Escape to the tropics by way of a Hawaiian bakery in Georgetown, then explore a neighborhood dotted with quirky garden art, plus a Godzilla-sized cowboy hat and boots.
Taste-travel to Japan in Interbay then burn off the calories with a stroll along Elliott Bay, or line up for croissants and sprouted rye near the Fremont Troll — either way, a neighborhood walk combined with a bakery stop ticks all the boxes for a close-to-home COVID-19 escape.
Bakeries open early, and sell coffee to-go. Parks and walking paths are quiet and uncrowded in the morning, perfect for a breakfast picnic and brisk walk alone or with a friend.
Here are three of my favorite bakery-walk combos around Seattle:
The bakery: Cakes of Paradise; 6322 Sixth Ave. S., Seattle; 206-763-1151; cakesofparadisebakery.com; Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
This family-run Hawaiian bakery closed for a month in mid-March when COVID-19 hit, then reopened in April, selling its tropical treats from a walk-up window under a Seahawks canopy.
Lining the cases inside are rows of Long Johns, a traditional Hawaiian crispy doughnut with a custard filling; nine types of cookies; and slices of the shop’s bestselling strawberry cake topped with homemade guava sauce.
“We weren’t sure if we would be busy,” says Pualani Kani-Sims, one of the owners. “But we discovered that people really want their comfort sweets during this time.”
The walk: My husband and I found a sun break on a recent rainy Saturday to enjoy our Long Johns and coffee at nearby Oxbow Park, site of the giant Hats n’ Boots sculpture relocated here from a Western-style gas station in Georgetown.
Picnic on the seats under the cowboy hat, 44 feet wide, then explore the neighborhood featured on the annual Georgetown Garden Walk.
This year’s walk has been canceled, but a stroll along Carleton and Flora avenues turns up well-tended gardens and some funky yard art.
Notice the kinetic mobile pieced together from foil, tin cans and old bicycle parts in the median at Carleton and South Warsaw Street. At the corner of South Eddy Street and Ellis Avenue South, a fake frog hooked up to a motion sensor croaks as you walk by. Heading back toward the park, view the restored historical Gessner mansion at 6420 Carleton Ave. S. The brass marker notes it was once a rooming house, a brothel and home to a ghost named Sara.
The bakery: Sea Wolf Bakers; 3621 Stone Way N., Seattle; 206-457-4181; seawolfbakers.com; open daily 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
Brothers Jesse and Kit Schumann loved the idea of having a space where customers could watch their bakers work, but when COVID-19 hit, they shifted into farmers-market mode, selling their breads, croissants, plant starts and pantry products from an open-air tent next door.
“We shifted everything outside and turned the bakery over to the bakers,” says Jesse Schumann. Customers wait patiently in line as bakers ferry croissants, muffins and baguettes from the ovens onto rolling pastry racks. Recommended are the cinnamon rolls made with croissant dough and the salt and sesame lye rolls.
The walk: Explore the neighborhood that calls itself the Center of the Universe. Start by walking west on North 36th Street to the Fremont Troll, under the Aurora Bridge.
Take a picture of the concrete creature crushing a Volkswagen Beetle in his hand. From there, head south on Troll Avenue North and west on North 35th Street past the Fremont Library to the tiny A.B. Ernst Park via a stairway down to North 34th Street.
Walk west past the Fremont Bridge and then south on Evanston Avenue North to the Quadrant Lake Union Center. A plaza with stone sculptures and wavy concrete steps leads to a paved path along the Lake Washington Ship Canal.
Enjoy the views here, or walk east to where the path connects to the Burke-Gilman Trail with waterside benches and picnic tables.
Interbay (Queen Anne/Magnolia)
The bakery: Fuji Bakery; 1030 Elliott Ave. W., Seattle; 206-216-3616; fujibakeryinc.com; open daily 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
Painted bright pink and strung with white lights, this Japanese bakery with a French twist sits across the street from Expedia’s new headquarters on the Seattle waterfront.
Lining its cases are trays of elegant and colorful sweet and savory treats including crunchy creams, its signature brioche doughnut — coated with cornflakes and filled with vanilla custard — fresh pear croissants, and Portuguese malasadas oozing with ube, a purple sweet potato filling.
The walk: Cross Elliott Avenue and walk over the pedestrian bridge to Centennial Park, with paved paths, picnic tables, benches and views of the ferries and fireboats plying Elliott Bay.
Walk north and see the improvements Expedia made to the park, or walk south past a rose garden, beach areas and the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park.