Wallingford is an amazing neighborhood north of Lake Union in Seattle’s 4th District. It is a casual, family-friendly neighborhood that many students live in because it’s so near to the University of Washington.
It’s pretty close to downtown Seattle, which you can reach in a 6-mile drive, and you can easily drive to Bellevue and Redmond from Wallingford as well. This makes Wallingford a convenient neighborhood with plenty of recreational activities, shops, and restaurants as well.
In this guide, we’ll cover some of the best aspects of Wallingford with things to do, restaurants, parks, and attractions. Let’s get started!
Things to Do in Wallingford
Wallingford’s boundaries stretch from Interstate 5 over to Aurora Avenue. The neighborhood starts around 60th Street and stretches down to Lake Union and covers a little more than a square mile. As a neighborhood with mostly single-family homes, Wallingford is slightly above the average density found in the city of Seattle. As of 2020, about 12,000 people lived in Wallingford.
Despite Wallingford being a casual neighborhood, there are still a variety of things to do here that I’ll list below.
The Wallingford Center has everything you need. It has clothing shops, restaurants, home furnishing, pharmacies, gyms, and more. This is a small 2-level shopping center that’s just a two-minute drive or a relaxing seven-minute walk from the center of the neighborhood.
Our suggestion? Most Indian buffets closed down during Covid, but the buffet at Chutneys Bistro has returned and is one of the best in Seattle.
There’s a coffee shop in the middle of Wallingford that has some of the best coffee in Seattle. Fuel Coffee is located on 45th Street, and it has some great coffee. Additionally, its store is a relaxing place to sit and chill.
If you’re near Gasworks Park at the south end of Wallingford, our recommendation is to try Mas Cafe, which also has delicious breakfast sandwiches and wraps. If you’re on the north end of Wallingford near Green Lake take a trip to TangleTown. It’s a cluster of restaurants and bars in the middle of a residential neighborhood that you could live in Seattle for years and never discover. A great coffee shop in Tangletown is Zoka Coffee. Another gem in Tangle Town is a small Japanese bakery named Hiroki. It’s definitely worth a stop-in for the green tea tiramisu!
I used to go to Archie McPhee‘s as a kid, and I have some great memories here. This store is filled with all sorts of fun toys, gifts, and activities. It’s famous for its rubber chicken museum. Archie McPhee is a local institution and has been featured on TV shows ranging from Anthony Bourdain to the national news.
If you need to pick up a toy for your kid, don’t worry, you’ll find something weird at Archie McPhee!
This is a unique store that offers coffee, pastries, and cat companionships! If you’re a cat person, you’ll love this place. You can cuddle with cats, adopt them, and volunteer here.
Places to Stay in Wallingford
Strictly speaking, there are no hotels within the boundaries of Wallingford. There are some AirBNB options, especially if you’re looking for a room. However, right outside the boundaries of Wallingford you’ll find hotel options off Aurora Avenue and also in the University District. Here are a couple of the better options available.
Hotels located off Aurora are normally very budget-oriented and best avoided. However, the Staybridge Suite located just outside Wallingford is a nice hotel that maintains positive ratings on third-party sites like Google. In addition, the hotel is a short walk to Fremont and just .9 miles from the center of Wallingford.
This 3-star hotel is located across Interstate 5 in the University District and is a bit more stylish option. The Watertown is about a mile walk to the center of Wallingford and is next to some great dining options like the Portage Bay Cafe.
Wallingford Real Estate
The real estate in Wallingford is primarily single-family homes that were built in the early 20th century. Most of these homes have porches and large yards. Aside from single-family homes, there are also studios and townhomes.
Since the location is next to some of the hottest attractions in Seattle, is relatively safe, and there is a strong sense of community, its average home price as of now is around $900,000, which is higher than most homes in Seattle.
Restaurants in Wallingford
Wallingford is known for its great restaurants. You’ll find hundreds of delicious meals both in the neighborhood and surrounding area.
The most famous restaurant sight in Wallingford is the iconic Dick’s Drive-In sign along 45th. Dick’s (along with Taco Time) is the iconic Seattle fast food, and the Wallingford location can get extremely busy thanks to its late hours and nearby population of college students.
Just keep in mind, the menu at Dick’s is extremely spartan. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, a ‘Deluxe’ and ‘Special’ burger are joined by fries and milkshakes.
This is an excellent ramen place with a modern setting. I love the texture of the noodles here, and the broth is amazing as well. The food here is fairly affordable, and the food will come out fast. I hear they have the best okonomiyaki in Seattle.
Pablo y Pablo
If you want amazing tacos and churros, this is the place to go. The food here isn’t that spicy, so if you’re someone with a low spice tolerance, you’ll love this Mexican restaurant. The prices here are great for what you get, and you’ll get an amazing panoramic view of Seattle. Additionally, there are an array of vegan meal options at Pablo y Pablo that taste great.
Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria
Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria (that’s a mouthful) offers classic wood-fired Italian pizzas at reasonable prices. The service here is great, and you’ll get your food in a timely manner. This place offers some of the most flavorful pizzas around.
Trust us, you won’t forget eating one of these pizzas. Their servings are large, and the menu is plentiful, so you’ll have plenty of great options to choose from.
Dumpling The Noodle
This is an amazing Chinese restaurant founded by two University of Washington students that missed the taste of food back in Bejing. If you like dumplings or lamen noodles, this place has some of the best in Seattle at an affordable price. The restaurant has a relaxed and laidback vibe to it, with a warm and welcoming design.
Other Great Fremont Restaurants
Beyond what we’ve listed above, here are a few more ideas if you’re in the area or a local looking for new restaurant ideas.
- Bizzaro Italian Cafe: Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives in 2009, Bizzaro Cafe is famous for its … Well, slightly bizarre riffs on famous dishes. Try the Elk Bolognese.
- Restaurant Christine: Another restaurant found in the hidden TangleTown area of Wallingford. Restaurant Christine gives you another place to try Elk Bolognese as well as beef liver, hanger steak au poivre, chicken napoleon, and other seasonal favorites.
- Komonegi: Wallingford has a lot of great Japanese restaurants, so it’s easy to miss Kamonegi. The restaurant is truly pocket-sized but specializes in soba noodles made in-house. With a rotating menu of specials, it’s a restaurant you can visit repeatedly and still find exciting new dishes.
- Unique Saloon: We’re big fans of restaurants off the beaten path that can be “gems” overlooked in even the busiest neighborhoods. Unique Saloon sits on the corner of Wallingford Ave N and 37th St, and aside from Cantinetta which stands across the street is blocks away from any other stores or restaurants. The cocktails are fantastic (and reasonably priced) and the saloon keeps a respectable menu of sandwiches, plates (get the fried chicken or short rib salad), and snacks.
- Westward: Located along the waterfront near the University District, Westward is an excellent spot to sit outside on a summer day. We’re big fans of the manilla clams
Farmers Markets & Activities in Wallingford
The Wallingford farmer’s market is great for fresh produce and meat at killer prices. By shopping here, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll help local farmers, fishers, and ranchers make a living. It’s open from May to September every Wednesday.
This was voted as Washington’s best outdoor farmers market in 2013, so if it’s sunny out, you can bring your family here to have a good time and pick up some healthy meals.
Transportation and Parking in Wallingford
You can use various modes of transportation while in Wallingford, from walking to using your own vehicle and public transport.
There are many nearby places you can reach, so walking is something many people who reside in Wallingford do on a regular basis. The neighborhood is safe, and it’s generally good practice to walk every day, so you can walk to many nearby places while residing in Wallingford.
For cycling, it’s a little more complex, as there are few safe and convenient bike lanes in Wallingford. However, if you’re planning on residing on 40th street, there are freshly paved bike lanes. There are also light rails and buses that are accessible in Wallingford (the closest light rail stop is U District Station, which is a little more than a mile from central Wallingford).
Additionally, you can easily drive anywhere with a car in Wallingford. This is a popular option for most residents here.
Gas Works Park
This is an extremely popular park in Seattle, known for its industrial plant that is now a play area for kids (don’t worry, it’s safe). This park has lush green hills, amazing downtown views, and it’s perfect for a picnic. It is worth noting that since this is a popular park, so it will be crowded on the weekend.
One activity I love doing whenever I come here is watching the float planes take off. This is the perfect park to go to on a sunny day since it has positive vibes.
Another popular park in Wallingford is the Wallingford Playfield. If you like tennis or basketball, this park has courts for both of those sports. There’s also a playground for the kids, with swings, merry-go-rounds, slides, and more.
Wallingford Fun Facts
Now that you have some general information about Wallingford let’s cover a couple of fun facts.
Depending on the boundaries used for the neighborhood, you’ll find anywhere from about 12,000 to 20,000 residents in Wallingford (the difference comes from how much area to include in the neighborhood borders). At the high end of population estimates, Wallingford makes up around 2.5% of Seattle’s population. Most of the people here are 25-40, meaning that people here are generally younger people.
Tons of Festivals
If you love festivals, then you’ll love some of the activities found in this neighborhood like the Great Wallingford Wurst Festival, which has german food, beer, and live music. Additionally, the Gas Works Park is the perfect location to celebrate the 4th of July.
Harry and the Hendersons Was Shot Here
The classic movie Harry and the Hendersons was shot in Wallingford between North 42nd and 43rd Streets. This comedy movie is a great family-friendly movie about Bigfoot in Seattle.