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Seattle's Capitol Hill

A Profile of Seattle's Capitol Hill Neighborhood


Seattle's Capitol Hill

Photo © Brian Holsclaw

Capitol Hill Overview

Capitol Hill is the epitome of 21st century Seattle: young, high-tech, and culturally adventurous. It's the epicenter of coffee culture, home to clubs that spawned the grunge movement, and the site of some of Seattle's biggest events, like Block Party and the Pride Parade.


Capitol Hill blends into stodgier, older, and hospital-dominated First Hill to the south, with Madison the approximate southern boundary. To the west Interstate 5 provides a barrier between the Hill and downtown. In the north, Highway 520 marks a distinct boundary. To the east, you could make a case for 19th or 23rd/24th being the formal border.

Capitol Hill has a common ambience and self-identity but it is really closer to three distinct neighborhoods:

Upper Broadway: This end of the neighborhood has some of Seattle's oldest and most expensive mansions, and is increasingly dominated by large, multi-story condo buildings with street level retail.

The Pike/Pine Corridor: The Pike/Pine area is an edgier, more raucous complement to its northern neighbor. Seattle University and SCCC fill the area with students.

15th: Further up the Hill from Broadway is 15th, a slower-paced but still hip area, with an older demographic. The area is home to the sprawling Group Health medical complex.


Capitol Hill has about 25,000 residents. The median age is 32 and there are very few children. Over half of residents have a bachelor's degree or higher. The vast majority of residents were born out of state.

Rent and Real Estate

Vacancy is on the rise but not nearly as high as the rest of the city. Despite the economic downturn, Capitol Hill remains a desirable place to live.

Food and Restaurants

Capitol Hill has some of the most diverse dining options in the city, covering not only a wide variety of styles but also prices.

Smith (15th) - "Rustic Pub Fare" - 332 15th Ave E

Poppy (Broadway) - "Pacific NW flavored Thali" - 622 Broadway E

Dick's Drive-In (Broadway) - "A Seattle hamburger institution" - 115 Broadway E

• Annapurna (Broadway) - "Taste of Nepal, India, and Tibet" - 1833 Broadway E

Café Presse (Pike/Pine) - "French bistro" - 117 12th Ave E

Kingfish Cafe - (15th) - "Authentic soul food" - 602 19th Ave E


The action is on the south end of the neighborhood, though upper Broadway boasts a few gems.

Oddfellows - (Pike/Pine) - Hipster epicenter - 1525 10th Ave E

Century Ballroom -(Pike/Pine) - Salsa and swing dance hall - 915 E Pine St.

• Canterbury - (15th) - A dive bar for nerds - 534 15th Ave E

Sun Liquor - (Broadway) - The pinnacle of cool - 607 Summit Ave E

Wild Rose - (Pike/Pine) - The definitive lesbian bar - 1021 E Pine St.

The Cuff Complex - (Pike/Pine) - "For lovers of leather, Levis, and uniforms." - 1533 13th Ave E


Every Seattle neighborhood has a few coffeehouses its residents would defend to the death. Here are Capitol Hill's:

Victrola (Pike/Pine and 15th) - 310 E Pike and 411 E 15th

Caffé Vita (Pike/Pine) - 1005 E Pike

Vivace (Broadway) - 321 Broadway

Caffe Ladro (15th) - 425 E 15th


Despite some recent closures, Broadway is still a major shopping destination and will not disappoint.

• Broadway Boutique - Cheap but utterly distinctive clothing - 113 Broadway E

Paper, Rock, Scissors - Limited edition sneakers - 1524 E Olive Way

Everyday Music - The best used record store in the city - 112 Broadway E

Red Light - A consignment shop with remarkable selection and rapid turnover - 312 Broadway E

• Castle - The Hill's adult toy superstore - 206 Broadway E


Seattlites love the outdoors, and Hill denizens are no exception.

Cal Anderson Park - The heart and soul of the Hill, Forbes called this one of America's best parks. Located between Broadway and 12th and adjoining the incoming Light Rail station, the recently renovated Cal Anderson is a marvel.

Volunteer Park - Volunteer Park is the crown jewel of Seattle's park system and, as such, belongs more to the city as a whole than to the Hill. It is a sprawling, intermittently wooded park with multiple attractions.

• Small parks - The Hill is dotted with numerous small parks that take up less than block, sometimes featuring a small jungle gym, sometimes little more than a couple benches. These parks help break up the urban monotony and offer a place to sit and read on a nice day.

• P-Patches - P-Patches are small neighborhood vegetable gardens, entirely maintained by residents. The Hill currently has three P-Patches. Sign up for garden space at the kiosk in each P-Patch.


Capitol Hill has none of the city's major arts institutions, but it is still the artistic heart and soul of Seattle.

Harvard Exit (Broadway) - indie and foreign films - 807 E Roy

NWFF (Pike/Pine) - film exhibition and production - 1515 12th Ave

• Little Theatre (15th) - new plays - 608 19th Ave E

Annex Theatre (Pike/Pine) - fringe theatre - 1100 E Pike St.

Neumos (Pike/Pine) - national and local music acts - 925 E Pike

Government Services and Essentials

• U.S. Post Office - 101 Broadway E

Group Health Urgent Care Clinic - 125 16th Ave

Grocery and Pharmacy

• Trader Joe's - 1700 E Madison St.

• Safeway - 1410 E John St.

• QFC - 417 Broadway E

• Madison Market Co-Op - 1600 E Madison

• Walgreens - 1531 Broadway E

Broadway Sunday Farmer's Market - corner of 10th Ave E and E Thomas

Public Transportation

Capitol Hill is served by numerous bus lines. A streetcar line opens in 2013 and the light rail station opens in 2015.


Capitol Hill's only branch library is located at 425 Harvard Ave E.

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