Whether you’ve just moved here or you’ve been a native for a while and love to explore your own backyard, I’ve collected a list of some of the best hidden gems and secret spots on and around Mercer Island.


Groveland Beach

Take the steep descent from the parking lot to this beautiful hidden beachfront Park. There’s a playground with slides and the climbing wall, musical instruments and green space and if you keep wandering down the path you’ll find a beautiful lawn with a sandy beach just perfect for digging, wading in the water, or splashing around.

How to get here: SE. 58th St. and 80th Ave., Southeast – there is free parking available on the lot and there is a bus stop on West Mercer Way a couple of blocks from the park entrance.

Franklin Landing

Franklin Landing

Located at the end of a narrow street lined with beautiful estates, gated driveways, and mansions you’ll find Franklin Landing. This peaceful little park offers a bench and lounge chairs with a miniature Cove just big enough for a couple of people or a small family. This private little beautiful spot offers stunning views of Puget Sound but don’t tell your friends, coast there’s really only room enough for two.

How to get here: this park is located at 78 Avenue Southeast and SE. 42nd St. in Mercer Heights

Island Books

Island Books

In business since 1973, this beautiful little bookstore is a great place for families and children. Everything inside the store has been hand-selected including cards, games, locally-made treats, toys, gifts, and of course, fantastic books. This shopper wraps your presence with a bow and ships them for free anywhere in the United States.

How to get here: this shop is located at 3014 78th Ave. SE.

Fruitland Landing

Fruitland Landing

This unassuming little strip is located on Mercer Island’s North end at the end of 97th Ave., Southeast. There’s limited street parking but if you have a kayak, paddleboard, or small boat you can launch directly from the end of the road. It’s not quite a park but it does have beautiful views and a quiet and serene setting.

How to get here: at the corner of Southeast a 34th St. and 97th Ave., Southeast head north to Lake Washington.

Mercer Steps

Day Hike Mercerdale Hillside

If you are up for a walk, the Mercerdale Hillside Stair Walk is a good 2-mile track. It’s easy with an 830-foot elevation gain. This walk has 522 steps up and 329 steps down and you can stop at the coffee shop at the end. There’s plenty of parking at the start and public restrooms at the bottom of the first set of stairs. You can often find bald eagles and their nest as well as raccoon tracks and hummingbirds.

How to get here: start at the intersection of SE. 32nd St. and 74th Ave., SE

Thai Food

Pon Proem Thai Food

Since 1993, this unique Thai restaurant offers a no-frills storefront with amazing Southeast Asian fair and vegetarian dishes. This extremely unassuming strip mall location just north of Mercerdale Park has some of the best Thai food in the city. They feature reasonable prices and fast service making it perfect for a lazy, midweek dining experience. Check out their barbecue beef or seafood curry for intense flavors and yummy sauces.

How to get here: this Thai restaurant is located at 303 978 Avenue Southeast

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Clarke & Clarke Art + Artifacts

For over 35 years, owners Jim and Ginny Clarke have traveled the world in pursuit of unique treasures to enhance your home or collection. They feature one-of-a-kind arts and crafts from Japan, China, Himalayas, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Africa. They tout that they offer art and objects of art that will make a difference in your life.

How to get here: Clarke & Clarke is located at 7605 SE. 27th St.

oh! Chocolate

Oh! Chocolate

This hidden gem features sunshine and suites year-round with three generations in their family offering fantastic chocolate since 1985. They feature summer chocolate classes for kids, frozen treats for hot summer days, luxury gift boxes, wedding favors, and a selection of truffles, five, and delicious chocolate.

How to get here: This sweet treat is located at 2703 76 Avenue Southeast.

Images by Visitors via Google Maps