Centeral District Profile
Seattle’s Central District is an extremely diverse area broken into distinct micro-neighborhoods. The borders of the Central District (often called the CD by locals) include the I-5 corridor on the west side, the Beacon Hill neighborhood to the south, Lake Washington to the east and the north side is defined by Portage Bay and the Arboretum. There are a total of 24 micro-neighborhoods within Central Seattle, spread over a pentagon shaped area. Below are overviews of five of the CD’s micro-neighborhoods, from different sections of the 5 edges of Central Seattle.
Capitol Hill, probably the most densely populated neighborhood in Seattle, is a unique counter-culture area. Music and art are prominent cornerstones of the community, with clubs, theatres, bookstores and galleries found all throughout the neighborhood. Internationally renowned Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) schedules showings at the Harvard Exit and Egyptian Theatre on Capitol Hill. Public art displays are also found throughout the neighborhood– a couple of community favorites include the bronze dance steps set into the sidewalk and the Jimi Hendrix statue. Martial arts star Bruce Lee, and his son Brandon Lee, are buried in the Lake View Cemetery north of Volunteer Park, which is a draw to their fans. Starbucks uses this hip, vibrant neighborhood as one of their test markets for new products and café décor. The home-styles within the Capitol Hill neighborhood are about as diverse as the residents, although there has been a trend in tearing down old homes to make way for condos. You’ll find mansions with Victorian and Craftsman accents. There are Fredrick Anhalt designed apartments, with Tudor influences and designed around a central courtyard. You’ll also see the Seattle Box style on Capitol Hill. Beautiful architectural examples dot the Millionaire’s Row and Harvard-Belmont Landmark District.
The Madrona neighborhood derives its name from the Madrona tree which is common in the area. Madrona’s neighborhood motto is “The Peaceable Kingdom,” as a celebration of its ethnically diverse nature. Madrona is mainly residential, with several parks including Madrona Beach Park on the shores of Lake Washington. The homes in Madrona are not on the waterfront, due to the Beach Park, but many have views of the lake, or limited views of University of Washington to the north and downtown Seattle to the west. There is a small, family-oriented commercial district in Madrona, located at the corner of 34th and Union. One of the more well-known businesses is GlassyBaby, whose sole product is hand-blown glass candle holders. Visitors to GlassyBaby can watch the glass artists create candle holders in the shop.
Leschi, directly south of Madrona, is a neighborhood with a mixed bag of condo and residential homes. The design styles run from bungalows and craftsman style homes, to brick, plus Tudor styles. Contemporary and mid-century modern ramblers are also found around Leschi. There are waterfront properties in Leschi, and a marina next to the 18.5 acre Leschi Park. Within the neighborhood is the family-owned Leschi Market, a community staple for 70 years. They are known for their on-site butcher shop, along with generous availability of organic products.
Madison Park, located south of the 520 bridge, is a neighborhood of stunning homes and condos, many with gorgeous views of the lake and Mount Rainer. Madison Park could be considered an urban center retreat, as it’s close to downtown Seattle and yet maintains the feeling of a lovely, slow-paced residential area. In addition, the upscale commercial district is both a draw to the neighborhood and greatly treasured by those who live nearby. Residents often express that everything they need is conveniently located within the Madison Park neighborhood, so they don’t need to leave the peace and tranquility of the community! The park, from which the neighborhood derives its name, is a well-maintained green space that leads to a sandy beach on the shores of Lake Washington. The 230 acre Washington Park Arboretum is also a neighborhood draw. In fact, the Arboretum is considered one of the finest public gardens nation-wide; it features a botanical garden with plants native to the PNW and a formal Japanese garden.
Central Seattle’s southernmost neighborhood, Beacon Hill, is comprised of four areas: North Beacon Hill, Mid-Beacon Hill, Holly Park and South Beacon Hill. It’s a neighborhood where professional people and blue collar workers still live side-by-side. Rather than being divisive, the economic diversity of Beacon Hill has brought the residents together, as they strive to keep the feel of the community intact. Still considered an affordable place to buy a home, the houses possess unique character. In North Beacon Hill area, there are nice examples of the Seattle Box style home and quality Craftsman-style bungalows. The Pacific Medical Center, also located in North Beacon Hill, is an Art Deco style building that used to serve as Amazon’s world headquarters and has been a national landmark since 1979. The Seattle Light Rail has a stop at Jefferson Park in Beacon Hill, which has upped neighborhood’s appeal to people who work downtown and commercial developers alike. The distinctive views of the Olympics and Cascades are enjoyed throughout the whole Beacon Hill neighborhood.
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