Considering a move to Seattle, Washington? You're probably weighing your suburb options, and chances are, Bothell and Mill Creek have come up as highly recommended places to consider.
Those two Pacific Northwest gems may seem similar, but anyone who lives here knows that they’re not.
I've lived in Snohomish County for 50+ years, and I'm going to explain Bothell vs. Mill Creek and explain who should and should not live in each city.
I will introduce to you their unique features and characteristics, pointing out the most important topics in real estate (location, quality of life, and housing market).
Location: The Main Differences
Let’s begin by comparing the locations of these amazing suburbs.
When we look at the map, they seem pretty much similar to one another, but there’s a major difference to consider, especially when it comes to commuting.
If you’re working in tech hubs like Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, or even Microsoft, then Bothell might be the best option for you. Bothell is closer to downtown Seattle and the commute is a bit more bearable. Being near I-405 helps, even though the traffic in the greater Seattle area is unpredictable.
At Mill Creek, the commute is slightly less convenient because it’s located further north and to access I-405, which leads straight to downtown Seattle, you must pass by I-5 first. Residents tend to work and commute to other areas nearby like Everett, but if that’s not an option for you, then you need to keep in mind that you’ll need to budget some extra time.
Bothell’s Urban Charm vs Mill Creek’s Community Feel
Next, we are going to talk about quality of life. Both suburbs offer two different lifestyles for two different types of people.
Bothell is a historic city established in the late 1800s along the Sammamish River, and we can say that here urban life prevails with +48,000 residents. One of the highlights is the downtown, which has an awesome main street filled with local shops, restaurants, public arts, and an astonishing view of the Cascade Mountains.
Bothell’s downtown has trendy restaurants like Tubs Gourmet Sub Sandwiches and McMenamins Tavern on the Square. There are also cute boutique shops and some breweries.
I like to say that Bothell’s evolving each day like a caterpillar into a butterfly, because of how much improvement has been done. There’s history, there’s modernity, and there’s a sense of growth!
Bothell also has so many things to do outside like The Park at Bothell Landing, which is simply amazing. It’s located on the river and in the summer, they have concerts, festivals, and kayak rentals for all families to go out and enjoy the scenery.
Bothell is the perfect mix between the old charm and new buzz, which gives you this amazing urban vibe in a suburb.
Mill Creek, on the other hand, is more like a well-planned garden. Everything is orderly and in its place with an unbeatable strong sense of community. The Mill Creek Town Center downtown is also the highlight due to the great shops, restaurants, and the Town and Country Market.
Locals here are all about the green spaces and life outdoors. Parks like The Mill Creek Nature Reserve are beautiful and perfect for those who like to enjoy the weekends with a picnic, or just enjoy activities like running or riding a bike. This is also the perfect spot for golf enthusiasts.
As many other communities do, Mill Creek has its own Country Club, with a golf course, a tennis court, and spaces for residents to get together.
The vibe in Mill Creek is the complete suburban experience, with community gatherings and planned amenities!
Let’s Talk About Prices
We have arrived at the most important topic: real estate.
When looking at Bothell, you'll find a mix of homes. There are older homes dating back to the early 1900s that sit on larger lots (sometimes sprawling to over an acre), and also modern new developments with open-concept designs on smaller lots.
Many of those newer homes have highly desirable features like vaulted ceilings, chef’s kitchens, and even smart home tech. In the older homes, you’ll find hardwood floors and unique architectural details that bring character to the house.
Bothell’s real estate has seen a higher demand in recent years due to its proximity to tech hubs. The median home prices are inching up, especially for those newer builds. You can expect to pay at least $1.2M for a new single-family detached home.
In Mill Creek, houses are more Pacific Northwest style with a touch of modernity in newer areas. You can find decent-sized lots with ample backyard space, especially in the Mill Creek Country Club area.
Something you need to keep in mind is that Mill Creek, as a planned community, has all the features and perks that come with those, like walking trails, community centers, and golf course access, so you can expect some spacious layouts, modern amenities, and energy-efficiency features in many cases.
Even though lots of homes in Mill Creek come from top-tier builders, the prices are about $100K lower than prices in Bothell. The last check (in the fall of 2023) says that the median price of a home in Mill Creek is $920K.
Who Should vs Who Shouldn’t
To make it simple, let me tell you who should live in Bothell and Mill Creek and who shouldn’t.
If you’re looking for consistency and a well-planned community, then Bothell may not fit for you. This suburb is for those who want more urban living, for those thinking about commuting to Seattle more easily, and also for those who like to explore the varied food & culture.
If you’re looking for the urban and big-city lifestyle, then Mill Creek may not be a good fit for you. This suburb is for those who seek a quieter environment and want to feel immersed in nature, enjoy walking trails, golf courses, and nature reserves.
Which one would you choose and why? Let me know in the comments!
If you’re already moving to the area and are looking for a new home, my team and I would love to be your real estate agency of choice. We’ve helped over 500 people buy & sell their houses in Snohomish County. All you have to do is contact us at:
Have more questions or want to learn more about those two areas? Then make sure to download my Snohomish County neighborhood guide by clicking here. It includes 50 years of local experience information that you won’t find online.
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