For those seeking a culinary adventure you can’t find in other major cities, Katsu’s tempura-battered, tonkatsu-style deep-fried burgers fit the bill. The Japanese-influenced flavors of these delectable gut bombs are enhanced with crisp nori (seaweed-seasoned) fries dipped in any one of Katsu’s excellent sauces (curry mayo, miso honey mustard, etc.). Wash it down with the sweetness of a green-tea milkshake. And unlike other Katsu locations, Capitol Hill features a sporty bar and late hours.
Katsu Burger, 1410 12th Ave. Seattle, WA 98122
For a decade, Plum Bistro has plated flavor-rich upscale vegan meals at wallet-friendly prices. Sure, chef-owner Makini Howell excels at semi-traditional options like sweet potato gnocchi and the Mama Africa salad, but many of her dishes go out of their way and outdo their carnivore counterparts. There are a host of alternative burgers, the BBQ Glazed Plant Loaf and the Macho Burrito with soy chorizo. Good luck finding a better mac and cheese in town — vegan or not — than Plum’s Spicy Cajun Mac and Yease.
Plum Bistro, 1429 12th Ave. Seattle, WA 98122
Elliott Bay Book Co.
It’s nearly impossible for retail to feel both expansive and comfortable, but Elliott Bay Book Co.’s ability to split the difference is the reason it continually lands on lists of the best bookstores in the United States. The high-ceilinged literary emporium has two levels of tomes, a subterranean room for large book readings and in-store cafe (Little Oddfellows) that eschews that typical tacked-on feeling. The wall of staff picks is actually diverse and useful.
Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave. Seattle, WA 98122
Northwest Film Forum
While SIFF Cinema Egyptian might be the best movie house on the Hill, the hardest of hardcore cinephiles flock to Northwest Film Forum. The nonprofit specializes in finding deep-cut gems from truly independent cinema around the world. It also supports the local film community through events and programming like the Local Sightings Film Festival.
Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave. Seattle, WA 98122
There’s not a complex in Seattle that packs in as much musical action as this corner of Pike Street and 10th Avenue. Neumos tends toward substance over style while putting on as many great genre-spanning concerts as any club in town, and a descent into the bowels of the basement venue Barboza will reveal shows from some of the buzziest up-and-coming musical acts. A show at either is enhanced with a stiff drink (and delicious grub from Bok a Bok Fried Chicken) at the adjoining rock dive, the Runaway.
925 E. Pike St. Seattle, WA 98122
At nearly 50 acres, Volunteer Park’s greenery sprawls over the otherwise developed neighborhood, delivering an ideal escape from the surrounding commotion. Beyond excellent versions of standard park amenities, there’s also an elevated view of the city, a stately brick water tower and a stunning conservatory. When the hidden Art Deco gem that is the Asian Art Museum reopens after years of renovation (2020!), Volunteer will truly be achieving peak park.
Volunteer Park, 1247 15th Ave. E. Seattle, WA 98112