With its convivial boardwalk promenade, families and friends relaxing on the sand as the weather warms up, and panoramic vistas of graceful ferry boats, verdant Bainbridge Island, and the majestic Olympic Mountains, Alki Beach (1702 Alki Ave SW) might just be the most idyllic urban beachfront you’ll ever meet. There’s even a working 1913 lighthouse—starting in late May, you can take a tour and climb the stairs to the tower. Alki is but one appealing community in West Seattle, a hilly and handsome neighborhood that’s home to roughly one in five Seattleites. You can drive or bus here across the Duwamish River from downtown, or come by way of a scenic 15-minute water taxi ride. Flanking the beachfront, the cheerful sidewalk cafes and seafood shacks on Alki Avenue tempt passersby. Tuck into a Dungeness crab Louie salad at casually sophisticated Harry’s Beach House (2676 Alki Ave SW). A couple of miles away beside Seacrest Park, snag a table with a view of the shimmering Seattle skyline and linger over a bowl of the signature clam, bay shrimp, and scallop chowder at Salty’s on Alki Beach (1936 Harbor Ave SW), which also has a terrific wine list.
West Seattle’s commercial heart is a bit south along a colorful stretch of California Avenue known as The Junction. Stylish storefronts here proffer regionally sourced housewares and knickknacks at Alair Gift Shop (3270 California Ave SW); and candles, potions, and apparel at Fleurt Collective (4536 California Ave SW). Stop inside Sound & Fog (4735 40th Ave SW) for a caffeine pick-me-up—or a glass of local wine. When the dinner hour arrives, the neighborhood’s culinary diversity comes into full focus. Newcomer Lily’s Salvadorean (2940 SW Avalon Way) has quickly developed a following for its jalapeño-and-cheese pupusas. Head to industrial-chic Haymaker (4706 California Ave SW) for people-watching and creative brunch and dinner fare, from breakfast carbonara to Nashville hot chicken sandwiches. Other terrific options include Lebanese American–owned Phoenicia (4717 42nd Ave SW) for braised lamb shank and creative pizzas, and Itto’s Tapas (4160 California Ave SW) for Spanish and Moroccan small plates. Continue down the picturesque shoreline to Lincoln Park (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW), with its bike path and evergreen-shaded hiking trails. Keep your eyes on the horizon—you might just spy a sea lion or a whale in the distance.
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