The Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle is located at the top of a steep hill just east of Downtown. It is densely populated and a popular area for nightlife, restaurants, and shopping. You’ll know you’re there because of the rainbow-painted sidewalks year-round, and welcoming environment.
The culture of Capitol Hill is one of acceptance, inclusivity, and activism. Capitol Hill became a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community during the mid-20th century. This area in Seattle was the birthplace of many LQBTQ+ and other activist groups. Just days after the stonewall riots in 1969, the Dorian House was opened. This operated as a hub for gay youth outreach. This prompted the beginning of many similar organizations and outreach programs alike.
Even in recent years, Capitol Hill has served as a hub of activism. In June 2020, thousands of protestors took to the streets to protest police brutality after a video surfaced of the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minnesota police. There the autonomous zone, known as “CHAZ” and “CHOP” was started as an organized protest and occupied nearly six city blocks.
This area is home to some of the city’s most vibrant nightlife. There are bars, restaurants, live music venues, and more! The Unicorn is a carnival-themed bar located in the heart of capitol hill. Often described as a must-see location, they have a fun menu and different events/activities on most nights. Also located in Capitol hill is Wildrose. It is the oldest lesbian bar on the west coast, and one of only about 16 lesbian bars in the country. Another neighborhood favorite is Queer/Bar. This bar is known for its events, like Rupaul’s Drag Race watch parties, and “Queerarokie”. They have a pretty full calendar of events on their website.
There is some dispute regarding how Capitol hill got its name. In the early 1900’s it was referred to as “broadway hill”. This is because of the area’s main street – Broadway. Between the early 1900s and the 1980’s it was known as “Catholic Hill”. This was due to the large number of Roman Catholic residents. It is stated that James A. Moore, a real estate developer, named it “Capitol Hill” in hopes that the Washington State Capitol would move from Olympia, Wa to Seattle.
While we may never know the true origin of where Capitol Hill got its name, we do know one thing for sure. Capitol Hill is a safe space for many marginalized communities and will welcome you with open arms.