Hidden Gems in Seattle

Last Updated on June 17, 2022 by Estrella

Mount Rainier, Washington

If you have a few hours free, and you want to explore the Northwest, there are some hidden gems in Seattle. In just a few short hours, you’d feel like you’ve taken a mini vacation.

Hidden gems in Seattle

Since cherry blossom season is coming in a couple of months, 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. 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.

Where to see Cherry Blossoms

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!

The Arboretum is another place to visit early Spring. While you drive slowly through the curved road toward 23rd Ave., turn left and go toward the water to explore Madison Park. It is not a real park, but a small neighborhood that has mostly one or two-storied buildings. Spend a slow afternoon here. You’ll feel very relaxed for having done that.

Boathouse communities

Boathouse communities are enjoyable to visit. Many of them are on Lake Union. Remember the movie Sleepless in Seattle? That boathouse that Tom Hanks stayed in is on Lake Union. You can leisurely stroll along Fairview Ave. It’s a mile or two from Fred Hutchinson. The boathouse 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. On a sunny and warm day, Lake Union is especially busy.

Another place to see boathouses is from a residential area. When you travel south on Roosevelt Way, after crossing the metal grate (past 42nd) turn left on Fuhrman Ave. Around Shelby, look for parking. Walk toward the water and you’ll see a boathouse community. Again, this is private property, but you can see Portage Bay across the lake. If you drive up the hill on Shelby, pull over to the side and park. Get out to take a photo of the lake and the bridge across.

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 the middle of September.

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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