To get to Capitol Hill I had walk along Pine Street and cross I-5. (Having walked on busy highways with few trees on other occasions, I can attest to the fact that on sunny, hot days there’s nothing worse than spending time on a concrete slab). The moment I crossed the interstate, the trees came back and it suddenly felt like I was in a hipper and cooler part of town, with older buildings and funky bars and coffee shops.
Like any true bibliophile I planned my adventure to the area—and quite frankly part of my whole trip—around the City’s most famous bookstore, the Elliot Bay Book Company. The store use to be located in historic Pioneer Square, but moved in 2010. You wouldn’t know it when you walk into the Capitol Hill location—it looks and smells like it’s been there for years. I pursued for a few minutes and can say, hand down, it’s one of the best bookstores I’ve ever been in. Not just the wonderful smell—musty and booky—but has a great look, with books throughout the store lined with book recommendations and a cozy café tucked in the back. If I lived in Seattle, I’d be here all the time.
I spent some time walking through the residential streets. In many ways the neighborhood puzzled. I’d pass beautiful, refurbished, renovated, old houses, sitting next to two or three boarded up and abandoned ones. Or a single desolate, rundown home on the corner of a perfectly manicured block. There’s a clear sense of gentrification, with artist and hipsters strolling alongside old folks in full grunge. With picture perfect modern families playing in the park next to graffiti buildings. There’s the new light rail station and streetcar, making it easier to travel into other parts of the City.
The most magical part about Capitol Hill was the color everywhere. The crosswalks, the murals, the trash cans, the signs. Lots of color. It’s a changing neighborhood full of color.