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:
- the Wallingford QFC - most notable for the large "WALLINGFORD" letters atop the store, and major nearby bus access. Legend has it that the store originally took down the sign, but there was a bunch of unrest about it. The sign was put back up.
- 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.
- 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
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." As you might expect, it goes to the 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.