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View Poll Results: Belltown or The Pearl District?
Belltown 14 56.00%
The Pearl District 11 44.00%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
Old 05-04-2015, 08:46 AM
 
1,376 posts, read 941,441 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatsbyGatz View Post
SLU would be the more apt discussion since both SLU and The Peal were transformed from light industrial zoning. Belltown has pretty much stayed within its historic character, save for several towers popping up and the inclusion of Bell Street's woonerf.
There's a ton of newer condos in Belltown, they've been building those since the late 90s and they replaced a lot of old warehouses, empty lots or parking lots, or other old buildings. It used to be a sort of light-industrial and lower rent residential area that was then sort of grungy and artsy until the late 90s. Much more development than just "several towers" though. My friend has lived there since he early 2000s when the gentrification of the neighborhood was still taking place rather than just being an established fact and I used to go to Belltown in the 90s when it was a different place.
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Old 05-04-2015, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanuckInPortland View Post
They are fairly similar--as is Yaletown in Vancouver--they're all formally sort of grittier warehouse district areas that became sort of fringe areas for art galleries and counterculture and then got turned into gentrified condo districts that lean towards yuppie tastes these days. Belltown is only statistically a little denser in terms of population than the Pearl.

Nightlife - Probably Belltown as it's got more kind of weekend party scene and more lively bars(and the awesome Jazz Alley). Portland's nightlife is more towards Old Town which isn't that great. There's a great jazz club in the Pearl and the Crystal Ballroom is right there as well--and some fun bars here and there, though there's sort of a suburban douche factor on a weekend night at places like Henry's.
Dining - I like the Pearl more, just based on some of the highlights like Andina, Piazza Italia, Eleni's, Parish and so on--though I've never had a bad meal in Belltown either. Both are full of fairly good restaurants as are Portland and Seattle on average these days.
Shopping - I don't shop much, but there's some good places in the Pearl, between Powell's Books and a good record store and REI and a North Face outlet and some other small businesses. I always though more shopping close to Belltown was more to the south in the CBD near Pacific Place. Overall I'd think that people looking for high end shopping would prefer Seattle.
Vibrancy - The southwest corner of the Pearl near Burnside, feels pretty busy as it's sort of carryover of the northwest corner of downtown near Powells and the Crystal Ballroom(one of the better parts of Portland's downtown)while the northern edges are more quiet and residential with parks and so on and little corner businesses. Belltown seems to have more nighttime vibrancy around 1st and 2nd, so I'd say both areas are vibrant though the south end of the Pearl might feel more busy during the day, though Pike/Pine area just south of Belltown is very, very busy.
Walk-ability - Both are plenty walk-able, they're right off main transit routes and you can walk to downtown or anywhere else close by.
Livability - One thing I like about the Pearl is the nice parks in it's midst--Jamison Square, Tanner Springs, and the older North Park blocks are good examples of urban planning and provide nice sort of places to relax in the neighborhood. Seattle seems to have less green space in Belltown though there's the nice sculpture park.


Both neighborhoods are fine if one seeks a sort of gentrified urban condo living--you're basically right in the center of the city so it's basically downtown living since everything is so close in either neighborhood.
I thought Belltown was quite a bit denser nowadays. but I haven't looked into Portland in a long time. There was a recent article showing the main 2 census districts that its composed of are now at around 30k and 39k ppsm respectively.

Explore this: How fast is your neighborhood densifying? | The Seattle Times

I also remember both areas from the 90's and again I just find the changes in Portland to be much more dramatic than up here. I suppose for the record, while I like both neighborhoods If I had to choose I would live in the Pearl District. Proximity to Powell's is a deciding factor for me.
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Old 05-04-2015, 10:31 AM
 
1,533 posts, read 2,257,684 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benleis View Post
I thought Belltown was quite a bit denser nowadays. but I haven't looked into Portland in a long time. There was a recent article showing the main 2 census districts that its composed of are now at around 30k and 39k ppsm respectively.

Explore this: How fast is your neighborhood densifying? | The Seattle Times

I also remember both areas from the 90's and again I just find the changes in Portland to be much more dramatic than up here. I suppose for the record, while I like both neighborhoods If I had to choose I would live in the Pearl District. Proximity to Powell's is a deciding factor for me.
According to the 2010 census The Pearl Distric density is close to 13,000 p.s.m.
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Old 05-04-2015, 10:45 AM
 
1,376 posts, read 941,441 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benleis View Post
I thought Belltown was quite a bit denser nowadays. but I haven't looked into Portland in a long time. There was a recent article showing the main 2 census districts that its composed of are now at around 30k and 39k ppsm respectively.

Explore this: How fast is your neighborhood densifying? | The Seattle Times

I also remember both areas from the 90's and again I just find the changes in Portland to be much more dramatic than up here. I suppose for the record, while I like both neighborhoods If I had to choose I would live in the Pearl District. Proximity to Powell's is a deciding factor for me.
Yeah you might be right, I think the stats I was looking at for Belltown were a little older(or maybe for a larger area), I saw about 15,000 ppm for Belltown, though I think CityData is using older data(maybe from 2000) if it's now closer to 30,000. The stats for the Pearl District neighborhood shows density of almost 13,000 in 2010, there's been a some infill since then. Belltown has built some higher towers though, and Seattle traditionally has been earlier to approve denser infill than Portland. Also, the south end of the Pearl is mostly commercial with not every block having residential--there's a lot of older refurbished brick or older buildings from it's light industrial past that are full of shops and restaurants and bars(and also some offices like Vestas). There's now some taller construction still going on at the north end of the Pearl that is sort of the last infill in the neighborhood, census tracts for the Pearl are split, but the tract that includes most of the Pearl and Old Town Chinatown has a density of about 18,500--which isn't the densest area of downtown Portland--the area around PSU has a density of about 26,000 while the area around NW 21st has a density of about 24,000.

I don't know what Belltown and The Pearl were like before the 90s, but I think Belltown was already one the road to what it'd become much earlier than the Pearl. Much of The Pearl was still a lot of warehouses and scattered businesses in the early 2000s, I remember going to Bridgeport Brewing in that period and there wasn't much else around it back then.

Both neighborhoods are fine for what they are, though I think that adjacent areas can be just a good for living potential. The NW neighborhoods of Portland or Goose Hollow just over 405 from the Pearl are actually nicer in some ways(and have more character) and I've always liked the Lower Queen Anne area just up from Belltown. But both Seattle and Portland are incredibly centralized cities--so much of the amenities are right in or near the central cores and transportation networks are centered on the cores also--so living anywhere in a certain radius around downtown feel close in.

Last edited by CanuckInPortland; 05-04-2015 at 11:02 AM..
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Old 05-04-2015, 10:47 AM
 
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Interesting comparison. The Pearl District's narrower streets and smaller blocks make it more pedestrian-friendly, in my opinion, but Belltown has more of a big city edge and feel.

nightlife - Both have a bit of a douche-bro factor and are not my favorite nightlife areas in their respective cities, but I'm going to go with Belltown on this one. The bars and clubs are a bit more concentrated along 1st and 2nd Ave and it feels more bustling in those areas at night (especially weekends) than the Pearl District's busier areas. I also like that 1st and 2nd have distinct feels (1st is more weighted towards the aforementioned douche-bro crowd while 2nd is a bit divier and more down to earth). The Pearl District has a more even distribution of bars throughout the neighborhood geographically.

dining - Seattle has become a very good food city, but Belltown is not one of its best dining neighborhoods at the moment. Don't get me wrong - there are some pretty good places (Black Bottle, Tavolata, the Grill from Ipanema) but few that stand out as great (One exception is the new restaurant Shaker and Spear in the Palladian Hotel). It seems like most of the great new restaurants opening in the urban core of Seattle are in Pioneer Square or Capitol Hill these days. You could also make the case that the Pearl District isn't Portland's best dining neighborhood, but it offers more standout places than Belltown (Andina, Park Kitchen, Pink Rose).

shopping - on their own merits, I'd go with the Pearl District, but Belltown is adjacent to the main Downtown shopping area in Seattle, which easily trumps what Downtown Portland has to offer. Also, Belltown has more grocery/convenience store options

vibrancy -I'm going to agree with a previous poster who said Pearl during the day and Beltown at night. Belltown's vibrancy is also concentrated along 1st and 2nd avenue, while the Pearl's is a bit more spread out.

walk-ability - Pearl District. Like I said, smaller blocks and narrower streets make it feel more walkable.

livability - both are very livable and would be good choices. Pearl District is a bit more human-scale, while Belltown has more of a big city edge. Belltown has better grocery options. Both have park blocks but I prefer the Pearl District's (overall better parks embedded in the urban fabric in the Pearl, although Belltown has Myrtle Edwards park along the water). Both have good residential options but Belltown is a bit more expensive.

Last edited by DANNNY__; 05-04-2015 at 11:09 AM..
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Old 05-05-2015, 08:31 AM
 
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I like the fact that just north of Bell Town across the street is Seattle Center, just south is Pike Place Market and in the middle is Bell Street pier. It's one of the cruise ship terminals and has a park on top of it .
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Old 05-05-2015, 10:03 AM
 
Location: San Diego
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I went with Belltown. More concentrated and the upscale dining is pretty great.
Also important to note, this is a comparison of Portland's best neighborhood versus Seattle's third best neighborhood (yes I think Ballard is better than Belltown)
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Old 05-05-2015, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
422 posts, read 585,540 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dapper23 View Post
I went with Belltown. More concentrated and the upscale dining is pretty great.
Also important to note, this is a comparison of Portland's best neighborhood versus Seattle's third best neighborhood (yes I think Ballard is better than Belltown)
I would gently suggest that there is no such thing as an absolute ranking of neighborhoods. They vary depending on what you value. Not that I think it adds any value to this thread but if you want to claim that Belltown is the 3rd best neighborhood in Seattle or that the Pearl District is the best in Portland you should least include what criteria you chose and in the absence of any hard data realize that you only speak for yourself.
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Old 05-05-2015, 11:39 AM
 
Location: San Diego
559 posts, read 511,186 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benleis View Post
I would gently suggest that there is no such thing as an absolute ranking of neighborhoods. They vary depending on what you value. Not that I think it adds any value to this thread but if you want to claim that Belltown is the 3rd best neighborhood in Seattle or that the Pearl District is the best in Portland you should least include what criteria you chose and in the absence of any hard data realize that you only speak for yourself.
Ummm the the same stuff that would make Capitol Hill essentially a unanimous #1 neighborhood. Nightlife, vibrancy, living options.
Belltown used to a be a nightlife powerhouse. Every time I go back to Seattle, it seems less and less lively, while Ballard and Capitol Hill seem to be rising. Upscale dining is the one category that Belltown would easily win.
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Old 05-05-2015, 11:58 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
2,945 posts, read 3,597,294 times
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Quote:
I would gently suggest that there is no such thing as an absolute ranking of neighborhoods. They vary depending on what you value. Not that I think it adds any value to this thread but if you want to claim that Belltown is the 3rd best neighborhood in Seattle or that the Pearl District is the best in Portland you should least include what criteria you chose and in the absence of any hard data realize that you only speak for yourself.
Piggy-backing off of what dapper23 said, I live in Cap Hill. Generally, neighborhood reputation breaks down as such:

1. Capitol Hill
2. Ballard
3. Belltown/Fremont/Georgetown

These days, Georgetown in particular is starting to attract a lot of the nightlife flare that Belltown has. I myself have both good and bad opinions of Belltown, but I still find it more interesting than the Pearl.
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