West Seattle Communities Guide
Relocating to the communities west of Seattle is for those who enjoy island and peninsula living, and a slower pace and a laid back outlook on life.
West Seattle has stayed popular in the last decade for a variety of reasons, including its expansive waterfront, suitability for child-rearing, and distance from city noise that does not compromise urban living. However, that desirability has recently broadened. When we began covering the southwest in 2012, places like White Center, Delridge, and Burien drew little attention. Buyers are being priced out of West Seattle and people are clamoring just to live near it. As a result, a new wave is populating the southwest, particularly White Center and Delridge, elevating the status of lesser-known territories on West Seattle’s outskirts.
Few people have heard of Pigeon Point, a vantage point with views of the downtown skyline and backdoor West Seattle Bridge access that bypasses the long lines at the Fauntleroy or Admiral Way on-ramps. According to Granahan, developers are stuffing townhomes here on the ridge’s tree-laden slopes, but they’re going fast. Despite all of the development taking place within West Seattle’s borders, those looking southwest now have a larger selection to choose from.
Citizens of Bainbridge Island are extremely proud of their home and its colorful history of shipyards, Native American settlements, timber towns and agriculture. Once known for berry farms and summer homes, now upscale housing, good schools, low crime, a sophisticated population and a friendly atmosphere characterize this island community.
On Bainbridge Island, no matter what your interests are, getting away comes naturally. There are eclectic boutiques, scenic vistas, warm accommodations, and outdoor adventures to be found. There’s something for everyone, from fine dining to the great outdoors. Best of all, we’re only a short ferry ride away from Seattle’s bustling metropolis. Unplug from daily life and immerse yourself in the small-town charm of Bainbridge Island.
Bremerton, Kitsap County’s largest city, hosts the nation’s largest Armed Forces Day celebration the third weekend of May. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard is Bremerton’s major employer and boasts thousands of highly skilled technical workers and business staff. Many Bremerton residents enjoy a quick 55-minute commute to Seattle via a Washington State Ferry. The city boasts award-winning golf courses, a thriving arts community, affordable housing and spectacular scenic beauty.
Explore the beautiful fountains, public plazas, parks, and memorials that surround the Bremerton waterfront and Arts District. The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Memorial Plaza is located in Harborside Fountain Park and is dedicated to shipyard workers and the shipyard’s founder, Lt. Ambrose Wycoff. The historic USS Turner Joy can be found on the Harborside/Mentor Boardwalk. In and around the Kitsap Peninsula region, there are dozens of historic military and memorial sites.
Once a remote community located at the southern end of the Olympic Peninsula, Gig Harbor has become a progressive business community and a desirable home location for workers commuting to Tacoma, Seattle, Olympia and Bremerton. Residential areas offer homes on quiet harbors, spectacular views of Mount Rainier, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, and convenient access to shopping and business complexes.
Everywhere you look in Gig Harbor, there are scenes of uncommon brilliance, watercraft of all shapes and sizes, historic homes and businesses, open views across the harbor, and those incredible moments when Rainier towers in the distance.
Gig Harbor is a community that is intertwined. A walk through town will take you past historic net sheds, a stunning museum, and the area’s most diverse collection of independent businesses and restaurants. Festivals, concerts, gallery strolls, and family nights out draw crowds here. We are a place where our past motivates our future, knowing that we can preserve what is wonderful about this place while continuing to improve our town and all that it means to us.
Kingston residents enjoy independent rural living, but many reach jobs in north Seattle and Snohomish County by ferry, or work at government installations in Bangor, Keyport or Bremerton, all about a half-hour’s commute. Specialty stores, restaurants and other services including a 320-berth marina are found in Kingston.
Kingston serves as the western terminus of the Washington State Ferry route Edmonds-Kingston. It’s a lovely and scenic 30-minute ferry ride that’s ideal for a walk-on ferry adventure in either direction, especially in the summer. Kingston’s enchanting main street is lined with shops, pubs serving local brews, and restaurants of various types. The Kingston Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, situated right in front of the Kingston-Edmonds ferry terminal, provides a wealth of information to visitors to the Kitsap Peninsula and beyond. While you’re there, take a leisurely stroll through town and take in the natural beauty of Kingston and the Kitsap Peninsula.
Lucky Port Orchard residents can easily reach the urban attractions of Tacoma and Seattle (accessible by highway and ferry) and the beautiful recreational opportunities found on the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas. Local real estate options include fine historic homes, new construction, fixer-uppers, waterfront homes, and golf course properties. Shops, restaurants, parks, and an array of local attractions are located here.
Port Orchard is a smaller city in Kitsap County, Washington, not far from West Seattle. South Kitsap County is a thriving collection of small towns with plenty of places to eat, shop, and visit art galleries and museums. Port Orchard is a picturesque town with a strong military heritage, with stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and pristine waterfront. Port Orchard is located on Sinclair Inlet and is home to numerous marinas and boating opportunities. Certain attractions may be temporarily shut down or require reservations in advance. Currently, some restaurants only offer pickup. Hours and availability may have shifted.
Founded more than a century ago by Norwegian settlers, the picturesque town of Poulsbo, known as “Little Norway on the Fjord,” delights in showing off its cultural heritage. People are drawn to its downtown core by parks, a waterfront boardwalk, Port of Poulsbo Marina, bakeries, shops, restaurants and panoramic views.
Poulsbo, Washington’s historic waterfront town, is a mecca for all things Scandinavian, with streets named Lindvig and Fjord, a welcome sign that reads “Velkommen til Poulsbo,” and the moniker “Little Norway.”
The historic downtown, which faces the majestic Liberty Bay, is packed with boutiques, antiques, bookstores, and a plethora of cafes and bars that attract visitors.
Take a ferry to get an early start. Here’s a list of things to do in Kitsap County’s version of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.
Silverdale is an unincorporated community located in the heart of Kitsap County. This thriving economic community’s top employer is Naval Base Kitsap. The Kitsap Mall, the largest shopping area west of Puget Sound, attracts shoppers from across the tri-county area.
Silverdale, located in the heart of the Kitsap Peninsula, has scenic trails, prized breweries, and beachfront hotels with views of Dyes Inlet, Mount Rainier, the Olympic Mountains, and spectacular sunsets. Easy beach access leads to a plethora of outdoor activities, and hundreds of shops, malls, movie theaters, and bowling alleys provide a plethora of indoor activities as well. The Oxford Suites and the Best Western Plus Silverdale Beach Hotel are two of Kitsap’s largest hotels, both located on Silverdale’s waterfront. The Quality Inn is located on Silverdale Way and is reasonably priced. Silverdale is the ideal place to begin your Kitsap Peninsula adventure…whether for the day, a romantic weekend, or a family vacation.
Vashon Island is a place for people who want to get back to the land without giving up the benefits of the city. Only a 15-minute ferry ride to West Seattle, Vashon has a rural, informal atmosphere created by its friendly residents and scenic beauty.
Vashon Island is a rural paradise located just west of Seattle. Take a ferry from the Fauntleroy terminal to appreciate the island’s beauty and quaint towns. Vashon Island is also accessible via the Pt Defiance ferry terminal in Tacoma, the Southworth ferry, and, during the week, the King County Water taxi from downtown Seattle. Vashon, roughly the size of Manhattan, has no bridge connection to the mainland and thus maintains a peaceful sense of seclusion.
Explore the beaches, pastures, parks, and nature preserves, which are interspersed with vineyards, galleries, farm stands selling freshly harvested berries, and other unusual sights. Rent a kayak or bicycle to circumnavigate the island, and don’t miss Point Robinson Park with its sandy shoreline and saltwater marsh.