No region compares to the Pacific Northwest, and no city embodies the values of the region better than Seattle, a city that offers the perfect balance of outdoor adventure and bustling city life. The lights, sounds, and soaring architectural landscapes of Seattle’s metropolitan center are unrivaled. With stunning mountain ranges, fresh water lakes, and evergreen forests, Seattle is a haven for both nature lovers and city folk. It’s no wonder then that U.S. News & World Report routinely ranks Seattle as one of the best places to live in America.
The heavily forested surroundings that defined Seattle’s early years and industry led to its nickname, the "Emerald City." As the timber industry dried up and gold rushes came and went, the city experienced many booms and busts throughout its first century of existence. Over the past forty years, however, the city has been far more “boom”, as major employers including Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Nintendo have come into the area, bringing employment and development in their wake.
The city of Seattle offers rich and diverse cultural amenities, particularly in its thriving downtown area. Residents and visitors alike can take in shows at the historic Paramount Theatre, browse produce (and catch flying fish!) at Pike Place Market, and view Elliott Bay from the Seattle Great Wheel.
When thinking of Seattle, the famous line from “Sleepless in Seattle” might quickly come to mind: “It rains nine months out of the year in Seattle!” While the city does enjoy more than its fair share of precipitation, Seattle actually has less rainfall than New York or Boston. And don’t forget that the rain has made Seattle a nature lover’s dream, with hiking trails and tremendous views of the surrounding area, from the glistening peaks of Mount Rainier to the rich rural beauty of Redmond.
One of the first suburbs of Seattle, Laurelhurst has long been known for its picturesque streets and peaceful atmosphere. The surrounding area may have modernized and expanded, but Laurelhurst continues to evoke a certain old-world charm, with a safe and quiet residential atmosphere. However, this urban village does have its share of amenities, with several restaurants, shops and other businesses located on the north edge, as well as Seattle Children's Hospital, a renowned facility operated by the nearby University of Washington.
Originally built in 1935, the Laurelhurst Community Center is located in the center of the neighborhood, and features an art studio and several rooms for recreational programs. The center is adjacent to a park with various ball fields, tennis courts and a walking path. Neighborhood residents of Laurelhurst also have the option to join the Laurelhurst Beach Club, a private waterfront center popular with swimmers and boaters.
Beacon Hill was recently named one of the 30 Great Places in America by The American Planning Association (APA), an organization of "planners, citizens and elected officials committed to making great communities happen", due to its urban design and aesthetics, multi-modal transportation, multi-use neighborhood, sustainability, community participation and involvement, and memorable character.
The Beacon Hill neighborhood prides itself on its many fine foods and restaurants, a highly rated hair salon, the best live music venue, and a place for kids activities, all voted for as some of the "Best of 2012" by Seattle Magazine. Additionally, Beacon Hill has become known for its Food Forest, a project that has created neighborhood urban farming west of Jefferson Park. The Beacon Food Forest has gained national attention in the news, receiving recognition from the Associated Press, CBS, Gawker, and HLN.
Comprised of two of Seattle's thirteen districts, Delridge and Southwest, as well as numerous other smaller communities, West Seattle encompasses all of Seattle west of the Duwamish River
Fully one-third of Seattle's green space and urban forest is located in West Seattle, much of it found in the West Duwamish Greenbelt.
Prominent neighborhoods in West Seattle include High Point (so named because it contains the highest point in Seattle), Alki (traditionally credited as the point where the Denny Party founded Seattle), and The Junction (the heart of West Seattle’s commerce district). West Seattle is home to numerous schools and colleges and has beautiful parks along the water front. The restored light station at the Dakota Place Park will always guide you home.
The second largest neighborhood in Seattle, Magnolia occupies a hilly peninsula northwest of downtown. Misnamed by Captain George Davidson of the U.S. Coast Survey in 1856, who reportedly mistook the plentiful madrona trees for magnolias, Magnolia does feature plenty of magnolia trees in the neighborhood’s commercial district.
Magnolia comprises three neighborhoods: Lawton Park (the northern half of Magnolia); Briarcliff (the southwestern quarter of Magnolia); and Southeast Magnolia (the southeastern quarter of Magnolia). Despite its secluded feel, there’s always something going on in Magnolia, whether it’s the farmer’s market, the annual SummerFest celebration, a free nature walk at Discovery Park (the biggest park in the entire city), or a spur-of-the-moment community outreach event. Not to be left out is Fisherman’s Terminal, located on Salmon Bay near the 15th Street Bridge.
Not long after Seattle's incorporation, planners began envisioning the region along Lake Washington as an in-city retreat area. This idea came to fruition with the creation of Madison Park in the early 1900s. After the completion of Madison Street, which leads directly to the area from Downtown, the park became a lakefront urban escape. Though close to the city center, it was seen as a summer getaway, with a cable car leading to the lake, park, beach and ferries to destinations across Lake Washington.
Today Madison Park is an upscale residential community boasting a broad array of restaurants and eateries. Looking for an Irish pub? Your quest ends at McGilvra’s. Want a scoop of ice cream? Swing by Scoop Du Jour. Seeking something Italian? Aficionados can dine at Cafe Parco. The prestigious Broadmoor and Washington Park neighborhoods also lie in close proximity to Madison Park and are homes to fine golf courses and country clubs.
The Seattle Highlands
In 1907 the famed Olmsted Brothers had a vision for a community of homes meant to be as integrated with their natural woodland surroundings as the residents were with each other. From this vision, the Seattle Highlands was born – a vision that continues to this day.
The Seattle Highlands neighborhood is a hidden gem within the greater Puget Sound region. The community feel is sustained by walking trails, play fields, tennis courts, a pool and wading pool with bathhouses, a preschool, chapel, and private access to a nearby secluded beach. Members of the Seattle Highlands community collaborate in committees to oversee every aspect of the premises and operations, including annual community events and holiday celebrations.
Initially named because its school district boundaries stretched from “Shore to Shore” (Puget Sound to Lake Washington) and “Line to Line” (the boundary lines of different cities), the city of Shoreline offers classic Puget Sound beauty and the convenience of suburban living, all while being merely 10 miles from downtown Seattle. From breathtaking views of Puget Sound to tennis, indoor swimming to nature trails and beach access to skateboarding, Shoreline's more than 400 acres of park land and open space offer a variety of enriching recreation and outdoor experiences. To celebrate its unique identity, the Shoreline Historical Museum preserves, records and interprets the heritage of the historic Shoreline area and its relationship to the Northwest region, while Shoreline Stadium regularly hosts high school football games and other sporting events, allowing Shoreline residents to come cheer for their favorite local teams!