5 Great Neighborhoods in Seattle
On top of a hill above downtown and Elliot Bay, Queen Anne has apartments, small family homes and huge mansions. The hill flattens out on top to make way for a lengthy commercial district along Queen Anne Avenue. You'll find cute bistros, coffee shops and all the essentials, so residents rarely need to leave the top of the hill to find what they need. Although more expensive than most Seattle neighborhoods, it’s still popular with young families and you'll see lots of kids around. It can be a little challenging to get to during rush hour, as you pretty much have to drive through the center of the city to get there. There’s a small sub-neighborhood known as Lower Queen Anne at the southern end of the hill, which has lots of apartment buildings and trendy bars and restaurants. It’s a popular place for young professionals to live.
Ballardites are proud of their neighborhood and the area’s Scandinavian heritage. The neighborhood has changed quite a bit in recent years and many residents are protective of the old Ballard. The neighborhood has a lot of smaller homes, many of which have been spruced up or expanded. Old Town Ballard is a maze of tree-lined streets filled with cute boutiques, cool new restaurants and well-loved dive bars. The western edge of Ballard snakes along the Ballard Locks and Shilshole Marina, a scenic spot with views of Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains.
This hilltop neighborhood is part family mansions and part affordable apartments. Fifteenth Avenue acts as a divider in this neighborhood: east of 15th Avenue is mostly single-family homes and kid-friendly streets; west of 15th Avenue is one of the city’s largest concentrations of apartment buildings, bordered by Broadway, an edgy commercial district. The mansion district is where some of the city’s founders built their enormous palatial homes. Along Pike and Pine, closer to Broadway, is the city’s colorful gay district.
This scenic Seattle neighborhood is popular with young families because it’s an area where you can still get a good size home at a reasonable price. The Junction is the popular walkable neighborhood center with a growing number of hip bars, family-friendly restaurants and boutiques. It’s also a close drive to Alki beach, where there’s a lengthy walking path along the water. The only drawback to the neighborhood is that it is rather isolated; the fastest way to get there from the rest of the city requires driving on Interstate 5 and the West Seattle bridge, which is typically filled with traffic.
No doubt one of Seattle’s most expensive neighborhoods, Madison Park is like a quaint, little village in the city. Residents find few reasons to leave their neighborhood. Madison Street dead-ends at the shores of Lake Washington and creates a cul-de-sac of sorts. The streets are safe and most everything you need, from groceries to dinner to a haircut, are within walking distance, so the area is ideal for families and seniors. In the summer, Madison Park beach is a fun place to hang out. Except for the neighborhood pub, there’s virtually no nightlife here, but that’s what some people like about it.