Wallingford is a residential/commercial neighborhood north of the University of Washington and south of Green Lake, between Highway 99 and I-5. At the heart of Wallingford’s commercial strip is the Quality Foods Center at NE 45th Street and Wallingford Avenue, formerly the Wallingford Food Giant, whose glittering neon sign was a neighborhood icon for decades. When local chain, Quality Foods Center, bought Food Giant in the late 90s, a public outcry erupted over the possibility that the sign would be removed. A compromise was reached and seven of the original sign’s letters were repurposed to make the Vegas-worthy neon sign that stands today. The surrounding commercial district has a small-town charm and a strong community spirit. Northeast 45th Street is home to some beloved Seattle businesses such as the historic 1920s Guild 45th Cinema, Tweedy & Pop’s Ace Hardware, and the original 1954 Dick’s Drive-In. Also on 45th is the Wallingford Center, a charming collection of independent shops and dining housed in a former elementary school that was built in the early 1900s. There is no shortage of dining in everyone’s taste and price range – from the elegant Cantinetta and highly-acclaimed Joule to independent pizza parlors like Wallingford Pizza House (Chicago-style), Olympia (Greek) and Pudge Brothers (NYC).
The Wallingford Farmer’s Market is held every Wednesday afternoon from June to November, and features live music, food trucks, cooking demos, handcrafted specialty foods, and local produce.
Annual events in the neighborhood include the Wallingford Kiddie Parade (the local Seafair celebration), the Wallingford Wurst Festival (presented by St. Benedict’s Church), and the Family Fourth fireworks show at Gas Works Park.
Housing in Wallingford is an eclectic mix of classic old houses and newer construction on quiet residential streets. Green spaces include Gas Works Park, Wallingford playfield, and Meridian Playground. Wallingford playfield borders recently renovated Hamilton International Middle School, and features views and a wading pool open in summer months. To the north lies Lower Woodland Park, which features athletic fields, a skate park, tennis courts, and connections to the Woodland Park Zoo and Green Lake. Meridian playground features a former Roman Catholic home for wayward girls called the Good Shepherd Center, formerly home to Pacific Northwest Ballet and now a shared community space run by Historic Seattle. Wallingford is an especially bicycle-friendly neighborhood with wide bike lanes and the Burke-Gilman trail running along the northern edge of Lake Union and Gas Works Park.