With its breathtaking lakeside setting, spectacular sunsets, miles of trails, sweet micro ’hoods, terrific indie shops, fine dining, fabulous schools, plethora of parks and community passion for nature and the arts, Kirkland is easy to love. In summer, especially. When the sun is out, light dances on the water, the sky is bluer, the trees seem greener, and people are everywhere—biking, walking, boating, sipping, dining, shopping, playing, running, swimming. The energy is downright contagious.
Don’t miss: Shop and dine on Park Lane, a quaint, tree-lined street in the heart of downtown. Culturally inclined? Take in a Bollywood film at the rough-around-the-edges Totem Lake Cinema, an art class—with wine served, so you’re like a real artist—at Kirkland Arts Center, and the annual Small Works (11 by 14 inches or smaller) show at Howard/Mandville Gallery. Get your foodie fix by dining on rabbit at Holly Smith’s Cafe Juanita, sampling chef Brian Scheehser’s exceptional farm-to-table menu at Trellis, ordering wild boar tenderloin at the new Kirkland Volterra and a glass of wine and braised pork cheeks at Bin on the Lake. Commune with nature at Juanita Creek. The community’s beloved July 4 parade is a sure bet for family fun.
Go-to for out-of-town guests: Nothing beats an Argosy Kirkland Lake Tour, which provides glimpses of the exposed waterfront sides of fabulous estates (yes, even the Eastside’s most famous resident, Bill Gates).
Famous for: Charming consignment shops loaded with the cast-off cream of Eastside closets. Find gently used designer clothes—Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Kate Spade and Burberry—at Ragamoffyn’s, Absolutely Fabulous and Champagne Taste (425.828.4502).
Sheila Mickool is a Seattle mag contributing editor and has been a Kirkland resident since 2001