Northern Neighborhoods, Seattle, Washington
Concierge.com's insider take:
Fremont is probably the best known of the northern neighborhoods, and while its days as a haunt for starving artists and all members of the counterculture from hippies to bikers may be drawing to a close, it's still extremely laid-back and quirky. Exploring the shops along N. 36th Street and up Fremont Avenue makes for an immensely enjoyable afternoon. West of Fremont is Ballard, which used to belong mostly to Scandinavian fisherfolk, but is now the domain of hipsters. Ballard Avenue has an almost European or Old New York vibe, and great shops, pubs, and restaurants. On weekends, a mellow farmers' market pops up on one of the empty lots. Wallingford, east of Fremont, has a spate of specialty shops along N. 45th Street: Nowhere else in the city can you pick up gourmet Belgian beers, handmade stationery, an authentic aloha shirt, and a racy cake from the resident erotic bakery all within a few blocks. North of Fremont and Wallingford, Green Lake's main draw is its namesake, a beautiful lake whose ring road is thronged with joggers, bikers, in-line skaters, and happy dogs. The cozy triangle around N. 56th Street and Kenwood Place (off the southeast corner of the lake) has the best eateries, namely the excellent Eva Restaurant & Wine Bar and Zoka Coffee.