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First Hill is largely considered Seattle’s first neighborhood, and is today best known as the home of the world’s best medical and research institutions, such as Swedish Hospital and Virginia Mason Medical Center. This area is so well known for its medical institutions, in fact, that many people refer to by its nickname: “Pill Hill”.

First Hill is located in the center of downtown Seattle, just over from the primary retail section of the city and overlooking the Chinatown and International district. Filled with classic homes and churches, First Hill has become known for its diversity as well as the roots left behind by the city’s first pioneers.


Rent Trends

As of August 2017, the average apartment rent in Seattle, WA is $1,357 for a studio, $1,814 for one bedroom, $2,823 for two bedrooms, and $5,645 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Seattle has increased by 7.5% in the past year.

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97 Walk Score® Walker's Paradise
99 Transit Score® Rider's Paradise
74 Bike Score® Very Bikeable



Locals herald First Hill as home to Seattle's best hidden secrets when it comes to shops and markets. The center of the district's shopping area is Melrose Market, a triangular block on Melrose Avenue where a host of stores occupy two former automobile warehouses. The stores within the market range from jewelry made by local artists to unique gifts. Stop by Rain Shadow Meats for a selection of local meats. Try Marigold and Mint for fresh flowers, Japanese garden tools, and vegetable seedlings. A short six miles away, Sonic Boom Records is worth the trip if you are searching for independent label releases.

Elsewhere in the district, look out for plenty of clothing stores that sport styles from skater street wear to upscale. Grocery options include the Stockbox Neighborhood Grocery on James Street, South Sea Grocery on Jefferson Street and QFC on Capitol Hill. To find a farmer's market, head to the Capital Hill Broadway Farmers' Market, where the selection includes vegetables, fruits, flowers, honey and tamales. Virginia Mason Farmers' Market, located on the grounds of the Virginia Mason Medical Center features vegan food, sausages and handmade chocolates, and Pike Place Market on Pike Street stocks prepared foods and fresh produce.


Tiny but well maintained, First Hill Park offers just enough space for a lunchtime wander or to walk your dog. It offers a green space in the middle of a highly developed area, but little else in terms of amenities. Open from 4 a.m. until 11:30 p.m., you will find pathways among the grass and flowers, as well as picnic tables and a water fountain.

Similarly small, look for Boren Place on Boren Avenue, Harborview Park on Alder Street or the unique Freeway Park on Seneca Street. All First Hill parks are small and this neighborhood is not a great place to find exercise options, annual events or kid-friendly activities.


The cost of living in First Hill sits almost on par with the rest of Seattle, but over two thirds more expensive than the national average. Public transportation to neighboring parts of the city center seldom costs too much, with so many options available and free times during the day. The price of gas sits at around nine percent higher than the national average, while a glass of beer will set you back around $6. Renting a one-bedroom apartment has a median cost of $1300 per month.


Though locals do refer to First Hill as “Pill Hill”, it is also referred by the title of "Profanity Hill". According to local wisdom, this less celebratory title comes from the incline of the hill and the comments from those who walk up it.

Its real name, First Hill, comes from its status as the first hill encountered when traveling east towards Lake Washington. The area became popular as a convenient place to live for those working in downtown Seattle, but soon became a retreat for wealthier residents.

First Hill plays host to the Frye Art Museum on Terry Avenue, hosting the legacy collection of Charles and Emma Frye, early 20th century business leaders and art collectors, as well as work from internationally renowned and up-and-coming artists.Visit Town Hall for an almost constant stream of events, such as lectures and musical performances.


Few restaurants or entertainment hotspots are located in First Hill itself. On the other hand, the neighborhood sits immediately next door to and just a short walk away from the vibrant downtown Seattle area, with its quickly growing food scene and emergent nightlife.

Andaluca, located on Olive Way, next to the Mayflower Park Hotel, serves nationally recognized dishes inspired by the Mediterranean. Try the pan-seared pacific cod served with beluga lentils, caraway, fennel, capers and tomato. From the restaurant, take advantage of your proximity to the theater district to take in a show at the 5th Avenue Theatre, Paramount Theater or Convention center.

For a quick lunch, the Arosa Cafe offers affordable, quickly prepared dishes. This restaurant specializes in drinks and hand-held food, such as its roasted turkey panini served on foccacia bread with pesto, tomatoes and mozzarella. Wash it down with a hot, blended or iced drink.

On a night in with friends or family, order fresh, hand-tossed pizza from Mad Pizza. Enjoy an “Almost Joe’s Special” with Canadian bacon, black olives, green peppers and onion. The menu offers plenty of other topping options, several online “delivery only” areas and a main flagship store located on Thomas Street.

A small venue for live music that offers a diverse line-up of musical acts from all genres, Nuemos can be found on Pike Street. Q Nightclub, which can be found on nearby Capitol Hill, is a 12,500 square foot space, lit and designed with form and function in mind. Designed by renowned architect Bohlin Cywinski, the space offers a relaxed lounge environment during the weekdays with a raucous club environment on weekends.

For entertainment a little outside of the norm, drop into Garage, a sizable nightlife hot spot with 20 bowling lanes, 25 pool tables and plenty of bar space for food and drink. This business seeks to provide a nightlife alternative to bar hopping, with plenty of space and fun to go around.


Plenty of public transportation options await in First Hill. Metro buses are free in the downtown zone between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Travel to the Seattle Center via the nation’s first full-scale monorail system, departing once every 10 minutes, or take a streetcar to the Retail Core or Denny Triangle and South Lake Union. Light rail links connect the area with the airport. Taxi services are readily available, including Uber and bike lanes are available on major roads. Locals often prefer to walk this large area, touted as one of the most walkable in the city.

When travelling by car, the busy roads can be intimidating at first. Parking errs towards the inexpensive, with garages available for flat rates using e-Park technology to alert users as to how many spaces are available. Pay by phone is available for all street parking options. If you do not own a car but prefer to drive, consider one of the local car sharing services, such as Zipcar or Car2Go. Access the I-5 Expressway to the west of the district.


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First Hill Apartments for Rent

265 Apartments Available

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The Mill at First Hill
1000 8th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
1 / 31
$1,405 - 10,624 Studio - 2 Bed Available Now
800 Seneca St, Seattle, WA 98101
1 / 187
$1,778 - 4,641 Studio - 2 Bed Available Now
Panorama Apartments
1100 University St, Seattle, WA 98101
1 / 106
$2,895 - 9,838 1-3 Bed Available Now
Zig Apartments
550 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122
1 / 16
6 hrs
$1,530 - 3,270 Studio - 2 Bed Available Now
Anthem on 12th
103 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
1 / 23
3 hrs
$1,665 - 3,314 Studio - 2 Bed Available Now
Coppins Well
1000 Minor Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
1 / 19
6 hrs
$1,485 - 4,440 Studio - 2 Bed Available Now
601 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122
$1,762 - 3,290 Studio - 2 Bed Available Now
Monticello Apartment Homes
415 Boren Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
6 hrs
$1,379 - 3,193 Studio - 3 Bed Available Now
The Marlborough
1220 Boren Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
1 wk
$1,440 - 5,495 Studio - 3 Bed Available Now
Union Arms
604 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98122
2 wks
$1,350 - 1,425 Studio Available Now
The Mill at First Hill
1 wk
Stockbridge Apartments
1330 Boren Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
$1,432 - 1,795 Studio - 1 Bed Available Now
2 wks
Paul Revere Apartments
1018 9th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
Call for Rent Studio - 2 Bed Available Soon
2 wks
Clearwater Apartments
167 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
$1,310 Studio Not Available
2 wks
1420 Terry Ave Unit 1601
Seattle, WA 98101
$3,395 Condo for Rent Available 09/01/17
903 9th Ave
Seattle, WA 98104
$1,400 1 Bed Available Now
3 hrs
Alder Flats
220 10th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
$1,090 - 1,235 Studio Available Now
6 hrs
Seventh and James
600 7th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
$1,678 - 2,591 1-2 Bed Available Now
11 hrs
Zig Apartments

Apartments for Rent in First Hill, Seattle, WA

First Hill is largely considered Seattle’s first neighborhood, and is today best known as the home of the world’s best medical and research institutions, such as Swedish Hospital and Virginia Mason Medical Center. This area is so well known for its medical institutions, in fact, that many people refer to by its nickname: “Pill Hill”.

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