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20 Best Neighborhoods in Seattle

By: Susan Finch
April 28, 2021

Looking for apartments in the best neighborhoods in Seattle, you can find the best in urban living, artistic enclaves, and up-and-coming residential districts. As Washington state's largest city and one of the best places to live in, the area is home to a large tech industry with companies such as Microsoft and Amazon. You have access to big tech jobs along with the beauty of the Puget Sound and its evergreen forests.

Ready to move to Emerald City? From thriving nightlife to beachfront living, here are the 20 best neighborhoods in Seattle.

1. Fremont

Fremont is one of the most popular Seattle neighborhoods with a diverse and all-inclusive vibe. Head on over to Theo Chocolate for fair-trade treats or relax at Fremont Canal Park in the sunshine. Breathe in the nightlife with performances at Nectar Lounge or Substation.

New apartment complexes have popped up in the area, and North Fremont is an excellent residential area with single-family homes. The neighborhood is known for its quality city schools, making it an ideal option for families. Renters can also live in Fremont without a car thanks to the plethora of public bus routes from Downtown or North End.

2. Capitol Hill

The vibrant and artsy neighborhood of Capitol Hill is alive with pubs and music venues. It's ideal for college students and young professionals looking to live within steps of Seattle's vibrant nightlife. Take your pick of modern and upscale apartments, older units, or Volunteer Park rentals for a quieter lifestyle.

This Seattle neighborhood sits in an ideal location if you work in Downtown Seattle or attend the University of Washington. It's central enough to get everywhere you want to go. Of course, you can also stay in the neighborhood and enjoy games and drinks at Garage or dinner at Tacos Chukis.

3. Belltown

Take your pick of high-rise condos in Belltown. You'll find plenty of options for happy hours and live music, including the Crocodile. This Seattle neighborhood also offers independent boutiques and galleries with outdoor artwork. A major draw for newcomers is living along the Puget Sound with nearby beach access.

Belltown is steps away from Downtown and fashion-forward shops like Alhambra. You're never far from drinks at Navy Strength or nigiri sushi at Shiro's Sushi.

4. Ballard

Ballard, Seattle was once a fishing community with a working-class population living along its shores. Today, it's a popular neighborhood for young families and craft brew lovers. You'll find scores of craft breweries in this cozy, walkable neighborhood. Ballard is a bike-friendly community where cyclists take their wheels everywhere they want to go.

Look for waterside apartments along the Puget Sound for gorgeous views of the Olympic Mountains. When in Ballard, you’re also near North Beach, Magnolia, and Greenwood Seattle neighborhoods.

Get the neighborhood guide for Ballard, Seattle.

5. Queen Anne

The central neighborhood of Queen Anne, Seattle, is a historic and vibrant community. You'll find century-old homes and city views. New and old apartment complexes make renters feel right at home. Locals and visitors often gather at Kerry Park to see the Space Needle in the distance or Ship Canal Trail for an after work jog or bike ride.

Upper Queen Anne features more stately homes from the 1800s. For more modern apartments filled with young professionals and families, Lower Queen Anne is an excellent choice.

Get the neighborhood guide for Queen Anne, Seattle.

6. Chinatown-International District

Formerly known as Chinatown, the International District, or "ID," is the hub of Asian American culture. Take a stroll through the neighborhood and you'll hear Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Cambodian, and Japanese. Enjoy ethnic eats and grocers with staples you can't find anywhere else.

Chinatown is also home to Seattle's Little Saigon area. The Danny Woo Community Garden is the perfect reprieve for nature with Asian cultural influences. This Seattle neighborhood is still in transition and requires taking standard safety precautions when walking around alone or going out at night.

7. Pioneer Square

Live in the heart of Seattle in Pioneer Square. The adjacent downtown neighborhood is full of historic Romanesque Revival buildings. Walk over to the Waterfall Garden Park during a lunch break, or take your visitors on a tour of the area. You won't find much green space in Pioneer Square, though you will have your pick of bistro tables and bocce courts for outdoor gatherings.

As one of Seattle's oldest neighborhoods, Pioneer Square went from a neglected part of town to a trendy, revitalized district. Pioneer Square also has a high concentration of bars and nightlife, including Wamu Theater for live music.

8. Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill is growing with new development, bike paths, and families moving in. The neighborhood offers quick access to Downtown and envelops part of the business district. You'll feel the diversity on the northside of the community where the International District brushes against the boundaries.

Beacon Hill is booming with new developments, from apartments to businesses. Take your pick of updated units and amenities for the best of urban living.

Get the neighborhood guide for Beacon Hill, Seattle.

9. Greenwood

Greenwood is located in north-central Seattle and loaded with urban amenities. This Seattle neighborhood is a family-friendly place to live with an eclectic vibe. You'll have your pick of bars, restaurants, theaters, and specialty boutiques, drawing locals from nearby communities.

Greenwood has a quirky vibe and unique eats. Try alligator at Ed's Kort Haus or vegetarian-friendly dishes at Carmelita.

10. Columbia City

Columbia City boasts a small-town feel with global flavors. The neighborhood is diverse with historic homes and an international mix of restaurants and cafes to choose from. You'll find the Columbia City Farmers Market and tons of green space at Genesee Park.

Look for apartments near Rainier Avenue if you want to live near shops and restaurants. You'll also find some units in historic homes.

11. Interbay

The industrial neighborhood of Interbay offers waterfront living and converted apartments. Interbay is still very much up and coming compared to other neighborhoods on this list.

More developers are taking notice of Interbay and eyeing its position along Elliott Bay and Shilshole Bay. There aren't many amenities in this Seattle neighborhood, but you're conveniently located between North Queen Anne, Magnolia, and Discovery Park.

12. South Park

South Park features a mix of industrial and retail businesses with a working-class demographic. You'll find a diverse mix of people in South Park and a prominent Hispanic population. South Park is also convenient for travelers looking for quick access to the King County International Airport.

More artists and independent spirits at heart have moved in and fixed up old houses, turning them into rentals and duplexes. You'll find skate parks, boxing clubs, and even a yacht club on its riverfront.

13. Central District

Central District is the epicenter of African American culture in Seattle. You'll find long-standing Black churches, businesses, and retail strips. Take your pick of old apartment complexes or units with updated amenities along with East Madison for easy commuting.

Central District is home to rich history and artwork, including the Northwest African American Museum. You can also enjoy films, plays, or musicals at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.

14. Lake City

Situated in the northeast region of Seattle, Lake City encompasses smaller areas, including Victory Heights, Meadowbrook, Mathews Beach, Cedar Park, and Olympic Hills. The neighborhood also houses the largest freshwater swimming beach in Seattle. You're just 9 miles to Downtown Seattle and 13 miles to Bellevue for a central commute.

Lake City is more residential in nature and has a much quieter pace than the majority of the city. You'll typically find your rent money stretches further in this Seattle neighborhood.

15. Atlantic

Atlantic is a ten-minute drive to Downtown Atlanta and is an up-and-coming Seattle neighborhood. You'll find plenty of young professionals and college students here. For ample nightlife, you’ll need to head into the other parts of the city. However, you can still get fantastic eats at Seattle Fish Guys and Reckless Noodles.

Best Neighborhoods Outside of Seattle

Some of the best neighborhoods in Seattle are outside the city limits. Drive just a short distance to these communities to find more options in Seattle.

16. Bellevue

Bellevue is its own city that lies across Lake Washington from Seattle. Downtown Park is a major draw with oversized grass areas, gardens, and a waterfall. You'll also find regional plants and foliage at the Bellevue Botanical Garden.

Bellevue is a welcoming community where you’ll find many upper-class professionals and families. The neighborhood regularly voted among the best places to live on Washington round-ups.

17. Burien

Burien is a diverse city with fantastic food that's close enough to Seattle to enjoy the nightlife or commute to work. This little city offers a quaint downtown, plenty of retail shops, and a weekly farmer's market.

You can get to Seattle quickly from Burien, but there's still plenty of pubs, restaurants, and coffee shops to enjoy without leaving. The large Hispanic population provides fantastic eats and fresh tamales.

18. Kirkland

Kirkland is an eastern suburb of Seattle and is known for the NFL headquarters of the Seattle Seahawks. Look for apartments along the waterfront for views of the Seattle Skyline and enjoy weekend wine tasting at local wineries.

You'll find your share of young professionals and families living in Kirkland. Enjoy a quick commute to the city and top-notch schools for growing families.

19. Edmonds

Edmonds offers a quiet reprieve from city living without compromising on amenities. There are plenty of restaurants, pubs, and coffee shops with modest vibes and beach access with off-leash dog options. Edmonds is a celebrated arts community with waterfront living, where residents enjoy quick access to public art and the beach.

20. Ravenna

Ravenna is named after the Italian city and is home to the University Village shopping mall. It's a residential area, but it still has restaurants and pubs to make the most of your free time.

You'll have your pick of quieter apartments in residential homes or newer complexes. You're also close to the University District and the University of Washington.

Finding Your Seattle Apartment

Ready to make a move to the Emerald City? Check out our comprehensive guide on how to find an apartment in Seattle and learn about the average rent prices in Seattle. If Seattle isn't for you, but you still want to be in the PNW, check out the cities nearby Seattle! If Seattle still seems too pricey, learn about the cheapest cities in Washington.

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Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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