Located on a hill on the east side of the downtown Seattle business district, Capitol Hill is a neighborhood of Seattle known best for its food, music, nightlife, and overall diversity. Referred to as “The Hill” by locals, the region has a long history in which it has been occupied by many different groups of people. Although its namesake suggests a capitol or government, there is no capitol building in the area—stories suggest that the area got its name from the original real estate developer, James Moore. Some think he named it as such because he had hopes of the state government moving over from Olympia. Others suggest he named it after his wife’s hometown neighborhood, also called Capitol Hill. Prior to its current name, it was known as Broadway Hill.
Today the residents of Capitol Hill are largely made up of a sort of counterculture, or those who don’t follow the mainstream, but also houses much of Seattle's LGBTQ community, as well as several wealthy neighborhoods such as “Millionaire's Row” along 14th Avenue. The area is home to many coffee shops and restaurants and has a very rich indie music scene. It is the neighborhood most commonly associated with the Grunge genre of music from the 90's, although now it is home to many different genres of music.
Capitol Hill has plenty to do and things to see for both permanent residents and visitors alike. From outdoor activities to eating, shopping, or entertainment, this corner of Seattle is rich in culture and often serves as a destination to visit for residents of surrounding areas.
If you are hungry, you will find many diverse and eclectic dining options within Capitol Hill. Popular restaurants include Cascina Spinasse (Italian), Omega Ouzeri (Mediterranean), or Stateside (Vietnamese-French). Many restaurants such as these focus on a central cuisine but combine it with other influences, creating flavors as diverse as the neighborhood itself. Cook Weaver, another popular restaurant, serves delicious Asian Fusion as well as modern European food and is revered for its appetizers and happy hour offerings. No matter what flavor combination you are looking for, chances are you can find it done well in Capitol Hill.
In addition to great food, and just like much of Seattle, Capitol Hill has a great selection of coffee shops. You can find Starbucks and other common Seattle chains, as well as smaller individually owned coffee shops on almost every corner. It even boasts Seattle’s first coffee shop, Café Allegro.
If you are looking more for sightseeing, Capitol Hill has many things to do and see. Volunteer Park, a 48-acre park inside the district, includes a water tower, observatory, several historical sculptures, and a wading pool. The water tower is a popular viewing spot where you can see downtown Seattle in its entirety. If you are at the park in the summer, you can usually find some kind of concert or festival going on. Other sights worth seeing are Harvard-Belmont Landmark District and the Seattle Asian Art Museum.
More than anything, Capitol Hill is known and loved for its entertainment. Music artists both big and small perform in this part of the city. Neumo’s is one of the most popular concert venues serving more professional, mainstream music artists. It boasts a very large seating area with 3 bars and a mezzanine level, and year-round shows. Rock Box is a smaller venue where guests can rent out karaoke rooms and be the performers themselves. If you are looking for drinks and nightlife once the show is over, places like Sun Liquor or Pony are popular options.
If you want to visit one of the most modern, hip areas of Seattle, Capitol Hill is it. Whether eating, shopping, or just having fun, you will find something to do in this special part of the city.
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