Capitol Hill is one of Seattle’s most vibrant neighborhoods—and it’s one of contrasts. There’s the quiet, leafy streets sporting mansions and well-manicured lawns, and then there’s a happening restaurant, bar, and nightclub scene at the neighborhood’s center. There’s something for everyone here.
Capitol Hill’s moniker was once aspirational. Its creators thought the geologically prominent neighborhood might one day be the site of the state’s capitol building, but government bigwigs had a different idea. (Olympia ended up Washington’s capital city.) Still, the neighborhood is a destination for many, where young professionals might mingle with the thriving LGBTQ community, and artists and foodies frequent establishments that Kurt Cobain once played. Niche theaters, music venues, quirky coffee shops, bookstores, and high-end boutiques all feel at home here.
You might build a trip to Capitol Hill around the weekly Broadway Farmers Market, held every Sunday year-round, to buy fresh and seasonal artisanal foods, flowers, and crafts. On sunny days, Volunteer Park is a bustling gathering spot for picnics and a game of Frisbee. Climb the water tower for free, 360-degree views of Seattle, and then visit Volunteer Park Conservatory’s glass-encased collection of cacti, pitcher plants, orchids, and ferns. Some Seattle sightseeing tours visit Capitol Hill.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Capitol Hill attracts every type of traveler, including young visitors and families.
- Capitol Hill is best seen on foot, so be prepared with comfortable walking shoes.
- Parking is limited, so it’s advisable to use public transportation or a ride-hailing app.
How to Get There
Capitol Hill can be found just east of the downtown business district. While there is street parking and pay lots, these tend to be competitive and pricy. Rather than drive, it’s best to take public transportation (using the Seattle Streetcar, Link Light rail, or numerous bus lines). Or, book a tour that includes round-trip transport.
When to Get There
The timing of your visit depends on your ultimate goal. If you’re here to party, the nightclubs start heating up around 10pm on weekends. If you’re hoping to visit almost any other time, the earlier in the day is better to avoid crowds.
Capitol Hill Restaurants
This neighborhood is one of the most exciting dining destinations in all of Seattle. You’ll find James Beard Award-winning restaurants next to up-and-comers and under-the-radar gems. For some of the best Italian food outside of Europe, try the handmade pasta at Spinasse after an aperitivo at next-door Artusi. Increasingly acknowledged on a national stage, the playful Japanese fare at Adana is worth trying. And for impeccable flavors from around Asia, Stateside has you covered for brunch and dinner.