Best neighbourhoods to live in Seattle

Once you’ve decided to take the leap across the pond, choosing which state, city or town to relocate to is a mind-boggling task. Aside from the obvious choices (New York for the hustle and bustle, Florida for the climate, LA for the glamour) you may wish to consider Seattle, one of the fastest growing cities in the US. It is the 9th most popular choice for people relocating to the US in 2019 from around the world.
The population of Seattle has grown by 18% since 2010 (one of the highest increases in the USA) with an estimated 730,000 residents within the city limits and a further 3.5 million in the greater Seattle area.
A great choice for expat life in the US Located on the West Coast of the US, Seattle is an employment hotspot for bright, ambitious professionals seeking opportunities in business, computing, engineering and healthcare. The city is home to some of the USA’s biggest companies, including Amazon, Expedia, Alaska Airlines, Boeing and Costco, with Microsoft and Nintendo just across Lake Washington in Redmond. As a tech hub Facebook, Google and other tech giants also have large satellite offices in Seattle.
For Seattle’s residents, however, it’s not a case of all work and no play. Surrounded by mountain ranges, dense rainforests, blue lakes and nearby Pacific shores, it’s no surprise that the population loves outdoor pursuits with rollerblading, jet skiing, rock climbing, hiking, kayaking and mountain biking all popular past times for residents.
The city’s historic Paramount Theatre is a fantastic venue for live events and, in the summer, Seattle plays host to a vast outdoor food and drink festival showcasing some of the best craft beers in the USA. During the colder months, residents enjoy snow sports at Steven’s Pass and Snoqualmie, with world-class ski resorts less than a day’s drive away in Whistler, Canada.

A city of neighbourhoods

Seattle is often referred to as ‘a city of neighbourhoods’ as each area has its own distinct feel to suit different lifestyles. Choosing between the different areas of the city can be a challenge as each neighbourhood has its own unique personality and range of fantastic attractions.
Our guide to the most popular areas should give you an invaluable insight into what each area has to offer.


Central Seattle is a hive of activity packed into a compact geographical space. The area’s energetic, adventurous inhabitants are spoilt for choice when it comes to entertainment, with several busy theatres along with the famous live music venue Benaroya Hall all located in Downtown Seattle.
Downtown has its fair share of upscale designer stores, flea markets and curiosity shops. For the health conscious, Pike Place Market is a fantastic place to buy fresh cooking ingredients though there’s certainly no shortage of wonderful restaurants, bars and cafés to experience in the downtown area.
Alongside the busy urban landscape and lifestyle, Downtown residents enjoy a wealth of impressive natural spaces, from stunning Elliot Bay to the Waterfront Marina. Victor Steinbrueck Park provides a green oasis of calm within the cityscape, making Downtown an area with a unique combination of city hustle and idyllic rural living.

Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill, adjacent to Downtown, is a bridge between Seattle’s inner-city area and surrounding suburbs. Residents settle here for the area’s great nightlife (with ballrooms, gay clubs, live music venues and a host of modern eateries to enjoy) and range of entertainment venues, including the Broadway Performance Hall and Seattle International Film Festival owned Egyptian Theatre.
If you’re looking for 24-hour party society, this is the right spot for you! The area also has a thriving LGBTQ community and an eclectic range of residents making Capitol Hill a friendly, welcoming cultural melting pot.

Queen Anne

Located on its own private peninsula northwest from downtown, Queen Anne is an affluent neighbourhood that’s also surprisingly liberal and inclusive. If you’re a fan of café society or upmarket bars serving cocktails in stylish surroundings, this is the Seattle spot for you.
Queen Anne is as popular with families as smart young professionals, with plenty of green spaces to explore with small kids – in fact, the area is home to the famous Kerry Park which provides the ‘classic’ view of Seattle seen in numerous films.


Found opposite Queen Anne on the north shore of Seattle, Ballard was once a separate city of Scandinavian immigrants and has a rich history in the fishing industry. This part of the city has now embraced modern living while retaining much of its historic charm, combining old European style brick housing with new build condos.
This up and coming area is popular with the young Seattle crowd who enjoy its great nightlife, quirky shops, Sunday farmer’s market and unique architecture.

Wallingford and Fremont

Situated north of Downtown, Wallingford and Fremont are large areas that take up most of the north shore of the beautiful Lake Union. These family-friendly neighbourhoods are peaceful, friendly and filled with spacious modern condos and craftsman-built houses making them popular with bigger families.
Fremont is famed for its busy Sunday Market, where there’s so much more on offer than produce, while Wallingford is renowned for its excellent restaurants and the Woodland Park Zoo, a fabulous day out for young families.

Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square hasn’t traditionally been a popular residential neighbourhood, though this is set to change over the next few years as large housing, retail and office developments are built in the area. This neighbourhood is something of a hidden gem, with a multitude of great bars and restaurants along with several top-class art galleries and a calendar of family friendly annual events.

The U District

The U or University District is the neighbourhood favoured by young people in Seattle, though there’s plenty on offer for the more mature resident who’s still young at heart!
Located north of Capitol Hill across the I-5 bridge, this area is home to the vast University of Washington campus and is surprisingly safe, friendly and scenic, with historic buildings and blossom filled cherry trees lining the streets in the summer months.
With a large student population, The U District boasts a plethora of affordable places to eat and drink along with quirky shops to rummage, including great vintage clothing stores and flea markets.

West Seattle

Seattle’s largest neighbourhood is a vibrant, energetic area sprawling between the Duwamish River to the east and Puget Sound to the west. Boasting a range of activities and attractions, the area is famed for a host of fantastic fish restaurants, so make a beeline there if fish is your bag! West Seattle is also a shopper’s paradise with tonnes of hip footwear and trendy record stores.
West Seattle also provides easy access to some of the city’s most beautiful natural landscapes. Alki beach provides over 2.5 miles of gorgeous golden sands while, from any western-facing vantage point in this part of Seattle, you can experience iconic sunsets over the distant Olympic Mountains.
As such a large neighbourhood, West Seattle may not offer the tight community feel of smaller areas, though there are certainly plenty of attractions to keep you busy in the area.
If you’re moving to USA, find out how our international removals team can help to arrange packing, storage and transportation on your behalf.