by AMBER CAMPBELL, editor, Rainier Valley Post

[Ed. Note: Cross-posted at RVP.  We know you’re looking for excuses to ride Link, so here’s something for you to do.  Previously: the Mt. Baker Walking Tour.]

clockColumbia City – a historic community tracing back to 1889 – was a separate city until Seattle annexed it in 1907. Now it’s the gem of the Rainier Valley with improvements that have given the district a turn-of-the-century look while creating even more hometown appeal.

For the station hugger, Rainier Vista neighbor and Seattle Transit Blog editor Martin Duke recommends the pan-Asian fast-food joint Maki & Yaki – just one-third of a mile north of the the Columbia City station on Martin Luther King Jr. Way. “It’s really inexpensive with a broad selection,” he said.

Indeed, Maki & Yaki serves teriyaki (beef, chicken and pork), sweet & sour chicken and pork, short ribs, some seafood plates and assorted sushi rolls, all in a bright, clean setting for less than $10 a plate.

Meanwhile, the urban explorer will want to head two long blocks east on South Edmunds Street from the station to the historic Columbia City business district on Rainier Avenue South, which boasts an eclectic mix of retailers, restaurants and entertainment options.

More after the jump.

If you go on a Wednesday afternoon between 3 and 7 pm, you’ll run smack dab into the Columbia City Farmers Market held from May through October at Columbia Plaza on Rainier Avenue South (known to many locals as “RAS”) and South Edmunds, where you’ll find lots of lovely local produce, awesome African crafts and some way-overpriced ice cream that – if you have children in tow – will be an aggravatingly unavoidable purchase.

islandsoulentranceBack on Restaurant Row on RAS, even the most discriminating foodie will be overwhelmed with the bounty of choices available, including authentic Caribbean, Ethiopian, Halal, Sicilian, Mexican, BBQ, Neapolitan, French-inspired, Filipino-American and more. Some of your RVP’s personal choices include Island Soul Caribbean Cuisine (an RVP sponsor), Roy’s BBQ and Full Tilt Ice Cream.

galleryAfter all that food, you’ll definitely need a walk, and who better to guide you than the Rainier Valley Historical Society with its Historic Walking Tour of 37 different historic sites and buildings? Go here to download the printable map, which includes everything from Columbia Library to the old mill, barber shop, confectionery and more. Hesitant to go home empty-handed? There’s plenty of great shopping to be had in Columbia City, choose from real buffalo from Bob’s Meat (serving the community for three generations), fun fashions and gifts from Gather or Andaluz and local art from Columbia City Gallery, an artist-run cooperative gallery showing the work of member artists.

Music lovers will enjoy BeatWalk, one of the most diverse and unique music events in Seattle. For a small cover, several different venues, including restaurants and retailers, feature high-quality performances of blues, pop, rock, jazz and world music selections.

Photos/do communications, inc.

9 Replies to “Columbia City Station Guide”

  1. “…way over-priced ice cream.” Have you HAD Full Tilt ice cream yet? There’s a reason for that price. It’s the best adult flavored (with kid friendly flavors) I’ve ever had. They are also located in White Center sadly with no train access but within a reasonable distance from my abode. Methinks you have made me think about heading there for some ice cream tonight…

  2. @Al: We at the RVP love Full Tilt Ice Cream so much that we want to marry it, and think it’s actually very reasonably priced (no, they are not an RVP advertiser). The overpriced ice cream we’re referring to comes not from FT, but the truck that parks next to Columbia City farmers market on Wednesday afternoons. They’re like twice the price of FT, with a captive audience of parents just trying to chat and get a break while the kids play. Problem is, as soon as one weak-willed parent gives in, everyone else starts to feel the pressure of sad-eyed kids who “want one to.” I’m sort of hoping FT starts a revolution. Maybe one day one of those parents will stand up and just say “NO” to the overpriced truck, and walk up the street to make a FT run for everyone else…

  3. I LOVE Columbia City! When somebody says, “I want to try out Link, but I don’t have a reason”, I direct them to CC. More specifically, I direct them to Geraldine’s Counter or Island Soul for an awesome meal. Also, Columbia City Bakery is LEGIT! My mom who grew up in that area calls CC the “hood that could”…

  4. I’ve noticed two, possibly three bbq joints when exploring CC via Link. Anyone who can recommend one over the other(s)? Thanks…

    1. Roy’s is supposed to be highly regarded, though I haven’t been there yet–but having just gotten back minutes ago from a BBQ dinner in Greenville, SC I can tell you without question that mustard-based sauce is a) amazingly good, and b) from South Carolina, NOT Georgia! :) It’s about all they have going for them and I see no need to take that away from them for the alliterative “Georgia Gold.” It’s the state sauce here, and found as a native sauce only here and in small parts of north Georgia (Squidbilly land if you ever have seen the show on Adult Swim). Sorry Roy’s–I’ll have a friendly word with you when I get home and get a chance to ride Link down to Columbia City!

      Seriously, though, I am very happy to see that variety of sauce get a toehold in Seattle and am definitely looking forward to trying it. Full Tilt goes without saying….

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