hudsonite

  • Local Expert 2,527 points
  • Reviews 64
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Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Oct 28, 2010

"Seattle's Flagship Neighborhood For Tourism"

Apart from the Space Needle (http://spaceneedle.com), Pike Place Market (http://pikeplacemarket.org) stands as the iconic landmark for Seattle, if not the entire Puget Sound region. From flying fish (http://pikeplacefish.com) to the “Pork’n Beans” pig statue, named Rachel (http://bitly.com/awnJKN), the market is a diverse collective of commerce from around the Emerald city, inspired by virtually every culture. Found at the heart of the waterfront, the Pike Market neighborhood is a parallelogram of pleasure—contained between Lenora Street, 2nd Avenue, Union Street and the Seattle Waterfront.

History

Having opened on August 17, 1917, primarily as a farmers produce market, Pike Place has seen a number of threats to its existence. However, in the 1980s a nonprofit group, the Pike Place Market Foundation was formed by the PDA (Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority - http://bitly.com/d9rYhq). The PDA has been instrumental in preserving social and economic order in and around the market. The first Starbucks Coffee (http://starbucks.com) store, having opened in 1971, located to within one block of the market in 1977. Entertainers of all sorts descend upon the market daily, having done so since the 1960s. The fishmongers, of course, with their reputation for chucking Salmon and other varieties when purchased. This technique is not native to the fishmongers, as they used to walk to the fish table to retrieve the salmon for each order. More or less, it became an act of efficiency that gradually birthed its own trademark.

Housing/Demographics/Culture

Pike Place Market is home to around 500 people, with around 90%, interestingly, being low-income seniors. A senior center exists to serve around 900 people with a variety of helpful programs. A few other low-income services exist around the neighborhood to assist children and families around the city. Much of the Market’s culture revolves around tourism, with thousands passing through each year, giving it a reputation of its own. Downtown professionals find pleasure in exploring the variety of restaurants, many with expedient service—a must with short, corporate lunch hours.

Restaurants, Pubs and Coffee Houses

The sheer volume of people filling the neighborhood (vendors, tourists and corporate professionals) makes it a goldmine to own a food or drink service. Restaurants are found around almost every corner, with some being difficult to locate. One such unassuming place is The Pink Door (http://thepinkdoor.net) in Post Alley. A homespun Italian-American “netherworld”, even featuring a trapeze artist. Several other notable restaurants: Etta’s (http://bitly.com/cNVwMa) - The classic “Market Brunch”, Virginia Inn Restaurant and Bar (http://virginiainnseattle.com) - A casual bistro, Post Restaurant & Lounge (http://postinthemarket.com) - A romantic atmosphere catering to a wide audience, Campagne (http://campagnerestaurant.com) - Southern France-based cuisine, Steelhead Diner (http://steelheaddiner.com) - Casual atmosphere with chef Kevin Davis’ cuisine, Matt’s in the Market (http://mattsinthemarket.com) - Gourmet food with a view, Alibi Room (http://seattlealibi.com) - Cocktail lounge featuring seafood and pizza dishes, and Pan Africa Restaurant and Bar (http://panafricamarket.com) - Delicious African dishes.

The Pub scene at Pike’s Market is also strong, featuring: Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub (http://kellsirish.com/seattle), The Pike Brewery (http://pikebrewing.com) - Family owned brewing company, and The Showbox (http://showboxonline.com/market) - Hosting great independent music with the intimate Green Room lounge.

Coffee has its roots here with Starbuck’s first store (http://bitly.com/9DwA5W), which is not the original location, but close to it, nonetheless. Not a lot of other cafes exist around the market. Here’s a brief list: Seattle’s Best Coffee (http://seattlesbest.com), Cafe D’arte (http://caffedarte.com) - Italian traditional artisan coffee, Seattle Coffee Works (http://seattlecoffeeworks.com) - Family-based store that began in 2006, Caffe Ladro (http://caffeladro.com), and Tully’s Coffee (http://tullys.com).

Shopping and other Amenities

This, other than the restaurants, is where the Market shines. The lined daystalls, filled with products ranging from rings to flowers to clothing, bring an indoor-outdoor shopping experience much like that of a third world country. Warm weather brings additional vendors to set up shop along Pike Place. In addition to the daystall merchandise, several more-established shops can be found inside the Market building. Samples of other stores around the Market are: Savor Seattle Food Tours (http://savorseattletours.com) - Sample the multiple tastes around the city, Nordstrom Rack (http://nordstrom.com), Shoefly (http://shoefly.com) - Hot selection of shoes for men and women, Pike & Western Wine Merchants (http://pikeandwestern.com) - Find that perfect wine for any occasion, Alhambra (http://alhambranet.com) - Women’s clothing and accessories, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (http://beechershandmadecheese.com), Dragon’s Toy Box (http://dragonstoybox.net) - Educational and other high quality toys from around the world, Seattle Antiques Market (http://seattleantiquesmarket.com) and the Chocolate Box (http://sschocolatebox.com).

Schools and Recreation Facilities

Schools are not that prevalent in Pike’s Market, consisting mainly of child care facilities. However, several recreation options await. Here are a couple: Steinbrueck Native Gallery (http://steinbruecknativegallery.com) - Indigenous art of the Northwest coast and the Market Theater (http://unexpectedproductions.org). A great social green space is Victor Steinbrueck Park (http://bitly.com/9dimqP), north of the market. A popular hangout during warm months, crowded with teenagers, business people and couples—even featuring free WiFi. Another great “natural” area is Waterfront Park (http://bitly.com/9bXImm) - filling the area between piers 57 to 59. The Seattle Aquarium (http://seattleaquarium.org) is a fabulous place to discover the wonders of marine life in the Northwest and abroad.

Medical Facilities

The lack of a major hospital within Pike Market is no cause for concern—the other side of Interstate 5, just blocks away, features Virginia Mason (http://virginiamason.org), Swedish (http://swedish.org), and Harborview (http://bitly.com/dhPLZL) medical centers. There is only a handful of medical and dental offices exist within the Market’s neighborhood. Here is a sampling: Pike Market Medical Clinic (http://neighborcare.org), The Seattle Integrative Center (http://seattleic.com) - Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, Ageless Acupuncture (http://agelessacupuncture.org), and Pike Place Dental (http://pikeplacedental.com) - Holistic Dentistry.

Housing for Seniors

As mentioned at the beginning of this review, hundreds of low-income seniors call Pike Place Market home, with the majority residing at the Pike Market Senior Center (http://pikemarketseniorcenter.org). The Downtown Food Bank (http://bitly.com/aRQpeD) is also located here since many of its patrons are over 50 years of age.

Access

Those residents with careers located in downtown Seattle can hit the snooze button multiple times; getting to the office is a cinch. The Financial District’s distance from the Market could almost be measured in feet, so no vehicle required if work is located in one of the high rises. Commuting to Boeing (http://boeing.com) in South Seattle will have more of a challenge, though still possible without a car. When trying to reach the Boeing site in Everett or crossing Lake Washington for jobs on the East side, this will require much more patience. The easiest way to access I-5 South is via Howell Street. To head north, Olive Way is ideal. Highway 99 is a great alternative when the Interstate is bogged down. The bus and light rail tunnels are just five blocks east, making public transit transportation the logical choice around the city.

Summary

Whether it’s flying fish, street musicians, the original Starbuck’s store, exotic cuisine, or just a great tourist spot—Pike Place Market delivers. Walk the market and the surrounding streets, observing the wide range of visitors to Seattle; let this be a vivid testimony of the value and cultural breadth of this Northwest metropolitan area.
Pros
  • Plenty of shopping options
  • Waterfront
  • Little or no commute to downtown offices
Cons
  • Expensive housing
  • Crowded
  • Limited parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Oct 22, 2010

"An Exotic Neighborhood, Featuring The Tastes Of Japan, China and Vietnam"

An extremely diverse neighborhood, featuring a predominantly Asian population that woos locals and tourists with tasty venues. It is also a popular lunch destination for urban professionals, seeking to escape high-rise confinement. The boundaries, north to south, are simply between Yesler Way and South Dearborn, with a slice removed by Interstate 5 on South Jackson Street. It spans west to east from 4th Avenue South to 12th Avenue South, again, with a section carved out to the north, beginning at South Jackson Street, on the east side of the interstate.

History

Large numbers of Chinese, Japanese and Filipinos immigrated to Seattle in the early 1900's. The highest concentrations settled in the International District (I.D.). World War II changed the face of this area, predominantly with the exodus of the Japanese to camps in Idaho and the influx of African Americans seeking jobs. New Southeast Asian residents emerged after the Vietnam War, establishing Little Saigon, east of the Interstate.

Demographics and Income

It is no surprise that over fifty percent of this community is Asian, with the next largest representation being Black. Whites and Latinos occupy the remaining, small slice. Domestically, most homes do not have children - just 10.5%. About equal numbers of residents are married, as are single - roughly 35%. The eye-opener is the distribution of singles, gender-wise. Over 27% of the population are single males, with only 7.5% being single female. The greatest age densities are those in their 30s, 40s, and 70s+. The affluent do not flock here, with the average income being only $12,255 (according to Zillow http://bitly.com/9NlAx5).

Real Estate

Interestingly, almost everyone living in the International District are renters. A mere 3.1% own a home, with most dwellings being condos. Home values are generally lower here, with the median list price being $230,000 (http://bitly.com/cCdN56).

Culture

This neighborhood not only contains rich diversity, it celebrates and proclaims it. Chinatown is the fulcrum, with Nihonmachi (or Japantown) a couple blocks away. Little Saigon, a prosperous Vietnamese American business district near 12th Avenue and Jackson Street, is on the east side of the Interstate. The Filipino population is represented, but lack a particular "identity" in this area. Even so, they still have a significant contribution to this cultural mecca of Seattle.

Restaurants, Pubs and Coffee Houses

The eating establishments, if you will, are the crown of the I.D. To list every venue would be laborious and lengthy, so a condensed version of restaurants is as follows... First, in Little Saigon, Tamarind Tree (http://tamarindtreerestaurant.com), Sichuanese Cuisine Restaurant (http://sichuaneserestaurant.com), The New Hong Kong (http://thehkrestaurants.com) - Featuring fresh dimsum everyday, and Malay Satay Hut (http://malaysatayhut.com). In Japantown, The Tenoch Mexican Grill (http://tenochmexicangrill.com) - Serving only lunch at this location, New Star Seafood (http://newstarseafood.com), Kayne-Izakaya & Shochu Bar (http://kaname-izakaya.com), Kau Kau Barbeque (http://bitly.com/cU4GXu) - Asian barbeque, and Jade Garden (http://bitly.com/9kIRGG) - Dim Sum and other varieties. In Chinatown, Harbor City Restaurant (http://bitly.com/9W07ME) - Dim Sum with fast service, Sea Garden (http://bitly.com/9DxwW2) - Quality Chinese cuisine, Chinagate (http://chinagate.cwok.com) - Top Ten Seattle Times Dim Sum, Honey Court Seafood Restaurant (http://bitly.com/9DlEFU), Pho Hoa (http://phohoa.com) - Noodle soups, and Seattle Crawfish King (http://seattlecrawfishking.com) - Cajon Seafood. As far as coffee is concerned... Gossip Espresso and Tea (http://gossip-tea.com) - Specializing in bubble tea, Oasis Tea Zone (http://bitly.com/bQphx2), Starbucks (http://starbucks.com), and Tully's (http://tullys.com).

Shopping and other Amenities

One of the premier attractions, when it comes to shopping, is Uwajimaya (http://uwajimaya.com). This place goes beyond being an Asian grocery store, with iconic status, even with tourists. Other businesses include Kobo (http://koboseattle.com) - A Japanese artisan gallery, International Examiner (http://iexaminer.org) - Northwest Asian American newspaper, Rocket Pictures (http://rocket-pictures.com) - Corporate & entertainment motion picture company, Hop Thanh Supermarket, Viet Wah (http://vietwah.com) - Asian grocery importer, and MacPherson Leather Company (http://macphersonleather.com).

Schools and Recreation Facilities

A variety of schools exist in the I.D., including ACLF (http://aclfnorthwest.org) - A nonprofit that trains and supports leadership of Asian Pacific Islanders, Chinese Wushu & Tai Chi Academy (http://yijiaowushu.com), Vuu's Beauty School (http://vuubeautyschool.com), Hengda Dance Academy (http://hengda-dance.com), Puget Sound Community School (http://pscs.org), and the Chinese Information and Service Center (http://cisc-seattle.org). Forms of recreation are the Pink Gorilla (http://pinkgorillagames.com) - Gaming center, China Town Community Center (http://sasc.countmein.com) - A variety of sporting and craft activities, and Hing Hay Park (http://bitly.com/9JiW4m).

Medical Facilities

No major for-profit hospitals exist within the International District. However, Harborview Medical Center (http://bitly.com/dhPLZL) is less than a mile to the north. The largest nonprofit Asian community health center in Washington, International Community Health Services (http://ichs.com), is near Dearborn and 8th Avenue. Other facilities, most of which are Asian medicine varieties, include the Washington State Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Center (http://acupunctureomd.com) and a few private practices scattered around the community.

Access

Getting around Seattle from the I.D. couldn't be more convenient. Being located on the south side of downtown, nestled into the Interstate 5 and Interstate 90 interchange, having arterials in every direction - residents' only challenge is traffic. The train station is just blocks away, with the airport just 20 minutes away. Even Qwest Field (http://qwestfield.com) and SafeCo Field (http://seattle.mariners.mlb.com) are an easy reach by foot.

Summary

This neighborhood is a treat for the Seattleite and tourist, with surprising delights for the pallet, eyes and ears. In addition to the seemingly unending variety of restaurants and cultural businesses, Asian festivals continue to draw crowds from around the state, with the Chinese New Year being one of the largest celebrations. When considering the next dining experience, why not investigate the exotic tastes this Asian village has to offer.
Pros
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Unique dining options
  • Inexpensive housing
Cons
  • Highway corridor dividing neighborhood
  • Heavy traffic on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Oct 15, 2010

"Dual Neighborhoods With Quality Schools, Gorgeous Views, and Superb Housing"

A combination of Wedgwood and View Ridge, Wedgeview Ridge encompasses a large area in northeast Seattle, west of Warren Magnuson Park (http://bitly.com/9tQbGM). Almost resembling an upside-down version of Texas, it is hemmed in (roughly) by NE 65th Street on the south, Lake City Way/30th/35th Avenue NE on the west, NE 105th Street on the north, and Sand Point Way NE on the east.

History

The View Ridge community is one of the last founded neighborhoods in Seattle, having been settled in 1936, then annexed into the city around 1942. Wedgwood began to take shape during World War II, with a fair percentage of defense worker housing being constructed. One notable landmark is the P-Patch Community Garden on the western side, Seattle's oldest and largest, established in the 1960s. The Jesuits had planned to relocate their Seattle University campus from First Hill to this community, but the Stock Market Crash of 1929 quickly thwarted any progress.

Demographics and Income

View Ridge - Predominantly white with 61.3% of residents being married. Approximately 26.7% of households have children. The 40s age group is the largest, representing 17.5% of the population (2,447). Another populous age demographic are those over 70, representing 15.6% of the neighborhood. Most males and females are involved with various middle or upper management occupations, boosting incomes well over $100K in some cases, especially with both spouses employed. The median household income in View Ridge far exceeds the Seattle average of $45K. The wealthiest portion is within Sand Point Country Club and to the south. The lowest income families are on the southeast side, closer to Sand Point Way NE.

Wedgwood - Whites, like in View Ridge, have the majority. However, Asians seem to have a larger presence. There are less married couples, with 54.9%. Almost an identical percentage of homes with children, when comparing the neighborhoods. One notable difference between the two, is a younger age representation in Wedgwood, with 19% of its residents in their 30s. The population falls sharply after the 40s age range, with even smaller numbers of seniors. The median age is 38, four years younger than for View Ridge. A much larger representation of males are in management than their female counterparts. The largest incomes are found in the eastern, north-central, and southwestern sectors of the area. Maximum salaries approach $110K, lower than those of View Ridge.

Real Estate

Both neighborhoods continue to experience declining home values. Wedgwood, the more "affordable" neighborhood, has an average housing cost $90K less than View Ridge. Between 70% and 80% of residents, in both neighborhoods, own their homes. Homes in View Ridge are, by average, larger. Homes currently on the market, range in price from $235K to $2 million, with the latter amount represented in eastern View Ridge market. Quiet, residential streets and close proximity to Magnuson Park (http://bitly.com/b742rg) and the University of Washington (http://washington.edu), make these neighborhoods a choice place to settle despite the readings of market values.

Culture

Middle and upper class demographics dominate here, providing that "American Dream" atmosphere within Seattle city limits. However, the large income families and couples will tend to be "at the office" more, stripping energy from the "Dream" by way of availability. A good number of Jewish residents, especially in View Ridge, also sweeten the cultural pot.

Restaurants, Pubs and Coffee Houses

The highly residential nature means certain aspects will suffer. Those certain aspects happen to be public establishments such as restaurants. This is not all bad news, as a short commute to the University District (http://bitly.com/abtiNK), Green Lake (http://bitly.com/cYMKu3) or Wallingford (http://bitly.com/cO972f) enables the joint use of these neighborhoods' large variety of eating establishments. With that said, View Ridge and Wedgwood do offer a few tasty choices. Here are some of the selections... Black Pearl (http://bitly.com/9QGau9) - Chinese cuisine with delivery, I Love Bento (http://bitly.com/cFMvRL) - Inexpensive Japanese cuisine and Seven Season Cuisine (http://7seasseattle.com) - Featuring all the flavors of China with online ordering and delivery. Phayathai Cuisine (http://phayathaiseattle.com) - Family owned Thai restaurant, established in 2007. Thai of Wedgwood (http://thaiofwedgwood) - Thai food without the MSG, Wedgwood Broiler (http://wedgewoodbroiler.com) - Lounge serving up great meat dishes and sandwiches, including breakfast on the weekends. Wedgwood Ale House & Cafe (http://wedgwoodalehouse.com) - 18 draft taps, seasoned burger patties, great Philly Steak sandwiches, and even family dining with a kid-friendly menu. Cafe Javasti (http://javasti.com) - Serving up Batdorf & Broson Coffee, along with Golden Moon teas and an amazing crepe selection. Fiddler's Inn (http://3pubs.com/Fiddler.html) - Delicious pub serving appetizers, soup/salad, sandwiches and unique pizza combinations. Top Pot Doughnuts (http://toppotdoughnuts.com) - A down-to-earth coffee house, featuring their own hand-roasted coffee and in-house, hand-forged doughnut line. Grateful Bread Baking Company & Cafe (http://gratefulbreadbaking.com) - An independent bakery featuring Cafe Vita coffee.

Shopping and other Amenities

A bird's eye view of shopping and other businesses that enhance life in the neighborhood. Highlighting a few, beginning in the north, and working clockwise around the two neighborhoods... Mode Studios (http://modestudios.com) - Featuring Bob Bonniol, a video, lighting and interactive designer with world-wide acclaim. Train of Thought (http://trainofthought.net) - A graphic design, advertising and marketing communications agency. PCC Natural Markets (http://bitly.com/aXfv2j) - Natural foods grocery and more. Seattle Audubon Society (http://seattleaudubon.org/sas) - An organization dedicated to leading a community that values and protects birds and the natural environment.

Schools and Recreation Facilities

Educational institutions and recreational choices are not in short supply. Here is a sampling of schools and a few recreational centers... Sound Circle Center for Art (http://soundcircle.org) - Training of Waldorf teachers and resourcing the Waldorf communities in the Northwest. The World of Meditation Center (http://worldofmeditation.com) - A safe space to become aware of and nurture one's potential, Bob Vivant School of Cooking (http://bon-vivant.com) - Offering demonstration and hands-on classes for a wide range of interests, Our Lady of the Lake School (http://ollseattle.org), View Ridge Swim and Tennis Club (http://vrstc.org) - Large family outdoor swimming and tennis facility, and The Mountaineers (http://mountaineers.org) - An organization offering a wide range of activities like hiking, snowshoeing, climbing, backpacking and more. The Seattle Musical Theatre (http://seattlemusictheater.org), View Ridge Elementary School (http://bitly.com/d5HKJM), Thornton Creek School (http://bitly.com/ani8Rn), Concordia Lutheran School (http://concordialutheranschool.com), Eckstein Middle School (http://ecksteineagles.org) - Fostering a community of life long learners, University Prep (http://universityprep.org) - Outstanding academic programs for grades six through twelve, and Wedgwood Elementary School (http://wedgwoodelementary.org). Two major outdoor spaces to highlight are the Sand Point Country Club (http://sandpointcc.com) and View Ridge Playfield (http://bitly.com/brisO2)- Features basketball, soccer amenities, play area, and water fun for kids.

Medical Facilities

The premier institution, just blocks from the boundary of View Ridge, is Seattle Children's Hospital (http://seattlechildrens.org). Several small health offices are sprinkled throughout the two neighborhoods. Some of these include ONE Integrated Therapies (http://oneintegrated.com) - A single space in which to find multiple means of well-being, Wedgwood Center for Natural Medicine (http://wedgwoodnatural.com) - Provides a wide range of resources for holistic health, My Whole Life (http://mywholelife.net) - Life Coaching services, and Wedgwood Acupuncture & Botanical Medicine (http://wedgwoodacupuncture.com) - Complimentary and alternative health care with excellent holistic healing arts.

Communities for Seniors

The "gray-haired" residents have certainly not been overlooked, with several options for living arrangements. Here are a highlighted few... Viewhaven Homes (http://viewhavenhomes.com) - Senior care with health monitoring, Morningside Residence (http://morningsideadultfamilyhome.com) - Adult family home which provides a safe environment with supervision, and Spada Homes (http://spadahomes.com) - Assisted living care in real homes.

Access

Arterial driving is fairly good, but getting on the interstate can be a slow process for some, especially for residents on the eastern side of View Ridge. Commute times, therefore, can be up to ten minutes longer into downtown. Major streets like NE 65th, NE 75th, 35th Ave NE, Sand Point Way NE and Lake City Way are most efficient for local driving. Cycling these two neighborhoods, especially for work commutes, is a good option, but the rider must beware of very hilly terrain.

Summary

A gigantic residential setting, Wedgeview Ridge (Wedgwood + View Ridge) is a superb place to raise a family, own a home as a grad student, or retire. Close proximity to the University of Washington (http://washington.edu) and Downtown Seattle, geographically at least, enable any resident to quickly show off the well-known urban facets to visiting friends or family. Even though purchasing real estate here may not fit every wallet, the community still has much to offer visitors - especially the ability to offer an uncongested parking spot for Husky football games (http://gohuskies.com).
Pros
  • Great place to raise a family
  • Close to major university
  • Generous selection of restaurants
Cons
  • Longer drive to access the Interstate
  • Expensive housing
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Oct 10, 2010
Editors Choice

"Good Entry-Level Community In West Seattle"

A no frills neighborhood sandwiched between Roxhill and Highland Park in West Seattle. There is not one particular feature that makes South Delridge stand out from among other locations, but it does make for an affordable entry point into this part of the city. A slender shaped community with Delridge Way slicing it in half. The boundaries are SW Roxbury Street on the south, 26th Avenue SW on the west, Holden St./SW Orchard Street on the north, and 16th Avenue SW on the east.

Demographics and Income

The average age among residents is 34, making for a younger neighborhood. Roughly half are married, but only 28% have children. The median household income is $36,849, which is lower than the Seattle average. View source of this data at Zillow (http://bitly.com/bAoiR6).

Real Estate

Home values (Ones currently for sale) range from around $150K to $550K, with most being below $400K. The lower values could be due to close proximity with a shopping village and some industry.

Culture

With affordable housing, entry-level urban singles and lower income families find opportunity here. Low income multi-ethnic groups also reside here. Of course, the working middle class is not to be overlooked in South Delridge.

Restaurants, Pubs and Coffee Houses

There are not a lot of choices when it comes to beverages and dining. Fortunately, some White Center establishments have spilled over into the neighborhood. Here are a couple to highlight... Taqueria Guaymas (http://tacosguaymas.com) - A 17 year old establishment, focusing on a diverse range of Mexican meats, Cafe Rozella (http://caferozella.com) - An artsy cafe steeped in the 20's era, and Mac's Triangle Pub (http://www.facebook.com/MacsTrianglePub) - A traditional feel with great food.

Shopping and other Amenities

A few businesses call South Delridge home. Here are a few of them, starting in the south... Center Tool Rental (http://bitly.com/9G7opi) - For over 35 years, you can still find a tool for any job, Pacific Coast Marble & Granite (http://pacificcoastmarble.com)- Custom made granite masterpieces for the home, E-Green Landscaping & Materials (http://egreenlandscaping.com), Companion Pet Portraits (http://companionpetportraits.com) - Artist, David Walega, makes paint and photography portraits of your pet, Aldrich Construction Services (http://aldrichconstructionservices.com), and Cuzzins Mobile Detail (http://cuzzinsmobiledetail.com).

Schools and Recreation Facilities

The recreation piece is slim, unfortunately, in South Delridge. Besides taking your legs to the streets and sidewalks for training, 24 Hour Fitness (http://24hourfitness.com) is about all to go on. Schools are more plentiful, including... The Community School of West Seattle (http://communityschoolwestseattle.org) - An institution committed to anti-bias practices, and Art With Heart (http://artwithheart.org) - Helping high-risk children and youth with emotional stress. The largest educational facility in the neighborhood is Chief Sealth International High School (http://seattleschools.org/schools/chiefsealth).

Medical Facilities

Despite a strong presence of medical offices, a unique care center exists for students at the high school on the west side, Chief Sealth High School Health Center (http://bitly.com/da3QmT). More specialized clinics can be noted, namely West Seattle Highline Eye Clinic LLP, on the northeast side of the Westwood Village Shopping Center (http://bitly.com/9LnvHw). On the southern edge of the neighborhood is a center which aids women with unplanned pregnancies, a non-profit organization, Birthright International (http://birthright.org).

Access

Mentioned earlier, Delridge Way SW slices through South Delridge. This arterial serves as the north/south pipeline, enabling residents to access the West Seattle Bridge or head into southern suburbs and ultimately Sea-Tac International Airport (http://portseattle.org/seatac). Looking to the longitudinal spectrum, SW Henderson Street/SW Barton Place and SW Roxbury Street serve up the best routes for reaching western neighborhoods and Highway 509. Not having direct freeway accessibility makes for some headaches when trying to use the only two local bridges (West Seattle and Highway 509) to reach I-5.

Summary

Even with a lack of robust amenities and recreational options, South Delridge is still part of the vibrant West Seattle culture. A shopping center next door, eight parks within a ten minutes' drive, close proximity to Sea-Tac airport, and a reasonably inexpensive home base for many Boeing employees give this collective some clout.
Pros
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Inexpensive housing
Cons
  • Longer commute to downtown
  • Lack of parks within neighborhood
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Oct 08, 2010
Editors Choice

"A Residential Community Of Professors And Graduate Students, With A Great Shopping Center"

Named after a city in Italy, Ravenna lies to the north of the University District and Laurelhurst. It's (Ravenna/Bryant) boundaries fall on Roosevelt Way and 20th Avenue NE in the west, NE 85th Street in the north, 30th Avenue / 35th Avenue / Sandpoint Way NE in the east, and NE 45th Street in the south.

History

The Duwamish Native Americans occupied this area until white settlers arrived in the 1800's. A railroad ran through the area, much of what is now known as the Burke-Gilman Trail (http://bitly.com/b9XkAC). Cowen Park (http://bitly.com/9UlzXK) stood as an old growth forest until the early 1900's, then mysteriously was deforested.

Demographics and Income

The neighborhood is predominantly white, with much of the population comprising of university professors and graduate students. In fact, Ravenna Boulevard has been known as "Professors' Row". A small contingency of other ethnicities reside here, with Asian being the largest. Hispanics and Blacks follow with even smaller representations. Any other racial variations are just a blip on the screen for this community. Income levels, as would be expected in a mostly White area near a renown university campus, are those of middle to upper-middle class. Salaries range from around $70K to $122K, except for a the area in and around the University Village Shopping Center (www.uvillage.com). This could be due to a higher presence of apartments in this area. A friend of mine resides here, paying very affordable rent in Seattle, I might add.

Real Estate

The value of detached houses in Ravenna/Bryant ride closely with the Seattle Average. A major rift occurs when comparing townhome values, which are almost $100K apart. Homes currently on the market range in price from $250K to $1.7 million, according to Zillow (http://zillow.com).

Culture

An academic feel, no doubt. Students from the University of Washington (http://washington.edu) can be seen virtually everywhere, especially in the southern half of the neighborhood. Driving along Ravenna Boulevard brings a more distinguished, Ivy League feel. The University Village Shopping Center draws upper class patrons from all over Seattle. On football weekends, Husky fans proliferate the pubs and restaurants.

Restaurants, Pubs and Coffee Houses

Beginning in the south, with the University Village Shopping Center (http://uvillage.com), will give plenty to consider. Here are a few within the confines of the U. Village... Blue C Sushi (http://bluecsushi.com), Boom Restaurant - Japanese/Asian (http://boomnoodle.com), Starbuck's (http://starbucks.com), Delfino's Pizza (http://delfinospizza.com), Johnny Rockets - 50's diner (http://johnnyrockets.com), Pallino Pastaria - Italian (http://pallino.com), Sonrisa Modern Mex (http://sonrisamodernmex.com), Pasta & Co - Ready-to-eat meals (http://pastaco.com), and Specialty's Cafe and Bakery (http://specialtysdirect.com). Some other establishments in the southern half, not located within the shopping center, are Thai Dusit (http://thaidusit.net), The Coffee Drop Cafe - Opened June 2010 (http://coffeedropcafe.com), and Zoka Cofee Roaster & Tea Company (http://zokacoffee.com). Looking north, another list of great venues... Third Place Books (http://thirdplacebooks.com), Top Pot Doughnuts (http://toppotdoughnuts.com), Grateful Bread Baking Co. Cafe (http://gratefulbreadbaking.com), Crepe Cafe & Wine Bar (http://bitly.com/ct2YaQ), Garlic Jim's Famous Gourmet Pizza (http://garlicjims.com), Pied Piper Ale House (http://bitly.com/9vO2Ab), Casa D'Italia (http://casaditaliaseattle.com), Frank's Oyster House and Chamagne Parlor (http://franksoysterhouse.com), and Gaudi - Taste of Spain (http://gaudiseattle.com).

Shopping and other Amenities

Besides the upper echelon shops of The University Village, Ravenna and Bryant do dish up a plethora of businesses for any lifestyle. For cycling enthusiasts, try out the Bicycle Center (http://bicyclecenterofseattle.com). Convenience is the word at Counterbalance Bicycles (http://counterbalancebicycles.com), right off the Burke-Gilman Trail. For those inspiring to be chefs, there is Cook's World (http://cooksworld.net). The Acorn Street Yarn Shop (http://acornstreet.com) can help with any material sewing project. The Metropolitan Market (http://metropolitan-market.com) offers high quality food items, from A to Z. A creative spot for a special occasion, such as a birthday, is found at the Queen Mary Tea Room (http://queenmarytea.com). Hotels are not as common as the bed and breakfasts. For instance, consider Chambered Nautilus Bed and Breakfast Inn (http://chamberednautilus.com), Academe Arms Guest House (http://academearms.com), or University View House - Vacation Rental (http://universityviewhouse.com). The Travelodge Hotel (http://travelodgesseattleuniversity.com) and Silver Cloud Inn (http://silvercloud.com) are more institutional choices for accommodations.

Schools and Recreation Facilities

The most prominent natural setting within the neighborhood is Cowen Park (http://bitly.com/9UlzXK). Despite the large acreage of wooded beauty, complete with ravine, the park offers sports facilities and a play area for kids. For skating enthusiasts, Dahl Park (http://bitly.com/bxs7eH) opened for business in June 2010. A scaled down park, convenient for quick family outings, is Froula Park (http://bitly.com/9RhSUM) on the west side. Looking for more organized indoor activities for toddlers? Check out The Little Gym (http://thelittlegym.com) featuring activities like karate, cheerleading and dance for Preschool and Grade School children. Wedgwood Co-Op is a place for intellectual stimulation for preschoolers (http://wedgwoodcoop.org). University Prep (http://universityprep.org), an independent school with an attention to high-end academics via a diverse and inclusive community. Other schools include Northwest Montessori (http://northwestmontessori.org), Eckstein Middle School (http://ecksteineagles.org), Roaring Mouse Creative Arts Studio (http://roaringmouse.org), Roosevelt High School (http://rhsseattle.org), The Perkins School - Grade School (http://perkinsschool.com), Thrive Art School (http://drawingschool.com), Bertrand Chez Vous - Culinary Tours (http://bertrandchezvous.com), Kumon Math and Reading Center - in the University Village (http://kumon.com), Seattle Languages - Fully accredited language institute (http://seattlelanguages.com), and the Center for Yoga of Seattle (http://yogaseattle.com).

Medical Facilities

The close proximity to places like the University of Washington Medical Center (http://uwmedicine.washington.edu) and Seattle Children's Hospital (http://seattlechildrens.org) can virtually cover all health care needs. However, to name some other locations of medical-related offices... Active Foot & Ankle Clinic (http://activefootandankle.com), Rain City Rolfing (http://allankaplan.net), Sweet Skin Spa (http://sweetskinspa.com), Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital (http://hhvh.net), Virginia Mason Sand Point Pediatrics (http://bitly.com/aeOwgI), and Seattle Skin & Laser (http://seattleskinandlaser.com).

Access

A number of arterials pass through Ravenna and Bryant, including 15th Avenue NE, 25th Avenue NE, NE 45th Street, Sand Point Way NE, NE Ravenna Boulevard, NE 55th Street, NE 65th Street and NE 75th Street. There is no direct access to Interstate 5 within the neighborhood, but can be indirectly reached via 45th or 70th. The location of this community is ideal to reach all areas of Seattle, and then some.

Summary

Even with the occasional headaches (Namely, traffic issues) that come with living close to a large university and popular shopping center, the Ravenna/Bryant neighborhood still delivers quality residential living. The area north of 55th Street, especially, has family-friendly housing and quiet neighborhoods. Professors and graduate students are not the only demographic finding solstice here, but singles and couples working outside the confines of public education. Whether for the purpose of locating a home or further exploring Seattle treasures, this neighborhood is sure to please.
Pros
  • Large outdoor shopping plaza
  • Close to major university
  • Good bicycle trails
Cons
  • High traffic on arterial streets
  • Expensive housing
  • Difficult Interstate access (From east side)
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Oct 02, 2010

"A Slender Neighborhood Straddling Capitol Hill And The Central District"

A middle class corridor built between 23rd Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr Way (MLK). It is bounded on the north and south by East Madison Street and East Yesler Way, respectively. One of the most narrow neighborhoods in Seattle, no doubt.

Demographics and Income

According to City Data http://bit.ly/aFj8NH, almost half of the population is Black. The other half is a mix of Whites, Hispanics, Asians, and a host of others. The average age is around 30, making it one of Seattle's younger communities. Income levels generally range between $40K and $77K, with the lower income residents in the south. Most of the population of Mann is employed in service occupations, with another share involved in business or financial careers.

Real Estate

Again, according to City Data http://bit.ly/aFj8NH, the average estimated value of a detached house was $505,721, lower than the Seattle average. However, these are 2008 values, so current numbers are invariably less.

Culture

Having roots in both the more progressive Capitol Hill area and the Central District make for an interesting blend of practices and values. A younger, white, and more professional population exists to the north, with more blue collar families,racially mixed, to the south.

Restaurants, Pubs and Coffee Shops

Being spatially-challenged does not hold back Mann from quality food and drink establishments. From the most notable to the seemingly undiscovered, here's a sampling of what exists... Catfish Corner (http://mo-catfish.com), Assimba Ethiopian Cuisine (http://bitly.com/abc3KR), Twilight Exit (http://twilightexit.com), Crush (http://chefjasonwilson.com), The Harvest Vine (http://harvestvine.com), The Essential Baking Company (http://essentialbaking.com), Meskel Ethiopian (http://bitly.com/9aWMcT), Cafe Selam (http://bitly.com/ajP6Yc), First Cup Coffee (http://bitly.com/bbhUyJ), Cortona Cafe (http://cortonacafe.com), and Bottleneck Lounge (http://bottlenecklounge.com).

Shopping and other Amenities

Highlighting some of the unique businesses around the Mann neighborhood... Glue (http://gluenow.com) - A publishing company, Quicksilver Metalsmithing (http://pcquicksilver.com), R. David Adams Flowers (http://rdavidadams.com), Dilettante Chocolates (http://dilettante.com), Organysmo - Graphic Web and Design (http://organysmo.com), and Rue de Lyon - Artistic gifts (http://ruedelyongifts.com).

Schools and Recreation Facilities

A few of the educational and fun-filled centers around Mann... Seattle Film Institute (http://seattlefilminstitute.com), The Islamic School of Seattle (http://islamicschoolofseattle.com), Garfield High School (http://ghs.seattleschools.org), Garfield Community Center (http://bitly.com/aXJDal), Medgar Evers Pool (http://bitly.com/aPqF1i), Douglass-Truth Library (http://bitly.com/9yefeW), and the Meredith Matthews East Madison YMCA (http://seattleymca.org). There are no notable parks in the neighborhood, with the closest being Powell Barnett Park (http://bitly.com/c7R0ro) on the southeast side.

Medical Facilities

A few offices for health and body enhancement are in Mann, but larger medical complexes are to the west, predominantly the Swedish Medical Center (http://swedish.org), within close proximity of about one mile. A few health places, however, that are available within the neighborhood... Seattle Naturopathy - Acupuncture and Birth Center (http://snabc.com), Glow Natural Health Center, PLLC (http://glownaturalhealth.com), and Grow Aware - Stress reduction (http://grow-aware.com).

Access

Getting to and from Mann is fairly straightforward, despite its embedded location. The arterials, Madison Street, MLK, Yesler Way and 23rd Avenue, provide bountiful accessibility to both Interstate 90 and Interstate 5. Yesler, Cherry-James, and Madison all give seamless routes into downtown, a nice finishing touch to the local and regional commuting scene.

Summary

Despite its small size and limited amenities, Mann is highly residential. Some claim to fame for Mann is its Garfield High School (http://bitly.com/c6gBk1) alumni, including Jimi Hendrix (http://bitly.com/azPmaU), Quincy Jones (http://bitly.com/aTzv2C), Brandon Roy (http://bitly.com/9PS8N9), and others. Having a large representation of both Blacks and Whites gives Mann the potential for deeper racial reconciliation, especially with a history that includes Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesse Jackson speeches delivered at Garfield High. Whatever transpires, this community is a rich and vibrant collective, with a strong balance between seclusion and accessibility.
Pros
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Unique dining options
  • Highly residential
Cons
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
  • Small east-west breadth
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Sep 29, 2010

"An Affluent Community Nestled in Outdoor Beauty"

A gorgeous neighborhood located in the extreme northeast corner of central Seattle (Area south of Union Bay). Its boundaries are Lake Washington Boulevard to the west, East Madison Street to the south, Lake Washington to the east, and Union Bay to the north.

Demographics

Predominantly white, due mainly to extreme wage earners living in the Broadmoor community (http://bitly.com/demhPL). Residents boast high-earning careers in the legal and management sectors are quite at home here. For more specific demographic data, go to http://bitly.com/bTEYAw.

Income

As stated above, high-paid professionals are prolific in this part of town. The Broadmoor area contains families earning around $190,000. A small, four block, triangle between E. Madison Street and McGilvra Boulevard East boast salaries over $200,000. Along the northeastern and eastern coast, incomes drop sharply into the $60K range. Regardless, Madison Park still holds the record for one of Seattle's most wealthy neighborhoods.

Real Estate

As one might guess, after reading the paragraph on income above, that housing in this area would be expensive. In fact, according to www.city-data.com, the average value of detached houses in 2008 was $1,399,869. Less expensive, multi-unit housing exists on the east side, near the lake. These units are far more affordable and have drawn a younger crowd.

Culture

The Broadmoor Golf Club (www.broadmoorgolfclub.com) and community account for over half of the size of Madison Park. Consequently, an upper-class feel permeates. Being out of the way, the neighborhood is more quiet and relaxed. The Washington Park Arboretum (http://bitly.com/aK39zN), just to the west of the golf course, further buffers any connection to the outside world. Isolation is not the buzzword on the eastern side, with several restaurants lining East Madison Street, near the park, for daytime and evening socialization.

Restaurants, Pubs and Coffee Shops

Room is made for a few tasty spots, including Mad Pizza (www.madpizza.com), Madison Park Cafe (http://bitly.com/dAMak4), Cactus (www.cactusrestaurants.com), Bing's (www.bingsbarandgrill.com), Madison Park Bakery (www.madisonparkbakery.com), The Attic (www.atticalehouse.com), Thai Ginger (www.thaiginger.com), Starbucks (www.starbucks.com), and Tully's Coffee (www.tullys.com).

Shopping and other Amenities

Quite a few businesses, interestingly, have set up shop in Madison Park. Some of these include Marshall's Cleaners (www.marshallsonline.com), Wells Fargo Bank (www.wellsfargo.com), Windermere Real Estate (www.windermere.com), Bert's Red Apple Market (www.redapplemarkets.com), Tim Walsh Salon (www.timwalshsalon.com), Studio Karri L (www.studiokarril.com), Seattle's Best Headshots (www.seattlesbestheadshots.com), Madison Park Hardware, Children's Shop (www.theoriginalchildrensshop.com), and Sign Shares Seattle (www.signshares.com).

Schools and Recreation Facilities

This is where the neighborhood shines, having been named after the waterfront park, Madison Park (http://bitly.com/bQqURF). Alone, this space could entertain residents well with its beach area, rental facility, play area, tennis courts and even a co-op (www.madisonparkcoop.org). On the west side is Mc Gilvra Elementary (http://bitly.com/dhReka).

Medical Facilities

A number of smaller facilities exist around the neighborhood. Here are a few of interest: Sima Medical & Cosmetic Clinic (www.longeviteclinic.com), Madison Park Physical Therapy (www.therapeuticassociates.com), Gary Grenell PhD - Psychologist (www.garygrenell.com), Madison Park Electrolysis (www.madisonparkelectrolysis.com), Acupuncture Clinic Northwest (www.acupunctureclinicnw.com), and Madison Park Veterinary Hospital (www.madisonparkvet.com). Unfortunately, there is no hospital, but just minutes down Madison Street, to the southwest, is Swedish Medical Center (www.swedish.org). Also, the University of Washington Medical Center (http://bitly.com/arG8LD) is to the north in the University District.

Retirement Living

A quiet community, such as Madison Park, brings opportunity for the retired individual. The Park Shore Retirement Community (www.prcn.net/park-shore) offers desirable amenities for seniors, including independent living, assisted living, nursing care and memory care. Located right on the water, a room with a view is not out of the question. Having the Fiske Genealogy Library (www.fiskelibrary.org) nearby can grant hours of interesting family-roots' research.

Access

Just minutes from downtown and easy access to Highway 520 make for less time spent on non-arterials or large distances of staring at freeway signs. However, the darker side of commuting from or to Madison Park is the higher traffic periods during the day. Avoid these, and driving is a cinch. If sitting behind the wheel during rush hour is unavoidable, a long "creep" could be in store, depending on the direction and distance. Regardless, for local commuting, enough side streets exist for reaching that destination, mixed with navigational savvy.

Whether moving towards a goal of residing in or planning a visit to, Madison Park holds treasures for a wide audience. Of course, if salary allows, obtaining that dream home could one step closer to reality.
Pros
  • Upscale golf club
  • Quiet environment
  • Close to major university
Cons
  • Expensive housing
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • 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
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Sep 21, 2010

"A Slow-Paced And Quiet Community With A Rich and Diverse History"

A neighborhood which as experienced much change over the last century, having seen an influx of coal miners, ship builders, and now young professionals in a variety of industries. Madrona is located roughly halfway between Interstate 90 and Highway 520. Boundary-wise, it is East Denny Way in the north, Puget Sound in the east, East Cherry Street in the south, and Martin Luther King Jr. Way (MLK) in the west.

Demographics

Over the decades, Madrona has seen an influx of Chinese and African Americans. In recent years, however, the numbers have been favoring the whites. The Caucasian population is approaching 75%, and after 2010 census data is released, it may not be surprising to see that percentage even higher. The Black population predominantly has settled west of 34th Avenue. There is a smattering of Asians and Hispanics, but they make up far less of the demographic. A wide range of age groups live in the neighborhood, with the median age being around 39 years old. These statistics, along with many other details are found at http://bitly.com/bsZ2g2.

Income

Income levels correlate closely with demographic breakdown, with lower income households to the west and the south. Higher paid residents live east of 34th Avenue, with the most affluent dwelling around Madrona Park. The difference in salary level is almost $130,000, dropping sharply around the East Columbia Street and 31st Avenue intersection.

Real Estate

Housing values here ride higher than the Seattle average, due to the affluence of the eastern side of Madrona. Many homes are still valued at $400,000 and above, even breaking the $1 million mark. View a map of housing values at Zillow (http://bitly.com/aF2chm). For more tabular data on Madrona housing, go to Trulia (http://bitly.com/dpfHVN).

Culture

Nicknamed, "The Peaceable Kingdom", for the diverse representation of residents. It carries a slower pace of life, possibly brought on by its "out of the way" location on the lake. A more in-depth experience of the neighborhood can be had at http://madrona.wetpaint.com/.

Restaurants, Pubs and Coffee Shops

Interestingly, much of the restaurant density lies along 34th Avenue. Places like Cupcake Royale (http://cupcakeroyale.com), St. Clouds Restaurant (http://stclouds.com), Hi-Spot Cafe (http://hispotcafe.com), Dulces Latin Bistro (http://dulceslatinbistro.com), and Madrona Eatery & Ale House. A couple of dining experiences near MLK and Cherry are Lalibela Ethiopian and King Creole BBQ ((http://kingcreoleseattle.com). An urban winery to savor is Wilridge (http://wilridgewinery.com), on the north side of Madrona Park.

Shopping and other Amenities

The highest concentration of commerce is near Union and 34th. Some businesses you can peruse are Madrona Market & Deli (http://madronamarket.com) - open 356 days, Glassybaby (http://glassybaby.com) - an artistic lighting store, Norman Courtney Studio (http://normancourtney.com) - a public art studio, Fetch Pet Care (http://fetchpetcare.com) - complete pet care, Buggy (http://shop-buggy.com) - Nearly new clothing for babies, kids, and expecting mothers, Al Doggett Studio (http://aldoggettstudio.com) - restoration and sale of art, and Gina Jonas Calligrapher (http://ginajonascalligrapher) - a wide variety of calligraphy services,

Schools and Recreation Facilities

A wide variety of schools and recreational institutions exist around Madrona. Here is a list of several, YWCA (http://ywcaworks.org), Spectrum Dance Studio (http://spectrumdance.org), Harvard Avenue School (http://harvardavenueschool.com) - toddler, preschool and pre-kindergarten education, Les Enfants de Seattle (http://lesenfantsdeseattle.com) - French immersion preschool, The Cascadia Group LLC (http://cascadiagroup.com) - Human resource development coaching, Conscious Body Pilates (http://consciousbodypilates.com) - private pilates and personal training studio, Community Day School Association (http://communitydayschool.org) - day care enrichment programs, Madrona Elementary School (http://seattleschools.org/schools/madrona) - elementary school with student-centered environment, Epiphany School (http://epiphanyschool.org) - focused on respect, responsibility and resourcefulness, and St. Therese School (http://stthereseseattle.org) - a Catholic elementary and middle school with a rich diversity.

Medical Facilities

It is slim pickings for doctors and medical offices, but there are a couple wellness centers like Kismet Salon (http://salonkismet.com) and Grow Aware (http://grow-aware.com). Larger and more comprehensive medical offices are found to the west, like Swedish Medical Center (http://swedish.org).

Access

The east-central location of Mardrona requires more non-arterial commuting. Reaching Interstate 5 is easily accomplished by taking Cherry Street, which turns into James Street. Finding the on-ramp is just a matter of turning northwest onto 7th Avenue. Make sure to jog to the left, after a couple of blocks, or the ramp is lost and turning back to re-access costs extra minutes and a small migraine. Driving to the east side of Lake Washington involves a few minutes of steering southwest towards Rainier Avenue. Continuing south on Ranier Avenue, if Interstate 90 is undesirable, will lead to Renton. Here, after the road turns into Highway 167, Interstate 405 is accessible for a journey to Bellevue and Kirkland.

Summary

A community of diverse culture, people and amenities. A neighborhood such as Madrona is what makes living in or visiting the west coast of Lake Washington a treat. Why not head here for a latte at Hi-Spot Cafe, making sure not to miss the park and waterfront, which comprise much of Madrona's "fingerprint".
Pros
  • Quiet environment
  • Bicycle friendly
  • Beautiful mountain and water panorama
Cons
  • Large divide in demographics and income levels
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Sep 21, 2010

"An Inexpensive Community With Light Boeing and SeaTac Commutes"

A blue collar community, with proximity to Boeing (http://bitly.com/fGtAJX) and other industries along Highway 99 and 509. It is bordered on the north by SW Holden St, Highland Park Way SW and West Marginal Way SW. On the east side, Highways 99 and 509 shore up most of the boundary, along with Olson Place SW and 1st Avenue South. The south side is bordered by SW Roxbury Street, followed by 16th Avenue SW on the west.

History

In 1870 pioneers tried their hands at a number of trades until logging caught their attention. Logging roads were key in connecting with the outside world, along with a streetcar that connected Highland Park with the rest of Seattle. The neighborhood, along with White Center (http://bitly.com/cApUIh), were a bit “out of the box” compared with other Seattle neighborhoods. Wartime (I & II) brought labor, focusing on the industry along the Duwamish River.

Demographics and Income

Highland Park is fairly diverse, with multiple ethnic groups making up roughly half the population. Whites are still the largest demographic, but that is quickly changing. The inexpensive labor at local industries is drawing more foreign-born workers, especially with the lure of short commutes. Annual incomes vary, with lower levels to the south. The area south of the park, near Highway 509 contains the population with the least in their wallet, only $29,000 per year. Comparably, one section on the western side of Highland Park contains families with incomes around $72,000.

Culture

The diversity creates a unique cultural experience, wrapped tightly with Seattle’s progressive mindset and laid back attitude.

Real Estate

Homes in Highland Park are affordable, having taken a hit during the recession. Values have dropped by $130,000 since 2007, the height of the market. View the current real estate data at Trulia (http://bitly.com/b9bImE). Single family homes are most prevalent, with 68% making up the market. Almost 65% of residents own their dwelling, much higher than the 48% Seattle average. This spike may be possible because of the smaller-sized nature of houses in Highland Park. The median home size is only 1,300 Sq. Ft.

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

Not a lot of choices here. The neighborhood edges up to White Center on the southwest, providing many amenities across the street. However, Highland Park does not possess too many of their own. One notable establishment in the northwest corner is Zippy's Giant Burgers (http://mysp.ac/cDlnGV) - Opened in May 2008, using 100% chuck that is ground on site each day.

No pubs or bars are generally found within Highland Park, but again, to the south in White Center, several can be found. One of the closest establishments is Mac's Triangle Pub (http://macstrianglepub.com) near Delridge Way and Roxbury Street.

Some other establishments include: Rootcraft, LLC (http://rootcraft.com) - Naturally inspired custom carpentry; Salvation Army (http://salvationarmy.org) - Advancement of the Christian religion through education and the relief of poverty; and Gamestop (http://gamestop.com) - Selling new and pre-owned games/gaming systems.

Schools

Highland Park Elementary (http://seattleschools.org/schools/hpel) - To create lifelong learners instilled with positive self-images. One other institution within Highland’s borders: Community Day School Association (http://communitydayschool.org) - Largest provider of after-hours child enrichment within Seattle Public Schools.

Recreation

The only park within the community is the gigantic Westcrest Park (http://bitly.com/bhjcDR), sprawling 81 acres with an off-leash dog area, playground, four miles of hiking trails, and picnic sites. It even features a platform to take in the Seattle skyline. The West Seattle Reservoir (http://bitly.com/hJxfP2) is also located here.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

Anyone with a medical emergency may have grounds for concern as no medical facilities are to be found within the neighborhood. There is, however, some hope for someone ailing from a toothache... ABC General Dentistry is on the south side, along Roxbury.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

Even if there is no assistance for physical ailments, spiritual guidance is plentiful. Here’s a few reasons why: Paradise of Praise Ministry (http://paradiseofpraise.org) - Designed to transform the soul, mind, body and spirit of mankind and Westwood Christian Assembly (http://wcaseattle.org) - Led by Pastor Tom Colby and associated with the Assembly of God (http://ag.org).

Transportation Access and Tips

Bus service runs along the perimeter, providing a couple of routes into the city and to Boeing (http://boeing.com). Traffic gets heavy on these arterials, especially when heading north to the city in the morning. The international airport, SeaTac (http://portseattle.org/seatac), is just a few miles south on Highway 509.

Summary

Close proximity to Boeing, downtown, and the airport are a plus in this neighborhood. The affordable housing and presence of a large dog and kid-friendly park also helps. Living among lower income families and having industry in your backyard, however, may not appeal to many. Despite this, Highland Park, is close to much of the West Seattle beauty and could be a smart choice in living for a young couple or family just getting started.
Pros
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Inexpensive housing
  • Close to Boeing Field
Cons
  • Limited amenities
  • Heavy traffic on arterial streets
  • Close to industrial sites
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Hipsters
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Sep 20, 2010

"A Community With a Face Lift"

A community on the up-and-up. Immense transformation has occurred in the last few years, bringing advances in traffic control, green construction, bike and pedestrian safety, and general living conditions. Strides have also been taken to publicize these enhancements, evident from a well-maintained website (http://highpointneighborhood.org). You can even ‘fan’ them on Facebook (http://on.fb.me/eDzA4x). High Point spans from the southern edge of Camp Long (http://bitly.com/fadFa0) in the north, to Othello St. and Holden St. in the south. The west to east breadth is 35th Avenue to Delridge Way, respectively.

History

Not much is published regarding the history of High Point, though their website does claim to be populating that link “soon.” What is known, as mentioned in part above, is that the face of the community has greatly changed. Before the turn of the millenium, much needed to be accomplished with respect to the infrastructure and housing layout. Even now, grand measures are being taken to expand the updating, bringing the neighborhood into the 21st century.

Demographics and Income

According to city-data.com (http://bitly.com/apQS4n), income levels within the neighborhood range from $17,000 to $72,000. These numbers indicate "poverty" of some residents, existing next door to middle class families. The western side is comprised primarily with households bringing in sub $30K in yearly income. The southern part is the hotbed, in regards to wages, with household averages around $60K and $70K. Seattle’s typically ‘White’ demographic is broken here with an almost equal representation of Blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Whites. Generous representations of single parents, mainly women, with a sizeable younger demographic (possibly from the greater numbers of children at home). In fact, the median age in High Point is seven years below the Seattle average.

Culture

Taking a presumptuous stab: the diversity, low income families, new government-assisted housing, and the influx of middle class singles/couples make for a tasty cultural recipe. Along with low income, single parent homes, unfortunately, comes crime. Too many people battling over too few resources, especially with the opportunity to live in an updated home. On the bright side, High Point’s geographic location (the epicenter of West Seattle) poises it for unparalleled opportunity as a crossroads-oriented community.

Real Estate

Twenty years ago High Point would have appeared much different, thanks to the Seattle Housing Authority (http://seattlehousing.org), which began a major overhaul of the residential housing. One of the goals has been to allow middle and low income families to co-exist. The first phase of the project was completed in 2007, with work continuing on latter phases. It has been one of the larger, if not the most, ambitious residential revamps in the Seattle area. The rapid rebuild of housing units has not lacked quality. Many units feature high energy ratings, including green construction. Streets have been narrowed and blocks shortened to discourage car traffic and encourage transport on foot or by bike. Roughly 35% own their residences, so a substantial number of transient renters dominate the mindset of the neighborhood. Values have plummeted, with an over 20% drop in home prices since 2009. A great opportunity for new blood to move into the area, but a dire period to have bought at the top of the market and be sitting on an upside-down home.

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

Easting establishments and small businesses are sparse, but again, reachable by crossing into other local neighborhoods. A look at the main public businesses: Olympia Pizza & Pasta (http://bitly.com/eqAkG8) - Open since 1972, with pizza being prepared the Greek way; Del Taco (http://deltaco.com) - An inexpensive taco franchise; Joanie’s Catering (http://joaniescatering.net) - Owned by Joan Allen, a Seattle native and well-versed not only in culinary arts, but in presenting a memorable ambiance; and Red Star Pizza (http://redstarpizza.com) - A highly-trained crew dedicated to professional preparation, local ingredients, a renew/reuse mentality, and a reluctance to be managed off-site.

Schools

While education, unfortunately, follows the greenback, some schools are available to High Point residents. Here is an active list: Proyecto Saber (http://bitly.com/fQqA2p) - A middle school focused on the Latino community, particularly in math tutoring; West Seattle Elementary (http://bitly.com/fodOeW) - A diverse school body dedicated to fostering learning not only in academics, but in the arts; Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School (http://guadalupe-school.org/OLG) - Working in partnership with each student’s family to foster a challenging, yet supportive environment for academic achievement, service and leadership training; Northwest Montessori School (http://northwestmontessori.org) - The first established Montessori school in Seattle providing a non-competitive multi-age classroom environment; and Learning for Life 123 (http://learningforlife123.com) - A child care program promoting social, emotional and intellectual growth within a Spanish bilingual environment.

Recreation

The topography is steep, even claiming the highest spot in West Seattle at over 500 feet. Several recreation areas are just minutes away in surrounding neighborhoods (Camp Long http://bitly.com/fadFa0 and the West Seattle Recreation Center (http://bitly.com/hWUs1T) . High Point was not overlooked, however, with green space, having their own play field (http://bitly.com/cWlaiK) in the southwest corner. It features sports facilities, and quality play equipment for children.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

Following on the coat tails of public schools, medical choices are slim. Here’s what can be found: Highpoint Medical and Dental Clinic (http://bitly.com/ek37XI) - Offering a variety of medical/dental services for people of all ages, with a strong drive towards preventative medicine; and Navos (http://navos.org) - Mental health solutions grounded in a a broad community of care.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

The diversity piece has penetrated more than skin deep. A couple of spiritual centers confirm this fact: Vietnamese Thien-Baptist Church (http://thienanvn.org/ta) - A deep-rooted Vietnamese congregation and Highpoint Lighthouse Samoan AG (http://bitly.com/gHcDa7) - A Samoan congregation led by Pastor Natia Paaga, which is part of the Assemblies of God Denomination (http://ag.org).

Transportation Access and Tips

Accessing the rest of the Emerald City is not as tedious as other West Seattle locations further west and south. Being equidistant between the West Seattle Bridge and Highland Park Way, feeding to Highway 99 and 509, at least gives route options to residents. Of course, during high commute times, neither of these "exits" are ideal. Hence, the painful commuting reality of living west of the Duwamish River (http://bitly.com/9vZ9KQ) is still felt here.

Summary

The time and resources having been poured into High Point are not in vain, as there is "high" hopes for further development and an emergent economy, boasting diversity found no where else in Seattle except for in the Central District.
Pros
  • New green construction
  • Newer street zoning for greater safety
  • Closer access to highways
Cons
  • Very few amenities
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Sep 20, 2010

"A Family Friendly Community With Plenty Of Ammenities"

The area of West Seattle remains a strong player in residential living with close proximity to the urban core. Fairmount Park, just to the west of the West Seattle Recreation Center and stretching from the West Seattle Bridge to Graham Street, holds the baton for another lap around discovering quality Emerald City communities.

Demographics and Income

Statistics for Fairmount Park run almost hand-in-hand with Seattle averages. Half of the residents are married, with about 18% of these couples having children living at home. The ethnicity is primarily white, with incomes just a hair above the city medium. A good size constituency of seniors still call this neighborhood home. The majority, however, are found in the highly educated singles and DINKs (Double Income—No Kids) who are in their 30s and 40s.

Culture

A busy, progressive population, who live for the weekends. Many must endure countless minutes in traffic for work commutes, so time in the neighborhood will be precious. Since many do not have children, nightlife and outdoor adventures will reign supreme and define their weekend warrior profile.

Real Estate

The breakdown in home ownership versus renting is essentially even. Single family homes and condos comprise most of the residential dwellings. The home with abundant square footage is not prevalent here, with 75% being under 1800 sq. ft. Owners can breathe a little easier, as other Seattleites pay more for their property taxes. Values still sing a downward trend, having lost 25% since late 2007.

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

Besides being a great location to raise a family, Fairmount Park boasts three arterials (California Avenue, Fauntleroy Way, and 35th Avenue) filled with amenities that make this neighborhood worth the stay. Some of these include Kokoras Greek Grill (http://kolorasgreekgrill.com) - Authentic Greek dishes, served in a tavern-like atmosphere; Pho Than Brothers (http://thanbrothers.com) - Specializing in rice noodle soup and cream puffs; Fresh Bistro (http://herbanfeast.com) - A full-service restaurant featuring dishes using only ingredients from local farms; Talarico’s (http://talaricoswest.com) - East coast pizza and Italian dishes; Diva Espresso Bar (http://divaespresso.com), and Luna Park Cafe (http://lunaparkcafe.com) - Great breakfast food, milkshakes and more—established 1989.

If it is nightlife you seek, featuring superb local ales, then check out Elliot Bay Brewing Company (http://elliottbaybrewing.com) - Founded in 1997: inspired by the community-oriented establishments of old Europe. For a more relaxed environment, consider the West Seattle Wine Cellars (http://wscellars.com) - A wide selection of wines from all over the word, featuring tastings.

For coffee locales: C & P Coffee (http://candpcoffee.com) - Serving Lighthouse Roasters’ fine espresso and a rotating selection of beer and wine; Uptown Espresso (http://uptownespresso.net) - Home of the velvet foam; Diva Espresso (http://divaespresso.com) - A history dating back to 1992, featuring six locations and a roasting facility called “Highlands Coffee Company”; Verite Coffee (http://veritecoffee.com) - Translated “truth”, an independent coffee house supporting the arts; Easy Street Records and Cafe (http://easystreetonline.com) - An in-store coffee experience with an almost endless food menu; and of course, Starbucks (http://starbucks.com) and Tully’s (http://tullys.com).

A few local, unique merchants to note: Curious Kidstuff (http://curiouskidstuff.com) - Selling non-violent toys, books, music, art, etc. Also, a good selection of green toys; Again & a Gain (http://againandagain.net) - Everything baby, kids and maternity that is earth, animal and kid friendly; Seattle Yarn (http://seattleyarn.com) - Everything yarn... enough said; Mountain to Sound Outfitters (http://m2soutfitters.com) - Seattle’s full-service ski/board, paddlesports, skate and rack shop; and Avalon Glassworks (http://avalonglassworks.com) - A glass blowing studio and art glass gallery.

Schools

Montessori School of West Seattle (http://westseattlemontessori.com) - Individualized teaching from experienced professionals: established in 1985; Little Art School & Gallery-the Original (http://littleartschool.com) - Founded in 1990 by Teri Laffan, a professional artist and educator; Seattle Integrated Martial Arts (http://simamartialarts.com) - Opened by Bob Heinemann—promoting fitness health, open mindedness, community, personal responsibility, and personal growth; aCPR Class (http://acprclass.com) - A company that trains individuals in the basics of emergency service like CPR and First Aid; and Epiphany Learning Strategies (http://epiphanylearnings.com) - Developing leaders in a variety of contexts.

Recreation

Having close proximity to Camp Long (http://bitly.com/byXg6y) is a plus, but Fairmount Park does claim its own green space. Fairmount Playfield (http://bitly.com/9VzEHz) provides play space for kids, along with sports fields for all ages. Another recreational perk for this neighborhood is having the West Seattle Family YMCA (http://seattleymca.org).

Medical and Wellness Facilities

Enough exists in Fairmount to cover your back when accidents occur: West Seattle Convenient Care (http://westseattleconvenientcare.com) - Quick access to medical attention without the wait of an emergency room; Highline Hand Therapy (http://highlinehandtherapy.com) - Treating a variety of hand/arm injuries with over 30 years experience; Visiting Angels of Seattle (http://ginasangels.net) - Providing in-home care for seniors; DRTRI (http://drtri.com) - Dr. Michael Ross provides comprehensive care for sports injuries; West Seattle Endodontics (http://westseattleendodontics.com) - An ultra-comfortable environment for oral surgery [even provide movie glasses!]; and Gerhard M. Zanolli, M.D. (http://drzanolli.com) - Child, adolescent and adult psychiatry.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

Staying within Fairmount Park is a plus when it comes to attending a spiritual center—the neighborly feel and ability to walk to services/meetings in the Summer. However, selection is limited... West Seattle Calvary Chapel (http://calvarychapelwestseattle.com) - A circa 1995 planted congregation, with a strong emphasis on Bible teaching; and West Seattle Nazarene Church (http://nazarene.org) - A Protestant Christian church in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, tracing its roots to an anniversary date of 1908.

Transportation Access and Tips

Getting in and out of Fairmount Park is relatively easy, with its borders along arterial streets like Fauntleroy Way, California Avenue, and 35th Avenue SW. Even a work or pleasure commute into the city is not too overwhelming, though traffic-dependent, via the West Seattle Bridge. The central location makes this neighborhood an ideal launching point into exploring the rest of West Seattle.

Summary

As mentioned above, the more northern and eastern location gives Fairmount Park the upper hand on shorter commutes to downtown and less traversing over non-arterial streets—one of the many reasons this community is a good choice when visiting or deciding on a vicinity to move into.
Pros
  • Close to Sea-Tac Airport
  • Family-friendly
  • Good parks
  • Unique dining choices
Cons
  • Limited accommodations
  • Long work commutes to Downtown and Eastside
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
3/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Sep 20, 2010

"An International Community With Great Arterials"

The area of Beacon Hill, known more specifically as Mid Beacon Hill, sits neatly between South Columbian Way, Martin Luther King Jr. Way (MLK), South Graham Street and Interstate 5. For more details about the Beacon Hill area, check out my reviews on North Beacon Hill (http://bitly.com/9r2WI0) and South Beacon Hill (http://bitly.com/dklbTw).

History

Originally coined “Greenish-Yellow Spine”, then was referred to more officially as Holgate and Hanford Hill in the late 1800s. It ceased to carry the name of Boeing Hill a couple of decades ago, following the flight of workers to the suburbs. One notable structure, having been built in 1883, is the Turner-Koepf House—a National Register (http://nps.gov/nr) property

Demographics and Income

Beacon Hill, today, consists primarily of Asians, largely due to this suburb migration of Boeing employees. There is, however, a small influx of whites, drawn by the racial diversity, unique culture and opportunities for justice in South Seattle. Roughly half of the residents are married, with 30% of homes containing children. A younger neighborhood, Beacon Hill has an almost uniform representation of ages under 50 years old, with the largest group being the thirty-somethings. The median household income is nearly identical to the Seattle average of $45,736 (http://bitly.com/9qBazZ).

Real Estate

The single family home dominates the Beacon Hill landscape, with almost half the structures built around the middle of the 20th century. Over 70% of the residents own their homes, making for a fairly established community. House values have continued to drop, bringing the median price to $279,000, as of September 2010 (http://bitly.com/cJaK15).

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

Predominantly residential, Beacon Hill (at least the area of the neighborhood focused on during this review) does not offer a whole lot in the area of small businesses. A couple of places to eat include Huarachitos Mexican Taqueria (http://huarachitos.com) and Willie's Taste of South Bar-B-Que (http://williestasteofsoul.com). Random businesses found in the community include: Redbird Sports (http://redbirdsports.com) - Custom Golf Equipment; Italian Town and Country (http://italiantownandcountry.com) - Family business promoting independent travel to Central Italy; Washington State Chefs Association (http://washingtonstatechefs.com) - Connecting chefs, suppliers, students, educator and lovers of food; Inverse Studio (http://inversestudio.com) - The work and products of Jeff Crandall, poet and artist; Explorers 3 (http://explorers3.com) - Providing adventure and experiential global travel; and International Bicycle Fund (http://ibike.org) - Nonprofit organization dedicated to sustainable transport.

Accommodations

Due to the residential nature of Beacon Hill, hotels are non-existent. Georgetown (http://bitly.com/bA6JVX), west of Interstate 5, would be the first place to look for lodging. Of course, downtown Seattle is a short drive to the north with an almost endless supply of rooms for travelers.

Schools and Recreation Facilities

The recreational component consists of Dearborn Park (http://bitly.com/adcGF8) and the Chief Sealth Trail (http://bitly.com/ba6Ojq). Several educational institutions exist here, with most being on the west side of the community—here is a running list: Saint George Parish School (http://saintgeorgeseattle.org) - A diverse and supportive community with strong Catholic values; Cleveland High School (http://seattleschools.org/schools/cleveland) - An Option School for grades 9-12; Maple Elementary School (http://seattleschools.org/schools/maple) - A Blue Ribbon School with phenomenal views of the Olympic Mountains and Mount Rainier; Community Day School Association (http://communitydayschool.org) - An affordable child enrichment program, integrated with nine Seattle public schools; and Dearborn Park Elementary (http://seattleschools.org/schools/dearborn) - A school respecting the wealth and vitality of the cultural traditions of Beacon Hill.

Medical Facilities

The big claim-to-fame for medical offices in Beacon Hill is the VA Hospital (http://pugetsound.va.gov) on the north side. Other places to speak of include: Moms with MS (http://momswithms.org) - Support community started by Kristin Bennett and Southgate Medical Clinic (http://bitly.com/9xnTNi) - Dr. Robert A. Velasco.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

A fair number of churches exist here: Chinese Baptist Church (http://seattlecbc.org), St. Marks Lutheran Church, Seattle Presbytery (http://seattlepresbytery.org) - Center for the PC USA churches around Puget Sound, Saint George Parish (http://stgeorgeparish.com) - Welcoming faith community comprised of diverse peoples, Seattle Church (http://seattlechurch.net) - A Non-Denominational church “family”, Bethany United Church of Christ (http://bethanyseattle.org) - A Christian Community with an eye towards social justice, and Seattle Chinese Alliance Church (http://scacseattle.org) - A bilingual congregation with Cantonese and English services.

Access

Transportation is a win-win, with Seattle Light Rail (http://soundtransit.org) and quick I-5 accessibility, which can be reached via 15th Ave S or S Graham Street . Main arterials like MLK and Ranier provide good alternative routes to the north or south, connecting with I-90 for East side commutes. Drive times to work average around 28 minutes—brought on by many having to commute over Lake Washington for East side careers.

Summary

Beacon Hill, having changed names three times over the years, could be seen as having identity issues. However, a strong residential base disproves this theory, uncovering a diverse population with much to contribute locally and to the greater Puget Sound region.
Pros
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Inexpensive housing
  • Good public transit access
  • Proximity to downtown
  • Family-friendly
  • Interesting historic sites
Cons
  • Limited accommodations
  • Limited dining options
  • Limited shopping options
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • 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
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Sep 16, 2010

"Hills And High Rises—Plenty To Do"

The Central Business District (CBD) occupies a large area on each side of Interstate 5, unique to typical Seattle neighborhoods (http://streetadvisor.com/user/hudsonite). The I-5 corridor typically has a "Berlin Wall" effect, with distinct differences on each side of the freeway. It's boundaries are roughly Olive Way and Pike Street to the north, 12th Avenue to the east, James Street to the south, and the waterfront to the west. The feel of the CBD is compact, due to Seattle's greater downtown area being restricted by hills (on the north and east) and water (on the west).

History

A miraculous rebirth occurred after the Great Seattle fire of 1889 (http://bitly.com/es9KsP), which destroyed the CBD. The city emerged more glorious, indicating the strength and determination of its inhabitants. The panic of 1893 (http://bitly.com/ehGNTY), a severe economic depression, deeply effected Seattle. The Klondike Gold Rush (http://bitly.com/eCBj22) brought about not only an end to the depression, but an influx of creative and innovative people. One man, James E. Casey, began UPS (http://ups.com) with $100, which he had borrowed from a friend. Other companies, like Nordstrom (http://nordstrom.com) and Eddie Bauer (http://eddiebauer.com) surfaced, which helped bolster the economy, growing it into what it visibly represents today.

Demographics and Income

It is no surprise that most of the demographic is comprised of transient individuals or couples, mainly in the 25-40 year old age range. Income levels, unfortunately, do not follow the “day” population demographic of suited professionals. In fact, the average income is well below the Seattle average, dipping beneath the poverty level on the Southwest side. Almost half of the residents are single, and virtually no children for the married portion. Divorcees are alive and well in the CBD.

Culture

The epicenter for commerce, conventions, and tourist accommodations. Not a day passes without running into an out-of-town visitor, whether they are attending meetings at the Convention Center (http://wsctc.com/), enjoying a vacation or honeymoon, or preparing for an Alaskan cruise (http://bitly.com/gYy7RK). The flip side of the visitor is the “suit” or the bum. Many homeless look for means to survival, taking advantage of the wealth on these streets. It’s a sad picture, but one which continues to plague Seattle.

Real Estate

Looking for a single family home in the CBD? Not one can be found among this concrete and steel jungle. Condos are about it, with 80% being rented. Most domiciles are under 1400 Sq. Ft., so don’t count on an abundance of storage. Values have had roller coaster-like tendencies, fluctuating almost $200K!

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

Restaurants can be mentioned by the dozen, but initial places to explore would include one of our favorites, Wild Ginger Asian Restaurant (http://wildginger.net) - An Asian dining experience inspired by a trip to Southeast Asia by owners, Rick and Ann Yoder. Others include: Ipanema Grill (http://ipanemabraziliangrill.us) - A restaurant saturated in “Rodizio,” a Brazilian style of enjoying dinner among friends; Benihana (http://bitly.com/e6sRCQ) - Where every meal [Japanese] is a show; Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery (http://rockbottom.com/seattle) -A wide variety of dishes with beer brewed on site; McCormick & Schmick's Seafood (http://bitly.com/idSX3G) - An extensive Pacific Northwest seafood menu with daily chef specials; Licorous (http://licorous.com) - Specialty drinks and liquor, along with a distinctive small plate menu; and The Honeyhole (http://thehoneyhole.com) - Serving delicious sandwiches and several choices of local ales—all since 1999.

Nightlife is no challenge for the CBD, with places like The Triple Door (http://thetripledoor.net), PF Chang's China Bistro (http://pfchangs.com), Dragonfish Asian Cafe (http://dragonfishcafe.com), Urbane Restaurant and Bar (http://urbaneseattle.com), and several others.

Living up to Seattle’s reputation of a coffee shop on every corner, and then some, the CBD has on overwhelming selection of places to grab a cup of “joe”. There is, of course, the usual Starbucks shops—a welcome site for some and an eyesore for others. Looking to the east side of I-5: Victrola Coffee (http://victrolacoffee.com/) - An ever-expanding venue with a passion for jazz and ambience; Bauhaus (http://bauhauscoffee.net/) - Set in a historic structure, features large windows and even bookcases for an intelligent feel; Kaladi Brothers Coffee (http://kaladi.com/) - Coffee with an Alaskan heritage, featuring a revolutionary roasting process which requires arctic air; and Stumptown Coffee (http://stumptowncoffee.com) - Originating in Portland, OR, this place features uniquely-styled seating, a full roasting facility, and training room. Highlighting coffee stops on the west side: Seattle Coffee Works (http://seattlecoffeeworks.com) - Two types of counters: An express bar for the get it and go crowd, and a “slow bar” for the more contemplative coffee drinker (the coffeeaholic); Fonté Coffee & Wine Bar (http://fontecoffee.com) - The Northwest’s finest micro-coffee roaster, selecting the top 1% of beans and having them shipped within hours to the store; and Stella Caffé (http://stellacoffees.com) - An Italian-based shop with acute attention to coffee brewing, trusting in a demographic for this experience.

Merchandise stores are almost innumerable—too many to mention, with most located west of the Interstate. Pike street offers the greatest density for shoppers, culminating, of course, at the market. 4th and 5th avenues drum up special beats, especially for the business traveler and tourist. Having an upper-hand on hotels gives any entrepreneur the edge in the CBD.

Accommodations

Multiple hotels stand in the area, mainly used by the convention center. A few are: Red Lion Hotel (http://seattleredlionfifthavenue.com) - A newly rennovated facility on 5th Avenue, Fairmont Olympic Hotel (http://fairmont.com) - A combination of superb customer service and eye-catching architecture, Sheraton Seattle Hotel (http://starwoodhotels.com) - Comfortable rooms with the deep-reaching reputation of the Sheraton family, Hilton Seattle (http://hilton.com) - Welcome to the most forward-thinking hotel company on the planet, or Crown Plaza Seattle (http://cphotelseattle.com) - 415 rooms strong with claim to the Torchbearer Award—while enjoying close proximity to all the sights and sounds of the Emerald City.

Schools

While walking among the concrete and steel “jungle” in this neighborhood, the first thought in a person’s mind is usually not focused on the education system. However, students have much to celebrate by way of the resources available to them via Seattle’s central nervous system: Seattle University (http://seattle.edu) - A renown campus with strong programs in law, business, engineering and art; O’Dea High School (http://odea.org) - Quality Catholic education among a diverse economic, racial and ethnic student body; Bakke Graduate University (http://bgu.edu) - Offering theological education with a combination of seminary training and an emphasis towards urban challenges and a global constituency; Foundation for Early Learning (http://earlylearning.org) - Seeking to close the gap on the number of unprepared, educationally, children; and Diane’s Market Kitchen (http://dianesmarketkitchen.com) - Explore Pike Place market (http://bitly.com/hOKEcJ) through the food, especially in a hands-on cooking class.

Recreation

With so many buildings packed into the CBD, it can be difficult to know where to begin. The tallest, having the most floors of any building west of the Mississippi, is the Columbia Tower (http://bitly.com/aJORuw). The view from the tower is astounding, topping that of the Space Needle (http://spaceneedle.com). Other well-known establishments are Benaroya Hall (http://seattlesymphony.org/benaroya/), Nordstrom's flagship store (http://nordstrom.com), Seattle Central Library (http://bitly.com/at1xtb) - With it’s unique window architecture, Seattle City Hall (http://bitly.com/c1irBH), Seattle Art Museum (http://bitly.com/9KbHrF) - Complete with “working man” statue at entrance, Washington State Convention Center (http://wscc.com) - An enormous space for big-scale events, and Westlake Center (http://westlakecenter.com) - A haven for shoppers and center for holiday entertainment.

Despite the urban density, a couple of parks do exist, though with limited green space. The Westlake Park (http://bitly.com/bQTXAp) is a spacious area across from the Westlake Center. Freeway Park (http://bitly.com/crf9zC) helps to connect the Convention Center to First Hill (http://bitly.com/hrbpeS). It features an attractive water structure and can be a peaceful setting to meet a friend or to enjoy a sack lunch.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

The medical facilities in the CBD are outstanding, with Virginia Mason Hospital (http://virginiamason.org) - Having received recent awards for doctors and services and Swedish Medical Center - First Hill (http://swedish.org) - The uncontested, premier health facility of Seattle. Others include: The Polyclinic (http://polyclinic.com) - One of the largest multi-specialty clinics in Puget Sound, with over 150 primary care physicians; Aurora Medical Services (http://auroramedicalservices.com) - Providing a wide range of women’s reproductive health services; Seattle Children’s Hospital - Respiratory Therapy (http://bitly.com/eHvZxm) - Assisting children and families who require specialized treatment for breathing; City Center Massage (http://massageseattle.net) - Owned and operated by Julie Onofrio, LMP, having been in the profession since 1989; Group Health Downtown Seattle Medical Center (http://bitly.com/fcTHEp) - Offering choice and flexibility with doctors, pharmacies and other services; Advanced dentistry at Century Square (http://advanceddentistryatcenturysquare.com) - Dr. Andreea Larhs and her staff provide patient-centered approach to dental care; and Specialty Dentistry (http://drbutson.com) - Accomplished dentistry with a gentle touch.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

Even though comprised, primarily, by traditional congregational churches, the CBD still delivers a variety of spiritual options for travelers and locals. Here are some of the options: Plymouth Congregational Church (http://plymouthchurchseattle.org) - Over 100 years of social justice, implanted in a diverse congregation; First Covenant Church (http://firstcovenantseattle.org) - Seeking to make a difference in the neighborhood, with over 100 years of history; Seattle First Presbyterian Church (http://firstpres.org) - A community of disciples who passionately love God, one another and their neighbors; St. James Cathedral (http://stjames-cathedral.org) - An inner-city parish with an outreach to many on the edge of poverty and loneliness; and Trinity Parish Church (http://trinityseattle.org) - Known for its historic stone architecture and ornate stained glass windows.

Transportation Access and Tips

Public transportation takes on a unique role with the urban density, featuring a bus and light rail tunnel (http://bitly.com/fLNeCf) far below street level. In fact, the new light rail (http://soundtransit.com - completed in 2009) now runs all the way to Sea Tac International Airport (http://portseattle.org/seatac). Hybrid and electric buses also utilize the tunnels, but also run on the surface streets. The King County Metro Transit (http://metro.kingcounty.gov), as it is called, is free within the downtown area.

Car traffic, though increasingly discouraged by Seattle’s administration, provides convenient transport. The challenge, however, lies in the parking availability. If staying downtown for under two hours, then the best bet is finding a spot on the street where you can pay with the ease of a credit card. Watch out, though, as a few places still use the coin-operated meters. If willing to walk a few blocks (possibly uphill), then park under the Alaskan Way Viaduct (http://bitly.com/ftOMSK), keeping in mind that parking here is also limited to two hours. For those who may want to transport their bike or hop on a local bus to complete the journey, then consider parking in the surface lot just north of the Experience Music Project (http://empsfm.org/) in the lower Queen Anne neighborhood (http://bitly.com/e5Lnjf). If you arrive by 10am, you can park all day for $6.00! Access to the Interstate is a breeze from anywhere in the CBD, including a choice of I-5 or I-90 (to head East). Highway 99 is an efficient way to head to West Seattle and the airport when the Freeway is backed up. Beware drivers of manual transmission cars, as downtown hills are steeply graded!

Summary

Thousands of tourists and business travelers explore the CBD each year, enamored by Seattle's unique natural setting, the unusual culture, and steep-graded streets. It is no wonder that this city continues to remain prominent in the global community.
Pros
  • Interesting historic sites
  • Proximity to downtown
  • Unique dining choices
Cons
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
  • Lack of single family homes
  • Loud environment
  • More expensive housing
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Sep 15, 2010

"Quiet West Seattle Community With A Secluded Coastal Drive"

A quiet community, nestled on the coast, between the Genessee, Fairmount Park and Gatewood neighborhoods. Seaview's boundaries are SW Edmunds Street on the north, California Avenue on the east, the intersection of 48th Avenue and Beach Drive on the south, and Puget Sound on the west.

Coveted property, for obvious reasons, lies along Beach Drive. This is a gorgeous drive, on the way to Alki Beach. Most of the neighborhood is residential, with many businesses along California Avenue. Places to highlight are C & P Coffee (www.candpcoffee.com) and Chittenden Bed & Breakfast (www.chittendenhouse.com - located in the southern portion of Seaview).

Recreation options are plentiful in surrounding areas, but the Morgan Junction Park (http://bitly.com/b0RAWW) is within Seaview's jurisdiction. It is a simple space, across from a pub and host to many events throughout the year, having just been dedicated in June 2009.

Access is a challenge, with many surface streets to traverse before reaching the West Seattle Bridge or Highway 99 (Southern route towards South Seattle or Sea Tac Airport). Serenity is king, however, especially along the coast, which is separated by a wooded section. For those seeking refuge from the noise and chaos of the city, this is the place to settle.
Pros
  • Quiet Community
  • Good nightlife venues
  • Excellent cafes
Cons
  • Long commute to downtown
  • Lack of parks within neighborhood
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Beach Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Sep 15, 2010

"A Highly Diverse Residential Community On The South Side"

The South Beacon Hill area is bounded by South Graham Street on the north, Martin Luther King Jr. Way (MLK)/Renton Avenue South on the east, Ryan Way on the south, and Interstate 5 on the west. A few decades ago this location was filled with Boeing employees, but over the years migration to outlying suburbs has allowed lower income families to move in. Also, the racial diversity has changed, primarily housing Asians, with a large number of Blacks and Hispanics. In fact, almost 44% of the residents are born abroad.

Business activity, which predominantly means restaurants, is found in and along MLK. A wide range of cuisine, as would be expected from a diverse population, is offered. A few examples are Thai Palms (www.thai-palms.com), Tienda Mi Pueblito, The Cajun Crawfish, and Pho My Chau Restaurant. A place worth noting near Beacon Avenue South and South Graham Street is Willie's Taste of Soul Bar-B-Que (www.williestasteofsoul.com).

There is not much to discuss in way of parks and recreation. However, the Chief Sealth Trail, which cuts north to south through the neighborhood, brings opportunity for exercise on a pedestrian safe route.

One extra feature to note is the inclusion of NewHolly (formerly Holly Park). A small neighborhood on the north side of South Beacon Hill that has had new housing developments since the mid 1990's.

This affordable neighborhood, with the benefit of Seattle's Light Rail taking residents either downtown or to Sea Tac Airport, poises South Beacon Hill as an important contender when it comes to residential areas in the Northwestern United States.
Pros
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Good public transport via bus and light rail
  • Inexpensive housing
Cons
  • Longer commute to downtown
  • Lack of parks within neighborhood
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Hipsters
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Sep 14, 2010

"A Diverse Community With Plenty Of Restaurant and Recreation Options"

The definition of Beacon is, "An intentionally conspicuous device designed to attract attention to a specific location." (According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beacon) Formerly known as "Boeing Hill" because of the sheer numbers of Boeing employees who resided there. Now, years later, the "Hill" is occupied predominantly by Asians, with close runnings of Whites and Blacks. It lies between South Dearborn Street and South Columbia Way, then spanning west to east from Interstate 5 to Rainier Avenue (at it's widest point).

A couple of points of interest in North Beacon Hill: On the south side, Jefferson Park (http://1.usa.gov/f1uNqx) is home to an executive golf course (www.premiergc.com), a community center, and a Lawn Bowling facility (www.seattlebowls.org). Another place, with world renown, is the headquarters for Amazon (www.amazon.com). It occupies most of the old Pacific Medical Center (http://pacificmedicalcenters.org) building on the northern edge of the neighborhood.

If golf and lawn bowling do not appeal, then take time to investigate the Doctor Jose Rizal Park (www.bitly.com/aHWs9j), with spectacular views of downtown. It also features an off-leash dog park, play area and picnic sites. The Beacon Hill Playground (www.bitly.com/cw0tW1), a few blocks south, is also kid-friendly with a wading pool, play area, basketball and tennis facilities.

To satisfy those hunger pains, especially with diverse tastes, restaurants here can deliver. A good Vietnamese establishment, which Yours Truly has tried, is Pho Hai Yen (http://bitly.com/fg7tq3) near Rainier Avenue and Dearborn Street. It has friendly service and a quiet atmosphere, at least for lunch. Dozens of ethnic places line Rainier, mainly in the northern half of the community.

Close proximity to downtown (http://bitly.com/fwXJkP) is quickly drawing young professionals to the area, desiring a cultural melting pot. Also, it does make commuting fairly simple and effortless, except for employees who work on the East Side of Lake Washington (http://bitly.com/dXcYNZ).

Friends of ours can attest, along with our own adventures in the Beacon Hill district, that almost endless opportunities to savor taste and activity are to beheld.
Pros
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Executive golf course
  • Inexpensive housing
Cons
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Sep 14, 2010

"A Pocket Of Artistic Creativity Amidst The Railways And Boeing Field"

A neighborhood, with an artistic flair, nestled into a highly industrial area. It can be easy to miss this eclectic mix of residences and businesses. It is bounded on the north by South Brandon Street, on the west by the Duwamish River (http://bitly.com/9vZ9KQ), on the south by Perimeter Road South (at Boeing Field http://bitly.com/fGtAJX), and on the east by Interstate 5.

History

If geographic surroundings were similar to about 100 years ago, residents of Georgetown could often be seen ladeling water from their houses—perhaps a motorboat or two when heavy winter rains encroach the Emerald City. However, thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers, the center of the neighborhood now lies one mile inland. This due to the straightening of the Duwamish River in the early 1900s. Carrying the label of the birthplace of King Country, the Georgetown area was claimed by Luther Collins in September 1851. The possession of the area was not without struggle, as native tribes assembled a resistance in 1855, leading to a sizeable conflict.

A few claim-to-fame facts: Rainier Beer found its beginnings in Georgetown, started by John Clausen and Edward Sweeny; Seattle’s first railroad began here in May 1874; Meadows Race Track hosted the first powered airplane flight in Seattle (1910) and Seattle’s first municipal airport built and named Boeing Field (1928).

Demographics and Income

A diverse, yet lower income neighborhood with most of its population being in their 20s, 30s and 40s—most are twenty-somethings. Not surprisingly, many residents are not married (due mainly to the industrial location). Another obvious component: the percentage of single males, ~34%. Asians and Hispanics are the next largest racial groups, behind Whites. Those with higher incomes live in the north, and the lower income households south of Boeing Field.

Culture

Smaller wallets did not put a stop to creativity for Georgetown residents, confirmed simply by creative businesses that have popped up in recent years. An artistic cohort is alive and well in this industrial-shadowed community. Check out some examples of these expressions in the “Local Business Tour” section below.

Real Estate

Less is more and age is vintage, right? Georgetown swears by it with most homes not making it to 1400 sq. ft. Homes were built, on average, in 1919. This is 30 years below the Seattle average. Want real estate that swims “upstream?” Invest in a Georgetown house and watch your value surge. One of the only neighborhoods where values have steeply climbed since the beginning of 2010, homes have gained almost $200,000!

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

Traffic and noise are to contend with, but the venues make up for it. Samples of "out-of-the-box" dining include Stellar Pizza (http://stellarpizza.com) - Occupying the Bertoldi building, and featuring daily-made dough and pizza sauce; The Corson Building (http://thecorsonbuilding.com) - A home, restaurant and community dedicated to food and its direct connection to celebration, community, and culture; Slim's Last Chance Chili Stack (http://slimslastchance.com) - An exclusive 21 and over venue featuring weekend live music; Tiger Lounge (http://tigerloungeagogo.com) - Bistro, coffee and martini lounge; Pig Iron Bar-B-Q (http://pigironbbq.net) - An overwhelming selection of fall-apart meats with a passion for hot rods and motorcycles; Ingallina’s Box Lunch (http://ingallina.com) - Box lunches with same day free delivery; Calamity Jane’s (http://calamityjanes.biz) - A restaurant and meeting house inspired by the real Calamity Jane (1852-1903)—serving a wide swath of dishes for every palette; Smarty Pants (http://smartypantsseattle.com) - A 21 an over sandwich and soup bar; Via Tribunali (http://viatribunali.net) - Literally built in Naples, after having shipped pieces of a 100 year old pizzeria back from Italy; Daimonji Sushi Grill (http://daimonjisushi.com) - Creative chef dishes with personable and quick service; and the list goes on...

Some surprising finds, other than the restaurants, are Screaming Flea Productions, Inc. (http://sfpseattle.com) - Award winning television company specializing in non-fiction, documentary, entertainment and corporate production; Fall Line Winery (http://falllinewinery.com) - An artisan producer of elegantly-styled wines, using fruit from the most prized vineyard sites in Washington State; and Bike So Good (http://bikesogood.com) - Offering inexpensive bicycle service and repair; A number of coffee shops can be found, such as Alki Bakery (http://alkibakery.com) - A quality family-owned bakery since its beginning at Alki Beach in 1985 and Fonte Coffee (http://fontecoffee.com) - The finest independent coffee roaster in the Pacific Northwest, founded by Paul E. Odom in 1992.

Schools

Want education with a twist? Check out the old and new here: Stucco Italiano (http://stuccoitalianoinc.com) - Owned by Aaron Cohen, an expert in wall finishing techniques who teaches this distinct Italian tradition; School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (http://sancaseattle.org) - A non-profit dedicated to improving the mental and physical health of children via the creativity of acrobatics and circus arts; Seattle Drum School (http://seattledrumschoolgeorgetown.com) - All ages enjoy instruction in drums, bass, guitar, piano, brass and more; South Seattle Community College (http://georgetown.southseattle.edu) - Focusing on programs in industry, apprenticeship, and safety & health training; The Flight Academy (http://theflightacademy.com) - Pilot training, trips and an unlimited simulator; Galvin Flying (http://galvinflying.com) - Flight training of over 17,000 pilots since 1930; Rainier Flight Service (http://rainierflightservice.com) - Strategic focus, besides flight instruction, in scenario-based techniques for the purpose of risk management; and Wings Aloft (http://wingsaloft.com) - Over 33 years offering rental planes and in-flight pilot training.

Recreation

Families in the area enjoy the amenities at Georgetown Playground (http://bitly.com/bKGI5a), complete with play area, wading pool, soccer field, half basketball court, and softball field. Other recreational-like places: Jet City Crossfit (http://jetcitycrossfit.com) - Offering varied, intense and functional workouts; and Oxbow Park (http://bitly.com/hYTrTF) - Features a play area and P-Patch, but the real attraction is the Hat ‘n Boots structure (http://bitly.com/fIm3PH) designed by Seattle artist, Lewis Nasmyth in 1953.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

Clinics per se are not available in Georgetown, but a couple of facilities which could be helpful are: Swedish Home Care Services (http://swedish.org) and North American Rehab (http://www.northamericanrehab.com/) - Not a walk-in business, but a supplier of rehab products. For immediate medical attention, the best bet is getting to the VA Medical Center (http://va.gov) in North Beacon Hill (http://bitly.com/9r2WI0).

Spiritual Centers and Churches

Four spiritual communities dot the northern half of the neighborhood... Society of St. Vincent de Paul (http://svdpseattle.org/) - Part of a worldwide organization of lay Catholics who help low income families, the homeless and seniors with basic needs; Korean Central Baptist Church of Seattle (http://bitly.com/fhSNjd); Georgetown Community Church (http://on.fb.me/hpwDwk); and New Direction Missionary Church (http://spag.es/eAlpoK).

Transportation Access and Tips

Quick access to major routes such as I-5, and Highway 99 & 509 reduce the feel of "isolation" in Georgetown. Roads connecting to South Park (http://bitly.com/gfrk0K) and the Beacon Hill (http://bitly.com/gG2SA0) give superb local access. Any Boeing Field employees seeking a short commute, inexpensive housing and an artistic population will feel right at home.

Summary

While Georgetown is not an area for the faint of heart, it does provide a fairly comfortable city dwelling despite the industrial submersion. Carrying a rich history and showcasing many “firsts,” it is a neighborhood to be contended with. An extremely creative and edgy crowd continue to transform it, pushing the envelope on human innovation.
Pros
  • Inexpensive housing
  • Close to Sea-Tac Airport
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Great nightlife
  • Proximity to downtown
  • Unique dining choices
Cons
  • Large presence of industrial sites
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
  • Highway corridor dividing neighborhood
  • Loud environment
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Sep 11, 2010

"Busy Arterials with Bustling Bars And Restaurants"

Making the southward turn on Holman Road gives way to 15th Avenue NW, ushering in the Whittier Heights' neighborhood. It's 24 blocks long, from 85th Street to around 61st Street and 16 blocks wide (at it's widest point), from 24th Avenue NW to 8th Avenue NW. It is dissected by several arterials, including 15th Avenue NW, NW 65th Street, NW 80th Street, 24th Avenue NW and 8th Avenue NW.

The community is sandwiched between the Loyal Heights and Greenwood neighborhoods, providing a vital connection between Northern Seattle and Ballard. In fact, the Ballard High School (www.ballardbeavers.org) is located within Whittier on NW 65th Street and 15th Avenue NW. We were part of a community that met in this high school for a couple of years, enjoying the modern amenities and location on a vibrant intersection.

Eating establishments are not hard to find, with many along 15th Avenue, including Lunchbox Laboratory (www.lunchboxlaboratory.com) and the Original Pancake House (www.originalpancakehouse.com). Our kids never leave hungry from the Pancake House, and the tables are very ideal for families with small kids. A few other dining options can also be found along 80th and 85th Avenues, like Wild Mountain Cafe (www.wildmtncafe.com). A smattering of others emerge on side streets, such as Delancey (www.delanceyseattle.com) on NW 70th Street. There are several bars and taverns, like the Waterwheel Tavern (www.thewaterwheellounge.com).

Open recreation areas are limited in Whittier Heights, but Salmon Bay Park (http://bit.ly/dkn4YJ) does provide some space to play and an area for kids. Loyal Heights Playground (http://bit.ly/c10dA8) includes a few more amenities, and a community center. However, it is technically in the hands of the Loyal Heights neighborhood.

Apart from the traffic-laden streets, substantial residences are buffeted between for a semi-serene existence. A friend of ours lives in the area, and his house and property did not feel "encroached" upon by the commuter volumes a few streets away.

Access to Interstate 5 is a bit long from here, but not as challenging as from parts of Ballard. Easy access to Magnolia, Queen Anne and even the city center via 15th Avenue make Whittier desirable for single young professionals, couples and even small families.
Pros
  • Good restaurant selection
  • Semi-quiet residential area
  • Short commute to downtown
Cons
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
  • Limited parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
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
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Sep 10, 2010
Editors Choice

"A Neighborhood That Oozes Character"

A historic icon, spilling over with diversity. The infamous Columbia City is a sight to behold, especially on foot. Just taking in the sheer number of businesses and restaurants along Ranier Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way (MLK) can make any head spin. Located between Hinds Street (north) and Kenyon (south), with MLK and Ranier squeezing in tight on the south side. In the northern half, it spreads eastward along Alaska Street.

History

Formerly a dense conifer forest, named with exploration in mind, and annexed to Seattle in 1907, Columbia City is now considered one of Seattle’s most economically and ethnically diverse neighborhoods. The boom in wartime industry not only brought jobs, but a large influx of African Americans. As a result, the 1960s and 1970s suffered financial and racial hardship. The late 1980s ushered in an era of rebirth, as new blood moved in to take advantage of inexpensive housing.

Demographics and Income

Ethnic diversity is the buzzword here, with Whites nearly a minority. The Blacks and Asians dominate the cultural landscape with almost 40% being single. However, out of the 45% that are married, one-third of them have children at home. Income levels drop significantly, especially in the northwest section of the community. Closer to Lake Washington, contrasting the homes near Beacon Avenue, are mansion-like estates with beautiful vistas of the Cascade Mountains.

Culture

The cultural diversity of Columbia City may make it feel less like a typical Seattle coffee-saturated neighborhood and more like an overseas immersion experience. Just like the income levels, the cultural feel shifts from west to east, with the darker-skinned residents residing closer to Martin Luther King Jr Way (MLK) and the whites near the water.

Real Estate

From a residential standpoint, having the opportunity to own in this area is a win-win situation. No need to travel the world for cultural enrichment, when it is right at the doorstep. Diversity doesn't stop with the people, but also extends to the architecture. Homes, typically, were built in the 1920s, with the average size being around 1,500 square feet. Roughly half of the residents are homeowners, many of whom have beautifully restored their residences. Values have dropped considerably, with the average home being around $300,000.

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

Standing on the podium, claiming a medal for one of the most diverse zip codes in the nation, it truly is the melting pot of Seattle. If one were to eat out at a different ethnic restaurant each night in this community, they would be busy for about half of the year! MLK Way and Rainier Avenue are packed with eating establishments, and many Seattleites dip into this section of town for entertaining evenings.

A running list of some eating establishments: Hoanlan Restaurant (http://bitly.com/fkjke4) - Serves Bun Bo Hue; The Cajun Crawfish (http://on.fb.me/hMZyb9) - An inexpensive way to explore the tastes of Lousiana; Thai Palms (http://thai-palms.com) - Authentic Thai and Laos Cuisine; Mawadda Cafe (http://mawaddacafe.com) - Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine that is home to some of the best Falafel in Seattle; Afrikando Afrikanda (http://afrikandoafrikando.com) - West African cuisine; Tutta Bella (http://tuttabella.com) - The Northwest’s first and most celebrated authentic Neapolitan pizzeria; Kallaloo (http://kallalooseattle.com) - An authentic Caribbean restaurant featuring weekend performances; Roy’s B-B-Q (http://royscolumbiacity.com) - Georgia-like BBQ, featuring tasty pulled pork; Verve Bistro and Cellar (http://vervewinebar.com) - Wining and dining experience every evening, along with champagne brunch on the weekends; Island Soul Caribbean Cuisine (http://islandsoulrestaurant.net) - Tender chicken dishes worth savoring; Geraldine’s Counter (http://geraldinescounter.com) - Breakfast served all day; and Flying Squirrel Pizza Company (http://bitly.com/hi2TPo) - A casual, yet funky vision to pizza served with mainly organic ingredients and featuring Stumptown coffee (http://stumptowncoffee.com).

Night life is no stranger to Columbia City, and the restaurant list above features certain venues with doors open past 10pm. Other establishments to seek out after the sunset include: The Bourbon Columbia City Theater (http://columbiacitytheater.com) - Featuring a wide selection of whiskey and specialty drinks, all the while, enjoying quality performances; and Columbia City Ale House (http://seattlealehouses.com/ColumbiaCity) - A British Pub with extensive history in the Seattle area.

A couple of cafés to savor include Columbia City Bakery (http://columbiacitybakery.com) - Featuring the coffee of True North Coffee Roasters, while specializing in delicious pastries, cakes and bread; Empire Espresso Bar (http://empireespressobar.blogspot.com) - A community-based and community-oriented wine, beer and espresso bar; and Both Ways Cafe (http://bitly.com/hunv0f) - A laid back environment with tasty biscuits.

Food and beverages are just the beginning, as a wide variety of local businesses have found solace here. Here are a few: Bike Works (http://bikeworks.org) - An organization that makes bicycling accessible and affordable to people from all walks of life; Retroactive Kids (http://retroactivekids.com) - Vintage accessories for children; Books4Cars (http://books4cars.com) - Find the correct auto repair manual and book for every automobile; Lucky Dragon Tattoo Parlor (http://luckydragontattooparlor.com) - Respect and understanding back this state-of-the-art studio, featuring thousands of flash art choices; and Viet Wah (http://vietwah.com) - A large Asian grocery importer, wholesale distributor and retailer.

Accommodations

A neighborhood packed with restaurants, pubs, coffee houses and shops has not overlooked the overnight stay. However, only one place exists to be reviewed, The Shirley Marvin (http://shirleymarvin.com). A vintage hotel situated on Edmunds Street, with quick access to Seattle’s light rail. The goal is to provide a relaxed and home-like ambiance, virtually hassle-free. It features four fully-furnished one-bedroom suites, with vintage furnishings.

Schools

Education choices abound here, starting with Hawthorne Elementary (http://seatteschools.org/schools/hawthorne) - An inclusive, collaborative learning environment, rooted in strong family partnerships. Other notable institutions are: Zion Preparatory Academy (http://zionprep.org) - Students who know themselves, what they can become, and understand implications of serving God and walking in His will; Rainier Valley Cooperative Preschool (http://rainiervalleycooppreschool.org) - Adults and children have equal roles in the learning environment—a place where parents are highly involved; Saint Edward Parish School (http://saintedwardseattle.org) - Quality Catholic education that is nationally accredited; and Magic Lantern Montessori (http://magiclanternpreschool.org) - A rich curriculum that touches on many life experiences.

Recreation

Eating venues are not the only items on the menu for Columbia City; a large community center (http://bitly.com/dWE5Xk) with plenty of activities and sporting facilities occupies the center of the populated area, which blends, almost seamlessly, into Genesee Park (http://bitly.com/eaeFnW), then leads north to Sayres Memorial Park (http://bitly.com/geXWsb) and a boat launch area. More waterfront green space emerges further south, approaching Seward Park (http://bitly.com/huK5hU). A bike ride along Lake Washington Boulevard is a Mecca-like experience for any rider. Even the smaller, inland, Lakewood Park (http://bitly.com/gE731J) is a solitary experience within this already enriched demographic area.

Peruse the streets and use all senses to absorb the days gone by, being occupied with modern enhancements. Days off will never be the same when committed to explore Columbia City, bringing almost unending satisfaction to any curious tourist or local.

My family and I had the opportunity to attend a picnic with several friends at Genesee Park, further digesting (no pun intended) the depths of natural beauty and cultural mixing that occur so peacefully here. Even blocks from the water, Columbia City has not left out any fun, with the addition of Brighton Playfield (http://bitly.com/eN44Nc). Many hours of sports-related activities are to be had here, including a play area for the small ones. One more activity-filled green space is on the south side, Othello Playground (http://bitly.com/evlEoQ), featuring basketball courts and a play area with a large slide.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

Following closely on the recreational, knowing someone is bound to get hurt, is the medical component. Here’s what can be found: Rainier Beach Medical Clinic (http://bitly.com/hnImNU) - Part of a chain that features quality medical and dental care, along with many other services; Columbia City Acupuncture (http://columbiacityacupuncture.com) - Featuring the services of David McGraw, who believes in widely accessible harm-free medicine; Elderhealth (http://elderhealth.org) - Providing care for frail adults, enabling them to remain at home with their families; and Group Health Rainier Medical Center (http://ghc.org) - A consumer-governed, nonprofit health care system.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

The diversity trend continues with religion. Here is a wide swath of the churches and spiritual centers within Columbia City: Greater Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church (http://greatermtmoriahseattle.org) - A diverse congregation led by Sherman and Ruth Walker; Bethlehem Lutheran Church [Recently renamed to “Columbia City New Start”] (http://bethlehemseattle.org) - An ELCA church with eyes to social justice; Columbia Lakewood Community Church (http://columbialakewoodchurch.com) - A multi-racial and multi-generational congregation related to the Church of Brethren and the United Church of Christ; Damascus Baptist Church (http://damascusbaptistchurchwa.org) - Led by Rev. James P. Broughton, III and Tammi Broughton, with a “New Beginnings” theme; and Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath (http://bcmhseattle.org) - A synagogue with a 120 year history.

Transportation Access and Tips

Commuting via arterial streets and public transport are the way to go in Columbia City. Access to the Interstate involves several minutes of residential jockeying. With the addition of Seattle’s light rail in 2009, traveling to downtown and the airport are commonplace. The bus runs along MLK, Rainier Avenue and Wilson Avenue. Arterial streets like MLK and Rainier Avenue can provide efficient commuting parallel to Interstate 5.

Summary

This neighborhood should either be at the top of the list for sightseeing, or a near second if Pike Place Market (http://bitly.com/fYYXms) takes precedence. Regardless of the visitation plan, this collection of people, homes, businesses and parks should not be missed.
Pros
  • Fascinating architecture
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Good parks
  • Interesting historic sites
  • Proximity to downtown
  • Unique dining choices
Cons
  • Further access from Interstate
  • Limited accommodations
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Sep 10, 2010

"A Diverse Neighborhood With Class"

The Mt. Baker community is as different economically as it is racially. The neighborhood, occupying an area from around Interstate 90 in the north to Hinds Street and Sayres Memorial Park in the south. It spans from 23rd Avenue and Rainier Avenue in the west to Lake Washington (http://bitly.com/dXcYNZ) in the east.

A quick look at income levels reveals a sharp increase moving west to east. The dividing line, economically, seems to be around 33rd Avenue. In fact, the area south of Mt. Baker Park (http://1.usa.gov/gioc49), along the coast, has a median income average of $200,000. This is shocking, considering that just six to eight blocks to the west the median income is around $46,000!

Despite these large differences in residents' pocket books, newer housing has emerged on the west side. Some friends of ours live in the lower income area, in an attractive new development.

Any eating establishments or small businesses can be found along Rainier Avenue or Martin Luther King Jr. Way, or "MLK" as referred to by residents.

An area where this section of the city shines is in its recreation, especially with the waterfront property and parks that share it. A fun experience is exploring the park above I-90, with its walking paths culminating in a tunnel that leads out to a terrace overlooking the lake and the interstate bridge. A few blocks south, Colman (http://1.usa.gov/e925oc) and Mt. Baker Park offer residents green space with woods, sporting fields and play areas. The Mt. Baker Park even has space for weddings and ceremonies.

On the southern edge of the neighborhood lies the Mt. Baker Rowing and sailing club (http://mbrsc.org), on the shores of Sayres Memorial Park (http://1.usa.gov/geXWsb). There are four wide boat launches, giving the public a great entry point into the lake. This place also services the hydroplane boats during the Seafair (http://seafair.com) races each year in August.

From the rougher urban side of Mt. Baker to the serene east side, this place has much to offer residents and tourists. If your a cyclist, like me, you'll enjoy a ride through the tunnel (http://bitly.com/hQV6gk) and down Lake Washington Boulevard, absorbing the views and coastal treasures in all their glory.
Pros
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Beautiful mountain and lake vistas
  • Quiet surroundings
Cons
  • Expensive housing
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Sep 09, 2010

"A Younger Community With A Shopping Center In Its Front Pocket"

An affordable area, with its claim to fame being the Westwood Village Shopping Center. The neighborhood is located in West Seattle, in an area between 35th Avenue, Roxbury Street, Othello Street, and 27th Avenue (roughly).

Smaller, one story homes dominate the landscape. Lower, middle class families are located primarily in the south, near Westwood Village. The median age for Roxhill is around 35, younger than the neighborhoods to the west like Fauntleroy.

The presence of Westwood Village brings daily visitors from around West Seattle, since no other large shopping center exists in the vicinity. This reality may or may not be desired by many residents, as it does take away much of the residential feel which is so prevalent in the southern half of West Seattle.

Two main green spaces, Roxhill Park an EC Hughs Playground, provide a recreational outlet with paths, play areas, water fun, and some sporting facilities. Apart from the shopping center, several businesses line 35th Avenue.

Access to downtown and the airport are fairly good, except during high volume commuting times. The bottleneck of the West Seattle bridge and dense truck traffic on Highways 99 and 509 continue to plague this part of the city. However, West Seattle offers plenty of services and recreational activities which don't require residents to leave the area all that often.
Pros
  • Large shopping area
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Small houses (Especially near shopping center)
  • Longer commutes to downtown
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Sep 05, 2010

"An "Engaging" Part of West Seattle"

Fauntleroy boasts green space and a waterfront that challenge coastal communities everywhere. A predominantly residential neighborhood that is situated in the southeast region of West Seattle. It spans from the north sides of Lincoln (http://bitly.com/fg1tR9) and Solstice parks (http://bitly.com/ebvIpG) to Roxbury Street, including a spine running down the coast along Marine View Drive. The northern half spans between Puget Sound and 35th Avenue SW.

History

Named after George Davidson's fianceé from Indiana, Ellinor Fauntleroy. John Adams, shortly after, acquired and developed 300 acres of land here. James Colman also bought up property, but more along the Fauntleroy Cove. He then recruited friends to come build summer cabins, which were eventually replaced by permanent homes. Adams, Colman and Edward Kilbourne then took action on developing Fauntleroy into a viable community, connected to the rest of West Seattle by streetcar. Fuantleroy Park (http://bitly.com/9kx6c2), on of Seattle’s few natural parks, was purchased from the Fenton family in 1972.

Demographics and Income

Families and couples in the prime of life, 30s & 40s predominantly, reside here. About a quarter of the population is comprised of singles, albeit wealthy ones. In fact, the average income for the entire neighborhood is well beyond the Seattle average. Caucasians make up the largest ethnic group, with a good percentage of couples, for Seattle, with children living at home - 22%.

Culture

A quiet environment, away from the hustle and bustle—apart, even from the congested pockets of semi-removed West Seattle. Two large parks, one with a beach front, means fitness and fun galore. Innovative people, wanting to keep a bit of distance from the crowd reside here. An obvious example is to locate the house across from the northern parking lot of Lincoln Park; a large, unique-looking wind turbine is erected in the front yard.

Real Estate

Fauntleroyians (if that can be said) have a passion for square footage. The largest percentage of homes are 1800 - 2400 sq. ft. Even the 2400 - 3600 sq. ft. homes comprise almost 22% of the neighborhood! Home ownership, obviously, is king. Renters, unfortunately, are a minority at 25%. Spacious, fancy homes due come with a cost, however. The recession has hit Fauntleroy especially hard with average house values dropping almost $200,000 since 2007!

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

Focusing nearby at the intersection of 45th Avenue and SW Wildwood Place, drives deep to the heart of Fauntleroy history. Formerly known as the end of the Fauntleroy Park streetcar route, this "end of the line" area is comically named "Endolyne". It features a couple of restaurants like Guadalajara (http://bitly.com/hvn1vz) and Endolyne Joe's (http://chowfoods.com/endolyne). In addition, for those interested in taking more time here, can stay at the Wildwood Bed and Breakfast (http://wildwoodseattle.com).

Residents, at least the ones with larger paychecks, can enjoy life on the water in the homes west of Marine View Drive. A sparsely populated location that proves one of the best getaways from city congestion without living hours away.

Schools

The Cove School (http://thecoveschool.com) is the only educational institution to speak of within Fauntleroy. The Cove is an independently owned and operated toddler preschool and pre-kindergarten. Their motto is to “discover each child’s genius.” Over a dozen other schools are located nearby in the Gatewood (http://bitly.com/dK5PGg) and Roxhill (http://bitly.com/e7Cls9) neighborhoods.

Recreation

To experience this community in all its glory is to frequent several locations, especially the natural beauty found here. Fauntleroy and Lincoln Parks have expansive wooded areas, especially in Fauntleroy Park. The plentiful picnic spaces, sports fields, playground, sidewalks, trails and gigantic Colman Pool (http://bitly.com/hrfUvT) on the beach sets Lincoln Park in a league of its own. Solstice Park, on the north side, features a p-patch, tennis court and some walking paths.

Need to get across the Sound and don't want to travel to the Seattle’s downtown terminal? The Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal (http://bitly.com/dVbs7H) whisks travelers to Vashon Island (http://vashonchamber.com) or Southworth (http://bitly.com/idxNA0). Just got engaged and looking for a unique Seattle-style venue for the big day? Check out the Hall at Fauntleroy (http://hallatfauntleroy.com) off of Barton Street. Mixing elegance and generous accommodations, this setting will not disappoint.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

Need an annual exam, for yourself or the kids? The best, and only, medical facility in Fauntleroy is the West Seattle Community Clinic (http://westseattlecommunityclinic.com). For dental work, the lone ranger dentist is Douglas E. Holmes DDS (http://bitly.com/gZKCj8).

Spiritual Centers and Churches

Moving on to spiritual health... Mars Hill Church: West Seattle Campus (http://westseattle.marshillchurch.org) is no doubt the premier congregation in the neighborhood. It is part of a network of several other campuses located around Puget Sound led by the infamous Mark Driscoll (http://marshillchurch.org/markdriscoll). Fauntleroy Church (http://fauntleroyucc.org), led by pastor David Kratz (http://bitly.com/hNHckB), have been fostering community among people of all races and cultures since 1908. Peace Lutheran Church (http://peacelutheranseattle.org) led by Pastor Erik Kindem (http://bitly.com/idOLsq). Peace is a multigenerational church with a focus on the ministry of reconciliation.

Transportation Access and Tips

Travel to downtown is simple, yet a bit lengthy with following Fauntleroy Way over the West Seattle Bridge. Travel to the airport is relatively short, with a distance of around ten miles. At times, making the trek over surface streets heading east may enable avoidance of the Bridge congestion. Driving east from Fauntleroy would give access to Highway 509 and 99, alternatives to Interstate 5 for north/south travel.

Summary

The community of Fauntleroy, gaining status by George Davidson’s marriage engagement over a century ago, continues to woo the people and culture of modern-day Seattle with not only the tranquility of its spacious parks, but also with the “off-the-grid” feel of the community at large.
Pros
  • Ferry terminal
  • Quiet environment
  • Close to Sea-Tac Airport
  • Good parks
Cons
  • Long work commutes to Downtown and Eastside
  • More expensive housing
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Sep 04, 2010

"The Quiet Pocket Of West Seattle"

Want a neighborhood close to the city with a slower pace of life? Arbor Heights is a community filled with quiet residences. Just as Key West (http://fla-keys.com/keywest) is the southernmost point in the continental U.S., Arbor Heights is the that for West Seattle (if not for all of Seattle). It is located south of Fauntleroy Park (http://bitly.com/9kx6c2), spanning between Marine View Drive and 30th Avenue. It runs south, as a wedge, to the Marine View Drive and 35th Avenue elbow.

Income and Demographics

The median income runs higher here than the Seattle average, especially in the western portion. The population has a vast majority of whites, sharply different from the other side of the Duwamish River http://bitly.com/9vZ9KQ). Driving east to west from White Center (http://bitly.com/cApUIh), one can notice large differences in both housing styles and income levels. Over 60% of residents are married, with around 26% having children at home. The largest age group is the 40s, many of which are high-earning nuclear families. Other power players in this neck of the woods are highly educated singles and DINKS (Double income - no kids).

Real Estate

Arbor Heights is almost completely zoned as a residential area, thus not many low-income units can be found. In fact, almost 99% of the home types are single family dwellings. Just 1.5% are condos. The percentage of homeowners here almost doubles that of the Seattle average. Home values, unlike other neighborhoods around Seattle, have inched up by a few thousand since the start of 2010. In fact, this growth is a stark contrast to Alki’s (http://bitly.com/dqX2GC) 15.6% drop in the last year. All this data and more can be found at Zillow (http://bitly.com/c9YNXE)

Culture

The location alone of Arbor Heights, one of the most southern-most neighborhoods in Seattle, clearly tells the story of its culture. The highly residential and predominantly white components shed further light on how residents will operate here. The most popular occupation, according to City Data http://bitly.com/9J0DeW), is management. These characteristics reveal the “sleepy” work-hours during the week and active weekends, with many residents seeking the solace of their own neighborhood and the other West Seattle recreational options.

Restaurants, Pubs and Coffee Houses

There is not much in the way of dining within this community. A drive to White Center or Genesee may be in order for that night away from dishes. A place much closer for emergency meals is Endolyne Joe's, located to the west of Fauntleroy Park on SW Wildwood Place and 45th Ave. For a simple meal, A Pizza Mart (http://bitly.com/duHZMA) is not a bad choice for unique pizza styles and flavors. It is located near SW Roxbury Street and 35th Avenue SW.

Shopping and other Amenities

A highlight of some of the businesses and services available in Arbor Heights: Lucky Break Wishbone Corporation (http://luckybreakwishbone.com) - Plastic wishbones to practice on, awaiting that tense Thanksgiving moment; Marina Music Service (http://marinamusic.com) - A plethora of big band jazz arrangements, books and recordings; Adaptive Installations (http://adaptiveinstallations.com) - All things considered renovations, especially for the handicapped and elderly; Brace Point Pottery (http://bracepointpottery.com) - The studio and showroom for Loren Lukens and James Brooke featuring bowls, vases, platters, teapots and more; and Spectrum Fine Woodworking - Specializing in authentic raised panel work.

Schools and Recreation Facilities

The premier (and only) elementary school is Arbor Heights Elementary (http://arborheights.com) - A K-5 facility with about 400 students, featuring the use of Kelso’s Choice (http://bitly.com/c86mQT). Outdoor recreation, at least locally within Arbor Heights, rests primarily on the coast or at Seola Park (http://bitly.com/dbTZaZ). The park mainly features woods and some views. On the north side of Seola is the Arbor Heights Swim Club (http://ahstc.com) - A great place to enroll your kids in swimming, diving, tennis, water polo or even synchronized swimming. Of course, Fauntleroy Park (http://bitly.com/9kx6c2) is essentially in Arbor heights, giving the option for a larger green space and even good hiking near home.

Medical Facilities

Unfortunately, there are not many, if at all, choices of medical offices within the boundaries of Arbor Heights. A few related businesses are: Puget Sound Medical - in the northwest corner, Bodysense (http://bodysenseinc.com) - Aromatherapy products, and What a Relief Vet Services - in the southern tip of the community.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

Many times, for any neighborhood, the significant gathering places are not only around business venues and political causes, but around spiritual convictions. Here are a few spiritual centers and churches: Kripa Yoga (http://kripayoga.com) - Swami Kripananda’s healing Yoga retreats, Church of Christ - West Seattle, Arbor Heights Community Church (http://arborheights.org), Hillcrest Presbyterian Church (http://hillcrestpca.wordpress.com), and New Apostolic Church (http://nacsea.org).

Access

The work commute may prove brutal for Microsoft (http://microsoft.com) employees and other east-side companies, but those who work downtown or in South Seattle may be more pleased with driving times. There is fairly direct access to Highway 509, with the exception of stop-and-go driving through White Center (http://bitly.com/cApUIh) each way. The average commute time, according to Zillow (http://bitly.com/d7D5QI) is around 30 minutes. The main arterials running through Arbor Heights are 35th Avenue, Marine View Dr. SW (Turns into 45th Ave SW), and SW 106th Street (Turns into SW 107th Street)—providing easy access to the other West Seattle neighborhoods and southern suburbs. Traveling by air is made easy with a mere ten mile drive to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (http://portseattle.org/seatac).

Summary

Whatever reason people find Arbor Heights appealing, whether it be quiet living, close proximity to the airport, gorgeous housing and vistas, or the appeal to live in West Seattle, this neighborhood is sure to please.
Pros
  • Quiet
  • Close to Sea-Tac Airport
  • Family-friendly
Cons
  • Limited dining options
  • Long work commutes to Downtown and Eastside
  • Limited shopping options
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
Sep 03, 2010

"A Beach Front Community With Plenty Of Options"

One of the most pleasant surprises in Seattle is the neighborhood of Alki. It's located west of North Admiral (http://bitly.com/9DJqH9) and Genesee (http://bitly.com/bEkdRh), except for a sliver that runs along the coast around the northern point of West Seattle. Alki is an exceptional beach community, complete with California-like activity along the waterfront. Many businesses, featuring open air lounging, are located along the strip from Alki Point (http://bitly.com/atWFmn), running northeast along Alki Avenue.

History

On November 13, 1851 the Denny Party (http://bitly.com/a8jklG) landed and built a small settlement. However, just months later, the location was abandoned for a more "ideal" spot on Elliott Bay. Only reachable by boat for years, development escalated in the latter half of the twentieth century towards the rise of the "resort-like" beach town that it is today.

Demographics and Income

Even though 50% of the population in Alki is composed of married couples, only 17.7% of homes have children residing in them. This is probably due to two factors: Couples with children who are grown and moved out of the house, and couples who have not yet had children or are not planning on having them. Almost exclusively White, Alki only has small percentages of Hispanic, Asian and other races. The average age is 41, with a composition of 15.8% male / 13.7% female. The median household income is significantly higher than Seattle's average, especially among families living around Cormorant Cove and to the south. The next highest income area is Alki Point, followed by the houses to the east.

Culture

Beach, beach, beach - the buzzword of this community. With the surrounding natural beauty, historic landmarks, and wide-selection of eating establishments, it's no wonder that tourists (local and international) find solace here. For obvious reasons, much of Alki culture is centered on the coast. Even when the winter climate settles in, activity is no less dynamic in Alki. Locals continue to flock to the cafes and restaurants that faithfully line the beach.

Real Estate

Median home prices have plummeted here, as they have around much of Seattle. The average value has decreased by over $150,000 since 2007. Over 50% of residents own their home, with the average house size being 1,570 square feet. Alki, realistically, would be an exception for West Seattle when it comes to housing prices, due to the high demand to settle here. The residential areas are primarily south and west of Schmitz Park. Many apartments and bungalows can be found along Alki Avenue, attracting younger demographics for the beach front living experience.

Restaurants, Pubs and Coffee Houses

Most of the businesses along Alki, which are primarily eating and drinking venues, can be found between Alki Point and 56th Avenue. Hot days bring a swell of tourists, especially on weekends, to the area to bask on the beach and enjoy open air dining. Some places to check out include Pegasus Pizza (http://pegasusonalki.com) - Pizza and sandwich restaurant based on the wild Greek Mythology horse, Phoenecia (http://phoeniciaseattle.com) - Award winning restaurant featuring small plates and artisanal pizza, Sunfish (http://bitly.com/aLQU0J) - Fish and chips, and Duke's Chowder House (http://bitly.com/cjStmH), Alki Bakery & Cafe (http://alkibakery.com), Pioneer Coffee (http://pioneercoffeeco.com), and The Celtic Swell (http://celticswell.com) - Irish pub and restaurant.

Schools and Recreation Facilities

Recreational areas in the Alki neighborhood are Me-Kwa-Mooks Park (http://bitly.com/c9e0Aa), Bar-S Playground (http://bitly.com/duFS7c), Commorant Cove (http://bitly.com/cYFZup), Alki Playground (http://bitly.com/9tpLAk) and Whale Tail Park (http://bitly.com/dyYZpw), and the viewpoint (of downtown Seattle) off of Harbor Avenue. A replica of the Statue of Liberty can be found at Alki Point. The lighthouse, which is still active today, adds to the aura of the coastal community.
Also, a monument, commemorating the discover of Seattle in 1851, proudly stands here.

An amazing experience to behold is to drive east, preferably riding a bike, from Alki Point. Take in the activity buzzing around the shops and waterfront, all the while being captured in this natural goldmine of beauty. Upon rounding Alki Avenue at the northernmost point, brace for the postcard view of downtown Seattle. A parking area at the most picturesque viewing point allows tourists to gaze to their heart's content.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

The allure of the beach, restaurants, coffee houses, and other venues that make this neighborhood a sought-after location, has not made Alki forget it's spiritual side. Three spiritual centers located here are: Alki United Church of Christ (http://alkiucc.org), Good News Ministries of Seattle (http://gnmos.com) and Kiwanis Club-West Seattle (http://kiwaniswestseattle.org).

Access

With all its glory, Alki can seem like the Utopia of Seattle. This is true on some levels, but realizing that any beautiful settlement has its share of challenges. One challenge in Alki, especially on the west side, is the commute to downtown. There is much ground to cover before reaching the West Seattle Bridge (http://bitly.com/bYearn). On weekends and during high tourist season, things can back up, especially on Alki Avenue. The bridge, for obvious reasons, remains the commuter's biggest nightmare at high traffic times. Heading south to avoid the bridge brings no less headache, having to navigate long arterial streets to access major highways like 99 and 509.

Summary

Despite the locational challenge of Alki for commuters, it is still a superb place to live and play. Many Seattleites make a day of their Alki visit, enjoying a quality stay-cation. Alki Beach can have colder temperatures with a brisk northerly wind. However, don't let this put a damper on your travel plans to enjoy a tropical-like destination in the Emerald City.
Pros
  • Unique dining choices
  • Beach-front recreation
  • Beautiful mountain and water panorama
Cons
  • Difficult parking during Summer months
  • Heavy traffic during Summer months
  • More expensive housing
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Sep 02, 2010

"A Diverse Seattle Experience"

Located just north of Interstate 90, between 12th Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way (MLK), having Yesler Way as the northern boundary—Atlantic has a healthy balance of professional and residential establishments, with affordable living and manageable commutes.

History

Atlantic is the northernmost neighborhood of the Rainier Valley, having come upon hard times beginning in the 1960s. The construction of Interstate 90 divided the neighborhood, took out many residential dwellings, and kept any new development at bay until the 1990s.

Demographics and Income

Diversity is the word here, with Blacks being the largest ethnicity, followed by Asians. Roughly 43% are married, with a median household income of $48, 622. The northwest corner of the neighborhood contains the lowest income households, with salaries hovering around $12,000. The median age is 38, with the largest percentage of the population in their 40s.

Culture

As can be imagined, with such a diverse representation of people, how the “feel” of this community impacts the Central District.

Real Estate

Home values have been rather erratic during 2010 for Atlantic, especially the last half of the summer. However, despite the wide swaths in the graph, values are up 4.6% from last year. The median house value is $340,000. Condos are the dwelling of choice, representing 40% of the market. Single family homes are a close second at 37%. Over 60% own their home, with a median size of 1,206 Sq. Ft. Current real estate values can be found at http://zillow.com.

Restaurants, Pubs and Coffee Houses

One of the highlights, besides Atlantic's population diversity, is the diversity in cuisine. Many of the restaurants are located on the west side near 12th. The selection ranges from BBQ to Ethiopian and from Mexican to Vietnamese. Here’s a sampling of eating establishments: Northshore Hawaiian BBQ (http://northshoreseattle.com)- Featuring a gigantic menu with a variety of dishes, Loving Hut (http://lovinghut.us) - Vegan cuisine to promote peace and preserve the planet, The Lemongrass (http://originallemongrass.com) - Authentic Vietnamese cuisine, and Hidmo (http://hidmo.org) - Eritrean cuisine with live African music on Sunday nights. Featured coffee houses are: SOHO Coffee Company (http://sohocoffeeco.com) - Featuring Stumptown (http://stumptowncoffee.com) blends and pastries from Macrina (http://macrinabakery.com), @cafe (http://atcafe716.com), and Starbucks (http://starbucks.com), of course. There, unfortunately, are no notable pubs within the confines of the neighborhood.

Schools and Recreation Facilities

Every well-established community features education systems that enable new generations to flourish. Atlantic has a handful of institutions worth noting: Gatzert Elementary (http://bitly.com/9zjxEV); King Street Cooperative Preschool (http://kingstreetcooppreschool.org) - A child-centered and play-based facility; Giddens School (http://giddensschool.org) - An independent preschool (through 5th grade) that features a diverse community steeped in social justice; Pratt Fine Arts Center (http://pratt.org) - Extending the visual arts experience to all, Seattle Vocational Institute (http://sviweb.sccd.ctc.edu) - Short term programs in the medical, dental, construction and computer fields; Anthony’s Beauty School (http://anthonybeautyschool.com); and Seattle Girls’ School (http://seattlegirlsschool.org) - A 5th through 8th grade middle school empowering young women to be leaders. A prominent landmark in the center is Judkins Park (http://bitly.com/a3Pvpg). It's attractive landscape features basketball and tennis courts, two baseball fields, and a soccer green. It also comes with a great play area and water fun for the kids. A few blocks north, beyond Jackson Street, is Pratt Park (http://bitly.com/cRSNVM). A similarly beautiful recreation area, but smaller. It features basket ball courts, a play area and more water fun for children.

Shopping and other Amenities

A variety of businesses, to meet any and all needs, are peppered around Atlantic. Here is a smattering: Viet Wah (http://vietwah.com) - Asian grocery importer, wholesale distributor, and retailer; Tru-Line (http://trulineseattle.com) - Boasting quality “under-car” repair for over 40 years; Lam’s Seafood Market (http://on.fb.me/d0Cqvu); Goodwill (http://seattlegoodwill.org) - A gigantic superstore featuring employee training; West Coast Printing (http://westcoastprinting.com) - Family-owned and operated, featuring multi-language printing; Densho (http://densho.org) - Preserves the testimonies of Japanese Americans who were ill-treated during World War II; Casa Latina (http://casa-latina.org) - Connects Latino immigrants to opportunities around Seattle; Sleeping Bulldog Bed and Breakfast (http://sleepingbulldog.com) - A modern home, featuring views and plush amenities; and Working Dog Bicycles (http://workingdogbicycles.com) - A focus on “Everyday Transportation.”

Medical Facilities

A few places to go for medical supplies or to get help with a condition do exist within the confines of the neighborhood. Here’s a few: Seattle Indian Health Board (http://sihb.org) - Organization that lobbies for Native Americans and their health care; King’s Pharmacy, on South Jackson; Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center, on Yesler; and Rehab Care (http://rehabcare.com) - Medical provider.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

Falling in line with the cultural diversity, the spiritual centers are no less homogenic. A few to highlight are: Seattle Koyasan Buddhist Temple (http://seattlekoyasan.com) - Representing the Shingon Sect of Japanese Buddhism, Seattle Buddhist Temple (http://seattlebetsuin.com) - The Jodo Shinshu tradition, Japanese Congregational Church (http://jccseattle.org) - The only bi-lingual Japanese-English church services in the city, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (http://stpeterseattle.org) - A church with Anglican roots, and Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church (http://myshilohmbclive.com).

Access

Cycling is common through Atlantic, especially with the Interstate 90 park (http://bitly.com/agYVQa) and tunnel close by. Hopping on either Interstate 5 or 90 couldn’t be more simple via Dearborn Street or Rainier Avenue, respectively. In addition, arterial streets, such as 23rd Avenue, Jackson Street and MLK, grant liberal passage in every direction. Backups, especially along Dearborn and Ranier are common during the high volume times. Despite the longer waits, commuting to work, especially to downtown, may take no longer than 20 minutes.

Summary

Proximity to downtown and rich cultural experiences await many here, resident and tourist alike. Lower housing costs are a draw for urban singles or international families. Atlantic is a good choice for those desiring an urban abode in Seattle, yet with East Side employment. Even when the reasoning for living here is close access to the beloved Mariners (http://seattle.mariners.mlb.com), Storm (http://wnba.com/storm) or Seahawks (http://seahawks.com)—no resident will be let down.
Pros
  • Access to interstate
  • Proximity to downtown
  • Unique dining choices
Cons
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Sep 02, 2010

"Seattle Public Housing At It's Finest"

At just 22 acres, Yesler Terrace is not one of the largest neighborhoods in Seattle. It occupies an area between Interstate 5 and Seattle University, found between James Street and Jackson Street. Deemed a public housing development, which is apparent, containing a vast array of ethnicities. Asians and Blacks win the prize for greatest numbers in the Terrace.

One claim to fame, Harborview Medical Center, has one of the best emergency services in Western Washington. There is not a day that goes by where Harborview is not mentioned in the news. Yesler butts up against Seattle University, the largest independent university in the Northwest.

A wide range of cuisine can be found along 12th Avenue, especially near Jackson. There is not a large presence of small businesses, but some creative companies, like Deuce Custom Bicycles near Yesler and 10th, are here.

Housing is not anything to brag about, obviously. On the bright side, the projects allow many residents to have their own yard. A high concentration of people live near the hospital. Close proximity to Capitol Hill and downtown are a plus, as well as quick access to the interstate.

Many find this neighborhood unattractive, but what must be realized are the rich heritages of its residents. Many, especially the Asians, fuel the restaurants and businesses that comprise the International District.
Pros
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Inexpensive housing
  • Close to acclaimed hospital
Cons
  • Project housing
  • Heavy traffic on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Hipsters
  • Students
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Aug 29, 2010

"A Neighborhood That's Been Knocked Down, But Not Knocked Out"

A neighborhood located south of Georgetown and Boeing Field, having its share of troubles. The most recent, as of June 30th, is the closure of the South Park Bridge on the north end of 14th Avenue. Others include a history of pollution from the surrounding industrial area, high crime rates, and very low property values.

South Park encompasses an area from the 1st Avenue Bridge to the Highway 99 interchange north of 96th Street. It is bounded by Highway 509 and the Duwamish River on the west and east, respectively. Access to downtown and Sea Tac International Airport remain easy, despite the closing of the bridge.

Much potential exists here with a deeper look. Since housing prices are low, there is potential for new blood. Some signs of this are occurring, but the growth may continue to be dampened due to reduced access from the bridge and crime rates. Hispanics are definitely finding solace here, with their population even leading the number of whites.

Homes not only reduced in value because of close proximity to industry, but also from the smaller sizes of the structures and properties. Single story, cracker box type homes typically line the streets. Unattractive apartment buildings are also quite common. Since the Hispanic population is generally less educated and fill the service-related careers, South Park offers an ideal entry into Seattle home ownership. Further evidence of the Hispanic settlement are the lie in the restaurant taste along 14th Avenue.

An attractive Community Center with a couple of baseball fields is located on 8th Avenue, south of Rose Street. This is further evidence of a community in transition, seeking to find and solidify its identity.

The economic value of this area, due to multiple industries located here, is high. These companies value the access to the waterway, airport and metropolitan area. The inexpensive labor and close proximity of the Hispanics provides job security on both sides.

The neighborhood of South Park may never make it to the top of Fodor's Travel Guide, but a different potential certainly exists here. For one, shaving the housing budget and commute time could make it into the top 10 for certain singles, couples or even families. Also, a quick "back-door" commute to Sea Tac is appealing. Those who have always wanted to settle in a Latino country but also wanted the perks of American living can finally calm their mental anguish. Discovering beauty and value in South Park is in the eye of the beholder.
Pros
  • Inexpensive housing
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Close to major airport
Cons
  • Limited shopping and other amenities
  • Divided by highway corridor
  • Industrial area
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Aug 28, 2010
Editors Choice

"A Desirable Land-Locked Slice Of Seattle"

Almost resembling a pizza slice, Stevens is one of the few land-locked urban neighborhoods. Fortunately, the lack of waterfront is made up with a generous selection of food establishments, large parks nearby, and easy access to downtown and the University.

Stevens lies between Interlaken Park and Madison Street. It also spans from 15th Avenue to Lake Washington Boulevard. The interior is generally residential, with numerous small businesses along 15th and Madison. The northern portion is very green, with Volunteer Park to the west and Interlaken occupying the top portion. The Arboretum is touched by Stevens on the northeast side, giving yet another recreation choice to residents.

Interlaken is a park that offers hiking and bike trails, also serving as the boundary with Montlake. Road cyclists will find clearly marked trails throughout the Stevens area, leading to either Lake Washington, the Arboretum, or the I-90 bridge.

South of Roy Street, on 15th Avenue, begins the march of restaurants, cafes, and pubs. Places like Samui Thai, Olympia Pizza, North Hill Bakery, Jamjuree, Hopvine Pub, Caffe Ladro, Coastal Kitchen, and Victrola Coffee & Art foster the Capitol Hill creativity.

The Coastal Kitchen is one of my favorite places to eat breakfast. You'll find hearty dishes, thick with traditional taste, and a Seattle-like diner ambiance. Both Caffe Ladro and Victrola Coffee will have you returning for more espresso and neighborhood submersion.

A wide variety of dancing experiences are captured at Dance Underground near Harrison and 15th. Whether for lessons or complete studio rental, the Underground can accommodate. The Group Health Capitol Hill campus occupies part of the west side, bringing convenient local health services.

After hitting Madison Street to the south, many more venues await exploration. Such places are Madison Market, El Gallito, Deano's, Crush (with Chef Jason Wilson), Bottleneck Lounge, Rover's, My Coffee House, and more.

For something off the beaten path, check out The Volunteer Park Cafe & Marketplace on 17th and Galer. This sit-down cafe fits seamlessly into the greener end of Stevens. They offer meals all day long, including a substantial wine menu. The prices are a bit steep, so it may not qualify for a daily hangout. Have some Hebrew roots? Enroll your children in the Seattle Hebrew Academy a block away.

A gorgeous landmark not to miss is the Holy Names Academy on Aloha and 22nd. I'm always in awe of this architecture each time I turn the corner and ride up the hill on my bike. After taking in the structural wonder, head around the corner to Fuel Coffee for further reflection. Continue to bask in the creative housing styles within the community. There are just not two homes alike.

So much more could be said for this neighborhood. It's truly Capitol Hill living at its finest. Even though waves are not lapping the feet of Stevenites, they can truly boast in the quality and amount of eating and drinking establishments at their doorstep.
Pros
  • Great restaurants
  • Beautiful parks
  • Active nightlife options
Cons
  • High traffic on arterial streets
  • Land-locked
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Aug 24, 2010

"Factories Are Not The Only Thing Here"

The Industrial District definitely lives up to its name. However, there are also pockets of pleasure which will be discussed shortly. First, let's look at the location. The "District" extends from Safeco field (http://atmlb.com/eLaw2E) in the north to South Lucile Street in the south. The Duwamish Waterway (http://bitly.com/9vZ9KQ) and Interstate 5 hem it in from the west and east.

History

Dredged and filled at the beginning of the 20th century, the Industrial District quickly became home for many companies. In 1905 the Seattle Box Company (http://seattlebox.com) claimed the southeast corner of 4th Avenue S and S Spokane Street. Sears (http://sears.com) had a building constructed for their catalog distribution center in 1912. Starbucks (http://starbucks.com), however, now occupies that structure as of 1997. The District, unfortunately, is built upon mudflats and landfill. This is highly prone to earthquake shaking, which can cause extensive damage, giving corporations unease when considering their holdings in this neighborhood.

Demographics and Income

Surprisingly, a middle and upper-middle class area. The racial spread is highly diverse, with a predominance of singles and DINKS (Double Income No Kids). About half are married, with 17% having children at home. The age distribution is most dense in the 30s and 40s. The median household income is almost $12,000 higher than the Seattle average.

Culture

Everyone has a nickname, right? Well, so does the Industrial District. Probably more distinctive of the northwest portion of the area. It's name, "SoDo", is short for SOuth of DOwntown. The neighborhood is not for the faint of heart—a collective of artsy, hardworking souls find solace in this factory-clad community.

Real Estate

Another feature, maybe not so welcome, in the District is extensive railways for freight and passenger trains. The noise level here is one that would not be pleasant for residents. Few residential areas exist, except for some apartment buildings on the north or south side of the District. Over fifty percent own their square footage, staying vested in the area.

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

Numerous industries, as we know, are housed here. Another large facility is the 833rd Transportation Battalion on the Duwamish. It's purpose is to ship, clear for customs, and track Department of Defense cargo. Another company, maybe a bit more familiar, is Starbuck's (http://starbucks.com). Their corporate offices are located on the corner of South Lander Street and Utah Avenue S. It's hard to miss with their emblem affixed on the tower. A friend of mine works at this location and told me that this building used to have the largest office space west of the Mississippi. Yes, there's even a Starbuck's Cafe inside of the headquarters.

The artistic bent does not leave the choice of restaurants wanting: Pyramid Breweries (http://pyramidbrew.com) - Featuring year-round beers, rotating seasonals and a few unique offerings; Mac’s Smokehouse (http://bitly.com/gko4Tu) - An authentic barbecue rib taste experience; Cucina De Santis (http://bitly.com/ftZOoP) - A family owned business that cooks every Italian dish fresh; Pho Cyclo Cafe (http://phocyclocafe.com) - Authentic Vietnamese food with a Vietnam-encapsulating experience; El Camion (http://elcamionseattle.com) - Authentic Mexican, out of a trailer; SoDo Pizza (http://sodopizza.com) - Affordable and delicious pizza with delivery; Banzai Sushi (http://banzai-sushi.com) - Professional sushi chefs using only the choicest local ingredients; and Hudson (http://hudsonseattle.com) - A horsehoe bar and coffee parlor serving lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

Along 1st Avenue South are almost an incalculable number of businesses, with many tending to be supply warehouses for local companies. A few of these include: Alafair Antique & Estate Co. (http://alafairantiques.com) - Specialize in collecting antiques from estate sales and collectors; SoDo Hydro (http://sodohydro.com) - Watering supplies for indoor gardening; Surplus Too Army Navy (http://surplustoo.com) - Surplus, working clothes, camping gear and more; The Showbox (http://showboxonline.com/sodo) - The 2nd addition to the Showbox family, opened in 2007 featuring attractive woodwork, brick design, and production capabilities; Metropolitan Appliance (http://metropolitanappliance.com) - Family owned for the last 60 years, enabling you to extend the life of your appliances; Esquin Wine Merchants (http://esquin.com) - Specializing in local wines from the Puget Sound region; Radar Hair & Records (http://radarhairandrecords.com) - Get your hair done [cut, color, style] and shop for vintage products; Island Life (http://island-life.com) - Purveying all things cool from across the globe; Island Dog Sign Company (http://islanddogsigns.com) - Seattle’s innovative and contemporary graphics and signage company; Ecohaus (http://ecohaus.com) - Green building supplies; Daniel Smith Art Supplies (http://danielsmith.com) - High quality art supplies for every need; Naked Juice Company (http://nakedjuice.com) - Natural, organic juices that grew out of a vision 20 years prior; and the Fonte Coffee Roaster (http://fontecoffee.com) - The roasting center for high end coffee beans served in the Fonte coffee bars.

Accommodations

One hotel, honestly, is worth mentioning. The others are for those who end up on the streets or if it’s the last opportunity for shelter in a nuclear holocaust. The single-handed overnight winner is The Silver Cloud Hotel ~ Stadium (http://bitly.com/fl2uYe) - A 100% non-smoking hotel directly across from Safeco Field and next to Qwest Field and event center (http://qwestfield.com).

Schools

If you don’t mind a little background machine/train/traffic noise during learning time, then SoDo schools are for you: Pacific Maritime Institute (http://mates.org) - The leader in maritime training with courses for any level; Art Wolfe’s Fine Art Prints (http://artwolfe.com) - Featuring photography from the world’s disappearing habitats; and Gracie Barra Seattle (http://bjjseattle.com) - The premier Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in the Seattle metropolitan area.

Recreation

The Arena Sports Seattle Soccer Club (http://arenasports.net) is located on Highway 99 near the Battalion. They have a full schedule of league play for all ages. Other places of leisure, broadly speaking, are: The Vertigo Club (http://thevertigoclub.com) - Seattle’s only 1920s vintage private cigar club; Emerald City Trapeze (http://emeraldcitytrapeze.com) - A place where anyone can learn the art of trapeze flying; and Barron Bicycles (http://baronbicycles.com) - Custom built bikes for any taste.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

A good start to this tour is Dr. Denel’s Naturalpathy (http://doctordenel.com) - Whatever the non-emergency issue, it can begin traditional/natural diagnosis here; Seattle Therapy Network (http://seattle-therapy-network.com) - Creating community through pediatric occupational and physical therapy; and Quest Diagnostics (http://questdiagnostics.com) - A leading force in testing diagnostics.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

One thing forgotten (or not realistic to have) in the Industrial District are spiritual centers. Don’t worry if your soul aches for nourishment, because surrounding neighborhoods can satisfy with their established institutions.

Transportation Access and Tips

A commuter’s dream... Access to Interstate 5, Interstate 90, Highway 99, Highway 509, the West Seattle Bridge, and arterial streets into downtown. Unfortunately, there are not more people living within the neighborhood to enjoy this plethora of transportation platforms. One last downside to street driving: trucks, and lots of them. During high traffic times, many cyclists can be seen riding on Marginal Way or even 1st Avenue.

Summary

Even though this "neighborhood" isn't a place too many choose to call home, it still provides space to large companies and transit that are the backbone of Seattle. Take a drive through and find a spot to eat while learning about the service side of Puget Sound.
Pros
  • Inexpensive housing
  • Unique dining options
  • Good access to Interstate and major highways
Cons
  • Noisy environment
  • Multiple industrial sites
  • Heavy traffic on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Aug 24, 2010

"The Community On Greenbelt Hill"

If it snowed more often in Seattle, Riverview would be one ideal place to sled. Well, maybe not. Anyway, they bear the infamous "Boeing Hill" that acts as a divider between West Seattle and the Eastern Industrial District, Georgetown, and Boeing's facility.

The neighborhood is hemmed in by Delridge Way SW, West Marginal Way SW, Highland Park Way SW, SW Holdent St., and Dumar Way SW. It is comprised of a residential area, Puget Park, Riverview Playfield, and South Seattle Community College.

Residents may enjoy some of the best access to the "real world" by way of the West Seattle Bridge and heading down the "hill" to Highways 99 and 509. Another perk is being so close to the South Seattle Community College. The college is one of four institutes around the city that enable thousands to begin work on a degree and eventually transfer into a four-year campus.

Recreation and green space are a large portion of this community. Puget Park, in the northeast, is 159 acres of woods and trails. It is part of the West Duwamish Greenbelt, the largest in the city. This place is easily seen from Interstate 5, when looking west before the curve to Boeing Field. Riverview Playfield, to the southeast, is the developed green space with basketball, tennis, soccer and baseball facilities. It also has a play area for the kids.

On the east side of Boeing Hill lies an industrial area, next to the Duwamish Waterway. The Duwamish Bikeway runs alongside West Marginal Way, which eventually connects up with 1st Avenue for access into downtown.

There is not a lot of small business activity in Riverview, except what is shared with Delridge and High Point to the west. An establishment at the college for wine enthusiasts is The Wine and Spirit Archive, featuring a creative team team that teaches everything related to this art.

This neighborhood boasts many large advantages, minus the small businesses that make for building more concrete community. It's close access to Boeing and SoDo are a plus, giving good reason to live here.
Pros
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Good parks
  • Access to major highways
Cons
  • Limited shopping and other amenities
  • Large industries (East side)
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Aug 23, 2010

"A Residential Area With Great Restaurants and Night Life"

The neighborhood of Genesee in West Seattle is bordered by 52nd Ave SW on the west side, SW Edmunds St. on the south side, Fauntleroy Way SW and the West Seattle Bridge on the east side, and SW Charleston St. on the north side.

History

Not much is written up on Genesee’s background, but a more broad view of West Seattle’s beginnings is located here http://bitly.com/gP4tFZ.

Demographics and Income

The percentage of homes containing children (28%) shatters the Seattle average of 18.7%. This draws down the average age of the neighborhood to 36. The elderly, in fact, are in the minority in Genesee. Even though Whites are currently the largest racial demographic, a growing number of Hispanic and Asians are not to be overlooked. The wealthier sector, the six-figure salaried families, primarily reside in the area south of Schmitz Park (http://bitly.com/dV6baR) on the western edge. The lower income families are on the south side, in between Fauntleroy Way and California Avenue.

Culture

This part of West Seattle is very residential. The advantage, once again, is being a stone's throw from the hustle and bustle. Also, because of the bridge separation from the industry and heavy South Seattle traffic, residents here enjoy relatively serene conditions.

Real Estate

Spacious accommodations abound, by Seattle standards, in Genesee, with almost 50% of dwellings ranging from 1400 to 2400 sq. ft. Roughly 65% of residents own their homes, most of which are single-family type structures. Home values have dropped, as is the case in almost every Seattle community, but not quite as sharply—unlike the case in Alki (http://bitly.com/dqX2GC).

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

The main hub of activity, as is the case with North Admiral, is along California Avenue SW. Many small businesses and restaurants line this main artery that divides West Seattle in two. The heaviest concentration of business lies south of Genesee St. Here is a running list of a few you can check out while in the area...

Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (http://hotwirecofee.com)- A cute little cafe run by a lady named Lora who has a creative approach to coffee and business. She has a couple of computer on site in case you don't have your laptop. The coffee (7 Roasters - http://7roasters.wordpress.com) is roasted by a good friend of mine. Spring Hill Restaurant & Bar (http://springhillnorthwest.com) - An architecturally creative venue with gourmet cooking. Red Cup Espresso (http://redcupespresso.com) - Great coffee from Roast House and electricity through their roof-installed solar panels. Shoofly Pie Company (http://shooflypiecompany.com) - Family owned bakery with handmade pies and other delicacies. Shadowland (http://shadowlandwest.com)- Dinner spot and night club with live music. Brunch is even served here on the weekends. Azuma Sushi (http://azumasushiseattle.com) - Great Japanese cuisine. Maharaja West Seattle (http://maharajawestseattle.com) - Top rated Indian Cuisine that's open late. Cupcake Royale (http://cupcakeroyale.com) - Tasty cupcakes and coffee. My wife and I really like this place. Easy Street Records (http://easystreetonline.com) - An amazing record store, coffee shop and diner all in one!

Some other places to check out within Genesee include West Seattle Bowl (http://westseattlebowl.com) near SW Oregon St. and Fauntleroy Way. Charlestown Street Cafe (http://charlestownchowder.com), at SW Charleston St. and California Ave, features tasty New England Clam Chowder. Seattle Fish Company (http://seattlefishcompany.com) bring fresh wild fish direct to your door. Coffee to a Tea (http://sugarrushbakingcompany.com) is a full feature coffee bar and bakery. Edie’s (http://ediesshoes.com) carries quality shoes for men and women. Curious Kidstuff (http://curiouskidstuff.com) carries non-violent toys, books, music art and other treasures.

Schools

Education and Genesee have a good relationship. This is confirmed by the presence of several quality schools: Tilden School (http://tildenschool.org) - Individualized K-5 education with a stimulating, nurturing atmosphere for experimentation; West Seattle Christian Preschool (http://bitly.com/esLLfL) - A non-discriminatory educational environment for three and four year olds; West Side Music Academy (http://westsidemusicacademy.com) - Offering a variety of private instrumental and vocal lessons; Kumon (http://kumon.com) - An after-school math and reading enrichment program; Seattle Lutheran High School (http://seattlelutheran.org) - Student-centered learning environment that empowers individuals to make and implement choices that reflect ther highest calling; Holy Rosary School (http://holyrosaryws.org) - West Seattle’s oldest Catholic school; and Pathfinder K-8 School (http://bitly.com/eOA43f) - Focusing on expeditionary learning, integrating outdoor education and field work.

Recreation

Regarding outdoor recreation, Genesee is a bit limited compared to her West Seattle counterparts. However, with that said, Ercolini Park (http://bitly.com/g0hpyn) had a total makeover a couple of years ago and boasts a great play area for kids. The West Seattle Recreation Center (http://bitly.com/gKpb5p) is just to the east, featuring a golf course (http://premiergc.com/west-seattle.php) and in-city camping (http://bitly.com/fadFa0). Mountain Madness (http://mountainmadness.com) - Organizing expeditions to various climbing locations, near and far.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

Stay on California Avenue, when it comes to health care, and all is well. The reason why? Look here: Sound Associates Hearing Aid Centers (http://seattlehearingaid.com) - Active in local community services to educate on hear loss and helping people discover the right hearing aids since 1958; West Seattle Physical Therapy (http://therapeuticassociates.com) - A physical therapist-owned and operated partnership of clinics; West Seattle Foot & Ankle Clinic (http://wsfac.net) - Highest degree of foot and ankle care, treating patients as a whole since 1979; West Seattle Dental Center (http://westseattledentalcenter.com) - Skilled at treating patients from all dental backgrounds, toward improved dental health; and Smiles by Bond (http://smilesbybond.com) - Offering 21 years experience with cosmetic surgery, implant dentistry, family dentistry and more.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

One thing Genesee is not devoid of are choices for spiritual nourishment. Most spiritual centers are within a couple of blocks of California Avenue. Here is a list: West Side Presbyterian Church (http://wspc.org) - A church that powerfully seeks to build community among its diverse congregation; Tibbetts United Methodist Church (http://tibbettsumchurch.org) - A non-threatening environment, brimming over with diversity and holding the promise of spiritual renewal; First Lutheran Church of West Seattle (http://flcws.org) - Led by Reverend Ronald F. Marshall (http://flcws.org/Pastor.htm) and part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; West Seattle Baptist Church (http://wsbc.qwestoffice.net) - Boasting a near 100 year history, but more passionate about the future of its impact; West Seattle Christian Church (http://westseattlechristian.org) - 3 part philosophy: Engage yourself, engage others and engage the world; Calvary Chapel West Seattle (http://calvarychapelwestseattle.com) - Started in 1995 by a few who wanted a Bible teaching evangelistic church in West Seattle; and Skate Church (http://theskatechurch.net) - A youth group ministry affiliated with the adult counterpart: The Journey of Faith (http://bitly.com/fubtUO).

Transportation Access and Tips

If the West Seattle Bridge always remained congestion-free, then commuting to/from Genesee would be quick and painless. Setting aside the Utopia—morning and afternoon commutes can be downright brutal. The neighborhood lies far enough north, that heading south to access 509 and 99 is counter-productive. It is best to bring that audio book or tune in to that favorite radio station, because bumper-to-bumper traffic is commonplace for anyone seeking to reach downtown Seattle. Local exploring, within West Seattle, can be a different story. Arterial streets such as Fauntleroy, 35th Avenue, and California Avenue allow the major destinations to be reached. An easy-to-navigate grid of side streets bring short-term relief to escape higher volume traffic in the morning and late afternoon.

Summary

As mentioned earlier, the residential aspect shines here. I can attest to this, having friends in the northern part of Genesee. It was a treat to experience their quiet setting, with quick access to amenities along the main arterial streets. Weekend warriors shall find plenty to do without heading back into the city. Great restaurants and pubs, open late, serve to keep locals and visitors content for years to come.
Pros
  • Excellent cafes
  • Family-friendly
  • Great nightlife
  • Quiet environment
  • Unique dining choices
Cons
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
  • Limited accommodations
  • Long work commutes to Downtown and Eastside
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Aug 22, 2010

"A Neighborhood For Young Professionals With More Than Minor Degrees"

The neighborhood of Minor encompasses an area that is easily defined, unusual for many Seattle communities. It lies neatly inside a triangular-rectangle bordered by 12th Avenue South, East Madison Street, 23rd Avenue and East Yesler Way.

The Swedish Medical Center-Cherry Hill Campus (http://bitly.com/eljSM3) is the fulcrum point of Minor, with the eastern section of Seattle University (http://seattleu.edu) next door. The Seattle Science Foundation (http://seattlesciencefoundation.org) is on the Swedish grounds as well.

There are dozens of embedded businesses, restaurants and coffee shops, with most of them around the perimeter. One of my favorite places to get coffee is Stumptown Coffee Roasters (http://bitly.com/f0HcuT) near E. Spring St. and 12th Ave. A very unique shop, which is apparent from the seating. It features benches and then foot stool-like seats for the other half of your party. A lower level with an extremely large roasting facility allows you to grab a seat at the bar to watch them cup or train other baristas. Oh, by the way, the coffee tastes great too. A great music venue around the corner is Chop Suey (http://chopsuey.com), on Madison. A lot of great bands featured on KEXP (http://kexp.org) play here. Making our way northeast on Madison, we find places like Piecora’s New York Pizza (http://piecoras.com) which has been around for over 25 years. Madison Market (http://madisonmarket.com) sells delicious natural and organic food.

Turning and heading down 23rd Avenue brings us to the Seattle Film Institute (http://seattlefilminstitute.com), a prestigious institution helping students grow in cinematography skills. In way of fast food joints, check out Ezell's Famous Chicken (http://ezellschicken.com) near Jefferson St.

Looking to the south side, SOHO Coffee Company (http://sohocoffee.blogspot.com) and Home of Good Bar-B-Que (http://bitly.com/efrmqx) are a couple of places not to miss. Edwin T. Pratt Park (http://1.usa.gov/gYPZs0) is a good sized green space with play equipment and a wading pool for the kids. It also has a couple of basketball courts.

On 12th Avenue we find Saba Ethiopian Cuisine (http://sabacuisine.com) near Fir Street. A few blocks north is another Ethiopian restaurant, Blue Nile Ethiopian (http://bitly.com/f3hRbU). For some tasty Haitian cuisine visit Waid's Caribbean Restaurant (http://bitly.com/fVWUYn) near Jefferson St. Inside the Seattle University Campus, enjoy the Watertown Coffee and Saloon (http://watertowncoffee.com - A coffee shop by day, a saloon by night). For some great Italian food head to Ti Amo Pizza & Pasta (http://tiamopizza.com) north of Cherry St. More Ethiopian awaits at Kokeb Ethiopian (http://kokebrestaurant.com), north of Columbia St. Coming up to Spring Street, be sure to set an evening aside at the Lark (http://larkseattle.com). This is a unique place to dine with a menu that will continue to keep your taste buds guessing. Finally, Cafe Presse (http://cafepresseseattle.com) will satisfy that romantic side, serving authentic French Cuisine.

City Park (http://1.usa.gov/gO8Sxi), near the northern edge of the neighborhood, has more greens and play areas for the kids. For some refreshment nearby, check out Tougo Coffee (http://tougocoffee.com) on 18th Avenue. To experience Seattle's only dine-in theater (http://central-cinema.com), head to the corner of Union and 21st Avenue.

The majority of Minor, besides the land occupied by the hospital and university, is predominantly residential. This makes for a degree of peaceful existence so close to the urban core. Besides numerous residential streets, there are a number of churches (old and new) and spiritual centers in the community.

The majority of residents are under age 40 and single, making this neighborhood prime for new transplants and graduates from the University of Washington (http://washington.edu). Also, having Seattle University located here drops the number of gray-haired people to a minimum. The predominance of office jobs held by the population is indicative that many men and women work in the financial district of the city or at Swedish Hospital (http://swedish.org). The crime rate here might be a step higher than other young neighborhoods because of it's closer proximity to the Central District.

Despite the challenges, Minor is still a hip place to live and holds incredible resources not only for its own residents, but the entire city.
Pros
  • Great medical facilities
  • Good nightlife options
  • Close to downtown
Cons
  • Heavy traffic
  • Difficult parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Aug 22, 2010

"The Original Seattle Downtown With Secrets In Its Basement"

If you were a tourist to Seattle about 100 years ago and had someone direct you to the town center, they would have brought you to Pioneer Square. Before you tipped them and sent them on their way, they would have been sure to point out the tallest building west of the Mississippi, Smith Tower.

Now, fast forward to 2010 and keep the same scenario. Smith Tower would still look impressive, but its glory would quickly fade as the 76 floor Columbia Tower comes into view to the northeast. Quite a few of the buildings look similar as they did in the last century, but Qwest Field (to the south) would certainly be a surprise.

The boundaries of the neighborhood generally extend from South Royal Brougham Way north to Cherry St. From west to east it stretches from Puget Sound to 4th Ave, except above Yesler where it reaches to the interstate. The neighborhood area is somewhat fluid as there is debate over where the edges of the community fall.

Let's start our tour of Pioneer Square from the south...

As I mentioned, it's hard to miss Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks Football Team. The stadium and northern parking lot account for several city blocks. Major thoroughfares extending from the south (Looking West to East) are Alaskan Way, the Viaduct, 1st Ave South, and 4th Ave South. Occidental Ave South runs north/south along the west side of the stadium, connecting South Royal Brougham Way to South King St. Anything west of Alaskan Way and the Viaduct is industrial. There are some businesses that run along Occidental, many being sports-related. The Triangle Pub off of 1st Ave South is a very large place to grab a pint and good food. Make sure, however, you avoid coming here before or after game time or you could be waiting awhile for your seat.

North of the stadium parking lot is where urban living kicks in. The historic King Street Train Station is to the east. Quite a few coffee shops and restaurants greet you in the first city block, mainly drawing business off travelers and sports fans. Some of these venues include Zeitgeist Kunst & Kafee, Cafe in the Court, Tiki Bob's Cantina, King Street Bar & Oven, Starbucks, Tully's and Beba's Deli.

Moving now to the area between South Jackson and South Main St, you encounter the beginning of Pioneer Square-esque landscape with a jaunt down the historic Occidental Avenue pathway. It might feel as if you just stepped back into the 1920's for a few minutes, especially with the art galleries on the west side of the street. Again, quite a few venues in this chunk of the neighborhood, but one that I especially like is Elliot Bay Books & Cafe. A delightful place to go when you want to go unnoticed for a time. Browse the generous book supply upstairs, then descend to the basement for a quality cup and pastry. They might even let you take that enticing book to the cafe (Because you're surely not going to buy it with a price of $75).

The next section is the hot spot. You now enter more green space with Occidental Park on the west side and Waterfall Garden Park (The former site of the original UPS facility) on the east side. These two areas are a breath of fresh air for any professional, tourist, family, etc. Sit and listen to the soothing, yet powerful 20 foot waterfall or just pick a spot to read that expensive book you threw on your credit card (You felt bad returning it, so you just bought it). Just a couple of days ago, President Obama visited and had lunch at the Grand Central Bakery on 1st Ave South. Head west past the Alaskan Way Viaduct and encounter the Port of Seattle. Anything that comes in or out of the city is monitored here. Note to cyclists: On the far east side, towards the interstate, you'll find Bikestation Seattle, where you can securely store your bike while downtown.

Now, head up to the section of Pioneer Square between South Washington St. and Yesler Way. In addition to numerous companies and small businesses, you'll continue to find great places to eat like New Orleans Creole, Last Supper Club, Merchants Cafe, and Tat's Delicatessen. Does your sweet tooth like to lead you, then step in Cow Chip Cookies to savor their mouthwatering creations. Looking to the east side features the Pioneer Square Community Association, where you can get connected to local neighborhood folks and events. Evidence of Seattle's Judicial System become evident with various law-related establishments.

The last section of the neighborhood is from Yesler Way to roughly Cherry Street (Which runs diagonally from 1st Avenue to I-5). You'll notice the architecture becomes less early 20th century and begins to blend with the modern. This is especially true as you head to the northeast towards the King County Jail. If you're called to jury duty, you would report to the municipal court near 5th and James St. Look up, because you're in the shadow of the tallest building in Seattle, the Columbia Tower. Heading southwest, away from the justice area, you'll come to the region that houses the Smith Tower and a cluster of restaurants. One place of interest here is the Underground Tour where you can go back in time by actually venturing underneath the streets to see evidences of the old Seattle. Essentially, the modern downtown as we know it has been built upon this older area. So, for three hours, you'll be whisked to different secret locations to hear secrets about the past. One final place that may interest you is the Vashon Passenger Ferry Walk and Pier 50 to take you to West Seattle or Vashon Islnd. You'll need to cross Alaskan Way on Yesler to access this.

Well, I hope that has given you some idea of the Pioneer Square experience. The best way, of course, is to just submerge yourself in this rich neighborhood and see what you run into. It is difficult to describe the experience in writing, so get your map and walk the streets of this place that has so many hints of the Emerald City's childhood.
Pros
  • NFL Football stadium
  • Amtrak station
  • Interesting landmarks
Cons
  • Limited parking
  • Can be crowded
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • 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
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Aug 21, 2010

"To The University District With Love"

The University District is home to the Dawgs, otherwise known as the University of Washington (UW). Businesses and student housing abound, as one would expect around a world renowned campus.

It's hard to know where to begin with such a large, densely populated area. The neighborhood spans west to east from Interstate 5 to 20th Ave NE, except on the main campus. The northern and southern boundaries are NE 65th St and the waterfront of Portage Bay and Union Bay, respectively. Several areas can be highlighted in this student collective. However we'll start with the most traveled, the main campus and "The Ave" (University Avenue NE).

The UW campus occupies the southwest portion. Students have the privilege of walking through an area resembling a nature preserve to attend classes. Heavy foliage borders the northern edge, with generous pines and other varieties interspersed throughout. There is quite a network of roads and pathways weaving between structures and buildings. Red Square and Drumheller Fountain are gathering areas between and after classes. Be careful driving through campus, not only due to immense foot traffic, but because roads may not lead where you would expect. The central academic area is contained between 15th Avenue NE and Montlake Blvd NE, with structures spilling over to the south and southwest. The intramural and sports facilities are to the southeast, with Husky Stadium towering near the water.

Moving on to University Avenue, otherwise known as "The Ave", brings the heart of business and social establishments. Places like the Blue Dog Kitchen, Varsity Theater, Dante's Bar and Night Club, The Wannabee, Big Time Brewing, Jewel of India, and many others. There are more independent coffee shops along here and around campus than you could visit in a month. There is no shortage of things to do, especially at night. My wife and I, while on a Sunday night date, had to leave downtown Seattle to come here just to find good restaurants that were open, with a wide variety of eats.

Looking beyond, more businesses line NE 45th St (The main east-west arterial), including the Blue Moon Tavern. This tavern is a Seattle icon and a hotbed for social craziness. Trabant Coffee and Chai is a very spacious coffee house closer to campus with good coffee and fast wi-fi. Also nearby are a movie theater, Trader Joe's, Performance Bike Shop and the list goes on and on. The UW Tower (Tallest building in the area) is along 45th as well. The largest video store on the West Coast, Scarecrow Video, stands on Roosevelt Avenue. If you can't find it on Netflix or at Blockbuster, Scarecrow will have it.

The UW police station and a superb bike shop, Recycled Cycles, are hidden down on Boat Street by the Lake Washington Ship Canal. The bike shop is unique, in that it offers bins of used components and parts for the cyclist on a budget. The Burke-Gilman bike trail passes just north of here, so the shop often attracts people in the middle of their ride (including Yours Truly).

There is easy access to downtown via the University Bridge. The Montlake Bridge heads towards Highway 520 or Capitol Hill, and 45th and 50th Streets can access Interstate 5. Another arterial route is 15th Avenue, which runs north-south.

The University Village Shopping Center is on the northeast side of campus, with attractive "open-air" stores. The streets directly north of the university are lined with Fraternities and residential housing, filled mainly with students and faculty. More housing lies to the northwest, though not quite as serene (especially on the west side of Roosevelt Way).

Ravenna Park, or half of it, lies in the U-District to the north. It is a 50 acre park with a wooded ravine and several amenities, including a play area, tennis court, wading pool, paths and sporting fields. Another "park" lies on the west side, next to the interstate. The University Playfield, as it's called, is around three acres and features a play area, tennis court, and sporting fields.

Some events that mark the neighborhood's uniqueness are the street fair in May and farmer's market. This was the first market to hit Seattle, which continues to be the largest local farmers event.

Even though the University District predominantly contains students, many in the Seattle community flock here for its diverse options in restaurants, music venues and small businesses. I personally have spent many hours in this neighborhood, including time spent writing reviews.
Pros
  • A plethora of diverse restaurants
  • Active nightlife
  • Bicycle friendly
Cons
  • Limited parking
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Aug 14, 2010

"Panorama, Virgin Forest, And Quality Venues"

The public face of West Seattle, with stunning views of the downtown skyline (http://bitly.com/h9PPmC) from its coastline and a resort-like feel around the perimeter. Virtually shaped like an arrowhead, North Admiral has a massive residential area. Hemmed in on the south by SW Charleston Street. The western boundary is 56th Ave SW (more or less).

The main arterials are Admiral Way through the interior, Harbor Avenue and Alki Avenue along the coast and California running north and south through the center. It's along these routes, obviously, that most of the restaurants and businesses operate.

A couple of venues to note are Salty's On Alki (http://saltys.com/seattle), an elegant steak and seafood restaurant with glorious views of the skyline. Just up the coast from Salty's is Alki Kayak Tours (http://kayakalki.com) where you can take classes and go on kayaking tours. If you have enough experience, you can rent a kayak for an unguided experience. Being near the trails and beaches, they also rent out skates, bikes and long boards. The Water Taxi (http://1.usa.gov/eB0IMN) route to downtown Seattle (http://bitly.com/fwXJkP) is nearby too, especially if you want to avoid the West Seattle Bridge (http://bitly.com/bYearn) congestion and let someone else drive.

Superb pubs and dining are found deeper into Admiral, including Admiral Pub (http://admiralpubseattle.com) - In existence for 22 years with superb entertainment and free WiFi, Elliot Bay Brewery & Pub (http://bitly.com/gE8WbS) - Co-owned by Todd Carden and Brent Norton since July 1997, Circa Ale House (http://circawestseattle.com) - A wide variety of drinks and food dishes, Mission (http://missionbar.com) - Latin cuisine and bar with late hours and facility rentals, and Palin Thai Cuisine (http://pailinthai.com) - Boasts of a cozy and exquisite environment, and the Bohemian.

The coffee establishments include Starbucks (http://sbux.co/fPrNgs), Freshy's (http://freshyscoffee.com) - A place ‘more comfortable than your living room’ with ‘garage sale’ like events and even box lunches for large events, and Alki Mail and Dispatch (http://alkimail.com) - The one-stop location for mailing, WiFi, coffee and copies. The latter, a creative meshing of a cafe and mail room. An uncrowded landing area in the back provides a quiet remote office or a relaxing quarters for unrestrained conversation with a good friend. I met a fellow entrepreneur here last year and was completely at ease, mostly from the serene environment and not having to raise our voices over the usual cafe chatter.

Four parks secure the perimeter of North Admiral. On the eastern edge, along the water, is Jack Block Park (http://bitly.com/eAvCWB). An attractive space with a 45 foot high observation tower, play area, pier, and plenty of panorama. To the north is Hamilton Viewpoint Park (http://1.usa.gov/fzd1JA). It's an environment to basque in, taking in the views of the Sound and of downtown. A supreme location for a family picture on a clear day. Directly south is Hiawatha Playfield (http://1.usa.gov/hNC3bZ), where play greens and playgrounds abound. The center for recreational activity in the community. Enforcing the western side, another one of West Seattle's spacious nature preserves, is Schmitz Park (http://1.usa.gov/ifpxPR). Entering the park allows you to quickly forget the urban setting. The old growth trees, large ravine and waterfalls transport you to another dimension. My two boys and I enjoyed scampering along the ravine, occasionally crossing a fallen tree log, and even scaling a steep slope to re-access the main trail.

Just as an old virgin forest can be found here, the neighborhood itself is the oldest in West Seattle. A variety of home styles, architecture, and eras mesh to create a section that Seattle continues to boast in. It's the Magnolia neighborhood (http://bitly.com/cWwQE0) on steroids. The downside, unfortunately, is access. The West Seattle Bridge is a joy to cross during non-peak times. However, when you hit it during the commutes you better have a good tune playing or have that long phone conversation (On your blue tooth headset, of course).

A great community in many respects. This location will continue to earn a soft spot in Seattle's existence.
Pros
  • Unique dining choices
  • Good night life
  • Quiet residential area
Cons
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Aug 13, 2010

"Pristine, Quiet, And Loaded With Good Views From It's Steep Topography"

A quiet West Seattle community with healthy business presence along the east and west side. The neighborhood is contained north and south by Graham St. and Thistle St. respectively. Fauntleroy and California take turns bordering the west (except farther north where it stretches to the Sound, almost forming the top part of the number one), and 35th Avenue on the east.

History

Specific history facts about the neighborhood are not easy to come by, but for a larger swath of West Seattle’s journey (http://bitly.com/gP4tFZ). If you have more poignant information about Gatewood, please feel free to add it as a comment.

Demographics and Income

A more even-distributed demographic could not be achieved, even on purpose. The median age is 40, roughly half the population of Gatewood is married; a good share of children are at home (~20%), and the representation of age groups is fairly even—infants to the elderly. The racial demographic is primarily White, with the Hispanics next in line. Income levels are above average, with salaries not following any distinct pattern within the neighborhood.

Culture

Gatewood has one foot in retreat and one foot in forward motion. In other words, many will settle here to escape the congestion of the city, however, some enjoy the close proximity (on the north side) to West Seattle’s social business scene, which begins around California Avenue and Morgan Street.

Real Estate

Home size distributions, under 2400 sq. ft., are virtually even. However, a large number of homes over 2400 sq. ft. is not realistic. Almost three quarters of residents are homeowners, confirming a lack of transience in the Gatewoodite. Even the semi-remote here have not escaped slumping home values, with the average loss (since 2007) being $130,000.

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

Topographically, Gatewood is very hilly, with strong elevation gain from the water. Despite, the layout is residential with small businesses lining California Avenue and 35th Avenue. The business density, however, does thin as one heads south.

One surprising aspect is the presence of several chain businesses like Blockbuster Video (http://blockbuster.com), McDonald's (http://mcdonalds.com), Pizza Hut (http://pizzahut.com), and Domino's Pizza (http://dominos.com). In a couple of spots around the vicinity, there is a brief feel of suburbia as you turn the corners. Similarities also exist with the Magnolia neighborhood (http://bitly.com/cWwQE0), having that "out of the way" vibe from a community that's close to the action of the urban center.

Some local businesses to highlight: Cafe Osita (http://cafeosita.com) - Superb little place for espresso and various food items and Eppler Flute Company (http://epplerflutes.com) - Makers of fine wooden Boehm-system flutes and custom wooden headjoints.

Schools

Three elementary schools give children plenty of options for education: Gatewood (http://gatewoodelementary.org) - An inclusive community of independent learners, capable of learning anything; YMCA West Seattle (http://bitly.com/e7LSPc) - Providing a friendly, comfortable environment for every age group since 1921; and Our Lady of Guadalupe (http://guadalupe-school.org) - Working in partnership with students’ families to create a nurturing environment.

Recreation

For even deeper serenity, the Orchard Street Ravine (http://bitly.com/eEQMIj) lies near the heart of the development. It is roughly a two acre forested site with a generous presence of blackberry bushes. On the West side, Pelly Place Natural Area (http://bitly.com/ifkZ1m) and Lowman Beach Park (http://bitly.com/gREwxc) provide additonal natural refuge.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

A massage or a medical test, what is your fancy? Chill (http://chillwestseattle.com) can get you that full body rubdown just before checking into LabCorp (http://labcorp.com) to determine what exactly has gone wrong with that aging body.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

The best bet for a place to express your spirituality? How about Mars Hill Church: West Seattle Campus (http://westseattle.marshillchurch.org) - Part of a multi-site congregation with the flagship location in Ballard (http://bitly.com/feMcz2) featuring the infamous teaching pastor, Mark Driscoll (http://marshillchurch.org/markdriscoll). One other, Peace Lutheran Church (http://peacelutheranseattle.org) with Pastor Erick Kindem.

Transportation Access and Tips

Those who enjoy options will like commuting to and from their home in Gatewood. Several arterial streets surround and intersect the neighborhood, with California Avenue and Fauntleroy being some of the most traveled. However, do not overlook SW Holden Street which heads east towards Highway 99 and 509. A SeaTac Airport (http://portseattle.org/seatac) pick up, in good traffic, can be accomplished (round trip) in under an hour. The major impediment, unfortunately, facing all neighborhoods in West Seattle, is traffic backup on the West Seattle Bridge.

Summary

All in all, this neighborhood is an ideal location for a quiet lifestyle. Close proximity to businesses means less commuting for daily needs. However, for those in Western Gatewood, travel into the city will require more of the clock as you meander less-arterial routes and hills. The lack of a larger green space is a downside, though Lincoln Park (http://bitly.com/fg1tR9) on the Sound is essentially included. A good location to settle down and raise a family, without giving up too much distance to Seattle's core.
Pros
  • Close to Sea-Tac Airport
  • Family-friendly
  • Good parks
  • Quiet environment
Cons
  • Limited accommodations
  • Long work commutes to Downtown and Eastside
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • 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 13, 2010

"The Neighborhood With A Wilderness and PGA Experience"

For having industrial districts bordering on the north and east, North Delridge makes up ground with superb outdoor recreation and some residential pockets. SW Avalon Way and 35th Ave SW firm up the west side and SW Brandon St. holds the weight to the south.

Virtually the entire western half of the neighborhood is an outdoor wonderland. If you're into golf, most of this space is dedicated to you. An 18 hole course (http://premiergc.com/west-seattle.php) winds along Longfellow Creek (http://longfellowcreek.org) with a flat front nine and a very hilly back nine. Camp Long (http://1.usa.gov/fadFa0) is Seattle's best kept secret when it comes to a short commute nature outing. Complete with hiking trails, lodge, ten cabins, group fire ring and a climbing rock you'll never have to drive far again to experience the Northwest wilderness.

Scooting to the far southwest corner we find Fairmont Park (http://1.usa.gov/hiabDJ), with playing fields and a reputation of being "Pesticide Free". Looking on the opposite side of the golf course, on the east side, we find the Delridge Community Center and Playfield (http://1.usa.gov/i9v22u). Recreation is almost never ending in this unsuspecting community. Of course, with a five minute drive, you can be at the Puget Sound coast (http://bitly.com/fIa7wY).

A couple of eating establishments are within N. Delridge's borders, but most of that activity lives further south towards White Center or to the northwest into Genesee and Admiral. Like any Seattle neighborhood, coffee is never too far away. The shops are located in the north with Uptown Espresso (http://uptownespresso.net) - Home of the velvet foam, and Luna Park Cafe (http://lunaparkcafe.com) - Circa 1950s and having occupied the spot where the Luna Park Amusement Park (http://bitly.com/i7jRuy) used to reside.

A guy by the name of Mark Hubbard (http://bitly.com/eqRYK5) has a company on the east side called Grindline (http://grindline.com). Mark, along with a talented team, design and construct skate parks. They have finished several around the area, including the one at the Seattle Center ()http://bitly.com/eqRYK5). He has years of swimming pool construction, spilling (no pun intended) over into fabricating concrete bowls and half pipes for skateboarders. He allowed work into his private life by even putting two bowls in his own backyard.

The population density in this neighborhood will never be an issue, especially with all the green space. Residents, however, have much to defend as they hold the keys to land and facilities many Seattleites must travel over passes and waterways to experience.
Pros
  • Large, forested parks with campground
  • Short commute to city center
  • 18 hole golf course
Cons
  • Limited amenities
  • Close to industrial sites
  • Limited hotel accommodations
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Trendy & Stylish
2/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 1/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Aug 13, 2010

"Cranes, Boats and Trucks"

The 1987 film, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles” (http://imdb.to/gyk8rf), would seem like a tropical paradise compared to being stranded on Harbor Island. Don't get me wrong, the place is valuable real estate for Seattle, but not a place you want to inhabit. Neal Page and Del Griffith would not even find a shabby hotel here, let alone a nice café. The “tongue” of the Duwamish River (http://bitly.com/9vZ9KQ), Harbor Island lies between the western and eastern industrial districts (http://bitly.com/fNE2zw), emerging slightly south of the West Seattle Bridge (http://bitly.com/bYearn).

History

An enormous undertaking by the Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Co., using soils from the Duwamish River and the Jackson Hill and Dearborn Street regrades. At 350 acres, it stood as the largest artificial island, for a while.

Demographics and Income

Believe it or not, according to one website (http://city-data.com), there are three inhabitants on the island. Not many details are know about these residents, except that their average salary exceeds that of Seattle’s median income. Maybe it pays to live on an industrial slab.

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

Economically, the city greatly depends on this floating industrial area. Todd Pacific Shipyards (http://pacificshipyards.com) is based here, as are the Port of Seattle terminals (http://bitly.com/hYZ5dj). Several container cranes dominate the eastern edge, with a simple network of roadways bringing up the western half. A drive through these streets around 7:30 a.m. will reveal hundreds of workers fleeing parked cars for their posts. It's a surreal experience exploring this floating empire, knowing that just minutes away families are enjoying the sands of Alki Beach (http://bitly.com/dqX2GC).

The place enjoyed a few years of fame earlier in the 20th century as the largest man-made island (~400 acres). That was temporarily taken away by Treasure Island (http://bitly.com/fWKqdF), then more recently possessed by Rokko Island in Japan (http://bitly.com/f9Q29P). Believe it or not, the 2000 census revealed three people inhabiting Harbor (Must have been crane operators who were trapped:)).

Driving either direction on the West Seattle Bridge will give a bird's-eye view of the island. Consider also the Spokane Street Bridge, which typically has less traffic.

Some other businesses that occupy the island are Rainier Petroleum (http://bitly.com/hHrMCf) - Specializing in large volume fuel storage of diesel and lubricants, Crowley Marine Services (http://crowley.com) - Assisting the marine industry with comprehensive logistical services, Pacific Sheet Metal & Roofing (http://pacificsheetmetal.com/) - Providing the highest quality sheet metal and commercial roofing materials for the last 50 years, and Bowhead Holding Company (http://bowhead.com) - Specializing in barge transport between Seattle and Northern Alaska. Some interesting finds that you may not suspect are Mountaineers Books (http://mountaineersbooks.org) - Established in 1960 to assist the adventures into the outdoors, Playaboule (http://www.playaboule.com) - A Bocce Ball company, and Jim Clark Marina (http://bitly.com/htLpzj). One lone restaurant dominates this man-made silt creation, Harbor Marina Deli (http://bitly.com/h6eXy7) - Higher prices and not-so-tasty dishes can be had due to the monopoly this venue holds.

Near the southeast corner of the island lies the 833rd Transportation Battalion (http://bitly.com/hZ3Emt). The scenery changes quickly as you head further west and to the south into the progressive Western Seattle (http://bitly.com/9DJqH9) portion of town.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

When writing this review, I highly doubted any medical office would exist here. I was dead wrong. There are two: Harbor Island Medical Clinic (http://bitly.com/fLe6VD) and the Puget Sound Institute of Pathology (http://psip.com).

Transportation Access and Tips

Gaining access to the island is straightforward, assuming you’re on Spokane Street. Otherwise, you’ll just be having a bird’s eye view via the West Seattle Bridge. Highway 99 is within reach, and Interstate 5 is also easily reachable. There are only a handful of streets on the island, with the main route looping back on itself. It’s very difficult to get lost navigating here.

Summary

Here you may not encounter a burned out car, grumpy escorts and blistering cold conditions like Neal and Del did, but Harbor Island boasts an industrial nature that can be an embarrassment to an environmentally-friendly place like Seattle. On the bright side, this activity discloses the importance of the Northwestern United States in the realm of world commerce.
Pros
  • An engineering marvel
  • Interesting place to visit once
Cons
  • Dirty
  • Loud
  • Virtually no amenities
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Aug 10, 2010

"The Portage Bay Triangle"

Defining the boundaries of this neighborhood might be one of the easiest aspects of this review. It forms a triangle, bordered by Interstate 5, Highway 520, a sliver of Eastlake Avenue, and Portage Bay (no surprises there).

Similar in feel to Eastlake, but larger around the waist. Fuhrman Avenue and to some degree, Harvard Avenue provide arterial movement through the vicinity.

The title of this review encompasses a lot of truth about the area. For the most part, this section of Seattle can easily go unnoticed and be seen as a "filler" between the interstate and highway. The Bermuda Triangle, the inspiration of my title, doesn't completely play into the review. I don't want anyone to go away thinking all will be lost here. However, there does seem to be a bit of a "disappearance" of business activity. There is not much in the way of dining and shopping. Though, what does exist is eye-catching.

Beginning in the north, Romio's occupies the top corner with its famous reputation. It can be argued whether this lies in Eastlake or in Portage Bay. Regardless, the architecture of this place is worth mentioning a second time. Even if you don't dine here, at least stop and absorb the creative juices that erected this structure. Moving south on Eastlake will bring about Kristos, a very cool bistro-like pub. They have a great variety ranging from hamburgers to filet-mignon. A venue to enjoy when off work and to meet friends on the weekends.

Another place to order food, though not exclusively a restaurant, is the Queen City Yacht Club in the southeast corner. They have a cafe with food items. Obviously, this establishment offers excursions around the area for a cost. Several outings, for example, are planned between now and Halloween. It's not quite the same caliber as the yacht club next door in Montlake, however.

One place not widely known about is The Film School on Boyer Avenue. It features a well-known faculty, including actor Tom Skerritt. Others, like Robert Redford, serve on the advisory board. Here, students absorb the intricacies of cinematic storytelling. Beware, the next film you watch could have been written by one of these grads. They even have a Summer film camp for kids, introducing them early to the art.

Being near the vicinity of the University of Washington drives a healthy student population. Who wouldn't live here with such a short commute, including biker friendly roads and a bike lane on the bridge. A couple of weeks ago I rode, along with thousands of others, across the bridge and down Fuhrman Avenue at 5 am heading toward Portland (In which I arrived around 15 hours later).

Besides a small square of land-based residential living, a couple of churches have set up camp here, along with some counseling services.

If being on land is not a priority, a large houseboat population skirts the water's edge. This is helpful in boosting the neighborhood's population. Generous boat traffic through the bay and canal can be entertaining on those delightful Summer days. The addition of this aqua community raises the desirability of the area for some.

Being hugged by the interstate and 520 have its advantages, like their very own on-ramp to I-5 North off of Harvard Ave. Also, included is quick exiting from 520 directly onto Harvard. Only a couple of access points exist to cross into Eastlake, mainly in the south and north.

Having hard and fast boundaries isn't all that bad, especially when you can jump in your motorboat or yacht and take Lake Union towards downtown. On the other hand, on a student's budget, it would mean paddling a canoe to class across the canal. Whatever your situation, Portage Bay is a delightful community for any resident seeking quality Seattle living.
Pros
  • Close to major university
  • Waterfront
  • Good Interstate and highway access
Cons
  • Limited shopping and other amenities
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Aug 06, 2010

"A Place with Nirvana-Like Attributes"

Kurt Cobain (http://bitly.com/hyo5PG) may have ended his life and career in this lakeside neighborhood, but the idea of harmony and joy live on. It seems that any community that snuggles up to Lake Washington is guaranteed a large boost in peaceful living (Until now the fish haven't been too bothersome). Harrison/Denny Blaine is a small-sized residential area that unfortunately has to carry the scars of a celebrity suicide. Geographically, it is hemmed in by Madison Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way on the west, Denny Way to the south, and East Lee Street to the north.

History

Developed just a few years into the 20th century by Elbert F. Blaine (http://bitly.com/gY2tiR) and Charles L. Denny, the neighborhood follows the contours of the land and is adorned with picturesque parks.

Demographics and Income

A very affluent area, with median household incomes nearly double the Seattle averages. Residents consist primarily of high wage singles, couples and families who have located here for either the close downtown proximity, scenic vistas, enjoyment of unique housing architecture, or for the simple passion of being in a cool Seattle neighborhood. The dominant forces are married couples (53%) and singles (30%). About one-third of married couples have children living at home. The median age (39 years old) is slightly higher than Seattle’s average of 37.

Culture

Simply put, people here are rich. Therefore, many activities and possessions will not be out of reach for neighbors. However, with wealth does come responsibility. During the week, streets can be quiet with so many hard at work to keep up their income. The lakeside parks, on warmer days, brings a host of people near and far for a variety of activities.

Real Estate

Renters may not feel welcome here, because almost 84% are homeowners. Not only this, but the median home size is around 3000 square feet! Ownership may sound glorious, but it has its drawbacks in this neighborhood. For example, the property taxes are over four times the city’s average. Also, since 2008, home values have dropped about $1.5 million!

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

The western edge, however, provides the sustenance and entertainment through multiple small businesses. Walking northeast from 27th Avenue to 29th Avenue covers most of the action. Creative venues abound beginning with The Harvest Vine (http://harvestvine.com) - A Basque kitchen where the food is art and wine is lavishly complimented by the taste. They even have a brunch menu. The Essential Baking Cafe (http://essentialbaking.com) - Where coffee is never served alone. Tired of the limited selection of bread and pastries at your local shop? You have found your match in this establishment. Put on your best shirt and tie and inhale the French aroma at Rover's (http://thechefinthehat.com/rovers) and Luc's (http://thechefinthehat.com/luc). These two places were opened by Thierry Rautureau (http://thechefinthehat.com/about) and exude all the quality you would expect in French cuisine and ambiance. Another French experience is Voila (http://voilabistrot.com), a bistrot specializing in dinners. If Escargot and heavy French cooking don't suit you, then you can flee to Cafe Flora (http://cafeflora.com)- a vegetarian kitchen that is kid friendly. Meals are served all day long and you can rest assured your non-meat cravings will be endlessly satisfied.

For your shopping enjoyment: Wheelfanatyk (http://wheelfanatyk.blogpsot.com) - A store and bicycle wheel building resource; Tricoter (http://tricoter.com) - A knitting collective; The Holiday Lighting Pros of Seattle (http://theholidaylightingpros.com) - Full-service holiday lighting and decorating company; Oh! Chocolate (http://ohchocolate.com) - Following the 40 year old traditional recipe of Carl and Gertie Krautheim; Missi Lu (http://missilu.com) - Casual flair and trendsetting fashion; Bill the Butcher (http://billthebutcher.com) - Selling only the highest quality, grass fed beef; and Veritables Decor (http://veritablesdecor.com) - A blending of East and West Coast urban style furniture.

Schools

Kids have the opportunity, in addition to public schooling, to attend The Bush School (http://bush.edu). Bush emphasizes and practices a creative approach, putting more learning decisions in the hands of the children. Other schools found in Denny are: The Music Factory (http://musicfactorynw.com) - Employs professional musicians from Seattle who can challenge the advanced or enlighten the beginner musician; The Valley School (http://thevalleyschool.org) - A child-centered learning environment providing easy interaction between grades; and Epiphany School (http://epiphanyschool.org) - Challenging every child to be a confident, curious and courageous learner.

Recreation

Moving on to outdoor and sporting options takes us back to the Eastern half. The largest area noticeable is Lakeview park (http://bitly.com/hTWkIK), spreading four and a half acres near Harrison and McGilvra Boulevard. A great place for a picnic, but can be messy during the rainy season (Which, of course, is most of the year in Seattle). To the south is Viretta Park (http://bit.ly/dY5xV5), where Cobain is memorialized. A place with steep terrain and brush. It does feature a small lookout for a peaceful stopover. The Arboretum (http://depts.washington.edu/uwbg) is a few minute walk to the north as well in the Montlake neighborhood (http://bitly.com/feQ10A). The Seattle Tennis Club (http://seattletennisclub.org), also to the north, is a charming facility with 19 courts.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

Most medical providers exist outside of the neighborhood, but along East Madison Street a few medical-oriented businesses exist: Sima Medical & Cosmetic Clinic (http://longeviteclinic.com) - Combining preventive health care with aesthetic services to form an individualized treatment plan; Three Treasures (http://threetreasures.net) - Treatments designed to promote awareness of healing originating from the body, mind and spirit; Madison Park Physical Therapy (http://bitly.com/h0qaqz) - Features four physical therapists in a spacious facility that includes a gym and private treatment rooms; and Glow Natural Health Center (http://glownaturalhealth.com) - Combining various modalities to achieve patient-centered and initiated health and healing.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

Three places to negotiate the deeper side of life: Madison Temple Church of God (http://madisontemple.org) - Pastor Edgar Gray leads this congregation with almost ninety years of history; Shambhala Meditation Center (http://seattle.shambhala.org) - Ongoing training in meditation, study and contemplative arts since 1975; and Epiphany Parish of Seattle (http://epiphanyseattle.org) - Founded in 1907 with attention to tradition, reason and personal experience of the Divine.

Transportation Access and Tips

A short commute to Capitol Hill and the University District (http://bitly.com/abtiNK) make the location factor easy to process for most families. One of the closer highways is 520, to the north. This is also an efficient manner for connecting up with Interstate 5. Getting to downtown Seattle is a snap by using Madison Street. Ideally, Denny Blaine is a gem when it comes to having a city neighborhood without the noise and congestion.

Summary

For those who value being a couple of steps away from the crowds, Harrison/Denny Blaine can and does deliver. The lakeside parks will always be a draw, even for non-residents. Close proximity to the Arboretum can give many visitors an additional pleasure besides the natural habitat: a leisurely drive to admire the housing architecture of this affluent and gorgeous neighborhood.
Pros
  • Quiet environment
  • Close to downtown and the University of Washington
  • Right on Lake Washington
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Long drive to access Interstate or other major highways
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Aug 06, 2010

"The Shy One In The Corner"

If a friend painted a picture of a neighborhood with waterfront access, close to all major interstates, great parks, quiet living and a few "home run" restaurants - curiosity would spike. Leschi in East Central Seattle captures this photo and then some. It's gracefully tucked between Interstate 90, Lake Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and Cherry Street.

History

A landscape chiseled by earthquakes, glaciers, landslides and tsunamis: Leschi is named after Nisqually Chief Leschi http://bitly.com/eewVl0 (1808-1858). Logging activity paved the way for better access, in and out, of the community. Industry activity picked up with the convenience of processing trees shore-side as opposed to hauling them over steep hills to downtown Seattle (http://bitly.com/fwXJkP). After numbers had relocated to the east side of Lake Washington, and especially upon the completion of the floating bridge (http://bitly.com/gT5T45), material and population growth skyrocketed. However, despite the urbanization of Leschi, it has held true to its roots of natural beauty and a place to experience the grandeur of Northwest scenery (the Cascades, the lake, et al.)

Demographics and Income

Income levels are split, depending on which side of the community you reside. Anyone west of Martin Luther King Jr. Way will be drawing an average Seattle salary. On the opposite side is another story, especially in the south end where homeowners are cashing in six figures. This puts the overall Leschi median income well over the Seattle amount. Mostly middle aged couples and families reside here, forty percent of them are married. Around 23% of married couples have children living at home. The two dominant ethnic groups are Whites and Blacks, depending on which side of MLK Way.

Culture

Traveling west to east brings immense change in feel and scenery. A more urban and racially diverse environment exists in the western half of the neighborhood, while a less diverse and resort-like atmosphere dominates the eastern half.

Real Estate

Homes are not quite as maintained (overall), with more of an inner city-like vibe. Around 63% are homeowners, dwelling in structures of 1800 to 2400 sq ft. Home values have dropped by $200K in the last four years, which is no surprise for such a strategically located neighborhood.

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

An attractive "downtown" cluster of shops and restaurants lines the junction of Lakeside Avenue and Lake Washington Boulevard. Some of these include Bluwater Bistro (http://bluwaterbistro.com) - Started by Dan Anderson and Bart Evans who have a commitment to personable service and good food, Pert's A Deli on Leschi (http://bitly.com/f4rLoI) - A simple no-frills diner with a wide selection, and Daniel's Broiler (http://schwartzbros.com/daniels) - Claims to be Seattle's only USDA Prime Steakhouse. Catfish Corner (http://mo-catfish.com) - Featuring a nutrient-rich and healthy selection of catfish since 1985. All Purpose Pizza (http://allpurposepizza.com) - Opened by Kedra and Greg Scott who have a plethora of restaurant and pizza experience. Ruby Asian Dining (http://rubyasiandining.com) - A combination of Asian cooking, creating exceptional pan-Asian cuisine.

If you're up for some unique cuisine, the northwest corner of the neighborhood (Corner of Cherry and MLK Jr Way) plays host to Ethiopian restaurants. One in particular is Lalibela Ethiopian (http://bitly.com/hQfQx3) - Quick friendly service and tasty authentic cuisine. Another is Ras Dashen (http://rasdashenseattle.com) - Named after the highest mountain in Ethiopia. At Assimba Ethiopian Cuisine (http://bitly.com/abc3KR), I dove in with a group of friends and experienced the thrill of an evening sampling tasty vegetarian dishes with bare hands.

Accommodations

Staying overnight in Leschi can be a pleasant experience, provided you find a comfortable room. Knowing some friends who reside in the neighborhood is a plus, considering that only one bed and breakfast can be found: Leschi Garden Guest House (http://leschigardenguesthouse.com) - Offering comfortable and picturesque short term lodging, primarily on a monthly basis.

Schools

For those seeking a more unique education for their daughters, the Seattle Girls School (http://seattlegirlsschool.org) is within reach on the western side of Leschi. Garfield High School (http://ghs.seattleschools.org) - To build confidence in students to achieve academic excellence and become active citizens. Leschi Elementary School (http://leschischool.com) - Fostered on a belief of quality instruction and an environment promoting the active participation of learners. Canterbury Academy (http://canterburyacademy.com) - A project based, experiential academic environment for complex and curious students. Meter Music School (http://metermusicschool) - Offering private lessons, birthday parties, Kindermusik (http://kindermusik.com) and more.

Recreation

Leschi and Frink Park lie to the southwest. Leschi Park (http://1.usa.gov/hzcVaP), formerly an amusement park around the end of the 19th century, is eighteen acres of manicured bliss. Paths to walk, woods to explore, play area and boat moorage make it ideal for that next "staycation". Divided only by a road, Frink Park (http://1.usa.gov/ea8Uie) is a more primitive twin. Less developed by city standards, but a generous length of hiking trails. Powell Barnett Park (http://1.usa.gov/e7Hqzv), further north, may draw more young families with its modern play structure and wading pool (http://1.usa.gov/i78x2T).

The lake front and major bicycle trail interweaving the streets of Leschi, make for a fit community. However, many of these enthusiasts are probably on their way through from other parts of the city (like me). Once a month I ride my bike through this area to commute to a meeting south of Interstate 90. A bike trail traverses the heart of Frink and Leschi parks, even allowing cyclists to ride under the old cable car bridge. The spider-web like road design around the parks can easily disorient any rider or driver.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

While no official medical facilities are within Leschi, Harborview Medical Center (http://bitly.com/i5vBtu) is in Yesler Terrace (http://bitly.com/fTfA8Y) and Swedish Hospital (http://swedish.org) in Minor (http://bitly.com/fPUGhv) and the Central Business District (http://bitly.com/fwXJkP) are just a couple of miles to the west.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

During your stay (or residency) be sure to investigate a spiritual community: St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church (http://stmatthewmbc.com) - Featuring Reverend Dr. Thomas E. Tobin, Sr.; Evangelistic Center Church of God (http://evanctr.net) - Offering a ‘full cycle’ ministry of reconciliation and wholeness; and Walker Chapel AME Church (http://walkerchapelame.org) - Pastor David Aaron Johnson leads the charge to be a “beacon of hope for all.”

Transportation Access and Tips

Commuting to downtown is a cinch, considering the Interstate 5 and Interstate 90 junction are just blocks away. Surface streets prove even better much of the time. Leschi even keeps die hard Mariners (http://mariners.com) and Seahawks (http://seahawks.com) fans happy with a manageable game commute.

Summary

Leschi has found a variety of cultures within its borders, so anyone could sensibly settle in this shyly located neighborhood. The next time you pass through this community, make sure you make it down to the lake for beautiful views, friendly folk and well-deserved exercise.
Pros
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Quiet environment
  • Bicycle friendly
Cons
  • Expensive housing
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Aug 04, 2010

"A Neighborhood That Glories In It's Past"

The boundaries fall hard and fast from roughly Fremont Avenue (West) to North Seattle Community College http://northseattle.edu (East) and North 85th Street (South) to 107th Street (North). A strong Licton Springs community exists to foster residential harmony and maintain relational networks leading to sustainability.

History

This neighborhood needs to be experienced through the lens of history. The 19th century, unfortunately, was the end of an era for Licton Springs. Wetlands abounded here, teeming with wildlife and Indian tribes. Development of North Seattle thoroughfares such as the Seattle-Everett train line (http://bitly.com/fzItV8), Aurora Avenue, and other ventures sent this preserve into near-extinction. The name ‘Licton’ is derived from the Duwamish Indians, who called the springs Liq'tid (LEEK-teed) or Licton. Liq'tid means "red-colored,” from the red iron oxide that still bubbles.

Demographics and Income

Being sandwiched between two major arterial roads (Highway 99 and I-5) has brought a diverse population, and pockets of lower income families. However, this healthy transportation access is also a draw for downtown professionals who want some ‘cushion’ between work and home, without a gigantic commute (In good traffic, commutes to downtown range between 15-25 minutes). Licton Springs lags behind Seattle averages when it comes to income (proximity to Northgate http://bitly.com/iaAPf1may account for some of this).

Culture

A proud heritage, especially in regards to the park which they powerfully preserve and fight for. The younger demographic in Northgate (http://bitly.com/iaAPf1) and the presence of North Seattle Community College (http://northseattle.edu) have brought more ‘forward thinking’ to the area.

Real Estate

Peace and quiet is not dominant, unfortunately, in an area previously occupied by wildlife. Residents must deal with the heavy car volumes on Aurora, 85th Street, 105th Street and even on Wallingford Avenue. Homes surrounding Licton Springs Park enjoy some tranquility, but a few blocks in any direction dispel any quietness with a vengeance. The majority of homes are under 1400 sq ft., with less than half of the population identifying themselves as homeowners. Home values, as with most Seattle neighborhoods, have plummeted and struggle to stay around the $200K mark.

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

Restaurants and other businesses are not far away, mainly on Aurora Avenue (Highway 99). Craving for a blockbuster film on the big screen? A cluster of activity (Oak Tree Shopping Center http://4sq.com/fiu7fR) exists on 100th Street and Aurora, complete with an AMC theater (http://bitly.com/gEo24R), Starbucks (http://starbucks.com), and IHOP (http://ihop.com). Other establishments include: Mandarin Gate Restaurant (http://mandaringateseattle.com) - Delivery, catering and pickup of famous Mandarin dishes like the Peking Duck; Burgermaster (http://burgermaster.biz) - Owned by Phil and Mary Jensen since 1952, featuring locally grown grass-fed beef and the employment of all of their children; Cyndy’s House of Pancakes (http://bitly.com/eVsjEt) - Featuring foods like chicken fried steak with sausage gravy; Good Guys Pizza (http://goodguyspizza.com) - Hand-tossed pizza made with fresh and quality ingredients; Twin Garden Asian Restaurant (http://tgrestaurant.com) - Family oriented with an extensive food selection; Tropicos Breeze (http://tropicosbreeze.com) - Offering a wide variety of Latin American dishes; Jade Restaurant & Lounge (http://jaderestaurant.net) - Fresh, local produce that is cooked in pure vegetable oil to bring out authentic flavors of Chinese cooking;

Accommodations

If you don’t mind lower budget hotels, then finding a place to stay in Licton Springs is relatively simple. Here’s a rundown of choices: Columbus Motor Inn (http://columbusmotorinn.net) - Simple 1-bed rooms and suites for an affordable night’s stay; Days Inn North Seattle (http://bitly.com/h1aVPG) - Affordable rates with one or two queen bed rooms; and Travelodge North Seattle (http://bitly.com/hubyrj) - Extremely affordable night’s stay.

Schools

Interested in homeschooling your children or seeking a co-op for that very purpose? The Seattle Public Schools Home School Resource Center (http://seattleschools.org/schools/hrc) lies due south of the L.S. Park. The distinctive marking is the gigantic Native American mural on the East side of the facility. Don't allow the run-down appearance deter from investigating the program. Our children were involved here for two years, enjoying creative classes and resources for the home education experience. An energetic and relational physical education teacher revolutionized our son's perspective on exercise! The Early Learning and Development Center (http://eldc.org) is a private, not-for-profit preschool and child care center, established in 1981.

Recreation

Thankfully, however, a remnant exists in the form of Licton Springs Park http://bitly.com/hwJUWX (L.S. Park). This delightful setting must be explored in slow motion, taking in the "microfiche" form of days-gone-by. Don't panic, parents, a captivating play area will bring loads of fun to the kiddos. Revel also in the various hopscotch forms from different cultures embedded in the concrete.

Another artifact lies to the north in the form of Mineral Springs Park (http://bitly.com/hESnyO). This space features a new "spring" to honor the neighborhood's "claim to fame". Enjoy disc golf (http://pdga.com)? You'll feel right at home here with a full course. Feed your abstract side by strolling through the art walk.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

With the presence of the North Seattle Community College (http://northseattle.edu) and several medical facilities, including the Northwest Hospital Outpatient Center (http://bitly.com/h6b85i) near the campus - few academic and physical needs are overlooked. A couple of other medical-related institutions: Northgate Pain Control Center (http://northgatepaincontrol.com) - Featuring services including chiropractic and massage therapy; and Seattle Acupuncture Wellness Center (http://seattleacupuncturewellness.com) - A holistic acupuncture and wellness center serving North Seattle and the surrounding suburbs.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

No neighborhood is complete without the presence of a community of like-spirited people. What does Licton Springs have to show? Here’s a list: Blue Heron Zen Community (http://blueheronzen.org) - Helping each of us to answer the question, “Who am I?”; and Epic Life Church (http://epiclifechurch.org) - Operating by three principles: connect with God, develop relationships, serve the community.

Transportation Access and Tips

Access, pavement-wise, is no problem for residents and visitors of Licton Springs. The issues arise during high-traffic hours when Northgate Way and 85th Street are overloaded with vehicles. On the bright side, if Interstate 5 is backed up, Highway 99 is a fantastic second choice for reaching downtown Seattle. Surface streets are decent, especially for bicyclists (like me) who frequent roads like Fremont Avenue. Keep in mind that the closer to Northgate Mall (http://bitly.com/hXQDiv), the more congested the thoroughfare.

Summary

In short, Licton Springs is a neighborhood brimming with resources and pavement with the exception of a couple natural sanctuaries. Seeking to buy a home here should not be taken lightly, as many amenities and some lower income businesses have taken their toll.
Pros
  • Close to shopping mall
  • Easy access to Interstate
  • Close to water recreation
Cons
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 1/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Aug 04, 2010

"Railroad Takes The Gold In This Industrial Neighborhood"

The neighborhood of Interbay spans between Magnolia (http://bitly.com/cWwQE0) and Queen Anne (http://bitly.com/c3diBe). The region almost resembles the chamber separating the sides of a heart. Considering the major rail yard (Balmer Yard http://bitly.com/h5aqdt) occupying Interbay, the heart illustration stands firm when imagining the connection with blood flow. Anyway, I digress.

History

Cleared by glaciers over 13,000 years ago, Interbay has undergone many changes. Dr. Henry A. Smith (http://bitly.com/gWbjhU) happened on this ‘cove’ by way of his journeys that began in Wooster, Ohio. (http://bitly.com/i2GBt6). The cove started as a colony with hopes of growing into a major city. However, Indian War of 1855-1856 (http://bitly.com/g8mi9b) dashed that dream as settlers fled to blockhouses around Seattle to escape the impending enemy.

As the years marched on major industries, including the railroad, began to inhabit Interbay. Teeming wildlife of this salt flat gave way to the industrial revolution; even today operates on a busy production schedule. The addition of a large P-Patch and golf course have greened up the community. Pier 91 (http://bitly.com/gQtcdz) has been a successful link during World War II (http://bitly.com/eP5sOn) and present day, with automobile shipments coming and going on a regular basis.

Demographics and Income

White is the predominant demographic, by numbers; income is just a touch above the Seattle average. If it was not for the extreme southeast and northeast corners of the neighborhood, where families with average salaries of at least $90,000/year are located, the median income would be far less. Roughly 44% of the population is married. Another interesting fact: seniors are in limited supply—due, possibly, to the more industrial nature of Interbay. The population density is considerably less than Seattle’s average. Young professionals (20s & 30s) are drawn here due to close downtown (http://bitly.com/fwXJkP) proximity and a stone’s throw from active nightlife.

Culture

The railway (http://bitly.com/h5aqdt) is the Olympic gold winner for Interbay. Unfortunately, residents and businesses come up short in the standings because of the unsightly rails and decibel levels. A friend who used to live within a half mile of the tracks expressed his difficulty acclimating to the noise, especially at night. In addition, the sheer volume of the rail yard leaves little area for development.

Real Estate

Housing lies to the west, but not a coveted location by any means. The proximity to downtown Seattle and lower price tags are enough to bring people in, tolerating the misgivings of the railroad.

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

Despite the challenges of hosting a major industry, Interbay does fairly well with keeping a residential tone. The Interbay Golf Center (http://bitly.com/flWkTf) and the city's largest P-Patch garden (http://bitly.com/iiUmGQ) foster sustainable community. A couple of grocery stores boldly moved in to feed the population. Alpine Hut (http://bitly.com/gQvH3W) is the oldest bike and ski shop in Seattle, with over 40 years of family-owned servicing. Other businesses: Wild Salmon Seafood Market (http://wildsalmonseafood.com) - A family-owned seafood market that also delivers fresh shellfish and wild varieties straight to your door; Signature Seafoods (http://signatureseafoods.com) - Delivering the under-valued fish product so as to create a new market and boast of the freshest experience, from catch to your plate; and Beyond the Divide (http://beyondthedivide.com) - From branding to executive coaching, enabling your business to move to the next level of success.

Schools

Education is a piece not forgotten by Interbay. Beginning in the north: Remote Medical Intl (http://remotemedical.com) - A medical and rescue service that provides training and on-site assistance virtually anywhere; North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owners' Association (http://npfvoa.org) - Hands-on training for emergency situations involving a skipper or crew; Lawton Elementary (http://lawtonelementary.org) - A K-5 elementary focused on academic achievement and cultural enrichment; Dandelion Preschool (http://dandelionschool.com) - A childcare facility emphasizes real-life expression of emotions, conflict resolution, respect and academic achievement; and Magnolia School of Music (http://magnoliamusicschool.com) - Founded and run by Yeva Ghazaryan, an accomplished European-taught pianist.

Recreation

As far as green space, Smith Cove Park (http://1.usa.gov/fVqXgj) in the south features walking trails and family-friendly amenities. On the north side, Vertical World (http://verticalworld.com) features state-of-the-art facilities for individuals and groups seeking an outdoor-like rock climbing adventure. Crossfit (http://crossfitinterbay.com) is a scalable training regimen that is applicable to those in the military, the police force, grandparents or young mother. Denali Fitness (http://denalifitness.com) - Your neighborhood health club. Ella Bailey Park (http://1.usa.gov/en87OG) - A beautiful, newly built park with panoramic views of downtown Seattle (http://1.usa.gov/gLZpgR) and Mt. Rainier (http://bitly.com/eSQ0Zr), featuring many amenities and great views of holiday fireworks.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

Not much is here in regards to health offices. Pets have perks with Urban Vet (http://urbanvet.vetsourceweb.com), an online prescription center for animals.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

With all the clamor emanating from the railroad, residents (and commuters) still find spiritual rest among a couple of sanctuaries, namely: Quest (http://seattlequest.org) - An urban multi-ethnic congregation seeking to be an incarnational presence in a post-church culture and Magnolia Presbyterian Church (http://magpres.org) - An inter-generational congregation with a wide range of theological beliefs.

Transportation Access and Tips

Major arterial routes in Interbay include 15th Avenue West and Thorndyke Avenue West. Two major clusters of eating establishments lie in and around the Dravus Street Bridge and the Fishermen's Terminal (http://bitly.com/hwrQ7m) on Salmon Bay (http://1.usa.gov/hcRl4b). I had a meeting at the Q Cafe http://bitly.com/eNMfqM (just north of Dravus) and walked around the corner to enjoy a juicy burger at Red Mill (http://redmillburgers.com). It wasn't the most ideal pedestrian commute, but it got me there and back.

Another bonus for this neighborhood is a well-traveled bicycle route that connects Magnolia, Queen Anne and areas north of Salmon Bay http://bitly.com/feMcz2 (to the Seattle Downtown Waterfront - Belltown http://bitly.com/fF0XTC | Central Business District http://bitly.com/fwXJkP). Get ready for a thorough tour of the rail yard as you spin south on the path. The route is well marked, but does have a couple of narrow passageways with chain-link to meander the rails and locomotives.

Summary

Being sandwiched between two of the most desirable neighborhoods has its perks, especially when the only three roads connecting them pass through Interbay. This industrial strip of land may not be the first choice in Northwest living, but it carries a powerful history and strategic location for many Seattleites.
Pros
  • Large golf recreation center
  • Seattle's largest P-Patch garden
  • Excellent bicyle route
Cons
  • Noisy environment
  • Heavy traffic on arterial streets
  • Limited residential area
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Aug 01, 2010

"Neighborhood With A View"

Where is a great place for a photo of downtown without paying to ride up the Space Needle? Shortly after moving to the area, some friends urged us to visit Kerry Park near 2nd Avenue and Highland Drive in Queen Anne. We were not disappointed by the astounding panorama available at this ledge! Even within a couple of blocks from arriving at the spot, we doubted its existence as narrow streets, apartment buildings and foliage abounded. Being embedded near non-arterial streets makes this a great stopover for cyclists. However, beware of the climb and complex street navigation. I found this out the hard way, needing to walk innumerable steps carrying my bike!

After taking in the scenery, enjoy a quality cup at either Top Pot Donuts, Cafe Fiore, or Cafe Apassionato. All are roughly three blocks north of Kerry. Any of these establishments, in my opinion, are a great choice. Fiore has an elegant atmosphere, but crowded. A good friend of mine used to roast for Appassionato, so I'm biased there. The donuts at Top Pot could be the deciding factor if a sweet tooth is left to decide. Other coffee choices, if still undecided, lie just blocks away (Starbucks, Cafe Ladro, El Diablo Coffee, Macrina Bakery, or Muse Coffee).

When it comes to good eating, stroll along Queen Anne Avenue with her extensive variety of taste. A few places west of this "strip" include Via Tribunali (Italian), Homegrown Seattle Sandwich Shop, Bustle (Beer and Wine Bar), or Malena's Taco Shop.

Recreation needs can be satisfied at the Queen Anne Community Center on 1st Avenue. Our young boys explored their "play room" and found it to be loads of fun. The life-size building blocks kept their attention for close to an hour. The room is not large, but is a safe haven on blustery winter days. The pool, also, is a nice addition to the experience.

Living in this part of Queen Anne is not cheap. Close proximity to downtown offices and the picturesque aspect drive up demand. However, if budget permits, the experience is quite unlike any other. Close walking distance to dozens of reputable landmarks is reason enough to settle down here. The more elaborate street layouts on the western edge raise the bar on the uniqueness of this community.

The boundaries lie roughly from McGraw Street in the north to Elliott near Kinnear Park in the south. It stretches from Queen Anne Avenue (on the East side) to Elliot Avenue and 15th Avenue on the West.

Kinnear Park, sold to the city for a mere dollar, has final pleasantries before reaching the industrial area along the shore. At a generous size, and with a few amenities for kids, it can be a fantastic zone of leisure. My wife and kids stumbled on this location a couple of years ago. With hungry mouths crying to be fed after not finding the original park we sought, we abruptly found a picnic spot on the hill and absorbed the warmth on an early Spring afternoon.

Any human being would find something to sing about in this portion of Queen Anne. Enjoying "backyard" urban access, possessing the largest hill in Seattle, great eats with other social third places, and drop-dead gorgeous housing make the west side of royalty worth holding a second career just to buy here.
Pros
  • Great restaurants
  • Close proximity to downtown
  • Beautiful city and water vistas
Cons
  • High cost of living
  • Limited parking
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Jul 30, 2010

"If It Is Good Enough For Tom Hanks..."

You may remember the 1993 film, "Sleepless in Seattle" (http://imdb.to/eJHnz8), with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. His houseboat, depicted in the movie, is a couple of hundred yards from Westlake Avenue. My son and I ventured within a few feet of the dwelling to snap a photo of this Seattle icon. Take caution, however, when seeking out this Hollywood landmark, because it is not exactly "tourist friendly". We had to get special permission from a guy cleaning boats to approach the area. Nonetheless, we met our goal and went our way.

East Queen Anne stretches longitudinally from Queen Anne Avenue to either Lake Union (in the north) or Aurora Avenue. Latitudinally, it spans from Queen Anne Drive (except a sliver stretching north to the Aurora bridge) to Ward Street.

History

Turn back the clock to November 1851, just after the Denny Party landed at Alki Point in West Seattle. One year later, David Denny claimed 320 acres of land between Puget Sound and Lake Union, of which East Queen Anne is comprised. It was not until 1885 that Queen Anne coined its name, following the pattern of housing architecture which began to dominate the landscape.

Demographics and Income

A predominantly white neighborhood, not evolving much, ethnically, since it was founded. Roughly half the inhabitants are single—32% are married. A small percentage of children (7.7%) reside with these couples, unlike the strong family demographic carried here a few decades ago. High income singles and Dinks (Double income—no kids) flock here for urban proximity and attractive domiciles. The median age, according to Zillow (http://bitly.com/dWpMaJ), is 39 years old. The average income, not surprisingly, is above the Seattle average. One would need a deep paycheck to afford the mortgage on one of these houses (take a drive through, and you’ll see what I mean).

Culture

A trendy, can-do attitude community, proud of its heritage and filled with forward-thinking men and women. These residents come to define the well-to-do young professional image. Two main differences between East Queen Anne (EQA) and Lower Queen Anne (http://bitly.com/hPfYct) are the population densities and noise levels. EQA is further removed from high volume streets, providing for a richer retreat and more land space, with the exception of the Lake Union coastline.

Real Estate

Home sizes prove an interesting trend, as a good number of condos have been constructed in recent years, dropping the square footage averages considerably. Homes that are owned boast large floor plans and high price tags, despite the plummeting values during the recession. As mentioned, the Queen Anne architecture provides a local feel—second-to-none.

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

Good eats at The Five Spot (http://bitly.com/fV4tE1). An inviting venue (rotating art exhibits and great decor) serving meals throughout the day. Enjoy a tasty brunch here, enveloped in professional and friendly service. It's on the hill and parking may be limited, but it is worth the effort.

For the mecca of dining within Seattle, visit Canlis (http://canlis.com) which is nestled near Queen Anne Drive and Aurora Avenue. The food is only one dimension of this eating experience. The architecture and layout of the facility is, by itself, worth five stars. Another dimension is what your eyes behold through the windows. Great views of Lake Union and panoramas of the city. The restaurant is family owned and continues to enchant Seattleites and tourists. Make sure you budget for this experience, as it is quite expensive. Other less exotic eating establishments are: Olympia Pizza (http://olympiapizzaonqueenanne.com) - Boasting homemade dishes that have been feeding Queen Anne and downtown Seattle for over 30 years; Ototo Sushi (http://ototosushi.com) - A Japanese restaurant, priding itself on its unique menu creations that are true to the Japanese culture; Orrapin Thai Food (http://orrapin.com) - Freshly prepared Thai dishes, unparalleled ambiance, and over 15 years of service; and How to Cook a Wolf (http://bitly.com/gtivl1) - Italian inspired dishes using simple ingredients.

Night life is no challenge with Hilltop Ale (http://seattlealehouses.com/hilltop) and Bricco Della Regina Anna (http://briccoseattle.com). An ale house and Wine bar, respectively, for social and romantic outings.

A place to restock your tea basket is Teacup (http://seattleteacup.com). A retail store selling every imaginable tea, which even hosts tastings. If coffee is your fancy, then try these venues: El Diablo (http://eldiablocoffee.com) - Experience a wide variety of blends, eats and pastries and Twirl Café (http://twirlcafe.com) - A coffee house with a learning environment for kids.

Now that the food/drink establishments are covered, what about other types of businesses? Here’s a few to whet your appetite: Eat Local (http://eatlocalonline.com) - Local ingredients are used to cook meals, from scratch, which are then frozen with dry ice and shipped; Queen Anne Dispatch (http://queenannedispatch.com) - A family owned clothing and shipping store; Museum Quality Framing (http://mqframingstore.com) - One-stop shop for a variety of picture framing; All the Best Pet Care (http://allthebestpetcare.com) - Healthy pet nutrition since 1985; and Boat Electric (http://boatelectric.com) - Handling the electrical and comfort side of life with heating and cooling solutions.

Schools

Building into elementary children appears to be a passion of EQA, and that is further evidenced at the Seattle Country Day School (http://seattlecountryday.org) - A place for children with extraordinary curiosity, which provides a healthy framework for intuitive learning. Other learning centers for young minds include: The Play Space (http://dropoffplayspace.com) - A warm, natural environment inspired by waldorf; Sweet Pea Cottage Preschool of the Arts (http://sweetpeacottage.org) - Connects educators and youth with artists from a wide range of traditions; and John Hay Elementary (http://bitly.com/gcW0j6) - An environment that challenges, supports, and instills creativity in the learning process.

Recreation

On clear days (rare to Seattle), venture to Bhy Kracke Park (http://bitly.com/eMeXiQ). If you can't remember the name, just ask anyone nearby for the park with a great view. Gaze at the panorama and enjoy the creative genius of this space. Parents, don't worry about the kids getting bored. A small play structure and area were not overlooked that broaden the appeal of the community's only park. If conditions favor a leisurely walk to Lake Union (http://bitly.com/fNGouo), make sure to study Google Maps to locate the best place to cross Aurora Avenue. Generally, the best option is the path from Galer Street. Otherwise, you will be heading further south beyond the neighborhood to reach your destination.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

Medical resources do exist to administer basic health services, but those with further complications will need to be transported south to the major hospitals. What can be counted on in EQA is: Swedish Physicians (http://bitly.com/ieZiBQ) - A number of services available including family medicine, pediatric care, immunizations and more; Queen Anne Acupuncture (http://queenanneacupuncture.com) - Clarissa Helton, providing quality care in a relaxed environment; Cake Skincare (http://cakeskincare.com) - Skin treatment and waxing studio with licensed esthetician, Katrina Rising; and Queen Anne Chiropractic Center (http://queenannechiro.com) - Family owned and operated by the Gibson’s, with over 20 years in the business.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

Locals of EQA will need to cross to “the other side (of Queen Anne, that is)” to attend a church or spiritual center, unless, of course, they would like to attend one of these: Bethany Presbyterian Church (http://bethanypc.org) - A congregation 600 strong, with a blend of traditional and contemporary worship styles; All Saints Church (http://believedoubtseek.org) - Filled with people who are seeking to grow as Christ-followers, with a heart for others around Seattle to embrace the same ideal; and Queen Anne Baptist Church (http://bitly.com/gH2puS).

Transportation Access and Tips

Living in the eastern half of Queen Anne brings perks to those who work downtown. Catch public transport to get to the office without fulfilling the title of Tom Hanks' film title. Making the trek to Interstate 5 can be hairy, especially during morning and evening commute times. Highway 99 may save the day, within reason, for traveling north-south.

Summary

Even with such outstanding amenities, the residential sector remains strong. Rest assured that landing an attractive vintage house is completely possible, complete with suburban-like peace and tranquility. This portion of Queen Anne will continue to remain a strong contender in lovely urban existence. However, research is vital for choosing a home, as all of Queen Anne boasts similar candor. If decision making becomes too intense, then add the Sleepless movie to your cue and enjoy a circa 90s scope of the area.
Pros
  • Excellent cafes
  • Family-friendly
  • Good parks
  • Great nightlife
  • Proximity to downtown
  • Unique dining choices
Cons
  • Highway corridor dividing neighborhood
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
  • More expensive housing
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Jul 30, 2010

"From The Inside Out, This Place Is Top Notch"

Painting a morbid picture is the last thing a neighborhood review should contain. However moving from the center outward, it is hard to avoid the fact a cemetery is the fulcrum point. The Mt. Pleasant Cemetery (http://bitly.com/fOjjmu) is one of Seattle's oldest burial grounds. At around 40 acres, it is difficult to go unnoticed.

The cemetery has had Free Methodist (http://freemethodistchurch.org) connections, also shared with an institution to the south, Seattle Pacific University (http://spu.edu - SPU). This campus is home to around 4,000 students pursuing a variety of disciplines in the sciences and liberal arts. Two years ago I helped to coordinate a conference for around 150 attendees that was hosted by SPU. The staff thoroughly, and light-heartedly, served our group over the weekend. The facilities were well run, clean and attractive. The campus is constructed on a slope, adding to its complex beauty. Some of the oldest trees in the city can be found near the Tiffany Loop (http://bitly.com/gF9Dc2 main grassy quad). Also, check out the unique clock tower (http://bitly.com/gZRNaB)!

North a couple of blocks on 3rd Avenue is David Rodgers Park (http://1.usa.gov/fpgWpF). This, besides the lawns of SPU, is the main green space. A coveted plot, obviously, for a densely populated city neighborhood. Hence, the tennis quarts and playground will rarely be empty. This nine acre refuge is a sight for sore eyes that can bring fun and refreshment at any age.

Drifting from the middle, the northern boundary is the canal (http://bitly.com/dniouN Connects Lake Union (http://bitly.com/dniouN) with Salmon Bay (http://bitly.com/hyYZ4B). Besides a small section of SPU's buildings, the shore contains primarily commercial property. There is an enjoyable path (http://bitly.com/hyYZ4B) along the water near the campus. The road shoring up this side is Nickerson. This connects the western boundary (15th Avenue) with the eastern boundary (3rd Avenue North). A drive along this route reveals the commercial and industrial feel of the community. However, any turn to the south will immediately unveil the irresistible residential dwellings that attract so many to settle here. The North Queen Anne bliss of trendy rebuilds, hip landscape jobs, and young couples with their cup o’ joe continue south until West McGraw Street.

A few restaurants and cafes circumvent the "Queen". Most can be found near the campus or on the south side. The Tully's near SPU (http://bitly.com/h3UoxL) is well-visited and provides ample room for the remote office setup.

Several times, when my wife and I want the scenic route to the Seattle Center (http://seattlecenter.com), we meander the streets either side of 3rd Avenue. If riding a bike, prepare yourself for steep climbs when riding south. If pedaling from Fremont (http://bitly.com/abPBcR), try coming up Florentina to 3rd Avenue. It wraps around the park and makes for a great lung workout with a rewarding down hill descent towards the Space Needle (http://spaceneedle.com).

This neighborhood has excellent access to downtown and decent connection with northern areas. Quiet streets are surprisingly abundant here, providing yet another quality choice in Seattle urban living.
Pros
  • Close to downtown
  • Attractive housing architecture
  • Presence of a university campus
Cons
  • Expensive housing
  • Hard-to-find parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Jul 24, 2010
Editors Choice

"Access, Location and Beauty"

Husky Stadium at the University of Washington is a coveted place in the Fall. Many will travel great distances to view the purple and gold. Imagine being able to walk just a few blocks to encounter the games! Montlake is poised not only to watch the cowhide, but provide simple transport to the heart of campus, the urban core and surrounding areas.

In addition, dwelling in this part of the city brings a renowned 230 acre arboretum to residents' backyards. This natural wonder is a several hour experience, providing trails to explore the variety of plants, trees and flowers. In addition, the coastal property invites adventure as canoes and kayaks can explore the waters in and around the park. An additional component is being able to maneuver the Highway 520 roadway supports that emerge from the lake. If heading out in a water vehicle is not your forte, then consider crossing over to Marsh Island on the foot bridge.

The Montlake neighborhood is bound on the north by Highway 520, except for a portion that extends to the Montlake Bridge. It spans east and west to The Arboretum and Interstate 5, respectively. The southern boundary lies around Interlaken Park and follows Interlaken Boulevard.

Focusing on the portion of Montlake north of Highway 520 reveals two distinctive establishments. The Seattle Yacht Club is to the west, which is an internationally acclaimed facility. The beauty of the building is enough to put on a postcard. Experiencing this place can be hands-on as sailing lessons are offered for young and old. Those who are hydrophobic or not interested in marine activities, two dining rooms await to satisfy the pallet.

Looking to the east, The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) offers a rich view of Seattle and days gone by. If you plan on visiting the museum in 2012, it may not exist in the current location. Plans are to move it to Lake Union Park that year. Fees are reasonable, so make it a family affair to brush up on Puget Sound history.

One item to note when planning a visit is the heavy use of the Montlake Bridge. Having direct access to Highway 520 comes with a cost. Almost every time I have crossed this bridge (Mainly on my bike), the traffic is heavy or backed-up. In addition, the structure is a drawbridge, so backups can be more significant with the passage of large vessels.

After crossing into Montlake and heading south on 24th Avenue, a few businesses will emerge of which the "downtown" is comprised. A couple of coffee shops (Fuel and Lago), along with Montlake Ale House. In addition, a well established bicycle shop services the area.

The Arboretum is not the only revealed green space. Interlaken Park, of which Montlake only partially comprises, is a haven for bikers and joggers. It is a densely wooded region which provides yet another "getaway" within the confines of Seattle. For outdoor sports enthusiasts, consider the Montlake Playfield that snuggles up to Portage Bay. This space brings adventures for kids and adults with almost every imaginable sport.

An interesting story is an experience I had picking up a few items off of Craigslist. Usually, the transaction between parties lasts just a couple of minutes. However, much to my surprise, I had the privilege of spending an evening with a friendly gentleman on 22nd Avenue. He gave me a tour of his home, including of his kitchen, complete with driftwood cabinets. His place was even featured in a well circulated magazine a few years ago. Just before leaving, his elderly dog suffered a minor seizure. He tenderly cared for her (with tears) for the next 45 minutes. I was astonished at how this man, whom I had never met, allowed me "in" to his home and his heart. He never insisted or hinted that I should leave, but even affirmed my presence.

This peninsula-like community brings much to the table. Being employed at the University or anywhere in central Seattle, for that matter, makes Montlake a superb home. However, if you must travel through the city for work or pleasure, consider making these roads your path of commute (especially for those of us who ride a bike).
Pros
  • Close to major university
  • Easy access to Interstate and major highway
  • Beautiful parks and historic landmarks
Cons
  • Expensive housing
  • Heavy traffic on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Jul 23, 2010

"A Community That Is Finding Its Feet"

Located in the southeast corner of Seattle, this neighborhood continue emerge out of the ashes. Having encountered heavy crime until around 1997, business recruiting and rising housing values aided its comeback.

Rainier Beach stretches latitudinally from Beer Sheva Park to Lakeridge Park, it is longitudinally compressed between Renton Avenue South and Lake Washington.

The parks are the silver lining for this community. Starting in the north, Beer Sheva is named after Seattle's sister city in Israel. It was also previously modeled after Atlantic City in New Jersey. Picnic areas, a children's play area, tennis courts and a boat launch are some included amenities. Students can be found nearby at the Rainier Beach High School.

The Kubota Gardens are a splendid array of Japanese horticulture, with gorgeous walkways and landscaped streams and ponds. This 20 acre oasis is definitely worth the visit. Residing to the East is Hutchinson Playground where multiple sports facilities exist to entertain the kids when they tire of the Gardens.

If driving long distances for a hike with the family does not appeal, consider Lakeridge Park to the south. It features "Deadhorse Canyon", with a one mile forested trail.

The Rainier Yacht Club is a great find for parties, receptions or business functions. Some friends of ours rented this facility for their wedding reception two years ago. It has an attractive waterfront near Parkshore Marina.

Bicycle riders are welcomed and a familiar site in Rainier Beach, as the trail around Lake Washington utilizes Rainier Avenue and Seward Park Avenue.

The population is diverse, with white, black and Asian Pacific Islanders represented. Businesses are not plentiful yet, but some can be found on Rainier Avenue in the vicinity of the yacht club.

Several kinds of churches are sprinkled throughout the neighborhood, including St. Paul Parochial School.

Rainier Beach may not be attracting tourists and suburban families, but it is gradually becoming a place to invest. This is especially key when young adults are gaining passions for social justice and growing tired of the more affluent neighborhoods to the north.
Pros
  • Waterfront activities
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Beautiful vistas
Cons
  • Longer commute to downtown
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Jul 22, 2010

"The Suburb-Like Experience Without The Drive"

A community, primarily residential, that comprises the area between NW 85th Street and Carkeek Park (http://bitly.com/dOk2ux). The western and eastern edges lie on Puget Sound (http://bitly.com/fIa7wY) and Washelli Cemetery (http://washelli.com/cemetery)respectively. For those who enjoy experiences apart from the fast-paced lifestyle of the city, Western North Beach/Blue Ridge is your destiny.

This quiet and primarily hilly demographic of the western half will soothe your soul after a long day at the office. Better yet is the population that works out of home and can administrate from the quietness of their back porch. A lunch break or after hours refreshment might consist of walking down towards the water, passing through densely forested Carkeek.. This natural preserve is yet again one of the many benefits to living in Seattle. A few minutes' walk from your driveway lands you in a picture perfect scene complete with beach, woods and a panoramic view of the Olympic Range (http://bitly.com/eV6SpG). The park is a popular destination for families, couples, and even company outings. Our family enjoys a three-tiered experience here, spending time at the open field and playground, then hiking the plentiful trails, followed by the beach with railway and low tide adventures. There is quite a coastal expanse, lending itself to healthy beach walks or runs.

Heading east brings a steep ascent into luscious housing, with some dwellings sporting large properties. Travel far enough in this direction and you will encounter business-lined Greenwood Avenue. A few restaurants can be found along here, as well as various rental properties. Maneuvering south brings Holman Road, which completes more of a reason to stay local and not make that run to Costco (http://costco.com). A shopping plaza with a QFC grocery store (http://bitly.com/hlPABL), Starbucks (http://starbucks.com) and a couple of restaurants exist here. A good medical clinic across the street, Northwest Family Care Center (http://bitly.com/dXmNkD), happens to be my health facility of choice.

An advantage to living in North Beach Blue Ridge is having a suburban and even a semi-isolated feel (in some areas) with decent access to arterials in most directions. It is a bit further from the city than popular neighborhoods like Ballard (http://bitly.com/feMcz2), Phinney Ridge (http://bitly.com/bTCLk1) and Fremont (http://bit.ly/abPBcR). However, you may get more house for your buck and not have to give up too much commute time.

Let's face it, this is one of the few beach park areas on the Sound with close proximity to downtown Seattle, albeit a less congested experience.
Pros
  • Quiet environment in most areas of neighborhood
  • Good parks with beachfront
Cons
  • Harder Interstate access
  • Railway noise in some parts of neighborhood
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Jul 22, 2010

"A Slice of Paradise"

The name describes its obvious location on the eastern shore of Lake Union (http://bitly.com/fZ5Tw4). However, do not let this longitude-challenged neighborhood fool you. There is much to discover along the main avenue, Eastlake. A hand-shaped (side-view of left hand, with fingers slightly bent over) area, it occupies, width-wise, the land between Interstate 5 and Lake Union—then from the tip of the peninsula between the I-5 bridge and the Eastlake Bridge to Blaine Street in the south.

History

Many changes have swept through Eastlake, since its beginnings in the 1890s. Dig deep into history books to discover that at one time, this neighborhood was a forest. Shortly after settlement, it was transformed into farmland. The close proximity to the lake made it a haven for boats and later, seaplanes. In fact, Boeing (http://boeing.com) had its inception on these shores before moving to the Duwamish area (http://bitly.com/9vZ9KQ) where its current Seattle-based plant resides. Families discovered the Eastlake secret, but soon, so had car and rail transit. At one time, the Eastlake roadways were the most congested of any west of Chicago and north of San Francisco. Ironically, however, the construction of the Interstate 5 corridor diverted much of the traffic, leaving the community almost completely isolated (east-west). Eventually, with urban growth, a younger demographic moved in. Students and young professionals slowly became the dominant demographic (bringing a boom of apartment/condo construction), leaving many families to search elsewhere for larger properties. There are a fair number of single family homes, but smaller yards and close proximity to the interstate may be a drawback for families.

Demographics and Income

A win-win location for students and young adults, being equidistant from the University of Washington and downtown Seattle. A student, having chosen Eastlake to live, need not relocate upon securing a job in the city. Roughly 53% of residents are under age 40. Only 32% are married, with a small proportion of children among those couples. High income singles and DINKS (Double Income—No Children) enable the average income to surge well above the Seattle average. Most people here are ethnically white, with a growing segment of Asians (possibly due to student presence at UW).

Culture

What is written above is enough to disseminate the “look ‘n feel” of this deeply-rooted region of the city. It could be described as a serenely-busy segment of Seattle landscape, but that may be happenstance, depending on where one is situated (geographically) within the locale. The southern half becomes progressively more densely populated, nearing South Lake Union (http://bitly.com/fG5cRL). The northern half reveals Eastlake’s “right brain” side, with eye-catching architecture and an academic flair, being only yards from the University of Washington campus. Pin up a map and throw the dart in the middle, allowing one to peer into the residential sector—the widest geographic point. Close proximity to Capitol Hill (http://bitly.com/gVRh69), the cultural engine of Northwest Urban culture, raises the bar on the Eastlake mindset, fueling a more liberal environment. This is evident by the businesses along Eastlake Avenue (These will be featured under the Business Tour section below).

Real Estate

Seeking a spacious home? The median square footage is 1200 sq. ft. A major factors contributing to the smaller living space is the vast number of apartment buildings and condo complexes. The average age of dwellings, interestingly, dates to 1985. A growth explosion, but not necessarily with single-family houses, has dipped the structures of this community into the Fountain of Youth. To illustrate the reality of a dominate younger demographic, just pull up the percentages of those who own versus those who rent; 36% and 64%, respectively.

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

One valuable asset rests near the northern tip, now housing Romio's Pizza (http://eastlakeromios.com). This building is an attractive piece of architecture from the early 1900's. The first Red Robin restaurant (now, unfortunately, closed) also occupies the top of the community. A restaurant my wife and I encountered is Serafina (http://serafinaseattle.com). Recommended by a friend, it is a treat by all means. We were so impressed with the food and service my parents wanted to discover it for themselves on their way to SeaTac International Airport (http://portseattle.org/seatac). It is small, so the wait is long for a table on the weekends. Live music often fills this column-adorned interior. Another dining experience not to miss is Siam on Lake Union (http://www.siamthairestaurants.com/). This establishment is classy enough for an anniversary, but casual enough for an informal lunch. It has a tremendous amount of room, so there is expedience to be seated. Other places packing a punch: Pazzo’s (http://bitly.com/gqKlLc) - An Italian restaurant that does not skimp on serving size; Pomodoro (http://pomodoro.net/) - Southern European cuisine offering a selection of pastas and Spanish tapas in a romantic hideaway; Hiroshi’s (http://hiroshis.com) - Dine in or catering of Japanese cuisine; and Sitka & Spruce (http://sitkaandspruce.com) - Cuisine, powered by high integrity ingredients from Washington and the Northwest.

Nightlife is fairly embedded with the restaurant scene, but one place, however, stands on its own: Eastlake Zoo Tavern (http://eastlakezoo.com) - A bar stuck in time with plenty of extras.

Coffee is no problem for this slice of living. Head to the stretch of Eastlake between East Louisa Street and East Lynn Street. Choices of cafes include Voxx (http://on.fb.me/gc0iCX); Louisa's Cafe and Bakery http://www.louisascafe.com) - Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner—with beer and wine; good 'ol Starbucks (http://bitly.com/gidDld), and 14 Carrot Cafe (http://bitly.com/h5mEci) - Nothing fancy about this place, but serves up tasty American dishes (greasy spoon style).

Local merchandise business is about as unique as the menu selection: Seattle Caviar Company (http://caviar.com) - First retail caviar house in Seattle’s history, serving Caspian Sea and domestic caviar; Blue Dog Bakery (http://bluedogbakery.com) - Dog treats comprised of 100% pure and natural ingredients; Patrick’s Fly Shop (http://patricksflyshop.com) - Seattle’s oldest full service fly fishing shop; and Lake Union Mall (http://lakeunionmall.com) - Mail and parcel store.

Schools

Schools are a scarce resource in Eastlake, but hope is in the rough with TOPS at Seward (http://topsk8.org) - An alternative K-8 public school giving a complete education, while emphasizing themes of social justice and citizenship. Another education—one of culinary studies, is Blue Ribbon Cooking & Culinary Center (http://blueribboncooking.com) - Covering the spectrum, from corporate events to catering and kids’ programs to cooking classes.

Recreation

For a relaxed view of the water and some house boats, head to Lynn Street Park (http://bitly.com/gvfuF5). It is a mini-park, so it could be cramped for the kids. However, Roger's Playground (http://bitly.com/fzrPdl) to the north will allow the children to stretch their legs with various activities. Another point of interest is the Eastlake Boulledrome, constructed from granite and pitching mound material. Head to East Louisa Street to investigate this wonder and investigate the French-inspired game of Pétanque (http://bitly.com/efnwcZ). Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the close proximity to REI (http://rei.com) and Feathered Friends (http://featheredfriends.com), which are both packed with supplies for any out-of-doors initiative.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

A focus on “wellness” is in order, as a drought of medical offices leaves Eastlake in the alternative therapy category. Here’s a sampling: D’vorah Levy Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine (http://dvorahlevy.com) - Showcasing the “Gentle Facial Rejuvenation;” Seattle Somatics (http://seattlesomatics.com) - A diverse group of massage and somatic practitioners; and Seattle Nutritionist | Angela Pifer (http://nutritionnorthwest.com) - Day-to-day guidance for nutritional needs.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

Amidst the surrounding wet geographic environment, an arid spiritual climate looms. One ray of hope, the only for that matter, is Cabrini Ministry Training (http://cabriniministry.org) - A Catholic lay training program, active between October and March.

Transportation Access and Tips

The Eastlake Bridge (http://bitly.com/es0iw6) connects seamlessly with the University of Washington, thus attracting a decent number of students to live in the area. Bikers will enjoy the simple commute over the bridge, and most of the time, a generous bike lane along Eastlake Avenue. Eastlake boasts enjoyable access to the urban core of Seattle. Continue south on the main avenue to head to downtown. Friends and family will thank you for living minutes from the Space Needle and other attractions. A young couple we know enjoy living here so much they are willing to commute to Boeing's main plant in Everett (around 20 miles north) instead of re-locating there.

Summary

The neighborhood of Eastlake, though hemmed in by water and concrete, is an ongoing favorite community in Seattle. Even though house ownership is in the minority, one can still enjoy a semi-palatial experience, given the diverse amenities and natural surroundings. If living on soil does not suit, why not consider purchasing a house boat and enjoy the full experience of water-side existence. You can even get a glimpse, through binoculars, of Tom Hanks' house used in Sleepless in Seattle, which resides on the west side of the lake. The myriad of options surrounding the neighborhood, along with Eastlake’s secure and long-lasting identity, should keep anyone from having to fly to the Empire State Building in New York to find true love.
Pros
  • Bicycle-friendly
  • Interesting historic sites
  • Proximity to downtown
  • Unique dining choices
Cons
  • Lack of single family homes
  • Loud environment
  • Many rental properties
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Jul 21, 2010

"The Other Side Of Lake City"

The Other Side of Lake City

This residential area can be overlooked due to many arterial streets running on the Western Edge of this community. However, in the northwest corner, around 30th Avenue NE and NE 145th Street, it folds into a more business-saturated area. This is more the exception than the rule, however, with respect to the rest of Cedar Park/Meadowbrook. Head east of Lake City Way to discover quiet streets that descend upon Seattle's trademark lake.

History

The name of “Cedar Park” has long been adopted for the northern half of this dual-neighborhood. The Puget Mill Company had ownership, previously, before development took place on this land along Lake Washington. After World War II, single-residence homes emerged. Meadowbrook, further south, has been inhabited for centuries. Natives, however, lost their rights in 1854. The area was clearcut the second half of the 1800s, then partially inhabited by German immigrant farmers. Today, there are remnants of the LaVilla Dairy (http://bitly.com/g53r6Z) and the original Bothell-Everett highway.

Demographics and Income

Middle-age couples are most prevalent, with a wide distribution of income levels. Generally, families closer to the Lake are higher income, with some earning six figure salaries. The area is predominantly white, but also with a significant representation of Asians and Blacks. Just under 25% have kids living at home, with nearly half of the population being married.

Culture

The “feel” of the neighborhood will depend on the distance from the Lake. Obviously, the day-to-day culture near the lake will be more laid back, quiet, and residential. The proximity on the west side, along Lake City Way, will be faster-paced and more diverse. The greater availability of shopping and eating establishments in the west will have their say in the environment of this joint neighborhood.

Real Estate

Home ownership vs. renters statistics mirror one another across Cedar Park and Meadowbrook, with Cedar Park holding the greater proportion of renters. This is most likely due to a boundary that spans across, to the west, of Lake City Way where a greater portion of apartment complexes exist. Interestingly, single family homes do make up over half of the residential structures in both neighborhoods. The average home size is between 1,500 sq. ft. and 1,800 sq. ft. The values, having followed the Seattle trend, have dropped significantly in the last couple of years.

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

Most day-to-day needs can be met by visiting the expansive businesses in the northwest part of Cedar Park (as mentioned earlier). A newly constructed shopping area near NE 125th and 30th Avenue NE has been visited by our family on occasion. We especially like the Panda Express (http://pandaexpress.com) on the corner. Some other restaurants worth noting are: Toyoda Sushi (http://bitly.com/dN4lUC) - Serving quality sushi since 1989, Romio’s (http://romioslakecity.com) - Pizza and Italian variety, and Teriyaki Time (http://bitly.com/hyQFZC) - A kid friendly teriyaki restaurant. Further to the south, restaurants are less common, but to mention a couple: Santorini Pizza & Pasta (http://santorinipizza.com) - Featuring a different dinner special each night, Italian Spaghetti House & Pizzeria - (http://bitly.com/dMkEOx) - An established family friendly Italian diner and Tubs Gourmet Subs (http://tubssubs.com) - Uniquely made sub sandwiches.

No neighborhood is complete without a place to enjoy daily coffee. A few choices for this regular indulgence are: Starbucks (http://starbucks.com) - On the northern boundary, near 145th Street; Bean City Coffee Company (http://bitly.com/eugKgk) - Featuring email coffee delivery; Kaffeeklatsch (http://kaffeeklatschseattle.com) - A social gathering around coffee - opening January 2011; and Cafe Lati (http://cafelati.net) - Simple cafe near Nathan Hale High School (http://halehighschool.info).

Quite a few local businesses fill the community, particularly along the Lake City Way corridor. A sampling of these establishments include: Seattle Beer Authority (http://seattlebeerauthority.com) - A full service beer shop, offering 700 beer labels; Lake City Picture Framing (http://lakecitypictureframing.com) - Over 50 years of picture framing craftsmanship; Schmetzer’s Sporthaus (http://soccerspecialists.com) - An immigrant father, with his two sons, passing on the passion of soccer; North End Train Center (http://northendtrains.com) - A resource and networking hub for model train enthusiasts; eBits pc laptop (http://ebitspclaptop.com) - Locally owned computer repair store; Trikke Seattle (http://trikkeseattle.com) - The store to purchase your first or next Trikke; Hampsten Cycles (http://hampsten.com) - Featuring custom built frames delivered to your door; and Truly Organic (http://truly-organic-clothing.com) - Marketing the highest quality organic and natural fiber clothing.


Schools

The most notable institution here is Nathan Hale High School (http://halehighschool.info). In fact, they even run a local radio station, C89.5 (http://c895worldwide.com) - A Hip Hop/Techno station with student DJs. Seattle Waldorf School (http://seattlewaldorf.org) address the physical, emotional and intellectual needs of the growing child. Other schools include: School of Rock Seattle (http://schoolofrock.com) - Kids ages 7 to 18 learn from professional musicians in an interactive environment; Elite Kids Preschool (http://elitekids.net) - A secure place for children to grow at their own pace of development; and 4/4 School of Music (http://44school.com) - Guitar, piano, voice, and more taught to all ages.

Recreation

This area has much to offer and the hustle and bustle is kept at bay closer to the lake. If you live in Seattle and frequent the Burke-Gilman Bike Trail (http://bitly.com/dv9zYM), as I do, you an experience, first hand, Matthews Beach Park (http://bitly.com/hJ6fDJ), and further north, Cedar Park (http://bitly.com/gHqbWw). Matthews provides a great location to dismount and enjoy green space by the water. The park is a popular destination for young families, with ample picnic sites, beach access and a play area. Thornton Creek (http://bitly.com/fmAhW9), originating at Haller Lake (http://bitly.com/g6rD6k), cuts through Meadowbrook (http://bitly.com/ff2QwO) and Cedar Park. Residential streets end abruptly and tend to be rerouted. This has proven to be tricky for taking shortcuts to avoid traffic. Meadow Brook Park can be the center of activity here, with playing fields, tennis courts, and even a 25 yard/6 lane swimming pool. Nathan Hale High School is just north of the park.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

A bird’s eye view of the medical, dental and alternative medicine landscape in and around Cedar Park and Meadowbrook. Here are a few locations to consider: Neighborcare Health Lake City Medical Clinic (http://bitly.com/g0TBxw) - A variety of medical services with flexible pay options, Dental Assistant Training Center (http://dentalassist.com) - An eleven week hands-on training course with dentists and patients, and Amenity Home Health Care (http://amenityhomehealthcare.org) - Caregivers that deliver the care and services prescribed by a physician.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

Only a handful of churches exist here, of which, are: Lake City Presbyterian Church (http://lakecitypres.org) - Established 60 years ago with a multi-generational congregation of around 225; Korean Peace Presbyterian Church (http://kppcseattle.org) - A small Korean congregation with Korean and English activities; and Maple Leaf Lutheran Church (http://reachoutchurch.org) - A group committed to worship, serving others and loving the community.

Transportation Access and Tips

The benefit of living in either Meadowbrook or Cedar Park is possessing multiple options for inbound and outbound access. Reaching the interstate could, you might say, be the luck of the draw each morning. Arterial streets such as NE 145th Ave, NE 125th Ave, and Lake City Way all lead to Interstate 5. If those routes are not feasible, due to traffic congestion, then consider 35th Ave NE and Sand Point Way NE. Of course, as mentioned earlier, the Burke-Gilman Bicycle Trail can provide fun and necessary transport around Lake Washington and into downtown Seattle.

Summary

In summary, these two neighborhoods enjoy a semi-serene existence alongside commercial-rich Lake City Way. Dealerships and traffic may line the west side, but the serenity of the coast shores up the east. Whether it be a student attending the University of Washington, a professional working in a downtown high-rise, a stay-at-home parent, or an active senior, these two neighborhoods are more than accommodating.
Pros
  • Bicycle trail
  • Close proximity to downtown and suburbs
  • Family-friendly
Cons
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Jul 16, 2010
Editors Choice

"Portrait Of Serenity"

From the Chittenden Locks to the sands of Golden Gardens, this place is a true oasis! Nestled in the middle lies a most coveted plot of land deemed Sunset Hill Park. Given as a gift over 100 years ago, this park continues to be unwrapped and enjoyed, especially with a sunset. Almost unimaginable views of the Cascade Mountains are captured here. Our family instantly fell in love with the spot and had a family portrait taken here a few days later. Sailboats, inboards and outboards can be seen navigating Shilshole Bay.

After absorbing the panorama, head south to the "Locks", enjoying the quiet suburban-like streets along the way. If you visit during the late Summer months, brace for more people trying to jockey for parking. We like to park along the residential streets just north of the Locks because the main lot is metered.

Entering the Chittenden facility brings you first to the botanical gardens. If you plan ahead, pack a picnic to enjoy after enjoying the rest of the landmark. Most dart down the path to behold the rising and falling of water that gives passage to many vessels each year. If you are fortunate, you can converse with yacht owners, freight workers, sea captains and the like. It takes several minutes for the process to transpire, then boats are on their way. In the meantime, you can scoot over to the dam and experience the power of equalizing water levels. Late Winter and Spring provide the most volumes passing through this barrier, however the Summer supply is not too shabby either.

After the ships depart, go back across the dam and descend on the Salmon ladder. As you walk the descending path, peer over the railing to see the ladder below you. At the bottom is an area with large windows to view the running Salmon. Charts are provided to identify species and explain when fish are likely to be pass through.

Now you are ready for that picnic in the gardens, reminiscing of the last hour with fish and boats. After sitting for a while, you long for not only luscious grass, but sand. Quickly stowing your things, you head to the car and make your way on Seaview Avenue. You pass Ray's Boathouse Seafood Restaurant and Anthony's, getting to see the masts of Shilshole once again. A few more blocks to the north lands you in Golden Gardens Park, complete with beaches.

Sunset Hill is a location to be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. No matter what your mood upon arrival, you are sure to leave with a more serene view of life.
Pros
  • Beautiful mountain and water vistas
  • Quiet residential area
  • Waterfront and tourist attractions
Cons
  • Far Intersate access
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
Jul 15, 2010

"A Place Where Scandinavia And Seattle Meet"

A flavorful array of personality, taste and attitude—this “seaport” community is located due north of Magnolia (http://bitly.com/cWwQE0) and Queen Anne (http://bitly.com/9FJ1Dg). More specifically, it occupies an area encapsulated by 24th Avenue NW on the west, NW 61st Street on the north, 8th Avenue NW on the east, and the Ship Canal (http://bitly.com/dniouN) on the south.

History

After changing hands a couple of times, amidst a lost coin toss, Ballard began its establishment in the Salmon Bay district. The real growth occurred after the Great Seattle Fire in 1889 (http://bitly.com/aYN1qN), which forced many urban dwellers to move into its confines and begin work in the mills. Along with its rich heritage, several structures are among the National Register of Historic Places (http://nps.gov/nr). Among these structures are: Ballard Avenue Historic District (http://bitly.com/dANtJi), Ballard Carnegie Library (http://bitly.com/bvhR0o), and Fire Station No. 18 (http://bitly.com/dz2Cya).

Demographics and Income

A young population, with the majority being singles in their 20s and 30s, define Ballard’s vibrance. Young marrieds also find solace here, with the majority not having children. Ethnicity is fairly uniform, with a predominance of Whites. This comes as no surprise, considering its strong Scandinavian roots. Household incomes are average, by Seattle standards. Incomes are generally higher in the northern portion of the community, where there is a larger presence of single-family homes.

Culture

It is difficult to unpack the distinctive culture of Ballard in one review. A place rich in historic pride, with several well-known landmarks to prove it. The Ballard Avenue Historic District is a fascinating street to stroll in this regard. Other eye-catching buildings can be found along and near Market Street, which is the main east-west drag for the community. A couple of these older structures house dynamic restaurants, deepening the surreal experience. The second Saturday of every month features an Art Walk (http://bitly.com/cJzFzg), hosted by several venues in and around Market Street. The Nordic Heritage Museum (http://bitly.com/9DfApz), founded in 1980, occupies the building used as an elementary school for over 70 years.

Real Estate

Spacious homes and large, sprawling yards are definitely not trademark in Ballard. With over 50% of homes being Condominiums, at less than 1400 Sq. Ft., living space is a precious commodity. Evidences of the neighborhood’s transience is found with the 65% of renters who dwell here. This population density is new, as the average construction date for homes (Mainly condos) is 1999, much newer than Seattle’s average of 1948. Home values have dropped nearly $100,000 since the Summer of 2007. Some stabilizing occurred over 2009 and halfway into 2010, with another dip in prices the latter half of that year. For further details and current values, visit Zillow (http://bitly.com/9ERfAE).

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

Restaurants are not far and few between on these streets. Several to highlight are: The Hi-Life Grill (http://bitly.com/butFS3) - Occupies an old Ballard Firehouse, serving a tasty American menu with an open and energetic atmosphere; Senor Moose Cafe (http://senormoose.com) serves incredible burritos greasy spoon style—not Azteca or Taco Bell stock, but authentic Mexican cuisine; Vera's Restaurant (http://bitly.com/9BOPSE) - Serving up traditional American dishes, grease and all, with fast service, filling food, and extreme taste—on 22nd Avenue and Market St.; and Cupcake Royale (http://cupcakeroyale.com) - A favorite treat place for my wife and I, serving Verite coffee and unique cupcakes in the same venue.

Small businesses are everywhere in Ballard. The Ballard Market (http://bitly.com/ajN266) - Located near 15th Avenue and Market Street is the flagship store, as the QFC (http://qfc.com) is to Wallingford. Blocks away lies a large branch of the Swedish Medical Center (http://bitly.com/cDAq1Q), providing great health care to this bustling environment.

Running along the southern edge is the Burke Gilman Bicycle Trail (http://bitly.com/b9XkAC), which connects areas of Lake Washington with the rest of North Seattle. Interestingly, in Southwest Ballard, the trail lacks definition and has been the source of contention due to dangerous conditions riders face with truck traffic. The trail does pick up again west of the 15th Avenue Bridge, continuing up towards Shilshole Marina (http://bitly.com/caUHxy). To reduce the chaos of this controversy, stop into the Dutch Bike Company (http://dutchbikeseattle.com) on Shilshole Ave for a quick tune up from those rough roads. Also, coming soon, will be a partnership featuring a cafe, pub and oysters (Courtesy of The Walrus and the Carpenter (http://thewalrusbar.com)).

Some cool activities for many kids and teens can be found at the Ballard Commons Park (http://bitly.com/a1pLf2) near 57th and 22nd Avenue. Featured is a full skateboard area, water fountains and wading pool. With so many amenities nearby on Market Street, parents can create a morning or afternoon adventure enjoyed on all fronts. If the kids get tired of skating and swimming, walk them to the Ballard Public Library (http://bitly.com/chEYa5) for some time to read and reflect. It becomes apparent that you forgot to send that letter or package to your parents, stop in at the Ballard Sip and Ship (http://sipandship.com) to get that accomplished. All this, while enjoying a quality cup of espresso. A generous selection of pastries, along with some Odwalla for the kiddos. If you find the day is getting on and no time stands for homemade dinner, trek over to Egan's Ballard Jam House (http://ballardjamhouse.com) for dinner and jazz.

After a great time tapping your feet to the snare and swaying to the saxophone, you realize your return home will be rocky - the car is dead. No problem, High Road Automotive (http://high-road.com) is a few blocks away with years of experience working on cars. Our friends own this place and run a top-notch operation we would recommend to anyone.

Your friends agree to take your three for the night so you and your loved one can enjoy a creative music show at The Tractor Tavern (http://tractortavern.com). This, fortunately, has been a superb end to a tumultuous evening.

After getting the car crankin' again, the kids are excited about taking the boat out to the Sound in the morning. However, you recall the engine defect and wonder how things will pan out. Not to worry, as Ballard Marine Service (http://ballardmarineservice.com) is a stone's throw away to remedy the problem. The young ones are satisfied they will still hit the water, even if it is only an afternoon adventure.

After a hot and tiring afternoon on the high seas, you are ready for a large meal that you can control. Not far from the docks is The Counter (http://thecounterburger.com), a Burgerville (http://burgerville.com) for the new generation. You'll be given a clipboard to style your own masterpiece. There are more combinations than the grains of sand still adhered to your feet from the beach.

Now full with your own devise, take a few steps southeast to Todd Martin Glass (http://toddmartinglass.com) and enjoy the glass creations for every taste. If there is money left over from the day, consider taking a unique souvenir from this establishment. However, upon walking to the car you realize that a vintage shelf would house that vase nicely. Not to fear when The RE Store (http://re-store.org) is near. Head north a few blocks and pick out some pre-owned materials to construct a one-of-a-kind product.

Accommodations

Upon purchasing the shelf materials, you receive a call from your brother. He wants to join you for another Ballard adventure and prefers to stay in the neighborhood. You have to break the news regarding limited hotel options, encouraging him to stay in nearby Queen Anne. But wait, if he’s into Bed and Breakfasts, then he can try the houseboat experience with Joyfull Adventures (http://joyfulladventures.com). A fifty-four foot pontoon houseboat, complete with a propane fireplace, awaits.

Schools and Recreation Facilities

A number of different schools and educational centers can be found in Ballard. Here are a few: Sylvan Learning Center (http://sylvanseattle.com) - Tutoring programs for children in a variety of subjects; New York Fashion Academy (http://newyorkfashionacademy.com) - One of the most up-to-date fashion design curricula anywhere; Seattle Maritime Academy (http://seattlecentral.com/maritime) - Fully accredited by the U.S. Coast Guard—the only maritime program of its kind in Washington or Alaska; Divers Institute of Technology (http://diversinstitute.edu) - Become a certified commercial diver in seven months, poised to labor in aquatics virtually anywhere; Ahimsa Dog Training (http://ahimsadogtraining.com) - Non-violent training, featuring a “clicker” or voice marker; Zoom Language Center (http://zoomlanguage.com) - Engaging activities and sensitivity to each child’s pace with Spanish language learning; and St. Alphonsus School (http://saintalsseattle.org) - Catholic education for preschool through 8th grade.

A wide variety of recreational choices exist. Here is an abbreviated list: Ballard Health Club (http://ballardhealthclub.com) - A community oriented, supportive atmosphere for exercise and relaxation since 1998; World Martial Arts & Health (http://worldmartialarts.org) - One of the best martial arts programs in the world—Founded by Grandmaster Solomon Yun; Ballard Commons Park (http://bitly.com/a1pLf2) - Mentioned earlier; and Gilman Playground (http://bitly.com/9dSNzR) - Several sports facilities, including a water feature for kids.

Shopping and other Amenities

The places to spend money in Ballard are just as creative and outlandish as its culture. A few to note are: Market Street Shoes (http://marketstreetshoes.com) - A full-service shoe store for men, women and children; Blackbird (http://blackbirdballard.com) - Creative apparel for men; Clover Toys (http://clovertoys.com) - Unique toys, furnishings and clothing for children; Homestead Book Company (http://homesteadbook.com) - The oldest counter-culture book distributor in the world; Majestic Bay Theatres (http://majesticbay.com) - A triplex movie theatre that features older style architecture, with modern innovations; Ballard Street Metal (http://ballardstreetmetal.com) - A leader in the construction industry, featuring numerous types of architectural work; Studio 3 Signs (http://studio3signs.com) - A sign company offering indoor signage, outdoor displays, and a wide range of other options; and Zerene Salon (http://zerene.com) - Featuring hair grooming, colour care, and bridal services.

Medical Facilities

Unequivocally, the best place to receive medical attention in Ballard is Swedish (http://swedish.org/Locations/Ballard-Campus). This is one of the five major Swedish campuses around Seattle, providing a myriad of services—even a state-of-the-art childbirth facility with single-room maternity care. Other medical amenities, to name a few, around Ballard are: Full Bloom Acupuncture (http://fullbloomacupuncture.com) - Maureen M. Conant MTCM, L.Ac. offers gentle acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine services; Ballard Hearing & Speech Center (http://ballardhearing.net) - A variety of healthcare services, including hearing assessments and rehabilitiation, education and counseling; Eye Associates Northwest, P.C. (http://eanw.net) - Deliver exceptional medical and surgical care through advanced technology, continuing education and access to multiple sub-specialists; The Sports Medicine Clinic (http://thesportsmedicineclinic.com) - A team of eleven medical staff and six therapists provide care for secondary schools, collegiate and professional athletes, local industries and for those in all walks of life; Ballard Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (http://seattleoralsurgeon.com) - Dr. John K. Tidwell, DDS provides multiple oral-related procedures in a friendly and safe environment; and Ballard Family Dentistry (http://ballarddentistry.com) - Featuring the expertise of Dr. Jonathan Su, a Seattle native and graduate of The University of Washington School of Dentistry (http://dental.washington.edu).

Spiritual Centers and Churches

An institution, probably one of the largest in Seattle, that focuses on spiritual health, having also grown immensely in the last decade, is Mars Hill Church (http://marshillchurch.org). Here, you can find Mark Driscoll speaking to an audience of several thousand, with satellite churches all over the city. Other centers for spiritual growth are, to name a couple: Interfaith Community Church (http://interfaithcommunitychurch.org) - A collective group of faith-oriented people, representing a variety of disciplines; and Ballard Seventh-day Adventist Church (http://bitly.com/94SCT0) - A place to understand God’s character, and thus, ultimately, to experience His love.

Access

The location of Ballard proves challenging, especially for east-west commutes, with a lot of stop-and-go through either Wallingford (http://bitly.com/cO972f) or Fremont (http://bitly.com/abPBcR). No direct route exists to the Interstate, and the streets that do eventually reach this main transportation artery are usually backed-up during the work commute hours. The arterial streets, however, do a good job with access either north towards Crown Hill or south into Queen Anne (http://bitly.com/c3diBe), and ultimately downtown.

Summary

A plethora of tastes and experiences, well-rooted in a strong Scandinavian heritage—Ballard continues to be a main driving force of Seattle culture. Any trip to Seattle for tourists or outing for locals should not overlook this neighborhood wonder. The additional driving time to reach the main drag, Market Street, will be well worth the wait.
Pros
  • Interesting historic sites
  • Newer construction
  • Great medical facilities
  • Unique dining choices
  • Proximity to downtown
Cons
  • Many rental properties
  • Limited accommodations
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Jul 13, 2010

"Great Blending of Old and New"

There are only a few places that can claim unique beauty in a metropolitan area. Seward Park is most known for the recreation area on the Bailey Peninsula. A gigantic area of 300 acres, with half of the acreage covered in old growth forest. So if you are curious as to how a slice of Seattle looked 250 years ago, take a day trip here.

The park features a small beach, plenty of walking/biking trails and a multitude of picnic areas. Last year our family and friends reserved a large site for the afternoon, feeling pleasantly isolated even amidst the busy weekend on the grounds.

This neighborhood is bound roughly by Alaska Street to the north, Rainier Avenue to the West, Kenyon Street to the South and Lake Washington (and the Seward Park) to the East. This place is not demographically outdated by any means. Diversity rules, as it is home to a large number of African Americans, Asians and Jews. In fact, there are a couple of old, yet active synagogues near the center of the community.

Large, historic homes can be found along Seward Park Avenue. I have had the privilege of cycling through this area on occasion, surprised by new sights each ride. Close access to Lake Washington, the park and downtown make this a desirable location for anyone.

A picture of the diversity can, of course, be found in the eating establishments. Here are a few...

Shangani Restaurant (Somali Food)
Alcatraz (Mexican)
Cafe Huongviet
King Chicken and Gyros
Thao Thanh Restaurant
Saffron

This time of year gears up for the Seafair event in Seattle (A month long celebration with various activities around the city). Seward Park holds a prominent place by hosting the hydroplane boating event. Also, viewing the Blue Angels air show from here is a coveted experience. If you own a boat and can get permission, anchoring off the peninsula amplifies the observance because the jets hover just a couple hundred feet off the water on each pass.

Transportation is strong in this locale, especially into downtown and to SeaTac Airport. Light rail started service last year and runs along Martin Luther King Jr Way, for easy access to either destination.

Whether you are spending several hours in this neighborhood or just passing through to work or another recreational destination, you will be swept up with the blends of ancient and contemporary.
Pros
  • Great parks
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Waterfront activities
Cons
  • Longer commute to downtown
  • Lack of shopping amenities
  • Difficult Interstate access
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Jul 13, 2010

"Coastal Neighborhoods with Smarts and Serenity"

This review incorporates three neighborhoods-in-one (Laurelhurst, Windermere and Sand Point). The stretch from Magnuson Park (http://bitly.com/b742rg) to the tip of the Laurelhurst Peninsula is diverse, peaceful and exotic. These communities are highly educated, wealthy, and boast a proud heritage.

Bill gates (http://bitly.com/g0YoGU) spent most of his life in Laurelhurst (until 1994). Melanie Griffith (http://bitly.com/gQRyJx) also lived here. One of the most renown children's hospitals (http://seattlechildrens.org) is located here, drawing professionals and patients from around the world. Our daughter had dental surgery (http://bitly.com/gUTEnZ) at Children's, so we're excited to have had a first-hand experience of this institution.

Residents find solitude and connection at the Beachclub (http://lbcsailing.com), located southeast of the community center (http://1.usa.gov/gcwfi3). The Laurelhurst Playfield (http://1.usa.gov/g7ynrw) is at the top of a steep hill that features a large play area, tennis courts and baseball fields. It has one of the most visually appealing community centers I've seen. It is obvious this community believes in itself. Bicycle friendly roads traverse the community. With the University of Washington (http://washington.edu) nearby, access is easy to many venues and sporting events. The University Village Shopping Center (http://uvillage.com) is just a few blocks to the West. One of our favorite eating spots is The Sand Point Grill (http://sandpointgrillseattle.com). A very quaint dining experience with a personal touch.

Windermere (http://windermere.com) borders to the north, encompassing beautiful housing on serene streets. A coastal park (http://bitly.com/eK6S67) bearing its name clutches the coast near Kenilworth Place and Ambleside Road. You also can't escape without spotting a Seattle Windermere Real Estate office.

Moving further north to Sand Point reveals a goldmine of peaceful living and breathtaking views of Lake Washington (http://bitly.com/dXcYNZ) and the Cascades (http://bitly.com/gh4ctz). Some friends of ours live in adjoining View Ridge (http://bitly.com/i3g1fR), and had us over for grilled Salmon. Standing on their deck gave us the sense of being on a vacation at a mountain lake.

Just down the hill from View Ridge and other areas of Sand Point is Magnuson Park. This is one of Seattle's largest and brings a load of options including an off-leash dog park, beach front, playing fields, gigantic playground, sailing, and indoor facilities. Years ago this housed military personnel as an active naval base. A friend of mine lived in the barracks in the 70's. The park is host to many events throughout the year. The Cascade Bicycle Club (http://cascade.org), which spearheads cycling as a lifestyle, has an office here. On the first day of the year, you can find loads of runners burning off the holiday calories and ending the event (http://bitly.com/hWpq4K) with a dip in frigid Lake Washington. My neighbor sought to recruit me to this race, but I eventually turned down his offer. I have no regrets.

Just north of the park is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) facility (http://wrh.noaa.gov/sew) which stretches along the coast. A Sand Point sailing center (http://sailsandpoint.org) is located in this area which provides multiple lessons and activities for all ages.

For bicycle enthusiasts, the Burke Gilman Trail (http://bitly.com/b9XkAC) sweeps by these neighborhoods, providing a main artery of transport for the green-at-heart. I use this trail often, giving me almost unhindered access from Cedar Park (http://bitly.com/e7eEJ7) to the University District (http://bitly.com/abtiNK) and on into Fremont (http://bitly.com/abPBcR) and Ballard (http://bitly.com/feMcz2).

Not everyone is destined to live in this area, with high housing costs and an academic mindset connected to campus and high profile careers. However, regular visits to the parks and restaurants can be the next best experience.
Pros:
Pros
  • Bicycle-friendly
  • Quiet environment
  • Great Parks
Cons
  • Expensive housing
  • Difficult Interstate Access
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish
hudsonite
hudsonite A heads' up on accessing Laurelhurst from the University. Right now, 45th Street is closed on the hill near the campus, making travel to Sand Point Way cumbersome from the West. There is a detour, but it is through residential streets and is very frustrating. It's better to come Pacific to 25th or to drive on 65th East and turn on 25th to access Sand Point Way.
Aug 06, 2010
Add a comment...
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Jul 11, 2010

"Where East Meets West"

If you read my post on Westlake, you can recall me telling the story of leading friends from Queen Anne to Lake Union to watch fireworks. We had hoped to venture further north, but ended up at South Lake Union Park near the Center for Wooden Boats. Amidst the heavy foliage, we were able to observe most of the show.

The Center for Wooden Boats (CWB) is a unique Seattle experience. We took our kids down a couple of years ago to pack onto a vintage fire boat (along with dozens of other children) for story time. CWB also offer a variety of workshops throughout the year for all ages.

South Lake Union neighborhood generally runs from the south side of the lake to Denny Way, paralleled by Interstate 5 and Broad Street. It is a high volume area with commuters bottle-necking the streets during the mornings and late afternoons. Hence, many wish to exit this neighborhood as quickly as possible due to slow west-east driving.

A lot is packed into this place. A few hotbeds are Blue Moon Burgers, Daniel's Steakhouse, and "I Love Sushi" located to the northeast. Don't forget about REI's flagship store to the southeast and Feathered Friends (REI competitor) for all your outdoor needs. The Seattle Times makes itself comfortable here, still pumping news in a diminishing paper market. Do not forget about Jones Soda (You know, the one that puts anyone's pictures on their labels).

A few upscale hotels are sprinkled about the area. However, if you are looking for an eloquent getaway (maybe parents seeking a night away from kids), check out the Three Tree Point Bed & Breakfast.

See the city from another perspective by riding the streetcar rail up Westlake Aveneue, along Valley Street and onto Fairview Avenue. The area East of Fairview Avenue has typically been called the Cascade neighborhood, with the playground, decorative churches and historic buildings.

At one time, before the economy suffered, there were almost more cranes than high rises in this end of town. Today, you can still find apartments or condominiums being constructed, but not to the degree originally anticipated by Paul Allen with regards to medical research.

You cannot go far in Seattle without running into distinguished coffee shops. Uptown espresso shines bright in this neighborhood. There are a handful of others, including the infamous Starbucks (Which just released free wifi usage on July 1st).

Similar to Westlake, the south end of Lake Union does not boast houses with spacious yards. If you choose to settle here, be prepared to sell your large possessions on Craigslist and scale down to fit into the high rise condos or apartments. These are the "foothills" to urban living in Seattle.

An outdoor area with space, on the other hand, is Denny Park. It is good size for this part of the city. If you want more than just green space for your dog, since Seattleites love their pets, bring them to The Barking Lounge where they can get full attention day or night. It is the perfect getaway for Fido, complete with private tutoring and anal gland expression (Don't ask me what this is).

Three major studios (KING, KOMO, and Northwest Cable News) for news reside here, along with a myriad of studios and music venues.

If you find yourself not wanting to walk on your tour, consider renting a scooter at "Scoot About". It is a great way to see the sites, save on gas and not drop half of your vacation budget on a rental car.

There is a lot to explore south of the lake, where buildings rise to meet the demands for square footage in this congested area of town. Do your research to view this community, because there is a lot you could miss by simply walking around staring at buildings and cranes.
Pros
  • Great restaurants
  • Close to downtown and tourist attractions
  • Easy access to Interstate
Cons
  • Traffic congestion
  • Limited parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Jul 10, 2010

"Great Eats and Seaplanes"

A friend of mine asked me to meet him at his office near Westlake Avenue. It was the lunch hour and parking was difficult. Finally, after about thirty minutes of quick calls and text messages, we rendezvoused. The hassle was worth it, as we had a tasty lunch at Pasta Freska across the street. Note, they are only open for lunch on Wednesdays.

Westlake is predominantly businesses, restaurants and marine-related industry. There is very little residential housing, except for the houseboats (similar to the one in Sleepless in Seattle). The house Tom Hanks lived in during the movie is a bit north of the Westlake area and may actually fall in the East Queen Anne neighborhood. Anyway, a few months back my son and I ventured out to find this house and eventually discovered it after having to ask a guy cleaning boats.

One of our (my wife and I) favorite seafood places is McCormick and Schmick's, just north of Kenmore Air. The entrees are a deep stab to the wallet, but the taste makes up for it. Fish are flown in fresh several times per week. The best time to dine here is about an hour before sunset, then you can observe the change in light on the lake and surrounding structures. If seafood is not your gig, then try the China Harbor Restaurant further north that features delicacies from well-known Chinese provinces.

If you want to live close to your north downtown office and still see water, this will be your spot. It may be difficult to ever own a home, since selection is slim and houseboats can be pricey. One dimension of the neighborhood that can be frustrating is the Highway 99 corridor - limiting access to the West except on a couple of streets. We stumbled on this reality July 4, 2008 by seeking to navigate a group of fifteen people from the Hampton Inn in Lower Queen Anne to a spot further north on Lake Union. We continually hit dead ends until finally walking under Aurora on Mercer Street.

With a Kenmore Air seaplane terminal in your backyard, it makes hopping to the Olympic Peninsula or San Juan Islands a snap. There is something about the thrill of watching planes landing and taking off from the lake.

Westlake and Dexter Avenues give simple arterial passage to the north and to the south. A friend of mine even mentioned today how he enjoys riding his bike via Dexter for morning commutes.

The Mariott Courtyard has settled here, making for a great location for out-of-town guests wishing to be close to it all.

This community is robust with food, fisheries and flying. Whether you grab lunch on your way to see other sites, dine on the water, or have an office on the pier, Westlake can satisfy.
Pros
  • Close to waterfront activities and tourist attractions
  • Close proximity to downtown
  • Beautiful city and water vistas
Cons
  • Short supply of single family homes
  • Limited parking
  • Landlocked on west side by highway
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Jul 09, 2010

"The Suburb Within The City"

If you desire to live close to the city without giving up a slower pace of life, Magnolia is your neighborhood. The population density is low for such close proximity to the urban core. Each time you cross one of the bridges into here, it's a breath of fresh air.

The BNSF Railway (http://bnsf.com) is to thank for semi-isolation from the rest of Seattle. The railway lies to the East and can be a large source of noise by night. Whatever is lost to cacophony is gained by the rest of the neighborhood. Parks are Magnolia's specialty, with Discovery Park (http://seattle.gov/tour/discov.htm) as its showcase. Discovery is Seattle's largest park, which also contains Fort Lawton (http://bitly.com/hWympj). The oldest lighthouse (http://1.usa.gov/hITtZ7) in the area can be found here too.

The park contains a myriad of trails for the whole family, ultimately leading to a semi-private beach (http://1.usa.gov/hEiPRP). My wife and kids have spent several afternoons here, enjoying a variety of Seattle weather conditions. We enjoy parking on the south side off Emerson Street, then taking the trails westward through the forest and down to the beach. Part of the reason we started entering the park from this side is because parking fills quickly by the main building and you have to obtain a parking permit to drive to the beach (there are only a handful of permits they can give out anyway). Dogs are welcome around the trails of the park, but not at the beach.

To the east of Discovery Park, southern access to the Chittenden Locks (http://seattle.gov/tour/locks.htm) brings another unique Seattle adventure. Also within minutes of the park is the "Magnolia Village" with restaurants and specialty stores.

Biking proves extremely popular in Magnolia, with beautiful and safe routes around the area. Of course, commuting downtown by bike is simple by catching the path off of 20th Avenue. I have cycled this a few times. It was interesting riding through the industrial area to reach Elliott Bay (http://bitly.com/fwDmPB), however.

The residential streets of Magnolia are hilly, quiet and quaint. Visiting a friend who lived here a few years ago proved to be a challenge as I struggled to pull into my parking spot on a high grade slope.

Magnolia is a great place for all ages, especially for those who don't mind some locomotion in their backyard.
Pros
  • Good parks
  • Bicycle friendly
  • Family friendly
Cons
  • Expensive housing
  • Noise from railyard
  • Limited access
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Jul 07, 2010

"The Neighborhood With A Hidden Lake, But A Public Legacy"

Driving north or south on Meridian Avenue can have you confused and fuming the first time through this residential area. The main arterial road that runs almost unabated from Northgate (http://bitly.com/iaAPf1) to Lynnwood gets a major re-route between 122nd and 128th Street. You wonder if the residents were concealing a UFO ship in their backyards that they did not want exposure and forced the city to circumnavigate the roads in their favor.

History

Purchased by Theodore N. Haller (http://bitly.com/gFbFkg) in 1905, Haller Lake has been a community active in resisting unnecessary growth. However, much to its demise, expansion has occurred, primarily along Aurora Avenue (which borders the neighborhood on the east). The lake (http://bitly.com/fvVfEH), the obvious centerpiece of the area, becomes their greatest foe when the rain falls (which is not seldom in Seattle). Basements are no match for the runoff channeled into the lake (http://bitly.com/i8Lzdg). Despite these challenges, the people of this district are proud to call it home and in an unyielding manner, fight for its natural preservation.

Demographics and Income

Resting close to Seattle averages in all areas, Haller Lake, however, is not the ideal “poster child” for the Emerald City. Nonetheless, it remains a comfortable place for singles, couples and families. Incomes rest just below city averages—perhaps housing along Aurora avenue draw in the lower income demographics. Diversity can be found among the mix of Whites and Asians, predominantly. Legend has it that a lake does indeed exist behind the homes in this neighborhood. Count yourself fortunate if you are one of the few to actually see it. There is public access to the water, but you may want to investigate Google Maps (http://bitly.com/e5ypZE) to know exactly where to enter. One interesting fact about Haller Lake is that it was formed along with Bitter Lake (http://bitly.com/eN7Avv) and Lake Washington (http://bitly.com/dXcYNZ) from the glaciers.

Culture

A “sleepy-eye” town feel when removed from Aurora, otherwise the big city feel gropes, rather violently, the west side. Larger plots in and around the lake, including the “bypass” nature of Meridian Avenue force any commuter to slow down and take in specific pockets of beauty. The older demographic enables a slower pace to not be lost as well.

Real Estate

Just over 50% are homeowners, and more than likely (if they have not paid down a good share of their mortgage), a hefty representation are battling “underwater” ownership. Values have dropped over eight percent, the plague gripping all of Seattle currently. First time home buyers (with good credit and capital) will enjoy bargains galore for the houses that do make the market. Homes are good size, with almost all being under 2400 square feet.

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

The neighborhood, to start off, contains a Curling Club (http://curlingseattle.org - Like in the Winter Olympics). The Haller Lake Community Club (http://hallerlake.info) is worth a look, boasting a 1969 pipe organ (http://pstos.org).

The front and back end of life is covered. Northwest Hospital (http://nwhospital.org) lies to the South (This is where our son was born). The Washelli Cemetery (http://washelli.com) is just across the street (I wonder if they planned it that way?).

Aurora Avenue (Highway 99) is the main thoroughfare in Seattle besides the interstate. Businesses loom here and Haller Lake holds the keys to a few high profile stores like Home Depot (http://homedepot.com), Sam's Club (http://samsclub.com), LA Fitness (http://lafitness.com), Staples (http://staples.com), Kmart (http://kmart.com), Puetz Driving Range (http://puetzgolf.com), and a host of others. Some other businesses: Super Stereo Warehouse (http://superstereowarehouse.com) - A gigantic family-owned dealer with over ten years of experience, Aurora Plumbing & Electric (http://auroraplumbing.com) - A family-owned do-it-yourself plumbing supply store, Avant Garden Florist (http://avantgardenseattle.com) - Offering only the finest floral arrangements and gifts, Card Exchange (http://sportsryter.com) - The NW source for sports cards and memorabilia, European Foods (http://eurofoodseattle.com) - Eastern European Grocery with specialty foods, Hard Drives Northwest (http://hdnw.com) - Professional grade computer systems and components, and Abbey Party Rents (http://abbeypartyrents.com) - Every supply possible for private and corporate events. And these businesses just cover the East side of the street!

Accommodations

A couple of decent places can be found to the stay the night. Others are not worth the time as they may pose a security risk to travelers. Here are the noteworthy ones: Comfort Inn and Suites (http://bitly.com/eCY3Dr) and ExtendedStay America (http://bitly.com/gFrMap) - Located near Northgate Mall.

Schools

After exploring the park, go north on First Avenue a few blocks to observe Lakeside School (http://lakesideschool.org). This learning facility has a top-notch campus and has graduated famous folks like Bill Gates (http://bitly.com/g0YoGU), Paul Allen (http://bitly.com/ed0fAw) and Adam West (http://bitly.com/e7BKpr). Maybe we just discovered why the campus is so well-maintained. Other schools to be mentioned: Ingraham High School (http://ingrahamhigh.org), Creative Dance Center (http://creativedance.org) - A non-profit organization with brain-compatible dance education for all ages, Seattle Jewish Community School (http://sjcs.net) - Promoting Jewish identity and practice—lifelong learning, and Washington International School (http://washingtoninternationalschool.com) - Providing top-of-the-line college preparatory education.

Recreation

If you give up trying to gain access to the 15 acre watering hole, head northeast to North Acres Park (http://bitly.com/eYUDyJ) and enjoy a walk through the woods just yards from Interstate 5. If you have your K-9 with you, bring him/her along to frolic in the off-leash area. Summer months feature a refreshing wading pool and possibly a ballgame at one of the two fields.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

Reiterating what was mentioned earlier, Northwest Hospital (http://nwhospital.org) is the prominent health care center in Haller Lake. Other medical notables: Mosaic Medicine (http://doctorbecky.net) - The dynamic mix of modern and traditional medicine for unique patient treatment, Puget Sound Christian Clinic (http://pschristianclinic.org) - Providing health care to low-income uninsured people in King and Snohomish Counties, Puget Sound Gastroenterology (http://pugetsoundgastro.com) - A multi-faceted organization with 24 board certified Gastroenterologists, Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center (http://pacificdermcenter.com) - A dedicated team with expertise in medical dermatology and more, The Polyclinic (http://polyclinic.com) - One of the largest multi-specialty clinics in the Puget Sound Area, and Via Radiology (http://viaradiology.com) - Established in 1969 and now provides the best state-of-the-art imaging services to north King and south Snohomish counties.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

Several locations for spiritual renewal can be found: Haller Lake Baptist Church (http://hlbc.org) - Pastored by Don Horrell and focused on loving God and loving people; Haller Lake United Methodist Church (http://hallerlakeumc.org) - Called to seek and attract people, serving each person’s need within the family of God; North Seattle Alliance Church (http://northseattlealliance.org) - Part of the large Alliance Church worldwide movement (http://cmalliance.org); International Full Gospel Fellowship (http://ifgfgisi-seattle.org) - An Indonesian fellowship which began in California during the 1980s; Hompee Church (http://hompee.com); and Idris Mosque (http://idrismosque.com) - A non-profit organization established in 1981 to serve the Puget Sound Muslims.

Transportation Access and Tips

In addition to being bordered by four major landmarks (City line, Interstate 5, Highway 99, and Northgate Mall http://bitly.com/hXQDiv), Haller Lake can still deliver peaceful surroundings for residents. Ride your bike through the neighborhoods between 130th and 145th. This area is almost like the eye of a hurricane, considering what lies a few blocks either direction of your handlebars. Commutes to the city center are relatively painless, provided traffic is flowing smoothly. Being sandwiched between the interstate and a highway make the choice simple when traffic reports encourage alternate routes.

Summary

Even though you may not spread the word like a sighted UFO, Haller Lake still deserves attention and recognition for its pocket of serenity and unique amenities.
Pros
  • Good hotel accommodations
  • Easy access to Interstate
  • Good medical facilities
Cons
  • Highway corridor dividing neighborhood
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Jul 05, 2010

"Even With The Amusement Park Gone, Bitter Lake Still Can Thrill"

Clinging to the northern edge of Seattle, along with the Haller Lake (http://bitly.com/fkwG2n) and Olympic Hills (http://bit.ly/fAZrbV) neighborhoods, Broadview/Bitter Lake have no less claim to the Emerald City. Packaged neatly in an area encompassing N 145th Street, Interstate 5, N 120th Street and Puget Sound—much land, structure and human diversity can be explored.

History

If you were to ask a senior citizen from Bitter Lake what life was like as a child, they would render stories of "Playland" (http://bitly.com/fgRIbv), an amusement park enjoyed by many until 1961. They may also mention the saw mill that used to run at the southwest end of the lake, which was used to process the lumber being mowed down during the development boom of the late 1800s. In fact, some of the trees felled were up to eight feet in diameter! The Interurban trolley line (http://bitly.com/fBRPzo), connecting Seattle and Everett was constructed—with part of the line running directly past Playland. Farmland and the eventual establishment of Greenwood Avenue, complete with small businesses followed hand-in-hand with population growth. For more specific history details, visit the Historylink (http://bitly.com/dQQzxL).

Demographics and Income

The population spectrum, when it comes to race, places Broadview/Bitter Lake firmly in the White category. However, within Bitter Lake, there is a growing Hispanic, Asian and Black representation. Income levels per household follow a east to west trajectory, with the more affluent living near the coast and the low income families settling around the Lake property. In fact, the median household income is nearly $14,000 larger in Broadview than it is in Bitter Lake. Roughly 40-50% of residents are married, with about 20% raising kids at home. A fairly even spread of ages, with the exception of big retiree numbers.

Culture

The environmental vibe in the Bitter Lake/Broadview area changes drastically from east to west. The eastern side (Bitter Lake) is fast-paced, commercial, crowded and noisy. The western side (Broadview) is highly residential, wooded, sparsely populated, and adorned with natural beauty. Such a stark contrast is rare within Seattle, having most plots of land built-up besides city parks.

Real Estate

The more serene housing lies to the east of Greenwood Avenue (known as Broadview), especially beyond 3rd Avenue. The north/northwest portion is more upscale, with homes near the Seattle Golf and Country Club (http://seattlegolfclub.com). Further southwest, the topography intensifies and gives way to residences eagerly announcing the arrival of a Seattle gem, Carkeek Park (http://bitly.com/dOk2ux). Broadview homes tend to be larger and more expensive than the homes in Bitter Lake, with 86% of dwellings being single family homes compared to Bitter Lake’s 55% representation. The median home size is 1,235 sq. ft. and 1,920 sq. ft. for Bitter Lake and Broadview, respectively. Broadview’s median home value is also about $100,000 higher at $380,200.

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

Being a North Seattle suburb is not complete without having one of your borders along Aurora Avenue (otherwise known as Highway 99). There are more small businesses along this highway than fish in Puget Sound. Some samplings of these businesses are: Super Supplements (http://supersup.com) - Any enhancing product for health and well-being can be found here; Kidd Valley Hamburgers and Shakes (http://kiddvalley.com) - Annually serving over 800,000 burgers at eight stores around Western Washington; Sushiyu Japanese Restaurant & Bar (http://sushiyuseattle.com) - Only place for great sushi, nabe and Shabu-shabu; Super Stereo Warehouse (http://superstereowarehouse.com) - A gigantic warehouse selling all the major brand names in car stereo equipment; European Foods (http://eurofoodseattle.com) - Eastern European Groceries; and Pho of Aurora (http://bitly.com/gXdh70) - Serving a mean vegetarian bowl. Greenwood Avenue (on the West side of Bitter lake) is Aurora's close rival with many shops of its own. Some of which include: Chef at Wok (http://chefatwok.com) - East Coast style Chinese Cuisine; La Casa Azul (http://lacasaazulrestaurant.com) - Authentic, homemade cuisine from Mexico City and surrounding states; Teriyaki Time (http://bitly.com/ifizOZ) - Large portions of standard teriyaki fare; and The Cellar Homebrew (http://cellar-homebrew.com) - Turning out a variety of beers, wine products, cider and more.

Accommodations

Overnight stay options consist of hotels on Aurora. Recommended places are: Holiday Inn Express (http://bitly.com/hA0Wmq) - South of 145th Street and Aurora Avenue intersection, featuring a ‘Going Green’ package for those refusing housekeeping services; Comfort Inn & Suites (http://bitly.com/eCY3Dr) - Near N 137th Street and Aurora; and Extended StayAmerica (http://bitly.com/gFrMap) - Fully equipped kitchens and plenty of work space for business travelers.

Schools and Recreation Facilities

Today, children still flock to the south side of the water. However, instead of riding on a roller coaster or floating through Venice-like canals, they enjoy a modern playground and an indoor swim complex (http://bitly.com/dJNzI6). Summer months draw families to utilize the unique outdoor wading pool adjacent to the playground. This urban lake, interestingly, has attracted the construction of retirement complexes. These structures, along with apartments and residential homes surround virtually every square foot of the lake not occupied by the park.

Carkeek (http://bit.ly/dOk2ux) is an experience from the entrance gate. A gorgeous, winding road descends from 3rd Avenue towards the grounds. You sit amazed at the abrupt change from the bustling businesses just up the hill. This park has entertainment for all. Green space is abundant, the kids will love the multiple structures in the play area (including a fish they can slide down). There are generous trails to hike and, of course, the beach! Amtrak (http://amtrakcascades) and freight trains also frequent the coast via the rail that passes below a pedestrian bridge. It's a mad dash to get a good view of the train cars when the locomotive is spotted miles away.

The schools poised to serve include: Broadview-Thomson (http://seattleschools.org/schools/broadview) - Educating students, K-8, to be productive and lifelong learners and Alpha Montessori (http://alphastarmontessori.com) - Focusing on the entire child—the physical, social, emotional and intellectual growth.

Access

Linden Avenue, which is the access road to the lake, has seen improvement in the last three years due to senior housing construction. The road has been made more biker-friendly to provide a more streamlined ride from Shoreline into Bitter Lake. The bike route firms up after crossing 130th Street and continues south on Linden. A recently constructed path runs parallel to the Washelli-Evergreen Cemetery and ends abruptly at 110th Street. The path is lined with eye-catching art (remember those comics that could be watched by flipping pages?).

Summary

Bitter Lake/Broadview is a Seattle neighborhood that can easily be overlooked. It is a place that must be experienced slowly and consistently. As you gain a feel for this community, it becomes clear that there is not much about which to be bitter.
Pros
  • Quiet environment
  • Good accommodations for seniors
  • Great parks
  • Family-friendly
Cons
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
  • More expensive housing
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Jul 01, 2010

"A Few Surprises in This Mostly Mall-Dominated Neighborhood"

An interesting fact, since the elephant is in the room, is that Northgate Mall was the first regional shopping center to be described as a mall (http://bitly.com/northgatemall). That claim to fame helps edge the image of this area, which can easily be avoided due to heavy traffic (especially around the Holidays). On the bright side, renovations were made to the facility in 2008 which have improved the "look and feel" of the place. The biggies like Barnes and Noble (http://bitly.com/g015F5) and Panera Bread (http://panerabread.com) have brought more skeptics back to the turf.

Another establishment that deserves attention is Thornton Place (http://bitly.com/thorntonplace), just to the south. The cinema is one of grandeur with 14 screens (including IMAX) and several floors connected by escalators. Arrive early for a show, and dine at the Thai Fusion Bistro (http://bitly.com/thaifusion) which is literally a few steps from the box office. Running late to the production and need a quick bite? No problem. Just step in the Subway (http://subway.com) or Five Guys Burgers and Fries (http://bitly.com/5guysburgers). If dinner is not in the budget (Understandable with the price of movie tickets), then enjoy the elegant Jewel Box Cafe (http://bitly.com/jewelboxcafe).

The Northgate Transit Center (http://bitly.com/elGA0b - NTC) is a bustling hub for commuting. This, along with the shopping areas, puts the neighborhood on the map. Getting downtown is a breeze from the terminal. Spending less than fifteen minutes in a bus seat to reach Westlake Shopping Center (http://bitly.com/wlakeshop) is not out of the question. The NTC is one of the most active bus terminals in North Seattle with substantial parking options.

Many other businesses exist around the mall, as would be suspected in such a location. Easy access to the interstate provides ease of transport for the commercial truck and family vehicle alike. A word of caution regarding traffic, however. The access ramps bottleneck easily and Northgate Way gets extremely congested during the afternoon commute (and extremely bogged down during The Holidays).

North Seattle Community College (http://bitly.com/nscomcoll) sits on the western edge of the community. Most of the residences are to the southeast, bordered by Lake City Way and 85th St. Maple Leaf Reservoir Park (http://bitly.com/mapleleafpark) shores up the southern edge as the largest green space.

Cyclists can enjoy traversing the neighborhood streets on their way south to the University District (http://bitly.com/udistrict), west to Green Lake (http://bitly.com/greenlake), east to the Burke Gilman Trail (http://bitly.com/burkegilman), or north to Shoreline (http://bitly.com/shorelinewa).

Diversity abounds in Northgate with a plethora of interracial families. Make sure, in addition to conquering the shopping list, that you slow down and investigate the other aspects of this commercial village.
Pros
  • Inexpensive housing
  • Large mall
  • Ethnically diverse
Cons
  • High traffic on arterial streets
  • Noisy on north and west side
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Jun 30, 2010

"A Place That Does Not Disappoint"

Located in the heart of North Seattle, Green Lake harbors a body of water after its own name. Locals and tourists descend upon water’s edge to enjoy walking, jogging, water recreation, lakeside restaurants and more. Where exactly is the neighborhood? It forms, more or less, a square that is bordered by North 85th Street on the North, Roosevelt Way NE on the East, Aurora Avenue N on the West and North 50th Street on the South.

History

Discovered by surveyor David Philips in 1855, then in 1869, Erhart Seifried (http://bitly.com/hKVSqR) became the first white settler. He, also known as Green Lake John, and his wife collaborated with Indians and cleared an area to plant an orchard. Guy Phinney (http://bitly.com/ehj3ya) purchased 179 acres on the southeast side of the lake that he developed into Woodland Park (known today as Woodland Park Zoo http://zoo.org). A rapid population expansion began in the 1880s, bringing large numbers to build around the lake. In 1911, for the sake of adding green space near the lake, John Olmsted (http://bitly.com/dP69AG) requested the lake be lowered to add 100 acres of dry land. Unfortunately, the lake endured further abuse from unsuccessful efforts to control algae through use of chemical agents. For nearly half a century, motorboats were commonplace on the lake, until banned them in the 1980s. Today, Green Lake (http://bitly.com/bMrWYh) is the busiest in the state with more than one million visitors every year.

Demographics and Income

Packed with young adults and middle age couples, Green Lake has been known to attract fitness enthusiasts. Honoring its roots, the neighborhood continues to draw primarily Whites. Incomes are higher than Seattle averages, with the highest-salaried households nestled near the lake. Well-to-do couples and singles make up most of the population, with transient lower-income singles comprises the remainder of the demographic.

Culture

Exploring this area gives the feel of being on a Spring Break vacation where you can abandon the car and ingest the natural beauty and creative venues. Most of the vacation-like activity is on the east side, where the "downtown" section contains several small stores and restaurants. Head south and breathe in the creative home restorations, occasionally finding an embedded cafe or pub.

Real Estate

An even distribution of home sizes make up the market in Green Lake. Structures are primarily circa 1920s, averaging 1510 sq. ft. The owner versus renter split is almost fifty-fifty. Housing values have dropped sharply since 2008, losing roughly $150,000.

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

Pockets of activity can be found around Green Lake, with most, obviously, within a stone’s throw of the water. Beginning on the north side, not to ignore the infamous Aurora Avenue: Eddies Pan Asian Restaurant (http://eddies1989panasianrestaurant.com) - Featuring Chef Eddie, awarding winning restaurant owner for Thai restaurants; Barriga Llena (http://mendozasmercado.com) - Owned by Edgar Mendoza, bringing the on-the-go mentality of Mexico City, which is everything on the torta; DaVinci’s (http://i5pizza.com) - Top-rated pizzeria with late-night hours and mobile ordering; Duck Island Ale House (http://bitly.com/guQRkw) - Multiple beers and top, but a limited food menu; Beth’s Cafe (http://bethscafe.com) - A world-famous greasy spoon establishment that features a 12 egg omelette; Uber Tavern (http://uberbier.com) - One of the largest on-tap and bottled ale selections around; and PCC Natural Markets (http://bitly.com/gGD7AB) - Natural food market with nine locations around Puget Sound.

The north side of the lake, boasting a more residential feel than the Highway 99 corridor: Green Lake Wines (http://greenlakewines.com) - A wine shop with a twist, featuring a cozy wine bar; Shoefly (http://shoefly.com) - Men and Women’s designer shoes; Dukes Chowder House (http://dukeschowderhouse.com) - Duke Lore, owner, admits to his weakness of only wanting the finest when it comes to seafood; Zeeks Pizza (http://zeekspizza.com) - Delicious neighborhood pizza that features dine-in, delivery, and corporate delivery; Bluwater Bistro (http://bluwaterbistro.com) - Seasoned owners, Dan and Bart, deliver excellent food and help foster a unique ambiance; and Chocolati (http://chocolati.com) - Established in 2000 to make savory chocolate, fostering a unique experience for the senses.

The east side, where the “downtown” is found, has much to offer: Amante Pizza (http://amantepizzaandpasta.com) - Pizza, pasta and family dining with 10 locations around Puget Sound; Greenlake Bar and Grill (http://greenlakebarandgrill.com) - The ideal lakeside experience with a diverse food and drink menu; Rosita’s (http://rositasrestaurant.com) - A family-friendly Mexican restaurant offering traditional favorites; Revolution Espresso & Bakery (http://bitly.com/g6TLn8) - A great addition to the Green Lake experience with ample seating, lots of outlets, free wifi and even dog-friendly; Little Red Hen (http://littleredhen.com) - Seattle’s home of live country entertainment; Bottega Italiana (http://bottegaitaliana.com) - Authentic Italian gelato and family-style atmosphere; Turnpike Pizza (http://turnpikepizza.com) - Local pizza at its best, including a gluten-free crust; Nell’s Restaurant (http://nellsrestaurant.com) - European-inspired New American cuisine with the finest Northwest seasonal ingredients; Mockingbird Books (http://mockingbirdbooksgl.com) - Offering a great selection of children’s books, even featuring a coffee shop; Exit Space (http://exitspacedance.com) - A school of dance focused on helping others enjoy its art; and Gregg’s Cycle (http://greggscycles.com) - Plenty of bike supplies and helpful service in three locations.

On the south side, also known as the Tangletown district: Mighty-O Donuts (http://mightyo.com) - where Vegan donuts are baked fresh daily; Meridian Market (http://meridianmarket.com) - Featuring everyday low prices with fresh, local produce; and Zoka (http://zokacoffee.com) - A coffee roaster and tea company with three Seattle locations and three in Japan.

Schools

Education is not overlooked, amidst the gorgeous scenery: Blanchet High School (http://blanchet.k12.wa.us) - A Catholic, college preparatory high school; Daniel Bagley Elementary (http://danielbagley.com) - Offering children a choice of two curriculums in a diverse learning environment; Billings Middle School (http://billingsmiddleschool.org) - Developing not only great minds, but exceptional leaders; Green Lake Elementary (http://greenlakedragons.org) - A small school, where every child can be known; and Green Lake Preschool (http://greenlakepreschool.org) - Providing developmentally appropriate activities and materials for growth.

Recreation

The two and a half mile loop around Green Lake provides ample room for walking, biking, rollerblading, or just a leisurely stroll. The green space on the east side is a mecca of activity when the Sun shines (a rarity). Here, a large playground, recreation center (http://bitly.com/ez4xRE) and sporting greens can be found. Woodland Park (http://bitly.com/hQ29wA), to the south, has a small par 3 golf course (http://bitly.com/f09Wvj) that is great for kids. Rowing teams (http://greenlakecrew.org/) feel at home here, and can be found preparing and cleaning their boats near the stadium on the south edge of the lake. Head northwest on the trail and catch a production at the Seattle Boathouse Theater (http://seattlepublictheater.org). Water activities include a beach for swimming (both sides of the lake) and Greenlake Boathouse (http://greenlakeboatrentals.net Northeast side) to rent kayaks, canoes, and even stand up paddle boards (New in Summer 2010). Parents will enjoy the wading pool (http://bitly.com/dUy9zB) on the north side that's just across the street from ice cream, coffee and fine dining.

Accommodations

The best (and only) choice for accommodations in the neighborhood is the Greenlake Guesthouse (http://greenlakeguesthouse.com). A 1920s Craftman-style house offering four casually elegant rooms with private baths.

Medical and Wellness Facilities

No hospital is located within Greenlake, but a few helpful facilities for various needs: Skinlogic (http://skinlogicskincenter.com) - Offering sophisticated skincare products and advanced clinical facials; Greenlake Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture Clinic (http://greenlakeacupuncture.com) - Owned and operated by Dr. Rusheng Zheng; Zoe Lotus Healing Arts (http://zoelotus.org) - Promoting mind/body/heart/spirit, and enhancing connection to our center through self-healing; and Sugar Sugar (http://sugarseattle.net) - The art of body sugaring and organic skin care.

Spiritual Centers and Churches

A number of spiritual experiences surround the lake: Bethany Community Church (http://churchbcc.org) - A fast-growing church with locations also in North Seattle and West Seattle; St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (http://saintandrewsseattle.org) - Inspiring worship, lifelong Christian learning to experience daily life as an extension of God’s creative work; Bethany Lutheran Church (http://bethanyluth.org) - Organized in 1908 by Swedish immigrants and draws mostly from the Green Lake, University District and Northeast Seattle areas; Fairview Church (http://fairviewministries.net) - Established in 1906 and associated with the Church of God (http://chog.org); Calvary Christian Assembly (http://ccassembly.org) - Founded in 1927, with a diverse congregation and strong accomplishments, like the founding of Northwest University (http://northwestu.edu); Seattle Formosan Christian Church (http://seattlefcc.org) - Holding both Taiwanese and English speaking services with a history dating back to 1969; Church in Seattle (http://churchinseattle.org) - A simple gathering of believing Christians, with all welcome; Green Lake United Methodist Church (http://greenlakeumc.org) - Experience the love and beauty of God in a castle-like structure that was built in 1903 by the original members; and Keystone United Church of Christ (http://keystoneseattle.org) - Worshipping God through acts of compassion and justice.

Transportation Access and Tips

Location is king for this neighborhood, with easy access to the interstate. Buses and bike routes lead easily to the city center via several arterial streets. Close proximity with the University of Washington (http://washington.edu) keeps this place young, but Seniors are very welcome with a living center just steps from the lake (http://thehearthstone.net).

Summary

Whether you have an hour or the entire day, this locale will not bore. This “in-house” recreational lake is the ideal piece for residents, not just for those who live in the Green Lake Neighborhood, but people throughout North Seattle.
Pros
  • Great area for fitness
  • Water recreation
  • Unique dining choices
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Limited accommodations
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Jun 29, 2010

"Ten Minutes to Everywhere - An Urban Community with Convenience and Conviction"

It is hard to commute through North Seattle and miss this dynamic neighborhood. The area gently nudges the western shore of Green Lake, an acclaimed center for fitness and family fun. Head south a bit for a day at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo featuring rare wildlife. After visiting the animals, you can stroll Phinney/Greenwood Avenue to select a tasty spot to dine, also grabbing a pint at the plethora of pubs. Explore the attractive vintage architecture nestled either side of the Ridge. Getting around is no issue with access to multiple bus routes, bike routes and major arterials. Singles, couples and families alike will enjoy a visit or relocation here.
Pros
  • Choice of restaurants and cafes
  • Relatively quiet
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish