The Westlake neighborhood in Seattle, Washington is located on the western shore of Lake Union. The area slopes up to homes and condos that overlook the lake. The area is a bustling urban neighborhood, with two large thoroughfares traveling through: Dexter Avenue and Westlake Avenue. Highway 99, which was the main north/south highway before the construction of Interstate 5, runs on the west side of this area. This provides easy access to downtown and points north for commuters and bus riders.
Most of the shops that cater to residents are located in either Fremont to the north, Queen Anne to the west, or in downtown. Shops in the neighborhood include restaurants and bars and commercial vendors. The Westlake Shopping Center is not located in Westlake, but rather in downtown Seattle.
Westlake is also home to one of Seattle’s houseboat communities. The others lie across the lake to the north and to the east in Lake Union and Portage Bay. There are about 500 homes that are part of the Floating Home Association in Seattle. The houseboat docks are either owned by a co-op or rented to the homeowners.
The base of Westlake is the site of the Westlake Transportation Hub. Here, travelers can ride buses or the Seattle Streetcar to downtown. The streetcar travels up the east side of Lake Union, stops at the base of Westlake for passengers, and continues to downtown and the Westlake Center. In February 2011, McGraw Square plaza opened, providing a gathering place for the transit hub. The area between Westlake Avenue and Olive and Stewart streets is now pedestrian-only and allows easier transit for bikes and bus travelers.