Moving to Seattle - an overview of popular Seattle neighborhoods

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Seattle space needle on mapThe team at Moveline has overseen countless moves both big and small,between back-to-back ZIP codes and across multiple time zones,so when it comes to great neighborhoods, it’s safe to say we’ve seen quite a few.Today, we’re focusing on the central neighborhoods of the Emerald City itself:the northwestern jewel known as Seattle.If you’re planning a move to Seattle in the near future, take a spin through our insider tipsand tour of its core before you start the apartment-hunting or home-buying process.

Jason Karas, CEO of travel photo site, moved with his wife and small childrenfrom Boston to Seattle two and a half years ago. They love it.“We came for a business opportunity and also as a chance to see a great new part of the world.As an avid outdoor person -- skier, fisherman, hiker -- Seattle was an attractive destination (to me).We also saw it as a great place to raise an adventurous family.It has access to natural wonder and is also livable, well-educated and big enough to satisfyour cultural and food-loving sides too. We also loved the lower cost of living compared to Bostonand other options like San Francisco.”

Karas recommends that you do what he did in order to find the right Seattle neighborhood:look through your contact list and find friends who lives there and share your sensibilities.“I found someone I’d gone to grad school with who had been living in Seattle with his familyfor ten years. After meeting with him, e-mails and lots of phone calls,I got the lay of the land and an honest assessment of the strengths and weaknessesof the city’s neighborhoods.”

Here, a few of Seattle’s popular neighborhoods that are great for newcomers:

Capitol Hill

The “Brooklyn of Seattle,” this is the place for young artist types who want to liveamid a mix of bars, theaters, clubs and some of the city’s most colorful denizens.“It’s the hub of the city’s LGBTQ and counterculture communities with...a mix of college students, young creatives and old-time residents,” says Sean Keeley,editor of Curbed: Seattle, who moved to Seattle from LA in 2010.For more on the neighborhood, Sean recommends the neighborhood blog


Keeley recommends this uber-central hub for young professionals moving to town:“Situated just west of downtown Seattle, Belltown is the condo capital of the city.Tons of high-rise apartments tower over the many, many, many bars below.”This is the most densely populated part of the city with lots of trendy restaurants,boutiques and nightclubs. There’s also a sizeable older population here,and true to the city’s ethos, most everyone finds a way to coexist.


This quiet neighborhood with mom and pop shops surrounding it makes a great placeto raise a family. A tight-knit community that’s within walking distance of Green Lake,Gas Works Park and Lake Union, there are plenty of family-friendly activitiesand a thriving main street chock full of restaurants and shops.


According to Keeley, “Seattle has a love/hate relationship with Ballard.Formerly the home of Seattle’s longshoremen, the neighborhood has experienced a renaissancethat has included tons of upscale condos, top-notch restaurants, craft breweries and more.Home to one of the best farmers’ markets in the city,it’s a walkable piece of Northwest Seattle with plenty to do, see and eat.”Check out the blog for local news and tidbits.

South Lake Union

A decade ago, this area was all about empty warehouses and boarded-up buildings.Today it’s giving Silicon Valley a run for its money as a serious tech hub.Home to Amazon and lots of other companies, the spaces between the office complexeshave been filled in with condos and some of the city’s hottest restaurants.“And thanks to a recent re-zoning law and Amazon’s ongoing expansion,the growth is just beginning,” according to Keeley.


Beth Anderson moved to Seattle from a Midwestern college town about seven years ago.“We basically flipped a coin to choose between a spot in theCentral District and one in Fremont. I’m very glad we wound up in Fremont--it’s acharming neighborhood that’s perfect for young singles and couples.There’s lots of fun stuff going on all the time, cute boutiques,the Burke-Gilman trail that runs through it, which is perfect for running and biking,and tons of art around the area.. and the ship canal right there,providing constant entertainment as well.”
But, once her daughter was born, the funky, bohemian neighborhood no longer worked for her.“The homes in the neighborhood were too expensive and you can’t even get a strolleraround the once we had a kid,I felt like persona non grata at the coffee shops, cute boutiques and restaurants.”


This is the family-friendly neighborhood that Anderson moved to when her daughterwas a few months old. “We found a mid-century modern home on the border of Ravennaand Wedgwood. Ravenna has a lot of the same amenities as Fremont,but more parks and more spaces that are child-welcoming,like a restaurant with a playspace in it. It’s also much easier to get(back and forth between) Ravenna and... a lot of different places in the citythan it was (with) Fremont -- if you’ve ever tried to take a bus from Cap Hillto Fremont you’ll know what I mean!”

Queen Anne

This is the choice that Karas made for his family.“It is very family-oriented with two great elementary schools.There are kids and happy families everywhere, and we’ve met some fun familiesthrough the school that are becoming deep friends of ours, adventurous familiesthat we travel with often.” The neighborhood is also close to downtown.Says Karas, “I commute 7 minutes to my office and yet, when I get back home,I can enjoy trees and sweeping mountain views that you’d expect to find in the suburbs…and Queen Anne is fairly dense, which means that we don’t need to drive to get to thingslike great restaurants, unique coffee shops and stores that have loads of city character.”

Although nothing beats firsthand advice from a friend or relative, sites like seattlemet.comand offer additional local perspectives on what’s happening around town.When you’re ready to start a neighborhood search,take a look at Seattle Magazine’s annual list of the “Fifteen Best Neighborhoods in Seattle.”Also, newcomers will find Curbed: Seattle’s smart, often irreverent wrap-up ofwhat’s going on -- who’s selling what and for how much, what new buildings are going up,what’s happening in the local real estate market-- a great intro to the city. is a website that lets you choose a neighborhood on a map andget all the social activity in that area in one place--all the tweets, facebook posts, photos, foursquare tips, groupon deals, and yelp reviews.

And as for Karas’ Trover, the app is a great resource for newcomersto any of the cities it services (currently, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, London and Tokyo),in that mobile photographers can share cool photoswhose locations are trackable by a built-in mapping feature.

Whether you’re moving to Seattle or from it, or even if you’re elsewhere in the US,let Moveline lend a hand. We take the headache out of your move by simplifyingyour inventory process and gathering great moving quotes from reputable movers,all on your behalf. The best part: it’s free. So let us help you get moving.You’ll thank yourself later.