Even as downtown Seattle goes increasingly sleek, bohemia lives on in Georgetown.
Wedged between railroad tracks and Boeing Field
, where 737 jets get painted and tested for flight, this blue-collar manufacturing hub dates to 1851 (the city’s oldest residential zone).
In recent years, its old breweries and metal foundries have been transformed by a tight-knit community of “eccentric artists and general oddballs,” says Martin Imbach of Georgetown Records
Try not to duck as landing planes roar over this brunch favorite at the edge of Boeing Field, in a cozy red house also selling local artwork. Pair the Hangar Crepe with an apple-ginger mimosa in a mason jar.
Hat ‘n’ Boots, Georgetown’s most famous roadside landmark (Photograph by Michael Chinnavaso, Flickr)
Hat ’n’ Boots
Locals rescued this 44-foot-wide cowboy hat and 22-foot-tall pair of boots, patented in 1956 as ornamentation for a gas station. Neighborhood lore claims Elvis filled his Cadillac’s tank here while filming 1963’s It Happened at the World’s Fair
. Today the colorful sculptures rise over Oxbow Park.
The indie comics imprint offers alternative titles and graphic novels from celebrated local artists like Peter Bagge, who chronicled the early ’90s grunge music movement in Buddy Does Seattle. The adjacent record shop stocks collectible vinyl, from jazz and military marches to grunge classics like Soundgarden’s 1994 breakthrough Superunknown.
Before a 1916 upstart now known as Boeing made Seattle the Jet City, Boeing Field was the site of Meadows Racetrack. This high-ceilinged venue sheltered the horses that ran there. These days it’s a trove exhibiting Seattle memorabilia, such as Boozo, a six-foot-tall mechanical clown that’s a fixture at local events.
The Georgetown Trailer Park Mall (Photograph by Curtis Cronn, Flickr)
Georgetown Trailer Park Mall
A parked caravan of trailers from the 1950s and ’60s, including a genuine aluminum Airstream, creates a quirky outdoor market. Finds range from 1970s caftans and grunge-era flannel shirts to handmade leather shoes.
This space primes visitors on the art scene emanating from Airport Way South, a runway of studios and art schools inside historic redbrick buildings (including the brewery that produced Seattle’s famed Rainier Beer until Prohibition). Resident painters, sculptors, and jewelry makers open shop the second Saturday each month for Art Attack, and by appointment.
Chef Matthew Dillon shops farmers markets to source his gourmet menu (slowly poached rabbit, marinated mussels, peach leaf ice cream). On weekends, diners gather around long tables for communal multicourse meals such as Sunday’s “simple family supper” ($60 with wine).
This piece, written by Karen Carmichael, appeared in the June/July 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.