Combining big city diversity and small town vibes, Downtown Edmonds shines.

There’s no need to book a flight or take a lengthy drive to where all the action is.

The action’s right here in "The Bowl of Edmonds."

Million-dollar views of Puget Sound, access to so many diverse, stellar restaurants and cafes, galleries and landmark museums, boutiques, and beauty salons…. The only challenge is knowing where to start.

But first, coffee...

Get up early to take first crack at the plethora of coffee shop cafes and bakeries to start your day. Most of them open between 6:30 a.m. and 9, 10 a.m. With Edmonds entering Phase 3 of COVID-19 protocols, most are open for indoor dining at 50 percent capacity.

A community hub since opening in 2004, Red Twig Bakery and Café serves scratch-baked goodies, on-premises, micro-roasted, proprietary coffee blends, and “hearty, healthy, and flavorful [website]” breakfast, weekend brunch, and lunch that you usually only find in major metro cities like Seattle, Portland, L.A., and Manhattan.

Red Twig’s seasonally-inspired, locally-sourced menu features so many tempting, tantalizing dishes. Settling on just one is impossible: poached egg breakfast crepes, falafel gyro, vegan miso noodles, warm, gluten-free ginger, honey, and orange cake with mascarpone, ranchero burrito bowl, bagel & lox, dad’s buttermilk pancakes, Challah French toast… Come back. A lot. Try everything.

The cozy bakery café at 117 5th Ave. S. is set up like a Starbucks. Order at the counter, find a spot inside or out on the patio deck, and enjoy.

If you’re in the mood for quiet, serene sophistication, go across the street to family-owned and -operated Café Louvre at 210 5th Ave. S., get an iced chai latte to go with your prosciutto sandwich or veggie wrap, and be indulged restaurant-style, surrounded by deep, dark woods and leathers, and European elegance. 

Opened in 2013, the 60-seat Café Louvre also serves Umbria Coffee and Macrina Bakery pastries, as well as displays rotating art.

Adventurous, arty types pick up their heart-foamed lattes and locally-sourced bites at Edmonds’ unofficial hipster hang, Walnut Street Coffee on 410 Walnut St. Pam and Steve Stuller made their dream coffee shop happen in 2006, investing their heart and soul in the kind of friendly, “inviting, interesting space [website],” where everyone feels right at home. Follow your nose to the converted, open-faced black-and-lime-green garage for some freshly-brewed Espresso Vivace and the popular cardamom buns from Conor O’Neill’s The Cottage, Community Bakery up in Perrinville, bask outside, and feel a part of this wacky, wonderful world gone by, like in that Beatles’ “Penny Lane” song.

Retail therapy, Edmonds style

After fueling up, check out the boutiques, galleries, and other shops lining downtown Edmonds’ Main Street and blocks beyond, spread out in a whirligig. A place for everything…

Here are just a few to get you going:

  • MaJe Gallery loves on women and comfy, funky women’s fashions, with flattering clothing made in the U.S.A. Tunics and tops, sherbet-colored shawls, dresses, scarves and shreds (scarf/necklace), shades, hand-faceted gem jewelry, and sun catchers. Open every day except Mon.-Wed. (409 Main St.)
  • Anchor Chic Consignment, open Mon.-Sat., offers a diversity of well-curated clothing options so amazing you’ll need to make several purchases and several trips. Spring in wrap-around, loose-fitting summery pants, a floral, dressy Kate Spade find, black and white leather boots with matching mini-backpack….sporty and cool. (529 Dayton St.)
  • Pear Tree Consignment Edmonds, open Tues.-Sun., is another consignment shop filled with hidden treasures you’ll want to take home for yourself and your loved ones. The stuff is just really cool, and different, yet ready-made for just about everyone, not just the fashionistas in your life. Chunky, strappy Dansko Shoes will remind you of Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.” Yellow rain slick — b/w polka-dotted on the inside — with Sperry Topsider leather boots, and a smart white Coach tote bag. Cute, Anthropologie Maeve dress that turns brown into a work of art for just $36. (315 5th Ave. S., Suite D)
  • Garden Gear & Gallery (102 5th Ave. N.), HouseWares (318 Main St.), The Wooden Spoon (104 5th Ave. S.), and Driftwood Modern (403 1/2 Main St.) each bring something new, different, practical, and whimsical to the home front to back. Little birdies in little rain gear, just because…porcelain dolls and vases straight out of a Ming Dynasty fantasy, sickles, hoes, and rakes, Guzzini acrylic salad bowls, Nora Fleming mini-pottery-trays adorned with a hot dog or flower, historic mid-century art, and oh! that leather-bound chair perfect for reading on rainy days… It’s all here.
  • Glazed & Amazed LLC is open every day for outdoor, and now, indoor activities. Got kids, or just artistically-inclined? Take a class, learn to make your own pottery and glass-fused creations, paint on canvas. Bring an empty, clean wine bottle, and make a neat snack tray out of it. The experts there will show you how. (514 Main St.)
  • Gallery North and its featured local artists will make you an art collector in no time. The second you cast your eyes on Leah Rene Welch’s “The Dude” and “White Vase,” fanciful and fragrant, it’ll be love at first sight. (401 Main St.)

Bon appétit!

Wrap up your eventful downtown Edmonds visit with a nice meal. You have options. Lots and lots of options, from fine sushi omakase at SanKai (111 4th Ave. N.) by master Ryuichi Nakano of Kisaku Green Lake fame all the way to casual dining at Venus Forteza and Anthony Kjeldsen’s farm-to-table, Latin-Caribbean taproom Maize & Barley (525 Main St.).

Current food & drink specials you have to try:

  • The MAR•KET’s garlicky Parmesan crispy fries (508 Main St., Ste. 3148)
  • Fire & The Feast's pizza primavera and spring pea salad (526 Main St.)
  • Salt & Iron’s shrimp toast — poached prawns, the softest soft-boiled egg, tomato and avocado on grilled Como bread, draped in Louie dressing (321 Main St.)
  • Barkada's pork belly chicharon, by popular demand (622 5th Ave. S.)
  • Chanterelle’s coconut prawns with pineapple mango chutney, prime rib bowl, and a stiff Black Manhattan (316 Main St.)
  • Maize & Barley's curried lamb stew
  • SanKai Sushi's "Great Pacific Northwest Roll," an excuse to splurge on the freshest albacore, salmon, and crab, with a gentle spice hit of jalapeño
  • Kelnero Bar’s Botanist gin & tonic cocktail to benefit independent restaurants and bars struggling financially since COVID-19 hit — good now through Memorial Day May (545 Main St.)
  • Leftcraft’s recently expanded menu includes kim chi grilled cheese, pulled pork sandwich, bacon and blue burger, and a full taplist of 26 local craft beers on rotation (519 Main St.)
  • Salish Sea Brewing’s award-winning clam chowder and…“Twist My Arm Dry Hopped” American blonde ale, with Canadian honey malt “to give a malty sweet backbone to accompany a crisp dry finish. "Hot side hopping of Mosaic bract and a delicate dry hopping of Citra gives soft notes of mango and dark berry," according to the brewery. Light, tropical, and refreshing. 5.1 percent ABV… [IG]” (518 Dayton St., Ste. 104)

(Be sure to visit Edmonds Downtown Alliance [Ed!] for more shopping and dining ideas. Ed! features lots of new businesses all the time.)

Feature photo by Matt Hulbert
Leah Rene Welch’s “White Vase," now showing at Gallery North.