secret seattle

Seattle Wholesale Grower's Market

Seattle Wholesale Grower's Market

Ah flowers...is there anything more cheerful and wonderful than flowers? They are the best for sprucing up your room and attitude. We all know that Pike Place Market has the most beautiful and affordable flower bouquets around. However, there is also a lesser known, secret spot in South Seattle where you can get your flower fix in case you want to avoid downtown. If you head to the Georgetown neighborhood, in a brick warehouse that you enter through a loading dock, you'll find the very special Seattle Wholesale Grower's Market

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The Grower's market is a co-op of flower farmers that run this member-owned market year round. The growers come from all over the PNW (Washington, Oregon, and even Alaska!) to sell seasonal, beautiful flowers along with plants and foliage. The types of flowers the market caries ranges depending on the month and season. For late September/early October, we found amazing dahlias, bright yellow sunflowers, and a range of pumpkins (not your standard pumpkins either but pumpkins in all shapes, sizes, and colors). There was also a temperature controlled room filled with tiny cactus, air plants, orchids, succulents and, our favorite, lavender. Check the website to see what flowers are showing up at the market during the month you want to visit. 

Seattle Wholesale Grower's Market

The market is actually geared toward professional floral buyers and, in fact, you can't even get in most of the time unless you have a buyer's pass. However! Every Friday for 2 hours (10am - noon), it's open to the public and you can shop and buy all the flowers you want. We give you full permission to skip work and head down there. Let us know if you need us to write your boss a note. 

Looking for other things to do in the Georgetown neighborhood while you're down there? Check out our neighborhood guide

Seattle Wholesale Grower's Market
Dahlias!

Dahlias!

Seattle Wholesale Grower's Market
Seattle Wholesale Grower's Market
Seattle Wholesale Grower's Market

10 Hidden Gems in the Green Lake Neighborhood

We had the pleasure of connecting with Sarah Lemmon who runs the Seattle Greenlaker, a great blog that shares all the neighborhood news of Green Lake. Since she is so familiar with the area, we asked her if she would write a follow-up to our Green Lake Neighborhood Guide, and she agreed! Keep reading to discover 10 hidden gems in Greenlake! 

Meet Sarah from the Seattle Greenlaker! 

Meet Sarah from the Seattle Greenlaker! 

For being one of the most popular parks in Seattle, Green Lake and its neighborhood still has several hidden gems that might surprise you. Hi, I’m Sarah from Seattle Greenlaker, and I’m excited to show you some of my favorite things about Green Lake, a place I call home and frequently blog about.

Earlier this summer you probably read the Rain or Shine Guide to Green Lake, which showcases some of the best things to do, eat, and experience around Green Lake. Here’s 10 Green Lake gems you might not know about:

You can do yoga in the middle of Green Lake

Yoga on the lake! Photo courtesy of SUP Yoga Seattle.

Yoga on the lake! Photo courtesy of SUP Yoga Seattle.

Throughout the summer months, SUP Yoga Seattle takes a small group of yogis of various levels and skills out onto the lake with only a paddle board, a tiny anchor, and their own courage. Often the yoga practice takes place on the north side of the lake and after dropping anchor (no seriously, tiny anchors hold the boards in place) the instructor talks you through your yoga practice. Yes, people do fall in occasionally. Yes, your board wobbles. But standing on a board in the middle of the lake gives your mind and body a renewed sense of concentrating just on your practice. Classes often start in May and finish for the season the end of September. Sign up for the classes online and meet at the Green Lake Boat House. 

Seattle’s only honky tonk bar is in Green Lake

Across the street from Green Lake Village, home to PCC Natural markets and some of the newest development in Green Lake is Little Red Hen, Seattle’s live country music honky tonk bar.

Free country dance lessons, courtesy of Mary Ann, occur three nights a week (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday at 8 p.m. if you are interested). Check their calendar for a complete line up of live country music, karaoke, and more.

Green Lake

Internationally renowned table tennis champions play here, and you can too

Green Lake breeds champions of this sport (And it truly is a sport, by the way). Green Lake has sent players across the world to compete in the International championship games. Several times a week, the Green Lake Community Center gym is transformed into a 16 table arena of the “pings and pongs" of back and forth play. Home to Green Lake Table Tennis Club but welcome to newbies, participants drive from all over the state - yes as far as Port Orchard.

Insider tip: Don’t call it ping pong. Just trust us, they don’t like that. But go check this club out. You will have an immediate respect for the sport of table tennis.

Take a pottery class at the Green Lake Community Center

Green Lake Community Center offers pottery classes for all ages from parent and tot classes, teens or adult pottery wheel throwing and more. Classes change seasonally and range in price. For more information, go to the Green Lake Community Center’s website and search for their seasonal brochure of classes.

Find Green Lake’s hidden dog park

Woodland Park Off Leash. Photo by Scott Frostad

Woodland Park Off Leash. Photo by Scott Frostad

It’s likely no surprise that Green Lake is super dog-friendly. But did you know there is also an off leash dog park across the street from Green lake Park? The Woodland Park Off Leash area is a great place for running around with your dog. The one acre park has trails and is tucked between the Lower Woodland Tennis Courts and picnic shelters.

Check out the cutest dogs in Seattle as they parade around Green Lake every Halloween

Corgi Hawloween! Photo by Mike Lemmon

Corgi Hawloween! Photo by Mike Lemmon

While we are talking about dogs, there is one dog event you can’t miss, the annual Corgi Howloween. Every year the corgis march around Green Lake adorned in costumes from ninjas to hot dogs. You can hear the pitter pat (or shuffle shuffle) of the short legged canines as they use their little legs to march around the 2.8 miles of Green Lake path.

Insider tip: the best time to see the dogs is right before they take off for the march at the Green lake Small Craft Center amphitheater/bleachers. The owners often line them up and then they take off around the lake. But they are corgis not Greyhounds, so you can easily snap photos or ogle over their cuteness as they trot on by.

Catch Green Lake all aglow - but only three times a year

Because Green Lake Park Trail is not illuminated at night the crowds tend to dissipate at night. That is, except for three nights a year when honestly, you should be part of those crowds! So mark your calendar now for these special events: Pathway of Lights in December, Hiroshima to Hope in August, and Luminata in September.

Green Lake Pathway of Lights

Green Lake Pathway of Lights

Green Lake Pathway of Lights is one of my favorite times of year. Hundreds of luminaries are placed around the 2.8 mile Green Lake path along with carolers, apple cider, and hot cocoa stations and festive cheer. It’s also part of a huge canned food drive that every year receives loads of food for the homeless.

Lanterns on the lake at Hiroshima to Hope. Photo by Martha Brice.

Lanterns on the lake at Hiroshima to Hope. Photo by Martha Brice.

Hiroshima to Hope honors victims from Hiroshima and nuclear attacks. During the night among music and talks, nearly 2,000 paper lanterns are decorated and one by one lit and set into Green Lake to cast an honorary and mesmerizing glow. An incredibly powerful event that takes place August 6 every year.

Luminata celebrates the last day of summer and coming fall and is always celebrated on the September solstice. The first time we heard this event we had just moved to our house and heard a crazy, but joyous, cacophony of tubas and a mix of instruments coming from the park. We ran over to discover that it was also accompanied by lights and elaborate costumes. The Fremont Arts Council runs this every year.

Eat at Green Lake’s hidden taco truck

This may fall under the category of “you just have to trust us.” There’s a taco truck in Green Lake that has a cult following, but its in a hidden location. If you blink, you will miss it. It’s parked on the north side of the lake off of Aurora on the far end of the Shell station parking lot. Maybe not a huge selling point but El Naranjo has cheap and wonderful tacos, burritos, tortas, and my favorite the sopitos (an open faced taco made with asoft sopito corn shell with meat, cheese, lettuce and avocado inside). You can dine at one of the picnic tables, or do what we do and take it to the park or the wading pool in the summer months. 

Green Lake

Green Lake Loves Gyros (But Here’s The Best One)

You will find there are at least a dozen gyro places in a 2 mile radius around Green Lake. What gives, what's the best one? Our favorite has been in Green Lake since 2010. Mykonos Greek Grill has the tastiest and messiest gyros in town. And if you are extra hungry order their lemon soup. Their phone number is permanently in our phone for takeout orders. (Tell Siri to add their number immediately to your contacts (206) 523-8929).

Find the best dessert at JoDee’s Desserts 

One of the tastiest dessert spots in Green Lake caters to just about any diet. That’s right, JoDee’s Desserts can accommodate vegan, diabetic, gluten free, dairy free - you name it. My cheesecake hating husband says the chocolate cheesecake is one of the tastiest desserts he’d had in a long time - bonus points that you’d never know it’s vegan.

Thanks for letting me share my tips with you. To keep up to date on all things Green Lake be sure to check out Seattle Greenlaker.

Best Kept Secrets of Pike Place Market: Part Two

Honestly, it seems like Pike Place Market is a giant onion and we could explore our whole lives and never peel back all the layers! This 9-acre playground is full of secrets. We covered some of our favorite ones in Pike Place Market's lower levels a couple months ago. We had such a good response from that post we decided to share some more fun secrets of the market here!  

Lantern men

Pike Place Market Lantern Men
Pike Place Market Lantern  Men

Hanging upside down, sideways, and walking out of a door to nowhere these guys are easy to miss, but fun to find. First, make your way to the back side of the market (Western Avenue). When you get to the small courtyard by Choukette Eclairs take the stairs up into the belly of the market and try to find all the men holding lanterns.

Hint: There are six! 

Morning roll call

Roll call at the market.  Photo source

Roll call at the market. Photo source

Morning roll call is a tradition and a way of life at Pike Place Market. Every morning at 9:00 AM the daystall vendors and the Market Master gather at the north end of the North Arcade to have roll call. This determines which vendor will get what booth in the market. It is based on seniority, so how long you have been selling at Pike Place Market gets you higher on the list to pick your spot. Anyone can watch this and if you are interested in seeing how the market comes to life every morning this is a good place to start. After roll call is complete the vendors all disperse to set up their stalls and start selling. 

Urban Garden

Pike Place Market Urban Garden
Pike Place Market Urban Garden

In the middle of all the hustle and bustle and throwing of fish, there is a peaceful garden with views of Puget Sound and seating to relax from the crowds. Make sure to explore the different art and produce that is scattered around the rooftop garden and don't forget to write your name and where you are visiting from on one of the chalkboard surfaces! This garden is cared for by the Pike Place Market Senior Center and all the produce is donated to the Pike Place Market Food Bank to help feed people in need. The garden boasts 18 types of vegetables and enough harvest to feed hundreds of people per year. 

Window seating in Main Arcade

Window seating in main Arcade
Window Seating in the Main Arcade

There are many places to grab food to-go in Pike Place Market, but if you don't have an office or home to take it back to, seating can feel limited. Luckily there is a bar-type seating area at the end of the hallway to the right of Pike Place Fish (if you are facing it) in the Main Arcade. This little area is a spot you can usually find a seat to eat. Best part? It comes with a view!

Insider Tip: Read some of the writings scrawled across the window sills. You might find some inspiration for the day! 

Hidden artwork

Artsy benches are all over Pike Place Market

Artsy benches are all over Pike Place Market

Eat lunch with a giant Sasquatch

Eat lunch with a giant Sasquatch

Self-watering storm drain

Self-watering storm drain

There is fun artwork scattered all over the market. We have several favorites.

  • Sasquatch - Located in the Atrium on the first floor, this carved sasquatch is a perfect photo opp! He looks so sad to be out in the open, seen by all! 
  • Two faced bench - This green bench located in the lower levels courtyard is a fun and functional piece of art! Take a seat and enjoy the buskers that gather nearby.
  • Self-watering planter - This storm drain turned planter is such a quirky little addition to the side of the apartments that sit at Virginia St. and Post Alley.
  • Giant squid - There is a 200 pound metal sculpture of a giant squid hanging from the ceiling in the Market Atrium. We don't need to explain why we love this one, everyone does! 

Bird sanctuary

Bird Sanctuary
Pike Place Market Bird Sancutary

Another great place to eat is a small alcove beneath Post Alley and behind the Soames Dunn Building (take the hallway two doors north of the original Starbucks all the way back). It boasts a bird sanctuary, but to be honest we aren't sure how many birds reside here besides the little owl someone has hung for decoration and maybe to keep pests away. Regardless, it's a nice hidden spot to enjoy some food or take a break away from the crowds. 

Insider tip: Country Dough makes delicious Szechuan flatbreads and is right by this sanctuary.

Original hitching post

Pike Place Market hitching post

Outside of Rachel's Ginger Beer you can find an old, wooden post. Most people walk right by it and never notice it, including us for many years. Once you know the significance though it is definitely worth a walk by to admire it as a piece of Pike Place history. This old, wooden post is one of many posts where farmers and customers used to hitch their horses when they came to the market, hence the name of the alley it is located in: Post Alley.


What are you favorite secret spots in the market? 

4 Secret (and Cheap) Food Spots in Seattle

There is a time and place for the uber-nice, fancy food spots in Seattle. We definitely have our favorites (as seen here), but what really gets us excited is when we hear from a friend of a friend’s cousin that the best $2 tacos are being sold discreetly in the back of a bar or there is a spicy banh mi for $1.50 from a dive-y street cart. These are the real heroes in our eyes! Check out these four secret and cheap spots we have learned about in the last year. They are all worth checking out and all are dirt cheap and delicious.

Cafetal Quilombo Café

Cafetal Quilombo Cafe

You probably would never guess that this brightly colored coffee shop in Beacon Hill would also be home to some of the best tamales in the city, but that’s what makes it so great! The owners are from Mexico, which means they know what they are doing and there are 7 different choices at only $2.50 a pop. In our opinion, tamales can sometimes be dry, but not these. They are soft and warm, flavorful and filling. Our favorite was the pork with red salsa, but the chicken was delicious too. Don’t forget to get a Cafe de Olla (Mexican spiced coffee). This is Seattle after all.

Pork and chicken tamales at Cafetal Quilombo

Pork and chicken tamales at Cafetal Quilombo

Tamale list

Tamale list

Cafetal Quilombo Cafe
Stop and Shop Deli

This convenience store on 45th Street in the Wallingford neighborhood will sell you a 5-hour Energy and make you a fresh and colorful poke bowl. While there is excellent poke in this city, we like the Stop N Shop because the portions are large, the fish is extremely fresh, and the soy sauce is house made. In addition to the rice and fish, the bowls are loaded with other toppings including lettuce, edamame, seaweed, crab salad, ginger, sesame seeds, and some other delicious stuff we are probably forgetting.

stop and shop poke
Order your poke by the 5-hour Energy

Order your poke by the 5-hour Energy

Lyon's Grocery

Lyon’s, located on Dexter Avenue, is the neighborhood grocery store of your dreams. Not only can you get your fix of Pop-Tarts, cereal, and ice cream, but you can grab a warm deli sandwich for lunch or dinner too. Lyon’s has an extensive list of sandwiches that includes both standard and unique flavors. We love the Caribbean Roast Pork and the I Love NY, but we also had our eyes set on The Bird, which sounds like Thanksgiving dinner (think turkey and cranberry sauce). 

Inside Lyon's

Inside Lyon's

Carribean Pork sandwich

Carribean Pork sandwich

I Love NY

I Love NY

Quick Pack Food Mart

Fried chicken from a convenience store might scare some people, but we’ve never been choosy. It’s a good thing too, because the fried chicken you can purchase from the Quick Pack is the perfect consistency of tender and crunchy. How do they get it so right? It's cheap, fast, and tastes as good as it smells. Ask for their hot sauce if you like a little heat to your bird-- it's a great addition. And while the Quick Pack is small, you can still grab a drink and something sweet as you check out to round out your fried-chicken-in-a-convenience-store experience.

Fried chicken
Quick Pack Fried Chicken

Got a secret and cheap food spot we need to know about? Please share! We promise not to tell a soul…