The island is just 6 square miles, and residents say there’s a strong sense of community.
Population: About 24,000
Location:Mercer Island is a true island, situated in Lake Washington equidistant between Seattle and the Eastside cities, connected by Interstate 90.
Why people move to this neighborhood: The island is just 6 square miles, and residents say there’s a strong sense of community. It’s heavily residential, and many families say they chose Mercer Island for its schools, low crime rates and quiet, suburban feel, while still being a short commute to Seattle or Bellevue. Pricey homes, often with private beaches and docks and views of the cities on either side, line the island’s waterfront, while public beaches are busy with swimmers and boaters in the summer. A small business district is concentrated just off the highway (with a smaller one in the island’s south end), and the city takes pride in its parks of various sizes with walking trails and stunning views, adding up to 475 acres of parks and open space on the island.
Distance from downtown Seattle: 7 miles, about 15 minutes by car without traffic
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School district:Mercer Island School District
Major employers: Mercer Island School District
Housing: Mostly single-family houses, as well as sprawling waterfront homes and a few modern apartment buildings above retail space in the small business district downtown. But since Mercer Island has limited land to build on — and there are many beautiful houses taking advantage of the island’s views — homes here are pricier here than anywhere else in the state.
Walk score (out of 100): 30
Transit score (out of 100): N/A
Bike score (out of 100): N/A
Recreation: The island’s largest green space is Pioneer Park, which has 113 acres of forested trails divided into three distinct quadrants. On the northern end is the 80-acre Luther Burbank Park, one of the most popular on the island for its public beach, boat dock, tennis courts, picnic areas and children’s play area. The island has several smaller parks and other beach access points as well.
Historical fact: Mercer Island was first settled in the 1870s and was named after one of the three pioneering Mercer brothers who had an influence in the Seattle area at the time. (Thomas Mercer, one of the three brothers, also the person who in 1854 suggested that the formerly unnamed Lake Washington, the state’s largest inland lake, be called just that.)
Zillow Home Value Index (as of December 2015) : $1,109,900
Zillow Rent Index (as of December 2015) : $4,019