Laced with Seattle history—did you know that Ravenna Park was originally part of a private estate and that a streetcar line ran along it?—Ravenna nowadays mixes the best of the urbane (coffee shops and sushi) with suburban perks such as small leafy streets replete with backyard retreats and front-yard chitchat.
But the spirit of community here goes well beyond small talk, from the creative outpouring of support in the weeks following the Café Racer shootings last May to the residents of 24th Avenue NE who come together to sew quilts to celebrate children’s graduations or to support others through illness, to the close-knit crew along 17th Avenue NE that renovated and installed handicapped-accessible updates in the home of a neighbor who was paralyzed in a cycling accident two years ago.
Don’t miss: A ramble through Ravenna Park, a half-mile-long wooded ravine that feels more like an ancient forest than an urban park (especially when armor-clad, live-action role players careen through the firs and ferns). Find your way across the 20th Avenue footbridge and make for Third Place Books to browse for travel guides, cookbooks or that out-of-print oddity you’ve been looking for, and sample the chicken souvlaki at Vios Café in back of the bookstore.
Micro ’hood to watch: Roosevelt, the two-block radius around 65th and Roosevelt, is the commercial lifeblood of Ravenna. A dozen or so independent shops and restaurants—don’t miss Peaks Frozen Custard and East West Books—are anchored by Seattle’s original Whole Foods.
Roddy Scheer is a frequent Seattle mag contributor and has lived in Ravenna for 10 years