Belltown is located on the city's downtown waterfront, on land that was artificially flattened as part of a regrading project. The neighborhood is bounded on the north by Denny Way, on the southwest by Elliott Bay, on the southeast by Virginia Street, and on the northeast by 5th Avenue. The area is named after William Nathaniel Bell, on whose land claim the neighborhood was built.
Although it was formerly a low-rent and semi-industrial arts district, in recent decades it has transformed into a neighborhood of trendy restaurants, boutiques, nightclubs, and residential towers as well as warehouses and art galleries. Belltown’s array of restaurants is extraordinary as there are over a hundred in the zip code alone. Every kind of cuisine can be found here ranging from fine cuisine to hot dogs. Most restaurants offer a happy hour for early evening patrons. On weekend evenings, the nightlife is very vibrant.
In 2007, CNN Money named Belltown the best place to retire in the Seattle metro area, calling it "a walkable neighborhood with everything you need." Belltown is also home to The Art Institute of Seattle, Antioch University, Argosy University, Mars Hill Graduate School, and RealNetworks Headquarters.