Capitol Hill and Walkability go hand in hand. Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is tops for walkability in the entire city. This neighborhood has it all, and if you were lucky enough to work somewhere on the hill, you wouldn’t ever have to leave. In an area that’s roughly 2 miles by 4 miles, you can do just about everything except walk into a Walmart (and isn’t that a wonderful thing?). Your day can start with a trip to your favorite independent café for whatever coffee, chai, or tea beverage you prefer. These neighborhood joints are best discovered on foot, like Analog Coffee on Summit Avenue where you can sip a cup of joe while listening to the rich sounds of real vinyl from stereo cabinet speakers. No matter which café you choose, make the most of your time by chatting with locals or browsing the latest copy of The Stranger to get your day off to the best possible start. No car is needed for the hill, of course – the city blocks are small up here. However, if it’s raining too hard for you, there’s always the bus, but don’t let the locals catch you or they’ll call you a wimp. On your way from the café to work, it’s likely you’ll take a shortcut through a park, big or small, since the hill is scattered with them. Who says you can’t live in the city and have your nature too?
After a morning spent in your hip office that replaced walls and cubicles with lounges and group work spaces, use your lunch break to grab some grub and take care of a few errands (it’s easy — everything is so close together). Stop by the Capitol Hill Branch of the Seattle Public Library to pick up those books you requested, run into the post office to grab the mail that accumulated while you were in Palm Springs for the White Party, and then duck into one of the little neighborhood markets that make life on the hill so much more convenient. If your evening plans include a date with someone special, browse the amazing boutiques, like Retail Therapy on Pike Street, that make Capitol Hill so unique and small-business friendly. Then it’s back to the office for a few more hours until you’re released into the hum and bustle that transforms this part of the city every evening.
Why head straight home after work when you can meet friends for a drink in one of the myriad bars (gay or straight) or restaurants tucked into each city block of this dynamic neighborhood. You might just stay for happy hour, or maybe you’ll make a night of it. Any night of the week, you can find something exciting to do until all hours: take in a show hosted by one of our city’s lovely drag-queen mavens like Donatella Howe and Sylvia O’Stayformore, dance your cares away (at Neighbors, Rplace, the Century Ballroom – it’s all good), or listen to music by local or far-flung musicians in one of the many music venues Capitol Hill has to offer like, Neumo’s or Chop Suey. Maybe you’re the go-getter, change-your-life type who spends your evenings taking classes to get that promotion at work. Luckily for you, the hill also has Seattle’s first community college, Seattle Central College, offering bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, and professional certificates to those who want to get ahead in life.
Unlike suburbanites, residents of Capitol Hill don’t have to get in their cars to run errands on the weekend. Well-situated grocery stores dot the hill making weekly shopping a breeze. If you don’t feel like dancing Saturday night away, you can take in the latest independent or foreign film at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) Egyptian Theatre. SIFF attracts movie goers from all over the greater Seattle area year round and world wide for its big May/June film fest. If your tastes run toward the literary, then The Elliott Bay Book Company is the place for you – a bookstore where you can browse the shelves for hours, drink coffee until your heart races, and hear your favorite authors read from their latest tomes. Who says print books are dead? Finally, start your lazy Sunday with a soul-reviving visit to your local church (where all are welcome – this is Capitol Hill, after all), followed by brunch (champagne or otherwise), and maybe a stroll through the extensive grounds of Volunteer Park. While you are there, perhaps take in the latest exhibit at the Seattle Asian Art Museum or climb to the Water Tower observation deck for a free, amazing view of Seattle.
All of these amenities equal great walkability, which is especially needed in a neighborhood with limited parking and lots of hills. And should you ever need to leave the hill, there are always bikes, Zipcars, and public transportation. But why would you want to do that?