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Old 04-15-2012, 03:19 AM
 
19 posts, read 25,344 times
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I am single, turning 30, and am a soon-to-be home owner (first home). I am moving to a lovely residential-style townhouse in North Renton (edge of the Highlands) from where I am currently renting in Bellevue. I know that Renton is not particularly "cool", but houses are more affordable and it is a 20 minute commute to my work (I work in downtown Bellevue) without having to go over the bridges (backroads! if I want to take them).

The reason I chose Renton is because it was the only neighborhood that HAD the kind of house I want (that I can aford). I am in a place in my life where I want to decorate, have nice furniture, more kitchen counter space for cooking, and space for entertaining. In Renton, I can get more space for less. I am tired of renting and dealing with neighbors above and below and beside me. However, I do, and will continue to want, to visit cooler places (e.g. going to Seattle on the weekends or for special events).

Still...any fun secret spots in Renton? Bars? Cafes? Restaurants? Or should I just stick to QFC and Starbucks and go to Seattle like I do now for my "fun" stuff?
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:28 AM
 
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The two biggest areas with cultural attractions in Renton are Downtown Renton and the Landing. The Landing has two huge (800 units) apartment buildings as part of the development, and its flanked by some restaurants, retail, a few bars (including a wine bar), and a movie theatre. There are a couple of fun bars and decent restaurants. But overall it has a bit of a mall "vibe". Although it is not a mall - it's a mixed use community. Interestlingly, this site was developed by the City out of land that had previously belonged to Boeing. It's proximity to the Boeing Plant means a lot of Boeing people live in the adjacent apartments and if you stop into the Rock for a beer, you'll likely be chatting it up with them
.
Downtown Renton has done some great things to their downtown - In 1990 the City moved two huge car dealerships out of the downtown central and purchase and repurposed the land to a number of new condo and apartment developments, as well as the Renton Transit Center, a small park. So there are a lot of big mixed-use buildings next to a transit station, and that is adjacent to a historic downtown core, which has also recently seen some investment and been revitalized.

It's the historic area of Downton Renton, that you'd be interested in. It's relativley small but very walkable, with a few great restaurants (Melrose Grill is my favorite steakhouse in the Seattle Metro), some fun divey bars, some sketchy divey bars that I'd avoid, and a few slightly more upscale places. During the day there are some interesting shops, but there is not as much of the boutiquey stuff that you see in Seattle and Eastside. Still, good times to be had, and it's generally pretty safe to hang out there, although you do have to keep your wits about you as you will likely see sketchy characters roaming around and in some of the bars. Personally, I really enjoy Downtown Renton. I like the busy, urban feel of the section near the transit center, the great historic streetgrid with a lot of bars (mostly fun). Compared to the Landing, I believe you will get a much more organic, soulful experience - definitely more blue collar and working class folks and it feels less contrived.

At the same time, the Landing has its place too, though, you can get good sushi, enjoy pizza and beer at the Rock, go to a wine bar, go shopping in a much more sterile but comfortable environment. Plus, I like the way the pedestrian-friendly streets are laid out there.

Another place, not quite in Renton, but close, is Downtown Burien, particularly the business district along 152nd. Theres an Elliot Bay brewery, the Tin Room cocktail bar, plenty of other great bars, cafes, restaurants, and shops - it's little more boutiquey and slightly less rough around the edges than DT Renton. There's also a new huge condo development as part of a new complex with a big library, new City Hall and huge park where they have events, farmers markets, etc. This is all right adjacent to the 152nd business district. Downtown Burien feels the closest to me of any in South King County to a neighborhood you'd find in Seattle.

Let me know if this helps, or if you have any other questions!

Last edited by orzo; 04-15-2012 at 04:38 AM..
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Old 04-15-2012, 11:12 AM
 
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That does help! I actually really like Burien as a hang out. I just didn't want to live there because it would make my commute too long.

The Landing and Downtown Renton both sound like they have some places to go too if I have friends visiting my area who want to get drinks. I am pretty suburban so the sterile environment of Landing probably won't bother me at all, but it would be nice to have some more characterized areas to visit as well. I also hear the beach just north of The Landing is nice.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:08 PM
 
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Okey dokey:
The Dog and Pony at 4th and N Park is an awesome place to grab a beer, they have something like 24 beers on tap.
In Renton Highlands, Tortas Locas on NE 4th has really good Mexican food. Next door to it is Angelo's Pizza, a friendly plastic checkered tablecloth kind of place with better than average pizza
On Sunset, Thai on Highlands is very good...Vince's on NE 4th is a very good espresso place.
Downtown Renton has the Red House, with amazing food and huge slections of beer and wine...Smoking Monkey Pizza is a couple of blocks away from there, and is among the top 10 pizza places in the Seattle area....Whistlestop Ale House is a comfy place to hang out, with mac and cheese to die for. ..Liberty Cafe in DT Renton has character, is full of characters, and has events throughout the week.
Five Guys in the Landing has good burgers, and there's a Carl's Jr. in the Highlands....Happy Delusions, next door to the Liberty Cafe, has artwork, kitschy gifts, and is a fun place....And the Honey Creek trail, not far from Renton Highlands, is a great place to walk.
I live in Renton. I don't feel the urgency to go to Seattle or Burien to do cool things, but then again I'm an old fart.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:59 PM
 
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Thanks for the feedback on all those places! As an "old fart" (lol) can you tell me the type of people who frequent? A beer place is good. So is a pizza place. Any of my age types, or mostly older locals, or families with kids or...?
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:19 PM
 
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Dog and Pony is a mix of ages, probably 60% of the patrons are 40 and younger. Liberty Cafe in DT Renton is mostly 30 somethings..There's also an espresso cafe in the Landing, with mostly younger folk, and if I weren't an old fart I'd remember the name. Whistle Stop Ale House is a mix of patrons, and has a family license, so you can drink pints of microbrews and bring your kids. Angelo's Pizza on the hill is mostly families, but is a pretty welcoming place. Smoking Monkey Pizza attracts all kinds, less families, and is really, really good( also serves microbrews).. A Terrible Beauty Irish Pub in DT Renton is mostly 30 somethings, and makes maybe the best Reuben sandwich in the Seattle area.
So, where in North Renton are you?
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:29 PM
 
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That sounds great! Def going to check out some of those places (and the Mexican place too).

I'm between sunset blvd and 4th, just off duvall road, right on the edge of the Highlands.
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:50 PM
 
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Ah, you're not far from Jimi Hendrix memorial!

I don't know if I'm blind... but did someone mention that Renton DT has a seasonal farmer's market? Renton Farmers Market at the Piazza - Tuesdays 3-7 PM - June-September You're also close enough to take advantage of the Newcastle's (seasonal) market (it doesn't look like they have a website, but believe me, its good). Renton's Farmers Market tends to be a one day a week thing whereas Newcastle's is everyday.

Gene Coulon Beach (just north of the Landing) is pretty awesome.... great walking trails, beachy atmosphere, docking and all. There are 2 restaurants in it-- one by the water (Kidd Valley) and the other on the water's (Ivar's). They also have a drive thru coffee stand just outside the park and its pretty popular.
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Old 04-15-2012, 02:14 PM
 
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Another advantage to that area is the quick access to Issaquah when you need a change of scenery or access to other shops. SR-900 is a pleasant and mostly rural drive that gets you to Issaquah quite quickly for the shopping areas on Gilman and at Pickering Place (and also the big Farmer's Market near there on weekends). There is a PCC and a Trader Joe's in that part of Issaquah, and downtown Issaquah has interesting places to eat.

We used to go to Issaquah quite often to go to places like Target and Lowes, but now Renton has its very own at the Landing.

Another place we've enjoyed going to as Renton residents is the Columbia City area (via Rainer Ave) which often has a youthful vibe that you might find interesting.

But as others have noted, Renton has lot of amenities of its own, in terms of shops and restaurants, theaters, trails, and such. And don't forget Ikea down near the Kent border, where you can get lots of inexpensive stuff to help fill out your new place.

Not sure about 20 minutes to downtown Bellevue though - the commute from Renton can be rough during rush hour. But still much better than from places farther away...
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelinWA View Post
Another advantage to that area is the quick access to Issaquah when you need a change of scenery or access to other shops. SR-900 is a pleasant and mostly rural drive that gets you to Issaquah quite quickly for the shopping areas on Gilman and at Pickering Place (and also the big Farmer's Market near there on weekends). There is a PCC and a Trader Joe's in that part of Issaquah, and downtown Issaquah has interesting places to eat.

We used to go to Issaquah quite often to go to places like Target and Lowes, but now Renton has its very own at the Landing.

Another place we've enjoyed going to as Renton residents is the Columbia City area (via Rainer Ave) which often has a youthful vibe that you might find interesting.

But as others have noted, Renton has lot of amenities of its own, in terms of shops and restaurants, theaters, trails, and such. And don't forget Ikea down near the Kent border, where you can get lots of inexpensive stuff to help fill out your new place.

Not sure about 20 minutes to downtown Bellevue though - the commute from Renton can be rough during rush hour. But still much better than from places farther away...
I live in the western part of Renton. If I go to downtown Renton during the non peak hours, it takes me 15-20 minutes. But being right off of Duvall, I'd be tempted to skip 405 most of the time, and just go up Duvall, which turns into Coal Creeek Parkway, then Factoria Blvd and Richards Rd. Even that should mean less than half an hour.
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