Issaquah earns spot on Outside magazine’s Best Towns list
September 13, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 2 p.m. Sept. 13, 2011
Issaquah is among 19 cities nationwide on Outside magazine’s Best Towns 2011 list.
The city and others on the list earned plaudits for access to outdoor recreation — Issaquah is described as “a Seattle-area hang-gliding mecca” — and, perhaps, more mundane attributes.
“Adventure amenities make a lot of towns seem dreamy,” notes the article in the October issue. “What sets these 19 burgs apart is their nod to reality: affordable homes, solid job prospects and vibrant nightlife. Start packing.”
Issaquah’s proximity to Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains turned out to be a selling point.
“As Boeing’s and Microsoft’s fastest-growing bedroom community, the former lumber town (pop. 23,200) has experienced a surge in out-of-towners in the past few years,” the article continues. “And for good reason: a 20-minute drive can put you in downtown Seattle or the oyster flats on Puget Sound. An hour away, there’s skiing in the Cascades, kayaking and rafting on the Class IV Skykomish River, and access to a half-dozen steelhead streams.”
(Issaquah’s population crested 30,000 people in the 2010 Census.)
“When you combine all of those recreational opportunities with excellent schools and other things within in our community, it really makes us a desirable place to be,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said.
The city also earned points for attitude.
“Even better,” the magazine concludes, “Issaquah hasn’t been totally yuppified. The biggest party of the year is Salmon Days, a two-day festival in October celebrating the return of the spawning fish.”
Issaquah is the only Evergreen State locale on the 2011 list. Other cities include popular destinations for outdoor recreation — Boulder, Colo., and Missoula, Mont., for instance, plus Portlands in Maine and Oregon.
The magazine also named Chattanooga, Tenn., as the Best Town Ever in the issue.