It's something like a liberal college town (say, the University District), but a bit older in feel. You see some students around, but not many -- mostly, people are living established lives. I didn't hear much about crime while living here. It probably exists, but I was never aware of any of it.
Some places you might like to go in Wallingford:
- Wallingford QFC supermarket - most notable for the large "WALLINGFORD" letters atop the store, and major nearby bus access. Until the mid-1990s it was an independent supermarket called FOOD GIANT. When QFC took over, they took down the sign, but there was a bunch of unrest about it. So a new sign was put back up. The original Food Giant flashes by in the opening credits of the film "Singles".
- Woodland Park, the Woodland Park Zoo, and the Woodland Park Rose garden - both on the northwest corner
- the used bookstore just west of the QFC, on 45th street - small, but comfortable and friendly
- there's a children's consignment store, right next to that- parents, this is where you want to be
- the 45th Street Clinic - SUPER-hospitable health clinic - they go out of their way to see low-income patients, in particular. They have a homeless youth program as well. If you don't have any money, you can come here and get the help you need.
- large playground and even larger fields, due south of the 45th street clinic, just before the elementary school - some days, they have water in the wading pool - ice cream trucks also make the rounds
- comic store, on the East end, before 45th street hits I-5.
- Dick's - hamburgers, as usual, also on the East end.
- Golden Oldies Records, on 45th just a few blocks west of I-5. My goodness, they don't still sell vinyl 45s, do they?
- the Asteroid Cafe - awesome Italian food, very strange appearance from the outside, though- there's a gigantic "meteor" on top of the otherwise normal looking building. Inside, it's cramped, but lively, and the staff are friendly. A plate will cost you $20-$30, but it'll be excellent.
- Sushi - there are a LOT of sushi places in Wallingford - they're all good
- Guild 45th Theater -- two screens in two buildings separated by a pizza joint
- Moon Temple -- Chinese restaurant and lounge across the street
- Teahouse Kuan Yin at 1911 N. 45th St -- Expensive but excellent tea. A quiet place to hang out for awhile.
Major bus lines passing through Wallingford are the 16 (going downtown, and the Northgate transit center as well (I think...), and the 44 (going back and forth to the U District and back.) Both buses arrive frequently and regularly.
There's a street in Wallingford called Woodland Park Avenue N. As you might expect, it goes to Woodland Park. There's something interesting about the street- if you look at it on the edge in the right places, you can see where the road has worn thin, and you can see red brick beneath it. That is, there is old red brick beneath the road. Story has it that long ago, it was a major road, and they didn't have pavement, or something like that. So it's all red brick.
Another small thing you may be interested in is the Pea Patch garden on the south end of Woodland Park, if I remember right. It's small, but fun to look through, see what people are growing.
Wallingford has/had a small neighborhood paper; I don't know if it's in circulation any more.