Seattle Travel Guide: Fun Things to Do in Capitol Hill

Things to do in Capitol Hill Seattle.

I recently had the opportunity to spend 6 weeks in Seattle for work training. While the airport spent most days, I used my weekends to explore Seattle. I found myself gravitating to Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. This friendly neighborhood is known for being “home” for the LGBTQ community and is often called Seattle’s coolest area. I found great food, shopping, parks, and plenty of trendy spots. This Seattle travel guide shares the best things to do in Capitol Hill, or Cap Hill, as I noticed the locals call it. 

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Where is Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill lies directly east of downtown Seattle, which makes it easy to get to from your downtown hotel! Pike Street and Pine Street are considered the heart of Capitol Hill. If you walk either street east from downtown, you’ll end up in this hip neighborhood. 

Broadway and 12th Ave are two other main streets in Capitol Hill, where you’ll find shops, restaurants, and cafes. 

How to Get to Capitol Hill

As stated above, you can reach the edge of Capitol Hill in about a 20-minute walk from Pike Place. This will get you to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Melrose Market. From there, it depends on where you’re going in Capitol Hill, but it’s about another 5-10 minutes to Cal Anderson Park and the center of Capitol Hill.

If you don’t feel like walking, no worries. You can take the Link Light Rail from your closest station to the Capitol Hill Station. 

There is also a street car line that runs along Broadway, connecting Capitol Hill to First Hill and, ultimately, Pioneer Square. 

Bus routes 43 and 49 also have stops in Capitol Hill. Bus route 43 runs north to south from the University of Washington to First Hill, and bus route 49 runs from downtown through Capitol Hill to the University of Washington.

The best way to get around Seattle using public transportation is with the Orca Card, which eliminates the need for exact cash or purchasing a ticket each time you use one of the city’s public transit options.

The Best Things to Do in Capitol Hill

Explore Volunteer Park 

The first day that I visited the Capitol Hill neighborhood, it was a gorgeous 70-degree spring day. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky as I walked from the Capitol Hill light rail station up Broadway to Volunteer Park. Nothing sounded better than laying in the sun, on the grass, with a cold matcha in hand! 

Volunteer Park is a 40-acre park with stunning views of the Seattle skyline, the Volunteer Park Conservatory, and the Seattle Asian Art Museum. It also features a network of trails and grassy fields perfect for a sunny picnic. 

Victorian Conservatory in Volunteer Park
Volunteer Park in Capitol Hill Seattle

Aside from relaxing here are some fun things to do in Volunteer Park:

  • Volunteer Park Conservatory: This Victorian-style conservatory, which actually reminds me of the one in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, has 5 unique rooms showcasing plants from the dry desert to the humid areas of North and South America. It is reasonably priced as well, costing only $6 for an adult ticket.
  • Seattle Asian Art Museum: Located in a stunning art deco building, this recently renovated museum showcases centuries of Asian art, mixing traditional works with contemporary Asian art. 
  • Climb up the Water Tower: For one of the best panoramic views of Seattle, climb up the historic water tower located in Volunteer Park. You’ll climb 106 spiraling stairs to an observation deck with views of the Seattle skyline and Olympic Mountains. The climb is free, except for a bit of sweat. 
  • Bruce Lee & Brandon Lee Grave Site: Lake View Cemetery is located next to Volunteer Park and is where the famous martial artist and actor Bruce Lee is buried alongside his son, Brandon Bruce Lee. 

Volunteer Park Cafe and Pantry

Located just a few blocks away from Volunteer Park is the Volunteer Park Cafe & Pantry, a cozy neighborhood cafe nestled on the corner of E. Galer St. and 17th Ave. This cafe offers a delicious breakfast and lunch menu, baked goods, a nice selection of wine and beer, and cute gifts! I highly recommend stopping in here to pick up items for a picnic in the park. Their matcha is really good, too!

Volunteer Park Cafe
Volunteer Park Cafe

Visit Cal Anderson Park

Cal Anderson Park is located in the heart of Capitol Hill and named after Washington’s first openly gay state legislator. At the center of the park is a large fountain and reflecting pool surrounded by large grassy fields. On the southern edge of the park are fields where kickball and softball games are played on weekend mornings. 

On Denny Way, which borders the northern edge of the park and is right next to the light rail station, there is a farmers market every Sunday. You’ll find locally grown produce, meat, cheese, wine, and other goods. 

Cal Anderson Park

Elliott Bay Book Company

If you’re a book lover, you need to check out Elliot Bay Book Company. Elliot Bay Book Co. has called Capitol Hill home since 1973 and is a vital part of the community. It offers over 150,000 titles across a wide range of interests, and it supports local authors. You’ll have no difficulty finding something to read on a rainy Seattle day or even bring with you to the park on a sunny afternoon! 

I love the tables throughout the bookstore that allow you to sit down with your books as you decide whether or not to buy everything you find! Plus, in the back corner of the bookstore is Little Oddfellows Cafe, which is the perfect place to take your newly purchased book and dive in with a sweet treat and delicious matcha latte. 

Elliot Bay Book Company

Relax in a Coffee Shop 

Speaking of matcha lattes and cafes, you know I make it my mission to find the best coffee shops with the best matcha lattes in the places I visit. And Seattle is well known for its small, independent coffee shops so I have been having a great time trying them all! Here are a few coffee shops I recommend in Capitol Hill.


Known as being one of the best places for a matcha latte in Seattle, I headed to the bright and cheery Atulea. This small cafe has a wide selection and creative menu of matcha drinks. I ordered the basic matcha latte, iced with oat milk. You can add boba and other toppings, but I like to keep my matcha simple. IT did not disappoint! It was a deep shade of green, which is always a great start, and tasted just earthy enough. It’s a small shop and does tend to get busy, but the staff is incredibly friendly and will have your drink ready quickly.

Atulea Coffee Shop
Atulea Coffee Shop

Victrola Coffee Roasters

Victrola Coffee Roasters has four locations in Seattle, with two in Capitol Hill. The original location is on 15th Ave and the second location is on Pike Street, just up the road from the overcrowded Starbucks Reserve Roastery. This light-filled cafe is also their roastery and training facility. The baristas were incredibly warm and welcoming, making me an oat matcha latte sweetened with honey as I waited out the rain. If you can, snag a stool at the front window for a bit of people-watching while you enjoy your matcha (or cup of coffee). 

Victrola Coffee Roasters
Victrola Coffee Roasters

Caffe Vita Roastery & Cafe

I first stepped into one of Caffe Vita’s locations when I was in the Queen Anne neighborhood. Their hot matcha latte hit the spot! I was happy to find another location in Capitol Hill on that sunny day and opted to try their iced matcha latte. It was just as good! Every table was filled at the Capitol Hill location with people working, reading, or catching up with a friend. Definitely stop by when you find yourself near a Caffe Vita. They also have locations in Fremont and Seward Park. 

Have a Scoop of Ice Cream 

There are two ice cream shops you need to try in Capitol Hill:  Molly Moon’s and Frankie & Jo’s

Molly Moons have their regular flavors as well as a rotating menu of seasonal flavors. I tried their seasonal Earl Grey with their regular chocolate, and it was delicious! I also got it with a bit of hot fudge on top 🙂

Frankie and Jo’s is a plant-based ice cream shop that offers seasonal flavors and everyday favorites. I got a scoop of the seasonal minty chocolate chip, and it was so good! I also discovered that they have a location in the Bay Area, so I’ll be able to get this when I go home!!

Frankie & Jo's Ice Cream

Shop at Melrose Market 

I get very overwhelmed in Pike Place Market, but I thoroughly enjoyed the much smaller and more community vibe in Melrose Market. Inside, you’ll find a butcher shop, a natural wine bar, a Japanese restaurant, and other eateries.

You’ll also find the incredible (if a bit on the expensive side for me) Glasswing Shop. This shop is part clothing store, part plant store, and part home goods store, all wrapped into one unique aesthetic. If you forgot anything on your Seattle packing list, you might be able to find it here. I truly loved some of the clothing items they sell, but they are currently out of my budget. However, I did find a pair of reasonably priced gold hoop earrings that I bought!

Melrose Market
Glasswing Shop

Go Axe Throwing at Blade & Timber

Axe throwing sounds like such a fun date idea or friend outing. I mean why go bowling when you can throw an axe?! And you can do it in Capitol Hill. Blade & Timber has 18 axe-throwing lanes, local beers on tap, and some great bar snacks.

I haven’t done this yet, but I really want to!!

Cuddle Some Cats at the Cat Cafe

I was seriously missing my cat cuddles during my six weeks in Seattle. Then I passed by Neko Cat Cafe! For $25 you can spend 45 minutes cuddling and playing with this cat cafe’s adoptable cats! I, however, was unable to as there was a private party booking when I was passing by! The friendly staff recommended that I book a reservation online to secure my spot!

Cate cafe in Capitol Hill
Cat cafe in Capitol Hill

See the Jimi Hendrix Statue 

Jimi Hendrix was born and raised in Seattle before joining the army at 18. The MoPop museum, which I highly recommend adding to your Seattle itinerary, has the largest collection of Jimi Hendrix guitars. In Capitol Hill, there is a bronze statue of Jimi Hendrix shredding on his guitar. You can find it on the corner of Broadway and Pine Street, in front of the Blick Art Supply Store.

Enjoy a Cold Beer at a Local Brewery 

In addition to its coffee, Seattle is very proud of its beer scene and Capitol Hill has a number of local breweries to check out.

Rhein Haus is a Bavarian-inspired brewery with a beer garden, bocce courts, and Bavarian menu items ranging from brats to schnitzel to cheeseburgers.

Redhook Brewery has been operating in Seattle since 1981, and in 2010, it opened its brew lab in Capitol Hill. Here, it brews its famous IPAs and has a rotating selection on tap for you to try. While you’re there, grab some pizza from Kobo, which operates inside the Brewlab.

Redhook Brewlab

Visit the Tavern Law Speakeasy 

If you’re not into beer, check out the Tavern Law Speakeasy! Tavern Law itself has a nice menu of craft cocktails, but there is also a speakeasy called Needle and Thread. At the speakeasy, there is no cocktail menu; you tell the bartenders what you typically drink, and they make something for you. 

Admittedly, I did not have time to check them out, but it seems like a fun concept, and it is on my list for my next trip to Seattle. 

Have a Drink at a Dive Bar

If craft cocktails and not really knowing what type of drink you’ll get aren’t your thing, then head to one of the many dive bars in Capitol Hill. Three of the more popular dive bars are Sam’s Tavern, Comet Tavern, and Linda’s Tavern. 

Where to Eat in Capitol Hill, Seattle

There are so many great places to eat in Capitol Hill that it’s hard to choose, and I couldn’t get to all the ones on my list! 

Terra Plata

I stopped into Terra Plata on a whim after shopping at Glasswing. It looked inviting from the outside, and I was right! This warm space with large windows for people-watching offered a delicious Mediterranean-inspired menu. I got the steak sandwich and a mocktail and was very happy with everything. The staff was incredibly friendly and offered excellent recommendations. 

They also have a rooftop bar and garden that’s open year-round! I’d like to go back and check that out because the photos are beautiful!

Terra Plata Capitol Hill
Terra Plata Capitol Hill

Oddfellows Cafe & Bar

While I didn’t eat at Oddfellows proper, I did have a matcha latte at their cafe inside Elliot Bay Book Company, and it was delicious. Oddfellows is just a few doors down from the bookshop and is one of the best places for brunch in Capitol Hill.


I am 99% sure I went to Momiji Sushi during my very first trip to Seattle 5 years ago. I met a friend from college there and loved the ambiance! I also recall the sushi being excellent! I

Ramen Danbo

Is there anything better than a bowl of Ramen on a cold, rainy, typically Seattle day? If that sounds delicious, then head to Ramen Danbo.


Conversely, a sunny day seems to call for margaritas, right? If so, head to Poquitos for their great happy hour menu, which includes $10 margaritas and $7 tacos!

Where to Stay in Capitol Hill

There aren’t many hotels in the Capitol Hill area itself, and since it’s just a short walk from downtown Seattle, you can easily stay there while exploring Capitol Hill. However, there are three great options if you want to stay in the heart of the Capitol Hill action.

Seattle Gaslight Inn: This historic craftsman house is a bed and breakfast with eight private rooms, a heated pool, a library, and amazing hosts. Although, I don’t think breakfast is included in your stay.

Check rates and availability here.

Silver Cloud Hotel: Silver Cloud Hotel is a solid option for a hotel in Capitol Hill. It has an on-site restaurant, fitness center, and parking available (for an additional cost). 

Check rates and availability here.

Sonder the Boylston: This Sonder location is right in the heart of Capitol Hill and has beautiful accommodations in a 5-story building. However, there are no elevators, so you will need to use the stairs. Keep that in mind, but other than that, it’s a great place to stay. 

Check rates and availability here. 

One thing I didn’t get a chance to do was see a drag show! I really wanted to, but quite honestly, I didn’t want to go alone! I hope this Seattle travel guide helps you discover all of the fun things to do in Seattle’s coolest neighborhood, Capitol Hill! If you have any questions or think I should include something I didn’t (and should add to my own list) please let me know! 

Also, make sure to add a day trip to Bainbridge to your Seattle itinerary!

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