The Sleepy Little Beach Town Wakes Up
Carol Banks Weber
Welcome to Edmonds, Snohomish County’s very own City by the Bay, aka Puget Sound. The oldest incorporated city in the county, and third most populated, Edmonds has truly come a long way from the logging town George Brackett founded in the late 1800s.
Long before he staked his claim in 1876, the Coast Salish Native Peoples fished and foraged along the waterfront in the summer. Brackett — a devout believer in “Manifest Destiny” — cleared the marshlands for logging, pushed for the town’s incorporation, succeeded, and became its first mayor 14 years later.
Nestled in its own corner of Snohomish County, overlooking Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains to the West, Edmonds today embodies small town charm with metropolitan flair — a kind of cool, self-sustaining resort. The town is home to a staggering array of artisan economies, one-of-a-kind shops, beloved haunts, trendy hot spots, art galleries and museums, an historic theater, world-class performing arts center, and legit nightlife.
Last year, the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) designated downtown Edmonds the state’s first Certified Creative District.
“We’re excited to be Washington State’s first designated Creative District — a notable and well-earned distinction for us, as Edmonds has a long and storied arts and culture scene,” says Patrick Doherty, Economic Director of Edmonds.
Former long-time resident/retired music educator Frank DeMiero lived and breathed this arts and culture scene through his own preeminent vocal jazz festival, going on 44 years.
“You’re gonna find a whole world of happenings in the Snohomish County area. The jazz festival happens to be one, and it brings in a lot of people to the community,” DeMiero says. “They come from all over. So when a group comes from Texas, it’s not just a singing group, it’s an entourage of people that comes with them, and they make it their go-to-place [in the future].”
- Art Walk Edmonds happens every third Thursday every month.
- First Dibs, Nov. 21.
- The Holiday Trolley and Santa.
- Olympic Ballet Theatre’s “Nutcracker,” Dec. 13-23.
- The list goes on and on… All within easy walking distance, 40 square blocks worth.
The fountain roundabout at the intersection of 5th Ave. and Main St. — the heart of walkable downtown Edmonds — connects visitors and residents to streets of gold, continuing to the waterfront.
Barkada on 622 5th Ave. S is a favorite go-to for the young, hip, and adventurous. Chef Brian “Mad Dog” Madayag puts his own spin on Filipino, Hawaiian, and Northwest food for a palette-pleasing fusion explosion. Info: 425-670-2222.
You can always smell sugar and spice wafting from Edmonds Bakery, a staple in the community since 1927, and a stone’s throw from the roundabout (418 Main St., 425-778-6811). Longtime baker and current owner Ken Bellingham whips up wedding cakes, chocolate eclairs, whimsical donuts (blueberry, my god!), cookies, and a lot more.
The MAR•KET | fishmonger & eatery on 3148, 508 Main St. is the Pike Place Market of Edmonds. The mini-fishmarket/café opened on June 13, 2018, with a takeout counter, walk-up window, 10 bar seats, and more seating outside. Their luscious scrambled eggs, tucked inside a roll from Essential Baking Co. — with or without buttery shrimp — can’t be beat. The MAR•KET is a popular hang, open everyday till 9 p.m.
You go to Salt & Iron, a “comfortable” sit-down restaurant, to see, be seen, and dive into spectacular American Northwest fare. Forget the first two; just dig in. The menu comes straight out of a dream: award-winning chowder, beef bone marrow, chilled carrot soup, fresh, local oysters, steak served alongside next-level sides. Reservations: 425-361-1112, 3135, 321 Main St. Open Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-11 p.m., and Sun. 9 a.m.-10 p.m., plus weekend brunch. ✦
Edmonds Ferry and Fountain Roundabout photo: Janine Harles