A mixed bag just north of downtown, with low income living around the Emerald Downs racetrack and upper-income living around the golf course east of Auburn Way. Not surprisingly, this neighborhood has the highest crime in the city. Good for those whose middle name is Danger. $ - $$$$
A tiny neighborhood on the northern tip of town, with dirt cheap rent and a quick commute to the Main Street. Simple and to the point is pretty much how they roll here. $
A charmingly suburban atmosphere, yet walkably urban, with eats, drinks, and shopping less than a mile away. Just south of downtown, this neighborhood comes with tree-lined roads and perfect white picket fences like in the movies, but no Stepford Wives. Residents hike riverside trails to the east, and to the south there’s the beautiful Les Grove Park, host of Auburn's annual art festival. Rental homes, mobile homes, and apartments are available, but demand is high. Be aggressive if you see something you like here. $$$$
Straddling the southeastern city limits, Green Valley is in a world of its own. Country homes sit on large plots of land, with towering pine forests, rivers, and lakes throughout the area. There is plenty to do around here, but you’ll need a car. Fishing, kayaking, and other water activities are plentiful. The Muckleshoot Casino is nearby for you gamblers, employees, aspiring Vegas performers and Elvis-impersonator fanatics. White River Amphitheater is also close, a great venue for live music, and home to the River Lodge and the Bear and Wolf Houses. $$$ - $$$$$
Families, students, and golfers enjoy living in this neighborhood on the hill, with safe streets, golf courses, meandering rivers, and the nearby Green River Community College. Natural beauty comes with a price tag here. $$$$$
Safe, suburban, and prestigious (fancy), this scenic area comes with both middle income and wealthy families living among woodsy streets and a handful of small neighborhood lakes. $$$ - $$$$$
Another mixed bag of residents, the Lakeland Hills neighborhood stretches from Lake Tapps up to the city center, with the more expensive rentals to the south and the cheaper living to the north. From the Main Street hustle to the Vegas lifestyle of the Muckleshoot Casino, from the festivals and parades near Les Grove Park to the fishing, swimming, hiking, disc golfing, camping, and Petpalooza festival at Auburn Farm Park, this area is situated in the middle of everything and attracts people from all walks of life. $$ - $$$$$
You know what really grinds my gears?
The daily grind is a big pain in the rump when driving Auburn's major highways around rush hour. Facing the nightmarish traffic daily will drain energy, time, and sanity, so finding an apartment that avoids problem areas is key. Roads to avoid during rush hour are the highways and the major north/south routes, such as Auburn Way and A Street. The train tracks also make east-west travel less than efficient. As in most cities, you will want to live and work on the same side of town to avoid traffic jams and potential mental breakdowns of frustration and traffic-based rage.
For public transit commuters, there are several bus routes; however, you will need to find a home in the valley, or within walking distance of one of the very few bus stops that exist outside of the city center. For Seattle commuters, the Sounder Station in downtown is the key to traffic-less travel, with an easy-breezy train that's nice and safe, although the service schedule is somewhat limited. Pedestrians and cyclists can also enjoy over 23 miles of trails that run through parks, along the river, as well as through urban areas.
Trains, planes, and traffic create a very noisy environment throughout the city center. Some people enjoy the sounds of urban life, and the nostalgic noise of trains blowing their whistles and hustling down the tracks. However, if you want some peace and quiet then look to the hills for pleasantly boring, yet scenic suburban neighborhoods. It should also be noted that, in a city with two major rivers and dozens of lakes, there are quite a few flood-prone areas. In most cases, apartments are not responsible for anything that gets damaged in a flood, so renters in the valley should consider purchasing renter's insurance. Don't worry, it's cheap.
Land of Opportunity
Before you get all fearful and apprehensive though, you should know that Auburn is a great city. Seattle’s star is about as high as it can go right now, but unfortunately so is its cost of living. Auburn provides a great respite from both the chaos of Seattle and the price point. It’s got all the amenities you need, plenty of culture and no shortage of simple, quiet streets on which you can walk the dog, practice cartwheels or revive your old lemonade stand business. Now it's time to get into the swing of things! Good luck in your hunt to you new residents, as well as ye olde ones. Auburn awaits.