Zillow Home Value Index: $262,000
Year-over-year change: -10.2%
Walk score (out of 100): 72
Given how often Seattle's public transportation comes up as a political issue or referendum item, Seattle seems like any unlikely city of convenience. A second look at the waterfront and Pike Place market, the densely packed downtown shopping district, the towering utilitarian condos of Belltown and the old-stone restaurants, shops and pubs of Pioneer Square make it seem not only convenient, but compact.
While there are more far-flung areas of Seattle (including Alki, Windmere and North Beach) lacking the quick walks and amenities of the more central neighborhoods, enclaves such as Ballard, Freemont and the University District just north of the city center are just as negotiable, lively and funky.
Seattle's mass transit, however, is somewhat lacking compared with other walkable cities. Its bus, trolley and light rail system handled 28.5 million riders last year and has provided a direct link to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The light rail portion is slated for significant expansion during the next few years, as is the Sounder commuter rail service that brought in 5.6 million riders from Everett, Tacoma and stops in between last year.The most visible mass transit in Seattle, however, has little to do with trains. Seattle's ferry system is the largest in the U.S. and carried 4.6 million passengers last year alone. Much like in Portland, bikes tend to stretch the city's accessibility a bit; the former rail grade now known as the Burke-Gilman Trail takes commuters and riders from Ballard, past the Microsoft (MSFT) campus in Redmond and all the way out to the suburbs in Issaquah. Take that, subway towns.