HOME SWEET GREEN LAKE

It’s official. We’re Seattleites now. More specifically, we’re Green Lakers. Avu and I have settled into a little neighborhood about 15 minutes north of downtown Seattle, a quieter, more suburban neighborhood giving us access to all the best of Seattle. I’m excited to be in my new little pocket of the country and excited for the lifestyle that this area encourages. I grew up in a small town outside Dallas, close to my country roots. By 18, I was ready for a quick 180 and moved as far away as I could, both literally and figuratively, to NYC. After nearly a decade there, I guess you could say the pendulum swung back the other way a little, and now I think I’m hopefully finding my sweet spot. I think it looks a lot like Green Lake. A sense of community, peace and quiet, and charming blocks lined with cafes, diners and boutiques. But with easy access to the buzz and bustle of city life, the electric charge of people in a hurry, on a mission.

More than just a lake…

Greenlake gets it name, no surprise, from the big lake that sits smack in the middle of the neighborhood. The lake itself was discovered by a surveyor in 1855, according to the city’s website. In 1891, the area was annexed to the city of Seattle, and was experiencing rapid population growth, being dubbed the premier residential neighborhood of the area. Cozy craftsman homes began popping up along the lake, as close to the shore as they could get. So much so, that the lake had to be lowered in 1911, to create more space to build a recreational park in the area. And as you can guess, that brought even more people to the area.

That hasn’t come without some problems. The rapid home building and development of the neighborhood took its toll on the lake itself throughout the 20th century, and the cutting off of natural flushing led to the build up of odors, algae and mold in the water. The lake has had to be closed twice to pump in fresh revitalizing water from nearby sources.

Today, the nearly 12,000 Green Lakers still enjoy tranquil lake views (especially on a sunny day) as well as access to the 2.8 mile walking and biking path that surrounds the water. Though, they do have to share the space quite a bit, as Green Lake park remains the most visited one in the state. The residents here love to get outdoors and get moving, which is just the encouragement (and peer pressure?) we need! Things close a little earlier here, with most people being early risers rather than night owls. The people here seem to love life, and love their community. There’s even a neighborhood group that picks up litter around the lake every Sunday! (For more info about that, click here.)

What I’m trying to say is, there’s a lot to explore…

There’s a lot to see and do in Green Lake, besides just the lake itself. Although why not start with the main attraction? Green Lake is surrounded by a recreational park, with paths as I mentioned, as well as a public beach (!!!), and areas to rent kayaks, paddle boards, and more.

Apparently, you can even do YOGA on PADDLEBOARDS in the middle of the lake during warmer months. You can absolutely bet I’ll be trying that out. Stay tuned everyone…
click HERE for more info about SUP Yoga (photo credit: Instagram)

Furthermore, Green Lake hosts several annual city-wide celebrations including the Pathway of Lights, (a holiday celebration held every December) Hiroshima to Hope, (a remembrance ceremony marked every August 6, where paper lanterns are lit and put out on the water as a reminder of the atomic bombs) and Luminata (a giant festival celebrating the autumnal equinox). It’s also a perfect backdrop for running events, of course, and hosts the annual Donut Dash half marathon every April (yes, please.)

But hands down, the event I am MOST excited for is Green Lake’s annual Mashed Potato Munch Off. It takes place with the Green Lake Gobble run every November. In order to understand how thrilled I am for this, one needs to understand my life-long obsession with mashed potatoes.

The lake isn’t the only source of entertainment in Greenlake though. From March to October, Green Lake’s miniature golf course Pitch N Putt, is open. And if, unlike my, hand-eye coordination is your thing, one can check out the Table Tennis tournaments that happen year round here. In fact, I’ll be you didn’t know Green Lake is home to some of the top tennis table champions in the world. To be clear, I am NOT one of them.

Green Lake also has a great community center that offers classes for people of all ages, everything from dance to fitness to pottery classes (stay tuned for a post about that)

And no matter where you go in Green Lake, you’ll probably see some pups. Seattle in general is a very dog-friendly city, and Green Lake is a dog’s dream. And there’s a hidden gem here for them, too — an off leash play area within Woodland Park, just south of the park.

Okay, now I’m hungry (and thirsty)…

Let’s get to the good stuff. What’s the food scene like here? From what I’m gathering, Green Lake isn’t exactly the culinary hot spot of Seattle, but the neighborhood is home to some really cool vibes, as well as a few DELICIOUS hidden gems. I’ve been to several, but I’ve still got several top spots to hit on my list.

Bongos

Serving up fun Caribbean food, this unassuming joint is said to be the best restaurant in Green Lake. (Photo courtesy Bongos Cafe)

Latona Pub

A local favorite featuring great beers, a really yummy menu and live music on weekends. (Photo courtesy Latona Pub)

Cafe Lulu

A tried and true favorite of mine. Their coffee is strong and made just perfectly, and pairs perfectly with the selection of homemade pastries, quiches, desserts and more. (Photo courtesy Cafe Lulu instagram)

Retreat

Probably one of the trendiest spots in Green Lake. While I wouldn’t call it an every day spot (hello $8 matcha latte), it’s light and airy and a great way to spend an afternoon catching up with a friend or getting some work done. (Plus, they serve alcohol in the evenings.) (Photo courtesy Retreat instagram)

The Little Red Hen

One of the only country bars in Seattle, and the only place in the city where you can get live line dancing lessons! This Texas girl just got really excited… (photo courtesy Little Red Hen instagram)

Shelter Lounge

This place isn’t necessarily known for their food, but the Happy Hour menu is great, and the atmosphere is what makes this place worth coming back to. Full wood paneling and high ceilings, with floor to ceiling windows facing out to the lake. Can’t beat that. (Photo courtesy Shelter Lounge)

El Naranjo

The most solid option for tacos in Green Lake. Found on the northwest side of the lake, this truck is run by a San Diego transplant and serves authentic Mexican flavors for cheap. (Photo courtesy El Naranjo facebook)

If you’re planning to visit Seattle anytime soon, do yourself a favor and plan to enjoy one of your days in Green Lake, especially if the sun comes out. You’ll likely find me at the lake with the dogs! In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates as I continue to get to know my neighborhood and this city.

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