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Comparing two micro hoods, nicknamed Top Pot and Mad Market

In city living, a mile can mean a real difference in micro neighborhood flavor and vibe.

A few months ago I moved within the Capitol Hill neighborhood, a distance of just over a mile. Both micro ‘hoods are on the hill, both are similarly close to Cal Anderson Park and the future light rail station. Both are eclectic and open-minded. Both are fine residential neighborhoods. Yet, there’s something in the details. Kids, dogs. Blackberries, figs. Cityscape, sunset. Mad Market, Top Pot.  Here’s my move:

 And  how the micro ‘hoods compare:


Top Pot Mad Market
Neighborhood hangouts Destination entertainment district
Park sleepers Crazy people
Top Pot Donuts Cupcake Royale
QFC Broadway Market Trader Joe’s and Madison Market
Hardware rows in basement of QFC Pacific Supply Co
Toscana Pizza Piecora’s and ‘zaw
Plums, apples, figs, cherries Blackberries, cherries, food banks
I-5 hum 911 sirens
The Anne Bonney Seattle Trading Post and No Parking
Music from open windows Band practice spaces
Quizno’s and Subway Taco Time
People who live here People passing through
Free clothes and shoes Free computer monitors
Commuter bikers Hipster bikers
Toy tagging Street stickering
Pub Wine bar
Busy streets to Cal Anderson Park Residential streets to Cal Anderson Park
Sunset view Cityscape view
Apartment buildings named after people Condo buildings named of made-up words
Public library Magazine rack at Vermillion
Metro routes 9, 14, 49 Metro routes 10, 11, 12
Summit Market 7-11
Easy access to I-5 Easy access to Madison Valley, Central District
Joe Bar Porchlight Coffee
Dog walkers Baby strollers
Cairo Gallery and Spike Mafford Studio Grey Gallery and Vermillion
Thomas Street Bistro, Poppy Spinasse, Meza Latin Fare
Traffic ‘copters Planes
Flickers Hummingbirds
Wall murals at the Lookout Wall mural at Monique Lofts
Eyes on feet, sometimes a nod Eyes ahead, sometimes a verbal greeting
Walkscore 95 Walkscore 97
Harvard Exit Northwest Film Forum

I like both neighborhoods for different reasons. It is easier to get home to Mad Market from a night of socializing in Pike/Pine area. Pho noodles are cheap and plentiful on north end of Broadway. Worse street maintenance in Top Pot, better sidewalks in Mad Market.  Mad Market wins for happy hour, Top Pot wins for brunch.   Top Pot is quieter, Mad Market is lively.

Which is the better micro ‘hood? It depends. Are you a night owl or a lark? Do you prefer strawberry or chocolate? 

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15 thoughts on “Comparing two micro hoods, nicknamed Top Pot and Mad Market

  1. you definitely have to live in a (micro)neighborhood a while to fully appreciate all its quirks – good and bad. i’m more familiar with the mad market district, but have enjoyed afternoons and dinners in the top pot zone. enjoy your new micro hood!

  2. We’ve about to move a half mile down the street, from Harvard and Olive to Harvard and Roy. Our walking commutes mean we’ve gotten to know some microhoods pretty well, but the new one (Joe Bar) will be a new adventure.

  3. …the view is definitely nice, never had one before. But I’m jealous of all the hubbub in the pike/pine area, and wish I didn’t have to walk uphill so often. Lazy Vinny!

    Now that the Lookout is open, I’m much happier. It’s nice to have another nearby dinner/booze option.

  4. You forgot about the gentle radiation bath that is constantly caressing the Mad Market ‘hood. How much more crap can they put on those broadcast towers?

  5. It is nice to be so fond of the too sweet and too greasy donut shop, but, one who define their turf by that maybe should start over.

    Historic markers, public street space, water and shore, seems like top pot could be towers micro even better

    C. Hill is micro Broadway, and so forth. As people use cars less and have less money to spend, they might live and die in a village like concept…. all in a few miles area. The modern becomes the ancient as in early centuries peasant.

    We will only know the bigger world from the screens which dominate life.

  6. The funny thing is, I haven’t been in Top Pot Donuts.

    It’s just a convenient landmark when people ask where I live on the Hill.


  7. I’m about to move up to the Mad Market area from the Pike/Broadway and although it’s not far that way, I definitely see the more subtle differences. I worked in the Top Pot area for a year too and couldn’t agree with y’all more about the appreciation of the quirks listed. Time to get used to the new(er) ones!

  8. Haha. I laughed when I read this:
    Top Pot – Eyes on feet, sometimes a nod |
    Mad Market – Eyes ahead, sometimes a verbal greeting

    It’s funny because it’s true. Sure sometimes people will make eye contact in the Top Pot neighborhood, but for the most part that’s the exception. When I had a dog I used to walk her there for hours each day, so I got to know it pretty well.

  9. Interesting observation. I was a little startled by all the friendly folks when I first moved here (near mad market), but mostly I’m used to it. It’d be nice, though, to live somewhere less chatty and stare-y. I spend more time drinking at the Summit than up where I live, so I figure I’m halfway to living in top pot, anyway.

  10. I have a friend who claims the are known as “Top Pot” in this article is actually called “Sleepy Hollow”. Can anyone confirm or deny this for me?

  11. Wonder if the area around the “new” Cal Anderson park will take on a name as in Park Side, Cal Block, Andersonville, or __________________ , fill it in.

    Such a great place, great to hang and eat your treat, as in ice cream, cup cakes or donuts.

    I have been taking lunch there and doing a mini picnic all summer, works great. ( ham and cheese sandwitch from QFC, just a couple of blocks, works fine)

  12. Don’t know if the name Sleepy Hollow is the truth, but that would definitely be a great name for this neck of the woods. It is quiet, slow in the morning – the time with the most energy is right around sunset with people sitting outside at the Summit Pub to Top Pot stretch. Then it quiets back down.

    Don’t forget the view of pontoon planes landing on Lake Union.