Local insights, local gems
Sure, the Greater Seattle area is known for its outdoor adventures, Space Needle views and myriad of coffee shops. But with so many unique experiences available, why limit outings to the typical stops on Top 10 lists?
The team at Archer Hotel Redmond is happy to share its favorite recommendations for the best of what to do in and around Redmond. Whether for adventurers, wine connoisseurs, foodies or art aficionados, these PNW spots garnered the most thumbs up.
Marymoor Park — Not a hidden gem by any means, Marymoor Park nonetheless is chock-full of lesser-known experiences. A model plane community does crazy stuff at this park, like jet-powered, giant model fighter jets doing 80 MPH. Tons of summer racing is fun to watch. LOCAL TIP: Fuel up at Postdoc Brewing next to the park with great beer and unique food trucks.
Seattle Paragliding — Glide from Poo Poo Point atop Tiger Mountain — it looks ridiculously fun. There’s no minimum age requirement, and the unexperienced fly tandem with an instructor pilot. LOCAL TIP: Instead of taking the shuttle, hike to Poo Poo Point on an amazing trail to the top of the mountain, then glide down.
Leavenworth Adventure Park — In the Bavarian-themed Leavenworth, Tumwater Twister is Washington's first alpine coaster. The park is home to the Alpine Ascent Climbing Wall, Bavarian Bungee Bounce Trampoline and Gems of The Enchantments Mining Sluice. The Guest Service Center has a viewing area, party space, fresh treats from Dan’s Market and premium Dru Bru root beer floats, plus plenty of merchandise. LOCAL TIP: Take home a Bavarian stein — aah, memories.
Farrel-McWhirter Park — Awesome for families with kids, the park has relaxed hiking trails, picnic areas, a horse arena and a barnyard. (It’s not a petting zoo, but it’s still a cool experience.) LOCAL TIP: An orienteering permanent course makes for an amazing adventure with just a compass and map. It's massive, complex and challenging for outdoorsy-inclined folks.
Easy: Link up with the Sammamish River Trail at Marymoor Park (across from Archer). Paved and protected, it’s flat, easy riding next to the water for miles. Connect to the Burke-Gilman Trail and take it to Seattle without any road riding. LOCAL TIP: Excellent hidden picnic spots are next to the water along the way — bring snacks and local wine in a backpack.
Medium: Lake Sammamish Loop is the classic lake loop with an entry point next to Archer. Expect lots of paved trail and a little bit of road; the lanes are wide and the traffic minimal. Hop onto Mercer Island or cut across SR 520 to Seattle for extra distance. LOCAL TIP: At the halfway point in Issaquah, stop at the Trek shop for a chain lube or grab the best Thai food on the Eastside at Khao San Thai.
Hard: For the adventurous, Redmond Farm Ride combines paved trails with gravel roads and local singletrack through the trees. This big loop takes you through the Eastside on a variety of terrain. LOCAL TIP: Stop at Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park in Issaquah for flowy trails that feel like you're in the mountains. Or take a lap on Marymoor Park’s Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome, one of only 16 in the United States.
For art aficionados
Redmond Arts Festival — Mid-July, this three-day outdoor festival is in our backyard at Redmond Town Center and features about 60 artist booths, a community art project and live entertainment. The event is in conjunction with the free Redmond Derby Days celebration at Redmond City Hall, with a parade, cornhole tourney, bicycle races, music, food and activities for the kids. LOCAL TIP: Keep an eye out for Random Acts of Art — or create one yourself.
Woodinville Art Walk — This wine-centric town just north of Redmond has some fun sip and strolls, art walks and studio tours throughout the year. The Woodinville Arts Alliance showcases local artists' work in corporations, small local businesses, wineries, breweries and cider houses around town. LOCAL TIP: Download the Woodinville Wine Country App — your ticket to custom tours and discounted wine tastings.
WNDR Seattle Museum — Seattle’s new high-tech art museum has interactive, immersive exhibits that offer a multidimensional journey. Currently, 13 exhibits are displayed at WNDR. Visitors are more than onlookers — they’re part of the art. LOCAL TIP: This is a popular exhibit, so buy tickets online and choose your entrance time.
For wine lovers
Woodinville Wine Country does a great job of updating its winery event calendar — think live music, special pairings, sip-n-scoops, happy hours, reserve tastings, rotating food trucks and the like. A few we love to frequent:
- Matthews Winery — For tastings with up to eight guests (minors are invited, as well), the tasting room at Matthews Winery is a welcoming, farmhouse-chic space with barn lighting, wooden tables and a garage door that opens on beautiful Woodinville days. LOCAL TIP: Take the farm tour and enjoy a glass (or share a bottle) on the leashed-dog-friendly lawn.
- DeLille Cellars — The beautiful tasting room is in the Old Redhook Brewery space, and the excellent wines are Bordeaux and Rhône-style single varietals and blends. LOCAL TIP: Go hungry and enjoy the hand-crafted menu at The Restaurant at DeLille Cellars.
- Village Wines — Though not a winery, this casually comfortable gathering place carries an extensive wine selection, including most of the wines featured throughout Woodinville’s tasting rooms. Enjoy a favorite local wine (or two), along with shareables from the comprehensive menu. LOCAL TIP: Get the Rosana Raspberry Sorbet Prosecco Float — yummy.
DERU Market — Everything at this fast-casual eatery is thoughtfully sourced and made from scratch. Call to get on the waitlist — the space is small and fills up fast. LOCAL TIP: Although dining in-house is fun, order takeout and head to downtown Kirkland to eat at a park overlooking Lake Washington.
Heritage — In Woodinville, this restaurant/bar’s a small operation with top-notch seasonal recipes and cocktails. It’s “come as you are,” but the food and beverage execution matches (or beats) some of the fanciest restaurants — unpretentious as they come, warm and welcoming. LOCAL TIP: If you like scallops, you’ll love these — caramelized to perfection on a bed of root veggies and asparagus.
Biang Biang Noodles — When the munchies hit while exploring Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, stop by this Chinese noodle house. They specialize in hand-pulled noodles, made fresh to order. LOCAL TIP: Add an order of handmade dumplings and crunchy smashed cucumber salad.
Redmond Town Center — It's (quite literally) just outside Archer’s front door. Small boutiques are nestled among national retailers and restaurants. Utopia (“escape the ordinary”) has colorful jewelry, beautiful SoapRocks bath soap, bonsai LED lighted trees and atypical home décor. Mac & Mabel is a modern transitional home décor and furnishings store.
Downtown Kirkland has a few upscale women’s designer consignment shops — one of which is Ragamoffyn’s. For a fun afternoon, add it to your list that includes strolling around downtown Kirkland, sipping coffee at a local coffee shop, and grabbing lunch or dinner at any of the delicious restaurants nearby. LOCAL TIP: Arleana’s is a new, noteworthy restaurant with a beautiful story and rave reviews; check out happy hour 3 – 6 PM Tuesday – Friday.
Molbak’s — This huge Woodinville nursery has a large home and gift shop. In the middle of the nursery, a little garden café serves breakfast and lunch (and yes, coffee and espresso). LOCAL TIP: Savor a frittata or grab a scone and spend hours strolling through the nursery and exploring the home and gift offerings.
University Village — With a great mix of stores, this outdoor shopping destination is especially fun in the summer. A hidden gem is Delfino’s Chicago Style Pizza (shoppers need sustenance). Another must-see is Ravenna Gardens, a plant shop in the middle of everything — lovely to stroll through. And The Art Study features local and regional artists. LOCAL TIP: FrogLegs offers engaging cooking classes for adults, teens and kids (and Redmond Town Center has a location, too).