6.6 out of 10

Belltown

Ranked 41st best neighborhood in Seattle
47.6156723867651 -122.346660199119
Great for
  • Eating Out
  • Nightlife
  • Public Transport
  • Internet Access
  • Neighborly Spirit
Not great for
  • Parking
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Sep 11, 2010

"The Most Active Late Night Seattle Community"

Walking the streets of Belltown late at night on any given weekend could fool anyone into believing they were on the "strip" near a college campus. This place has rightfully earned top seat in Seattle for late night bar activity. In fact, recently, police forces have beefed up numbers to patrol the area on weekends due to fights. However, do not be alarmed, because most of this activity happens during early morning hours. It is safe to visit the neighborhood during the day and early evening.

Where exactly is Belltown? It forms a triangle, more or less, being bordered on the north by Denny Way (Except a slice along the water that includes part of Myrtle Edwards Park), the west by Puget Sound, the south by Olive Way and the east by Interstate 5.

History

Named after William Nathaniel Bell (http://bitly.com/bqcRuP), the neighborhood has been built on artificially flattened land from a regrading project (http://bitly.com/aONYnk). Belltown has emerged as a trendy collective, much different from its roots as a semi-industrial arts district. Two generations of “Film Row” existed here, including both silent films and “talkies”. There are just a few remaining structures, including the McGraw-Kittenger Case Building which used to house MGM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MGM).

Demographics and Income

Large families may not quickly seek out Belltown as a place to live, with only three percent of households having children. Singles, predominantly males, account for 54% of the population. The median age of 39 can be deceiving, considering the intense weekend party scene. The majority of residents are in their 20s to early 30s, with Whites being the largest ethnicity. Incomes are almost $10,000 less than the Seattle average.

Culture

The social scene, as indicated above, is intense. Many people in their twenties and thirties flock here, enjoying virtually no commute to the office. For some young adults who do not reside here, Belltown becomes an after-work destination before going home at night. Rightly so, with its vast array of eating establishments, pubs and entertainment spots. The high presence of apartment and condo high rises set the stage for a youthful, transient, and thrill-seeking community.

Real Estate

At an average 835 Sq. Ft. per home, most men and women are not buying (30%) or renting (70%) for stay-at-home existences. Virtually all dwellings are condos or apartments, with the exception of eleven single family homes. Home values have dropped sharply since June 2007, losing over $100,000.

Local Business Tour (Restaurants, Pubs, Coffee Houses and other Amenities)

Restaurants seem to emerge overnight here, with at least 50 in the area (http://bitly.com/9uXoEU). A favorite of my family's is the Old Spaghetti Factory (http://osf.com) on Elliott Avenue, just up from the Olympic Sculpture Park (http://bitly.com/9CZk4J). It is housed in an older brick building, giving it that "industrial" feel. Three nightlife destinations which are popular are The Lava Lounge (http://mamas.com/lavalounge), The Rendezvous (http://rendezvousseattle.com) and The Crocodile Cafe (http://thecrocodile.com). Other restaurants and pubs include: Boat Street Cafe (http://boatstreetcafe.com) - The food of French grandmothers made of the freshest local ingredients; The 5 Point Cafe (http://the5pointcafe.com) - The longest run family eatery in Seattle; Petra Mediterranean Bistro (http://petrabistro.com) - Authentic tastes of Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, Turkey and more; Mistral Kitchen (http://mistral-kitchen.com) - A 5,000 Sq. Ft. dining mecca featuring the creations of Chef Belickis; Cafe Amore (http://tasteofamore.com) - Serving authentic Italian cuisine with the highest quality ingredients; Spitfire (http://spitfireseattle.com) - A Bar and Grill serving a tasty variety, boasting room for viewing sporting events and hosting parties; and Tandoori Hut (http://tandoorihutofseattle.com) - A family-owned establishment, featuring the finest Indian cuisine.

For those on a budget, or want to merely enjoy a good cup of coffee, will enjoy their choice of several coffee houses. A couple of my favorite are Top Pot Doughnuts (http://toppotdoughnuts.com) and Uptown Espresso (http://uptownespresso.net). Others include: Bedlam Coffee (http://bedlamite.com), Cherry Street Coffee House (http://cherryst.com) - A Middle Eastern flair to the coffee experience, and Motore Coffee (http://motorecoffee.com) - Exceptional coffee, espresso, pastries, tea, panini, beer and wine. A good list of art stores and galleries can be found, again at http://belltown.org, including the Art Institute of Seattle (http://artinstitutes.edu/seattle). Many other shopping categories exist also. In the software realm, Belltown protects the rights to the RealNetworks (http://real.com) headquarters. Others include: SEO Increase (http://seoincrease.com), Browsera (http://browsera.com), Avanade (http://avanade.com), and CampusCE (http://campusce.com).

Accommodations

Hotels are no strangers to Belltown, nor is the quality contained within them. A running list of several in the area: Edgewater Hotel (http://edgewaterhotel.com) - Seattle’s only luxury waterfront hotel located on Pier 67; Seattle Marriott Waterfront (http://bitly.com/9OSBoT) - Across from Pier 66—a 345 room, 11,000 sq ft meeting room grandiose experience; Four Seasons Hotel (http://fourseasons.com/seattle) - 147 rooms of amenity-packed bliss, located on Puget Sound; The Moore Hotel (http://moorehotel.com) - A 100+ year tradition of affordability and comfort, not lacking charm—not to mention the adjoining theater (http://stgpresents.org); Hotel Andra (http://hotelandra.com) - Featuring water, woods and stone elements—with Scandinavian design; Warwick Seattle Hotel (http://warwickwa.com) - A 230 room paradise, featuring splendid views of the Space Needle; Mayflower Park Hotel (http://mayflowerpark.com) - An inviting European elegance, built in 1927; The Westin Seattle (http://bitly.com/a5av4N) - An 891 smoke-free tower, situated between the Seattle Convention Center (http://wsctc.com) and Pike Place Market (http://pikeplacemarket.org); Hotel Max (http://hotelmaxseattle.com) - An uncanny artistic accommodation; Pan Pacific Hotel (http://bitly.com/bIye2n) - One of the top 25 luxury hotels in the United States; and Emerald City Suites (http://emeraldcitysuites.com) - Professionally decorated, right down to the martini glasses.

Schools and Recreation Facilities

Recreation is close at hand, with the Olympic Sculpture Park (http://bitly.com/9CZk4J) and Myrtle Edwards Park (http://bitly.com/bFhWJN) in the northwest corner of the community. Bikers and walkers enjoy this coastal green space, which extends along the waterfront for over a mile. The Seattle Center (http://seattlecenter.com), including the Space Needle (http://spaceneedle.com), is located to the north. Gardeners smile at the presence of a P-Patch near Cottage Park (http://bitly.com/9qOKNX), which is also on the block that includes the last eleven single family homes in downtown. A wide variety of education institutions season Belltown, including: Argosy University (http://argosy.edu/locations/seattle) - Offering degrees in Psychology, Education, Health Sciences and more; Mars Hill Graduate School (http://mhgs.edu) - Studies in Counseling Psychology, Divinity and Christian Studies; La Scuola Italiana (http://scuolaseattle.com) - Affordable Italian language instruction with small classes (8-10 students); Antioch University Seattle (http://antiochsea.edu) - Exclusive focus on adult learners, with a small student body of 900 students; and Cornish College of the Arts (http://cornish.edu) - One of only a handful of performing and visual arts colleges in the nation, boasting nonprofit status.

Medical Facilities

Looking towards health, Belltown, as with other amenities, offers a wide range of body-enhancing services. Here’s a bird’s eye view: UW Medicine Neighborhood Clinic (http://bitly.com/9l4CWn) - A long list of services, with the quality expected from the UW Medicine family; Oriental Medical Center (http://orientalmedicalcenter.com) - Founded by Dr. Yajuan Wang in 1992, specializing in acupuncture and herbal therapy; U.S. Health Works Medical Group (http://ushealthworks.com) - Helping employers control work-related injury costs with quality medical care; and Path (http://path.org) - A nonprofit organization that provides the appropriate health technologies for breaking cycles of poor health.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

In recent years, vibrant spiritual communities have emerged in the neighborhood: The City Church (http://thecity.org) - An autonomous, self-governing local church with a diverse congregation founded by Wendell Smith; Mars Hill Church/Belltown Campus (http://downtownseattle.marshillchurch.org) - An explosively growing church, founded by Seattle Native, Mark Driscoll; Church of Mary Magdalene (http://churchofmarymagdalene.org) - A Christian ministry with homeless women; Downtown Cornerstone Church (http://downtowncornerstone.org) - Building churches, one city at a time; Gethsemane Lutheran Church (http://urbanfaith.org) - Offering aid and services to those most in need since 1885; and Christ our Hope Catholic Church (http://christourhopeseattle.org) - Centered on volunteers, service, outreach and inclusion.

Access

Sometimes referred to as the “Denny Triangle” (http://dennytriangle.org), Belltown has a plethora of options when it comes to entering or leaving the neighborhood. The obvious “giants” are Interstate 5 and Highway 99, when commuting north or south. The interstate can be reached via Olive Way (northbound) or by Howell Street (southbound). Highway 99 is obtainable either at the corner of Bell Street and Western Avenue or, to the north, at Aurora Avenue and Denny Way. Many of the surface streets are in fact arterial passages, for reaching any destination within or outside of the city limits. The mass transit system (http://metro.kingcounty.gov) is exceptional, with several bus routes above and below the surface. Recently, the light rail service (http://soundtransit.org) enabled an unhindered ride to Southern Seattle, Tukwila (http://bitly.com/f1jESZ) and even the Sea-Tac International Airport (http://portseattle.org/seatac).

Summary

Residential living consists primarily of high-rise condominiums and apartments. A great option for singles and young married couples, but not especially for families. Even though housing accommodations are not ideal for all seasons of life, Belltown still offers a plethora of venues and activities for singles and families alike.
Pros
  • Great nightlife
  • Great accommodations
  • Proximity to downtown
  • Unique dining choices
  • Interesting historic sites
Cons
  • Difficult parking
  • Lack of single family homes
  • Loud environment
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
  • More expensive housing
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Aug 09, 2010

"Where all the cool kids play"

Belltown is for the kids. And I don’t mean the kids as in nuclear family, mother-father-baby, looking for a preschool sort of kids. I mean the kids who like to drink, smoke, stay out all night, and generally heed the advice of their parents so they can do the opposite type of kids. Belltown is a haven for twenty-somethings that has all raucous, late-night partying of a college town without a school to get in the way. The neighborhood is generally set up to abide the youths: it’s easy to walk everywhere and living expenses are brought down by being on the Seattle city power grid (which cheapens up the energy bill nicely). Of course, since everyone wants to live here, the money you save from gas and power may just be going to your landlord. You’ll have to make an effort to reconcile price against value for housing in this area.

You’re not allowed to go to Belltown unless you like the nightlife; there, I said it. Some of the most significant clubs in Seattle are in the area, like the Crocodile Café and El Corazon. But definitely don’t miss out on spectacular lounges and cocktail bars like Amber, Trinity, Karma Lounge, or just head over to Blarney Stone for a pint and call it good.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
Jul 08, 2010

"Looking for Nightlife? Belltown is the place to be."

If you want nightlife, than you want to be in Belltown. Considered one of the “hotspots” in nightlife this area is always jumping when the sun goes down. Home of the famous Crocodile, after a short closure this venue helped launched some of the most famous grunge bands around like Pearl Jam and Nirvana. But if live music isn’t your scene Belltown Billiards & Lounge or Re-bar are great places to hang out with friends or dance the night away at. Belltown also hosts some great restaurants like Wasabi Bistro and Mama’ Mexican Kitchen or have a drink at Tiki Bobs Cantina or go to all of them in one evening, as they are all within easy walking distance from each other.

Belltown is just a nightlife area though, it also hosts to some interesting, if not odd, public sculptures like the windswept umbrella at Lenora Street or the head scratching Beckoning Cistern at Western Avenue. Also the Olympic Sculpture Park calls Belltown home, owned by the Seattle Art Museum this park host a variety of sculptures and it’s free for everyone to enjoy.

As of late, Belltown has been getting a reputation of being a little sketchy at night so don’t be alarmed if you see more Seattle Police roaming the streets than usual, this is in an effort to keep Belltown a happening, safer place to be and be seen.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
3/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
Jul 02, 2010

"Expensive, trendy section of downtown, with the worst reputation"

Hearing of a shooting in the Belltown section of Seattle has become almost commonplace in recent years. The area of the city is fun and vibrant, though apartments and condos in the area are astronomically expensive. Since it's nearly in the heart of the city, a few high rises have close or indirect views of Puget Sound, the Space Needle and other buildings within the city.

There are some great nightlife spots in Belltown and the architecture of the area, though not as nice as that of Pioneer Square and old Seattle, is fun and ecclectic. Many "famous" clubs and nighttime hangouts can be found in Belltown, such as the Crocodile Cafe, Belltown Billiards, the Re-bar and Venom, making Belltown one of the most attractive areas for night crawlers and club-hoppers.

There are also some terrific little restaurants in Belltown that serve up some absolutely delicious cuisine, not to mention some of the best cocktails you'll find in Seattle. Overall, a great place to shop, eat and play, but not what I'd choose for a home.
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
Jul 01, 2010

"Vibrant Nightlife - Great For Those Looking For Fun!"

Just South of downtown, Belltown is one of the most lively areas of the city. Close to everything, residents of Belltown enjoy plenty of shopping and dining opportunities within walking distance. Located on the waterfront, Belltown is bounded by Denny Way on the north side, Elliott Bay to the southwest, Virginia Street on the southeast, and 5th Avenue on the northeast. Once a low-rent and semi industrial district, today Belltown is known as a trendy neighborhood with a vibrant nightlife.

Belltown is culturally diverse with a wide array of boutiques, cafes, and gourmet restaurants. You can find every kind of cuisine imaginable here. The epicenter of Seattle's cultural scene, the new Olympic Sculpture Park is located here.

As for nightlife, Belltown is one of the most popular disricts of the city among twenty-somethings. The Crocodile Cafe, legendary for hosting well-known rock and roll names, is located here, as is the Moore Theatre, one of the oldest concert halls in the city. Belltown is also walking distance to the Pike Place Market and downtown business district. If you are visiting Seattle and want to see as much as possible, you want to stay in Belltown.

If you're looking to live in Belltown, you're in luck. This downtown neighborhood offers condo living and artist lofts in a range of prices. Those lucky enough to live in a high-rise building can enjoy views of the Space Needle, downtown Seattle, and Elliot Bay. Those living in Belltown can often do without cars thanks to the expansive bus system – much of Belltown is in Seattle's free bus zone, and there are numerous lines leading from Belltown to other areas of the city. There is even a Belltown P-Patch, giving condo-bound residence opportunities to create a garden. Belltown is a great place to visit and to live.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Apr 16, 2010

"Home of the famed Crocodile Cafe"

Belltown is Seattle and Seattle is Belltown. I love this place. Have lived here when I was younger, right out of college, and absolutely love going back. The location itself is not beautiful, which is why I chose to raise my family in a much greener and suburban area, but Belltown does make up for it by being perfectly situated!

Shops, great restaurants like Dahlia and Lola, and an over abundance of doughnut shops make Belltown a popular area. Also, it is close to everything. I remember looking out my condo window at the Space Needle. The views are some of the best in the city, but you will have to pay a price.

As for nightlife, Belltown is the place. The famous, or infamous, Croc (Crocodile Cafe) can be found in the neighborhood. The greasy ambience will fool you though because they offer some great bands. Back in the day, this is the place I first saw Pearl Jam, REM and Nirvana play.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Jun 21, 2009

"Perfect Place for the 20 something"

After having lived in over 20 cities across the US, Belltown is still the one I miss the most. The first thing that comes to mind is the great restaurant and bar choices that are all within walking distance. Trust me, it is a very rare thing in the US that you can simply walk from your apartment to tons of great food & drinks places.
Although the one place that really stood out is definitely Macrina's Bakery on 1st Avenue. It is no doubt the best brunch place ever! I cannot think of a better Sunday morning than strolling over to Macrina's and grabbing some brunch with a few friends. The only bad part is that the restaurant is quite tiny so the maximum people you can take with you are usually 2-3. Any more than that, you'll probably have to sit at different tables. Then after brunch, I would always grab a loaf of freshly baked bread from Macrina and head home happy and totally satisfied!
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5
Apr 10, 2009

"Classic and trendy city living"

This lively, trendy downtown neighborhood offers the best in condo living and artist lofts. It sits over Elliot Bay and is home to the splashiest sunset views over the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Belltown is also a hop skip and a jump from Pike Place Market, and walking distance to the downtown business district, Seattle Center, and the foot of Queen Anne Hill.

A Belltown residence’s backyard has the most up-to-date nightlife alongside some of Seattle’s old faithful venues. The Moore Theatre, for example, is a historic concert hall on Second Avenue. A lively array of boutiques, galleries, cafes, thrift stores, salons and restaurants are all within a stone’s throw. Dining options range from thrifty international fare to high-end Seattle cuisine. Sidewalk dining springs to life during fair weather months.

Belltown is bonafide city living. Everything here is within walking distance. Which means locals can keep their cars parked for days, or not even own one. One added bonus of cosmopolitan living is access to many bus lines, and a lot of Belltown is in the city’s free bus zone. If you live in Belltown and work in a different neighborhood, you will have quick access to Interstate 5, Highway 99, and a the Seattle Metro bus system.

If you want to get out of Belltown, you can hop in a cab and take a five dollar cab ride to a different neighborhood. Belltown is just minutes from Capitol Hill, Uptown, Downtown, and Denny Triangle.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees

Best Streets in Belltown

1

Cedar St

4/5
"The Heart of Downtown"
47.6169736708603 -122.349102715472
2

Elliott Ave

4/5
"Great Relaxing Drive"
47.6133217907409 -122.350391945567
3

5th Ave

4/5
"Great Shopping Street!"
47.6158287496362 -122.342722180221
4

Denny Way

3.5/5
"Great street with a big playground"
47.618546691934 -122.342263624975
5

1st Ave

3.5/5
"Filled with history and nightlife, it's my kinda town!"
47.6156384382263 -122.35034685223
6

2nd Ave

3.5/5
"2nd Ave- for Walking, Shopping or Eating"
47.6167323203572 -122.350208805445
7

Wall St

2.5/5
"No financial district found here"
47.6156062023854 -122.347571451056
8

Westlake Ave

2.5/5
"Lots of traffic in the heart of downtown"
47.614667194266 -122.337714045388

Unranked Streets in Belltown

Bell St

3.5/5
"A very clean place"
47.6154319328113 -122.343853318068

Blanchard St

2.5/5
"Terrific if you are on your way out of the downtown or to the University."
47.6142516846684 -122.343086930235