Tell me about Seattle neighborhoods

14 Replies | Seattle, Washington

Looks like a move to Seattle is in the works for me.  I'd like to hear about neighborhoods.  I'll be working in South Lake Union.  A relatively short commute would be nice.   Say 15 minutes driving, maybe 30 by transit, which I'm willing to do.  We've done a little driving around and looked at Queen Anne, Magnolia, Shoreline, Fremont, Wallingford, Capitol Hill and up to Shoreline.  We liked the walkability of Wallingford.  Some of the views and the larger lots in Magnolia were nice, but I understand Magnolia Bridge is not long for this world.  This would be for a primary residence.  Budget is somewhat up in the air, perhaps up to about $1.2M.

Hi @Jon Holdman ,

Congratulations on the upcoming move!  South Lake Union is a great place to work.  It's relatively close to everything and is pretty much smack dab in the middle of the areas you've visited.

Each area you mentioned has different features as I'm sure you noticed when visiting.  A good factor to put into play, if commute time is a top priority, is what time you will plan to travel for work and how many days you'll be "in the office."  Sometimes those who work from home part of the week are willing to adjust their travel for a better property a little further out.

I know the areas well and would be happy to guide you in the right direction.

Originally posted by @Jon Holdman :

Looks like a move to Seattle is in the works for me.  I'd like to hear about neighborhoods.  I'll be working in South Lake Union.  A relatively short commute would be nice.   Say 15 minutes driving, maybe 30 by transit, which I'm willing to do.  We've done a little driving around and looked at Queen Anne, Magnolia, Shoreline, Fremont, Wallingford, Capitol Hill and up to Shoreline.  We liked the walkability of Wallingford.  Some of the views and the larger lots in Magnolia were nice, but I understand Magnolia Bridge is not long for this world.  This would be for a primary residence.  Budget is somewhat up in the air, perhaps up to about $1.2M.

 Seattle neighborhoods have their own personalities. Magnolia tends to be lawyers, doctors and businessmen. It has the best views in the city of Mt. Rainier, City Lights, the Olympics and Elliot Bay. It's quiet, safe and well kept. ( I flipped a place there). With all of the "high rollers" and influential legal types in Magnolia, they will find a way to get the Bridge replaced. Magnolia leans left politically. Easy bus ride to So. Lk Union. Queen Anne has a split personality. Upper Queen Anne is families and quite a bit like Magnolia. However, it is a steep walk to So. Lk Union or an easy bus ride. Easy access tho' to just about everything in the city. Lower Queen Anne is more artsy, new wave types. Fremont is where the solstice naked bikers ride, a statue of Lenin stands, (and yes, Lenin would have slaughtered everyone in Fremont for thinking differently than he, so go figure why they would honor such a villain), and it's where the troll (sculpture) lives under the bridge. Fremont leans, left, left, left. No tolerance for anything other than "Fremonters". Fighting traffic from Fremont to get to So. Lk. Union in the rain is a terrible experience.  'Nough said about Fremont. Wallingford is more of a "live & let live" type of place. Even if you don't lean left but you aren't centerist, you'll get along well. Easy access to the zoo and green lake. But, you will find yourself going through Fremont on rainy days to get to So. Lk Union. Capital Hill doesn't sleep, home of ANTIFA and has the same patronage/problems homelessness as the Tenderloin District in San Francisco. It's mostly apartments anyway. It'd be hard to find a nice house. 

Keep in mind that property taxes will be about $12,000 a year on a $1.2MM house and the state will hit you with an excise tax of 1.8% or about $22,000 when you sell a $1.2MM house. 

The city just passed an $800 million dollar bond for the stadium that you will help pay for even if you don't use the stadium. They are tearing down the Viaduct and you will have difficult access trying to get out of town. 

Other than that, the salmon and crab are delicious.

Felt like I needed to pipe in about Fremont since Mike M. beat it up. Fremont is great. I lived there for a couple years. Quick access to Ballard, Wallingford, SLU, Downtown, Belltown, Greenlake, and Phinney Ridge/Greenwood. The actual commercial section of Fremont is a bit on the smaller side, but it has some gems. People there are rather easy going and the community felt rather inclusive to me. 

Nobody is honoring Lenin. Heck, his hands are often painted red. It's placed on private land and it has historically been up for sale for decades. 

@Jake Alger we did mostly drive areas near the office.  I anticipate being in the office most days, probably 9-ish.  We've looked online at some houses further out that are larger and have larger lots.  That would be nice.  But absolute max drive would be 30 minutes in traffic.  I've done longer commutes when we lived in Houston and I don't want to do that again.  We have friends in Edmonds and visited there when we were in town a month back for interviews.  That's a nice area.  They have views of Puget Sound and are walkable to downtown Edmonds, both of which are on our list of desirable features.

Account Closed thanks for the color commentary.  I do appreciate that.  I'll fully admit we lean left more than a little.  We had heard some of that.  I sort of though Magnolia would be more to the right, though perhaps it is for Seattle.  We saw the troll but missed Lenin, though we heard about it.  You confirm my impression about Capital Hill, though we drove that area later in the day and were thoroughly discouraged by prices by that point.  I was really surprised by how steep some of the Queen Anne streets were.  We had a really puny rental car and I didn't think it would make it up some of those hills.  That and Wallingford were probably my favorite areas, though we liked some of the houses (and views) in Shoreline and Magnolia.

I was guessing something close to that for taxes.  Any idea about insurance?

Hi @Jon Holdman ,

Depending on the area of Shoreline you looked at, 30 mins at 9am might be pushing it.  Edmonds to South Lake (driving) is not likely within 30 min around 9am, however taking the train is possible.  Ultimately what your criteria is will determine the area.  We have great views from many places around Seattle, even over on the Eastside in Bellevue.  Just depends on what you're looking for.

With your budget, you will have options.

Let's chat further.

Jon - welcome in advance ...the 15 min drive time you initially mention is a bit unrealistic  as  getting a few miles in that time from SLU is a rare  accomplishment …..I live in NE Seattle  ... 6 miles from my office in SLU area and it normally is a 30-45 min commute  driving  …..light rail from husky  stadium is great as I can get to office in 30 min  with a 7 block walk from Westlake  station …

1.2 mill budget   should cover most of the  North / NE and NW areas of  Seattle proper  …...some other neighborhoods / areas worth a look  include  maple leaf ….Ravenna ..west seattle  ( longer sommute from here ) ...Laurelhurst ...view ridge ..wedgewood

if needing financing - get  pre approved  in case you need to make a move on a property quickly 

good luck and  feel free to call or email with any questions 

Welcome to Rainytown! I'm chiming in to Co-sign on Fremont being a great area. I bought downtown 4 years ago and love my spot, but if I were to upgrade, buy again, etc... I'd look in Fremont for sure. There Good restaurants and bars and a great Farmer's market. I'd stay out of Shorline bc the houses/neighborhoods aren't much to look at and the traffic to/fro is often a nightmare (we call it Canada). Ravenna has some great properties and is family oriented though, close to a lot of students from UW. Capitol Hill is for the younger 20-30s crowd, bar-hopping and restaurants, music venues, etc...Queen Anne has great properties in your pricepoint, too. Best of luck.

Thanks @Christen G.   Finalized some things today so this is now imminent.  We really want to spend some time driving around and hanging out in different neighborhoods to get a better feel.  We've looked at some houses (online) we really like around Cottage Lake.  But that seems like a brutal commute, even on transit.

Don't overlook West Seattle (even though most everyone does), especially North Admiral considering your budget. Nice houses, chill vibe, good community feel. And the new tunnel opening in fall will basically be a WS-SLU pipeline since there won't be any exits from the tunnel to downtown.

Another vote for Fremont here.  I used to live a few doors down from the troll under the bridge (you'll find out) when I was going to college back in the day.  That would be a great commute, very manageable and good quality of life.  Or the northside of Queen Anne hill is probably just as good.

Go Huskies!!

I would look at the king county metro trip planner website.  It will provide you with trip times using metro transit to and from specified addresses.

Maple leaf is hard to beat.  A bus leaves every 7 minutes downtown using express lanes from the northgate park and ride.  Light rail will be available from there in 2 years.  And 1.2M will get you a nice house there.

Good luck on your search.