September 19

Back to School

From cooking classes to sailing lessons, South Lake Union offers plenty of ways to open your mind and broaden your skills.

As we slide into the period of shorter days, seasonal lattes, shiny school supplies and cozy sweaters, there’s a hopeful air of transition swirling in our midst. Good news: Back-to-school excitement has no age limit, and topics extend far beyond the ordinary subject matters.

It only makes sense that South Lake Union—Seattle’s epicenter of innovation—offers an abundance of options for sating one’s curiosity.

Anchors Aweigh

On the edge of the lake, The Center for Wooden Boats (1010 Valley St; holds classes on topics ranging from woodworking to maritime essentials. During a week-long workshop, get guided through the construction of a Chesapeake Light Craft kit boat, or take an intensive, multi-week course that prepares you for a lifetime of sailing vessels on your own. Depending on the time you’re able and willing to commit, take to the water to speedily refine your racing and navigating skills, or earn your US Sailing Basic Keelboat certification—a worthwhile commitment that allows you to blissfully cruise Puget Sound.

Get Focused

Shutterbugs flock to Glazer’s Camera (811 Republican St; for classes that better familiarize them with their equipment, as well as informative sessions that pass along wisdom on styles ranging from landscape and portrait to (how au courant!) food photography.

Kitchen Sync

Want to spice things up in the kitchen? Hipcooks (217 Yale Ave N; provides hands-on courses for newbie and seasoned cooks alike, and limited class sizes allow for hands-on instruction that puts every guest at ease. Classes include fresh, organic (whenever possible) ingredients, all tools and supplies, and culminate in a dinner party where you’ll enjoy the meal you prepared along with a wine tasting. What better way to savor the fruit of one’s labor?

Scale Up

Since 1996, outdoor enthusiasts have gathered to shop, learn and hone their skills at the expansive REI flagship store (222 Yale Ave. N; in SLU. One of the its most popular features? A 65-foot-tall Pinnacle rock climbing wall, and relevant classes that help participants prepare for high-flying adventures.

Rock On

Seattle carries on its tradition of producing amazing musicians, thanks to Guitar Center (530 Westlake Ave.; classes that focus on instruments including bass guitar, drums, and keyboard. Alternatively, check the schedule to participate in a group Jam Night, or take advantage of open “office hours” when instructors are available for complimentary consultations.

Glass Act

The Puget Sound area has earned a reputation as the world center of glass art, thanks in part to the presence of the renowned Pilchuck Glass School (co-founded by Dale Chihuly) in Stanwood. Washington. But if you’re interested in trying out the craft, there’s an opportunity right on your doorstep. Seattle Glassblowing Studio (2227 Fifth Ave; offers options ranging from 15-minute workshops to six-week courses. Whichever you choose, you’ll create colorful keepsakes, such as paperweights, ornaments, and decorative bowls, to take home.


Story by Corinne Whiting and Photographs by Stuart Mullenberg, Amber Fouts, Pat Canova, and Seattle Glassblowing Studio.

At The Center

SLU is the geographical center of Seattle