First Hill got its name from a simple fact--it's the first hill one hits when heading east from Downtown. That gives you a sense of how conveniently located you'll be if you lease a First Hill apartment. Roll out of bed and down the street and there's the Central Business District. The neighborhood is a bit of a mélange of residences and businesses. Parts stay busy with bars, music venues, and restaurants of all stripes. Elsewhere, you'll find three of Seattle's largest medical facilities--they're why some call this rise "Pill Hill."
At the end of the 19th century, wealthier Seattleites began building homes on First Hill. It was close to Downtown but still separate enough for fine living. For example, William Boeing, founder of the Boeing Company, had a house here. Over time, this neighborhood transitioned to present a more casual face. Tony homes turned into high-rises. Today, Seattle University and an active bar scene keep First Hill from turning too quiet.
Pike Street and Pine Street are where you'll find First Hill's generous selection of bars and eateries. Some of these places are dive joints and others are all class. Shopping is only fair in the neighborhood, however. Luckily, Downtown is within easy reach. Entertainment on First Hill can be found in live music venues and at the Landmark Egyptian cinema. There are no parks of size in this neighborhood, but there are quiet, green spots on Seattle University's campus. Check out the Campion Hall Japanese Tea Garden for example.
If you're looking for a First Hill rental, you'll most likely be choosing between apartments and studios. There are a few houses around, but not too many. In the high rises here you'll find more singles than seniors. It's not the calmest neighborhood and families generally prefer to live a bit farther from Downtown. Prices stay high on First Hill due to its convenient location. The average two-bedroom First Hill apartment rents for around $2,000 a month.
Many First Hill residents will commute on foot. It's hardly worth jumping on the bus when work is only blocks away. If you need to get farther than the Central Business District, a wealth of public transportation options await you Downtown. Even with a permit, finding street parking in this neighborhood can be rough.
The Central Library of the Seattle Public Library system is on 4th Avenue and it's the closest to First Hill. There's a United States Post Office on 4th Avenue as well, near Madison Street. Harborview Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center, and Virginia Mason Medical Center are all on First Hill. Seattle University's campus sprawls past Broadway. City residents elect their mayor and nine city council members at large, i.e. without regard to neighborhood.
Zip codes serving First Hill are 98101, 98104, and 98122.