Industry has changed Lake Union, but not in the way you think. While once this lake roiled with timber and transport, now the local industries are high tech, life sciences, and web-based business. This is where you'll find Amazon.com's headquarters, for example, in South Lake Union. The other neighborhoods that make up this district include Eastlake and Westlake. You'll get to know each one's distinct character if you're lucky enough to live in a Lake Union apartment.
In 1882, the Lake Union and Lumber Company built a sawmill on the shore here. People built homes near the mill and, soon enough, other businesses came calling. Over the course of the 20th century, furniture making, shipbuilding, and other industries each took their turn. Elsewhere, the lakeshore remained more residential. Today, many of the older industrial buildings survive, but they've been converted to welcome today's more modern crowd.
While many Lake Union neighborhoods are residential, South Lake Union prefers business. Luckily, workers need to eat and relax as well. You'll find a growing contingent of restaurants and shops cropping up here, seemingly every day. In Eastlake and Westlake you can find cafes, corner stores, and other local shops. Lake Union Park, on the southern shore, is a good place to get outside. There you'll find a model boat pond, trails, and historic vessels on display. There are numerous other smaller green spaces around as well.
While South Lake Union used to have housing for industrial employees and owners, most of those original structures are gone. Instead, you'll find newer high-rise apartments there. Other Lake Union neighborhoods, like Eastlake, are more likely to sport single-family homes. Many of those areas are preferred for raising kids. Rents vary as you move around the lake. The average South Lake Union apartment rents for around $1,950 a month. Prices are a bit cheaper in Westlake.
Commuting from Lake Union is relatively simple. The South Lake Union Streetcar takes you straight downtown and there's good bus service as well.
There's no Lake Union branch in the Seattle Public Library system, but the Capitol Hill and Queen Anne branches aren't too far off. There's a United States Post Office Downtown, and another on Capitol Hill. City residents elect their mayor and nine city council members at large, i.e. without regard to neighborhood.
Zip codes serving Lake Union are 98102 and 98109.