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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.

What to Do (and Not Do) with Wallpaper

Categories: Home Design Trends | Posted: February 28, 2019

Some things are better left in the ’70s, like vinyl jumpsuits and shag carpeting. But patterned wallpaper should not be added to that list. When picturing your dream house, consider adding wallpaper to mix in new design elements and style.

Wallpaper isn’t the lifetime commitment you may think. In fact, you can purchase sticker-like removable wallpaper. Wallpaper comes in all forms – bold and subtle patterns, loud and neutral colors, and even in textures like faux fur or crocodile skin.

But there are some things to consider about bringing wallpaper into your home. Here are some basic Do’s and Don’ts for planning and installing wallpaper.

Do Be Careful About Patterns

This cannot be stressed enough: Go easy on bold or loud patterns. While this type of wallpaper would be great as an accent wall or backing shelves, it will quickly overwhelm a room. Either choose a subtle, neutral color wallpaper for the entire room or plan on only papering a small area with something bold or bright.

And please, don’t mix designs. Too many patterns in a room will look cluttered and make the space seem smaller than it is.

Don’t Blindly Buy

You would never paint the walls in your house without testing out the color first (right?). Think of wallpaper in the same way. You may fall in love with a floral pattern in the store, but at home, it might look like your grandma’s kitchen. Unless that’s the style you’re going for, definitely bring home samples to test out. Make sure you look at the sample in natural lighting against your room’s furniture and flooring.

Do Avoid Just Jumping In

We get it. You find the perfect wallpaper for your dining room or kitchen accent wall. You’re so excited to see it on your walls you can’t wait to start putting it up.

But you better pump the brakes unless you want crooked or wrinkled walls for the next decade. Don’t rush in unless you’re a professional. It’s better to wait for an expert to help you install that wallpaper. You’ll thank yourself later.

Don’t Worry About the Commitment

One of the arguments against putting up wallpaper is that it can’t easily be replaced if you get sick of a pattern or get new furniture that clashes. For people afraid of commitment (no shame in that), there’s a perfect solution.

You can buy removable wallpaper in a variety of colors and patterns. Think of it as a giant wall sticker. If you ever get sick of a pattern or want to try switching things up each season, this works great. Removable wallpaper is a great way to add a temporary pop of color or style to any room.

Do Plan for the Future

Right now, foxes hiding behind trees may look cute in your breakfast nook. But five years from now, are you still going to love the look? Choose a style that will grow with you and your home. Trendy designs are best kept to wallpaper decals or artwork.

This tip applies both to the design and quality of your wallpaper. Be sure to pick a high-quality wallpaper that will last for as long as you want it on your walls. Unless you love the arduous task of wallpapering a room, you want a wallpaper that looks good for years to come.

The biggest DO of adding wallpaper to a room is not to be overwhelmed. Like picking out furniture or choosing which artwork to hang where, wallpaper is an exciting way to make a space reflect your style. It’s a great way to add color or texture to a room, and your options there are endless.

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.

Should I Build a Single-Story Home?

Categories: American Classic News | Posted: February 11, 2019

Building a home presents an incredible amount of challenges. But you’ll need to answer this question before doing almost anything else: should you build a one-story or two-story house? There are many advantages and disadvantages of each. Of course, in the end, it will come down to your personal preference. What works better for your family? How long are you going to live here?

Here are a few advantages to building a single-story home.

Lower Heating and Cooling Costs

A single-story home is an excellent return on investment when it comes to heat and air conditioning. Since heat rises and cold air falls, people with two-story homes end up paying nearly double in costs just to keep their upstairs and downstairs at a comfortable temperature.

With just one floor to heat or cool, single-story homes are more cost and energy efficient. That’s a double win.

Maintenance is So Much Easier

Do you know what’s not fun? Carrying a vacuum cleaner up and down a set of stairs every week. Everything is on the same level in a single-story home, so there’s no need to run up and down floors carrying laundry or cleaning supplies. It may not seem like this would be a big deal, but all that work adds up and makes chores even more unappealing.

This is true for outside your home too. Washing your windows, cleaning your gutter, or painting is all easier when there’s only one floor to deal with.

Planning for Your Safety and Future

Another point to consider is whether you’re planning to live out your later years in this home. If you plan to retire and continue living in this home for the rest of your life, a one-story home may be better. After all, stairs can be cumbersome or dangerous for people with limited mobility. That’s why most senior living communities feature single-level homes.

But this consideration isn’t just for older folks. Familiar with small children may want to avoid adding stairs too. Falling down stairs is a real danger for crawling or barely walking kids.

For either of these reasons, or if you just don’t want to run up and down stairs every day, then a single-story home is the way to go.

In Case of Fire…

Nobody likes to think about the worst case scenario. But in the event of a fire or another disaster, it’s easier to get out of a one-story home. Evacuating from a ground floor window is undoubtedly better than jumping out a window higher up.

It may be unpleasant, but it’s necessary to consider this in your planning.

So, what are you sacrificing by building a single-story home?

One of the most significant downsides of a single-story home is a lack of privacy. When your bedroom is on the ground floor, you’re potentially open to people walking down the street or cars driving by. Additionally, there’s no separation between your home’s “public” and “private” spaces. This becomes especially important during the holidays or if you’re hosting a party with guests.

If you’re designing the floor plan, you can avoid some of this exposure. But even so, a multi-story home would offer additional privacy and protection.

Consider too that building is going to be expensive. First, because your home has a larger footprint and therefore requires more land. Second, you’ll need more materials for the foundation, roof, and windows.

It All Comes Down to Personal Preference

Are you looking for an easier layout design? More prefab options? Go for the single-story home.

There are many benefits of single-story homes, from inexpensive heating to easier maintenance. And there are certainly cons, like a lack of privacy or higher building costs. But ultimately, it comes down to your personal preference.

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of different home styles will help you make a more informed decision about what type of home to build.

Top 10 Places to Take Your Dog in and Around Seattle

Categories: Lifestyle, Seattle, Uncategorized | Posted: February 8, 2019

If you live in Seattle it’s almost a given that you own a dog, big or small, this is a dog city. People will love you for it. Hopefully you love four-legged, big mouthed, slobbering friends. If not, avoid dog bars. Dogs don’t usually drink at these bars, but they are allowed in with their human pets.

During winter cold snaps and the rainy months, it’s nice to have an alternative to an outdoor dog park where you can take your cooped-up friends to run out some energy. Each location has rules, most of which involve dogs to be spayed or neutered if they’re over the age of six months. They also must be well behaved and socialized, with up to date vaccinations and flea less.

A city of dog lovers brings wonderful dog parks inside and out. Here is a short list of the best places for your pooches to play, not in this order.

Inside Bark and Play Ideas:

  1. Dogwood Play Park Lake City, Dogwood has an indoor and outdoor space for your dogs to run wild. A large concrete room is open for pooches to play, with arches and tunnels, to jump and crawl through, giant tires provide hiding places. There are two spaces, one for shy little dogs and another for the large and rambunctious. A beer for you and a Barkery treat for your friend, freshly made on the premises. Private rentals are available for your dog to invite all of her favorite friends to her birthday party. Before coming, email proof of rabies, Bordetella & DHPP before you come. Membership or door fees are required for your dog or dogs. Open M-F 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
  2. House of Ruff Lounge Seattle, concrete floors, exposed brick walls and industrial plumbing over-head make up the indoor doggie play area. For only $40 your first year of visiting the Ruff Lounge is covered. Local beer and cider are available with a large screen TV. You’ll never know what to expect on it. The staff gets to choose corny old movies or football games, so come with an open mind. Call for an initial meet and greet where your dog’s temperament will be evaluated. If your puppy is over six months he must be spay or neutered, flea treatments and vaccinations will be checked initially, open M-F 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Sat 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Sun 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  3. Voff Bark and Brew Seattle, is a low-key indoor, outdoor space with a bark play area (no pun intended) it’s actually covered in bark keeping your dog’s paws mud free, and offering a heated, enclosed patio. Come to be entertained by Trivia Tuesdays, outdoor movies and sports. Be aware that Voff isn’t as stringent on the rules as some of the other dog friendly spaces. It’s possible that some dogs might not be vaccinated, but no one checks vaccinations at a dog park either, so there’s that.
  4. Pawz n Play Woodinville, come enjoy an indoor swimming pool with your dog! You can coax them in from the stairs. If you’re dog has a fear of water, this is a stress-free place to let them test it out before jumping right in. Pawz n Play has an outdoor agility course for experienced agility pet parents and a green grassy, private dog park for those who aren’t. Play and swim times must be reserved and scheduled a head of time with an orientation swim for first timers.

For Outdoor Days, when the sun is shining and it’s not too rainy there are dozens of parks to take your little one, below are some of the best.

  1. Martha Washington Park Seattle, this is an unofficial wink, wink off-leash dog park. Bring your paddle boat or board for your pup to float on. He’ll enjoy 50 feet of shoreline to swim off and you’ll enjoy views of Mt. Rainer, Lake Washington and happy doggie smiles.
  2. Seward Park Seattle, 300 acres of land jut out into lake Washington on the Bailey Peninsula. A 2.4-mile paved loop for dogs, bikes, skateboards etcetera loops through the park. Hiking trails and beaches create an outdoor playground oasis for you and your pup.
  3. Westcrest Park Seattle, has a huge off leash area set aside for your darlings. The dog park is fenced off and contains an obstacle course. Dogs can run through large concrete tubes and climb on wood bridges and tunnels. Trails and concrete paths run through the park to tire out your furry friends. If you have children of the two-legged variety a playground will keep them happy too.
  4. Marymoor Park Redmond, is arguably one of the best dog parks in the world. 40 acres of off leash play is had here allowing your dogs to come home wet, muddy and happy. Hundreds of dogs play every day, it’s a mucky, messy version of Westminster. Shoreline opens to the river allowing dogs to retrieve and play in the water, large open spaces allow for fetch and smelling butts. Marymoor has so much space you’ll forget you’re right in the middle of a city.
  5. Jose Rizal Park Seattle, Rizal Park has the best view in the city. A phenomenal lookout and four acres of park land with a large off-leash dog area. You’ll appreciate spectacular downtown and Puget Sound views with colorful sunsets over the water. Look at the freeway below and revel in the fact that you aren’t sitting in the traffic with the rest of them. But be aware, there are sometimes people living here in tents, and dog parents aren’t as vigilant about cleaning up after their dogs as they are at most Seattle Parks. That being said, it is the prettiest lookout in town.
  6. Warren G. Magnuson Off-Leash Dog Park Seattle, Magnuson has a massive, 8.6 acres of an off-leash dog park. A covered enclosure keeps your dogs dry on rainy days. A small dog area for shy pups is available and generally dog owners are clean and courteous, picking up after their dogs. Multiple shoreline access points are available for your dogs to jump in and cool off. Gravel paths create a nice, clean space to run with doggie pick-up stations along the way.

No matter what size pup you have in Seattle there is a place for him here. Dogs are an easy ice breaker if you’re new to town. They come complete with a community of other dog lovers and friends. Try out a new space and in the mean-time, you might find they’re people parks too.

Fabulous Ferry Day Trip Ideas from Seattle

Categories: American Classic News, Seattle | Posted: January 29, 2019

The Washington State ferry system is the fourth largest in the world and the largest in the United States. Not only is it a relaxing way to travel, but it’s also beautiful. With such an abundance of marine life at our fingertip’s ferries are the best way to see marine life while you travel. For example, whales can be seen any time of the year, but they are most frequently spotted from April through September from the ferries!

Ferries are fun, like a vacation in and of themselves. You can go out on the open water, stand in the breeze and float with the seals while on deck. Make sure to bring snacks and enjoy the ride threading through magical islands with mountain views while riding the waters of the Sound like the whales. If you can score public transportation you might be able to hop aboard without even paying for parking. And note that you can even bring a bike on, which is great because you can arrive in town with your own transportation and enjoy dozens of parks on neighboring islands.

No matter where you go, ferry day trips feel like mini vacations, you’ve stepped off of dry land onto another planet. Although the ferry destinations are close to Seattle, island life is different, laid back, slow moving and a little bit funky. Leave the hustle and bustle for the day and enjoy a complete change of pace right at your fingertips.

From the Seattle Port, you can head to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton. Bainbridge Island is also just a quick 35-minute ferry ride away, lots of little eateries and restaurants are within a few blocks walk off the ferry in the historic downtown, with museums, art, and recreational parks.

  • Come out for First Friday, you can hop right off the ferry terminal and appreciate wine and art on the First Friday of every month.
  • Pegasus Coffee is a darling little coffee shop to try out in a redbrick building covered with ivy and oozing with character, it’s been serving up coffee for 40 years.
  • Bruciato is a beautiful venue with pizza to match, this place alone is worth the trip.
  • Saturday mornings from April-September you’ll find a farmer’s market with fresh colorful local ingredients, artwork, bread, fresh caught fish and flowers.
  • Parks, Parks, and more Parks. This island is loaded with trails and parks. Lakes, forests, coves and beaches, you’ll find hiking, camping, boating, kayaking, biking and even scuba diving here. Including Fort Ward Park 137 acres of waterfront park with an underwater park for scuba divers. Bike trails connect Fort Ward to 40 acres of Blakey Harbor Park.
  • Bainbridge Island Museum of Art the architecture and exhibits here are beautiful, it’s free admission and definitely worth a visit. Check out their schedule, they often have live music and other events. The café inside is delicious and activities are available for children.

Bremerton hop on the ferry for a one-hour ride to Bremerton, the gateway to the Olympic Peninsula. Bremerton is the largest Naval base on the West Coast with thousands of crew members and a palatable Naval vibe. If you’re into U.S. history, this is your ferry. This area has been home to the men in white since 1891.

  • USS Turner Joy is a U.S. Naval Destroyer ship that has been converted into a museum. This is a fun museum for kids and history buffs to wander the halls, climb into the gun mount and check out the engine room. It paints a picture of what life was like on board.
  • Puget Sound Navy Museum is completely run by volunteers and free to visit. This beautiful old building is revamped with hands-on activities and plenty to keep visitors of all ages happy.
  • Parks and trails, it wouldn’t be the PNW without parks. Come and enjoy dozens of them with disk golf and green spaces without the crowds of Seattle.
  • Harborside Fountain Park is over two acres of a downtown plaza. What’s impressive about this plaza is five giant fountains with wading pools at their bases. Kids love to splash and play at the base of the fountains in the summertime and they’re lit up beautifully at night.

From Fauntleroy (Just Northwest of White Center) head to Vashon Island.

Vashon Island is a true release from the city, if you really want a day to get back to nature this is the place to do it. Accessible only by boat with a population under 11,000 people. You’ll need to bring your car unless you’re ready for a challenging five-mile uphill bike ride to town. Vashon is a darling little funky town with artsy restaurants and a great live music scene, but for the most part, it’s pretty sleepy.

  • Point Robinson Lighthouse, the lighthouse itself is not open to tours but is a beautiful building to visit and makes a perfect focal point for photos sitting on top of a 10-acre shoreline park featuring sandy beaches, a saltwater marsh, woodlands and views of the East Passage and Mount Rainer on a clear day.
  • 19 stunning parks and recreation areas with all of the benefits that you’ve come to expect from Washington’s thousands of meticulous parks and trails.
  • First Friday, an eclectic group of artists lives on the island, and you can find them with their artwork at nine participating galleries and locations on the First Friday of the month.
  • VIGA Farmer’s Market April through the fall they offer a Saturday farmers market with live music.
  • The Vashon Island Coffee Roastery is a must visit while on the island, it’s a landmark in a 100-year-old building and character seeps out of its fragrant, old island, fir pores.

Seattle not only is an incredible city, but the opportunities for stay-cations and micro-adventures just outside your door are endless. With so many opportunities you should never stop exploring.

12 Unexpected Places to Visit on the East Side of Seattle for Valentines Day

Categories: American Classic News, Bellevue, Renton, Sammamish Plateau, Seattle, Washington | Posted: January 28, 2019

Valentine’s day is coming, try to up your game this year and woo your valentine with something really special. Use this occasion for an especially creative, well-planned out evening or evenings to show your significant other just how much you care. If you decide to go the traditional route of dinner at a nice restaurant it’s important to, make reservations ahead of time. If you’re going out on the day of, be sure to make reservations now to avoid any last-minute hassles. Open table makes your reservations and dinner decisions easy with most restaurants participating all on the same platform.

Another option is to choose a weekend before or after to celebrate, you’ll avoid massive crowds, waiting lists and generally have a better, more relaxing and romantic dinner without rushed food and service. You can make it a special, yet low key evening and order in. There are so many delivery options available now there’s no reason to leave your wine glass and the glow of your own fireplace. Uber Eats and Door Dash are two delivery services that will pick up your order from any restaurant and deliver it to your front door.

For those of you looking for something a little unexpected, look into local classes, shows, stand-up comedy or a couple’s massage. Below is a list of ideas to surprise your special one with everything from high tea to musicals.

 

Bellevue

D.L. Hughley is playing at the Parlor Bellevue. He’s a political speaker and Def Comedy Jam veteran, now touring as a stand-up comedian, if you’re in the mood for political humor this is your act, he’ll be in Bellevue from February 14 – 16.

Bake’s Bar and Bistro come for dinner and a show on Valentine’s Day, featuring The Darelle Holden Quartet with their funky, soulful sound of classics that you already love. Enjoy Bake’s fresh seasonal, rotating menu with live music to boot.

 

Issaquah

River Valley Cheese, Learn to make Burrata or come on Valentine’s Day to a chocolate dipping party, this would be a fun group event to bring other couples. Go out for a glass of wine after at Vino Bella.

Village Theater, this highly rated, local favorite theater is playing I Do! I Do! A Musical About Marriage. The entire musical has only two characters, it spans their entire marriage of 50 years and all of the ups and downs they experience together. The musical is playing from January 16 – February 24.

 

Kirkland

Kirkland Wine Walk, February 8th, Kirkland puts on a 21 and up, humans only wine walk only four times per year. Taking place in downtown Kirkland. Bring your own wine glass and tour around boutiques and galleries while tasting Washington State wines. This walk starts at The Heathman Hotel and tickets are required.

The Heathman Hotel Afternoon Tea, try something really unique and special. Bring the tradition of afternoon tea to the States. The Heathman does it well with a beautifully prepared spread for a special treat that she will not be expecting. Travel to England for the afternoon with a modern menu. The food is fantastic and there are a number of sweet and savory foods to taste, so come hungry and expect a lot of food. Reservations are required, and tea time is available Thursday – Sunday.

Sur La Table, offers dozens of cooking classes, with options from Valentine’s day macaroons, classic French croissants, hand-made pasta, date night dinners and cooking with wine. There’s something on the calendar for every type of eater. Bring your spouse for a date class or surprise him with your new skills creating a romantic breakfast or dinner at home.

 

Mercer Island

Oh Chocolate, get nice and messy learning how to temper chocolate while dipping and drizzling all of your favorite chocolate additions into it during this chocolate class. You’ll get to bring home your creations. The class is offered on February 23, leaving you and your Valentine something to look forward to, to enjoy together later in the month.

 

Renton

The Moon Over Buffalo, by Ken Ludwig, is a silly, farce comedy show playing at the Renton Civic Theater. With rave reviews from other cities, go check it out if you’re up for a night of rowdy thespians, shows are from Thursday – Sundays February 8 – 23.

Beginner Floral Arranging, wow the lady in your life by surprising her with a floral arranging class. You two can sip wine while learning to create beautiful floral displays just before the springtime. For the price, you might actually save money on buying her flowers for Valentine’s day. You’ll both bring home an arrangement and a skill that you can use over and over all year long.

 

Sammamish

Tanoor, for a different take on the traditional, high-end Valentine’s dinner give Tanoor a try. You won’t be skimping on the romance; the building has large windows with beautiful sunset views. Colorful, geometric lanterns hang from the ceiling casting a warm colorful glow on highbacked, leather booths. Traditional Lebanese food is delicious and interesting, it will not disappoint or break the bank. The best part about Tanoor is the fresh, endless pita cycling out of the kitchen’s wood-burning oven.

Bliss Massage, head on into Bliss for a 60 minute Swedish, couples massage with hot stones on your back, or choose from their extensive list of other massage services. Perfect for relaxation before dinner.

 

No matter what you decide to do, the most important thing is not to forget how much you love each other even on the days that aren’t Valentine’s Day.

 

Must-Haves for Making Your Guests Feel at Home

Categories: Home Design Trends | Posted: January 25, 2019

You’re probably going to end up playing host at least once in your new home. Traveling can be stressful and staying in an unfamiliar place can be challenging. By making your guest room even more inviting, you can ensure a positive, happy trip. Here are some tips and must-haves for helping your guests feel at home in your guest room.

Closet Space with Extra Hangers

While most rooms include a closet, these spaces often get filled up with extra clothes, holiday decorations, or just junk that has nowhere else to go. Even guest room closets aren’t immune to this. Your guest room closet doesn’t have to stay empty all the time, but you better make room when people come over. Not only that but make sure you keep extra hangers in plain view. There’s nothing worse than ending up with wrinkled clothes because you’ve just got one hanger to use.

Extra Blankets and Pillows

Everybody sleeps differently, and everyone is equally picky about how they sleep. Some folks run hot while others shiver under the thickest comforter. Don’t leave your guests’ comfort up to chance. Keep plenty of extra blankets and pillows in your guest room to meet their needs.

Big, Fluffy Towels

Your guests are likely on vacation, so why not help them pamper themselves? Set aside fluffy, cozy towels for your guests. Here’s a hot tip: have you ever heard of bath sheets? If not, you’re really missing out. Unlike bath towels, which are fine for toweling off but often too small for adults, bath sheets are large enough to cover you completely. It’s a little comfort, but it can make all the difference.

Basic Toiletries

Everybody forgets a toothbrush, razor, toothpaste, or comb at least once while traveling. Save your guests from a trip to the store by keeping an extra set of toiletries in your guest room. After every visit, make sure you restock this set. This simple act can make you a hero to someone who realizes they forgot toothpaste at midnight.

Some items to include: toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo & conditioner, soap, lotion, disposable razor, and a hairdryer in plain view.

Switch Up Your Style

Since your guest room won’t necessarily be used year-round, you can take some design liberties with it. You don’t need to match this room’s décor with the rest of the house. Add personal touches, like fun throw pillows or a big, comfortable armchair. Choose a unique rug or hang eclectic art on the walls. Just be sure not to get too crazy with it and disarm your guests!

When guests are coming, there’s a lot to get ready. You’re doing laundry, washing sheets, cleaning the house, all that. It can be easy to overlook little things like clean towels or closet space. But with these little touches, you’ll make all the difference to your guests.

11 Sports Bars Where you Can Watch the Big Game on the East Side of Seattle in 2019

Categories: Bellevue, Community Spotlight, Renton, Sammamish Plateau, Seattle, Washington | Posted: January 22, 2019

The Big Game is quickly approaching and no matter who makes it through the finals the odds are that you’ll be watching the game on February 3, 2019. There are so many things to love about sports bars, the greasy food, the easy attire, darts, pool, and foosball. One of the best things about sports bars is the prices, give your wallet a much-needed break after the holidays and enjoy a pitcher of beer and a $10 burger. For one night, drop the reservations and join the masses for a rowdy, all American celebration. There are no shortages of sports venues all over the East Side, so come early, pull up a bar stool and get comfortable.

Bellevue

  • The Goose Pub if you’re looking for a good old-fashioned dive bar in a location that you might not expect, this one’s for you. Expect frozen, fried bar food in a relaxed, atmosphere, it’s a good place to meet some friends for an easy-going, don’t want to do your hair kind of afternoon out.
  • Tavern Hall is a sports bar you’d expect to find in downtown Bellevue, beautiful subway tiled walls, large pillars, high, wood beamed ceilings and huge hanging lanterns make this a unique venue to enjoy the big game. There’s something here to keep everyone in your party happy from big, juicy burgers to vegan nachos, small-batch brews to craft cocktails. Despite the primo venue the prices are still reasonable, everything on the menu is under $16.

Issaquah

  • Gaslamp Bar and Grill if you’re looking for a place to bring your entire family for super bowl Sunday, this is it. Gaslamp is an Issaquah institution, it has been around almost 50 years and is proudly family friendly with plenty of televisions and a traditional sports bar menu, light on vegetarian options.
  • Malarky’s Sports Grill is your traditional, neighborhood sports bar, exactly what you’d expect in any town. Malarky’s has good food, lots of regulars, and a hometown vibe. Pull up a bar stool and meet your neighbors here.

Kirkland

  • The Lime is a lively neighborhood venue tucked away in Kirkland. When they aren’t broadcasting games on their large-screen televisions, they’re hosting live bands. The Lime is a local favorite with something always happening and cheap food, and drinks to boot, but you might want to clear out your arteries beforehand.
  • Tony’s Sports Bar is a Northeast Kirkland favorite known for their wings, happy hour specials and numerous televisions. This one fills up quickly on a normal game day so come stake your spot early.

Mercer Island

  • Roanoke Inn is one of the few places to choose from on Mercer Island, and the food can be hit or miss, but this 105-year-old bar and its friendly, throwback atmosphere with a cozy interior is a local favorite. Be sure to come early it’s no secret and people from all over the city come to enjoy the famous Roanoke.

Newcastle

  • Resonate Brewery + Pizzeria, tucked away in the Newport Hills neighborhood, this little hidden gem is worth finding. If you’re looking for an easy, neighborhood joint with tasty pizza and home-brewed beer you’ve found it here at Resonate. It’s an easy order at the counter kind of place, kids are welcome with their own children’s play area to keep them happy while you watch the game.

Sammamish

  • Pine Lake Ale House is tucked away in a strip mall, but inside awaits a warm interior with an impressive small batch tap list and always a hoard of locals. Unfortunately, it might be the only sports bar in Sammamish so make sure to come early as it will definitely be packed on super bowl Sunday.

Renton

  • JP’s Williams Ave Pub, located on the website under JP’s Barroom, but on the sign out front it’s listed as Williams Ave Pub. Don’t judge a pub by its cover, Williams is a dive bar out front, but it’s warm and inviting inside with a large cobblestone fireplace and a heavy wrought iron flu. A large percentage of the menu is under $10, food and drinks are affordable and surprisingly high quality, and not what you might expect from this dive. You’ll find plenty of televisions to watch the game, but don’t expect the massive wrap around TVs like some of the larger, more polished establishments.
  • The Local 907, another local taproom as the name implies is The Local 907, it’s warm and comforting inside with deep red walls and wooden bar stools. The website isn’t up and running, but the food is delicious, they’re known for fresh cut fries, tater tots, and burgers all for under $10.

No matter where you choose to go, have an enjoyable and safe Super Bowl Sunday and don’t forget to uber your way home.

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