Issaquah is a city in King County, Washington, located in a valley between the Sammamish Plateau and the "Issaquah Alps". Originally developed to service the mining industry that flourished on the two nearby mountains, today’s Issaquah is a modern thriving city surrounded by parks popular with hikers, with fascinating historic downtown, highly respected Village Theatre, Cougar Mountain Zoo that takes care of endangered species and the Issaquah Hatchery that helped restore salmon run on Issaquah Creek. Only a short drive from Seattle, Issaquah is a popular weekend destination for hikers, paragliders, history buffs and foodies.
Village Theatre is a regional theatre founded in 1979 in Issaquah, Washington in a historic theater building built in 1913 by Mr. Rufus H. Glenn as a silent movie theater. In 1994 Village Theatre constructed and moved into a new Francis J. Gaudette theatre building. In 1998 Village Theatre was contracted by the City of Everett, Washington to be the resident performing and management company of the Everett Performing Arts Center. Village Theatre’s programming includes Mainstage, a five-show season performed both in Issaquah and at the Everett Performing Arts Center, Village Originals, a program of musicals presented in collaboration with composers and authors, KIDSTAGE, a youth education program and Pied Piper, an arts-presenting program with shows in Everett, Bellevue, and Issaquah.
303 Front St N, Issaquah, WA 98027, Phone: 425-392-2202
2.Lake Sammamish State Park
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Lake Sammamish State Park is a 512-acre park at the south end of Lake Sammamish, near Isaqua, Washington, with 6,858 feet of waterfront. The park is a popular destination for boating and watersport activities, especially waterskiing. The park's facilities are separated in three areas. West of Issaquah Creek, which enters the lake in the park, is the area with picnic tables and shelters, Tibbetts Beach and Sunset Beach, restrooms, two softball fields, seven soccer fields, and four smaller, youth-size soccer fields. The area east of Issaquah Creek has a boat launch, hiking trails, and natural habitat. The Hans Jensen Youth Camp.is located in the area east of East Lake Sammamish Parkway.
2000 NW Sammamish Rd, Issaquah, WA 98027, Phone: 425-649-4275
3.Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery
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The Issaquah Hatchery was established to restore the historic salmon runs that once existed in Issaquah Creek. The runs had been destroyed by coal mining, logging and other human activities in the Issaquah Creek area. Due to the efforts of the Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH), the salmon again returns every year to Issaquah. The Issaquah hatchery is visited by thousands of people every year, who come to see this spectacular natural event. FISH offers a range of educational programs that teach the public about Pacific salmon, the function of watershed and hatchery operations, in venues that range from camps to classrooms.
125 W Sunset Way, Issaquah, WA 98027, Phone: 425-392-1118
4.Cougar Mountain Zoo
Cougar Mountain Zoo is an 11-acre zoological park in Issaquah, Washington, on the north side of Cougar Mountain, about 15 miles from Seattle. The park borders the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. The zoo’s focus is on endangered species such as lemurs from Madagascar, Bengal tigers from India and birds endangered in various parts of the world. The zoo was founded in 1972 by Peter and Marcie Rittler, who donated it to the Zoological Society of Washington in 1990. The zoo has 32 exhibits that present specific animal habitats, with tigers, lemurs, reindeer, wolves, cranes, macaws, wallabies, cougars and others. A glass-walled tunnel known as the "Tiger Tunnel" allows visitors to observe tigers in close proximity.
19525 SE 54th St, Issaquah, WA 98027, Phone: 425-392-6278
© Brayden Sauve/stock.adobe.com
Located in the center of the Issaquah Alps, Washington State, Tiger Mountain has six peaks between Squak Mountain, Cougar Mountain, Mc Donald and Taylor Mountains, and Rattlesnake Ridge. Tiger Mountain State Forest is a working forest established in 1981. The Issaquah Plateau in the northwest corner of Tiger Mountain is protected as the West Tiger Mountain Natural Resources Conservation Area. It can be accessed from a trailhead at exit 20 on I-90. The most popular destination for hikers is the summit of West Tiger number 3, reached by a busy, steep 6.2 miles round trip trail with elevation change of 2000 feet. This fabulous hike offers breathtaking views of Seattle. Similar views can be enjoyed from the nearby peaks West Tiger number 2 and West Tiger number 1. Another popular destination is Poo Poo Point, a ridge of West Tiger Mountain, a favorite launch spot for hang gliding and paragliding. Many trails on Tiger Mountain are wide and gentle, built on the remnants of 1920s logging railroads.
6.Poo Poo Point
Poo Poo Point is a bald peak on a shoulder of West Tiger Mountain, ending in a small knoll topped by a mast with a windsock. While only a few feet higher than the surrounding land, the knoll is considered the true Poo Poo Point, one of West Tiger's summits. The curious name comes from the sound of steam whistle commonly heard on the mountain in the days when logging was at its peak. The area around Poo Poo was logged as recent as 1970s, resulting in a clear area now used for launching paragliders. The Point also offers a breathtaking view across Issaquah and Lake Sammamish, towards downtown Bellevue. To the west, the view opens to Squak and Cougar Mountains, with a glimpse of Seattle's skyline in the background. The trailhead to Poo Poo Mountain is located in Issaquah, on Second Avenue. Keep an eye on wildlife, you might spot a cougar or bear if you are lucky.
7.Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park
Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is located in King County, Washington, near the towns of Issaquah and Bellevue . The 3,115-acre park was established in 1983 to protect the large part of Cougar Mountain that was being heavily logged. The park has more than 38 miles of hiking trails and 12 miles of horseback riding trails. It is connected to Squak Mountain State Park by Cougar-Squak Corridor Park. Together, the parks protect about 5,000 acres of the public land known as the "Issaquah Alps." The park is located between 1,000 and 1,600 feet above sea level. Cougar Mountain Park trails meander through diverse habitats that include mature second-growth forests, streams, wetlands, cliffs and caves. From many trails there are open views of Lake Sammamish, the Cascades, and Bellevue, Seattle and beyond.
18201 SE Cougar Mountain Dr, Renton, WA 98059, Phone: 425-643-5306
8.Issaquah Depot Museum
© Issaquah Depot Museum
Issaquah station or Issaquah Depot is a former railway station located in Issaquah, Washington, built in 1889 as a passenger station for the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway and freight warehouse. The station served what was then known as Gilman, Washington, which changed into Issaquah around the turn of the century. The Issaquah Depot was used as a passenger station until the 1940s, and the building was abandoned until the City of Issaquah bought it in 1984. After years of careful restoration, the former station was opened as a museum. The museum offers exhibits that explore the industrial revolution, communication, travel and the early development of Issaquah. The Depot operates the Issaquah Valley Trolley, which runs from the Museum to Gilman Boulevard. .
78 1st Ave NE, Issaquah, WA 98027, Phone: 425-392-3500
9.Squak Mountain State Park
© Scott Bufkin/stock.adobe.com
Squak Mountain State Park is a 1,591-acre day-use forested park near Issaquah and a short drive from Seattle. With 13 miles of hiking trails and six miles of horseback riding trails, it is a favorite destination of hikers and equestrians from the area, who love to stroll through the forest past cold creeks, mossy rocks and ancient trees dripping with lichen. The Bullitt Fireplace Trail will take you to the remains of the 1952 Bullitt House's stone fireplace. If you need more challenge, head up to the 2024-foot high summit of Squak Mountain. You will be rewarded with a glimpse of Seattle, just to remind you how close to the city you actually are. The park has six picnic tables at the trailhead and one at the Bullitt Fireplace site. There is no water at Squak Mountain and fires are strictly forbidden.
201430 SE May Valley Rd, Issaquah, WA 98027, Phone: 425-455-7010
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10.Issaquah Valley Trolley
© Issaquah Valley Trolley
Issaquah station or Issaquah Depot is a disused railway station located in Issaquah, Washington built as a passenger station and freight warehouse in 1889 for the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway. Its use as the Issaquah station ended in the 1940s, and the building was abandoned in 1962. The City of Issaquah acquired the building in 1984, restored it and converted it into a museum, managed by the Issaquah Historical Museums non-profit organization. The Issaquah Station also operates the Issaquah Valley Trolley, which offers round-trip rides from the Museum to Gilman Boulevard. The #519 car travels 1.2 miles over the East Fork of Issaquah Creek to the end of the track at Gilman. The #519 is an electric vintage streetcar manufactured in 1925 by the J.G. Brill Company of Philadelphia. The Trolley can accommodate up to 24 passengers.
78 1st Ave NE, Issaquah, WA 98027, Phone: 425-392-3500
11.Montalcino Ristorante Italiano
© Montalcino Ristorante Italiano
Montalcino is an upscale traditional Italian restaurant in downtown Issaquah, Washington. Elegant and beautifully furnished with distinct European flair, Montalcino greets guests with white tablecloths and crystal chandeliers and delicious fragrance of fresh herbs from the kitchen. This family-owned restaurant imports many delicacies and wines from Italy, adding to the superb menu of delightful dishes from different parts of the country. All ingredients are of greatest quality, produce is often organic and all pasta is made fresh in-house. The restaurant requires reservations since it has seating system – each party reserves the table for two hours. Montalcino is a perfect spot for a romantic dinner or a special occasion.
15 NW Alder Pl, Issaquah, WA 98027, Phone: 425-270-3677
© Fins Bistro
Located next to the Village Theatre in downtown Issaquah, Washington, Fins Bistro is a delightful seafood restaurant with bright touches of color in dark blue tablecloths and green ceiling covering, cozy and lively, with world-class food. Most of the menu focuses on fresh fish and seafood, local and from all over the world, but there are also premier steaks in all their incarnations, great fresh pasta, fresh salads, soups and desserts. The bar makes great cocktails and has an extensive wine list. There is a lovely patio for warm summer nights. Fins Bistro is a perfect spot for pre-theatre meal or a few drinks.
301 Front St N, Issaquah, WA 98027, Phone: 425-392-0109
© Issaquah Café
Cozy, bright and lively, Issaquah Café in downtown Issaquah, Washington is the spot for breakfast lovers. You can have anything from their massive breakfast menu from 6 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon when they close. The café is part of a small regional chain and their café in Crystal Creek Café makes all their freshly baked cakes, rolls, pies and muffins. The gourmet coffee is roasted on Camano Island especially for the chain. The lunch menu has a large range of burgers and hot and cold sandwiches, prime rib roast, a fresh soup every day and more.
1580 NW Gilman Blvd #7, Issaquah, WA 98027, Phone: 425-391-9690
14.Flat Iron Grill Restaurant and Bar
© Flat Iron Grill Restaurant and Bar
Located in the Historic Gilman Village shopping center set in old mining and farming buildings, Flat Iron Grill is a spacious industrial-rustic eatery with bright red ceilings, warm colored walls, metal work from Gagnon Welding and beautiful black and white photographs by local artists. The food is made from scratch and the menu focuses on creative Northwest dishes with the occasional South American twist and the owner Sean Quinn’s non-traditional take on a steak and seafood. The bar offers a large collection of American Whiskies, local beers on tap and the wine list that allows guests to enjoy a great bottle with their meal without going broke. Flat Iron Grill’s large deck is a perfect spot for al fresco meal on a warm summer day.
317 NW Gilman Blvd #28, Issaquah, WA 98027, Phone: 425-657-0373
14 Best Things to Do in Issaquah, WA
- Village Theatre, Photo: lapandr/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Sammamish State Park, Photo: Bill Perry/stock.adobe.com
- Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, Photo: Bill Perry/stock.adobe.com
- Cougar Mountain Zoo, Photo: Andrew/stock.adobe.com
- Tiger Mountain, Photo: Brayden Sauve/stock.adobe.com
- Poo Poo Point, Photo: Friedberg/stock.adobe.com
- Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Photo: Melastmohican/stock.adobe.com
- Issaquah Depot Museum, Photo: Issaquah Depot Museum
- Squak Mountain State Park, Photo: Scott Bufkin/stock.adobe.com
- Issaquah Valley Trolley, Photo: Issaquah Valley Trolley
- Montalcino Ristorante Italiano, Photo: Montalcino Ristorante Italiano
- Fins Bistro, Photo: Fins Bistro
- Issaquah Cafe, Photo: Issaquah Café
- Flat Iron Grill Restaurant and Bar, Photo: Flat Iron Grill Restaurant and Bar
- Cover Photo: ryancslimakphoto/stock.adobe.com