Although Kirkland is a wonderful place to live year around, it is at its most glorious on warm summer days. Thanks to the heat and the sun, people come from all over Greater Seattle to enjoy the pretty downtown and easily-accessible lakeside parks. It’s the time of year when residents count their blessings, because the best of Eastside and lakeside living is not a drive or headache away; it is a short walk from their front door.
On these summer days, the waterfront parks are full of sunbathers and amateur fishermen. Music floats on the breeze as paddle boarders make their way slowly around the shore. There are activities from sunup to sundown for those who want to be active, and coffee, ice cream, and even a gourmet meal are only a few steps from the water. Neighbors and strangers mix and mingle, all brought together by the unique downtown area, the strong sense of community, and the easy accessibility of the area.
Kirkland is the only Eastside downtown with frontage along Lake Washington’s shores. But the city is not just unique; it is also full of amazing amenities that impress even the most urban of its visitors. Charming restaurants are interspersed alongside of fine art galleries, a 400-seat performing arts center, fabulous boutiques, and a stately collection of public art. It’s a thriving area, always busy with pedestrians enjoying the best of what the city has to offer.
Attendance at many of the community events is high because it’s so easy to get around in Kirkland. It’s not just the downtown that’s incredibly walkable; the local neighborhoods are some of the most appealing for heading out on foot. In fact, The Wall Street Journal recently reported that according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Kirkland is one of the top 10 most walkable suburbs in the U.S. This is in part because the city has a history of progressive transportation initiatives. In 2006, Kirkland was the first city in Washington to adopt a Complete Street Ordinance, whereby pedestrian and bicycle facilities were addressed as part of all road construction and improvement planning projects.
Because of its easy local accessibility and proximity to Interstate 405, Kirkland is also a wonderful jumping-off point for adventures around the Greater Seattle Area. Seattle is only 12 miles away, or 20 minutes by car. While many Kirkland residents work in Seattle, it is also popular for its many attractions, including the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. Woodinville is only 8 miles north of Kirkland, or 13 minutes by car. Its 70 local wineries provide some of the region’s best wine and entertainment. And for the ultimate in urban sophistication, Bellevue is a short 7 miles south of Kirkland, or 12 minutes by car. With premier shopping, an incredible art museum, and a world-famous Botanical Garden, it is the perfect complement to smaller Kirkland.