Seattle Neighborhood Style

Seattle’s neighborhoods are just as distinctly different as NYC boroughs. Explore nine of the most popular areas plus learn about the personalities of each neighborhood and get design inspiration from each neighborhood's color palette.

Photo By: iStock; ndimella

Photo By: Deanne Revel

Photo By: Deanne Revel

Photo By: Deanne Revel

Photo By: Deanne Revel

Photo By: iStock; ChinaF

Photo By: iStock; gmc3103

Photo By: Getty; KevinSchafer

Photo By: Deanne Revel

Photo By: Deanne Revel

Photo By: Deanne Revel

Photo By: Deanne Revel

Photo By: iStock; 400TMax

Photo By: Getty; FilmMagic

Photo By: iStock; 400TMax

Photo By: Getty Images: WolfgangKaehler

Photo By: iStock; RyanJLane

Photo By: Getty; SuziPratt

Pioneer Square

Seattle’s original neighborhood, Pioneer Square has beautiful examples of Romanesque revival architecture from the 1850s. Brick sidewalks, some cobblestone and sections of gorgeous wrought iron still remain.

Neighborhood Musts

One of the best ways to spend a rainy afternoon in Seattle is at London Plane. This is what happens when a James Beard award-winning chef joins forces with a florist. Part bistro, part flower shop, it’s a beautiful, bright spot to hide from the clouds. Take a DIY floral class with the restaurant’s florists. If the sun is out, check out the hidden Waterfall Garden Park. This “pocket park” has a 22-foot waterfall oasis with public tables and chairs.

Queen Anne

Perched high above Lake Union and downtown, Queen Anne is where the affluent live. The neighborhood earned its name for the Queen Anne style mansions built in the early 1900s but these days few remain. Ironically, one of the most famous homes in the neighborhood, the Coleman mansion, is Victorian style architecture.

Neighborhood Musts

You know those B-roll shots of Seattle in movies or TV? Those beautiful, sweeping shots of Seattle’s skyline with Mount Rainier in the back? It’s shot from Kerry Park. The view is great but Queen Anne has other parks and hideaways such as Parson’s Garden up the street. The neighborhood boasts tons of hidden nooks and staircases a la San Francisco. It’s a great neighborhood to roam, camera in hand.

Lake Union

Remember Tom Hanks’ super cool houseboat in Sleepless in Seattle? That was Lake Union. But it’s not just houseboats. In the summer, the lake is dotted with white yachts, sailboats, kayaks, paddle boards and the occasional (and incredibly brave because the water is cold!) swimmer.

Neighborhood Musts

Lake Union is the place to be on the Fourth of July. Fireworks are launched from a barge in the center of the lake and crowds flock to the shores at Gas Works Park to the north and Lake Union Park to the south to watch. But you can also watch from the water in a boat.

West Seattle

Removed from downtown, West Seattle is laid back--probably because it’s home to the prettiest urban beach in King County. Alki Beach is the go-to destination for summer weekends in the city. The pebble beach has beautiful, vibrant blue waters and incredible views of Seattle’s skyline and the Olympic Mountains.

Neighborhood Musts

There’s fun for the whole family at Alki beach with volleyball sand courts, grills and picnic areas and fun cycle rentals. Spud is the place to go in Seattle for fish and chips. After you order, head upstairs for a table overlooking the water.

International District

Seattle’s International District consists of Chinatown, Japantown, Little Saigon and pockets of Taiwanese and Vietnamese businesses. You’ll feel like you’ve left Seattle once you cross under the large red arches with dragons. Street signs and most shops are in two languages. In Japantown, Kobe Park is dotted with cherry trees and makes for a great serene escape in the spring.

Neighborhood Musts

The best thing to do here is eat. It’s a culinary tour through Asia and with so many authentic, family-owned restaurants to choose from. The Wing Luke Museum, a Smithsonian partner museum, offers monthly food tours on Friday nights that include rice and dumpling crawls.

Ballard

Seattle’s Scandinavian roots can be found all across the city but nowhere as much as Ballard. The nautical influence of Norwegian and Finnish fishing settlers can still be found today with boats painting in Scandinavian flag colors.

Neighborhood Musts

The Chitten, or Ballard, Locks are an engineering marvel but it’s not just for letting boats pass. The ladders allow salmon to jump upstream and you can view the fish jumping from viewing windows beneath the surface. Ballard is also the place to be at Christmas as the neighborhood puts on a traditional Scandinavian Christmas market.

Belltown

Belltown has some of the best street art in Seattle but the neighborhood shines at night with restaurants, bars and clubs all lit up by bright, neon signs. With an influx of young, tech professionals in Seattle for companies such as Amazon, Belltown is a popular area for apartment and condo rentals.

Neighborhood Musts

Cinerama brings movie magic for adults. You reserve your seats ahead of time so you can buy the best seat in the house for new premieres. Plus the theater serves booze and delicious gourmet chocolate popcorn.

Fremont

Fremont marches to the beat of its own drum. As the sign proudly says, “Welcome to Fremont. Center of the Universe. Turn your watch ahead five minutes.” This pocket north of Lake Union is a haven for hippies and the avant-garde. You’ll find tons of sunflowers in front yards and every year residents celebrate the summer solstice...with a naked bike ride. Riders don cleverly applied body paint with suns, flowers and ethereal themes. With such a quirky reputation, it’s no surprise Google’s Seattle office is located here.

Neighborhood Musts

The best Instagram in Seattle can be found under the Highway 99 bridge. Inspired by the Three Billy Goats Gruff tale, the Troll is one of Seattle’s largest art installations. The design won an art bid to rehabilitate the area under the bridge. And the VW bug under the Troll’s hand? It’s a real car. You can climb all over the Troll. Popular shots include sitting on his hands or sticking a head up his nose.

Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill needs no color palette. It already has one. You can’t go one block without seeing LGBT pride flags proudly displayed in restaurants, bars and all kinds of businesses. The rainbow flag is even painted along several intersections and crosswalks near Broadway Street. Capitol Hill is loud and proud and all about celebrating who you are.

Neighborhood Musts

This neighborhood knows how to party. Can’t-miss summer events include the Capitol Hill Block Party and the neighborhood’s own LGBT Pride and family picnic events. This year’s Pride included a doggie drag show.