Walkable neighborhood: Capitol Hill

I’m going to vote for 15th Avenue, home of the Victrola, Seattle’s best bagels (at the creatively named Bagel Deli), mediocre or dive bars, and Seattle’s crummiest QFC as one of Seattle’s most walkable neighborhoods. Trader Joe’s and 2 organic food stores are within 8 blocks, Safeway is right across from Swedish Medical Center and, most importantly for a walkable neighborhood, one can walk right out into the street without fear because there are so many pedestrians that they almost mingle with the slow moving bikes, cars, and buses – an accidental implementation of an unconventional “traffic calming” idea that I love. Dustin can definitely tell you more about this if you’re curious.

As the Seattle Times once pointed out, Seattle could definitely do a better job embracing car alternatives I propose street living rooms. And maybe more mass transit.

I also like the art at the Victrola right now:
Art at the Victrola in January 2006.

Throw your walkable neighborhood review in the comments and we’ll see what we can do to get a list of the best and the worst neighborhoods for walking.


10 thoughts on “Walkable neighborhood: Capitol Hill

  1. Galen, what a great idea!

    I’ll definitely add something fun about Downtown Ballard because it is such a great place to walk around, but in terms of “traffic calming by design” I can’t think of another place in Seattle (maybe the University District?) where pedestrians have as large of an influence on traffic conditions as on 15th Avenue in Capitol Hill.

  2. I really look forward to seeing what people have to say here. After 13 years of living in (what I think is) the most walkable of neighborhoods – Manhattan – my wife and I (and toddler) are considering moving. We can’t imagine not living in a walkable neighborhood, but they are incredibly hard to find. We love so much about Seattle, but finding walkable neighborhoods there has not been as easy as we thought it would be. Any insights on a family friendly walkable neighborhood would be much appreciated.

  3. Having recently (eight months ago) moved here from Atlanta, I can tell you we’re extremely fortunate to have so many walkable neighborhoods.

    15th Avenue is a great example of how a neighborhood can have it all– a central location, a retail focal point, great transportation options and beautiful homes to escape to when you’re done socializing.

    For those just moving to Seattle though, Madrona and Columbia City also deserve a look. Both afford plenty of walkable dining options, plus the necessary accompanying sidewalk retail fare, including hairstylists, cleaners, pet stores and neighborhood markets.

    Madrona is, without a doubt, the more central and pedestrian friendly of the two. The immediate retail area is surrounded by parks and schools that always seem to be packed with kids and dogs. A fair number of street corners have views of Lake Washington and the Cascades, or just as likely, downtown and the Olympics. When it comes time to eat, there’s a range of options, including personal favorites High Spot, St. Clouds and Cupcake Royale / Verite Coffee.

    For those seeking a more affordable and culturally diverse neighborhood with tons of architectural character and classic, walkable retail, Columbia City is a tough act to follow. The farmer’s market is a real draw for foodies and Tutta Bella, the neighborhood dining hot spot, is one of those rare places you can count on, no matter if you’re with your family from out of town, or just a friend from the neighborhood. Rest assured when the light rail station finally opens, this neighborhood will finally be “discovered” and hordes of people will pay a significant premium to belatedly join the fun.

  4. Robert, I had good friends who lived in Columbia City for a couple of years. I cannot agree more – what a great neighborhood where semi-normal income people can afford full homes. Madrona is great too. Good comments!

  5. That’s it??

    #1 15th Ave area of Capital Hill
    #2 Madrona
    #3 Columbia City

    There has got to be more options in King County for someone who wants to raise a family and be in an area that has things other than parks to walk to. I mean with other people walking around, shops, restaurants, etc. Anything? Downtown Kirkland seems decent.

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