• Local Expert 43 points
  • Review 1
  • Questions 0
  • Answers 0
  • Discussions 0


5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Hidden Gem"

This small, tucked away neighborhood at the intersection of 520 and I-5 is truly a hidden gem. I was born and raised in the Seattle area and never considered moving here until looking a little over a year ago. Familiar with Queen Anne, Magnolia, Ballard, Fremont, and Wallingford, taking time to see a place in Portage Bay seemed like a shot in the dark. That being said, I instantly fell in love with this neighborhood.

The freeway access is phenomenal - whether you are heading to Bellevue, Downtown, or out of town. Access to the bus going downtown or to the U-District is a short walk away. If you prefer light rail, you can take the bus to Capitol Hill Station or walk around the bay (20 minute walk max) to the light rail station by Husky Stadium. Speaking of Husky Stadium, living in Portage Bay on game day is a huge advantage. You can walk to the stadium, but do not have the craziness of Montlake even though that neighborhood is a 5 minute walk away.

As for shopping: there is no convenient grocery store, though in a pinch there are options. The Montlake Market is a few minute drive from the neighborhood. You can also go to Little Lago, a great place that serves excellent Italian fare (pizza, pasta, and oven roasted chicken), coffee, beer and wine. It is also open for breakfast, which consists of bagels, other pastries, and even hot food items. This is in the heart of Portage Bay. Little Lago is the smaller sister cafe to the larger Cafe Lago restaurant in Montlake.

Speaking of food, the proximity of Portage Bay to the U-District, Montlake, and Eastlake make it ideal for those wanting to try different eateries. Additionally, Capitol Hill is only a short bus ride away and offers one of the best spots in the city for restaurants. While the convenient access and food options are plenty, so are parks. Whether taking time at the historic Roanoke Park (great for families) or strolling to the Montlake Playfields (which houses the community center, large playground, and turf field), there are plenty of options for those who want to do outdoor activities. If you have a kayak, you can even access the water in several places and paddle over to Lake Union for a view of downtown or out to Lake Washington for the day.

The largest downside to Portage Bay is the lack of grocery stores and shopping. Aside from Little Lago all other options are outside of the neighborhood. Given its size, it would not make sense to have a store in Portage Bay. Those who live here either should think ahead before coming home or plan on going to get groceries at University Village or on Capitol Hill. These are both a short drive away, have parking, and offer a variety of options.
  • Lots of parks
  • Friendly neighbors
  • Close to major university
  • Close to Seattle Prepartory High School
  • Good Interstate and highway access
  • The best pub ever
  • Waterfront
  • Limited shopping and other amenities
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids

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