Seattle, Washington was recently rated the 6th best place to live by US News. Every major city is made up of neighborhoods, each with a distinct character and flavor derived from the nature of the people who find it attractive and settle there. This is why it’s important to try to get a sense of a city before putting down roots. 

In this article, we’ll help you get to know the neighborhoods of Seattle.

Related: Update on the Seattle Housing Market (16Q4)

Situated on a relatively narrow and hilly isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, Seattle’s mild marine climate is conducive to lush vegetation. Ironically, when Europeans settled in 1851, they called it New York. They later moved across Elliot Bay to the area now known as Pioneer Square because of the protected deep-water harbor there. The resulting village was named “Seattle” in honor of Sealth, the leader of the native Duwamish people who originally inhabited the area.

Downtown Seattle

Today, Pioneer Square is part of Downtown Seattle. This is what most tourists think of as “Seattle” because it’s home to the Seattle Center. There you’ll find the Space Needle, the Monorail, and the Experience Music Project. Downtown also has Pike Place Market and the Puget Sound waterfront. Downtown is also where you’ll find Seattle’s office towers.

Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill is in the hills to the east of Downtown Seattle. An interesting and vibrant neighborhood, Capitol Hill is teeming with trendy shops and hip galleries. Restaurants and taverns also abound. A highly diverse neighborhood, Hipsters tend to favor Capitol Hill, which is also home to much of Seattle’s LGBTQ community.

Queen Anne

To the north of Downtown is Queen Anne, with landmarks such as the Queen Anne Drive Bridge, Kerry Park, and outstanding residential architecture. Divided into two parts you’ll find the stately homes in Upper Queen Anne, while Lower Queen Anne is primarily apartments dating back to the 1962 World’s Fair, which gave Seattle the Space Needle too.


Also north of Downtown is the Belltown district. Condos and nightlife primarily define this area. Be apprised, the preponderance of bars and clubs mean Belltown can be somewhat rowdy after dark. However, in the daytime, you’ll find an eclectic mix of restaurants and the Olympic Sculpture Park to enjoy.

South Lake Union

Directly bordering Downtown to the north is South Lake Union. A hotbed of development, upscale condos spring from the ground like mushrooms there. The success of Amazon is the primary driver of growth, with financing from Microsoft’s Paul Allen. Techies abound. With them, of course, come hip restaurants and coffee houses. You’ll also find Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry, as well as the wooden boat center.


If your tastes run more toward the mainstream, you’ll likely be most comfortable in Northgate, where urban quirkiness gives over to suburban sensibilities, Northgate Mall is the area’s big landmark. There’s also lots of housing, which is surrounded by national chains such as California Pizza Kitchen, Target, and Best Buy. On the downside, Northgate is also known for having the highest rate of car theft in Seattle.

West Seattle

Which brings us back to where Seattle began, on the westside of Elliot Bay. Known today as West Seattle it’s another place with many attractions for younger people. Aiki Beach is good for a stroll, while restaurants with views of the skyline and the Olympic Mountains offer a broad variety of cuisines. Schmitz and Lincoln Parks are wooded oases. A water taxi shuttles visitors back and forth from downtown in warmer months.

These are but a few of the many and varied areas comprising OZ. Bristling with culture and scenic beauty, Seattle is easily one of the most attractive cities in the country, with neighborhoods you really ought to get to know.


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