Seattle lies between the salt waters of Puget Sound and the fresh waters of Lake Washington. To the west is the Olympics Mountain range and to the East is the Cascade Mountain range. To the south lies Mt Rainier standing at 14,411 feet tall; this magnificent mountain can be seen from many parts of Seattle. Seattle was built on hills and around water giving the residents many wonderful views. Seattle is known for its rain. While it gets about the same annual rain fall as New York City, it rains less but for longer periods of time here. Seattle has a mild marine climate however and we don't get very much snow in the winter and our summers are usually pretty mild with temperatures in July and August of 75 for the high and 57 for the low. We rarely get much humidity in the summer as well. In December and January the average high is 47 and 36 the average low. Seattle's climate encourages prolific vegetation and abundant natural resources.
There are many great and unique Seattle neighborhoods. But there are also good parts of each Seattle neighborhood and not so good parts in each Seattle neighborhood. The trick is to know where those lines are, and only buy a home in the good parts of a Seattle neighborhood. And what is interesting is that there actually hasn’t been all that much change in Seattle neighborhoods over the past 50 years. The good areas back then are still mostly the good areas now and the not so good areas, while some have changed and improved, many are still not the best areas to buy or sell a home in today. Most of the growth in the greater Seattle area over the past 50 years has been on the Eastside. The Eastside is very different from Seattle, very different homes and life styles.
When I have a new home buying clients one of the first things we do is to drive around various Seattle neighborhoods so they can get a good understanding of the area. We talk about potential traffic problems, the local schools, the various lifestyles each neighborhood offers, and the different types or styles of homes each Seattle neighborhood offers.
Select a neighborhood or nearby town from the list on the right to learn more. Or call or email me and I would love to arrange a time for us to meet and go exploring our wonderful Seattle neighborhoods or the Bellevue or Eastside neighborhoods. I’ll guarantee it will be really fun and very educational.
The Alki neighborhood is still remembered as Seattle's historic starting point. Over time Alki became a quaint seaside resort town lined with beach cottages. Today Alki conjures up visions of a warm beach community, but the cottages are all but gone. Apartments, condo buildings and million dollar homes now line the beach area. Up high on the hill, above Alki and over looking Elliott Bay is the West Seattle neighborhood of Admiral. There you will find beautiful homes many built in the 1920's and 1930's offering magnificent views. Then south and just around the corner from Alki is the Beach Drive area again with waterfront homes on the west side of Beach Drive and many view homes on the east side of the street. Moving south from there you come to the Fauntleroy area of West Seattle where the ferry takes you to Vashon Island and Southworth. The hillside in the Fauntleroy area have homes built form the 1920's on and although many of these homes are more modestly priced many offer again wonderful views of Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains.
The town of Ballard was established in 1907 and continues to maintain the small town qualities and sense of independence from that time. Ballard was created for, and was once filled almost exclusively with, Scandinavian fishermen and mill workers. With its miles of shoreline accessing Puget Sound, the community still continues to support a highly successful fishing, shipping and marine industry. However, additional light industry, a busy retail core and a Swedish Hospital branch now provide more employment choices in the neighborhood. With the increased arrival of young, educated professionals taking advantage of the area's relatively reasonable housing prices and proximity to downtown, Ballard has evolved into a much more diverse and upscale neighborhood.
The City of Bellevue is a modern, metropolitan community dotted with skyscrapers. Although it didn't incorporate until 1953 and has experienced most of its rapid growth since then, its history goes back many decades, as a farming center, inland port, and milling center. In fact because Seattle is bordered by water on the west and east the only area left to grow and develop was the Eastside as most call it today. The Eastside includes many different areas including Kirkland, Issaquah, Sammamish, Mercer Island, and Redmond. Bellevue is generally thought of as the downtown center of the Eastside and serves as the commercial, business, cultural, and retail core for the area, often even drawing Seattle residents over the bridge for work, shop, or play.
The Belltown neighborhood is the northwestern section of downtown Seattle from the shoreline of Elliott Bay to the freeway between the Seattle Center and Pike Place Market to the south. Famous historically for its radical leveling of Denny Hill, the Belltown area is still the scene of major construction projects. The recent Olympic Sculpture Park project, for example, received an American Society of Landscape Architects Design Awards for its transformation of an inaccessible oil transfer facility into a spectacular public urban art garden beach and shoreline trail.
Blue Ridge and North Beach is located just north of Ballard on the western side of Seattle along Puget Sound. This area of Seattle was built primarily starting in the 1930's through the 1970's, but there has been many complete remodels (tear downs and new homes built) of homes over the past several years. Blue Ridge is a private community that has a Home Owners Association and CC&R's, to maintain the community character. Blue Ridge also has a community center with a swimming pool, cabana, and tennis courts and many family activities. This is a covenant neighborhood to downtown Seattle. Blue Ridge and North Beach share the waterfront of Puget Sound and Carkeek Park, a beautiful park that offers a great natural buffer making Blue Ridge North Beach a very quiet and protected enclave.
North Beach borders Blue Ridge to the north and offers wonderful views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. Again it was primarily built in the 1940's through the 1980's but is not a private community with CC&R's. North Beach is very convenient to Ballard and downtown Seattle and is a very quite neighborhood as well.
Broadmoore is a private, gated, golf-course community within the Capitol Hill-Madison Park/Washington Park area of Seattle, just south of the Washington Park Arboretum and east of downtown Seattle. Multi-million dollar estates with grand styling and meticulously manicured lots fill the 216 acre neighborhood that was founded in conjunction with the surrounding neighborhoods ofMadison Park and Washington Park in 1924.
Just northeast of the University of Washington is the neighborhood of Bryant. Bryant was once a sawmill town that is now a quiet collection of largely upper-middle class families. The housing styles range from small Tudors, bungalows and craftsman-style homes to a number of newly built larger homes. As in most Seattle neighborhoods, builders bought the small rundown homes over the past 10 years, tore them down, and built new homes of all different styles. The eastern Lake Washington side of Ravenna-Bryant has some grand homes with mountain, territorial, and city views.
The Capitol Hill neighborhood is a long ridge that basically overlooks downtown Seattle. Capitol Hill is located in the heart of the city, and is one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Seattle and has evolved into one of the most popular nightlife scenes as well. In 1872, the pioneers cleared a wagon road through the forest to a cemetery at its peak (later named Lake View Cemetery). Then the hill was logged off in the 1880's. Then James Moore (1861-1929), the chief developer of Capitol Hill gave the hill it's name in 1901. Before that it was called Broadway Hill.
Much of the business in downtown Columbia City is of the boutique variety. The owners have a reputation for friendliness and the residents for their enthusiasm for local attractions. In addition to several bars and well-regarded restaurants that draw people from all around Seattle, Columbia City boasts the beautiful renovated movie theater Columbia Cinema, as well as the Columbia City Theater music venue. The downtown has its own art gallery, the Columbia City Gallery, and is just a stone's throw from the thriving art community in the Georgetown neighborhood. Columbia City has a number of friendly community events, such as the weekly farmer's market on Wednesdays and the monthly Beat Walk featuring art shows, live jazz music and other open house events from May through October.
Denny Blaine is a small exclusive neighborhood on the Seattle (west) side of Lake Washington that is situated between Washington Park on the south and the Madrona neighborhood to the north. The Olmstead Brothers from New York originally designed the neighborhood.
Denny Blaine Park is one of many small parcels of land donated to the city by Charles L. Denny and Elbert F. Blaine in 1884. In 1887, the Board of Park Commissioners was established to oversee development of the Seattle park system. Seattle Parks Commissioners hired the famed Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm in 1903 to design a comprehensive system of parks and boulevards for the city. The Olmsted Plan for Seattle's parks spurred the early development of the Seattle park system and has been the basis of our modern day park system.
Looking down from a Dehavilland Beaver or Otter floatplane circling for a landing on Seattle's Lake Union, you can easily see the wedge shape of the Eastlake neighborhood through the clouds. Bounded on the west and north by the L-shaped Lake Union, on the east by the I-5 freeway and on the south by the Mercer Street corridor, the neighborhood sports neat rows of houseboats nine and 10 deep fingering out into the lake. The houseboats are neighbors to low rise office buildings, trendy restaurants, biotechnology firms, and the remnants of a century old history of lakefront industry. Luxurious upland townhouses rub gutters and garden gates with Victorian houses, the apartment buildings that followed them in the 1920s, and other, modest single-family dwellings.
Self-billed as "The Center of The Universe", Fremont once was full of many drifters, artists, hippies and leather-clad bikers. Although many from that era left in the early 1990's, much of the spirit remains. Fremont is an eclectic and friendly neighborhood where everybody knows your name. Like its neighborsWallingford and Ballard, it is very much a walking community. There are a great assortment of art galleries and studios, boutique retail stores, vintage shops, tattoo parlors, barbershops, recording studios, restaurants and pubs, coffee shops (of course) and its own gourmet chocolate factory, Theo's.
Greenlake is situated north of Queen Anne and Wallingford. Highway 99 (or Aurora) splits Greenlake in half and then it borders on the Ravenna/University neighborhoods to the east. The actual lake itself is just to the east of Highway 99.
Greenlake is one of Seattle's most popular communities due in large part to its namesake park. With its sparkling water, walking paths, athletic facilities and wide-open green space, the park draws many visitors daily from all over the city. Park activities include soccer, tennis, basketball, baseball, golf, running, skating, fishing, water sports and the always popular "dog and baby walk" around the three mile trail that circles Greenlake. The park not only provides plenty of activities, it is also home to a wide variety of trees, plants, songbirds, bats, waterfowl, and other wildlife with secluded spots to quietly observe and enjoy.
It is located southeast of Pioneer Square and due south of the central business district. The International District's character derives from entrepreneurs of various Asian backgrounds and the community's strong family ties. Its diverse ethnic restaurants and shops attract tourists as well as locals.
The International District is the center for food, products and entertainment from a variety of Asian cultures. Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino settlements first sprang up in this area in the early 1900's. Then in the mid 1970's Vietnamese families also moved into the area, connecting the International District and Central District areas with a string of popular Vietnamese restaurants and grocers along Jackson Street. Today these communities, and many more, use the neighborhood as a gathering place to enjoy Asian foods and access multilingual services available to residents and visitors alike.
The first settlers on the land surrounding what would later be known as Kirkland were the Popham and McGregor families, who homesteaded in what is now the Houghton neighborhood. They settled there in the late 1860's, when Indians were still living in the Yarrow Bay encampment. Four miles to the north, a few pioneers had settled around what they would later name Juanita Bay.
By the end of the 1880's, the Eastside had become a small collection of communities. Logging, farming, boat-building and other mainstays of 19th Century living were the norm.
Today Kirkland is a wonderful community on the east shores of Lake Washington. It's usually a short commute to and from Seattle via the 520 floating bridge with light traffic. Heavy traffic is the norm however and the 520 floating bridge is set to be replaced and enlarged this coming year. When completed with east / west commute will be greatly enhanced.
The Laurelhurst neighborhood is located northwest of downtown and on the Seattle (western) side of Lake Washington. It is a peninsula that extends into the Union Bay part of Lake Washington. Laurelhurst's western boundary is the University Village and the University of Washington campus. Union Bay forms the southern boundary, and Lake Washington the eastern boundary, and Sand Point and Windermere neighborhoods the northern boundary. It was once a summer campground of the Duwamish Indians. Then in the 1860's, King County's first sheriff built a homestead there. Seattle annexed Laurelhurst in 1910, and today it is a high-end community close to the University of Washington, University Village, and Children's Hospital.
Located at the base of Queen Anne hill and just northwest of Belltown and downtown Seattle. Many say lower Queen Anne is arguably the best neighborhood in Seattle. Sophisticated and friendly, lower Queen Anne, or "Uptown" as it is commonly called, is the perfect place to live if you are looking to enjoy the perks of city life, yet also the pleasantries of family life, front yards and a neighborhood Farmers Market. If you drive approximately 1.5 miles north on 1st Ave from central downtown you'll run into lower Queen Anne that is also home to the Seattle Center, Key Arena, and the Space Needle, and Seattle's opera house, McCaw Hall. The Pacific Northwest Ballet also performs at McCaw Hall. Full of festivities throughout the year, you'll never run out of things to do.
The Madison Park neighborhood of Seattle is situated northeast of downtown Seattle on the western shore of Lake Washington. The Duwamish tribe who originally inhabited it called it "Where One Chops." The Duwamish shared the forested banks, swamps, and inlets with bear, deer, otter, and mink. After Seattle was founded in the 1850s, Madison Park became a favorite picnic and recreational area. Judge John J. McGilvra (1827-1903), the area's first developer, purchased land and opened Madison Street at his own expense in 1864-1865. Today Madison Park is an affluent, end-of-the-carline residential district on Lake Washington, which has a small, elegant shopping area.
Madrona is a central Seattle neighborhood on the city's east side. It rests on Lake Washington across from Bellevue and just east of First Hill. Madrona can best be described as a small town nestled beside a big city. For those who desire a slower pace of living than can be found in a bustling metropolis but who don't want to sacrifice diversity and culture, Madrona is an excellent option.
Named for the impressive Pacific Madrona trees that blossom naturally in the neighborhood, Madrona is a mostly residential area. Today it is a mostly upper-middle class residential neighborhood for savvy Seattleites who want to enjoy the convenience of the city, minus the noise and density of downtown.