Homes for Sale Issaquah WA
City of Issaquah & Homes for Sale Issaquah WA
Issaquah is a charming Seattle suburb located in King Count, Washington. Nestled in a tree dotted valley, Issaquah is surrounded by three majestic mountain peaks, Cougar, Tiger and Squak, which are known collectively as the Issaquah Alps. To the north is the beautiful Lake Sammamish which makes the location of Issaquah one of the most beautiful in the Pacific Northwest. With abundant employment opportunities, including the new headquarters of Costco, Issaquah is a balance of small-town charm and natural beauty with urban amenities and world-class businesses. The city is no longer the sleepy bedroom town of its history and is now a thriving, hip location to call home.
Issaquah reputation for an exceptional lifestyle has been well documented. Sunset Magazine named it “Best Burb” and Family Circle called it as one of the “Best Towns for Families.” Outside Magazine also listed it as one of their “Best Towns” because of the proximity to outdoor activities and recreation. From abundant employment opportunities to its healthy, active lifestyle, Issaquah is a growing community filled with civic-minded residents who genuinely enjoy where they live.
Issaquah was first called Squak by Native Americans referring to the sound squawks and other water birds make which live in the area’s creeks, swamps and bogs. In the late 1890, the town was developed to serve the mining industry and began as the town of Gilman, Washington. When the mining industry began to dry up, its location became valuable for the burgeoning lumber companies. Timber exports allowed for growth in size and population until the Great Depression caused an economic downturn.
The town remained a sleepy mountain village until Boeing moved its headquarters to the area and provided new employment opportunities. Later technology companies moved into the community led by Microsoft who was expanding its footprint from neighboring Redmond. In 1996, Costco also moved its headquarters to Issaquah. These corporate giants have had a significant influence on Issaquah’s development, attracting a diverse population and encouraging active community participation.
Today with the focus on urban high-density living and mixed-use communities, Issaquah is one of the fastest growing communities in the state of Washington. The city draws from its historical development to continue growing and evolving, reinventing itself to respond to the changing world environment and take advantage of current trends in industry and housing.
Things to Do
Arts and Culture
Issaquah has a thriving arts culture; from music, theater performances and historical sites, Issaquah has a variety of options from which to choose. All year long there are festivals and celebrations in addition to the permanent venues and museums. Local artists are celebrated throughout the city in a variety of ways.
The Village Theatre offers live theater performances. Founded in 1979, the Village Theatre is the leading producer of musical theater in the entire Pacific Northwest. Jazz lovers will enjoy the summer celebration of Chocolate, Wine and All That Jazz during which local restaurants offer tasty sweets and great wine alongside live Jazz performances. The summer also welcomes Issaquah’s Music on the Streets evenings every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings when local musicians play from all genres: blues, rock, country, folk, pop and much more.
On the first Friday evening of each month from May to September, residents and visitors come out to enjoy the Issaquah ArtWalk. The event features all types of art from local artists, performers and photographers. For history lovers, the Gillman Town Hall Museum &Jail has hundreds of photographs and artifacts on display dating back through Issaquah’s history. The building was the original town hall and served the town from 1898 to 1930.
Issaquah is surrounded by natural beauty. Within the city limits, there is more than 1500 acres of open space and recreational land filled with trails and parks. The city is bordered by three peaks which are known collectively as the Issaquah Alps. These include Tiger, Cougar and Squak mountains and are home to multitude of great outdoor activities. Tiger and Cougar mountains are popular hiking spots from which visitors can view stunning views of Mount Rainier as well as the Cascade and Olympic ranges. The Seattle skyline is also visible in the distance.
Tiger Mountain is a favorite jumping off point for paragliders and hang gliders. The Northwest Paragliding Club says that the combination of year-round accessibility and perfect flying conditions make the Tiger Mountain Launch one of the most popular sites in the country.
On the north side of Issaquah sits Lake Sammamish State Park. This day use park along the shores of Lake Sammamish has more than a mile of beachfront access and boat ramps. Kayaking, sailing and paddle boarding are also common on the lake all year. During the warm months, visitors and residents can be seen enjoying the mild climate laying in on the sunny beach or picnicking under the shade trees.
Issaquah’s shopping centers include a number of large retail chains and “big box” stores which draws shoppers from its neighboring towns as well making it a reginal shopping hub. There are also small boutiques placed in the historic district and a popular outdoor shopping venue which offer unique gifts and products.
One of the most popular shopping venues is the Grand Ridge Plaza in the Issaquah Highlands. This open air, pedestrian friendly center includes a huge 44,543 square feet Safeway Market and 14 screen Regal movie theater. Called a “lifestyle complex” the Plaza features fitness, health and spa facilities as well as more traditional shopping and dining experiences.
The Issaquah Commons offers a selection of specialty retailers including REI, Target and Petco. Anchored by a popular Trader Joe’s the Issaquah Commons is located along Gilman Boulevard, in the heart of the city. Saturdays from 9am to 2pm, Pickering Barn hosts the Issaquah Farmer’s Market. From May to September, vendors and local artists display local produce, amid activities for families and children, cooking demonstrations, handmade arts and crafts and delicious farm-fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables while guests enjoy life music and entertainment.
Dining and Entertainment
Issaquah is becoming a destination for locals as well as those from neighboring communities. Even residents of Seattle are coming to the historic downtown Issaquah to enjoy the funky vibe and enjoy the emerging nightlife. The urban scene is comprised of restaurants filled with eager foodies from all over the region. During the evenings, the streets are filled with the sounds of live music emanating from the bars and entertainment venues.
Issaquah is a culturally diverse community and residents share their heritage with an increasingly international selection of dining options. While the flavors might come from Asia, Europe or South America, the ingredients are primarily locally grown and produced. The city places a high value on sustainable, organic and local foods.
True to the local salmon industry, Issaquah hosts an annual Salmon Days Festival each October. The weekend starts with a parade and celebrates the return of the salmon to their birth waters. The free festival also includes displays showcasing the city’s history, culture and diversity. There is live music and local artisans who offer their wares for sale such as pottery, jewelry, paintings, glass, wood and much more. The festival also includes sporting events and a golf tournament. There is a 5k/10k run, fencing and gold tournaments and biking events. Memorial Field near City Hall is host to a “Field of Fun” which provides free entertainment for children of all ages. Visitors are also encouraged to view the newly restored Salmon Hatchery, a non-profit operation where volunteer guides provide educational tours of the facility.
Issaquah residents are served by the Issaquah School District. While preparing students for success after their school years, Issaquah School District provides students with unique opportunities for non-traditional learning experiences to encourage lifetime learning. Serving an increasingly diverse student population, teachers and administrators take advantage of the varied heritage of its students incorporating cultural sharing activities into the curriculum.
The oldest high school in the region is located in Issaquah. Issaquah High School was opened in 1905 and was moved to its current location in 1962. Celebrating over 100 years of educational excellence, the school uses its unique historical perspective to teach students about the regions heritage.
Gibson Elk High School was opened in 2016 and places a strong emphasis on real world experience. In addition to the strong academic curriculum, students are allowed to explore career options in the local job market with the help of volunteer mentors. After identifying interesting opportunities, students are required to attend real world internships on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Issaquah has a booming job market. Costco’s global headquarters is located in Issaquah and is the city’s largest employer. Other businesses located within the city limits include Siemens, GE Healthcare and Overtime Technologies. Microsoft and Boeing are located in neighboring communities and also employ a large number of local residents. Issaquah’s business-friendly community coupled with a highly skilled workforce continues to encourage world-class companies to move into the city.
Issaquah has a large number of commuters as well. With easy access to Seattle and other border cities, the commute is quick and easy which gives residents a larger selection of companies from which to choose. The Puget Sound region is home to cutting edge industries led by the high-tech companies seeking to avoid the high taxes of Silicon Valley. The movement of tech and other highly creative industries to Issaquah has attracted younger more energetic residents. The outdoor lifestyle appeals to these workers and Issaquah offers both strong employment opportunities and a healthy, outdoor lifestyle and environment.
Issaquah sits along I-90 which runs from Seattle to Boston. While traffic congestion is a constant problem in the historic downtown, city leaders and planners are working diligently to create a bypass solution which addresses the traffic issue while maintaining the charm of the city center. Bus service in Issaquah is provided by King County Metro and the regional Sound Transit.
There are two park-and-ride locations in the city at the Issaquah Transit Center and Issaquah Highlands. In an effort to ease city congestion, the city and King County Metro have provided free circular bus routes between business districts and community centers. Other city initiatives are targeting ways to encourage residents to move around the area without the need for private cars. Better trails and walkways for pedestrians and bicyclists are among solutions considered in city planning.
Issaquah, Washington Real Estate
Because of Issaquah’s long and rich history, it’s common to find newer and older homes sitting side by side. Before the establishment of city planning and planned development of the late 1950s, it was common to find homes spread throughout the area which was primarily rural. Some of the earliest homes along the desirable coastline of Lake Sammamish are carefully preserved through historical preservation committees and homeowners.
Featured Neighborhoods in Issaquah, Washington
Issaquah Highlands – The 2200 acre master-planned community of Issaquah Highlands began its development in the early 1990s. “The Highlands” as it’s known locally is considered a high density urban village which offers a wide variety of housing options as well as commercial districts and over 100 acres of parks and trails.
Montreux – Located only 10 minutes from central Issaquah on the northern slopes of Cougar Mountain overlooking Lake Sammamish. Built in the 1990s, most homes sit on lots of 7000 square feet or larger and were built around permanent open green space. Tree cutting is restricted in Montreux which allows the community to retain its heavily wooded hillsides.
Mirrormont – Mirrormont has been developed over the past 40 years, starting in the 1960s. With only 600 homes built during its history, it’s natural that these homes reflect a mixture of architectural styles. Mirrormont homes range from Mid-Century Modern to the eclectic A-frames which are popular in mountain communities.
Talus – Talus is a master-planned community consisting of about 630 acres of which only one-fourth is developed and includes parks, open spaces and walking trails. The remaining land is protected natural space of 400 contiguous acres which provide links to the Mountains.