Off-Campus Housing

Seattle Housing Tips

Determining Your Needs

Your first step in finding a place off-campus is to examine your finances and expectations. If you have any friends who live off-campus, begin asking them what they are paying for rent, utilities and other expenses. Another important part of determining your needs is deciding what type of person you want to room with. People who don't take the time to get to know their prospective roommates might regret it later.

Shared Housing

Splitting the rent and utilities and also sharing chores, responsibilities, time, thoughts and experiences in a shared housing situation is one option. Your roommates can be close friends with whom you share your values, ideas and your time. Or, they may only use the house as a place to sleep, shower and store their belongings, but still chip in for the common expenses.

Living Alone in Apartments

Living alone in an apartment can be more expensive than shared living but generally cheaper than renting a house alone. Landlords usually foot the bill for some utilities, although increasingly the heating bills have become the tenants' responsibility along with the rent.


Houses are the most expensive option to consider, unless you are willing to share with others, especially if you do not have money to pay upfront the first and last months' rent, in addition to a security deposit.

Special Circumstances

Sometimes families will offer room and board in exchange for providing either baby-sitting or help with household chores. Senior citizen housing exchange programs also exist, allowing you to stay in a home in exchange for helping with chores, providing company and/or sometimes providing assistance.


In general, rents are driven by the location; the accessibility to downtown Seattle or the University of Washington; access to major arterial roads; the neighborhood; proximity to water or parks; amenities such as washer/dryer, decks, hot tubs, etc.; and views of water, city skyline and mountains. Many students share a house to cut down on expenses. 

The farther you live from Seattle and/or main arterials, the more you will have to rely on your own transportation. There are some very nice locations that offer a great refuge even though this may increase your commute time. If you have a car, consider driving around these areas and exploring before you choose.

Finding a Place

The following are some great places to look for housing notices and ads:

Transitional Housing

Many students may need a place to stay for a few days when they first come to town as they attempt to find a place to live. Bastyr Conference Services has a limited number of rooms, in the months of July and August, that may be available to students who need a place to stay for a few days. The cost of a room is $45 for single occupancy and $35 each for double occupancy. Rooms are given out on a space-available basis. For more information, please contact conference services at (425) 602-3075 or

Seattle Neighborhoods

A map showing neighborhood names near Bastyr University.

Close to Campus (Kenmore and Surrounding Areas)

  • Bastyr University is located in the city of Kenmore in King County. The adjacent communities of Juanita, Kirkland and Bothell are just a short drive or bike ride away. To avoid the State Route 520 bridge, access campus from North Seattle via State Route 522 (Lake City Way), around the top of Lake Washington. SR522's name changes to Bothell Way at Northeast 145th Street.
  • At the north end of Lake Washington are Kenmore and Bothell. The cost of housing in these cities varies significantly from expensive homes to moderately priced older cottages and apartments. Both areas offer more reasonably priced housing than other Eastside areas (east of Lake Washington), are closest to campus and have a bus line that runs directly to the University. Wonderful biking and hiking trails provide excellent recreational opportunities along the Sammamish River.
  • Just northwest of campus are a number of communities, including Lake Forest Park, Shoreline, Bitter Lake and Mountlake Terrace. These areas may seem far from urban Seattle, but they offer a suburban feel that you can further embrace by traveling deeper into Snohomish County, whose southern border intersects Bothell. With the campus 10 miles away from Seattle and its congestion, it may be more appealing to you to move "out in the country."


  • Lake City, the closest you can get to campus and still live within Seattle city limits, is very commercial through its business district on Lake City Way. A block off that major road, Lake City turns into a residential community with lower-priced housing. There are plenty of apartments, and if you stay away from the lake views, rents tend to be cheaper. Bus service along Lake City Way is very good.
  • The Green Lake neighborhood is defined by the lake bearing this name. With a 3-mile path around the lake, it is often crowded with runners, bicyclists, baby strollers, roller skaters and dogs. At Green Lake you'll find a community center with a swimming pool and gymnasium, playing fields, the Bathhouse Theater and a boathouse, as well as plenty of restaurants. You'll also find a PCC Natural Market (a natural food co-op) in the area. Rents are a bit higher in this area, but because there have been a number of new apartment buildings built in the past decade, there also are plenty of shared housing opportunities for students.
  • Next to Green Lake is Wallingford, a cozy area with many shops and restaurants as well as Bastyr Center for Natural Health, the teaching clinic for the University's students. The housing consists mostly of private homes and older, quaint apartment buildings. Rent is moderate, but it increases near Lake Union, which borders on the south.
  • To the west of Wallingford is Fremont, an artsy, bohemian district filled with interesting public artwork and monuments such as Waiting for the Interurban and the Aurora Troll. Other finds include the Sunday Flea Market, the summer outdoor movies, a statue of Lenin, lots of hip stores and boutiques, and a PCC Natural Market.
  • The University District is the major neighborhood east of Interstate 5 featuring the University of Washington and a plethora of student housing and businesses that cater to its students. It is a busy area with a lot of activity and noise.
  • Wedgwood, View Ridge, Bryant, Ravenna and Roosevelt are just north of the U-District, featuring nice parks and residential neighborhoods. Housing is generally cheaper the farther north you travel, with smaller houses and yards and some apartments. Roosevelt has a Whole Foods and a bustling shopping district, while neighboring Ravenna has an expansive park, community center and an interesting mix of homes and people, ranging from UW professors to student renters. Bryant is very similar to Ravenna, but with bigger homes and yards, more single-family residences and fewer rentals. Housing is similar in View Ridge and Wedgwood, however View Ridge boasts a PCC market, while neighboring Wedgwood has a more defined business area.
  • Northwest of the Green Lake area lie Greenwood, Phinney Ridge, Crown Hill and North Park, which also offer affordable housing for students. To the northeast of Green Lake is the residential Maple Leaf neighborhood, which offers a mix of single-family houses with decent-sized yards and affordable apartments; and Northgate, home of the very first enclosed shopping mall (built in 1950). The Northgate neighborhood remains a major shopping district combined with office and apartment complexes, and housing prices that are moderate. There also is a community center and a major Metro (bus service) transfer station adjacent to the mall.

East Side of the Lake

  • The neighborhood just south of campus is Juanita. It consists primarily of single-family residences with the most expensive homes and apartments near the lake.
  • The city of Kirkland lies to the south of Juanita. Kirkland has a great variety of commercial activity, with some excellent restaurants and shopping and very nice parks along the lake. There is a PCC Natural Market at Houghton Village (Northeast 70th Street) and one of the busiest Costco stores is just east of Interstate 405. As always, housing near the lake, or with decent views, is expensive. However, there are moderately priced apartments and rentals in the area.
  • Bellevue, Washington's fifth-largest city, is south of Kirkland and has experienced tremendous growth in the past 20 years. Some areas of Bellevue are among the more expensive places to live on the Eastside, but there also are more affordable rental options in the large city. There is a Whole Foods market in the heart of downtown Bellevue.
  • Redmond, home of Microsoft is east of Kirkland and Bellevue. There is a PCC Natural Market and a Whole Foods in Redmond, and reasonable housing costs.
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