We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Columbia city

vancouver
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
2,753 posts
Save Topic
Columbia city

I really enjoy ethnically diverse neighbourhoods, especially if they have lots of mom and pop type shops, cheap diners/restaurants and old school coffee shops is this a good area for this, and what might the largest ethnic group be here ?

vancouver
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
2,753 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Columbia city

And might there anything similar closer to downtown ?

Davie, Florida
Level Contributor
11,187 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Columbia city

check out the international district at the south edge of downtown and be sure to continue on the east side of the freeway on jackson.

Seattle, Wa
Level Contributor
4,356 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Columbia city

It's a very diverse area--I think something like 171 languages are spoken in that census district. You have lots of SE Asian and African immigrants, African-Americans, and also a lot of young professionals/families looking for an affordable part of the city. The business district of Columbia City seems to me to cater more toward the young professionals that live in the area--there's a very good bakery, ale house, bookstore, Italian restaurant, a diner (but more like a good version of one--it's not really old school) and a theater that has good live music. There is Ethiopian and other ethnic restaurants, as well as a decent bbq place (list here: http://columbiacityseattle.com/neighborhood-directory/dining-drinks/). The farmer's market is worth seeking out--since it does serve a diverse clientel, you see some interesting stuff there. The nice thing about CC is that it's small and walkable--Seattle does have other areas where certain immigrant groups congregate (ie White Center has a large Hispanic population) but it's not a very walkable place.

CC is in the Rainier Valley, and a drive down busy Rainier Ave through the valley does have quite a few businesses of all kinds, though I'm not sure most are that interesting (ie Vietnamese wedding dress stores). You might like the Silver Fork, and I believe they are still open, though they plan to close.

seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2018941816_s…

Geraldine's Counter is the not-so-old-school diner I alluded to before.

if you are in the area and want something pretty, Seward Park is a wonderful park. The lake is great but the interior trails, which are often overlooked, are terrific. There are still old growth trees in there.

Edited: 02 October 2012, 17:51
Port Townsend...
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park, Port Townsend
Level Contributor
8,948 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Columbia city

98118 is the most ethnically diverse zip code in America according to the 2010 census. It's mentioned in the song "North by Northwest" by the Blue Scholars who hail from that neighborhood.

Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle, Family Travel
Level Contributor
6,077 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Columbia city

One of my favorites, and a notable restaurant, La Medusa, is located in Columbia City. You can take the Link Light Rail from downtown to CC, then walk the couple of blocks to Rainier Avenue. It is also the original location of Tutta Bella.

The Farmers Market runs through October 17.

vancouver
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
2,753 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Columbia city

is there any others than the international district i've been there and it didn't really do it for me to be honest

Seattle, Wa
Level Contributor
4,356 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Columbia city

Like I said earlier, they tend to be not very walkable. Beacon Hill, White Center and pretty much the whole Rainier Valley have diverse immigrant populations, but not cute, compact and interesting business districts like CC. This ain't Queens....

And actually a lot of immigrants now move right to the suburbs, but you aren't really seeing enclaves develop there--businesses catering to Indian immigrants, Chinese, etc, are pretty integrated in the whole.

western WA
Level Contributor
8,997 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Columbia city

A major melting pot on the eastside surrounds Microsoft. The center gathering point is the Crossroads Mall on 156th. It isn't reflected in the housing or small shops as much as in the restaurants nearby.

vancouver
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
2,753 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Columbia city

Is there anything like Commercial dr here in East Van where there is a large concentration of about 15-20 somewhat grungey old school independent Itlaian coffee shops in about a 10 or so blocks

Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
Level Contributor
6,145 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Columbia city

Aside from the International District, Seattle doesn't really have ethnic enclaves like you'd find in older cities. Columbia City's diversity comes largely from fairly recent arrivals - from Asia, Africa, etc. - rather than the kind of old-time ethnic areas one might encounter in places like Chicago or even Toronto, i.e. where several generations of the same ethnic group have lived for decades.

To some degree, Ballard was a bit like that, with many Scandinavian (mainly Norwegian) families who lived there, tied to the fishing industry, and while Ballard works hard to maintain that identity, there aren't all that many retail establishments - restaurants, etc. - any more. It's a bit like Kerrisdale in Vancouver - a lot of Scottish heritage but no strong evidence of it on the street.

The South Park neighborhood - along the Duwamish River at the south end of the city - is heavily Latino, but it's far from a tourist magnet (and frankly hard to get to, owing to road and bridge access problems. Beacon Hill, just south of the downtown core, is also a mixed ethnic area, with a lot of Japanese and other Asian residents, along with Latino, African American and some recent migrants, but it too lacks the kind of "old ethnic" feel it sounds like you seek.

Now that said, Seattle certainly has its share of vibrant and ethnically mixed neighborhoods. The Pike market area, for example, is much more "old time Seattle" than, say, Granville Island in Vancouver. California Street in West Seattle, Broadway and the Pike/Pine corridor, 45th Street in Wallingford, Ballard Avenue in Ballard, Fremont, the Phinney/Greenwood strip... those and more neighborhoods are great for walking, noshing, and shopping, with all sorts of ethnicities present.