Updated March 29, 2023

Beautiful, Dishy Edmonds

Itching to go somewhere cool and different, but don’t want to go too far? Welcome to Edmonds, a 30- to 40-minute drive away from the Seattle/Bellevue area.

A three-day summer staycation is as easy as hopping in your car, rail, or bus — and taking off.

First things first: book accommodations early. It is summer, after all, primo vacation time. There’s only one hotel in Edmonds — Best Western Plus Harbor Inn, a stroll away from the Waterfront — but quite an assortment up and down Hwy. 99 in Shoreline-Northgate to the immediate south and Lynnwood-Mukilteo-Everett up north.

Vacation rentals are the way to go for a customized experience, with an array of options for every price point. Check out Visit EdmondsStay section for options. Houses, condos, apartments, cottages, and studios await your call.

Next, snag a spot on a tour — full- or half-day — with Puget Sound Express for Sat. or Sun. Tricked-out boats depart the Port of Edmonds mornings and afternoons for the April-Sept. whale-watching season. Summers are made for whale- and bird-watching; you’ll get both with this family-owned, family-run company celebrating 37 years in the business.

Walkable Edmonds

Take off early Friday to check out the lay of the land and then, check in. Relax, you’ve got time. Luckily, Edmonds is a walkable town. Or, bikeable, if you will.

Start from one end of downtown (Barkada and Hero ACE Hardware & Grocery off 5th Ave. S.) to the other (Edmonds Historical Museum, 5th Ave. N., and Edmonds Center for the Arts, 6th Ave. N.), stopping at interesting, intersecting points along the way.

And, let art lead the way. It is what the town’s known for.

Washington state’s first Certified Creative District showcases art in every category, art you can see, feel, smell, and taste. Take a look around.

Artful Edmonds

Stroll and sip, munch, and marvel at the living galleries all around. Cole Gallery & Art Studio, Gallery North, Aria Studio Gallery, Christopher Framing & Gallery, MaJe Gallery, ARTspot, Driftwood Modern, and the new Graphite Arts Center, opening incrementally, all have their moment, hosting talented local artists, teaching classes, and participating in major art events.

The annual Edmonds Arts Festival — Father’s Day Weekend, Art Walk Edmonds (AWE) — third Thurs. of every month, and AWE’s only fundraiser, Summer Wine Walk (June 25, Aug. 6 this year), where you can sip fine wine and peruse fine art, connect award-winning, established artists with aspiring art students and art lovers.

Art hangs in unconventional spaces here, too. On walls of coffee houses, sandwich shops, and hair salons. Permanent and rotating public art installations: sculptures, spinners, one special runway…an historic water fountain, murals, flower poles…they call these alleys, back streets, and beachfronts home.

In artisan restaurants, where the food looks as beautiful as it tastes, and artisan boutiques, where everything is a treasure, curated and made with care.

Famished? Make reservations for dinner at Fire & The Feast. Try the Asparagus and Prosciutto Pizza (Fire) and PNW Cacio E Pepe (Feast). Plant-based specialties for vegetarians/vegans: Arugula Pesto, Spring Vegetables & Burrata, Hearth Roasted Carrots, Artichoke and Spring Onion Pizza.

Maybe something more casual. The Mar•ket Fishmonger & Eatery, perhaps, where global-fusion-inspired aspiration and execution make for an evocative, convenient, quietly dazzling trip around the world: Maine or Connecticut style Lobster Roll, British Fish & Chips, Singaporean Crab in a Bag, Vegan Curried Carrot Soup, Fish Tacos with a Thai twist.

Save room for dessert. Revelations Yogurt, Canarino Gelato, and Shore Pine Coffee & Gelato, are forever changing up outrageously addictive flavors: Affogato, Tiramisu, German Chocolate Cake, Mango Tango Sorbet.

Outdoorsy Edmonds

Get plenty of rest for the whale-watching tour the next morning. Bring your camera to capture all the memories. The marine experts on board will tell you all you need to know and more about the whales, fish, and birds sharing space on the great blue Salish Sea. Guaranteed whale sightings, or you can come back for another tour, gratis.

After the whale-watching tour, grab your beach gear, a picnic takeout from Shorepine Coffee in the newly renovated Edmonds Waterfront Center, and soak in the sun at Marina Beach Park just out front. Take Fido to the Edmonds Dog Park nearby for some off-leash fun.

Saturday also means Edmonds Museum Summer Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., May 6-Oct. 7, 2023, downtown (5th St. and Bell, Centennial Plaza).  Even better, leashed pets are now allowed.

What a great way to take advantage of all the summer harvest has to offer and get to know the fine people in this arts-rich community! Pick up strawberries and pastries to snack on, snack on a rainbow of food truck cuisines, and shop for artisan gifts your nearest and dearest will thank you for later.

Across the street, tucked in between a doggie daycare and the tennis courts is the historic Edmonds Marsh, bird and wildlife sanctuary, where you can meet Wesley, the resident (Anna’s) hummingbird. Stroll along the pathway and look up, you just might spot a soaring, circling red-tailed hawk, bald eagle, twittering bushtit, or a flock of gawking birders admiring them through binoculars.

Salish Crossing, Edmonds

You must end your Saturday at Salish Crossing, a town unto itself.

Award-winning pizza maker and mixologist, Niles Peacock, makes a mean N.Y. style pepperoni pie with a fiery cocktail to match, over at his Kitchen & Bar. He’s usually there, making friends and touching hearts. Say hi, and ask him about his recent win in the unconventional pizza category for his best-selling “My Hot Date,” at the March Pizza Expo in Vegas.

In more of an Asian mood? THAI by Day, baby, for Panang + Crispy Noodles, Chive Dumplings, Poptail, and Wun Gati Bai Tuey, Pandan, coconut milk jelly.

Contemporary Mexican got your tastebuds? Try Kahlo’s Cantina, a stand-alone on the other side of the parking lot. They have Tres Leches Cake! And Seafood Parillada! And Elote Con Crema Corn!

Fancy a fancy night on the town? Head on over to Epulo Bistro for exotic, European-influenced comfort food, with all the trimmings. Reservations — and the Boneless Braised Beef Short Rib — are highly recommended.

Get there early enough, and see some of the most poignant, powerful NW artists of the 20th century at Cascadia Art Museum, the only museum of its kind. The museum gift shop, open Wed.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m., is a best-kept secret for amazing finds, souvenirs that go above and beyond the spray-tanned t-shirt and palm-tree-lined postcard.

Scratch Distillery’s an unforgettable taste sensation. Drop in on Sundays, 2 p.m., for a tour and a sip, sip, sip ($25) of Kim Karrick’s award-winning selections. Summer weekends, 2 p.m.-6 p.m., were made for kicking back and enjoying the good life on Scratch’s deck. You’ll be blown away by the taste of real gin with real, organic ingredients. Check specials and hours on their social media, as they may change, season to season.

Brunch Edmonds

Sundays are for brunch, and Edmonds sure knows how to do it right.

Nearly every restaurant busts out the big guns when the weekend comes around.

The choice is yours.

Kelnero, Red Twig Café & Bakery, Salt & Iron, Calypso, Kahlo’s Cantina, Rusty Pelican Café, and Demetris WoodStone Taverna are some brunch spots worth waking up early for.

Neighboring Edmonds

Venture just a tad out of downtown and the Waterfront to nearby Edmonds neighborhoods for more breakfast/brunch ideas.

Bistro 76 in Perrinville makes a mean Maple Bacon Fritter, Biscuits & Gravy, Cuban Pork Hash, and of course, the classic Eggs Benedict. See if Conor O’Neill has any Country Sourdough and Cardamom Bun left across the street at his newly opened The Cottage Community Bakery, Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Edmonds’ International District offers a breakfast/lunch explosion if you’re not feeling the eggs and bacon. Go over to Hwy. 99 and explore to your heart’s content. A little of this, a little of that, try everything…dim sum, Korean fried chicken, sushi, Katsu Burger, bubble tea, ramen, udon, pho… How about 85°C Bakery Cafe’s Taiwanese treats at 99 Ranch Market? All you need is a Matcha Choco Bun, right?

Take plenty of pictures. Enjoy making memories. And come back soon.

It’s Edmonds, where there’s always more to explore.

More of Summer to Love

Beaches-and-Parks season brings a wealth of family-friendly, fun activities, events, and festivals specific to warm, lingering summer days and starlit nights. Here are just a few, special to Edmonds:

  • An Edmonds Kind of Fourth means a great, big parade (and one for the littles), as well as a quirky Beat Brackett 5k run, named in honor of the city's 1890 founder George Brackett. Registration is now open to participate in both. An Edmonds Chamber of Commerce holiday celebration.
  • Grab a blanket and your favorite people for Movie in the Park (check for the 2023 schedule soon). Free popcorn! Concession stand sales benefit programs offered by Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.
  • Whether you like folk rock, jazz, Celtic, or African music, Edmonds Arts Commission's free Summer Concert Series probably has it covered. Live performances throughout the week
  • Edmonds Chamber of Commerce fundraiser, Taste Edmonds, returns Aug.11 - 13 at the Frances Anderson Center, with delicious diversions, food trucks, vendors, a Cornhole tournament, live music and entertainment, kids' activities, and beer, wine, and cider.

Featured image: Walkable Main Street by Matt Hulbert
Additional images: Orca beach art, ferries, and a stunning whale sunset by Janine Harles; Lychee Ice Tea, THAI by Day; Chicken-Fried Chicken, Salt & Iron; proper British Fish & Chips, with minty peas, The Mar•ket; Hawaiian Chicken roll, 85°C.