Downtown Kirkland is a vibrant waterfront community filled with charming restaurants, wine bars, art galleries and shops. Located just east of Seattle, it is located on the shores of Lake Washington. The lovely Marina Park beckons with benches to enjoy the view and a cute little beach. The walkable town allows you to enjoy a car-free weekend.
The city is filled with public works of art, and it can be fun to stumble upon them. The works are by leading regional and national artists, with some donated by Kirkland residents. The pieces of art are made of bronze and are quite a variety. “Betty Lou” is a bronze by artist Lisa Sheets and showcases an older woman sitting on a bench enjoying some sun. Other works include whimsical animals and a military family.
Where To Stay
From the moment you walk into the luxury that is the Heathman Hotel and receive a warm welcome from the staff, you know you are staying somewhere special. This lovely hotel is centrally located to all Kirkland has to offer—including Lake Washington. The Heathman has recently undergone extensive renovations, which gives it the feeling of brand new. The hotel is filled with artwork by local artists, with pieces rotated quarterly. Each floor has a theme, and the higher floors have paintings of birds and flight. A nice touch.
For a couple’s getaway, you will most certainly want to splurge on a suite on the upper floor. Once you arrive, you won’t want to leave these luxury havens. You may have stayed at a hotel that offers a pillow menu, but the Heathman really steps up the game with their Signature Bed Menu. Select from three mattress types including pillowtop, Tempur-Pedic or European featherbed. For a truly romantic evening, add a rose petal turndown service. These cozy rooms have fireplaces as well, ensuring you a most comfortable and cozy stay.
Where To Eat
When you first arrive in Kirkland, and before you check in at your hotel, a neat place to stop for a quick snack or light lunch is the Alanya Café. This family owned business has a variety of Turkish pastries all homemade. The must tries are the pistachio baklava and the borek, which is a flaky pastry with a variety of fillings. Pair with a Turkish coffee or tea.
The Hearth is the hotel restaurant and serves up comfort food elevated to a whole new level of goodness. The menu is centered around using a traditional hearth oven with open-flame cooking techniques. The whole beef short rib is served caveman style and is an elegant presentation with the meat cut off the bone. It is slow cooked sous vide style for 17 hours and melts in your mouth. Pair it with cheesy grits topped with roasted mushrooms and Aleppo. These aren’t your average grits. Coarse ground and infused with three cheeses, the dish almost has the texture of risotto and is so hearty.
For brunch try Hector’s, a Kirkland favorite dishing up its famed eggs benedict and other breakfast favorites for more than 44 years. Its dark wooded interior has a speakeasy vibe highlighted by the 120-year-old mahogany bar back and original brickwork and fireplaces. Truly an experience.
Lynn’s Bistro blends French and Asian cuisine in a bright, lovely restaurant. On a rainy Pacific Northwest day, you feel like you are in a sunny café in the south of France. Enjoy savory or sweet crepes. Entrees come with a variety of French pastries and fresh fruit. Chef MyLinh Tran only uses Gruyere cheese at the restaurant, which is made from milk of pasture-fed cows and has an earthy nutty taste that imparts a unique flavor to dishes it is incorporated into. Try the traditional French onion soup—one of the restaurant’s signature dishes that is covered with a melted topping of the rich Gruyere cheese.
Where to Drink
Kirkland loves its wine, and there are a variety of wine bars in the area. Stop into the Delille Maison Wine Lounge to enjoy a wine tasting flight. Three 2-ounce pours are a perfect way to enjoy some of their signature wines from the renown Red Mountain AVA.
The Hearth Bar in the Heathman Hotel has a big following among locals, which is unusual in a hotel bar, and is a testament to the friendly bartenders who really know how to present a cocktail. Try the Dragon’s Blood, a smoke-infused Manhattan. House-made spicy orange bitters are combined with bourbon, Matthiasson sweet vermouth, pasubio, crème de novak and blood orange puree. The elixir, presented in a dome while the bartender blows in smoke, makes for a very unique experience.
What To Do
Plan to walk the town during your stay. The scenic waterfront offers views of both Lake Washington and Seattle in the distance. Even though you are in a downtown area, it has a small-town sense of community. There are so many local small businesses worth a stop. Check out the Pike St. Press, a darling shop carrying on the tradition of letterpress printing. Pick up an artisan greeting card or other paper products which make nice gifts. The Gunnar Nordstrom gallery is located right next door and is the only authorized dealer in Washington for the Art of Dr. Seuss.
The Canvas Paint and Sip studio is a fun date activity. Bring out your inner artist with an artist-guided session, sure to have you painting like a pro in no time. Everything you need to create your artwork in the light and airy studio is provided. Beer, wine, hard cider and other beverages are available for purchase. Also on-site is the Hammer and Stain, a DIY workshop where all the tools and supplies you need to create your own handcrafted items are provided. Think wood signs, wreaths or plant boxes. There is a large variety of items you can create.
If it’s a nice day, explore the Cross Kirkland Corridor interim trail—perfect for a bike ride or walk. The 10-foot-wide crushed gravel trail runs for 5.75 miles and is part of the 42-mile Eastside Rail Corridor that traverses from Renton to Snohomish. The corridor runs through eight neighborhoods and numerous parks offering some great views.
When planning your trip to Kirkland, make sure to visit ExploreKirkland.com and peruse the event section. You’ll find a variety of events and activities that are perfect for a couple’s getaway. The Specifics