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West Seattle

Cross the bridge to West Seattle and it's another world altogether. Jutting out into Elliott Bay and Puget Sound, separated from the city by the Duwamish waterway, this out-of-the-way neighborhood covers most of the city's western peninsula—and, indeed, it has an identity of its own. In summer, throngs of people hang out at Alki Beach—Seattle's taste of California—while others head for the trails and playgrounds of Lincoln Park to the west.

The first white settlers parked their boat at Alki Point in 1851, planning to build a major city here until they discovered a deeper logging port at today's Pioneer Square. This makes West Seattle technically the city's oldest neighborhood. West Seattle is huge, and within it are more than a dozen neighborhoods. The two most visitors will see are Alki and West Seattle Junction—the former includes the shoreline and Alki Point; the Alki Point Lighthouse sits on the peninsula's northwest tip, a place for classic sunset views. The main shopping and dining areas line Alki Avenue, next to the beach, and California and Fauntleroy Avenues on the way to the ferry docks. The latter neighborhood, named for a spot where old streetcar lines crisscrossed, is the fastest-growing part of West Seattle and has its own thriving dining scene. It also has most of the area's good shopping and ArtsWest, a community theater and gallery.

The Admiral neighborhood, on the northern bluff, is less vital, but it does have an important old movie house that is one of the venues for the Seattle International Film Festival. Fauntleroy has two main attractions: the lovely Lincoln Park and a ferry terminal with service to Vashon Island and Southworth on the Kitsap Peninsula.

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