8.4 out of 10

Sunset Hill

Ranked 5th best neighborhood in Seattle
47.6783676123356 -122.393716048453
Great for
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Clean & Green
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Safe & Sound
  • Parking
Not great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Pest Free
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
  • Singles
  • Tourists

Reviews

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

"Portrait Of Serenity"

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Sunset Hill - If It is Sunny Anywhere in Seattle At All, It will Be Here"

Sunset Hill is part of Seattle's Ballard neighborhood. It is on the the furthest West tip of Ballard and stretches from Golden Gardens Park in the North all the way down to Salmon Bay and then 10 to 15 blocks to the East of the Puget Sound.

Sunset Hill is perched over the Puget Sound and offers nice sea breezes and expansive views. The streets are quiet and home owners take pride in their yards and home maintenance. Kids walk the streets and play in the various parks in the area. Sunset Hill offers great access to many area amenities including Golden Gardens Park, The Ballard Locks, Shilshole Marina, and more. The Burke Gilman Trail also begins in Ballard with great access to other trails as well.

It seems like even if it is not sunny anywhere else in Seattle, it might still be sunny here! Don't miss Sunset Hill if you are in town - it is tucked away and easy to miss, but you won't want to.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
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 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
Jan 02, 2016

"This is why families move to North Seattle"

Sunset Hill is a residential sub-neighborhood of Ballard, a Seattle community northwest of downtown. Specifically, it’s the western slice of Ballard, encompassing the Puget Sound coastline, and the hill that rises just east from the coast.

Let’s take a little tour.

We’ll start at the Ballard Locks, at the south end of the neighborhood, where the ships move in and out from Puget Sound to Lake Union. Let’s drive north, up Seaview Avenue--the main road in this neighborhood, running along Puget Sound. Though, if you prefer to walk or bike, you could take the paved Burke-Gilman trail parallel to the road.

Since we’re not that close to the main downtown area of Ballard, where most of the restaurants are, if we want to eat, we’ll have a few options on the coast. There’s Ray’s Café (casual lunch) and Ray’s boathouse (upscale dinner), which share a building on the water. There’s also Anthony’s, a seafood place that you’ll find in prime locations around Seattle and other Washington cities. The prices are high, but they serve in-season fresh fish, and it really is beautiful eating on the water. To grab some fries or ice cream for a snack, go to little Coney up the road.

After we eat, we’ll head north again on Seaview Ave, passing the marina, which is usually chock-full of privately owned sailboats.

At the north end of the road we arrive at Golden Gardens park! This is definitely my favorite summer hangout. Though it gets crowded (with locals, tourists don’t usually make it this far from the city center), it’s still worth it if we can find a little patch of sand to lay out our towels. The sand isn’t the most pure, because it has some ash mixed in from the campfire rings scattered around the beach. These campfire rings are #superpopular in the summer, and if you want to get one, you’ll have to arrive in the morning to stake your claim. But it’s worth it; there aren’t many places in a city where you can enjoy a campfire on the beach as you watch the sun set across the water! And on the other side of Puget Sound, you can see the Olympic Peninsula, with the Olympic Mountains jutting upwards. They make a gorgeous silhouette at dusk.

The only downside about the park is that there are train tracks that run right through it, a few hundred feet from the beach, which can be loud and less-than-peaceful.

Though the main feature of Golden Gardens is the beach, there’s also a steep, seemingly endless set up stairs that takes us up, up, up, the hill rising sharply from the beach. But when we get to the top, a reward! No, not a view, unfortunately. Coffee! There’s a little coffee shop called Caffe Fiore that’s all-organic. The perfect energy boost to head back down the stairs.

Let’s hop back in the car and drive around the neighborhood some more. As we cruise around some of the side streets, you’ll notice that besides the park and a few eating places, Sunset Hill is really just residential. The majority are single-family homes complete with garage and garden. It makes for a pleasant and walkable neighborhood where you imagine neighbors actually do know each other. It can be a comfortable part of town if you’re seeking a single-family home, but being on a hill, quite a few places have views of the water, which keeps the prices very high. So though many families would love to live here, the high costs means that only those who are relatively well-off can afford it. If you’re just seeking an apartment, you won’t find many here.

On 67th street, we’ll pass the Nordic Heritage Center, a museum about the cultures of the Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic people. Why Nordic? When white people arrived in Seattle, a Nordic community decided to settle in the Ballard area, though it was originally used by the Duwamish for fishing. I recommend the Heritage Center’s annual Yulefest, a weekend-long arts and crafts fair held at the museum, with food and music to boot.

Well, that ends our tour. For more info about the neighborhood, check out the reviews on Ballard!
Pros
  • Golden Gardens Park
  • Beautiful mountain and water vistas
  • Quiet residential area
Cons
  • High home prices
  • lack of apartments
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Dec 07, 2015

"A beach in Seattle!"

Who knew there was a beach in Seattle! As the name suggests, Sunset Hill has amazing Seattle sunsets. The neighborhood just west of Ballard is home to a variety of homes, a few cozy areas for restaurants, and one great beach. The homes in Sunset Hill are a mix of a few apartments, but mostly single family homes.

The biggest draw to Sunset Hill is Golden Gardens park, home to one of the best beaches in Seattle and the only (public) sandy beach that I’m aware of. The park is pretty large, but in the summer months draws a crowd every day and fills up fast. Finding a parking spot can require a long walk. Be sure to get there extra early if you want to have your own fire pit. It goes without saying that the sunset from Golden Gardens is top notch. Technically the Locks are in Sunset Hill, but since they’re unofficially named the “Ballard Locks” I’ll skip talking about that park in this review.

As far as restaurants goes, you’ll find more of a selection in Ballard, but Sunset Hill has some real gems. Most of the eateries are along the water, including Ray’s Boathouse, a Seattle seafood staple. There used to be a Paseo, the famous sandwich shop, but that location has closed during the change in ownership and no date has been set for a reopening. There are also a few restaurants and cafes on 32nd Ave near 65th Ave.

Here are some great Sunset Hill eateries that I enjoy:

Ray’s Boathouse Café – Be sure to sit outside in the summer months and take in the sea and mountain views.

Portage Bay – A Seattle breakfast staple, with a wonderful fresh fruit toppings bar.

Red Mill Totem House – Great burgers and milk shakes. Try the onion rings!

Ristorante Picolinos – A cute little Italian restaurant. I recommend sitting outside in the patio.


If you’re a renter, living in Sunset Hill has its limitations, there are only a few apartment buildings and most are dated units without modern amenities. Ballard is a better choice for renters and is very close. If you are looking to buy a home in Sunset Hill, it is a wonderful neighborhood, but inventory is scarce and prices are high. According to Zillow data the average home in Sunset Hill sells for close to $700,000, and those with views are easily double that.

Who is Sunset Hill great for? Families with deep pockets looking for a quiet neighborhood with amazing views and close to all that Ballard has to offer.

Everyone should visit Sunset Hill to check out Golden Gardens.
Pros
  • Beautiful mountain and water vistas
  • Quiet residential area
Cons
  • High home prices
  • lack of apartments
  • Far Intersate access
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Beach Lovers
DrewM
DrewM It's certainly hard to beat Golden Garden evenings in the summer.
Dec 07, 2015
Add a comment...
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
2yrs+

"A Must Visit"

Not many places can truly be said to live up to its name like Sunset Hill lives up to its name. If you just visit in the daylight hours you miss out on the amazing sunsets that the residences of the area get to call their own. The views aren’t bad either with some impressing views of the Puget Sound.
The housing marketing is higher than some areas but that just means that the neighborhoods are established with families and commuter looking for a residential feel in a big city. Downtown Seattle is really close so entertainment and food options are many once you leave the Sunset Hill area that is.

Sunset Hill Park is a must visit. It’s got all the beauty of the area without having to navigate the streets or sit in someone’s yard to admire the sunset or views of the sound. It’s got plenty of benches for sitting and reading and most mornings you can find a jogger or two in the park.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Shiny, Happy People"

Sunset Hill is pretty uppity. It’s an area that’s close enough to be sucked into the mini-city that is Ballard, but the residents simply won’t have it and have done all they can to formalize a separation, even if the common knowledge is that they’re one in the same. The community derives its name from the Sunset Hill Viewpoint Park, which is aptly named for its awesome views of the Olympic Mountains, Elliott Bay and Shilshole Bay. For comparison, the Golden Gates Park offers more relative seclusion, but it’s still a well-kept park that’s busy with kids when the weather is nice.

Houses in Sunset Hill are gorgeous and very well maintained. Residents get the best of all Seattle has to offer: fresh air and greenery and views of the mountains and oceans to kill for. Living in such a great area definitely comes at a price; housing costs are some of the highest in the city of Seattle.

Commerce is low-key in Sunset Hills, offering only the necessities. You’re not going to find a lot of boutiques and nightlife here—that’s what downtown is for, as far as the residents are concerned. And why wouldn’t they think that? They’re close enough to downtown to get the best of it all.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
2yrs+

"Quiet residential neighborhood known for its parks and waterfront"

Sunset Hill is a small and exclusive residential neighborhood in the northwest corner of Ballard. Although many Seattle residents consider Sunset Hill to be part of Ballard, those living in Sunset Hill consider themselves to be a community all their own. Sunset Hill is home to the Sunset Hill Community Association, founded in 1922.

The community was named after Sunset Hill Viewpoint Park, known for its picturesque views of Shilshole and Elliott Bays and the Olympic Mountains. The popular Golden Gates park at the north end of the neighborhood provides even more opportunity for escape. In addition to this beach park, many of the attractions in Sunset Hill are based on the water, including the Ballard Locks and Shilshole Marina.

These lush and scenic parks are truly an oasis, not that anyone need escape the surrounding areas. The homes in Sunset Hill are some of the most beautiful, well-kept homes you'll see anywhere in the city. Here, residents enjoy tree-lined streets and a suburban setting, not to mention expansive ocean views. Some of the best sunsets in the city are found from vantage points in this neighborhood.

While Sunset Hill is close to downtown, it feels like worlds away. Things in Sunset Hill simply move at a slower pace. Though the neighborhood is one of the most expensive in the city, those living in Sunset Hill tend to be very welcoming to outsiders.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5
2yrs+

"Just as the name suggest - gorgeous sunsets"

Sunset Hill is located north of Ballard. This neighborhood is beautiful. There are some very impressive views of the Puget Sound. As the name suggests, this neighborhood provides some of the best sunsets in Seattle.

Sunset Hill is close to other Seattle neighborhoods such as Ballard, Loyal Heights, and North Beach. Sunset Hill residents enjoy the expansive views of Shilshole Bay and the Olympic Mountains, as well as the enjoyment of living in a relatively peaceful area. Downtown Seattle is close by, but the pace is a little slower here. It is quiet in the neighborhood and instead of the residents listening to the humming of traffic on I-5, they savor the sounds of marine animals and animals barking in the distance. Interestingly, the barking sound comes from seals and sea lions nearby rather than dogs.

There is a small business district at the intersection of 32nd Avenue Northwest and Northwest 65th Street. Several commercial storefronts have evolved slowly over the years. For major retail therapy, head into the downtown area - you just won’t find it in Sunset Hill.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

Travelling to Sunset Hill?

Find Hotels

Best Streets in Sunset Hill

"Great Coastal Drive"
47.6769631034197 -122.406299949402

Unranked Streets in Sunset Hill

"Typical residential street in Ballard"
47.6764268685497 -122.389704903072
"Ritzy but Down-to-Earth Neighborhood "
47.6778103180466 -122.398375862183
"Stretch of road that offers amazing views of the Sound and mountains"
47.6896303101145 -122.402334347474
"Quiet, established neighborhood with a great view of the Sound"
47.6722439501943 -122.395619556017
"Beautiful views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains"
47.6888494885114 -122.401709204503

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