Things to Do in Kirkland, WA

In an effort to share more about the wonderful state and area I live in, I thought it was about time to share another part of the city that I love; Seattle’s Eastside, and specifically the city of Kirkland. Last fall I was able to take a mini tour of the city of Kirkland with one of the local tourism board members. While I am local to the area, I’m not a Kirkland native nor resident, so it was great getting the local scoop!

Photos by Chelsea Macor Photography

Depending on traffic, Kirkland can be a breezy 30 minute or less drive, and at the worst, well… let’s just pretend it’s always easy breezy. A waterfront community, Kirkland has a charming downtown core and great access to stunning views. Walk along the water, take in the city shops, or dine at some of their tasty restaurants. In today’s post, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite places to visit the next time you find yourself in or around Kirkland!

While the photos in this post are sunny and bright, it was actually a drizzly, grey day when I set off to Kirkland. Kirkland has an absolutely incredible waterfront which makes it a popular spot pretty much as soon as the weather even hints at sun.

Growing up in another northern Seattle suburb, Kirkland was one I frequented in my teens. They used to have the Kirkland Teen Center in downtown Kirkland, which I could usually talk my mom into dropping off myself and a friend so we could go see concerts from post-punk and emo bands. Those were the days, and honestly, my mom was a saint for doing that for me and my friends.

Over the years as the tech scene has boomed in both Seattle and Seattle’s Eastside, Kirkland’s landscape has changed significantly. Almost every time I venture into the downtown area, I’m greeted with a new building or storefront I’ve never seen before. The teen center no longer exists and much of the original downtown has been changed in favor of high rise apartments and mixed-use office and retail buildings.

So what’s there to do in Kirkland?

Quite a lot, actually! From eating, drinking, and exploring, Kirkland has something for everyone. I haven’t been to every place in this post quite yet, but I’ve sourced recommendations from locals as well as fellow bloggers and friends who I trust.

My first stop whenever visiting a new neighborhood is always for coffee. We stopped in at Cafe Rococo during our tour of the city, and the cappuccino did not disappoint! For my fellow coffee lovers, here are some other great spots!

Best Spots for Coffee in Kirkland

  • Cafe Rococo – A bustling cafe located right in Kirkland’s downtown core on Park Lane. The cappucinos are excellent and they offer a wide variety of baked goods and sandwiches if you have appetite. Located conveniently next to shops, so grab a cup to go and explore on foot!
  • Zoka Coffee Roasters – A chain you’ll be familiar with if you’re a fellow Seattliete, stop in for a cup of coffee in Kirkland, too. Located right on Central Way in downtown Kirkland, you’ll be able to grab a cup in and people watch, or take it to go and explore the rest of what Kirkalnd has to offer.
  • Aura – For a bakery and coffee combination, visit Aura! It’s a family-owned bakery and I hear they make a mean cappucino and have killer baked goodies.
  • French Bakery – Another bakery and coffee spot! For french baked goodies, the French Bakery is a great choice. Beyond baked goods, they also offer crepes, sandwiches, salads and of course, plentiful coffee options.

If I’m being honest, my favorite meal is brunch. While I know I can easily make breakfast foods at home, I honestly prefer dining out. I’m the girl more likely to break the yolk in the pan than over my perfectly toasted bread myself, so having someone else cook them is a much better idea. In turn, it means that I spend a lot of time trying out new brunch spots. Turns out, Kirkland has some amazing offerings!

Best Spots to Brunch in Kirkland

  • George’s – Late riser on the weekends? George’s has you covered. They serve breakfast and brunch all day.
  • DERU Market – I’ve only seen DERU all over Instagram, but it’s top of my list next time I’m in Kirkland. They have incredible looking cake slices and locally sourced fare.
  • Hector’s – Stop by Hector’s for breakfast or brunch on the patio on a nice day.
  • Anthony’s – Anthony’s is a local and visitor favorite for the incredible location (always on the waterfront) and views. The locals say to go for Sunday Brunch!

Whether you’re visiting Kirkland for a day, weekend, or longer, you’re going to need to eat! Kirkland offers cuisine to suit any craving, from New American fare to Thai street food, Mexican, or Greek.

Best Spots for a Bite to Eat in Kirkland

  • Santorini Greek Grill – Quick and easy place to grab a gyro or falafel.
  • Homegrown – Craving something fresh, quick, and easy? Homegrown is a local sandwich chain that always has something yummy. I like trying the seasonal specials the most!
  • Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen – Love Thai food? Try a unique experience at Isarn! This is Thai street food where all plates are very unique and shareable.
  • Casa Ricardo’s – Cozy Mexican cuisine in a family-friendly setting. Get a margarita for me!
  • Acropolis – Greek-style pizza, pasta, and grinders in a diner-like setting.
  • Trellis – Looking for a unique experience? Try the afternoon tea at Trellis! They also have an excellent happy hour offering.

While Kirkland has a variety of eating spots, sometimes you just want a cozy dinner for two. Or an intimate gathering for a small group of friends. Either way, these romantic and splurge-worthy spots aren’t to be missed!

Date Night Spots in Kirkland

  • Cafe Juanita ($50+) – Craving an unforgettable meal? You’ll definitely get this at Cafe Juanita! Unique, local cuisine with a twist. This was the first place I tried rabbit, and I love their experimental yet cozy entrees. Order off the menu or opt for the tasting menu for the full experience.
  • Ristorante Paradisio ($11-30) – Classic Italian fare in a rustic feeling spot in downtown Kirkland.
  • Volterra ($11-30) – Cozy Italian fare in a modern, upscale spot in downtown Kirkland. The homemade ravioli with a spicy tomato sauce and desserts were standouts!

Finished up dinner but still looking for a little fun? Or are you looking for the perfect spot to grab happy hour with a friend? Either way, these watering holes in Kirkland will have you covered!

Where to go for a Nightcap (or Happy Hour) in Kirkland

  • Cactus – A local chain serving Southwestern style food, Cactus is a favorite! I love their sangria and shrimp tacos, but nearly everything on the menu is delicious! Their happy hour prices knock a couple of bucks off of each drink.
  • Bottle and Bull – Grab a craft cocktail and don’t hesitate to get dinner, too!
  • Flatstick Pub – Enjoy indoor mini golf with your group while enjoying a great selection of local beers. Pub food options available, too!
  • Grape Choice – More of a wine type of gal or guy? Stop by Grape Choice to indulge your wine needs – they are both a wine shop and a wine bar!

Anyone else with a gigantic sweet tooth? I know I’m not alone because the amount of sweet spots in Kirkland isn’t small. These are some of my top picks!

Best Spots for a Sweet Treat in Kirkland

  • Lady Yum – Macarons and champagne? Yes, please! You must stop and try one of their macs. My favorites are the espresso fudge and the coconut, and their seasonal selections. You really can’t go wrong though!
  • Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade – Love sipping your sweet treat? Stop into Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade for one of their delicious drink options!
  • DERU Market – Giant slices of cake? I’ll take one of each. DERU has the yummiest looking sweet treats, plus coffee and other local fare.
  • Rocket and Fizz – Candy shop that offers all sorts of sweet treats, from uniquely flavored sodas to old-time candy to fresh saltwater taffy.

It wouldn’t be a city guide without a little shopping! I always like to find at least one or two cute clothing shops to recommend, and Kirkland has several other unique options for home decor and gifts, too!

Where to go Shopping in Kirkland

  • Sur La Table – Looking for a unique shopping experience? You can find everything you need for your kitchen and home at Sur La Table. And, don’t miss out on their cooking classes!
  • The Birdcage – Stop in for unique, eclectic furniture, mid-century finds, one of a kind artwork!
  • Purpose Boutique – Local chain of stores that offers girlfriend styling parties, trendy clothing and accessories, and a fun environment. A percentage of every sale goes to fight human trafficking through a foundation called Rescue Freedom. They also carry 25 brands that also give back!
  • Seduce – Heading to the big game? Stop into Seduce for fashionable sports gear for women as well as trendy seasonal pieces!
  • Simplicity Decor – Looking for a unique gift? Simplicity Decor offers a wide selection of home decorations and gifts.
  • Ragamoffyns – Get your designer fix at Ragamoffyns! They carry high end and luxury consignment fashion, accessories, and shoes.
  • Absolutely Fabulous – Stop into Absolutely Fabulous for an eclectic mix of unique finds and high-end brands at consignment prices.

For those visiting from out of town, you can most definitely find a spot to stay in Kirkland! In smaller cities, I always like to peruse AirBNB for unique options off the beaten path. Kirkland also has some beautiful hotels, which I’ve also included below.

Where to Stay in Kirkland

  • AirBNB
  • VRBO
  • Heathman Hotel – Located in downtown Kirkland, just steps away from almost all of these recommendations. If you love walking and taking in a city on foot, this would be the place to stay.
  • Woodmark Hotel – A beautiful hotel located right on the waterfront. Take in the beautiful views, treat yourself to the spa, dine in at the two hotel restrautns, and get in some real R&R.

And of course, Kirkland has a few spots worth visiting that don’t fit into any of these categories. Here are a few more recommendations!

Other spots worth checking out:

  • For health nuts, try Green E Juice.
  • Take your pup to Booboo Barkery and Boutique.
  • For tea lovers, be sure to stop into Lizzie Kate Tea.
  • Need a blowout, cut, or style? Visit Winslow Salon.
  • Ready to get your sweat on? Take a class at Barre3 or Baseline.
  • Love yoga? Ready to treat yourself? Visit Spa Eir for a taste of both!

If you’re a Seattle local like me, then I hope you’ve found a new place to pop into next time you’re in Kirkland. And if you’re just visiting for a few days, welcome! I hope you enjoy Kirkland and this guide proves helpful. And if I missed something new and exciting in Kirkland, please let me know about it in the comments!

Have you visited Kirkland? What are your favorite spots? I‘d love to hear about it in the comments!

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