Belltown – Seattle, WA

Centrally located in Seattle's downtown area, Belltown shares its northern border along Denny Way with Uptown, its 5th Avenue eastern border with Denny Triangle and its southeastern border along Lenora Street with Waterfront. The shoreline of Puget Sound's wide-open Elliot Bay forms its western border. Characterized by high-rise condos, an abundance of restaurants, bars and retailers, and its spectacular waterfront perch, Belltown exemplifies urban living at its best. Upwardly mobile singles, urban couples and professionals with incomes to match the costs of the urban lifestyle flock to the neighborhood to indulge in the Belltown excitement and to feel the city's heartbeat.

Schools in Belltown

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

With its abundance of cafes, gastropubs and restaurants, Belltown is a foodie paradise. If you want to get a sense of the neighborhood, a taste of history and a sampling of the area's eats and drinks, take a stroll with a Belltown Restaurant Tour. With a commitment to locally sourced, ethically produced ingredients, Local 360 does comfort food right. The bacon-infused fried chicken roulade with cheesy grits and collard greens delights the taste buds, and the creamy mac and cheese tastes like a richer version of home. Sample one of the Seattle-inspired cocktails, such as the Bumbershoot, a bourbon, sweet vermouth and orange bitters concoction, and for dessert, you have to try the PB&J bon bons. These crispy, fried peanut butter balls served on a bed of jam with a milk shooter absolutely rock. Some Random Bar draws you in with the decor and brings you back with the cuisine. Exposed brick walls and mason-jar pendant lights add warmth and create a cool, modern vibe. Then there's the food. Regulars rave about the chunks of fresh crab, grilled onions, avocado and heavenly lime crema in the crab nachos. Happy hour runs from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and gives you time to stop in after work to enjoy half-price craft cocktails and microbrews. Expect to see the Seahawks on the televisions during football season. The nightlife establishments in Belltown mainly center between 1st and 3rd Streets - so residents can hop from one bar to another to pack their evenings. For more entertainment, The Crocodile has been rocking Belltown with live music and drinks since 1991. Named by Rolling Stone as one of America's best clubs, this venue retains the cool that comes from having booked big bands, including Seattle rock royalty Nirvana. Check out the events calendar, and stop in for an exceptional live music experience. Early and late happy hours get you half-price wood-fired pizza and $1 off beers.

History & Culture

William Nathaniel Bell made one of the first land claims in Seattle in the 1850s. His settlement initiated the growth of the area, and Belltown was born. Not suitable for development, the land rose steeply up Denny Hill along Belltown's southeast border, effectively cutting off the neighborhood from the rest of the city and interfering with Seattle's northern expansion plans. The Seattle city engineer, Reginald Thomson, led the charge to remove the offending hill. In a series of regrading and sluicing projects that began in 1897 and wrapped up in 1911, Belltown's topography was flattened out. The district developed slowly and became a semi-industrial neighborhood with an unsavory personality. In the 1970s, rezoning permitted the construction of high-rise residences, and the artistic community converged to begin the cultural change and revitalize the neighborhood. Art galleries, studios and retailers followed to feed the Bohemian culture and plant the seeds of Belltown's enduring ultra-hip charisma. There is one unusual museum: the Olympic Sculpture Park, which has several permanent sculpture installations and has good walks as well.

Transportation

All your urban living needs can be met within the Belltown neighborhood, and this compact district is so walkable that you don't even need a car. Even so, Belltown covers all transportation options. Several buses make frequent trips along most of the district's streets so that you don't have to go far to find a bus stop and don't have to check a schedule. If you're looking for a quick drive home after a late night out, hail a Yellow Cab. Zipcar and RelayRides have locations in the neighborhood, and they can help to look after your carsharing and commuting needs. If you don't mind a short walk to neighboring Westlake Station, you can hop on the Central Link light rail for a trip to the airport, or use your app to choose a ride through Uber and get a direct trip from your door to the tarmac. For cycling safety and enjoyment, bike lanes cross the city's grid including the scenic route along the waterfront. If you have a Pronto membership, check out a bike at one of the four Belltown stations for a healthy cruise along the water or a short trip through the neighborhood. You can even board a cruise ship and get a view of the Seattle skyline as you leave Elliot Bay, or hop on a high-speed catamaran for ferry service to Victoria, B.C.

Cost

Rent-paying tenants occupy 70 percent of Belltown's properties compared to Seattle's much lower rental rate of 52 percent. To meet the varying needs of potential renters, furnished or unfurnished units with differing benefits and amenities can be found in short-term or long-term rental formats. You can find a one-bedroom micro-condo with a rooftop deck rental for around $1,400, but the Belltown average is closer to $1,600.

Shopping

Peppered with upscale boutiques, galleries and specialty shops, Belltown's retail sector is large and exclusive enough to service the dense population of the neighborhood. Earth Wind and Fire Boutique, a family run business and neighborhood staple for more than 20 years, features a broad gamut of clothing and accessories from upscale brands, all hand-picked by the store's owner and her staff. This unique shop gives its customers the opportunity to do more than browse the racks for a nice ensemble; the style experts on staff can put together from scratch the perfect wardrobe to accentuate your best features. More of the latest women's clothing and accessories can be found at Endless Knot, another locally owned boutique carrying brands such as Hoopla, Kersch and Weston Wear. Endless Knot stays open seven days per week until 6 p.m. or later. For grocery shopping within the neighborhood, Dan's Belltown Grocery on 3rd is the local favorite. Open until midnight and conveniently located, Dan's stocks deli items, wine and beer as well as the usual basic food items. Think about making the short trip to nearby Pike Place if you're looking for a farmer's market.

Parks

Even though the district is compact, densely populated and heavily built-up, Belltown has been able to save room for treasured green space. In keeping with the neighborhood's artistic sensibilities, Olympic Sculpture Park sprawls out on nine acres of grassy waterfront space with Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains for a backdrop. Stand-alone structures and sculpted work such as benches and fountains form part of the permanent collection of this Seattle Art Museum outdoor park. Admission is free, and the park is open 365 days of the year. Next to the Olympic Sculpture Park, Myrtle Edwards Park continues the stretch of green space along the waterfront. This city park provides cycling and walking paths, grassy fields, benches and tables for peaceful picnics and outdoor enjoyment.
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