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Familiar with Seattle? Can you help?

A friend of mine and her husband are moving to Seattle very soon, and she wrote me with the following questions:

What are likely neighborhoods to rent a house that feel city-like and that are a reasonable commute to Redmond, where her husband will be working? (My friend doesn't drive, so someplace that's within a few blocks of a shopping/eating area would be best.)

A comfy hotel in the $125/night range, preferably within walking distance of a sushi bar.

Info about the East Side: She writes: "I'm wondering if any of the towns over there would be agreeable. (Bellevue, Kirkland, etc.) I don't want to be out in the boonies, since I can't drive to get anywhere, and I'm hoping to avoid suburbs."


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 5th, 2005 12:12 am (UTC)
I can say this:

I-405, in the morning, northbound, is awful, from milemarker 5 on up.

If you can use the car pool lane (I believe motorcycles are legal there), it's good, but if not, it's stop and go. So, any housing should probably be situated where I-405 can be avoided.

Apr. 5th, 2005 12:42 am (UTC)
Bellevue, Kirkland, & Redmond are all largely suburban.

Some areas where you can walk to shopping, post office, et cetera:

In Bellevue near Crossroads - lots of cheap apartments
In Redmond near Rivertrail - some apartments
Some parts of Kirkland - also some apartments

All of these also are near Microsoft - meaning, you can commute on surface streets.
Apr. 5th, 2005 01:11 am (UTC)
I'm not familiar enough with the East Side to be useful, but looking for places near Redmond, they should have plenty of options. And, um, yeah. I'd be more coherent, but my ears hurt.
Apr. 5th, 2005 02:51 am (UTC)
grouchy Seattleite says:
The entire east side can be defined as boonies and/or suburbs.

There are a lot of buses that go from downtown to Redmond, but if your friend's husband is going to work at M$ he's likely to want a car due to unreliable work hours. Otherwise, anywhere with a quick downtown bus route could be an okay commute, especially if he can read on a moving bus.
Apr. 5th, 2005 05:16 am (UTC)
Nothing city-like about the Eastside. ;-( Downtown Bellevue is especially weird, a handful of jr. skyscrapers butted right up against suburbanite housing, with huge malls.

The Eastside is also known as the Red State side, to Seattle's blue. Though like anything else, it's not true for all of it, as there are "pockets of (liberal) resistance" within, with rumor of becoming a swing district in a few years. Definitely not citylike though.

Can't help you for sushi on the Eastside, though can for Seattle proper. And other types of restaurants and general food related things as well, if they're interested. I graduate culinary school in June.

Apr. 5th, 2005 01:10 pm (UTC)
Conveniently, I just asked about this. For city-like feel on the east side, great-grandboss recommended Bellevue--but said that it's not really very city-like, just the best approximation. I'm going to be living in Seattle and just arranging my commute around traffic so far as I can. It's not easy to get around without a car on the east side, and I'm sick of suburbs.
Apr. 6th, 2005 03:45 pm (UTC)
On the Eastside, Kirkland has had some clever & careful downtown city-planning I've read about with interest, but while downtown Kirkland is quite charming (and vaguely reminiscent of the north end of Berkeley, to my ten-years-removed and rather-nostalgic memory), the place is still an eastside suburb.

In Seattle proper, Capitol Hill, the International District, Queen Anne, and the University District are all dense urban areas with good housing. And I've been coming to appreciate West Seattle now that I've got friends there, and Fremont now that I've got friends working there.

Lower Queen Anne is all about mainstream culture -- big theaters, the opera house, the pacific science center. Not familiar with the commute around there, though.

Capitol Hill has been described as "Seattle's Alt Downtown," and that's pretty accurate; it's where you'll find a lot of Seattle's visible queer, punk, and goth population. It's between the U District and Downtown and has great bus service. The eastbound commute is pretty accessible from here. I'm biased; I live in Cap Hill. :)

The ID is much smaller than San Francisco's Chinatown -- there's a cluster of office buildings at the west end of it, near the I-90 onramp. But it's very close to downtown; an easy walk. The housing there is mostly apartments, though. There's houses in nearby Beacon Hill, but that part of the city is not really aging gracefully. I'm not sure what the commute is like from there -- it's near the I-90 onramp, which is often easier for rush-hour traffic than 405, but it doesn't actually seem to be all that predictable and that onramp shares traffic with downtown.

The University District is a pretty typical college neighborhood, right off of I-5.

There are parts of West Seattle -- particularly those around the West Seattle Junction -- that are quite nice. That area's got some good community theater. I-90 is easily accessible once you get across the West Seattle Bridge, but I don't know how hard that is during rush hour.

Fremont has a lot of character; it's been considered The Place To Be for alternative artists, though it's been gentrifying (possibly in part because Adobe has offices there). There's a Sunday Market in Fremont that's got both produce and art. I have no idea what the freeway access is up there, though.

"feel city-like" is an interesting concept around here. When I first moved to Seattle from San Francisco one of the things about the city-feel here that bothered me was that in all but the very-densest of neighborhoods, all the houses were too far apart. I've never lived in a city where I could walk all the way around my house. Nowadays I'm less weirded out by that; I can look at the house my friends just bought and note that actually, it goes nearly right up against the property line on one side...but it took me years to get out of the expectation that a "city" is made up of Edwardian and Victorian houses snuggled up right against each other. I no longer call Seattle a "cute little town."
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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