The first European settlers landed in West Seattle in 1851 and attempted to set up there, an endeavor that was made difficult by poor weather and a harbor that wasn’t quite up to par. A few stayed behind while everyone else moved on to Elliot Bay. From then on, West Seattle was its own unique community and has maintained a different attitude than Seattle as a whole.
The community only really agreed to be annexed into Seattle out of necessity; they just couldn’t get their roads and public utilities up to the level of quality that they wanted. In 1907, West Seattle became part of Seattle officially, but at several times throughout history they threatened to back out of the deal, even as recently as the 1990s. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that the idea doesn’t come up again; it would be a shame to take this neighborhood off the list of Seattle’s fine districts.
Even today, residents of West Seattle seem to grudgingly acknowledge their affiliation with Seattle. The attitude seems to be, “Sure, we’re technically part of the city, but we want to do our own thing, thank you very much.” It has much more of a small-town feel than what you’d expect for such a large neighborhood, but the business district is one of the coolest around. The most popular area is called the Junction
, with the action extending for blocks and blocks in all directions from there. Then, of course, there’s Alki
, the sandy beach strip on the tip of the peninsula. Other major neighborhoods in West Seattle include Admiral
and Delridge. All in all, it’s a caring community with lots of activity.
Activities and Attractions
On a nice day, Alki couldn’t be a better destination. The activities there are endless, ranging from simply jogging to the more adventurous kite surfing or parasailing. There are other parks that may be less popular but are every bit as worthwhile, such as Schmitz, Mee Kwa Mooks, and Lincoln parks.
You could probably spend every day for a week exploring all that California Avenue and Admiral Way have to offer. You can find anything here; music stores, bakeries, bars, salons, and thrift stores just to name a few. A lot of the businesses are unique to West Seattle; in other words, there aren’t many chains here!
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Though it’s isolated from the rest of the city, West Seattle is an incredibly popular area, whether it’s to live in or just to visit one of its hip neighborhoods.