Seattle Neighborhood Profile: Capitol Hill
In this installment of neighborhood profiles we look right to the heart of the city, at the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Capitol Hill is just east of downtown, bordered by I-5 on the west, First Hill and Central on the south, by Madison Valley on the east, and State Route 520 on the north.
Capitol Hill is the epicenter of Seattle nightlife, with many entertainment venues from music and dance clubs to iconic movie theaters such as the Egyptian. During the day the neighborhood is ground zero for coffee house culture, with too many independent houses to list here, as well as all the chain staples. The area is so full of tastemakers that Starbucks uses Capitol Hill as a test neighborhood for new coffee shop ideas.
Historically Capitol Hill has gone by other names, first ‘Broadway Hill’, after the main street running through it, and colloquially as ‘Catholic Hill’ until the 80’s, after the large number of Catholic residents. The name Capitol Hill is a misnomer, as the state Capitol is in Olympia. It is thought that the name came from a desire to move the capitol up to Seattle, or possibly the name came from Denver’s similar Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Today Capitol Hill is very diverse, providing home for a large number of gay and lesbian residents. It is the most densely populated neighborhood in all of Seattle, and runs the entire spectrum from very affordable Bohemian apartments to some of the richest areas in all of Seattle.
In addition to the day-to-day feast of culture, Capitol Hill also hosts the annual Capitol Hill Block party every July, a 3-day festival with some of the biggest names in music.