There’s nothing like spending a warm summer day in Madison Park (“the village”), with Lake Washington lapping at the shore, Mount Rainier standing tall in the distance and an endless parade of people strolling between the beach and the shops.
Start at the sweet longtime retreat known as the Madison Park Café (1807 42nd Ave. E; 206.324.2626; madisonparkcafe.ypguides.net), a French bistro housed in (what else?) a house. Stop in for a delicious brunch on the cobblestone patio. For lunch, an Hola burger at Bing’s (4200 E Madison St.; 206.323.8623; bingsbarandgrill.com) hits the spot, or try a refreshing insalata arugula at Sostanza Trattoria (1927 43rd Ave. E; 206.324.9701; sostanzaseattle.com). Recently remodeled Cactus (4220 E Madison St.; 206.324.4140; cactusrestaurants.com) makes tasty Mexican fare and margaritas—including prickly pear, mango, pineapple and strawberry—that go down smoothly.
Shop for Beach Toys
For beachy diversion, pop into Red Wagon Toys (4218-B E Madison St.; 206.453.5306; redwagonmadisonpark.com) for an OgoDisk set with two foam-rimmed mesh disks, which you and a partner use to volley the included ball back and forth. Feeling frisky? Replace the ball with a water balloon.
Residents often spot Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz hanging out at his neighborhood Tully’s. Kidding! He’s a regular at the Madison Park Starbucks, purportedly the best-run outlet in the city (no wonder).
You haven’t really had a Seattle brunch experience until you’ve consumed the amazing breakfast burrito on the sweet outdoor patio at The Hi Spot Café (1410 34th Ave.; 206.325.7905; hispotcafe.com). Or, wait, maybe try the green eggs ’n’ ham (made with pesto). Or, no, make that the Bengal Benedict (the classic dish made with curry sauce instead of hollandaise). In any case, you’ll be full and happy. If you overdo the former, walk it off on a lovely stroll through the neighborhood down to Madrona Park Beach (853 Lake Washington Blvd.), featuring actual sand! And a lifeguard! Or take a longer jaunt to Denny Blaine Park (200 Lake Washington Blvd. E), a more tattooed, yet more serene (read: significantly less populated by kids), grassy expanse on Lake Washington.
Originally Published In June 2010