Phinney Ridge

A Scottish-Canadian named Guy Phinney purchased the Ridge that now bares his name in 1889. He was a wealthy Scottish immigrant who developed the land into a lush park and gardens known as Woodland Park. The property cost him $40,000, but was later sold to the City of Seattle for $100,000. The property was thought by most to be too far north of the city to be of any value, but once Seattle’s trolley system added the Phinney Ridge route, the area began to develop.

Phinney Ridge is situated at the top of a 350-foot ridge, and lies just north of  Fremont and between Ballard  and Greenlake. It is known for being home to the Woodland Park Zoo, as well as having fabulous views of  Downtown Seattle and both the Cascade and Olympics mountain ranges. Greenwood Ave. N. is the commercial stretch, with restaurants, shops and funky coffeehouses. Parking and crowds can be a concern near the zoo, which draws more than a million visitors each year. While this area has much to offer in rental houses, there are also apartments that line Phinney Ave. N. along the ridge.

The Phinney Ridge and Greenwood areas consists primarily of long-time, local and young middle to upper-class professionals. Young professionals continue to migrate to the area, as real estate prices can be relatively reasonable for such a convenient Seattle location. Many affluent families and individuals are also attracted to the fantastic, westerly views of the Olympic Mountains Phinney Ridge offers.

Fun Stuff
Around the Woodland Park area, Phinney Ridge has an abundance to offer those who enjoy nature. The Woodland Park Zoo, Woodland Park Rose Garden, and Woodland Park all lie just southwest of Greenlake, across Aurora Ave. N. The award-winning, 188-acre zoo has carefully created natural habitats and landscapes. The 2.5 acre rose garden has been around since the late 1800’s. The park itself offers athletic activities, from cycling and walking to organized team sports. 

Greenwood and Phinney team up for the Annual Art Walk in May. Greenwood also puts on the Greenwood Classic Car & Rod Show in June. If that is not enough, it is just a stone’s throw from nearby Greenlake, as well as all the park activities in Phinney Ridge. For those who enjoy shopping, Northgate Mall and Seattle’s first two-story Target store are only a short drive north.



Average Rent: $$

Primary Housing:

Small Apartment Buildings

Medium Apartment Buildings


Single-Family Homes

Commute Times:

Downtown 10-15 minutes

Eastside 25 minutes, 40 minutes with traffic

Phinney Ridge is a popular local neighborhood that connects the Fremont and Greenwood neighborhoods and runs just east of Ballard and west of the Woodland Park Zoo and Greenlake.

Its popular eateries and shops are located along Phinney Ave N which turns into Greenwood Avenue N. Phinney Ridge primarily consists of small- to medium-sized apartments and condominium buildings located along Phinney Ave N and Greenwood Ave N, as well as single-family homes and privately-owned townhomes on the hills toward Greenlake and sloping toward Ballard. You can find numerous vintage brick buildings most with hardwood floors that run along Phinney Avenue which curves and turns into Greenwood Avenue.

Recently there have been some craftsman-styled townhomes developed in this area. Some of the privately-owned townhomes come available for rent. The houses on the slope to the east and west of Phinney and Greenwood Avenues are primarily craftsman- and bungalow-styled homes developed from the 1920s to the 1940s. On the west side on the hill facing Ballard you can find homes facing west and offering beautiful sunset views. Many residents choose to rent here for its central location and easy access to downtown.