Seattle Real Estate
City of Seattle & Seattle Real Estate
Home to coffee, industry, trendsetters and the iconic Space Needle, Seattle has long been considered the jewel of the Pacific Northwest. From its location between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, Seattle is the fourth largest port in North America. Considered a hipster’s paradise Seattle lives up to its reputation and visitors and residents enjoy the latest in fashion, music and food. This populous city is not only the largest city in the state of Washington but in the entire region, yet even with over 725,000 full-time residents, locals still enjoy gathering in their small neighborhood cafes and hang-outs. This small town feeling is just one of the reasons Seattle remains a popular place to live.
George Vancouver was the first European to explore the Pacific Northwest and landed in Seattle in 1792. The area was originally called Duwamps but in 1853, one of the town founders suggested renaming the community after Chief Seattle of one of the local tribes and in May, the name became official.
Like many cities, Seattle has a history of boom-and-bust periods. Historians have identified five separate cycles of growth beginning with the lumber industry when its proximity to the mountains provided plenty of wood for the sawmills. Seattle also enjoyed prosperity during the Klondike Gold Rush it became a major transportation center for miners hoping to strike it rich. When WWI started, Seattle experienced another boom; shipbuilding became a major undertaking. The fourth era of growth occurred during WWII as Boeing Aircraft moved into the area and established its headquarters there. In 2001, Boeing left Seattle and moved its offices to Chicago which brought a loss of jobs and sky high unemployment. The resurgence of commerce after the loss of Boeing in the 1970s has created a renewed excitement in the city.
Things to Do
The city of Seattle offers residents and visitors the best of city and nature. Coupling exciting urban amenities and with a vast array of outdoor locations from which to enjoy the natural beauty of the area, Seattle truly has something for everyone. Contrary to its reputation for rain, Seattle actually has a mild climate; winters are cool and wet but summers are typically mild and dry and extreme temperatures on either end are rare. In fact, despite its reputation, Seattle gets less inches of rain than Chicago or New York City. All year around, residents and visitors find that there are plenty of opportunities to get out and indulge in their favorite pastime, whether indoors or outdoors. The diversity of the community is evident in every aspect of the city and food, festivals and culture reflect the melting pot environment.
Arts and Culture
Seattle is one of the greatest art cities in the country. Pushing boundaries, artists, musicians, authors and performers hone their crafts and showcase their talents in new and exciting ways. There are over 140 theater companies operating within the city and many of their performances are debut productions. The Pacific Northwest Ballet attracts world-class talent and is known for its choreography which produces new dance expressions for new ballets as well as the classics.
For music lovers, Seattle offers something for every taste. Home to such music legends as Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix, the city’s music venues are as popular as Nashville. Neighborhood bars and clubs provide exposure for emerging new artists and locals love to talk about a “new sound” they discovered. For the more sophisticated ear, the Seattle Symphony takes the classics and often puts a Seattle twist on them.
Seattle also has a nice selection of museums which celebrate the history and art of the region. Some of the most interesting include the Museum of Flight located a short drive away which provides a complete aviation history as well as a tour through the original Boeing Headquarters; one of the largest air and space museums in world. Another popular destination is the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) which is a leading nonprofit museum dedicated to the ideas and risk-takers of popular culture. This interactive museum allows audience engagement and creative thinking and interpretation.
Seattle offers virtually unlimited opportunity to get out and enjoy the natural beauty of the region. Nicknamed the Emerald City for its lush, green surroundings, the city is located minutes from access to nature. From hiking in the mountains to paddling on the lake, residents embrace the healthy, outdoor lifestyle of Seattle.
Hikers can plan a day to visit neighboring Mount Rainier which has trails for both beginners and expert climbers. A quick couple hours from downtown Seattle, Mount Rainier is an active volcano and tours are available from a variety of tour groups. Accessible all year, visitors can enjoy a snowshoe excursion in the snow while the summer months show off its meadows alive with wildflowers.
Water activities are another great way to get some fresh air and Seattle’s location makes that easy. From sailing on Elliott Bay or renting a kayak or paddle board on Lake Washington, there are a variety of ways to get out on the water. For the less athletic, Seattle has a large fleet of ferries which not only provides services for commuters, but takes riders out on the water and to neighboring attractions.
Seattle parks have miles of walking and bike trails as well as wide open spaces to enjoy a pretty day. Green Lake has a lovely walking trail which borders the water. Discovery Park is the largest park in the city and there are also several beautiful beaches and parks along the waterfront of Lake Washington.
Shopping is has been raised to an art form in Seattle. In fact, Seattle is home to a number of shopping areas, each of which caters to its guests’ unique interests. The downtown retail district includes two centers, Pacific Place and Westlake Center. In addition to a variety of specialty shops, boutiques and the district includes the Nordstrom’s flagship store. From there, visitors can also wander down to other Seattle-based national chains like REI, Running, Filson and Brooks.
Ballard Avenue NW takes a different approach. The street includes independent shops which showcase the latest trends in shoes, clothing and décor. Belltown is the best destination for art lovers. Canlis Glass Gallery and Studio produces stunning glass works while the Glassblowing Studio and Gallery offers the local artist’s work for sale on the site. More locally made jewelry, pottery, candles, foods and clothing can be found at the Waterfront or Pike Place Market.
Dining and Entertainment
Of course, Seattle takes its coffee very seriously. Coffee connoisseurs have a virtually unlimited selection of coffee spots from which to choose. As the home of coffee giant, Starbucks, it’s not surprising that nearly every street corner boasts its own location. Aficionados can also visit the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room which showcases single-origin beans. But Emerald City residents aren’t limited to the chain’s mochas and lattes; Seattle has a large number of independent small-batch roasters who craft their coffees as carefully as a fine winery does their vintages. Teetotalers are not left out either, Steepologie offers its guests over 250 varieties of loose leaf tea.
Seattle is more than just coffee however. The cutting-edge nature of the city extends to the foodie culture as well. Celebrity chefs like Renee Erickson, Ethan Stowell and Tom Douglas call Seattle home and bring their forward-thinking techniques to the city. In fact, the culinary culture is so important to the community, that abundant food tours allow guests to savor the local products and flavors of the area.
Seattle takes its sports teams very seriously. Professional sporting events are always a popular way to spend a free evening or afternoon. The Seattle Seahawks fans have elevated their enthusiasm to fervor, even earning the nickname of the 12th man because of their support. In addition Seattle is home to the Mariners, Sounders Soccer, Storm women’s basketball and a number of other professional and minor-league teams.
The children of Seattle are served by Seattle Public Schools District. The district consistently outperforms the state’s academic averages and works to eliminate the opportunity gap and prepare students for college or career. Working with the students, educators, administrators, parents and community leaders, the district provides the support and guidance necessary to ensure each student is provided with the individual attention they need.
The Seattle Public Schools District strives to meet each student where they are. As part of this commitment, there are a wide variety of school types and curriculum from which students and parents can choose. In addition to the traditional elementary, middle and high schools, there are preschool programs, K-8 schools, option schools, alternative learning experience and service schools and a number of charter schools. The city also hosts a large number of religious and secular private schools to serve the needs of the community.
The University of Washington is the largest secondary school in the city, but there are also a number of smaller universities including Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University and Northeastern University. Seattle residents are also served by local community colleges and trade schools.
Seattle has a thriving job market. Fueled by the technology industry, the city continues to attract new and younger workers to the area while supporting many older industrial companies. Many of the leaders in technology have their largest facilities in Seattle. Microsoft and Amazon provide thousands of jobs to the local population. The Microsoft Visitor Center provides visitors and potential employees the opportunity see innovation from the inside, offering a view not only on current and past Microsoft products, but the latest research projects as well.
Seattle is more than just technology though; as a major seaport and gateway for trade with Asia, Seattle brings millions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the community. The harbor is also the jumping off point for cruise ships headed to Alaska and tourism is another large employer in Seattle. Coffee is another large employer in Seattle; Seattle’s Best Coffee, Tully’s and of course coffee titan, Starbucks call Seattle home. Finally the University of Washington is one of Seattle’s largest employers providing thousands of jobs and support roles throughout the region.
Seattle is considered one of the most walkable cities in the United States. Served by three public transit systems, over 18% of Seattle residents choose public over private transportation. Considered one of the most congested cities for driving, city leaders continue to support the move to public transportation and watch for new opportunities to expand the system. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is located just south of the city and Boeing Field, located closer to downtown, is used for general aviation and freight flights. Only I-5 and State Route 99 run through downtown Seattle and city residents can also access the ferry system to jump across the water.
Seattle, Washington Real Estate
Seattle real estate is as diverse as its population. While it has earned its reputation as having high prices, there are still affordable options within the city limits. Younger buyers are forgoing the large properties of the suburbs to enjoy the excitement of city living. These buyers are choosing Seattle’s condos and micro housing. The city neighborhoods each have a unique personality; there are streets filled with spacious single family homes, cottages and urban lofts.
Featured Neighborhoods in Seattle, Washington
Capitol Hill – The Capitol Hill neighborhood is full of life and excitement. Every street corner seems to have a club, bar or trendy new restaurant. The vibrant environment attracts young singles and couples and is the center of the Seattle LGBTQ community.
Beacon Hill – Situated close to the International District, Beacon Hill celebrates the native culture of its residents with shops and restaurants reflecting their roots. Influences from Africa, Asia and Central America are prevalent in the cooking and culture of the neighborhood.
Georgetown – Georgetown is a small neighborhood known for local art and entertainment. Home to the old Rainier Brewery and Boeing Field, visitors and residents enjoy a variety of local breweries and artisan crafters.
Queen Anne – Queen Anne is named for the many homes built in the Queen Anne architectural style. The area is bordered by the Lake Union Park and is divided into an upper and lower section, each with their own personality.