I’m an urban introvert: Being alone in public is its own kind of safe space. Inspired by the traditional Korean bathhouse—or jjimjilbang—Lynnwood’s Q Sauna & Spa offers that in the form of a quiet self-care moment. A day pass grants access to gender-separated baths and communal, mineral-themed saunas. Book a professional full-body scrub-down and leave with baby-soft skin. The in-house restaurant that serves comforting Korean specialties will make it particularly hard to want to leave this suburban bubble.
👯 With friends? Try our planner: A Night Out With Friends in Lynnwood’s K-Town. In addition to a trip to Q Sauna and Spa, that one recommends you try some karaoke and eat at Modoo.
😎 Flying solo? Read on! We’re stopping at a gorgeous park before spending a long, relaxing afternoon at the spa.
📸: Courtesy Snohomish County Government
Confession: Sometimes I listen to oceanic playlists to wind down at night. In my experience, a visit to the beach has equally grounding daytime results.
Start this solo date outside. Pack a portable breakfast and head to Picnic Point Park. Linger as you cross the railroad overpass for a big, dreamy view of the Olympic Mountains and Whidbey Island. Set yourself up at a picnic table, or take a short walk along the sandy shoreline. Optional, but highly suggested beach tools: journals, blankets, podcasts.
For a longer walk: Hike down to Meadowdale Beach Park. This lush, forested trail is 2.5 miles roundtrip. The walk down is easy, but you’ll get toasty going back up the ravine. Bring good shoes, it can get muddy!
📍Picnic Point Park
7231 Picnic Point Rd, Edmonds
Open Daily: 7 am – 5 pm
📸: Courtesy Q Sauna & Spa
If this is your first time at a Korean spa, you should know that swimwear is not allowed in bathing areas. You’ll be nude with other patrons of the same gender. Photographer Kanin Kim does a good job of capturing how (un)remarkable this everyday practice is in his recent series, Private Affairs in a Public Bathhouse. For me, the experience of public bathing serves to desexualize nakedness and normalize how our bodies change over time. I noticed a diversity of body ages, shapes, and sizes, which made me feel comfortable in my skin. I’m waiting for the day someone opens a non-binary Korean spa to bring this feeling into the 21st century.
Walk-in day passes are $40, or $20 if you book a service ahead of time. When you check in, you’ll get a locker key, two towels, and a comfy uniform for co-ed common areas: pink and yellow cotton t-shirts and shorts. If a companion would make you feel more comfortable, bring your chillest friend or an equally independent partner-in-crime: This is a quiet spa. In common areas, I spotted couples of all ages, lots of solo women, a handful of sweet friend duos, and one sleepy older gentleman in legs-up-the-wall pose.
📍Q Sauna and Spa
17420 Hwy 99, Lynnwood
Mondays – Thursdays: 9 am – 10 pm
Fridays – Sundays: 9 am — 11 pm
📸: Courtesy Q Sauna & Spa
You’ll enter the baths via the locker rooms. There is a large coffee table and sitting chairs in the center of the women’s locker room and a mini version of the 109-degree Jade Room. Rinse off in the communal showers before you proceed to the pools! I like to start in the mugwort steam room to hydrate my skin, then migrate to the wooden dry sauna to sweat it out a little bit. If you’d rather get straight into the water, there are three pools to choose from: a large hot pool, a smaller hot whirlpool, and my personal favorite: a 60-degree cold plunge pool. Rinse off at the mugwort herbal well for a straight Vitamin E skin boost.
As for the scrubs: I always book a body scrub when I go to Korean spas. Feeling layers of dead skin sloughed off in pills is the closest I’ve come to feeling born again. You’ll need to arrive early enough to soak in the hot pools for 20-30 minutes before your appointment. Your esthetician will set you up on a rubberized bathing table adjacent to the pools, then guide you through an aggressive, vaguely parental scrub down that includes a massage and hair wash. Even Eva Mendes swears by the same bath mitts used to administer these treatments. For extra-happy skin, spring for one of the packages that include a moisturizing treatment.
Women’s Basic Scrub: 40 mins, $75 + $20 day pass.
Men’s Basic Scrub: 30 mins, $65 + $20 day pass.
📸: Courtesy Q Sauna & Spa
When you’re good, wear your uniform and migrate to the dimly lit, mineral-rich hot rooms. Sweating in a sauna has numerous health benefits, but I most appreciate the opportunity to tune out the outside world and find my breath again. Find the best temperature for you, and drink lots of water!
Jade Room – 109 degrees. This widely symbolic stone supposedly promotes balance and calms the soul. In that sense, I could see how it would support healthy blood circulation.
Yellow Clay Room – 128 degrees. Enjoy the magic-adjacent healing properties of Korean yellow clay, which naturally emits infrared rays to penetrate layers of skin for deep pain relief.
Charcoal Room –134 degrees. Known for its natural toxin-absorbing properties. Lay in this room to clear bad energy, or when starting a no-drink month.
Rock Salt Room – 136 degrees. The minerals in this salt accelerate your metabolism, relieve allergy symptoms, and soothe fatigue.
Snow Room – 60 degrees. A sudden temperature change puts you in touch with your body, and the quick cool down allows you to comfortably use the saunas for longer.
Lounges – When you’re ready for a break, grab a mat and blanket and stretch upstairs or downstairs. I spotted more than one person napping or thumbing through magazines.
📸: Courtesy LUMI Dessert Cafe
So you’re headed to your car, pink from a shower and wrapped in a soft sweatshirt, a little high off your solo vibes. You pause at the door. If you’re not ready to go home and want to gift yourself one more treat, go eat bingsu at LUMI Dessert Cafe. Every snowy spoonful of this Korean shaved ice dissipates in your mouth on contact. The Biscoff-esque biscuits in (mini size!) Banana Crumble hit my sweet tooth. Drizzle with the shot of condensed milk served on the side.
Pro tip: Post-spa self-care is just as crucial as your spa visit. Silence your notifications for the rest of the day. Drink lots of water to rehydrate. Pick a psychedelic playlist to carry you into the evening.
📍LUMI Dessert Cafe
4713 168th St SW #101, Lynnwood
Sundays — Thursdays: 11 am — 9:30 pm
Fridays + Saturdays: 11 am — 10 pm