So what's Kent WA like these days?
February 7, 2019 11:58 PM   Subscribe

I just got a job in Kent, WA, so need to move to that general area before the end of the month. I grew up in Western Washington, and I remember Kent always having something of a negative reputation. I imagine that, if this was ever accurate, it has changed somewhat in the intervening 15 years. So what's Kent like these days?

My preference is to live very close to work, to avoid the hellish commutes of my youth. What should I expect, living within 10 minutes of "downtown"?
posted by lordcorvid to Travel & Transportation around Kent, WA (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Disclaimer: I live in Seattle and have relatives in Kent, but I didn't grow up in the US so I don't really have a point of comparison for What Is This Suburb Like.

It seems ... fine? Very sprawled out, you need a car to get around, and it doesn't strike me as the most interesting place to live -- but it's a surprisingly convenient location in that there's shopping centers, supermarkets, an Ikea and an REI within a 15-minute drive, it's close to SeaTac if you're a frequent flier, and it's an easy drive to many hiking trails if you're into that.

It's not within 10 minutes of downtown, though -- Kent is more like 30 minutes from Seattle without traffic, and probably double that in rush hour.
posted by Xany at 7:29 AM on February 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Kent has become a pretty diverse area. Many new immigrants and refugees are settling in the Kent area, so you'll be able to enjoy some great ethnic food.

If you're a biker there is The Interurban Trail that connects to The Green River Trail and will take you into Seattle and along some scenic biking.
posted by brookeb at 7:36 AM on February 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I live in Renton and have ties in Kent. If you mean that you'll be commuting to downtown Kent it will be both easy and hard. Easy in that downtown Kent is central and it has a very stripmall suburban charm BUT the roads and hills are pretty congested at prime commute time. Kent is very diverse with a large middle eastern, se asian, and middle european population (so EXCELLENT FOOD). You will need a car to do general errands because everything is spread out. Kent lost its "rough" image years ago.

I don't have kids so I can't speak to anything in regards to that.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 7:47 AM on February 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

I very much enjoyed going to Kent Thunderbirds minor league hockey games when I lived in Seattle. A nice arena, reasonable prices, not a bad seat in the house, and the hockey is high level juniors-former TBird Matthew Barzal is the current holder of the Calder trophy, as the NHL's top rookie last season. I really recommend going if minor league hockey sounds even slightly appealing.
posted by Kwine at 8:10 AM on February 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Kent is my hometown! I don't live there anymore but was there for a visit at Christmas. It has changed a lot in the last 15 years. The tech money in Seattle has pushed a lot of people out to suburbs like Kent so there's a lot of development going on.

Kent Station is downtown and has a cinema and restaurants. Downtown also has the Kent Regional Library and cute independent cafes. (Maggie's on Meeker was my favorite diner in my youth.)

If you need to get to Seattle, you can get a train during commuting hours and it takes like 20 minutes.
posted by quadrant seasons at 11:36 AM on February 8, 2019

Kent still has a bit of a reputation for crime. I think unfairly, but my friends live there and still report gunshots semi-regularly. as with most things seattle, there are probably micro-climates, and you may want to spend some time with data visualization sites.
posted by evilmonk at 2:29 PM on February 8, 2019

Move to Thomas, it's a Kent suburb.
posted by ptm at 6:00 AM on February 9, 2019

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