Seattle has many fantastic neighborhoods. You’ve probably heard of Ballard, Queen Anne or Capitol Hill, to name a few. As these long-standing popular neighborhoods continue to increase in density, it is time to turn our attention to up-and-coming areas blossoming with fantastic restaurants and shops. Rainier Valley is on the top of our list!
Located in south Seattle, Rainier Valley is a hub of excitement growing in conjunction with the communities of Columbia City, Hillman City, Brighton and Beacon Hill. Filled with independent, small and minority-owned businesses, great services and lots of activities, Rainier Valley is the place to be.
We created this handy guide to help you get started on exploring all that Rainier Valley has to offer. After hitting all the spots, we are sure you’ll fall in love with the are and want to move in!
Columbia City is a historic landmark district in South Seattle, known for its international mix of restaurants and cafes, live music venues, Ark Lodge Cinema, and locally-owned shops and businesses. In the 1890’s, Columbia City was the last stop on the trolley line from downtown Seattle. Now, it is at the heart of the Light Rail line, 15 minutes from Sea-Tac Airport and 11 minutes to Downtown – Columbia City Business Association
A community of collaborators, Hillman City is always abuzz with neighborhood gatherings and new businesses popping up. From breweries to co-working spaces, Hillman City is a wonderful area to relax and be yourself.
Brighton is a primarily residential neighborhood in the Rainier Valley district. It is just south of the Hillman City neighborhood and about a mile and a half south of the Columbia City neighborhood and retail district. It was reportedly named “Brighton Beach” after the English resort city of Brighton in East Sussex.
Beacon Hill is a giant, pea pod-shaped neighborhood in south Seattle that is booming with new development. Beacon Hill offers residents – many families and young professionals – an urban feel without being too close to the hustle and bustle with lots of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.
People come from far and wide to stand in line outside of Geraldine’s. It is continuously voted one Seattle’s top breakfast and brunch destinations – and it is right here in the heart of Rainier Valley! Located on a busy corner in Columbia City, Geraldine’s supports customers from far and wide with Americana comfort food.
Empire Espresso is a cozy Columbia City gem that manages to feel both bustling and calm enough for reading or working. The staff are known for their seasonal latte art, so every frothy cup — from traditional to matcha to cayenne — ought to feature something Instagram-worthy. And the snacks include crispy waffles (including vegan and gluten-free versions), killer paninis, and hearty hummus plates. – Eater Seattle
Established in 1992 by Amy herself and now owned by Judy and Filli, Amy’s Merkato is a restaurant, deli, and café AND, of course, is also Seattle’s first Ethiopian Market. The Google reviews and Globalist praise are enough for you to be sure Amy’s Merkato is the city’s best Ethiopian restaurant.
NW Peaks Brewery
If you didn’t believe us before, you need not worry any longer. NW Peaks Brewery, a stable of the hip Ballard community, has opened its doors in Rainier Valley’s Hillman City! It features unique beers and specialty casks for special occasions. Both tap rooms are open 7 days a week and are family friendly
Pizzeria con Cucina
It began as an idea back in 2004 inspired by a trip to Italy and stoked by some life experiences in Washington DC. After the owners moved back to the beloved Pacific Northwest, hosted several backyard fundraising parties, found investors, secured a location and undertook six months of building, the doors of Pizzeria con Cucina opened in Beacon Hill on July 15th, 2011.
Third Place Books
Third Place Seward Park is a general-interest bookstore featuring new and used books with a used-book buying counter open seven days a week. It opened its doors in May of 2016 in the Seward Park neighborhood of south Seattle. It provides a gathering space for its community by hosting over 200 events a year! – Third Place Books
Jacob Willard Home
Family-owned vintage furniture shop Jacob Willard Home operated online before opening its Hillman City showroom. In addition to a wide variety of restored midcentury furniture, it sells a selection of collectibles and LPs—and offers upholstery and refinishing services. Open Tuesday-Saturday, you can swing by the shop while you’re on your way home from work, the farmers market or a stroll! – Curbed Seattle
In the winter of 2008, Hello Bicycle was founded with the mission to bring Beacon Hill a bicycle shop that could meet the needs of the diverse ridership in the area. Sam took ownership in 2018 and continues to help, educate, and encourage riders from all skill levels and background. Hello Bicycle approaches every encounter with the highest level of customer experience and detail oriented bicycle repair.
Okay, so it is not in Rainier Valley per say, but Southcenter is a fantastic area and shopping mall that is super close to Rainier Valley. There you will find everything you need from Target to iFly Indoor Skydiving and beyond!
BEAUTY, HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Rocket is owned by husband and wife duo Brady and Alyssa. It was started in 2011 by Brady, who had a vision about creating community through fitness. “We are pretty sure we’ve got the best trainers in the city, and our incredible members deserve no less. We are the place where you can set aside all of your fears and insecurities while you find strength you didn’t know you had, cheered on by a remarkably diverse group of people who are doing the same thing.” – Rocket Crossfit
Tina’s Hair & Nail Salon
With top ratings on Yelp, Nextdoor and more, the community members of south Seattle and Rainier Valley LOVE Tina’s Hair & Nails Salon. They basically describe Tina and her staff as beauty wizards. It is quite possibly the most beloved hair/nail salon in Seattle. You be the judge!
The greater Seattle area has oh so many parks including the magical Kubota Gardens. It is a stunning 20-acre landscape blending Japanese garden concepts with native Northwest plants. Since 1987 it has been owned by the city and is an historical landmark. Visit the park to enjoy the beautiful landscaping or join in one of its many year-round events!
Just over the hill is one of the most peaceful parks Seattle has to offer. Named for William H. Seward, the Secretary of State who was responsible for America’s purchase of Alaska in 1867, Seward Park boasts 300 acres of something for everyone. It is home to eagles’ nests, forest land, old growth forest, a 2.4 mile bike and walking path, an amphitheater, a native plant garden, an art studio, a playground, shoreline, beaches and more.
Columbia City Farmers Market
Seattle has a vibrant farmers market scene. The Columbia City Farmers Market, which began in 1998, is a beautiful gathering point for local farmers and community members to come together. Small farmers come in person to sell their food products to neighborhood residents while also providing education about their farm products and the importance of supporting and preserving local farmland. Check it out every Wednesday from May – October!
HONK! Fest West
HONK! Fest West is a free, non-profit, community music festival driven by the energetic performance of street bands in public spaces. Completely volunteer-planned and organized, HONK! festivals are a part of a global renaissance of community street band culture. For three days in Seattle area parks and streets, 25+ bands deliver music and celebration that is accessible to all. – HONK! Fest West
For over 25 years, BeatWalk has brought incredible live music to the heart of Columbia City! Thanks to our generous sponsors, Beatwalk remains FREE for all ages! BeatWalk always features a great line-up of first-rate, local musicians hosted by neighborhood businesses for audiences of all ages. Since 1995 BeatWalk has brought music lovers together for a fun and safe night out on the town. – BeatWalk
The whole of Rainier Valley is conveniently situated along Sound Transit’s light rail including the new Othello Corridor. With numerous stops in the area, the whole city is at your fingertips! Such easy access makes Rainier Valley an excellent place to live.
Kari Haas – Windermere
After just 6 years in the industry, Kari Haas has risen to a top producer in her office of over 100 agents for the past 2 years in a row! Make sure to check out all the reviews she has on Zillow. If you or your friends are looking to buy or sell in the area, she’s the one you want.
There is nothing more satisfying than easy access to your utilities. For that reason, we have all that info for you right here!
Cable, Internet & Phone: Comcast 800-934-6489; Wave 855-971-1252
Electricity, Garbage, Sewer & Water: Seattle Public Utilities/Seattle City Light 206-684-3000
Gas: Puget Sound Energy 888-225-5773