If you hear “Capitol Hill” and you think politics- think again! Our favorite Capitol Hill (Cap Hill for short) sits right east of downtown in the heart of Seattle and is quite different from its Washington DC counterpart.
Upon arrival in this neighborhood, you’ll immediately notice the rainbow of colors painted on the crosswalks as a welcome sign for the city’s largest LGBTQ community. It’s a neighborhood for everyone as people with colored hair and tattoos wait outside nightclubs for the next show while a family and their dogs walk by to head home after dinner.
1) Volunteer Park
Capitol Hill has a few green spaces, but none of them are as quintessentially Seattle as Volunteer Park. Besides the scenic view of Seattle’s Skyline, the park includes a conservatory, an amphitheater, a water tower with an observation deck, a reservoir, the Seattle Asian Art Museum and a wading pool. Other parks to check out in the neighborhood are: Cal Anderson Park, Washington Park Arboretum, Japanese Garden and Lake View Cemetery (which houses the graves of Bruce Lee and his son Brandon).
Unsure what to eat but know you want something tasty? Your best bet is to head to Capitol Hill. You’ll find everything from swanky Italian eateries like Spinasse to hot-dog carts selling the famous Seattle Dog for just a few dollars. Explore Nepalese food at Annapurna, try homemade ramen at Ooink, or head to Dick’s, a Seattle institution, for a burger and shake.
Although we’ve written about coffee before, this neighborhood deserves special mention as it has been the birthplace of many independent coffee shops. It’s home to the first Starbucks Reserve Roastery (a fancy Starbucks with food) and is where Starbucks tests out new drinks and menu items in shops disguised as different brands. Victrola and Caffe Vita are both Seattle staples for cups of Joe and Espresso Vivace’s owner is credited with popularizing latte art in the US!
4) Elliott Bay Book Company
Although it’s becoming harder to find independent bookstores, Elliott Bay Book Company is flourishing. The store is always packed with people scoping out the latest novels and picking up new cookbooks to try out at home. Sip a coffee at Little Oddfellows Café in the back of the store before taking home a store-branded tote to commemorate your Seattle trip.
5) SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Just like everything else in Cap Hill, SIFF Cinema Egyptian is not so typical. This single-screen movie theater shows indie and foreign films and documentaries. Check the schedule to see what’s playing while you’re in the neighborhood; chances are it’ll be something you’ve never seen before!
6) A Night Out
Capitol Hill’s streets are lined with bars, breweries and concert venues, so you can only imagine how the neighborhood comes alive at night. Whether you’re in the mood to dance at Century Ballroom or check out a rock show with an after party at Neumos there’s something going on for everyone. Check out our blog on Where to Hear Live Music in Seattle for more tips on Seattle nightlife.
7) Farmer’s Market
Every Sunday in front of Seattle Central College you’ll find the Capitol Hill Farmer’s Market. Browse all the fresh vegetables and fruits in season while you sample locally made artisanal cheeses and jams. It’s a great place to find gifts to bring back home.
*Did you know? Some photos that appear on this page are public domain! Neat!