West Seattle sits west of the Duwamish River. Geographically isolated from the rest of Seattle and annexed in the early 1900’s, it is the oldest and largest Seattle neighborhood. Due to this isolation, travel to and from the neighborhood is enabled by ferry services and bridges.
West Seattle is also home to a big diverse community, concentrated in the White Center neighborhood, the largest being Asian and Pacific Islander (24.4%), Latino (21.5%), and African American (8.6%). The top languages spoken here include English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Khmer/Cambodian, Tigrinya, Amharic, Arabic, Somali and Samoan.
White Center’s commercial district is representative of the communities that live, work, and play in it. Friendly, walk-able streets invite you to visit the 150+ businesses in the 9 block area. Businesses on the main streets include a Mexican tortilla factory, the historic SouthGate Roller Rink, several Vietnamese restaurants, the Salvadoran Bakery, and Cambodian fresh marketplaces.
Did ya know: During WWII, White Center garnered the nickname: Rat City. The possible origins of this name are diverse. The local wartime military establishment was called the Reserve Army Training Center or the Recruitment and Training Center, depending on who tells the story. It had nothing to do with rodents. White Center is also home to the Rat City Roller Girls skating team!