Seattle is a great walking town. You can take a leisurely stroll by following the contour lines of the hills upon which it is built. Or you can crisscross the avenues and really take exercise to a new level.
But the real beauty of Seattle lies in it’s ever changing neighborhoods. Not all at once, mind you. And Ballard will always be, well, Ballard. It’s those little changes in the neighborhoods that I’m talking about, that people in the know flock to.
Take Belltown for instance. Or the flatlands of the once industrial area south of the then famous, Kingdome.
Belltown was a haven for prostitution and drug deals. It was a top spot on King County’s SOAP program dictated by the courts for offenders – Stay Out of Areas of Prostitution. That was then, and this is now. The ran down buildings and their low cost was a magnet for developers. Eclectic condos now line the streets, small but really cool eateries have taken residency on the ground floors and in the older, once dilapidated structures.
And at nighttime the lights come on, the music starts and the crowds pour in.
Anyone that has taken in a game at the new stadiums and had to find a place to park has witnessed the changes along the avenues of the flatlands. It still possess it’s industrial nature, but has evolved to a much more pedestrian friendly area. It’s safer, thanks to law enforcement, and the locals becoming more involved. Stops for the main bus line into the tunnel dot the cross streets now. That means more people, more eyes, more witnesses. Better lighting, more police presence and an influx of visitors, and the whole area has reaped the rewards.
On many occasion I have parked all day down in the flatlands and then walked uptown to enjoy the city. I had no reservations in doing so, and never had my vehicle damaged or tampered with in any way. Besides, how can you start a walk without swinging by Krispy Kreme and getting a couple of doughnuts?
There’s some great restaurants and businesses in the area that you’ll completely miss if you just drive out of the city, without stopping by this area. The workers that make the area’s businesses hum don’t drive away for lunch, they know some of the best spots in Seattle are in the flatlands. Parking is easy, they are easy to get to, and the food is great.
There’s a lot of spirit in neighborhoods making a comeback. In thriving little businesses that were once only dilapidated buildings. Filled with folks that are glad to have you stop in, and are even happier to serve you, and share with you.
Those are the folks that make a neighborhood what it is, and the kind of neighborhoods that make Seattle a great city. Especially for walking and discovering.