A Local’s Guide to the Best Things to Do When Visiting Issaquah
Issaquah, Washington is located 15 miles outside of Seattle, just west on the I-90, but it seems so much farther away (and not just because it can take awhile to get there from Seattle during rush hour!). Issaquah is nestled against the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range and many of the things to do in Issaquah are centered around nature. This booming city has more than just flora and fauna to entice people there, though.
Read on for my top recommendations on things to do in this favorite Pacific Northwest city of mine and why it’s worth visiting when you’re in the Seattle area.
Visit the Friends of Issaquah Salmon Hatchery
In downtown Issaquah, right off of Front Street, is the Friends of Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. This place is hopping (and jumping, if you’re the salmon) in October when the salmon run is happening and the fish are coming up Issaquah Creek to spawn, but it’s interesting to walk around anytime.
I took my dad here when he visited in May and now he is determined to come back in October one year so he can attend the Salmon Days Festival that Issaquah holds every year.
The Salmon Hatchery has informational boards up year round, and depending on the season you may see fish in certain holding tanks.
Go Hiking in Issaquah
Issaquah is known for being one of the best hiking places in the greater Seattle area. It’s home to Tiger Mountain, Cougar Mountain, and the excellent Poo Poo Point Trail — that’s fun to say, but even better to do the challenging hike to the top of a high peak with incredible views of the surrounding scenery.
Drink and Dine in Old Town Issaquah
Old Town Issaquah is a charming slice of Issaquah that takes up several blocks off of Front Street and Sunset Boulevard. It’s home to wine tasting rooms, delicious restaurants ranging from gastropubs (such as Levitate) to steak houses (try Jack’s Grill) to authentic Italian cuisine (love Montalcino’s) to new fusion cuisine hot spots (like Krawbar).
Take a Photo in Front of the Old Gas Station
Also in Old Town is an old yellow gas station. It’s not actually pumping up gas these days, but it’s a fun place to walk around and take a picture of the old-timey decor. It’s close to the main park in downtown Issaquah, where you can see an old rail car, too.
Craving some chocolate? Head to Boehm’s Candies in old Issaquah for a tour or just to pick up a bag of your favorite kind of chocolate. The building the factory is housed in is fun, too, since it looks like a Bavarian lodge.
Shop in Gilman Village
Gilman Village is home to two of my favorite stores: Lucky Home and Lucky You. If I’m on the Eastside and need a gift for someone, I know that these two stores will likely be able to help me out. Gilman Village is also home to an independent toy store, several clothing boutiques, a popular coffee shop, and an assortment of delicious restaurants. Try the Egg and Us for breakfast or Flat Iron Grill for dinner. Black Duck is a great place for date night since kids aren’t allowed.