Article Overview: Best Neighborhoods in Seattle
If you’re on the hunt for the best neighborhoods in Seattle you’ve picked a great starting point. I’ve lived here in the lovely Pacific Northwest for the past decade and know this city like the back of my hand.
Call it Stockholm syndrome (like my family back home does) but I’ve actually learned to love the cozy grey and rainy weather despite growing up in the sunbelt. Maybe you will too. But, maybe not. Seattle isn’t for everyone.
In this article I’ll detail the top ten best neighborhoods to live Seattle to consider based on my experience here. If that’s starting to sound a bit subjective, well, it is. But not completely.
These best neighborhoods in Seattle were chosen using data as well including walkability, median age, median home price, median household income, scenic beauty / parks, and transit.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
Best Neighborhoods in Seattle
Table of Contents: Best Neighborhoods in Seattle
Table of Contents: Best Neighborhoods in Seattle
- Best Neighborhoods in Seattle
- Top 10 Best Neighborhoods in Seattle
- Top 5 Neighborhoods in Seattle to Live
- Map of the Best Neighborhoods in Seattle
- Summary of Best Neighborhoods in Seattle
- Pin the Best Neighborhoods in Seattle
Top 10 Best Neighborhoods in Seattle
10. Rainier Valley
Starting off our list of best neighborhoods in Seattle is a Southeast hidden gem. And while it’s slightly off the beaten path, it has plenty to offer locals who call this Seattle region home.
This neighborhood is best for established families and older residents, offering plenty of peaceful and attractive activities that can help bring balance to big-city life.
You should know there are several sub-neighborhoods within Rainer Valley, such as Seward Park, Hillman City, and Rainer Beach. Within these you can find an array of multicultural food options as well as American favorites, without the hustle and bustle and long lines of other neighborhoods.
However, there’s a trade-off to living in a more laid-back area of the city. It isn’t one of the best Seattle neighborhoods for walking, because there are so many residential properties spacing it out.
However, the light rail runs through this strip, so it’s easy to catch public transportation if you’re heading north toward the center of the city.
Doing some family planning? There are 22 public schools in Rainier Valley, providing plenty of options for families.
One thing to note, however, is that the crime rate is slightly higher in this area than in nearby neighborhoods, so residents know to keep an eye out and stay vigilant.
All in all, Rainier Valley provides a peaceful atmosphere and plenty of amenities. If you can afford a home in the area, which averages $780,000 per property, you’ll be able to experience one of the most peaceful and well-landscaped parts of the city.
9. West Seattle
If you’re looking for a flavor of Island life with easy access to Seattle and a bit of tranquil separation, you might add this one to your list of the best neighborhoods in Seattle. One of the small neighborhoods in West Seattle might just fit like a glove.
Alki is one of the most stunning areas in this region, located on the westernmost section of West Seattle. It’s perfect for nature lovers who want unadulterated views of Puget Sound as well as the majestic Olympic Mountains just off of Alki Beach.
Locals love to spend time on Vashon Island, a nearby natural oasis where you can step even further into the forests, beaches, and vistas that Washington is known for.
While West Seattle has preserved a small-town vibe, development has brought in plenty of modern amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, and small shops, which has increased the appeal (and price) of the region.
The average West Seattle home will cost you about $850,175, and this number is only increasing as additional resources and attractions are being added to the area.
This may not be worth the price if you want to feel at the center of the action with nightlife. But it’s one of the best Seattle neighborhoods for those who want to live in an area that still feels connected to the great outdoors while moving at a slower pace.
8. Pioneer Square
The best way to understand Seattle is by spending some time in its oldest metropolitan areas. Pioneer Square is known as Seattle’s oldest neighborhood, and it provides visitors and residents with plenty of opportunities to learn how this great city rose to its current fame.
Naturally, this historic region is close to downtown Seattle, which makes it one of the pricier options for those looking to call it home. The average home in Pioneer Square is $648,240 which is significantly less than the $800,000 median cost of living in the city center.
Those who commute downtown for work find that the convenience of living in Pioneer Square is worth any higher costs. Artists have historically lived in Pioneer Square in order to stay central while finding more affordable housing.
These days, many of the creative communities have been expanded into other neighborhoods such as Central District and Fremont.
However, art lovers and artists alike enjoy the many gallery spaces that are dappled around the area, making Pioneer Square one of the best neighborhoods in Seattle for keeping a finger on the pulse of its contemporary art scene.
Studios such as the Foster/White Gallery feature a rotating selection of some of the best artists in the area, and the ArtXchange Gallery serves as both a boutique and viewing room for visitors.
Add this one to your list of best neighborhoods in Seattle if you like a more historic feel and charm and are into the art scene.
7. Queen Anne
This neighborhood is known for a style of architecture that flourished between 1880-1910 in Northern America, which focused on eclectic design elements as well as decorative woodwork and impressive wraparound porches.
These homes are often multicolored, bright, and bold, providing a creative and cheerful ambiance in the neighborhood.
If you’re trying to steer clear of tourists, this may not be one of the best neighborhoods in Seattle for you. Due to its central location and popular attractions including the Chihuly Garden, Space Needle, and Museum of Pop Culture, there’s rarely a calm moment in Queen Anne.
And when the sun sets, the many restaurants and bars keep the party going into the wee hours of the night.
Journey to the top of the hill to Upper Queen Anne and the tourist swarms give away to a calmer and more upscale community.
Speaking of hills, these rolling walkways and roads are not for the faint of heart. Queen Anne may be one of the best Seattle neighborhoods for health nuts looking for a good cardio workout. Those with limited mobility or energy will not find this location as accessible as others in the city.
Upper Queen Anne is perfect for families who want to reside in a safe area while being able to dip into the cultural attractions of Lower Queen Anne with little ones.
However, this neighborhood comes with a bit of pretension, and its price tag reflects that. Homes in West Queen Anne average a whopping $1,150,818. Slightly lower-priced housing can be found as you venture farther east.
6. Columbia City
Many people who aren’t from Seattle haven’t heard of Columbia City, let alone have it on their Seattle neighborhood bucket list.
But locals know that it’s one of the hottest creative neighborhoods on the south side of Seattle, featuring indie theaters, artsy venues, and trendy galleries that keep the location colorful and fun without losing that important community feel.
The Beacon Cinema, Royal Room, and Ark Lodge provide great entertainment options for residents. More of a fresh produce type of person? Enjoy a walk through the local farmers market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The average price of a home in this area is currently sitting at $775,207. However, there are some more accessible options in the area, since the neighborhood boasts a blend of apartments, townhouses, and single-family homes.
Start conversations, share your love of music with other audiophiles, or enjoy a cup of coffee at Empire Roasters and Records, a popular spot for the local community.
If you haven’t caught on, this neighborhood is a hipster haven. It’s one of the best neighborhoods in Seattle for those looking to meet creative, eclectic, and eccentric people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.
Top 5 Neighborhoods in Seattle to Live
5. Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill is located directly north of downtown Seattle and is known for its vibrant nightlife and culinary scene. The northern edge of this neighborhood has a quieter residential feel, featuring unique and historic buildings that are speckled with cozy cafes.
This is one of the best neighborhoods in Seattle for young professionals who flock to here to take advantage of the party-living hybrid lifestyle that Capitol Hill offers. It’s home to a diverse population, from music lovers and artists to techies and corporate types.
In order to buy property in this area, expect to pay a pretty penny. The average value of a home in Capitol Hill is $680,323. But many people are happy to pay this price since Capitol Hill is one of the best Seattle neighborhoods for those who work downtown and want easy access to the city’s nightlife.
You’ll notice plenty of rainbow flags and LGBTQIA-friendly signage in this area since Capitol Hill is known as one of the most lively regions for gay and queer folks in the greater Seattle area.
Belltown, located just north of downtown Seattle, is one of the most populous areas of the city. Because of this, there’s a fair amount of housing available, with a lower average cost of ownership (currently at $546,255).
It’s a great location to live in if you’re looking for diversity and something completely different around every corner.
The neighborhood is unified by the sweeping coastline, which is fully saturated with clubs, restaurants, and venues – including the iconic Crocodile, a concert hall that housed several grunge legends such as Nirvana and Soundgarden back in the day.
Those who want an urban feel in their living quarters will enjoy the contemporary high-rise condos that provide stunning views of the Puget Sound.
Local running trails and beautiful landscaping give away to the popular Olympic Sculpture Park and Myrtle Edwards Park, perfect for health enthusiasts and active families alike.
Keep in mind that this is one of the most rowdy sections of town and that it’s important to watch out for your surroundings at night when a mix of inebriated party-goers and tourists attracts pick-pockets and petty thieves.
So, while this is one of the best neighborhoods in Seattle for those looking to live close to downtown, keep in mind that it comes with the usual baggage of any urban area.
3. Central District
Central District is located to the east of downtown Seattle and boasts a thriving cultural scene. From soul food, to Ethiopian food, to incredible music, Central District is a great place to be.
The neighborhood is home to some of the most vibrant murals and artwork, with several projects aiming to keep the history of this area alive through art.
The Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, Pratt Fine Arts Center, and the Northwest African American Museum add a touch of culture and history to the area, while The Central is a popular spot for nightlife.
The average cost of living in this neighborhood is $790,000 and it’s becoming increasingly popular with young professionals who are looking to get away from their regular downtown haunts.
Central District is also one of the best neighborhoods in Seattle for families. Here you’ll find several small playgrounds and parks for the little ones to enjoy, as well as a school system with good infrastructure.
It’s a sprawling area, which means there are plenty of options when it comes to settling down in this area. As a trade-off, this is one of the less walkable neighborhoods in Seattle, so residents will likely need a car for convenience.
Gentrification has had a big effect on this Central District, especially near the eastern shore region. This has pushed out some of the long-time residents, so if you’re looking to move here, it’s important to understand the history and culture of the area.
2. Green Lake
If you’re seeking a well-maintained, laid-back, and relaxed green space, Green Lake may be one of the best neighborhoods in Seattle for you. As the name suggests, Green Lake is situated right around a large body of water and offers plenty of recreational activities to enjoy.
The trail surrounding the lake is 3 miles long and is often populated with dog lovers and joggers getting some fresh air and connecting with their neighbors under shade-providing trees.
Fun events are common on the lake. The annual Water Lantern Festival lights up the waterfront with a warm glow, and food trucks and live music can be found sporadically throughout the area.
Those who enjoy paddle boarding, kayaking, or other non-motorized boat activities take advantage of this gorgeous body of water during the summertime weekdays.
The average price of a home in this area is $1,00,000 making the neighborhood quite restrictive for the younger generations or entry or mid-career individuals. But it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Seattle for those who are looking to settle down and live in an area that isn’t too populated or shifting too rapidly with development.
The older population is reflected in the lack of nightlife, but plenty of grocery stores and beloved restaurants such as Duke’s Seafood and Nell’s offer top-notch cuisine with lake views.
Alrighty – we’ve arrived at the best neighborhood in Seattle! If you like quirky cities such as Burlington, Austin, or Portland, you’ll feel right at home in the creative and unconventional neighborhood of Fremont; one of the best neighborhoods Seattle has to offer for those who enjoy quirky locales.
This is one of the best Seattle neighborhoods for those who want to steer clear of the downtown energy but still want plenty to do. College students, creatives, self-proclaimed hippies, and techies all call this area home, and the abundance of cute coffee shops, independent wine bars, and outdoor trails illustrate why.
The Troll sculpture is located in this neighborhood, a staple that has become an Instagram hotspot. The Fremont Sunday Market is one of the oldest in Seattle and provides residents with small-batch culinary delights, crafted items, and vintage wares.
Fremont residents let their quirky flag fly during the annual Fremont Solstice Fest, a huge gathering that draws people from all corners of Seattle together for a celebration of the summer months.
The average home will cost you $740,000 and that cost is steadily increasing, since it’s hard to find real estate in this popular and trendy area.
As a result of more people residing in the area, parking is limited in Fremont as well, so sparingly using your car or ditching it altogether may be a good option when moving in.
Map of the Best Neighborhoods in Seattle
Summary of Best Neighborhoods in Seattle
- Green Lake
- Central District
- Capitol Hill
- Columbia City
- Queen Anne
- Pioneer Square
- West Seattle
- Rainier Valley
Pin the Best Neighborhoods in Seattle
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