There is a reason that the city of Kirkland, Washington is known as the “Pittsburgh of the West.” With a population of over 80,000, it is a comfortable size to both live in and to visit. Boasting the area’s only downtown on the waterfront, it hosts an abundant array of cultural things to see and do. It has a rich history of shipbuilding that dates back to years of ferrying people and goods, and it has retained its old-world seascape charm.
Visitors can spend many days and nights exploring all of the dining options, including lots of dog-friendly outdoor cafes. For those who enjoy craft-brewed beers and wines, there is a large variety of tasting rooms, breweries, wineries and wine bars to choose from.
The art scene is huge in Kirkland. Between the performing arts, art galleries and the multitude of street bronze sculptures, there is something for everyone to admire. Public art is a major element to Kirkland’s personality, and visitors can spend days just admiring it alone.
Having the luxury of being bordered by the magnificent Lake Washington means there is no lack of beauty to take in. There are three guarded swimming beaches: Waverly Beach, Houghton Beach, and Juanita Beach. Guests can use the sunbathing docks, playground areas, and swim zones. There are over 15 public parks in Kirkland, and the Parks & Recreation visitor’s guide is chock full of activities all year long for the entire family.
For sports enthusiasts, it might be fascinating to learn that Kirkland was once the original home of the Seattle Seahawks. Both the team’s training facility and main headquarters were located inside the shipyard at Lake Washington between the years of 1976–85, the team’s first 10 seasons. They then moved to a location nearby at Northwest University until 2007.
Another one of the city’s claims to fame is the fact that the store chain Costco uses the city as it’s brand because it originally had its headquarters in Kirkland. Many people would say it put Kirkland on the map, but its unique style and waterfront charm have also contributed to its increased popularity over the years.
The shopping selections are not small, either. In addition to award-winning hotels, fabulous dining, art, beaches, outdoor festivals and concerts, and park activities to choose from, there are also plenty of brand-name luxury boutiques all over the downtown area.