Geography of Seattle, Washington

Geography of Seattle, Washington

North America

According to indexdotcom, Seattle is located in the northwestern United States in the state of Washington between the Canadian city of Vancouver and Portland. The city forms an isthmus between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington. Elliott Bay, part of the Puget Sound, is connected to the Pacific Ocean and forms a natural harbor. Lake Washington is also connected to the Pacific Ocean by the Lake Washington Ship Canal, which was dug between 1911 and 1934. Seattle is located in a hilly area. Seattle’s highest point is 158 meters high and is located at two water towers on Southwest Myrtle Street in the Southwest borough. The city’s second highest point is Bitter Lake with an elevation of 150 meters and Seattle’s third highest point is Queen Anne with an elevation of 139 meters. The steepest road in the city is East Roy Street with a maximum gradient of 28 percent between the intersections of 25th Avenue North and 26th Avenue North.

The total area of ​​Seattle is 237.3 km², of which 8.0 km² is water. Of this, 3.35 km² is part of Lake Union and Green Lake. Seattle has one major river, the Duwamish, which rises in the Cascade Range . The Port of Seattle is also located on this river.

Administrative division

Seattle’s 13 City Districts

Seattle is administratively divided into three regions, which consist of a total of thirteen city districts. Each city district consists of several neighborhoods. The city districts were established by the city council in 1987 to involve the inhabitants more in city politics. Each city district had its own board for this.

The table below lists all city districts with their population in 2010.

Name population
Ballard 43.935
Central 29.868
Delridge 34.904
Downtown 18.004
East 50.083
Greater Duwamish 44.984
Lake Union 45.166
Magnolia/Queen Anne 57.643
North 41.442
Northeast 77.198
Northwest 70.821
Southeast 46.640
Southwest 48.008

North Region

Northwest is far from the center and is relatively quiet. There are mainly wooden detached houses and there is a lot of space for nature in the district. The houses are relatively moderately priced compared to Seattle with the exception of western Broadview, which offers a view of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Several major roads run through Northwest with major stores and hypermarkets along them. The city district has few restaurants or nightlife. Northwest consists of the Broadview, Bitter Lake, Green Lake, Greenwood, Haller Lake, Licton Springs, Phinney neighborhoods.

North is quiet and has a lot of greenery. The houses are relatively reasonably priced compared to the rest of Seattle, but especially on the east coast there are more expensive houses, which offer a view of Pontiac Bay. There are few shops and other amenities in the area itself, but on the edge of the city district is the commercial center called Northgate. There is also a large mall here. North is home to Cedar Park, Jackson Park, Lake City, Mapple Leaf, Meadowbrook, North Matthews Beach, Northgate, Olympic Hills, Pinehurst, and Victory Heights.

Ballard used to be a quiet Norwegian fishing village, but is now a popular Seattle city district. Ballard has several quiet residential areas with detached houses, which overlook the Puget Sound. The city district also has its own center in the southeast. This center is older than the rest of the district and also has a small harbor for yachts and small ships. There is also a harbor to the west of Ballard, but it is only for yachts. The city district consists of the Blue Ridge, Central Ballard, Crown Hill, East Ballard, Loyal Heights, North Beach, Olympic Manor, Seaview, Shilshole Liveaboard Community, Sunset Hill, and Whittier Heights neighborhoods.

Northeast has a lot of greenery and is a very young city district. This is largely due to the fact that the University of Washington is located in Northeast. About 35 percent of the city district’s residents are between the ages of 18 and 29. Because of the university, many professors also live in Northeast. Ravenna Boulevard is also often referred to as “Professors’ Row” because it is home to many professors. Norhteast includes the neighborhoods of Belvedere Terrace, Hawthorne Hills, Inverness, Inverness Park, Laurelhurst, Magnuson Park, Matthews Beach, Ravenna-Bryant, Roosevelt, University, University Park, View Ridge, Wedgwood, Windermere, and Windermere North.

Central Region

Magnolia/Queen Anne is a popular city district and is also a city district with many expensive houses. The Magnolia and Queen Anne neighborhoods are separated by Interbay. This is a district with a lot of industry and also has a harbour. A major railroad also runs through Interbay. East of Interbay near the center is Queen Anne. Queen Anne has a sort of transition zone between the residential area and the adjacent downtown district of Downtown. Instead of detached houses, there are mainly apartments and commercial buildings here. The famous Space Needle is also located in this transition zone. Magnolia/Queen Anne consists of the Interbay, Magnolia and Queen Anne neighborhoods.

Houseboats in Lake Union

Lake Union is divided into two parts, which are separated by Lake Union. The portion north of the lake is a popular area and offers views of downtown Seattle. Especially in the Fremont district are many restaurants and has a lot of nightlife. East of Fremont in the Wallingford. districtare mainly detached houses with lots of greenery. The part south of the lake is less popular. The South Lake Union district is mainly home to large apartments and offices. Located adjacent to downtown Seattle, this neighborhood was built not long after Seattle’s founding. Northeast of South Lake Union is the Eastlake neighborhood. This district mainly consists of smaller apartments, but also more than a hundred houseboats. Lake Union includes the Eastlake, Fremont, South Lake Union, and Wallingford neighborhoods.

East is a diverse city district. In the northeast of East there are mainly expensive houses with lots of greenery, but in the southwest of East there are mainly smaller apartments interspersed with detached houses. This part of the city district is adjacent to the center of Seattle and also contains relatively cheap housing compared to the rest of Seattle. East includes the First Hill, Capitol Hill, and Pike/Pine neighborhoods.

Downtown is the busy center of Seattle. Skyscrapers are here and Seattle’s business heart is also here. Downtown also has a Chinatown and about 40 percent of its residents are non-white. The city district has many restaurants and nightlife and has both cheap and expensive housing compared to the rest of Seattle. Downtown consists of the Belltown, Chinatown/International District, Commercial Core, Denny Triangle and Pioneer Square neighborhoods.

Central is east of Downtown and there are mainly wooden detached houses. In the northeast of the city district there are relatively expensive houses and a lot of greenery, but closer to the center in the west the houses are relatively cheap compared to the rest of the city and there is a lot less greenery. There is also much more nightlife in the west and many more restaurants than in the east. In Central, 40 percent of the residents are not white. Central includes the 12th Avenue Neighborhood, 23rd & Jackson Business District, Colman, Jackson Place, Jackson Street Corridor Business District, Leschi, Madison Valley, Madrona, Squire Park, and Union Street Business District.

South Region

Southwest originated from the small village of Admiral. This former village is now in the north of Southwest. The city district has expensive houses and lots of greenery close to the coast, but away from the coast there are relatively normal priced houses compared to the rest of Seattle and there is less greenery. Right through Southwest are a few major roads lined with many commercial buildings and apartment complexes. The city district consists of the Admiral, Alki, Fairmount, Fauntleroy, Genesee-Schmitz, Morgan Junction, and West Seattle Junction neighborhoods.

Compared to the rest of Seattle, Delridge has fairly cheap houses and little greenery. The city district has a 40 percent non-white population and is located west of the Port of Seattle. In Delridge there are mainly smaller detached wooden houses. The city district includes Cottage Grove, High Point, Highland Park, Pigeon Point, Puget Ridge, South Delridge Triangle/White Center, Sunrise Heights, Westwood, and Yongstown.

Greater Duwamish is about half made up of the Port of Seattle. In 2012, it was the seventh largest port in the United States and the seventh largest port in the world. In addition to a port, Greater Duwamish also has the stadium of the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Sounders FC and the Seattle Seahawks as well as part of Boeing Field. Residential properties in the city district are generally relatively priced compared to the rest of Seattle. About 70 percent of all residents are not white. Greater Duwamish consists of the Georgetown, North Beacon Hill, SODO, South Beacon Hill and South Park neighborhoods.

Southeast is a fairly green city district with mainly detached houses. To the east on the coast are very expensive houses, but a few blocks away are relatively cheap houses compared to the rest of Seattle. In Southeast, about 70 percent of the population is not white. . The largest park in the city district is Seward Park. This park is also a peninsula. Southeast includes the neighborhoods of Brighton, Columbia City, Dunlap, Genesee, Hillman City, Lakewood, Mt Baker, New Holly, North Rainier, Othello, Pritchard Beach, Rainier Beach, and Rainier Vista.

View from the Columbia Center

Downtown from Pier 66


There are more than 400 parks in Seattle, covering a total area of ​​more than 25 km². Seattle’s largest park is Discovery Park with an area of ​​almost 2.1 km².  Lakeview Place is the city’s smallest park and covers an area of ​​16 m². Seattle’s oldest park is Denny Park, which was established in 1884. Three years after the park’s opening in 1887, the Board of Park Commissioners was established. Some parks known for their downtown views are Kerry Park, Jose P. Rizal Park, and Gas Works Park.


Snow Shovels in the Winter of 1923

According to the Köppen climate classification, Seattle has a Mediterranean climate influenced by the sea. This means that there are warm summers and mild winters and that most precipitation falls in the winter. The coldest month is January with an average temperature of 5.2 °C and the hottest month is August with an average temperature of 18.5 °C. December is the wettest month with an average rainfall of 138 mm.

Winters in Seattle are mild with average temperatures of 5-8°C. The wind usually comes from the southwest during this season. There is considerably more precipitation in winter than in summer with 19 rainy days per month in December and January. Most winters it freezes, but there is hardly ever much snow. Lake Union freezes in some winters, but large lakes like Lake Washington have never been frozen in time. The lowest temperature ever recorded is −18°C on January 31, 1950.

Summers in Seattle are much warmer than winters with average temperatures of 16-19°C. The wind usually comes from the northwest during this season. In summer there is less clouds and precipitation than in winter. The highest temperature ever recorded in Seattle is 39°C on July 29, 2009.

Seattle averages 866 mm of precipitation per year. The wettest month is December and the driest month is July. The year with the most rainfall ever recorded in Seattle was 1950 with a rainfall of 1401 mm. The wettest day ever recorded was October 20, 2003 with a rainfall of 128 mm.


The Seattle City Council is trying to reduce its carbon footprint and reduce its emissions. For example, in 2005 the Seattle electric utility, City Light, signed a contract with a company that sells emissions rights for more than 300,000 tons of CO 2 equivalents, giving the company zero emissions. Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions were 7 percent lower in 2008 than in 1990, and the carbon footprint is 20 percent smaller than that year. About 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from cars and trucks. To reduce that, Seattle is investing in greener modes of transportation. Seattle invested $36 million in bike lanes over four years. Seattle also opened its light rail in 2009 that connects various boroughs. In addition, sidewalks have been improved and constructed, the tram network has been expanded and electric driving is encouraged.

To improve the environment, Seattle also encourages tree planting. For example, residents can collect trees for free to plant at home. This project has produced 4,000 new trees since 2009.

Geography of Seattle, Washington