Discovered by Captain George Vancouver in 1792, it wasn’t until 1851 that Seattle’s first settlers landed. Charles Denny landed at Alki with the rest of the Denny party. A monument at Alki beach commemorates the city’s birthplace in 1851. While once connected only by ferry, the West Seattle Freeway now links West Seattle to the rest of the city.
The main commercial district in West Seattle is situated at the top of the hill, at the intersection of SW Alaska St. and California Ave. SW. Known locally as “The Junction” this area is filled with shops and cafes. Another commercial sector is situated near the intersection of SW Alaska St. and Fauntleroy Way SW, just east of this area.
The Admiral neighborhood is situated in the north part of West Seattle and is one of the more affluent neighborhoods in West Seattle. This area boasts a number of interesting shops and dining establishments. The historic Admiral Theater is the predominant landmark of this area.
West Seattle’s prized-possession, Alki, is one of Seattle’s favorite summer hot spots. It is an area situated along the north and west sides of the peninsula and features a long, breezy beach that can feel like a tropical resort on sunny days. The views of Downtown Seattle and the Olympic Mountains are spectacular on clear days.
Along the southwest slope, Fauntleroy is a private residential area that offers its residents unmatched views of the Puget Sound, Vashon Island, and the Olympic Mountains and Peninsula.
The industrial area of West Seattle is known as Delridge. It is situated in the southeast quarter, where security is an issue in some areas. If you are considering renting in this area, you are advised to explore this neighborhood carefully before selecting a place.
While West Seattle offers attractive options for those commuting to downtown, it is not a good option for those making the trip to the Eastside. It involves very heavy traffic on all routes that direction, which can be over an hour at peak times.
The residents of West Seattle range from long-time locals to the many younger professionals that now call it home. Many of the very affluent have chosen to live in West Seattle for the spectacular views this area offers. There has also been a significant growth in young professionals moving to West Seattle, attracted by the more affordable real estate prices. As a result, many of the neighborhoods have experienced significant gentrification as of late.
Residents of the Admiral area tend to be middle-to-upper income professionals, many of whom are longtime West Seattle residents. Fauntleroy and Alki’s lower and middle income families are slowly being replaced by professionals and wealthy retirees. The median income in Delridge is lower than in most of West Seattle; rents and real estate prices tend to be much lower as well.
West Seattle offers a nice mix of rental housing options. From apartment and condominiums to rental houses, this area offers a variety of housing types to choose from. Because West Seattle is less convenient to downtown than some of the other close-in neighborhoods, rental housing is a little more affordable. The exceptions are properties with big views or properties located right by Alki Beach. Rental rates range from about $1.00/sq. ft. to $1.75/sq. ft.
For the outdoor enthusiast, Alki is a prime hang out. Rollerblading, cycling, and jogging are popular activities along the bike path, and the beach offers plenty of space for kite flying and volleyball. People are drawn to Alki to experience the beautiful sunsets, or to enjoy some of the local eateries situated along the beachhead. The 37-foot Alki Lighthouse offers spectacular views of the area. The U.S. Coast Guard runs tours of this working facility on weekends from May to September. On the edge of the Sound, Lincoln Park offers spectacular summer swimming and barbequing.
Average Rent: $$$
Small Apartment Buildings
Medium Apartment Buildings
Downtown 10-15 minutes
Eastside 35 minutes, 45 minutes with traffic