Seattle Neighborhoods

Featured Neighborhoods in Seattle

1 Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square is Seattle’s original downtown and began development shortly after the founders settled Alki Point across the bay in 1851. The 20 square block region takes its name from a small triangular plaza found in its center. The Great Seattle Fire of 1889 destroyed most of the area’s wooden structures. Shortly thereafter, buildings of stone and brick in the Romanesque Revival style of architecture were constructed. To this day, many of these late 19th century buildings are still standing, giving the neighborhood its distinctive old-fashioned feel. Bill Speidel’s Underground tour takes visitors on a leisurely walk through the subterranean passages that were once the main roadways and storefronts of downtown Seattle. Beginning in a restored 1890’s saloon, the tour consists of guides telling stories of Seattle’s seedy past while taking in the historic sites. If you’re looking for an evening experience here, start with dinner. Pioneer Square is known as one of the best food neighborhoods in America. The nearly 20 sports bars in the area host enthusiastic fans who cheer on the Seahawks, Mariners and Sounders FC. You’ll find an assortment of nightlife options from craft cocktail lounges to hip dance clubs to edgy rock n’ roll bars. Artists and galleries began occupying the neighborhood in the early 60s, and today the community is the center of Seattle’s art scene. The famous First Thursday art walk showcases works by hundreds of artists every month. [Photo courtesy of Shutterstock / Glenn R. McGloughlin]

2 Ballard

This once blue collar, industrialized area has transformed into a trendy urban oasis, boasting some of the city's best shopping, dining and entertainment. Originally focused on trades such as lumber and fishing, Ballard was incorporated into the City of Seattle in 1907. While most of the mills have long since ceased operation, you'll find an active marina at Fisherman's Terminal, home to many of the boat's featured on the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch." Historically, Ballard was the center of the Puget Sound's Scandinavian seafaring population. The Nordic Heritage Museum celebrates both the local Scandinavian culture and history of the neighborhood. On May 17 each year, the community celebrates Ballard Seafood Fest and Norwegian Constitution Day with a parade, vendors and live music. No visit to the neighborhood would be complete without checking out the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks connecting freshwater Lake Union to the saltwater Puget Sound. Known locally as the Ballard Locks, the grounds also include a visitor's center, botanical gardens and a fish ladder where you can view migratory salmon under the surface of the water. The Ballard Avenue Historic District is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is the heart of the neighborhood. Walking through the area you'll find an abundance of quaint brick buildings housing cafés, restaurants and enticing shopping. At night the area comes alive with taverns and venues hosting a variety of music from folk to heavy metal. Seattle's Ballard and Fremont neighborhoods offer hip, urban vibes, great architecture and history to spare. Ballard takes its identity from the water and the street. The working waterfront is home to the North Pacific fishing fleet. On the city streets there are trendy boutiques and a wide variety of good things to eat. Fremont, the self-described "center of the universe" is a highly walkable neighborhood with loads of public art, cool shops and great food. The neighborhood is home to the Redhook Ale Brewery and Pike Brewing Co. On Sundays, Fremont has a great outdoor market. Hungry? Locals love La Carta de Oaxaca, a Oaxacan-style Mexican restaurant that always seems to be packed. Other must-stops include Ray's Boathouse, Staple and Fancy Mercantile and Hi-Life. [Photo courtesy of Shutterstock / cdrin]

3 Queen Anne

A community situated just north of downtown, Queen Anne draws thousand of visitors each year with it’s distinct attractions, beautiful parks and sophisticated urban cool. The neighborhood has both a bustling business district known as Uptown and Queen Anne Hill, which is primarily upscale residential. Lower Queen Anne played host to a World’s Fair in 1962 called the Century 21 Exposition. The former fairgrounds now comprise the area known as the Seattle Center, home to the Experience Music Project, Key Arena, the Seattle Center monorail, Pacific Science Center and the city’s most recognizable landmark, the Space Needle. The Seattle Center hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year including Bite of Seattle, Bumbershoot and Northwest Folklife.   The Space Needle was constructed for the World’s Fair and was the vision of two men who used a balloon, a flying saucer and their impression of what office buildings would look like in the year 2000 as their architectural inspiration. The Experience Music Project (EMP) is a museum featuring rock ’n’ roll artifacts as well as hosting live performances, interactive exhibits and an annual Pop Conference. A ride on the monorail takes you to downtown’s Westlake Center, an enormous shopping complex and urban park. Kerry Park offers some of the most exquisite views of downtown, the Space Needle and on clear days, Mt. Rainier and beyond. At sunset, visitors pack the park to snap postcard-quality photos of the city and Elliott Bay. After a steep climb up Queen Anne Avenue, you’ll find yourself in a quaint business district stretching about 10 blocks. This is the center of the upscale residential area and there is no shortage of fine restaurants, bars and charming little shops. As a designated "urban village," the primary means of transportation here is walking and you’ll find tree-lined sidewalks filled both day and night with residents and visitors. Queen Anne Hill is one of the city's most desirable neighborhoods with its exquisite Victorian architecture and city and water views. The neighborhood takes its name from the storybook architectural style of many of the historic homes. While the district feels like a world apart, downtown Seattle and its many attractions are practically nextdoor. Seattle Center offers a lively mix of restaurants and shops and must-stops like Key Arena, McCaw Hall, Pacific Science Center, the Experience Music Project, and the Space Needle. For food there are many options like Crow, Betty and Cloves. [Photo courtesy of Shutterstock / TinaImages]

4 Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill is Seattle’s most densely populated neighborhood and you’ll find people from all walks of life in this diverse, welcoming district. It is the center of Seattle’s LGBT and counterculture communities, and also home to many families and young, successful professionals. Pike and Pine Streets are where you’ll find some of the city’s most active nightlife destinations. A number of larger venues host touring live musical acts, dance music and performances of all types. The area was a breeding ground for bands during the 90s grunge explosion and continues to nurture a strong music scene to this day. Along 15th Avenue there’s an assortment of boutiques, coffee houses and restaurants. The area is home to a number of extravagant residences with a street nicknamed “Millionaire’s Row.” Get some fresh air and go for a walk in Cal Anderson Park, stopping by the reflecting pool and fountain. Further north you’ll find Volunteer Park, home to a  water tower with an observation deck offering stunning views. Adjacent to the park is Lake View Cemetery, final resting place to famous Seattle resident Bruce Lee. Capitol Hill rises just above downtown and the neighborhood is home to a lively mix of families, young professionals and students. This leafy neighborhood has it all—grand old homes that are just a few blocks away from downtown. But there's not need to leave the neighborhood. The highly walkable area offers cafes, cool shops, and restaurants galore. First Hill is an older neighborhood east of Chinatown with grand old homes, beautiful churches and lush gardens. The neighborhood is also home to Swedish Hospital and Virginia Mason Medical Center. Good food abounds. Try the trendy Boom Noodle or the vegetarian friendly Monsoon, a stylish Vietnamese restaurant. For dinner try Poppy, The Hunt Club and Cascina Spinasse. [Photo courtesy of Shutterstock / Mat Hayward]

5 University District

The University of Washington is the main draw in the neighborhood. Within this neighborhood "the Village" is a lively commercial district that revolves around the university's students, faculty and visitors and offers an eclectic mix of with retail, dining and entertainment. Attractions include the Museam of History and Industry, the Henry Art Gallery and Burke Museum of Natural and Cultural History. There are also acclaimed dance, theater and music performances at Meany Hall. The nearby University District is a well-established community with 100-year-old mansions and lush, leafy streets. Wallingford, on the edge of Green Lake, is popular with young families looking to get away from the frenetic pace of downtown. Some of the standout restaurants in the area at large include Blue Star Cafe and Pub, Chutneys Bistro, and Mamma Melina.

6 Georgetown

Situated just south of the city’s center, Georgetown is a burgeoning district with a trendy, bohemian flair. An older, industrial neighborhood, Georgetown began a renaissance in the 90s with brick warehouse spaces transforming into bars, coffee shops, record stores and lofts. Artists and creative types are drawn to the area as it more affordable than most downtown neighborhoods. Originally incorporated in order to avoid harsh prohibition laws, Georgetown was known for its many watering holes and the enormous Rainier Brewery. The tradition of drink and merriment continues today and you’ll find a number of enticing taverns as you stroll down main drag Airport Way. Continue walking south to Oxbow Park where you can marvel at the comically oversized cowboy hat and boots. The park is also home to a community garden and playground. On the surface Georgetown appears industrialized and somewhat barren, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this quickly blossoming community with a delightful business district and and friendly locals.

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