Last Updated on July 13, 2022 by admin
The city of Kirkland has a prime location right on the shores of Lake Washington. As a Seattle suburb, it’s super easy to reach from the cities of Seattle (12 miles) and Bellevue (5 miles). Kirkland is known for its many waterfront parks and trendy restaurants. We visit Kirkland all the time, especially to enjoy its beaches during the summer. This time, however, we actually booked a romantic winter staycation in Kirkland. We’re excited to share all about our hotel and dining experience from that trip, as well as share all the best things to do in Kirkland.
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How to Get to Kirkland
If you’re headed over from Seattle, you’ll need to cross Lake Washington to reach Kirkland. You can choose either the 520 floating bridge (toll bridge), or you can take a slightly longer route by crossing the I-90 bridge.
From Bellevue, you can either head north on Lake Washington Boulevard NE or I-405.
Try to avoid the afternoon rush hour if you can, because traffic going in that direction can be pretty rough!
Things to Pack for Kirkland
When visiting Kirkland, we recommend bringing just a few things:
- Power Bank Cell Phone Charger: We like this one because the cord is embedded. (One less thing to lose.) If you’re out at the parks, you won’t have to worry about losing your cell phone charge.
- Water Bottle: We like a good insulated water bottle/thermo canteen.
- Weekender Bag: Whether you’re staying for the night or just headed to the beach, a weekender bag will fit everything you need. The separate shoe compartment on this one is perfect for storing shoes or a wet towel and swimsuit.
- Walking Shoes: The parks have so many beautiful paths and trails, so you’ll want to wear comfortable shoes. I’ve been wearing Brooks brand for years and love them!
(Click on any of the above images for current pricing and shipping information.)
Where to Stay in Kirkland
There are so many beautiful places to stay in Kirkland! We’ll first share about our experience at the Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa, and then provide you with some other recommendations as well.
Our Experience at the Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa
Because we live so close to Kirkland, we’ve never actually stayed the night. When we decided to do a staycation in Kirkland, though, we were completely blown away by the luxury and location of the Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa. (We had definitely been missing out!)
We visited the hotel at the end of December. There was fresh snow on the ground and a crisp, clear view of Lake Washington. The holiday rush was over, and the hotel was very quiet. (We barely saw any other guests… it was such a quiet escape!)
We booked the Lake Washington Suite, which had a large living space with windows facing the water, a large corner balcony, and a bedroom with a king bed and views of Carillon Point. The suite had a large bathroom with a jetted tub and overhead rain shower. The suite also came with two terry cloth plush robes… perfect for relaxing!
We were greeted with welcome champagne at check-in, and we enjoyed views of the lake from the warmth of our room. The hotel has a lot of amenities, including bike rentals and kayak rentals (seasonally). The hotel also is home to the Still Spa, where you can get a variety of relaxing treatments.
For dinner, we walked right next door to the restaurant COMO, which also had spectacular views of the lake. The lights were dim and it was the perfect setting for a romantic dinner. We had one of the best meals of our lives here. The pasta was so delicious. Our favorite dish by far was the rigatoni. (Definitely order that. You can thank us later!) We finished dinner with the cannoli dessert and we were in heaven. We are definitely going back to COMO for our next date night!
After dinner, we returned to the hotel. At 10pm each night, they have something called raid the pantry where you can come down to the lobby and grab cookies, chips, and ice cream. We grabbed a few snacks and then headed back to our room for a movie night.
For breakfast, we walked across the plaza to Carillon Kitchen. I had the avocado toast and the healthy heart super juice. Definitely would recommend!
Overall, we had a fantastic time staying at the Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa. We would highly recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a place to stay the night in Kirkland.
Other Hotels in the Kirkland Area
In addition to the Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa, there are several other excellent choices for lodging in Kirkland. These include:
- Heathman Hotel: The Heathman is a boutique hotel located in downtown Kirkland. This hotel was ranked as one of the Top 15 Pacific Northwest Hotels by Conde Nast in 2021. The rooms are large, modern, and full of amenities. When staying at this hotel, you can easily walk around downtown Kirkland and to Marina Park.
- Courtyard by Marriott Seattle Kirkland: This hotel is tucked further back in this city and isn’t within walking distance to the downtown area. However, it’s a little over a mile away from the very popular Juanita Beach. This hotel also has an indoor pool.
For a full list of lodging options in Kirkland, click on this link.
16 Best Things to Do in Kirkland
We created this map to help you easily find all the locations we mention:
1. Juanita Beach Park
Juanita Beach Park is hands down one of the best parks in the region. The park has 1,000 feet of shoreline on Lake Washington, bathhouses with restrooms, picnic shelters, and lots of play structures. It also has sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, and ball fields. The park is well-cared for and the perfect place to spend a sunny day.
2. Juanita Bay Park
Just south of Juanita Beach Park is Juanita Bay Park. This park is a little more wild and rough around the edges. This wildlife habitat is the perfect place to go birdwatching. Swimming and boating are prohibited in this area in order to protect the wetlands.
3. Cruise Lake Washington
*At the time of this writing, the cruises are temporarily closed due to Covid-19*
Argosy Cruises offers a 1.5 narrated tour along Lake Washington. The boat departs from Kirkland and is a great way to see the lake from a different perspective!
4. Waverly Beach Park
Waverly Beach Park has a swimming beach and a dock. It’s the perfect place to visit on a warm summer day!
5. Flatstick Pub
If you’re looking for a fun indoor activity, head over to Flatstick Pub. This pub has an indoor miniature golf course. Grab a pint and play a few rounds! This pub also hosts a weekly trivia night and bingo night.
6. Marina Park Pavilion
When I think of Kirkland, I think of the Marina Park Pavilion. It’s located right on the water and within walking distance of downtown, so we almost always end up there at some point when we visit Kirkland. The park has a paved trail that is perfect for strolling, and during the summer this park is often used for concerts and other events.
7. Techcity Bowl
Techcity Bowl has 32 lanes and cosmic bowling options too. It’s the perfect place to go during a rainy day in Kirkland.
8. Seaplane Tour
It’s not everyday you get the chance to ride a seaplane. This 20-minute seaplane tour departs from Carillon Point. You’ll get a completely different perspective of the Space Needle, Ballard Locks, and Lake Washington.
9. Kayak or Paddle Board
One of the best ways to experience Kirkland is to rent a kayak or stand up paddle board and hit the water. There’s a couple of companies that rent kayaks: Northwest Paddle Surfers and Woodmark Waterfront Adventures. (Open seasonally.)
10. Houghton Beach Park
This park is within walking distance of downtown Kirkland. There’s plenty of grassy spaces with lake views. There’s also a swimming beach and a volleyball court.
11. Kirkland Performance Center
The Kirkland Performance Center hosts a variety of performances each month. Check their schedule to see what’s currently available.
12. Cross Kirkland Corridor
The Cross Kirkland Corridor is a 5.75 mile path for running and cycling. If you’re looking for exercise, this trail is 10 feet wide and very scenic.
13. 132nd Square Park
The 132nd Square Park has a playground, picnic shelter, and ball fields. It also has a reflexology path that you can use as part of a walking meditation to massage your feet.
14. Carillon Point
Carillon Point is right on the water. There are several excellent restaurants here, as well as kayak rentals. You can admire the boats in the marina, or go for a walk along the dock.
15. Art Galleries
There are several fine art galleries in Kirkland. These include Ryan James Fine Arts, Parklane Gallery, and NYB Gallery.
There are many boutique shops in downtown Kirkland. The store Alesia has lots of ethically-made jewelry and accessories, and the shop Clementine has beautiful home decor.
Where to Eat in Kirkland
One of the reasons we visit Kirkland often is for the many excellent restaurants that are there. Here’s some we recommend:
- COMO: Like we said previously, we had one of the best meals of our life here. The restaurant is perfect for a date night: craft cocktails, views of the water, dim lighting, and handmade pasta.
- Cafe Juanita: For fine dining, head to Cafe Juanita. Their menu focuses on Northern Italian flavors.
- Cactus Restaurant: This restaurant chain has several locations in the greater Seattle area, and we’ve always enjoyed their southwest-inspired cuisine.
- Anthony’s Homeport: Located right on the water, enjoy the region’s best seafood.
- Le Grand Bistro Americain: This French bistro is located at Carillon Point and has a patio on the water.
- Lady Yum: Looking for dessert? Head to Lady Yum for a large variety of macarons.
- Chainline Brewing Co.: This brewery specializes in ales and lagers.
- Northwest Cellars: Their tasting room in downtown Kirkland has lots of wines to choose from. (If you like wine, you might also be interested in the Wine Walk event that takes place in Kirkland.)
- Wilde Rover: The Wilde Rover is a traditional Irish pub that serves things like Shepherd’s Pie and Bangers and Mash.
One of the best things about Kirkland is its prime location! Major cities like Bellevue and Seattle are close by, as well as many outdoor recreational opportunities in the mountains.
Here’s a few ideas of activities that are close to Kirkland:
- St. Edward State Park: We headed to this park recently for some urban hiking. The trails at St. Edward State Park did not disappoint! We felt like we completely left the city, yet we didn’t have to drive hours to get to the mountains. (We’ve also been wanting to visit the brand new lodge that was built there!)
- Bellevue Botanical Garden: We’ve visited the botanical gardens a few times. They have a beautiful Christmas light display in the winter. The last time we visited, we explored some of the trails on the edges of the park. We especially recommend that you visit the suspension bridge. We never knew there was one at this park and it’s a really cool photo spot.
- Woodinville Wineries: One of our favorite weekend activities is to head to Woodinville and visit a new winery. There are dozens of wineries and tasting rooms in Woodinville, so we are constantly getting to try something new. Read all about our favorite wineries in Woodinville here.
- Bellevue Square Mall: This is the place to go shopping. The Bellevue Square Mall has high-end stores (like Tiffany’s and Tesla), as well as boutique shops.
Kirkland, Washington, is a great place to visit for a variety of reasons. The city is located right on Lake Washington, so its numerous parks and beaches make it a great place to visit on a summer day. We also discovered Kirkland made for a really wonderful staycation! By staying at the Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa, we were able to truly relax and enjoy the scenic views.
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