7.1 out of 10

Burien

Ranked 7th best city in Washington
47.4630908949332 -122.338804762141
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Safe & Sound
Not great for
  • Nightlife
  • Medical Facilities
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Jan 15, 2016

"Affordable Seattle suburb growing into its own destination"

Burien is a south Seattle suburb just east of the Seattle Tacoma International Airport, and south of White Center. It’s not the ritziest place you’ve ever seen, but it’s a comfortable middle-class commuter town that is slowly growing into it’s own.

*Commuting*
Traffic to and from Burien is definitely better than the other Seattle suburbs. When all the main Seattle highways are painted that horrible dark red in Google maps during rush hour, highway 509 to Burien usually still has some green, or at least yellow.

If you don’t want to deal with Seattle parking, you can take a bus (#121) from the Burien transit center direct to downtown. It takes about 40 minutes, which isn’t bad considering it takes almost as long to get downtown from some of the neighborhoods right in Seattle.

*Employment*
Proud of its early-2000s renovation, downtown Burien is made up mostly of small businesses—there are no biggies like Microsoft dominating the business district, which is another reason that traffic hasn’t gotten too crazy yet. In fact, the biggest employers within city limits are the schools and the medical centers.

Just outside of Burien though, you’ll find some of those giant employers, inclusing SeaTac airport (the first place in the country to have a $15 minimum wage!), Boeing South Park, Group Health, and Southcenter mall. Starbucks, in south Seattle, is also a straight shot from Burien. It would only take about 25 minutes to get home, even during rush hour, which is significantly faster than commuting to a suburb to the north or east.

*Parks*
The main park in town is Seahurst, on the waterfront. It’s got some pleasant walking paths, beach access, a jungle gym, and parking. Stop by the snack shack in the summer! A warning: the beach, like most Washington beaches, is rocky. No strolling barefoot here.

Some lucky people even own houses right in the park, as a few of the nearby neighborhoods have winding roads that dip into the trees.

Connected to Seahurst, there’s also the ‘secret’ Salmon Creek Ravine Park. There are a few trails zig zagging through, but make sure you keep track of your turns, as it’s mostly unmarked. It’s a shady and quiet locals place if you need a break from the crowds.

*Schools*
Burien has an interesting mix of traditional public schools and alternative schools, especially when it comes to high schools. One option, for those with a little extra cash to burn, is the John F Kennedy Catholic High School. For public high schools, there’s the large Highline High Schools, which is very diverse. It’s part of Highline Public School District, a group of schools that have over 19,000 students total. They provide some of the alternative options as well, such as Waskowitz outdoor education center or Big Picture school, both also nearby.

*Housing*
Housing costs are lower in Burien than in most other Seattle suburbs. Of course, you’ll find expensive lots and houses on the waterfront, but the majority is refreshingly affordable.

If you’re looking to rent an apartment, you’ll probably be limited to the ones close to the downtown area, and you can easily find a one bedroom for around (or under) $1000 per month. If you’re buying or renting a single-family house, you’ll have more options spread out north and east of downtown Burien.

*Conclusion*
Burien is a good option for those working in nearby Tacoma, Seatac, Renton, or Tukwila who want live somewhere not too far from work, but also not too far from Seattle. I’d venture to guess that Burien will continue to grow, and it would be a good investment to buy here. It doesn't have the most appealing downtown I've ever seen, but it's not bad, and is slowly developing and adding more amenities.
Pros
  • Affordable cost of living
  • Quick commute to Seattle
Cons
  • Still-developing business district
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Jan 15, 2016

"Affordable, but still needs development"

I looked into Burien because I’d heard from friends that you could find great value on real estate. Though that was true, I ended up not choosing Burien for two reasons.

First, to get to work in South Lake Union I’d have to cross all of downtown Seattle. I can certainly see the appeal of Burien for those who work in South Seattle or in downtown, but getting to Amazon is just too much of a hassle coming from the south.

Second, I wasn’t very impressed by Burien’s downtown. Though they did have a few places to eat out, I tend to prefer business districts close to the water. Also, much of the housing that I was considering wasn’t within walking distance of the restaurants. This may have been a coincidence based on what happened to be available at the time, but I’m not sure.

Based on my limited experience, I think Burien could be a great place for families with parents who work in South Seattle or downtown, but it’s not for everyone.
Pros
  • Quick commute to Seattle
  • Affordable cost of living
Cons
  • Still-developing business district
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Up and coming suburb of Seattle"

A few years ago, Burien was not a very desirable place to live, and its taking a while for the city to shake the bad reputation. Quite a bit of renovation, new construction and community activism has been helping, and Burien is becoming an attractive suburb of Seattle.
Boardering Puget Sound, Burien offers some beautiful homes with incredible views. The residential neighborhoods are very green, with huge trees providing a shady canopy, and colorful flower gardens at most of the houses. Burien residents enjoy several parks in the area, including the very large Seahurst Park and the beaches at Three Tree Point. There are many houses that, with the current downturn in home prices, are more affordable than many other areas of King county.
The business section of Burien is still undergoing a face-lift, though many new businesses are moving into the area. New construction and renovations of existing buildings are providing Burien with a more contemporary look. It will take a few more years for the area to grow into the vision the community is creating, with still many brand new storefronts in need of occupants.
Since Burien still maintains a slightly negative view by most of Seattle residents, those who live in Burien don't have the traffic nightmares that the rest of Seattle has been doomed with. Hopefully, the Burien city planners will take that into account during these renovations and plan accordingly. Currently, it takes about 10 minutes to get from Burien to downtown Seattle during non-peak hours. As a point of reference, people who live 20 blocks north of Seattle take about the same amount of time to get to downtown Seattle as people who live 15 miles away in Burien. Not a bad trade, in my opinion.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

Best Neighborhoods to Live In

Best Cities to Live In

Tell everyone what you love about your neighborhood!

Leave a Review

Have a question?

How are schools? Is the area safe? What about public transit options?" Why not ask our community of locals!

Ask Now

Selling or Renting Your Home?

Maximize the selling price of your home by sharing what you love about your suburb to increase its appeal...

Leave a Review

Corporate Relocation Manager?

Enable your employees to share local knowledge in a private, trusted environment with those relocating... while building community.

Learn More