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Garfield High School, one of the landmark buildings featured in History Link's walking tour of the Central District designed with Jackie Peterson

Seattle Neighborhood Guide: Central District

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Seattle Neighborhood Guide: Central District

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Seattle’s Central District is in the heart of Seattle and is filled with history, culture, and excellent city amenities. 

What’s it like to live in Seattle’s Central District? This neighborhood is east of Downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill, and is made up of several smaller micro-neighborhoods, each with their own vibe. Historically, the neighborhood has been home to many Black families due to redlining, a history that still impacts the neighborhood today. There are also great amenities in this neighborhood—find several bus lines, excellent schools, plenty of destination restaurants, and more. If you’d like to buy a home in the Central District, a single-family home will cost you about $1.1 million. 

In this comprehensive Central District Seattle neighborhood guide, Lindsy Russell-Mitchell is sharing exactly what makes this neighborhood so special. Lindsy is also sharing what you need to know about this neighborhood, including information about transit, schools, real estate, her favorite spots, and more. 

Check Out Lindsy’s Video About the Neighborhood 

Let’s go learn more about this incredible Seattle neighborhood!

Seattle Neighborhood Guide: Central District 

Lindsy Russell-Mitchell‘s family goes way back in Seattle’s history. Lindsy’s family, like many Black folks, settled here in the Central District. Both her dad and grandfather attended Garfield High School. And Lindsy’s grandfather was born and raised in the Central District. His family was part of the Great Migration from the south to northern cities and western states. My grandfather Vincent Mitchell was one of the first African American licensed contractors to be hired to work in Pioneer Square. More specifically, he worked on the pergola on the historic corner of 1st and Yesler. 

The Central District is the heart of Seattle’s Black community. It was technically formed because redlining meant many Black families were only allowed to buy houses in segregated neighborhoods. Central District is where many folx bought homes and built communities. Unfortunately, in the last two decades, this neighborhood has been deeply impacted by gentrification with many of the original residents displaced. Despite all of this, Lindsy’s family is like many who still feel that the Central Area is the cultural heart of the community. Keep reading to learn more about what it’s like to live like a local, and really appreciate the Central District like a local! 

Central District Map

The Central District is east of downtown and Capitol Hill. Neighborhoods in the Central Area that are located alongside the Central District include places like Madrona, Leschi, Madison Valley, and Madison Park. And we have so much detail about these neighborhoods on our website including the types of homes you can buy in the area, our favorite shops, and restaurants. 

Micro-Neighborhoods in the Central Area

The Central District goes from East Madison on the north, Jackson Street on the south, 12th Avenue on the west, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way on the east. Each of these areas has its own vibe. For instance, 23rd and Union has completely been transformed with new apartment buildings, PCC, and several destination restaurants and businesses. Whereas you can still get a vibe of the old neighborhood at one of my favorite places, Fat’s Chicken and Waffles, at Cherry and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Another fun spot to explore is the area around 23rd and Jefferson. 

Lindsy’s Favorite Things in The Central District 

There are so many places in this neighborhood that I love. But here are a few of my top favorites right now: 

  • Favorite Park: Judkins! So much space for everyone, such a great area to bring the community together!
  • Favorite Restaurant: COMMUNION. Get the catfish with grits and a side of greens!
  • Favorite Coffee Shop: Avole Ethiopian Coffee
  • Shop Local Spot: Estelita’s Library is a community library and online bookstore with books focused on social justice, ethnic studies, and liberation movements.

Central District Transit

Any of us who grew up out here have stories about riding the buses. In the Central District, we are super lucky and have a ton of bus lines. The county has been working on improving the Rapid Ride G line that will run along Madison. One of our favorite buses is the 48 bus line that takes you to the U-District and all the way south to Rainier Valley. And almost every major street has a bus line that runs on it including the 2, 3, 4, and a few more. 


The Central District has some of the best schools in the city. In general, Seattle has a lot of very dedicated school teachers and folx who are trying to make a difference in our community. All of us on Team Diva are big supporters of public education. And I think it is really important to go beyond the rating system and really get to know your local school. 

I do need to give a little shout-out to Garfield. It has a world-class Jazz Band. And just recently it celebrated its 100th anniversary of being open. Amazing! 

Real Estate

Central District Vintage Farmhouse
Central District Vintage Farmhouse

Did you know that the Central District has some of the oldest houses in all of Seattle? Many of the oldest homes in the Central District are from the 1890s. Additionally, this neighborhood is mostly home to Craftsman-style homes and a few condos around 23rd and Jefferson. Due to a lot of urban density planning that has followed the original redlining areas (including here in the Central Area), this neighborhood saw a huge surge in a townhouse development. 

On average, what will it cost you to live in this area? 

  • The median price for a single-family home in the Central District = $1.1 million
  • The median price for a townhouse in the Central District = $950,000
  • The median price for a condo in the Central District = $475,000

Home prices change all of the time. For more updated numbers check out our Central District neighborhood page. We update it once a year and it will give you a better idea of overall housing costs. 

Thank You For Checking Out Our Seattle Neighborhood Guide for the Central District 

What’s it like to live in Seattle’s Central District neighborhood? Located just east of Downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill, this large neighborhood is made up of many smaller neighborhoods that each have their own vibe. Historically, many Black families have lived in the neighborhood due to the city’s history of redlining. This still impacts the neighborhood today in how the city chooses to zone here versus the more white and affluent neighborhoods in North Seattle. There are also many fantastic conveniences in the neighborhood, including many bus lines, destination restaurants, excellent schools, and more. If you’d like to buy a home here, a single-family home costs about $1.1 million. 

Explore other Seattle neighborhoods here: 

We are here to help. Our team understands that the process of buying and/or selling a home can take a year or two. And we are more than willing to give you a personalized plan to get the ball rolling. Feel free to contact us directly at thediva@teamedivarealestate.com or call/text 206-271-0264.

Alyssa Christensen

Alyssa Christensen

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