View of Downtown Seattle from Dr. Jose Rizal Park in the Beacon Hill Neighborhood

5 Things You Should Know About Beacon Hill

Located southeast of downtown Seattle, Beacon Hill is a large neighborhood that's continually ranked as one of Seattle's hottest. Since Beacon Hill covers so much ground, it's often divided into sub-neighborhoods, which include North Beacon Hill, Mid Beacon Hill, Holly Park, and South Beacon Hill. It's primarily residential and current estimates place the population somewhere between 35,000 and 39,000 people. But beyond the humdrum numbers and facts, this neighborhood is yet another of Seattle's that has its own unique story. So here's a quick look at some of the more interesting things you should know about Beacon Hill, especially if you're thinking about moving there. 


Home to One of Seattle's Iconic Buildings


As you probably already know, there's no shortage of iconic sights in the Emerald City. One such icon, the Pacific Tower, stands out prominently on the north side of Beacon Hill (which is already pretty visible thanks to its 350-foot elevation and the fact that it overlooks both I-5 and I-90). This beautiful, 16-story art deco building was opened in 1933 as a United States Marine Hospital. It has continued to operate as a medical center over the years (although in different capacities) and presently, it's home to Seattle Central College's Health Education Center as well as several nonprofits that focus on training and education in addition to healthcare. The building once also housed Amazon's headquarters. Pacific Tower is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and recognized as a landmark of Seattle.


A Hill of Many Names


Originally, the Duwamish people referred to Beacon Hill as qWátSéécH, which translates to "greenish-yellow spine" and refers to the color of the deciduous trees on the hill. But, new names for the area came as newcomers filed claims on the land. For a time, it was known as Maple Hill and then Holgate and Hanford Hill. Then, in 1889, real estate developer M. Harwood Young arrived and named the hill after the Beacon Hill in Boston. The name stuck, although it gained the nickname "Boeing Hill" for a while as many of the Boeing workers lived there during the 1950s and 60s.


Gorgeous Green Spaces


Beacon Hill is home to Jefferson Park, the sixth largest park in the city at about 52 acres. Once the home for an isolation hospital, or "pesthouse," for individuals with smallpox, the park came into shape as inmates from the city jail worked to clear trees from the land in order to shorten their sentences. Local developers campaigned for the creation of a public golf course in the park, which was built in 1915 after the patients in the isolation hospital were moved to a sanatorium north of Seattle and the original facility was burned down. Now, over 100 years later, the park boasts walking trails, sports fields, bowling greens, a skate park, water spray park, tennis courts, playgrounds, and incredible views of downtown Seattle. If you want to find even more stunning views of downtown, the bay, and the mountains, Dr. Jose Rizal Park is the place to go – especially at sunset. The park is located just west of Pacific Tower and includes walking and biking trails as well as an off-leash area for dogs.


Award-Winning & Innovative


The Beacon Hill neighborhood has been the recipient of several awards in recent years. In 2012, the American Planning Association named it as one of the Great Places in America noting that it was a "dynamic and engaged community." In 2017, El Centro de la Raza’s Plaza Roberto Maestas in North Beacon Hill won the AIA/HUD Secretary’s Housing and Community Design Award for Creating Community Connections. The plaza also won the 2017 VISION 2040 Award from the Puget Sound Regional Council, which recognizes "innovative projects and programs that help ensure a sustainable future as the region grows." Another contemporary feature of the area is the Beacon Food Forest. The food forest is a 7-acre plot of land next west of Jefferson Park that is a community gardening project that includes fruit and nut trees, berry shrubs, and other edible perennials and annuals. It's believed to be the largest food forest on public land in the U.S.


Residents Love It


As previously mentioned, Beacon Hill is one of Seattle's neighborhoods that local publications continually pick to be one of the city's best. One of the reasons for this is that the area's median home prices tend to be lower than many other communities in the city. But of course, that's just one small aspect of what makes living in Beacon Hill so appealing. It's also very diverse, has incredible views, and boasts thriving art and food scenes. In addition, it's quite easy to get to and from downtown Seattle thanks to the light rail station as well as the proximity of I-5. If you need to head to the Eastside, I-90 is right there as well. All in all, Beacon Hill is a great choice for those who want to feel like a part of a larger community that's removed, but not too removed, from Seattle.


Ready to Start Looking at Homes in Beacon Hill?


While Isola Homes' available properties are constantly changing, we frequently build new townhomes in the Beacon Hill area. Take a look at our Communities page to see what Beacon Hill homes are available.