12 Ski Resorts to Visit Across the Pacific Northwest

It’s a brand new season at these resorts. Time to ride new lifts, meet new owners, and hit a fresh new layer of powder.

By Allison Williams  12/18/2018 at 9:00am  Published in the January/February 2019 issue of Seattle Met

Whistler Village is a cozy hub at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb.  IMAGE:  COURTESY BRAD KASSELMAN / WHISTLER

Whistler Village is a cozy hub at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb.


Whistler Blackcomb

Après Scene / Expert Slopes / Lodging • Drive Time: 4 hour 15 minutes

New lift alert: British Columbia’s ski mecca (37 lifts!) claims the biggest uphill upgrade in the region, a 10-passenger gondola up the Blackcomb half of the two-mountain resort. Two other lift replacements helped spruce up the 8,000-plus acres this season and Whistler Village gained a pod hotel, the Pangea. With the Vail-owned twin behemoth now open to most season pass holders from Stevens, the weekend Whistler crowds aren’t likely to wane. At the end of the day, the après-ski scene is, as ever, well-prepared for the masses. whistlerblackcomb.com

Mount Baker Ski Area

Expert Slopes / Bargain Tickets / Crowd-Free • Drive Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Some things never change at the state’s far-north ski hill, like Baker’s record-breaking levels of snowfall—often double that of other Northwest resorts—and its steady parade of Bellingham college students and ski bums, all of whom appreciate the affordable lift tickets. Owned by a mostly local collection of stockholders since its creation in 1953, the ski area resists pretension and courts snowboarders with the annual Legendary Banked Slalom competition. Aging lodges can’t sour the mountain’s long-held chill. mtbaker.us

Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort

Family Friendly / Sunny Forecast / Crowd-Free • Drive Time: 3 hours

Wenatchee’s ski hill is practically in town, just a 20-minute drive up through city neighborhoods to slopes blessed by Central Washington sun. When the snow shows, it’s an airy powder, and crowds never approach Stevens levels. A planned expansion could add acres of beginner terrain and new lifts in a few years, but for now the charm comes from mid-run surprises like a slope side sundeck and an airplane wing left over from a crashed B-24 bomber, now mounted above Bomber Bowl. missionridge.com

Crystal Mountain lift tomfoolery.  IMAGE:  COURTESY CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN RESORT

Crystal Mountain lift tomfoolery.


Crystal Mountain Resort

Après Scene / Expert Slopes / Lodging  Drive Time: 2 hours

Washington’s sole gondola, Washington’s one true alpine village—it’s not wrong to call Crystal the state’s only world-class ski resort, especially when one grades on a Colorado or Whistler Blackcomb scale. Acquired by conglomerate Alterra last fall, Crystal could see even more expansion in coming years to ease congestion, but it already delivers varied terrain over 10 lifts, many mid-mountain lodges, night skiing, and viewpoints where Rainier appears so massive, it’s almost distracting. crystalmountainresort.com

Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area

Expert Slopes / Bargain Tickets / Crowd-Free • Drive Time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Two short rope tows and a Poma lift are a throwback to ski resorts before express quads and RFID passes. That the Olympic National Park even hosts a ski area is a shock, but lift operations are limited to a small area near the Hurricane Ridge Lodge; expert skiers use the rope-tow boost to ski down to the park road and hitch a ride back to the parking lot. From the top of the ski hill, Vancouver Island looks close enough to bat with a mitten. hurricaneridge.com

Young bombers at White Pass.  IMAGE:  COURTESY JASON HUMMEL

Young bombers at White Pass.


White Pass Ski Area

Family Friendly / Bargain Tickets / Night Skiing • Drive Time: 3 hours

Though perched on a relatively well-traveled east-west highway, White Pass manages to fly under the radar with its high-speed lifts and mellow runs that stretch back toward the Goat Rocks Wilderness. Largely frequented by South Sound and Yakima locals, its 2011 expansion gave skiers more breathing room and opened gladed, but not steep, terrain in its Paradise Basin. This year, the base lodges got a tune-up. skiwhitepass.com

Sun Valley Resort

Après Scene / Sunny Forecast / Lodging • Drive Time: 10 hours 15 minutes

Presented by San Juan Island Visitors Bureau

Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains made ski history with the world’s first chairlifts; one inched up what is now Sun Valley’s small, family friendly Dollar Mountain back in the 1930s. Today, the resort prides itself on snowmaking in the cold, dry climate. The resort’s bigger Bald Mountain will add 380 more skiable acres next season with a new chairlift, but mountain guides will lead preview tours of the new Cold Springs Canyon terrain this year. sunvalley.com

Stevens Pass Mountain Resort

Family Friendly / Expert Slopes / Night Skiing • Drive Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

What happens when the scrappy underdog of Northwest ski hills—with its creaky chairs, greasy lodge food, and lifties blasting tunes on the night shift—gets a Vail makeover? We’ll find out in the resort’s first season under the Colorado company’s umbrella (see “Washington’s Biggest Resorts Just Got Bought by Conglomerates”); the conglomerate finalized its acquisition of the Highway 2 mountain in August. Stevens Pass has always been Seattle’s most accessible serious ski spot, the parking lots filling before sunrise and emptying only after the late-night live music fades at the Foggy Goggle bar. When change comes, hopefully it won’t take away Stevens’ shaggy soul or its piping hot liquid-cheese nachos. stevenspass.com

Timberline Ski Area lights up Mount Hood.  IMAGE:  COURTESY TIMBERLINE LODGE

Timberline Ski Area lights up Mount Hood.


Mount Hood

Night Skiing / Family Friendly / Lodging  Drive Time: 4 hours

Resorts crowd the Portland-area volcano, from sprawling Meadows and its varied slopes on the southeast to the Ski Bowl’s extensive night skiing terrain on the west. Timberline, based around the famous eponymous lodge, boasts a lift that reaches so high up Mount Hood it can sometimes host year-round skiing—we’ll see how long that lasts—and just acquired the family-friendly Summit area a few miles downhill at Government Camp. skihood.comtimberlinelodge.comskibowl.com

Summit at Snoqualmie

Family Friendly / Lodging / Night Skiing • Drive Time: 1 hour

While the slopes may not be high at Seattle’s closest ski hill, the appeal is wide; four distinct zones meld into one resort that spans I-90, from the steep cliffs of Alpental to the beginner-friendly magic carpets of Summit Central. Expanded night skiing through the Silver Fir area this winter means as many as 13 chairlifts spin in the evening. It’s easy to forgo après ski when you can make turns right après work. summitatsnoqualmie.com

A boarder rides the Sun Peaks park.  IMAGE:  COURTESY ADAM STEIN / SUN PEAKS SKI RESORT

A boarder rides the Sun Peaks park.


Sun Peaks Ski Resort

Family Friendly / Sunny Forecast / Lodging • Drive Time: 5 hours 30 minutes

Like Whistler, but homier; like Sun Valley, but Canadian-er. It’s tempting to compare central BC’s ski resort to its brethren, but only Sun Peaks can boast a director of skiing like Nancy Greene. The Olympic gold medalist and Canadian ski hero not only helped build the resort town with her husband (the mayor), she also does free ski tours almost every afternoon. A brand-new quad chair eases access to the Sun Peaks slopes, which shoot up in every direction in BC’s interior mountains outside Kamloops. sunpeaksresort.com

Mount Bachelor Ski Resort

Family Friendly / Sunny Forecast / Après Scene • Drive Time 6 hours

While Mount Baker ski hill is actually on ridges next to the volcano, Oregon’s Mount Bachelor ski area is smack on its eponymous cinder cone, 11 lifts fanned around the mountain base. With more than 4,300 skiable acres, it’s one of the largest ski hills in the country, and its reliable sunshine and omnipresent craft brews cement it as a good-time destination. Just as in the outdoorsy, beer-sodden town of Bend down the road, there’s always a Bachelor party to be found. mtbachelor.com

7 Ways To Beat The ViaDoom Blues By Train, Bus, And More

Whether you're coming from Sumner or Edmonds, ViaDoom will probably slow your commute. Here are some alternate routes to consider.

By Neal McNamara , Patch Staff | Jan 13, 2019 7:29 pm ET | Courtesy of Patch.com


SEATTLE, WA — About 54 percent of the people who responded to our ViaDoom survey said they plan to continue to commute by car through the three-week SR 99 shutdown.

We'd like to make a suggestion, however: don't drive during ViaDoom if you can help it.

Why? Because there are better, cheaper, low-stress ways to get into Seattle (or around it). Whether you live in Puyallup, Woodivnille, or downtown Seattle, the viaduct closure is probably going to have some impact on your commute, so why not try a new way?

Here are seven alternative ways to get into and out of Seattle during ViaDoom.

7) Bike paths. Whether you're an experienced biker or a New Year's-resolution newbie, there are some great, safe bike paths that can get you into downtown Seattle. The Green River and Interurban trails are a good option if you're coming from the south. The Interurban Trail, for example, begins 17 miles south in Pacific. Here are some other good bike paths (these are also walking and jogging paths):

  • From Shoreline or Edmonds: Pick up the Interurban Trail along North 200th just east of Costco; it's a 3-mile ride to 145th and Aurora in Seattle where you can catch the E Line.

  • From Mercer Island or Bellevue: Starting at Enatai Beach Park in Bellevue, it's a 6-1/2 mile ride to Jackson Street and 12th Avenue in Seattle, where you can catch a bus or the Seattle Streetcar.

  • From Northwest Bellevue and Kirkland: From the Evergreen Point park-and-ride, it's a 3-1/2 mile bike ride to the UW light rail station near Husky Stadium.

6) Bike share. Speaking of bikes, did you know that Seattle is littered with Lime and JUMP bikes? You can use these bikes for your last mile trip - say from a light rail or bus stop to your workplace. If you must drive, you could even park in a Seattle neighborhood, grab a bike, and pedal to wherever you need to go.

Not to mention, the two companies are offering discounts during ViaDoom: JUMP is waiving its $1 unlock fee through Feb. 15; Lime is offering $1 off rides from West Seattle with the code PMCLIME.

5) Seattle Streetcar. Maybe not as cool as its big brother, Link light rail, the streetcar is actually a great way to avoid downtown Seattle, and pretty under-utilized (as of June, about 5,000 people per day used the streetcar, according to SDOT). The new First Hill streetcar starts in Pioneer Square, but it completely avoids the downtown core on its trip up to First Hill and then Capitol Hill. If you commute from south Puget Sound to either of those neighborhoods, consider ditching your car for a Sounder-to-streetcar route.

4) Ferry. King County Metro has added a second vessel to the West Seattle water taxi route. If you take 509 to work, you can get off at the 1st Avenue South bridge and take West Marginal Way to Harbor Avenue and the ferry terminal.

3) Bonus for 509 drivers. Another way to hack the 509-to-99 commute is via the West Seattle Bridge trail. The trail runs alongside the West Seattle Bridge and then heads north up West Marginal Way, dumping you in Pioneer Square. The trail links with the Green River Trail coming from the south at Spokane Street. It's about 30 minutes by bike from South Park to Pioneer Square using this route.

2) Rideshare. If you're going to drive, please don't do it alone. Every person that uses rideshare means one less car out on the roads - and that's more time in your pocket. Visit http://www.rideshareonline.comto find someone to commute with.

1) Link light rail. This is hands down the best transportation option around. It's fast, comfortable, and cheap. And remember: even if you've never taken it, you're paying Sound Transit taxes. Light rail is a great bet for anyone commuting from south of Seattle.

Light rail is a wonderful option if you're coming from the south. The brand new Angle Lake station in SeaTac is served by the RapidRide A line, which starts at the Federal Way transit center. From downtown Renton, you can take the 560 bus or RapidRide F line to the International Boulevard station. This is even a good option for commuters coming from Newcastle or south Bellevue.

The best part about light rail: the trains will never get caught in a traffic jam.

No matter how you choose to get to work during ViaDoom, we wish you luck!

Image courtesy SDOT

Eastside Rail Corridor Rebranding in 2019

The Eastside Rail Corridor will connect the existing Kirkland trails with Snohomish County, Redmond, Woodinville, Bellevue and Renton. Photo courtesy of King County

The Eastside Rail Corridor will connect the existing Kirkland trails with Snohomish County, Redmond, Woodinville, Bellevue and Renton. Photo courtesy of King County

Options for a new name for the trail include The Eastway, The 425, The Eastrail and The E.

The Eastside Rail Corridor (ERC), the multi-purpose corridor connecting Renton, Bellevue, Kirkland, Woodinville and Redmond, is getting a new name and brand in 2019.

Currently, the ERC includes trail segments such as the Cross Kirkland Corridor and the Redmond Central Connector, along with part of Sound Transit’s light rail line in Bellevue. In the future, the ERC will include a continuous trail, more high-capacity transit and expanded use for utilities serving the Eastside.

King County and local partner cities and agencies will select one of several options for the corridor’s new identity. The four candidate names being considered by the ERC Regional Advisory Council are: The Eastway, The 425, The Eastrail and The E.

The four names resulted from a variety of outreach efforts, including a survey of more than 2,000 community members, stakeholder interviews and input sessions, discussions with people on the street and trail users and an analysis of other trail brands from around the country.

Once a name is chosen, a full brand including logos and taglines will be developed. The branding process is intended to make more people aware of the Eastside Rail Corridor as a signature connector for Eastside communities.

The Cross Kirkland Corridor and Redmond Central Connector names won’t change; the county is only considering renaming the ERC as a whole.

Once completed, this 42-mile recreational trail will connect the Cedar River Trail and Lake to Sound Trail with the SR 520 Trail, the I-90 Trail, Redmond Central Connector the Cross Kirkland Corridor, the Sammamish River Trail and the East Lake Sammamish Trail.

See www.kingcounty.gov for more, and take the naming survey at www.research.net/r/NAME_ERC.

Cheap Eats 2018: 30 Dishes For Morning, Noon, and Night

Costs keep rising, bills are due, and oh my god do you really have to pay parking meters until 10pm now? Here are the city’s best places where a relatively small outlay* can carry you through the day.

*Cheap is in the eye of the beholder: One person’s rocking value is another’s ludicrously overpriced sandwich.


Westman’s tiny sidewalk bagel shop.  IMAGE:  SARA MARIE D’EUGENIO

Westman’s tiny sidewalk bagel shop.


Breakfast Burrito • Taco Street

Breakfast magic happens all day long across from the Othello light rail station: chorizo, cheddar, fluffy eggs, and diced potato in a $7 package so dense it requires actual physical exertion to lift. Or, get that same combo inside a $2.50 oversize breakfast taco. 

Bagel and Schmear • Westman’s Bagel and Coffee

That cubby on East Madison Street that looks like a Wes Anderson–designed diorama? Actually a welcome outpost for legitimately great bagels. Maldon salt and scallion, pumpernickel with dill and black pepper—any combo of schmear and chewy bagel is great (and $6 after tax), but Friday lines are extra long, thanks to the special challah and caviar schmear.

B-Side’s grain bowl is equal parts tasty and photogenic.  IMAGE:  CHONA KASINGER

B-Side’s grain bowl is equal parts tasty and photogenic.


Rice Bowl • B-Side

This pastel-tiled nook on Capitol Hill illustrates chef Jake Vorono’s philosophy of “healthy without harping on about it” with a grain bowl so glorious it demands harping: puffed wild rice and amaranth, roasted vegetables like broccoli and turnips, chickpea-miso dressing, and on top a delightfully runny soft-boiled egg. Ten bucks never tasted so wholesome.

Spanish Fly Biscuit Sandwich •  Morsel

The town’s biscuit sandwich benchmark is this unruly stack of prosciutto, arugula, and fried egg, with manchego cheese plus a smear of aioli piqued with Mama Lil’s, all for $9. This modest U District cafe makes biscuits that are almost crisp on the outside, yet soft and fluffy within.

Chocolate and vanilla cream from Side Hustle.

Chocolate and vanilla cream from Side Hustle.

Doughnut Newcomers

Side Hustle: This popup brings superb, whisper-light little brioche bundles to Georgetown’s Lowercase Brewing—and uses the brewer’s spent grain in its flour ($4.50 for a half dozen).

Tempesta Lovers of cake doughnuts will dig the chewy, golden (yeasted) offerings at this Belltown coffee shop ($2 each).

Raised Doughnuts Sugar-dusted mochi rings, honey cruellers, electric-pink raspberry holes—they’re all craveable, and they’re forthcoming in spring at this popup-turned-bakeshop (about $3 each).


Banh Mi • Lan Hue

Chinatown–International District doesn’t lack for Vietnamese sandwiches. But the more the better, especially at this Jackson Street sandwich shop where a family of charming sandwich smiths build all manner of banh mi to order (all $4 each), such as one with housemade pâté and thin slices of cured ham on a freshly baked baguette.

Original Steak •  King Philly Cheesesteaks

What dark art of the grill injects the taste of peppers and onions into the very essence of the finely chopped beef? How is it that meat juice and cheese sauce fuse into a superstrain of flavor? The $10 cheesesteak from this tidy Rainier Valley strip mall may not yield answers—but probably leftovers.

Basar Hummus •  Aviv Hummus Bar

A spread of smoothly blended chickpeas, tahini, and a bit of lemon isn’t merely a side dish; rather it’s the dish, and a great one, inside owner David Nussbaum’s Capitol Hill cafe. Hummus is the foundation for the $13 basar, shawarma-spiced ground beef topped with pine nuts and accompanied by warm pita bread and house pickles.

Caribbean Roast •  Un Bien

Attention to detail makes this $11.50 sandwich legend: Tender pork shoulder, brightened by marinade. The crunch of oversize grilled onions, the unifying sheen of garlic-forward aioli. Structured buns that can handle it all and not get soggy. Two sons and a pair of bright-pink shacks on either end of Ballard carry on the family tradition that began with the original Paseo.

Hot oil noodles at Xi’an Noodles  IMAGE:  SARAH FLOTARD

Hot oil noodles at Xi’an Noodles


Hot Oil Noodles •  Xi’an Noodles

The simplest $10 preparation at this U District noodle house is also the best showcase for its broad, rustic Xi’an–style biang biang noodles: just some searing hot oil to magnify the charms of chilies, garlic, soy sauce, and bean sprouts. Make sure to inhale the aroma before you dive in.

World Traveler Salad •  Plum Chopped

On Capitol Hill, next door to Plum Bistro, owner Makini Howell’s first vegan restaurant, is her latest: a walk-up counter that serves healthful salads like this one of chopped romaine, coriander-rubbed tofu, red peppers, tangerine, and toasted tumeric pepitas. Even the fiercely carnivorous can quell hunger for about $10.

Chirashi •  Fremont Bowl

Cheap isn’t a word to use with raw fish, so let’s call the $15 rice bowl that overflows with marbled salmon, tuna, shrimp, and eel a screaming value for the glistening abundance of high-quality fish. Come for lunch, when crowds at this cheerful new donburi shop aren’t quite as crazy. 

Half Sandwich and Salad •  Michou

Pike Place Market’s midday miracle: this case of sandwiches (crispy chicken, beef poblano, brie with tomato) pressed on order until warm and toasty. Maybe order half a sandwich and round out lunch via the endless parade of salads by the pound. A proper meal can run $10, even with dessert.

A chicken sandwich with kale salad from Michou (right); its sando-filled deli case.  IMAGE:  CHONA KASINGER

A chicken sandwich with kale salad from Michou (right); its sando-filled deli case.


Jibneh with Za’atar •  Mamnoon Street

That superlative housemade man’oushe flatbread meets the soft, salty white cheese known as jibneh—not to mention an herb-forward riot of mint, tomato, green olives, and za’atar spices. It’s an $11 lunch that’s light, but also comforting.

Oysters, the Original Fast Casual

Long before there were grain bowls or poke bars, another fast-casual phenom proliferated in the Northwest. They came in their own, mostly calcium carbonate container, nature’s to-go box, compostable before it was hip (or lawful). Oysters were surely fast—unhinge that jagged exterior with a swift shuck, then down it in one briny slurp. And what’s more casual than a food plucked directly from cool tidelands?

However, mollusks from low shores skew high-end these days. Lucky us, Seattle has many a seafood den with an oyster happy hour. Along Lake Union find White Swan Public House, where oysters on the half shell can run $1 to $1.75. Meanwhile, rows of $2 oysters await daily upon crushed ice beds at Ballard Annex Oyster HouseTaylor Shellfish cultivates much of the state’s tidal flats and runs three oyster bars in town, all of which have a rotating happy hour oyster for under two bucks.

And, unlike a grain bowl, they’re perfect with beer. —RS 


Classic Mix •  Pel Meni Dumpling Tzar

Somehow steaming hot, dough-wrapped bundles of beef and potato are best inhaled in the wee hours—perhaps after frequenting the many bars that surround the Fremont and Capitol Hill locations, perhaps because no one really needs a reason for a $9 bowl of Russian-style dumplings, dusted with curry powder and doused with red-chili rice vinegar.

Corn Dog •  Unicorn

Get thee to Capitol Hill’s unabashedly weird bar to sate those midnight carnival hankerings. Slather the corn dog in toppings, should you so desire, but the original can’t be beat: hand dipped in cornmeal batter that, when fried, forms a golden crust. A $6 corndog never felt so right.

Aloha Tots •  Marination

It’s a Midwest tater tot casserole after a journey of self-discovery in the Pacific: crispy tots and kalua pork beneath a lava flow of red kimchi sauce, white mayo, and the yolk of a fried egg. It’s $10, only available at the Denny Regrade location, and even better with one of the beers on tap.

Don’t plan on being productive after a round of Aloha Tots from Marination’s Regrade location.  IMAGE:  CHONA KASINGER

Don’t plan on being productive after a round of Aloha Tots from Marination’s Regrade location.


The Tavern Burger •  Loretta’s Northwesterner

It’s been a cheap-eats legend for years, and rightfully so. South Park’s famed $4.50 burger tastes like fond memories from a midcentury small-town drive-in—fat slice of cheese melted over a slender chargrilled patty, squishy bun, sprinkle of onion, and coins of dill pickle. The tavern’s been-here-forever ambience is just a bonus.

Steak Tartare Club •  Mean Sandwich

A refined appetizer, a barometer of a chef’s deft hand—the tartare is usually the stuff of finer dining, but in Ballard it’s stuffed between two slices of rye bread, wonderfully dressed with yuzu kosho mayo, and, at $13, the most exquisite bite issued forth from this small sandwich shop.

Fried Chicken Sandwich •  Ma‘ono U Village

Mark Fuller applied his fried chicken know-how to a masterpiece of a sandwich sold at a counter inside the Rachel’s Ginger Beer at University Village. The chicken crackles like fireworks and is just about as hot; thank goodness for the cooling properties of kewpie mayo, pickled daikon, and crunchy iceberg, all in a sweet bun. This massive, marvelous $11 sandwich stays crunchy even for takeout. 


Pizza by the Slice

It’s the ultimate cheap eat, classed up of late with double the pepperoni—or even taco meat, or a combo of mortadella, fontina, and ricotta—on a perfectly chewy crust (but still just $4) at Mark Fuller’s Supreme pizza tavern in West Seattle. At Southpaw, John Sundstrom’s wood-fired pizzeria on 12th Avenue, $6 gets you a quarter pie that might sport Italian sausage and basil-mint pesto or chorizo and padron peppers. But if you prefer your pizza slices giant, folded, and consumed after copious booze, Hot Mama’s is the gold standard and, at $2.50 a slice, one alluringly greasy bargain; Big Mario’s $4 behemoths are available until 2am in three locations around the city. 

Taste Transcends Distance at Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen

By Denise Sakaki | December 27, 2018

photos courtesy Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen

photos courtesy Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen

The Thai salutation, or wai, a gentle bow with hands clasped in a prayer-like style, is a gesture of greeting or departure, and a sign of respect and gratitude. As instinctive as a friendly handshake or a wave of the hand, wai is an expression of human connection and deeply held traditions in Thai culture, and it’s regularly bestowed as one is welcomed into Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen in Kirkland.

When Jennifer “Jenny” Politanont and husband Saravut Nawasangarun decided to settle down and raise a family in Kirkland, they arrived with a vision to expand the Eastside’s palate beyond the comfort zone of pad Thai. They arrived from Thailand with a unique background of having careers as successful artists in the entertainment industry, as well as the experience of starting and running their own restaurants in the busy cityscape of Bangkok.

Their restaurateur pedigree was earned by hands-on experience — they managed and ran their businesses and evolved them over time, trying different things. Through this process they came to learn their own personal “restaurant style” that would eventually become the concept of Isarn, which first opened along the Kirkland waterfront in 2014, then followed with a second location in Lynnwood.


A labor of love, Isarn is both the taste and essence of Thailand. Politanont gestures to the rich, dark tropical wood integrated with the restaurant interiors, and the textures of bamboo on the wall décor — most of the materials were brought over from Thailand to truly evoke a sense of place. The chefs are all from Thailand, bringing their own regional experiences to the kitchen. The restaurant logo is a patterned silhouette of the Isarn region (also spelled Isan, among several variations), the northeast portion of Thailand unique for its diversity of influences. It shares a border with Laos, and the region has a lush integration of culture; languages; and of course, food. Politanont describes how the composition of the restaurant menu, while not exclusive to the Isarn area, conveys the overall influence of the cuisine that has permeated what most would generally consider Thai food.

The popular streetside vendors’ simple preparation of ingredients to showcase flavor is apparent in Isarn’s fresh-made curries with essential oils of lemongrass and chili peppers. The region’s landlocked location in Thailand reflects the use of more meat than seafood, and the Isarn menu is populated with soups and stews featuring rich cuts of pork belly or beef, braised slowly to enrich the broth with flavor and texture. Even in the chill of a Northwest winter, Isarn’s salads are hearty and possess that ideal balance of what Thai cuisine excels in: the complex layering of fresh, raw ingredients like cucumber, bean sprouts, and mint, paired with grilled meats; seafood and vegetables; sharp notes of pickled vegetables; and the robustness of fermented, preserved flavors like fish sauce or anchovies.

Guests familiar with living in Thailand will indulge in the “Everything” Papaya Salad, made with the traditional tart; green strips of papaya fruit; crunchy bean sprouts; peanuts and fried pork rinds, along with the added “Isarn style” of fermented crab and anchovies to bring it to an intense flavor crescendo.

Along with their “power couple” celebrity status in Thailand, Politanont and Nawasangarun are equally well-matched as Northwest restaurateurs. “My husband is the one that works in the kitchen most of the time,” Politanont says. “He’s not a chef himself, but he knows what he likes. He has traveled a lot, constantly eating out in Thailand, getting ideas, like, ‘Oh, this is going to be good!’” While crediting her husband as the flavor/food curator who guides the menu as it evolves over time, both are experienced business owners, and Isarn’s menu has been designed for authenticity while matching the Eastside pace.

Dishes are designed to have all the layers of texture and ingredients, and able to be served to smaller groups, as the more traditional family style of eating with large parties isn’t as prevalent here. The incredible growth of the Eastside — Kirkland, especially — has increased the workday lunch crowd, and one of Isarn’s most-ordered dishes is the Hat Yai Fried Chicken topped with fried shallots and garlic — simple and just as popular with Thai street food vendors, it’s quickly become a local favorite. Politanont laughs, “Everyone loves fried chicken.”

Whether it’s the bustling streets of Bangkok or the changing landscape of the Eastside, the heart of Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen is its people, and the fact that it’s a family business in constant connection to its culture. “I have my mom, my brother, my sister working here now. We all live together; we’re always touching base about the business,” Politanont says of this deeply personal work dynamic. She describes how they’re always having food from their own restaurants, sampling and testing dishes between the two locations, making regular adjustments. This commitment is rewarded with guests commenting regularly how something in particular tastes like a dish from home, and transplants from Thailand have been coming to Isarn since it opened, bringing visitors and spreading the restaurants’ popularity.


Politanont loves seeing guests, upon returning from a trip to Thailand, expressing the wai, welcoming the encouragement to eat the sticky rice in the traditional manner of using one’s fingers, connecting that much more to the experience.

One of Politanont’s favorite dishes is one she can have from the restaurant kitchen, or on a busy street in Bangkok — a simple papaya salad (with sticky rice, of course), expressing the ability of food to transcend distance, that no matter how far we are from home or family, we can have that sense of place over a shared meal.

A Look Back at Kirkland in 2018

Greg McClellan of Kirkland assembles the complex album cover art puzzle for the first time. Madison Miller/staff photo.

Greg McClellan of Kirkland assembles the complex album cover art puzzle for the first time. Madison Miller/staff photo.

A Look Back at Kirkland in 2018

The top Reporter stories for 2018. | Wednesday, December 26, 2018 10:42am | Courtesy of KirklandReporter.com

The end of the year is quickly approaching and with 2018 coming to a close, here is a look at some of the top Reporter stories for the year.



“Hospital gets all clear after ‘rifle’ turns out to be umbrella”: EvergreenHealth went into lockdown on Jan. 17 when a suspicious person was reported to be walking around the hospital with a rifle. The man in question turned out to be a hospital employee, who contacted police once he saw his photo on social media and told law enforcement that the “rifle” was actually an ornate umbrella with a sword hilt handle.


“Local gymnastics community calls for change in culture”: Following the more than 150 girls and women who gave victim impact statements during the sentencing of USA Gymnastics’ disgraced national doctor Larry Nassar, the Reporter spoke with members of the local gymnastics community to get their thoughts and reactions on the situation.


“‘School is a place to learn’”: In the wake of the shooting on Feb. 14 at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students across the country added their voices to the national conversation on gun control — including students at Juanita High School. Students participated in a walkout protest and shared thoughts on what they would like to see done to keep them safe at school.


“State Rep. Joan McBride calls it a career”: Longtime Eastside leader and former Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride announces her retirement, set for the end of her term this year. McBride has spent 25 years as an elected official and was elected to represent the 48th Legislative District in 2014. Following McBride’s retirement announcement, Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen announced she would be running for the soon-to-be-vacant position.


“Kirkland starts community dialogue on gun safety”: Kirkland residents, including those who own guns, ask City Council to adopt a gun safety resolution. About 750 people signed a position asking elected officials to consider holding community events, adding gun safety to the city legislative agenda and promoting educational programs on gun rights and responsibilities as well as mental health resources.


“Suspect killed during police shooting was armed convicted felon”: Redmond police shot and killed a 39-year-old man at the Kirkland Safeway gas station. The suspect was a convicted felon and suspect in an ongoing Redmond Police Department investigation. Kirkland police investigated the case.


“Body near Maltby was missing Kenmore mother; it was homicide”: Jamie Haggard who lived in Kenmore, near the Kirkland border, had gone missing in 2016. At the time, her disappearance was ruled suspicious. Her body had been discovered in Maltby in May of this year and it took the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office a few months to confirm her identity.


“A farewell to long-time employee at USPS”: After serving the Kirkland community for 50 years, 68-year-old Phil Hill retires from the U.S. Postal Service. When he started with USPS, there were a total of 13 routes in the community. Now there are more than 60 routes throughout Kirkland.

Kirkland firefighters and Puget Sound Energy staff examine the aftermath of a four-hour fire that destroyed the Rose Hill Village in September. Kailan Manandic/staff photo

Kirkland firefighters and Puget Sound Energy staff examine the aftermath of a four-hour fire that destroyed the Rose Hill Village in September. Kailan Manandic/staff photo


“Locals rally around business incinerated by Rose Hill fire”: A fire destroyed Rose Hill Village, leaving seven businesses without retail space, including Decks and Spas, which had nothing but ash to salvage. In response, community members rallied to support the business with a GoFundMe campaign, which raised about $12,000 for Decks and Spas.


“Kirkland man creates 48-hour-long concept album”: Greg McClellan spent nearly 20 years on an album dedicated to his childhood friend Curt. “Listen2Daze” features 400 songs on 39 discs, combining Curt’s recorded testimonies with his life’s story and friendship with McClellan.


“How a community responds to systematic racism, implicit bias”: After Byron Ragland, a black man, was asked to “move along” while in Menchies in Totem Lake without purchasing anything, the Kirkland community responded to the incident with apologies from the police and city, a protest in front of the frozen yogurt shop as well as a community meeting.


“City mourns passing of long-time planning, building director”: After a multi-year battle with cancer, former Kirkland planning, building director Eric Shields died on Nov. 23. He began working for the city in 1977. A celebration of Shield’s life is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 22 at the Kirkland Performance Center.

Last-Minute Plans: 84 Free, Cheap & Easy Holiday Things To Do In Seattle: Dec 20-25, 2018

Ugly Sweater Parties, Holiday Light Displays, and More $10-and-Under Events

by Stranger Things To Do Staff

Celebrate Christmas Eve and support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with a ragtag bunch of local folk-rockers like Spank Williams & Friends (pictured) at the    15th Annual Blue Moon Christmas Pageant   . COURTESY OF BLUE MOON TAVERN

Celebrate Christmas Eve and support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with a ragtag bunch of local folk-rockers like Spank Williams & Friends (pictured) at the 15th Annual Blue Moon Christmas Pageant. COURTESY OF BLUE MOON TAVERN

Whether you're sticking around Seattle for the holidays and have a limited budget or you're hosting out-of-town family and looking for something you can all do that won't break the bank, we've got you covered. Below, find all of your options for last-minute holiday entertainment from December 20–25 that won't cost more than $10, ranging from the Music of A Charlie Brown Christmas to Mystery Drag Queen Theater 3000: Holiday Edition, and from ugly sweater parties like W Seattle's Eat, Drink & Be Ugly to Populuxe Brewing's annual Orphan's Christmas. For even more options, check out our list of non-holiday-related cheap & easy things to do this weekend and into next week, our list of places to see holiday lights, or our complete winter holidays calendar.



1. Love Actually Movie Night & Blanket Drive
Watch Love Actually, the lengthiest (and cutest) British Christmas movie of modern times, for free in a heated beer garden. Don't forget to bring a warm blanket to donate to those in need. 
(Ballard, free)


2. Sit Ubu Sit, Dancer and Prancer
Festive surf rockers Dancer and Prancer will headline this holiday show, where you can also play trivia in pursuit of prizes, knowing that all proceeds will benefit Seattle Dogs Homeless Program.  
(Columbia City, $8/$10)

3. Snuff Redux, MONSTERWATCH, Beverly Crusher, Rat Queen, Actionesse, Coach Phillips
Raise money and donate toys to families in need by dancing to live sets from local rockers Snuff Redux, MONSTERWATCH, Beverly Crusher, Actionesse, Rat Queen, and Coach Phillips. 
(Capitol Hill, $10)


4. Everett Makers Market Ugly Sweater Party Last Minute Gifts
Guzzle two-dollar pints of Scuttlebutt in your ugly sweater while you do some last-minute gift shopping from local vendors such as Knits Fiber Co., the Art of Rosemary, and Vertical Gardens. 
(Everett, free)

5. Firestone Walker Ugly Sweater Party
Dust off your most hideous holiday hand-me-down and enter an ugly sweater contest. This event will also have games, crafting, and plenty of beer and wine.  
(Fremont, free)

6. Kris Kringle's Christmas Mingle 2
With some help from a horn section, local musicians Zechariah Valette and Johnny Durango will play all your holiday favorites while a live painter makes art before your eyes. You can also snap a photo in a "winter wonderland" photo booth and drink special drinks.  
(Belltown, free)

7. Ugly Sweater Night with Fremont Brewing
Grab a pint from one of several Fremont Brewing taps and a sandwich from Make Me a Sandwich and party in your ugly sweater.  
(West Seattle, free)

8. A Winter Function
Celebrate Sagittarius season, the winter solstice, and the holidays with fiery sounds by DJs X2050 and Pax. Festive attire is encouraged.  
(Beacon Hill, $5/$10)


9. Queen4Queen: Ho! Ho! Hoe!
Get slutty for the holidays with drag divas Baby Guuurl, Bosco, Canolli, and Indika Haze. Come early to revel before the performances start. 
(Capitol Hill, free)


10. Night Market at Pike Place
Pike Place's New MarketFront Pavilion will stay open late for your last-minute gift needs. Find hand-crafted goods from shops like Bar Bazaar, Brooke Westlund Studio + Gallery, the Carrot Flower Company, the Paper Feather, and Ugly Baby. Come hungry to fill up on bites from indi chocolate, Honest Biscuits, Piroshky Piroshky, and El Chito. 
(Downtown, free)



11. Pioneer Square Holidays 2018
For a hub of holiday cheer, head over to Pioneer Square for giveaways from neighborhood businesses at free horse-drawn carriage rides in Occidental Square, the Pilchuck Holiday Sale, and other events. 
(Pioneer Square, free)


12. It's a Wrap Winter Wonderland + DJ Experience
Gaze at a flurry of snow created by digital video mapping while you cozy up by a fire, sip cocktails, and enjoy live DJs. 
(Downtown, free)


13. Solstice Stroll
Brighten up the darkest days of the year by walking through an illuminated garden, which will be open each day until the winter solstice passes. 
(Shoreline, $10 suggested donation)



14. Christmas Ship Fesitval
Every holiday season, the Spirit of Seattle (Argosy Cruises's "Official Christmas Ship") sails to 65 Washington waterfronts, bringing Christmas choirs and sparkling light displays to onlookers.
(Various locations, free)



15. Snowflake Lane
Flurries of snow (the kind that shoots out of a machine) dust the streets as bright lights, festive music, toy drummers, and other emblems of magical holiday cheer fill the streets for nightly parades. 
(Bellevue, free)

16. Swansons Reindeer Festival
Shop a variety of seasonal plants, bulbs, arrangements, and Christmas trees, as well as other gifts like books, jewelry, and home decor, at the decked-out nursery. Plus, visit with Santa and his real-life reindeer, check out model trains, and enjoy live music throughout the season. 
(Crown Hill, free)


17. Evergreen Lights
Eat cookies and drink cocoa while you gaze at 500,000 lights flickering to choreographed music like little dancing lumens. 
(Bothell, free)


18. The Dickens Carolers
The Dickens Carolers will return to serenade you with holiday ditties while you eat and drink festive treats.  
(First Hill, free)
No performance Dec 23



19. It's a Wonderful Life
Shortly after It's a Wonderful Life's 1946 release, James Agee, one of the few American film critics of that era still worth reading, noted the film's grueling aspect. "Often," he wrote, "in its pile-driving emotional exuberance, it outrages, insults, or at least accosts without introduction, the cooler and more responsible parts of the mind." These aesthetic cautions are followed, however, by a telling addendum: "It is nevertheless recommended," Agee allowed, "and will be reviewed at length as soon as the paralyzing joys of the season permit." Paralyzing joys are the very heart of George Bailey's dilemma; they are, to borrow words from George's father, "deep in the race." The sacrifices George makes for being "the richest man in town" resonate bitterly even as they lead to the finale's effusive payoff. Those sacrifices are what make It's a Wonderful Life, in all its "Capraesque" glory, endure. This year marks the 48th consecutive year Grand Illusion has played the film. SEAN NELSON 
(University District, $9)


20. Garden d’Lights
Walk among "half a million" sparkling lights in the shapes of flowers, plants, birds, and waterfalls at this annual holiday display. 
(Bellevue, free/$5)



21. Winterfest
From a winter train village to an ice rink, and from music and dance performances to ice sculpting, Winterfest promises five weeks of free festive cheer for all ages. Don' miss a holiday surf-rock show from Dancer & Prancer (Dec 21), a performance from the Sierra's Latin Jazz Project (Dec 22), and Jingle Bell Rock, A Puppet Show (Dec 23).
(Seattle Center, free)


22. Family Christmas Spectacular
Sip hot cocoa in your car while you watch a glittering light display. Don't forget to bring non-perishable food donations for the West Seattle Food Bank. There will be extra special shows on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so don't miss out.
(West Seattle, free)

23. Keener Christmas
Take part in a north-end tradition by driving under a towering archway leading to 500,000 lights strung by Bothell couple Jeff and Candice Keener. Santa has been known to hand out candy canes to spectators, so keep your eyes peeled. Plus, bring canned food to donate to HopeLink. 
(Bothell, free)

24. Maple Valley Lights
Tune your car radio to 101.9FM "Listen To The Lights" and drive through a neighborhood decked out in holiday light displays. There will be extra special shows on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so don't miss out. 
(Maple Valley, free)

25. Olympic Manor
Ballard homeowners go all out at this community light display. Crank up the Christmas tunes and take a drive through the neighborhood. 
(Ballard, free)


26. Hometown Holidays in the Junction
All throughout the holiday season, head to West Seattle for all kinds of all-ages activities like late-night shopping and a holiday farmers market on Dec 30. 
(West Seattle, free)



27. Candy Cane Lane
1920s-era Tudor homes in Ravenna have been boasting impressive light displays every holiday season since 1949. Stroll along Northeast Park Road taking in Nutcracker-themed havens complete with sleighs, reindeer, sugar plum fairies, and blow-up candy canes galore. 
(Ravenna, free)

28. Clam Lights
Every night, Ivar's powers up the park with thousands of Christmas lights depicting various clammy characters. Is this where clams go to heaven after you eat them at Ivar's? 
(Renton, free)


29. Holiday Express Train and Poinsettia Display
The holiday train will return to the Volunteer Park Conservatory to weave its way through festive poinsettias. 
(Capitol Hill, $4)


30. Gingerbread Village
For the 26th year in a row, diabetes research center JDRF Northwest has invited local architecture firms to use their skills for a holiday tradition: crafting an elaborate gingerbread village, this year with the theme of "Welcome to Whoville." See five life-size whimsical Seussian creations in person throughout the season, accompanied by clips from the classic 1966 How the Grinch Stole Christmas
(Downtown, $5 suggested donation)
Closed on Dec 25


31. Maple Leaf Lights
Take some time to appreciate the lengths to which people have gone to illuminate their houses with impressive Christmas light displays. 
(Maple Leaf, free)



32. Winter Wonderland at Redmond Town Center
Enjoy an ice skating rink, a carousel, live entertainment, visits from Santa, and more family-friendly activities throughout the winter season. 
(Redmond, free)



33. Snow Day in Denny Park
Denny Park's winter light display will provide a magical, twinkly respite from your day. 
(Queen Anne, free)



34. SAD Queers: A Holiday Comedy Special
Leaven the darkest day of the year with comedy sets by delightful queers like Andy Iwancio, Aila Slisco, Summer Azim, Graham Downing, Vee Chattie, Melissa Beadle, Amethyst de Wolfe, and Llynn Marks. Clara Pluton will host this benefit for TransWomen of Color Collective. 
(University District, $5-$10 suggested donation)


35. Film & Discussion: The Black Candle
Watch the "first feature film on Kwanzaa," narrated by Maya Angelou and directed by M.K. Ashante, then discuss it afterwards with Africatown members. 
(Columbia City, free)


36. Holiday Latin Dance Party
Dance to "every tropical rhythm" in the book, from salsa and bachata to merengue and cumbia, at this holiday DJ dance party.  
(Sodo, $5/$10)

37. The LOST Holiday Party
Los Angeles-based DJ Dan (once a resident of Seattle) will headline this holiday party with support from Dig-Dug, Dot Diggler, Buckmode, Christian Jackson, and others. Drink some eggnog and dance.  
(Downtown, free)

38. NorthLeft 005: Timbre Room Holiday Party
Mix up your usual holiday music routine by getting down to house and techno with DJ Jesse Leer, who'll be joined by NorthLeft, Tony H, and locals Alex Flores and Derrick Deep.  
(Downtown, $8)

39. REVEL Ugly Sweater Party!
Express your feelings about the holidays by dancing to an energetic blend of hiphop, Latin dance beats, Top 40, and bass music in your ugly sweater.  
(Capitol Hill, free)

40. Three Fingers, Heck Yes, Boss Tanaka
Join local punk rockers Three Fingers for their second annual Christmas show, with more local support from Heck Yes and Boss Tanaka. 
(University District, $7)


41. Da 3rd Annual "UGLY SWEATER" Caribbean Party
DJs Qualifi, Veteran, and Y2K Sound will keep you dancing with a mix of dancehall, reggae, Afrobeat, soca, and hiphop. Wear a breathable ugly sweater if there is such a thing.   
(First Hill, $10)

42. Eat, Drink & Be Ugly
Celebrate National Ugly Sweater Day with bites, cocktails—liked aged eggnog and hot buttered scotch—and live Vinyl Church DJs. If your sweater is really, really hideous, you could win two free tickets to the Sparkle 2019 NYE Celebration
(Downtown, free)

43. It's Time To Get...UGLY
Want to sip holiday beverages and decorate holiday cookies for 10-percent-off your tab? Wear an ugly sweater.
(Pioneer Square, free admission)


44. An Evening With Ms. Claus
Sylvia O'Stayformore, one of the hardest-working and most venerable queens in town, will take the part of Santa's better half so you can get your picture with her, sing songs, and more.  
(Capitol Hill, free)


45. Beneath the Mistletoe: The Lesser-known Botany of Christmas
How did, holly, pine, and other fauna come to be associated with the holidays? Christmas foliage expert Orlando de Lange will let you in on everything you've ever wanted to know on the subject while you sip wintery cocktails. 
(Capitol Hill, $5)


46. Gift Hole
Want to do your December shopping for "artist made shit that doesn't immediately trigger existential dread or perpetuate the systematic malaise of big box stores and late stage capitalism"? Party Hat has you covered. Screen-print your own gift wrap and buy Brandon Vosika's custom-painted tote bags. 
(Pioneer Square, free)


47. Evening Beach Walk
Spend the winter solstice exploring a West Seattle beach during low tide with Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists. 
(West Seattle, free)



48. Holiday Market at Westlake Park
A trip downtown during the holidays beckons a visit to Urban Craft Uprising's annual market, where you'll find all sorts of handmade gifts throughout the season. Plus, hop on the Holiday Carousel while you still can. (Downtown, free)



Holiday Movie Afternoon - Elf!
Watch Will Ferrell eat gum off the sidewalk and inflict cheerful mayhem on his grinchy dad at this screening of Elf!.  
(Greenwood, free)

49. Monster Planet: 9.xmas That Kringling Feeling
Make the season weird with Monster Planet's live-mixed soundtrack to a montage of cheesy B-movies provided by Scarecrow Video and Killing Frenzy Visuals. Gel-Sol, Leave Trace, Brian Oblivion, and Don Keyoner will be your musical hosts. 
(Greenwood, free)


50. Darci Carlson’s Holiday Jamboree
Get in the country Christmas spirit with live sets from the Ohio Valley Boys, Darci Carlson Band, Wildcat Rose, Stoned Evergreen Travelers, and Santa Poco. 
(White Center, free)

51. The Dee Dees, Weirdons, Mud On My Bra
Tired of Christmas carols? Opt for this annual holiday rock show with locals the Dee Dees, Weirdons, and Mud On My Bra. 
(Georgetown, $5)

52. The Emo G's Presents: Emo Dance Party Before Xmas
This isn’t a phase, Mom—it’s a whole party! The Emo Gs are back at it for another night of emo classics by the likes of My Chemical Romance, the Used, Dashboard Confessional, Fall Out Boy, and more. My hair might be too short now to iron into flattened, fried perfection for a scene-queen-worthy MySpace profile pic (pc4pc, anyone?), but I’m looking forward to the sea of jet-black manicures at this shindig. For less than a tub of your favorite Manic Panic hair dye, come and dance (or cry, if you want to) the night away with all the other kids that your mom warned you about. SOPHIA STEPHENS 
(Ballard, $10)

53. A House Music Holiday Party
Welcome hometown boy Terry Jasinto back to Seattle for an evening of electronic mixes with support from Pappa T and Tokita.  
(Capitol Hill, $10)

54. LudaChristmas
Celebrate the reason for the season (getting drunk with your friends) by dancing all night to hiphop tracks straight from Hotlanta by artists like Ludacris, Outkast, T.I., Gucci Mane, Lil Jon, Migos, Childish Gambino, Jermaine Dupri, and more. 
(Capitol Hill, $5)

55. Lumbersexual Onesies-Union Suit-LongJohn Party with DJ Tank Top
Break in your holiday onesie or longjohns in the steamy company of hot go-go boys and DJ Tank Top. 
(Capitol Hill, $6/$8)

56. The Music of "A Charlie Brown Christmas"
Because the Royal Room does the music of Charlie Brown every year, I every year have to write this love poem to the core tune, "Christmastime Is Here (Instrumental)," of this masterpiece of American culture. It is, I think, one of the most beautiful pieces of jazz ever composed. Listening to it is like watching falling snow through a window. The room is warm, something is roasting in the oven, and outside, the flakes are falling faintly through the universe and upon the trees, the hedges, the water gutters, the telephone poles, and the rooftops of a thousand apartment buildings. This is where you want to be forever. This is Vince Guaraldi's "Christmastime Is Here (Instrumental)." It opens with a trembling bass, like someone coming out of the cold, stamping their feet, brushing the snow off their shoulders, hanging their winter coat, rubbing and blowing on numb fingers, and entering the living room where there is a window, watching the flakes falling faintly upon all the buildings and the living. CHARLES MUDEDE 
(Columbia City, $10)

57. Winter's Return 2018
Celebrate the holidays with William Pint and Felicia Dale of Music of the Sea as they play festive music with a hurdy-gurdy (a hand-cranked string instrument), a hammered dulcimer, a whistle, a violin, a recorder, a guitar, drums, a cistern, and other unusual instruments. 
(Greenwood, free)

58. X-Mas Party with Riffbrokers, Love and Fury, Value Ape
Celebrate Christmas a few days early with this collection of rowdy live sets by the Riffbrokers, Love and Fury, and Value Ape. 
(Georgetown, $7)


59. Lava Lava Distorted X Mas
Look your freakiest and take a photo with Deranged Drambuie Clause and his Handy Helper, Lil Socky. Then dance the night away to festive music by DJ Vodka Twist. Don't forget to grab your Secret Santa gift. 
(Belltown, free)

60. Leny’s Annual Ugly Sweater Party
Drink a glass of "firenog" in your ugly sweater and your party pants for a night of "debaucherous fun." 
(Green Lake, free)

61. Ugly Sweater Holiday Party
Win cash prizes for the ugliness of your sweater at this holiday bash and dance party with DJ 50 Spence.  
(White Center, free)

62. VUE Lounge Saturdays: Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
Enjoy a festive LED lighting display, a "custom flower wall" by which to take photos for your Instagram, craft cocktails, live DJs, and more at this ugly sweater party.  
(Belltown, free)


63. Mystery Drag Queen Theater 3000: Holiday Edition
In this series, the glamorous Betty Better, Demonia Creeper, Miss Kitty Franzia, and Old Witch riff on the best/worst B movies live on stage. For this holiday installment, watch as they heckle the 1987 trash horror gem Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2. Plus, enjoy themed drink specials, drag performances, and pictures with Santa. 
(Downtown, $9)


64. Chop Suey Flea Market
Shop from dozens of local vendors selling everything from art to books to vintage goods while you drink booze, enjoy live music, and snap photos with Santa. 
(Capitol Hill, free)

65. Holiday Maker's Market
Shop from over a dozen independent vendors, artists, and small businesses, then stop by a gift wrapping station and make your own hot cocoa from a hot cocoa bar and create your own gift tags at a craft station. Your proceeds will support Coyote Central, who provide pay-what-you-can creative workshops for youth. 
(Downtown, free)

66. Soul Holiday Market
Africatown-Central District will host a local vendor market with food trucks, games, and live music from Zach Bruce and Omega. 
(Central District, free)

67. Winter Craft Fair at ALTSpace
Enjoy food and drinks (boozy and non-boozy), a live glassblowing display, a giant pirate ship filled with live DJs, caroling by the Jerk Church, and art shopping. 
(Capitol Hill, free)


68. Seattle Secular Solstice 2018
Regardless of your religion or lack thereof, celebrate the spirit of the holiday season with community members over songs and food at the annual Seattle Secular Solstice. 
(Sodo, donation)



69. Photos with Krampus - The Holiday Devil!
If you've already got enough photos with Santa for one year, take the opportunity to snap a selfie with Krampus, the demonic goat-like Christmas demon who haunts people during the Yuletide season. 
(Queen Anne, free)


70. Gingerbread Boy
At this confectionary musical theater show, kids can watch as Bill the Chill makes ice cream, Sweetie (a copper kettle) cooks up candy and chocolate confections, and Pepper Mint chases after the mischievous Gingerbread Boy through Candyland. 
(Sand Point, $10)


71. IllustrAFest
Northwest artists—primarily of the illustrative variety, but also featuring comic, anime, craft, and gaming artists—will show and sell their wares. 
(Chinatown-International District, free)



72. BadWill Market - The Holiday Edition
Make your last-minute holiday shopping less stressful by sipping cocktails, snacking, and listening to live music while you look for vintage apparel, handmade jewelry, beauty and grooming products, leather accessories, embroidered goods, house plants, and more. 
(Capitol Hill, free)

73. December Skylark Art Mart
Get your last-minute shopping done from local vendors. DJs FIX and Naughty Nice will provide the soundtrack. 
(West Seattle, free)

74. The Goods
Buy pieces by local artists and other vendors, including Ministry of Metal's Megan Fitzpatrick, Under the Needle Tattoos, Katie Wright, Cataclysmic Designs's Rob Lewis, and many others. A live DJ will keep your feet shuffling. 
(Belltown, free)



75. Holiday Cookie Night
Spend the night before Christmas decorating sugar cookies shaped like trees, snowpeople, and snowflakes. 
(Capitol Hill, free)


76. Free Admission at the Volunteer Park Conservatory
Thanks to a generous donation from the Bennett-Shear Family, the Volunteer Park Conservatory will waive its admission fee from Christmas Eve through the end of February. Visiting the lush plant-filled glass structure is a treat on any day of the year, but be sure to catch the Holiday Express Train and Poinsettia Display before it goes away on New Year's Day. 
(Capitol Hill, free)


77. 15th Annual Blue Moon Christmas Pageant
Celebrate Christmas with a ragtag bunch of local folk-rockers at Blue Moon's annual pageant, with live sets from a varied Seattle crew (including Best Band From Earth, the Yule Loggers, Spank Williams & Friends, Snax, Nomi, and others) to sling holiday cheer your way. Even better, proceeds from the door go to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
(University District, $10)


78. 4th Annual Orphan's Christmas
All alone for the holidays? Let Populuxe take you in, with a potluck, live acoustic music, and a special beer selection "guaranteed to chase your humbug away." There'll also be raffles for free swag, like glasses, growlers, and T-shirts.
(Ballard, free)

79. Christmas Eve Holiday Party
Spend the night before Christmas drinking festive Plantation Rum drink specials and watching holiday movies.  
(Capitol Hill, free)



80. Hempfest Christmas Day Vigil
Hempfest will hold their 21st annual Christmas Day vigil outside the King County prison to promote drug policy reform and protest the War on Drugs. 
(Downtown, free)


81. I Hate X-Mas Karaoke: A Benefit for YouthCare
Christmas elf TV will host this night of karaoke in support of YouthCare, an organization that provides resources to LGBTQ+ youth.  
(Capitol Hill, free)

82. Miracle On Howell St with Riz and Friends
The legendary nightclub/theater venue Re-Bar will be just as magical and wish-granting as Santa Claus at this party inspired by the holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street. Dance the night away to local DJs, including Reverend Doctor Riz Rollins, Kadeejah Streets, JENNGREEN, Bad Ginger, and Dane Gatfield Wilson. Dirty Santa will be played by Nicky Valentine. 
(Downtown, free)

83. Xmas Karaoke- Unsilent Night
Round out your Christmas Day festivities by belting karaoke and feasting on holiday Pupu platters.  
(Capitol Hill, free)

A Hike for Each Month of the Year

12 far-flung trails for year-round exploration.

By Craig Romano  4/1/2014 at 8:00pm  Published in the April 2014 issue of Seattle Met

Ebey’s Landing  IMAGE:  CRAIG ROMANO

Ebey’s Landing



Ebey’s Landing 

Climb the lofty coastal bluff, then stare down at Perego’s Lake, a lagoon full of shorebirds that was formed by a narrow spit. (Read moreCoupeville, Whidbey Island (5.6 miles)


High Hut

A challenging snowshoeing trip that requires 2,400 vertical feet of climbing, but a warm hut at the top works as extra incentive. (Read moreSouth of Ashford (8.6 miles)


High Hut



Hazel Wolf Wetlands

Scan the open water of Beaver Lake Preserve for birds and small mammals and admire Tiger Mountain in the distance. (Read moreSammamish (2.7 miles)


Guillemot Cove

A former private estate is now a nature preserve that protects pigeon-size, penguin-like seabirds in Hood Canal. (Read moreWest of Bremerton (2.5 miles) 


Ingalls Creek

Boot up for a deep road-free valley in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, a bubbly creek, and maybe even remnants of an old mine. (Read moreSouth of Leavenworth (11 miles) 

ngalls Creek  IMAGE:  CRAIG ROMANO

ngalls Creek



Soda Peaks Lake

Pass Trapper Creek and its spawning salmon at the start and a little subalpine lake and a fine viewpoint at the end. (Read more) East of Vancouver (10 miles) 


Skyline Divide

While your gaze will be to the ground admiring asters, lupine, bistorts, and valerian wildflowers, the views from the 6,000-foot-plus ridge are spectacular too. (Read moreEast of Bellingham  (9 miles)

Skyline Divide  IMAGE:  CRAIG ROMANO

Skyline Divide



Evergreen Lookout

Take a short and steep hike through groves of old-growth mountain hemlock and wildflower meadows to a restored fire lookout. (Read moreEast of Monroe (3 miles)  


Tiffany Mountain

One of the highest summits in the state that can be hiked, on a trail that traverses pine groves and stands of golden larches on its way to alpine tundra. (Read moreNorth of Winthrop (6 miles) 


Twisp Pass

Come autumn the glacier-carved valley is spellbinding, thanks to larches that streak the high slopes in gold and the crimson blueberry bushes. (Read moreNorthwest of Twisp (9 miles) 


Twisp Pass



Ellis Cove

Explore the 300-acre Priest Point Park, which still looks the way it did in the early 1800s—except for the mossy carved bear sculpture. (Read moreNorth of Olympia (2.5 miles)


Grand Ridge

Cedars and firs line the way to the 600-foot-long boardwalk spanning the wetlands around salmon-bearing Canyon Creek. (Read more) (1 or 2 East of Issaquah (11 miles) 

Grand Ridge 

Grand Ridge 

This Road Closure Is About to Wreck Your Commute

January’s shutdown of State Route 99 will be the longest in Seattle history.

By Jaime Archer  12/13/2018 at 1:14pm  Published in the January/February 2019 issue of Seattle Met

After more than 65 years in service, the viaduct will be torn down in early 2019.  IMAGE:  COURTESY WSDOT

After more than 65 years in service, the viaduct will be torn down in early 2019.


Remember when the viaduct closed in 2016 while Bertha tunneled beneath it? City streets, I-90, I-5, and SR 520 all backed up. Now we’re due for another round. Though the viaduct replacement program won’t conclude until 2020, the new tunnel is almost ready to open. Before it does, the viaduct will close permanently so crews can realign SR 99 to the tunnel over three weeks. With additional ramp closures, traffic could be impacted for up to six weeks.

“We know that this is a really big ask of people to really change their habits for three weeks. It’s a tremendous ask…. We’re doing all kinds of outreach to make sure people know that this is not a period to mess with.”
—Laura Newborn, communications manager, Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program

SR 99′s three-week closure will begin January 11.  IMAGE:  COURTESY WSDOT

SR 99′s three-week closure will begin January 11.


What’s a Seattleite to Do?

  • Take public transportation. King County Metro will deploy standby coaches as needed and will bring in another water taxi during the road realignment.

  • Commutes will start earlier and last longer, so consider shifting travel times to avoid rush hour.

  • Start or join a carpool or vanpool.

  • Drive to a Park and Ride location, then bus, bike, or walk the last mile of your commute downtown.

  • Work from home one or more days a week, or take time off. (Yes, this is real advice from WSDOT.)

What About Tolls?

The tunnel won’t be tolled until summer 2019 at the earliest, and tolls will range from $1 to $2.25 for commuters depending on the time of day.

SR 99 by the Numbers

90,000 Daily average number of cars that will be forced to seek new routes while the viaduct and tunnel are closed.

2 miles Length of the road tunnel, making it nearly the longest in the U.S.

122,000 tons Amount of concrete that will be removed during the viaduct demolition.

3.3 billion Total cost of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program.

41,700 Average number of cars that will use the tunnel during peak times every day before tolling.

27,000 Average number of cars that will use the tunnel during peak times every day when tolling first begins.

The new tunnel’s southbound exit.  IMAGE:  COURTESY WSDOT

The new tunnel’s southbound exit.


Timeline of the Viaduct

1953: First section of the viaduct opens with great fanfare: e.g., Seafair Queen Iris Adams arriving by wheeled dog sled.

2001: 6.8-magnitude Nisqually earthquake causes some sections of the viaduct to sink; WSDOT repairs and begins frequent inspections.

2009: The Washington State Legislature votes to construct a bored tunnel to replace the viaduct.

2011: Crews demolish and replace the southern mile of the viaduct.

2013: Bertha, a machine built specially for the project, starts tunneling.

2017: Bertha breaks through the tunnel’s north end.

January 11, 2019: WSDOT will permanently close the viaduct and realign SR 99 to connect it to the tunnel.

February 2 & 3, 2019: Seattleites can walk, bike, and run on the viaduct and in the tunnel during a grand opening party.

Soon after the party: The tunnel will open and the viaduct demolition will begin.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated December 14 at 10am to reflect that the new tunnel is 2 miles, not 1.7 miles as previously stated.

Where to Dine Out on New Year’s Eve

Whether you plan on a graceful exit or going out with a bang, these are the best seats in town for 2018′s grand finale.

By Anne Dennon  12/17/2018 at 10:00am | Courtesy of SeattleMet.com

Last year’s NYE party at Canlis included tromping through three floors of dining, dancing, and discovery.  IMAGE:  CANLIS

Last year’s NYE party at Canlis included tromping through three floors of dining, dancing, and discovery.


Decadence typically prevails on the last day of the year, and December 31, 2018 will write the rule in gold. Fitting, perhaps, as the Roaring 2020s become just one year away. Many of Seattle’s best restaurants and bars pop the champagne at midnight, the culmination of an evening full of fine dining, festive cocktails, and live entertainment.


Ballard’s experimental popup mecca offers a seven-course NYE dinner from chef Eric Rivera. The dinner starts with passed appetizers and wraps up with late-night snacks. Reserve online; $200


The anticipated opening of this seasonal-focused restaurant on the outskirts of Pike Place is cause enough for celebration. Aerlume’s menu will be just six days old when the party gets underway, with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Call 206-441-4468 for reservations; price varies 


Choose from grilled octopus, pheasant liver mousse, and beet crudo—and that’s just the first course. There are three options for each of the four courses in this prix fixe menu. Special diet requests (vegan, gluten-free) can be accommodated with advance notice. A children’s menu is also available. Reserve online; $75


The relaxed next-door sibling to Spinasse offers a four-course dinner and select a la carte plates at the bar, all in the establishment’s signature modern-Italian-by-way-of-PNW style. Call 206-251-7673 for reservations; $65

Ascend Prime Steak and Sushi

Hors d’oeuvres, carving vignettes, and holiday cocktails preface an elegant penthouse prix fixe menu. Swag bags, live entertainment, and a midnight toast round out the evening. Reserve online; $97


Waterfront dining at its finest. Aqua will offer its freshly updated, seasonal menu on NYE, with options ranging from king crab legs and lobster tail to truffle mac and cheese. Reserve online; price varies

Ba Bar

If hot pho and cold beer sound like your perfect NYE, head to Ba Bar in Capitol Hill, SLU, or the U District—all three outposts are open their regular hours. No reservations; price varies


A multi-course prix fixe menu from chef Taylor Thornhill promises elegantly meaty French cuisine and fine beverages. Reserve online; $125

Big Mario’s Pizza

If Miller High Life is the only champagne you need, head to any of Big Mario’s three Seattle locations where they’ll be serving it by the liter. There will be proper champagne, too. From a fountain. Between the party favors and the midnight toast, partake in $5 Vitamin C shots and, of course, New York-style ’za. No reservations; no cover charge


Sip champagne cocktails and order a la carte at Madrona’s uber-charming wine bar. The cover fee for Bottlehouse’s NYE party includes a complimentary holiday cocktail. Reserve online; $16

Bramling Cross

The evening opens with spiced ricotta fritters, bruschetta with black cod, and beef tartare. Pasta, seafood, and meat follow, polished off with tiramisu. Up the indulgence factor by adding Burgundy truffles or caviar. Reserve online; $85

Brimmer and Heeltap

Chef Angela Ortez-Davis will serve up winter flavors like squash soup and braised lamb shank in her NYE five-course tasting menu. At midnight, the Ballard restaurant will celebrate Latin American-style, burning Mr. Old Year. Reserve online; $75


The Brothers Canlis are loath to give away any clues to their NYE festivities (this year’s theme: Midnight Hawaii) but there will be 1.) waterfalls, 2.) live animals, and 3.) a map to guide you between entertainment and sustenance with experiences waiting for you from basement to roof. Reserve online; $525

Capitol Cider

Toast to the best of the Big Easy with “Countdown at the Bayou,” a creole celebration of music, drag, burlesque, music, magic, and, of course, food. Doors open at 6 for dinner and drinks; performances start at 9. Interesting outfits will vie for a prize at midnight. Reserve online; $45–$200

Central Smoke

Ring in the new year with a special four-course menu of Vietnamese barbecue fusion. There are two seatings—5:30 and 7:30—that include a generous seafood appetizer, barbecue chicken, and a whole barbecued lamb. Reserve online; $55–$65

Civility and Unrest

Chef Jason Wilson’s Bellevue speakeasy offers music and posh cocktails, not to mention half-off bottles of champagne purchased before 9. Start your evening next door at his Northwest dining establishment, The Lakehouse, or get the menu at the bar until 11. No reservations; no cover


Cortina’s vast, Northwest-meets-Italian menu contained in one evening. Course number one: scallop crudo, burrata with white anchovy, and endive salad with Gorgonzola and walnuts for the table. Choices for the next three courses include rigatoni with veal ragu bianco, black truffle risotto, and grilled lobster. Reserve online; $85

Deep Dive

Renee Erickson’s thoughtful new cocktail bar is throwing a NYE bash with house specials, hors d’oeuvres, and champagne service. Reserve online; $250

Eden Hill

Seven courses with chef Maximilian Petty hit all the right notes for luxury: king crab, black truffle, wagyu strip streak, and champagne sorbet with Buddha’s hand. Optional wine pairings. Reserve online; $150

El Gaucho

El Gaucho Seattle does NYE Big Apple-style with two showings of the themed cabaret “New York New York” with respective three- and four-course dinners. El Gaucho Bellevue offers a champagne toast. Call 206-728-1337 for reservations; $115–$185

Five Point Cafe

This Denny Triangle diner offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner classics all year long, and they’re keeping at it this New Year’s Eve. Enjoy specialty cocktails like clementine cream mimosas and a good old bourbon fizz on the heated patio. No reservations; no cover

Fog Room at The Charter Hotel

No other holiday demands a rooftop bar more than NYE. Live the penthouse life in the sky-scraping Fog Room with tray-passed hors d’oeuvres—oysters, crab, uni, caviar—and fine cocktails. Only early seatings remain. Reserve online; price varies

Gold Bar

For a non-Gatsby twist on the classic NYE gold theme, hit up the appropriately named Gold Bar for an ancient Egyptian vibe and live DJs. Need to glam up once you get there? Shop the vintage clothing popup inside. Tickets at the door; $20

Goldfinch Tavern

Moët & Chandon is the headliner of this feast in the Four Season’s waterfront restaurant. Choose between a four-course dinner at a 6pm seating or a five-course dinner with seating at 9pm. The later meal will be accompanied by live DJ beats, party favors, and a midnight toast. Reserve online; $95–$125

Heartwood Provisions

This New American destination takes on NYE with a five-course menu of of scallops, cod, lobster, and short ribs, followed by a decadent, Asian-influenced mousse for dessert. Call 206-582-3505 for reservations; $95

Hot Stove Society

Tom Douglas’s cooking school hosts a soirée du nouvel an starting with caviar and appetizers, followed by a five-course dinner in the Northern Lights Ballroom. Seating will be at communal tables of eight to ten. Note that Hot Stove’s festivities end at 11, so you will need to head to another locale for a midnight toast. Reserve online; $200

How To Cook a Wolf

This Queen Anne destination for Italian dishes will put on a four-course dinner, starting with a medley of dishes for the table (hamachi crudo, burrata with fig conserva, bruschetta with bosc pear and lardo). Reserve online; $85

Ivar’s Salmon House 

Ivar’s in Wallingford hosts a NYE party complete with favors, drink tickets, a surf and turf buffet, music, dancing, a champagne toast and, of course, glittering Lake Union views. Call 206-632-0767 for reservations; $95


Soba is the traditional New Year’s dish in Japan. Kamonegi is pen until 9 on New Year’s Eve, so you can enjoy noodles in-house or transport them home (this is the only time of year the restaurant offers its signature fresh soba for take-out). Reserve your kit (two servings) for pickup on December 30 or 31. Call 206-632-0185 to order; $20

King’s Hardware

The champagne of beer in champagne-sized bottles will be waiting for you on Ballard Avenue starting at 9 on New Year’s Eve, as will a live DJ and a long list of killer burgers. No reservations; no cover


Chef John Sundstrom’s seasonal Northwest cuisine is on display in this NYE repast. Each of the four courses has three to four options, with oysters and foie gras, truffled gnocchi and bleu cheese beef tenderloin vying for your attention. Call 206-323-5275 for reservations; $130

Le Messe

On New Year’s Eve, Le Messe will bring dish after dish for the whole table: crab and scallop crudo, bowls of pasta, foie gras profiteroles. Order from the regular menu if you sit at the bar. Reserve online; $75

Linda’s Tavern

The classic Capitol Hill dive bar will be up to its usual mischief come NYE starting at 9. A live DJ will keep the party moving till the wee hours, and the staff will be at it again the next morning to serve hangover brunch. No reservations; no cover


Seven gloriously French courses celebrate New Year’s Eve, but this Central District restaurant calls it Réveillon St-Sylvestre. (Whatever the name, creme fraiche and black truffle sightings guaranteed.) The evening ends with a playful remake of a candy bar classic: shortbread, salted caramel ice cream, and chocolate become an upscale Twix. Reserve online; $150

Marine Hardware

This low-lit Ballard destination offers a five-course meal, beginning with raw oysters, crispy pork rillettes, king crab salad, and artichoke soup for the table. Four courses of pasta, seafood, and duck breast later, guests will be offered a selection of truffles and cookies. Reserve online; $85


The charming and inventive Marmite will serve a six-course dinner from 5 until 10:30. No need to pack up and head to another destination before the clock strikes: The Chophouse Row restaurant will be open until after midnight for maximum celebration. Call 206-755-8606 for reservations; $125


For this buzzy SLU spot’s third NYE rooftop patio party, dinner guests can savor a four-course prix fixe menu starting at 6, while party guests enjoy a mezze buffet and KEXP DJs running from 8 till “late.” Both choices include a none-too-shabby (i.e. staggering) view of the lake and, later, fireworks. Call 206-457-8287 for dinner reservations, $100; reserve online for the party, $85

Miller’s Guild

If you have a beautiful steak in mind for your last supper of 2018, this Denny Triangle institution has you covered with both their full dinner menu and a three-course special, served with a carafe of Chef Jason Wilson’s syrah. Reserve online; $130 


Seasonal Italian dishes in an intimate, 28-seat space. Ethan Stowell’s Meridian restaurant promises to make decisions difficult with your choice of courses. Select from the likes of paccheri with spot prawns, wood grilled scallops with vanilla-onion agrodolce, and saffron risotto with artichoke. Seatings at 5, 7:30, and 10. Reserve online; $85


Enjoy the regular menu at this Vietnamese favorite or plump for NYE specials: crispy lobster dumplings and steamed Alaskan cod. Reserve online; price varies


The narrow, brick-walled Indian restaurant in Pioneer Square will serve a prix fixe menu of three courses: a starter, choice of entrée (stuffed portobello mushroom, banana leaf-wrapped salmon, or braised lamb), and filter coffee ice cream for dessert. Reserve online; $60

No Anchor

Belltown’s nautical beer bar offers a six-course dinner (with vegetarian options) and seatings at 6 or 9. As always, No Anchor treats beer with the gravitas of wine and offers optional pairings from Holy Mountain Brewing. Reserve online; $120 

Patagon at The Charter Hotel

This downtown Argentinian grill offers NYE specials of cold smoked oysters, coal roasted crab, and porchetta; each dish for under $40. Reserve online; price varies


A four-course menu served from 5:30 to 10:30 offers three options for each of the three first dishes (including ones for vegetarians), then a staggering four options for dessert. One path through the evening might include oysters on the half shell, dungeness crab bisque, sea scallops and pork belly, and ginger porter cake. Reserve online; $85


Why limit yourself when you can have salad and charcuterie, pasta, and prime proteins all in one meal? This tasting menu starts with shared dishes for the table, then gives you options. Regular menu available at the bar. Reserve online; $75 

Red Cow

Ethan Stowell’s Madrona eatery starts the evening with five dishes for the table—oysters on the half shell, warm gougeres, corned beef tongue. The four courses that follow are decadent enough, but there are further, optional indulgences, like a Double R Ranch boneless ribeye with frites or foie gras mousse. Reserve online; $85


For a Korean-fusion New Year, head to Revel in SLU for a family-style meal of six dishes: corned lamb salad, pork belly pancake, short rib dumpling, tuna rice bowl, crab noodle, and oxtail rice cake hot pot. Reserve online; $80 for two

Rhein Haus

Rhein Haus pulls out all the stops, with a DJ, photo booth, midnight balloon drop, and live ice sculpting. Specialty holiday cocktails like the Yule Mule and Gluhwein promise to keep spirits bright, though the theme itself—solid gold—will probably help. No reservations; $25 cover after 8pm


The bar and lounge of this downtown standby will open at 6, serving a la carte NYE specials like bone-in ribeye and dungeness crab mash. In the dining room, enjoy a seven-course meal with all the right trimmings: seared foie gras, black and white Oregon truffles, caviar and roe. Reserve online; $105

Rione XIII

The first of four courses at Ethan Stowell’s Roman spot on 15th is a selection of starters for the table: beef tartare, charred radicchio salad, roasted carrots with ricotta and burnt honey vinaigrette. Cozy entrees like gnocchi with braised pork cheek follow. Tiramisu to finish. Reserve online; $85


The five-course French tasting menu includes wagyu beef tartare, lobster, and duck breast, and finishes with a show-stopping chocolate charlotte royale. Seatings available from 5 to 10. Call 206-456 7474 for reservations; $120

Scout PNW and The Nest at Thompson Hotel

Take up residence at the Thompson for the calendar flip. Start with a prix fixe, multi-course dinner at Scout PNW, then head to the rooftop to keep the 24K SOUL New Year’s Eve party going at The Nest. Go for just the dinner, just the party, or both. Reserve online; $70–$220

Smith Tower

Dress to impress for the iconic tower’s “Gatsbyfest” NYE party. A 1920s theme compliments the venue, which was completed in 1914. Enjoy the dinner buffet, live entertainment, and photo booth from the tower’s 35th floor, plus a pretty impeccable view of the Space Needle and fireworks. Reserve online; $150


Chef Stuart Lane will serve a six-course prix fixe menu in this Capitol Hill restaurant renown for its authentic Northern Italian cuisine. Dishes include carne cruda with white truffle and rabbit agnolotti dal plin. Call 206-251-7673 for reservations; $150

Staple and Fancy

A four-course NYE repast that lives up to the name of this Italian cafe, starting with deluxe dishes for the table. Then choose from chestnut ravioli, wood grilled duck breast with celery root puree, and steak with truffles. Add on white truffles, caviar, or foie gras. Reserve online; $85

Swedish Club

Nyårsfest at the Club will feature music and dancing, party favors, a midnight toast, and Lake Union views to boot. Start with the an elegant dinner prepared by a pair of chefs hailing from Sweden or just come for the party. Reserve online; $45–$130

Tarsan i Jane

A decadent, seven-source tasting menu at this Valencian favorite can be made even more decadent with optional add-ons like select Spanish wines, carabinero (or, deep-sea prawns), and iberico ham. Reserve online; $195


Four courses of fine Italian fare (at both the Belltown original and the Capitol Hill recreation) start with gourmet nibbles for the table before proceeding into serious pasta territory. Choose from “The King”—rigatoni with spicy sausage, paccheri with lobster, and ravioli with truffle for the pasta course, then debate between prime New York strip steak and sea scallops. Reserve online; $85


Sample the best flavors of Maria Hines’s New American cuisine in this four-course NYE menu (also available Christmas Eve). Tuck into Tilth’s Wallingford bungalow for dense, comforting dishes like bean cassoulet and espresso cashew cheesecake. Reserve online; $110


Decipher this: AYCE KBBQ. If living your best life in the final hours of 2018 means all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue, Trove delivers. They’ll also furnish a champagne toast when the clock strikes. Reserve online; $50

Tutta Bella

Get your Neapolitan pizza fix at Tutta Bella’s SLU location this NYE—the patio just so happens to offer one of the best views of the Space Needle and fireworks. Tables can be reserved from 9 to 11, or walk in from 11 to midnight. The regular menu will be available, plus complementary prosecco at midnight. Call 206-624-4422 for reservations; cover $20–$30


Make one last, lovely memory in 2018 with Urbane’s decadent three-course menu—roasted squash, herb crusted strip steak, caramelized apple financiers. Either that, or start the new year right: The special New Year menu is served both Monday and Tuesday. Reserve online; $70


The New Year’s Eve tasting menu at this Italian-inspired destination in Madrona runs the gamut from geoduck to white truffle risotto, and leaves you with this dastardly decision: rosemary cream pine nut tart or chocolate salted caramel budino? Reserve online; $90

The Walrus and the Carpenter

Old Ballard’s oyster destination is doing something different this year: a one-night-only four-course menu. Seatings are still available from 5 to 7. Brighten the night with special cocktails and caviar. Reserve online; $125

Willows Lodge

Choose your own New Year’s Eve adventure at this Woodinville lodge: Dine in style at the cozy Barking Frog (seatings at 5:30 or 9) or get right to celebrating in the Sammamish ballroom. Call 425-424-2999 for dinner reservations, $150; reserve online for the party, $100

 Please send further event details for consideration to jarcher[at]seattlemet[dot]com. Thank you.

Kirkland Asks for Input on Dogs, Bikes

City hosts surveys, community conversations to provide direction to council.

Kirkland is already starting to prepare for the new year by polling the public on two issues the City Council will explore in 2019: a bike share pilot program and off-leash dog areas.

The city held a community conversation on Dec. 6, spending an hour on each topic, and is also hosting online surveys on its website to gauge public opinion. Movement on either issue will mean the city will have to address safety and capacity concerns.

For several years, the Kirkland City Council has been trying to figure out how it can create safe and predictable places for people and dogs. The city built Jasper’s Dog Park 2012, and renovated Edith Moulton Park, including multiple dog runs, in 2018.

Kirkland has more than 10,000 registered dogs, and all of them need a place to run and play. Recreational trends and previous community input, along with the high utilization of Jasper’s, indicate a future need for additional off-leash areas, according to the city. One of the survey questions asks: “What are your thoughts on designating off-leash dog areas in some of Kirkland’s larger parks, such as Heritage, Juanita Beach, or Crestwoods?”

Some of Kirkland’s dog owners are already taking their dogs off-leash in Kirkland’s public parks or along the Cross Kirkland Corridor. Roughly one half of Washington residents walk with a dog, according to the 2015 Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan, but dogs that run free in areas not specifically designated “off-leash” are violating Kirkland’s municipal code.

The city’s current enforcement approach has three steps. First, violators are educated about what they’re doing wrong. Second, they are given a warning and third, they are given a ticket (the first offense is $25, the second is $50 and it doubles from there).

Expanding off-leash dog areas has a number of benefits, including improved health of both pets and owners, as they provide opportunities for exercise and socialization. But some challenges have been noted: they can be dangerous, they may increase parking, traffic and noise and they can be harmful to the natural habitat, as well as take away park space.

Residents were asked if they want increased enforcement for off-leash dogs, expanded options or both. Those who haven’t weighed in yet can take the survey at www.research.net/r/kirklandoffleashdogs.

The city is also residents asking how Kirkland should respond to the introduction of bike sharing on the Eastside. Bike share programs have started in some neighboring cities, including Seattle, Bothell and Bellevue, meaning that the green, yellow and orange bicycles that can be unlocked via smartphone application are already showing up in Kirkland.

When council discussed bike share in July, a majority was excited at the prospect of the bikes being used as a first/last mile connection to transit, or as a recreation opportunity on the Cross Kirkland Corridor. Some challenges were noted, including with the county’s helmet law and the “clutter” of the bikes in the city right-of-way.

The council is considering a one-year pilot to determine if and how this emerging idea can be integrated into the city’s transportation network. The technology is being applied to scooters as well. One of the bike share survey questions asks residents to share their thoughts on permitting a bike share company to eventually include scooters in Kirkland.

Because of the inventory coming from other cities, bike share will impact the Kirkland community whether the council decides to do a pilot or not. But having a formal program will enable the city to work with bike share providers to create regulations and provide incentives. Take the survey at www.research.net/r/kirklandbikeshare.

A report of community feedback will be presented to the Kirkland City Council in early 2019. The council will use the community feedback as it considers options on how to respond to these topics.

For more, see www.kirklandwa.gov/bikesharepilot and www. kirklandwa.gov/offleashdogs.

Signups Open for Kirkland Nourishing Network Food Boxes for Winter Break

The group’s goal is to collect and distribute more than 400 boxes of food to families.

Monday, December 10, 2018 8:30am | Courtesy of KirklandReporter.com

Lynette Apley organizes boxes of food during a past Kirkland Nourishing Networks drop-off day. Samantha Pak/staff reporter

Lynette Apley organizes boxes of food during a past Kirkland Nourishing Networks drop-off day. Samantha Pak/staff reporter

Kirkland Nourishing Network (KNN) sign-ups for donating food boxes for winter break, the longest break of the school year, have opened.

The group’s goal is to collect and distribute more than 400 boxes of food for this break.

KNN food boxes supplement the food available to school children in need during the four longest breaks of each school year.

Normally these kids receive free or reduced-price meals at school and most receive Pantry Packs on weekends, but there is no other program providing food assistance during the breaks throughout the school year.

The families to receive assistance are identified by school counselors and teachers.

There is a standard shopping list for what food goes in each box. This year, drop-off for winter break is the morning of Dec. 20 at two locations, one in south Kirkland and one in north Kirkland.

According to a press release, the people of Kirkland have a long reputation of stepping up to help the less fortunate. Donating a food box through KNN requires only a commitment to shop for a box of food and deliver it, the release states.

To see the shopping list and sign up to bring one or more food boxes, visit kirklandnourishing network.org.

Seattle Met’s 12 Bites of Christmas

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...six dozen mochi dougnuts at Raised 🎶

By Allecia Vermillion and Rosin Saez  12/17/2018 at 8:40am | Courtesy of SeattleMet.com

Seattle Met’s food team counts down to December 25 with our favorite food memories from this year’s crop of new restaurants. (In no particular order other than in service to the lyrics of a centuries-old earworm Christmas carol.)

Stacks on stacks of mochi doughnuts.  Image:  Mi Kim

Stacks on stacks of mochi doughnuts.

Image: Mi Kim

Six Dozen Mochi Doughnuts from Raised Doughnuts 🎶

Mi Kim and her business partner I-Miun Liu—who opened Dynasty Room in the Chinatown–International District and East Trading Company on Capitol Hill—have been behind the city’s most hyped openings of the year. And with good reason. Raised Doughnuts is a Central District utopia of seasonal flavors—cranberry thyme, gingerbread fritter, snickerdoodle—but my favorite one isn’t a fried manifestation of Kim’s masterful way with flavor combos. It’s much simpler. The mochi doughnuts, at least a half dozen of them at a time, are smaller than Kim’s other creations, still, it’s all about that chew from the rice flour and the familiar crunch from the sugary exterior—enough to make a person get up early on a Saturday to get the fresh first batch.

Kamonegi’s smoked duck breast.  Image:  Courtesy Kamonegi

Kamonegi’s smoked duck breast.

Image: Courtesy Kamonegi

Five Slices of Duck Breast at Kamonegi 🎶

Mutsuko Soma is a woman who knows duck. This fine animal has been Kamonegi’s motto since her popup days (“kamo” means “duck” in Japanese) and its meat populates two of the restaurant’s best dishes: Her signature duck and leek soba, and yakitori meatballs that pulse with spice. But one cold night I ordered a simple plate of smoked duck breast, served next to a salad of endive, fig, and a mixture of blue cheese and kewpie mayo that illustrates the term umami better than any dictionary ever could. Strip away the pyrotechnics of spice or the artistic marvels or hand-cut soba noodles and you really appreciate that duck, the cold smoke amplifying its savory charms. This plate was merely an intermezzo between the tempura course and my bowl of soba, but reinforces why Kamonegi was Seattle Met’s restaurant of the year. Even its quieter moments are magic.

A board of charcuterie from the Shambles.  Image:  Matthew Brady

A board of charcuterie from the Shambles.

Image: Matthew Brady

Four Types of Charcuterie from the Shambles 🎶

The ordering of charcuterie is a very fraught thing. You either quickly mumble to your waiter that you’ll have a plate of charcuterie, pronounced with a hard “ch” and a soft trail of consonants that quietly, presumably follow. Alternately, you might request shah-koooo-tay-ree with a comically Monty Pythonian French accent. However you do it, definitely don’t skip the dried-and-cured meats at the Shambles in Maple Leaf, where chef Seamus Platt works meaty wonders in the kitchen. The house meat board comes by the one, two, or three cuts—but order a fourth for good luck—like a melty-fatty prociutto, “smoky lardo, lightly cured ham, and spot-on soppresata.”

Tomatillos top Homer’s superlative meatballs.  Image:  Sara Marie D’Eugenio

Tomatillos top Homer’s superlative meatballs.

Image: Sara Marie D’Eugenio

Three Meatballs from Homer 🎶

It’s hard to truly mess up a meatball. It’s perhaps even harder to make a comforting combo of meat, seasoning, and some sort of warming sauce into something awe inspiring. Do not conclude a meal at Logan Cox’s smashing new restaurant on Beacon Hill without at least one order of Homer’s lamb and pork meatballs. They come as a trio, in a tomato sauce with layer upon layer of flavor—dried fruits, cinnamon and yogurt whey—hiding underneath coins of tomatillo that deliver a happy hit of acid. The sauce benefits from all those ingredients, but also a lengthy reduction to pack those flavors even tighter. Like everything else at Homer, a lot of unseen labor perfects dishes that come off rustic and casual.

Sawyer’s double-decker wagyu burger.  Image:  Nate Watters

Sawyer’s double-decker wagyu burger.

Image: Nate Watters

Two Halves of Sawyer’s Burger 🎶

At first, ordering a familiar burger from a menu with jojos and matzo ball pho and oxtail nachos feels like a missed opportunity for adventure. But then it arrives, a majestic butte of bun and double-decker wagyu patties, grilled in mustard, and a fat slice of golden tomato. Here, the secret sauce consists of caramelized onions and mornay, a far richer way to achieve the melty texture usually bestowed by processed cheese.

After dissecting all the other items on chef Mitch Mayers’ fantastical menu, I ran out of space before I could sing the praises of this burger. But here I am, weeks and months later, remembering it with an ardor that borders on inappropriate.

The hot dog after our own hearts.  Image:  Suzi Pratt

The hot dog after our own hearts.

Image: Suzi Pratt

...And an Ikura-Topped Hot Dog in a Dark Bar 🎶

Is it the hot dog itself, or the act of eating it at a gracefully undulating bar, whilst rubbing elbows with a taxidermied grebe inside a glass cloche? There’s no arguing that ambience reins at Renee Erickson’s new cocktail destination, a luxuriantly dim midcentury Manhattan hotel bar that’s hurtled across space and time to occupy the, uh, undercarriage of the Amazon Spheres. But as hot dogs go, Deep Dive’s is a carefully crafted upgrade—complete with silver platter—of the drunken late-night Seattle Dog. Beef comes from cows that rubbed shoulders with Erickson’s own herd, smoked with hazelnut shells. House baker Ben Campbell fashions the superlative seeded buns. On top: cream cheese whipped to texture-balancing perfection, and slices of jalapeno and pickled onion that add a level of gaiety in keeping with the room. A luminous, liberal dose of ikura on top delivers pops of salty goodness.

'Consider Delaying' Snoqualmie Pass Trip Today, WSDOT Warns

A snow storm is rocking the Cascades and Snoqualmie Pass. The lowlands will see gusting winds and heavy rain.

By Neal McNamara , Patch Staff | Dec 11, 2018 12:36 pm ET | Courtesy of Patch.com


ISSAQUAH, WA - Up to 2 feet of snow could fall at Snoqualmie Pass throughout the day Tuesday, so WSDOT is asking drivers to "consider delaying" and east-west travel today.

If you must cross Snoqualmie Pass Tuesday, be aware that chains are required in both directions: westbound at milepost 56 and eastbound at milepost 47.

And it's really important that you follow the chain rules - for your own safety and your wallet. Washington State Patrol troopers will be out enforcing chain rules. Failing to comply could cost you a $500 fine.

Not chaing up could cost much more. More than half of winter closures along I-90 each year are due to crashes caused by drivers who ignore chain-up requirements, according to WSDOT.

The chain-up rules go for Subaru drivers, too. Here are the the requirements:


  • Vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or greater – including some large SUVs and RVs – must install chains when traction tires are required.

  • All vehicles, except 4WD and AWD, must put on chains when tire chains are required. However, 4WD and AWD vehicles still need to carry chains in order to proceed across the pass.

  • All vehicles including 4WD and AWD need to put on chains when chains are required on ALL vehicles.

In addition to snow in the Cascades Tuesday, the Puget Sound lowlands will see gusting winds and heavy rain all day.

Image via Shutterstock

Image via Shutterstock

Best Christmas Light Displays In The Puget Sound

Some of these places would give Clark Griswold a run for his money.

By Travis Loose, Patch Staff | Dec 7, 2018 6:56 pm ET | Courtesy of Patch.com


SEATTLE — Jolly red Santas. Dancing green Christmas trees. Snow white reindeer. The holiday season is ramping up and elaborate Christmas light displays are popping up across the country, including in Washington. If you're one of the many parents who'd rather drive your kids to the nearest Clark Griswold-esque house rather than climb onto the roof and staple 10,000 tiny lights to your house, you're in luck.

The good folks over at ChrismasLightFinder.com have built an easy way to see the best Christmas light displays near you. For your convenience we've rounded up a few of them in the Puget Sound:

  • Maple Leaf Lights in Seattle

    • 845 NE 88th St.

    • 30,000 lights programmed to music by a "middle autistic 17-year-old." A mix of rock and Christmas tunes play along with the illuminations every day; Sunday to Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m.

  • McCreery Lights in Bellevue

    • 905 178th Ave. NE

    • 4,500 smart LEDs and more choreographed to music on 103.1 FM, playing daily from 4:30 to 9 p.m.

  • Evergreen Lights! in Bothell

    • 3429 240th St. SE

    • More than 200,000 lights synchronized to a 25-minute light show laid out across a whole Christmas village, which includes a Candy Cane tunnel, Christmas photo op, and model trains. Free refreshments are available nightly from 5 to 10 p.m.

  • Woodinville Wildlights in Woodinville

    • 17610 168th Pl. NE

    • A full property display featuring 35,000 lights and a Christmas tale narrated by a couple Christmas trees. Donations are also collected for the Homeward Pet Adoption Center.

  • Anderberg's Christmas House in Tacoma

    • 2019 S. 10th St.

    • More than 50 inflatables and 11 light projectors brings the Anderberg's property to life every night through Dec. 31.

Find even more in Washington at ChristmasLightFinder.com

Many of the best Christmas light displays share familiar themes. You'll see many illuminated snowmen, more than a couple Rudolph's with shiny red noses and quite a few candy canes. But some take a unique spin on the holiday.

In Caldwell, Idaho, event organizers create a "Winter Wonderland." Brilliant blue, green and red lights cover trees and immerse festivalgoers in the spirit of the season. Look closely and you'll even see Santa fishing in a stream.


You'll also see some inspiring houses. Take last year's "Lights on Suter" display in North Haledon, New Jersey. Each year the Tomasi family creates a light display. Last year, it was set to the tune of Llama by the band Phish. The family has also created a display based on the film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

The "West Chester Griswolds" in Pennsylvania have a light display have a holiday-themed display up already with more than 100,000 lights. The display, which is completely controlled by computers, features a massive Christmas tree, dozens of icicles and numerous holiday characters.

(Sign up for our free daily newsletters and Breaking News Alerts for the Seattle Patch)

Patch national staffer Dan Hampton contributed to this report.

Cold Weather Shelters Open As Freezing Temps Hit Puget Sound

Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing across Puget Sound beginning Tuesday night.


By Neal McNamara , Patch Staff | Dec 4, 2018 4:49 pm ET | Courtesy of Patch.com

SEATTLE, WA - The coldest temperatures of early winter are expected to roll through Puget Sound beginning Tuesday night. Some of the warmest temperatures will be just 32 degrees in Seattle, but expect low temperatures in the high 20s in Renton, Shoreline, and Bellevue.

The city of Seattle is opening a cold weather shelter at the Seattle Center for at least Tuesday and Wednesday night. The Eastside Men's Shelter in Bellevue is open as usual for winter.

Meanwhile, drivers are being warned to watch for dangerous, icy conditions during dark hours, especially in the morning.

"These clear days are giving us some beautiful sunrises and sunsets, but also some slick roads. Please slow down, increase your following distance and be extra safe on bridges/ramps/overpasses," WSDOT wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning.

Here are the expected overnight lows across Puget Sound for the next three days, according to the National Weather Service:


Image via Shutterstock

A Very Foggy Week Ahead For Puget Sound: Forecast

Expect fog during nighttime hours this week, plus balmy temperatures.

By Neal McNamara , Patch Staff | Dec 2, 2018 8:00 pm ET | Courtesy of Patch.com


SEATTLE, WA - Be extra careful this week while driving during evening and early morning hours. Current forecasts call for fog every morning and every night this week.

But all that fog means slightly warmer temperatures. Expect highs each day in the mid or low 40s.

Here's the full forecast from the National Weather Service:

Monday: Areas of fog before 10am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 44. Light and variable wind becoming north 10 to 15 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

Monday Night: Areas of fog after 10pm. Otherwise, mostly clear, with a low around 33. North northeast wind 13 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

Tuesday: Areas of fog before 10am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 43. North northeast wind 7 to 13 mph.

Tuesday Night: Areas of fog after 10pm. Otherwise, mostly clear, with a low around 32. North wind 14 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.

Wednesday: Areas of fog before 10am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 43.

Wednesday Night: Areas of fog after 10pm. Otherwise, clear, with a low around 31.

Thursday: Areas of fog before 10am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 42.

Thursday Night: Areas of fog after 10pm. Otherwise, mostly clear, with a low around 31.

Friday: Areas of fog before 10am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 43.

Friday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34.

Snow In Puget Sound This Weekend? There's A Chance

Some weather models are predicting a touch of snow, but we're really emphasizing the word "chance" here.

By Neal McNamara , Patch Staff | Nov 29, 2018 1:20 pm ET | Updated Nov 29, 2018 10:33 pm ET | Courtesy of Patch.com


SEATTLE, WA - If it does snow this weekend, it will be just enough to get you into the holiday spirit. It definitely won't be enough to get you stuck driving up a steep hill.

According to the Seattle Weather Blog, some forecast models are showing the chance for flurries on Sunday morning. Basically, some weather set to head through Northern California this weekend will draw cool air south and into Western Washington. Add some moisture, there's your snow.

But Seattle Weather Blog's Justin Shaw explains it much better:

An area of low pressure will track into Oregon/Northern CA on Saturday, which will help draw much cooler air from the north into Western Washington Saturday into Sunday. As this low continues tracking south, some of the moisture on the northern end will brush Western Washington.

The University of Washington's WRF-GFS model suggests that there is a chance - albeit, a slight one - of some of this moisture falling as snow flurries over parts of Western Washington Sunday morning.

Accumulations would be essentially zilch, with temperatures around 34-35 degrees in spots that do see some flurries.

The chance of snow will range between 0 and 20 percent, with the best chance northeast of Seattle and perhaps along I-90 east of Issaquah. Here's the UW WRF-GFS model. The areas shaded lavender and blue are where snow chances are best.

File photo by Neal McNamara/Patch

File photo by Neal McNamara/Patch

26 Places to Pick Up and Cut Your Own Christmas Trees Around Seattle This Winter 2018

Where To Go for Trees, Garland, Wreaths, and Free Cocoa

by Stranger Things To Do Staff

Enchanted Winds Tree Farm    offers hot drinks and holiday decorations in addition to their U-cut Firs.

Enchanted Winds Tree Farm offers hot drinks and holiday decorations in addition to their U-cut Firs.

In addition to the beginning of season-long holiday events like Enchant Christmas and the Christmas Ship Festival, the day after Thanksgiving is also when most Christmas tree lots and farms open for the season. Below (and on our Christmas tree listings page), we've compiled all of the places where you can get your own tree, whether you want a pre-cut one or you want to cut your own, accompanied by seasonal activities for kids and adults alike, including cider, gift shopping, and visits from Santa and/or his reindeer.

City People's Garden Store
The nursery offers Noble, Frasier, Grand, Douglas, and Nordmann Firs come winter, all of which come with custom stands. You can also pick up garland, wreaths, and lots of other holiday decorations.
Madison Valley

El Centro de la Raza
Find your fresh, organically grown Christmas tree or Hanukkah bush at El Centro de la Raza's annual sale. They stock Nordmans, Nobles, and Douglas Firs in various heights. If you already have a tree, you can also purchase one to donate to the home of a low-income family.
Beacon Hill

Holy Rosary School
The Tree Lot Elves help a visiting Santa transform this church parking lot into a haven of pine-scented offerings, with a portion of proceeds benefitting local charities.
West Seattle

Swansons Nursery
Visit this indoor nursery for their Reindeer Festival, where you can shop Christmas trees in natural shapes, in addition to a variety of seasonal plants, bulbs, arrangements, and other gifts like books, jewelry, and home decor, all in the decked-out "winter wonderland" indoor nursery. Plus, visit with Santa and his real-life reindeer, check out model trains, sip cocoa, and enjoy live music throughout the season. As far as trees go, they tout their "Spin and Pick" system (in which hand-selected trees suspended off the ground and "ready for a spin by the pickiest purveyor"), and, this year, are introducing a new variety: the "Burton Blue" Noble Fir.
Crown Hill

Carpinito Brothers
Shop thousands of Noble Fir, Nordmann Fir, and other Washington-grown trees at this nursery and market. Plus, check out the poinsettia room, take family photos with reindeer and Moses the nativity camel, sip on complimentary hot cider, and shop wreaths and other holiday decor. 

Coates Christmas Trees
This U-cut farm emphasizes the Christmas spirit and family time, offering hot chocolate, cider, fires, visits from Santa Claus, and holiday decorations.

Crystal Creek Tree Farm
Crystal Creek provides saws for cutting down your own tree from among their 23 acres of Noble and Nordmann Firs, plus free rides from the parking lot to the forest on a picturesque train car, built by owners Harvey and Janet Hawken. 
Maple Valley

Papa's Tree Farm & Gift Shop
This 12-acre farm's range of services includes offers precut tree, fields for cutting your own trees, and the option to "point to the tree you want then let us do the rest." Whatever option you choose, don't miss the Christmas train, cute photo ops, gift shop, and free cider.
Maple Valley

Pfaff's Old Time Christmas Tree Farm
Choose your perfect holiday tree from 30 acres of U-cut and pre-cut options, and pick up some festive wreaths and garland while you're at it. If you're lucky, you might encounter a sweet old yellow dog who lives on the property.

Three Tree Farms
Get a "true country Christmas experience" in the Cascade foothills as you choose from a large selection of pre-cut Nobles, Grands, and Nordmans. Before you head home, warm up by a fire and enjoy complimentary hot cocoa, cider, and homemade blueberry muffins.
Maple Valley

Wilson Hill Tree Farm
This farm provides saws, twine, and bailing materials for their U-cut trees, which include Noble, Frazier, Nordman, Grand, Silver, and White Firs. They also sell wreaths made onsite with fresh greens.

Farmer Brown's Christmas Tree Farm
Take your pick of Noble Fir, Grand Fir, Fraser Fir, Douglas Fir, Norway Spruce or Colorado Blue Spruce from 32 acres of farmland, and stay a little while to enjoy a bonfire, Christmas music, complimentary hot drinks, hot dogs, and wildlife-gazing.

Long's Christmas Trees
This 20-acre farm on the Snohomish River Valley offers Noble, Grand, Frasier, and Douglas Fir trees, which you can either cut yourself with provided hand saws or ask a staff member to cut for you. Before you strap your tree to your car, sit by a fire with hot cocoa, cider, and candy canes.

Sky Nursery
Get your Noble, Fraser, Grand, and Nordmann Firs from this pre-cut lot, which also offers ornaments and handcrafted wreaths adorned with winter berries.

Stocker Farms
You'll find many varieties of Fir trees both U-cut and pre-cut, as well as wreaths and gifts. Those who bring a canned food donation get complimentary hot cocoa.

Buttonwood Farm
These Firs are 100 percent organic, which means they've been grown without pesticides or herbicides. You can cut your own or have someone cut it for you.

Carnation Tree Farm
This Norwegian-owned farm has been open for 30 years. Stroll along its 16 acres for the ideal Douglas, Fraser, Grand, Noble and Nordmann Firs, or a Norway and Blue Spruce. They'll provide saws, and they shake and bail your tree for free upon purchase. Don't forget to stop by their barn to find holiday gifts, meet Santa, and buy treats from a bake sale. 

Christmas Creek Christmas Tree Farm
This family-owned farm grows plenty of Noble Firs in their fields for those who want to cut down their own Christmas tree, as well as a selection of Oregon-sourced pre-cut Nobles for those who don't. Santa also pays visits to the farm.

Enchanted Winds Tree Farm
In addition to its wide selection of U-cut Firs (including Noble, Grand, Douglas, Fraser, and Turkish), which staff members will bail and tie to your car, this farm also features a gift barn with wreaths and garland, ornaments, hot cider, cookies, and visits from Santa.

Keith & Scott Tree Farm
At this cattle ranch, you'll find U-cut Noble, Douglas, Fraser, Turkish, and Grand Firs, as well as beef and lamb meat ready to reserve for Christmastime from their well-cared-for livestock. Visitors can also meet other farm animals, like ponies and chickens.
North Bend

McMurtrey's Red-Wood Christmas Tree Farm
Choose between Noble (whose spaced-out branches are good for hanging ornaments), Grand (known for their strong pine and citrus scent), Douglas, or Fraser Firs at this farm's U-cut field, and enjoy complimentary wagon rides, hot cocoa and cider, and candy canes.

MJW Holiday Tree Lot
Find fresh, locally grown pre-cut trees in a variety of shapes and sizes from this downtown Kirkland lot.

Mountain Creek Christmas Tree Farm
Hunt for your perfect Fir tree (as well as wreaths, ornaments, and gifts) at this U-cut farm on Mount Si.

Snow Valley Christmas Tree Farm
You're bound to find a Noble, Grand, Turkish, or Nordman Fir that suits your fancy—this 100-acre farm claims to supply over 28,000 in their U-cut fields. They also sell gifts, wreaths, and ornaments.

Trinity Tree Farm
Grab a hand saw and explore 40 acres of Douglas, Grand, Noble, and Fraser Firs. Before you head out, take advantage of complimentary hot cocoa, train rides (for kids), food stands, and fire pits.

The Wreath Works
If your holiday wreath is just as important to you as your Christmas tree, you'll find plenty of great offerings here. Their Noble wreaths are made on site, and their fields boast lots of Fir and Spruce trees. Plus, they have hot cocoa, cider, and a real-life Santa in their gift shop.
Port Orchard

Holiday Event Guide 2018

From a Jane Austen adaptation to a drag show—these are the 23 events to catch this season.

By Seattle Met Staff  11/20/2018 at 11:43am | Courtesy of SeattleMet.com

Back for its fifth year, Wonderland transforms Pike Place Market’s subterranean cabaret into a holiday treat equally snowy and saucy. Nov 1–Jan 13, Can Can Culinary Cabaret, $40 –Stefan Milne

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley 
Elizabeth Bennet’s frumpy sister, Mary, sheds her middle-child syndrome to find a love of her own in this sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and PrejudiceNov 21–Dec 29, Taproot Theatre, $20–$42 –Gwen Hughes

Seattle Turkey Trot
No need to fear the imminent Turkey coma, this Ballard tradition will have you up and running on Thanksgiving morning before the bird leaves the oven. What’s more, you can bring the dog along–we all know they’ll be scarfing down the leftovers, so they could use a nice run around too. Nov 22, Caffe Fiore, $25 –Aly Brady

Enchant Christmas 
In enchantingly immersive fashion, Safeco Field will transform into the world’s largest light maze, inside which you’re tasked with tracking down Rudolph, Dasher, and the other seven missing reindeer. The string-lit wonderland allows you to ice skate through festive displays, get lost in the tangles of the maze, and meet a Santa. For those looking to work on their shopping lists, the Christmas Market is rife with stocking stuffer worthy crafts and treats, like Pacific Northwest-based Lumiere candles. Nov 23–Dec 30, Safeco Field, $20–$65 –AB

Watch the Seattle Center Armory transform into a Winter Wonderland complete with a skating rink, ice sculptures, delicious treats and a miniature train display. With five weeks of festivities, there are plenty of winter break opportunities to cozy up and celebrate. Nov 23–Jan 6, Seattle Center, Free –GH

The Byrd Ensemble: A German Christmas 
Feel the chill of German December nights with this night of carols and chortets, featuring local organist Susanna Valleau. The lineup includes yuletide classics like Stille Nacht and other masterworks from the works of Bach and Franz Gruber. Nov 24, Trinity Parish Church, $18–$28 –AB

Jane Lynch: A Swingin’ Little Christmas
Jane Lynch (of Glee and a heap of other things) will perform jazzy arrangements of classic Christmas tunes. Previously Miss Hannigan in Broadway’s Annie, Lynch’s musical chops match her brash, comedic timing. Nov 24, Paramount Theatre, $39–$74 –GH

Miracle on 2nd
Rob Roy, Belltown’s consistently excellent and constantly nonchalant lounge, again gets seasonal: a holiday cocktail list, soundtrack, and a good deal of fake snow. Nov 25–Dec 24, Rob Roy, free –SM

Hanukkah Night Market
Bake, decorate, and light the candles at the Hillel Building at the University of Washington. It will fill with local vendors, crafters, and hobbyists in this first ever craft fair and night market, complete with live music and plenty of snacks. Nov 29, University Washington, Free –AB

Find some snow (maybe) and illumination in Leavenworth.  IMAGE:  BRIAN MUNOZ

Find some snow (maybe) and illumination in Leavenworth.


Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival 
If you can’t swing the plane ticket to Europe, but you still want the romantic feel of cobbled streets, twinkling Bavarian rooftops, hot mulled wine, and carolers wandering the streets, then you can find it in Leavenworth. The festivities include live music, dog sled rides and, for the kiddos, visits with Ole’ Saint Nick. Nov 30–Dec 16, Leavenworth, Free –AB

Rainier Beach Arts and Crafts Market
Rainier Beach Community Center hosts a craft market with handcrafted jewelry, baked goods, and woodworking. Meet local artisans and explore the opportunities for one-of-a-kind gifts to impress even your most nitpicky relatives. Dec 1, Rainier Beach Community Center, Free –GH

The Annual Latkeh Cook-Off
This is exactly what it sounds like, with some cheese and wine. A simple event, yes, but I’ll take a perfect Latkeh—blessed with sour cream, apple sauce, chives—over soggy holiday stuffing anytime. Dec 3, LoveCityLove, $25 –SM

The Sirens of Swing 
For harmoniously vintage caroling, Seattle-based vocal trio Sirens of Swing will ring in the Holidays with plenty of festive tunes. Dec 3, Rendezvous, $20 –AB

A Judy Garland Christmas Special 
This theater parody chronicles the backstage strife of Judy Garland’s infamous 1963 Christmas special. With publicists desperate for a jolly Christmas (after some unwelcome, binge drinking by Mrs. Oz, herself) Garland corals the whole family—including 17-year-old Liza Minelli, to get her waning career back on track. Dec 6–Dec 22, Theatre Off Jackson, $27 –GH

The Chanukah Party
“Best Food Friends” Blake Madden and Mike Wong take a break from monthly community dinners to host an epic Hanukkah celebration. Chow down on Jewish and Chinese fair as you enjoy the comedic stylings of Wildred Padua followed by performances from Brown Calculus, Hotels!, and Nearby. Dec 8, Russian Community Center, $17 –GH

Short Stories Live: A Rogue’s Christmas 2018 
For lovers of fireside tales and literary revelries, look no further than A Rogue’s Christmas. The annual event features an eclectic collection of poetry, short fiction, and live music, with plenty of local figures reading from the works of John Updike and Jeanette Winterson (whose collection Christmas Days is certainly worth a read). If you’re more of a storyteller than an audience member, organizers will be accepting submissions inspired by “Holiday humiliations,” until November 27, some of which will be read aloud at the event. Dec 9, Taproot Theatre, $15 –AB

Walt Wagner Trio
Walt Wagner, the former Canlis pianist, known for playing everything from Prince to Fleet Foxes in a style between classical and jazz, hits Jazz Alley with his trio for a holiday celebration. His playing “Christmas in Hollis” by Run D.M.C. seems as likely as “White Christmas.” Dec 9, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, $31 –SM

Deck the Hall Ball
Given that $75 for a Death Cab for Cutie and Bastille ticket is already near the going rate, all the other bands playing Deck the Hall Ball are gravy, and some of that gravy—namely formerly local singer Jenn Champion—trumps the main event. Dec 11, WaMu Theatre, $75 –SM

A Drag Queen Christmas
Fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race can kindly make their way to the Moore for a live holiday take, which, as it happens, is an all-ages show. Some degree of glitter in the dress-code feels mandatory. Dec 12, Moore Theatre, $22–$54 –SM

Handel’s Messiah 
George Friderick Handel’s Messiah is as quintessentially Christmas as any carol. And when 50-some psalm-centered movements begin to run together, conductor Dmitry Sinkovsky will lead the Seattle Symphony and Chorale in the incomparable Hallelujah chorus. Dec 14–16, Benaroya Hall, $24–$89 –GH

Campout Cinema: Die Hard
Die Hard is not only the greatest action movie of the 1980s. It is also, simply, the greatest Christmas action movie ever. To celebrate the movie’s 30th anniversary, MoPOP brings an outdoor movie vibe inside the building’s Sky Church, along with drinks and gallery access. Dec 22, MoPOP, $14 –SM

Sugar Plum Gary
Santa meets Satan in Emmett Montgomery’s one man show. The local comedian takes to the stage in a red onesie and doles out an act both absurd and faintly evil. “Christmas in five words,” he grumbles through a huge beard, “He sees you when you’resleeping. Dec 22–24, 18th and Union, $10–$22 –SM

Stas and Kass: Home for the Holidays
Two local natives converging for a show isn’t such an event. But when those two are Stas Thee Boss (formerly of THEESatisfaction) and Kassa Overall (jazz musician/MC/producer) and it’s a holiday show, eventfulness is rather besides the point. This is pure treasure. Dec 27, Barboza, $10 –SM