SusyG

  • Local Expert 788 points
  • Reviews 32
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Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
Just now

"Fun, Affordable City"

Though Ive never lived in Pittsburgh myself, Ive been there dozens of time and really enjoy this city. Growing up in Cleveland, Pittsburgh was just a 2 hour day trip away, and my family visited often.

A major reason why we visited was to go to a Steelers game. My dad somehow managed to get on the season ticketholders list, and hasnt let go of them since, because they are nearly impossible to come by. Im not a particularly passionate fan, but my childhood is filled with memories of going to the game with dad (even though he got a lot of heat for caring more about the Steelers than the Browns!). They won the Superbowl 6 times, and though none of those wins were during my childhood, the fan base was still wild for them.

I also remember going to a fieldtrip to Pittsburgh in middle school to see one of the citys most famous landmarks: the pre-revolutionary Fort Pitt. To be more accurate, it was just to see the Block House, which is all thats left of the fort. Its been preserved by the Daughters of the American Revolution and was built in the late 18th century. Part of what used to be the fort has now become a state park, but unfortunately theres nothing original that has been preserved besides the Block House.

Pittsburgh is also home to quite a few higher education institutions. A large number of friends from Cleveland ended up studying in Pittsburgh, and most of them stayed there to work afterwards. University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon are some of the best known universities, but there are also quite a few smaller schools. It was fun to visit friends while they were studying there because Pittsburgh has the most bars per capita in the country! However, the city center can get pretty empty at night, and you have to know where to go to find the most popular bars. Now, a few friends work for some of the many tech companies that have large offices there. It used to be more of an industrial city, but now the economy is more centered on tech, health care, and education.

Another reason friends have stayed there is because of the very reasonable cost of living. Though living in the golden triangle will cost you, outside of that area you can find pleasant housing options for a modest price. I appreciate how walkable many of the neighborhoods are as well. However, since the city is located at the convergence of two rivers, there are some long bridges that are essentially a walking barrier between downtown and the suburban neighborhoods. But the public transit isnt bad, so its not a big problem.

Last Ill mention one other great memory I have of Pittsburgh. When I was a recent graduate, Pittsburgh elected Luke Ravenstahl, the youngest mayor in the history of the country! He was only 3 years older than me when he was elected at 26, and I remember being inspired by the idea that someone so youthful could achieve that.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Great universities
Cons
  • Neighborhoods separated by big bridges
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Just now

"Wine Tours For All"

Besides visiting a friend, Ive only been to Woodinville twice, and both times it was for wine tasting.

A very popular place, which I can endorse, is Chateau Ste Michelle. The wine is great, and they allow kids so it was the perfect place for when my sister and her kids visited. They could run around outside on the grass and get the wiggles out before we did the tour. I wouldnt have brought them if they were much younger or if they werent so wellbehaved, because the tour is about 35 or 40 minutes, which feels like 4 hours for a kid. But I was impressed--they found it pretty interesting and kept asking to taste the wine too. When we did give them a tiny sip they made a face a decided they were happy with their grape juice!

But by far the best winery we visited with the kiddos was Novelty Hill Januik. The wine and the ambience was perfect, and we went on a sunny day, so we got to go outside and play bocce ballwhile wine tasting! And the extra bonus was that we could eat pizza as well, which was definitely needed at this point. Perfect.

One other time I went to Woodinville was with friends, again for the wine. It was a bit simpler though, since it was for a birthday party without kids. We purchased the Seattle wine tour, which was excellent so that we didnt have to worry about driving or planning.

I do have one good friend who lives in the area with his family, and he really enjoys it. However, it is certainly a different lifestyle than in Seattle. Many, if not most, in the area own houses and a bit of land. The schools have a decent reputation, and safety is supposed to be good. I suppose the commute to Bellevue wouldnt be terrible, but I dont envy those who must commute to Seattle from Woodinville. The appeal is clear for those raising a family or simply those who like a bit of distance from the rush of the city. I wouldnt mind settling down there one day myself, but not for quite some time.
Pros
  • Dozens of wineries
  • Decent cost of living
Cons
  • Slow commute to Seattle or Bellevue
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Country Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
Just now

"Skiing, Shopping, and Beer"

I have been to Denver the past several winters to go on ski trips to the surrounding resorts. To start with, dont plan a trip during the holidays because you will spend half of it in traffic trying to get to the resorts. I generally like to take a long weekend (not on any holiday) and fly here for 3 days of skiing.

Ive tried quite a few of the ski resorts within 2 hours of Denver and my current favorite is Breckenridge. You have to rent a car to get there, and make sure you get one with all wheel drive or snow tires if the forecast is stormy. I like Breckenridge because the village is very pleasant and the skiing has great expert options. A tip: because lift tickets are so expensive in this part of Colorado, its worth getting a season pass that will allow you to access several mountains (or just your favorite one) if you plan to go more than 4 or 5 days during the season. Tickets at Breckenridge cost $149 at the window, but you can get an early bird season pass with unlimited access to Breckenridge and limited access to a handful of other resorts for $609.

When it comes to Denver itself, I quite enjoy the shopping scene there.

If I have a few hours before or after a flight, I generally head first to Larimer Square. There are quite a few little boutiques here, but my favorites are Blue Ruby and Hailee Grace. Plus, I always make sure to stop by Dog Savvy Boutique to pick up a treat to bring home for my dog.

From Larimer Square if you have more time, you can walk to 16th Street Mall, which really isnt a mall as youd imagine, but an outdoor pedestrian shopping area. There are too many fun stores here to name, but its worth an afternoon of walking and shopping as well, followed by a nice meal.

The other thing worth mentioning is the craft brewing scene in Denver. Since I live in Seattle, I am already spoiled when it comes to craft beers, but Denver has a large variety as well. Every year when I go back it seems like there are 10 new brewpubs popping up. I quite like Ratio Beerworks (which often has live music, and is good for groups). Cerebral Brewing also has excellent beer, though its a bit out of the way. Really, any good restaurant or brewpub in Denver should have a great selection of beers. Thats one thing thats nice about this cityyou dont have to worry about choosing a nice meal and when you go to pair it with a beer, finding that only Bud and Coors are available.

Since Ive only been a regular visitor to Denver and have never lived there, I cant add much more yet. That being said, based on what Ive seen I would definitely consider living here if it was an option.
Pros
  • Great shopping
  • Many ski resorts to choose from
  • Craft beer
  • Close to the mountains
Cons
  • Traffic in and around the city for miles/hours
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
Just now

"Fast paced, exciting, and expensive"

Growing up in Ohio, I LOVED visiting NYC when I was a kid. In fact, I loved it so much that I ended up living there for 5 years after college. Now, I live in Seattle but still visit the city at least once a year to visit friends.

New York is one of those cities that you either love or hate. For me, its a bit of both. It was a treat for the first few yearsI loved being able to catch a show any night of the week, the nightlife and shopping was on a whole other level. I enjoyed being able to walk or take the metro everywhere, without the need for a car.

But after 3 or 4 years it started wearing on me. The fast pace of life that is invigorating at first began to feel relentless. The 70+ hour work weeks that are practically a requirement as an attorney left little time for rest and travel. These hours are also the norm for tech, finance, and startups. This exhausting schedule begins to detract from quality of life after some time.

Part of the reason that people work such long hours is to pay for the extremely high cost of living in the city. I wont spend much time on it here, because you probably already know that rent is extortionate, and the scarcity of apartments is dire. An apartment will go on the market and be gone within a few hours. In fact, most apartments are leased based on who the leasing agents know. They often fill it before they even list it. If there does happen to be a rare open house, people bring their checkbooks to viewing appointments. Its unfortunate to have so little choice in where you make your home. I lived in 2 different apartments during my time there, and they both absorbed the majority of my income.

The other big reason why I ended up moving is the lack of access to outdoor recreation. Dont get me wrong, I adore Central Park and the little neighborhood green spaces, but getting to the mountains is definitely a mission in NYC. And growing up in Ohio, I was used to quick access to hiking and skiing. Now in Seattle Im loving the outdoors accessibility and have been skiing practically every weekend in the winter and hiking most weekends in the summer.

But of course there are plenty of things that I love about NYC. For one, the people. There are so many different kinds of people in NYC that it is amazing. In many cities, such as Seattle, the city ends up being segregated in some ways and you can accidentally surround yourself with people just like you. I also love the social scene and the nightlife in the city. Theres such a constant hum of energy, and so many interesting things to do and see. Lastly, the shopping. Theres simply no other place Ive been to that has such a fun and varied shopping scene, especially once you explore some of the smaller, more creative, and lesser-known shops that are out of the tourist scene.
Pros
  • World class nightlife
  • Amazing food
  • Diverse
  • Great social scene
Cons
  • Lack of access to nature
  • Very expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"A convenient but poorly planned neighborhood"

When I was searching to buy a home, I was interested in Westlake because it had (and still has, I believe) a good selection of condos on the market. There is a series of very large residential buildings that line the east edge of Aurora. I was initially intrigued because I could walk to work in South Lake Union, which would be extremely convenient.

But I decided against it because this neighborhood does not have a sense of community, compared to most of Seattle neighborhoods. Sure, there are a few small parks and a handful of restaurants, but its nothing like Fremont or Wallingford, where you have a quaint downtown street lined with amenities and bustling with activity. Westlake feels more like a coincidental grouping of large residential buildingsit feels as though there was little thought or planning put into the neighborhood.

Likewise, when I toured a few places, I got the sense that those who own the buildings are not invested in the community, and simply are in it for the profit. That wouldnt bother many people, but I find that quite unappealing for a place I plan to live for many years.

It would appeal mostly to those who highly prioritize convenience, and prefer a more quiet home.
Pros
  • Close proximity to downtown
Cons
  • No community atmosphere
  • Overpriced housing
Recommended for
  • Professionals
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
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Just now

"Comeback City"

Growing up in a suburb of Cleveland, I cant help but love this city. Perched on shores of Lake Erie, its a small city by American standards, but the second largest in Ohio. We call it the Cleve or simply The City.

Economy: To be quite frank, the city is struggling a bit economically. As a child, I remember the recession of the 1980s that caused a good amount of industry to leave Cleveland, which is why the city acquired the unfortunate nickname of mistake on the lake. But it has rehabilitated somewhat since then (now comeback city) and my childhood memories are filled with trips to the big city to see which new stores had opened up. Yet unemployment is still higher than average, unfortunately, and the comeback city still has a bit of coming back to do. In recent years, the economy has been bolstered by the healthcare industry, which has been growing and providing many excellent jobs.

Diversity: Im not sure if I would live there now, as an adult, because Im in love with the more dramatic mountain scenery in Seattle, where I live now. But I do miss some things about the city. One thing I miss about Cleveland is its rich diversity. Seattle is great in many ways, but its also oddly segregated and its easy to accidentally find oneself surrounded by faces just like yours for the majority of your life. In Cleveland, thats not the case (as much).

Cost of living: With skyrocketing housing costs in Seattle, I also miss the inexpensive rent in Cleveland! Housing is significantly lower than most other mid-sized American cities. If youre lucky, you might be able to buy one of the gorgeous old Cleveland mansions for half the price of a studio in San Francisco. Some of this, of course, is due to parts of town being low-income, and the still-struggling economy. Unlike in other cities, which have been urbanizing, or becoming more densely populated in the past couple decades, Cleveland has been suburbanizing, with new housing developments popping up outside of the city center. This has taken a toll on the vibrancy of the urban center. It appears that this may be shifting back towards urbanization, which I hope is the case, so that the city center continues to be revitalized.

Arts and culture: The theater scene is enormous in Cleveland. There are 9 theaters in playhouse square, ranging from dinner theater style to ornate baroque to modern. I was so grateful as a child to get to go to the theater as well as to see the Cleveland Orchestra. Neither was very expensive, which is another thing I love about Clevelandmuch of the fine arts are accessible.

Professional Sports: Cleveland has one of the most controversial sports team names in the country: The Cleveland Indians. Its not as controversial as The Redskins, but our Chief Wahoo Native American logo is extremely offensive. Since 2014, theyve been phasing it out, in favor of a logo that simply states the name of the team. This is an improvement, but really, they need to change the name as well. Its quite embarrassing that it took them this long to change even the logo. That being said, fans fiercely love their sports teams here.

Parks: The Cleveland metroparks system is one to be admired. There is an amazing series of very large parks around the perimeter of the city that were a joy to walk around and explore with my family when I was young. This parks system is something that Cleveland is rightfully proud of, as they add an important, and beautiful, natural aspect to the city.

Winter: The winters can be harsh in Ohio, but when you grow up there it seems normal. We would use cross-country skis to get around if walking was too treacherous or tedious. I grew up downhill skiing At Alpine Valley, with the occasional trip to Mad River. Though both were fine, there is no going back after the luxury of big mountains and (mostly) ice-free snow on the west coast. I do miss the tubing though! Nothing like flying downhill on an inner tube with your friends as a child. No skiing skills required.
Pros
  • Affordable cost of living
  • Great theater scene
  • Parks
Cons
  • Struggling economy
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • 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 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
Just now

"Excellent restaurants & Seattle’s best downtown park"

Some of my colleagues and I occasionally like to head over to Belltown after work for a happy hour. It’s nice to get out of South Lake Union for a change, and there are quite a few enjoyable options.

My recommendations:

**Wasabi Bistro for high quality sushi and sake

**Blueacre Seafood has delicious, fresh $1 oysters on the half shell for happy hour!

**For a waterfront view in a lush setting, the Six Seven in the Edgewater does a decent happy hour. The best part is the patio in the summer!

**Tavolata for georgeous, homemade Italian. The happy hour is wonderful, and the pasta is handmade. It’s an Ethan Stowell restaurant, so I wasn’t surprised that it was so good!

I also love how Belltown is walkable! Though Bell Street does allow vehicles, it’s designed to discourage traffic, which means that all the restaurants have added plants and outdoor seating, giving it a very cute neighborhood feel. Plus, some restaurants will let you tie your dog up just outside the patio areas in the summer, so you can bring your pooch with you for lunch and still have them in sight.

More than the restaurants in Belltown, I adore the Sculpture Park. It is a long stretch of land along the waterfront, starting at Broad Street and continuing for at least a half mile along the shore to the north. It’s a very peaceful place, with paved paths, beaches, and grassy areas. I am a regular visitor in the summer. I also have to mention Belltown’s off-leash dog park. It’s not the biggest or the best, but it’s still nice to have one in the middle of the city.

I must admit that I wouldn’t want to live here, as it’s a bit too urban for me. I prefer a little more space and quiet. However, it is quite enjoyable for regular visits.
Pros
  • Sculpture park
  • Great nightlife
  • Unique dining choices
Cons
  • Difficult parking
  • Loud environment
4/5
Just now

"A walk in the park and a nice meal"

The Arboretum in Montlake is a place where I’ll often bring out of town guests who want to go for a nice walk outside. The groundskeepers have done an excellent job creating varied, beautiful walking paths through this very large park. Everyone I've brought here has commented on the beautiful landscaping. Unfortunately there’s no off-leash dog park, however. I’ll usually get a hot latte from Fuel Coffeehouse on 24th beforehand, for a bit of energy.

After a nice long walk, I love taking people to the Volunteer Park Café. I think this is technically in Capitol Hill, but it’s only 5 minutes away from the Arboretum. They make delicious American-style comfort food. But it’s much better than what you imagine when you think comfort food. You can taste that the ingredients are fresh, and the chefs are talented and creative. Some of my favorites are the 4 cheese ‘mac daddy’ (mac and cheese), ‘Squash of gold’ (roasted stuffed squash) and the cod. Once a month they do a $45 Sunday Supper which is a multi-course meal served family-style, and it changes based on what the chef wants to cook! I haven’t done this yet, but I’ve heard rave reviews. The only downside is they serve quite a bit of meat, dairy and gluten, so it is not appropriate for those with dietary restrictions.
Pros
  • Beautiful parks and historic landmarks

"Seattle’s nightlife, arts and culture haven"

Capitol Hill has a large collection of entertainment options for Seattleites. Though I personally wouldn't want to live right in the middle of the action, the periphery of the neighborhood, particularly to the north, has a very peaceful and quiet atmosphere.

There are plenty of delicious restaurants on Capitol Hill—it is a delightful place for a meal and a drink while catching up with old friends.

One that I quite enjoy is Artusi, which has Tapas-style Italian, wine pairings, and excellent cocktails. Capitol Cider is fun for dessert, though they don’t have only sweet ciders, they also have dry ones if you have less of a sweet tooth. Barca Bar has live jazz on Tuesdays which was quite enjoyable when I went. Lastly, Revolver Bar has a pleasant atmosphere with a well-designed interior.

The other main reason I find myself in this part of town is to go to one of the local arts events. I quite enjoy the literature lectures at Hugo House (a nonprofit for writers), and have also been to their Small Press Literature Festival featuring many local authors.

The Northwest Film Festival is another little gem. They show little-known documentaries and indie films, and I’ve found their curation to be very high-quality. I’ve been considering doing some of their workshops. The Annex Theater also has a wide variety of shows, ranging from ridiculous to obscene. It is a very entertaining venue, particularly when you’re with a close friend or two that share your sense of humor!

I’ll close by mentioning Volunteer Park, north of downtown Capitol Hill. It’s a lovely place for a slow walk on a summer day. The park also houses the Seattle Asian Art Museum, which is well worth a visit, and the cemetery just north of the park has Bruce Lee’s grave!

I did look at a few homes when I was looking to buy. I found three types of housing for sale on Capitol Hill: modest but overpriced 2 story single-family homes, new condos, and mansions that cost in the millions. All three types were very expensive: this is a popular place to live.
Pros
  • Arts and culture
  • Good restaurants
  • Nightlife
Cons
  • Lack of parking
  • High cost of living
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
Just now

"Strikes a good balance"

The Leschi neighborhood is one of those secret little Seattle gems that I love. I admit, I may want to move here one day. It’s away from all the hustle and bustle, has easy access to I-90, reasonable costs of living, parks, a few restaurants, and views of (and access to) Lake Washington. A very pleasing mix and balance overall.

The parks, Leschi and Frink, are really one park (they are connected) and they are both gorgeous. Frink has shady trails that are cool and peaceful in the summer. Some trails have boardwalks, and others are just dirt. It’s the kind of place you want to walk slowly and soak it all up. Leschi is close to the marina, and has a view of the lake and the eastside. Great spot to have a picnic and enjoy the view or read a book.

There aren’t too many dining options in “downtown” Leschi (where Lake Washington Blvd and Lakeside meet) but my favorite is Bluwater Bistro. Of course, Daniel’s Broiler is great for a special event, but Bluwater is affordable enough for a regular treat, and the seafood is wonderful and fresh. Try the parmesan crusted Rockfish. The view over the water is divine! Even though it is facing east, sunsets can still be gorgeous—the light reflects off the Cascade Mountains across Lake Washington, sometimes making them glow pink, if they are very snowy and the light is right. I believe that is called alpenglow. One downside of the neighborhood is the lack of nightlife. However, it is only a 5-10 minute drive from the Pike/Pine corridor on Capitol Hill, which is Seattle's most popular nightlife scene.

I suppose the only other downside is that getting to downtown Seattle, or South Lake Union during rush hour is a drag. As the crow flies, it is not far—only 2 or 3 miles. But realistically, you either have to fight your way through dozens of traffic lights, or struggle with stop and go traffic on the freeways. Neither is a great option, and unfortunately the light rail line does not venture this direction.
Pros
  • Great parks
  • Quiet environment
Cons
  • Lack of nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
3/5
Just now

"Beautiful but overpriced and surprisingly isolated"

I thought that East Queen Anne could be a pleasant place to live, being geographically close to work in South Lake Union. But it turns out that it’s an oddly isolated neighborhood, being split in two by Aurora. If you lived close to the top of the hill, of course you’d have easy access to the business area there, including all of the restaurants and shops. But getting public transit to work (South Lake Union for me) can be a challenge. You have to either walk down the side of the hill to one of the bus stops at Aurora, or catch a bus down and around the hill. Neither is ideal, and it turns out that simply walking there is nearly as quick (which is not quick at all).

Plus, there’s the fact that housing is incredibly expensive in this very desirable neighborhood. I see many reviews here that say it is a good neighborhood to raise a family, but currently I’d have to disagree. This is probably true if you managed to buy your home a few years ago when housing prices were down. But at the moment, with housing prices at an all time high, there are very few families (particularly those with children) that could afford to buy a home here. Even modest 2-bedroom homes are nearly $1 million, and it only goes up from there. Part of the reason is that most of the property here has a stunning eastward-facing view. Those that face southeast may even have a view of Mt. Rainier. Beautiful, but you’ll pay dearly for that beauty.
Cons
  • More expensive housing
3/5
Just now

"Green, hilly, and very quiet"

Magnolia is a beautiful family neighborhood that boasts the enormous Discovery Park, which dominates its northwest corner. There is no off-leash dog area in the park, but there are plenty of people walking their dogs (on leashes) around the trails.

During the summer, I occasionally make an effort to go to the park on a Saturday so I can stop by the Magnolia Farmer’s Market on McGraw Street in the Magnolia Village area afterwards. They mainly have locally-grown produce, (not lots of crafts or antiques like others) which is fresh and delicious. It’s also dog friendly and parking usually isn’t too difficult to find.

Sometimes I’ll leave my dog in the car for 20 minutes after our walk and grab a coffee from Uptown Espresso and browse Magnolia’s Bookstore to see what’s new. It’s a small shop tucked in the same block as a pizza place and a men’s clothing store on McGraw.

For me, Magnolia is a great neighborhood to visit for a quiet weekend afternoon, but I personally wouldn’t want to live here at this point. It’s extremely quiet, focused almost solely on families, with virtually no nightlife (though Oliver’s Twist does make good drinks). Plus, it’s hard to get to other places because it’s connected to the rest of Seattle by bridges. So it would be a struggle to get elsewhere regularly for social activity with friends who live in different neighborhoods. It would be a perfect place for families who like the quiet life though!
Pros
  • Good parks
  • Family friendly
  • Dog friendly
Cons
  • Very quiet
  • No nightlife
  • Not good for singles
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"Worth an occasional visit"

After the Space Needle, Pike Place Market is the main tourist attraction in the Emerald City. I personally don’t frequent Pike Place often, though I’ve taken visitors here, and my nieces and nephew love it. If I do visit, I generally leave my dog at home, because much of the market is either not dog-friendly, or too crowded for dogs.

When the kiddos visit we ALWAYS have to go to Daily Dozen Donuts and get a dozen donuts to share. I usually wash it down with a coffee from Ghost Alley Espresso.

For lunch my favorite place is piroshky piroshky. But apparently it’s everyone’s favorite place, so you must avoid peak hours on the weekends or you'll easily spend half an hour standing in line.

Other than that, the places I can recommend are:

--Three Girls Bakery makes delicious hand-made baked goods, as well as soups, sandwiches, and other items. One of my go-tos is the spinach and feta croissant. Delicious!

--El borracho: They have hands-down the best tacos in downtown. In addition, the atmosphere is fun and energetic, and the drinks are high quality.

--Unexpected Productions is an improvisation comedy venue. The early show on Fridays (7pm) has happy hour in the bar during the show, which is nice seeing as how it’s much later than most happy hours run. The show I saw was quite funny and interactive, though I’ve also heard that it’s not always this funny. There were a good amount of tourists in the crowd.
Pros
  • Plenty of restaurant options
  • Plenty of shopping options
Cons
  • Limited parking
  • Crowded
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
Just now

"Perfect for the fitness and health-minded"

I think if I lived in Ravenna I would be much healthier than I am now.

Let me start with all the delicious vegetarian food. There’s Wayward Vegan Café for amazing vegan breakfast and comfort food. Then there’s Sunlight café, with very healthy vegetarian food, full of veggies. And down the road is Thrive, which has gluten AND dairy-free food plus smoothies. For seafood eaters, there’s the Sushi Tokyo which I love. Also, healthy. See what I mean? And for groceries, there are two PCC’s nearby, which are grocery stores focused on healthy eating and organics.

Next I have to mention Community Fitness. This is not a typical gym. It’s all classes, and you purchase passes or a membership to attend. They expanded to two buildings, and increased their offerings. And they have SO MANY different classes. All the way from weightlifting to Qigong. Even though I live in Wallingford, I purchased a 10 class pack so I could attend some of the classes that aren’t available at my gym.

Lastly I’ll point out how close the neighborhood is to Green Lake. I believe the perception is that it is far away, because it’s separated by I-5. But you can easily go under I-5 and you’re in Green Lake in 5 minutes—perfect for a long walk.

But one of the reasons I chose not to live in the neighborhood is currently it can be a pain to get downtown or to South Lake Union. However, a light rail station is being installed in the neighborhood, which will make Ravenna much more accessible. I’d buy now if you’re considering it, because that installation will undoubtedly make this one of the most popular neighborhoods in Seattle!
4/5
Just now

"The BEST dog park!"

Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island has one of my favorite dog parks. It’s off leash, and divided into two sections. There’s the normal part (which is bigger) and a smaller part for small or shy dogs. Finally, somewhere that understands that not all dogs enjoy getting jumped on by strange dogs they don’t know. Just like not all people like being hugged by strangers. I only wish this section of the park was bigger.

Since the park is on Lake Washington, there is a doggie swim area, which is fun. It’s nice to have a dedicated area without people swimming so you can be certain that it’s acceptable for dogs to swim there and that they won’t bother the swimmers.

And after they are done playing and swimming, there are doggie showers to rinse the mud and sand off. Not bad! I especially appreciate the showers because the only thing I worry about at this park, and most Seattle dog parks, is the cleanliness. If it’s really muddy we won’t go. It’s a lot cleaner when it’s dry out and people can pick up after their dogs.

Other than the dog park, I like the amphitheater. In the summer, they do Shakespeare in the Park here! Sometimes parking can be a challenge during these events, however, so it’s important to arrive early and/or carpool.
Pros
  • Great off leash dog park
  • Great parks
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
Just now

"Modern city full of shopping"

I really like the feel of Bellevue as a city, particularly the residential areas near Lake Washington, and the area on the east edge near Lake Sammamish, which have a strong neighborhood community feel to them. The downtown core has a very modern atmosphere, which makes sense, as it’s younger than Seattle. The buildings are relatively new, and the wide roads are well-designed.

Shopping is the main reason I frequent Bellevue. “The Bellevue Collection” mall has curated a slightly more high-end collection of stores than the other malls in western Washington, with stores like Burberry, Armani Exchange, Vera Bradley, Anthropologie, BCBG, and so on.

In my experience, the downside of Bellevue is twofold: The cost of living, and the commute.

The cost of living, according to friends who do live there, is generally higher than in Seattle. True, the buildings tend to be newer, but that doesn’t quite seem to justify it. The fact that it’s higher than Seattle is slightly puzzling, because overall Seattle still has more amenities. I suppose it’s likely due to the strong economy and wealthy companies in Bellevue. The housing is more affordable the further east and the farther away from downtown you get.

The other downside is the commute. If one worked and lived in Bellevue, that would be ideal. But for those who work in Seattle, the commute would be dire. Traffic on the two bridges over Lake Washington often is stop and go during rush hour. That being said, I can absolutely see the appeal of being closer to the mountains. If I lived there, it would shave 20-30 minutes off my travel time to go skiing or hiking.
Pros
  • Clean
  • New
  • Shopping
Cons
  • Cost of living
  • Traffic and tolls
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Just now

"A coffee and a stroll"

I have a tradition of getting a coffee at Fix CoffeeHouse and walking around the lake to catch up with a friend. It’s the perfect length for a leisurely stroll and conversation. If one lap wasn’t enough to finish the conversation, you can do another lap. It only takes about 40 minutes or so. And honestly even if it’s raining it’s fine because the path is paved. But we’re not the only ones that have figured this out, so it’s usually a VERY crowded path.

I thought about living here when I was looking to buy a condo, but it’s an extremely popular place to live, to say the least, and there was almost nothing on the market. The little I did find was a bit far from the lake, and on busy roads. Ideally Green Lake would be the place to buy a house, but they will cost you a pretty penny in this charming neighborhood.

Part of the charm is Green Lake’s downtown, with all the little shops. It’s the kind of place where you have everything you need within a few blocks. PCC groceries, gym, lots of sports stores, restaurants, coffee shops, it’s all there. No big shopping centers, but it’s only 15 minutes to Northgate Mall.
Pros
  • Water recreation
  • Best park in Seattle
Cons
  • Limited real estate on the market
  • Expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
Just now

"Skier’s paradise—sometimes"

For the outdoor enthusiast, Seattle is a dream. You are simply so close to everything. Hiking, skiing, and biking in the mountains. Kayaking on Puget Sound or Lake Washington. Mountaineering on Mount Rainier. And plenty of biking and walking trails within the city itself. You see mountains in almost every direction. The Cascade Mountains are east and south of the city. The Olympics are to the west.

For skiers like me, you have lots of options within 3 hours. Snoqualmie Pass (30 min), Steven’s Pass (2 hours), Crystal Mountain (2 hours), Mount Baker (3 hours), and Mission Ridge (3 hours). There are some small, local hills too like Leavenworth Ski Hill, Echo Valley, and Loup Loup.

I must admit though, the weather patterns have been worrying here lately. When people think of climate change on the west coast, they picture drying-up lakes in California. But we are also facing changes here in Seattle. The last two summers we’ve had some of the worst wildfires in state history. This is part due to hotter, drier summers, and in part due to lack of snowpack. Luckily, this year we’ve had excellent snow. But last winter, the Cascades received only 10% of their regular snow, and the Olympics only 1%. Climatologists claim this is what to expect in 70 years—hotter all year, and more rain, rather than snow, in the winter. Except it may be happening faster than anyone anticipated. As a skier, that is discouraging. I’m hoping this pattern is only a fluke, and we’ll see many, many more snowy winters. In any rate, it’s better than the icy hills on the east coast. Plus, this year’s ski season has been excellent, with a lot of snow.

Seattle is also a very dog-friendly city, for the most part. There are plenty of off-leash dog parks, and lots of trails and parks for walking. There are even a few doggie day cares, which is helpful for the unexpected meeting.

One thing that’s not great are the roads. It’s quite odd, because there’s a lot of wealth in Seattle, but there seems to be a lack of funds for infrastructure repairs. I would not recommend getting a car with low clearance, because there are lots of big potholes. I finally gave in and got one of the typical Seattle BMWs with all wheel drive. You’ll need something like it to get up some of the mountain roads around here, anyways.
Pros
  • Close to ski resorts
  • Outdoor activities
Cons
  • Traffic
  • High cost of living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Just now

"Very quiet neighborhood"

Greenwood is a cute little neighborhood. I contemplated living here, because at the time there were more reasonably-priced (for Seattle) condos for sale than in the neighborhoods closer to the city center, like Fremont, Wallingford and Green Lake. Greenwood is just north of Green Lake, and far enough away that the prices are a smidge, but only a smidge, lower.

But when I factored in the extra time it would take to get downtown for work, as compared to Wallingford where I ended up, it seemed a burden that I did not want to carry on a daily basis.

Also, if you live in Greenwood, you’d have to be comfortable with not being part of the downtown Seattle community. It’s really too far out to feel like it’s part of Seattle’s urban core. Plus, it has it’s own downtown center with everything you’d likely need. In my opinion, it’s a lovely neighborhood for families and couples, but probably a bit isolating for most singles, unless you prefer that lifestyle.

There is a fun little brewpub I’ve been to a few times that I can recommend. It’s called the Naked City Brewery and Taphouse. I like the atmosphere there, and the food is quite good.

Another favorite that I’ve tried is the Stumbling Goat Bistro. Take Greenwood Ave south until you hit 67th and it’s on your left. What I love about the Stumbling Goat is that many of their ingredients are local, and the freshness and preparation is superb. And for dessert—the “salted caramel bomb” is stunning. I would go there just for that.

Honestly there's not really anything wrong with Greenwood (or Phinney Ridge) it just seems like there's not very much in the way of entertainment or events, as compared to other nearby neighborhoods. Which is certainly appealing to some people, particularly families, but not to all.
Pros
  • Choice of restaurants and cafes
Cons
  • A bit too quiet
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
Just now

"Fun in the Park"

There are three reasons I go to this neighborhood, and they are all in Magnuson Park:

1. On summer weekends, I’ll occasionally take my dog to the off-leash area at Magnuson Park. It’s a big, sandy area where he can run around. Then we’ll go for a walk on one of the trails. There are a lot to choose from. Just make sure to keep your pet on a leash or they’ll be chasing ducks the whole time!

2. I also have a tradition of going to the outdoor movies here, every Thursday in July and August. Pack in your bottle of wine, snacks, lawn chairs and lots of blankets. Then snuggle up and chow down while they play a classic on an enormous blow up screen. The only hard part is deciding who has to refrain from the wine so they can drive home. I suggest alternating.

3. Lastly, the Mountaineers Club is located in Magnuson Park, in the north area. I joined the mountaineers and enjoy taking their skills classes to improve my outdoor competency. I’m aiming towards a Mount Rainier summit next year. They have many types of outdoor classes though, not just mountaineering, although I must admit the classes will put a dent in your wallet.
Pros
  • Great Parks
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
4/5 rating details
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
Just now

"Perfect for walking the dog"

I love getting a steaming hot latté and taking my dog on a long walk in Seward Park on a Saturday morning. There are two main routes: around the edge or through the “Magnificent Forest” in the middle. The forest has lots for dogs to explore and smell, but I enjoy the views of the perimeter walk. If it’s particularly clear, you can see Mount Rainier on the southern part of the peninsula.

I’d highly suggest keeping your dog on a leash unless they are exceptionally well-trained, because there are too many distractions to run off and explore. There are plenty of other dogs, bikes, runners, etc, not to mention the usual birds and squirrels. The hummingbirds are especially numerous in the spring. Once we saw something that seemed to be a parrot, but when I looked it up later, it appears that it was actually a Conure Parakeet. For some reason, the park has a few that are local residents. Maybe someone’s escaped pets that managed to survive here?

You can also let your dog swim in Lake Washington, but I usually don’t if there are people swimming.

There’s nothing else in the neighborhood really, besides housing. I usually like to grab a coffee from the Tin Umbrella in Columbia City on the way. They roast their own coffee and it’s delicious.
Pros
  • Great parks
Cons
  • Lack of shopping amenities
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Just now

"Near skiing and dog-friendly hiking"

I briefly considered living in Issaquah, but the daily commute to South Lake Union just wasn’t worth it for me, since all traffic to Seattle has to cross Lake Washington on two bridges.

The reason I considered living here is because it’s so close to Snoqualmie Pass, where I ski occasionally. It would be incredible to be only a 30-minute drive from skiing! However, skiing has become more unpredictable, due to climate change and variable weather patterns. Winters are getting warmer here, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Snoqualmie Pass closes as a ski area within the next decade, due to its low elevation.

Besides the ski access, Issaquah is very close to plenty of dog-friendly trails. A few that my dog and I like:

--Little Si: a more friendly option for our four-legged friends than the full Mt. Si, and with a rewarding view at the peak.
--Poo Poo point: A challenging hike up West Tiger Mountain that takes you to the launch point of the paragliders
--Cave Hole Trail: on the west side of Cougar Mountain, this wide path criss-crosses other smaller paths if you want to lengthen the walk. It’s called cave hole trail due to the old mining sink holes. You’re warned via large signs not to leave the trail as you may fall in a sink hole.

If you do explore further into the mountains, keep a close eye on whether you are entering official Wilderness, because dogs are not allowed on much of this highly protected land.
Pros
  • Close to outdoor activities
  • Peaceful
Cons
  • Long commute to Seattle
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Just now

"Unimpressive industrial neighborhood"

When searching for a condo last year, I viewed one in Interbay, and frankly I was quite unimpressed with the neighborhood. It is clearly an industrial neighborhood, with very few amenities and accommodation options. The only places I would even consider living here would be at either the far north or the far south ends of the neighborhood. This is because Interbay is comprised of the valley between Magnolia and Queen Anne hills, and the north and south ends are the only areas with any sort of view. They also have less of a claustrophobic feeling, being close to water, where the hills to either side flatten out.

I struggle to imagine how one would settle down here, it seems to me a cold and impersonal strip of land that could possibly serve as a temporary home base in a pinch, but never somewhere to buy a home. Seattle has so many wonderful neighborhoods full of personality and amenities, which Interbay simply lacks. In my opinion, Seattle would do better to just continue to develop this as an industrial neighborhood and not try to make it into something it’s not by building housing.
Cons
  • Limited residential area
  • Lacking amenities
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Just now

"A Seattle gem"

Fremont is a gem of a neighborhood. I live nearby and can be found in Fremont nearly every week. It is my go-to place not just for family visiting from out of town, but also to get together with friends and colleagues.

Downtown Fremont is peppered with quaint bistros, gift shops, and women’s clothing shops. There are quite a few eateries I would recommend, such as Café Turko. Yet, there are so many excellent options, that rather than cherry pick those that I prefer, I’d recommend to simply set aside a bit of time and walk around the neighborhood yourself and explore. The same can be said about the bars, which create a relaxed yet convivial nightlife in Fremont. There are at least a dozen bars within walking distance, of varying degrees of formality (though none have anything close to a dress code), catering to a wide range of customers. There are no clubs or dance venues in the neighborhood, however, apart from the Nectar Lounge, which attracts a college crowd.

Living very close to Fremont, I appreciate the many fitness centers. There is a good variety of complete fitness centers (Emerald City Athletics, Anytime Fitness, and Fremont Health Club) and boutique specialty providers (Yoga Tree, The Lab, etc.). Emerald City Athletics is probably the most comprehensive, with Barre, yoga, pilates, and other classes. But it also is by far the most expensive. For me, the expense is worth the value.
Pros
  • Excellent cafes
  • Great nightlife
Cons
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"Good amenities catered towards locals"

I’ve taken my dog to the Genesee Park in Columbia City a few times, which is a nice place to walk when it’s sunny. Make sure to go all the way to the Lake Washington waterfront. There’s also an off-leash area for the dogs!

The Columbia City Farmer’s Market, one of many in the city, is also worthwhile, based on the 2 times I’ve been. The produce selection is excellent, as well as the food trucks. The only problem is that it takes place on Wednesdays from 3 to 7. This can make it hard to get to if you don’t live nearby, because rush hour only dies down around 6 or 6:30. So I generally prefer the markets closer to home.

A big draw for people to live in Columbia City is the light rail. I have to admit, I wish we had something similar where I live. Though buses can also work well, they also change routes frequently, and are unpredictable. The comfort of knowing your mode of transportation can’t suddenly skip half the stops or go on a completely different route simply because it’s rush hour, understandably puts your mind at ease.
Pros
  • Ethnically diverse
  • Good parks
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • 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 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"Museums, music, and coffee"

I rarely find myself downtown these days, since I work in South Lake Union and live north of town. As a local, there’s so much in the surrounding neighborhoods that there’s really no need to spend much time downtown unless you work there. There are a few reasons I end up there though.

First is the Seattle Art Museum. They have excellent exhibits, and I often bring friends to free First Thursday nights with me.

Second is Benaroya Hall where the Seattle Symphony plays. You’ve got to hear them at least once.

Finally, I go downtown for meetings with clients occasionally, as this is the main business district of the city. Being Seattle, there are also dozens of cafes to visit if you are so inclined. The best one, in my opinion, is the little-known Caffe Senso Unico. They do, by far, the best espresso in Seattle. It is owned and operated by an Italian family, and they are meticulous with the ingredients and preparation of their specialty drinks.
Pros
  • Museums and music
  • Excellent cafes
Cons
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
Just now

"Nice location for an evening with friends"

A few friends of mine live in Ballard, and it’s one of our favorite places to go out for a meal and drinks. The Walrus and the Carpenter is a top choice. It’s a classy oyster bar with a great vibe to it. Since it’s not on the main streets, it also tends to be a locals secret. The Noble Fir is also noteworthy, particularly the seats near the fireplace on a winter's evening.

One place I would not recommend is the Sexton. Though the building itself looks like a pleasant location for a meal, the service is terrible. The waiter accidentally overcharged me when he ran my card. When I called to inquire, the manager, instead of refunding me, charged me again! Absolutely inept service. In the end, I had to have my bank withdraw the payments because the manager was unresponsive after he charged me again. Unacceptable.

But if you like games, you cannot miss Café Mox. It is attached to a games store, and you can play any of the hundreds of games they have for free, while you enjoy a meal and some beers.

The only deterrent from Ballard can be the parking. In a pinch, I can usually find something in the gravel lots on Shilshole Avenue, but I usually look elsewhere first.
Pros
  • Unique dining choices
Cons
  • Limited Parking
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"Only suitable for a very specific crowd"

Quite a few Amazon colleagues are opting to live in South Lake Union, close to work, but I chose not to, for a few reasons.

First of all, the prices are unreasonably high here. As far as I can tell, it’s simply because there are so many Amazon employees nearby who are willing to pay for convenience more than your average Seattleite.

The prices certainly aren’t higher due to an abundance of amenities, because South Lake Union has far fewer services than most Seattle neighborhoods. There are a few restaurants, but many have limited hours. The same can be said for shopping. During weekday lunch hours, several food trucks set up shop, which is nice, but it doesn’t make up for having more permanent restaurants with extended hours.

Compared to most of Seattle’s other neighborhoods, there are also very few parks here. There are precisely two that are large enough to be considered decent: Lake Union Park, and Denny Park. Lake Union Park is actually quite nice, with access to the jogging trail around the lake. But it’s not that large, and often swamped with tourists in the summer. Denny Park is very urban, and I don’t feel safe walking there at night, due to the homeless population. This is problematic for much of the year, when it gets dark early. Overall, the amount of parks just isn’t sufficient for a dog-owner who enjoys spending at least an hour every day outside.

Finally, I decided against SLU because I was ready to buy, and nearly everything in this neighborhood is for rent. However, this may change, as there is constant construction going on—yet another reason I chose not to live here.

To conclude, South Lake Union suits Amazon employees that are not looking to buy, don’t have kids (or, probably, dogs), and are willing to pay a significant premium for convenience. For me, it's just fine for my work location, but didn't fit the bill for creating a home, so I looked elsewhere.
Pros
  • Close to downtown and tourist attractions
  • Close to Amazon
Cons
  • Limited real estate on the market
  • Limited parking
  • Expensive rent
  • Traffic congestion
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"Walkable and close to both I-5 and downtown"

Wallingford is where I have chosen to make my home. I’ve been here for about a year and a half now, having moved from Lower Queen Anne. So far, I love it. I bought a condo with a view of Lake Union and the city, which was significantly more affordable than buying a condo in Lower Queen Anne, where they easily run in the millions.

I wasn’t initially planning on buying, but when I discovered how quickly rent was increasing in Seattle, I decided it would be a good investment. So far I’m pleased with my decision.

One thing that attracted me to Wallingford is the access to parks and running paths. I take my dog to Gasworks Park, the Burke-Gilman walking trail, or Woodland Park at least two or three times a week. He loves it.

It’s also nice to be in a neighborhood with houses and small buildings, rather than skyscrapers. Though I do enjoy being in a city, I also like the feeling of a smaller community. If I decide to move in the future, I’d probably get one of the cute little houses nearby.

In Wallingford, I can walk through the neighborhood to eat out or do some shopping. It’s only a few minutes to Fremont as well, where I often meet friends for happy hour at one of the pubs. Capitol Cider is my favorite, especially since I’m trying to cut down on my gluten.

Another reason I chose this neighborhood is the access to the bike path that goes to South Lake Union. Working at Amazon, I bring my dog with me to work (he sits under the desk). Unfortunately though, the bus drivers don’t always like when I bring my dog on the bus, and I don’t like to drive to work every day. So some days in the summer, I bike to work, and Max runs alongside. It’s good exercise, plus it wears him out so he’s quiet at work.

The last reason I like Wallingford is the proximity to Interstate 5. I ski at Steven’s Pass quite frequently in the winter, and I wanted to live somewhere that would be a bit closer to I-5. It only takes about 5 minutes to get on the freeway from my condo, though rush hour slows it to 15. The secret is to take 40th instead of 45th, which skips the lights and the traffic.
Pros
  • Bicycle friendly
  • Great restaurants
  • Large parks
Cons
  • High traffic on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"Affordable, but still needs development"

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

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

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

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

"Close to the city with a small town vibe"

I considered living in Kirkland when I was looking to buy, but decided against it due to the commute to Seattle.

Kirkland was appealing to me because it has the feel of a small town. As a skier, I was also attracted by its proximity to the Cascade Mountains. For example, it's only a 40 minute drive to Snoqualmie Pass. But when I asked around about traffic, I realized I would have had to spend an hour in rush hour commuting each way to get to South Lake Union. No thank you.

I did take a good look at the housing options in Kirkland. Single-family homes dominate much of the real estate market here, though there are also a good amount of condos (which I prefer) near downtown Kirkland. I did find one option that was perfect for me, right on the shores of Lake Washington, which I nearly bought. But I just couldn’t commit to the commute.

One thing I did like about Kirkland was the downtown area. Though I enjoy living in a city, I did grow up in a small Ohio town, and miss that small town culture sometimes. Kirkland fit the bill in that sense, because it was close to the cities, but still had a cute waterfront business district.
Pros
  • Close to nature
  • Good restaurants
  • Waterfront downtown
Cons
  • Long commute to Seattle
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Just now

"A city within a city"

I lived in Lower Queen Anne based on the recommendation of a friend, when I first moved to Seattle from New York in 2013. The friend suggested Queen Anne because it was close to downtown and work, but still felt like it’s own neighborhood. She was right. I enjoyed being able to walk to the ballet, where I have season tickets. I also took my niece and nephew to the children’s theater several times when they visited, which was only a 15-minute walk from home. Groceries and restaurants were within walking distance as well. Yet despite being close to so many activities, the neighborhood was quiet and peaceful in the evenings. It felt like it’s own city in some ways.

The housing is hit and miss in Lower Queen Anne. There’s not much for sale, though you can find the occasional condominium on the market. I rented a top-floor, early 20th century 1-bedroom apartment with a view. It had a large floor plan, and gorgeous bay windows, but made some noises at night when it settled, since it was an older building. Unfortunately, some of the neighboring buildings are an eyesore, with ugly 1960s architecture. Yet there are also many tastefully designed and landscaped single-family homes higher on the hill that are pleasant to view. Max (my dog) and I enjoyed going on walks around the neighborhood.

As for parking, thank goodness I had my own covered parking spot, because street parking is horrendous.

Part of the reason why I moved out of Queen Anne was because my rent would have increased by $300 if I were to renew my lease. At that point I decided it was better to buy. I was caught off-guard at the increase, because in New York, rent control prevents these drastic price changes. Not to say that New York has a perfect system, but at least you know what to expect. Needless to say, there’s no rent control in Washington. To be honest though, I can’t complain too much about the rent increase, because it’s in part due to the rapid growth of Amazon, where I work.

Another factor in my decision to leave Lower Queen Anne was the difficult access to the freeways. I’m an avid skier, and frequently drive to the ski resorts in the Cascades. But to get there from Queen Anne, you have to drive past the Seattle Center and through the very congested South Lake Union neighborhood, or up and around Queen Anne Hill through Wallingford. It’s not far in distance, but there are about a dozen lights to go through either way. It easily adds an extra 20 minutes or more to the drive, and is practically impossible during rush hour, which rules out the possibility of night skiing after work.
Pros
  • Many entertainment options
  • Peaceful
Cons
  • Difficult parking
  • High traffic volumes on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish

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