8.1 out of 10

Eastlake

Ranked 12th best neighborhood in Seattle
47.6432900956224 -122.325288493176
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Safe & Sound
  • Internet Access
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Lack of Traffic
Not great for
  • Parking
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Families with kids
  • Students

Reviews

3/5
Mar 13, 2016

"Part of the Lake Union Loop"

I’ve been to Eastlake a bunch of times when I’m running the loop around Lake Union. It’s obviously the east side of the lake.

It’s actually probably my LEAST favorite part of the 6 mile loop, because it’s the only part where you have a bunch of road crossings. For most of the rest of the loop, you’re on your own separate path, away from cars. But in Eastlake you have to join the vehicles on the small road, I think its Fairview Ave.

BUT one cool thing from running this part of the city is that I never would have found all the micro parks that line the lake here otherwise. They are tiny bits of lake access in the otherwise private beachfront. There’s not really much to them, but they’re good to stop for a break and check out the view.

It’s also kinda cool to see the houseboats in Eastlake. It’s pretty funny how they have their own ‘streets’ with the docks. Haha!

A tip: When you’re crossing the University Bridge north of EastLake when running the the loop, runners are supposed to use the West side. I made the mistake of using the east side once, and it was too crowded with the bikes. The city has a pretty good map online of the whole loop that shows all the parks and stuff like that.
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 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Jan 07, 2016

"Houseboats, city views, and I-5 overhead"

Let’s start by clarifying: Eastlake is a neighborhood along the Eastern shore of *Lake Union*, not Lake Washington. There’s so much water around Seattle that it takes quite awhile to learn the geography, and this one confuses people.

So, Eastlake neighborhood is a narrow strip of land that is squeezed between Lake Union, to the west, and I-5, which is overhead and to the east. If you kept going South, you’d hit South Lake Union neighborhood (aka Amazon territory) in about half a mile. To the north is the straight of water where Lake Washington spills into lake Union. And across the water is the University of Washington.

Why do people live here? Three main reasons: location, view, and water.

Location:
Eastlake is only about a mile and a half from downtown, and about a half mile from Amazon. So, easy commute if you work there.

View:
If you get the right angle and are high enough up the hill, you can get a stunning view of downtown, sparkling across the lake. You might even get a peek of the Olympic mountains, though for most locations, Queen Anne Hill is in the way.

Water:
Houseboats are a unique subculture in Seattle that is a whole other world to the rest of us, and Eastlake has a whole host of them bobbing along the shore. Most Seattleites have never even been on a houseboat, but from friends that have rented them, it sounds magical, if a bit cramped. If you get a chance to visit or rent one on East Lake Union, I’d take it.

For us normal folk who can’t afford a floating home, unfortunately, most of the lakefront here is private and not accessible. There are a few snippets of public access here and there, but nothing like gasworks park across the lake where you can lounge around in the summer and go to festivals.

Bonus: the Cheshiahud loop:
A perk to living here that’s not immediately obvious is the Lake Union loop (aka Cheshiahud loop). This is a 6 mile paved trail around the whole lake for runners, walkers, and bikers. Though there are a few little spots that are a bit confusing, and you do have to cross some streets, for the most part it’s easy to follow. One thing on my bucket list is to do the whole loop one day in the summer and see if I can find all 35 parks along the way (most of them are teeny “pocket parks”). Also, once you can pronounce local Native American words like Cheshiahud, you are officially a local. Psst… in case you were wondering, the Chesiahud Loop is named after this guy: http://www.duwamishtribe.org/lakejohn.html

Why doesn’t everyone want to live here? There are a few main reasons:

Housing prices will make your bank account cry.
Prices used to be more affordable, but with the growth of Amazon headquarters, which is only a 15 or 20 minute walk away, plus the aforementioned water, view, and location, prices have been on the steady increase. The newer buildings are the most expensive by far. One good thing is they have been including rooftop patios and gardens, which is perfect for those warm Seattle summers. Too bad this trend is relatively new and the older, more affordable buildings don’t usually have them. And I’m not sure they’re really worth the $400 extra you’ll be paying every month to live here, as compared to Capitol Hill or other nearby neighborhoods.

I-5 can be noisy.
You have to get used to I-5 constantly humming overhead. Luckily, it can quickly become white noise as you get used to it. I have to say though, it can be satisfying to see all the traffic and think to yourself “I’m so glad I’m at home relaxing and not in that cluster!”

Cobblestone.
Yup, real cobblestone. Some of the steep east/west side roads here are still made of the 100 year old Seattle cobblestone, which makes it feel like you’re off-roading when you drive over them. Not particularly pleasant. Especially if you try to ride a street bike on them—those wheels’ll be toast.

Overall, Eastlake is not where I personally would choose to live, but it could be a good fit if you value being able to walk to work in South Lake Union, or being super close to the lake.
Pros
  • Views of downtown
  • Houseboats
  • Proximity to downtown
Cons
  • Expensive rent
  • Rough cobblestone
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
Jan 07, 2016

"Amazing views and Expensive Housing"

Eastlake is a small sliver of land between I-5 and the eastern side of Lake Union, hence the name Eastlake. Most of the neighborhood is built on a hill, which makes for some amazing views. Many residents are blessed with downtown and water views, along with spectacular sunsets.

Residents have easy access to the University of Washington and downtown. Because of the close proximity to UW there are several low frills, low budget rental options that attract students. 1 bedrooms are available for just over $1,000, which is well below the Seattle average – just don’t expect much. On the other end of the spectrum and just a 7 minute walk from that budget apartment is a listing for a $2.5 million dollar home, with amazing water and city views. Zillow states that the average home price is $488,900, but that would only afford a 1 bedroom condo. Townhomes list for $800,000, and single family homes can easily surpass the millions, so expect high prices - if there are any available.

Beyond the breathtaking views Eastlake offers a main drag with lots of neighborhood restaurants, several pocket parks, one of the most unique parks in the country; I-5 Colonnade Park. Some of my favorite places in Eastlake are:

The Eastlake Zoo – A dive bar with lots of games. This place only serves beer and only takes cash. It can become a student hangout on the weekends.

Serafina – A classic Italian restaurant and a Seattle staple. This romantic restaurant books early for Valentine’s Day.

Little Water Cantina – One of the best patios in Seattle! The chips and guac are great and so are the drinks, but overall the food is okay at best.

Mammoth – Cool, modern sandwich and beer spot.

Blind Pig Bistro – Upscale fare, my favorite is their tasting menus which allow sampling many different things from their menu.

I-5 Colonnade Bike Park – This park is 100% geared toward mountain bikers, and what makes it so unique is that it is located under the I-5 freeway. The park is currently going through planning to expand and remodel some of its bike features.

Living here comes with many of the same gripes as other Seattle neighborhoods. Which are high prices and no parking. Also, because Eastlake is right against I-5 expect the noise and traffic that comes with living next to a freeway. There are some housing gems in Eastlake. Especially in older, charming buildings. With easy bus access and the South Lake Union Trolley commuting downtown is a snap, so I can see the charm in Eastlake.

Who should avoid Eastlake? Anyone who desires more space, along with peace and quite. Eastlake has a little bit of everything, for every budget, so if the timing is right Eastlake would make a great neighborhood to call home.
Pros
  • Proximity to downtown
  • Bicycle-friendly
  • Views of downtown
Cons
  • Expensive rent
  • Lack of single family homes
  • Loud environment
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Much more than an intersection"

Eastlake is sort of quaint at first glance, but that first glance is tunnel-vision seen through a school bus window that’s confined to the streets that parallel I-405, because it’s easier to get off the bridge from the Eastside exit that goes straight into Eastlake than it is to maneuver the four lanes between the direct connecting onramp and your exit into Seattle Center. Of course, that juvenile perception isn’t the whole story.

The big picture with the Eastlake area is one of residencies; houses and apartments being the majority, but also a number of house boats. Small businesses, stores, restaurants, bakeries dot this area and are all frequented to some degree by the families and University of Washington students who live here for the bus routes that run straight up to the school. If I had to suggest any one place to eat or drink, I would recommend going to see that very first Red Robin gourmet burger restaurant, which started in this neighborhood and became a chain that’s recognized all around the country and even through Canada.

Recently, a group of Eastlakers went forward with creating a park that centers around the European games of pétanque—a European target hitting game played with balls that’s reminiscent of bocce. The Park, called the Eastlake Boulledrome, is a one-of-a-kind establishment in the Seattle area.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
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
2yrs+

"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
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
2yrs+

"Houseboats, a famous Tavern & More all Sandwiched Between a Freeway and a Lake"

Eastlake gains its name due to the fact that it lines the eastern area of the Lake Union. Sandwiched between the lake and I5 this area is becoming known more for its atmosphere, than its lake side dwelling. If you’re in the market for an affordable yummy breakfast visit 14 Carrot Café which serves great cinnamon rolls and other breakfast favorites, it’s not four star cuisines but it was hearty and doesn’t break the pocket book.

If you’re in the mood for something a little fancier Serafina’s Italian flare might be more of what you’re looking for, the bar is a great place to hang out when wanting a snug drink for two, it was my favorite part about visiting Eastlake. But no visit to Eastlake is complete without a visit to the famous Eastlake Zoo Tavern where you can play pool, waste quarters in the pinball machine as well as sit and chat with friends.

The area of Eastlake is like most of Seattle’s burrows with a mixture of apartments, condos and house with the occasional building housing small business like tax accountants and dress shops. It’s proximity to the University of Washington allows the area to have a very diverse feel with students and professionals alike. A good number of houseboats live on the lake in this area mixing the dwelling selection even more.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
5/5
2yrs+

"Inviting, Relaxing, and Quiet Place to Live"

Named for its location on the east side of Lake Union, Eastlake is one of the oldest and most inviting neigborhoods in the city. It is located beteen the University District and Downtown Seattle, giving it an ideal position close to everything the city has to offer. The official boundaries of Eastlake are Lake Union to the west, Portage Bay to the north, Interstate 5 to the east, and E. Garfield Street on the southern end. It is also close to I5 for those commuting elsewhere for work or play. Eastlake is very popular among those with ties to the University of Washington, especially professors. Though one of the more expensive communities in Seattle, those living there love their neighborhood fiercely.

In Eastlake, you'll find every style of housing possible, from condos to bungalows and even houseboats. The landlocked homes enjoy a view of downtown and the Olympic Mountains. Along Eastlake Avenue in the heart of the community, you'll find plenty of shopping and dining possibilities, from landmark restaurants to burger joints. In the 1970s and 1980s, several parks and public art spaces were created in the neighborhood, many of which are situated at street ends, where the street meets the water.

This historic neighborhood was home to William Boeing's first airplane assembly plant, built in 1916. His first aircraft flew from this hangar. The area around Lake Union is also home to marinas and recreational water activities.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5
2yrs+

"Lush, green and inviting place to live"

Eastlake is one of the oldest and funkiest communities in Seattle. Located between the University district and downtown, the atmosphere here is colorful, cozy, and definitely homespun. The neighborhood is tucked between the east side of Lake Union and stretch of Interstate 5. The interstate is elevated to eliminate the noise level in the area. The neighborhood is also in close proximity to The University District, Capitol Hill, Wallingford, Westlake, and South Lake Union.

The living options include bungalows, condos, apartments and Eastlake’s special feature - houseboats. The houseboat community has a personality all its own. Docks and boardwalks connect multi-story modern homes and quaint, primary-color cottages with gardens and roof balconies.

The main thoroughfare is Eastlake Avenue and is populated with landmark restaurants and taverns, salons, burger joints, small businesses, art galleries, fine dining and shops. Eastlake spreads itself like a large saddle over two bodies of water known as Lake Union and Portage Bay. Eastlake possesses the warmth and eccentric feel of a beach community, with lush gardens and brightly painted houses. One of the streets in the area has a line of homes in green, pink, purple, yellow, and red.

The north end of the neighborhood sits on an old boatyard. From the Lake Union side, the views overlook downtown, the Olympic Mountains, and the sunsets. From Portage Bay, the view faces the University of Washington. The land-locked homes here rise up along a steep hill, to catch views of the Cascade Mountains, Lake Washington and the moon rises. There are over 450 homes in the neighborhood with the average selling price of approximately $400,000 USD.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

Travelling to Eastlake?

Find Hotels

Best Streets in Eastlake

"Busy but fun arterial"
47.6435130737651 -122.325886425048

Unranked Streets in Eastlake

"Gorgeous drive on Capitol Hill"
47.6382458727834 -122.326860297659
"Home sweet home"
47.6423370924517 -122.324662878664

Best Neighborhoods to Live In

Best Cities to Live In

Tell everyone what you love about your neighborhood!

Leave a Review

Have a question?

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

Ask Now

Selling or Renting Your Home?

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

Leave a Review

Corporate Relocation Manager?

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

Learn More