8.0 out of 10

Montlake

Ranked 13th best neighborhood in Seattle
47.6392627613396 -122.30691930127
Great for
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Clean & Green
  • Safe & Sound
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Peace & Quiet
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Cost of Living
  • Pest Free
  • Childcare
  • Resale or Rental Value
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian

Reviews

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

"Access, Location and Beauty"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This peninsula-like community brings much to the table. Being employed at the University or anywhere in central Seattle, for that matter, makes Montlake a superb home. However, if you must travel through the city for work or pleasure, consider making these roads your path of commute (especially for those of us who ride a bike).
Pros
  • Close to major university
  • Easy access to Interstate and major highway
  • Beautiful parks and historic landmarks
Cons
  • Expensive housing
  • Heavy traffic on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5
Apr 03, 2016

"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
4/5
Mar 19, 2016

"The beautiful Arboretum"

Montlake is where the Washington Park Arboretum is. This is a very large park with many features. We enjoy coming here as a family.

We enjoy learning about all the plants. We learned that the park is managed by the University of Washington and the City of Seattle. They do a very good job keeping the park in good condition. They have materials to help you to identify the plants that are grown there. There are hundreds of plant species, and some have labels right next to the plant. There are also many paths that go throughout the park. Some have special features like a pond or a covered bench.

I recommend going to the “fragrance garden.” Here is where they planted many plants with beautiful smells. I also recommend going to the small beach at the north part of the park. You can find the trail that is a boardwalk to “Marsh Island.” It is fun to look for turtles but you should each hold the hand of your children on both sides because there are no fences to prevent them from falling in! It is a little dangerous for toddlers. I don’t think we will go back until our daughter is older.

Sometimes the Arboretum has classes for the public citizens. Some specialized classes are only for adults. However there are also family classes. They are good for preschooler age. They teach about things such as the seasons, trees, what is in the dirt, and so on.

If you have a garden, there are two plant sales where you can buy starters or full grown plants. One is in the spring, and one is in the fall. They have a very big selection and the money goes to the park. So it is a good cause to support.

Also sometimes there are special events at the arboretum, mainly weddings. It can be hard to find parking during the events. It is also hard to find parking when there is a University of Washington football game. It is because people park in this neighborhood and walk across the bridge to the football game.
Pros
  • Beautiful parks and historic landmarks
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
Mar 16, 2016

"Not the most exciting neighborhood"

I thought about moving here for the easy access to the 520 bridge across Lake Washington to commute over to Microsoft while still getting to live in Seattle. I think there was a nearby Connector stop (the Connector is the Microsoft employee bus). But even with that, the commute is still slow because they’ve been doing construction on the 520 highway FOREVER. And there just aren’t enough lanes, even for buses.

But to be honest the neighborhood was too boring for me. There’s zero nightlife, and only 2 restaurants. Music venues? Don’t think so. The closest is probably in the U-district, full of college students. Capitol Hill isn’t that far, but still. I’d have to take an Uber every time and that kind of defeats the purpose of living in Seattle instead of Bellevue.

It’s mostly big houses and families in Montlake so I wasn’t that into it. Probably better for families than young single guys. Or UW students that share a house might like it too, since it’s literally right across the canal.
Pros
  • Beautiful parks and historic landmarks
Cons
  • No nightlife
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Students
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 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Dec 17, 2015

"Trendy residential nook surrounded by green spaces and water"

Montlake is a pretty cool little neighborhood. Located north of Capitol Hill, South of the University of Washington (UW) which is across the water, and northeast of downtown, it’s almost surrounded by parks and water, yet simultaneously close to the freeways.

Parks, parks, parks:
The eastern boundary of the neighborhood is the Washington Park Arboretum, which is a long park full of beautiful landscaping and walking paths. It includes the botanic gardens, and beach access at Foster Island. In the summer, UW students will bring their kayaks and floaties and splash around the lily pads and floating docks of Marsh Island, which is also part of the Arboretum.

But that’s not the only green space in the neighborhood. To the southwest is the Interlaken greenbelt, and to the north are a few more small parks that make up much of the waterfont. Also to the north is the “Montlake Cut,” which is a small strip of water that connects Lake Union to lake Washington. Directly across the cut is the University of Washington Husky Stadium, and on game days you’ll see hundreds of boats floating over to the game. During the summer, people like to show off their yachts and parade through the cut with their music blasting.

Housing:
If parks are the main feature in Montlake, the only other main feature is housing. It’s a good mix of families, single professionals, and University of Washington students (but not too many). Many of the housing are big, turn of the century homes with elaborate gardens. You’ll also find some small apartment buildings and condos, but expect prices to be relatively high.

Food:
In short, there aren’t many restaurants in Montlake. While it abounds in green spaces, it lacks in eating places. There is Café Lago (pasta), and also Traveler Montlake (beer and munchies), but that's about it. Those two places also sum up the nightlife of Montlake. So in reality, if you want to enjoy a nice meal and beverage, Capitol Hill or the University District are your closest destinations with good options.

Transportation:
Let’s talk traffic. One of the main reasons to live in Montlake is that it’s got two on-ramps to the 520 bridge to Bellevue. Super convenient for people who work across the lake. But that convenience means that a lot of people want to use that option, and it gets clogged up during rush hour. You win some, you lose some. It’s a quick bike ride, or even walk, across the Montlake bridge to the University, though. As for getting to downtown Seattle, expect a 30-45 minute bus ride.
Pros
  • Beautiful parks and historic landmarks
  • Close to major university
  • Easy access to Interstate and major highway
Cons
  • Expensive housing
  • Heavy traffic on arterial streets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"Access, Arboretum, Neighbors - Montlake has it all"

Montlake is convenient (by car, bike or foot) to downtown, Lake Washington, the Eastside, UW, University Village, Capitol Hill. Amazing restaurants are within 5 mins. Beautiful parks include: Washington Arboretum, Interlaken Park, Volunteer Park, Montlake Community Center, Seattle Yacht Club Park and Marina. Great Elementary School. The neighborhood is a friendly mix of mostly young families, professionals and a few retirees. Very dog friendly too.
Pros
  • Close to downtown.
  • 5 Mins to all the best restaurants in Seattle.
  • Beautiful parks and historic landmarks
  • Close to major university
  • Easy access to Interstate and major highway
Cons
  • Expensive housing
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
2yrs+

"A Great Seattle Area if You Can Deal With the Traffic"

Not a lot of areas in Seattle feel like their own little world like Montlake does, one of the nicest areas in Seattle it’s not a place that everyone can afford, but the ones that can are treated to pristine streets with trees lining the roads, great small cafes that sell sandwiches and soups or more exotic fares. The area is also the home of MOHAI (Museum of History & Industry) which is rich in Seattle history and on the verge of closing it[s doors if funding doesn’t come through.

The Seattle Yacht Club is also located in the Montlake area, one of the nicest moorage areas in Seattle the Yacht Club has a great dining areas for a quick, although not affordable, lunch or dinner. Because of the proximity of the University of Washington the Montlake area can get really crowded on game day making it a difficult place to live if you want to make a quick trip to the store.

Traffic or not the area is still one of the more desirable areas in Seattle to live.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Neighborly Area, Active Junction"

The affluent residential area of Montlake is the final point of contact in Seattle before you are whisked away to the Eastside area on State Route 520 toward Bellevue, which is sort of a point of contention for the Montlake residents, because State Route 520 basically splits the Montlake neighborhood. For newer residents who bought up properties within the last twenty or thirty years, the road is actually a draw as part of the central location appeal, which groups nicely with the neighborhood charm and great schools. Primarily single-family homes, the types of houses sitting in the area range from Tudor to bungalow to brick and wood frame houses, with some renovations that bring them up to contemporary.

Montlake is a gorgeous area that's teeming with opportunities to enjoy nature. The Washington Park Arboretum is as accessible as it is beautiful and Interlaken Park provides an unrefined, raw feel unlike many other manicured areas. The Seattle Yacht Club is a place for Yacht Owners to gather near Lake Washington to enjoy some recreation.

There are definitely some great places to socialize in the area as well. The Montlake Community Club is an organization of residents that has a history of progressive grassroots activism. There is a branch of the Seattle. And of course, any good community has a reasonable place to hang around for a few drinks. Make sure you stop in for a pint at the Montlake Alehouse, where the selection is as good as the atmosphere.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
2yrs+

"Well-kept residential neighborhood close to UW"

The Montlake neighborhood, between Broadway and the University District, is one of the more affluent residential neighborhoods. The University of Washington lies across the Lake Washington Ship Canal to the north, making this area popular among professors and other professionals with ties to the University. Homes in the area are beautiful Craftsmen bungalows from the early twentieth century with well-kept gardens. Although housing prices are higher than elsewhere in the city, there are plenty of rentals available.

State Route 520 runs across the northern end of the neighborhood, making it a convenient place for commuters to live. Other roads across Montlake include Boyer Avenue E., Lake Washington Boulevard, and Montlake Boulevard E. Most shopping and dining in the area is located on 24th Avenue East, including several restaurants, bars, small grocery stores, and other businesses.

Landmarks in Montlake include the Museum of History and Industry, better known as MOHAI, and the Seattle Yacht Club. Outdoor activities include the Arboretum, Interlaken Park, and the UW Water Recreation Center, where canoes and kayaks can be rented for use on Lake Washington. Montlake is also very close to UW's Husky Stadium, which gives the area a unique feeling during the football season. However, this can mean heavy traffic on game days, and many Montlake residents grumble about this annually.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Great place to live!"

Montlake is a great place to live. There are some great restaurants, a couple of small grocery stores (I prefer Mont’s Market), and fantastic shopping/dining across the bridge at the U Village. Outdoor activities abound with the Arboretum and the UW water recreation center (Canoes and kayaks on Lake Washington). There is a great atmosphere being next to UW during college football season. Busses can take you anywhere you need to go: downtown, east side, or to the University district (where there are even more amazing restaurants). Homes can be pricey unless you get in on the ground level, which means a fix-r-upper. Still, I think the charming neighborhood is well worth it.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
5/5
2yrs+

"A classy and educated neighborhood with a yacht club"

This classy and educated neighborhood borders the bucolic Arboretum, the wooded ravines of Interlaken Park, and the Montlake Cut connecting Lake Union and Lake Washington.

The venerable Seattle Yacht Club presides west of the bridge; to the east is the Museum of History and Industry. The spiffy new Montlake Library branch attracts local brainiacs, and regattas draw rowers to May’s raucous first day of boating season. Only one major issue with this neighborhood is that traffic chokes Montlake on Husky game days and during drawbridge openings.

Locals love Cafe Logo, a heartbreakingly wonderful neighborhood Italian cuisine located on 24th Avenue East. Shopping can also be found along 24th Avenue including Mont's Market, Mountlake Bicycle Shop, or Mr. Johnson's Antiques.

At 1554 15th Avenue East, you will find Bruce Lee's grave, and landmark in Montlake - located at the Lake View Cemetery. You can also experience pre-Starbucks Seattle by visiting the Seattle's Museum of History and Industry on 24th Street.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees

Travelling to Montlake?

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East Howe St

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