Downtown Seattle includes a tightly packed financial district along with residential areas and a panoramic waterfront.
Neighborhoods in Seattle
Seattle has grown through a series of annexations of smaller neighboring communities. On May 3, 1891, Magnolia, Wallingford, Green Lake, and the University District (then known as Brooklyn) were annexed. The town of South Seattle was annexed on October 20, 1905. Between January 7 and September 12, 1907, Seattle nearly doubled its land area by annexing six incorporated towns and areas of unincorporated King County, including Southeast Seattle, Ravenna, South Park, Columbia City, Ballard, and West Seattle. Three years later, after having difficulties paying a $10,000 bill from the county, the city of Georgetown merged with Seattle. Finally, on January 4, 1954, the area between N. 85th Street and N. 145th Street was annexed, including the neighborhoods of Pinehurst, Maple Leaf, Lake City, View Ridge and Northgate.
Former Seattle mayor Greg Nickels is among those who have called Seattle "a city of neighborhoods", although the boundaries (and even names) of those neighborhoods are often open to dispute. For example, a Department of Neighborhoods spokeswoman reported that her own neighborhood has gone from "the 'CD' (Central District) to 'Madrona' to 'Greater Madison Valley' and now 'Madrona Park'.
Over a dozen Seattle neighborhoods have Neighborhood Service Centers, originally known in 1972 as "Little City Halls" and even more have their own street fair and/or parade during the summer months. The largest of the city's street fairs feature hundreds of craft and food booths and multiple stages with live entertainment, and draw more than 100,000 people over the course of a weekend. In addition, at least half a dozen neighborhoods have weekly farmers' markets, some with as many as fifty vendors.
Additionally, Puget Sound Regional Council designates several areas of Seattle as urban centers, defined as "designated planning districts intended to provide a mix of housing, employment and commercial and cultural amenities in a compact form that supports transit, walking and cycling." These urban centers may have the same name as a neighborhood but slightly different borders; for example, the Capitol Hill Urban Center is much smaller that the entire neighborhood.