This city is the smallest on our list at 4.459 square miles, and it was one of the region’s first coal mining areas. In fact, the railroad link from Newcastle to Seattle was the first in King County. Boasting the best walkability score on the list at 66, Newcastle offers residents an expanding system of sidewalks and 11 miles of trails throughout the city. Though Newcastle public transit isn’t the best, your commute times will be cut down by a third if you drive your own car. The average drive time to Seattle is 19 minutes, 15 minutes to Bellevue, and 18 minutes to Renton. Most employees living in this area have some college education, and many have careers involving computers and math.
Newcastle is the most suburban neighborhood on our list. Spend a laid-back day perusing the fruit and produce farmers market and the local butcher shop, B+E Meats. Concerts in the Park and Newcastle Days are just a couple of the vast array of community events in Newcastle. In a recent community satisfaction survey, the city earned high marks — 92% of residents recorded that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of living in Newcastle instead of the national average of 72%.
For parents, Newcastle is served by two school districts: Issaquah School District and Renton School District, which score average to above-average according to greatschools.org. The community satisfaction survey revealed 88% of residents were satisfied to raise children in this area. Activities for kids include the Code Ninjas computer coding camps, Suzie’s Swim School swimming lessons, and various youth camps, sports, and activities offered at the Coal Creek Family YMCA.
While Newcastle isn’t as popular for people to visit for food, this city boasts its fair share of tasty eats. The Blazing Onion Burger Company welcomes customers for sports games, Brewer’s Night, and other events as they sip on beers and wines from local breweries and some big-name favorites like Sam Adams, Coors, and Shock Top. Yea’s Wok, Gyro Makers, and build-your-own-pizza restaurant MOD Pizza are also great options for filling your stomach.
At only 13.8 square miles, this city is the second-smallest on our list, with a population of ~37,965. This area has a small, mountain town feel with a fair amount of historic charm. This area has the lowest walking and transit scores of 30 and 26. High traffic during peak hours can stretch out your morning commute to Seattle from 30 minutes to an hour. However, King County Metro and Sound Transit routes connect Issaquah to Seattle and Bellevue, there’s access to a free circulator bus for transportation around the city, and Washington route 900 connects residents to Renton.
Issaquah is the place to be if you’re looking to spend time outside. The ‘Issaquah Alps’ offer locals over 100 miles of recreational trails for hiking, running, biking, and horseback riding. The Summit at Snoqualmie Pass ski resort is the place to go for all of your favorite winter snow activities, snow tubing, Nordic skiing, and snowshoeing. Beginners never fear — The Summit offers daily lessons, private lessons, multi-week programs, and programs for the more advanced student.
Issaquah is home to 21 schools rated above average, and 64.2% of residents have a four-year college degree. Children in the area can attend Hatchery Tours or Summer Camps for kids ages three through 11 at the Friends of Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.
When you’re ready to relax and have a bite to eat, enjoy local favorites such as Agave Cocina, a location that utilizes locally sourced seafood, free-range and hormone-free meats, and makes hand-crafted cocktails with natural fruit purées. They offer gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options to their customers and are willing to accommodate even the pickiest eaters to the best of their ability. Nicolino Ristorante Italiano, Macky’s Dim Sum, and Naan and Curry are just a few of the other cultural cuisines offered in Issaquah.
Renton is 11 miles from downtown Seattle and the final assembly point for Boeing 747 airplanes. This suburb is 25.23 square miles and boasts a population of around 101,484 people. Centrally located, Renton is accessible to residents looking to be close to Seattle but not directly inside the city. Sound Transit light rail and King County Metro buses are the main public transit options for commuters. Renton has a better walk score than Issaquah, with a score of 38.
This city is home to four different school districts with a total of 100 schools. Elementary schools have the best rankings, while a majority of the public middle and high schools fall below average. 36.9% of residents in this area have completed four years of college, including some who attended Renton Technical College for part of that time.
Residents spend their time at the Westfield Southcenter Mall, a multilevel mall with more than 200 stores and an IMAX theater, the Henry Moses Aquatic Center, and Silver Dollar Casino. Children enjoy spending time at several parks such as Meadow Crest Playground, Petrovitsky Park, and The Little Gym of Kent. The Renton History Museum is located in a historic Art Deco firehouse and offers residents a peek into the rich history that permeates the culture in this area.
Dine at popular local eateries such as Water’s Table, the Melrose Grill, and the Red House Beer and Wine Shoppe. The Seattle area is home to many great craft breweries, and Renton is home to Bickersons Brewhouse, Four Generals Brewing, and The Brewmaster’s Taproom, to name a few. Sample locally crafted beers, ciders, and sodas at the family and pet-friendly taproom at Dubtown Brewing Company. Try Some More Time, their hazy IPA, their bohemian pilsner, Lil Bo Pils, or Safe Word, a chocolate stout with a smooth, toasty flavor.
This Washington city is the third-largest in the Seattle metro area at a population of ~144,403 people and sits on the east side of King County. Living in Bellevue provides you with easy access to the SeaTac airport, the third-largest higher education institution in the state, and many restaurant choices, such as the Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar. This spot offers shareable surf and turf plates, over 750 wines to choose from, and a raw bar serving a large variety of sushi, sashimi, and fresh local oysters. But that’s not all. Try out the variety of cuisines on offer, from the Mediterranean at Mediterranean Kitchen to Taiwanese at Din Tai Fung to Italian at Cantinetta Bellevue.
If you’re looking for activities, consider picking your own blueberries at Larsen Lake Blueberry Farm, strolling through the Bellevue Botanical Gardens, or relaxing beside Lake Washington as you gaze at Mt. Rainier over the water. The Bellevue Zip Tour in Eastgate Park offers visitors a seven-line zip tour or aerial climbing adventures in their vertical challenge course for those who prefer to get a healthy adrenaline rush.
Bellevue boasts the second-highest walking score and the highest transit scores among the other neighborhoods, with 40/100 and 38/100, respectively. This area is excellent for those looking to work in IT, Amazon, Salesforce, and Smartsheet all have locations in the area. Commuting during peak hours may be rough, ranging from 20-40 minutes to Seattle, 27 minutes on average to Renton, and 14 minutes to Issaquah. However, there are multiple options you can take to get where you need to go. Because Bellevue is the central hub for the King County Metro and Sound transit system, making your way to work and activities is a breeze. To make the commute even easier, the East Link Light Rail is scheduled to begin service in 2023.
There’s a little bit of something for everyone in the Seattle area. Whether you’re looking to live closer or further away from the city, these neighborhoods offer Washington residents various lifestyles to choose from. If you’re interested in looking at Renton real estate, Newcastle homes for sale, or a home in a nearby neighborhood, contact Tanya Barrans Group today. Your slice of Washington paradise awaits.