Kirkland, Washington, is known for its tree-lined streets, waterfront parks, and spectacular views of the Seattle skyline and the Olympic Mountains. It is located on Lake Washington, just across the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge from Seattle. In 2006, the population of Kirkland was estimated at approximately 46,000 by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The lakefront is the heart of Kirkland. The shore is filled with wildlife, recreational opportunities, beaches, and expensive condos. Shorebirds, eagles, and beavers can be spotted along the coast, while kayakers, sailboaters, and windsurfers play in the water.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Kirkland was settled in the late 1800s and incorporated in 1905. Wool milling and shipbuilding drove the early economy. During World War II, Kirkland's Lake Washington Shipyard built numerous ships for the U.S. Navy. Traditionally, Kirkland has also been a transportation hub for the area, with ferries to Seattle running daily until the Floating Bridge opened in 1940.
Today, Kirkland's economy is centered on a mix of small businesses, corporate headquarters, high-tech companies, and light industrial businesses. Several high-tech companies call Kirkland home or have offices in the city. The video game developer Bungie Studios is headquartered in Kirkland, and Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon.com all have offices in town.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
More than a century of annexing neighboring communities has left Kirkland with several distinct neighborhoods. They include:
- Houghton, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city. Residents are generally well-educated and wealthy.
- Firloch, a neighborhood of single-family homes that runs along the east side of Interstate 405. Residents are a mix of young singles, families, and senior citizens.
- Juanita, a neighborhood of mostly apartment buildings and some single-family homes. It is near Juanita Bay Park and is home to many young professionals.
- Downtown Kirkland, where small, individually-owned businesses line the streets of the only waterfront downtown on Seattle's Eastside. Shops include unique clothing boutiques, upscale art galleries, stylish furniture stores, and relaxing spas. Lakeside restaurants offer dinner with beautiful sunset views, while sidewalk cafés provide ample opportunity for people-watching. There is also a seasonal farmers market.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Kirkland's homegrown arts scene has a sophisticated feel. The city's art galleries and centers offer painting and pottery classes but also routinely attract major exhibitions that feature prominent artists.
- Kirkland Performance Center: This 402-seat theater hosts a wide variety of performances, including classical music, jazz, dramas, musicals, and comedies.
- International Ballet Theatre: IBT was founded in 2001 with the goal of bringing classical dance to the Kirkland area.
- Studio East: This studio houses the StoryBook Theater, a children's theater that presents musical versions of classic fairy tales and is also home to a training center for children in the performing arts.
Kirkland is a city of parks. When the city was settled, its founders had the forethought to leave much of the waterfront open to the public. Today, its city parks are recognized as some of the best in the Seattle area. Some of the more popular parks include:
- David E. Brink Park: This quiet park offers landscaped grounds, a fishing dock, picnic tables, and an outdoor sculpture area.
- Houghton Beach Park: This waterfront park includes a swimming beach, a boat and kayak launch area, walking and jogging trails, a volleyball court, and a playground.
- Juanita Bay Park: Full of wildlife such as birds, beavers, frogs, and turtles, this park is home to the annual Osprey Celebration. Visitors can go walking or jogging on the park's trails and boardwalks and enjoy beautiful views of Forbes Creek Wetland, Juanita Bay, and Juanita Beach.
- Marina Park: This downtown park features a sandy beach and an open-air pavilion. It offers great views of Seattle and Lake Washington and is the setting of many of Kirkland's annual events, such as Kirkland Uncorked, Summerfest, and the Fourth of July Celebration.
From small children learning to play soccer to professional football players fine-tuning their skills, Kirkland offers a wide range of sports-related activities.
- Junior Softball World Series: This tournament for 13- and 14-year-old softball players was launched in 1999. It is run by Little League, Inc., the organization that oversees the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania.
- Kirkland Kodiaks: This amateur baseball team has a passionate following in Kirkland. Home games are played at Peter Kirk Park.
- Seattle Seahawks Training Facilities: Until 2008, the National Football League's Seahawks came to Kirkwood every summer to get ready for the season at their training fields and headquarters. In 2008, the team moved to a new facility just 15 miles away in Renton, Washington.
Kirkland is served by the Kirkland Reporter newspaper and is part of the Seattle-Tacoma television market. Major television stations are:
- KOMO, Channel 4 (ABC)
- KING, Channel 5 (NBC)
- KIRO, Channel 7 (CBS)
- KCTS, Channel 9 (PBS)
- KSTW, Channel 11 (CW)
- KCPQ, Channel 13 (FOX)