One of the area’s first planned communities grows up (but not too big) along Lake Washington
Location: Lake Forest Park is bordered by 25th Avenue Northeast to the west, Northeast 205th Street to the north, 55th Avenue Northeast to the east, and Lake Washington and Northeast 145th Street to the south.
Why people move to this neighborhood: It’s a small residential city (and one of the area’s first planned communities) that is suburban in feel and made up of wooded hills, set away from the hubbub of the city — once you get off the busy highway to the south, that is. It has quiet streets, good schools and a small town center of shopping complexes near Lake Washington, just off the major thoroughfare of Bothell Way Northeast. It has a number of small neighborhood parks and is a quick drive from Seattle to the south as well as Shoreline to the west and Eastside cities.
Distance from downtown Seattle: About 13 miles, 25 minutes by car without traffic
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School district: Shoreline School District
Housing: Midcentury single-family homes on medium to large lots, along with a small number of multifamily, apartment and condominium buildings sprinkled in. Some of the original bungalow, Colonial and Tudor Revival homes from the early 20th Century still stand. Some of the pricier homes are found near Lake Washington.
Walk score (out of 100): 16 (input for 40th Place Northeast)
Transit score (out of 100): N/A
Bike score (out of 100): N/A
Historical facts: The land occupied by today’s Lake Forest Park was once a winter village site for the Snohomish Tribe, who also had built small houses on the land, but the Snohomish were forced out as white settlers took over the land for logging in the late 1800s. At first, most area settlers reached Seattle by boat via Lake Washington. But in 1879, the crude Military Road, which was a muddy set of ruts along today’s Bothell Way, was cleared and graded, and a railway connecting the area to Seattle was built less than 10 years after that. In the early 20th Century, as Seattle’s population grew and more people wanted to move outside the city, developer Ole Hanson (who also served as Seattle’s mayor from 1918-19) saw potential in Lake Forest Park and hired a civil engineer to design the community. But he didn’t want it to look too uniform, and as a result, each home design was individual, and the development was a success as it continued to expand.
Recreation: With 15 acres, Grace Cole Nature Park is one of the biggest in the city (though it’s still fairly small), with a boardwalk over marshy wetlands and a short trail though a wooded area. Pfingst Animal Acres Park is a small grassy park that also has a salmon viewing platform. Lyon Creek Waterfront Preserve is near the town center and has a small play area, benches and a boardwalk with views of Lake Washington and Lyon Creek, along with public shoreline access. Right near Lyon Creek is the Burke-Gilman Trail, which runs along Lake Washington and is often busy with bicycles whizzing by. The city has a handful more neighborhood parks, including Blue Heron Park, Horizon View park, Whispering Willow Park and McKinnon Creek Trail. Most businesses, shops and restaurants in the city are in the Town Center shopping mall. Residents also can join the Lake Forest Park Civic Club, which provides access to its lakefront facilities.
Zillow Home Value Index: $543,000 (as of April 2016)
Zillow Rent Index: $2,457 (as of April 2016)