Ah, Matthews Beach! A neighborhood within a neighborhood. At the southern end of Lake City, this residential area is home to one of North Seattle’s most popular lakeside hangouts as well as some pretty swanky houses.
We can all thank the Lake Washington Ship Canal project for this whole neighborhood; without it, the area would still be a wetland. We can also thank John G. Matthews for homesteading here and loaning his name. Finally, the Northern Pacific Railway deserves a shout-out for becoming the Burke-Gilman trail, which wiggles its way up along the waterfront amongst houses and trees.
You can tell that the people who live here have a respect for nature. Houses are tucked into the shade of giant old evergreen trees and the Burke-Gilman is woodsier than in other parts of the city. Just south of the beach, the natural habitat has been restored to be friendlier to native plants and animals. And while the residential area is a bit secluded, it isn’t far to Lake City Way or Northgate where more of the action lies.
Activities and Attractions
I bet I don’t even have to tell you what the main attraction here is. I’ll give you a hint: it shares its name with the neighborhood. That’s right, Matthews Beach! On those rare hot and sunny days in Seattle, this beach is packed with sunbathers and swimmers, and an ice cream truck is always passing through. It doesn’t even have to be hot – check out the park every New Year’s Day for the Polar Bear Plunge where thrill seekers don creative costumes and kick off the new year right. The Burke-Gilman trail swings right through the park; take it north to admire the lakefront houses, south to get more of a nature feel.
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