This article appears in print in the March 2020 issue, as part of the "Best Neighborhoods" cover story. Click here to subscribe.
Expedia’s newly opened waterfront campus is a shiny bellwether of things to come in this decreasingly industrial neighborhood, yet this strip separating Magnolia and Queen Anne has caught the attention of enterprising small-business owners, too. Champagne Diner, sister restaurant to Pioneer Square’s Damn the Weather, opened here in 2019, and nearby Batch 206 Distillery has welcomed a series of culinary partners (Addo 206, Windy City Pie and now Batch Bar Cantina) to its bar space in recent years. More changes could be on the horizon: A recent report from a government-sanctioned committee tasked with assessing future uses of the National Guard property behind the Whole Foods plaza on 15th Avenue W has suggested designating the land for industrial or mixed residential and commercial use, pending the National Guard’s upcoming relocation.
Ballard has already up and come, but makes it on this list for its ever-evolving self-sufficiency. Flush with new townhomes and amenities (PCC recently opened, to keep the new Target store company), this city within a city has reached a point of mitosis. By embracing internal division, Ballard’s microneighborhoods are carving out distinct identities within the larger neighborhood. Look to residential, Puget Sound–facing Sunset Hill for a quiet night out at Baker’s cocktail bar or plan a night in with the help of Molly’s Bottle Shop. West Woodland continues to solidify Ballard’s reputation as the beer capital of Seattle by welcoming ever more taprooms, including the new Reuben’s Brews’ Brewtap, a second location for the beloved local microbrewery.
With a new light rail station and the Seattle Ice Centre, a public training facility to support the city’s new NHL franchise, both scheduled to open in 2021, some concessions can be made for the current state of Northgate. Look past the blight of the mall’s construction zone—the site of the future ice center and its accoutrements, slated to include dining and retail space—and set your sights on a future investment. All that heavy construction makes this neighborhood a hard sell in its current state, but that downtown commute is about to improve drastically, and how great would it be to raise a hockey pro?
Bellevue is home to more than a dozen neighborhoods, all of them set to benefit from the city’s ongoing big-picture growth. For starters: What it lacks in nightlife, Bellevue will soon make up for in light rail stations. The East Link Extension light rail project will bring 10 new stations to the Eastside by 2023, the majority located within Bellevue. Keep an eye on this neighboring city for its evolving accessibility and shiny new condos. Families especially should take note of the abundance of compelling public “choice schools,” including Bellevue’s International School, two immersion schools (Spanish and Chinese), and the Bellevue Big Picture School.