressed by cocktail flavors you maybe haven't had before. Considered one of the best-tended bars in the city (in the same category as Zig Zag in Pike Place Market or Vessel downtown).
- Cha Cha Lounge, 1013 E Pike St.. A weird cross of dive-y bar and trendy spot, the ambiance 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.
- Pine Box, 1600 Melrose Ave. (at Pine St.), ☎ (206) 588-0375, . 3pm-2am M-F, 11am-2am SS. 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.
- DeLuxe Bar and Grill, Broadway at Roy. Dark, but appealing for a beer, stiff drink or bar food (hearty burgers, thick fries, etc.). More restaurant than bar.
- Garage, 1134 Broadway Ave, ☎ 206-322-2296, . 3 PM - 2 AM. A trendy billiards hall and bowling alley, built in a spacious former garage - no problem handling large groups. Multiple bars with food service, and an outdoor patio (weather permitting).
- Liberty, 517 15th Ave E, ☎ (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.
- Linda's Tavern, 707 E Pine St.. Decor in the style of a western rural bar, stuffed heads and whatnot, but a decidedly urban clientele with a heavy dose of hipster and LGBTQ friendly. The outdoor patio makes this the perfect place to enjoy a few drinks under the stars.
- Poco Wine + Spirits, 1408 E Pine Street, ☎ (206) 322-9463, . 4 PM to 2 AM. Named a "best wine bar" Travel + Leisure, Poco is a locally-owned, one-of-a-kind neighborhood tapas bar, wine tasting room, and cocktail house. Everything is sourced locally as much as possible, including spirits, and the wines are brought in from the Pacific Northwest and all across the world. Play trivia every Monday evening for a chance to win cash prizes. Enjoy a glass of wine on the patio. Plan your next celebration, meeting or wedding-related event in the two-story space.
- Rumba, 1112 Pike St., . 5pm - 1/2am. With over 300 types of rum, this is definitely the place to go if you're a rum fan. Even if you're not, let one of the top notch bartenders make you something to change your mind. The ambiance is dark and comfortable, it gets crowded on the weekends so you may need to wait for a seat. For the best experience sit at the bar and talk with one of the bartenders about their favorite rums.
- Smith, 332 15th Ave E, ☎ (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.
- Still, Melrose Market, Melrose and Pike, ☎ (, . A wood-and-concrete industrial style bar focused on cocktails a bit hidden on the lower level of Melrose Market. Gets crowded on weekends and some weeknights with a diverse and stylish crowd that doesn't trend exclusively yuppie or hipster or LGBT. Can be slightly dressed-up, this is not the place to bring your hoodie and sneakers. Better your skinny jeans and fancy skating trainers, maybe a button down shirt.
- 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.
- Summit Public House, 601 Summit Ave. E. Offers many beers on tap and is home to one of the best BLT's in the city.
- 11th Avenue Inn Bed and Breakfast, 121 11th Avenue East, ☎ 206-720-7161 ([email protected]), . Charming Seattle bed and breakfast inn on a tree-lined Capitol Hill side street two blocks east of Broadway, just north of Cal Anderson Park. Exactly one mile from Downtown Seattle - a 20 minute walk. All 9 rooms have queen beds and private bathrooms. Rates include free on-site parking, free hot breakfast, and free Wi-Fi. $79-179.
- St Johns Apartments, 725 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122 (E Pike & Harvard), . They provide fully furnished studio and one bedroom apartments to rent/let for a minimum of three nights or on a month to month basis. Ask them.
- Seward Suites, 215 13th Avenue East, ☎ +1 206-849-8927. checkin: 4pm; checkout: 12am. Nice rooms in an otherwise dingy apartment building. Run by the shady apartment manager, watch your belongings. $109-139.
- Bed and Breakfast Inn Seattle, 1808 E. Denny Way (Interstate 5 to Madison Street. Head east on Madison to 18th Ave. Head north on 18th for three blocks to E.Denny Way. Right onto E Denny Way. House is second home on left.), ☎ (206) 412-REST, . checkin: 3pm; checkout: 11am. An Urban Inn located just 10 blocks from Downtown Seattle. Providing a quiet oasis for tourists, business travelers, students and those in between housing for over 15 years. We cater to the savvy traveler, by providing comfortable and clean Bed & Breakfast style accommodations with friendly hospitality and a modest rate. $105-$185.
- Shafer Baillie Mansion, 907 14th Avenue East, Seattle, ☎ 800 985 4654, .
Though crime in the neighborhood has declined in recent years, the Central District has one of the highest crime rates in Seattle. However, the neighborhood is fairly safe during the day and night.
Wireless Internet is available at nearly every coffee shop, though some disable it during peak hours on weekends to keep the crowds moving.
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 an hour at a time, but require either a SPL library card or a temporary pass available from the circulation desk. All services are free.
- Capitol Hill Branch, 425 Harvard Ave. E (cross street: E. Republican St., one block west of Broadway), ☎ 206-684-4715, . M-Th 10 AM-8 PM, F-Sa 10 AM-6 PM, Su 1-5 PM.
- Montlake Branch, 2401 24th Ave. E (cross street: E. McGraw St.), ☎ 206-684-4720, . M-T 1 PM-8 PM, W-Th,Sa 11 AM-6 PM, Su 1 PM - 6 PM, closed F.
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