A Walking Tour of Seattle’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood

Seattle Volunteer Park Sign
Seattle Volunteer Park Sign | © Cindy Shebley / Flickr
Samantha Ladwig

The Capitol Hill neighborhood, with its roaring nightlife and dense, vibrant culture, is one of Seattle’s most prominent areas.

Capitol Hill is home to the literary institution the Hugo House and the indie film center Northwest Film Forum, as well as Seattle’s alternative magazine The Stranger. Locals and tourists flock to its many coffeehouses, green spaces, and, of course, its beloved Elliott Bay Book Company. See all that the Capitol Hill neighborhood has to offer with our walking guide below.

1. Volunteer Park


© Bill Roberts / Flickr
Start the day by taking a walk through one of Seattle’s most beloved parks, Volunteer Park, which sits in the center of the neighborhood and covers 48 acres. It’s home to the Art Deco-designed Seattle Asian Art Museum—free admission on the first Thursday of every month—as well as the botanical garden conservatory. On the north end of the park sits the water tower with an observation deck. Visitors can take the stairs up to the top to enjoy scenic views of the Space Needle and Lake Washington.

Visitors can then meander through the Lake View Cemetery on the northeast edge of the park. People from all over come to visit the cemetery where martial artist Bruce Lee and his son, actor Brandon Lee, are buried. Indeed, so many visitors show up that the cemetery had to plant shrubs around their graves so that people wouldn’t trample the surrounding headstones.

2. Harvard-Belmont Landmark District


© vl04 / Flickr

Located on the west slope of Capitol Hill is the Harvard-Belmont Landmark District, an area packed with Seattle’s most historic structures. The district housed Seattle’s leading financiers, entrepreneurs, and industrialists, including railroad builder H.C. Henry. Visitors of the district will enjoy the array of architectural designs such as the colonial, Tudor, and Victorian-style mansions. Primarily built in the first decade of the 20th century, the area was officially registered as a preservation site in 1980.

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