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Any Seattle 'Hoods Where Lack of Parking Keeps You Away?

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This has been happening to me far too often lately. I made the mistake last night of trying to find parking near Pine & Broadway on Capitol Hill. Circled several blocks repeatedly, for >15 minutes. Ultimately decided it's not worth it and left. It's easier to park in San Francisco than on the Hill.

Ballard is getting almost as bad. Lack of parking anywhere near Old Ballard Avenue is actually keeping me from going to some great places.

Anyone else for whom lack of parking is a Chowkiller?

Aloha,
Kaleo

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  1. The ID, obviously. If you're a normal person and want to eat at, y'know, mealtimes, it's a joke. I gave up on weekend Dim Sum or good Chinese BBQ 20 years ago unless I wanted to park many blocks away from the decent places.

    It just isn't worth the hassle.

    8 Replies
    1. re: acgold7

      I don't know the street but it runs under the freeway and we've found onstreet parking there. But we go for dim sum no later than 9.

      1. re: c oliver

        The only reason I still go to the ID for dim sum is that House of Hong provides parking (with the nicest attendant you could ever ask for).

        1. re: kaleokahu

          We walk past it after parking on the street on our way to Jade Garden (our fave in SEA).

          1. re: c oliver

            Ancient Chinese secret: If you play your mahjong tiles right, you can park at Hong and *eat* at JG.

            I just detest being sardined in JG's lobby, but the dim sum is better there. The experience there is far better if someone in your party speaks Cantonese or better yet is a regular Cantonese customer.

            Aloha,
            Kaleo

            1. re: kaleokahu

              Since we're there no later than 9, we've never had to wait. And because I'm such a suck-up :) we get great service!

              1. re: c oliver

                Hi, coliver: "And because I'm such a suck-up :) we get great service!"

                Actually, IME almost no gwai lo gets great service at JG. And they certainly don't get the choicest dim sum. I've been there by myself and with a Cantonese restaurateur client who eats there several times a week, and there is no comparison.

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  Maybe you're just not as handsome as I am beautiful :) But really JG would definitely be in my top five for service. Again, it could be also because we're there earlier than many. They're almost full but no one is waiting for a table.

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Actually I can personally attest that speaking Cantonese doesn't improve the service all that much...

      2. Lower Queen Anne and Belltown are getting worse and worse.

        I'll say though, that while parking might affect my eating decisions, I don't know that it makes anything a "Chowkiller". That is, I can usually find appropriate times to get to a place/neighborhood that makes it tolerable.

        (except Cap Hill. There is never parking around Cap Hill)

        1. For me, Ballard is the most painful. Pestle Rock is one of my favorite restaurants in town, but every time I go, I find it taking me longer and longer to find a space that is an ever increasing distance away.

          1. None, because I've started using UberX when going to parking-deficient neighborhoods to eat.

            4 Replies
            1. re: sweetpotater

              Hi, sweetpotater:

              This is a rideshare (unregulated taxi) service?

              Aloha,
              Kaleo

              1. re: kaleokahu

                Not technically rideshare but yes, alternative to traditional cab companies. $8.64 yesterday to Matt's in the Market for lunch from my house atop QA; $10.68 home from Mamnoon in Capitol Hill. To keep this food-focused, I know there are mixed feelings about Mamnoon, but this was my second meal there and I haven't yet had a bite I didn't love.

                1. re: sweetpotater

                  Hi, sweetpotater:

                  Have you eaten at Cafe Munir? If so what's your opinion of how its fare compares to Mamnoon's food?

                  Aloha,
                  Kaleo

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    I have. I liked it but like Mamnoon better. I can't recall my Cafe Munir meal enough to remember why, but I didn't feel like I needed to go back.

            2. I seem to usually get lucky with neighborhood free parking, but paying for street parking until 8pm downtown keeps me away from there.

              1. South Lake Union and West Seattle are both becoming PITA's.

                4 Replies
                1. re: firecracker

                  West Seattle? It's ALL free parking there, with several free lots at the Junction.
                  Or do you mean Alki?

                  1. re: jlbwendt

                    I meant West Seattle, around the Junction. There may be a free parking lot behind Maharaja and Jak's Grill, but it's a schlep, down stairs and halfway around the block. For someone who's mobility-impaired, those lots really don't help.

                    1. re: MsMaryMc

                      There are three more. Behind Great Harvest/Key Bank. Behind the Beer Junction/Vain. Behind Bakery Nouveau. And those last two have walk-throughs to California Ave.

                      1. re: jlbwendt

                        And those would work fine for somebody with no significant mobility impairments. But like I said...my husband can't walk that far.

                        I don't expect the whole world to have a parking lot and a disabled parking space right by the front door. But the question was asked: "Any Seattle 'hoods where lack of parking keeps you away?" And my answer is, yes, quite a few.

                2. God yes. Capitol Hill, Belltown, Fremont, Wallingford, Queen Anne, parts of Ballard and West Seattle...

                  My husband is disabled. He uses a walker but still can't walk long distances. His disabled parking permit doesn't help when there's just no place to park. There are so many places we'd like to try, but they're just not accessible for us.

                  1. we have learned (I hope) as americans that tipping has to be included as a required cost in any restaurant meal so it may become necessary to grow toward the new york experience of absorbing transportation as part of the experience as well. there are paid parking lots, busses (so déclassé!), share rides and other methods. if you give up a good meal because you have no place to leave your car, then the car has become more important than the meal. just call a cab and have one less cocktail.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: howard 1st

                      As someone who does not own a car (so déclassé!) the lack of easy bus access keeps me out of Madison Park for one, and by that I really mean it keeps me from spending all my time at The Attic, and I think I've only been to Magnolia a handful of times in my 8 years here.

                    2. I stopped stressing about this a long time ago. Trying to park close to a restaurant in Ballard, Capitol Hill, or Wallingford is impossible. I just skip the nearby parking and find a spot blocks away and walk. I figure the exercise allows me to eat more. If I'm pressed for time or its pouring rain, I just pay to park in a lot. It's unnecessary aggravation to expect convenient, free street parking.

                      1. Somehow this thread seems to have taken a sharp detour into a discussion about FREE parking, which neither the OP nor most of the earlier replies have cited as the issue.

                        I'm more than happy to pay for parking if it is available. Which it usually isn't -- the places I've given up on have lots that are jammed full whenever I've been in the area.

                        Having spent more than my share of time in the nightmares that are NY and SF when it comes to parking, and spending more to park the car than on dinner, I've become numb to parking fees. All I want is a damned spot -- preferably one bigger than one for a SmartCar.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: acgold7

                          Coming into the city from East of Woodinville I'm also very aware of what dining areas are difficult for parking - and no, I don't want to take the bus or light rail. I've been lucky in Ballard and can usually find a space within a couple of blocks of the restaurants, but have also found a parking lot less than a block from Staple & Fancy and Walrus & Carpenter that has always had spaces. There is also a lot at the church near Spinasse, Anchovies & Olives, etc that usually has a lot of space.

                        2. There are some really good online parking tools for the city of Seattle (just Google it). Whenever I am planning to visit a parking-challenged neighborhood address, I plug it into one of these sites. That will allow me to compare rates and locations at nearby lots. When I arrive, I will usually circle a time or two to see if I can find cheaper/closer on-street parking and then (if not) I go to the back-up I have already identified online.

                          My most recent use was for a restaurant close in to the Ballard strip discussed by kaleo. We came up with covered parking (nice wide spaces) in a private lot for $1 an hour, less than a block away.

                          Downtown and Capitol Hill are higher, of course, but the private parking rates vary a lot, and you can save a bunch all over town if you check rates online first. There is a lot of relatively cheap private parking in the ID.

                          1. Kaleo, your taste buds are relying on you to outsmart the dang parking dilemma. I hope you don't let finding a spot for your wheels to hang out be the boss of your dining pleasure - we love reading your reviews.

                            By definition, popular destinations in most cities, including ours, require strategizing to park a car. Go early. Go late. Use a parking app as acgold7 suggests. Decide ahead of time you will park 3 blocks, 6 blocks, 1 mile, etc away from your destination, park, and enjoy the journey to tasty eats. Treat yourself to a couple of nights at the new(er) Ballard Hotel, and walk to breakfast, lunch and dinner.

                            Or, perhaps we need a new thread about Seattle's chow worthy dining that has EZ parking?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Olympia Jane

                              Hi, Jane:

                              Thanks for the encouragement, compliment and suggestions.

                              Like a lot of folks, if I really want to eat somewhere specific, I find a way. For example, I can walk from Magnolia across the locks to the Stalinist Condolopolis f/k/a Ballard in less time than it usually takes to drive there, find parking and make it to a resto (typically walking 3-5 blocks each way anyway, even if I drive).

                              But to be honest, when it comes down to two equally appealing choices, one with big-problem parking and another with no-problem parking, I'm likely to take the easy way out. The value and population densities which drive these parking shortages are in the process of biting the local resto trade in the ass, even if they haven't felt it yet.

                              IMO, the City has done little to help, and the urban planning and development permit processes it controls are largely to blame, IMO.

                              The day I have to book a stay at a hotel in Ballard to *eat* there will be the day I say goodbye to Ballard for good. I lived there for 17 years, but it's now a fundamentally different--and lesser--place.

                              Aloha,
                              Kaleo

                            2. I'm surprised to hear that so many folks have trouble in Ballard. I don't. Even, say, on a Saturday night, I always find a spot on Market St.

                              I was in upper Fremont last Friday night and had the worst time finding parking in memory. I was shocked at how bad that neighborhood has gotten. I don't have issues during the day (ie when I stop in to Eyes on Fremont to get my glasses adjusted) but on a weekend night...yikes.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: christy319

                                Hi, Christy:

                                I thought I was safe trying Old Ballard Avenue on a Tuesday afternoon at 2. Circled 4 blocks before snatching a spot someone was just leaving. I saw 2 other drivers throw out the anchor when they saw my predecessor pulling out--quite the feeding frenzy.

                                Aloha,
                                Kaleo

                              2. No, but then we're car-less. Bus or Link or feet generally does the trick, or we Car2Go or Zipcar it. When we do drive, we've generally found parking to be much easier than expected, even in CH. But we aren't picky about proximity, and are happy to park blocks away.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                  I try not to generalize but I tend to think that "city folk" are already accustomed to a lot of walking and think little of it but those in the suburbs already drive almost everywhere so are less inclined to walk a half dozen blocks after parking.