Moving to Seattle

Updated on July 25, 2008
D.J. asks from Frisco, TX
30 answers

Hi Moms! My husband and I will be moving to the Seattle area in the fall from the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area. We have a nine month old son and my husband will be working downtown. Could anyone suggest a family friendly neighborhood that would still offer an easy commute to the city. Or, a neighborhood in the city? I would love for my son to have opportunities to meet other kids/ take fun classes, etc... Thanks for your help!

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all of the information! We are not moving for a bit, so feel free to keep responding. I like the concept of a co-op preschool and more outdoor activities than we have here. Looking forward to the move! Thanks again.

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L.B.

answers from Seattle on

Congratulations on moving to Seattle! We live in the Haller Lake area and love it. It is in North Seattle, directly between I-5 and Highway 99 at 140th. Quiet, good neighbors, easy access to freeway and downtown. I ride the bus daily to and from work- it takes about 20 minutes each way. Also, the Richmond Beach area is great too. Close to the water and not too difficult to get to freeway. Bus also runs from there to downtown. It is a bigger $ for houses though. Beautiful area if you can afford it! Good luck!

L.

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K.L.

answers from Seattle on

Hi D.,
Well first off welcome to Seattle it is a great place to live. As far as neighboorhoods I would strongly recommend
The Greenlake neighborhood. There are parks, a really awsome zoo, The libary is a lot of fun. The kids all love to play at GreenLake park. I have two kids ages 7 and 5 and we love this area. There is a nearby school also. GreenLake Elementary. Goodluck with you're search.

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J.F.

answers from Seattle on

I would recommend the Greenlake Neighborhood. Lots of kids. Giant park. Zoo. We have a 7 month old daughter and are hoping to move into that neighborhood in the next couple of months.

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K.W.

answers from Seattle on

For information on what type of house you can get for your $ in various neighborhoods, use Redfin. (www.redfin.com). It's a great real estate website.

And, for what it's worth, I live in Ballard and love it. Parks, the library, the Sunday Farmer's Market, great restaurants and cafes, etc. We're looking to move into a bigger house in the next couple of months, and I am really hoping to stay in Ballard.

Good luck!

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P.G.

answers from Seattle on

Hi D. - how exciting!! We moved here from Detroit in 1999, and lived in Belltown (which is right in downtown) for about 6 months while we searched for a house. Mind you, this was pre-kids so we totally enjoyed being right in the city, having access to wonderful restaurants and the like right out side our doorstep. In our house search back in 1999, with what we were able to afford, we had to look at the suburbs and ended up on the east side (in Issaquah, which is about 20 miles from Downtown). We lived there for 6 years, while both my husband and I commuted to downtown, and I've gotta tell you, commuting is a bear these days! Especially with the price of gas where it's at. Although there is a great bus system in Seattle and from the East side into the city. So you can hop on a commuter bus easy enough.

The burbs on the east side have very good schools (especially Bellevue and even Redmond and Issaquah which are in the Lake Washington School District, I believe). We felt a bit out of place in Issaquah, as we didn't have kids at the time, and all of our neighbors had 3 or 4 kids! So I guess we lived there at the wrong time in our lives, but that's what we could afford at the time.

Anyhow, after my first son was born, we left the Seattle (in 2004) when my husband's company transferred us to Chicago for a 2-1/2 year stint. On our return (in 2006), we had 2 boys (ages 4 and 2, now they are 5 and 4, so we needed to:
1- be in or near the city so my husband's commute was simple, (i.e. bus line, or easy drive) so he could be home at reasonable times.
2- be located in a good school district as we wanted the option to send our kids to public schools to save money.
3- have a fairly substantial yard where the boys could play with neighborhood kids, etc.
4- having a view was just a bonus, but certainly on the radar!

Well....in our research of the school systems near the city, we found that the public schools were spotty, at best depending on what district you lived in. We loved West Seattle, but the schools didn't seem as up to par there as we would have liked. (Private schools are a whole other option, I'm only talking public right now). The Queen Anne / Magnolia area was really our target to get everything that we wanted (a suburb feel with a city proximity, that was family friendly). We ended up in Magnolia and absolutely love it. The downside is Queen Anne and Magnolia are fairly pricey, but they also have a ton to offer.

In Magnolia, I feel like we have the best of both worlds (a suburb feel, as it is really a bedroom community to the city, with a 5 minute commute to downtown). The 4 public schools in our cluster are wonderful. The parent involvement is great (which really plays an important part in the school system I believe. There is also tons of kid activities and summer camps and programs in the area. But lots of the areas of Seattle will have this. Seattle is a very family friendly city altogether so you can't go wrong.

As someone mentioned, Mercer Island is lovely, pricier still than Magnolia or Queen Anne, but schools are some of the best in the state. Really cute area.

You may also consider Ballard, which is just north of Queen Anne/Magnolia. Darling little downtown area there, and close to the city also.

Greenlake area is really neat but we didn't want to be that far from downtown for my husband's commute, and I think the public schools there weren't 'as good' (based primarily on test scores). Again it depends on which street you live, as to which reference school you 'might' be assigned to. (the whole school assignment thing is getting re-vamped in the coming years, so I'd recommend that if you want to go public, you live near your school of choice. Do your reserach before you buy).

Anyhow, I hope that helps. I'd be happy to talk with you offline, just email me direct or give me a call.

Good luck with your move D.! I know how stressful it can be, especially with little ones!! I have moved over 5 times in the past 10 years (cross country and back, with and without kids). Hang in there!!

Pam
Exec. Area Manager
Arbonne International
www.pamelagreb.myarbonne.com
###-###-#### (cell)

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D.J.

answers from Seattle on

I love West Seattle. It is kind of separate from the "big city" and with no traffic it takes 10 min to get down town. Plus we have two of the best schools in the King County area. Look for a place close to Admiral and Admiral Junction, best Belvidere area. Avoid "White Center" and the areas along 35th Ave. Good luck with your moving.

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D.L.

answers from Seattle on

Hi D.! Welcome to Seattle (soon)! I'm sure you'll LOVE it. I've lived in a few different areas since moving here from the Mojave desert in CA back in 1993. I'm not sure what your housing budget is and the housing ranges quite a bit depending on where you choose. We've been in West Seattle since 1997 and absolutely LOVE it. It still has the most reasonable housing available within the city limits. The commute cannot be beat with only 15-20 minutes to downtown (the WORST days are 45 minutes, that's when leaving downtown at 5pm when a game is letting out). It's on the southwest end of the city and you can avoid I-5 altogether when commuting. It is VERY family friendly and is growing everyday. It's a great area to buy, because you're home will just keep increasing equity. It feels like it's own community, and honestly, you don't really need to leave West Seattle unless you want to. There's great shops (small and big), great restaurants and bars (and more all the time), community centers, pools, wading pools, wonderful parks, arts, etc. Also, West Seattle has one of the best Children's doctor's clinics around (Swedish).

Another wonderful area for families is Ballard. It has a very similar feel to West Seattle but the housing is more expensive. The commute is similar to West Seattle, except that is from the northwest end of the city and has more traffic because the main road into Ballard isn't as wide.

Another area to point out is just out of the city (about 5-10 minutes south of the southern part of West Seattle). It's a town called Burien. Burien is a great town that is really up and coming. You'll get a lot more bang for your housing buck, with hardly any more commute time (you can take the 509 into town REALLY quickly). The main town area is really cute, yet the entire area has tons of shopping including Trader Joes.

The areas I would stay clear of (because of commute time) is anything north or east of the city. Plus the south-end has the lest expensive housing than the north-end.

I would recommend signing up for a few of the free weekly email newsletters that highlight family friendly activities and businesses around Seattle and the "Eastside" (Bellevue, Issaquah, Northbend, etc.). Some of the ones I enjoy are:
http://www.red-tricycle.com
http://www.parentmap.com/
http://gocitykids.parentsconnect.com/region/seattle-wa-usa
You can start getting them now to see what activities you would enjoy and see all that Seattle has to offer for kids and families. They would probably give you some insight on the different areas around, too.

Good luck with your move!! Let us all know when you get settled in and where you decided to live. :-)

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C.N.

answers from Seattle on

Hello D.,

Welcome to Seattle. My husband and I just moved here in June from Houston. We are not native Texans, only lived there 5 years, originally, we are from California. We love it here and are so excited to avoid another hurricane season. The weather is much more temperate than Texas and it actually rains more inches in Houston than it does here! Moving here we really focused on school districts, so we felt that the burbs were a better option for us. As far as neighborhoods are concerned Queen Anne is said to be the best. In fact, yesterday I picked up Seattle Magazine and it just so happened that they rated the top 110 neighborhoods and Queen Anne was #1, the commute to downtown is 4 minutes, but the homes are much older. Really it all depends on what you are looking for and what limits you have. Be prepared for housing sticker shock. It is very expensive here, you are coming from one of the cheapest areas for homes into one of the more expensive ones, our home in Houston was about 1/3 the price of the one we just bought here. Our home in California was even cheaper than here! The prices have not come down that much in the area, but they have a TON of inventory so you just need to be prepared to take a while to find what you are looking for and you can better negotiate since there are so many options. If you prefer new construction you are going to have to go out to the suburbs, we just bought our home in Issaquah, my husband works for Microsoft, so we need to be on the east side. Anyway, I hope the search goes well, keep in touch and email me if you have any questions about your new home and how it is different than Texas. Good Tex-Mex may be hard to find, so you may have to make your own! I love seafood, so I don't mind the change, my hubby really misses BBQ too. It is a very healthy lifestyle here and people really get out an enjoy the outdoors, the weather really allows you to get out, unlike Houston, it's either too hot to move or too windy to see through your hair as it blows across your face!

Good Luck,

Carin

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R.R.

answers from Seattle on

D.: We are in Texas too, hoping to move to Seattle in about a year. So, I've done some similar research. When visiting Seattle earlier this month, I grabbed a copy of Seattle Magazine, and there was a big article on the best neighborhoods based on varying criteria. They evaluated in-town neighborhoods as well as suburbs and then ranked them. I believe their pick for in-town was Madrona, but cannot recally what their pick was for the suburb. If you could get your hands on a copy, I bet you would find it helpful. I'd just google Seattle Magazine and order a copy from the Magazine itself.

You may have already discovered this, but if not, an amazing resource for Seattle neighborhoods is
http://www.city-data.com/forum/seattle-area

This is a forum where I have seen a lot of posts about moving, neighborhoods, etc. I'll warn you, there is a lot more negativity on that board than on Mamasource, but it is really an excellent source for information.

All the best to you.

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C.V.

answers from Seattle on

Welcome to Seattle! This is a great city with lots of fun activities for families. Some neighborhoods to look at would be View Ridge, Wedgewood, Laurelhurst, Greenlake, Wallingford, Ballard these are in-city neighborhoods which are a part of the Seattle School District. They are working on this school district and should have their act together by the time your son goes to school. In the Shoreline school district, look at Richmond Beach and Lake Forest Park. There are also great neighborhoods in the Edmonds School District as well. These are all easy commutes by bus for your husband to get downtown.
There are two parenting newspapers/magazines that list all the activites that are going on in the city. We went to a co-op preschool which was a great way to meet new friends and playdates. Seattle has a great Science Center, zoo and aquarium plus parks galore and beaches to play out. You are also really close to the mountains for day hikes and picnics.
I hope you have a smooth move. The people here are quite friendly and it will feel like home in no time.
Good Luck,
C.

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H.W.

answers from Seattle on

Ballard is great! It's family friendly, easy bus and/or car access right to downtown. It's such a great place to live! We moved here from Fort Worth 1 year ago, have a 21 month old, and are due with our 2nd in Feb. If you want someone to hook up with when you get here let me know! We can show you around.
H.

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C.T.

answers from Seattle on

Weighing in as a Texan transplant been here 11.5 years and I've lived on the North side (too far north to commute to Seattle unless you're used to driving an hour to get anywhere the way most Texans are) and the East side (Kirkland/Issaquah) and now I live in West Seattle.

In W.Seattle we have a great mom's group that is in two parts. Mom's of Babes and Mom's of Tots. Real estate is all over the place in W.Seattle from million plus to $400k or less depending on the size of house you want.

W.Seattle has THE best commute to downtown. You can get there w/o getting on I-5, via either the W. Seattle bridge to 99N or East Marginal Way which becomes 99N or even East Marginal Way to Fourth Ave. (in other words lots of options). You don't need a ferry to get to W.Seattle but if you like in the summer time you can take a water taxi downtown which is quite relaxing.

West Seattle has 3 community centers, two libraries, and oodles of parks. It's close to the airport (15 minutes) the mall (15-20 minutes) and downtown (10-15 minutes).

If you're interested in green living W.Seattle also makes that easy. We have a PCC (organic food co-op where anyone can shop think Whole Foods on a smaller scale); we have Whole Foods coming 2009; and it has a small town feel where people actively choose to support local independent businesses over mass retailers.

Any other more specific questions feel free to ask or PM me. Hope that helps it's a GREAT area but the time of year your moving is not necessarily going to display it at it's best.

C.-Busy WAHM to 4 y/o virtual twins
Owner: BeHappierAtHome.com
Asst. Organizer-West Seattle Mom's of Tots

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R.L.

answers from Seattle on

Hi D.,

Im not sure if your looking to buy or rent, however my husband is a wonderful and very professional realestate agent who could help you with that. If your interested in his services... go to his website [email protected]____.com.

Welcome to Seattle!

R.

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M.L.

answers from Seattle on

Issaquah is a really nice suburb with multiple easy commute routes. It's about a 30 minute drive without traffic but a really nice area. The Queen Anne area just north of downtown is very nice as well but can be pretty spendy.

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T.N.

answers from Seattle on

I love Ballard! I never wanted to move to the Seattle area, but now I love it, and don't think I would live anywhere else. It has everything you're looking for.

With that said, if someone forced me to move I would probably head to Edmonds or Richmond Beach. It's further from downtown but really nice.

Good Luck

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K.S.

answers from Seattle on

Hi D.!
It depends on what your budget is,but not having to commute on the freeway from an outlying area will save you husband time and your family alot of money for gas!
Mt.Baker/Seward Park area is a great family friendly area,close to the lake and lots of parks!It is very close to downtown and has lots of access to shopping and restaurants etc...
Columbia City is also family friendly and the same as above...
The north end of Seattle has some great neighborhoods....
Wallinford,Greenwood,Ballard....are all very neighborhood feeling and are close to all sorts of amenities and downtown...
Traffic coming into and leaving Seattle is very thick and lessening the commute to downtown is preferable!
Seattle is a beautiful city surrounded by trees and mountains!I hope you enjoy it!
K.

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C.F.

answers from Seattle on

Hi D.,

I love living in Seattle. I was born here and have lived in the city most of my life. Now, as I'm getting close to 50, I have re-discovered my bike and from my daily bike rides around the city, I am discovering more and more places that I never knew existed. There are lovely pockets of affordable housing in nice little neighborhoods scattered throughout. There are high density and forest like environments all within the city limits.

So, again, depending on your price range, there are so many places to look at. Also, depending on your likes and dislikes, how big of house you need, if you plan to use public, private or homeschool, do you like to be able to walk to the store or do you want to have to drive everywhere, all need to be looked at when thinking about where you want to live. There are so many parks and community centers, that I really don't think that you'd have a problem meeting other children or finding fun classes in the neighborhood.

Personally, I would not live in a suburb around here. I hate traffic, don't like to get in the car and just like living in the urban environment. I like old houses and streets with sidewalks. I ride out to the suburbs and am so thankful that I live in Seattle (I actually live in the U-District - right by I-5) My whole family loves it - we have easy access to every where that we want to go, travel time is low and everything we need is close by.

Urban settings are not for everyone. If you would like more info, you can let me know. I'm always on the lookout for houses around and have found homes for several friends (including our great home for us!)

C.

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J.C.

answers from Seattle on

Oh, there are wonderful neighborhoods both in and near downtown Seattle! - Ok, Seattle is a long, narrow rectangle running north/south. Starting at the bottom - you have the Madison/Volunteer part which is pretty but pricey- then, Ballard is lovely and old and a bit pricey- but not unreal--( it has a very Scandinavian - and sea-faring '''flavour'''' - moving north- we have a huge area called Lake City- which is very close - and more mixed ethnically and also more reasonable - ( in terms of prices for rentals/homes) Still further north you have Shoreline - Edmonds,Mukilteo - those last two are about a 20-25 minute commute to downtown- but very nice - and I've missed a few ( don't know south of Seattle well- so skipped it, sorry) -Seattle is the best - a liberal, nice-weather- friendly and polite area ( not perfect, oh my no- but the BEST) WELCOME --

Old Mom
aka- J.

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C.H.

answers from Seattle on

A lot of great neighborhoods have already been suggested. I thought I'd add that early next year (2009) the new light rail will open from the airport to downtown Seattle. The Columbia City neighborhood, which, as many already pointed out, has undergone a great revitalization is fun, family friendly and with the light rail there, your husbands commute would only be about 12 minutes - regardless of traffic!

I myself live in a neighborhood called Pinehurst, which is close to Northgate, which also has had much positive development in the 6 years we've lived there. It's definitely more affordable than Madrona, Ballard, Greenlake, etc. and there is the 41 bus line, which goes on the express lanes with a very easy 20-25 minutes to downtown. We have many parks, a public library, wading pool, grocery stores and a weekly farmers market within walking distance.

Good luck!

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M.H.

answers from Seattle on

Hello D.,

Have fun planning your move. Do you have a price range that you could share? There are so many great places near Seattle with good commutes, but the housing prices can sometimes be out of reach. Mercer Island is fabulous for commute - but can be very pricey. North Seattle has some pockets of neat communities, but if your commute is to south Seattle, you'll be in traffic for a while. If you are able to telecommute or do off hours, Redmond and Woodinville are great. My sister really enjoys Renton because it has more diversity. Bellevue also has some great neighborhoods, but again price and commute can be tough - depending on where you are. Also, some people are prepared to travel for 45 minutes with ease, while others want a 30minute or less commute.

I don't think I helped much...Can you give more info of what you are looking for?

Positively,
M. H.

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H.B.

answers from Seattle on

We love living in Edmonds - I suggest you check it out. It is not "in the city" but also is not technically a suburb as it has been it's own town and was enveloped by Seattle growth. It has a small charming downtown with coffee shops and great restaurants, lots of parks, walkable streets with sidewalks, is on the water with a ferry and train station (train commuting into downtown Seattle is fast, easy and affordable from Edmonds), has a wonderful community feel with lots of events and festivals throughout the year, and is still just a 20-30 minute drive into Seattle city center. I love raising my kids here, as there is so much for us to see and do, however the community is very attractive to retirees and has a high percentage of older folks. The advantage of that is that take good care of their homes and yards (think lots of flowers!) and what happens in the community and have the time to get involved and volunteer a lot. So I see pluses to that too. I have friends who live in West Seattle and love it there for some of the same reasons I love Edmonds - it has more of an urban feel, whereas Edmonds feels more small-townish.

Good luck with your move - as the other replies have said, your price range makes a huge difference for where you can look. Edmonds is nice because you can find pockets of (non-view) neighborhoods, like we live in, with more affordable houses, next to a street with multi million dollar houses with Puget Sound views.

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L.T.

answers from Seattle on

First of all, congratulations! Seattle is a wonderful city and I'm sure you will have a wonderful experience exploring all it has to offer.

Houses here are still pretty expensive and as you can imagine, the neighborhoods nearest the downtown core are pretty pricey. Most people will probably suggest you look in the northend, which is an option, but you might want to check out the south end of Seattle, such as Beacon Hill or the Seward Park neighborhood. Getting downtown is a quick buzz down Rainier Avenue and starting next year, there will be light rail to downtown. Seward Park is just up from Lake Washington and has a fantastic park of the same name, as well as being only a few minutes from the Columbia City district, which is experiencing a terrific revitalization (restaurants, galleries, even it's own little movie house that shows first run films). Another option might be West Seattle, which is an easy commute to downtown, assuming everyone behaves on the West Seattle bridge.

Other 'hoods with a reputation for being "family friendly" are Greenlake, Ravenna and Queen Anne.

Wherever you end up, Seattle is rich with parks, theater, great restaurants and public art. The library system is excellent and there are all sorts of amenities for kids. If the budget allows, look into memberships to the Zoo, Aquarium (I think they still have a package deal for those two places), and/or the Science Center and Children's Museum. Check out seattleschild.com for a look at the sorts of activities and programs that are available for kids.

Welcome to the Emerald City!

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S.W.

answers from Seattle on

HI D.- The Magnolia neighborhood and Queen Anne neighborhood are very kid friendly and in the downtown area. Commute to downtown would be 5-10 minutes depending on where your husband needs to go. We live in Magnolia and absolutely love it. It's like it's own little town within the city. It's very kid friendly. There is a strong community feeling and lots of in neighborhood activities and parks. I would highly reccomend checking it out. It's not an inexpensive neighborhood by any means, but well worth it if you can afford it. And there is a wide range of housing prices within the neighborhood. Most houses have some sort of view of either the water or the city and the territorial views are great as well. Good luck with your search and welcome to Seattle!

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N.M.

answers from Seattle on

You are getting great advice on neighborhoods in the city if you can afford it. My husband works in Lynnwood and we live in Shoreline (first suburb to the North). We have a big yard, great libraries and playgrounds nearby and we are members at the Woodland Park Zoo and visit there at least once a week. We like to take a short drive to Everett Children's Museum during the cooler months. It's not difficult to take advantage of the happenings in Seattle from here, it just takes a little research and planning. There are co-op preschools and the best funding for kids activities through the community center (day camps, classes, preschool). The Shoreline SD has a much better reputation than Seattle's if you plan on staying in one place until your son goes to school. If you move to Shoreline, let me know. My son is 18 months old and I'd love to know more moms in my area.

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K.H.

answers from Seattle on

Hi D. -
I have not checked to see how many resposes you've had so you may already have been told about my neck of the woods. I have spent the last 20 years living in Magnolia. It's very family oriented and only 10-15 minutes to downtown by bus or car (commuting by bus highly recommended as parking is outrageous.) Literally, in the heart of the city with a kind of small town feel. The local public schools are high quality - which is saying something as the Seattle school dist. is not known as one of the best. There are some other really great neighborhoods in Seattle as well. Magnolia is a "destination neighborhood" - that is, unless you are intentionally going there you won't go there. You can't drive through it to get to another neighborhood. The main drawback to the area is that there is no direct route to anywhere other than Ballard, Queen Anne, and Downtown. (Ballard and Queen Anne are other neighborhoods.)
Good luck with your search!
K.

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N.W.

answers from Seattle on

Hi D.,

There are many great areas to live and raise a child in Seattle. We live in the Kenmore /Bothell area and I love it as there is access to parks,water areas, great schools,swim classes and variou activities. My husband has worked downtown for many years and we love the small town feel while being with in 35-40 minutes to Seattle,25 to Lynnwood or Bellevue. The commute is never good except very early in the morning from anywhere.

Our children were very active in sports, school activities,swim lessons and various groups. It was all available in our area or near by. The three always kept us hoping from one activity to another depending on the season. Baseball,tennis,soccer,ski bus,swim lessons and music lessons just to name a few. We have three children each with a different sport so needless to say they kept us going.We loved that everything was close enough that at least one of us could always be there to support them

Many people are moving into condos in the downtown area but I am a small town girl and wanted a yard for my children to play in and neighbors I could call if I needed help. Some of my friends love it downtown so it depends on the two of you and what your living style is. There is no wrong answer. List your priorities and go from there. Seattle is very beautiful and we love living here. My question to you is what are the most important things to you other than commute as far as where you live? What do you want in an home/area? Downtown is good as far as the commute and availability to eateries. Only you can answer the question as far as where you fit. No matter where you live welcome to our beautiful city.

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J.L.

answers from Seattle on

We live in a "secret" neighborhood that no one really thinks about, or even aware of, but is such a gem: Maple Leaf. It's bordered by I-5, Lake City Way and Northgate Way. Close to Greenlake, University Village (great outdoor mall), I-5 (10 minutes to downtown, lots of busses), the growing Northgate Mall, library and community center. There is even an Express Lane entrance, which can be hard to come by.

Maple Leaf has a mix of houses that make it quite eclectic. Tiny little cracker-boxes to $1mm new builds. Prices here are somewhat lower than neighboring areas such as Greenlake and Ravenna: http://tinyurl.com/5c5xrp

Community Activities:
There is a VERY strong and active community. We block off the streets every year for Neighborhood Night Out (sponsored by the Seattle police department). An ice cream social every summer in the neighborhood park. There are monthly neighborhood council meetings to discuss development planning and the like.

Park:
The park has a great playground, plenty of open grassy play space and a couple of play fields.

Coffee Shop: Cloud City Coffee is a Maple Leaf institution. Locally owned, they server great coffee, house made pastries and other food (even lunch). We go weekly and always run into someone we know. There is no Starbucks in our neighborhood and I hope is stays that way!

Resaurants: There are a couple of decent restaraunts that are all along the couple of blocks of the "business district". There is a pizza place on the west side of the 'hood that makes the best New York style pizza we've found outside of the Big Apple

Schools: There are a couple of public and private schools that I hear other parents rave about (we aren't at that stage yet).

Overall, we love our neighborhood. It feels like a real community that people here care about.

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S.S.

answers from Seattle on

Hi D. J,
I think you'll find that everywhere in the Seattle area is kid-friendly. I would choose somewhere close to your husband's work, though, as the traffic can be pretty bad here. That said, some of my favourite neighbourhoods include West Seattle, Ballard, Wallingford and Freemont in the city. Around the City you'll find that Kirkland, Bothell, Woodinville, Bellevue and Redmond, to name a few, are all extremely kid-friendly. However, those neighbourhoods will be a big commute to downtown, because, like I said, traffic can be pretty horrendous. Good luck and Welcome!

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J.P.

answers from Seattle on

Ballard is great. You can still (sometimes) find an affordable home for in-city and there are lots of parks, etc. sprinkled around. We live in the Loyal Heights a few blocks away from Salmon Bay Park. We're within walking distance to downtown Ballard, multiple parks, and the Locks. Good luck in your search!

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Z.A.

answers from Seattle on

Oh Boy!!! A chance to make a giant list :)

For a great map, check out www.lakere.com. >> property search >> North King. They're not great realtors, but they have the BEST interactive map, with all of the neighborhoods clearly laid out.

I have to say at the outset, that while my Mom's native to Seattle (and I spent every summer here growing up), and I've got family all over this city...I didn't move here until I was an adult. My dad was in the Navy, so we were all over the place. I've lived here for about 15 years though, not including the summers from my childhood, so this is something of an outside-inside perspective.

Basic Seattle geography: The city is split six ways from Sunday by water and hills. You've got the Puget Sound / Union Bay, Lake Washington, & the Montlake Cut (which connects the Puget Sound to Lake Washington)as the big dividers. Theres also possibly not one actual acre of flat space. BIG HILLS. Big hills everywhere. What this all equates to...bridges, and big sections of the city in each of these areas.

Here are the big ones:
- Anything waterfront, or with a great view of H20
- Seattle ... Downtown & Capitol & First & Queen Anne Hill
- The "Eastside" ... separated by Lake Washington
- West Seattle ... separated by Union Bay & Industrial Area
- North of the Montlake Cut ... separated by the Montlake Cut
- North Seattle ... (my definition - see below)
- South Seattle & Renton ...seperated by the Industrial Area

- Ballard ... an entity into itself
- Magnolia ... an entity into itself
- Edmonds (downtown) ... an entity into itself

- The "yuck" streets and places to avoid

* * *

Waterfront & View are posh to upper middle income very nice. Doesn't matter where you are in the city or surrounding areas.

Downtown Seattle & First Hill are urban. Capitol Hill is half SanFransico "FABULOUS, girlfriend!!" and then a solid mix of middle income and very posh. Queen Anne Hill is mostly old money and very posh crowded by many many apts along the edges. Madison Valley/the Arboretum border Capitol Hill and stretch along the Mountlake Cut to Lake Washington, very nice to very posh. 0-10 minutes to downtown.

The Eastside is REGARDED as posh (they have white concrete sidewalks and planned neighborhoods), but its more by layout then by price. Bellevue, Kirkland, & Redmond have their own thriving downtowns. Bellevue and Redmond are our Tech. centers. Think Microsoft. It's connected to the Seattle side of the lake by 2 bridges; 520 connecting Kirkland to the U-district(stay off, it only moves faster then a crawl in the middle of the night) & I-90. I-90 zooms, and connects Bellevue/Factoria (aka the actual city names, but its all one big urban sprawl) and Mercer Island direct to downtown. Good Traffic downtown on I-90 = 10 min or less, bad = 20. Good Traffic to downtown on 520 + I-5 = 15min, Bad Traffic = 1-2hours.

West Seattle is typical Seattle dichotomy...terribly crime ridden and drug infested near the factories and the side of the hill that faces them, gorgeous and very posh on the side of the hill that faces the Puget Sound. The West Seattle Bridge & Hwy 99 connect to downtown. Good traffic = 20 min, Bad traffic = about an hour.

North of the Mountlake Cut is the University of Washington. The neighborhoods surrounding it are typical College Town, funky, artsy, intellectual (ahh...once you get past frat row that is ;) The neighborhoods are the U-district, Ravenna, Bryant, Wedgewood, Freemont, & Greenlake. (I added these to help w/ my definition of North Seattle...there is no real geographic boundary, but a strong cultural one.) Using my definition we're talking from 50th St. NE to about 85th St. NE Good Traffic to Downtown = 10 minutes, Bad Traffic = 20

North Seattle, in my book, starts right around 85th and continues past the actual city limit (about 140th) all the way up the lake until you hit Bothell. In most people's books 140th marks where the "cities" of Shoreline, Richmond Beach, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore begin or exist. They incorporated to avoid Seattle politics, but there's really no difference. It's all sub-urban, and none of the neighborhoods are planned, but fairly nice. LOTS of nice middle income family housing, but also a lot on busy streets. Nearly no sidewalks. Seriously. The sidewalks in Seattle are in terrible repair, but North Seattle was built during a gas guzzling age. A great area though. Good Traffic to Downtown = 20 minutes, Bad Traffic = 40+

South Seattle and Renton have some wonderful pockets, but you have to know where to find them. The Seward Park area or Mt. Baker neighborhoods, for example are WONDERFUL, but 5 blocks in either direction is bad. Cleaned up a great deal over the past 10 years, but still a LOT of half-way houses, etc. Fortunately nowhere near as many needles and crackpipes...my cousins grew up there, so I can attest that it IS getting A LOT better...but South Seattle still has that flavor. The construction of the Lightrail is also helping a LOT. In general the schools are worse & income's low. Same in Renton, without as much drug/crime history. Renton has a reputation for a hardworking, blue collar population, but that population is gradually dying off (of old age) and being replaced by the younger set, also without much $. (Please remember I'm talking in generalities...wheeee my in-laws live in Renton, and would skin me otherwise.) I mention Renton even though its not technically Seattle, because it blurs with South Seattle AND that is where you find Boeing. There's also the dreaded "Renton S-Curves" on I-5, where traffic SPEEDS along at a WHOPPING 5mph. However, South Seattle has the highest Asian & Ethiopian density, and is probably the most diverse semi-urban/sub-urban area in the city. Good Traffic to Downtown = 10-20 minutes, Bad Traffic = 30-40

The Entities into Themselves

Ballard. You'll have to experience Ballard yourself. It's...well...Ballard. There's probably several webpages devoted to Ballard. You will see bumperstickers all over the city with "FREE BALLARD" written on them. There's also "Ballard Day" where everyone is supposed to drive all day with their lefthand turn signal on continuously and a seatbelt dangling out one of the doors making sparks on the asphalt. Seattle loves Ballard...but no one's really sure what to think about it. Commute's hard though, even though it's close. Only 2 real streets that go in and out. Good Traffic to Downtown = ? minutes, Bad Traffic = ?? (If someone knows, message me & I'll update it. I always get lost.)

Magnolia is an old money island (not really, really its W. Seattle-ish) of loveliness with a really friendly population. Like Ballard it's hard to get in and out of (and I'm afraid I don't know the commute time again), but it's hard not to want to stay in Magnolia driving around looking at all the beautiful old houses and mature gardens. I'll probably never live there, but it's a wonderful place to visit. Very Posh.

Edmonds is North and West along the Puget Sound, and I'm not exactly sure about the county line. They're a coastal-type artsy walkable downtown with a ton of condos surrounded by nice suburbs and many gated communities. Like Ballard and Magnolia, its also a destination neighborhood that can be a pain to get in/out of, but worth it to go. Edmonds is in the Northshore School District (see below). The Edmonds Ferry docks here, too. Good Traffic to Downtown = 30 minutes, Bad Traffic = 40-60

* * *

Of the above areas/neighborhoods it's mostly about picking the flavor you like the best. I would be remiss though if I left out the following. Seattle's VERY low crime big-city speaking, most of the addicts keep it indoors, and the gangs are all wannabe's and practically non-existent...so even though these are on my "yuck" list, we're not talking East LA either.

TO AVOID

Streets : Hwy99 in the North, MLK (Martin Luther King)& Ranier Ave in the South. They're all safe while driving, but you don't want to live too near them. Really don't want to.

White Center - Where the news reports the most shootings.

Central District (aka "the CD") - It's slowly turning around...people marketing a 'turned area' tend to say Capitol Hill instead. It borders Capitol Hill to the South. Still a LOT of drugs in this area.

George Town - "It's not just for prostitutes anymore!" is the marketing campaign. I actually have several close school friends (from college) in this neighborhood, but even though it's "hot" right now, I wouldn't recommend it.

* * * LASTLY, A WORD OR 12 ABOUT SCHOOLS :) * * *

Seattle School District has a bad reputation (educationally speaking, not safety-wise) that is well deserved. There are gems of schools and teachers but stick with private schools or co-ops by and large. Same with the Shoreline School District, except possibly worse as far as education goes, but better as far as appearances. The schools on the Eastside are MUCH better, and the Northshore school district (Bothel, Woodinville, Edmonds, etc.) is the best in the area. That said...Washington State has SUPER LOW expectations for their students in general. If you can afford it, definitely look into private schools, if not...be as active in your children's education as you can be.

Whew. We all knew I tend to talk...I think this one may have gotten away from me.

:) Welcome to Seattle,
Z.

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