Once a haven for speakeasies, underground dealings, and shady men, Lake City has done its time and now ranks as one of the most rapidly growing neighborhoods in Seattle. Its low cost of living and distance from downtown attracted diverse ethnic groups that have created an exceptional mix of dining and entertainment institutions. If you look beyond the car dealerships and tow companies, Lake City provides a great neighborhood experience.
Just after the turn of the century, residents of Seattle began to expand outward in their newly purchased automobiles. Areas like Lake City became more accessible but were still out of the way. When prohibition came to Seattle, Lake City became the perfect venue for speakeasies. Tunnel systems, watchtowers, corrupt officials, and dangerous nights were the norm for Lake City in its early days. Once prohibition was repealed, Lake City lost its function and unfortunately kept its back-alley reputation. However, over the last decade, renovations and efforts by the neighborhood and chamber of commerce have given Lake City the second chance it deserves. Tree-lined avenues, farmer's markets, and family-owned restaurants have replaced dive bars and abandoned buildings.
The heart of Lake City is centered around Lake City Way and NE 125th St. Here is a dense population of ethnic restaurants, burger joints, drug stores, and salons. Thai One On is a clever play on words and a spicy trip to the East for your taste buds. Dick's Drive-In is a classic Seattle institution for perfect burgers and malts. Award winning, family owned and operated Toyoda Sushi is easily one of the best Japanese restaurants in the entire city and cannot be missed for a classic roll or simple sashimi. After dinner, grab a margarita or a mojito at El Norte Lounge. June through October, catch the Lake City Farmer's Market near the public library where you'll find local farmers, artists, chefs, and musicians showcasing their best work.
The periphery of Lake City's boundaries is mainly constituted of residential streets that harbor hidden destinations. Head east and find the shores of Lake Washington, the second largest freshwater lake in Washington. Matthews Beach is the most popular public beach in Lake City. Most sunny days will crowd the park with locals having a picnic, going for a swim, or enjoying a walk on lakeside trails. West of Matthews Beach, along 35th Avenue, is Meadowbrook Park and Pond, a pair of city owned green spaces that include private trails, tennis courts, and a collection of large play fields.
After a day of exploring Lake City's natural side, head back to Lake City Way and cool down with a session at Pilates Northwest. Finish your visit with a stop at the Beer Authority for a few rare bottles of brew. Cruise through its busy avenues or walk along its quiet neighborhood streets and you'll find what makes this Seattle neighborhood a unique destination.
- • Lake City Chamber of Commerce: www.lakecitychamber.com
- • Lake City Farmer's Market: www.seattlefarmersmarkets.org/markets/lake_city
- • Lake City – Wikipedia article: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_City,_Seattle
- • Thai One On: thaioneonusa.com
- • Dick's Drive-In: www.dicksdrivein.com
- • Matthews Beach: www.seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?id=347
- • Meadowbrook Park: www.cityofseattle.net/parks/park_detail.asp?id=352