Fences & Flowers

The CB Bain Blog

Discovering Seattle: 5 Back Doors into The City

Oct 4, 2018

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Seattle’s visitors and new residents often gravitate toward the common tourist attractions that are, deservedly so, at the top of any list of things to see. Pike Place Market, the Monorail running to the newly renovated Space Needle and Mt. Rainier are well worth exploring. But it’s through the back doors where many really start to uniquely weave their lives into the historic fabric of our city.


A visit to the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) along Lake Union will open anyone’s eyes to the rich contributions made to our region by Natives, Americans to the east prior to statehood in 1889 and Europeans who laid claim to land from Bellingham to Bremerton. The new Nordic Museum in Ballard, still a hub of Scandinavian culture, highlights just how immigrants arriving from Nordic countries captured familiar industries in timber and fishing. There’s something for everyone who wants to discover how our cultural past is still a part of today’s communities.


Wherever a new resident lands, the greater Seattle area offers many neighborhoods to explore each with its own flavor, tempo and sense of pride. A vibrant, growing Madison Park gives way to the historic Central District that then climbs to an awakening First Hill.

Eclectic Capitol Hill, with several micro-neighborhoods, looks upon a completely redesigned South Lake Union and an ever-renewed Belltown. The views of Puget Sound seen from tight-knit Magnolia lead to a much livelier, hilly Queen Anne. A refurbished waterfront in Edmonds adds to the appeal of quiet suburbia. Curiosity will enlighten every new soul who gets out to take advantage of all that is Seattle.

Coffee & Bakeries

There’s coffee everywhere. From Starbucks Reserve on Melrose Avenue to the artistry of Northern Italian roasting at Espresso Vivace on Broadway Avenue  or the new La Marzocco Cafe in Seattle Center, we are caffeinated in every direction. Everyone has their favorites and part of the fun of getting a foothold in Seattle’s coffee culture is trying them all.

Lately, new bakeries have popped up or local, established bakers have expanded. Cherry, almond scones and orange, chocolate bread from Macrina Bakery are now available on the backside of Capitol Hill. Peanut butter cookies and chocolate fudge cake from Sugar Bakery can be devoured in Queen Anne and the best pain au chocolat will delight you at Café Besalu. Columbia City Bakery and the just-opened Ada’s Discovery Cafe in the center of Cap Hill are just some of the many choices we now have for tasty goodies to accompany all that searching for just the right cup of joe.

Parks, Trails & Islands

Our geographic location serves up ample parks, hiking trails, biking paths and ferries for island hopping. From Carkeek Park to the north to the Arboretum near Elliott Bay to Seward Park jutting into Lake Washington, there are countless green spaces for strolling, hiking or just hanging out. Burke-Gilman bike trail is just shy of 20 miles long from Bothell to Ballard.

The islands of Bainbridge, Whidbey, Vashon, Fidalgo and San Juan are easily accessible and worth the trip by ferry, which gives spectacular views of and orientation to the city. Some can be reached by car, others not. Explore artist colonies, outdoor recreation or vibrant shopping villages. According to the Washington Tourism Alliance, outdoor adventure possibilities are one of the top reasons people move here.

Live & Let Live

Finally, Seattle, with its embedded progressive and liberal culture, is supported by similar politics. We are truly a “live and let live” society where the desire for common values is one of the threads that binds the region together. Sustainability, adopting bolder climate actions or moving toward gender and income equality are just part of what we strive for. We aren’t without our challenges, certainly, but the push for a better, smarter place to live carves a dynamic but vital path, a path we must walk so that everyone feels a part of, rather than apart from, our Emerald city.

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