Neighborhood along the west shore of Lake Washington offers affordable homes, a diverse community, and lots of options for transit and recreation.
Location: Rainier Beach is in Southeast Seattle, bordered by Rainier Avenue South and the waterfront on its eastern side, Martin Luther King Jr. Way South on its west side and South Bangor Street to the south. The northern border of the neighborhood is debatable, but South Kenyon Street is a common delineation.
Why people move to this neighborhood: Perched along the west shore of Lake Washington, Rainier Beach offers affordable homes, a diverse community, a growing list of transit options to Sea-Tac Airport and downtown, and a series of recent investments in parks and recreation infrastructure. Rainier Beach High School has shown a remarkable turnaround in graduation rates and academic achievement, and a busy community center, public library and small-business culture celebrate a focus on the local. New cafes have sprung up — including Redwing (opened in late 2014) and Stone House Café (opened 2015) — and cater to locals.
Distance from downtown: 8.5 miles: 20 minutes (non-rush hour) to 35 minutes via car; 20-25 minutes via light rail; 30-40 minutes via bus.
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School district:Seattle Public Schools
Major employers: Rainier Beach is not home to any major employers, but it has an active merchants’ association, and an economic development task force is working on bringing food entrepreneurship facilities to the community.
Housing: Rainier Beach features typical Seattle bungalows as well as numerous midcentury homes ready for modernism enthusiasts. Apartment and multifamily buildings dot the arterial streets of Rainier Avenue South and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South.
Walk score (out of 100): 47 (Some locations have higher walk scores than others, generally those away from the waterfront.)
Bike score (out of 100): 36
Transit score (out of 100): 48
Historical facts: Initially dubbed Atlantic City by Clarence Hillman, one of several pioneers who developed the area beginning in the late 19th century, the neighborhood was home to Duwamish tribal villages and enjoyed a waterfront location and early trolley service. While the trolley ended service before World War II, the neighborhood boomed in the years following, and in 1960 saw construction of a junior and senior high school to accommodate children born in the Baby Boom. A nearby housing complex in Seward Park fell to the blight that brought crime to this corner of South Seattle, but economic development efforts in the 1990s and beyond have restored the neighborhood, one of Seattle’s most diverse, and continue today.
Recreation:Rainier Beach Pool, one of eight indoor pools in the city, received a $25 million makeover in 2013, and a newer library and community center serve the area. Kubota Garden, a Japanese garden, offers a quiet respite. Small waterfront parks (Pritchard Island Beach, Beer Sheva) offer play and picnic options plus boat launches, while Lakeridge Park on the neighborhood’s southern end offers 35 wooded acres of paths. Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands is an in-city farm that will expand facilities in 2017 for food-related classes and events.
Zillow Home Value Index: $386,300
Zillow Condo Value Index: N/A
Zillow Rent Index: $2,019
The Zillow Home Value Index is the median Zestimate valuation for a given geographic area on a given day. The Zillow Rent Index is the monthly median rent Zestimate. Sources: Rainier Beach Action Coalition, historylink.org, Zillow.