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Best neighborhood near or in Seattle for families

My family and I (husband and son) want to move to Seattle within the year...possibly much sooner.  We are heading out at the end of August and I'd love to be able to check out some neighborhoods.  We are coming from the DC Metro area and have lived in suburbia for quite some time now.  We're looking to change it up a bit :)

Criteria for us:
- max house price we're looking for is $600k-$650k
- great schools are a must
- my husband is an ultra runner so wants to be closer to the mountains vs water (but I love water) - is there a great middle ground? 
- We have two dogs so walking trails are a nice to have
- We love to cook, so great grocery stores are also a big plus even over restaurants.

We're not sure where we will be working yet, but want to consider Seattle itself as well as the surrounding areas.

Thanks in advance for your input!
Merideth
  • July 24 2013 - Seattle
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Answers (12)

It sounds like Bridal Trails might be a good area for you.  Excellent school district, in your price range, running trails, pet friendly.  Whole Foods and PCC are excellent grocery stores in the area.  Seattle is surrounded by water and mountains, and both you and your husband will be happy with the quick commute to either.  Communities I would recommend are Bellevue, Redmond, Woodinville, and Greenlake. 
  • July 24 2013
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"We're not sure where we will be working yet" is a critical point.   Commuting in Seattle can be a real pain, so I would gets some clues on where you'll be working before locking in to a location.

Here's a link to a map of King County Parks.  Some like Cougar mountain are huge  (30+ miles of trails) with no bikes.  Superb for running and walking dogs.   Bridal trails is a state park but (as you can guess by title) has a very large equestrian user group.   I avoid it because there is far too much horse poop on the trails and some of the horse riders are very antagonistic to dogs (even well behaved ones on leash).  Finn Hill in northern Kirkland has Big Finn Hill Park (220 acres) connected to the 300+ acre state park St. Edwards (which goes down to lake Washington).     Seattle has a lot of big parks with trails such as Discovery Park, Carkeek, Seward and others.  Greenlake is nice but is very urban (a paved trail around a lake that is dense with happy users all the time).  

I would strongly recommend renting for six  months to a year while getting to know the city, the commutes etc. 

The entire Puget sound metro area has a number of superb grocery stores including Whole Foods, PCC (Food coop), Central Market, Trader Joe's, farmer's markets, Community Share organic farmers etc. Identify your favorites on maps. 

Study up schools on places like greatschools.org to get a feel as to possibilities. 

  • July 24 2013
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I agree with wetdawgs.  Traffic in the Seattle area can be pretty terrible, so you'll want to know where you'll be working and factor in the commute.  There are lots of neighborhoods in the Seattle area that fit your description.

If you need a referal for a realtor, I can help.  Contact me through my profile if you're interested.

Have a great move!
  • July 24 2013
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Hello Merideth, Congratulations on your upcoming move to Seattle! As mentioned, where you work may be a deciding factor on which neighborhood you settle down in. That being said, an area to keep in mind is definitely West Seattle. West Seattle is a great community, has amazing restaurants and grocery stores, great schools, great parks and beaches for walking/running, and the list goes on. The homes in West Seattle are within your budget, and the neighborhoods are very charming and safe. From West Seattle you are right across the water from downtown...less than a 10 min. drive or a 15 min. water taxi ride. West Seattle is truly a great middle ground between downtown city life and the suburbs...close to everything and great people. I'm located in West Seattle and would be happy to answer any questions or show you around while you are visiting in August. Feel free to look me up and good luck!
  • July 24 2013
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There's no question that puts real estate brokers in danger of violating the Fair Housing Act as much as, "We're members of a protected class, where should we live?"

Another question that is hard for us to answer is: how good are the schools? We don't know how to evaluate schools; there's one rating system that measures "proficiency," which is nice, but I presume that many parents expect their child to be "proficient," so that rating may not help very much.

I don't know how far your DC home was from the mountains, but the distance from the shore to the mountains is at the most, an hour. Maybe an hour ten, from say, Edmonds to the Snoqualmie or Stevens passes.

All the best,
  • July 25 2013
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The Eastside is probably a good fit for you, the schools are great, it's close to both water and mountain (although there is water and mountain pretty much everywhere in the Seattle area), there are lots of parks, restaurants and grocery stores. Mercer Island is also a great location being in the middle of Lake Washington with an easy comute to both Bellevue and Seattle, lots of parks and a great schooldistrict although there might be hard finding something in your price range that doesn't need some work. Seattle has some great neighborhoods for families also like Queen Anne or Greenlake.

You should come for a few weeks and explore the different areas to get a feel for each neighborhood and also maybe just rent for the first year just to make sure that the neighborhood you picked fits your lifestyle.
  • July 25 2013
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Have you looked at Mercer Island yet? The schools on the Island are widely regarding as top-notch. Crime is much lower than the rest of King County, and being right in the middle of Lake Washington, Mercer Island is great if one of you works on the Eastside and one in Seattle. It only takes about 10 minutes drive to either side. There are also tons of great parks.

One downside: there is a premium for homes here. You won't get as much house for $650-750,000 as you would on either side of the lake. I'm happy to help if you have any questions about Mercer Island life! I love living here.
  • July 29 2013
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I always have to root for my hometown of Sammamish. Close to Seattle, close to lakes, close to the mountains for hiking and skiing, the tap water comes from the same aquifer as Talking Rain, the city is making money instead of losing, home of some of the best schools in the state, 1st in Friendliest towns in US (Forbes), 11th, 12th, and 15th best places to live (2007, '09, '11 CNN Money magazine). Need I say more.
  • August 01 2013
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I agree with Matthew's comment here.  I have a home in Sammamish and Issaquah that is great for being close to mountains like Mount Si and Tiger Mountain which is just minutes away, while living in the area of the beautiful Lake Sammamish where you can take your family out on the boat or relax on the beach.

This area is also within your price range to fit your whole family and be minutes from shopping centers.  Issaquah, which is the neighboring city of Sammamish, has recently developed a new shopping center with a new movie theater for the family to enjoy. 

On top of this, it's a nice smooth 15-20 minute drive to downtown Seattle so if you end up working downtown, the end of the day will feel very nice being away from the craziness.

Please contact me through my profile if you'd like to discuss this further.

- John
  • August 07 2013
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Do you know about Cohousing? (See Cohousing.org) IMHO it is the best place to raise kids. If you love to be I. The peace and stunning beauty of the Pacific NW and want it just outside your door, Sharingwood. Cohousing (Sharingwood.org) is a great place to check out. I know of a house that will be available to buy very soon. Go visit!
  • April 28 2014
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hello, I like to move to Seatel in next 2 years. I am a RN , my 2 sons are looking for med and pharmacy schools. we are looking for a house in safe (low crime) and quiet area not too far from hospital.( I am a specialist rehabilitation nurse, for stroke,ortho-spine, debility from different illness).our budget is around 250-400K  
  • July 10 2014
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Hi There!

University of Washington is one of the Nation's top medical and pharmacy school.

In regards to living in a safe, low crime & quiet area not too far from the hospital, I would strongly suggest looking in the Issaquah Highlands, Klahanie area & Sammamish on the Eastside of Seattle. 

 You would be living close to lakes, great schools & churches in a high class neighborhood surrounded by successful people with little to no crime 24/7.  This would only be about a 20 minute drive to the university, and only minutes away from Swedish Hospital in Issaquah Highlands.

It would be a great move for you and your sons!

You can find great condo deals in the $250K-$400K range for you and your two sons.  It's important to find a lender with great reviews on here that you can trust and also someone who can refer a strong Realtor who can help you find the perfect home AND get your offer accepted when you're ready.
  • July 10 2014
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