Across Elliott Bay you can see the entire Seattle skyline, it’s best when approaching from a ferry, but you can get this view from Harbor Ave SW in West Seattle.
If you are visiting Seattle and want to stay near a beach then West Seattle is for you. However a few warnings are in order.
I love the old beach houses along Alki Beach but many are disappearing as new high rise condos go in. On the weekends during good weather days the cars are cruisin’ Harbor Ave SW and Alki Ave SW, it can take awhile in bumper to bumper traffic to get from the West Seattle Bridge to the restaurants on the west end of Alki. If you stay in an Airbnb in the Alki Beach area parking can be a problem, sometimes a parking spot comes with your rental–be sure to ask. There is a definite party vibe to this area but realize that the commute into Seattle can take a half hour or more on some days.
But it could be a fun experience and it’s the only place you can stay where the homes feel like a little beach community. Just a lot of driving back and forth to Seattle.
There are other Airbnb locations “up top” in West Seattle with city views or closer to the businesses near the Junction (Alaska and California street intersection) you still have to drive into Seattle but it’s easier than being down on Alki on a busy weekend day. And all along the far west side of West Seattle there are cute, quieter neighborhoods with beach access too.
Plan a bike ride or walk in West Seattle
If you don’t stay in West Seattle plan a bike ride or walk there. Lots of Sound, beach, mountain views, and people watching.
Here’s the best way:
From Hwy 99 take the West Seattle Bridge exit and staying in the right lane take the Harbor Ave SW exit turning right on Harbor Ave SW (there is a bike rental place on the corner).
Park your car along Harbor Ave SW and start walking/biking north and then west on Alki Ave SW. This then turns into Beach Drive SW to take you along the entire west side of West Seattle. If you are on a bike you can travel all the way to Lincoln Park where there is an outdoor salt water pool that’s open during the summer and a big park full of huge trees. You can also ride your bike all the way to the ferry dock that serves Vashon Island and Southworth. (this whole route is shown in blue on the map above)
Water Taxi from Downtown to West Seattle
Alki Beach West Seattle Restaurants
Salty’s–the deck is pictured above–this is the place to sit on the deck for a full Seattle skyline view while you breathe in the salt air. Gluten free items are noted on the menu.
Cactus–gluten free menu. I enjoyed my food more at the Madison Park location but this one has outdoor seating that opens at 12:30pm.
Dukes–the owner has a daughter with gluten intolerance so they have a GF menu, let them know you are sensitive to gluten.
Blue Moon Burgers–see notes above in Ballard section .
Near the Junction West Seattle Restaurants
Chaco Canyon–a gluten free menu full of healthy food, with several locations.
Jak’s Grill–featuring aged, corn-fed Nebraska beef. We have heard it’s good but we didn’t have a reservation and couldn’t get in. They also have a good brunch. The menu states that those with food sensitivities inform the wait staff, I am sure they can accommodate you.
Cupcake Royale–see notes above in Ballard section.
Every Sunday, yearround 10am-2pm
Seattle has a lot of “gluten free” people– so restaurants understand the diet to some degree– but to clarify your risk of possible cross contamination you should ask questions because every place seems to have their own definition. We have successfully dined at most of these places without issue, those we haven’t tried are so noted.