One perfect day in Seattle's South Lake Union

Take a Northwest day trip to South Lake Union to find designer housing, star chefs, and unique, indie boutiques

Kathryn True

Ultra-cool outdoor art: Thank billionaire Paul Allen for this self-guided tour of public art. Many of the pieces double as scavenger hunts: Find the hidden scientists in Buster Simpson's Ping Pong Plaza, look for the genetic code in Labyrinth by Linda Beaumont, and imagine the missing rooms in Jenny Heishman's Cabin Corners. Free maps at

Morning espresso, afternoon cocktails: At Espresso Vivace Alley 24 (227 Yale Ave. N.; 206/388-5164), each latte's foamy topper is a sippable masterpiece. Come happy hour, head over to the bar at Re:public ($$; happy hour 4-6; 429 Westlake Ave. N.; 206/467-5300) for a glass of Cab paired with crisp pig tail.

Comfort food gone global: Housed in century-old cottages and decorated in antique love seats, Row House Cafe is the epitome of cozy. Sandwiches are tasty and worthy of their high-and-mighty names: the Vatican, Kremlin, and Smithsonian. Our favorite is the Louvre--grilled brie on raisin-pecan bread with orange marmalade. $; 1170 Republican St.; 206/682-7632.

Take it home: Ballard-like boutiques have hit the hood. One of our favorites? Clover House, where you can find locally made stuff like hand-stitched hobo bags by Laarni and Tita, floral oilcloth wallets by Boje Designs, and pretty pendants by Tiffany Noel. Above Whole Foods at 2200 Westlake Retail Plaza, Westlake Ave. at Denny Way;

Here come the celeb chefs...further proof that South Lake Union is becoming the city's next hot spot: Seafood queen Christine Keff has moved her restaurant Flying Fish ($$; 300 Westlake Ave. N.; 206/728-8595), to SLU. If you have time on Friday, catch one of her weekday cooking classes next door at her new take-out spot, On the Fly ($; 950 Thomas St.; 206/724-0577).

Next up: A Tom Douglas trio. Seattle's biggest star chef is opening three restaurants in Amazon's new HQ, the Terry Avenue Building--all open to the public.

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