When you think of Seattle, chances are you think of rain, coffee, grunge music and the scenic beauty of the Pacific Northwest. That’s all good, but when you visit or move to The Emerald City, there’s much more you need to know. How is day-to-day life? Where can you work and play? What charming hideaways to meet with friends or escape the drizzle might you miss?
In other words, what are the hottest neighborhoods in Seattle? We rank them according to how often they’re searched on ApartmentGuide.com and how many restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other social hotspots are located in each. Which of these neighborhoods could you see yourself in?
With bookstores and coffee shops dotting the sidewalks and the Puget Sound forming its western border, Ballard is the top-searched Seattle neighborhood on ApartmentGuide.com – and it’s not hard to see why. This historic part of town has a unique charm and all sorts of attractions for all kinds of people. Boaters and windsurfers are active in the waves, while those who prefer the indoors can be found browsing bookstores, sipping coffee or enjoying the Nordic Heritage Museum. Ballard also maintains its historic charm through the Ballard Historical Society, a volunteer-run organization dedicated to preserving the character of the neighborhood.
One of the largest and most heavily populated areas of Seattle, Capitol Hill is closely associated with music – specifically the grunge era of the early ‘90s. Just east of the city’s business district, Capitol Hill features all kind of residences, from studio apartments to stately mansions. If you like to shop, attend concerts or enjoy a pint of beer, you can find it in Capitol Hill. The neighborhood is also home to some of Seattle’s most famous landmarks, including the original Starbucks and Top Pot Doughnuts. Also well-known as a gay-friendly area, Capitol Hill is where the party happens – no matter what kind of party you prefer.
Just across Lake Union from Capitol Hill is Queen Anne, named for the highest hill in the city. It’s where you’ll find skate parks, 12 historic houses, the Pacific Science Center, a monorail, the scenic Kerry Park, and Seattle’s most famous landmark, the Space Needle. Bookworms will love the Queen Anne branch of the Seattle Public Library, which was renovated in 2007 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And if you love locally grown produce, you’ll fit right in here – the Queen Anne farmer’s market operates weekly from June through October.
Known to locals as “the U District,” you don’t have to be a college student to find something to love about this neighborhood. In addition to the University of Washington, you’ll find many walking and biking trails, all sorts of taverns and brewpubs, and an annual street fair every May. Popular landmarks include the Blue Moon Tavern, which has been in operation since 1934, and Big Time, Seattle’s original brewpub.
West Seattle is surrounded by water on three sides – the Puget Sound to the west, Elliott Bay to the north and the Duwamish Waterway to the east. Of note is Alki Beach Park, the West Seattle Golf Course, and Lincoln Park. High Point is one of the most famous areas of West Seattle, named because it encompasses the highest point in the city: the intersection of 35th Avenue and Myrtle Street, at 520 feet above sea level. The annual Seafair festival celebrates Seattle’s marine and boating pastimes. West Seattle is also the home of a few famous residents, including Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder.
Home of the iconic Pike Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum, CenturyLink Field and the Olympic Sculpture Park, the Downtown area is also known as the central business district – but it feels like more play than work. The shopping area coincides with the main financial district (which seems apt). The nearby Seattle Central Library is an architectural wonder, in addition to a great library.
An umbrella term that encompasses the neighborhoods of Olympic Hills, Victory Heights, Pinehurst, Maple Leaf and Matthews Beach, North Seattle is where you’ll find Jackson Park Golf Course, Victory Creek Park, and the Thornton Creek natural area. Nature lovers will be captivated by the area’s mature evergreens. It’s famously easy to get around this area by mass transit.
Just to the west is Northgate, which has seen a lot of commercial and residential development in recent years. The Northgate Mall has been recently renovated, and the area also has a new park, library and community center. Residents should expect to see similar development in the coming years.
Nestled between Queen Anne and Capitol Hill is where you’ll find South Lake Union, so named because it sits at the south end of Lake Union. This is the home of the Amazon Campus and the Center for Wooden Boats. It's also the center of healthcare facilities in Seattle, including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Just to the east of Ballard is Green Lake, a neighborhood named for the body of water in its center. It’s easy to get to the Downtown neighborhood from Green Lake via Interstate 5. But there are plenty more reasons to live in Green Lake – the people here love to get outside and enjoy the lake or grab a drink at one of the many local pubs.
What’s your favorite Seattle neighborhood?