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Mercer Island was developed as a residential oasis outside the city of Seattle, accumulating residents after the East Channel Bridge was built to connect the island with Bellevue. Locals consider the area dramatically different from the surrounding urban environments, with woods, parklands and shoreline to satisfy cravings for outdoor activities.

Outer Mercer Island, unlike the downtown section of the neighborhood, serves primarily as a residential area. Known for its community spirit and a small-town feel — as well as its balmy climate — the area houses professionals, families and executives. Enjoy a high standard of living as part of the only King County community situated on an island.

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Rent Trends

As of August 2017, the average apartment rent in Mercer Island, WA is $1,725 for a studio, $1,746 for one bedroom, $2,261 for two bedrooms, and $1,900 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Mercer Island has increased by 15.9% in the past year.

Beds
Avg Sq Ft
Avg Rent
Studio
550
$1,725
1 BR
699
$1,746
2 BR
954
$2,261
3 BR
1,142
$1,900
Beds
Avg Sq Ft
Avg Rent

Ratings

29 Walk Score® Car-Dependent
0 Transit Score® Minimal Transit
0 Bike Score® Somewhat Bikeable

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Restaurants

While most entertainment options can be found at the north end of the island, in the downtown district, the southern half has a few hidden gems.

Try Yuzen Japanese on SE 68th Street for locally recommended Japanese fare, ranging from sushi and sashimi to tempura and soups. Choose a kaisen salad to follow an appetizer of edamame or sunomono, or enjoy Chilean sea bass or sushi from the blackboard menu.

Head to El Sombrero for Mexican fare — or request this family owned business to cater an event for you. Enjoy a margarita made with fresh lime juice and orange liquor with your dinner, choosing from a varied menu that ranges from seafood specials to Mexican favorites, such as carne asada, tacos al garbon and fajitas.

For pizza, visit Sahara Pizza on SE 68th Street, or order a fresh delivery to your door. Alongside traditional toppings, this restaurant serves gourmet options, including tikki tikki, with a pesto herb sauce, Dijon chicken, pineapple and marinated artichokes. Locals dig into the Caribbean crunch, which pairs sun-dried tomato pesto sauce with barbecue chicken, sliced almonds, tropical mango and feta cheese.

In the evenings, most locals either travel into the center of the city or head north to the entertainment district in downtown Mercer Island. Find plenty of bars and live music venues in this area, such as the old tavern at Roanoke Inn, The Islander bar and restaurant and Union Bar, a traditional pub.

History

Outer Mercer Island came into being when the East Channel Bridge connected the land with Bellevue in 1928, before which it was largely known for Calkins Hotel — which burned down in a mysterious fire at the beginning of the 20th century. During the second half of the century, the neighborhood largely stagnated until revitalization efforts began in the 1990s. Redevelopment added hundreds of new apartments and condominiums, transforming the downtown area.

The arts are an important part of life for Mercer Islanders, as evidenced by the number of arts organizations located on the island, such as the Mercer Island Arts Council. Enjoy the Summer Celebration on the second weekend of July, known for its fireworks, parade, garden tour and two-day street fair.

Transportation

Enter and exit Mercer Island via Interstate 90, the only major route on and off the island, across the East Channel Bridge to the east and the Lacey V. Murrow and Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridges to the west. The latter pair of bridges head into Seattle proper. Expect to rely on your personal vehicle to travel around the expansive island, as well as to link you to other parts of the city. You'll find limited street parking, lots dedicated to customers of local businesses and two parking lots for residents using public transit off of the island.

Though taxi services operate on Mercer Island, none are located on the island itself, so expect a wait time if you call a cab. Ride-share services like Uber do not operate in Outer Mercer Island, and public transport is limited to a single bus route that travels throughout the neighborhood.

Pleasant walks abound in the area, though most businesses are widely spread and cannot be easily reached on foot. Use your bicycle to commute through the neighborhood, with most buses equipped with a bike rack if you're travelling longer distances.

Cost

Living on Mercer Island is considered to be more affordable than neighboring parts of Seattle. This desirable part of the city boasts a stable housing market, low crime rates, high graduation rates and a relatively high per-capita income.

Expect public transit into the center of Seattle to cost a minimum of $3.00. The median rental cost of a one-bedroom apartment runs $1,380, while a pint of beer will set you back around $8.80, approximately 2.5 percent higher than the national average. Gas prices sit just over 10 percent higher than the national average.

Shopping

Find most shopping at the north end of the island, in the downtown district. In Outer Mercer Island, watch out for a few specialty stores alongside amenities like pharmacies and self storage, mostly located south of Pioneer Park.

Visit Island Guide Services to take advantage of a professional fishing guide and charter or buy a boat. Try Kimberly's Old World Rugs on Woodbrook Lane for hand-knitted rugs and mats that serve as functional art for the floor of your home. The Bentler Music Studio on SE 53rd Place offers musical instruments and lessons, while Sips 'n Stems creates unique flower displays and teaches flower arranging classes on a regular basis.

For groceries, visit QFC on SE 68th Street to find a full range of fresh, frozen and chilled produce. Travel to the downtown area to find the Mercer Island Farmer's Market, renowned for its wide selection of fruits and vegetables, specialty items, meats, flowers and pre-made foods, all surrounded by food trucks for a quick bite to eat.

Parks

Outer Mercer Island takes pride in its open spaces, with plenty of parks for locals to choose from. Visit Pioneer Park to enjoy a 113-acre forest that has been left largely undeveloped so local citizens can get out into untamed nature while still located in an urban center. The park sports 6.6 miles of trails, some sections of which have been designated for specific uses. The southeast quadrant of the park, for example, features trails for horseback riding, while trails in the northwest quadrant feature a specific perimeter trail for strollers and wheelchairs. The northeast quadrant of the park includes natural features, such as a ravine and wetlands, with trails leading to all of them.

Groveland Beach’s amenities include swimming, picnicking, a barbecue area, a playground and restrooms — available only in summer. Pets are not allowed in the public swim areas between May 1 and September 30. Outside of these times, dogs are permitted on the beach, but must be leashed at all times.

Clarke Beach features a swimming area with no lifeguard on duty, public docks, picnic and barbecue areas and public restrooms. Wildwood Park is another undeveloped, wild green space — one of 301 acres of open spaces around Mercer Island and part of the Open Space Vegetation Plan.

Most parks feature trails useful for walkers, joggers and runners, while those looking for outdoor exercise options make use of the basketball courts, tennis courts and baseball fields in parks to the north of the island. Unless specifically noted, pets must remain leashed in parks at all times.

Every summer, on July 11 and 12, Mercer Island hosts an island-wide, park-based celebration that includes a parade, boat rides, basketball tournament, food vendors, arts and crafts, a car show, children’s activities, fireworks, performances of Shakespeare, music and other entertainment.

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Outer Mercer Island Apartments for Rent

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Hadley Apartments
2615 76th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040
1 / 55
New
$1,739 - 4,244 Studio - 2 Bed Available Now
425-305-3409
The Mercer
7650 SE 27th St, Mercer Island, WA 98040
1 / 130
4 hrs
$1,455 - 4,065 Studio - 2 Bed Available Now
864-236-4293
Shorewood Heights
3209 Shorewood Dr, Mercer Island, WA 98040
New
$1,444 - 3,412 Studio - 4 Bed Available Now
206-973-7821
Hadley Apartments
2 wks
3851 83rd Ave SE
Mercer Island, WA 98040
$2,000 House for Rent Available Now
425-276-4638
2820 75th Pl SE
Mercer Island, WA 98040
$1,650 Condo for Rent Available Now
1 day
7627 SE 29th St
Mercer Island, WA 98040
$3,500 House for Rent Available Now
New
Mercer Manor
2717 76th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040
$1,695 2 Bed Available Now
2 wks
The Mercer West
2558 76th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040
$2,080 - 2,730 1 Bed Available 08/18/17
2 wks
Ellsworth House
2720 76th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040
No Availability 2 wks
The Carlton
2760 76th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040
No Availability 2 wks
The Islander
3050 81st Pl SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040
No Availability 2 wks

Apartments for Rent in Outer Mercer Island, Mercer Island, WA

Mercer Island was developed as a residential oasis outside the city of Seattle, accumulating residents after the East Channel Bridge was built to connect the island with Bellevue. Locals consider the area dramatically different from the surrounding urban environments, with woods, parklands and shoreline to satisfy cravings for outdoor activities.

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