Capitol Hill is one of Seattle’s most popular neighborhoods to visit and live in for a reason. It is centrally located near downtown, has a thriving night life scene, and is particularly welcoming to members of the LGBTQ+ community. The only downside is that sometimes Capitol Hill can be overwhelming. That’s why we created this guide highlighting the very best things to do in Capitol Hill.
To make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for, we broke this guide up into seven categories in the below order:
- Breakfast and brunch
- Coffee shops
- Happy hour
- Bars and night life
- Unique experiences and events
Here are the top things to do in Capitol Hill (and more to come!):
Breakfast and Brunch
Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge
Lost Lake is known for being Seattle’s favorite late-night diner. It offers up happy hour deals and cocktails but it’s also a great place to go for breakfast since they open at 7:00 a.m. every day.
Where: 1505 10th Ave
Nue serves up “global street food” starting at 11:00 a.m. on weekdays and 10:00 a.m. on weekends. Make sure to order the Tower of Chengdu Wings and the Vietnamese coffee. They have covered outdoor seating as well.
Where: 1519 14th Ave
You’ll find hearty American fare made with local, seasonal ingredients at this cozy cafe. They open at 9:00 a.m. on weekdays and 8:00 a.m. on weekends, with both indoor and outdoor seating available. It definitely gets crowded during weekend brunch hours.
Where: 1525 10th Ave
This beloved Seattle diner serving classic American food has several locations. Its Capitol Hill location opens at 7:00 a.m. every day. This spot is also popular for breakfast and brunch so you may want to arrive early.
Where: 1400 E Union St
Volunteer Park Cafe & Pantry
This homey cafe is right by Volunteer Park, as you may assume from the name. They open at 8:00 a.m. (closed Mondays and Tuesdays). It’s a great spot to pick up a pastry or breakfast sandwich with coffee. We recommend going on a nice day so you can enjoy your breakfast at their outdoor seating or in the nearby park, since there is very limited indoor seating.
Where: 1501 17th Ave E
Coffee Shops and Cafés
You’re guaranteed to get a great beverage at this cafe that has been serving house-roasted coffee in Seattle since 1995. It now has stores across the country, but you’ll find its flagship roastery and cafe in Capitol Hill.
Where: 1005 E Pike St
This Seattle coffee shop is popular for a good reason. It was started in the ’80s by David Schomer who also published a book about professional espresso techniques. Suffice it to say they know their espresso here. You’l find their sidewalk espresso stand and their flagship cafe in Capitol Hill.
Where: 532 Broadway E
This is a great spot to visit if you love coffee and books. In addition to treating yourself to a beverage and a book, you can go to their Capitol Hill cafe every Friday at 4:00 p.m. for Sip Sessions: free classes about coffee and tea!
Where: 610 19th Ave E
Ghost Note Coffee
This modern coffee shop sells delicious seasonal coffee drinks, coffee beans, chocolate, and house-made jug drinks that you can take home. They also often host delicious pop-up events featuring other Seattle bakeries and eateries.
Where: 1623 Bellevue Ave
Looking for something a little different? At this Capitol Hill cafe, you’ll be able to order food, coffee, and other beverages infused with adaptogenic mushrooms for various health benefits. Try it out and see if you notice any benefits to your mood or productivity!
Where: 1111 E Pike St STE 111
This is a fantastic spot to get pizza and wine in Seattle after 5:00 p.m. They don’t take reservations and it’s a tiny space so be prepared for a wait during peak hours. (Note that at time of publication they are temporarily closed until 01/25/23.)
Where: 1830 12th Ave
Looking for a vegan meal in Capitol Hill? Check out Plum Bistro. Even meat lovers will enjoy the flavorful plant-based menu at this cozy spot.
Where: 1429 12th Ave
Go here for the authentic Indian street food, stay for the soft serve with a monthly rotating flavor. This is a great spot in Capitol Hill for casual and affordable dining with lots of flavor.
Where: 340 15th Ave E #202
If you’re looking for an Italian restaurant in Capitol Hill, try Spinasse. It’s a great place for date nights and special occasions. Their authentic house-made pasta is among the very best in Seattle.
Where: 1531 14th Ave
This chic farm-to-table restaurant serves New American fare with Mediterranean and Spanish influences. We love going to Terra Plata for weekend brunch and on Mondays for their paella night, especially when it’s nice enough to eat on their rooftop patio (or even when it’s not, since the patio is covered and heated).
Where: 1501 Melrose Ave
Head to Barrio during happy hour for $5 beer, $7 wine, and $10 margaritas. While you’re there you can also snack on discounted nachos and tacos (they have vegan and vegetarian options on the menu too, if you’re wondering).
Where: 1420 12th Ave
Every day from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. you can get $1 off oysters, beer, wine, and house cocktails at Boat Bar. It’s a cool spot to go early in your evening for some oysters and a drink before your dinner reservation.
Where: 1060 E Union St
If you want sushi with your happy hour, go to Liberty. From 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. daily they have specials on rolls, cocktails, beer, and wine.
Where: 517 15th Ave E
Hip American restaurant Olmstead has two daily happy hours: first from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. and then from 9:00 to close. In addition to deals on comfort food such as wings, smash burgers, and grilled cheese, you can enjoy creative drink specials like an $8 Paloma or a $5 pistachio pudding shot in addition to the usuals.
Where: 314 Broadway E
Smith has two happy hours every day: first from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and then from 8:30 to close. You can get house wine and well liquor for $7 and choose from a long list of small plates with special prices.
Where: 332 15th Ave E
Bars and Night Life
Even though this cocktail bar in Capitol Hill has a sophisticated space and a reputation for well-crafted cocktails, Canon still knows how to have fun. You can get anything from a classic Negroni to a cocktail served in a tiny bathtub here. No reservations (and we recommend keeping your group to four or fewer people).
Where: 928 12th Ave
Gold Bar used to be in South Lake Union but they are now located in Capitol Hill. Luckily they kept the fun decor and yummy food. Best of all is the “Don’t Think! Dance Party” that happens every Thursday night from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Where: 1416 E Olive Way
Go here for the natural wines, stay for the frozen cocktails, chambongs, and delicious food menu that includes dumplings and vegan udon.
Where: 721 E Pike St
Neumos in Capitol Hill is one of the best spots in Seattle to see bands and musical artists perform live. They also have fun events such as themed dance parties. Next door you’ll find a more chill vibe at their sister bar The Runaway, or you can enjoy even more live music at their sister venue Barboza. It’s a pretty iconic family.
Where: 925 E Pike St
Rachel’s Ginger Beer
This colorful spot in Capitol Hill is a real mood-booster. You can enjoy their handcrafted ginger beer with or without alcohol (or soft serve!) along with food by Ma’ono Fried Chicken. It’s also kid-friendly in case you have little ones in tow.
Where: 1610 12th Ave
This elevated neighborhood bar has fun decor, unique cocktails, and bar food. They also regularly host fun events such as trivia nights, monthly drag brunch, and a chess club night every Tuesday.
Where: 1801 E Olive Way
Looking to impress your group by taking them to a hidden speakeasy bar in Capitol Hill? Three of the bars included on our guide to Seattle speakeasies (Needle & Thread, The Doctor’s Office, and Knee High Stocking Co.) are located in Capitol Hill.
Or if you want something extra quirky, how about a themed bar? We featured six Capitol Hill spots in our list of the coolest themed bars in Seattle.
Unique Experiences and Events
Capitol Hill Art Walk
The Capitol Hill Art Walk is a free event that takes place on the second Thursday of every month. You can read more about the various Seattle art walks.
Capitol Hill Block Party
Every July, the Capitol Hill Block Party brings live music, crowds, and general revelry to the neighborhood for a fun-packed weekend. It’s a Seattle summer event that is not to be missed.
Capitol Hill Wishing Tree
This is a truly special Capitol Hill experience started by a local resident. Stop by the Capitol Hill Wishing Tree, read all the wishes that have been left there, and be sure to leave your own as well. You’ll find it at 2099 E Galer St.
This collection of businesses and restaurants in Capitol Hill are all connected by a pedestrian alley and courtyard. It’s always fun to wander through here and explore. You can experience some of Capitol Hill’s best food, drink, and shopping without even leaving Chophouse Row.
Elliott Bay Book Co.
You can’t leave Capitol Hill without stopping in this beloved bookstore. It has a huge selection of books, a cozy children’s section, and an in-store cafe called Little Oddfellows.
This spot didn’t fit neatly into either the bar or cafe category because it’s both! The newly-opened Gemini Room has a rad ’70s theme and is a cool place to get coffee during the day and grab drinks at night. Read more about Gemini Room.
If you love reading and writing, join the community at Hugo House. They often have open mics and writing classes.
Ice cream sandwiches at Hello Robin
Treat yourself to something sweet by stopping at Hello Robin. Their fresh cookies can be combined with Molly Moon ice cream for the perfect summer indulgence.
This Capitol Hill Brewery is a great spot to enjoy a few beers along with food from the rotating food trucks. You’ll also find a regular, informal board game night happening there every Monday at 7:30; everyone is welcome to join.
Seattle Asian Art Museum
This museum in Capitol Hill is well worth a visit. It is located within Volunteer Park and is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Seattle Library Capitol Hill Branch
If you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax and read, use free Wi-Fi, or just soak up some air conditioning, stop by the beautiful Capitol Hill branch of the Seattle Public Library.
The majority of Seattle Pride events take place every June in Capitol Hill, since it is the city’s historically LGBTQ+ neighborhood. You can read our guide to Seattle Pride, which will be updated for 2023 soon.
Looking to relax in nature? Volunteer Park in Capitol Hill is a great spot for a stroll or a picnic. If the weather isn’t cooperating, you can explore the Volunteer Park Conservatory or climb the Water Tower for a view.
Capitol Hill almost always has a weekend market happening. The Capitol Hill Farmers Market is every Sunday year-round from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Find it at E Denny Way between Broadway & 10th Ave E.)
There’s also On the Block, a creative street marketplace that takes place every second Saturday in the summer. They’ll be back in May 2023.
Looking to browse a few local shops and cute boutiques in Capitol Hill? You’re in the right place. We already have a guide to shopping in Capitol Hill! Check it out and enjoy.