South Lake Union: Best Seattle Neighborhoods 2013

By Seattle Mag

April 3, 2013

The new center of the universe (apologies to Fremont).

Image Credit: 

Stuart Isett

Ambition and energy permeate South Lake Union. It feels hopeful, forward thinking, exciting—a place where creative and brilliant people are working, in many cases, to better the world. But amid the bevy of new apartments, bakeries, restaurants, shops, coffeehouses, event spaces and more is still plenty of old Seattle flavor—rustic warehouses and Alaska-bound fishing boats. And isn’t that what the city is about? A place where skyscrapers meet the natural world, where one can (and many do) kayak and bicycle to work?

A work in progress: The only constant in South Lake Union is change, including ongoing work on the Mercer Corridor, which is slated to continue through 2017; calls for upzoning that could potentially more than double building heights in parts of SLU; and plans for as many as 1,600 new apartments and 1.75 million additional square feet of offices.

Don’t miss: John Grade’s epic “Wawona” sculpture at the new Museum of History & Industry.

Go-to for out-of-town guests: Gates Foundation visitor center; the Center for Wooden Boats, to rent a classic wooden sailboat; and Ping Pong Plaza, off Harrison Street (BYO paddles and balls).

Famous for: The city-transforming presence of Paul Allen and Jeff Bezos, and a slick streetcar with a controversial acronym.

Fun fact: The actual geographical center of Seattle (indicated by a plaque in the sidewalk) is on Minor Avenue N between Harrison and Thomas streets.

Peter Hansen edits Lake Union Beat blog and has lived in South Lake Union since early 2011


Rocky Rochon’s keen eye for space and color has transformed everything from penthouses to townhomes. At age 67, he’s not done yet.