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How to Choose the Right Neighborhood When Buying a House in Seattle

Are you planning to move to Seattle in the near future? The Emerald City has it all.

Water, mountains, forests, beaches, and easy access to international adventures in Canada. The decision to move to Seattle might be an easy one but deciding which Seattle neighborhood is right for you might be tougher.

From LGTBQ-friendly Capitol Hill to the historic Queen Anne neighborhood to waterfront properties in Green Lake, we're going to help you get an idea of the different Seattle neighborhoods so you can decide which is right for you and your family.

The Seattle market is hot right now, knowing what you want so you can act fast is important.

Keep reading to learn about the different Seattle neighborhoods and how to choose the best one for you!

Queen Anne

The Queen Anne neighborhood is located northwest of downtown. It's a great option for families. There are tons of parks, playgrounds, and activities like the Seattle Children's Museum.

The Queen Anne neighborhood sits on the highest named hill in the city and is divided into East and West Queen Anne, North Queen Anne, and lower Queen Anne. North Queen Anne is home to Seattle Pacific University while East and West Queen Anne are popular residential areas.

It gets its name from the architecture of the homes there. The neighborhood was a popular spot for affluent families in Seattle to build. Many were built in the Queen Anne architectural style. These homes have asymmetrical facades, columns, gables, spindle work, chimneys, and balustrades.

Capitol Hill

If you're looking for historic homes, amazing restaurants, theater, a delicious cup of coffee, bars, street parties, and a farmer's market, Capitol Hill is for you. Not only was it named one of the best hipster neighborhoods in the US, it's walkable, has the highest number of coffee shops per capita than any other neighborhood on the list, and is extremely LGTBQ-friendly.

Be sure to check out the Japanese Garden, the Washington Park Arboretum, and if you're there in July, enjoy the Capitol Hill block party. If you are looking for activities, cool bars and restaurants, and a diverse neighborhood, Capitol Hill is the place for you.

Green Lake

Green Lake is named for--you guessed it--a lake that is green. Don’t swim in it. Green Lake has an almost 3-mile paved path for walking, running, or biking. If water activities are your thing, you can rent paddle boats and kayaks as well.

Green Lake is a quiet and family-friendly neighborhood. It's located far enough outside of downtown to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but still close enough that you can easily get downtown, even more-so with the completion of the tunnel. There are lots of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks, so although it's out of the city, it still provides an urban feel.

If you're a young professional, college student, or family, Green Lake is a great choice for you.

Woodridge

Woodridge is actually located in Bellevue, about 10 miles east of Seattle. In 2015, it was named one of the hottest housing markets in the country. Woodridge has excellent schools, midcentury homes, and reasonable prices compared to home prices in Seattle.

If nature and hiking appeals to you, the Woodridge Open Space, a 20-acre area of forest land with trails, streams, and a loop around the area to connect to longer hiking trails is a must-see spot. Woodridge is family friendly and 50% of the population is married couples and about 20% of the families in Woodridge have children.

Ravenna

Ravenna is in northeastern Seattle and is named after Ravenna, Italy. Ravenna is like Woodridge, in that it's quiet and slow-paced, but still close enough to the city that you can easily access it and enjoy all of the amenities that come with an urban environment.

Ravenna feels almost suburban, and most of its historic homes were built in the early half of the 20th century. Think Craftsman bungalows and Tudor cottages. Most of the homes were built before the 1940s and fueled Seattle's obsession with the Craftsman homes, characterized by large covered porches, wood siding, and eaves that protect the siding from rain.

Like most of the other Seattle neighborhoods on our list, Ravenna also has a little taste of wilderness, with a half-mile long ravine called Ravenna Park. After a hike, check out some of the independent shops and boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, and the original Seattle Whole Foods store.

Ballard

In the 1800s, Ballard was a salmon fishing village and was the center of the Scandinavian community in Seattle. It still celebrates its historical origins and Nordic culture, but it's more of a hipster neighborhood these days. Think craft breweries, restaurants that feature unique salmon dishes, boutique shops, and even a beach at Golden Gardens Park.

Check out the Ballard Locks and the salmon ladder for some waterfront entertainment. The locks allow boats to move between the canal and Puget Sound and the salmon ladder assists the salmon in migrating and swimming upstream. This will be a hit for kids and adults alike!  

Fremont

Fremont is an eclectic, Bohemian neighborhood with excellent schools and a public library. High-tech companies including Adobe, Getty Images, and Google all have offices there. Like most of the other neighborhoods on this list, Fremont has its own selection of craft breweries, funky shops, and unique bars and restaurants.

Be sure to check out the Fremont troll, one of the most famous landmarks in Seattle. The Fremont troll is located under the Aurora Bridge and is an 18-foot-tall troll sculpture holding a full-size Volkswagen beetle in its hand.

West Seattle

West Seattle is located west of the Duwamish River and extends all the way to Puget Sound. You can access it easily from downtown and it's close to the Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport, making this a convenient location for frequent travelers as well.

Chain stores and restaurants are rare, so if you're looking for one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants, West Seattle is your answer. It has a year-round farmer's market and many summer festivals, making it fun for the whole family. Alki Beach features a big kite surfing and parasailing community where you can watch or even participate!

West Seattle has townhouses and waterfront properties, so if you want a view of the water but a slower neighborhood with easy access to the city, be sure to check it out on your home search.

Northgate

Northgate is one of the largest neighborhoods in Seattle and features four smaller neighborhoods: Maple Leaf, North College Park, Pinehurst, and Haller Lake. Northgate is home to the world's first shopping mall, the Northgate Mall, which is the main center of activity in this neighborhood, with all the amenities you'd expect near a mall.

Haller Lake is a hidden gem in the Northgate neighborhood, with only one road leading to public access and water that is protected from wind and watercraft. Haller Lake is also home to the only granite curling clubs in the area, so if you've seen curling on the Olympics and were intrigued, check out the Granite Curling Club.

Homes in Haller Lake are a mix of mid century homes and contemporary newer builds built in the 21st century. It's not the most expensive neighborhood in Seattle (nor is it the cheapest), but there are many different options depending on what you're looking for.

Wallingford

Wallingford is located at the edge of Green Lake and is a popular residential neighborhood for families. Full of sidewalk cafes, restaurants, and eclectic shops for entertainment, Wallingford is a great choice for a family. Wallingford has a range of single home styles from Queen Anne to Craftsman, with everything in between.

Not to be outdone by other neighborhoods, Wallingford has a 90-acre park, Woodland Park, that includes a zoo, mini-golf course, picnic area, and hiking trails.

South Lake Union

South Lake Union is a trendy neighborhood with lively nightlife, food trucks, and unique eateries. There are new spaces and apartment buildings, but also old warehouses turned into loft-style homes and apartments.

It's eco-friendly, focusing on upcycling and reusing older spaces, and rehabbed industrial areas. It's also a tech hub, with a huge Amazon and Microsoft presence and new tech start-ups popping up all the time.

Take the South Lake Union Streetcar between downtown Seattle and SLU or visit the Center for Wooden Boats where you can learn to carve your own boat or even learn to paddle a dragon boat or sail.

Downtown Seattle

Last but not least, are you looking for city-living, with views of Elliot Bay and no need for a car? Consider downtown Seattle. If a high-rise condo is your thing, downtown is for you. World-famous Pike Place Market, unique restaurants and bars, boutiques, and we can't forget the central waterfront, with a giant Ferris wheel and Seattle Aquarium, make downtown a thriving place to live.

If arts and culture are your speed, the art museum and symphony at Benaroya Hall are downtown and you can even take a ferry ride from the Seattle Pier.

Final Thoughts on Seattle Neighborhoods

No matter what you're looking for, Seattle has something for you, from high rises to quiet residential neighborhoods, it all comes down to where you want to come home to every day. The best way to decide where to live is to research research research and visit. Narrow down your neighborhoods and spend some time in them to see if it's somewhere you'd like to live.

When you do decide, get in touch with us. We can help you afford that Seattle dream home even if you don't think you can. You can even complete our 2-minute online quote form to get details about rate and payment options.

About the Author Joe Tafolla

Seattle's Mortgage Broker specializes in closing Washington home loans extremely quickly. We are out of the box thinkers and are often referred to as the 'golden ticket' when it comes to winning in multiple offer situations. We found our 15+ years of on time closings has built a solid reputation with listing agents and mortgage lenders, which helps us get our clients the best options every time.

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