Although I am an unabashed supporter of my beloved South End - Seward Park, Cabaret, Tutta Bella, La Medusa - last night was the first time that we went out as a family and did the Columbia City Beat Walk. I nearly cried with the incredible neighborhood energy and pride. $5 gets you into nearly a dozen venues, each of which has live music of all sorts, and great browsing through galleries, book stores, pubs and great funky little boutiques. Columbia City is really coming into it's own. As a resident and general fan of the neighborhood, even I was surprised and thrilled to see all the other "young" families with little kids, all of whom were wonderfully friendly and chatty. No sign of the Seattle Freeze here! But there were people of all ages there, and even a fairly large set of clearly single folks doing the "night out with the girls" thing. Although we ended up going home early - using our 8 year-old as the excuse - it was clear that the bars stay open late, cabaret was happening, the fabulous Ethiopian restaurant was jamming 'til the wee hours.... It was great. I highly recommend that anyone wanting to shake up their scene a little bit try to find your way down to this gem of a neighborhood on the First Friday of every month and get into the Beat of the Columbia City Beat Walk!