Call Now! 206.557.6400
email phone

The Blog

Blog Category - Seattle

How to Stay Cool in the Northwest Heat

Categories: Lifestyle, Renton, Sammamish Washington, Seattle | Posted: August 6, 2019

One lovely thing about Western Washington is that it rarely gets to the ’80s even in August. Moderate temperatures allow homeowners to save money on electric bills, and many homes don’t have air conditioning. The climate here allows you to make the most of your summer.

You can have picnics outside on the patio every evening with long summer days at the parks. When the thermometer does begin to climb, there are more than enough watering holes and spray parks to cool off you and your little ones.

If you have young children spray parks are wonderful. There are over a dozen spray parks throughout the Seattle bowl, and each of them is interesting and fun in its unique way. Washington State uses public spray parks and wading pools to save water by deterring backyard sprinklers and kiddie pools.

 

Spray Parks and Wading Pools

Spray parks are free for your children’s enjoyment. Stay all day in the sprinklers. They’re located in areas with play structures for kids if they tire of being wet. Or you can utilize the parks for a quick cool off and recharge before getting back on schedule.

Crossroads Water Spray Playground in Bellevue has a giant orca whale that sprays water out of his air hole splashing gleeful screaming children who climb and lay all over his great big body. The giant half whale seems to be rising out of the soft blue squishy slip-free surface. A small pod follows the mother and a smattering of water spray shoots out from all angles cooling off kids.

Sammamish Commons has a small spray park next to the YMCA allowing for plenty of parking for a quick stop in and cool down.

Wading pools are another great way to cool off for small children. Check the schedule for your local wading pool. Some are only open certain days. The Parks Department fills the pools if the temperature exceeds 70 degrees.

Wading pools are perfect for babies and toddlers, who might be intimidated by the crowds of older, rambunctious children at the spray parks. Littles can sit and splash outside in these giant, ankle-deep kiddie pools.

Green Lake has a  large wading pool that’s packed to the gills with darling babies in sunhats on hot summer days laughing and splashing each other with baby rolls. If you don’t have a baby, but miss the days, come by to see the bare, giggling bellies, they’ll keep you smiling all day.

A complete list of spray parks and wading pools are found here.

 

Beach Parks

Chism Beach Park is located in Bellevue, this hidden gem is tucked away in a nice neighborhood. The grounds are well maintained, and there’s a swimming area in Lake Washington with a lifeguard. Chism is a peaceful oasis, it’s a great space to bring a book and a picnic, and on a clear day, you can enjoy views of Seattle on the other side of the lake.

Kennydale Beach Park is located in Renton where you can enjoy almost two acres of sandy waterfront on Lake Washington. Kennydale has a swimming area and docks to jump off with lifeguards on duty during the summer.

Newcastle Beach Park is a semi-large park with a play structure for the kids, a swimming area and a long dock for sunbathing and jumping into the cool crystal waters of Lake Washington.

 

Watersport Rentals

Issaquah Paddle Sports rents standup paddleboards and kayaks to paddle around Lake Sammamish. If you’d like to try your hand at paddle sports, but don’t want to make the financial leap into purchasing a kayak or paddleboard and roof rack, keep it easy and rent at Issaquah. You’ll most likely find that you love it, and this way you’ll have the chance to test out equipment from the friendly, knowledgeable staff before you make a purchase.

Seattle Boat Rentals in Queen Anne on Lake Union. Here you can enjoy boating a few days a year without paying high maintenance and docking fees of owning one. Just rent a boat for the day, rates hover in the $500’s not including gas. Grab a group of friends, bring food and spend a perfect day out on the lake in a speed or pontoon boat. Wakeboards, water skis, inner tubes, and other water sports equipment are available for rent with the boat.

Woodmark Waterfront Adventures in Kirkland rents everything; kayaks, speedboats, jet skis, wave runners, and standup paddleboards. Grab your craft of choice and head out on Lake Washington for a day you won’t soon forget.

 

Aquatic Centers

Henry Moses Aquatic Center in Renton is open during the summer months only. The center has 15 water features including water slides, a lazy river, lap swims, a toddler play area, and spray features. It gets pretty busy, so if you can make it during the week or early on the weekends, you’ll avoid the crowds.

Colman Pool in Seattle, Colman is the only outdoor pool operated by the Seattle Parks Department. This heated, saltwater pool is located at the tip of Lincoln Park just off the beach with views of the Puget Sound from the pool. A waterslide, diving boards, and lap swim area are fun and refreshing with a beautiful view of the Sound.

The Seattle area has dozens of options for swimming, sunbathing, beaches, and water sports. If you’d like to get away from the city, look into the surrounding State and National Parks. The Cascades have stunning mountain lakes carved by glaciers, and if you’d like warmer water, many Washingtonians head over to Eastern Washington for a dry, desert climate.

Enjoy, stay safe and have a great summer!

 

Summer Music Events In and Around Seattle 2019

Categories: Community Spotlight, Lifestyle, Renton, Sammamish Plateau, Seattle, Washington | Posted: July 16, 2019

If you’re new to the Seattle you’ll quickly learn that Summers in Seattle can be enchanting with their perfect weather and long summer days. If you’re looking for things to do around Seattle there are dozens of parks in and around the city that have big and small concert series that you can check out. Or depending on your new neighborhood you can stick around and walk with a blanket and a pair of flip flops to your favorite park. The summertime is festival season and anything goes, and the best part is that most most summertime events are child-friendly.

Marymoor Concert Series from July 14, – September 8, a jam-packed musical summer is about to begin at Marymoor with 13 bands playing; Cake, Slightly Stoopid, Death Cab for Cutie and Lionel Richie are just a few of the big names gearing up for a summer in Seattle. Kids aren’t left out of this concert series line up, Nickelodeon’s Jojo Siwa will be performing for the littles on August 18.

Jam Fest July 18, from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. a full music fest with musicians peppered throughout the alleys and walkways will be playing throughout historic Chinatown Seattle. This area has a long and interesting history. Jam Fest is a great excuse to get out and experience the street scene, food and of course the variety of music. Come out for the tenth year in a row of Jam Fest and enter with only a suggested donation.

Darrington Bluegrass Festival July 19, – 21, if you love Bluegrass, it’s worth your time to take a lovely drive North to the incredibly beautiful town of Darrington. It’s a small town in the foothills with an unbelievable Cascade mountain backdrop framing every portrait for two and a half full days of bluegrass bands. This festival has been celebrated every year since the 1950s. Visitors camp out on the grounds for an around the clock weekend celebration.

Capitol Hill Block Party July 19, – 21, join thousands of others to enjoy a packed line up of over 100 local and international bands playing day and night on East Pike Street, 10th, 11th and 12th Avenue This is the block party to end all block parties.

Zoo Tunes, from country music to 80’s rock, to Feist, check the Woodland Park calendar for dates. Shows play randomly throughout the week from July 21, – August 28, you and the animals can enjoy live music at the zoo. Buy tickets now; bands are selling out quickly. Proceeds go to fund conservation, animal care, and education.

Downtown Summer Sounds runs almost daily from July through August and could possibly be the most exciting of all the concert series. You might happen upon any of the concerts at any given time. The shows are free and unassuming, and they pop up regularly throughout downtown at parks across Seattle. Check the busy schedule all over the city. Seattle gets back to its musical roots as a city of local expression, and earthy love for the arts during this phenomenal concert series that is sure to surprise locals and visitors. Make sure to check the full line up and don’t miss a minute, bring your kids, dogs, and picnics so you can sit and stay a while.

Free Summer Concerts at the Locks, music is so prominent in Seattle that even the Army gets involved. June through September free, live music concerts are held on the lock’s grounds. Big brass, orchestras, and jazz bands play free on the green. Bring some snacks and get classy.

Concerts at Seattle Center Every Friday throughout August families and singles can appreciate shows located at the mural at the Seattle Center. Each Friday three bands play starting at 5:30 p.m. with free entry on a first come, first serve basis. Bring the kids, food trucks will be onsite, but there are no queues for a picnic.

South Lake Union Block Party August 9, this is a fun, well-rounded event for all ages for a good cause. Local businesses get involved with art, food, and of course live music. All the proceeds go to job training for the homeless.

North City Jazz Walk August 13, head up North to Shoreline for eleven jazz bands playing in businesses all over town, a church, a door store, an animal hospital, tap houses, and the water district are just a few of the venues. Several are open to the public. Street food and noshes are available at most of the sites.

Bumbershoot from August 30 – September 1, on Labor Day weekend, Bumbershoot is an iconic Seattle festival and is a celebration of art, music, comedy and so much more. It’s an institution that’s been going on in Seattle for almost 50 years with dozens of artists. Check out the line-up and be sure to buy your tickets early, people come from far and wide every year to catch this festival.

No matter where you go, the common theme in Western Washington is to get outside. Bring out the family and enjoy art, culture, and the great outdoors. Happy Summer!

The Fourth of July Seattle Style

Categories: American Classic News, Lifestyle, Renton, Seattle | Posted: July 1, 2019

The Fourth of July is one of the best American holidays. This celebration of freedom couldn’t come at a better time of the year. The beginning of July in the Pacific Northwest already feels like a frenzy of freedom, the days are long, the sun is out, and the temperatures rise to a scorching 80 degrees. Fire up the kayaks and paddle boards and hit the lakes, it’s time to celebrate!

Firework displays explode in the sky all over the Puget Sound on the Fourth, so if you don’t want to brave the crowds at Lake Union, you have loads of other options. A bonus is that almost all of them are free to enter and you can bring a picnic, don’t forget the sunscreen. Most cities in King County ban fireworks, but if you’re interested in setting them off yourself check here for individual city codes and restrictions, here for an all-encompassing list of laws and regulations.

Uncorked Canvas in West Seattle, on July 3, kick off Independence Day Eve by grabbing a few friends and heading West to Uncorked Canvas. You can create your own fireworks explosions above the Space Needle. These you’ll be able to keep forever on canvas while you feed your inner artist. Maybe you’ll decide that you love painting, and this is just the beginning. Sign up soon; spaces are limited.

Seafair Summer 4th at Gasworks Park 12:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. & South Lake Union Park, 3:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Join thousands of other firework revelers for a show that was voted one of the best in the country, starting at 10:00 p.m. It’s the largest festival in Seattle every year. Check the link for the complete schedule of events; both parks will have live music, food, and beer gardens all day. Come ready to hang out on the grass with incredible views on the lake.

Bellevue Family Fourth located at the Bellevue Connection, this event is kicking off bright and early at 9:00 a.m. with a fun, Four on the 4th 4k dog and human walk or jog. After the event stick around for a doggie costume contest. Bouncy houses, children’s activities, food and live music and fireworks starting at 10:00 p.m. the Bellevue Youth Symphony orchestra will serenade crowds throughout the show and after for a post-show set.

4th of July Seatac at Angle Lake Park, swimming is open for the fourth this year, a spray park, kids bounce houses and live music starts at 1:00 p.m. and runs all day long until the fireworks start at 10:00 p.m.

4th of July Renton located at the Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, events begin at 8:00 a.m. for an all-day sand volleyball tournament. Kid’s activity zones, live music, and an onstage dance performance will entertain guests for over 12 hours of fun culminating in a 10:00 p.m. fireworks show for almost a full half hour.

An Edmonds kind of Fourth, kick off the day with a 5k or 1k family-friendly fun run/ walk and chase (a pretend) George Bracket, the founder of Edmonds through the streets. He’ll be the one with the big white beard. A competition scheduled after the run will have a winner for the best 4th of July costume.

Stay for a children’s and family parade, a beard and mustache contest with natural and anything goes category for anyone to participate, even if you can’t naturally grow a beard or mustache. The fireworks show will begin at 10:00 p.m.

Fourth on the Lake in Newcastle at Lake Boren Park, a low key, Newcastle type party begins at 6:00 p.m. the park will fill up with food vendors and residents. Pyrotechnicians will be onstage to answer all of your burning questions, starting at 6:30 p.m. The question and answer session will be followed by live music at 8:00 and fireworks at 10:00 p.m.

*A caring reminder; firework explosions are scary for your sweet furry friends, and more dogs and cats go missing during the 4th of July than any other day.

Keep pets closed up in an interior room or basement. A crate is a perfect space to put your dog or cat with lots of soft padding inside, drape blankets outside to absorb the noise with space for air. Set the crate in a cool back corner or basement, a fan, and radio in the background will help to drown out the booms and keep the air circulating and your pet cool.

Add your dog or cat’s favorite toy and treats, something to keep them occupied and distracted. Kongs stuffed with peanut butter, and dog treat puzzles are great to keep their minds off the noise. Lastly, thundershirts come recommended by vets, especially for dogs and cats with anxiety; it’s like a tight, secure hug that helps animals feel safe and calm.

Happy Fourth of July to you, your families and your furry friends!

 

8 Seattle and Renton Art Street Fairs You Don’t Want to Miss This Summer

Categories: American Classic News, Events, Lifestyle, Renton, Seattle | Posted: June 19, 2019

The sun is shining, and city calendars are overflowing with activities. Farmer’s markets, festivals, parades, and beer gardens are brimming all over the Seattle area.

There is so much to celebrate, blue skies, perfect weather, a sparkling Lake Washington and a market filled with creative, talented makers from around the country. Pull on your favorite summer outfit, grab some friends, and peruse the artsy side of the city.

 

Seattle:

  • Celebrate the First Thursday of every month except July in Occidental Square. Located just inland off of Pier 48 in where the ivy hangs thickly off of red brick buildings and the cruise ships drop thousands of passengers off flooding the streets with happy travelers. This lovely outdoor square is covered with overarching London Plane trees creating a beautiful shaded canopy overhead. Concrete ping pong tables will keep your kids happy while you shop. Every First Thursday from April through October except for in July, 55 of Seattle’s artisans set up booths here from 12-9:00 p.m., it has an atmosphere like a European market under the trees.
  • Art on the Rocks at the Bar Shoppe and Lounge is a neighboring event, and it’s also on the First Thursday of every month. Hit up the market then wander over to Art on the Rocks in Pioneer Square. They house a monthly art show with local artists who set up across three rooms inside the bar. You can enjoy craft cocktails and a DJ with no cover charge. If you haven’t yet discovered this venue you should give it a shot, it’s really cool. The bartenders are masters at their craft and are happy to customize drinks on the spot with only your preferences to go off. Take a look at their Facebook page; they’re beverage artists.
  • The Full Moon Market June 8 & 9, July 20 & 21, August 24 & 25, September 21 & 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you like modern jewelry, bohemian designs and clean, trendy looks this market is for you. Located in the Stumptown Coffee Roasters building downtown, a team of Pacific Northwest makers creates a fresh exchange of products that look like they leaped off a modern, stylish Pinterest board.
  • The SODO Flea Market located at the Epic Antique parking lot at 3701 7th Ave South takes place the second and last Saturdays of every month. Enjoy free parking at this event where you’ll find vintage and antique furniture from stylish local vendors. The SODO Flea Market was recognized as one of the best flea markets in the country. Don’t be fooled by the title; they house vendors selling more than the typical flea market finds. You’ll find products here like, handmade jewelry, dyed textiles, ceramics, vintage clothing, housewares, and even fresh cut flowers. Food and coffee trucks will keep you fueled up for the hunt.
  • Urban Craft Uprising 2019 Summer Show on June 22 & 23, 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. This is one of Seattle’s largest craft shows, it’s held at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. People line up around the block to be one of the first ones in for this event. The whole family is welcome. Hopefully, you’ll leave with ambitions and creative ideas flooding your head for potential projects.
  • Urban Craft Market and The Seattle Street Food Festival held on July 6 & 7, Fourth of July weekend, a marriage of two of the best festivals ever have combined forces to drain your pocketbook and make your home awesome. A massive celebration of makers, artists, and chefs are working together to create this fabulous downtown festival located at 217 9th Avenue in Seattle. Bring the family; there will be something here for everyone.

 

Renton:

  • Rummage Sale July 20, from 3-9:00 p.m. Located at the Renton Pavilion Event Center. Come treasure hunt to find that perfect something you’ve been looking for to complete your home décor or a rare vintage cameo necklace. You never know what to expect at this annual event. The best part is, it doesn’t start until three o’clock in the afternoon. For those of you who never make it to early morning garage sales, this one’s for you.
  • Summerfest July 20, in the Piazza Park, Renton is celebrating summer alongside the Rummage Sale. Live music, an art exhibit, and food trucks will be open for business downtown. A beer garden will keep the adults happy, and the evening will end with an open-air movie in the park.

 

Meeting so many artists and crafters might inspire you to create something wonderful. Come and visit If not for the artists, for the food trucks, culinary inspiration is great too.

Sharing the Excitement of Your New Home’s Construction on Social Media

Categories: Home Owner Tips, Lifestyle, Seattle, Washington | Posted: May 15, 2019

Social media is a big part of all our lives. Most of us use Facebook to stay connected to friends and family in different cities (or even countries!). And Instagram has let us take part in other peoples’ lives, whether it’s a new addition to their family, a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, or just day-to-day living.

These platforms are outlets for us to share big, exciting news with the people we love and care about. What could be bigger or more exciting than building a new home? Not only can you use these platforms to share the news – you’re building a home! – but you can take people along for the ride. Here are a few ways you can document and share your new home journey through social media.

Keep Your Friends & Family Updated

Use social media to document the home building process and give your friends and family updates on the process. Let them celebrate each milestone with you, even if they are hundreds of miles away. Regularly post updates and share photos of your new home as it’s being constructed.

They’re sure to offer words of encouragement and love, sharing in your excitement and joy each step along the way.

Reach Out to Your Followers for Style Input

As you know, there are a million decisions that go into building a new home. Like paint colors, flooring, kitchen cabinets and countertops, and so much more. While there are a lot of places to find inspiration, why not turn to your friends or family for ideas?

You could post photos of different rooms and ask for decorating advice or input. If you have particularly stylish friends or family, maybe reach out to them directly by tagging them in the photo. It’s a fun way to get people involved in the process and let people see the progress you’re making.

Create Photo Memories of Your Building Journey

Social platforms like Facebook make it super easy to create digital photo albums. By posting images of your new home in an album, you can both share it with your followers and keep a record of it for yourself. Years down the road, when you’re happily living in your new home, you will appreciate being able to look back at the process.

You’re going to be so busy in the next few months; you’ll hardly have time to really appreciate how amazing it is to build a home! Luckily, you can revisit these digital albums again and again to relive the journey.

Social media platforms are great for sharing updates and photos during your home building journey. Share learning moments and excitement with friends and family. Even better, each time you post you’re building digital photo albums you can revisit years from now.

7 Local Cinco de Mayo 2019 Locations in Seattle to Attend

Categories: American Classic News, Community Spotlight, Lifestyle, Seattle | Posted: March 29, 2019

This year Cinco de Mayo falls on a Sunday, a lucky thing about that is that you can make a weekend out of it. Local Seattle events will be happening Saturday and Sunday this year so you can expect lots of the neighborhood Mexican restaurant and bar will be packed and offering drink specials. Here’s a list we’ve compiled for celebrating Seattle locals to check out this holiday.

We’ve compiled a list of the biggest bashes in Seattle.

Waterways Cinco de Mayo Party Cruise May 4, book now for a party cruise $62 saves you a spot on board including one free drink and a taco bar. You’ll be dancing down the lake on this party boat with a live DJ and sparkling water below.

Fiesta 5k Ole! & Food Truck Festival May 4, located the in Volunteer Park. Register to run in the 5k starting at 9:30 a.m. and stay for two live bands and a DJ in the beer and margarita tent. Food trucks from all over Seattle will be joining in the fun bringing fresh, Mexican inspired meals to the party. It will last until 5:00 p.m. when the crowd will let loose on Capitol Hill joining in on other parties throughout the city.

15th Annual Cinco de Mayo Block Party located at Tacos Guaymas in Green Lake Sunday, May 5, this event is so big that you might want to call into work the next day. Even the evening news will be here filming. The day’s events include a jalapeño eating contest, a rotation of live music and DJs, a margarita bar, beer garden, prizes, giveaways and of course, Mexican food.

Cinco de Mayo located at Las Palmas Restaurant in SeaTac on Sunday, May 5, register now to guarantee yourself a free ticket and reserve VIP seating. DJ’s will play Latin dance music all night beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Cinco de Drinko Sundaze May 5, 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. if you’re tired of the same old bars here’s a different idea entirely. Hosted by event planners, this second annual affair will take place in a pretty Seattle event space, Studio 116. Buy tickets ahead of time or pay double at the door to enjoy drink specials and a DJ.

Tim’s Tavern May 5, the show starts at 5:00 p.m. come in for three live bands; Los Flacos, Amigos Nobles and Thomas Del Real from Chile. All these bands are playing for only a $5 suggested donation.  Tim’s is an excellent, little, community dive bar. If you love little digs with full vegan menus Seattle style, you’ll love this space.

The Substation May 5, the show starts at 9:00 p.m. Substation is a night club in Ballard, Come out for live bands Grunge Tree, 627, and More Shade than Sun.

Cinco de Mayo is always a good time, no matter where you go you’ll find good music, old and new friends and (arguably) some of the best food in the world.

 

6 Cool and Unusual Things To Do Around Seattle

Categories: American Classic News, Seattle | Posted: March 8, 2019

Historically the climate and landscape in Seattle have brought all types to the PNW, fishermen, tourists, outdoor enthusiasts, and most of all artists. Quirky personalities who lose themselves in conversation over a fair-trade coffee or an IPA homebrew love to call this place home.

The Emerald City is a fitting name for Seattle in more ways than one. Not only is it the city of evergreens and lush forests, but it has as much art and imagination as Alice and Wonderland. Seattle has a personality of its own and die-hard locals are working to keep the old city alive with art and music. Below are just a few of the places that make Seattle quirky.

Café Racer and the Official Bad Art Museum of Art (OBAMA) Room located on the North end of the University district. The bar is often packed full of engaging artists that work with all mediums from music to murals. The Café Racer calendar is full of entertaining shows, open night mics, cartoonist work parties, board games, comedy, improv and writing groups, any night of the week you might find artists painting or sketching at the bar. Thursday through Saturday there’s a revolving door of live music acts across all genres and Sundays are reserved for Jazz. For those who love art, but don’t take it too seriously, Café Racer is worth checking out, they’ve got everything, entertainment, great food, stiff drinks, bad artwork and a sense of humor.

Henry’s Murals, hopefully, you’ve noticed the abundance of colorful, and curious cartoon murals painting the streets of Wallingford, Ballard, and Fremont. Ryan Henry Ward is the artist, he signs all of his pieces Henry. This prolific artist is brightening up dark and boring spaces all over town from pet stores to dingy alleys.

Henry brings creativity and imagination to life while creating vibrant and lovable spaces. He paints big, bright silly characters straight out of his imagination and onto the wall, a whimsical window to his soul. Make a day of it and drive around looking for his pieces, they grace hundreds of walls and storefronts throughout the city.

Seattle Metaphysical Library is an underground library that is literally underground. Tucked away downstairs in the Kress building on NW Market Street in Ballard. This secretive little spot is worth finding if you’re into the quirky and unknown.

All types of offbeat subjects from spirituality to aliens are tucked away on the shelves of this little space. It’s worth a visit to anyone interested in secrets. The books, papers and newspaper clippings that pack the shelves are all hard to find and wouldn’t be at a regular library. $40 buys you a one-year membership allowing patrons to take home three books at a time, or you can come to browse the shelves and read in the stacks for free.

The library hours are odd, it’s run by volunteers, so you never quite know if it’ll be open. Check the schedule and look for the sign on the sidewalk, the building isn’t marked. The front door can sometimes be locked by residents who live upstairs, so if they’re open, you might need to give them a ring to come let you in.

UPS Waterfall Garden Park is a tiny little pocket park within the limits of the busiest section of the city in Pioneer Square. This little gem has a 22-acre waterfall creating a relaxing bubbling oasis to drown out the sounds of the city. Security guards make sure the area stays clean and available for anyone who needs a moment away from the crazy. The park was created as a commemoration of the very first UPS that was developed here in this spot in 1907 before it became the powerhouse company that it is today.

The Fremont Troll is one of the most unusual neighbors in Fremont. Located underneath the Aurora bridge the Troll has been guarding this space for almost 30 years and has turned this little cove into a tourist attraction.

An 18-foot cement troll appears to come out of the darkness with one shiny metal eye looking out from the depths. His left hand appears to be crushing an actual Volkswagen Beatle, which he dwarfs it in his enormous hand. Visitors are encouraged to climb on his face and take lots of pictures.

Hat ‘n’ Boots at Oxbow Park, this hilarious 1950’s roadside attraction was once very popular. It drew in massive crowds of tourists to the gas station whose owners commissioned it, making them a lot of money.

The 22-foot-tall boots once housed the gas station bathrooms and the 44-foot hat held the office. The Hat ‘n’ boots heyday was over when the interstate I-5 was built. After falling to decay, Georgetown residents fought against letting the accessories go out of style. They had them revamped and moved to Oxbow Park where residents can enjoy them daily while the kids play next door.

The weird, the obnoxious and the peaceful are only a few of the amusing and wacky oddities found within city limits. Keep your eye out, there are interesting people and pockets around every corner.

 

5 Offbeat Cinemas You Have to See in Seattle

Categories: Community Spotlight, Lifestyle, Seattle | Posted: March 7, 2019

Millions of people were raised on big box cinemas that rose from the suburbs and every outlying area in the 90s like AMC and Regal Theaters. They posed a huge hit to independent places and put thousands of small theaters and drive-ins out of business around the country almost squashing independent industry altogether.

For some, there will always be a feeling of nostalgia when you remember first dates and Friday nights at artsy little one-room cinemas. Each neighborhood location has its own stamp of individuality, and luckily there’s been an undercurrent of independent theatergoers that have kept these special places alive through modern times.

In a city like Seattle where individuality, art, and passion are celebrated, it’s important to remember that theater is a place of education, growth, and expression. Supporting independent theaters is important to communities, local landscapes and subsidizes artists and business.

Not only do theaters support owners and workers, but it makes our communities interesting and unique. Giving a nod to our heritage and keeping Seattle the amazing and vibrant city that it is.

Central Cinema is located in Seattle, sitting in a pretty brick building with a vintage marquis and a mosaic tree lining the front door. Inside, high ceilings with exposed brick, local artwork, and industrial lighting hang in cords from the ceiling with light-bulbs shining through glass milk jugs that light up this funky, artsy space. You can have dinner in the dining room before the show or dine at your seat during the film. The menu is gourmet and affordable offering bacon wrapped shrimp, a tasty list of burgers and sandwiches, specialty pizzas and curry popcorn among others.

Check the calendar often for a quirky list of old and new school flicks, cult classics, little known Indy films and classics like Dancing in the Rain, Blazing Saddles and Super Troopers light up the big screens. Central Cinema is guaranteed a hilarious and entertaining night out, they not only show extraordinary movies, but there are also sing-alongs, something called hecklevision that’s said to be hilarious, trivia nights, jam sessions and some have a Q and A afterward.

Central Cinema hosts award shows like the Grammy’s and Academy Awards, Oscars and every Thursday night is a Cartoon Happy Hour where kids can bring their friends and watch a free night of cartoons. The Cinema often offers $1.99 shows and free events, don’t miss out and enjoy a quirky, entertaining night out with a first date or the whole family.

Cinerama has been a neighborhood staple downtown since 1963. In 1997 it went through a bit of a rough spot when it almost went under to the bigger chain cinemas but was saved by a big-hearted investor. Seattleites are happy that it’s not going anywhere in the foreseeable future.

Cinerama has recently undergone a huge renovation, installing state of the art sound. The new laser projectors show incredible color and detail, they are the only one of their kind in a commercial theater. Red leather reclining chairs create luxury in the Cinerama’s one and only theater. All of the upgrades were implemented without losing any of the vintage character. Red and blue artwork covers the top of the building, bringing charm to the neighborhood and highlighting themes found in movies played within the walls. The Cinerama is a favorite for cult classics, first-run movies and film festivals.

All the guests rave about the offbeat chocolate popcorn. The concessions list is small but perfect hitting everything that you could ask for and sourced from local taverns, chocolatiers and ice creameries with local brews and wines available. A rotating exhibit of movie costumes graces the lobby behind glass offering interesting conversation pieces.

The Grand Illusion Cinema, located next to the University of Washington, is a little gem of a building. If you’re looking for a big box cinema, you will be disappointed. The Grand Illusion is an experience in itself, It’s the oldest, continuously running cinema since 1968 in Seattle. A non-profit, run entirely by volunteers.

This little theater is worth going to, just to help fund it with your ticket price, which is usually under ten dollars. The ends of the rows are beautifully carved and wooden with heavy red velvet curtains and deep-set ceiling tiles above. The Grand Illusion shows the classics, rare films and global, independent pictures covering every genre. Ticket prices are low, there is a small concession stand, and the volunteers running it are passionate about the location and films they play.

Ark Lodge Cinemas is a vintage Cinema located in Colombia City. Three theaters are small and intimate, two are what you might expect with traditional theater seating. Upstairs is the Prestige theater, a collection of armchairs, love seats and side tables greet you like a comfortable alternative to traditional seating. Colorful murals and bright red-carpet line the walls in the entrance creating a fun and inviting atmosphere entering the fresh bright space. A small snack section is available with high-quality popcorn at good prices.

Northwest Film Forum is a small indie theater in Capitol Hill that shows small productions and often hosts international film festivals. They offer classes for budding filmmakers in every stage of the process from children’s workshops to adult learners.The lobby is what you might expect from this little place with a quirky plaid couch and a small concession stand offering beer and wine. Repurposed glass light fixtures give a fitting and artistic vibe. If you’re interested in learning something about little known parts of the world check their schedule often, the films are quickly fleeting, but always worth seeing. Northwest holds popular children’s film festivals, so bring your kids, it’s a beautiful way to educate young minds in a way they’ll remember.

These theaters bring an appreciation of the unique and vibrant people who strive to bring cult classics and indie films to the small and large screens around the city. Bring your kids and re-discover your childhood loves and laughs sharing moments on indie screens with your neighbors.

10 Must Try Coffee Shops in and around Seattle

Categories: Community Spotlight, Sammamish Washington, Seattle, Washington | Posted: February 22, 2019

The Pacific Northwest is famous for rainy days, misty beaches, the Puget Sound and coffee. Seattle arguably made coffee the powerhouse that it is today in the United States. Their most famous export is THE hugest, most mass marketed coffee brand on the planet.

You’ll most likely get disapproving glances for mentioning that name to true Seattleites. Locals prefer the hundreds of quirky, small-batch roasters who tend to have, cough, better coffee. These little beaneries are spread far and wide throughout the city.

Try something new, bring your caffeine fixes elsewhere and support local business in the process.

  • Caffe Umbria is located in three locations in Ballard, West Lake, and Pioneer Square. Caffe Umbria is a local and visitor favorite with some of the best coffee around. Come in and appreciate the European vibes from the good coffee to the ceramic cups they use. Large crystal chandeliers hang above the giant light-filled windows, sip and watch the world go by.
  • Analog Coffee on Capitol Hill, is a cozy little neighborhood space done right along with quality coffee, you can enjoy the newspapers lining the walls and comic books scattered around the place. It’s a friendly local haunt with a record player playing vinyl over the speakers. A funky little throwback to old school Seattle.
  • NEKO A Cat Cafe in Capitol Hill, if you love cats but don’t have one of your own or you’d like to cheat on your cat with another, this is your space. NEKO has a very popular cat room, reservations are needed and are charged $11 an hour to sit and pet the kitties. Ten cats wander the room while you sip your coffee. Most are adoptable, so take your time and get to know them. Maybe you’ll bring home a new friend.
  • Cloud City Coffee in Maple Leaf, Cloud City is a cozy neighborhood staple that’s always busy. Its comfortable, laid-back vibes keep it the perfect place to drop by after the gym or with your kids. A large child play area will keep them happy while you catch a few relaxed minutes to yourself. Cloud City makes all of their bakery items in house and they are to die for. Homemade pies, big poufy muffins, and famous coconut bread will leave you drooling in front of the case, cravings will keep you coming back.
  • Five Stones Coffee Company located in Redmond and Bellevue, this is a coffee shop worth eating at. Gaze behind the glass counter at the huge powdered sugar covered almond croissants, wide-brimmed muffins, sky-high donuts, and fluffy baking powder biscuits. All perfectly balance with a rich, soft cappuccino. Five Stones has a modern interior with subway tiles and an open kitchen concept. Dark stained wood and communal style tables make this space open and inviting. It’s a great place to bring friends, they offer a larger menu on the weekends.
  • Third Culture Coffee in Bellevue, Third Culture has a great idea, they’ve taken coffee drinking styles from all over the world and combined it into one beautiful, aesthetically pleasing café. Come in and experience a coffee styled from Japan, Italy, Vietnam, India and New Orleans. Floor to ceiling windows bring in the outdoors, and large swing allows customers to swing inside on a rainy day. A large play area for kids with a great big blackboard softens the space making it more approachable and fun. Artists are hosted monthly keeping a rotation of fresh new art lining the walls.
  • Convivial Café on Mercer Island, before Convivial came to town Mercer Islanders often complained about the lack of independent coffee roasters on the Island. Convivial has changed that with a simple, no-nonsense coffee list and a comfortable, bright, open space to spend time in with homemade pastries.
  • Boon Boona Coffee in Renton, specializes in East African pre-roasted green coffee. You can reserve a space to watch a coffee ceremony where baristas will roast the beans for you much like they do in their homes for guests in East Africa. The space is very large, interesting and artsy, big enough to bring groups. The coffee roaster is set up right in the middle of the café, so you can watch and smell the coffee being roasted while you read.
  • Anchorhead Coffee Talus is located in two locations, downtown, and Issaquah. Anchorhead has a very cool dark industrial aesthetic, with terrific coffee to boot.Impressively, all of the non-dairy nut milks are pressed in house. They source locally when possible and have a good number of vegan options available. The baked goods are made on the premises, and they have a number of interesting non-coffee drinks like pistachio matcha and an oolong drink called Shy Bear Fog.
  • Issaquah Coffee Company located in Issaquah is tucked away in Gilman Village and can be a little hard to find the first time. The Coffee Company is an Issaquah favorite, you’ll see from the crowds. The coffee company makes handcrafted coffee drinks without the sad syrup found lesser coffee shops. The Coffee Company makes pumpkin lattes with real pumpkin and spices. Local drink names like Cougar Mountain Latte and Tiger Mountain Mocha are on the menu. Handmade pies, pastries, and breakfast sandwiches line the case. The walls are covered with local chalk artwork in this cozy little wood cabin coffee shop. It’s a busy place, but there’s a cordoned off section to keep your little ones happy with a few toys so you can be comfortable knowing they won’t be underfoot.

Try going on a coffee journey, use what’s left of this winter and the rainy spring to enjoy a new cup of joe at a different place each day. Though it will be over a year before you run out of coffee locations to try in Seattle!

9 Awesome Music Venues Around Seattle

Categories: American Classic News, Seattle | Posted: February 13, 2019

Often cities have things they’re famous for, something that’s ubiquitous to the town name. Orlando has Disney World, New York City never sleeps, Nashville and country music. Up until the last ten years when Microsoft and Amazon moved into town changing Seattle’s vibe, our legacy was Nirvana. The grunge era started in the rainy city and spread like wildfire across the United States. Music in Seattle didn’t die with Curt Cobain, it’s still here alive and well. You just need to know where to look.

It’s been swallowed up with the recent development of high rises, caramel macchiatos, and techies. If you dig deep enough you can uncover the soul that made this town. The great thing about live events is that you can catch them everywhere from world-class historical theaters to funky local coffee shops.

Click on theater titles for a calendar of events.

 

  • Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley Seattle, Dimitriou’s has been a staple here for 30 years. Pick any act off the calendar and it will not disappoint. It’s a swanky affair, so leave your jeans at home and get dressed up for a night out. The food is a bit pricey and you can probably have a better dinner elsewhere but come early to get a good spot. Choose between seating downstairs or in the mezzanine, everyone has a view of the show whether it’s side or center. The music is set up well, with just the right with a fabulous sound that won’t send you home with hearing loss. Dining in just for dessert and or drinks is available and it’s all ages, except for the bar. Bring your teenagers for an unforgettable night out and teach them what good music is. This venue has had a number of famous acts through the years and won’t disappoint.
  • Egan’s Ballard Jam House Ballard, Egan’s is an old school intimate venue small enough to entertain only 35 people. It’s so much fun to see a local band close up in such a small space. The bands decide the door fee, usually around $10. Egan’s is all ages until 11:00 p.m. which is usually when the bands stop playing anyway, impress your kids with an exceptional night out. With everything growing and changing it’s nice to know these little spots are still here in pockets. Check the schedule before you come, they’re closed Sunday – Tuesday and close on nights when they don’t have performances.
  • Paramount Theater is Seattle’s most opulent, historic theater originally built in 1928. The Paramount is a classically beautiful Seattle theater that has been a place of inspiration and creativity for 91 years. The gold-leafed interior is hand painted, enormous chandeliers dripping with crystals hang overhead. The Paramount shows all types of entertainment from rock bands to orchestras, plays, and musicals. Choose from multiple mezzanine balconies allowing every seat to have clear views of the performers.
  • The Neptune Theater Seattle, The Neptune is another classic theater originally built in 1920. The theater doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the Paramount, but the sound quality and the shows are first class. Originally built as a single screen movie theater it continued as a theater all the way up until 2011 when the building changed hands to the Seattle Theater Group. It was converted to a multi-use theater with a state-of-the-art sound system and now plays a variety of shows, music, and theater.
  • The Showbox Seattle has been around since 1939, this place has lived through dozens of music genres. it’s a fantastic, mid-sized venue, the stage is visible from everywhere on the floor with areas for seating and dancing. Come early to get a bite and a reasonably priced drink at the historic, Kerns Music Shop next door, they’ll let you in ahead of the crowd if you’re waiting for a show.
  • Tractor Tavern Ballard, don’t let the name fool you, the Tractor Tavern plays a wide variety of genres, including country music. In Seattle that can be a rarity. It’s a small venue with exposed brick and wooden accents and affordable entrance fees, usually under $20. Check the calendar for nights with free entry.
  • Soul Food Coffee House Redmond, this is the quintessential coffee shop, exactly what you would expect out of the Pacific Northwest. Soul Food serves organic coffee right off the bike trail next to the Sammamish River. It has a cute little artistic gift shop filled with trinkets from local and global artists. Local talent regularly plays guitar on their little stage, perfect for low key, unplugged listening, also open for poetry nights. There’s a children’s area to keep your little ones happy while you relax and listen to free live music.
  • The Lime Kirkland, keep an eye on the events calendar, they tend to host live music once a weekend. The Lime is a neighborhood favorite bar with rave reviews from loyal followers. It’s definitely a dive bar, no theater clothes needed. You can doubly entertain yourself by playing darts and pool while watching the band.

No matter what type of venue you’re looking for and what your budget is, there are a number of options in and around Seattle, from coffee shops to theaters. Check calendars often to find your jam.