Eastlake, rising in the ranks of accessible neighborhoods with the opening of the University Bridge in 1919, is nestled between the shores of Lake Union, Portage Bay, Capitol Hill with easy I-5 access and the ever-expanding South Lake Union neighborhood. Populated by all manner of Seattleites, Eastlake is a particularly attractive location for residents with ties to the University of Washington or who love calmer lakeside living with gorgeous, colorful water views.

An ever-growing roster of coffeehouses, bakeries and eateries are popping up in Eastlake, which is also home to Seattle’s highest concentration of houseboats, the likes of which were made famous in the 1993 film Sleepless in Seattle. Their architectural styles range from the bohemian-eclectic to exuberant-modern. With new construction of houseboats at Fairview Avenue East, the slips alone often sell for over $1 million. A lazy afternoon walk along the lakeshore will delight the senses.

Parks and greenspaces are literally everywhere in Seattle. Here are a few in or nearby Eastlake – Terry Pettus Park, Roanoke Street Park, Hamlin Street Park, Good Turn Park, Gasworks Park, South Lake Union Park, Portage Bay Shores and Streetend Parks and P-Patches galore.

Bus service to and within Eastlake is provided by King County Metro. South Lake Union Streetcar from Fairview Avenue travels along Westlake Boulevard past Whole Foods and into Downtown Seattle.

Surrounded by glimmering urban wetness, Eastlake and Portage Bay offer Seattleites an amazing variety of waterfront, and, perhaps (only slightly) favoring the pocketbook, water-view homes. Not only is the convenient location ideal along the eastern bank of Lake Union, but the style of home available in these adjoined neighborhood is also boundless. From modern townhouses to single-storied bungalows to multi-layered condos, from colorful boathouses to majestic residences, these hoods have everything at their fingertips right down to the shoreline.

Jump up to Eastlake Avenue for some light Mexican fare at Little Water Cantina, gastro-American-pub, Blind Pig Bistro, rustic Italian eats at Serafina, home-grown Starbucks and a bit further down, another Seattle staple, Grand Central Bakery. Nearby, there’s also Eastlake Bar & Grill for a more local hangout, flaky Parisian treats from Le Fournil French Bakery and just across the bridge, Portage Bay Cafe for a homegrown breakfast, brunch or lunch.

It’s definitely more relaxed here, so when you’re considering which Seattle neighborhoods to explore next, admire the homes on a walk through Portage Bay and stop in for a meal in Eastlake while soaking in the views. Then pop onto the South Lake Union streetcar to glide into downtown for some shopping, chocolate or a movie. Fun times ahead!

Best of (MY) Portland | Mark Jacobs


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