Magnolia, Seattle: What to See & Do + Where to Eat & Drink

Quiet and peaceful, with beautiful views of the city, Magnolia is a charming neighborhood in central Seattle. If you’re heading to the Emerald City, visiting the area will let you see beyond the main tourist spots and discover Seattle’s more “local” side. Home to fantastic attractions, excellent restaurants, stunning natural landscapes, and stylish stores, you’ll find plenty to do in Magnolia, Seattle.

Explore the gorgeous beaches and tranquil forested trails of the popular Discovery Park. Visit the elegant West Point Lighthouse and take in some indigenous art at the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center. Stock up on fresh produce at the local farmer’s market and dine on sublime cuisine at one of the many eateries in the area.

Bordered on three sides by water, Magnolia offers some of the finest views in the city. You’ll find plenty of places to enjoy them, from the Magnolia Viewpoint to Ella Bailey Park. Don’t expect any hustle and bustle here… life in Magnolia, Seattle, is all about enjoyment.

Not sure where to start? Plan your stop in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood with this complete guide for what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay!

What to see & do

Discovery Park

One of Seattle’s top tourist attractions, Discovery Park simply can’t be missed! Spread over 534 acres, the vast park is an oasis of tranquility in the heart of the city.

Discovery Park

Discovery Park has it all: thick forests, rolling meadows, meandering streams, and some of the most beautiful beaches in Seattle. There’s plenty to do here, too. Hiking, mountain biking, beach-bumming, or attending nature programs – it’s all worth spending a day here.

Founded as Fort Lawton in the early 1900s, the site served as a training camp and embarkation point for troops during both World Wars. It was transformed into a park in the 1970s and has since been one of Seattle’s greatest natural assets.

Visit the Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center and join a nature program to learn about the fauna and flora in the park. Wander through the galleries of the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center and view some striking Native American artwork. Or, for a more active adventure, hike the 2.8-mile Loop Trail and soak up some spectacular views of Puget Sound.

West Point Lighthouse

If you love beautiful lighthouses, make a stop at the West Point Lighthouse. This grand old lady is almost 150 years old and renowned for its unique tapered square shape. Situated on a sandy spit in Puget Sound, the West Point Lighthouse now operates electrically and is still active today.

West Point Lighthouse

There’s a wonderful museum at West Point Lighthouse with an impressive collection of artifacts and memorabilia. Learn the story of the tower, the lightkeepers, the local community, and more through excellent exhibits and displays.

After your visit, spend some time exploring the area. Take a stroll along interpretive trails that meander through the beaches, dunes, and forests. Admire the boats in the marina and browse the West Point Craft Shop for unique gifts and souvenirs.

Commodore Park

If you enjoy watching ships make their way through locks, then Commodore Park is one of the best places to do this around Seattle. Set on a hill overlooking the Lake Washington Ship Canal, the park offers spectacular views. Watch ships navigate their way through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in the neighboring Ballard neighborhood as the water foams through the spillway.

Named for the street that runs in front of it, Commodore Park is a lovely green space for relaxing. Take a stroll along the waterfront promenade for some scenic canal views. Enjoy a picnic on the grassy hills, and keep an eye out for interesting birds. The Kiwanis Ravine heron colony was moved to the park in 2013 due to extreme eagle predation, so you might just spot one here!

32nd Avenue West Beach Access

Explore Puget Sound from the water on a canoeing or kayaking adventure. The ideal place to launch your craft is at the 32nd Avenue West Beach Access at the southern street end of 32nd Avenue. The lovely little sloping beach is ideal for launching small boats and leisure crafts. It’s also a great spot for sundowners with stunning views of Puget Sound.

Ballard Locks Fish Ladder

The Ballard Locks Fish Ladder is worth a visit to see how salmon get safe passage to their spawning grounds upstream. Watch the fish make their way upstream through large windows and try to spot Sockeye, Chinook, and Coho salmon.

Ballard Locks Fish Ladder

Constructed in 1917, the Ballard Locks serve as a gateway for thousands of boats traveling between saltwater Puget Sound and the lakes upstream. Discover the history of the locks at the Ballard Locks Visitor Center. Stroll around the interesting exhibits and watch a free film on the construction of the locks.

The Ballard Locks also have some lovely botanic gardens where you can enjoy musical performances in summer. Pack a picnic lunch and watch the ships passing through the locks!

Dirty Couch Brewing

When it’s time for a drink, head to Dirty Couch Brewing, where you can try a variety of mixed-fermented sours and wild ales. Located on Fort Street in Interbay, Dirty Couch Brewing produces a range of unusual brews with just as unusual names.

The beers at Dirty Couch Brewing are aged in wine or whiskey barrels to create unique tastes and flavors. How about a sour fruited-style beer made with donut peaches or a sour blonde beer with blackberry? Or a Tayberry Gin Saison, perhaps?

Pop in on the weekend for a tasting and listen to some live music. Food trucks make their rounds serving great pub-style grub, and the atmosphere is laid-back and cool.

Where to eat & drink

From long-time favorites to recently opened gems, Magnolia has a fantastic choice of places to wine and dine. Start your day with a hearty breakfast at the Serendipity Café. Enjoy freshly brewed Herkimer coffee and locally made pastries while the kids hang out in the play area. The casual lounge comes alive when the sun goes down. It’s a great spot for a pre-dinner drink or a nightcap.

For authentic Italian fare, head to Mondello Italian Restaurant on 33rd Avenue. This classic Italian and Mediterranean eatery is the neighborhood go-to for homemade gnocchi, paper-thin pizza, and prosciutto-wrapped veal. The warm and welcoming atmosphere is almost as delightful as the impressive servings and mouthwatering desserts!

Take a culinary trip to Asia and dine on an array of fusion cuisine at Mura Asian Eatery. From Bimbim Bowls to Sukiyaki Beef, you’ll find a delicious variety of Asian fare from Japanese to Korean. Go for the scallion pancakes, chicken katsu, and udon noodles, and pair them with a traditional sake from the wine list.

When you have had a big night on the town and need a tummy-filling, hangover-reducing bite, Niko’s Gyros is a winner. The Greek / Mediterranean joint serves mouthwatering gyros, along with lamb burgers, pork souvlaki, melt-in-your-mouth pita bread, and that oh-so-delicious-deep-fried-cheese saganaki.

Another incredible dining experience that takes you on a gourmet journey across the globe is at Pink Salt Restaurant & Lounge. Savor sublime Peruvian cuisine in a warm, candlelit space where the only thing on your mind will be what to order next. Book a table for a Thursday evening and enjoy some live jazz while dining.

Every neighborhood seems to have a classic Irish bar. And Mulleady’s Irish Pub is just that. Warm, welcoming, and cozy, Mulleady’s has been a community favorite for over 20 years. Pop in for an Irish Whiskey from their impressive collection, try a local craft brew, and meet some locals.

Another laid-back spot for classic pub grub and craft beers is the Magnolia Village Pub. The pub heaves when there is a big Washington State game, and the atmosphere is electric. For a quiet drink and a game of pool or darts, the Boxcar Ale House is your best bet. There’s a karaoke machine, however, so that quiet evening may just change!

Mia Russell

Mia Russell is a freelance writer based in South Africa with a passion for travel. She’s travelled to 35 countries and counting, and when she is not in the water swimming, freediving, or snorkeling in beautiful places around the world, she is writing about her experiences. Before becoming a freelance travel writer, Mia worked as Chief Copy Editor for Glamor magazine and Managing Editor for One Small Seed Magazine. She's a regular contributor to travel websites like Go City, Bookmundi, The Maldives Expert, and Heritage Safaris.

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