The city of Sammamish, nestled along the eastern shore of Sammamish Lake, has been ranked in both CNN Money Magazine’s best places to live in the U.S. and Forbes’ list of the friendliest towns in the U.S.
One of the most distant of Seattle’s suburbs, Sammamish enjoys a small-town, laid-back atmosphere in spite of being home to approximately 50,000 residents. The plateau is known for breathtaking scenery, limitless opportunities for outdoor recreation, and some of the best hunting and fishing in the state.
Not known for night life nor for a variety of fine dining opportunities, Sammamish attracts those who prefer a quieter or more athletic lifestyle. One need not go far to find trails for hiking, and the lakes are a haven for swimmers and boaters.
Those who love it say it gives you the best of both worlds, since opportunities for employment as well as shopping, dining, and other big city amenities are all close by.
Although residents must drive to Redmond or Issaquah to shop for anything more than the basics, they feel it’s worth it to live in a woodsy area with views of the Cascade Mountains and the Snoqualmie Valley.
A large number of residents commute to Redmond to the northeast, Issaquah to the South, or Seattle to the East. While about 70% of the commuters do drive their own vehicles to and from work, the city is served by both Sound Transit and King County Metro, with four bus routes that provide access to Seattle as well as other Eastside cities. The majority report spending 35 minutes or less on the commute to work, although some say they spend as much as 90 minutes.
In keeping with other King County communities, the cost of living is high, at 164.2% of the national average. This number is largely drive by the cost of housing.
As of mid-2015 the median sales price of a home in Sammamish had increased 7.1% over the past 12 months, and stood at just over $710,000.
Single family homes start in the high 400’s and reach into the millions, while condos generally start in the 200’s and reach into the $500,000’s.
On average, rentals start at about $2,000 per month and go up to $5,000.
Income matches the high cost of real estate…
At the same time, the income per capita in Sammamish is 98% higher than the national average and the median household income is 171% greater than the national average.
This comes as no surprise, since 97% of the adults have completed high school and more than twice as many have degrees and doctorates as do those in the general population.
As for educating their youth, Sammamish offers 10 public schools and 3 private schools. Although there are no post-secondary schools within the city’s 18 square miles, 7 colleges or universities are located within 14 miles, making it an easy commute.
A brief bit of history…
Sammamish began as a subdivision of the Inglewood community, back around the turn of the last century. Inglewood’s primary industry and cause for growth was the shingle mill business. When the timber ran out around 1920, both towns slid back into obscurity.
A trio of resorts had been established by the 1930’s, but the plateau remained a mostly rural area until the 1970’s and 1980’s. When the technology boom brought businesses to nearby Redmond and Bellevue, Sammamish once again became a sought-after residential community.
Sammamish is primarily a residential community, and has no actual downtown area. However, as the population increases, more businesses are opening, especially along 228th Avenue.
Here you’ll find the Ristorante Simone, Sammamish Cafe, and a self-serve frozen yogurt shop named Yo Plateau, after its location on the Sammamish Plateau.
228th is also home to the new Saffron Center, a newer complex with a variety of shops.
Along with locally owned businesses, you’ll also find a few familiar names, such as 7-Eleven, Nike, New Balance, Ace Hardware, Radio Shack, Subway, Taco Bell, McDonalds, Vons, Safeway, and of course Starbucks. For pizza residents can choose from Papa John’s or Domino’s.
Stores such as Costco and Trader Joes are nearby in Issaquah.
Residents do appear to be more interested in recreation than shopping, dining, and night life. They love to point out the many hiking trails, the lakes, and the parks.
In addition to Lake Sammamish, the city has Beaver Lake, Beaver Lake Park, Pine Lake, and Pine Lake Park, where residents enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, along with a variety of other outdoor activities.
Beaver Lake Park, which was transferred to the city on January 1, 2003, consists of 54 forested acres. The north side of the park features a large pavilion and lodge, while the south side includes three ball fields, a picnic shelter, play structure, and ADA compliant restrooms.
The Lodge at Beaver Lake, a Northwest log building, is available to rent for weddings, private parties, and meetings.
Pine Lake Park features a baseball/softball/ open play field, a basketball court, and well-maintained restrooms. It is the site for Sammamish’s annual Summer Nights at the Park series of music concerts, plays, and outdoor movies.
Also in Sammamish, but not on the water, are NE Sammamish Park, East Sammamish Park and a new skate park.
NE Sammamish Park offers a basketball court, tennis courts, play structures, and open space. East Sammamish Park, which is located directly behind Margaret Mead Elementary School, a soccer field, two baseball fields, and tennis in addition to a play area and plenty of open space in which to play or walk your dog. A large covered pavilion is available for private party reservations.
Lake Sammamish State Park is another popular destination, although it is actually located in Issaquah.
Golfers are also at home in Sammamish, with its two private golf clubs: the Plateau Club and Sahalee Country Club. To attest to the quality of the course, Salahee Country Club holds the distinction of having hosted the 1998 PGA Championship and the 2002 World Golf Championship-NEC Invitational.
What Sammamish doesn’t have…
Interestingly, Sammamish has neither its own U.S. Post Office nor its own school district. Residents rely on Issaquah and Redmond for postal services and Eastside Fire and Rescue to provide fire services.
Sammamish schools are served by two school districts: Lake Washington School District in the north and Issaquah School District in the south.
There is no hospital in Sammamish, but both Swedish Pine Lake Primary Care and Evergreen Health Primary Care operate clinics in Sammamish, and there are twenty-seven hospitals nearby.
Although there is a move underway to develop a city center with more cultural and recreational offerings, most residents of Sammamish have chosen it for the slower pace and the relaxed lifestyle.
Do you seek the Sammamish lifestyle?
If so, get in touch and I’ll help you locate the perfect home. You can also click here to get a preview of homes available for sale. (Link to Sammamish search page.)