Newcomer's Handbook Seattle

Neighborhoods

Seattle Area Counties

King County

King County is one of the largest counties in the United States, covering more than 2,200 square miles and serving nearly 2 million residents. The county stretches from Bothell and Shoreline in the north to Enumclaw in the south. Bordered by Puget Sound to the west, the county includes Vashon Island. The county’s eastern border abuts the Cedar and Green River watersheds, as well as the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Cities served by King County include, from north to south: Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Shoreline, Woodinville, Duvall, Skykomish, Redmond, Kirkland, Carnation, Bellevue, Seattle, Sammamish, Mercer Island, Snoqualmie, Issaquah, North Bend, Renton, Burien, Tukwila, Sea-Tac, Des Moines, Kent, Maple Valley, Federal Way, Black Diamond, Auburn, and Enumclaw.

Outside the cities, the county provides services to regions that lie in “unincorporated King County.” In addition to what is available to all county residents, like courts, public health, and property tax appraisals, the county may also provide additional local services, like land-use regulation, emergency management, and county parks.

County Executive
elected to a four-year term by county voters; King County Chinook Building, 401 5th Ave, Ste 800, Seattle, 206-296-4040, kingcounty.gov/exec
County Council
the Metropolitan King County Council consists of 9 members who represent geographic districts throughout the county; King County Courthouse, 516 3rd Ave, Rm 1200, Seattle, 206-296-1000, kingcounty.gov/council
County Maps, King County KCGIS Center
kingcounty.gov/operations/GIS/Maps
Government
King County Courthouse, 516 3rd Ave, Seattle, 206-296-0100, kingcounty.gov
Libraries
the King County Library System is the busiest library system in the United States, with 22.4 million items checked out. The system includes 46 libraries and a traveling library center; 960 Newport Way NW, Issaquah, 425-369-3200, kcls.org
Sheriff
King County Sheriff’s Office, 516 3rd Ave, Room W-150, Seattle, 206-296-4155, kingcounty.gov/safety/sheriff
Online
kingcounty.gov

Kitsap County

Kitsap County is located on Kitsap Peninsula, across the Puget Sound from Seattle. One of the state’s smallest counties, it is bordered by Hood Canal on the west, Puget Sound on the east, and Mason and Pierce counties to the south. The county seat is located in the town of Port Orchard. The city of Bremerton, home of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, has been undergoing a revitalization of its waterfront and downtown core and is becoming a more attractive option for those who work in Seattle but find Seattle home prices too expensive. It’s a 60-minute ferry ride between Bremerton and Colman Dock on the Seattle waterfront, but many commuters take advantage of passenger-only ferries.

Bainbridge Island is only a 35-minute ride to Seattle and continues to be home to many commuters.

County Board of Commissioners
one commissioner is elected from each of three districts; 614 Division St, Port Orchard, 360-337-7146, kitsapgov.com/boc
County Clerk
an elected official who serves as the county’s administrative and financial officer; 614 Division St, MS-34, Port Orchard, 360-337-7164, kitsapgov.com/clerk
Government
614 Division St, Port Orchard, 360-337-5777, kitsapgov.com
Libraries
the Kitsap Regional Library System includes nine community branches, a bookmobile and outreach services; 1301 Sylvan Way, Bremerton, 360-405-9119, krl.org
Sheriff
Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, 614 Division St, MS-37, Port Orchard, 360-337-7101, kitsapgov.com/sheriff
Online
kitsapgov.com

Pierce County

South of King County is Pierce County, a region of 1,790 square miles with a population of about 815,000. The county’s primary city is Tacoma. The northern border of Pierce County is located just south of Federal Way, and a bit north of Tacoma, about a 40-minute drive from Seattle midday or in the evening, and well over an hour during rush hour. For that reason, few commuters make the trek from Tacoma to Seattle each day, although more Seattleites have moved to Pierce County in recent years as they seek lower home prices.

Outside of Tacoma, Pierce County is a mix of rural communities and new housing developments. The county is also home to the largest military installation on the West Coast of the United States: Joint Base Lewis-McChord (a 2010 amalgamation of Fort Lewis Army Base and McChord Air Base), which consists of 415,000 acres that house and/or employ over 100,000 soldiers and civilians.

County Council
consists of seven members who are elected in their respective districts; 930 Tacoma Ave S, Rm 1046, Tacoma, 253-798-7777, co.pierce.wa.us
County Executive
elected official serves as the chief executive officer of the county; 930 Tacoma Ave S, Rm 737, Tacoma, 253-798-7477, co.pierce.wa.us
Government
930 Tacoma Ave S, Tacoma, 253-798-7272, co.pierce.wa.us
Libraries
the Pierce County Library System includes 17 neighborhood branches and three bookmobiles; 3005 112th St E, Tacoma, 253-536-6500, piercecountylibrary.org
Sheriff
930 Tacoma Ave S, Tacoma, 253-798-7530, co.pierce.wa.us
Online
co.pierce.wa.us

Snohomish County

Snohomish County is located north of King County. It covers just over 2,000 square miles and borders the Puget Sound to the west, Chelan County to the east, and Skagit County to the north. At its southern boundary is Bothell, which straddles the border of King and Snohomish counties. Other Snohomish County cities are Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, and Everett, which has served as the county seat since 1897.

Between 2000 and 2010, Snohomish County grew by about 17%, to over 704,000 residents. By the year 2025 it is expected that the county will have grown by 49%, adding nearly 350,000 new residents.

County Council
the five members of the council are elected to four-year terms; 3000 Rockefeller, Everett, 425-388-3494, co.snohomish.wa.us/departments/council
County Executive
elected to a four-year term; 3000 Rockefeller, Everett, 425-388-3460, co.snohomish.wa.us/departments/executive
Government
3000 Rockefeller, Everett, 425-388-3411, co.snohomish.wa.us
Libraries
the Sno-Isle Regional Library System serves more than half a million residents in Snohomish and Island counties through 22 community libraries, outreach vans and a bookmobile; 7312 35th Ave NE, Marysville, 360-651-7000, sno-isle.org
Sheriff
the Snohomish County Sheriff is elected to a four-year term; 3000 Rockefeller, Everett, 425-388-3393, sheriff.snoco.org
Online
co.snohomish.wa.us

Seattle Neighborhoods

As with many large and growing U.S. cities, most of Seattle’s neighborhoods began as small communities located outside the city limits. As Seattle expanded over the years, the city annexed many of these small mill towns and commerce centers. While the old village names survive as neighborhood monikers, so do many of the original neighborhood names. A good example of this can be seen in Ballard, where residents may refer to their homes as being in Shilshole, North Beach, Sunset Hill, Blue Ridge, or Crown Hill, all of which are located in the larger neighborhood of Ballard.

Downtown Seattle

As you explore Seattle, you may notice certain repeating housing styles. Most Seattle neighborhoods have only gradually grown denser and more urban, so it is common to see several types of houses on a single residential city block. Victorians dating from the late 1800s, with their turreted front rooms and ornamented rooflines, are in most downtown neighborhoods, sitting alongside Craftsman-style bungalows, Tudors, Colonials, and Northwest Moderns.

Seattle City Map
City of Seattle

The Northwest Modern or “Classic Box” style of architecture is one of the most plentiful, introduced in Seattle around the turn of the 20th century and instantly popular with local architects and builders. Also known as the “Capitol Hill Box” because of the number of these houses in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, this style was still being built in Seattle as late as the 1940s. Classic Box houses are large two-story, four-square structures with symmetrical windows, front porches, hardwood floors, and high ceilings. The slope of the Classic Box roof starts above the entire square of the second story, so that the upstairs rooms are often the same in size and number as those below. Bungalows were introduced in Seattle in the early 1900s, appearing in the architectural pattern books that were a mainstay of local builders. In particular, the Arts-and-Crafts and Craftsman-style bungalows were popular in the city. Unlike the Classic Box, the bungalow is characterized by a sloped second-story roof, usually with one or two front gables and bracketed roof overhangs. These homes typically have three to four large bedrooms, oak or fir floors, and original built-in cabinetry.

Elaborate and symmetrical Colonials and Dutch Colonials, often referred to as “barn houses” for their distinctive shape, were built throughout Seattle in the decades between the two world wars. Tudors, recognizable for their steep roofs, arched doorways, and leaded windows, dot Seattle neighborhoods, as do simple Cape Cod cottages. Some north Seattle neighborhoods contain examples of the ranch house, also called ramblers. Built in the 1940s and 1950s and related to the Prairie School style created by Frank Lloyd Wright, these are sprawling single-story brick houses with giant picture windows. Olympic Manor, in the north end of Ballard, is built almost entirely in this style.

Seattleites are proud of where they live, a fact exemplified by the large number of community centers and organizations, neighborhood newspapers, and bustling corner coffee shops. Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods (206-684-0464, seattle.gov/neighborhoods) runs the neighborhood service centers (listed after each profile), and administers neighborhood matching funds for local projects. Community newspapers, usually free, provide valuable information about local issues, upcoming events, and activities. Every neighborhood in Seattle has at least one coffeehouse or espresso stand, which is often a good place to start your exploration of a particular area. See the neighborhood resources that follow each neighborhood profile for information about organizations, publications, post offices, nearest emergency hospitals, and public transportation routes. (Note: bus numbers are provided only for routes running through neighborhoods. Check with Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov, for specifics on route origins and final destinations, route maps, and a trip planner.)

Unlike many other major cities, Seattle’s neighborhoods do not have official borders. Those listed in this book reflect widely accepted neighborhood boundaries, many of which are guided by simple geography. For instance, many of Seattle’s neighborhoods sit atop a single hill, separated by a miniature “valley” from the next neighborhood. The following neighborhood profiles are only those located within the city limits. Other communities, such as Bellevue, Redmond, Everett, and Renton are not a part of the city, but may interest newcomers; you will find these and others profiled in the Surrounding Communities section.

Downtown

Boundaries: North: Denny Way, Mercer Street; West: Elliott Bay; South: South Royal Brougham Way, South Jackson Street; East: Interstate 5

Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square is perhaps the best-known and most historic of all districts in the Downtown area. Located near the site of Henry Yesler’s sawmill and the original “skid road” (now Yesler Way), Pioneer Square was quickly rebuilt after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 destroyed much of early Seattle. The Pioneer Building at 1st Avenue and James Street is one of the oldest buildings in Seattle, designed in 1889 by architect Elmer H. Fisher, at the request of Henry Yesler. Today, the brothels and gambling dens are long gone and Pioneer Square is a business and retail district. Small business offices are located in the upper floors of most of the old stone buildings. Oriental rug sellers, antique shops, sporting goods stores, sports bars, cafés, and art galleries fill the ground floor spaces.

Also home to a dynamic music scene, Pioneer Square’s bars fill nightly with music-lovers and party-goers. Many of Seattle’s influential bands have played in area clubs, such as the Central Saloon, Seattle’s oldest bar. The New Orleans Creole Restaurant features fine blues and jazz musicians, and hipsters dance the night away at the Ibiza or Trinity Nightclub. Joint cover is offered on the weekends for those who want to visit several bars in one evening. Fat Tuesday, Seattle’s Mardi Gras celebration, fills the district with revelers for a week of music and festivities (and occasional violent clashes). Pioneer Square is also a popular meeting place before Seattle sporting events.

Compared to other adjacent neighborhoods, housing opportunities in Pioneer Square are scarce. In 2008, only 1,200 apartments and condos existed in the neighborhood. Most of the apartment buildings in Pioneer Square are converted warehouses. While this is a busy, exciting part of the city, residentially speaking, it’s most appropriate for residents comfortable in a fast-paced urban environment. In the days of the Kingdome, before Safeco Field and CenturyLink (formerly Qwest) Field were built, this area was an inexpensive part of the city in which to live, and as a result several homeless shelters were placed here. Today, intermingled with expensive new developments and refurbished high-tech office spaces, these residences for the down-and-out remain. In less prosperous times, Pioneer Square was home to numerous artists’ residences and workspaces, but many artists were squeezed out by rising rents. In early 2000, the Washington Shoe Building, which once housed five floors of galleries and artists’ studios, closed its doors. The building has been transformed into an office block with a posh, top-floor penthouse. Many of the displaced residents moved south to Georgetown, but 50 artists and their families found homes in the Tashiro Kaplan Artists Lofts located on Prefontaine Place South. The two former commercial buildings were renovated as gallery and living spaces and completed in 2004. The 619 Western Building, another haven for artists, is not expected to survive the construction of the deep-bore tunnel that will replace the Alaska Way Viaduct.

West Edge

In September of 2001, the Downtown Seattle Association and then-Mayor Paul Schell christened the new West Edge neighborhood, an area bordered by Lenora Street to the north, Cherry Street to the south, Second Avenue to the east, and Western Avenue to the west. Essentially a marketing tool to attract more diners and shoppers, most residents continue to use more familiar downtown neighborhood names, like Pike Place and Harbor Steps, when referring to this general area.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Established in 1907, the Pike Place Market is Seattle’s most beloved Downtown landmark. City dwellers come here first with their out-of-town guests to see the fish-throwers at the seafood stands, sample teas at Market Spice, or listen to talented street musicians. Many Seattle residents frequent Pike Place weekly for fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, teas and coffees, and baked goods.

Local farmers who wanted to sell their produce without the involvement of middlemen organized the market. Gradually fish and meat were added to the available goods, then bakeries and cafés moved in, soon followed by folks selling jewelry, pottery, honey, flowers, kites, and coffees. Today, you can find just about anything at the Market, from the best local tomatoes and homemade jams to kitchenware and furniture. Many of these products are sold in shops in the blocks around the Market itself, or in the Corner Market Building, designed in 1912, and located at the corner of 1st Avenue and Pike Street. A few blocks south of Pike Place is the magnificent Seattle Art Museum with its notable “A Hammering Man” sculpture facing the waterfront.

Harbor Steps

A short stroll from Pike Place Market is Harbor Steps, one of Seattle’s newer neighborhoods and a perfect example of Downtown’s ongoing revitalization. Whereas many Seattle communities were named for their proximity to water (Green Lake, Eastlake), Harbor Steps was named for a wide outdoor staircase that climbs from Western Avenue, near the waterfront, to First Avenue at University Street. The Harbor Steps Apartments (www.harborsteps.com) opened in 1992 and now houses about 1,200 residents, with rents ranging from approximately $1,300 to $4,000+ per month. The complex’s four high-rise towers feature private balconies and expansive glass windows, offering residents sublime views of the city, Sound, and mountains. Harbor Steps earns a Walk Score of 94 out of 100, which means you can easily accomplish all your daily errands without the use of a car. Residents range from young singles to retired couples, empty nesters, and executives moving here from around the world. The small, upscale community is also home to Harbor Steps Park, the Inn at Harbor Steps, and a selection of upscale restaurants, boutiques, and galleries.

Belltown

Belltown

Located north of the Pike Place Market and centered around 2nd Avenue and Bell Street, Belltown is a part of the Denny Regrade, a section of Downtown created when Denny Hill was flattened in the early 1900s. The earth of the original steep bluff that stood in this area was carted off and dumped into Elliott Bay, creating part of what is now the Waterfront area. Like Pioneer Square, the Belltown district is a hub for Seattle’s nightlife and music scene. Twenty-somethings frequent the Venom nightclub on Western Avenue and the See Sound Lounge on Blanchard; jazz lovers can catch a show at Tula’s. The Moore Theater, on 2nd Avenue, is an historic concert hall designed in 1907 by Seattle architect Edwin W. Houghton that hosts a wide range of music and cultural events.

For most of the 1970s and 1980s, Belltown was best known for its wandering homeless, drug dealers, and panhandlers, but as 2000 approached, Sunset Magazine declared it the “newest belle of the ball,” and compared it to New York’s Upper West Side. While that comparison has proved premature, the neighborhood has seen dozens of new housing developments during the last ten years, as well as the opening of the Olympic Sculpture Park. What was formerly a 9-acre industrial site now attracts residents and tourists with gorgeous views of the Sound and the Olympic Mountains, as well as major sculptures by Alexander Calder, Richard Serra, and Claes Oldenburg. Building continues at a rapid pace as Belltown has become a hip neighborhood (reflected in rising rents), attractive to young professionals, and more housing units are under construction.

High-rise condominiums facing Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains can be found on 1st Avenue. These amenity-rich units (high-speed Internet access, parking garages, free cable, and fitness centers) command premium rents. Condos are also pricey in trendy Belltown. The Seattle Times reports that at the Ellington, a 312-unit complex at First Avenue and Broad Street, condo prices range from $230,000 to nearly $800,000. The units boast gas fireplaces and views of Downtown and Elliott Bay, while the complex includes a 24/7 concierge, wireless conference room, and other upscale perks.

Only a few blocks east there are more affordable studios and one-bedrooms in buildings dating from the early 1900s. North of Pike Place, there is an assortment of apartments and low-income housing units. Like much of Downtown, home and personal security issues may make Belltown an unsuitable choice for some newcomers. People interested in living Downtown should become familiar and comfortable with the area before choosing a home here. (See the end of this profile for more on safety concerns.)

Waterfront

Waterfront

The Seattle Waterfront, facing Elliott Bay and the craggy snow-capped Olympic Mountains, is another lively and exciting neighborhood in Downtown. Though one of the most touristy areas of Seattle, the Waterfront has many attractions for city residents, including a free bus route (99) linking the neighborhood to the downtown retail district, Pioneer Square, and the International District. Fine restaurants featuring fresh local seafood and superior views line the piers, as do many more casual eateries and several ice cream stands.

In previous years the city’s Downtown retail district has expanded, enticing shoppers back from the suburban malls. Seattle-based Nordstrom, still the dominant player in the Downtown shopping scene, occupies the spacious and remodeled former Frederick & Nelson building, and the posh Pacific Place mall currently houses upscale shops such as Michael Kors, Coach, L’Occitane, and Tiffany & Co. Nike Town and American Apparel added stores on 6th Avenue, and Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters attract shoppers to 5th Avenue. The Fairmont Olympic Hotel, on the original site of the University of Washington, offers visitors lavish accommodations close to the City Center and Rainier Square shops.

Denny Triangle

Denny Triangle

Bounded by Denny Way, Interstate 5 and 5th Avenue, the often-overlooked Denny Triangle neighborhood is experiencing a renaissance, similar to the 1990s redevelopment of the Belltown and Denny Regrade neighborhoods. Development plans here include a large number of new housing units; in fact, the city’s comprehensive plan for the area estimates a 450% increase by 2014, to about 5,000 units. This increase in available housing is particularly noteworthy in Denny Triangle where, for years, the only recognizable landmarks were the Greyhound Bus Station and the venerable Camlin Hotel. The area already is home to multi-use high-rises with offices, condos, apartments, and hotels, including the 31-story Metropolitan Tower Apartments, bordered by Virginia Street and Seventh and Westlake avenues, and the federal courthouse. A new Whole Foods Market serves Denny Triangle residents. Also new to the area, the Cornish College of the Arts expanded and created a main campus in the vicinity of Lenora and Boren avenues. As in Belltown, rents here are rising, but the Denny Triangle Neighborhood Association says housing will be aimed at all income levels. The mayor is proposing zoning changes that will make way for taller and narrower buildings than are now allowed in the area in exchange for developers offering some low- and middle-income housing. The city’s new streetcar service bisects this neighborhood on its way between South Lake Union and Westlake Center.

South Lake Union

South Lake Union

Finally, northeast of Downtown, at the southern end of Lake Union, the South Lake Union neighborhood (formerly known as Cascade), once primarily industrial, has recently undergone a profound transformation. Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft), with his company, Vulcan Northwest, bought substantial acreage in the neighborhood and new mixed-use buildings have sprouted, including the huge 220 Westlake Complex and the Westlake-Terry Building. In 2010, Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, relocated its headquarters (and its 4,000 employees) to a massive 11-building complex at South Lake Union. SLU, as it is sometimes called, has become the new biotech hub in the city, with UW Medicine and ZymoGenetics setting up shop here. Other tenants of the neighborhood include REI, the retailer of outdoor gear, and the Tommy Bahama clothing company. The South Lake Union line of the Seattle Streetcar runs through SLU and connects riders to other public transit systems in the city. Lake Union Park, a new 12-acre waterfront park, celebrated its grand opening in the fall of 2010. The ultimate goal of South Lake Union’s redevelopment is an urban village feel, with people living and working in the same neighborhood, and easy access to and from downtown. The Cascade P-Patch community garden at Minor Avenue North and Thomas Street, and the recently renovated Cascade Playground at the corner of Harrison Street and Pontius Avenue North help maintain the feel of a livable neighborhood.

Apartments and low-income housing units in the blocks east of Fairview Avenue include the Lakeview Apartments, erected in 2000 at the intersection of Harrison Street and Minor Avenue North. Sophisticated Federal-style brick buildings on Eastlake Avenue also offer affordable apartments and low-income housing opportunities. The new Rollin Street Flats at the corner of Westlake and Denny, the Alcyone, and the nearby Alley24 developments provide additional rental units. There are growing pains in South Lake Union, however, and many residents fear that the neighborhood will not remain affordable for long.

A cautionary note, Seattle’s downtown core is a varied and lively area: a mix of modern condominiums and apartments, artists’ lofts, and homeless shelters amidst busy shopping and nightlife districts. Such an urban mix is a far cry from more traditional secluded neighborhoods, and is something to consider when examining the livability of the area. Violent crimes tend to be highest in Seattle’s downtown core: the Pioneer Square, International District, Central District, Denny Regrade, and Belltown neighborhoods. The section of 3rd Avenue between Pike and Pine streets downtown is a notoriously troubled area, and should be avoided. (See Safety and Crime in Getting Settled for more information.)

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98121, 98101, 98104, 98109, 98134
Post Office
Main Office Station, 301 Union St, 206-748-5417
Libraries
Central Library, 1000 4th Ave, 206-386-4636, spl.org; Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, 2021 9th Ave, 206-615-0400, 206-615-0419 (TTY), wtbbl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
West Precinct, 810 Virginia St, 206-684-8917, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Ave, 206-744-3000, uwmedicine.washington.edu
Community Publications
Belltowner (blog), belltowner.com; Belltown People (blog), belltownpeople.com; Downtown Seattle (blog), downtownseattle.com/blog
Community Resources
Belltown P-Patch, 2520 Elliott Ave, 206-684-0264, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Central Neighborhood Service Center, 2301 S Jackson St, Ste 208, 206-684-4767, seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nsc; Downtown Seattle Association, 600 Stewart St, 206-623-0340, downtownseattle.com; PikePlace Blog, pikeplacemarket.org/news_events/blog
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 1– 5, 7, 10–19, 21–28, 33–37, 39, 41–43, 49, 54–57, 64, 66, 70–74, 76, 77, 79, 81–85, 98, 99, 101, 102, 106, 111, 113, 114, 116, 118–125, 131, 132, 134, 143, 150, 152, 157–159, 161, 162, 175, 177, 179, 190, 192, 196, 202, 210– 212, 214–218, 225, 229, 250, 252, 255–257, 260, 262, 265, 266, 268, 280, 301, 303, 304, 306, 308, 311, 312, 316, 355, 358, 401, 402, 404–406, 408, 410–417, 421, 422, 424, 425, 435, 477, 600, 994; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 510, 511, 513, 522, 545, 550, 554, 577, 578, 590, 592– 595

International District

Boundaries: North: South Jackson Street; West: 4th Avenue South; South: South Dearborn Street; East: Rainier Avenue South

International District

Also known as Chinatown, the International District was originally home to immigrant Chinese men who, in the late 1800s, provided an inexpensive source of labor for the railroad, fish, and lumber industries. In the early 1900s, the center of the neighborhood shifted from the waterfront to its present location, just east of the new football stadium. By then, Japanese immigrants had also moved to the area, and Filipino families soon followed. Today, a blend of Asian influences flavors the International District, with residents of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Southeast Asian descent sharing one bustling community.

The International District, or the “I.D.” as locals often call it, is located conveniently close to downtown, Pioneer Square, and the Central District, and I-5 passes right through the neighborhood. But, until recently, the appearance of Asian characters in shop windows was the only indication to visitors that they had come to a culturally diverse and distinct community. The neighborhood lacked a definitive entrance, like the ornamental gates of San Francisco’s Chinatown. International District leaders created a neighborhood beautification and public art program that installed cheerful banners along 4th and 5th avenues and Jackson Street, as well as 11 large, vividly colored dragon sculptures at various street corners. The 12- to 18-foot dragons twine around light poles and attract the attention of tourists and locals alike.

Visitors frequent the area primarily for its Asian cuisine, with dozens of restaurants specializing in traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese dishes. Herb stores, groceries, and bakeries line South King Street and surrounding side streets, and the king of all Asian markets, Uwajimaya, anchors the neighborhood at 600 5th Avenue South. The $15 million expansion and redevelopment of Uwajimaya doubled the size of the old store, and added 176 apartments and several restaurants. Rents range from just under $1,100 to nearly $2,000 per month. The huge complex serves as a bridge between the community’s ancient culture and contemporary development. Before 2003, no new family housing had been added to the neighborhood in 50 years, but during the last decade 750 new subsidized and market-rate housing units have gone up. The neighborhood’s newest development is the 705 Lofts complex on South Weller Street, which added 40 apartments to the area.

The heart of the International District is the site of the old Chinatown, which lies between 4th Avenue South and I-5. The main thoroughfare is Jackson Street, although many of the historic buildings and businesses are a few blocks off Jackson. Chinatown is peppered with historic hotels, many of which have been converted into low-income housing and affordable apartments for senior citizens. There are also apartments and condominiums available for middle-income families and young professionals, similar to the units at the Uwajimaya Village Apartments. On the east side of I-5, a stretch of the International District known as “Little Saigon” is centered around the intersection of 12th Avenue and Jackson Street. Here you’ll find an inviting selection of Vietnamese groceries and take-out restaurants. The I-5 underpass on Jackson Street serves as a corridor to Little Saigon with painted and decorated freeway columns.

Crime rates here are comparable to the rest of downtown, and the area ranks fourth in the city for violent crimes.

Despite these statistics, the availability of affordable housing has drawn a growing number of people to the area. Between 2000 and 2010, the population here increased by 20%, to more than 2,500 residents. While most residents in the International District are of Asian or Pacific Island descent, others live here as well, such as a portion of King County’s increasing Hispanic population. An interest in downtown living seems to be attracting younger residents to a community that in recent decades had a median age in the mid-50s.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98134, 98144, 98104, 98122
Post Office
International Station, 414 6th Ave S, 206-625-2293
Library
Central Library, 1000 4th Ave, 206-386-4636, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
West Precinct, 810 Virginia St, 206-684-8917, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Ave, 206-744-3000, uwmedicine.washington.edu
Community Publications
Northwest Asian Weekly, 412 Maynard Ave S, 206-223-5559, nwasianweekly.com; Seattle Chinese Post, 412 Maynard Ave S, 206-223-5559, seattlechinesepost.com
Community Resources
Central Neighborhood Service Center, 2301 S Jackson St, 206-684-4767, seattle.gov; Chinatown/International District Business Improvement Area, 507 S King St, Ste 208, 206-382-1197, cibia.org; Danny Woo Community Garden, Kobe Terrace Park, 221 6th Ave S
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 7,14, 60, 99; International District/Chinatown Station Transit Tunnel; 41, 71–73, 74E, 76, 77, 101, 102, 106, 150, 212, 216, 217, 218, 225, 229, 255, 256, 301, 316; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 550

First Hill

Boundaries: North: East Pike Street; West: I-5; South: Yesler Way; East: 12th Avenue East

First Hill

First Hill, commonly referred to as “Pill Hill” because of the concentration of hospitals, clinics, and medical offices in the area, lies directly east of downtown. Seattle’s elite originally settled in First Hill in the mid-1800s as the city expanded beyond the downtown boundary. Later, many affluent First Hill residents moved to more distant neighborhoods, such as Madison Park and Laurelhurst. Only a few of the early homes remain, including the Tudoresque Stimson-Green Mansion built in 1898. Other remaining structures not supplanted by medical office buildings, schools, hospitals, and hotels serve as private clubs and reception halls.

The main commercial street on First Hill is Madison Street, with an assortment of cafés, delis, hotels, and pharmacies that serve hospital and office personnel, patients, and nearby residents. George’s Sausage & Delicatessen has been feeding legions of scrubs-clad workers a hearty lunch since 1983; the newly reopened Vito’s is a historic bar that caters to cocktail geeks. The Sorrento Hotel on Madison Street is an exquisite brick building, constructed in 1907 and designed by well-known Seattle architect Harlan Thomas, designer of the 1929 Harborview Medical Center. Harborview, a few blocks south of Madison Street on First Hill, serves as the premier emergency care center in the Seattle area. One of the treasures of the city, the Frye Art Museum, located a block away from busy Boren Avenue, offers free admission to all.

There are few single-family houses on First Hill except for those in the area south of Harborview, which tends to be noisy due to ambulance sirens and the nearby freeway. Most First Hill residents live in apartments or condominiums facing downtown to the west or Capitol Hill to the north. The city expects to add an additional 1,400 households to the First Hill neighborhood by 2024, as employment opportunities here increase. On the west side of First Hill, an assortment of apartment buildings bordering I-5 offers views of downtown and Elliott Bay. Although freeway noise can be distracting in these residences, there is a nice mix of high- and low-end apartments, and many downtown professionals and doctors choose to live in the area for convenience. Elegant brick apartment buildings from the early 1900s offering secured entrances and pleasant surroundings are tucked along side streets. These buildings are only a few minutes’ stroll from downtown, and the average Walk Score for the neighborhood is 94, which means all amenities are conveniently close. Also, check the north end of First Hill for a selection of brick or stucco apartment buildings that date from the late 1920s. A majority (over 78%) of First Hill residents are renters, and rents in this neighborhood average around $1,500 for a two-bedroom unit—about the same as you’ll find in Ravenna and Eastlake and somewhat less than rents on Capitol Hill. Housing prices on First Hill are significantly less than those in the East Lake area.

As with nearby Capitol Hill, First Hill plays an important role in Seattle’s Catholic community. Two influential Catholic schools are located here: Seattle University, a private Jesuit college on Broadway, and O’Dea Catholic High School near Madison Street.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98101, 98104, 98122
Post Office
Midtown Station, 301 Union St, 206-748-5417
Library
Central Library, 1000 4th Ave, 206-386-4636, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
East Precinct, 1519 12th Ave, 206-684-4300, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Ave, 206-744-3000, uwmedicine.washington.edu
Community Publication
Capitol Hill Times, 636 S Alaska St, 206-461-1300, capitolhilltimes.com
Community Resource
Yesler Community Center, 917 E Yesler Way, 206-386-1245
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 2, 3, 4, 9, 12, 27, 60, 64, 84, 193, 205, 211, 303, 309, 984

Capitol Hill

Boundaries: North: Fuhrman Avenue East; West: I-5; South: East Pike Street; East: 23rd/24th Avenue East

Capitol Hill

Vibrant and diverse, Capitol Hill is one of Seattle’s best-loved and most densely populated neighborhoods, where affordable (but rising) rents, offbeat retailers, and an international array of restaurants lure a rainbow of residents. It is both the center of Seattle’s large gay community and a neighborhood of traditional Catholic families. At the north end, there is St. Mark’s Cathedral and the Episcopal Archdiocese; at the south end is Neighbour’s, a cavernous gay dance club.

Broadway is the main street of Capitol Hill. Running the length of the hill, it serves as the center of the community’s commercial district, and half of the retail and restaurant businesses in the neighborhood are concentrated along this arterial. It is the place to go for lively dining or take-out; boisterous, young residents fill innumerable restaurants and bars nightly, and on summer evenings the street rings with voices late into the night. In addition to the local eateries, there are many businesses on Broadway that cater to a youthful clientele, including tattoo and body piercing shops, secondhand clothing and record stores, costume jewelers, bead shops, head shops, and gay/lesbian bookstores.

East Pike Street and East Pine Street, south of Broadway’s retail core, are the center of Capitol Hill’s nightlife. The area has an assortment of bars, pool halls, dance clubs, and restaurants, though this once slightly seedy district has become more refined. On East Pike Street, a collection of trendy boutiques has sprung up. The Elliott Bay Book Company, a venerable Seattle institution, was revitalized by its move from Pioneer Square to 10th Ave between Pike and Pine on Capitol Hill in 2010. A large grocery and shopping complex takes up the corner of East Pike Street and Broadway.

Fifteenth Avenue East, five blocks east of Broadway, is another Capitol Hill retail district. This area is understated and stylish but also funky and quaint, with mod boutiques, swank eateries, and cozy pubs. Fifteenth Avenue East caters to a slightly older crowd, attracting hip baby boomers and comfortably domestic gays and lesbians. The mood here is laid-back and placid, an agreeable alternative to the constant bustle of Broadway.

To the north, Capitol Hill is filled with lovely, albeit expensive, houses, most with enchanting views. To examine the stunning vistas yourself, climb to the top of the old water tower in Volunteer Park. Homes on the eastern slope of Capitol Hill have views of the Cascades or Lake Washington; a few even offer a glimpse of Mount Rainier from a top story window. On the west side, residences look out over Lake Union, the Fremont Bridge, and the Olympic Mountains. Homes in Capitol Hill, particularly at the north end, are large and fashionable. While many are Colonials, Dutch Colonials, Victorian or Federal-style houses, the most common type of home in this area is the Northwest Modern, or “Capitol Hill Box House.”

In addition to the water tower, Volunteer Park features the Seattle Asian Art Museum, a charming old water reservoir, a delightful glass conservatory, and an outdoor amphitheater for summer concerts. Homes around Volunteer Park include some of the most formal and ornate mansions in Seattle. Many are old Victorian or Federal style houses, while others are stately versions of the Northwest Modern style. Though a few homes have become unobtrusive bed and breakfasts, most are still occupied by wealthy Seattle families. Many of Capitol Hill’s affluent Catholic residents live in the area and attend church at the beautiful St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Others attend St. Patrick’s, at the far north end of Capitol Hill, near Roanoke Park.

South of East Aloha Street, apartments are more common and houses are smaller. Federal-style brick buildings abound in this area, subdivided into small but classic apartments, with hardwood floors and coved ceilings. Most people who live near Broadway are renters, although there are houses tucked away on the side streets that lead back toward Volunteer Park. West of Broadway, almost all of the available residences are apartments or condominiums, with many large modern apartment complexes built over I-5 and offering views of downtown and the Olympic Mountains. Rents are relatively high in this area, although many studio apartments are available. Despite its dense population, the charm of this neighborhood is that it is one of the few Seattle areas where you can walk anywhere you might need to go. In fact, having a car can be a disadvantage here, where parking is at best a challenge. By 2016, Capitol Hill will be linked to the UW via the city’s expanding light rail service. The Capitol Hill Station on Broadway and transit tunnel will be completed by 2015. In addition, several bus routes connect Capitol Hill with downtown and the University District, the major hubs of the Metro bus system.

East of Broadway, residences are a haphazard mix of houses, duplexes, and apartment buildings. Homes tend to be smaller and less ornate than those on north Capitol Hill but the styles are similar—primarily Northwest Moderns, Colonials, and Victorians. Many houses here are available as single-family or multiple-tenant rentals. Apartments in this area are generally less expensive than those on the west side of the hill, depending on the building and location. East of 15th Avenue East and south of East John Street, houses and apartments are even less expensive, particularly south of the radio towers and close to the Central District. Residents here tend to be young, a mix of artists, musicians, and college students from Seattle Central Community College or Seattle University.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98102, 98112, 98122
Post Office
Broadway Station, 101 Broadway E, 206-324-5474
Library
425 Harvard Ave E, 206-684-4715, spl.gov
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
East Precinct, 1519 12th Ave, 206-684-4300, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Swedish Medical Center, First Hill Campus, 747 Broadway, 206-386-6000, swedish.org
Community Publication
Capitol Hill (blog), blog.seattlepi.com/ capitolhill; Capitol Hill Times, 636 S Alaska St, 206-461-1300, capitolhilltimes.com
Community Resources
Central Neighborhood Service Center, 2301 S Jackson St, Ste 208, 206-684-4767, seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nsc; Capitol Hill Community Resource Center, P.O. Box 20306, Seattle, WA 98099, 206-313-2892, chcrc-seattle.org; Miller Community Center, 330 19th Ave E, 206-684-4753; Capitol Hill P-Patch, 1010 E Thomas St, 206-684-0264, Thomas Street Garden P-Patch, 1010 E Thomas St; Unpaving Paradise P-Patch, E John St and Summit Ave E; seattle.gov/neighborhoods/ppatch
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 8–12, 14, 25, 43, 49, 60, 84, 984

Eastlake

Boundaries: North: Lake Washington Ship Canal; West: Lake Union; South: East Galer Street; East: I-5

Eastlake

Just north of downtown, on the east side of Lake Union, lies the aptly named Eastlake neighborhood. Long thought of as simply an easy shortcut to downtown, Eastlake has blossomed into a charming close-knit community. Most of the retail shops and restaurants in the neighborhood are clustered along Eastlake Avenue East. Rows of houseboats share the shore of Lake Union with marine repair shops, dry docks, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ships. To explore the appealing houseboats in Eastlake, begin at Pete’s Wine Shop, located at the base of East Lynn Street, then work north or south along the shore. While the houseboats vary widely in size and luxury, all share in the daily spectacle of sailboats and seaplanes on Lake Union, and the annual Independence Day fireworks display and Christmas Ship Parade.

More traditional housing is abundant in Eastlake as well. The neighborhood has an interesting mix of apartments, condominiums, duplexes, and single-family homes. Large 1970s-style apartment buildings dot the area and offer plenty of rentals, many with views of Lake Union. More traditional brick Federal-style buildings offer both apartments and condominiums. Homes in Eastlake range from turn-of-the-century Victorians to simple Northwest Moderns. Eastlake has boomed in recent years as both a commercial and residential area, and the result has been extensive new construction throughout the area. New townhouses and apartments can be found in the few blocks between Eastlake Avenue and the lake and along Franklin Avenue East, and new condo construction continues. In 1998 the Seattle City Council voted to adopt the Eastlake Neighborhood Plan, a strategy for developing the neighborhood prepared by a committee of local residents, and business and property owners.

At the north end of Fairview Avenue, along the edge of Lake Union, are the last vestiges of the old Eastlake community. Here quaint and slightly run-down summer cottages face the lakeshore. This is the site of the Eastlake P-Patch community garden, which, like the community gardens in the International District and on Capitol Hill, is a quiet treasure for those who live here. Unfortunately, what makes this area quaint—the small number of houses—also makes it difficult to find a place to live.

Eastlake is nice. It’s well located with easy access to downtown, I-5, I-90, and the 520 bridge, and it’s friendly. Prospective neighbors might include university students in rental housing and apartment complexes along busy Boylston Avenue East; young professionals who rent and buy homes and condominiums along Franklin Avenue East, East Roanoke Street, and East Lynn Street; and well-to-do baby boomers who live west of Eastlake Avenue East, close to Lake Union. In addition, many older lifelong Eastlake residents still live in this community. As in much of Seattle, rents here continue to rise. They average about the same as what you’ll find in Ravenna and First Hill.

Websites
seattle.gov, eastlakeseattle.org
Area Code
206
Zip Code
98102
Post Offices
Broadway Station, 101 Broadway E, 206-324-5474; Lake Union Mail, 117 E Louisa St
Library
Capitol Hill Branch, 425 Harvard Ave E, 206-684-4715, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
West Precinct, 810 Virginia St, 206-684-8917, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Ave, 206-744-3000, uwmedicine.washington.edu
Community Publications
Eastlake Avenue Blog, eastlakeave.com; Eastlake Neighborhood Blog, eastlakeblog.org
Community Resources
Montlake Community Center, 1618 E Calhoun St, 206-684-4736; Eastlake Community Council, 117 E Louisa St, eastlakeseattle.org, 206-322-5463; Floating Homes Association, 2329 Fairview Ave E, 206-325-1132, seattlefloatinghomes.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 25, 66, 70–73, 83

Queen Anne

Boundaries: North: Lake Washington Ship Canal; West: 15th Avenue West, Elliott Avenue West; South: Denny Way; East: Lake Union, Aurora Avenue North (Highway 99)

Queen Anne

Situated on a hill towering 457 feet over downtown and Elliott Bay, Queen Anne is one of the oldest and loveliest residential areas in the city. In the 1890s, streetcar lines from downtown brought affluent residents up the south slope of the hill to their grand mansions. Since its origin, the Queen Anne neighborhood has flourished, remaining an idyllic residential area only minutes from downtown. Queen Anne Avenue North (locals call it “the Ave”) is the main commercial street, a bustling stretch where residents gather for morning coffee and brunch in picturesque cafés, meet for lunch or dinner at local bars and restaurants, or shop in the upscale boutiques, specialty bakeries, the Thursday farmers’ market and the local bookstore. Increasingly, older single-story buildings are being replaced with multi-story mixed residential and retail developments, lending a more urban quality to the neighborhood.

Surrounding the shopping district, modest Colonials and simple bungalows are home to a mix of families, older professionals, and students. In addition, formal Northwest Moderns and Tudors are home to retired folks who have lived on the hill for many years. Because of the desirability of this area, many apartment and condominium buildings have been built in recent years, replacing some older single-family dwellings. The most affordable houses and apartments are those without a view. This is a pleasant area, with well-maintained houses surrounded by lovely lawns and beautiful nearby parks. The playground at John Hay Elementary School, east of Queen Anne Avenue North, is the site of weekend basketball games; a block west of this main thoroughfare, city ballparks are host to softball games on lazy summer afternoons.

The southwest corner of Queen Anne remains an enclave for affluent and longtime residents. The homes in this area are lavish, many glimpsed only through breaks in landscaped hedges. West Highland Drive, offering unbelievable views of downtown, Elliott Bay, Mount Rainier, and the Olympic Mountains, is lined with many of the hill’s original Queen Anne–style houses. In the blocks north of West Highland Drive, homes are less expensive but still well maintained. Most are modest Four Square or Queen Anne–style houses; a few are Craftsman-style bungalows. To see the merits of this neighborhood, walk or drive to Kerry Park, located on the south side of West Highland Drive. From this vantage point, the downtown cityscape and the shipping activities of Elliott Bay seem an arm’s length away; in the distance, Mount Rainier towers over the city. The park is a favorite of nearby residents, who come after dark to admire the brilliant lights of downtown or to watch fireworks over the bay on Independence Day.

East of Queen Anne Avenue North, a variety of large and expensive homes share a lovely view of downtown and Mount Rainier. Many are elaborate Elizabethans and Colonials; others are large unadorned contemporary homes. Residents include a mix of wealthy entrepreneurs, foreign diplomats, and affluent professionals. In addition to breathtaking glimpses of Mount Rainier and downtown, the east side of the hill offers views of azure Lake Union and Capitol Hill. Many 1950s apartment buildings cling to this side of the hill, offering affordable rentals for young professionals. In addition, several houses and apartment buildings in the area have been remodeled and made into condominiums. Many of the people living in this corner of Queen Anne are middle-income professionals who work downtown. A word of advice: this is not the neighborhood to live in if your job is on the Eastside. Commuting from Queen Anne to the Eastside can take as much as an hour, sometimes more, during peak travel times.

Interbay

The north and west sides of Queen Anne Hill are the best locations for reasonably priced rentals in the neighborhood. Many students and faculty live in Queen Anne because Seattle Pacific University (SPU) is located at the base of the hill to the north. Around the SPU campus are numerous rentals, including unpretentious apartment buildings, modest houses, tiny houseboats, and renovated storefronts. The west side of Queen Anne, including Interbay, a light industrial strip between Queen Anne and Magnolia, offers affordable rental apartments in modest brick and large contemporary buildings as well as rental houses and duplexes, mostly converted bungalows. Interbay is noisy and gritty, due to traffic on 15th Avenue West and the rumbling of passing trains, but some apartments here enjoy views of the Sound and the Olympic Mountains peaking over Magnolia. Amenities include a nine-hole golf course, athletic field complex, a Red Mill Burger, and a QFC grocery. Most recently, a new Whole Foods market, along with several restaurants and a liquor store, has been added, and additional developments are likely in the future. Interbay has also been identified as a possible site for a new misdemeanor jail facility, a proposal that has encountered resistance from many Queen Anne and Magnolia residents.

Lower Queen Anne

Apartments and condominiums are also plentiful in the Lower Queen Anne area, which surrounds the Seattle Center, site of the Space Needle. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the 74-acre Seattle Center is a combination music and arts center currently undergoing a major transformation. Proposals for the space formerly occupied by the Fun Forest amusement park include a museum devoted to local glass artist Dale Chihuly and a new studio for KEXP radio station. Among the Center’s many attractions are the Pacific Science Center, the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum, McCaw Hall (home of the Seattle Opera), Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and Key Arena, where the Seattle Storm play. Every summer, Seattle Center is the site for Bumbershoot, a music-and-arts festival, as well as the Northwest Folklife Festival and the Bite of Seattle (see A Seattle Year for more details about these and other annual events) as well as a gathering place for families with children, who love to frolic in the International Fountain. In 2001, the Gates Foundation, the world’s largest charitable organization, opened a new campus directly across from the Seattle Center. The $500-million, 12-acre site supports 1,200 employees and will undoubtedly spur many new developments in the area. Currently, the Lower Queen Anne area includes retail and residential districts to the north and west. Small Asian restaurants are located along Roy Street north of the Seattle Center, and cafés, bars, and restaurants cluster around Queen Anne Avenue North. Apartment buildings of all styles fill this area, from small brick buildings on Roy Street to enormous contemporary buildings along Queen Anne Avenue North. Many of the condominiums in the area were converted from former apartment buildings.

Westlake

Finally, the Westlake area, located at the eastern base of the hill, is a commercial and increasingly residential district that runs along the west side of Lake Union. Water views and proximity to the new South Lake Union neighborhood have revitalized the area, and new housing developments along Westlake and Dexter Avenue cater to young urban professionals. Rents here tend to be higher than in other parts of Queen Anne. Westlake Avenue is lined with upscale view restaurants, private marinas, and marine shops—a combination common in Seattle’s waterfront areas. A few houseboats, including the one featured in the movie Sleepless in Seattle, are moored here.

Though rents can vary greatly depending on which Queen Anne neighborhood you choose, figures from Dupre + Scott Apartment Advisors show that the average rent in this area for a one-bedroom apartment is now about 20% lower than the average rent in Belltown. For buyers, Queen Anne remains one of the pricier neighborhoods in Seattle, but falling home prices in the wake of the collapse of the housing market in 2008 have made this area slightly more affordable.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98109, 98119
Post Office
Queen Anne Station, 415 1st Ave N, 206-378-4000
Library
400 W Garfield St, 206-386-4227, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
West Precinct, 810 Virginia St, 206-684-8917, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Swedish Medical Center, Ballard, 5350 Tallman Ave NW, 206-781-6341, swedish.org
Community Publication
Queen Anne News, 636 Alaska St S, 206-461-1300, queenannenews.com; Queen Anne View (blog), queenanneview.com
Community Resources
Interbay P-Patch, 2451 15th Ave W, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Queen Anne Community Center, 1901 1st Ave W, 206-386-4240, seattle.gov/parks; Queen Anne Help Line, 206-282-1540, queenannehelpline.org, Queen Anne P-Patch, 3rd Ave N and Lynn St, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Queen Anne Pool, 1920 1st Ave W, 206-386-4282, seattle.gov/parks
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 1– 4, 8, 13, 15–19, 24, 26, 28, 30, 31, 33, 45, 74, 81, 82, 994

Magnolia

Boundaries: North: Lake Washington Ship Canal; West: Puget Sound; South: Elliott Bay; East: 15th Avenue West

Magnolia

Just west of Queen Anne is the neighborhood of Magnolia, which like Queen Anne, is both a landmark Seattle hill and a community. Rumor has it that the hill was originally named for the distinctive Madrona trees that line the bluff, which a visiting sailor mistakenly identified as magnolias. In any case, the name stuck and now designates a charming neighborhood, which, despite its proximity to downtown, is truly a residential community. It has an interesting mix of homes, mainly Northwest Moderns, Craftsman-style bungalows, and brick Tudors—many with views of the beautiful Puget Sound and craggy Olympic Mountains to the west, or of the downtown skyline and busy Elliott Bay to the southeast.

The heart of Magnolia is “the Village,” a collection of restaurants, shops, bakeries, and banks that spill over McGraw Street between 32nd and 34th avenues. Families gather here for Halloween trick-or-treating and in the summer for a children’s parade. Professionals frequent the neighborhood Starbucks each morning before work, or meet friends at the local pub at the end of the day. Szmania’s, a critically acclaimed restaurant, is located in the Village, along with a handful of small family-friendly eateries. A marina at the south end of Magnolia is also home to several popular restaurants, which share a spectacular panorama of Elliott Bay and downtown.

Because of the extraordinary views and the easy commute to downtown, homes in Magnolia are fairly expensive. Along “the bluff,” which traces the west edge of Magnolia from south to north, you will find especially lavish homes. More modestly sized and priced homes are located at the north end of the hill and in the middle valley where there is little or no view. Here homeowners tend to be a mix of young families, established professionals or senior citizens; many are longtime residents.

Renters in Magnolia represent all levels of income and occupations, and rental properties include luxury lofts, townhouses, and condos as well as apartments and single-family homes. Because Magnolia is not conveniently located to I-5, apartments here rent for slightly less than the Seattle average, even those with water or city views. This is particularly true for the larger, two-bedroom apartments; studio rents are comparable to other neighborhoods. You’ll find many apartment buildings located at the north end of the hill, facing Ballard, as well as new developments clustered adjacent to the Village.

Nearby, on the Lake Washington Ship Canal, the Fisherman’s Terminal is an energetic hub with constant activity from the fishing vessels that dock there. A memorial honors those who lost their lives in pursuit of this dangerous livelihood. Just off West Emerson Street, part of the Fisherman’s Terminal was transformed into a small shopping and dining destination, featuring Chinook’s restaurant and the Bay Café, a nautical-theme gallery and gift store, Wild Salmon Seafood Market, and the Highliner Tavern. Continue on this route and you’ll find Discovery Park and the Hiram Chittenden Locks. The locks, which separate the Lake Washington Ship Canal from the Puget Sound, offer an easy route for foot and bicycle traffic between Magnolia and Ballard. Discovery Park, in the northwest corner of Magnolia, is Seattle’s largest and most verdant park, consisting of 534 acres of meadows, forest, and beach, with clay cliffs and miles of nature trails. The nearby West Point Lighthouse was built on the northwest point of the beach in 1881 and is still a popular attraction, although the attraction is now somewhat diminished by the close proximity of the West Point Sewage Treatment Plant.

Although Magnolia is not technically a peninsula, access to the hill is limited to Dravus Street, Nickerson Street, and the Magnolia Bridge. When the bridge is closed—as it has been a few times in past years due to mudslides and an earthquake—the commute to and from Magnolia lengthens considerably. Interbay, the semi-industrial area between Magnolia and Queen Anne, effectively cuts off Magnolia from the main thoroughfare of 15th Avenue West (Elliott Avenue), so only those three streets serve as overpasses into the neighborhood. Still, Magnolia is actually quite convenient to downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods, although getting to I-5 can be difficult.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Code
98199
Post Office
Magnolia Station, 3211 W McGraw St, 206-284-5958
Library
2801 34th Ave W, 206-386-4225, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
West Precinct, 810 Virginia St, 206-684-8917, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Swedish Medical Center, Ballard, 5350 Tallman Ave NW, 206-781-6341, swedish.org
Community Publication
Magnolia News, 636 Alaska St S, 206-461-1300; Magnolia Voice (blog), magnoliavoice.com
Community Resources
Magnolia Community Center, 2550 34th Ave NW, 206-386-4235; Magnolia Community Club, magnoliacommunityclub.org; Pop Mounger Pool, 2535 32nd Ave W, seattle.gov/parks
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 19, 24, 31, 33, 994

Ballard

Boundaries: North: NW 110th Street; West: Puget Sound; South: Lake Washington Ship Canal; East: 3rd Avenue NW

Ballard

Ballard is a lively and growing neighborhood located just 15 minutes north of downtown. Originally a fishing and lumbering district that sprang up on the shores of Salmon Bay, Ballard was the first community to incorporate as a city after Washington became the 42nd state, and was later annexed to Seattle in 1907. Today it comprises a collection of neighborhoods that includes Sunset Hill, Central Ballard, East Ballard, Whittier Heights, Loyal Heights, North Beach, Olympic Manor, Crown Hill, and Blue Ridge. While the majority of Ballard’s new housing developments and amenities cater to young urban professionals, with plenty of spanking new condos on Market Street within walking distance of trendy shops and restaurants, the neighborhood offers a range of housing options, from pricey waterfront property with jaw-dropping views of the snowcapped Olympic Mountains to modest single-family Craftsman homes with picket fences and back alleys.

Central Ballard

The action in Central Ballard centers around the main drags of Market Street and the charming diagonal stretch of Ballard Avenue NW, officially designated a historic district in 1976. This former “Shingle Capital of the World” has undergone profound changes during the first decade of the new millennium as a result of Seattle’s citywide efforts to promote urban density. Longtime residents bemoan the mixed condominium and retail developments that mushroomed seemingly overnight (a local bumper sticker proclaims: “Ballard Welcomes Our New Condo Overlords”). In 2008, Ballard lost a striking landmark, and a conspicuous example of midcentury “Googie” architecture, when the Denny’s restaurant on the corner of 15th Avenue NW and Market Street was bulldozed to make way for a development that has yet to materialize, leaving an empty lot to mar the corner of a prominent intersection.

Despite these changes, one can still find vestiges of Ballard’s past that lend the neighborhood its special character. At one time this community attracted immigrants from five Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden), who gravitated to the shores of Salmon Bay during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The annual Ballard Seafood Fest celebrates the community’s roots in Scandinavian culture and the fishing industry. You can also visit the Nordic Heritage Museum and admire the carved sea serpent on roof of the Leif Erikson Lodge.

Neighborhood veterans may grouse about Ballard “blandmarks,” but by and large the neighborhood’s past and present pleasantly coexist. Venerable hangouts like Hattie’s Hat and Conor Byrne’s Pub share the street with new shops and restaurants such as La Carta de Oaxaca and Bastille.

Away from Ballard’s busy shopping districts, the demographic shifts into older apartment complexes and small to medium-sized single homes on either side of the unbeautiful arterial of 15th Avenue NW, enlivened by the ubiquitous and whimsical “Henry” murals. Families in the neighborhood with children have access to both small and large neighborhood parks as well as highly rated public schools such as Whitman Middle School and Ballard High. The recently constructed Ballard Library sports a green roof and is kitty-corner from the Ballard Commons Park, where skateboarders execute ollies in the skate bowl. In a metropolis where steep hills can pose a challenge to all but the most hardcore bicyclists, portions of Ballard offer some of the flatter terrain in the city, along with easily navigable grid-like streets. An older sense of community still abides here, among the weathered Craftsman houses with the occasional chicken coop in the front yard, though crime rates do prompt residents to lock their houses and their car doors at night. If you’re thinking of purchasing a home in the neighborhood, the average home price in Ballard as of 2011 was between $400,000 and $450,000.

East Ballard

Ballard’s past is emphatically blue collar, as is evident in the more industrial sections of East Ballard, but the current wave of residents consists of white-collar, college-educated single professionals in their early twenties to mid-forties. Most of these residents rent their apartments and condos, and they work in a variety of services and the professional sector. The average commute from Ballard is 23 minutes—but commuting from here to the Eastside will take much longer. If you work for Microsoft, or if you’re hoping to land a job there, you should consider settling in another neighborhood. Note, too, that access from Ballard to downtown and Highway 99 can be complicated when the Ballard Bridge opens to allow ships through.

Shilshole

On weekends, the pace in this part of the city is both lively and relaxed. The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, an engineering marvel built in 1911 to link Puget Sound with lakes Union and Washington via the Ship Canal, is always a big hit with visitors, especially when throngs of silvery salmon muscle through the fish ladder. East of 32nd Avenue NW, the Shilshole section of Ballard offers modest brick Tudors and Arts-and-Crafts-style homes with a panorama of Bainbridge Island, Puget Sound, and the Olympics. Shilshole is best known throughout the city for the seafood restaurants that line Seaview Avenue NW, such as Ray’s Boathouse and Anthony’s Homeport. Seaview ends at Golden Gardens, which sounds like a retirement community but is actually a beachfront park that attracts scores of people during the warm weather for picnics, swimming, and volleyball.

Public transportation is readily available in Ballard. Several bus routes run to downtown along 15th Avenue NW and 24th Avenue NW, and there are regular routes to Wallingford and the University District that run along NW Market Street and NW 85th Street.

Loyal Heights, Whittier Heights, and Crown Hill

North of Old Ballard, on either side of 15th Ave NW between 65th and 85th streets, you’ll find Loyal Heights and Whittier Heights, respectively. These residential neighborhoods of modest homes and narrow, tree-shaded streets are convenient to plenty of amenities without all the hubbub of Ballard’s bustling core. One of Seattle’s 12 “official” hills, Crown Hill begins where 15th Avenue NW meets NW 85th Street, at a busy intersection dominated by a Walgreens pharmacy and a Safeway grocery whose storefront displays Scandinavian flags. The neighborhood stretches north along 15th Avenue NW, then curves east along Holman Road. Though at first glance Crown Hill appears to be simply an accumulation of fast food outlets, auto body shops, and dry cleaning establishments, the community does have its share of hidden treasures, such as Swanson’s Nursery, established in 1924, and Crown Hill Hardware, which has been here for nearly 90th years. Crown Hill’s residential clusters are quiet, with well-tended yards and a mixture of brick Tudors and ramblers. Affordable homes may still be found here, particularly north of NW 85th Street.

North Beach, Olympic Manor, and Sunset Hill

Elegant properties with views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains are situated on the northern and western hillsides of Ballard. Many of the homes in the North Beach area north of NW 85th Street, such as those in the Olympic Manor subdivision, are sprawling 1950s ranch houses with exquisitely landscaped yards. Other more recent additions to the neighborhood include elaborate Colonials, immaculate brick Tudor cottages, and contemporary designs from the 1960s and 1970s. Homes in sections such as Sunset Hill have a front-row seat for breathtaking sunsets over the Olympic Mountains. In the summer months, residents watch weekend sailboat races on the Sound; during the winter holidays, colorfully lighted ships follow the shoreline as part of the annual Christmas Ship Parade.

Blue Ridge

The hillside community of Blue Ridge is one of the least known and most isolated neighborhoods in the city. Located on Puget Sound, north of Northwest 100th Street and south of Carkeek Park, Blue Ridge was developed during the Depression by William Boeing for some of his airplane company executives. Entirely residential, with fewer than 500 homes, the community features a club, swimming pool, tennis courts, playfields, and a private beach. Blue Ridge is a covenant community, which means there are rules and restrictions that residents are required to follow. For instance, there may be guidelines for landscaping or improvements that homeowners can make to their properties. In the past, small homes in Blue Ridge have tended to sell for about 50% higher than those in Greenwood—tack on another $200,000 for a view. Larger homes, like those originally built by William Boeing, go for seven figures.

Despite the swankier accommodations of Blue Ridge, homes in Ballard are generally more staffordable than those in nearby neighborhoods like Queen Anne and Magnolia. Renters may also find Ballard to their liking where rents are less than those in Belltown or downtown, though apartments in the neighborhood’s newer developments can be pricey.

Websites
seattle.gov, inballard.com
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98103, 98107, 98108, 98117, 98133, 98177
Post Office
5706 17th Ave NW, 206-781-4656
Library
5614 22nd Ave NW, 206-684-4089, spl.lib.wa.us
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
North Precinct,10049 College Way N, 206-684-0850, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Swedish Medical Center Ballard, 5350 Tallman Ave NW, 206-781-6341, swedish.org
Community Publication
Ballard News-Tribune, 206-461-1300; My Ballard (blog), myballard.com
Community Resources
Ballard Chamber of Commerce, 2208 NW Market St., 206-784-9705, ballardchamber.com; Ballard Community Center, 6020 28th Ave NW, 206-684-4093, seattle.gov/parks; Ballard Help Line and Food Bank, 206-789-7800, ballardfoodbank.org; Ballard Neighborhood Service Center, 5604 22nd Ave NW, 206-684-4060, seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nsc; Ballard P-Patch, 8527 25th Ave NW, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Ballard Pool, 1471 NW 67th St, 206-684-4094, seattle.gov/parks; Loyal Heights Community Center, 2101 NW 77th St, 206-684-4052, seattle.gov/parks
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 15, 17, 18, 28, 44, 46, 75, 81, 994

Phinney Ridge and Greenwood

Boundaries: North: Holman Road NW, North 105th Street; West: 8th Avenue NW, 3rd Avenue NW; South: North 50th Street; East: Aurora Avenue North (Highway 99)

Phinney Ridge

The Phinney Ridge and Greenwood (or “Phinneywood” as some have taken to calling it) neighborhoods are located north of Fremont, between Ballard and Green Lake. The central feature of Phinney Ridge is the Woodland Park Zoo, located southwest of Green Lake across Aurora Avenue North. If visiting, be sure to walk through the fabulous rose garden at its 50th Street entrance. Phinney Ridge, a neighborhood known for its ever-present population of young families, is a perennial favorite of lower-middle-income, white collar professionals—teachers, public servants, nonprofit organization employees, etc., creating a neighborhood reputation of liberal political views and strong community involvement. However, in more recent years, the neighborhood has become popular with more affluent professionals, and housing prices have risen accordingly.

Most Phinney Ridge residents live in Northwest Moderns or Craftsman bungalows on the west side of the hill, sharing lovely views of Ballard, the Puget Sound, and the Olympic Mountains. Apartment buildings line Phinney Avenue North along the ridge of the hill, although they taper off north of the zoo as retail shops and restaurants become more prevalent. Just north of NW 65th Street, Phinney Avenue North jogs over to become a stretch of Greenwood Avenue North and the true commercial district begins. Here the Red Mill Burger Company serves delicious burgers to people from all over Seattle; on summer evenings the line to the counter commonly stretches out the door and along the sidewalk. On Sunday mornings, another popular destination is Mae’s Phinney Ridge Café at 65th Street, where hungry Seattle residents also fill the sidewalk during the brunch hour—you know you’ve found it by the large Holsteins painted on the bright green walls of the café. This area also offers a fun selection of international and vegetarian restaurants, dress shops, cozy pubs, funky coffeehouses, and card and gift shops.

Greenwood

The main intersection of the Greenwood neighborhood is NW 85th Street and Greenwood Avenue NW. Commercial buildings include banks, restaurants, boutiques, and well-stocked pubs, as well as the Greenwood Senior Center and the Greenwood Library. Greenwood Avenue NW is also known for its antique stores, and is a comfortable and pleasant shopping district. South of NW 85th Street, the Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods are almost identical, with roomy bungalows and Northwest Modern homes on either side of the Greenwood Avenue NW retail core. North of NW 85th Street is a collection of more modest homes. Apartment seekers will find a selection of new apartment buildings along NW 85th Street, particularly in the few blocks just west of Aurora, and apartments circa 1970 line Greenwood Avenue NW, north of NW 90th Street. Affordable cottages, modern split-level homes, and duplexes can be found tucked away from the main streets of Greenwood Avenue North and 8th Avenue NW. Average rents here tend to be lower than in nearby Seattle neighborhoods such as Queen Anne, Ravenna, and Maple Leaf. Both Greenwood and Phinney Ridge are comfortable middle-class neighborhoods and many of the residents here are young professionals and their families.

Several blocks of both Greenwood and Phinney Ridge are situated close to Aurora Avenue North, a busy state highway and commercial district with a history of drugs and prostitution; prospective residents should consider this when looking at homes in the few blocks closest to Aurora Avenue North.

Websites
seattle.gov, phinneycenter.org
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98103, 98107, 98117
Post Office
Greenwood Station, 8306 Greenwood Ave N, 206-547-1406
Library
8016 Greenwood Ave N, 206-684-4086, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
North Precinct, 10049 College Way N, 206-684-0850, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Swedish Medical Center Ballard, 5350 Tallman Ave NW, 206-781-6341, swedish.org
Community Publications
Greenwood-Phinney Blog, phinneyridge.org; North Seattle Herald-Outlook, 636 S Alaska St, 206-461-1300; Phinneywood (blog), phinneywood.com
Community Resources
Greenwood P-Patch, 345 NW 88th St, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Greenwood Senior Center, 525 N 85th St, 206-297-0875; Phinney Neighborhood Association, 6532 Phinney Ave N, 206-783-2244, phinneycenter.org; Phinney Ridge P-Patch, 5926 3rd Ave NW, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; University Neighborhood Service Center, 4534 University Ave NW, 206-684-7542, seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nsc
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 5, 28, 44, 48, 82, 355, 358

Fremont

Boundaries: North: North 46th Street/North Market Street; East: Stone Way North; West: 8th Avenue NW; South: Lake Washington Ship Canal and Fremont Bridge

Fremont

Ten minutes north of downtown and across from the Lake Washington Ship Canal lies the picturesque Fremont district, a small Seattle neighborhood with its central core at the intersection of Fremont Avenue North, North 35th Street, and Fremont Place North, one block north of the Fremont Bridge. From here it is less than a five-minute walk to two of Seattle’s most beloved sculptures, “Waiting for the Interurban” and the “Fremont Troll,” as well as Seattle’s most controversial statue, Emil Venkov’s “Lenin,” which was originally displayed in communist Slovakia in 1988.

The self-proclaimed “Center of the Universe,” Fremont charms even the most cynical of Seattle residents with its mixture of inviting shops and events. It is the home of Hale’s Brewery, as well as several other microbreweries and pubs. There are art galleries galore, vintage clothing and “junk” stores, barber shops, and tattoo parlors. On the weekends, Seattle residents flock to the district for brunch and shopping, or tour the Theo Chocolate Factory. At night, Fremont’s pubs overflow with a friendly and diverse crowd of locals. This area is still relatively free of tourists, despite its proximity to downtown.

During the summer, the neighborhood hosts the Fremont Sunday Market, where residents and visitors can buy goods from local artists and artisans. Also popular is the PCC Natural Market on North 34th Street, a refreshing alternative to the corporate mega-grocers. One weekend in June is devoted to the summer solstice, and includes the annual Solstice Parade and Fremont Fair. On summer Saturday evenings, a parking lot doubles as the site for the Fremont Outdoor Cinema. Moviegoers bring their own chairs to watch the flick, which is projected on the wall of a building bordering the lot.

The area is primarily residential, with a combination of artists, students, and young professionals calling Fremont home, though the last several years have seen rapid commercial growth here. The Quadrant Lake Union Center, located just east of the Fremont Bridge, is home to Adobe Systems, and Getty Images inhabits the Park View Building just west of the bridge. Recent housing developments have added many additional condos to the neighborhood. Despite the new construction, the neighborhood has maintained its delicate balance of bohemian culture and middle-class comfort. It is a close-knit community, formerly popular among low and middle-income families, but rising prices have pushed the neighborhood beyond the reach of many first-time homeowners.

If you’d like to rent in Fremont, your best bet is to drive, bicycle, or walk through the area looking for “For Rent” signs in windows. There is plentiful rental property here, both apartments and houses, but available units are generally snapped up before being advertised in the local newspapers. Rents in Fremont tend to be slightly higher than the city average. Fremont’s shopping district contains some rental space, especially in the few blocks north of Fremont Place North, but don’t limit your search to that area. To the east of Fremont Avenue, and across or under Aurora Avenue, there are additional housing opportunities. Aurora can be fairly noisy during high traffic times, so if you’re sensitive to that, try to visit nearby rentals on a weekday, around 5 p.m., to experience the noise level first-hand.

A few blocks north of Fremont’s shopping district is NW 39th Avenue, which is lined with large apartment buildings built during the 1950s and 1960s. Since this area is along one of the main routes between Ballard, downtown, and the University District, it can be a little noisy during high traffic times. You’ll find a more traditional residential area of 1920s Craftsman-style bungalows between NW 39th and NW 46th streets, and east of Fremont Avenue North. Upper Fremont Avenue between NW 41st and NW 45th streets, sometimes called Fremont Village, is a more affordable alternative to the central retail district, listed in 2011 as one of the city’s best neighborhoods by Seattle magazine. New restaurants and shops have opened along this stretch in recent years, though locals mourn the loss of the old Buckeroo Tavern. As with most Seattle neighborhoods near a university or college, the best time for renting is late April through early June, when students are making plans to head home for the summer. Fremont is 20 to 25 minutes by car or bus from the University of Washington, and a 5- to 15-minute walk from Seattle Pacific University, which is just across the Fremont Bridge on the north side of the Queen Anne neighborhood.

Websites
seattle.gov, fremont.com
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98103, 98107
Post Office
Wallingford Station, 1329 N 47th St, 206-547-1406
Library
731 N 35th St, 206-684-4084, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
North Precinct, 10049 College Way N, 206-684-0850, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Swedish Medical Center Ballard, 5350 Tallman Ave NW, 206-781-6341, swedish.org
Community Publications
Fremont Universe (blog), fremontuniverse.com; North Seattle Herald-Outlook, 636 S Alaska St, 206-461-1300
Community Resources
Fremont Neighborhood Council, scn.org/fnc; Fremont Whirled-Peas (P-Patch), 3935 Woodland Park Ave N, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; History House, 790 N 34th St, 206-675-8875, historyhouse.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 5, 26, 28, 31, 46, 82

Wallingford

Boundaries: North: Northeast 50th Street; West: Aurora Avenue North (Highway 99); South: Lake Washington Ship Canal; East: I-5

Wallingford

A symbol of a bygone era, the old gasworks at the north end of Lake Union marks the tip of the Wallingford neighborhood. In the early 1900s, when the plant was still operational, Wallingford was a hub of industrial activity. Now the neighborhood is predominantly residential, and the old plant is a beloved Seattle landmark and popular public park. Gasworks Park is a favorite for kite-flying enthusiasts because of steady winds off the lake, and for bicyclists who meet to ride the Burke-Gilman trail along Lake Union and Lake Washington. In addition, Gasworks Park is the site of one of Seattle’s annual Independence Day fireworks displays. Although the fireworks can be seen from anywhere around the lake, attendees here have the added benefit of watching the fireworks to the accompaniment of music and a live television broadcast.

Despite its proximity to downtown, Wallingford exudes a quiet charm. On summer evenings, couples stroll down tree-lined streets and visit with neighbors. On Sundays, people crowd into local restaurants for brunch or catch a matinee at the Guild 45th Theater. Like nearby Fremont, Wallingford is aesthetically pleasing and community focused. Elegant Wallingford Center, an old school that was remodeled in the 1980s to become an upscale condominium and retail shopping center, is considered the crown jewel of the area. Nearby, the 45th Street Medical and Dental Clinic shares a remodeled fire station with the Wallingford branch of the Seattle Public Library. Northeast 45th Street, connecting Fremont and Ballard to the University District, offers a pleasant assortment of restaurants, travel and used bookstores, and funky boutiques.

North of Gasworks Park, on the south slope of the hill, beautifully restored homes look out over the park and the downtown skyline. Many of the Victorian and Colonial houses here were built in the early 1900s. Northwest Moderns and Craftsman bungalows were added during the 1920s. Homeowners in this area tend to be young professionals, although rental opportunities attract students from the nearby UW and Seattle Pacific University. Streets here are quiet; churches and old schools dot the area, as do corner grocery stores and coffeehouses. Spectacular views of Lake Union and downtown, as well as modestly sized homes, have attracted many middle-income families to this area. That trend is changing slowly, however, as higher real estate prices have made this neighborhood less affordable for single-income families.

North of 45th Street and close to I-5, modest and more affordable homes can be found. Most are bungalows similar to those in the south end of the neighborhood, without the panoramic views of Lake Union and downtown but occasionally with views of the tips of the Cascades to the east. The area population includes young professionals and students residing in a mix of rentals and owner-occupied houses. There are few true apartment buildings in the blocks between 45th Street and Green Lake, but they become more common as one heads toward I-5 and the University District.

Wallingford is well located for those commuting to either downtown or the Eastside. Aurora Avenue North (Highway 99) runs parallel to Stone Way, just a few blocks into the Fremont neighborhood. This is generally a good route into downtown, and even to West Seattle or the Sea-Tac Airport. Savvy Eastside commuters take a shortcut along Lake Union to bypass I-5 and catch up with Highway 520 at the Montlake entrance.

Websites
seattle.gov, wallingford.org
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98103, 98105
Post Office
Wallingford Station, 1329 N 47th St, 206-547-1406
Library
1501 N 45th St, 206-684-4088, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
North Precinct, 10049 College Way N, 206-684-0850, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
University of Washington Medical Center, 1959 NE Pacific St, 206-598-3300, uwmedicine.washington.edu
Community Publications
My Wallingford (blog), mywallingford.com; North Seattle Herald-Outlook, 636 S Alaska St, 206-461-1300, northseattleherald-outlook.com; Wallyhood (blog), wallyhood.org
Community Resources
Good Shepherd P-Patch, 4618 Bagley Ave N, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Wallingford Boys and Girls Club, 1310 N 45th St, 206-547-7261; Wallingford Community Council, 2100-A N 45th St, 206-632-0645, wallingford.org; Wallingford Community Senior Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, Ste 140, 206-461-7825, wallingfordseniors.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 16, 26, 30, 31, 44, 46, 82

Green Lake

Boundaries: North: NE 110th Street; West: Aurora Avenue North (Highway 99); South: North 50th Street; East: I-5

Green Lake

In the late 1800s trolleys connected Green Lake to downtown, creating a popular recreation spot for Seattle residents. An amusement park was opened on the west side of the lake and Woodland Park Zoo was developed at the south end. In the early 1900s, the city of Seattle annexed Green Lake and its surrounding lands, designating them a public space. Today, Green Lake is one of Seattle’s most popular public parks. It is surrounded by a three-mile paved walkway that attracts bicyclists, in-line skaters, runners, and walkers. During the summer, fields at the east side of the lake fill with volleyball teams, and basketball courts offer informal but competitive pick-up games. At the south end of the lake, Woodland Park has baseball and soccer fields, lighted tennis courts, a skatepark, and a running track.

North and east of Green Lake, cozy coffee shops, fragrant bakeries, and sporting goods and bike shops provide services for visitors and residents. Most are located near the intersection of Ravenna Avenue and Green Lake Way, or a few minutes north at Green Lake Way and 80th Street. Beautiful Northwest Modern and Tudor homes line Green Lake Way, facing the lake. Even though there is heavy traffic along this main thoroughfare, the view of the lake and the popularity of the area keep up the value of these homes. Original neighborhood houses still exist, although the distance from these houses to the lakeshore increased when the lake was partially drained in the early 1900s.

The neighborhood’s charm and immediate accessibility to the park make Green Lake a high demand area, which is reflected in its real estate prices. The average home price in 2009 was over $600,000, and it isn’t difficult to find homes facing the lake that sell for over a million.

Homes just off the lake are the most expensive; many are elegant Colonial-style mansions with views of the lake and even of the Olympic Mountains. Recent construction has increased the number of condominiums and townhouses east of the lake, although the area remains primarily a mix of detached houses and apartments. More modest Northwest Modern and Craftsman homes line idyllic residential streets in the blocks southeast of Green Lake, bordering the Wallingford neighborhood. These homes have the advantage of proximity to Green Lake without the inconvenience of heavy traffic or summer parking problems. Northwest and west of the lake, particularly across Aurora Avenue North near the Phinney Ridge neighborhood, modest and affordable Craftsman-style bungalows and Cape Cod–style cottages line steep, quiet streets. There are few rentals available in this area, but prices for homes are often much lower than those closer in to the lake. Unpretentious yet comfortable homes may be found north of 80th Street. While many of these areas seem far from the lake, most are merely a few minutes’ walk away. Green Lake is one of the few Seattle neighborhoods where many residents walk to do their errands. The area around the lake is flat rather than hilly and the heavy traffic in the area makes walking a pleasant alternative to driving. The neighborhood’s proximity to downtown Seattle is another selling point: commutes by car average 10 to 15 minutes, and many bus lines service the neighborhood.

While most houses around Green Lake are detached bungalows, ramblers, or duplexes, there are other options for those who would like to rent in the Green Lake area. On the southeast and east sides of the lake, particularly near Ravenna Boulevard, there are several apartment buildings and condominiums. Most are contemporary high-rise complexes; others are smaller Federal or 1950s-style apartment buildings. Many are a few blocks off the lake, surrounded by houses or other similar apartment buildings. In the smaller buildings, apartments are not often advertised in local newspapers, so prospective tenants should visit the area periodically looking for rental signs. For the best deals, try the area in the spring, when University of Washington students vacate for the summer. Dupre + Scott Apartment Advisors estimate that average monthly rent in Greenlake/Wallingford is just over $1,300.

The Green Lake neighborhood is predominantly middle-income. Southeast of the lake and across Aurora Avenue (Highway 99) to the west, couples and young families keep that part of the neighborhood hopping. These two areas have been growing rapidly as housing prices increase in the more affluent blocks north and east of Green Lake. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the city’s Office of Management and Planning estimates that by the year 2014, the number of existing households in the Green Lake area will grow to 1,839—an increase of 400 since 1997, and a climb in density from 13.4 households per gross acre to 17.2.

Maple Leaf

Just north of Green Lake is the Maple Leaf neighborhood, recognizable by its blue water tower decorated with enormous white maple leaves. The small retail district runs along Roosevelt Way NE and includes coffee shops, restaurants like the popular Judy Fu’s Snappy Dragon, a hardware store, and many unique, independent stores. It is a neighborhood of quiet streets and modest but well-maintained homes. Most houses in the area are brick Tudors or contemporary split-levels, with small landscaped yards. Perched on a hill over I-5, many homes have views of the Olympics or Mount Rainier. Compared to other desirable neighborhoods in Seattle, housing prices in Maple Leaf are surprisingly affordable considering the neighborhood’s proximity to Green Lake and I-5. Apartments in the neighborhood tend to cluster near shopping areas. Rents here for a two-bedroom unit average about $100 less per month than in Greenlake and Wallingford.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Code
98103, 98115
Post Office
Wallingford Station, 1329 N 47th St, 206-547-1406
Library
7364 E Green Lake Dr N, 206-684-7547, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
North Precinct, 10049 College Way N, 206-684-0850, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Northwest Hospital, 1550 N 115th St, 206-364-0500, nwhospital.org
Community Publications
Green Lake neighborhood blob, blog.seattlepi.com/ingreenlake; North Seattle Herald-Outlook, 636 S Alaska St, 206-461-1300, northseattleherald-outlook.com
Community Resources
Evans Pool, 7201 E Greenlake Dr N, 206-684-4961; Green Lake Community Center, 7201 E Green Lake Drive N, 206-684-0780, seattle.gov/parks; Green Lake Community Council, P.O. Box 31536, Seattle, WA 98103, greenlakecommunitycouncil.org; Maple Leaf Community Council, P.O. Box 75595, Seattle, WA 98175, mapleleafcommunity.org; Maple Leaf P-Patch, 5th Ave NE and NE 103rd St, seattle.gov/neighborhoods
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 16, 26, 48, 64, 66, 67, 68, 72, 73, 76, 77, 79, 82, 83, 242, 243, 316, 358, 372, 373

University District

Boundaries: North: NE 75th Street; West: I-5; South: Lake Washington Ship Canal; East: NE 35th Street, Union Bay

University District

In 1861, the University of Washington was founded on the present-day site of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle. Four Grecian pillars, all that remain of the original building, can now be seen on a small piece of land near the Paramount Theater (at the intersection of Pike Street and Boren Avenue). The university moved to its present location near Union Bay in 1895, intent upon shaking off its reputation as an elementary and high school—the UW graduated its first university student in 1876, but continued accepting pre-college students as late as 1897. Two influential Seattle citizens, Arthur Denny and Daniel Bagley, were instrumental in bringing the college to Seattle. Denny persuaded the legislature to grant Seattle the rights to the territorial university and donated 10 acres of his own property as the original site. Bagley had convinced Denny that the college would be more of an asset to the city than the other available alternatives: the state capitol, prison, or customs house. Asa Mercer, the university’s first president and teacher, is best known today as the man who went east and recruited single women to move to Seattle when it was still a primarily male logging community. His substantial academic and advisory contributions to the fledgling college are largely overlooked. In 1909, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition was held on campus, marking a turning point for the young university. Originally intended to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Klondike Gold Rush, the event was held two years late but drew nearly four million visitors to the area. As a result of the exposition, the university received several new permanent buildings and gained national attention. Since then, annual enrollment has passed the 40,000 mark and the university has gained a reputation as a premier medical research institution. While some critics claim that the university gives special preference to its graduate and research programs, particularly the sciences over the humanities, it remains an affordable way to receive a high-quality undergraduate education—if you’re lucky enough to be admitted. As a result of state budget cuts to education, in 2011 the UW began accepting fewer in-state students in favor of out-of-state and international students, who pay nearly three times as much in tuition and fees.

Students, staff, and faculty of the university buzz about the campus and fill area coffeehouses at all hours of the day. On campus, be sure to visit the Burke Museum for, among other attractions, its marvelous exhibits on local Native American tribes, and the Graduate Reading Room, a beautiful cathedral-shaped room in the Suzzallo Library. For a look at one of Seattle’s natural wonders, stop at “Frosh Pond” for a fabulous view of Mount Rainier over the Guggenheim Fountain.

In addition to its solid academic reputation, the University of Washington is nationally recognized for its football program. The Huskies routinely attract sold-out crowds for home games, even during disastrous seasons. Wealthy UW graduates and football fans are generous supporters of the program, and regularly generate more interest in the team than the current university students. The UW crew and basketball teams (particularly the women’s) also receive local attention, although they are overshadowed by the fervent devotion of Husky football fans. All of the UW sports facilities are on the shore of Union Bay, an inlet of Lake Washington, along Montlake Avenue. Parking is scarce and traffic problems are common on football Saturdays; at other times two large parking lots north of the stadium are sufficient. City regulations benefit those who live near the stadium by assigning parking stickers and by limiting parking on most streets to neighborhood residents. Some lucky football fans come to the games by boat, tying up at the east side of the UW stadium. Others take advantage of the additional buses added to local routes on game days. For the fitness and environmentally minded, you can bike or walk to the games via the Burke-Gilman trail.

Locals and students refer to the university as the UW (pronounced “U-Dub”) and to the area around it as the “U-District.” Although the campus is the geographic focal point of the area, the center of the community is “the Ave.” (University Way), running just a block west of the campus. A tad run-down, it’s a great place to see movies, buy books and CDs, play video games, or eat at an international variety of restaurants. Additional landscaping and wider sidewalks were recently added along “the Ave.,” in order to improve the street surface. The Ave. is also a central location for bus service to the University District and other parts of the city, with routes to neighborhoods throughout the north end of Seattle and to downtown and Capitol Hill. Just south of NE 45th Street on the Ave., the University Bookstore carries an array of books, gifts, and art supplies, as well as required materials for UW classes. During the school year, the Ave. is a favorite student hangout. In the summer it is the site for the University District Street Fair, which takes over several blocks of the street for an entire weekend. It’s best to avoid the west side of University Way between 47th and 50th streets, where drug activity congregates.

Away from the Ave., you can commune with the ghosts of former Seattleites at the Blue Moon Tavern at NE 45th St and 8th Avenue, which has been serving up suds to thirsty poets and others since 1936. Film buffs can choose from five movie theaters within a five-block radius, including the Grand Illusion, the city’s oldest continuously running film house, or rent from Scarecrow, the largest independent video store in the country. For serious crafters, Weaving Works offers an incredible collection of yarns and other materials for the fiber arts.

Beginning in 2016, the U District will be served by an extension of the city’s expanding light rail service called the University Link, which will connect the neighborhood with Capitol Hill, downtown, Rainier Valley, and Sea-Tac Airport. Stations will be situated on Montlake Boulevard in front of Husky Stadium and on Brooklyn Ave.

As one would expect, the University District is predominantly a neighborhood of young people (the median age is 31), but plenty of families have set down roots here, too. Residents include undergraduate and graduate students and university faculty members, as well as young professionals, scholars, and artists. Some families own homes in the northeast corner of the district near Ravenna Boulevard, but the vast majority of U-District residents are renters. Just north of campus, 17th Avenue NE, a tree-lined avenue known informally as “Greek Row,” is bordered by beautiful Colonial-style mansions. Many of these buildings, as well as those in the blocks east of 17th Avenue NE, have been converted into fraternities, sororities, and rooming houses. The north end of this area is popular with graduate students and visiting faculty, as well as longtime neighborhood residents.

West of campus you’ll find apartment buildings and shared houses galore. Close to the campus there are several brick apartment buildings, offering small studios or one-bedrooms with hardwood floors and occasional views. Modern accommodations, built in the 1980s, are located near I-5 and offer multiple-bedroom apartments. Other rental opportunities are available near the University Village Mall, at the northeast corner of the UW campus. The mall includes an Apple store and national chain stores such as H&M, Eddie Bauer, Juicy Couture, and Crate and Barrel. Apartment buildings and townhouses line NE 22nd Street, and other rentals are tucked into the base of the hill behind the retail stores and strip malls that line NE 25th Street. Rents here are comparable to those in Greenwood, and slightly less than those in the Wallingford neighborhood. The most affordable options here are rooms for rent in group houses—these are often listed in local papers such as The Stranger and the Seattle Weekly, and in the UW student paper The Daily. Rental houses are also readily available, particularly north of 50th Avenue NE. The best time for finding rentals of any kind is at the end of the school year when students head home for the summer. Many rentals are not listed in local papers, so it is generally a good idea to roam the neighborhood looking for “For Rent” signs. Additionally, the University of Washington Student Housing Affairs provides information to students and non-students alike about off-campus opportunities. Visit them in Room 218 of Condon Hall or call 206-543-8997.

Roosevelt

The Roosevelt and Ravenna neighborhoods, located north of the University District, traditionally attract UW graduate students, faculty, and staff. In recent decades, professionals willing to commute to downtown or the Eastside have also moved to these areas. The center of the Roosevelt neighborhood is a small pedestrian-friendly retail district based around the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue NE and NE 65th Street, which boasts several small ethnic restaurants, coffee shops, and bookstores. An annual Bull Moose Street Festival brings the community together here each summer with live music and a pub crawl. Residents enjoy easy access to the University Village shopping center, Northgate Mall, and the pleasures of Green Lake. A light rail station is currently being built in the neighborhood, which will speed riders downtown in just seven minutes. On the first Wednesday of every month, vintage motorcycle enthusiasts flock to Teddy’s Tavern, lining the street with bikes of all makes and models. Despite this “biker bar” tradition, the Roosevelt neighborhood is a tranquil residential community, with an excellent public high school boasting an award-winning jazz band. Most houses in the Roosevelt District are Arts-and-Crafts-style bungalows and Tudor-style cottages. There are a few apartment buildings and condominiums in the neighborhoods, mostly near I-5 and Ravenna Boulevard, but upzoning plans will bring more housing and businesses to the area.

Ravenna

The Ravenna neighborhood is named for the ravine that runs through the area, at one time connecting Green Lake with Union Bay and Lake Washington. Water still flows in the ravine, fed by underground streams and Seattle’s ubiquitous rain. Ravenna Park follows the ravine, winding northwest toward the Green Lake area. It is a beautiful and lush city park with trails, tennis courts, and picnic areas. There are a variety of architectural styles in Ravenna, including modest Tudors, roomy Arts-and-Crafts homes, and 1960s bungalows. Home prices are on average higher here than in Roosevelt and the U District. There are occasional opportunities for renting houses here, and a few apartments and townhouses line 25th Avenue East.

University Park

The University Park neighborhood ranges from 16th Avenue NE in the west to 21st Avenue NE in the east. Its northern border is Ravenna Park, and NE 50th Street marks its southern edge. The tiny neighborhood is home to Park Drive, known as “Candy Cane Lane” during the Christmas holidays because of the profusion of lights and decorations that draw visitors from all over the city. The neighborhood consists primarily of well-preserved Arts-and-Crafts homes.

Bryant

The Bryant neighborhood (sometimes called Ravenna-Bryant), east of University Village, has much in common with Ravenna. Houses here are mainly modest bungalows and Tudors, with a few scattered brick ranch houses. Ravenna and Bryant attract families, UW faculty and staff members, and professionals who work downtown or on the Eastside. Commuters to the Eastside have few choices on their route to the 520 bridge from here, so the drive at rush hour can be time-consuming. Beyond that, you can’t beat its offer of quiet streets and friendly neighbors.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98105, 98115
Post Office
University Station, 4244 University Way NE, 206-675-8114
Library
5009 Roosevelt Way NE, 206-684-4063, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
North Precinct, 10049 College Way N, 206-684-0850, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
University of Washington Medical Center, 1959 NE Pacific St, 206-598-3300, uwmedicine.washington.edu
Community Publications
North Seattle Herald-Outlook, 636 S Alaska St, 206-461-1300, northseattleherald-outlook.com; The Daily (UW paper), 206-543-2700, dailyuw.com; The Roosie (monthly newsletter of the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association); UDistrict daily (blog), udistrictdaily.com
Community Resources
Ravenna-Bryant Community Association, P.O. Box 51250, Seattle, WA 98115, scn.org/neighbors/rbca; Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center, 6535 Ravenna Ave NE, 206-684-7534, ci.seattle.wa.us; Ravenna P-Patch, 5200 Ravenna Ave NE, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Roosevelt Neighbors’ Alliance, 4534 University Way NE, 360-951-6291, rooseveltneighborsalliance.org; Roosevelt Neighborhood Association, 6910 Roosevelt Way NE #518, rooseveltseattle.org; Roosevelt P-Patch, 7012 12th Ave NE, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; University District P-Patch, 4009 8th Ave NE, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; University Heights P-Patch, 5031 University Way NE, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; University Neighborhood Service Center, 4534 University Way NE, 206-684-7542, seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nsc; University Park Community Club, upcc.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 25, 30, 31, 43– 46, 48, 49, 64–68, 70–76, 79, 83, 133, 167, 197, 205, 243, 271, 272, 277, 301, 316, 372, 373, 810, 812, 821, 851, 855, 860, 870, 871, 880, 885; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 510, 511, 540, 542, 556, 586

Lake City

Boundaries: North: NE 145th Street; West: 5th Avenue NE; South: NE 95th Street; East: Lake Washington

Lake City

Lake City is located near the north end of Lake Washington, just inside the city limits. When Seattle annexed Lake City in 1957, it was a quiet lakefront suburb with a small retail core along Lake City Way, a branch of the state highway system also known as Highway 522. Much of that small town character remains in Lake City, which attracts a mix of low- and middle-income families and professionals. The residential streets of Lake City are sheltered from the busy traffic of the highway, resulting in a slice of seclusion and a friendly, small-town atmosphere.

Cedar Park, Matthews Beach, Meadowbrook, Victory Heights, and Olympic Hills

Those looking to live in Lake City will find affordable homes and ample rental apartments. Homes here are modest, predominantly bungalows or modern split-levels; many are on unusually large lots. Those east of Lake City Way may have views of Lake Washington and the Cascades. The Lake Washington waterfront in Lake City known as the Cedar Park neighborhood used to be lined with small weekend cottages, but as property values have soared many of those have been replaced with large, contemporary homes. The Burke-Gilman Trail bisects Cedar Park from NE 150th Street to NE 120th Street, paralleling the lakeshore. The residential communities of Matthews Beach and Meadowbrook are the southern neighborhoods of Lake City. Matthews Beach Park boasts Seattle’s largest freshwater bathing beach. Thornton Creek, which flows through Meadowbrook, has been restored and daylighted, or redirected to flow aboveground. Above Lake City Way and the southern branch of the creek, Victory Heights stretches from NE 98th to NE 125th streets and from Lake City Way to 15th Avenue NE. Speakeasies and taverns once clustered here during Prohibition, and the neighborhood had a rabble-rousing reputation. Today, Victory Heights is a community of single-family homes occupied by a youthful population that includes many UW students. North of here you’ll find Olympic Hills, a peaceful neighborhood of many mid-century bungalows on large lots, surrounded by tall pine trees.

Because of the distance from downtown and the Eastside, real estate prices and rents are generally lower in Lake City than in other residential neighborhoods in Seattle. However, living here makes for an easy commute to the north end of Lake Washington, Bothell, and Kenmore. Most apartment buildings are located in the few blocks to either side of Lake City Way and along NE 125th Street. Nearly half of the residents of Lake City rent apartments or houses, though new, modern condominium complexes on Lake City Way—with retail spaces at street level—will alter the demographic.

Lake City Way has changed significantly since it became part of Seattle; a small, tree-lined and pedestrian-friendly section of the “old town” still exists, with restaurants and small, locally owned retail businesses, but a major part of the highway is crowded with strip malls, gas stations, and auto lots. Adult bookstores and strip clubs have given Lake City Way a slightly seedy reputation, although the businesses have had little impact on the residential areas of the neighborhood. The community has experienced some problems with criminal activity near the highway, but community watch groups and patrols have substantially reduced crime along Lake City Way and throughout the neighborhood.

This is a culturally diverse community, and the meld of cultures and languages is reflected in the assortment of new businesses that have sprouted up along Lake City Way, including international art shops and restaurants. Because of the affordable rents and homes, residents are primarily blue-collar workers and their families. More recently, the area has begun to attract artists and college-educated professionals, as well as retirees with modest incomes. The neighborhood particularly appeals to renters because of its wide variety of housing and affordability. In 2011, work was completed on Lake City Court, an 86-unit development located on 33rd Avenue NE, which is the greenest affordable housing complex in Seattle.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Code
98125
Post Office
Lake City Station, 3019 NE 127th St, 206-364-0608
Library
12501 28th Ave NE, 206-684-7518, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
North Precinct, 10049 College Way N, 206-684-0850, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Northwest Hospital, 1550 N 115th St., 206-364-0500, nwhospital.org
Community Publications
Lake City Live (blog), lakecitylive.net; North Seattle Herald-Outlook, 636 S Alaska St, 206-461-1300, northseattleherald-outlook.com
Community Resources
Lake City Community Center, 12531 28th Ave NE, 206-362-4378; Lake City Neighborhood Service Center, 12525 28th Ave NE (2nd fl), 206-684-7526, seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nsc; Matthews Beach Park, 49th Ave NE and NE 93rd St, 206-684-4075, seattle.gov/parks; Meadowbrook Community Center, 10517 35th Ave NE, 206-684-7522, seattle.gov/parks;
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 41, 64, 65, 72, 75, 79, 243, 306, 309, 312, 330, 372; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 522

Northgate

Boundaries: North: North 145th Street; West: Aurora Avenue North (Highway 99); South: NE 92nd Street; East: 5th Avenue NE

Northgate

Northgate is a large neighborhood centered around the Northgate Mall, which opened in 1950 and claims to be the oldest shopping mall in North America. The mall itself is rather small by current standards, and the businesses located there tend to be scaled-down versions of their downtown or Bellevue Square counterparts. Nevertheless, ample parking around the mall, as well as its close proximity to I-5, makes it a popular shopping destination. The mall and surrounding areas underwent renovations in 2006–2007, expanding the mall and adding a large parking garage to accommodate increased traffic in the area. A new branch of the Seattle Public Library on Fifth Avenue NE facing the mall was completed in 2006, along with a new community center and park.

Jackson Park

While the immediate area around the Northgate Mall is filled with small retail businesses that benefit from the mall traffic—restaurants, drugstores, banks, and sporting goods stores—the heart of Northgate’s residential community is north of the mall, stretching as far as the Jackson Park neighborhood (named after the public park and golf course) at the city boundary. Houses in this area are 1950s brick ranch houses or modest split-levels on large lots, popular with first-time homebuyers. There are also a number of duplexes, townhouses, apartment buildings, and condominiums, as well as an increasing number of senior citizen residences. While real estate and rental prices are lower here than in other parts of the city, this is a close-knit community, complete with freshly painted houses, well-kept lawns, and friendly neighbors. Many contemporary apartments and condominiums are just off the main streets in the area surrounding Northgate Mall.

Haller Lake, and Pinehurst

North and west of Jackson Park lies Haller Lake, a neighborhood short on sidewalks but long on peace and quiet. Properties directly on the lake for which the neighborhood is named run the risk of flooding. Despite drainage problems, homes here tend to be more slightly more expensive than those in nearby Bitter Lake and Lake City, but still a bargain compared to many other areas of the city. Access to I-5 and Highway 99 makes this area convenient for commuters. East of Haller Lake you’ll find Pinehurst, similar to other Northgate neighborhoods in terms of appearance, amenities, and types of available housing. Bungalows here are packed closely together with small yards, but Pinehurst residents have access to two neighborhood parks, the Pinehurst Playground and the Pinehurst Pocket Park. A drainage project called the Pinehurst Green Grid, completed in 2006, eliminated spot flooding in the neighborhood and added new sidewalks and roadways to the area.

Licton Springs

Licton Springs (sometimes called North College Park) is situated between Aurora Avenue and I-5, bounded by NE 85th Street and Northgate Way. Modest homes and brightly painted townhouses are spacious and plentiful in this quiet community. Nearby North Seattle Community College, an imposing concrete structure that resembles a small penitentiary, has a solid reputation, attracting students of all ages. The area around the college includes several small government agencies as well as the North Precinct for the Seattle Police Department. In addition to the community college, several other trade and vocational schools are located here, which makes this neighborhood popular with students. Nearby commercial districts include Aurora Avenue N, with plenty of shops and restaurants. The Oak Tree Village Shopping Center has a Starbucks, several good restaurants, a large multiplex theater, and a supermarket.

Aurora

North of Licton Springs is Aurora, which includes the area north of Northgate Way (105th Street) between Aurora Avenue North and I-5. Aurora Avenue North is a major business district, with a seemingly endless series of strip malls, car dealerships, small hotels, taverns, and appliance stores. While Aurora Avenue North has a reputation for petty crime and prostitution, residents who live even a few blocks off this main street rarely encounter any problems. A block or two east of Aurora Avenue North is a selection of modest split-level and contemporary brick homes. Real estate and rental prices in this area tend to be slightly lower than in those neighborhoods closer to downtown.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98103, 98133, 98125
Post Office
Northgate Station, 11036 8th Ave NE, 206-364-9270
Library
Northgate Branch, 10548 5th Ave NE, 206-386-1980, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
North Precinct, 10049 College Way N, 206-684-0850, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Northwest Hospital, 1550 N 115th St, 206-364-0500, nwhospital.org
Community Publications
Currents (Licton Springs Community Council newsletter), North Seattle Herald-Outlook, 636 S Alaska St, 206-461-1300, northseattleherald-outlook.com; Pinehurst Community Blog, pinehurstseattle.org
Community Resources
Haller Lake Community Club, www.hallerlake.info; Haller Lake P-Patch, 13045 1st Ave NE, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Madison Pool, 13401 Meridian Ave N, 206-684-4979, seattle.gov/parks; Jackson Park Golf Course, 1000 NE 135th St, 206-363-4747; Licton Springs Community Council, lictonsprings.org; Licton Springs Park, 9536 Ashworth Ave N, 206-684-4075, seattle.gov/parks; Northgate Community Center, 10510 5th Ave NE, 206-386-4283, seattle.gov/parks; Pinehurst Community Council, 206-659-5814; Pinehurst Playground, 12029 14th Ave NE, 206-684-4075, seattle.gov/parks; Pinehurst Pocket Park, NE 117th St and 19th Ave NE
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 5, 16, 41, 66, 67, 68, 72, 73, 75, 77, 242, 303, 304, 308, 345, 346, 347, 348, 373, 995; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 555, 556

Broadview

Boundaries: North: NW 145th Street; West: Puget Sound; South: NW 110th Street; East: Aurora Avenue North (Highway 99)

Broadview

Located in the northwest corner of Seattle, Broadview, with its quiet residential streets and unremarkable commercial district, is really more of a suburban community than an urban neighborhood. Most of the area bears a close similarity to the suburban Shoreline community located just north of the city.

Bitter Lake

Greenwood Avenue North, the commercial street in this neighborhood, is lined with a variety of retail businesses, restaurants, and several small strip malls. This avenue also serves as a dividing line down the center of the neighborhood, with more affluent residents to the west and working-class families to the east. Bitter Lake, just northeast of the intersection of 130th and Greenwood, is surrounded by single-family homes that attract middle-income professionals to this quiet community. First-time homebuyers can still find affordable properties in the neighborhood, which features an elementary school. The lake that gives the neighborhood its name has an adjoining park with tennis courts, a playfield, and a community center. A neighborhood P-Patch is also under construction. There are some apartments and new condominium complexes between Greenwood Avenue and Aurora Avenue North, particularly south of 130th Street. Because this area is not so close to downtown or I-5, these generally rent for less than comparable in-city units. Rental rates in Bitter Lake match those in the U District.

Houses in the Broadview neighborhood are mainly modern bungalows, ramblers, and split-levels, although the homes grow grander as you progress north along 3rd Avenue NW, especially on the west side of the street. Many of these homes have splendid views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, similar to the more expensive homes just south in the North Beach area.

The Highlands

At the far north end of 3rd Avenue NW, the Seattle Golf Club and the entrance to The Highlands present a glimpse of one of the most exclusive developments in Seattle. The Highlands, designed in 1909 by the Olmsteds (who also designed Seattle’s park system), remain an exclusive and private enclave for the very wealthy. Although the lots are smaller now than the original minimum of five acres, the winding wooded roads and gated entrance have preserved the quiet seclusion of this community.

Houses and apartments close to Aurora Avenue North offer the least expensive prices and rents, while still providing the comforts of a close-knit residential community. A variety of modest and affordable houses for young families and middle-income professionals can be found north of 130th Street between 3rd Avenue NW and Greenwood Avenue NW, and in the vicinity of Carkeek Park. While Broadview does not attract tourists, nor promise adventurous living, it will satisfy those looking for a stable suburban-style community within the city.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Code
98133, 98177
Post Office
Bitter Lake Station, 929 N 145th St, 206-364-0663
Library
Broadview Branch, 12755 Greenwood Ave N, 206-684-7519, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
North Precinct, 10049 College Way N, 206-684-0850, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Northwest Hospital, 1550 N 115th St, 206-364-0500, nwhospital.org
Community Publications
The Broaderview (community council newsletter), www.broadviewcc.info; North Seattle Herald-Outlook, 636 S Alaska St, 206-461-1300, northseattleherald-outlook.com; Our Broadview Neighborhood (website), broadviewseattle.org
Community Resources
Bitter Lake Community Center, 13035 Linden Ave N, 206-684-7524, seattle.gov/parks; Broadview Community Council, 206-283-2705, www.broadviewcc.info
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 5, 28, 304, 345, 355, 358, 981, 982, 984, 986– 989, 994, 995

Sand Point

Boundaries: North: NE 95th Street; West: 35th Avenue NE, Lake City Way; South: Union Bay; East: Lake Washington

Sand Point

On the shore of Lake Washington, the Sand Point neighborhood is best known as the location of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center. NOAA, a federal research facility that studies the weather and its impact upon the ocean and coastlines, shares a base with the Sand Point Naval Station on Lake Washington. Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, located on Sand Point Way, is a regional pediatric referral center that serves the special health care needs of children and their families.

Sand Point also features two public parks, both with access to the Lake Washington waterfront. Matthews Beach, located north of NOAA, is a summer favorite of sunbathers, picnickers, and swimmers. The Burke-Gilman trail stops off at Matthews Beach as it follows the edge of Lake Washington, giving bicyclists and in-line skaters easy access to the park. South of NOAA, Magnuson Park offers visitors the use of several sports fields, a swimming beach, kite hill, off-leash dog park, trails, public art, and a boat launch. Magnuson Park is also the home of a new community garden and outdoor amphitheater.

Laurelhurst, and Windermere

Laurelhurst, on the southern hill of the Sand Point neighborhood, is a quiet and determinedly private neighborhood. Residents here tend to be affluent professionals and retirees living in homes with incredible views of Lake Washington and Union Bay, with Mount Rainier and the snow-capped Cascades providing a stunning backdrop. Laurelhurst, where Bill Gates grew up and where Bill Gates, Sr., still lives, is a neighborhood of some of the most expensive homes in the city, with appropriately manicured lawns and private waterfront access. Most houses are single-family residences, ranging in style from modest brick Tudors to palatial Georgians and Colonials. Members of the exclusive Laurelhurst Beach Club have access to 450 feet of lakefront and private swimming beach. The border of Laurelhurst, along Sand Point Way, includes a thriving upscale retail district, as well as Children’s Hospital and other clinics. At the top of the hill, the Laurelhurst park and community center serves as a hub for neighborhood activities, including softball games, summer picnics, aerobics, and pottery classes. North of Laurelhurst along the water is the neighborhood of Windermere, with similarly high-end properties featuring excellent views of Wolf Bay and the lake. Only dues-paying members and their guests have access to the local park. The few rental opportunities to be found in these neighborhoods are in the handful of apartment buildings located along Sand Point Way.

View Ridge

View Ridge, north of Laurelhurst, tends to attract wealthy professionals, affluent retirees, and UW professors. Homes in this area are modest brick Tudors and 1950s ranch houses with well-kept lawns; many have panoramic views of the sun rising over Lake Washington and the Cascades. Near Matthews Beach are renovated beach cottages, a reminder of an earlier time when this area was an out-of-town destination for Seattle residents. There are several newer “view” condominiums in this area as well. As with Laurelhurst and Windermere, most rentals are limited to apartment buildings on busy Sand Point Way.

Wedgwood

Located between Sand Point Way and 25th Avenue NE, Wedgwood offers a mix of affordable single-family homes, duplexes, townhouses, and apartment buildings with occasional views of the Cascade Mountains. Many old-growth trees were preserved when Wedgwood was built—a first in the history of Seattle development. Shaded by towering pines, the neighborhood also boasts the city’s oldest and largest P-Patch. Though homes in Wedgwood can’t be considered cheap, they are less expensive here than elsewhere in the Sand Point area. Most homes are Cape Cod and Saltbox-style cottages, or Craftsman bungalows. The rental market is dominated by Wedgewood [sic] Estates, a large, nicely tended complex owned by the City of Seattle to ensure that mid-range housing remains available in this increasingly expensive part of town. Residents tend to be middle-income professionals and young families, as well as UW faculty and staff. Wedgwood has a strong and active Jewish community, with two synagogues located in the neighborhood, and two more within walking distance. The retail district centers on two intersections along 35th Avenue NE, at NE 75th and NE 85th Streets, with grocery stores, medical offices, coffee shops and bakeries, restaurants, and a few locally owned businesses.

Websites
seattle.gov, northeastseattle.com
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98105, 98115
Post Office
Wedgwood Station, 7724 35th Ave NE, 206-527-9825
Library
North East Library, 6801 35th Ave NE, 206-684-7539, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
North Precinct, 10049 College Way N, 206-684-0850, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
University of Washington Medical Center, 1959 NE Pacific St, 206-548-3300, uwmedicine.washington.edu
Community Publications
Laurelhurst Blog, thelaurelhurstblog.blogspot.com; Laurelhurst Letter (newsletter), laurelhurstcc.com; North Seattle Herald-Outlook, 636 S Alaska St, 206-461-1300, northseattleherald-outlook.com
Community Resources
Laurelhurst Community Center, 4554 NE 41st St, 206-684-7529, ci.seattle.wa.us/parks; Laurelhurst Community Club, laurelhurstcc.com; Laurelhurst Playfield, 4544 NE 41st St, 206-684-4075, seattle.gov/parks; Magnuson P-Patch, 7400 Sand Point Way NE, seattle.gov/magnusongarden; Picardo Farm P-Patch, 8040 25th Ave NE, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Sand Point Community Housing Association, 6940 62nd Ave NE, 206-517-5499; View Ridge Community Council, P.O. Box 15218, Seattle, WA 98115, scn.org/viewridge; Wedgwood Community Council, wedgewoodcc.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 30, 64, 65, 68, 71, 74–76, 83, 243, 372, 982, 986–989, 994, 995

Madison Park

Boundaries: North: Union Bay; West: Lake Washington Boulevard; South: Lake Washington Boulevard; East: Lake Washington

Madison Park

On the shore of Lake Washington, the community of Madison Park lies just south of Union Bay and the 520 floating bridge. During the late 1800s, Madison Park was a beachfront resort town frequented by Seattle residents. Many took the cable car from downtown Seattle to the shore to spend the day or rented a nearby cottage for the week. Festivities in the summer included a carnival with food and games, and a Ferris wheel.

Today, Madison Park is an affluent community with a small-town feel. Shop owners know the names of their local customers, traffic is slow and leisurely, people stroll the sidewalks and smile at one another. It’s one of the few Seattle neighborhoods that is not on a shortcut route to other parts of the city, so it is spared the traffic problems of other less fortunate neighborhoods.

One-of-a-kind restaurants and cafés, fashionable boutiques, and fragrant bakeries offering scrumptious goodies line East Madison Street, Madison Park’s main thoroughfare. Nowhere will you find sprawling supermarkets, warehouse stores, chain restaurants, or fast food joints. Although First Hill and Capitol Hill, with their mainstream business districts, are only ten minutes away, many Madison Park residents do most of their shopping locally.

Washington Park, Denny-Blaine, and Broadmoor

Near the east end of East Madison Street, Colonial and Northwest Modern homes intermingle with more modest Cape Cods, reminiscent of the beach cottages that lined the shore in early Madison Park. Two traditionally expensive and fashionable Madison Park neighborhoods, Washington Park and Denny-Blaine, lie farther south along the shore of Lake Washington and on the hill facing the lake. Homes in these areas are an interesting mix, primarily Colonials and Northwest Moderns, as well as a few Elizabethan or Tudor homes. Many of the stately homes here were built when Seattle’s wealthiest migrated to this area and other posh neighborhoods, such as Queen Anne and Capitol Hill, away from downtown and First Hill. Finally, the gated community of Broadmoor offers a variety of elegant homes in an ultra-exclusive golf and country club setting, tucked between Lake Washington and the Arboretum.

Just south of East Madison Street, high-rise condominiums face Lake Washington. Since these were completed, local zoning restrictions have changed, preventing other similar buildings from crowding out the homes that are the core of Madison Park. These condos offer the neighborly appeal of Madison Park and spectacular views of Lake Washington, the Cascades, and imposing Mount Rainier. On the north shore of the Madison Park peninsula, other contemporary and Colonial-style condominiums offer views of Lake Washington and the 520 Bridge.

Madison Park continues to be a neighborhood of wealthy and influential Seattle citizens. The community has a median income more than twice that of the rest of the city, and the homes here are some of the most expensive in Seattle; even modest Cape Cod cottages run in the several-hundred-thousand-dollar range. Though they rarely appear on the market, since turnover in the area is low, the grand residences in Broadmoor and Denny-Blaine often break the million-dollar mark.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98112, 98122
Post Office
East Union Station, 1110 23rd Ave, 206-328-9712
Library
Montlake Library, 2401 24th Ave E, 206-684-4720, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
East Precinct, 1519 12th Ave, 206-684-4300, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Swedish Medical Center, 747 Broadway, 206-386-6000, swedish.org
Community Publication
Madison Park Blogger, madisonparkblogger.blogspot.com; Madison Park Times, 636 S Alaska St, 206-461-1300, madisonparktimes.com
Community Resources
Denny-Blaine Park, 200 Lake Washington Blvd E, 206-684-4075, seattle.gov/parks; Ida Mia Garden, alley near E Madison St and Lake Washington Blvd; Madison Park, E Madison St and E Howe St, seattle.gov/parks
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 11, 84, 988

Madison Valley

Boundaries: North: Washington Park Arboretum; West: 23rd Avenue East; South: East Howell Street; East: Lake Washington Boulevard and Dorffel Drive

Madison Valley

Sandwiched between Madison Park and Capitol Hill, and centered around the intersection of East Madison Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way East, is Madison Valley, a diverse neighborhood with a range of income, religion, race, and age groups. When you visit this thriving neighborhood, it’s difficult to imagine that it was once a blighted area of abandoned houses and the occasional brothel, shunned by its affluent neighbors in nearby Madison Park and Denny-Blaine. A committed and well-organized community group now known as the Greater Madison Valley Community Council has been instrumental in making Madison Valley what it is today. Businesses that serve the neighborhood cluster along East Madison Street and include garden shops, wellness services, boutiques, and a bounty of excellent restaurants, including Luc, Nishino, the Spanish Table, and Café Flora, which is justifiably famous for its vegetarian food. The neighborhood is also home to the Bush School, one of the city’s best private schools, and the nation’s first AIDS hospice, the Bailey-Boushay House.

Residents of Madison Valley range from Seattle University students to families and singles, who live in Craftsman-style homes or newer properties with green territorial views. Condos and townhouses afford additional housing options, and rents here average about $500 less than you’ll pay in Madison Park. Home prices are more affordable, too, though still spendy. Residents can easily access downtown, the nearby Arboretum, and Lake Washington, though the hilly terrain can make it a challenge to bike around here. The relative proximity of I-5 and the 520 bridge will serve those whose daily commute takes them north or to the East Side.

In addition to various parks, Madison Valley has two greenbelts. The Harrison Ridge Greenbelt runs along 32nd Avenue between Denny Way and Harrison Street, providing drainage and a haven for birds and other animals. The greenbelt’s retaining wall was a WPA project built with the community’s help. Neighborhood activists banded together to create another greenbelt area and a P-Patch in 2001. The neighborhood’s susceptibility to flooding has spurred another public works project, the Madison Valley Stormwater Project, scheduled for completion by the end of 2011. Those looking for a green enclave with an abundance of community spirit will find it in Madison Valley.

Website
seattle.gov; madisonvalley.org
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98112, 98122
Post Office
East Union Station, 1110 23rd Ave, 206-328-9712
Library
Montlake Library, 2401 24th Ave E, 206-684-4720, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
East Precinct, 1519 12th Ave, 206-684-4300, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Swedish Medical Center, 747 Broadway, 206-386-6000, swedish.org
Community Publication
The Valley View newsletter, madisonvalley.org
Community Resources
Denny-Blaine Park, 200 Lake Washington Blvd E, 206-684-4075, seattle.gov/parks; Greater Madison Valley Community Council, madisonvalley.org; Ida Mia Garden, alley near E Madison St and Lake Washington Blvd; Madison Park, E Madison St and E Howe St, seattle.gov/parks; Mad-P (P-Patch), 3000 E Mercer St, seattle.gov/neighborhoods
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 11, 84, 988

Montlake

Boundaries: North: Lake Washington Ship Canal; West: Fuhrman Avenue East; South: Boyer Avenue East; East: Lake Washington Boulevard

Montlake

The Montlake Cut is a small, man-made waterway that connects Lake Union and Lake Washington. Each year on the first Saturday in May, the annual Opening Day celebration of boating season is celebrated here. Spectators, boating enthusiasts, and crew teams fill the cut for a day of races and boats on parade. The event’s highlight is the Windermere Cup, the final race of the day that features the men’s and women’s Husky crew teams. Just south of the UW Husky Stadium, the Montlake Bridge crosses the cut, connecting Montlake Avenue to 24th Avenue East. The Montlake neighborhood includes all of the homes to the south side of this bridge and to either side of 24th Avenue East, which divides the community into east and west. Highway 520 further divides the area into north and south halves. Because it is located at the crossroads of two major thoroughfares, Montlake suffers from heavy traffic, particularly at rush hour. Despite this, the neighborhood feels tucked away from the cares of the city.

Portage Bay

Homes in Montlake are a mix of imposing mansions, exquisite cottages, brick Tudors, and elaborate Colonials. Winding streets and culs-de-sac add to the feeling of privacy in the neighborhood, though navigating the streets can be confusing. With the Montlake Cut to the north and the Arboretum to the east, Montlake’s only close neighbor is Portage Bay, itself a tiny residential offshoot of the Eastlake and Capitol Hill neighborhoods, with one of the few remaining communities of houseboats in Seattle. There are no shopping centers or malls, only a couple of small corner grocers and a freeway on-ramp gas station. University Village, an upscale outdoor shopping center located just north of Montlake on 25th Avenue NE, offers everything from an Anthropologie and Eddie Bauer to an Apple store and a huge QFC Grocery. The neighborhood is home to two of Seattle’s premier yacht clubs, the Seattle Yacht Club and Queen City Yacht Club, giving members easy access to both Lake Union and Lake Washington. The beautiful Foster Island Park is a popular place to rent canoes, rowboats or sailboats and paddle or sail through the Arboretum.

On the south side of Highway 520 and west of 24th Avenue East, the Montlake Playfield is a center of activity for the neighborhood, with quiet tennis courts and a popular activity center. Just across 24th Avenue East, Montlake homes brush up against the Washington Park Arboretum, a 200-acre public park with 5,500 different trees and shrubs and a stunning Japanese Garden. A quick drive through the Arboretum brings you to the edge of the Madison Park neighborhood, and provides access to the heavenly bakeries, elegant salons, and excellent restaurants that line Madison Street.

Most Montlake residents are middle- or high-income professionals who work downtown or on the Eastside. When lucrative high-tech jobs on the Eastside, including those at Microsoft, increased in the late 1990s, Montlake became a popular neighborhood for successful software engineers and other technical workers. Other residents include current and retired UW professors and UW Medical Center doctors. Average rental prices in Montlake are similar to those in Green Lake, and less expensive than those in Ballard and Wallingford. Convenient access to I-5 and the Highway 520 Bridge—as well as the secluded and quiet nature of the residential areas—makes Montlake an attractive and sought-after location. Many bus routes service this neighborhood, and a proposed Montlake Boulevard light rail station, next to Husky Stadium, is scheduled to open in 2016.

Websites
seattle.gov, montlake.net
Area Code
206
Zip Code
98112
Post Office
East Union Station, 1110 23rd Ave, 206-328-9712
Library
2401 24th Ave E, 206-684-4720, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
East Precinct, 1519 12th Ave, 206-684-4300, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
University of Washington Medical Center, 1959 NE Pacific St, 206-548-3300, uwmedicine.washington.edu
Community Publication
The Montlake Flyer (newsletter), montlake.net
Community Resources
Montlake Community Center, 1618 E Calhoun St, 206-684-4736, seattle.gov/parks; Montlake Playfield, 1618 E Calhoun St, 206-684-4075, seattle.gov/parks; University Neighborhood Service Center, 4534 University Way NE, 206-684-7542, seattle.gov; Washington Park Arboretum, 2300 Arboretum Dr, 206-543-8800, depts.washington.edu/uwbg
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 25, 43, 44, 48, 167, 242, 243, 250, 252, 255–257, 260, 261, 265, 266, 268, 271, 272, 277, 280, 311, 424, 982, 986; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 540,545, 555, 556

Central District

Boundaries: North: East Madison Street, West: 12th Avenue East; South: I-90; East: Martin Luther King Jr. Way

Central District

The Central District or Central Area, referred to as “the CD” by most Seattle residents, cuts a long narrow swath through the center of Seattle. Most retail enterprises in the CD are located along 12th Avenue East and on 23rd Avenue East; many are family-owned restaurants and shops, including small African- or Asian-American groceries.

Sandwiched between Capitol Hill, First Hill, and the International District to the west, and Madison Valley, Madrona, and Leschi to the east, the CD has long had an uneasy relationship with the rest of Seattle. Homes here are not all that different from those at this end of Capitol Hill—most are charming turn-of-the-century Victorians, 1920s Colonials, and Craftsman bungalows. Nevertheless, housing prices in the Central District, especially the eastern portion, have historically lagged behind prices in the rest of Seattle, in part because of geography. Steep slopes in the area slowed development and served as dividers from the rest of the city; the CD was further cut off by the expansion of I-90. Between 1970 and 1990, many homes in the area were neglected or even abandoned as residents moved out to the suburbs.

Over the last decade, however, the Central District has changed dramatically. Housing prices in the CD have risen as more affluent residents have moved to the area, particularly in the north end of the neighborhood. Although many houses in the CD are still run-down from years of neglect, many are being refurbished by newcomers and longtime residents. Home prices in the central section of Seattle now approach those in the Ballard/Greenlake region. Condemned property has been replaced with multi-unit townhouses and condos. Millions of dollars of new construction, including a four- to six-story building at 2211 East Madison Street that now houses a Safeway supermarket, upper-level residential units, and an underground parking garage, have contributed to the ongoing transformation of the CD.

Judkins Park

Bordered by I-90 to the south, 20th Avenue South to the west, Yesler Way to the north, and Martin Luther King Jr. Way to the east, Judkins Park is a one-mile rectangle in the southeast corner of the Central Area. Once a neglected neighborhood decimated by the expansion of I-90 in the 1960s, Judkins Park, like much of the rest of the Central District, is now flourishing. Residents can buy freshly baked bread from Gai’s Northwest Bakery Thrift on South Weller Street. At the corner of South Jackson Street and 23rd Avenue South, site of the Welch Plaza mixed-use development, there is a Walgreens drugstore, a Starbucks, and a Red Apple market.

At the center of the Central District is Garfield High School, which consistently produces National Merit Scholars, and boasts a number of famous former students, including Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Lee, Quincy Jones, and Ernestine Anderson. Other notable Central Area institutions include the Swedish Medical Center’s Cherry Hill campus, Seattle University, and the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.

The Central District has undergone many revisions over the course of Seattle’s history. In the early 1900s the neighborhood supported a predominantly Jewish population. Decades later, many Japanese-Americans lived here before they were forcibly relocated to internment camps during World War II. During the sixties and seventies the Central District was home to much of Seattle’s African-American population and the center of its civil-rights movement. Census data showed that in 1980 the area was more than 80% African-American and about 11% white. During the 1990s the area developed a reputation for crime and poverty. By 2000, The Seattle Times, reporting on the changing demographics of the CD, declared that the area had become home to fewer African-Americans than at any other time in the previous 30 years. The 2011 Census figures reveal that many minorities have been migrating out of the Central District and other parts of the city such as Beacon Hill and Rainier Valley and into the suburbs.

Prospective residents should be aware that racial tensions do exist in the Central District. The general target of the neighborhood’s anger, however, is the city and its law enforcement, and steps have been taken to improve relations, including the formation of a civilian-led Office of Professional Accountability.

Websites
seattle.gov, centralarea.org
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98122, 98144
Post Office
East Union Station, 1110 23rd Ave, 206-328-9712
Library
Douglass-Truth Library, 2300 E Yesler Way, 206-684-4704, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
East Precinct, 1519 12th Ave, 206-684-4300, www. seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Swedish Medical Center, Cherry Hill Campus, 540 16th Ave, 206-320-2000, swedish.org
Community Publications
Central District News, centraldistrictnews.com
Community Resources
Central Area Development Association, 320 17th Ave S, 206-328-2240, cada.org; Central Area Motivation Program, 722 18th Ave, 206-812-4940, campseattle.org; Central Area Senior Center, 500 30th Ave S, 206-726-4926, centralareaseniorcenter.org; Central Area Youth Association, 119 23rd Ave, 206-322-6640, seattle-caya.org; Central Neighborhood Service Center, 2301 S Jackson St, Ste 208, 206-684-4767, seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nsc; Garfield Community Center, 2323 E Cherry St, 206-684-4788, seattle.gov/parks; Hawkins P-Patch, 504 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Immaculate P-Patch, 18th Ave and E Columbia St, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Judkins P-Patch, 24th Ave S and S Norman St, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Judkins Park and Playfield, 2150 S Norman St, 206-684-4075, seattle.gov/parks; Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 17th Ave S, 206-684-4757; Medgar Evers Pool, 500 23rd Ave, 206-684-4766, seattle.gov/parks; Spring Street P-Patch, 25th Ave and E Spring St, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Squire Park Patch, 14th Ave and E Fir St, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Yesler Community Center, 917 E Yesler Way, 206-386-1245, seattle.gov/parks
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 2–4, 7–9, 11, 12, 14, 27, 34, 42, 43, 48, 60, 64, 193, 205, 211, 303, 984

Madrona/Leschi

Boundaries: North: Denny Way; West: Martin Luther King Jr. Way; South: I-90; East: Lake Washington

Madrona

The Madrona and Leschi neighborhoods lie along Lake Washington, east of the Central District and the International District. While Madrona sits atop the hill facing west, Leschi, named for a Nisqually Indian executed for resisting the whites, faces east toward Lake Washington. Some consider Madrona and Leschi part of the Central District, but both neighborhoods are quite different from the CD. While the CD historically has been a neighborhood for those with moderate means, both Madrona and Leschi started out as affluent neighborhoods. It wasn’t until after the 1960s when many of its wealthy residents moved to other areas of Seattle and outside Seattle that Madrona/Leschi declined. Fortunately for many, this shift made the area more affordable, and allowed for an influx of people from varied backgrounds. The result is that today these neighborhoods are a welcoming blend of various ethnic groups and income levels with both longtime residents and newcomers.

Madrona’s center is the lively intersection of 34th Avenue East and East Union Street. Clustered here are the popular cafés and trendy shops, including a branch of the wildly popular Molly Moon Ice Cream Shop. The few blocks surrounding this pedestrian-friendly intersection create an idyllic urban village, with people sitting on storefront steps and at restaurant tables along the sidewalks. There are several small eateries here that cater to a Sunday brunch crowd. In Leschi, most businesses are located on the lake, and are primarily view restaurants and boat-related ventures. The family-owned Leschi Market on Lakeside has been a part of this community since the 1950s. A condominium and retail complex, Lakeside at Leschi, is located on the shore of Lake Washington. To the south, Leschi Park features Victorian-style grounds, towering sequoias, and colorful tulip trees. Atop the hill, Frink Park offers lovely walking trails under grand maples.

Leschi

Residents of Madrona and Leschi range from artists and artisans to young professionals, from retirees to families with young children. Homes also run the gamut in size and style, from opulent turn-of-the-century Victorians and Colonials to narrow abodes that were once corner groceries. Many of the splendid homes in Leschi have spectacular views of Lake Washington, the Cascade Mountains, and Mount Rainier. Other homes in both Madrona and Leschi share a view of downtown and the Olympics to the west.

Security concerns are evidenced by the bars on the windows on some businesses and houses in these neighborhoods. While there is a strong sense of community here, proximity to higher crime neighborhoods such as Rainier Valley and the Central District make both Madrona and Leschi more vulnerable than other Seattle neighborhoods. However, the crime rates are trending down in these areas and local neighborhood watch groups are organized and effective.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98122, 98144
Post Office
East Union Station, 1110 23rd Ave, 206-328-9712
Libraries
Douglass-Truth Library, 2300 E Yesler Way, 206-684-4705, spl.org; Madrona-Sally Goldmark Library, 1134 33rd Ave, 206-684-4705, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
East Precinct, 1519 12th Ave, 206-684-4300, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Swedish Medical Center, Cherry Hill Campus, 540 16th Ave, 206-320-2000, swedish.org
Community Publication
Madrona News (newsletter), madrona. wetpaint.com
Community Resources
Central Area Motivation Program, 722 18th Ave, 206-812-4940, campseattle.org; Central Neighborhood Service Center, 2301 S Jackson St, Ste 208, 206-684-4767, seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nsc; Garfield Community Center, 2323 E Cherry St, 206-684-4788, seattle.gov/parks; Madrona Community Council, 206-285-9166, madrona.wetpaint.com; Madrona Playfield, 3211 E Spring St, 206-684-4075, seattle.gov/parks
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 2, 3, 27, 84, 988

Beacon Hill

Boundaries: North: I-90; West: I-5; South: South Ryan Street (to Martin Luther King Jr. Way South), South Genesee Street; East: Lake Washington

Beacon Hill

From the top of Beacon Hill, the former Amazon.com Building looms over the city like a huge gothic castle. The Internet giant, headquartered in the building until its relocation to South Lake Union in 2011, helped to change the face of this south Seattle community. Beacon Hill is now a flourishing neighborhood with a strong sense of community and comfortable homes, which are among the most affordable in the city. According to the 2010 Census, the neighborhood’s 98118 zip code is the most diverse in the country. Residents hope to retain the neighborhood’s friendly character, despite present questions about which tenants will replace the Amazonians. A new light rail station, opened in 2009, connects Beacon Hill to downtown and Sea-Tac Airport. With improved transit attracting commercial developers to the area, Beacon Hill is undoubtedly poised for new growth.

North of Spokane Street, quiet streets are lined with 1940s tract houses and modest bungalows on small but well-kept lots. Residents include middle-income families and young or retired couples. Apartment buildings in the area offer studio, one-, and two-bedroom units for rents slightly below the city average. Many streets have views of downtown, the Cascades, or the Olympics, and a small park on 12th Avenue South has provided memorable postcard pictures of Seattle and Elliot Bay.

South of Spokane Street, small bungalows and contemporary split-levels sell for slightly less than comparable homes at the north end of the hill. New townhomes have subdivided several of the larger lots in the neighborhood. Small family businesses such as Asian groceries and restaurants dot the neighborhood, and the beautiful Jefferson Park and Public Golf Course is located here.

New Holly, Othello Station, and South Beacon Hill

Farther south, New Holly (formerly the Holly Park public housing development) is an award-winning redevelopment featuring 1,400 units of affordable housing available to tenants from a range of income brackets. NewHolly has parks, playgrounds, a Neighborhood Campus featuring a branch of the Seattle public library and South Seattle Community College classrooms, and other neighborhood services. Othello Station, another pioneering mixed-income development, contains new single-family homes and townhomes interspersed with small parks. The area is racially and economically diverse and offers housing for low and middle-income families as well as market rate homes. Othello Station is a stop on the city’s Link light rail line. The South Beacon Hill neighborhood, west of Beacon Ave S, is also changing as a result of the new light rail service, which has begun attracting commuters to the area and energized local businesses.

Mount Baker

Clinging to the east slope of the hill, the Mount Baker neighborhood is the most affluent section of Beacon Hill. Most homes here have spectacular views of the south end of Lake Washington and the Cascades. Many wealthy professionals live in this area, and it is certainly one of the most racially diverse of Seattle’s affluent neighborhoods. Mount Baker has a wealth of waterfront parks, but is hampered by a pedestrian-hostile business district at the busy intersection of Rainier Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way S.

Crime may be a concern on some parts of Beacon Hill, particularly in the southeast section, as gang-related activities occasionally encroach from nearby Rainier Valley. Local crime prevention groups have been increasingly successful in mobilizing the community and in cleaning up public spaces, but newcomers should be aware of the neighborhood dynamics before choosing a home here.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98118, 98144, 98108
Post Offices
Columbia Station, 3727 S Alaska St; Terminal Finance Station, 2420 4th Ave S
Library
Beacon Hill, 2821 Beacon Ave S, 206-684-4711; NewHolly, 7058 32nd Ave S, 206-386-1905, spl.gov
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
South Precinct, 3001 S Myrtle St, 206-684-4300, cityofseattle.net/police
Emergency Hospital
Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Ave, 206-744-3000, uwmedicine.washington.edu
Community Publications
South Seattle Beacon, 636 S Alaska S, 206-461-1300; Beacon Hill Blog, beaconhill.seattle.wa.us
Community Resources
Beacon Bluff P-Patch, 1201 15th Ave S, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Beacon Hill Alliance of Neighbors, seattle.gov/ban; Hillside Garden, MLK Jr Way S and S McClellan St, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Jefferson Community Center, 3801 Beacon Ave S, 206-684-7483, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; New Holly Lucky Garden, S Holly and Shaffer Ave S, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; New Holly Power Garden, 7123 Holly Park Dr S, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; New Holly Rockery Community Garden and Market Garden, Holly Park Dr S and S 40th, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; New Holly 29 Ave Garden, 29th Ave S and S Brighton St, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; New Holly Youth and Family P-Patch, 32nd Ave S and S Brighton St, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Snoqualmie P-Patch, 4549 13th Ave S, seattle.gov/neighborhoods
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 14, 27, 36, 38, 39, 42, 48, 60, 106, 987

Rainier Valley

Boundaries: North: South Genesee Street; West: Martin Luther King Jr. Way South; South: South Juniper Street, South 116th Street; East: 48th Avenue South, Lake Washington

Rainier Valley

Until the construction of I-90 through the Central District, what is now Rainier Valley was a southerly extension of the CD. Today, Rainier Valley is one of Seattle’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods, with a large minority and immigrant population. Unfortunately, it has a higher percentage of residents living in poverty than many other areas of the city. Residents believe the neighborhood is a better place to live in now than it was a decade ago, but they are still frustrated by the fact that while crime rates drop in other parts of the city, Rainier Valley continues to experiences spikes in criminal activity, especially in terms of robberies and gang activity. In 2009 between January and November, 600 violent crimes were reported in this area; in 2010 this number had risen to 700. Perhaps because of its physical isolation from the rest of Seattle, Rainier Valley has not received the attention that might have prevented or lessened many of its current socioeconomic problems.

Despite these statistics, there are still hopeful signs that this is a community on the mend. Seattle’s new light rail service links Rainier Valley with downtown and other neighborhoods. Rainier Valley community groups regularly organize for graffiti paint-outs, the annual Bridge to Beach Makeover, and to celebrate Night Out Against Crime every August. New housing developments have sprung up, as well. The mixed-use Rainier Court development at 3700 Rainier Avenue South, which includes the Dakota and Courtland Place (for seniors) apartments, provides 500 housing units and retail space on a formerly contaminated industrial site. The city estimates that the valley’s industrial north end will employ about 5,000 people by 2014.

The retail district is located along Rainier Avenue South, and is Rainier Valley’s main thoroughfare. It is home to small, locally owned shops, delis, bakeries, and take-out restaurants. The renowned Borracchini’s Bakery has been in the neighborhood for 90 years, and attracts people from all over Seattle with its delicious decorated-while-you-wait sheet cakes. It’s one of the few reminders of Rainier Valley’s Italian heritage—the area was settled almost a century ago by Italian immigrants, and was referred to as “Garlic Gulch.” Once the exclusive province of ethnic shops and eateries, national chain retailers have recently come this way, allowing residents to meet almost all of their shopping needs without leaving the neighborhood. The Mutual Fish Company is one of the best places in the city for fresh seafood; for the alternative-minded, the neighborhood offers a PCC Natural Market (bordering the Seward Park neighborhood), specializing in organic produce, natural foods, and freshly baked treats. Overall, Rainier Valley seems to be benefiting from both the hard work of committed community groups and the increased prosperity of the greater Seattle area.

Columbia City, and Hillman City

Columbia City, in the heart of Rainier Valley, is also experiencing revitalization. Beginning in 1995, residents joined together to fight increasing crime through an innovative crime-stopping dog walk. Several nights a week, residents and their pets would stroll through the community. The idea was to get people out of their homes, allow them to meet their neighbors, and send a message to criminals that they were not welcome. This, combined with other efforts, including those by the Columbia City Revitalization Committee, worked. As crime decreased, the commercial district, centered at Rainier Avenue South and South Ferdinand Street, began to expand to include new restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries, and offices, attracting a hip mix of residents. A farmers’ market at the corner of Rainier Avenue South and South Edmunds, and live-music walks are other popular attractions. Just 18 minutes from downtown via light rail, Columbia City has become one of Seattle’s most appealing neighborhoods. The Rainier Valley Cultural Center offers a wide variety of performing arts in a classic building. Homes in Columbia City range from turn-of-the-century Victorians to modest bungalows. While homes here are slightly more expensive than those in the rest of Rainier Valley, the prices are still well below the city average. South of Columbia City, the adjacent neighborhood of Hillman City seems ready for a similar reawakening.

Rainier Beach, and Dunlap

Rainier Beach and Dunlap (also known as Othello), located on the Lake Washington waterfront, offer lovely old homes, ranging from modest 1920s bungalows to stately turn-of-the-century mansions, most with spectacular views of Lake Washington and the Cascades. Crime rates in this part of the Rainier Valley are at or below the Seattle average. Seward Park Estates, once one of the most run-down apartment complexes in Seattle, now provides quality low-income housing just steps from Lake Washington. In general, real estate prices in this neighborhood remain slightly lower than they are for comparable view homes in other parts of the city.

Rainier Beach reflects the racial diversity of the entire Rainier Valley, with a mixture of whites, African-Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics. Such diversity is reflected in the tiny business district (characterized by the popular King Donut, at 9232 Rainier Avenue South, which also serves teriyaki), where you’ll find a Filipino-owned, coin-operated laundry, a Vietnamese jewelry store, and a Mexican restaurant, among other establishments.

Newcomers to Seattle looking into Rainier Valley should keep in mind that gang-related activities and violent crimes are more common here than elsewhere in the city. Although most residents are respectable, hard-working folks, and there are many wonderful streets in Rainier Valley, pockets of criminal activity may be only a block or two away.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98118, 98178, 98144
Post Office
Columbia Station, 3727 S Alaska St, 206-721-2368
Libraries
Columbia Library, 4721 Rainier Ave S, 206-386-1908, spl.org; NewHolly Library, 7058 32nd Ave S, 206-386-1905, spl.org; Rainier Beach Library, 9125 Rainier Ave S, 206-386-1906, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
South Precinct, 3001 S Myrtle St, 206-684-4300, cityofseattle.net/police
Emergency Hospital
Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Ave, 206-744-3000, uwmedicine.washington.edu
Community Publications
Columbia City Blog, columbiacityblog.com; Rainier Valley Post, rainiervalleypost.com
Community Resources
Southeast Neighborhood Service Center, 3815 S Othello St, Ste 105, 206-386-1931, seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nsc; Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Ave S, 206-386-1919, seattle.gov/parks; Rainier Beach Community Center (scheduled to reopen 2013), 8825 Rainier Ave S, 206-386-1925, seattle.gov/parks; Van Asselt Community Center 2820 S Myrtle St, 206-386-1921, seattle.gov/parks; Rainier Valley Cultural Center, 3515 S Alaska St, 206-725-7517, seedseattle.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 7– 9, 34, 36, 38, 39, 42, 48, 987

Seward Park

Boundaries: North: South Genesee Street; West: 48th Avenue South; South: South Holly Street; East: Lake Washington

Seward Park

The Seward Park neighborhood is located just south of Mount Baker, on Lake Washington. The park from which this community takes its name is a 277-acre peninsula filled with lush vegetation, including cherry trees, lofty Douglas firs, and silvery madrona trees. Whether or not you choose to live here, Seward Park is always worth a visit: during the summer the park hosts jazz concerts and the annual Seafair celebration; and, in addition to nature trails and the lake, it is one of the best places in the city to savor breathtaking views of Mount Rainier. Residents take advantage of the Seward Park Clay Studio, located in the original 1927 bathhouse, which offers pottery classes for all levels of students and serves as a workshop for several professional artists. And, residents and visitors alike line the streets for the annual Danskin Triathlon for women, held at either Seward Park or nearby Stan Sayres Park.

Residents of Seward Park are mostly affluent professionals, including local politicians and judges, and plenty of seniors, some of whom reside in the Kline Galland nursing home. The neighborhood is best known for its strong Jewish community. Most of Seattle’s Orthodox Jews live in or near Seward Park, attending one of the three synagogues located here. Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath, the oldest synagogue in Washington, is located at 5145 South Morgan Street. A small business district on Wilson Ave features restaurants, a pet supply store, and a PCC Natural Market. The neighborhood is not well served by public transportation, unfortunately.

The northern part of Seward Park is sometimes referred to as Lakewood, and the neighborhood is also known as Lakewood/Seward Park. Homes range from 1950s brick ranch houses to stately modern mansions. Most have views of Lake Washington and Mount Rainier; many have waterfront access. While homes here are expensive due to the panoramic views, the neighborhood’s proximity to Rainier Valley has kept real estate prices slightly lower than other Seattle neighborhoods.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Code
98178, 98118
Post Office
Columbia Station, 3727 S Alaska St, 206-721-2368
Library
Rainier Beach Library, 9125 Rainier Ave S, 206-386-1906, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
South Precinct, 3001 S Myrtle St, 206-684-4300, cityofseattle.net/police
Emergency Hospital
Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Ave, 206-744-3000, uwmedicine.washington.edu
Community Publication
Rainier Valley Post, rainiervalleypost.com
Community Resources
Southeast Neighborhood Service Center, 3815 S Othello St, 206-386-1931, seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nsc; Rainier Beach Community Center (scheduled to reopen 2013), 8825 Rainier Ave S, 206-386-1925, seattle.gov/parks; Seward Park, 5895 Lake Washington Blvd S (Environmental and Audubon Center, 206-652-2444, Clay Studio, 206-722-6342); Lakewood Seward Park Community Center, 4916 S Angeline St, 206-722-9696; Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath Congregation, 5145 S Morgan St, 206-721-0970, bcmhseattle.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 34, 39

Duwamish District

Boundaries: North: South Royal Brougham Way, South Dearborn Street; West: Duwamish Waterway, Highway 509; South: South Barton Street; East: I-5

The Duwamish District is a primarily industrial area that starts just south of Safeco Field and follows the Duwamish River south to the city limits. Originally the land on either side of the river was fertile farmland, but eventually the farms were displaced by industries that used the river for shipping and, unfortunately, dumping. Over time, the waterway became a toxic stew of chemicals, heavy metals, and raw sewage. In 2001, the EPA designated the lower Duwamish River as a federal Superfund site. A cleanup is under way, but restoration will be a decades-long process. The 38,000 residents who live in the surrounding neighborhoods experience a disproportionate amount of health problems, such as asthma and low birth weights, in comparison to the rest of King County, something you should certainly bear in mind if you are considering moving to this area. Today, most of the district remains strictly industrial, although there are growing pockets of residential and retail activity in the South Park and Georgetown areas. Boeing Field is located in the vicinity, but most employees commute to the area rather than live here. People from other parts of the city visit the Gai’s Bakery outlet store and the nearby Museum of Flight at Boeing Field, or use the through streets in this neighborhood as shortcuts to the Sea-Tac Airport, Burien, and West Seattle.

South Park

South Park is a small community at the south end of this district, near the Duwamish River. This is a neighborhood of extremely modest bungalows, many of which are rentals, as well as a few well-tended cottages near the South Park Marina. Known to some as as “Little Tijuana,” South Park is the only neighborhood in Seattle where Hispanic residents are heavily concentrated. Anchoring the neighborhood’s four-block retail core on 14th Avenue South is the Mexi-Mart, a Mexican grocery, bakery, take-out restaurant, clothing, and music store. The residential face of the neighborhood is slowly changing, however, as more middle-class Seattle residents are finding South Park one of the most affordable areas in the city. One means of access to the community was lost when the aging South Park Bridge was closed in 2011. The new bridge will be completed late in 2013.

Georgetown

Georgetown

The Georgetown neighborhood, in the area around South Michigan Street, is also experiencing a kind of renaissance. Formerly an odd assortment of bungalows, Victorians, and ramblers, breakfast cafés, warehouses, and other industrial buildings, Georgetown has evolved into an offbeat and quirky community, home to a mix of artists, families, gardeners, and blue-collar workers who appreciate the lower housing prices. Georgetown is the oldest continually settled neighborhood in the city, and most of the homes were built before 1939, though some have been recently replaced with modern structures. New condo developments have opened here, as well. The retail core along Airport Way features a colorful mix of funky shops, bars, and hip restaurants, including Stella Pizza. Fantagraphic Books on South Vale Street is a mecca for comic book aficionados. The neighborhood hosts events, such as the Georgetown Art Attack, held monthly, and the annual Carnival, that draw visitors from all over the city to hear live music and watch bicycle jousting, among other diversions. A growing number of artists have discovered Georgetown’s affordable studio space, including several who collaborate and share resources in the former Rainier Brewery on Airport Way South, now an official Seattle landmark and home to artist live/work spaces and Tully’s Coffee headquarters. The Seattle Design Center, a 360,000-square-foot complex of 60 designer showrooms on 6th Avenue South, provides many of the city’s contractors and homeowners with furnishings, fabrics, and accessories.

Sodo

The SODO (South of the Dome/South of Downtown) area borders downtown at Royal Brougham Street, south of the former Kingdome area. It’s an industrial area, filled with warehouses and small manufacturing plants. The historic Sears building—now headquarters to Starbucks Coffee—is located here, as well as a sprawling new Home Depot and a Costco. Few people actually live in SODO, but many of those who do are artists, residing in spacious lofts tucked inside converted warehouses. Rents tend to be much lower than in other Seattle neighborhoods. Though there are no grocery stores here except the Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, and the noise from passing cargo and passenger trains can be unbearable at times, creative types appreciate the lofts’ high ceilings and plentiful elbowroom. Central Link light rail service now makes stops at the new SODO and Stadium stations in this area. City planners are considering new zoning laws that would allow higher buildings, which would pave the way for future development of condominiums and apartment buildings in a plan to remake the area into a mixed-use urban neighborhood.

Website
seattle.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98108, 98168, 98106, 98104, 98134
Post Office
Georgetown Station, 620 S Orcas St, 206-767-9473
Library
Delridge Library, 5423 Delridge Way SW, 206-733-9125, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
West Precinct, 810 Virginia St, 206-684-8917, seattle.gov/police
Emergency Hospital
Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Ave, 206-744-3000, uwmedicine.washington.edu
Community Publications
All About South Park (Website), allaboutsouthpark.com; Blogging Georgetown, blogginggeorgetown.com
Community Resources
Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, duwamishcleanup.org; Georgetown Crime Prevention and Community Council, P.O. Box 80021, Seattle, WA 98108, georgetownneighborhood.com; Delridge Neighborhood Service Center, 5405 Delridge Way SW, 206-684-7417, seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nsc; Marra Farm P-Patch, 9026 4th Ave S, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Oxbow Park P-Patch, 6400 Corson Ave S, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; SODO Business Association, 2732 3rd Ave S, 206-292-7449, seattle.gov; South Park Business Association, 1408 South Cloverdale St, PMB #283, 206-763-8777, seattle.gov; South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Ave S, 206-684-7451, seattle.gov; South Park Neighborhood Association, 8201 10th Ave S, #7, Seattle, WA 98108
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 21–23, 35, 39, 56, 57, 60, 85, 101, 106, 113, 116, 118, 119, 121–124, 131–134, 150, 152, 154, 173, 177, 190, 191, 194, 196, 280; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 590, 592– 595

West Seattle

Boundaries: North: Puget Sound, Elliott Bay; West: Puget Sound; South: Seola Beach Drive SW, SW Roxbury Street; East: Duwamish Waterway, Highway 509

In 1851, the schooner Exact landed on Alki Beach in what is now West Seattle, bringing the Denny party to the Puget Sound. Charles Terry, a member of the original party, remained behind while the rest of the group moved on to what is now the Seattle waterfront. By 1897, the peninsula had a large enough population to merit a ferry between downtown and West Seattle. Today, West Seattle is a comfortable residential hill connected to the rest of the city by the West Seattle Freeway, which bridges the Duwamish Waterway and the man-made Harbor Island.

In many respects, West Seattle seems self-contained, a world unto itself. In fact, over a century ago, West Seattle was a separate city, until its annexation by Seattle in 1907. Today, some residents rarely venture across the West Seattle Bridge, since the area supports plenty of services and shops, markets, and restaurants, as well as the West Village shopping center, for those who crave a mall-like experience. In fact, a small but vocal group of residents believe West Seattle should secede from Seattle proper and form its own city. Proponents of succession believe that West Seattle has historically been handed the short end of the stick in terms of city services like police protection, pothole filling, and libraries. They claim that West Seattle has been made a dumping ground for an unfair share of urban development. Nonetheless, in recent years many prospective homebuyers have set their sights on West Seattle, drawn here by the prospect of lower housing prices than in similar neighborhoods closer to the city. Homes can be found in the $300,000 to $400,000 range. Data from the 2010 Census show that West Seattle has become increasingly popular with gay couples, especially those raising children. Between 2000 and 2010 the percentage of gay couples living together in West Seattle (or “Capitol Hill West,” as some have taken to calling it) increased by 55%.

West Seattle comprises dozens of neighborhoods—too many to profile individually here. In this book we concentrate on the principal districts of West Seattle, which include Admiral, Alki, Fauntleroy, and Delridge. If you are working with a real estate agent to view properties in this area, you will hear the names of neighborhoods such as Fairmont Park, Sunrise Heights, Morgan, Genesee, Seaview, and others. Areas in the south end near Fauntleroy include Fauntlee Hills, Westwood, Arbor Heights, Arroyo Heights, and Seola Beach.

The West Seattle Junction at SW Alaska Street and California Avenue SW is a commercial center for West Seattle. Clothing boutiques, bookstores, small diners, and drugstores fill the ground floor retail space around “the Junction.” Young couples and singles rent the quaint apartments above the storefronts. East of the junction, auto dealerships and take-out restaurants cluster around the intersection of SW Alaska Street and Fauntleroy Way SW.

Admiral

The intersection of SW Admiral Way and California Avenue SW is the second retail core on the hill. Here, the historic Admiral Theater presides over the intersection, which is lined with small shops, espresso joints, and restaurants. The Admiral district, which surrounds this intersection, is one of the more affluent areas in West Seattle. Homes at the top of the hill, mainly Craftsman bungalows and Northwest Moderns, have views of downtown to the northeast or of the Olympics to the west. Residents of the Admiral area tend to be middle- to upper-income professionals and their families.

The Admiral business district enjoys a Metropolitan Market, filled with gourmet cheeses, fresh flowers, and fine wines, but suffers from a shortage of parking. Residents here lobbied for a parking garage near the Admiral Theater, but the city council refused to approve funding. Instead, a local developer agreed to add an extra floor of parking to a condominium project. Nonetheless, parking on a Saturday night, when the district is filled with diners and moviegoers, continues to present a challenge.

Alki

Alki is a long, narrow beach neighborhood that stretches along the north and west sides of the peninsula and offers the atmosphere of an ocean resort town. In the summer, the beach is crowded with sunbathers, in-line skaters, bicyclists, and volleyball players. In the spring and fall, residents meet for breakfast at the Alki Café or dinner at Spud Fish & Chips. Although development has begun to change the face of this area, many 1960s condominiums and beach cottages are still located just a short walk or bicycle ride from the beach. Condos here sell for a good deal more than they do in other West Seattle neighborhoods. Rents are currently comparable to those in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Residents are generally middle-income service professionals, many of whom are longtime West Seattle residents. Alki has extraordinary views of both downtown Seattle and the Olympic peninsula. The most spectacular views of the Olympics come during early spring or late fall, when the sun is bright and the snow has not yet melted in the mountains. The Alki beachhead is a popular destination for couples watching the sunset during the summer, and many intrepid Seattle residents brave inclement winter weather to watch the waves crash against the shore. Salty’s on Alki, at 1936 Harbor Avenue SW, is one of the city’s favorite view restaurants and a popular spot for wedding receptions and Sunday brunch. If there is a downside to Alki, it is the waves of tourists, short-term renters, and sun-worshippers who crowd the neighborhood during the summer. The city’s anti-cruising ordinance stopped most of the circling of cars and motorcycles, but traffic on sunny days still slows to a crawl on Harbor Avenue SW.

Fauntleroy

Fauntleroy

The Fauntleroy neighborhood lies along the southwest slope of the hill in West Seattle, facing the Puget Sound. Though Fauntleroy is best known throughout the rest of Seattle for its ferry dock, with services to Vashon Island and the Olympic Peninsula, it is also a comfortable, secluded neighborhood populated by affluent families and singles in their 30s and 40s. Beautiful brick Tudors, classic Northwest Modern homes, and modest bungalows line winding streets and quiet culs-de-sac. Renters make up only 25% of Fauntleroy residents. Fauntleroy was home to some of Seattle’s original families, like the Colmans, who built the city’s first brick building and its downtown ferry terminal. Another famous resident, Jim Whittaker, who was the first American to stand atop Mount Everest, grew up playing in the woods in Fauntleroy. Homes here are spacious and have unparalleled views of Puget Sound, Vashon Island, and the Olympics and go for more than similar properties do in Alki. Lincoln Park, at 8011 Fauntleroy Way SW, has grills for summer barbecuing, and a heated Olympic-size salt-water pool right on the edge of the sound for spectacular summer swimming. Fauntleroy’s tiny commercial district, situated at what was formerly the end of the streetcar route, is comically called “Endolyne.” It features a couple of restaurants—including Endolyne Joe’s—a neighborhood bakery, gift shop, and beauty salon all concentrated in a single building at SW Wildwood Place and 45th Avenue SW.

As Fauntleroy’s popularity grows, modest homes belonging to middle-income families are being sold to wealthy retirees and professionals, though turnover is occurring less quickly here than in other West Seattle neighborhoods. Interestingly, the transfer of property within families is not unusual, according to one local real estate agent.

Delridge

In the southeast quarter of West Seattle, Delridge is a neighborhood of simple 1950s ramblers, contemporary split-levels, and tract houses. On its eastern edge near West Marginal Way, Delridge is primarily industrial. To the west, residential areas offer modest homes and modern apartment complexes. The median income in this neighborhood is lower than most of West Seattle; rents and real estate prices tend to be much lower as well. Community groups in Delridge work to improve the quality of life here. One such effort was the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association’s proposal to include affordable apartments on the top two floors of the new library. The impressive result is the full-service Delridge Public Library, 5423 Delridge Way SW, which opened in June 2002 and features 19 low-income housing units on the upper two floors. The High Point section of Delridge was formerly a sprawling low-income housing development that was razed to the ground and rebuilt as a mixed-income community, including market rate housing, rental units, a senior center, and retail space.

Though West Seattle is only a 20-minute drive from downtown, the neighborhood is not as convenient for those working on the Eastside. The commute covers the West Seattle Freeway, I-5, and I-90, all of which have heavy traffic during rush hour. During the spring and summer, a water taxi carries passengers between Seacrest Park in West Seattle and Pier 50 on the downtown Seattle waterfront. For people working downtown who would like to live in a neighborhood that feels utterly removed from the city, West Seattle may be the perfect spot.

Websites
seattle.gov, wschamber.com
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98106, 98116, 98126, 98136, 98146
Post Office
West Seattle Station, 4412 California Ave SW, 206-937-7207
Libraries
Delridge Library, 5423 Delridge Way SW, 206-733-9125, spl.org; High Point Library, 6338 32nd Ave SW, 206-684-7454, spl.org; Southwest Library, 3411 SW Raymond St, 206-684-7454, spl.org; West Seattle Library, 2306 42nd Ave SW, 206-684-7444, spl.org
Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools, 2445 3rd Ave S, 206-252-0010, seattleschools.org
Police
South Precinct, 3001 S Myrtle St, 206-684-4300, cityofseattle.net/police
Emergency Hospital
Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Ave, 206-744-3000, uwmedicine.washington.edu
Community Publication
Sustainable West Seattle (website), www. sustainablewestseattle.org; West Seattle Blog, westseattleblog.com; West Seattle Herald/White Center News, 14006 1st Ave S, Ste 8, Burien, WA 98168, 206-708-1378, westseattleherald.com
Community Resources
Alki Community Center, 5817 SW Stevens St, 206-684-7430, seattle.gov/parks; Colman Pool, 8603 Fauntleroy Ave SW, 206-684-7494, seattle.gov/parks; Delridge Community Center, 4501 Delridge Way SW, 206-684-7423, seattle.gov/parks; Delridge Neighborhood Service Center, 5405 Delridge Way SW, 206-684-7417, seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nsc; Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, 4408 Delridge Way SW, 206-923-0917, dnda.org; Delridge P-Patch, 5078 25th Ave SW, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Hiawatha Community Center, 2700 California Ave SW, 206-684-7441, seattle.gov/parks; High Point Community Center, 6920 34th Ave SW, 206-684-7422, seattle.gov/parks; High Point Juneau Community Garden, SW Juneau and 32nd Ave SW, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Lincoln Park P-Patch, 7400 Fauntleroy Ave SW, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; Southwest Community Center, 2801 SW Thistle St, 206-684-7438, seattle.gov/parks; West Genesee Garden, SW Genesee and 42nd Ave W, seattle.gov/neighborhoods; West Seattle Junction Association, 4210 SW Oregon St, Ste A, 206-935-0904, wsjunction.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 21, 22, 37, 51, 53–57, 60, 85, 116, 118–120, 125, 128, 773, 775; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 560

Surrounding Communities

Today, Seattle is composed of much more than simply the city itself. Beyond the city limits, many communities benefit from and contribute to Seattle’s economy. A good number of Seattle residents go to work each day on the Eastside, to communities such as Bellevue, Kirkland, or Redmond (where Microsoft is based). Both Seattle and Eastside residents commute to jobs in Tacoma to the south or Everett to the north. Many catch a ferry from Bainbridge Island west of downtown, or from towns and cities on the Olympic Peninsula.

According to local real estate agents, many newcomers arrive in Seattle with hopes of living in the city or very close to the city, only to find that housing prices are higher than they expected, or lot sizes smaller than they had hoped. Many choose to expand their search to include the Eastside, the north or south sides of greater Seattle, or along the I-5 corridor. When choosing a community outside Seattle, there are a few things to think about beyond housing prices. Consider if you want a suburban or rural environment—some make their homes in traditionally rural communities beyond the suburbs, including Duvall, Snoqualmie, and Woodinville. Do you want new construction in a planned community, or an older home in a more established neighborhood? Do you prefer proximity to water or to mountains? Exclusive planned neighborhoods in some Eastside suburbs, particularly those with views of Lake Washington or Lake Sammamish, attract affluent residents looking for a suburban lifestyle. Communities like Issaquah and Redmond are filled with new developments, while mature communities like Burien or Shoreline offer established neighborhoods with spectacular views. And, perhaps most important, how much time do you want to spend in your car every day, commuting to work? Long commutes can negatively affect one’s personal and professional life, not to mention harm done to the environment.

If you are considering relocating to one of Seattle’s surrounding communities to the east, north, south, or west of the city, you’ll find useful contact information below for city services, school districts, post offices, and libraries as well as additional community resources and local publications. Each city profiled maintains its own website, with its current URL listed below: make this the first stop on your fact-finding tour. A wealth of additional information can be accessed here that is beyond the scope of this guide. (Be aware, too, that Web addresses are subject to frequent revision, and many King County communities are in the process of changing theirs. If you encounter a dead end with the URL provided in this guide, searching online for “City Name, Official Website” should reroute you to the correct site.)

Eastern Communities (The “Eastside”)

Eastside Map

A decade ago, “The Eastside” consisted primarily of Bellevue, Redmond, and Kirkland. Today, just about any city east of Seattle to Snoqualmie Pass is referred to as being on the Eastside. With the exception of Mercer Island, which has a limited amount of land available for new construction, the Eastside is the place to turn if you’re looking for a large new home in a planned or gated community. Many eastern cities also feature wooded or semi-rural areas—a rarity in Seattle. The Eastside has always been known as an upscale region, so it’s not surprising that Bill Gates—one of the world’s richest men—lives here, in the affluent suburb of Medina.

Mercer Island

Mercer Island

Located at the south end of Lake Washington, Mercer Island is an established, upscale community. While only minutes away from downtown Seattle, it feels miles away from the urban hubbub. This insular city with beautiful view homes, plentiful opportunities for recreation, and a compact but comprehensive commercial district, attracts affluent professionals and entrepreneurs. Though small, the city boasts 400 acres of parks and open space, including Luther Burbank Park at the north end of the island. A popular summer recreation area, Luther Burbank offers swimming, boating, a playground, and an off-leash dog area. During the summer months, performances are held at its small outdoor amphitheater. Not surprisingly, Mercer Island’s school district is well known for its academic accomplishments, and each year sends more than 90% of its seniors on to college. And, the cherry on the top, because Mercer Island is situated between Seattle and the Eastside, it’s an easy commute for professionals in both regions—perfect for two-career couples. The island measures 5 miles long and 2 1/2 miles wide, and in 2011 reported a population of nearly 23,000 residents.

As you would expect, housing prices and rents on the island are high. Many of the homes here are sprawling estates and modern mansions, but there are a few modest houses around, mostly built between the 1950s and the 1980s. Houses in the $900,000 range are the norm, and rents are expensive, just a bit higher than those in downtown Seattle. While Mercer Island is known primarily as a single-family residential community, a number of new apartments and condos are being developed in Town Center on the island’s north end.

Roanoke

Mercer Island’s primary artery is Mercer Way—East Mercer Way on the eastern half of the island and West Mercer Way on the western side. The winding road hugs the lakeshore, and seemingly is used as much by runners and bicyclists as by cars. (In fact, Mercer Island is a fantastic place to train for triathlons or races, because of its opportunities for swimming, running and biking.) Island Crest Way, running north/south, bisects the island. The community’s commercial district is located adjacent to the freeway at the north end of the island, and is bounded by 27th and 32nd streets, Island Crest Way and 77th Avenue SE.

At the northern tip of Mercer Island is the Roanoke neighborhood. This is where you’ll find two of Mercer Island’s historic landmarks, the Roanoke Inn and the VFW Hall. The Roanoke Inn, at 72nd Avenue SE and North Mercer Way, is a homey little tavern and eatery smack-dab in the middle of a residential community. Established in 1914, “the Roanoke” served as a speakeasy during Prohibition. Today, the restaurant is popular with both islanders and city folk for its weeknight dinner specials, cozy atmosphere, and patio dining during the summer. The VFW Hall, which began its history as the Keewaydin (“the north wind”) Club and later the Mercer Island Community Club, was built by Mercer Island residents in 1922 to host social events.

Website
mercergov.org
Area Code
206
Zip Code
98040
Post Office
3040 78th Ave SE, 206-232-8834
Library
4400 88th Ave SE, 206-236-3537, kcls.org
Public Schools
Mercer Island School District, 4160 86th Ave SE, 206-236-3330, misd.k12.wa.us
Police
City Hall, 9611 SE 36th St, 206-275-7610, mercergov.org
Emergency Hospitals
Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Ave, 206-744-3000, uwmedicine.washington.edu; Overlake Hospital Medical Center, 1035 116th Ave NE, 425-688-5000, overlakehospital.org
Community Publication
Mercer Island Reporter, 7845 SE 30th St, 206-232-1215, pnwlocalnews.com
Community Resources
Community Center at Mercer View, 8236 SE 24th St, 206-275-7609, mercergov.org; Mercer Island Beach Club, 8326 Avalon Dr, 206-232-3125, mibeachclub.com; Mercer Island Boys’ & Girls’ Club, 4120 86th Ave SE, 206-232-4548, mi.positiveplace.org; Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce, 7605 SE 27th St, Ste 109, 206-232-3404, mercerislandchamber.org; Mercer Island Country Club, 8700 SE 71st St, 206-232-5600, mercerislandcc.com; Mercer Island Historical Society, 206-236-3274, mihistory.org; Mercerwood Shore Club, 4150 East Mercer Way, 206-232-1622, mercerwood.com; Stroum Jewish Community Center, 3801 East Mercer Way, 206-232-7115, sjcc.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 201–205, 211, 213, 216, 891, 892, 942, 981, 989; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 550, 554

Bellevue

Bellevue

Bellevue was once a small city best known to Seattle residents as home to Bellevue Square, an upscale mall. Today, Bellevue is the state’s fifth-largest city, and enjoys a thriving downtown, excellent schools, and abundant parks. While the area has a reputation of being home to wealthy residents (the cost of living here tops the national average by more than 55%, according to Bestplaces.net), you’ll find people of various incomes living in Bellevue. Suburban housing developments filled with modest split-level and contemporary homes dot the area, and homes close to Lake Washington to the west or Lake Sammamish to the east are more elegant and expensive. Most houses to the east are on the newer side, and range in style from traditional brick ranch houses to angular art deco homes to lavish new brick Tudors. Home prices in Bellevue range from the $400,000s to the millions.

According to the City of Bellevue, the region’s largest employers are Bellevue Community College, the Bellevue School District, the City of Bellevue, Boeing, Microsoft, Expedia, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless, Puget Sound Energy, and Overlake Hospital. Along with Microsoft, many high-tech companies are located in the Eastside. In fact, high-tech jobs account for about 20% of all Eastside jobs. Bellevue is also a popular choice for professionals who work in Seattle, as evidenced by the heavy morning and evening traffic across both bridges.

The previous decade marked a significant shift in the city’s demographics. Between 2000 and 2011, census figures show that Bellevue’s Asian population increased by 77%, and minority groups currently make up over 40% of the city’s population. Bellevue’s thriving economy and excellent educational system attract people from all over the world, and 30% of the population is foreign born. Microsoft employs many individuals from China and India, in particular.

Downtown Bellevue

Though Bellevue is primarily a city of unassuming neighborhoods (only a sampling of which are profiled here), Downtown Bellevue has become a hip place to live, with 6,000 residents now calling it home. Several condominiums have been erected here, more are being constructed, and a host of new shops and restaurants have been added to the area near Bellevue Square. Lincoln Square is a soaring skyscraper with condos, retail and office space, restaurants, and the four-star Westin Bellevue Hotel. The city has a strong public art program and has worked to build a thriving arts community. The Bellevue Arts Museum, located at 510 Bellevue Way NE, is the site of the city’s annual arts and crafts fair, and each spring the city hosts a jazz festival.

Newport Hills, Bridle Trails, and Brookside

Most of Bellevue’s neighborhoods offer a range of housing styles and prices, though properties near the water will generally cost more than those inland. Southeast of downtown, the Newport Hills neighborhood, one of King County’s first planned residential areas, has a lively commercial area that includes the Factoria Square Mall, as well as single and multi-family housing options. Many new properties being built in Bellevue are larger and more expensive than the older homes they replace. If you’re looking for seclusion and large lots, consider the Bridle Trails community in northern Bellevue. Most homes in the neighborhood rely on septic tanks instead of sewers, but property is at a premium, and there are some incredible new estates peeking through the pines. The median home price here is over $1,000,000. To the southeast are the Brookside and Microsoft neighborhoods, popular options for many Microsoft employees. Homes here are large and comfortable, and sell for prices comparable to Bridle Trails.

Crossroads, Rosemont Beach, Interlake, and Lochmoor

Crossroads is one of Bellevue’s most culturally diverse neighborhoods and the location of some of its more affordable housing. About 9,000 people live here and you are just as likely to hear residents speaking Russian, Spanish, or Chinese as English. Crossroads Shopping Center, at NE 8th Street and 156th Avenue NE, is a popular meeting place for members of the East European, Hispanic, and Asian communities. The mall frequently hosts live music and community celebrations. Also at the mall is the Library Connection, a public library with multi-language programs and materials, and Internet access. In northeast Bellevue, near Lake Sammamish, are the Rosemont Beach, Interlake, and Lochmoor neighborhoods. Homes in these communities have risen sharply in value in recent years, with the median price at just over $490,000 in 2011, though those with views are considerably more expensive. Most houses are large ramblers built in the mid- to late-1970s.

Robinswood, and Lake Hills

The Robinswood and Lake Hills communities are located in southeast Bellevue, near Bellevue Community College. This area includes a variety of rentals, which are popular with students and employees of nearby Factoria Mall. Most homes here are generally more affordable than those in other areas of Bellevue. The exception is the area overlooking the Glendale Golf & Country Club, where newly constructed homes can cost up to a million. Robinswood Community Park, at 148th Avenue SE and SE 22nd Street, is a favorite local attraction. It features soccer and baseball fields, and a quaint cottage for party and banquet rentals.

Website
bellevuewa.gov
Area Code
425
Zip Codes
98004–9, 98015
Post Offices
1171 Bellevue Way NE, 425-453-5655; 11405 NE 2nd Pl, 425-462-7508; 15731 NE 8th St, 425-401-0892
Libraries
1111 110th Ave NE, 425-450-1765; 15590 Lake Hills Blvd, 425-747-3350; 14250 SE Newport Way, 425-747-2390, kcls.org
Public Schools
12111 NE 1st St, 425-456-4000, bsd405.org
Police
City Hall, 450 110th Ave NE, 425-452-6917, 877-881-2731; Factoria Substation, 3915 Factoria Blvd SE, 425-452-2880; Crossroads Substation, 1336 156th Ave NE, 425-452-2891; bellevuewa.gov/contact-police.htm
Emergency Hospital
Overlake Hospital Medical Center, 1035 116th Ave NE, 425-688-5000, overlakehospital.org
Community Publications
Bellevue Reporter, 2700 Richards Rd, Ste 201, 425-453-4270, pnwlocalnews.com; King County Journal, 11400 SE 8th St, 425-455-2222, pnwlocalnews.com
Community Resources
Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, 302 Bellevue Square, 425-454-2464, bellevuechamber.org; Bellevue Community College, 3000 Landerholm Circle SE, 425-564-1000, bellevuecollege.edu; Bellevue Downtown Association, 400 108th Ave NE, Ste 110, 425-453-1223, bellevuedowntown.org; Crossroads Community Center, 16000 NE 10th St, 425-452-4874, bellevuewa.gov; Eastside Heritage Center, P.O. Box 40535, Bellevue, WA 98105, 425-450-1049, eastsideheritagecenter.org; Highland Park Community Center, 14224 NE Bel-Red Rd, 425-452-7686, bellevuewa.gov; North Bellevue Community Senior Center, 4063 148th Ave NE, 425-452-7681, bellevuewa.gov; Northwest Arts Center, 9825 NE 24th St, 425-452-4106, bellevuewa.gov
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 167, 211, 212, 215– 217, 221, 222, 225, 229, 230, 232– 234, 237, 240, 243, 245, 247, 249, 253, 256, 261, 271, 272, 280, 342, 885, 886, 889, 890, 952, 981, 989; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 532, 535, 550, 554–556, 560, 566

Newcastle

China Creek

Situated between the cities of Bellevue, Renton, and Issaquah, Newcastle is a new community (incorporated as a city in 1994), with a population of about 10,000. Depending on whom you ask, Newcastle is either an Eastside neighborhood or a South End neighborhood. In fact, it is located southeast of Seattle, so both descriptions are accurate. But, Newcastle’s numerous planned housing communities, like China Creek, and the public—but nonetheless swanky—Golf Club at Newcastle, give the city a distinctly Eastside feel. In general, homes in Newcastle are more expensive than in Renton to the south, ranging from $400,000 to $800,000. Many have views of the mountains, Lake Washington, or the golf course. Condos and townhouses can be found for just over $300,000.

Despite its proximity to the much larger city of Bellevue, Newcastle’s leaders and residents take pride in the city’s small-town feel and strong sense of community. Each year in September, the city hosts Newcastle Days. This two-day celebration is at Lake Boren Park, a 20-acre park located on SE 84th Avenue just off Coal Creek Parkway, one of Newcastle’s major thoroughfares. Another impressive local treasure is Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, the biggest park in King County, with more than 3,000 acres of trails and wildlife habitat.

Website
ci.newcastle.wa.us
Area Code
425
Zip Codes
98056, 98059
Post Office
Renton Highlands Station, 4301 NE 4th St, Renton, 425-227-6304
Libraries
14250 SE Newport Way, Bellevue, 425-747-2390, kcls.org; Bellevue Regional Library, 1111 110th Ave NE, Bellevue, 425-450-1765; Fairwood Library, 17009 140th SE, Renton, 425-226-0522
Public Schools
Issaquah School District, 565 NW Holly St, 425-837-7000, issaquah.wednet.edu; Renton School District, 300 SW 7th St, 425-204-2300, rentonschools.us
Police
13020 Newcastle Way, 425-649-4444, ci.newcastle.wa.us/police
Emergency Hospital
Overlake Hospital Medical Center, 1035 116th Ave NE, 425-688-5000, overlakehospital.org
Community Publication
The Newcastle News, P.O. Box 1328, Issaquah, WA 98027, 425-392-6434, newcastle-news.com
Community Resources
China Creek Homeowner’s Association, 325 118th Ave SE, Ste 204, Bellevue, WA 98005, 425-285-5858, chinacreek.org; Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, 18201 SE Cougar Mountain Dr, 206-296-4145; www.kingcounty.gov/recreation; The Golf Club at Newcastle, 15500 Six Penny Ln, 425-793-5566, newcastlegolf.com; Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, 6947 Coal Creek Pkwy SE, #150, 425-462-3351, newcastlecc.com; Newcastle Historical Society, 425-226-4328
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 114, 219, 240

Redmond

Redmond

Though it is known as the bicycle capital of the Pacific Northwest, Redmond certainly is best known as the home of technology powerhouse Microsoft and renowned game maker Nintendo. Once a sleepy farming community, Redmond today is a thriving city of more than 54,000 residents. Most are in the middle- to upper-income bracket; many are affiliated with Microsoft or Nintendo. According to Bestplaces.net, Redmond’s cost of living is nearly 50% higher than the national average. Redmond increasingly attracts professionals and their families who seek larger homes and acreage that can’t be found in the city. However, not everyone who works in Redmond can afford the price of housing in this area, where the median price for homes is around $510,000 though many reach well over a million. Approximately 41% of the city’s residents are renters.

Downtown, Overlake, Bear Creek, Sammamish Valley, Southeast Redmond, Education Hill, Grass Lawn, Idylwood, and North Redmond

The city of Redmond consists of eleven neighborhoods. Downtown and Overlake contain Redmond’s two urban centers. The Bear Creek, Sammamish Valley, Southeast Redmond, and Willows/Rose Hill neighborhoods include a variety of land uses such as business parks, industrial and manufacturing, and residential. Education Hill, Grass Lawn, Idylwood, and North Redmond are primarily residential.

Redmond Ridge

Though much of it looks new, Redmond is one of the Eastside’s oldest communities, and despite traffic and parking issues here, there is a lovely small-town feel. Perhaps that stems from its deep agricultural roots, or from efforts to preserve open spaces. In Redmond Ridge, a popular planned community in the northeast part of the city, developers preserved 600 acres of forest, wetlands, and parks. The insular neighborhood has its own community center, parks, and elementary school. (Currently, Redmond schools are part of the Lake Washington school district, known for its strong academics and athletics.) In tune with the technology needs of Redmond’s residents, the Ridge offers residents three Internet and two cable television options.

Willows/Rose Hill

To the west of Redmond Ridge is the Willows/Rose Hill neighborhood, which borders Kirkland to the west and the Willows Run Golf Course to the east. Numerous high-tech offices are located along the community’s eastern edge, including 3-Com, Nextel, and Metawave. Like many Eastside neighborhoods, old meets new here, with small ramblers on large lots perched next to contemporary planned communities. Along the neighborhood’s outer edges are townhomes and apartment and condominium complexes, which are popular with students attending nearby Lake Washington Technical College.

Even before Redmond became a popular place to live, a variety of local attractions drew thousands of visitors to the city each year. Marymoor Park, along West Lake Sammamish Parkway, is one of the region’s best parks. Along with the most popular off-leash dog area in Western Washington, the 640-acre park features a velodrome (hence the city’s cycling moniker), numerous sports fields, tennis courts, a 35-foot freestanding climbing wall, and a venue designated specifically for remote-controlled airplanes. Numerous festivals, concerts, sporting, and community events take place here.

At the southern tip of Marymoor Park is Lake Sammamish, which covers almost 4,900 acres to touch the cities of Sammamish, Bellevue, and Issaquah. Idylwood Park, south of Marymoor on West Lake Sammamish Parkway NE, is a popular summertime recreation area on the western shore of the lake, and features picnic tables, outdoor grills, and a dock. The homes along the lakefront are a mix of summer cottages and large contemporary houses. Most have beach access and moorage. During the summer, the lake is busy with water skiers and boaters.

State Route 520 is the primary route in and out of Redmond, and ends at the city’s southeastern border. Unfortunately, traffic jams on the highway are notorious, and Redmond residents can do little to avoid them. However, Redmond’s explosive population growth over the past decade has delivered lots of new amenities and commercial endeavors to its confines, and unless you work in Seattle, you may never feel the need to leave. A modern new downtown has grown up around its original core, and stylish brick mixed-use buildings now surround the quaint city center. Residents no longer need trek to Bellevue Square now that the massive, open-air Redmond Town Center, comprised of 120 acres of stores, restaurants and offices, is right in their own backyards.

Website
ci.redmond.wa.us
Area Code
425
Zip Codes
98052, 98053, 98073, 98074
Post Office
7241 185th Ave NE, 425-885-0207
Library
15990 NE 85th, 425-885-1861, 425-895-7951 (TTY), kcls.org
Public Schools
Lake Washington School District, 16250 NE 74th St, 425-936-1200, lwsd.org
Police
8701 160th Ave NE, 425-556-2500, redmond.gov
Emergency Hospital
The Eastside Hospital (Group Health Cooperative), 2700 152nd Ave NE, 425-888-5151, ghc.org
Community Publication
King County Journal, 11400 SE 8th St, 425-455-2222, pnwlocalnews.com
Community Resources
Friends of Marymoor Park, 6046 West Lake Sammamish Pkwy NE, 206-296-0673, marymoor.org; Old Firehouse Teen Center, 425-556-2370; Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center, 16600 NE 80th St, 425-556-2386, redmond.gov; Senior Center, 8703 160th Ave NE, 425-556-2314, 425-556-2906 (TTD), redmond.gov; Serve Our Dog Areas, 425-881-0148, soda.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 216, 221, 224, 230, 232, 233, 244, 245, 247–251, 253, 265, 266, 268, 269, 441, 930; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 542, 545, 554, 566

Kirkland

Kirkland

Formerly a small town on the shore of Lake Washington, in 2011 Kirkland nearly doubled in size to become the sixth largest city in King County, with a population of around 80,000. The annexation of an unincorporated area north of Kirkland near Bothell made the North Juanita, Kingsgate, and Finn Hill neighborhoods an official part of the city. Real estate prices in Kirkland are expensive, as many homes have views of the lake. In fact, some of the most spectacular views on the Eastside are found in Kirkland, with Lake Washington, the Seattle skyline, and Mount Rainier all visible from a few fortunate neighborhoods. The influx of nearby technology companies helped to fuel Kirkland’s housing boom. Many choose to live here because of the short drive to Redmond, and because Kirkland is close to Highway 520 and Interstate 405, some residents commute west to Seattle or north to Everett.

Housing styles in Kirkland are a mixed bag, from turn-of-the-century homes like those on Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill to ultra-modern condominiums to 1960s ramblers. Because land is scarce in Kirkland, short-platting—the practice of building multiple homes on a piece of property that used to contain just one house—is increasingly common. Many neighborhoods offer an odd combination of homes; it’s not uncommon to find quaint Craftsman bungalows rubbing elbows with massive, newly built houses.

Downtown, Houghton, and Carillon Point

The Downtown area is a sophisticated shopping district with a colorful marina, cozy cafés, trendy boutiques, and unique gift shops. This neighborhood also supports several bars that are popular with the early-20s crowd. Condos are the norm in downtown Kirkland, and can cost as little as $250,000 or as much as $2.5 million. Young professionals and empty-nesters alike live along the city’s waterfront and in the Houghton area, just south of downtown. A handful of small beachfront parks cozy up to the lakeshore, and the upscale Woodmark Hotel perches on Carillon Point. If you’re not ready to buy, or if you plan to rent until you find the perfect house, this area offers lots of rental properties, from apartments to condominiums to small houses. The eastern section of Houghton, near Northwest University, offers more affordable homes, but homes with views can still garner up to $3 million.

Juanita, Champagne Point, and Homes Point

The Juanita neighborhood, north of downtown Kirkland, is an up-and-coming community anchored by the Juanita Village mixed-use property. Modeled after the village centers in northern Europe, the pedestrian-friendly project combines shops, banks, and restaurants with apartments, condominiums, and townhomes. West of Juanita, the Champagne Point and Homes Point neighborhoods are private, funky communities with incredible views of Lake Washington. Homes are anywhere from 60 years old to brand new, and prices are high. Residents here can just as easily go for a sheltered walk in the woods or take a leisurely stroll along the beach.

Finn Hill, and Rose Hill

For affordable homes, newcomers should look to the Finn Hill and Rose Hill neighborhoods. Finn Hill is located northwest of downtown and Rose Hill, where you can still find some reasonably priced older homes, is situated to the northeast. Newcomers should be aware, however, that while most of Kirkland is free from traffic congestion except during rush hour, the area surrounding Rose Hill is frequently backed up along NE 85th Street.

Website
kirklandwa.gov
Area Code
425
Zip Codes
98033, 98034, 98083
Post Office
721 4th Ave, 425-739-6727
Libraries
308 Kirkland Ave, 425-822-2459; 12315 NE 143rd, 425-821-7686, kcls.org
Public Schools
Lake Washington School District, 16250 NE 74th St, 425-936-1200, lwsd.org
Police
123 5th Ave, 425-577-5656, kirklandwa.gov
Emergency Hospital
Evergreen Hospital Medical Center, 12040 NE 128th St, 425-899-3000, evergreenhospital.org
Community Publication
King County Journal, 11400 SE 8th St, 425-455-2222, pnwlocalnews.com; Kirkland Views, kirklandviews.com
Community Resources
Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce, 401 Parkplace, Ste 102, 425-822-7066, kirklandchamber.org; Kirkland Arts Center, 620 Market St, 425-822-7161, kirklandartscenter.org; Kirkland Heritage Society, 203 Market St, 425-827-3446, kirklandheritage.org; North Kirkland Community Center, 12421 103rd Ave NE, 425-587-3350, kirklandwa.gov; Senior Center, 352 Kirkland Ave, 425-587-3360, kirklandwa.gov; Teen Center, 348 Kirkland Ave, 425-822-3088, kirklandwa.gov
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 230, 234, 236–238, 245, 248, 249, 252, 255–257, 260, 265, 277, 311, 342, 930, 935, 952, 981, 986; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 532, 535, 540

Woodinville

Woodinville

Woodinville is a close neighbor of Redmond, attracting many Microsoft employees and their families. The city is located in the north central region of King County, just east of the intersection of State Route 522 and Interstate 405, with a population of just over 11,000. Most homes in Woodinville are large contemporary structures in suburban developments or modest farmhouses on acreage. The city epitomizes the goal of many formerly rural Eastside communities, which is to blend city living with a country attitude. With an excellent school system and a new sportsfield complex and skate park, this city is popular with young families.

Formerly a heavily forested region of King County, Woodinville became an incorporated city in 1993. The community is made up primarily of single-family homes, with about 40% of dwellings designated for multi-family use. Generally, homes here cost less than they do in nearby Redmond. Older, modest homes dating from before Woodinville’s housing boom of the late 1990s have a median price of $300,000. Most new properties sell for more than a half-million dollars, and larger palatial estates are priced in the millions.

Residents have access to the usual suburban shopping centers, grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and chain stores, plus the country’s largest single-outlet garden center, Molbak’s. This local gem serves as Woodinville’s commercial hub, taking up 15 acres on NE 175th Street. The company also has a high-tech, 42-acre greenhouse complex near NE 124th Street and State Route 202.

In addition to being a beautiful place to live, Woodinville is now a popular tourist destination, something you should take into account if you’re thinking of moving here. The Herbfarm, considered by some to be one of the top destination restaurants in the world, is located in Woodinville. At the heart of the Woodinville wine country, the city is home to more than 50 wineries, including two of the state’s largest, Chateau St. Michelle and Columbia. If you’re more partial to suds, you’ll find the Redhook Brewery’s restaurant and bottling facility here as well. The Sammamish River Trail, which runs through Woodinville, becomes the Burke-Gilman Trail and is used recreationally as well as by bicycle commuters to Seattle.

Website
ci.woodinville.wa.us
Area Code
425
Zip Code
98072, 98077
Post Office
17610 Woodinville-Snohomish Rd NE, 425-487-0995
Libraries
Woodinville Library, 17105 Avondale Rd NE, 425-788-0733; Kingsgate Library, 12315 NE 143rd, 425-821-7686, kcls.org
Public Schools
Northshore School District, 3330 Monte Villa Pkwy, Bothell, WA 98021, 425-489-6000, nsd.org
Police
17301 133rd Ave NE (City Hall), 425-877-2279, 425-489-2700, ci.woodinville.wa.us/CityHall
Emergency Hospital
Evergreen Hospital Medical Center, 12040 NE 128th St, 425-899-3000, evergreenhospital.org
Community Publication
The Woodinville Weekly, 13400 NE 175th St, Ste C, 425-483-0606, nwnews.com
Community Resources
Cottage Lake Community Service Center, 19145 NE Woodinville-Duvall Rd, 206-296-2733, kingcounty.gov; Rotary Community Park, 19518 136th Ave NE, 425-489-2700, www. myparksandrecretion.com; Woodinville Chamber of Commerce, 17401 133rd St NE, 425-481-8300, woodinvillechamber.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro. kingcounty.gov: 236, 237, 251, 311, 372; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 522

Duvall

Duvall is a farming community in the valley east of Redmond and Bothell. The city offers country homes and a half-hour commute to Redmond or Bellevue. Many of the houses are hidden in wooded hills; some have views of the Snoqualmie River, lush farmland or the Cascades.

Despite its proximity to the larger cities of the Eastside, Duvall is a rural community with a very low crime rate. At the height of the 1990s high-tech boom, families flocked to Duvall for its short commute to Microsoft, but that influx has now tapered off. Today Duvall has fewer than 7,000 residents, and the city’s commercial district consists of about three blocks on Main Street, home to city hall, the public library, restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations.

Short-platting—building multiple homes on a piece of property that used to contain just one house—is common in Duvall. As demand for housing in Duvall grew, property owners, many of them farmers, realized they could make more money by dividing and selling off pieces of land than by farming it. In some cases, this has resulted in a patchwork effect in the community, with small clusters of homes popping up next to large farms.

Duvall’s demographics are diverse and reflect the area’s home prices, which range from inexpensive mobile homes to several thousand dollars for new construction. The median price of a home in 2011 was $406,000, while the average price of a condominium was $211,000. Newcomers should be able to find a home for less than in other Eastside communities.

Website
duvallwa.gov
Area Code
425
Zip Codes
98019
Post Office
26400 NE Valley St, 425-788-5645
Library
15619 NE Main St, Duvall, 425-788-1173, kcls.org
Public Schools
Riverview School District, 32240 NE 50th St, 425-844-4500, riverview.wednet.edu
Police
26225 NE Stephens St, 425-788-1519, duvallwa.gov
Emergency Hospital
Overlake Hospital Medical Center, 1035 116th Ave NE, 425-688-5000, overlakehospital.org
Community Publications
River Current News, 23515 NE Novelty Hill Rd, Redmond, WA 98053, 206-795-0989, rivercurrentnews.com; The Valley View, 13400 NE 175th St, Ste C, Woodinville, WA 98072, nwnews.com
Community Resources
Duvall Chamber of Commerce, 425-788-9182, duvallchamberofcommerce.com; Duvall Foundation for the Arts, P.O. Box 1043, 425-788-3928, duvallarts.org; Duvall Historical Society, 26526 NE Cherry Valley Rd, duvallhistoricalsociety.org; P-Patch, 26526 NE Cherry Valley Rd, 425-788-3434, duvallwa.gov/peapatch; Sno-Valley North Little League, P.O. Box 1166, 425-844-1991, svnll.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 224, 232, 311

Issaquah

Issaquah Highlands

If location is the most important tenet in real estate, then it is no wonder Issaquah’s housing market is booming. Nestled midway between Seattle and Snoqualmie Pass, the once-sleepy town is ideally located to take advantage of the best the city and the mountains have to offer. According to census data, between 2000 and 2010 the population of Issaquah swelled by nearly 150%. Unfortunately, the city’s rapid growth has had a less-than-ideal side effect: some of the worst traffic on the Eastside.

During this period Issaquah saw more than a million square feet of commercial space added, and there is also a Costco, Lowe’s Home Improvement Center, a movie theater, and numerous restaurants. The concentration of retail businesses just off the freeway results in frequent congestion in the downtown core. But, once you leave downtown, it is still possible to find the quieter rural atmosphere that attracted residents to Issaquah decades ago, although it’s hard to look at the hills surrounding the city without seeing a housing development. Suburban neighborhoods are becoming more the norm.

Cantergrove, and Issaquah Highlands

Issaquah is the community of choice for many of Seattle’s highly paid athletes. Former Mariners Ken Griffey Jr. and Jay Buhner lived here, and at least one Seahawk has been in residence. Planned communities like Cantergrove in eastern Issaquah offer million-dollar homes with huge, wooded lots and mountain views. Nearby, the Issaquah Highlands neighborhood resembles a movie set, rising above the city and surrounded by spectacular views that reach all the way to Bellevue. The Highlands community is a mix of new condos and homes situated around a village green complete with its own cash machine and nearby shopping center. Homes start at about a half-million dollars, with townhomes selling for around $320,000 and up.

Downtown

In Downtown Issaquah is a small collection of historic homes and buildings, and most of the city’s apartments. On Front Street, quaint brick buildings house shops and theaters; also in downtown are the police department and library, and every year Front Street hosts the large and popular Issaquah Salmon Days Festival.

Website
ci.issaquah.wa.us
Area Code
425
Zip Codes
98027, 98029, 98075
Post Office
400 NW Gilman Blvd, 425-837-8795
Library
10 W Sunset Way, 425-392-5430, kcls.org
Public Schools
Issaquah School District, 565 NW Holly St, 425-837-7000, issaquah.wednet.edu
Police
130 E Sunset Way, 425-837-3200, ci.issaquah.wa.us
Emergency Hospitals
Overlake Medical Center at Issaquah, 24-hour Urgent Care Clinic, 5708 E Lake Sammamish Pkwy SE, 425-688-5777, overlakehospital.org; Valley Medical Center, 400 S 43rd St, Renton, 425-228-3450, valleymed.org
Community Publication
Issaquah Press, P.O. Box 1328, Issaquah, 425-392-6434
Community Resources
Issaquah Community Center, 301 Rainier Blvd S, 425-837-3300, ci.issaquah.wa.us; Issaquah Historical Society, 425-392-3500, issaquahhistory.org; Issaquah Little League, issaquahlittleleague.org; Issaquah Valley Senior Center, 75 NE Creek Way, 425-392-2381, issaquahseniorcenter.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 200, 209, 210, 214–218, 269, 271, 927; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org:554–556

Sammamish

Sammamish Plateau

With Redmond to the north and Issaquah to the south, the newest city in King County is ideally situated for commuters to those cities, though traffic can be very difficult during rush hour. Incorporated in 1999, Sammamish, with a population of over 45,000, hugs the shores and hills east of Lake Sammamish. The majority of the population lives on the Sammamish Plateau to the east of the lake. Rapid growth and numerous new housing developments cause traffic headaches, but the area still retains a rural feeling. Money Magazine ranked Sammamish 15th on its 2011 list of Best Small Towns in the United States. Homes here run between $400,000 and $1,300,000. Homes on the lake or with lake views can sell for considerably more.

Sammamish is a young city with many parts still in the planning stages. An area on the Plateau known as the Commons, adjacent to the newly built City Hall, now includes a civic plaza, parking, greenspaces, and a $16.3-million library that opened in 2010. The schools are split between the Lake Washington School District and the Issaquah School District. The pleasant and safe neighborhoods and good schools make the city popular with families.

Website
ci.sammamish.wa.us
Area Code
425
Zip Codes
98074, 98075
Post Offices
400 NW Gilman Blvd, Issaquah, 425-837-8795; 15731 NE 8th St, Bellevue, 425-401-0892
Library
825 228th Ave NE, 425-392-3130, kcls.org
Public Schools
Lake Washington School District, 16250 NE 74th St, Redmond, 425-936-1200, lwsd.org; Issaquah School District, 565 NW Holly St, 425-837-7000, issaquah.wednet.edu
Police
801 228th Ave SE, 425-295-0770, ci.sammamish.wa.us
Emergency Hospitals
Overlake Medical Center at Issaquah, 24-hour Urgent Care Clinic, 5708 E Lake Sammamish Pkwy SE, 425-688-5777, overlakehospital.org; The Eastside Hospital (Group Health Cooperative), 2700 152nd Ave NE, 425-888-5151, ghc.org
Community Publication
Sammamish Review, P.O. Box 1328, Issaquah, 425-392-6434, sammamishreview.com
Community Resources
Sammamish Chamber of Commerce, 704 228th Ave NE #123, 425-681-4910, sammamishchamber.org; Sammamish Community Service Center, 801 228th Ave SE, 206-295-0750, kingcounty.gov; Sammamish Heritage Society, 704 228th Ave NE, 425-260-9804, sammamishheritage.org; Sammamish Symphony Orchestra, 206-517-7777, sammamishsymphony.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 216, 269, 927; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 554

North Bend/Snoqualmie

North Bend

Located approximately 30 miles east of Seattle, the communities of North Bend and Snoqualmie are in the Snoqualmie Valley, surrounded by mountains and lush pasture. Before the area’s high-tech boom in the 1990s, which brought tremendous growth here, the two towns were primarily a stop on the way to the mountain passes and to Eastern Washington.

It was in the early 1990s when the North Bend/Snoqualmie area was thrust into the limelight as the backdrop for David Lynch’s groundbreaking television show, Twin Peaks. The show’s introduction prominently featured the area’s best-known natural wonder, the Snoqualmie Falls. (The region still hosts an annual Twin Peaks Festival each August.) At the time, the area was rural, and the pace of life here was slower than in established suburbs like Bellevue. For that reason, although these two towns certainly lie to Seattle’s east, North Bend and Snoqualmie were not generally included in the blanket description of “Eastside.” That changed in the late 1990s, when high-tech employees and first-time homebuyers began moving to the region in droves. Snoqualmie, in particular, has seen tremendous growth: between 2000 and 2010 its population ballooned by over 500%. Today, North Bend and Snoqualmie are known as much for their housing developments as they once were for winter recreation. The Snoqualmie Casino, run by the Snoqualmie tribe, attracts gamblers year-round from Seattle as well as from affluent communities such as Mercer Island and Snoqualmie Ridge along the I-90 corridor.

In theory, North Bend and Snoqualmie are about a half-hour drive from Seattle and 20 minutes from Bellevue, but heavy traffic on Interstate 90 usually makes for a much longer commute. A trip to downtown Seattle during rush hour will take at least 45 minutes.

Snoqualmie Ridge

Despite the drive, both North Bend and Snoqualmie are well on their way to becoming suburban bedroom communities, as developments like Snoqualmie Ridge continue to attract families looking to buy bigger houses and pay lower prices. Snoqualmie Ridge is a sprawling, 1,300-acre community that boasts its own golf course and more than 500 acres of preserved open space. Homes in the mixed-use development sell for between $350,000 and $1 million. A new city hall has opened in Snoqualmie’s historic downtown district, where other revitalization projects are under way.

North Bend looks out on Mount Si, a 4,167-foot peak scored by one of Washington’s most well-traveled hiking trails, which draws an estimated 350,000 visitors annually. The region serves as a base for rock climbers and whitewater rafters, as well. North Bend maintains eight public parks, including the historic Meadowbrook and Tollgate Farms. Downtown, Torguson Park features a climbing wall. Median home and condo prices in North Bend are at least $100,000 less than those in Snoqualmie.

Websites
http://ci.north-bend.wa.us; ci.snoqualmie.wa.us
Area Code
425
Zip Codes
98045, 98065, 98068
Post Offices
451 E North Bend Way, North Bend, 425-831-7020; 8264 Olmstead Ln SE, Snoqualmie, 425-888-4317
Libraries
North Bend Library, 115 E 4th, 425-888-0554; Snoqualmie Library, 7824 Center Blvd NE, 425-888-1223, kcls.org
Public Schools
Snoqualmie Valley Public Schools, 8001 Silva Ave SE, 425-831-8000, svsd410.org
Police
1550 Boalch Ave NW, North Bend, 425-888-4433, northbendwa.gov; 34825 SE Douglas St, Snoqualmie, 425-888-3333, ci.snoqualmie.wa.us
Emergency Hospital
Snoqualmie Valley Hospital, 9575 Ethan Wade Way SE, 425-831-2300, snoqualmiehospital.org
Community Publications
Snoqualmie Valley Record, P.O. Box 300, 425-888-2311, pnwlocalnews.com
Community Resources
Northwest Railway Museum, 38625 SE King St, Snoqualmie, 425-888-3030, trainmuseum.org; Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce, 425-888-4440, snovalley.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 209, 215
Seattle Regional Map
North End Map

Northern Communities—King County

The communities north of Seattle are often collectively referred to as the “North End.” For the most part, homes in these cities are more affordable than in Seattle or the Eastside. The North End is popular with Boeing employees who commute to Everett, and with first-time homebuyers looking for less expensive housing than what can be found in Seattle. The North End is varied; with charming seaside communities like Edmonds just a few miles away from high-tech suburbs like Lake Forest Park.

Shoreline

Shoreline

Shoreline, home to over 54,000, is a growing community just north of Seattle. Twice named Best Neighborhood by Seattle magazine, Shoreline is known for its excellent schools, abundant parks, and affordable contemporary homes. The community has become popular with young families increasingly priced out of Seattle and the Eastside. Before becoming a city in 1995, Shoreline was an unincorporated region of King County. It is surrounded by Edmonds and Woodway to the north, Lake Forest Park to the east, and Seattle to the south.

Richmond Beach, Innis Arden, and The Highlands

As its name implies, the city hugs the Puget Sound shoreline, offering spectacular sound and mountain views from expensive waterfront homes. Further inland, local architecture is best described as a mix of older split-levels, Colonials, mid-century ramblers, and modern new construction. As you travel east toward I-5, homes in Shoreline become even more affordable. Shoreline consists of fourteen distinct neighborhoods (a selection of which we’ve profiled here), offering a range of housing options for newcomers, from upscale properties with water views to more modest homes and condos. Neighborhoods east of Aurora Avenue offer smaller fixer-uppers and rental homes. Generally, home prices in Shoreline range from the low $200,000s to just over $400,000, depending on the neighborhood. Exceptions include Richmond Beach, in the northwest corner of the city, where most homes start at $500,000, with view properties costing even more. Lots here are larger than those in Seattle, and charm and privacy are abundant. Not surprisingly, there is little turnover. The same is true for upscale Innis Arden, just south of Richmond Beach. Residents here are working and retired professionals who value the protections of covenant communities and the generous greenbelt. Lots are spacious and housing prices begin around the half-million-dollar mark. South of Innis Arden is The Highlands, where some of Seattle’s wealthiest families have lived since the turn of the century. The gated waterfront/golf-course community is filled with multimillion-dollar mansions and sprawling estates. Some of the region’s most incredible sound and mountain views are from the homes in this community that is so exclusive the houses don’t have addresses.

Richmond Highlands, Echo Lake, Meridian Park, and Parkwood

A good bet for newcomers seeking moderately priced housing is the central Shoreline area, which includes the Richmond Highlands, Echo Lake, Meridian Park, and Parkwood neighborhoods. Situated between Aurora Avenue and I-5, these communities offer affordable homes typically built during the 1920s and 1930s, or during the post–World War II expansion of the 1950s and 1960s. Many have been painstakingly restored or remodeled, but others could use a little TLC.

Shoreline boasts one of the region’s most popular two-year colleges: Shoreline Community College, at Greenwood Avenue North and Arden Way, just east of The Highlands. About 14,000 students attend the college, which also offers adult continuing education classes.

Shoreline doesn’t really have a city center, but Aurora Avenue North’s sprawling commercial district cuts through the city and offers ample opportunities for commerce, including Sears at North 155th Street, Fred Meyer and QFC at North 185th Street, and Home Depot and Costco at North 205th Street. Real estate in this area consists of small to medium-sized homes and apartment complexes, occupied by a mixture of owners and renters. Vacancy rates here and in other Shoreline neighborhoods are quite low.

Just 15 miles north of downtown Seattle, Shoreline offers a relatively easy commute to the city. Both I-5 and Highway 99 connect Shoreline and Seattle, so drivers have two options when traveling between the two cities. An average commute takes about 20 minutes.

Website
cityofshoreline.com
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98133, 98155, 98177
Post Offices
Bitter Lake Station, 929 N 145th St, Seattle, 206-364-0663; North City Branch, 17233 15th Ave NE, 206-364-0656; Richmond Beach Contract Station, 1430 NW Richmond Beach Rd, 206-533-2345
Libraries
19601 21st Ave NW, Shoreline, 206-546-3522; 345 NE 175th, 206-362-7550, Shoreline, kcls.org
Public Schools
Shoreline School District, 18560 1st Ave NE, 206-393-6111, shorelineschools.org
Police
Shoreline Police Station, 1206 N 185th St, 206-801-2710; Eastside Police Center, 521 NE 165th St, 206-363-8424; Westside Police Center, 624 NW Richmond Beach Rd, 206-546-3636, cityofshoreline.com
Emergency Hospital
Northwest Hospital, 1550 N 115th St, Seattle, 206-364-0500, nwhospital.org
Community Publication
Shoreline Area News (blog), shorelineareanews.com
Community Resources
Center for Human Services, 17018 15th Ave NE, 206-362-7282 (Voice/TDD), chs-nw.org; Richmond Highlands Recreation Center, 16554 Fremont Ave N, 206-542-6511; Shoreline Chamber of Commerce, 18560 1st Ave NE, 206-361-2260, shorelinechamber.com; Shoreline Community College, 16101 Greenwood Ave N, 206-546-4101, shoreline.edu; Shoreline–Lake Forest Park Arts Council, 18560 1st Ave NE, 206-417-4645, shorelinearts.net; Shoreline Pool, 19030 1st Ave NE, 206-801-2650, cityofshoreline.com; YMCA,19290 Aurora Ave N, 206-363-0446, seattleymca.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 5, 77, 100, 101, 118, 130, 131, 242, 301, 303, 304, 308, 316, 330, 331, 342, 345–348, 355, 358, 373, 416, 510, 511; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org

Lake Forest Park

Lake Forest Park

Lake Forest Park, located north of Seattle and east of Shoreline, is a small community of fewer than 13,000 residents. It has a mix of contemporary single-family homes on large lots, with a median home price of under $400,000. Rentals account for only about 20% of the area’s housing units. People choose Lake Forest Park as much for its lack of excitement as for its tree-covered hillsides. The Burke-Gilman Trail runs right through this quiet place, where kids play in the street and residents are surprised when they don’t run into a friend or acquaintance at the grocery store. The city falls within the Shoreline School District, considered one of the best in the area. Thanks to the passing of a recent levy, both high schools in the district are currently being rebuilt.

One area of Lake Forest Park with a particularly strong sense of community is the Sheridan Heights/Beach neighborhood, thanks to the local Beach Club. Residents with a “deeded” lot gain automatic membership to a pool and Lake Washington Beach access. Each summer, many of the neighborhood kids join the swim team or spend most days splashing in the lake or the pool. The Beach Club also organizes seasonal holiday family activities, such as a Fourth of July field day and a Christmas ship bonfire.

Many residents work out of their residences, with home-based businesses accounting for more than half all registered businesses. The city’s social and commercial center is the Town Center at Lake Forest Park, near the intersection of Bothell Way NE and Ballinger Way NE. The center includes Third Place Books, a huge retail space that combines books, food, and entertainment, as well as Third Place Commons, a large indoor park-like space where many community groups meet. The center is also home to a branch of Shoreline Community College. Foodies bemoan the lack of good restaurants, but there are plenty of great choices in Seattle just a short distance south. Residents have easy access to I-5 north, which makes this a good neighborhood for commuters working north of the city.

Website
cityoflfp.com
Area Code
206
Zip Code
98155
Post Office
Lake Forest Way Substation (open intermittently), 17425 Ballinger Way NE; North City Branch, 17233 15th Ave NE, Seattle, 206-364-0656
Library
17171 Bothell Way NE, 206-362-8860, kcls.org
Public Schools
Shoreline School District, 18560 1st Ave NE, Shoreline, 206-343-6111, shorelineschools.org
Police
17425 Ballinger Way NE, 206-364-8216, cityoflfp.com
Emergency Hospital
Northwest Hospital, 1550 N 115th St, 206-364-0500, nwhospital.org
Community Publication
Shoreline Area News, shorelineareanews.com
Community Resources
Lake Forest Park Garden Club, www. secretgardensoflakeforestpark.com; Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation, P.O. Box 82861, Kenmore, WA 98028th, lfpsf.org; Shoreline Community College at Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way NE, 206-533-6700, shoreline.edu; Shoreline–Lake Forest Park Senior Center, 18560 1st Ave NE, Shoreline, 206-365-1536, shorelinelfpseniorcenter.org; Third Place Commons, 17171 Bothell Way NE, 206-366-3302, thirdplacecommons.org; YMCA,19290 Aurora Ave N, 206-363-0446, seattleymca.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 306, 308, 309, 312, 331, 342, 372; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 522

Bothell, Kenmore

Bothell

Bothell is no longer just a bedroom community for Seattle and Eastside employees. More than 20,000 people now work in Bothell, instead of commuting to jobs in other areas, and economic development is a high priority here. Major employers include high-tech, communications, medical equipment companies, a branch of the University of Washington, and the Cascadia Community College. Located just 12 miles north of Seattle, the city is home to about 34,000 residents. Ongoing efforts to annex unincorporated areas around Bothell will likely increase the current population. The city straddles both King and Snohomish counties, a geographic oddity that can confuse visitors. Most Bothell streets are numbered, rather than named, and the numbers change once one crosses the county line.

With median home prices of about $350,000, the city is a popular choice for young families and early career professionals. Though the city has grown considerably in the past decade, it retains a friendly downtown core that revolves around sleepy Main Street. Here you’ll find cozy cafés and restaurants, plus furniture, retail, and antique stores, and more to come: Paul Allen’s Vulcan Real Estate, the engine behind the transformation of Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, has invested in Bothell’s plans to revitalize its downtown. Another popular spot with residents is the Park at Bothell Landing, at 9919 NE 180th Street, just south of the city center. The site features playground equipment, a pedestrian bridge to the Sammamish River Trail, fishing, and small-boat mooring. In the works for 2013 are an entry plaza with a water feature and facilities for renting bicycles and kayaks. Bothell Landing is also the site of the city’s first schoolhouse and a log cabin.

Kenmore

West of Bothell is Kenmore, which Seattle Magazine gave the top slot in its 2009 selection of “Best Metropolitan Neighborhoods to Live.” Incorporated in 1998, Kenmore is a growing city, with a population of nearly 21,000 residents who live in long-established, mostly single-family neighborhoods as well as condominiums and apartments. Kenmore is also the site of Bastyr University, an acclaimed college of natural medicine and one of the city’s top employers. Housing options include spacious homes overlooking Lake Washington, as well as more modest dwellings, some along partially forested hills. Housing prices are slightly higher than those in Bothell, but over the years property values have shown more stability in Kenmore than in many other communities. Key to the city’s future is a proposed development called Lakepointe, a 45-acre site at the northeast end of Lake Washington, which would include 1,200 condos, a marina, a lakefront park, pedestrian walkways, an amphitheater, and 650,000 square feet of commercial space.

Websites
ci.bothell.wa.us; cityofkenmore.com
Area Code
425
Zip Codes
98011, 98012, 98021, 98028, 98041, 98082
Post Offices
Bothell Main Office, 10500 Beardslee Blvd, Bothell, 425-482-9755; Kenmore Branch, 6700 NE 181st St, Kenmore, 425-482-9755
Libraries
Bothell Library, 18215 98th Ave NE, Bothell, 425-486-7811, 425-402-7071 (TTY); Kenmore Library, 6531 NE 181st St, Kenmore, 425-486-8747, kcls.org
Public Schools
Northshore School District, 3330 Monte Villa Pkwy, Bothell, 425-408-6000, nsd.org
Police
18410 101st Ave NE, Bothell, 425-486-1254, ci.bothell.wa.us; 18118 73rd Ave NE, Kenmore, 206-296-5020, cityofkenmore.com
Emergency Hospital
Northwest Hospital, 1550 N 115th St, Seattle, 206-364-0500, nwhospital.org
Community Publications
Bothell/Kenmore Reporter, 11630 Slater Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98034, 425-483-3732, pnwlocalnews.com
Community Resources
Bothell Historical Museum, P.O. Box 313, Bothell, 425-486-1889; Cascadia Community College, 18345 Campus Way NE, Bothell, 425-352-8000, cascadia.edu; Greater Bothell Chamber of Commerce, 10017 NE 185th St, Bothell, 425-485-4353, bothellchamber.com; Kenmore Heritage Society, P.O. Box 82027, Kenmore, scn.org/kenmoreheritage; Kenmore Senior Center, 6910 NE 170th St, Kenmore, 425-489-0707; Northshore Community Service Center, 10808 NE 145th St, Bothell, 206-296-9840, kingcounty.gov; South Snohomish County Chamber of Commerce, 723 134th St SW, Ste 128, Everett, 425-248-4224, s2c3.com
Public Transportation:
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 105, 106, 120, 121, 234, 236, 238, 244, 251, 306, 309, 312, 331, 342, 372, 435, 441, 935; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 522, 532, 535

Northern Communities—Snohomish County

Edmonds

Edmonds

Edmonds, overlooking Puget Sound just north of Seattle, is a peaceful village with a quaint shopping district. The Edmonds-Kingston Ferry Terminal, once the central attraction of the city, is now overshadowed by the popular downtown waterfront amenities, including restaurants, chic clothing boutiques, and gift shops. While there is tremendous wealth in Edmonds, you have to look hard to find it. This is a decidedly low-key community where residents are friendly and unpretentious and consider Edmonds the gem of Puget Sound. Recognized as an artists’ community, Edmonds displays an impressive collection of public art and sponsors monthly Art Walks.

The Bowl

The neighborhood that encompasses downtown and the surrounding hillside is The Bowl. The architecture here is varied, with a mix of Victorian homes, small bungalows, new condominiums, and older apartment buildings. Houses are staggered along the hillside for optimal views, and housing prices often depend on how much of the mountains and water you can glimpse—median price in 2011 was $360,000. Most city services are located right in downtown Edmonds, including the police and fire stations, civic center, city hall, and museum. Condos are abundant in downtown Edmonds. Many are occupied by snowbirds who spend the spring and summer in the Northwest, and fly to warmer climes for fall and winter. Many year-round residents travel to Seattle or Bothell for work, with an average commute of about 30 minutes.

Woodway, and Woodway Highlands

South of downtown is the community of Woodway, a secluded, woodsy neighborhood of expensive homes on large lots—one to five acres, due to the restrictions on short-platting here. Home prices range from $800,000 to over two million, and you won’t find any condos here. Also in Woodway is one of Edmonds’ only planned communities, Woodway Highlands, which is similar to new developments on the Eastside: large homes nestled close together.

Website
ci.edmonds.wa.us
Area Code
425
Zip Codes
98020, 98026
Post Office
201 Main St, 425-670-8407
Library
650 Main St, 425-771-1933, sno-isle.org
Public Schools
Edmonds School District, 20420 68th Ave W, Lynnwood, 425-431-7000, edmonds.wednet.edu
Police
250 5th Ave N, 425-771-0200, ci.edmonds.wa.us
Emergency Hospital
Swedish/Edmonds, 21601 76th Ave W, Edmonds, 425-640-4000, swedish.org/edmonds
Community Publication
The Weekly Herald, 4303 198th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036, 425-339-3415, weeklyherald.com
Community Resources
Edmonds Art Commission, 650 Main St, 425-771-0228, ci.edmonds.wa.us/artscommission; Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, 121 5th Ave N, 425-776-6711, edmondswa.com; Edmonds Community College, 20000 68th Ave W, Lynnwood, WA 98036, 425-640-1459, edcc.edu; Edmonds Senior Center, 220 Railroad Ave, 425-774-5555, southcountyseniorcenter.org; Frances Anderson Cultural and Leisure Center, 700 Main St, 425-771-0230, ci.edmonds.wa.us
Public Transportation
Community Transit, 425-353-RIDE, 800-562-1375, commtrans.org: 404–406, 416; Washington State Ferry, 206-464-6400, wsdot.wa.gov/ferries

Mountlake Terrace

Mountlake Terrace

Like Lake Forest Park in King County, Mountlake Terrace, situated in south Snohomish County, fifteen miles north of downtown Seattle, has a mix of contemporary single-family homes on large lots. This is a family-oriented community of nearly 21,000, with some of the city’s most popular attractions revolving around children and recreation: Lake Ballinger is flanked by golf courses, and features a boat ramp and fishing pier; the city’s public pavilion includes a swimming pool, racquetball courts, a weight room, and a preschool facility; next to the pavilion are outdoor playing fields, tennis courts, and a park. There are even a few casinos in the city for adult entertainment. The city’s downtown core supports an increasing number of businesses, but growth is managed here with an emphasis on sustainability, green building, and conservation. The recently completed Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station is expected to more than triple the number of buses operating between Mountlake Terrace and Seattle.

When you consider the city’s kid-friendly attitude it’s easy to understand why Mountlake Terrace is a good choice for young families. Seattle Magazine has twice named it among the top five Best Neighborhoods for affordability, low crime rate, student test scores, abundant parks, and short commute times. Tthe median price of a home in 2011 was $250,000, with condos averaging $178,000, considerably less than housing prices in neighboring Lake Forest Park. Major employers include Blue Cross of Washington and Alaska, and the Edmonds School District.

Website
cityofmlt.com
Area Code
425
Zip Code
98043
Post Office
23210 57th Ave W, 425-778-0429
Library
23300 58th Ave W, 425-776-8722, sno-isle.org
Public Schools
Edmonds School District, 20420 68th Ave W, Lynnwood, 425-431-7000, edmonds.wednet.edu
Police
5906 232nd St SW, 425-670-8260, cityofmlt.com
Emergency Hospital
Swedish/Edmonds, 21601 76th Ave W, Edmonds, 425-640-4000, swedish.org/edmonds
Community Publications
MLT News, mltnews.com; The Weekly Herald, 4303 198th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036, 425-339-3415, weeklyherald.com
Community Resources
Edmonds Community College, 20000 68th Ave W, Lynnwood, WA 98036, 425-640-1459, edcc.edu; Mountlake Terrace Recreation Pavilion and Community Center, 5303 228th St SW, 425-776-9173, cityofmlt.com; South Snohomish County Chamber of Commerce, 728 134th St SW, Ste 128, Everett, WA 98204, 425-248-4224, s2c3.com
Public Transportation
Community Transit, 425-353-RIDE, 800-562-1375, commtrans.org: 110–112, 130, 413, 415, 810, 871; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 511, 512

Lynnwood

Lynnwood

For those who live outside it, Lynnwood is best known as the home of Alderwood Mall. But, if you can get beyond the sprawling shopping center and surrounding strip malls, you may find a gem of a home in the residential areas of Lynnwood. Tranquil suburban streets with modest affordable homes make Lynnwood the choice of many middle-income families and first-time homebuyers. Most of the city’s nearly 36,000 residents either work in one of the community’s numerous retail outlets, or commute south to Seattle or north to Everett. Lynnwood’s proximity to major thoroughfares, including I-5 and Highway 99, is advantageous for commuters, and the community is well served by bus routes. A light rail station is due to open at the Lynnwood Transit Center by 2023.

Though about midway between Seattle and Everett, Lynnwood’s residents generally turn to Seattle for attractions not found in their community. Future plans for Lynnwood’s city center include new retail, office, and residential space, along with open-air plazas and promenades. Situated in wooded surroundings, Lynnwood does boast the Interurban Trail, which offers 4 miles of trails for biking and walking, as well as hundreds of park acres in the city limits.

In Lynnwood, home prices are comparable to those in Mountlake Terrace to the south, though properties don’t linger on the market. There is a pleasant mix of older construction and new developments, plus numerous condominiums and apartments, particularly near Edmonds Community College, which is actually located in Lynnwood.

Website
ci.lynnwood.wa.us
Area Code
425
Zip Codes
98036, 98037, 98046, 98087
Post Offices
Alderwood Manor Station, 3715 196th St SW, Ste 101, 425-778-3447; Lynnwood Station, 6817 208th St SW, 425-778-3447
Library
19200 44th Ave W, 425-778-2148, sno-isle.org
Public Schools
Edmonds School District, 20420 68th Ave W, Lynnwood, 425-431-7000, edmonds.wednet.edu
Police
19321 44th Ave W, 425-670-5600, ci.lynnwood.wa.us
Emergency Hospital
Swedish/Edmonds, 21601 76th Ave W, Edmonds, 425-640-4000, swedish.org/edmonds
Community Publications
Inside Lynnwood (newsletter), ci.lynnwood.wa.us; The Weekly Herald, 4303 198th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036, 425-339-3415, weeklyherald.com
Community Resources
Lynnwood Municipal Golf Course, 20200 68th Ave W, 425-672-4653, ci.lynnwood.wa.us; Recreation Center, 18900 44th Ave W, 425-670-5732, ci.lynnwood.wa.us; Senior Center, 19000 44th Ave W, 425-670-5050, ci.lynnwood.wa.us; South Snohomish County Chamber of Commerce, 728 134th St SW, Ste 128, Everett, WA 98204, 425-248-4224, s2c3.com
Public Transportation
Community Transit, 425-353-RIDE, 800-562-1375, commtrans.org: 101–113, 115, 116, 118–120, 130, 131, 190, 201/202, 401/402, 413–415, 421, 422, 425, 810, 821, 855, 860, 880/885; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 511, 512, 532/535

Everett

Everett

Everett, a large city about forty minutes north of Seattle, was established in the late 1800s to support the infamous Monte Cristo gold mines. Although the mines never produced the expected amount of gold, the city continued as an industrial center. Today, Boeing and Naval Station Everett are the primary employers in Everett, although many other companies, including a sawmill, are also located here. The Port of Everett connects the community to international shipping from around the world. As with Seattle, many distinct neighborhoods exist in Everett (only a selection of these are profiled here), each worth exploring if you are considering making your home here. For those who prefer properties with a history, Everett contains many well-built older residences featuring unique architectural details.

Bayside

Everett, with a population of approximately 104,000, according to the 2010 Census, is the seat of Snohomish County, one of the fastest growing counties in the state. Broadway divides Everett into western and eastern halves, and is the city’s major north-south thoroughfare. In the northern end of the city, west of Broadway, you’ll find Bayside, a classic Everett neighborhood of turn-of-the-century homes, some with fantastic views of Possession Sound, the naval station, and the largest public marina on the West Coast. Many of the houses here are handed down from generation to generation but when they do come on the market, they are usually more affordable than the Craftsman and Victorian homes for sale in Seattle’s view neighborhoods. Average rents in Everett are also considerably less expensive than those in Seattle. As you travel south along Marine View Drive toward downtown Everett, you’ll find that many of these historic homes have been turned into multi-family rental units.

Downtown

To fill Everett’s growing need for affordable housing, a number of developers built new condominiums in Downtown Everett and apartment buildings are still being converted to condominiums. These new dwellings offer proximity to law firms, banks, and government buildings, some shops and restaurants, historic theatres, and the city’s performing arts center. City planners worked hard to transform a less-than-exciting reputation by overhauling Everett’s sleepy downtown. Hewitt Avenue was made more pedestrian-friendly, and, in 2003, the new $71.5 million Comcast Arena at Everett provided a concert venue and ice skating rink, the home of the Silvertips hockey team. While the city’s waterfront district lacks housing options, it does feature a small shopping center, a hotel, a marina, and the Everett Yacht Club.

Rucker Hill, View Ridge–Madison, and The Preserve

Though Everett certainly claims its share of view properties and esteemed neighborhoods, newcomers will find a good selection of quiet, comfortable areas with affordable houses. Rucker Hill and View Ridge–Madison are attractive neighborhoods with many view homes and nearby parks. The Rucker Hill historic district includes over 80 single-family homes, well-preserved examples of early 20th century architecture. In the current housing market, properties can be found here for less than $200,000. The Preserve is a new community, complete with sidewalks and underground power lines; prices start at around $300,000.

It is unlikely that you will choose to commute from Everett to Seattle each day, especially since traffic on I-5 invariably snarls around the city, but if your job takes you north of Seattle or if you plan to work from home and want a little more bang for your buck, Everett is worth considering. The city offers many of the same attractions as Seattle, including performing arts, sporting events (the city is home to 2010 Northwest League champions the Everett AquaSox, a minor league ball club), a shopping mall, and popular city parks.

Website
everettwa.org
Area Code
425
Zip Codes
98201, 98203–8, 98213
Post Office
3102 Hoyt Ave, 425-257-3208; Paine Field Station, 2201 100th St SW, 425-514-8063
Libraries
2702 Hoyt Ave, 425-257-8000; 9512 Evergreen Way, 425-257-8250, epls.org
Public Schools
Everett Public Schools, 4730 Colby Ave, 425-385-4000, everett.k12.wa.us
Police
3002 Wetmore Ave, 425-257-8400, everettwa.org
Emergency Hospital
Providence Regional Center Everett, 1700 13th St, 425-261-2000, providence.org
Community Publication
The Herald, P.O. Box 930, 425-339-3000, herald.net
Community Resources
Boeing Everett Tour Center, 800-464-1476, boeing.com; Downtown Everett Association, P.O. Box 748, Everett, 98206, 425-258-0700, downtowneverett.com; Everett Area Chamber of Commerce, 2000 Hewitt Ave, Ste 205, 425-257-3222, everettchamber.com; Everett Community College, 2000 Tower St, 425-388-9100, everettcc.edu; Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave, 425-257-8600, villagetheatre.org; Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens, 145 Alverson Blvd, 425-257-8300, evergreenarboretum.com; Port of Everett, P.O. Box 538, Everett, 98206, 800-729-7678, portofeverett.com; Imagine Children’s Museum, 1502 Wall St, 425-258-1006, imaginecm.org; Schack Art Center, 2921 Hoyt Ave, 425-259-5050, schack.org
Public Transportation:
Community Transit, 425-353-RIDE, 800-562-1375, commtrans.org: 101, 105, 210/202, 227, 247, 270/271, 277, 280, 410, 414, 860; Everett Transit (bus service within the city), 425-257-7777, everettwa.org; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 510, 512, 513, 532/535

Western Communities—Kitsap County

Eastside Map

Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island

In the decade between 1990 and 2000, Bainbridge Island’s population jumped from approximately 3,000 to 20,000—an increase of over 560%—as Seattle residents sought out alternatives to the bustle of living in the city. Growth has slowed considerably since then. A 35-minute ferry ride from the Seattle waterfront, Bainbridge Island is currently a community of around 23,000 residents, including lawyers, doctors, successful artisans, architects, and others, many of them ex-Seattleites.

At just under 28 square miles, the island, which is linked to the Kitsap Peninsula by the Agate Pass Bridge, is comparable in size to Manhattan, but residents and real estate agents say it more closely resembles the idyllic California seaside communities of Sausalito or La Jolla. Many homes on Bainbridge have stunning views of Puget Sound or the distant Seattle skyline, and as in any community with a good location and spectacular views, housing prices can be steep. The median home price in 2011 was $550,000, with the housing market beginning to show signs of recovery from its 2009 nadir. Rentals are scarce, except for seasonal accommodations during the summer months.

Winslow

The Winslow neighborhood, adjacent to the ferry terminal, offers shops, restaurants, and the island’s few condominiums. The community resembles Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood, with its spectacular water views and upscale boutiques. The neighborhood is popular with young professionals, who commute to the city and appreciate the short walk to the ferry terminal.

As many an avid reader of David Guterson’s best-selling 1994 novel Snow Falling on Cedars can tell you, Bainbridge Island was once covered with strawberry farms. Prior to World War II, a community of Japanese-Americans called Bainbridge Island their home, until Executive Order 9066 required their forced relocation. The newly built Japanese-American Exclusion Memorial commemorates the event.

Despite its explosive growth, Bainbridge Island has managed to hang on to its rural feel, with abundant trees, parks, ponds, and beaches. Equestrian trails wind through the community, and many of the island’s kids take riding lessons in addition to golf and swimming instruction. Like Mercer Island to the east of Seattle, Bainbridge is known for its excellent schools. The island also offers golf and country clubs, quaint restaurants, seven wineries, and homey bed and breakfast inns.

So what are the drawbacks? Cell phone reception can be iffy on Bainbridge, island kids may suffer from a bit of pre-adolescent claustrophobia, some people find the lack of diversity a drawback, and residents are dependent on the state ferry system for access to the big city. But, with metro area’s heavy traffic, Bainbridge Islanders are happy to forgo the messy daily grind of the Seattle expressways. In emergency situations, island patients are airlifted to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center in minutes.

Website
ci.bainbridge-isl.wa.us
Area Code
206
Zip Code
98110
Post Office
271 Winslow Way E, 206-855-9571
Library
1270 Madison Ave N, 206-842-4162, bainbridgepubliclibrary.org
Public Schools
Bainbridge Island School District, 8489 Madison Ave NE, 206-842-4714, bainbridge.wednet.edu
Police
625 Winslow Way E, 206-842-5211, ci.bainbridge-isl.wa.us
Emergency Hospital
Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Ave, 206-744-3000, uwmedicine.washington.edu
Community Publications
Bainbridge Island Review, P.O. Box 10817, 206-842-6613, pnwlocalnews.com; The Kitsap Sun, 545 5th St, Bremerton, WA 98337, 360-377-3711, kitsapsun.com
Community Resources
Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce, 395 Winslow Way E, 206-842-3700, bainbridgechamber.com; Bainbridge Island Community Network, 206-842-0236, bainbridgeisland.org; Bainbridge Island Downtown Association, 120 Madrone Ln N, Ste 203, 206-842-2982, bainbridgedowntown.org; Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community, 1298 Grow Ave NW, 206-842-4772. bijac.org; Bainbridge Island Senior Center, 370 Brien Dr, 206-842-1616, biseniorcenter.org; Helpline House, 282 Knechtel Way NE, 206-842-7621, helplinehouse.org
Public Transportation
Washington State Ferries, 206-464-6400, 888-808-7977, wsdot.wa.gov/ferries; Kitsap Transit, 360-377-2877, 800-501-7433, kitsaptransit.org: 33, 90, 91, 93–99, 106

Bremerton

The largest city on the west side of Puget Sound, Bremerton has a population of about 36,000 anchoring the Kitsap Peninsula. An hour’s ferry ride away from Seattle, and a half hour drive to Tacoma, puts Bremerton within easy reach of Puget Sound’s other largest cities. Best known as the home of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, which employs 8,000 civilians and the same amount of military, Bremerton long had a slightly dingy, navy town reputation. The city has worked hard to change that, with continuing efforts to revitalize the downtown core. Restaurants, art galleries, art walks, and shops lure residents to downtown, while historic ships, a Naval Museum, festivals, and the beautiful Harborside waterfront park lure tourists. A 60-minute ferry ride to the Seattle waterfront is daunting to some, but more and more people are finding the lower home prices in Bremerton a sufficient reason to endure the commute to jobs in Seattle.

Bremerton
Manette, Charleston, and Rocky Point

The city of Bremerton is divided by the Port Washington Narrows and connected by two bridges that help to create distinct neighborhoods within this diverse city. The Manette neighborhood, in East Bremerton, is a tight-knit community with quirky appeal, where a new mixed-use housing, community center, and retail development is planned. Quaint, older bungalows can be found in the Charleston section of the city, and Rocky Point features rows of waterfront homes. Median home prices are half of what they are in Seattle, and homes with water views, or even waterfront property, sell for less than they do on the east side of the Sound. New waterfront condominiums with spectacular views are comparable in price to Tacoma and Seattle, starting around $350,000 (though the median price for a condo is over half that amount) and can run over a million. As in most towns with a military base, rentals are plentiful, from older apartment buildings to spacious houses. A one-bedroom apartment averages around $870 a month.

Website
ci.bremerton.wa.us
Area Code
360
Zip Codes
98310–12, 98314, 98337
Post Offices
602 Pacific Ave, 360-475-0248; Sheridan Park Station, 1281 Sylvan Way, 360-377-0738; West Hills Station, 200 National Ave S, 360-377-2722
Libraries
612 5th St, 360-377-3955; 1301 Sylvan Way, 360-405-9100, krl.org
Public Schools
Bremerton School District, 134 N Marion Ave, 360-473-1000, bremertonschools.org
Police
1025 Burwell St, 360-473-5220, ci.bremerton.wa.us
Emergency Hospital
Harrison Medical Center, 2520 Cherry Ave, 866-844-WELL, harrisonmedical.org
Community Publication
The Kitsap Sun, 545 5th St, 360-377-3711, kitsapsun.com
Community Resources
Aquatic Center, 2270 Schley Blvd, 360-337-3741, ci.bremerton.wa.us; Bremerton Senior Center, 1140 Nipsic Ave, 360-473-5357, ci.bremerton.wa.us; Chamber of Commerce, 286 4th St, 360-479-3579, bremertonchamber.org; Gold Mountain Golf Complex, 7263 W Belfair Valley Rd, 360-415-5432, goldmt.com; Kitsap Historical Society and Museum, 280 4th St, 360-479-6226, kitsaphistory.org; Olympic College, 1600 Chester Ave, 360-792-6050, olympic.edu; Puget Sound Navy Museum, 251 1st St, 360-479-7447, museumsusa.org; Sheridan Park Recreation Center, 680 Lebo Blvd, 360-473-4305, ci.bremerton.wa.us; Sustainable Bremerton, sustainablebremerton.org
Public Transportation
Washington State Ferries, 206-464-6400, 888-808-7977, wsdot.wa.gov/ferries; Kitsap Transit, 360-377-2877, 800-501-7433, kitsaptransit.org: 11–13, 15, 17, 19, 20–26, 29, 34–37
South End Map

Southern Communities—King County

The communities south of Seattle are often collectively referred to as the “South End.” For the most part, homes in these cities are more affordable than in Seattle or the Eastside. Many years ago, the common perception was that these areas were less desirable because they were farther away from big city attractions like professional sports, theater, museums, and fine dining. Today, however, many of these communities are energetically coming into their own, with revitalized downtown cores, improved infrastructures, and expanding public transit systems. Inspired municipal planning and public and private investment has increased the quality of life and attracted businesses. (For instance, you won’t need to drive into Seattle for your Uwajimaya fix, since a branch of the Asian specialty store opened in Renton 2009.) A choice of good restaurants and evening entertainment are increasingly attracting singles, couples, and young professionals and their families to these cities. Many neighborhoods to the west offer fantastic views of the sound and mountains, and most have thriving shopping centers. The 2010 Census confirmed that, over the previous decade, a tremendous influx of people has moved into the southern “exurbs” of Auburn and Renton, in particular. One negative consequence of all this explosive growth has been an increase in gang violence in the South End. While the vast majority of communities are safe places to live, certain hot spots have become the locus of turf battles. Money has been allocated and task forces created to aggressively address this problem. Another drawback to the South End is airplane noise from nearby Sea-Tac Airport.

Renton

Renton

Renton has always been best known as the home of Boeing’s commercial airplane factory. However, a series of major public and private projects have shaken up the heavily industrial perception of this town on the south end of Lake Washington and dramatically revitalized Renton’s downtown core. Recent developments include the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, the Seattle Seahawks’ new headquarters and training facility; and The Landing, a new urban village style shopping center and residential development on 46 acres just across from the Boeing factory.

In the last decade Renton’s population swelled more than 72%, partly as a result of the 2008 annexation of adjacent unincorporated areas of King County. Three more potential annexation areas have been identified, which will increase the population from approximately 83,000 to 130,000—as many residents as the city of Bellevue. Traditionally home to middle-income Boeing employees and a healthy working class population, Renton has already been attracting a crowd of young professionals. For the price of a small Seattle home on a tiny lot, prospective homeowners can buy a large, modern home in Renton, although that is changing in certain neighborhoods.

Downtown

This swiftly growing community has 74 officially recognized neighborhoods, only a handful of which are profiled below. Shopping centers or small business districts anchor most of Renton’s mature neighborhoods. Downtown, mom-and-pop stores and restaurants occupy historic brick structures, while large chain stores like IKEA and Fry’s Electronics dominate vast parking lots and strip malls. Housing here is limited to small bungalows, ramblers, and rental houses, and home prices are low. Fixer-uppers can be had for less than in any other area in Renton. Downtown residents are close to the city’s main library, a popular walking trail along the Cedar River, which flows though the heart of the city, and the sport stadium shared by all three city high schools.

Talbot, and Benson
Talbot

Above downtown is the Talbot or Benson area, which is popular with employees of Valley Medical Center. There is a good selection of condominiums and apartments in this neighborhood, as well as affordable homes built in the 1980s. New developments here are small because they are limited by the hillside and I-405, and some have views of downtown. This is a good area for entry-level homebuyers.

Fairwood

Fairwood is an established, upscale community that revolves around the Fairwood Golf and Country Club. Built in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the neighborhood features a mix of Colonials, brick ramblers, and contemporary homes. In most of the neighborhood, power lines are hidden underground, and many of the houses abut the golf course.

Renton Highlands

On the city’s east side, the Renton Highlands, especially east of 156th Avenue, is a neighborhood of quiet suburban-type streets and good schools. The Issaquah School District, which serves the eastern portion of the neighborhood, rates 9 out of 10 on greatschool.org. Large newly constructed homes are available here for prices in the low $400,000s.

New housing developments began to spring up around Renton in the early 1990s. With names like Summerwind, The Orchards, Windwood, and Stonegate, they feature large homes in safe communities. There are houses in just about every price range, from the $300,000s to half a million dollars, depending on construction, views, and lot size. Once the housing market recovers, watch for more luxury lakefront homes ($800,000 – $3 million) in keeping with Renton’s large-scale economic development. The city has its own housing authority, which means that Renton property owners have some of the smallest average tax increases in King County.

Website
ci.renton.wa.us
Area Code
425
Zip Codes
98055–9
Post Offices
17200 116th Ave SE, 425-255-4278; 314 Williams Ave S, 425-227-6304; 4301 NE 4th St, 425-227-6304
Libraries
17009 140th SE, 425-226-0522; 100 Mill Ave S, 425-226-6043; kcls.org
Public Schools
Renton School District, 300 SW 7th St, 425-204-2300, rentonschools.us
Police
1055 S Grady Way, 425-430-7500, rentonwa.gov
Emergency Hospital
Valley Medical Center, 400 S 43rd St, Renton, 425-228-3440, valleymed.org
Community Publication
Renton Reporter, 19426 68th Ave S, 425-255-3484, pnwlocalnews.com
Community Resources
Black River Community Service Center, 919 Grady Way SW, 206-296-7810, kingcounty.gov; Renton Chamber of Commerce, 300 Rainier Ave N, 425-226-4560, gorenton.com; Renton Community Center, 1715 Maple Valley Hwy, 425-430-6700, rentonwa.gov; Renton Community Foundation, 1101 Bronson Way N, 425-282-5199, rentonfoundation.org; Renton History Museum, 235 Mill Ave S, 425-255-2330, rentonwa.gov; Renton Senior Activity Center, 211 Burnett Ave N, 425-430-6633, rentonwa.gov; Renton Technical College, 3000 NE 4th St, 425-235-2352, rtc.edu
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 101, 102, 105–107, 110, 111, 114, 140, 143, 148, 149, 153, 155, 161, 167, 169, 240, 247, 280, 342, 908, 909, 952; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 560, 566

Kent

Kent

Formerly a rich agricultural valley, Kent today is one of the country’s busiest distribution centers, with the second largest warehouse area in the United States. Kent is the third-largest city in King County, and it’s growing. As a result of the King County Annexation Initiative, in 2010 the city annexed parts of unincorporated King County, adding 5 square miles of area and 24,000 additional residents. Like many exurbs in the South End, Kent has been busy rebranding itself. The city has funneled both energy and funding into the revitalization of its historic downtown and the $100-million Kent Station project, a new event center, as well as other major retail developments and road improvements.

The city is comprised of three distinct areas: East Hill, the Valley, and West Hill. Kent’s downtown area is located on the east side of the Valley; the rest is covered almost entirely by warehouses. Boeing has a plant here with over 5,000 employees, and the Kent School District is the second largest employer in town.

East Hill

In Kent, renters used to outnumber homeowners, nearly two to one. Today, almost half of Kent residents own their homes. There are dozens of multiple-family housing units, particularly on East Hill, the site of many strip malls and fast-food restaurants. Traffic in the teeming East Hill area is a constant challenge, as commuters headed toward Tacoma, Seattle, and Everett converge on the arterials and freeways. Despite the congestion, Kent enjoys an abundance of designated parks and greenspace, ranging in size from the one-tenth of an acre Gowe Street Mini Park (Kennebeck Avenue and Titus Street) to the 310-acre Green River Natural Resources Area, a wetland and wildlife refuge at 22000 Russell Road, in the Kent Valley. The Green River Trail, a popular path for walking, running and biking, follows the east bank of the river from south Seattle through downtown Kent and on into Auburn.

West Hill

This is a popular community for first-time homebuyers. Affordable older homes can be found in established neighborhoods, and new properties are plentiful in the East and West Hill districts. The median home price in 2011 was just under $260,000, making Kent one of the more affordable cities in the greater Seattle area. Likewise, apartments here are reasonably priced, averaging approximately $655 per month, less than comparable rentals in nearby communities such as Renton, Auburn, and Sea-Tac.

Website
kentwa.gov
Area Code
253
Zip Codes
98030–2, 98035, 98042, 98064, 98089
Post Office
Downtown Station, 216 W Gowe St, 253-520-7576; Midway Station, 23418 Pacific Hwy S, 253-856-2406; 10612 SE 240th, 253-850-8379
Library
212 2nd Ave N, 253-859-3330, 253-854-1050 (TTY), kcls.org
Public Schools
Kent School District, 12033 SE 256th St, 253-373-7000, kent.k12.wa.us
Police
232 4th Ave S, 253-856-5800, kentwa.gov
Emergency Hospital
Valley Medical Center, 400 S 43rd St, Renton, 425-228-3440, valleymed.org
Community Publications
Kent Reporter, 19426 68th Ave S, Ste A, 253-872-6600, pnwlocalnews.com
Community Resources
Kent Chamber of Commerce, 524 W Meeker St, Ste 1, 253-854-1770, kentchamber.com; Kent Commons, 525 4th Ave N, 253-856-5000, kentwa.gov; Maleng Regional Justice Center, 401 4th Ave N, 206-205-2501, 206-205-2655 (TTY), kingcounty.gov; P-Patch, 220 4th Ave S, 253-856-5110, kentwa.gov; Resource Center, 315 E Meeker St, 253-856-5030, kentwa.gov; Senior Activity Center, 600 E Smith St, 253-856-5161, kentwa.gov
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 150, 153, 157–159, 161, 162, 164, 166, 168, 169, 173, 175, 180, 183, 190–194, 197, 247, 912, 914, 916, 918, 952; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 566, 574

Auburn

Auburn

South of Kent, the city of Auburn is located on the Green and White rivers with grand views of Mt. Rainier. Billing itself as “the world’s biggest small town,” Auburn boasts a population of more than 70,000 people. Now more of an industrial town, the area has a long history as a farming center and has preserved many of its historic sites, including the Neely Mansion, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Mary Olson Farm is the only intact family farm in King County, and offers tours of its 60 acres and historic buildings, which were newly restored in 2011.

Downtown Auburn still has a picturesque, small town feeling, with much of its original architecture remaining intact, but this city is also the home of the Auburn SuperMall, an enormous hybrid (outlet, discount, and traditional retailers) mall in the Northwest, as well as four golf courses. The Muckleshoot Casino, run by the Muckleshoot Indian tribe, is a major entertainment draw, as are the Emerald Downs horse racing track, the White River Amphitheatre, and the Auburn Performing Arts Center. For families with children, Auburn offers 90 public play spaces and numerous parks, including the 32,000-square-foot Discovery Playground, which opened in 2010.

The small town character of Auburn draws families, as do lower average home prices than those to be found in Renton, Kent, and Burien. Despite the rural feeling of much of the area, and the sense of being far from the “big city,” the Sounder train travels to both Seattle and Tacoma, a convenience for commuters. For those who prefer to fly, there’s the Auburn Municipal Airport, the third largest in the state.

Website
auburnwa.gov
Area Code
253
Zip Codes
98001–3, 98023, 98047, 98063, 98071, 98092, 98093
Post Offices
120 Cross St SE, 253-735-5112; Pacific Station, 11 3rd St NW, 253-333-1377; Shona Gift Gallery Station, 223 Auburn Way N, 253-735-5112
Library
1102 Auburn Way S, 253-931-3018, kcls.org
Public Schools
Auburn School District, 915 4th St NE, 253-931-4900, auburn.wednet.edu
Police
340 E Main St, 253-931-3080, auburnwa.gov
Emergency Hospital
Auburn Regional Medical Center, 202 N Division St, 253-833-7711, auburnregional.com
Community Publication
Auburn Reporter, 3702 West Valley Hwy N, Ste 112, 253-833-0218, pnwlocalnews.com
Community Resources
Auburn Performing Arts Center, 700 E Main St, 253-931-4827; Chamber of Commerce, 108 S Division St, 253-833-0700, auburnareawa.org; Green River Community College, 12401 SE 320th St, 253-833-9111, greenriver.edu; Auburn Senior Activity Center, 808 9th St SE, 253-931-3016, auburnwa.gov
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 152, 164, 180, 181, 186, 497, 910, 917, 919, 952; Pierce Transit, 253-581-8000, piercetransit.org: Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 566, 578

Burien

Burien

Like many south-end cities, Burien often hides its charms among strip malls and busy intersections. But a closer look at this diverse community reveals sound and mountain views, saltwater beaches, affordable housing, and easy commutes to Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport. Burien is popular with medical professionals who work at Highline Community Hospital, pilots and flight attendants, and Weyerhaeuser employees. A 2011 annexation of the North Highline area, which includes White Center and Boulevard Park, increased Burien’s population to approximately 46,000.

The quickest route to Burien from downtown Seattle is Highway 509, a road much less traveled than the better-known I-5. Unfortunately, the route ends at the intersection of 1st Avenue South and Highway 518, a conglomeration of fast food restaurants and auto dealerships that doesn’t give visitors a terribly good first impression of Burien. City planners have worked to change that impression by renovating the downtown core and adding the large, pedestrian-friendly Town Square complex that includes over 400 new condominiums and townhomes, stores, restaurants, a new park, and library.

Downtown

Rentals are plentiful in and around Downtown, with a mix of old and new apartment buildings, condominiums, and senior housing units. First-time homebuyers may be interested in areas east of downtown, like Chelsea Park, where post–World War II homes go for less than $300,000.

Three Tree Point

Three Tree Point is the jewel of Burien, an entirely residential neighborhood of artists, writers, doctors, and lawyers, among others, who seek privacy and spectacular Puget Sound views. The homes perched along the bluff and waterfront are varied, ranging from beach bungalows to turn-of-the-century farmhouses. The neighborhood is also popular with scuba divers, who come to explore underwater shipwrecks, and hikers and history buffs, who climb the old Indian trail that winds up the hillside from the beach.

White Center

White Center, part of the newly annexed portion of Burien, is an economically disadvantaged area that has suffered from neglect over the years, but seems ripe for revitalization. The King County Housing Authority has invested about $300 million in public and private funds to build new housing and expand community services in White Center. The Greenbridge project, launched in 2005, added 478 rental homes, community facilities and services, twelve new parks, and an elementary school to the neighborhood. In 2011, the decrepit Park Lake housing projects were reborn as Seola Gardens. This development, scheduled for completion in 2018, will include 177 units of subsidized rental housing and a variety of 107 for-sale homes for a range of income levels. Interesting new businesses have sprung up along White Center’s dusty commercial strip on 16th Avenue SW, where you can lunch on pho or carnitas tacos, or satisfy your sweet tooth at Full Tilt Ice Cream, a neighborhood favorite that wins accolades for its bacon ice cream, among other highly original flavors. Older properties in White Center tend to be very modest single-family homes on narrow lots, still affordable for the artists, musicians, and others who have begun to set down roots in this diverse neighborhood. Socioeconomic problems still persist, however. While crime rates in Seattle have been trending downward, White Center has experienced a spike, especially in terms of public drunkenness and family disturbances. The corner of Roxbury and 15th Avenue SW seems like a magnet for violence and should be avoided.

Website
burienwa.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98146, 98148, 98166, 98168
Post Offices
Burien Station, 609 SW 150th, 206-248-0398; Seahurst Main Office, 2116 SW 52nd St, 206-244-6947
Library
Burien Branch, 400 SW 152nd St, 206-243-3490th; White Center Branch, 11220 16th Ave SW, 206-243-0233; kcls.org
Public Schools
Highline School District, 15675 Ambaum Blvd SW, 206-433-2331, hsd401.org
Police
14905 6th Ave SW, 206-296-3311, burienwa.gov
Emergency Hospital
Highline Medical Center, 16251 Sylvester Rd SW, 206-244-9970, highlinemedicalcenter.org
Community Publications
The B-Town Blog, b-townblog.com; Highline Times, West Seattle Herald/White Center News, 206-708-1378, highlinetimes.com
Community Resources
Burien Community Center, 14700 6th Ave SW, 206-988-3700, burienwa.gov; Burien Community Computer Center, 653 SW 152nd St, 206-241-3551, burien.org; Burien Little Theatre, SW 146th and 4th Ave S, 206-242-5180, burienlittletheatre.com; Burien Senior Center, 425 SW 144th St, 206-244-3686, burienwa.gov; Evergreen Community Aquatic Center, 606 SW 116th St, 206-588-2297, teamunify.com; Southwest King County Chamber of Commerce, 14220 Interurban Ave S, Ste 134th, Tukwila, 206-575-1633, swkcc.org; White Center Community Development Association, 1615 SW Cambridge St, Seattle, WA 98106, 206-694-1082, wccda.org
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 22, 23, 54, 60, 85, 113, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125, 128, 131, 132, 133, 134, 139, 140, 180; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 560

Sea-Tac, Tukwila

Sea-Tac

Sea-Tac (named for the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport) is primarily a modest middle-class suburb with pleasant and inexpensive contemporary homes and close to 26,000 residents. Airline and Boeing employees live in this area, but other local businesses employ many residents as well. Sea-Tac’s largest industry sectors include hotel, passenger airline, air cargo, and food services, and Horizon and Alaska airlines have their headquarters here. Sea-Tac, and its neighbor, Tukwila, are subject to heavy airport noise. In fact, many homes have been vacated or torn down to make way for the airport’s third runway. But, both communities enjoy a wealth of starter homes and apartments, some of the least expensive housing prices in the South End, and easy access to shopping and banking. Some larger, luxury properties are also available in Sea-Tac, in the Angle Lake and McMicken Heights neighborhoods. Condo prices tend to be higher here than in other South End communities.

Tukwila

One of King County’s most diverse cities, Tukwila is best known as the site of Southcenter Mall (now officially known as the Westfield Southcenter Shopping Mall), a popular shopping center anchored by Nordstrom and Macy’s, as well as other big-name department stores. There are numerous restaurants and strip malls surrounding Southcenter, and many industrial buildings. Major road projects can be expected to disrupt traffic around the mall until the spring of 2012. Tukwila is also home to the region’s first major league soccer team, the Seattle Sounders FC, based at the Starfire Sports Center. Because of the wealth of retail and industry, taxes in Tukwila are low, making the community attractive to young families and first-time homebuyers. Most houses here are slightly more expensive on average than in neighboring Sea-Tac, though still affordable. Properties in new subdivisions can set you back $600,000 and up.

Websites
ci.seatac.wa.us; ci.tukwila.wa.us
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98108, 98138, 98148, 98158, 98168, 98178, 98188, 98198
Post Offices
Riverton Heights Station, 15250 32nd Ave S, 206-241-7061; Tukwila Station, 225 Andover Park W, 206-244-9592
Libraries
Foster Library, 4060 S 144th, Tukwila, 206-242-1640; Library Connection @ South Center, 1386 Southcenter Mall, Tukwila, 206-242-6044; 14475 59th S, 206-244-5140; Valley View Library, 17850 Military Rd S, 206-242-6044, 206-242-4335 (TTY); kcls.org
Public Schools
Highline School District, 15675 Ambaum Blvd SW, 206-433-2311, hsd401.org; Tukwila School District, 4640 S 144th St, 206-901-8000, tukwila.wednet.edu
Police
4800 S 188th St, Sea-Tac, 206-296-3311, ci.seatac.wa.us; 6200 Southcenter Blvd, Yukwila, 206-433-1808, tukwilawa.gov
Emergency Hospital
Highline Medical Center, 16251 Sylvester Rd SW, 206-244-9970, highlinemedicalcenter.org
Community Publication
Sea-Tac News, 206-708-1378, 14006 1st Ave S, Ste B, Burien, WA 98168, highlinetimes.com; Tukwila Reporter, pnwlocalnews.com
Community Resources
Foster Golf Links, 12424 Interurban Ave S, Tukwila, 206-768-2822, ci.tukwil.wa.us; Sea-Tac Community Center and Senior Program, 13735 24th Ave S, 206-973-4680, ci.seatac.wa.us; Southwest King County Chamber of Commerce, 14220 Interurban Ave S, Ste 134, Tukwila, 206-575-1633, swkcc.org; Tukwila Community Center and Senior Program, 12424 42nd Ave S, 206-768-2822, ci.tukwila.wa.us; Tukwila Pool, 4414 S 144th St, 206-267-2350
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 124, 126, 128, 140, 150, 154–156, 161, 180, 193, 280, 600; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 560, 574, 599

Normandy Park

Normandy Park

About 20 miles south of Seattle is Normandy Park, a timeless Sound-side community between Burien and Des Moines. The city’s location, small size (the 2010 Census counted just over 6,500 residents), and reputable police force make it a popular choice with middle- to upper-income families and older residents. It lacks the suburban sprawl of other South End communities, and enjoys over 100 acres of parkland and water views. The community is primarily residential, with two main retail areas: Normandy Park Town Center and Manhattan Plaza. Residents rely on the commercial districts of nearby Burien or Des Moines when they can’t find what they need in town.

As with any city situated on the water, Normandy Park offers a range of housing, from multimillion-dollar estates with commanding views to large ramblers that sell for less than half a million. Because lot and home sizes are larger here than in most Seattle suburbs, affording residents much treasured privacy, you won’t find much for less than $350,000. Those lucky enough to land a beachfront home have access to The Cove, a parcel of jointly owned property that includes the beach, a playground, tennis and volleyball courts, and a community center. Beachfront property owners pay a small annual fee and split the property taxes for the privilege.

Normandy Park is known for its speeding restrictions, so if you come looking here, be sure to keep it to 25 miles per hour. The speed limit is in effect throughout the city, not just in the residential areas.

Website
normandyparkwa.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98148, 98166, 98198
Post Offices
609 SW 150th St, Burien, 206-248-8647; 2003 S 216th St, Des Moines, 206-824-3647
Library
Burien Library, 400 SW 152nd St, 206-243-3490; Des Moines Library, 21620 11th Ave S, 206-824-6066; kcls.org
Public Schools
Highline School District, 15675 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, 206-433-2311, hsd401.org
Police
801 SW 174th St, 206-248-7600, normandyparkwa.gov
Emergency Hospital
Highline Medical Center, 16251 Sylvester Rd SW, 206-244-9970, highlinemedicalcenter.org
Community Publications
City Scene Newsletters, 206-248-8256, www. normandyparkwa.gov; The Normandy Park Blog, normandyparkblog.com
Community Resources
Des Moines Activity Center, 2045 S 216th St, Des Moines, 206-878-1642, desmoineswa.gov; Normandy Park Community Club, 1500 NW Shorebrook Dr, 206-242-3778, npcove.org; Normandy Park Swim Club, 17655 12th Ave SW, 206-244-0700, normandyparksharks.com
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 121, 122, 131, 132

Des Moines

Des Moines

Des Moines (pronounced “da MOINZ,”) is a peaceful town with a population of about 29,000, located midway between Seattle and Tacoma. Highline Community College and a satellite campus of Central Washington University are situated here, as well as Aviation High School. Marine View Drive, the primary artery through town, hugs the shoreline and meanders through the city’s small commercial district.

Commerce revolves around the marina and waterfront, where a handful of seafood restaurants attract diners from all over the South End. The waterfront promenade is a safe and popular spot for walkers and runners and the pier is usually full of people fishing and crabbing. There is a dense concentration of condominiums near the Des Moines waterfront, many with gorgeous views. Like Edmonds to the north, Des Moines is popular with retirees who spend summers in the Northwest and escape to warmer climates during the winter.

Most homes in Des Moines are mature, comfortable ramblers and split levels built in the 1950s and later. There are small pockets of newer construction, but development is limited by geography. Median home prices here match those in Burien and Kent, though rents tend to be slightly higher than in those South End communities.

Website
desmoineswa.gov
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98148, 98198
Post Office
2003 S 216th St, 206-824-3647
Libraries
21620 11th Ave S, 206-824-6066; Woodmont Branch, 26809 Pacific Hwy S, 253-839-0121; kcls.org
Public Schools
Highline School District, 15675 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, 206-433-2311, hsd401.org
Police
21900 11th Ave S, 206-878-3301, desmoineswa.gov
Emergency Hospital
Highline Medical Center, 16251 Sylvester Rd SW, 206-244-9970, highlinemedicalcenter.org
Community Publications
Des Moines News, 14006 1st Ave S, Ste B, Burien, WA 98168, 206-708-1378, highlinetimes.com
Community Resources
Des Moines Activity Center, 2045 S 216th St, Des Moines, 206-878-1642, desmoineswa.gov; Des Moines Historical Society Museum, 730 S 125th St, 206-824-5226, dmhs.org; Des Moines Legacy Foundation, P.O. Box 13582, 206-870-6527, desmoineslegacy.com; Greater Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 98672, 206-878-7000; Mt. Rainier Pool, 22722 19th Ave S, 206-824-2722, mountrainierpool.com
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 121, 122, 131, 132, 166, 173, 175

Federal Way

Federal Way

Federal Way is a modest middle-class suburb with pleasant and inexpensive (compared to Seattle) contemporary homes. Airline, Boeing, and Weyerhaeuser employees live in this area, but other area businesses employ many of the city’s approximately 89,000 residents as well. Median house prices in Federal Way are less than those in Auburn and Kent, making it one of the area’s more affordable communities. You’ll find plenty of nice starter homes here, many of them older ramblers and/or fixer-uppers that sell for less than a quarter of a million. There are also many pockets of planned communities, like Steel Lake and Twin Lakes, with gorgeous homes on large lots. Adding to the city’s diversity is a variety of apartments, condominiums, and rental homes. The location, between Seattle and Tacoma, makes sense for couples needing easy access to both communities, although congestion on I-5 can considerably lengthen the average 35-minute commute.

Redondo Beach, and Redondo

As with many of the region’s communities that hug Puget Sound, Federal Way also has a handful of waterfront communities that offer panoramic views. Redondo Beach is one such neighborhood. Formerly a vacation spot, the community is now a mix of beach bungalows, contemporary new homes, and condominiums. In Redondo, the community above the beach, you’ll find large homes with partial views that sell in the half-million dollar range.

Like Lynnwood to the north of Seattle, Federal Way serves as a retail center for residents of many South End communities. The Commons at Federal Way, the city’s only indoor shopping center, is located here, along with numerous chain stores and restaurants. Other sources of local pride are the King County Aquatic Center, which was built for the 1990 Goodwill Games, and the rhododendron and bonsai garden, owned by Weyerhaeuser Co.

Website
cityoffederalway.com
Area Code
253
Zip Codes
98001, 98003, 98023, 98063, 98093
Post Office
32829 Pacific Hwy S, 253-924-1692
Libraries
34200 1st Way S, 253-838-3668; 848 S 320th St, 253-839-0257, 206-296-5203 (TTY), kcls.org
Public Schools
Federal Way Public Schools, 31405 18th Ave S, 253-945-2000, fwps.org
Police
33325 8th Ave S, 253-835-6700, cityoffederalway.com
Emergency Hospital
St. Francis Hospital, 34515 9th Ave S, 253-835-8100 (King County), 253-944-8100 (Pierce County), fhshealth.org
Community Publication
Federal Way Mirror, 31919 1st Ave S, Ste 101, 253-925-5565, pnwlocalnews.com
Community Resources
Federal Way Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 3440, 253-838-2605, federalwaychamber.com; Federal Way Community Center, 876 S 333rd St, 253-835-6900, itallhappenshere.org; Federal Way Senior Center, 4016 S 352nd St, Auburn, WA 98001, 253-838-3404, federalwayseniorcenter.org; Federal Way Symphony, 32020 1st Ave S, 253-529-9857, federalwaysymphony.org; King County Aquatic Center, 650 SW Campus Dr, 206-296-4444, kingcounty.gov
Public Transportation
Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingcounty.gov: 173, 175, 177, 179, 181–183, 187, 190, 192, 196, 197, 901, 903; Sound Transit, 206-398-5000, soundtransit.org: 574, 577, 578; Pierce Transit, 253-581-8000, piercetransit.org: 061, 402, 500, 501

Vashon Island

Vashon Island

A mere 15 minutes by ferry from the West Seattle dock, Vashon Island feels like it’s a world away. Situated in the heart of southern Puget Sound between Seattle and Tacoma, Vashon Island is approximately 13 miles long and 8 miles at its widest point and connects to the much smaller Maury Island via a paved road. With 45 miles of shoreline, Vashon boasts the majority of waterfront property in King County, with views from Mount Baker to Rainier. Because of development restrictions, virtually no vacant waterfront lots remain, so would-be homebuilders must purchase existing properties and remodel them. Most of the island’s beaches are private, and from here residents can watch orcas and pilot whales breach the chilly waters of the Sound. Maury Island teems with birdlife and features the historic Point Robinson Lighthouse.

The year-round population of about 11,000 features an eclectic mix of artists, writers, composers, and entrepreneurs. The island has a reputation for being a counterculture haven where people wear tie-dyed T-shirts and refuse to vaccinate their children. During the last decade, as affordable housing became increasingly scarce, the demographic skewed toward a wealthier population. Rental properties are rare, and most residents own their own homes. Between 2009 and 2010, the average price of a home on Vashon dropped by 12% to $422,000, though property taxes increased by 14% during the same period. A 1,500-square-foot beach cabin on the island will set you back about $500,000 to $600,000.

Some of the island’s newest residents have relocated to Vashon after years of living in Seattle. On the island, they become part of a cliquish and insular community that embraces its independence and the relaxed pace of life in this rural setting. No bridges connect Vashon with the mainland (and residents don’t seem to be clamoring for them, either), which contributes to its feeling of remoteness and isolation. There is no full-service hospital, either, and residents must be airlifted to Seattle hospitals in emergencies. Neighbors watch out for one another, and many people feel safe enough to leave their doors unlocked at night. As in any small community where everyone knows your business, privacy can be an issue here. If you’re single, there’s a limited pool of local people to date, and if things turn sour, you’re bound to keep running into your ex, possibly in the company of your ex–best friend.

You won’t find any restaurant chains on this island. Disembarking from the Fauntleroy ferry at the north of the island and cresting a steep incline that bicyclists call “the hill of death,” you’ll eventually encounter a mix of quaint shops, art galleries, and small restaurants with an emphasis on organic, local foods. The Vashon Highway takes you out of town past second-growth forests of fir, maple, and madrona trees that have filled in areas once cleared for farmland. Dense stands of fir trees were logged during the 1880s to make way for strawberry farms, though few of these remain. At roadside produce stands known as honor farms, customers are invited to help themselves to local produce and cheeses and leave payment in a box.

Green values are conspicuous on Vashon. At the center of the island, a former NIKE missile site was converted into a 43-acre park called Paradise Ridge. A majority of the island’s residents demonstrated their commitment to environmental sustainability when 77% agreed with a recent proposal to make Vashon self-sufficient in energy use by generating power entirely from solar and wind sources. In 2010, the City Council approved a proposal to buy a 250-acre Maury Island gravel mine for $36 million and turn it into a park.

The island has the highest number of same-sex households per capita of any community in the state. If you’re looking for racial diversity, however, this is not the place for you (in 2006, the population of Vashon was approximately 94% white). Vashon’s highly rated public schools include Chautauqua Elementary, McMurray Middle School, and Vashon High. Parents can send their preschoolers to what might be the only all-outdoor preschool in the region, Cedarsong Nature Preschool, where kids play outside regardless of temperature and weather and learn firsthand about the natural world.

Vashon Island’s main attractions are outdoors. If you are an avid hiker, cyclist, or birdwatcher you’ll find plenty of opportunities here to pursue your interests. The whole island has been designated an equestrian community, and the majority of roads are designed to be horse-friendly.

In recent years, Vashon lost two of its major employers when K2 Sports outsourced its manufacturing to China and the Seattle’s Best Coffee company was bought by Starbucks. Currently, the largest manufacturer on Vashon is Pacific Research Laboratories, a leading producer of artificial bone. Most full-time residents of Vashon Island telecommute or commute to Seattle or Tacoma. At peak times, that short ferry ride can turn into hours of waiting in line in your car to board. The ferries that service the island are old and prone to breaking down. A passenger ferry takes commuters directly to downtown Seattle in just thirty minutes, though it runs less frequently.

For those who can afford it, Vashon offers the creative stimulation of an artists’ colony thriving in a peaceful rural environment just a ferry ride away from downtown.

Website
vmicc.org
Area Code
206
Zip Codes
98013, 98070
Post Office
Vashon Post Office, 10005 SW 178th St
Library
Vashon Library, 17210 Vashon Hwy SW, 206-463-2069, kcls.org
Public Schools
Vashon School District, 9309 SW Cemetery Rd, 206-463-2121, vashonsd.wednet.edu
Police
Vashon Police Department, P.O. Box 233, Vashon, WA, 98070, 206-463-3618
Emergency Care
Harborview Medical Center, 325 9th Ave, 206-744-3000, uwmedicine.washington.edu; Island Emergency Care, Vashon, WA, 98013, 206-463-9673
Community Publication
Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber, 17141 Vashon Hwy SW, Suite B, Vashon, WA 98070, pnwlocalnews.com
Community Resources
Maury Island/Vashon Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 1035, Vashon, WA 98070, 206-463-6217, vashonchamber.com; Vashon-Maury Island Community Council; Vashon Community Pool, 9600 SW 204th St, 206-463-9602, vashonparkdistrict.org; Voice of Vashon, the Island’s Community Internet Radio and Public Access Television station; Vashon Allied Arts, 19704 Vashon Hwy SW, 206-463-5131, vashonalliedarts.org; Vashon-Maury Senior Center, 10004 Bank Rd, 206-463-5173, seniorservices.org/sc/vashon/asp
Public Transportation:
Washington State Ferries, 206-464-6400, 888-808-7977, wsdot.wa.gov/ferries. Vashon has one public airport, Vashon Municipal Airport, on Cove Road about 2 miles from the main town intersection. Metro Transit, 206-553-3000, metro.kingccounty.gov: 54, 118, 119; Pierce County Transit, 253-581-8000, piercetransit.org: 10, 11 (to Defiance Ferry Terminal, Tacoma)

Southern Communities—Pierce County

Tacoma

Tacoma

As the third largest city in western Washington (population 204,200), Tacoma doesn’t quite count as a suburb, although some residents do commute to Seattle for work. An industrial and port city, Tacoma remains a less expensive alternative to Seattle. To truly appreciate Tacoma, you must get off I-5. Otherwise, it’s easy to assume that the city’s only attractions are the famous Tacoma Dome, the only dome remaining in western Washington, and the Emerald Queen Casino, whose enormous electrified billboard looms over the freeway.

A decade ago, parts of Tacoma were troubled by gang activity, but efforts by the city and local community action groups have done much to contain and improve the situation. Today, home and personal security concerns for Tacoma residents are comparable to those in Seattle.

Tacoma has its own $100-million fiber optics network under the city, making it the most wired city in the country—according to its economic development director. So, it’s not surprising that the city has been able to lure high-tech companies from other parts of the United States, including Seattle. Other major employers in Tacoma include the Tacoma School District, the Frank Russell Company, University of Washington at Tacoma, Regence Blue Shield, DaVita Inc., and local hospitals. Cultural attractions include the Museum of Glass and the Tacoma Art Museum next to Union Station. Free light rail service links the museum and theater districts to the nearby Dome. In addition, the city zoned warehouse district space for artists, and boasts a fine arts high school (grades 10–12), the Tacoma School of the Arts, located at 1950 Pacific Avenue.

Northeast Tacoma

There are many distinct neighborhoods in Tacoma. If you’re looking for new construction and a neighborhood of young, professional families, check out Northeast Tacoma, a conglomeration of planned developments staggered along the hillside. Homes started going up in the early 1980s, and construction continues; prices range from $250,000 to $400,000. There is no real commercial center here, but the conveniences of Federal Way and downtown Tacoma are just a short drive away.

Downtown

Downtown Tacoma is experiencing a major revitalization. You will find hundreds of refurbished and new apartments, condominiums and artists’ lofts, quaint pubs, historic theaters, a gorgeous new art museum, the Washington State History Museum and a burgeoning nightlife. Similar to Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, downtown Tacoma has become a hip spot to live, particularly for employees of the city’s growing banking and finance community.

Stadium District

Some of Tacoma’s most attractive neighborhoods are located in the city’s northern sector. The Stadium District is home to the astonishing Stadium High School and a nearly century-old French Renaissance castle, originally intended as a luxury hotel. The Stadium neighborhood is an eclectic mix of condominiums, turn-of-the-century Victorians, Craftsman bungalows, and mansions. Lively and diverse, the Stadium District is home to Tacoma’s gay community, young professionals, and longtime residents. The neighborhood boasts spectacular views, good schools and wide, tree-lined streets. Except for the occasional mansion, homes here cost less than $700,000, and many go for under $400,000.

Old Town, and Proctor

Old Town, above the city’s bustling waterfront, is a former fishing village that offers modest homes at affordable prices. Tacoma’s waterfront is a popular recreation area, with numerous docks and walkways, restaurants, and a new hotel. In the works is a planned community at the site of the former ASARCO smelter at the end of Ruston Way. The plan includes a mix of housing, parks, and retail space, and is sure to raise property values in the area. Proctor, again in North Tacoma, is also popular with young professionals. With a quaint commercial district, Proctor offers the convenience of a small downtown with the charm of a residential neighborhood. Well-kept Craftsman homes line the quiet streets. Prices begin at around $200,000.

Tacoma has an expansive parks system, including a series of greenspaces and trails along the Commencement Bay waterfront. On sunny days, the area resembles Seattle’s Alki shorefront, with walkers, runners, and rollerbladers jostling for position on the sidewalks—there’s no place better for people-watching during the summer. Also in Tacoma are Point Defiance Park and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, two of the South End’s premier weekend destinations. At 698 acres, Point Defiance Park is among the 20 largest urban parks in the United States. It includes a replica of Fort Nisqually, a logging museum, rose and Japanese gardens, and 14 miles of hiking trails.

Website
cityoftacoma.org
Area Code
253
Zip Codes
98401–9, 98411–13, 98415–19, 98421, 98422, 98424, 98431, 98433, 98443–48, 98450, 98455, 98460, 98464–66, 98471, 98477, 98481, 98490, 98493, 98498
Post Offices
Downtown Tacoma Station, 1102 A St, 253-627-4026; Evergreen Station, 4001 S Pine St, 253-471-5384; Lincoln Station, 3705 S “G” St, 253-476-1251; Martin Luther King Jr Station, 1220 Martin Luther King Jr Way, 253-272-3082; Proctor Station, 3801 N 27th St, 253-759-7701; South Tacoma Station, 3503 S 56th St, 253-474-7791; University Place Station, 6817 27th St W, 253-566-7133
Libraries
Main Library, 1102 Tacoma Ave S, 253-591-5666; Fern Hill Library, 765 S 84th St, 253-591-5620; Kobetich Library, 212 Brown’s Point Blvd NE, 253-591-5630; Moore Library, 215 S 56th St, 253-591-5650; Mottet Library, 3523 E “G” St, 253-591-5660; South Tacoma Library, 3411 S 56th St, 253-591-5670; Swasey Library, 7001 6th Ave, 253-591-5680; Wheelock Library, 3722 N 26th St, 253-591-5640, tpl.lib.wa.us; Parkland/Spanaway Branch, 13718 Pacific Ave S, 253-531-4656; Summit Branch, 5107 112th St E, 253-536-6500; Tillicum Branch, 14916 Washington Ave SW, Lakewood, 253-588-1014; piercecountylibrary.org
Public Schools
Tacoma School District, 601 S 8th St, 253-571-1000, tacoma.k12.wa.us
Police
3701 S Pine St, 253-798-4721, cityoftacoma.org
Emergency Hospital
Tacoma General Hospital, 315 Martin Luther King Jr Way, 253-403-1000, multicare.org
Community Publications
The News Tribune, 1950 S State St, 253-597-8742, thenewstribune.com; Tacoma Daily Index, 1019 Pacific Ave, Ste 1216, 253-627-4853, tacomadailyindex.com
Community Resources
Beacon Senior Center, 415 S 13th St, 253-591-5083; Lighthouse Senior Center, 5016 A St, 253-591-5080; Point Defiance/Ruston Senior Center, 4761 N Baltimore, 253-756-0601; Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, 5400 N Pearl St, 253-591-5337, pdza.org; Port of Tacoma, One Sitcum Plaza, 253-383-5841, portoftacoma.com; Spana-Park Senior Center, 325 152nd St E, 253-537-4854; Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Ave, 253-272-4258, tacomaartmuseum.org; University of Washington at Tacoma, 1900 Commerce St, 253-692-4000, tacoma.uw.edu; YMCA of Tacoma-Pierce County, 1002 S Pearl St, 253-564-9622; 9715 Lakewood Dr SW, 253-584-9622; 1144 Market St, 253-597-6444, ymcapkc.org
Public Transportation
Pierce Transit, 3701 96th St SW, 253-581-8000, 800-562-8109, piercetransit.org
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