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A Guide to Seattle Neighborhoods

As with any major Metropolitan city, there will be pockets of neighborhoods, communities and unique districts in and around the city itself. Seattle is no exception. From the eclectic and whimsical neighborhoods north of Seattle such as Ballard and Wallingford to the industrial communities in Rainier and Georgetown, there’s something for everyone in the wide variety that is Seattle neighborhoods.


If you’re moving to the Seattle area it helps to know the neighborhoods and the lifestyles within those neighborhoods to help you determine where you want to live and which areas fit your lifestyle best. Here’s a quick and easy guide to some of the more popular Seattle neighborhoods.

Central Seattle

Belltown – Belltown is just north of downtown and the waterfront district and is primarily made up of condominiums and apartment skyscrapers. In the past, it’s been a great hot spot for artists and musicians and today offers a wide range of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and artistic landmarks such as the Olympic Sculpture Park along Elliott Bay. Belltown is a great location for anyone that may not want to own a vehicle because shops, restaurants, markets and nightlife are all within pretty easy walking distance.

Capital Hill – The Capitol Hill neighborhood is one of the most vibrant and eclectic neighborhoods in Seattle. It sits northeast of downtown and is historically the major hub of the LGBTQ culture. Originally designed as the state capital, which eventually went to the city of Olympia, the neighborhood of Capitol Hill still has some stately homes that were originally built for politicians. There is shopping, lots of dining options, nightlife, and Capitol Hill is home to Volunteer Park, featuring a conservatory, beautiful views, and an art museum.

South Lake Union – The Seattle neighborhood is located on the southern shores of Lake Union just north of downtown. This growing neighborhood is home to the Amazon headquarters as well as numerous other large corporations making it ideal for living, working and playing for many Seattle residents. Not only do many residents have a beautiful lakefront view but there are several open spaces, parks, the Museum of History and Industry, a maritime museum and a variety of shopping and restaurant options. This community has single-family homes in addition to midrise condominium buildings. Because it is one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in Seattle home prices are skyrocketing in this community.

Queen Anne – Located atop the Queen Anne Hill just north of downtown Seattle, this popular neighborhood is full of attractions and older, stately homes. There are numerous public staircases throughout this community and it’s very hilly, which can offer some of the best views in the city but it can be quite treacherous on snowy, icy days, which are few and far between in Seattle.

Read more: Best Puget Sound Neighborhoods

North of Seattle

Ballard, Fremont, Phinney Ridge, Wallingford and Greenwood – These five North Seattle neighborhoods are very similar to each other and feature local farmers markets, fun and strange shops, great restaurants and a variety of home styles including studio apartments, townhouses, condominiums and single-family homes. This neighborhood is home to great schools, the Woodland Park Zoo, Taproot Theater, and Gas Works Park.

University District – Home to the University of Washington, this area is mainly apartment buildings and a few condominiums interspersed with a limited amount of single-family homes. It’s primarily college student driven and is home to the Husky Stadium overlooking Lake Washington, as well as University Village, an outdoor shopping and dining center just north of the University itself and the Medical Center.

Related: 9 of the Hottest Seattle Neighborhoods

South (Sodo) Seattle

Pioneer Square – Pioneer Square is located just south of the waterfront and is one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods. You’ll find historical buildings, art galleries, fine dining options, bars and apartment buildings. There are a few condominiums in this area but it’s primarily office buildings, industrial complexes and apartments.

International District – just south of Pioneer Square is the International District. It’s called this because of its unique blend of Chinatown, Japantown and Little Saigon. You’ll find ethnic restaurants, international markets and great guided tours of the neighborhood. It’s home to one of the largest Asian markets in Seattle and offers a few condominiums and apartment buildings.

Georgetown – Nestled south of downtown, Georgetown is a historic industrial neighborhood with vintage stores, unique restaurants, an RV trailer community market and the Museum of Flight. This neighborhood may offer warehouse studio apartments, older converted condos, and a few single-family homes. It’s close to the Boeing airport has a charming but small downtown area with a glass blowing studio and fun restaurants.

West Seattle

West Seattle – Southwest of downtown across the West Seattle bridge is Seattle’s largest neighborhood packed with activities and fun things to do. There are houses, waterfront condos and apartments. A waterfront trail is ideal for getting in your morning run and the neighborhood is home to Alki Beach, the area’s most popular beach as well as the King County Water Taxi, which heads over to the Seattle waterfront. Residents enjoy dozens of shops, restaurants, thrift shops and the Easy Street Record store.