Interestingly, the area that is now downtown Kirkland was actually the last to be developed. The towns of Houghton to the south and Juanita to the north were settled first, and Mr. Peter Kirk, a British steel tycoon, decided that he wanted to make his own industrial town, hoping it would become “the Pittsburg of the West,” and named it, obviously, Kirkland. Due to several opposing forces, his plan never took off. Instead, Kirkland became known for its wool mill, its shipbuilders, and its ferry system. Eventually, Houghton, Juanita, and other surrounding communities like Rose Hill and Finn Hill were annexed into the city, which made it one of the largest suburbs in the area.
With its lakefront beaches and boulevards and an up-and-coming downtown area, Kirkland is a fun and vibrant place to live. Despite its large size, the community gets together for many events and outreach projects, making the place seem safe and like one big family. Many businesses, restaurants, parks, and other attractions have moved in to entertain and amuse Kirkland’s active residents.
Activities and Attractions
The area around Central Way makes up the primary business district in Kirkland. This is where high quality stores, like Sur la Table, a world-renowned kitchen store, and Herban Wellness, an all-natural health market that offers classes, have chosen to set up shop. There is no shortage of day spas or hair and nail salons, either. For food, the French Bakery has a mouth-watering menu of pastries, breads, and desserts. If you’re out to dine at the waterfront, try The Slip for no-nonsense burgers, or Anthony’s Homeport for a fancier occasion.
Farther north, the Juanita neighborhood also has a lot to offer, the most obvious being the waterfront attractions. Juanita Beach Park has a swimming area and dock, beach volleyball and horseshoe pits, and of course a playground and ball fields. Juanita Bay Park is more outdoorsy, with trails and wetland observation opportunities. As with downtown Kirkland, Juanita also has many shops, restaurants, and spas, including Café Juanita, a fancy Italian place, Oto Sushi, which comes highly recommended, and Urban Coffee Lounge, which embodies the vibe of Kirkland all on its own.
The Kirkland Performance Center is a venue that features symphonic shows, concerts, plays, films, and on and on. If you’d rather get creative yourself, try Palettes and Pairings, where you can sip wines while taking a painting class from their experienced art instructors.
Homes in Kirkland
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In the land north of Bellevue lies the city of Kirkland, once called the “hub of the eastside” because of its ferry system that transported residents and visitors to and from Seattle. Although the ferries are long gone, Kirkland is still popular for commuters and those who like the quieter atmosphere of the east side.