West Seattle is the area west of the Duwamish River and was annexed by Seattle in 1907.

Thanks to the city's many hills, lakes, and bays, all Seattle neighborhoods are distinct. However, none is more a world unto itself than giant West Seattle. It is only minutes from city center travelling down Highway 99 and across the West Seattle Bridge.

West Seattle's miles of rolling peninsula feature many of the city's loveliest parks and beaches, its highest hills, a couple of happening retail districts studded with good restaurants, middle-class neighborhoods blessed with gorgeous views, and a mix of residents as diverse as any in town.

West Seattle might be more apt to be called Southwest Seattle because it occupies that quadrant of the city. The "south" part was skipped because Seattle has long been divided along class lines north and south. As the nicest part of the South End, early boosters called the place West Seattle to distance it from its embarrassingly obvious southern location.

There are poor neighborhoods here within miles of very rich ones. Generally, the socio-economic spectrum stretches from the southeast, near immigrant-packed and ironically named White Center, northwestward until one arrives among the leafy, pricey homes overlooking Alki Beach, the city's favorite strand.

Among its residents, West Seattle features more than its share of famous and not-so-famous rock stars, mountaineers, artists and others taken with its unpreposessing, outdoorsy style.


  • California Avenue: Most head for the beach, but this street's two distinct retail districts (Admiral Junction and Alaska Junction) provide reasons to visit. Along with the book shops, antique malls, craft stores, and yoga studios, highlights include Easy Street Records, easily Seattle's coolest record store and cafe; ArtsWest Playhouse & Gallery for live theater, music, comedy, and cabaret, plus a quality art gallery, classes, and workshops; the Admiral Theater for funky second-run movies; across the street is Mission with it's notorious margaritas and pleasing decor; Ovio Bistro for chic dinner fare and a great bar; Metropolitan Market, a tastefully upscale environment for grocery shopping, including exemplary produce, cheese, and wine sections alongside a full-service deli ; West 5, excellent home-cooked favorites and full bar in a retro atmosphere; Lee's Asian Restaurant, the best hole-in-the-wall Chinese joint in Seattle; several good pubs and bistros include Circa, Elliott Bay Brewing and Beveridge Place Pub; West Seattle Nursery, a first-class neighborhood garden center for plants you won't find at Home Depot; and ice cream cones and sandwich at Husky Deli, a neighborhood gathering place beyond compare.
  • West Seattle Golf Course: The best public course in Seattle, with long holes, lots of hills and verdant views. Just off the West Seattle Bridge, south on 35th Ave.
  • Camp Long: It's a real summer camp, now a city park, and a great place to take kids for a romp among meadows, trails, ponds, and the world's original man-made climbing rock.
  • The Seattle Chinese Garden: located at the South Seattle Community College campus along 16th Ave. on Pigeon Hill, it's an excellent, if new, sizeable Chinese pond garden, perfect for a stroll.

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