Hidden Gems in Seattle

Last Updated on May 23, 2024 by Estrella

Mount Rainier, Washington

Hidden gems in Seattle are not hard to find. If you are not in a hurry, drive along some interesting looking streets that are not busy. This is how I discovered the hidden gems I am about to share with you in this blog. This article was originally published on February 15, 2019, and has been updated on May 23, 2024.

Hidden gems in Seattle

Since cherry blossom season is one of the most beautiful time in Seattle, here are some residential areas to enjoy the beauty without running into crowds. University of Washington campus is famous for their cherry blossom. However, it is a popular place for cherry blossom season. So you’ll run into a lot of traffic.

Where to see Cherry Blossoms without running into a crowd

Just a few miles south of U.W., near Volunteer Park, there are a few residential streets that are lined with these beautiful blossoms. I’ve seen professional photographers take pictures in the middle of the road during quiet hours when there are hardly any cars passing by.

A few blocks down the hill from the entrance to Volunteer Park are streets covered with cherry blossom petals in April. It’s like a snow-covered street, except with cherry blossom. Look for them from 19th to 21st Ave. And bring your camera!

Neighborhood with a small town feel

The Arboretum is a good place to visit in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. In addition to the trails, you can also explore a neighborhood nearby.

While you drive slowly through the curved road toward 23rd Ave., (past the Japanese Garden) turn left on 23rd and go toward the water to explore the Madison Park neighborhood. Most of the buildings are no more than two stories, except for the condos by the lake. It has a small town feel. It can be a lovely way to spend a leisurely afternoon.

Houseboat communities

Houseboat communities are enjoyable to visit. Many of them are on Lake Union. Remember the movie Sleepless in Seattle? The floating home that Tom Hanks was filmed in is on Lake Union.

You can leisurely stroll along Fairview Ave. It’s a mile or two from Fred Hutchinson. The houseboat communities are private, so please pay attention to the No Trespassing signs.

There are a couple of view points with a bench for you to sit and enjoy the activities on Lake Union. One is Roanoke Street Mini Park. There are just a few parking spots. If you walk south along the lake, you’ll come to another view point where I’ve seen people enter with their paddle boards.

On sunny days, Lake Union can be very busy. These hidden gems are spots you can access the lake without running into a crowd.

Another place to see floating homes is from a residential area. When you travel south on Roosevelt Way, after crossing the metal grated bridge (past 42nd) turn left on Fuhrman Ave. Around Shelby Street, look for parking. Walk toward the water and you’ll see a houseboat community, with a lovely view of Portage Bay across the lake. Again, this is private property.

If you drive up the steep hill on Shelby toward 10th, pull over to the side and park your car. Get out to take a photo of the lake and the bridge. This is one splendid picture you can use as a Christmas card.

Neighborhood with interesting architecture

If you like architecture, keep driving on Fuhrman Ave. The name changes at some point, but stay on it and turn left around 22nd Ave. The houses here will transport you to another continent, or from a different time. Drive slowly. When you come back out to the main road, St. Dimitri Church is on your right. The annual Greek Festival is held here in early Fall.

Where to go for afternoon tea, British style

After this relaxing afternoon outing, you can stop by Queen Mary Tea Room for dessert and a pot of tea. Their address is 2912 NE 55th Street. Not far from University Village Shopping Mall. In fact, Queen Mary is a popular place for afternoon tea and lunch. If you are just stopping by for dessert, you don’t need reservations. However, if you are taking someone out for a birthday lunch, do make a reservation. It’s not a huge place, but the experience is unique.

And if you want to pick up a souvenir, walk down the street to 2809 55th St., and enjoy a leisurely visit at the Queen Mary Tea Emporium. Children who adore tea time would enjoy this place. Adults too!

I hope you’ll enjoy your time visiting these hidden gems in Seattle. If you know of some, please let me know. I would like to explore new places.

If you enjoy reading this article, here is another one on What to do in Washington.

Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking.    To schedule a session with her, please email estrellachan@gmail.com

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