Just how sketchy is it anyway?
May 21, 2008 3:42 PM   Subscribe

SeattleSketchynessFilter: I've just been informed that for the next few months, I'll be living on the 1000 block of East Terrace Street in Seattle. While I know that Seattle is generally a pretty safe city, the address in the International District, along with the close proximity to the city's sole remaining major public housing project is setting off some alarm bells in my mind. At the same time, it's quite hard to figure out how how sketchy a neighborhood is online. So before I raise a stink and try to move someplace else, I ask Seattle Metafiltes: just what kind of a neighborhood is this, and might I, as someone who enjoys being able to walk to restaurants/shops, find it a decent place to live?
posted by zachlipton to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
That area isn't too sketchy. I wouldn't walk to the International District from there at night -- that would go straight through the housing project -- but otherwise it's fine.

Restaurant tip: Malay Satay Hut. Mmmmmmmmm.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 4:23 PM on May 21, 2008

Meh, I think you'd be fine. It used to be kind of a transitional area, but that area has really bloomed in the previous couple of years. You'd be about a couple of blocks from Seattle University, and there are a lot of shops, restaurants, and coffee shops springing up to cater to students there. Plus you'd be about a ten minute walk to Capitol Hill proper, which has all sorts of good places to go. That block is closer to Capitol Hill central than the ID, though the ID is pretty tame as well. I'd say go for it. Looks like a good central location to me. Welcome to Seattle! You're just in time for the good weather, assuming we get any this year.
posted by ga$money at 4:37 PM on May 21, 2008

I live in Seattle and work very near this address. It's fine.

Crime in Seattle is a drop in the bucket compared to other cities. There are going to be sketchy characters around your new place, but if you've lived in a city before and know how to carry yourself and deal with the vagaries of city life, you'll be fine.

I'd worry less about the public housing project than the people who're hanging around Harborview Hospital. It's the "hospital of last resort" in the city and tends to attract a lot of indigent folks, drug-seekers, etc, etc. It's not hard to give it a wide berth.

There are lots of good places right near your new place, maybe up 12th a few blocks. Several Ethiopian restaurants, Lemongrass, Coffee Animals (great baked goods).

From your block, it's a decent walk down 12th to 12th and Jackson, the vibrant Vietnamese outpost of the International District. The banh mi at Saigon Deli (Jackson at almost Rainier) is the best in town; Tamarind Tree, tucked into the absolutely most improbable strip mall, is a hidden jewel.

From your block it's also a quick walk or bus ride downtown via several routes. Also a quick walk to the Pike/Pine corridor (via 12th or Broadway) on Capitol Hill with *tons* of restaurants, bars, a few grocery/drug stores, just about anything you'd need. Cafe Presse on 12th is excellent.

Seattle U campus is even closer and it's absolutely beautiful. Be sure to walk around and enjoy the parklike atmosphere, and check out the chapel--it's an architectural marvel.

Hope this helps. Welcome to the neighborhood! Drop a metafilter-mail line if you want to meet for a cup of coffee sometime.
posted by Sublimity at 4:39 PM on May 21, 2008

Well...I wouldn't say that's the nicest neighborhood. I used to live in the International District and I'm not sure I would say the area is "sketch" free. At the same time I love Seattle and don't want to disparage it. How about this, I'm going to be in that area this weekend. Would you like me to snap some pics of the surrounding area, and e-mail them to you if you?
posted by P.o.B. at 7:25 PM on May 21, 2008

I live in Seattle, but I've never been in the ID after dark, so I can't speak to safety. But the area where you will be staying is, as Sublimity points out, really well placed right snuggled in the Central District, right in between the ID, Downtown, and Capitol Hill. You are well placed to have a great summer.

(The authors of this blog are going through the ID systematically street by street, rating every restaurant. It's an awesome resource for food.)
posted by folara at 8:21 PM on May 21, 2008

I have a friend who lives very near there, and I've never felt worried. A couple things:

1) Are you on the ground floor? I wouldn't want a ground floor apartment. Anything above that would be much better.

2) North is toward the Space Needle. West is toward the water. East is uphill. You can go North West or North East, but I'd avoid going South (toward the ID) or due West (to pioneer square) at night, unless you're specifically going to PS for some night clubbing.

3) A lot of homeless people will be in the area due to your proximity to Harborview and I-5. They get free meds at Harborview and they frequently camp-out underneath I-5. However, they probably won't bother you if you don't bother them.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:30 PM on May 21, 2008

Almost forgot. You can walk to Salumi! Best italian in town.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:31 PM on May 21, 2008

I don't live too far away now and I went through this area at all hours of the day and night to get home when I lived on Beacon Hill. You'll be fine.
posted by Vavuzi at 8:48 PM on May 21, 2008

*shrug* much as i love seattle, i don't even consider my home a true city. i wandered around downtown alone at 4am when i was 14. sure, people'll spange ya or be pissing on the street in the 'sketchier' parts, but that's really about it.
posted by groovinkim at 9:36 PM on May 21, 2008

Don't get me wrong. I don't think there really is a "bad" part of Seattle if you compare it with other cities. But I used to live off of Maynard and King in Chinatown. On a daily basis I had to deal with gangsters, dealers, pimps, prostitutes, and drugees. So I guess color me jaded if I'm the only one telling you that there may be a few run-ins with some undesirable people. I used to hang out in Kobe Terrace Park all the time. I've jogged up and down James Street quite a bit. I personally never minded walking around late at night, but I knew what to expect and how to handle myself.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:50 PM on May 21, 2008

The few blocks around 4th-6th/Yesler-James always seemed kind of sketch to me. Up where you will be, fine.
posted by ctmf at 10:04 PM on May 21, 2008

The last time I lived in Seattle was 2003, and that area was a kind of transitional neighborhood. Roughly half the buildings and houses are old/decrepit, while the other half are new/refurbished/building sites, etc. That's my rough estimate of the area, though, I didn't live there, I just drove through it occasionally. Basically in Cap. Hill, from your spot, neighborhoods south and east of there become more and more sketchy, west and (especially) north become nicer/hipper. I worked at the Kinko's there years ago and the worst we had to deal with were the junkies wanting to shoot up in the bathroom. But being Seattle, even the junkies were often friendly and charming.

But a lot can change in 5 years, so it may be better than I remember. Overall, though, I say relax. Capitol Hill is a fun place, and you're likely to find a good deal on an apartment.
posted by zardoz at 11:27 PM on May 21, 2008

I've lived in the Central District, which is typically considered the sketchiest neighborhood by Seattle standards, for ten years. As others have pointed out, nothing's terribly sketch in Seattle.

Seconding the bahn mi at Saigon Deli. You're also near fantastic coffee at Stumptown on 12th, which is next door to my favorite place of late, Cafe Presse.
posted by donovan at 11:40 AM on May 22, 2008

But I used to live off of Maynard and King in Chinatown. On a daily basis I had to deal with gangsters, dealers, pimps, prostitutes, and drugees. So I guess color me jaded if I'm the only one telling you that there may be a few run-ins with some undesirable people

Oh, no doubt. But the likelihood that they'll do more than share the sidewalk with you (or maybe hit you up for money or rant incoherently or something) is pretty low. Not a lot of random violence in Seattle.

The last time I lived in Seattle was 2003...But a lot can change in 5 years, so it may be better than I remember. Gentrification and rebuilding have been going on strong in the whole south end for the last 5 years. The area around Seattle U and to a lesser degree south toward the ID are a *whole* lot different than they were 5 years ago. Can't speak to how yupped-out the OP's block is, but the general trend for the area has been for the better.

Finally--Hey, folara, your blog link didn't work. I'd love to see that info--please try and post it again!
posted by Sublimity at 12:43 PM on May 22, 2008

Shoot, that'll teach me to preview next time. I'll post this here for posterity, in case some one searches this thread in the future.

The blog that's reviewing restaurants in the ID block by block is http://msg150.com/
posted by folara at 9:14 PM on June 19, 2008

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