Seattle or Eastside, whats better
May 5, 2012 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Seattle vs Eastside, where to live?


I'm moving to Seattle and am going to be working on the eastside. I was looking at Capitol Hill (the Broadway neighborhood, but it seems like suburbia with only houses) and Downtown Bellevue, any advice?

There were a few questions before but I assume commute times have changed after the tolling on 520.
posted by touareg to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What are you looking for in somewhere to live? Seems like you're looking for urban (=not houses? are you gonna want easy parking?), what else? The biggest difference between Seattle and Bellevue to me is in attitude and character, with capitol hill being a whole lot more eclectic (and closer to a lot more different types of stuff) than Bellevue, though the latter has changed a lot over the last ~5-10 years as well.
posted by R a c h e l at 11:21 AM on May 5, 2012

Response by poster: Looking for an apartment. I'll be bringing a car with me.

I'm only going to be there for a few months if that changes anything.
posted by touareg at 11:26 AM on May 5, 2012

We're going to need a lot more info about what you like. There are many neighborhoods in Seattle, but Capitol Hill is a good place to be if you're commuting to the eastsiide. Where exactly in the eastside will you be working - downtown bellevue, factoria, overlake, redmond, kirkland, etc?

The commute is worst for ppl living in Seattle & working in the eastside (I do the opposite and laugh every day at the poor suckers stuck in traffic going the other way). The toll has helped some, but it's not enough for the ppl coming home in the evening from the eastside to Seattle.

There's plenty of apartments and condos to rent in Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, and downtown Seattle. What are you looking for? A young neighborhood, good nightlife, convenient downtown fun, ? Downtown Bellevue has really grown in the last couple of years, but it's still not eclectic or entertaining beyond the restaurants & mall shopping.

You'll only be here for a few months - so do you plan to maximize your enjoyment of Seattle and go out every night, or will you be working a lot and are OK with just driving into Seattle a few nights a week?
posted by jpeacock at 11:34 AM on May 5, 2012

Response by poster: I'll be working in Redmond. I've found a few places in Capitol Hill around Roy and Mercer and a few places by Lincoln Sq in Bellevue.

One of my concerns is the commute time and tolling.. Would taking 90 be much worse? And most people I'll be working with will be living on the Eastside.
posted by touareg at 11:45 AM on May 5, 2012

The trational answer is: which is more important - commuting for work or commuting for nightlife? (though the eastside had a fair bit of nightlife now)
finding parking is a pain in seattle - most residents seem to have to find on street parking when they get home (and in some areas that's difficult), while the east side you're far more likely to have garage space or your own off street parking. A lot of parking is also metered in seattle, and free on the eastside; as is normally the case with higher density.)

My preference is a short commute to work saving time and money every day, but I know many people who prefer that things they don't have to do (ie not-work) be the close thing, else they tend not to do them because of the hassle.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:10 PM on May 5, 2012

Eastside. It's boring, it's whitebread, it has no soul. But it's better than commuting daily from Seattle.
posted by Jawn at 1:33 PM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Are you interning for a large software company in Redmond by any chance? If so, there's a bus that goes straight from Cap Hill to your job.

You'll have a lot more fun on the west side. Bellevue has grown up, but it's mostly high end shopping malls and chain restaurants. Seattle is far more diverse, both in population and in range of experiences you will have.
posted by SakuraK at 2:05 PM on May 5, 2012

> Eastside. It's boring, it's whitebread, it has no soul.

I can't speak to the soulfulness, but Seattle is whiter than Bellevue.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:28 PM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, if you're with MS, you can take the bus from Capitol Hill easy, or get a vanpool. Trying to commute via I-90 will probably add an hour a day to your commute. The eastside isn't GREAT in terms of things to do, but it's not as horrible as it was ten years ago, by a long shot. I'd rather drive to Seattle twice a week to do fun stuff when there's no traffic than drive to Redmond every day in the worst traffic this city has to offer, personally.

My husband, who works at MS, says "If this person is here to enjoy Seattle, then they should live on Capitol Hill and take the bus or pay the 520 toll. If they are here for the work experience, they should live as close to their office as possible and get to the city on the weekends." We live in Bothell, up at the north end, but we live here because this is where we could afford a house.
posted by KathrynT at 4:27 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I know someone who interned for Microsoft who lived with a bunch of college kids in a big college house in the U district for the summer. They bused every day. It takes a while, but they had a lot to do, and were instantly plugged in to some sort of social scene through their roommates. If you're looking at capitol hill, the equivalent would be to look on craigslist for a house with Seattle U students. If you're not in your 20's you might be too old for this, I dunno.
posted by victory_laser at 10:15 PM on May 5, 2012

I live in the Laurelhurst neighborhood, which is really close to the 520 bridge (my apartment has a balcony view of Lake Washington; we are near to the east side as you could be in Seattle). My husband worked in Bellevue when he was working onsite. We found it's really not worth it to take I-90. If you get a Good to Go pass you can significant reduce you bridge toll expenses; we justify that it evens out what we'd spend on gas (but I-90 is more out of the way for us).

Laurelhurst doesn't have a lot to recommend to it (totally yuppie; we rent a high end condo in a community mostly inhabited by grad students and senior citizens and we just like that it's as quiet as a morgue and we have a parking spot), but it's close to the northern part of Capital Hill, the University District, the magical intersection of the Hill and the UDistrict called Montlake. I lived on the Hill when I first moved here, though, and it was pretty great (I had parking in my centrally located Capital Hill building for $50 and found a street spot for 6 months before that, so it's not unheard of -- you might want to look more north and more east on the hill). Honestly, N/NE Seattle where I live now isn't that great for anything except settling down, so don't compromise by living here -- just move to the east side if you're leaning that way. If you want to have fun, move to Capital Hill or First Hill or look into another neighborhood. First instance, if you're looking for walkability, parkability and a neighborhood, have you also considered Fremont, Wallingford and Ballard? They're much cheaper than any other areas and are all "hip" neighborhoods with lots of parking. I'd skip the UDist if you aren't a student. Too many bros. I also think South Lake Union is a traffic nightmare right now -- they have no less than 5 traffic cops down there during rush hour when Amazon and the other start up offices get out. We thought about moving to a building down there and decided against it for that reason (having witnessed it firsthand because my doctor's office is in the same building as Amazon). SLU does have great food and lots of new shops (plus the trolley, the unfortunately named S.L.U.T.).

Seattle traffic is universally horrid, btw. It isn't unusual to find the 5 lane I-5 highway into downtown at a standstill for no discernable reason at 2pm on a Tuesday. It might be more unusual if it wasn't. I have lived or stayed extendedly in Boston, LA, Chicago and Detroit and the Seattle area is the worst traffic I have ever experienced. Good luck! Feel free to memail me if you want more advice than the novel I just wrote.
posted by sweltering at 4:28 AM on May 6, 2012

Response by poster: Is there any estimate on how long it would take to get from somewhere in SLU/NW Cap Hill to Redmond? I've been seeing time estimates from 30 minutes to 2 hours which really doesn't help.
posted by touareg at 12:18 PM on May 6, 2012

Unfortunately, the commute really does vary from 30min to 2hrs, depending on time and any accidents/stalls on the highway. Off the cuff, I'd say the majority of trips you're looking at a 30-60min commute time.

Getting to Redmond is extra-sucky because that's what everyone else is doing too. You're pretty much taking the most congested route, and there's not many alternatives. There's not even carpool across the bridge, only before/after, so even the buses will get waylaid. The advantage of the bus is you can be semi-productive while stuck in traffic - reading, working on your laptop, etc.

Even from downtown Bellevue, the commute into Redmond is not quick. (Again, because that's what everyone else is doing) I agree with the others who say you need to decide if your emphasis is working (then live in Redmond) or experiencing Seattle (then live in Seattle).

You can still experience quite a lot of Seattle on the weekends so it won't be a total loss if you live in Redmond.

Alternatively, see what options there are for you to work from home 1-2 days a week. That can make the commute bearable the rest of the week and be OK to live in Seattle.
posted by jpeacock at 1:09 PM on May 6, 2012

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