Reader Question: Finding info on Seattle neighborhoods?

I recently received an email with this question from a reader about finding information on Seattle neighborhoods:

After living in the Midwest for 40 years, it is time for a change. I have a close friend in Issaquah, and I’m selling all of my possessions – save my two loyal dogs – and fixin’ to load up Old Bessie sometime this summer to start over in Seattle. I imagine I’m hardly unique in this way, but I’m committed to moving on with my life and have chosen the Seattle area as my destination.

I’m looking for any neighborhood guides and relocation information that I can find. I’m looking more for general Seattle neighborhood information than what units are available for immediate move-in.

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can throw my way!

We don’t tend to get much into individual neighborhoods here, although in the past I have published some local-level stats occasionally. I’d say that a good place to start if you’re looking to get a feel for the neighborhoods around Seattle would be the local news sites in the Seattle Times News Partner Network (of which Seattle Bubble is also a member).

The Seattle area has more active neighborhood blogs than almost any other area in the country. Spend a little time reading them and you’ll easily get a feel for what each neighborhood is like.

One thing I recommend not wasting your time with is asking people on generic Seattle-area internet forums for advice about which neighborhood is the “best.” Unless of course you’re just looking for a list of basically all Seattle neighborhoods.

The important thing is in addition to spending some time researching before you get here, to not rush into buying a home as soon as you arrive. Once you’ve located a neighborhood that sounds good, find a rental and try it on for a while. Get to know the area before diving into home ownership.

What’s your advice for learning about Seattle neighborhoods?

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    Peter Witting says:

    The Seattle Times has neighborhood blogs which could provide insight. Perhaps begin looking in the vicinity of one of the off-leash areas would be helpful (given the two loyal dogs). No matter what, rent first – especially since this person is starting over and might enjoy unexpected places.

    Finally: avoid Lake City! Everything else can be accomodated somehow, but that is the one mistake noone should be allowed to make.

  2. 2

    Sounds Like a Retiree and His Dogs

    Hmmmm….you don’t need to drive in rush hours likely, so it depends on your medical, social and other needs. No significant other or wife?

    I’d include her in the decision too, if she exists…

    Seattle proper has good hospitals nearby, and nightlife…..albeit so does Everett, Snoqualmie and Tacoma [big casinos with live music and such]….if you want quiet and less hustle, I’d get 30 miles north or south miles away from Tacoma or Everett….room for your dogs too….but not too far to catch big city stuff…

    Avoid Kitsap, it may have two bridges now….but the east bound toll bridge to Seattle is costly and traffic crams into one lane on I-5 [jamup].

  3. 3
    Ray Pepper says:

    2 Dogs? In Seattle? I know…GreenLake and such but seriously…The BEST spot for you and the pets coming from a guy who lived ALL OVER Seattle, the Eastside, and the south end……….Welcome and Good Luck!….

  4. 4
    toad37 says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 3

    Why do you choose Gig Harbor over, say… Port Orchard?

  5. 5
    Al says:

    Google Streetview + Yelp with a neighborhood filter is useful.

  6. 6
    ray pepper says:

    Have you been to Gig Toad? Have you been to Port Orchard? Have you been to the New UpTown? The new Galaxy? The new Y? Costco? Best Schools…Sports mecca for kids involved in Soccer (Harbor Soccer Club), Bball (Harbor Hoops), Races, etc..Xmas in the Gig?..Halloween in the Gig?..Countless Festivals…Incredibly Pet Friendly…..I could go on and on and The Gig just keeps getting better!

  7. 7
    wreckingbull says:

    Renting first is the most import piece of advice here. I know people who would view Gig Harbor as a living hell, and I know people who would like it. It all depends on the person.

    I would even suggest staying with a friend, relative or even a hotel/hostel before you choose an area to rent. I moved to Denver once, and was so impatient to find a place, I ended up picking a lame area and was locked in for six months. Not the end of the world, but not very fun.

  8. 8
    One Eyed Man says:

    Sounds like you might want a guide to rental housing. I don’t know one of those and I’d just refer you to google and maybe Craig’s List. If what you want is a general feel for neighborhoods, the following 3 items should give you a start. Down load the pdf from the following 2009 Seattle Magazine article for some quick and dirty stats on the neighborhoods and suburbs.

    Here’s an OK guide to several dozen neighborhoods and suburbs that gives a few paragraphs of info on each one when you click thru.

    To see where each neighborhood is you might use wiki but I think you need some other map source for the suburbs but that should be easy enough to find.

    Good Luck!

    You’d probably get more usable feedback if you told people a little about what you’re looking for (definite needs like big dog space, urban vs suburb vs small town vs semi-rural , expensive vs eclectic, condo and parks or house with dog space yard, potential employers and/or commutes, where you’re currently coming from and what you like and don’t like about it, etc.)

  9. 9
    mike says:

    Here’s a map that was making the rounds last month. I live among old fogies. They’re quiet.

  10. 10
    Scotsman says:

    Ignore anything south of I-90- there is no more depressing and worthless place on the planet. Two words that don’t even begin to capture the depravity but will have special meaning to you: “flea infestation.” ;-)

  11. 11
    Scotsman says:

    More seriously, why limit yourself to Seattle? What do you want? Gritty urban- Tacoma. Bucolic aquatic- Gig Harbor. Mountains and country with real live bears- all 30 minutes from downtown Seattle- Issaquah/Snoqualmie. Bad acid trip artsy with a fishy smell- Ballard. Horses and Indians (the Punjab type) with a high tech touch- Redmond. It may be “The Emerald City” but you won’t be in Kansas any more.

  12. 12
    doug says:

    MY personal favorite after living my entire 50 years of life in and around Seattle is the same place where my Granpa moved 100 years ago North Seattle—–Lake Forest park, Shoreline, Edmonds and even Mountlake Terrace.

  13. 13
    Erik says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 3
    I lived in Gig Harbor and absolutely hated it. There is a conglomerate of angry poor people from the army, navy, airforce base that somehow filtrate into tacoma. It seems like money rules over there moreso than other places because of the drastic differences people’s income. Many of the woman in gig harbor and fox island meet a man with money and moved from the ghettos of tacoma to the harbor. Now they sail around the harbor with their sails down and act like they they are better than poor people.Traffic is terrible in that area too.
    Kirkland and Eastlake in Seattle are the best places i have lived. Eastlake is expensive, but it is nice. Kirkland is cool cause I fit in. A lot of people here are into education and they like to workout. I do the same.
    I like places where people are happy. Pierce county in general doesn’t contain happy people for whatever reason. I’m sure people will be offended and have counter examples, but this is a pretty good observation. I have shared this conversation with others that have lived here for an extended period of time. Maybe gig harbor is okay if you are super old and and you just want to beat your dogs and not go out. Otherwise, take my advice.

  14. 14
    Ron says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 6

    And an incredible sailing destination….nothing beats the tides tavern.

  15. 15
    Erik says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 2
    Everett has a nightlife? I guess it does if you are into fat, nasty, divorced women that already have children. Again… no offense if that pertains to you or your loved ones. I lived there 6 years and it was always the same nightlife. 3 or 4 men chasing after every girl that wasn’t morbidly obese. If you consider that a night life, have at it buddy. I’m gonna keep chasing tail on the eastside where they are 30lbs thinner, don’t already have children, and don’t have drug addictions.
    I am willing to go out and make a trial run. You will see my observations are true.

  16. 16
    Erik says:

    RE: Ron @ 14
    Ha ha ha. I like that place too. I lived in Fox Island after graduating college to stay with a girl i was dating at the time. We would watch boat after boat in the sailing club putting around sails down and motor on. It was comical. Even when conditions were perfect, no sails up.

  17. 17

    A lot of people find the city-data forums helpful:

  18. 18
    3rd Generation says:

    Enough masturbation.

    Next relevant topic, please.

  19. 19
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 10

    Ah. too many new folks since my return- no one remembers the “south of I-90” slam from the old days. ;-(

  20. 20

    By Scotsman @ 19:

    RE: Scotsman @ 10

    Ah. too many new folks since my return- no one remembers the “south of I-90” slam from the old days. ;-(

    I do I do. As a south of I-90 resident, you think it’s easy going to the backyard to garden wearing body wearing body armor and a pith helmet?

  21. 21
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 20

    Thing is- you somehow manage to look good in that gear. And for the record I’m south of “the 90” too.

  22. 22
    cutienoua says:

    Let’s not forget the political map! smile

  23. 23
    John says:

    FindWell has a really good guide on their website. It focusses mainly on just neighborhoods within Seattle, but it has a guide to pretty much every neighborhood you can think of.

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