Perched on the hillside with winding and tree-lined streets, also known at “The Peaceable Kingdom”, Madrona is a wonderfully diverse neighborhood overlooking Lake Washington and situated between the Denny-Blaine neighborhood to the north and the Leschi neighborhood to the south. Spanning from Lake Washington to the east to Martin Luther King Jr. Way to the west, Madrona is mostly residential with a charming commercial district offering several restaurants, businesses, and shops. The popular Hi-Spot Café is a favorite brunch Spot, or grab a scrumptious Cupcake Royale and a perfectly smooth latte’ at the Ve’rite’ Coffeehouse where eclectic tunes and friendly smiles are sure to brighten up your morning or day! Madrona provides many dining options from Casual American fare at St. Clouds where you can enjoy live music to Cremant, a cozy French Bistro. Click to view a list of restaurants or shops in Madrona. Be sure not to miss the Spectrum Dance Theater located at 800 Lake Washington Blvd at the south end of Madrona park and the north end of the beach!
The neighborhood was platted as the Cascade Addition in 1889 and the Lakefront community began to draw tourists and visitors to its beachside park. The first neighborhood school was the barn of the Randell family who built their homestead on Madrona’s highest point (near today’s 34th and Union) in 1890. What became known as the Randell Additions later became the core of Madrona hill properties. During that same time, a lead company and some others introduced a more elaborate park and an electric trolley line that traveled north from what is now 34th and Union to Howell where it headed east and descended through the forest down to the park. In 1908 the city of Seattle purchased the private trolley line.
The park was named after the ubiquitous Madrona (Arbutus) trees in the area by John Ayer, a partner in the land company who also contributed a parcel of land for the park. The partners devised a plan to make the area even more attractive to buyers by developing a community boat dock, dance pavilion, hotel, Japanese tea house, bathhouses, wooden swings, rustic benches, walking paths, bridges and shelters along the lake and throughout the hillside. All of this development prompted the city to recommend consideration for a boulevard along Lake Washington from Yesler northward which would include Madrona beach and park.
The neighborhood attracted a diverse group of buyers and homes were built on a large scale from grand to working-class residences in the early 1900s. “Great Homes” boasted glorious lake views from atop the hill on 35th Avenue and smaller scale but also lovely homes were built along the hillside and above the shoreline. Madrona is a well-established neighborhood close to downtown with a strong sense of community and a diverse demographic.
Play on the quieter Madrona Beach – While crowds will swarm Madison Beach on hot days, Madrona Beach is, comparatively, a little cooler and more subdued, especially since it’s in the shade of a greenbelt and it’s a little more out of the way along Lake Washington Boulevard.
Children’s story time at Madrona-Sally Goldmark Library – takes place on Thursdays at 11 a.m., preschoolers and toddlers can share the love of reading through stories, rhymes, and songs with the branch’s children’s librarian.
Madrona Park: 853 Lake Washington Blvd. – A waterfront park with a grassy beach, swimming area (lifeguards on duty in summer), a jogging path, picnic areas, and children’s play area.
Madrona Playfield: 34th Avenue and East Spring Street – offers a shelter house, basketball courts, restrooms and children’s play area.
Alternative Schools: Madrona K-8: 1121 33rd Ave., (206) 252-3100
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