Named after Christopher Columbus, this neighborhood aspired to be great from its beginning. With a sawmill that could make neat work of the area’s giant trees and a rail line that connected to Downtown Seattle, Columbia City was a popular place to settle in the late 1800s. With its many businesses and services, it was even considered a downtown to the smaller communities nearby.
After World War II, the neighborhood saw a decline. Businesses closed, and crime rates rose. In the past few decades, however, many efforts have successfully spruced things up and attracted residents once again.
Columbia City has the highest Walk Score of any neighborhood south of downtown, including the ever-popular “Junction” in West Seattle. Translation: there’s a lot to do here, and it’s all concentrated in one area. The people here love to support the local businesses. For example, I talked to a guy working at a little boutique who not only lived in the neighborhood but also bartended at the pub next door. In fact, he may have just been filling in at the shop as a favor to the owner. The point is: people get along harmoniously here in Columbia City.
Activities and Attractions
To experience Columbia City’s charm, head to Rainier Avenue where it meets Genesee Street. Park your car, and spend some time moseying up and down the main drag and side streets. If you’re early enough, sit at Geraldine’s Counter and have some amazing pancakes, or try Columbia City Bakery for one of their famous pastries. Places like Columbia City Bouquet, Andaluz, and Retroactive Kids provide great browsing opportunities. Round out the day with a show at Columbia City Theatre and dinner at one of the many restaurants to choose from.
If you’re up for a little more activity, head to Genesee Park and enjoy the many acres of open grass, play fields, and jungle gyms. Or do a little bike shopping at Bike Works, where they teach youth to fix up used bikes and sell them to you at a great price!
Homes in Columbia City
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Everyone’s buzzing about Columbia City these days, and a quick tour through the cozy residential area or a stroll through the business district makes it easy to see why!