Kirkland started as a dream of a British businessman who fell in love with the area and wanted to build a steel town. The dream did not work out, but the town survived by milling wool and building ships instead. Lake Washington Shipyard on Carillon Point built 25 warships during World War II for the U.S. Navy. Kirkland has so much to offer to visitors: excellent outdoor concerts, a popular wine festival, great hotels, high quality art galleries, whale-watching tours, and a number of superb cafes and restaurants on the romantic waterfront with views of the Seattle skyline across the Pudget Sound.
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Come enjoy 700 feet of Lake Washington’s shoreline in the middle of beautiful downtown. Marina Park’s 3.5 acres provide the perfect spot to spend the afternoon experiencing the sites and culture of Kirkland. Visitors can fish, bike, or take a stroll and browse the sculptures and interpretive markers that make up the various points of interest. Gas grills are allowed and a gazebo can be rented for special gatherings. The park hosts a variety of special events throughout the year and offers easy access to waterfront dining. Seventy-seven boat slips are available on a first-come first-served basis, and boat launch passes can be purchased.
25 Lakeshore Plaza Dr, Kirkland, WA 98033, 425-587-3300
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2.Juanita Beach Park
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Juanita Beach Park is where families can have the best beach experience in the Kirkland area. The park offers fun outdoor amenities and activities for visitors of all ages. Renovated in 2011, its enhanced beaches and walking paths can now be enjoyed with better parking, restrooms, and picnic areas. Horseshoe pits, volleyball areas, tennis courts, ball fields, play grounds, an open-air amphitheater, and public docks all make for a fun day at the beach. Restrooms with changing areas and concession stands along with barbeque grills and group rental facilities are available in open season. The park is closed in the winter.
9703 NE Juanita Dr, Kirkland, WA 98034, 425-587-3300
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3.Juanita Bay Park
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Juanita Bay Park is a beautiful 110-acre nature preserve in the middle of Kirkland’s urban area. Steal away from the bustle of the city for a peaceful walk or jog along the park’s 3,000 feet of trails and boardwalks. Relax on the lawn with a picnic lunch and take in the views of the scenic wetlands and marshes, which abound with birds, turtles, beavers, and other wildlife and fauna. Guided tours are offered the first Sunday of every month at 1 PM. Park services are closed in winter, but visitors can enjoy the benches, green spaces, and views year-round.
2201 Market St, Kirkland, WA 98033, 425-576-8805
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4.Cross Kirkland Corridor Trail
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The Cross Kirkland Corridor is part of Kirkland’s revitalization and a reflection of the city’s commitment to establishing a healthy and eco-friendly community. A 5.75-mile section of the Eastside Rail Corridor will soon connect neighborhoods, schools, and businesses. Residents and visitors can now enjoy the 16-foot wide gravel interim trail that runs from 108th Ave NE to Slater Ave. Future plans are for the corridor to provide multi-modal transportation opportunities so that residents can lead a healthier lifestyle. Today it offers a playground and children’s zip line, a total-body resistance training area, a sand volleyball court, and a basketball court.
123 Fifth Avenue Kirkland, WA 98033, 425-587-3011
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5.132nd Square Park, Kirkland, Washington
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132nd Square Park, located between 1-405 and Kirkland, is a great place between to stretch your legs and enjoy the outdoors. With its unique address at 132nd Avenue and 132nd Street, the park has manicured baseball and soccer fields, along with a playground, plenty of park benches, and a paved walking path. The 9.75-acre park offers lots of green space to play and picnic, and ample parking and restrooms are available. A popular attraction in the park is the reflexology walking path. Roll your feet along the uneven stones to experience this ancient healing art designed to improve circulation and relieve stress.
13159 132nd Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98034
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6.Argosy Cruises - Lake Washington Cruise
© Argosy Cruises
Argosy Cruises is the must-do attraction in the Puget Sound area. Their public and private cruises provide a rare opportunity to experience breath-taking scenery and Northwest tribal culture in one of the country’s most beautiful settings. One-hour sightseeing tours of Seattle Harbor are available Jan-March, and 2 1/2 -hour cruises in Ballard Locks are operated Jan-May. Scenic cruises on Lake Union celebrating Seattle’s history and industry open in March. Lake Washington cruises featuring homes of the rich and famous are available in May. Beginning April 16th, take the popular Tillicum Village Excursion complete with a fish bake and tribal show.
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7.Doris Cooper Houghton Beach Park
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Located between Carillon Point and downtown Kirkland, Doris Cooper Houghton Beach Park is the ideal place to take in some sunshine while enjoying scenic views of Lake Washington and Seattle. Easily accessible from downtown Kirkland, the park offers a swimming beach, volleyball courts, a kayak launching area, and a playground. The park is open year-round with restrooms available April – October, and a lifeguard is on duty in the summer season. The shallow swimming area for children along with the sunbathing and diving docks make the park a popular attraction on warm, sunny days. Large groups are encouraged to contact staff before visiting.
5811 Lake Washington Boulevard, Kirkland, WA, 425-587-3360
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8.Techcity Bowl & Fun Center
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Techcity Bowl & Fun Center is more than Kirkland’s premiere bowling spot. Its thirty-two professional lanes feature a state-of-the-art scoring system that offers options for themed play, redemption tickets for prizes, and lane service for concessions. All-you-can Bowl and Cosmic Bowl events make for a fun evening with family and friends. Other entertaining options include billiards and arcade games, and Ten Pin Tap has Happy Hour specials and sports on the HD flat-screen. Tech City Café, with its impressive menu offering something for every taste, is not your typical bowling alley café. They also host league play from beginner to professional.
13033 NE 70th Pl, Kirkland, WA 98033, 425-827-0785
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9.Chainline Brewing Company
© Chainline Brewing Company
Chainline Brewing Company is Kirkland’s newest spot to sample the locally made Northwest Ales and Lagers. Embracing the Eastside’s vibrant outdoor lifestyle, the brewery is located on the bicycle corridor and features an outdoor trailside deck with beautiful scenery. You can sample their drafts in local restaurants, or check their website for what’s on tap and visit the brewery to enjoy its fun, relaxing atmosphere. A food truck offers daily specials, and Trivia takes place Tuesday evenings starting at 7PM. The brewery provides a family outing where children and dogs are welcome. Hours are Tues-Fri 4-10PM, Saturday 12-10PM, and Sunday 12-8PM.
503 6th St S, Kirkland, WA 98033, 425-242-0923
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10.Cafe Juanita, Kirkland, Washington
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Spacious and airy with almost Zen-like and understated décor, Café Juanita is the result of Chef Holly Smith’s love for Northern Italian cuisine and wine and her modern, healthy interpretation of old North Italian classics. The relatively small menu is full of tantalizing surprises such as octopus with smoked bone marrow, chickpeas, and salsa verde. Ingredients are local and seasonal or imported from Northern Italy, which in some cases is the best option. Many dishes are gluten-free, and they make their gluten-free pastas and breads in-house. Produce is organic whenever possible, and wine pairings are offered, with an excellent selection of Northern Italian and Northwestern wines. In the skilled and inspired hands of the chef Holly Smith, Café Juanita proves that eating healthy can be a superb gourmet experience.
9702 NE 120th Pl, Kirkland, WA 98034, 425-823-1505
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© Lady Yum
You can spend your lunch break inhaling a burger with fries and a coke, or you can spend a decadent half hour sipping champagne and munching on macaroons at Lady Yum. This French bistro-style and adorable little shop on Lake Street is located in a 1920s-era building and furnished with funky turquoise cabinetry and fancy antique chandeliers. But, the stars of the show are the macaroons, delectable little bites of sweetness so typically French and so difficult to make right. And here they are: rows and rows of them, each one just perfect, in flavors from the expected Chocolate Mint and Toasted Coconut to the whimsical Maple Bacon and Salted Caramel. Besides champagne, they also offer hip Shrubs – drinkable vinegars in fun flavors like Pear Mandarin and Blueberry Basil. If you bring kids, and you should, they will get flavored water in tiny wine glasses. Teach them style while they’re young.
111 Lake St, Kirkland, WA 98033, 425-285-9628
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12.Cactus Restaurant, Kirkland, Washington
© Cactus Restaurant
Re-opening in May after a remodeling, Cactus Restaurant is a cheerful, colorful Mexican and Southwestern outpost in downtown Kirkland with hand-painted walls and pleasant lighting. Leather banquettes invite groups to linger over premier tequilas and superb house cocktails while nibbling on delicious tapas, bocaditos, or antojitos. Sharing with friends means you can taste more of the delights the chef has to offer, but pay attention to the menu insert. It features a menu that the chef uses to experiment with dishes and treat his guests to some real treasures. If you are lucky and it is available (because the menu is constantly changing), try Braised Lamb Tacos with Tomatillo-mint salsa and Cotija cheese served on house-made corn tortillas with cumin black beans and Spanish rice.
Park Ln, Kirkland, WA 98033, 425-893-9799
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© Mediterranean Kichen
Mediterranean Kitchen is a small, unassuming Lebanese-Mediterranean restaurant that serves wonderfully spiced and intensely flavored dishes from the region, often inspired by old family recipes from Lebanon. They serve regional classics, tried and tested dishes even those not familiar with Mediterranean cuisine would recognize, such as falafel or moussaka. Falafel is ground chickpeas mixed with onions, garlic, parsley and spices, and moussaka is an eggplant casserole made with cauliflower, onions, tomatoes and garbanzo beans, served with feta cheese, garlic sauce, and fresh basil. The portions are huge, but the dishes are healthy and light. All dishes come with soup, garlic bread, and heavy Turkish coffee. Don’t skip dessert, as their baklawa is fabulous.
11412 NE 124th St, Kirkland, WA 98034, 425-823-8101
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© Wilde Rover
Going to an Irish put always means good fun. At Wilde Rover, they not only offer great dinks and lots of them, but they also have excellent music by popular local bands, and the food that is far from your traditional pub grub. They take their food seriously here. You will be treated to delights such as Smithwicked Clams and Grilled Wild sockeye salmon soaked in apple-curry puree sauce. Wilde Rover is spacious and cozy, and it’s a great place to come with a bunch of friends, but on Saturday and Sunday when they serve their legendary brunches, you should bring the whole family. There is a lot of choose from, but when in an Irish pub, go for the traditional Irish fare with two eggs, black and white pudding, Irish sausage, house-cured bacon rashers, baked beans, grilled tomato, home-fried potatoes, and Irish soda bread.
111 Central Way, Kirkland, WA 98033, 425-822-8940
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15.Lynn’s Bistro, Kirkland, WA
© Lynn’s Bistro
The soothing pale green walls and crisp white tablecloths of the small and charming Lynn’s Bistro will instantly make you take a deep breath and relax. Get a glass of wine from their excellent wine list and let the chef and owner My Linh Tran take you on a culinary journey that traverses the world between France and Asia. She has her own personal view as to how fusion cuisine should taste. French classics with imaginative Asian touches include tantalizing dishes such as Shrimp Ravioli with Lobster sauce, mushrooms, prawns, and grated Parmesan cheese. Don’t miss the chef’s specialty – light crepes stuffed with ice cream, mixed berries, and drenched with decadent chocolate sauce.
214 Central Way, Kirkland, WA 98033, 425-889-2808
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16.The Grape Choice
© The Grape Choice
The Grape Choice is a wine bar and shop that features impressive international vintages as well as local selections at any price, and the owners can help you find the perfect pairing or suggest a personal favorite for sipping. They host Wednesday night tastings and a variety of other special events on their calendar. A monthly selection is available for tasting by the glass or bottle, and if beer is your preference, you’ll find an international selection of that as well. Penny’s Wine Cave is a special tasting room available for groups with up to 30 people.
9 Lakeshore Plaza, Kirkland, WA 98033, 425-827-7551
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17 Best Things to Do in Kirkland, Washington
- Marina Park, Photo: Courtesy of Iriana Shiyan - Fotolia.com
- Juanita Beach Park, Photo: Courtesy of Jo Ann Snover - Fotolia.com
- Juanita Bay Park, Photo: Courtesy of watcherfox - Fotolia.com
- Cross Kirkland Corridor Trail, Photo: Courtesy oflukasx - Fotolia.com
- 132nd Square Park, Kirkland, Washington, Photo: Courtesy of Klaus - Fotolia.com
- Argosy Cruises - Lake Washington Cruise, Photo: Argosy Cruises
- Doris Cooper Houghton Beach Park, Photo: Courtesy of Iriana Shiyan - Fotolia.com
- Techcity Bowl & Fun Center, Photo: Courtesy of auremar - Fotolia.com
- Chainline Brewing Company, Photo: Chainline Brewing Company
- Cafe Juanita, Kirkland, Washington, Photo: Courtesy of ALF photo - Fotolia.com
- Lady Yum, Photo: Lady Yum
- Cactus Restaurant, Kirkland, Washington, Photo: Cactus Restaurant
- Mediterranean Kichen, Photo: Mediterranean Kichen
- Wilde Rover, Photo: Wilde Rover
- Lynn’s Bistro, Kirkland, WA, Photo: Lynn’s Bistro
- The Grape Choice, Photo: The Grape Choice
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Jdubsvideo - Fotolia.com