Capitol Hill

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Old Seattle charm, thriving urban center. Historians say realtor and land speculator James A. Moore, who was credited with the platting of the Capitol Hill, named it after a similarly named site in Denver. But others say the name stuck after a real estate firm offered space on the hill as part of a proposal to place the area’s capital in Seattle. Whichever the case, by 1908 Capitol Hill and adjacent First Hill had become Seattle’s most fashionable districts. Wealthy bankers, shipping executives and other newly rich called it home.

Today the neighborhood is a thriving urban center, and Broadway—the neighborhood’s main drag—serves as its focal point. Capitol Hill is a unique counter-culture area. Music and art are prominent cornerstones of the community, with clubs, theatres, restaurants, bookstores and galleries found all throughout the neighborhood. Internationally renowned Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) schedules showing at the Harvard Exit and Egyptian Theatre on Capitol Hill. Public art displays are also found throughout the neighborhoodcommunity favorites include the bronze dance steps set into the sidewalk and the Jimi Hendrix statue. Martial arts star Bruce Lee, and his son Brandon Lee, are buried in the Lake View Cemetery north of Volunteer Park. Starbucks uses this hip, vibrant neighborhood as one of their test markets for new products and café décor.

The home styles within the Capitol Hill neighborhood are about as diverse as the residents, although there has been a trend in tearing down old homes to make way for condos. This trend has been quite unfortunate, due to how rich Capitol Hill is with architecturally significant buildings and homes. You’ll find mansions with Victorian and Craftsman accents. There are Fredrick Anhalt designed apartments, with Tudor influences and central courtyards. The Seattle Box style home can also be found throughout the neighborhood. The two blocks on 14th Ave E, near the South entrance of Volunteer Park, is dubbed Millionaire’s Rowthis little area contains fairly intact groupings of early 20th Century Seattle homes, many with lovely vistas.  The well-preserved Harvard-Belmont Landmark District located on the west slope of Capital Hill is also mainly residential in nature. The early 1900 homes built in the Harvard-Belmont Landmark District housed Seattle’s leading financiers, industrialists, merchants, and businessmen.

During the academic year, Capitol Hill is filled with backpacking students who go to one of the nearby major institutions of higher learning—Seattle Central Community College, the nationally acclaimed Cornish College of the Arts, and nearby Seattle University. The Capitol Hill section of the Seattle Light Rail system opened in 2016 with its underground station located between Broadway and East John Street, beneath Nagle Place. This station is conveniently located to serve college students, medical center employees and patients, and Capitol Hill area employers residents. The neighborhood (map) is bounded by Fuhrman Avenue East on the north, Interstate 5 on the west, East Pike Street on the south and 24th Avenue East. Seattle School District serves the needs of its younger residents.

Check out these recent Seattle Times articles about Capitol Hill, First Hill and Seattle’s Central District.

Search Capitol Hill Homes
Search Capitol Hill Condos 
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Seattle City website
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Seattle School District
Seattle Map Portal
Community Guide (PDF)


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