NEIGHBORHOOD


A VILLAGE WITHIN THE CITY

 
 

Columbia City is known for both its dense collection of artists, galleries, cafes, independent shopping stores, restaurants and nightlife as well as an eclectic residential population that blends multi-generational young trendsetters, hipsters and professionals.

The history of Columbia City stretches back to the 19th century, when it was developed as an independent town to take advantage of the newly constructed Rainer Valley Electric Railway from Downtown Seattle. The community has a remarkable ability to absorb and integrate newcomers with warmth and grace, celebrating its diversity with an array of organizations and facilities that include Bike Works, The Boys and Girls Club, The Rainier Arts Center and Southside Commons, among many. This infectious neighborhood involvement is typified by the Rainier Valley Heritage Parade, the Beat Walk live music series, and by the legendary Columbia City Farmer’s Market. 

The neighborhood’s amenities include an original Carnegie Public Library, the Rainier Community Center with its year-round programming and connection to Genesee Park, the Rainier Arts Center performance space and numerous cultural organizations. Columbia City is a neighborhood that has a long history of supporting and encouraging interaction among its residents, and a wide range of cultural and community events brings people together throughout the year, from parades and festivals to gallery walks and music nights.

Diversity is present in Columbia City’s architectural fabric, as well. There is a vast array of housing styles that includes award-winning planned communities, turn of the century vintage homes, modern lofts and contemporary townhouses and single-family residences. 

 
 
 
 

ACCESSIBILITY


PLACING ENCORE AT THE CENTER

 
 

Columbia City was originally developed as a commuter community, making it perfectly situated to become one of the region’s most connected neighborhoods. With the implementation of Sound Transit’s LINK Light Rail in 2009, that became a reality.

Encore at Columbia Station sits only one block away from the Columbia City LINK Light Rail Station on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South. As the first of Sound Transit’s regional hubs, this places it at the nexus of all future expansion and development of the system. 

Transportation includes the light rail which runs through the Rainier Valley directly to SeaTac Airport, downtown to the Seattle central business district and North to the University of Washington. A well-integrated system of buses and trains further connects commuters to Tacoma, Everett and all parts of the greater Seattle and Puget Sound areas, with additional light rail connections being added in stages. Eventually, LINK light rail will connect to Tacoma, Redmond, West Seattle, South Lake Union, Lower Queen Anne, Ballard, Lynnwood, Kirkland and Bellevue, making this a fully integrated regional transit solution. 

 
 

HISTORY


COLUMBIA CITY: A FUTURE THAT THRIVES ON THE PAST

 
 

Columbia City is one of Seattle’s most historic and diverse communities, offering a small town, Main Street sensibility that is complimented by its numerous urban amenities and which contrasts nicely with its close proximity and easy access to the city center. Its business district, with an eclectic mix of turn-of-the-century commercial buildings, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 for its originality and continuity, and thrives as a landmark-protected community asset. Today, pedestrian friendly Columbia City is one of Seattle’s most creative and energetic neighborhoods, with a dynamic range of new and legacy businesses that includes several bars, restaurants and cafes, a vintage theater, a movie house, numerous live music venues, galleries, assorted retail and an arts center. 

Originally incorporated in 1893, Columbia City was developed as an independent town to take advantage of the newly constructed Rainier Valley Electric Railway from Downtown Seattle. As such, its compact and efficient layout can be considered an early version of the transit-based urban village concept so popular today. Columbia City was annexed by the city of Seattle in 1905 by an overwhelming majority vote, and has remained an active neighborhood ever since.

 
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Throughout its history, Columbia City has existed as one of Seattle’s most ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods. It has been a welcoming home to numerous minority and immigrant populations, and has long been an African American cultural and professional hub. The community has a remarkable ability to absorb and integrate newcomers with warmth and grace, celebrating its diversity with an array of organizations and facilities that include Bike Works, The Boys and Girls Club, The Rainier Arts Center and Southside Commons, among many. This infectious neighborhood involvement is typified by the Rainier Valley Heritage Parade, the Beat Walk live music series, and by the legendary Columbia City Farmer’s Market. 

With historic charm that is matched only by its diversity and the creative energy and commitment of its residents, Columbia City stands as one of Seattle’s most dynamic and cosmopolitan urban hubs.