Sandwiched between Eastlake and the Washington Parks Arboretum, Montlake is a quiet neighborhood with ample park space. Because most of its homes were built before 1940, it maintains a charming old school feel.
In 1861, Montlake was known as Union City and was hoped to become a booming business town with shipping and freight opportunities. It didn’t quite work out in that way, but people did see the area’s potential for a beautiful residential neighborhood. In fact, land developers required a minimum dollar amount be spent on each new home constructed ($3,000 to $5,000 depending on where you were). People quickly snapped up plots with lake views, which were only made better after the Montlake Cut project was completed in 1917.
This is a community that rallies together to solve issues, usually revolving around environmental preservation. Hot-button issues include the ever-evolving debate about the Highway 520 bridge that cuts through the neighborhood, habitat restoration, and the upkeep of the area’s parks. Not that they can’t let loose and have fun. The community center hosts events like a fall festival, Minute to Win It nights, all kinds of sports and music lessons, and ‘tot’ programs for the little guys.
Activities and Attractions
Much of the draw of Montlake is in its park system. Interlaken Park, which forms the border between Montlake and Capitol Hill, had some of Seattle’s first bike and buggy trails, which today make for great hiking. The Washington Parks Arboretum (which means, literally, ‘tree museum’), marks the eastern border and has flower gardens, trails that go over land and water, and a cool Japanese garden.
The small business district on 24th Avenue has all of your basic needs—Fuel coffee, Mont’s Market (aptly named, wouldn’t you say?), pizza and Italian at Café Lago, and the standard neighborhood pub, Montlake Alehouse.
Every September, the St. Demetrios Church holds their Greek Festival—one of the most famous events of the year in Montlake.