6.3 out of 10

Mountlake Terrace

47.7907575087181 -122.307277842942
Great for
  • Schools
  • Parking
  • Shopping Options
  • Clean & Green
  • Parks & Recreation
Not great for
  • Nightlife
  • Eating Out
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Internet Access
  • Neighborly Spirit
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Professionals
  • LGBT+


4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5

"Asian grocery stores and Lake Ballinger"

Mountlake Terrace is mostly just houses. However we live nearby in Shoreline and there are some things we come here for.

The Wonton Noodle House on highway 99 is very good and authentic Cantonese. We like to come here for dinner sometimes. It is run by a very nice family and the wontons are good taste and quality.

There are many Asian grocery stores on highway 99. I have been to 99 Ranch Market, which is large but sometimes the quality is low. It is ok for shelf items, which have good prices and you can buy a large quantity. They do have Chinese food at the deli also, but it is not very good. I do not recommend the produce. Nearby Waroeng Jajanan is Indonesian specialty instead. They also have a deli with good food. Sometimes we will get food to go here on the way to the park. Boo Han grocery store next door has the most Korean ingredients. It is a large, nice store. We got some hot pots there. The produce is also good.

In the summer we like to go to Lake Ballinger a lot. It is one of our favorite parks that is close to home. It is a very clean park with lots of grass to sit on. Also there are picnic tables and barbeques. On the hot days we take our daughter swimming here. If its not so hot we just play in the grass and have a picnic and watch ducks. There are often many parents with young children here.
  • Asian grocery stores
  • Good restaurants
  • Lake Ballinger
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5

"Low-key, low-cost bedroom community"

Mountlake Terrace is a community north of Shoreline, about 10 miles north of Seattle. Though 20,000 people call it home, it doesn’t quite have the feel of a town like next-door Edmonds or Lynnwood does. It's probably the best fit for those who prefer affordability over community.

I-5 divides Mountlake Terrace into two pieces, the east and the west side.

West side:
The west side is squeezed between I-5 and highway 99, and is more commercialized than the east side. Highway 99 and the side streets are scattered with a few restaurants and shops, but nothing walkable that feels like a downtotwn. But there are lots of delicious Asian restaurants! I worked in an office here that was close to lots of options. My favorites are Pho Tran on 220th, and Hosoonyi Korean Restaurant on highway 99, which does an amazing tofu soup hot pot.

Also on the west side is Lake Ballinger, where I spent many lunch hours in the summer. It’s a small lake with a public beach on the east shore, and a grassy area to the north. The grassy area used to be a golf course, but is slowly being converted back into the marshland it once was, so there’s lots of birdlife. A very peaceful place to eat your sandwich and catch a little sun.

I would also often walk on the paved urban trail that runs north/south just east of highway 99. A popular place for joggers and bike commuters, it actually goes all the way north to Lynnwood, and south towards Seattle, though it’s not always easy to follow, because it merges into neighborhood roads at times.

Besides that, there’s a good amount of protected land and green spaces that aren’t always shown on the map. For example, where I worked on 220th, my office looked out into a lush forest, which is a gorgeous view when you’re inside staring at a computer screen all day.

There are also some nice neighborhoods on the west side, very quiet, single-family home types, especially near Lake Ballinger.

East side:
In comparison, the east side of Mountlake Terrace is almost all residential, though it does have the large Terrace Creek Park, with walking paths near the stream. Most housing is made up of large, single-family homes, with a few multi-family units along 212th. Most residents are commuters to Seattle, Bellevue, or Lynwood.

Cost of living:
Rent is significantly lower here than communities to the south. If you’re buying, you could find an older 4-bedroom house starting at around $300,000. Newer ones start at about $400k. Currently, renting an apartment will set you back about $1100 for a 1 bedroom. On average, it’s about $350/mo cheaper than Seattle. But it’s a pretty hot market right now, because lots of newcomers to Seattle are realizing the cost of living is more affordable here.

Part of the reason rent is lower here is because Mountlake Terrace doesn’t have a town or neighborhood feel that surrounding towns have. There’s no real city center, and non-residents don’t even know it’s a town. It’s definitely more of a bedroom community, where people tend to keep to themselves. This can be great for families who appreciate that type of living, but for singles or those who like socializing more, it can be a bit isolating. There’s nothing in the way of nightlife either--you’d have to drive to Lynnwood, Bellevue, or Seattle.

There are some perks though. For one, you’re close to a group of large medical facilities just west, in Edmonds. Also, crime is pretty low in the area, though at my workplace we did have a car vandalized once, for apparently no reason. There is probably more petty crime closer to highway 99, and very little in the residential areas.

One last quirk about Mountlake Terrace: When you’re getting to know the neighborhood, you’ll notice that the east/west street numbers are slightly confusing around here. Starting in Seattle, the numbers increase as they go north through Shoreline, topping out at 205th. But right when you hit Mountlake Terrace, they start going down again. So you’ll go up through the 100’s until you hit 205th, then suddenly you jump to 243rd and start dropping to 242nd, 241st, etc. It can definitely be confusing for visitors!
  • Lower cost of living
  • Lake Ballinger
  • No city center
  • No nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • LGBT+

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