Overflowing with nightlife and entertainment venues, Capitol Hill is one of the most exciting neighborhoods in Seattle. Especially if you love the buzz and bright lights of the city, this area to the northeast of downtown is sure to be a hit.
Previously known as “Broadway Hill,” Capitol Hill is the perfect spot for travelers who prioritize good restaurants in their vacation planning. The neighborhood is home to many of the staples in Seattle’s culinary scene, making it a foodie paradise. It’s also a total hotspot for urban parks, with Cal Anderson Park and Interlaken Park among the best.
Ready to check out this eclectic Seattle neighborhood? Let this complete Capitol Hill guide—with the inside scoop on what to see & do, where to stay, and when to visit—help you plan your trip!
What to see & do in Capitol Hill, Seattle
Looking for some lush green space to enjoy? Head to Volunteer Park. Spanning over 40 acres, the park teems with wildflowers, an infamous bagel sculpture, and even a few old redwood trees with massive trunks. (We’re talking over 10 feet wide here!)
Even if park-going isn’t in your usual vacation plans, a trip to Volunteer Park is a must. Far from your average park, there’s so much to see & do here. You can climb up to the Water Tower Observation Deck for premium views of the Space Needle, admire beautiful blooms at the Volunteer Park Conservatory, and even check out the Seattle Asian Art Museum right on park grounds.
Seattle Asian Art Museum
An offshoot of the Seattle Art Museum in Downtown Seattle, the Seattle Asian Art Museum is an art lover’s paradise. This Art Deco building from 1933 stands on the grounds of Volunteer Park. Today, it’s been transformed into one of the city’s most popular art galleries.
The Seattle Asian Art Museum is home to an extensive collection of contemporary and ancient Chinese art and hosts several cultural exhibitions each year.
Traveling at the beginning of the month? Admission is free on the first Thursday and Saturday, so it might be worth planning your Seattle itinerary around visiting this attraction.
Lake View Cemetery
For many cinema aficionados and sports fans alike, Lake View Cemetery is one of the top points of interest in Seattle. And why might you want to wander a cemetery during your vacation? Well, this is where famous martial artist and actor Bruce Lee is laid to rest. Every year thousands of fans come to pay their respects at his headstone.
Located about halfway up the hill at Lake View Cemetery, Bruce Lee’s grave also has a great view of the city, making the trek worth a little more than a trip down memory lane.
Many fans bring small offerings like crystals, candles, and flowers to honor Bruce and his son Brandon; you may want to pack a little something in your suitcase to do the same.
Cal Anderson Park
Another of Capitol Hill’s finest parks is Cal Anderson Park. This park is a great choice for visitors who prefer a more urban park experience; it tends to be a little busier and is more centrally located than its counterparts. Perfect for reading, people-watching, or an afternoon picnic, the park has a lively, inviting atmosphere.
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Some of the most beloved features of Cal Anderson Park include the reflection pool (for tossing pennies and making a wish), the wading pool (for cooling off on a hot day), and giant oversized chess boards for fun and games with friends. There’s also a sophisticated playscape here that your little ones will adore.
Don’t leave your hiking shoes at home! True outdoor enthusiasts will want to head to Interlaken Park for a nature walk before leaving Capitol Hill. These footpaths (also suitable for bikers) weave through some of the area’s densest forest, with a towering tree canopy and emerald fern ground cover.
Despite feeling totally secluded from the hustle and bustle of the city, Interlaken Park’s trails are relatively short and easy, offering great hikes even for a total newbie. It’s the perfect place for stretching your legs and breathing in some of that cool, fresh air before you get on with the rest of your day.
With one full acre decorated with hundreds of colorful species, Streissguth Gardens should be on every Capitol Hill tourist’s itinerary. The product of nearly 50 years of tending, this stunning display of flora is every home gardener’s dream come true. It’s also a hotspot for amateur photographers and couples seeking a romantic stroll under the sun.
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If you’re looking to catch a quiet moment on an otherwise busy day, Streissguth Gardens provides the perfect break from the city streets. Besides pretty flowers, this peaceful oasis also has some great views of the water. Just be sure to wear good shoes; the uneven footpath and large staircases can be a challenge in flip-flops!
Where to eat & drink
Witness is the place where good Southern cooking comes together with an experimental cocktail bar. Get your grub on with staples like chicken and waffles, Sunday stew, and pulled pork sandwiches, and hit up the barmaster for a drink recommendation.
The atmosphere at Witness is pretty laid back. Choose between a seat on the repurposed church pew benches in the dining room or a table on the dog-friendly patio—and you’re good to go!
If you’re in the mood for something exotic, head to Nue. Here, you can eat your way around the world with the global street food menu. How far can your tastebuds go? Nue will take you on a culinary journey through South Africa, Thailand, Egypt, Puerto Rico, Syria, Turkey, Sri Lanka—and more!
To indulge in some authentic Italian cuisine in Capitol Hill, Spinasse is the go-to. From egg yolk pasta and risotto to braised pork belly and salmon, this select menu transports you to the streets of Italy in the blink of an eye. The contemporary dining room is quaint and unfussy, making the high-end dining experience a bit more approachable.
For good wings, ribs, and other casual plates, Herb & Bitter Public House is the best of the best in Capitol Hill. Dine on the patio, in a greenhouse-style solarium, for an atmospheric night out.
Besides being delicious, the menu is optimal for diners with special dietary requirements. Herb & Bitter Public House has a large selection of dishes for vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free patrons, so everyone can enjoy.
Where do all the hipsters go to eat in Capitol Hill? Liberty. Slinging “Sushi and Spirits” all night long, this uber-trendy restaurant will keep your belly happy and your Instagram feed bumpin’.
Whether you come for the exquisite craft cocktails and good grub or the vibe (think: eclectic decor, unique glassware, punny coasters, and big leather couches) you won’t be left disappointed.
Looking for typical pub fare in an unbelievable setting? The Lookout has you covered for brunch or dinner service with incredible views of the Space Needle and Seattle skyline from their patio.
The Lookout has a secret garden feel with lush foliage and blossoming hydrangea bushes, making the restaurant space nearly as beautiful as the views from your perch. If you do make it to Sunday Brunch, be sure to order their all-you-can-drink mimosas.
Where to stay
Seattle Gaslight Inn is the 1900s estate that’ll please the pickiest globetrotters and history buffs alike. From a grand, plantation-style facade to a cozy library, this micro hotel is like no place you’ve stayed before. The Inn’s backyard oasis is the perfect hideaway, with lush gardens and a turquoise pool that’ll leave you feeling like you’re in the tropics.
Treat yourself to all the comforts of home with a stay at Sonder at Solis. This boutique hotel rents out bright and airy apartments equipped with modern furnishings, in-suite laundry, full kitchens, and a spacious living room. Not only is this hotel centrally located between all of Capitol Hill’s top attractions, but they also have a rooftop deck where you can take in the Seattle skyline all vacation long.
Meet Sonder at Solis’s little brother: Sonder The Boylston. Each unit comes with a private balcony and rainfall shower, among other homestyle amenities. Are you a java drinker? The Bolyston offers unlimited artisan coffee with your stay, so you won’t need to spend extra cash every time you need a caffeine boost.