Although Maple Leaf's name probably came from the Maple Saw Mill that operated to the east on Lake Washington, or perhaps from maple trees that once grew in the area. A popular story is that in the early days of Seattle's settlement the neighborhood was "so far north that it might as well have been Canada", and it was dubbed "Maple Leaf" by the locals. Maple Leaf is bordered on the south by the Roosevelt neighborhood and the University District; to the north by Pinehurst and Victory Heights neighborhoods of the Northgate district; to the east by the Lake City and Wedgwood; and to the west by North College Park.
Maple Leaf is home to approximately 20,000 residents, mostly residing in classic "Seattle box" bungalows and Tudor-style houses.
Maple Leaf's main thoroughfares are Roosevelt Way NE from to NE 75th to 100th Streets and 5th Avenue NE from NE 85th to 90th Street. Notable neighborhood meeting spots on Roosevelt include the Reservoir Bar at 85th, Cloud City Coffee at 88th, the Roosevelt Alehouse at 89th, Judy Fu's Snappy Dragon (famous for its handmade noodles) at 90th, the amazing Math Store across the street from Judy Foo's, family-owned Maple Leaf Ace Hardware at 91st, and the Maple Leaf Grill (a casual restaurant in a charming white house) at 92nd. Locals also convene at 5th Avenue NE at Cafe Javasti and the independent San Marco Grocery at 84th.
Landmarks of the neighborhood include the water tower (decorated with maple leaves, of course) and reservoir at 85th and Roosevelt, and historic Waldo Hospital at 85th NE and NE 15th. Across Roosevelt Way from the water tower and reservoir is Saint Catherine's School and Church. Just south is The Fairview Church and The Fairview School, one of the largest private primary schools in the city
Maple Leaf is one of two homes for a flock of feral parrots descended from escaped pets. They fly between Maple Leaf and Seward Park.