Essential Seattle: Day Three
After spending day one exploring all of the must-hit Seattle attractions and day two walking around the historic districts, it’s time to get even further off the beaten bath on your third day in the Emerald City. Begin your day by visiting a bohemian neighborhood off the tourist radar and then head to Lake Union to savor one of Seattle’s most amazing assets: its endless bodies of water. Finish off your day with a walk through the leafy University of Washington campus and dinner in Seattle’s low-key U District.
Have a quiet breakfast at Fremont’s Silence Heart Nest vegetarian restaurant. If a vegetarian kale scramble isn’t your jam, Roxy’s Diner is Seattle’s answer to the classic East Coast diner.
Check out the hippie shops of Fremont and enjoy a stroll along the canal. Be sure to check out the 16-foot-tall statue of Lenin, which somehow made its way from Czechoslovakia to Seattle after the 1989 fall of communism in Eastern Europe.
To continue your incongruous Cold War tour, walk one block south on Evanston Avenue North to check out the 53-foot-tall Fremont Rocket, made out of an actual Cold War-era missile. Walk another five minutes to North 34th Street and Aurora Avenue North to see a chunk of the Berlin Wall. For one more oddity — this one not related to geopolitics — walk another five minutes north to the Aurora overpass at North 36th Street. The massive Fremont Troll is hiding right where he should be: under the bridge.
Have lunch at El Camino, a Mexican restaurant with a strong Oaxacan influence that uses locally sourced and organic ingredients as often as possible. Try the free-range chicken enchiladas and choose between three different types of mole.
Kayaking on Lake Union
After lunch, take a 20-minute bus (the 31 or 32 line) to Agua Verde Paddle Club. At Agua Verde, you can rent a single and double kayak or a stand-up paddleboard. Paddle west from Portage Bay going under the bridge and into Lake Union. You’ll see houseboats before you get to Gas Works Park. The Sleepless in Seattle houseboat is on the far side of the lake along Westlake Avenue. You’ll also have great views of downtown Seattle across Lake Union.
Depending on timing, you could call it a day after your kayak tour. The Agua Verde Cafe has a happy hour from 4:00 to 6:00 PM, Monday through Saturday, made even more fun with fresh guac and chips.
Walk through the UW Campus
If you’ve still got energy, walk east toward the University of Washington. In 15 minutes, you’ll arrive at Drumheller Fountain. Turn right and walk on the Rainier Vista lawn. On your left, behind Sylvan Grove, the multi-story Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering is training students who are quickly snapped up by Amazon, Microsoft, and Seattle’s tech upstarts. You’ll admire the wooded campus as you take in views of Mount Rainier.
The U District is all about cheap eats for student budgets, but a few of these no-frills spots are true gems. One such treasure is Xi’an Noodles, which specializes in the Muslim-influenced cuisine of the Xi’an region, with hand-pulled noodles and spicy lamb dishes. Afterward, hit up any of the dive bars in the area filled with students (The Kraken Bar & Lounge is a reliable favorite). After three days of spending your money on craft food and drink, you’ll be happy to end your time in Seattle enjoying a cheap beer and some live music.