Hidden among the auto dealerships and scrap yards in North Lynnwood is a flourishing Koreatown that supports the local Korean community. With nearby Mukilteo and Mill Creek having the first and second largest per capita concentrations of Koreans in the state and North Lynnwood being the third, the area is home to restaurants, dessert cafes, grocery stores, spas, and Korean language-only businesses.
I’ve done a combination of the following activities either with another friend or solo, but I recommend this as more of a group night out, as all of these are more communal activities. It definitely requires a car with some backtracking, but everything is within about 1.5 miles of each other.
😎 Flying solo? Try our planner: A Solo Spa Date in Lynnwood. In addition to a trip to Q Sauna and Spa, that one offers a quiet moment at a beach. Get back in your body!
👯 With friends? Read on. Today we’re starting at Q Sauna before eating at Modoo and trying out an excellent karaoke spot with zero internet presence (that’s how you know it’s good).
Give yourself at least two hours and start at the co-ed Q Sauna & Spa. With a $40 entrance fee and no limit on how long you can stay, I’ve found that a four-hour visit is a more comfortable timeframe.
With its roots in Buddhist cleansing practices, contemporary jimjilbang (Korean bathhouses) tend to feature a similar array of spa and sauna amenities. You and your companions will be given a uniform of shorts and a t-shirt for the shared dry area and a locker in the sex-segregrated wet area.
In the dry area, make the rounds through various temperature saunas—the Charcoal, Jade, Yellow Clay, Mineral Rock Salt Rooms—and intersperse it with visits to the Ice Room, where you might find yourself swapping stories about the walk-in freezers of restaurant days past. There are chill-out areas with massage chairs and places to lounge or nap.
The wet area features three different plunge baths ranging from ice cold to body temperature to hot jacuzzi; a steam room sauna; and two dry saunas. This is also where you can get any number of scrub, wrap, and moisturizing services. I recommend the basic exfoliating full body scrub ($75 plus a discounted $20 entrance fee), and if you’ve never had one, don’t be alarmed by the gray chunks of skin that litter the table between rinses. Prepare to feel like a baby seal after.
📍Q Sauna and Spa
17420 Hwy 99, Lynnwood
Mondays – Thursdays: 9 am – 10 pm
Fridays – Sundays: 9 am — 11 pm
Stop in next door at G Mart for a replenishing electrolyte drink and salty snacks while you browse the aisles. Part of the H Mart superstore family but not as heavily trafficked as other locations, you can also pick up a 20 pound bag of rice, grab some harder to find mushrooms, or stock up on one of 16 different hot peppers from jalapeños to Thai green and red peppers. You’ll also find gallon containers of kimchi, a huge selection of sake, and Pocky and Hello Panda snacks. And if you enjoyed being scrubbed down like a dirty pot and want to try it at home, G Mart carries a selection of exfoliating towels and mitts. There’s also a kitchenware section, where you can pick up a pizza slice shaped Tupperware container.
17424 Hwy 99, Lynnwood
Mondays — Sundays: 8 am — 9 pm
I have yet to go to Modoo Korean Restaurant when it isn’t hopping but don’t let that dissuade you. If you have a planner in your group, they do take reservations Tuesday through Thursday but not Friday and Saturday. The service is fast and efficient, with all the wait staff monitoring the tables to an almost stealth degree—I dropped a chopstick and within moments, a fresh set was slid on the table.
Barley tea is served when you are seated followed by banchan, an assortment of small dishes. Modoo’s banchan includes properly spicy kimchi, rape weed (spinach), cabbage, stir fried fish cake, sweet potato leaf, and what you might think of as onion but is actually thinly sliced radish.
During my last trip, even though the rice didn’t end up as crispy as I like it, I appreciated the waiter making sure I was ordering the Stone Pot Bibimbap instead of just the straight Bibimbap. The Seafood Pancake is delish and I have it on good authority that the Army Pot and Tofu Stews are the best in the area. While Korean food is very meat heavy, there are a handful of vegan options on the menu including a pancake and the bibimbap.
18601 Hwy 99 #100, Lynnwood
Tuesdays — Saturdays: 11 am — 3 pm, 4 — 9 pm
Sundays + Mondays closed
If you don’t feel like piling back into your car, you can pop in at Cafe Tokki adjacent to Modoo. However, I recommend giving yourself a few minutes of digestion as you cruise up to LUMI Dessert Cafe. LUMI has an extensive menu of Bingsu—milk-based shaved ice topped with fruit and other items—plus Golden Toast and Egg Waffle desserts.
The Choco Brownie and Berrylicious are their most popular flavors—I tried the Choco Brownie but wish I’d gone with the Injeolmi Bingsu: milk-snow topped with red bean paste, soybean powder and injeolmi (Korean rice cakes) and toasted almonds. Serving sizes are Regular which is a four-person sharing size, Single which can actually serve two, and Mini which is more than enough for one. Prepare to wait for these individually handcrafted creations and while it may seem like too much when the tower of sweetness arrives, the delicacy of the milk ice makes for a light dessert.
📍LUMI Dessert Cafe
4713 168th St SW #101, Lynnwood
Sundays — Thursdays: 11 am — 9:30 pm
Fridays + Saturdays: 11 am — 10 pm
Okay so maybe you’re not totally spent but are fully rejuvenated and ready to keep the party going. If that’s the case then it’s time to circle back because tucked behind Modoo is Eunia Plaza, home to insurance offices and medical care and Big Bang Karaoke. A 21 and over club with private rooms, most song selections are in Korean and English but they also have songs in Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Filipino. There’s no website, just vibes but the hours below are what’s posted on the door. Rooms are $25/hour and no outside food or beverages are allowed.
📍Big Bang Karaoke
18623 Hwy 99, Lynnwood
Mondays — Saturdays: 7 pm — 2 am
Sundays: 5 pm — 12 am