Georgetown, Seattle-16

I’ve been to Seattle numerous times, however I had yet to explore Georgetown, a compact, revamped former industrial part of the city about five miles south of downtown (a 15-minute taxi, Lyft or Uber ride, depending on traffic).

On a recent trip to cover the Museum of Flight’s iconic 50th anniversary exhibit celebrating the Apollo 11 mission, I did just that. In fact, Georgetown is pretty close to this amazing museum, one that just happens to be one of the largest air and space museums in the world.

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But back to Georgetown. Back in the early 1900’s, it existed as its own city, annexed by Seattle ahead of prohibition.

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[Georgetown: Home to Fantagraphics]

The small city of 4,000 residents thought ahead and decided to incorporate, knowing that its neighbour would likely adopt local Prohibition, meaning Georgetown’s saloons and breweries could otherwise be seriously impacted in the dry years ahead.

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During Prohibition, Georgetown was a pretty popular place, offering betting at its horse-racing track, 24-hour saloons (some with lodging) and a place to live it up “in sin”.

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Seattle eventually rejected Prohibition and in April, 1910, it was officially annexed. Since the 1990’s, Georgetown has gained popularity with its fill of restaurants, galleries and cafés, so here in no particular order, are several things to check out while here.

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Georgetown Art Attack

Georgetown Art Attack happens on the second Saturday of each month from 6 to 9 pm, opening all its galleries to the public along Airport Way (between S. Lucille and S. Bailey Streets). There’s often special events taking place during that evening; shops and restaurants remain open to add to a fun night of art discovery.

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There’s even a free Art Ride bus sponsored by Equinox Studios offering transportation up and down Airport Way (operating every 15 minutes from 6 to 9:30 pm; look for Art Ride bus stops).

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Trailer Park Mall

If you’re here on the weekend, don’t miss Georgetown Trailer Park Mall, a collection of vintage trailers filled with one-of-a-kind pop-up shops, mini art galleries, clothing stores, makers and collectors.

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This membership-based, sustainable initiative promotes locally-sourced, up-cycled and handmade goods, with a low entry cost for its members to help keep them going within the trailer community. Bonus: they’re open late for Art Attack (see above)!

Georgetown Trailer Park Mall Georgetown Trailer Park Mall

Regular hours of operation are Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm and Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm.

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Breweries

Craft beer lovers will want to stick around Georgetown; after all, its history as a great hop-growing region in nearby Duwamish Valley made it the sixth largest beer producing district in the world back in the 1880’s. Rainier Brewing Company’s “R” logo (still in use today) has become an icon of both the brewery and Seattle, dating back to the 1900’s.

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Easily recognizable by the tall brick smoke stack, Machine House Brewery (5840 Airport Way) is set in Rainier Brewery’s old home, with open seating and cool vintage glass. They specialize in small-batch, English style cask ales.

Georgetown, Seattle Georgetown, Seattle-12

Georgetown Brewery (5200 Denver Avenue just off Airport Way) crafts some pretty cool brews. They’re of course best known for Manny’s Pale Ale (found around pubs and restaurants around town), but you can taste what’s on tap (or get a growler filled) even though they don’t have a brewpub on site.

Quirky art outside Fonda La Catrina
[Quirky art outside Fonda La Catrina]

Restaurants and Cafés

Along Airport Way (and off a few side streets) are several eateries and cafes, from Mexican cantina style dining to Thai and sushi spots. I lunched at the very popular Fonda La Catrina (5905 Airport Way South), finding a table on their colourful heated patio.

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For a coffee and taste of gourmet chocolate, stop in at Fran’s Chocolates across the street from Fonda La Catrina. In contrast to their busy downtown location, the Georgetown space is ideal for getting some work done with a coffee at the counter close to those gorgeous, decadent chocolates.

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This landmark 1882 Rainier Brewery and Claussen-Sweeney Brewing Company building (known collectively as Seattle Brewing and Malting Co.) is beautifully restored with a lovely iron circular staircase near the front entrance.

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There’s also a window in back for a behind-the-scenes look at their chocolate production.

Make sure to try one of their all-time best-sellers before leaving: salted caramels! Fran Bigelow began crafting these 20 years ago; throughout the years, Frans has become a destination for chocolate lovers.

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Historic Architecture

Georgetown’s main architectural gems can be found along Airport Way. Former warehouses are home to bars, restaurants, cafés, pubs and other retail delights, beautifully combining the old with the new. Many buildings have retained their original details and glass.

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Take the time to explore and appreciate this revitalized hood.

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Galleries and Studios

Mostly clustered on or near Airport Way, Georgetown’s studios and galleries are worth exploring, especially if you’re not able to get to the weekend Art Attack.

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[Arts and Cultural Center exterior]

About 20 local artists display their works at the Georgetown Arts and Cultural Center (5809 1/2 Airport Way South), as well as teach art classes, offer printmaking sessions — and remain open for Art Attack.

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