Here’s an overview of the Seattle and Eastside areas, with local resources and links to help you find the information you need.
If you’re planning a move to the Seattle area, welcome! Seattle is a fun and vibrant city just 20 minutes away from the Eastside communities of Kirkland, Redmond, and Bellevue.You’ll find beautiful scenery and plenty of outdoor recreation waiting for you less than an hour from downtown Seattle, and striking views of Mount Rainier, the Cascade Mountains and the Olympic Range from Seattle or the Eastside on any clear day.
Seattle versus the Eastside
Seattle’s neighborhoods are smaller and more defined compared to those on the Eastside. Whether it’s the Norwegian fishing heritage of the Ballard district, the lake-happy crowds jogging and rollerblading around Greenlake, or the almost California-like feel of Alki Beach in West Seattle, each one tends to have a distinctive feel.
The Eastside consists primarily of Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue and Woodinville, all on the east or northeast side of Lake Washington, and was settled more recently. Many of the homes were built in the 1950’s through the 1970’s (as opposed to the first half of the 1900’s in Seattle), and the neighborhoods have a less differentiated, more suburban feel. The main exception is downtown Kirkland, with its older architecture, the ever-bustling Lake Street and a very popular waterfront park, which gives it a more Seattle-like atmosphere.
Seattle and Eastside Neighborhood Links
Seattle is broken into districts, which in turn consist of individual neighborhoods, although the distinctions between neighborhoods and districts sometimes overlap. Here are some resources for Seattle and Eastside neighborhoods.
Archive of Downtown Seattle Neighborhoods – Click on individual neighborhoods for descriptions.
15 Best Neighborhoods in Seattle – From Seattle Magazine, March 2013. Note the Happiness Index pdf chart link at the bottom of the article.
WalkScore.com’s ratings of neighborhood walkability. As you mouse over each neighborhood you can see its boundaries and the neighborhood name pops up at the top of the map.
The City of Seattle’s list of community neighborhood blogs. Click on a district in the map to see a list of corresponding neighborhood websites.
Go Northwest has good descriptions of Seattle neighborhoods, as well as information about food, lodging, and attractions.
Seattle Post Intelligencer Webtowns Page – blogs from various Seattle neighborhoods.
On the Eastside:
Bellevue: Bellevue visitor information on Go Northwest.
Kirkland: The Explore Kirkland website.
Woodinville: Official City of Woodinville page.
Issaquah: Visitor information from Go Northwest.
Bothell: Official City of Bothell website.
Sammamish: City of Sammamish website.
Other locations: Choose a location from the official list of Washington Cities and Towns Websites.
Seattle and Eastside Traffic
Before you buy a house in the greater Seattle area, it’s useful to be familiar with traffic patterns.
Here’s a link to the Seattle and Eastside live traffic map.
Generally, in the mornings it’s a south and north convergence to the hot spots on each side of the lake: downtown Seattle, and Bellevue/Redmond on the Eastside. The east-west 520 and I-90 bridges also get backed up going both directions, especially 520. In the afternoons the flow reverses, starting anytime from 2:30 pm on depending on the day, and nearly always from 4 pm to around 6:30 pm.
Note: People tend to leave early on Fridays to get out into those beautiful mountains, so expect rush hour to move ahead by about an hour before a weekend or holiday.