North Seattle is a loosely-defined area, often including anywhere north of the Ship Canal that bisects the city. This article covers only the area between 85th St. and the city limits at 145th St. The neighborhoods to the south are collected in Ballard and the University District; to the north is the suburban city of Shoreline.
From west to east, the neighborhoods in North Seattle include Broadview, Bitter Lake, North Park, Haller Lake, Northgate, Maple Leaf, Pinehurst, and Lake City. The area is almost entirely residential, with the exceptions of the sprawling Northgate Mall, the gritty (albeit slowly gentrifying) commercial strip along Lake City Way, and the grittier (and staying that way) Aurora Avenue. There are few attractions of general interest,
Lake City's main drag, Lake City Way, while still the host of some creepy dive bars, thrift/pawn stores, and used car dealerships, is the focus of most urban development. New restaurants offering international cuisine are opening, and a 24 hour Starbucks is a sign that yuppie culture has arrived in Lake City.
Major streets running north-south include Greenwood Ave, Aurora Ave, I-5, and Lake City Way (SR-522). For best results, go as far as you can on one of those streets before turning off. East-west streets are often interrupted by terrain and other obstructions - try using 130th St and 105th St west of the interstate, 125th St and Northgate Way (effectively 110th St) east of it. At the city line, 145th St is unbroken all the way across.
The Northgate Transit Center, immediately south of the mall, is the hub for local service, as well as the Route 41 express bus to downtown and the 66/67 to the University District. The park-and-ride lots on all sides are free. Although the 41 runs frequently, neighborhood routes often drop down to hourly or half-hourly service. Using Metro Transit's trip planner  in advance is recommended.
Most runs on the 41 continue to Lake City Way, also served by the 72 (local service to the U-District) and 522 (express to downtown, no stops south of 125th St).
- Carkeek Park, 950 NW Carkeek Park Rd (Far northwest corner of the city; enter from NW 110th St or 117th St.), ☎ +1 206 684-0877, . 6AM-10PM daily. The century-old trees and surprisingly hilly terrain surrounding a small valley give the impression that you're far from the city. Excellent for a walk in the woods. Free.
- Pioneer Days Street Fair, . Late Aug. Lake City has a great street fair, complete with street vendors, food, music and a parade with local kids and performers on up to the SeaFair Pirates. It has a small-town feel while the streets are lined with all sorts of families and crazies from the neighborhood. The kid's parade usually starts at 6, then the main parade starts at 7. Fun for all. Not for those who need irony to be entertained, or for those who can't stand a city crowd.
- Northgate Mall, though it may be the commercial center and focus of extensive new development, offers nothing unique beyond the standard large shopping mall experience. However, it is well-equipped to satisfy all your chain store and food court needs.
- Lake City's pawn and thrift stores may present you with some good bargains. Value Village in particular has great deals on decent clothing items that foolish people rid themselves of.
- No trip to Lake City would be complete without buying a used car from the reputable salespeople.
- Minoo. A Persian bakery. Sells a wide array of fried honey pastries and some nut-based cookies.
- Chang's Thai, (On Lake City Way.).
- Thai One On, (On Lake City Way.).
- Enat, (A little west of downtown Lake City.). An Ethiopian restaurant.
- Mr. Villa, (Near the intersection with 15th Ave.). An authentic Mexican restaurant. The tacos al carbon, homemade tortillas, and green salsa are not to be missed.
- Anita's Indian Bistro, (On 15th Ave.). Rich and flavorful curries also available as sides for dipping naan.
- The Sugar Shack, (Near the intersection of Lake City Way and 15th Ave.). A bakery with cholesterol-boosting treats sure to please the palate and necessitate some cardiovascular exercise.
- Pho Binh, (On Lake City Way.). Fantastic Pho and Vietnamese sandwiches.
- Masala of India, (On Northgate Way east of the mall.).
- Santorini Pizza & Pasta, 11001 35th Ave NE, ☎ +1 206 440-8499, . M-Sa 4PM-10PM. Neighborhood Italian (with some Greek tones) restaurant known for good food and house wine. The cooks have a tendency to use ample amounts of cheese. Extremely large dessert portions, particularly the baklava.
- Saffron Grill, 2132 N Northgate Way, ☎ +1 206 417-0707, . Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-10:30PM. Great Indian and Mediterranean food. Same owners and same basic menu Taste of India in the U-District. Happy hour food and drink deals from 2pm to 7pm.
True to Seattle form, Starbucks and drive thru coffee huts are everywhere. If you are looking for alcoholic refreshments, there are numerous neighborhood pubs — just ask around. In general, the farther north you get, the fewer options you have.
There are few lodgings worth considering in North Seattle. Stay with friends, or look for more plentiful options downtown or in the U-District. On the other hand, what can be found here is generally inexpensive. Avoid Aurora Avenue's hotels, which are mostly hourly rate and highly sketchy.
- Hotel Nexus, 2140 N Northgate Way, ☎ +1 206 365-0700 (toll free: +1 800 435-0754, [email protected], fax: +1 206 365-0750), . Free wi-fi, outdoor pool, complimentary scheduled shuttle service, and free room service from the on-site Indian restaurant, Saffron Grill.
All branches of the Seattle Public Library offer free wireless access. Use of public, Internet-connected computers for up to an hour at a time is also free, though if you don't have a SPL library card, you must request a temporary login from the circulation desk.
Wi-fi is de rigeur in any self-respecting coffee shop.
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