In the middle of Lake Washington, the island city of Mercer Island is home to 22,000+ residents. Mercer Island is the most populated lake-bound island in the United States, and its 98040 zip code is unique to the city.
While it’s an island, Mercer Island is not isolated due to its connection to Seattle and Bellevue via Interstate 90. Its central location in Lake Washington, between the greater Seattle area and the Eastside, tops the list of attractive attributes regarding the “Rock.” In addition, the city’s low crime rate, the local park system and nationally recognized school district have contributed to Mercer Island’s reputation as a premier Puget Sound community.
Mercer Island is a residential city by nature, however the Downtown neighborhood– the main business center of the island– is definitely growing. The Downtown, with its urban village feel, is also where most of the island condo and apartment dwellers reside. The sound-end of the island features the Mercer Village Shopping Center, an open air retail and business area.
Mercer Island residents are able to utilize 475 acres of parks and open space, plus more than 50 miles of marked hiking trails. For outdoor enthusiasts, they don’t have to leave the island to enjoy hours of hiking, water activities and nature watching. The local parks, like the north end, 20 acre Park on the Lid, also offer resident families countless hours of playtime. Three of the larger city parks– Luther Burbank Park, Clarke Beach and Groveland Beach Park– have beaches. Luther Burbank itself contains 4,000 feet of shoreline. Luther Burbank Park also has a boat dock and fishing pier, three miles of maintained trails, a children’s play area, tennis courts, and the city’s only off-leash dog park. The south end Pioneer Park contains 113 wooded acres, and its Southeast Quadrant is specifically set up for horseback riding. In addition, there are numerous street ends and landings dotted around the island which offer water access and picnicking areas.
The Mercer Island community possesses a substantial appreciation for the arts. The city contains arts organizations for both artists and those who appreciate different mediums of artistic expression. The Mercer Island Arts Council manages the I-90 Outdoor Art Gallery, located on the north end of the island, and supervises the city’s abundant public art. The most popular program the Mercer Island Art Council puts together is the annual Mostly Music in the Park series of free summer concerts.
Summer Celebration, Mercer Island’s premier summer event that’s part of the regional Seafair, is held annually the second weekend in July. It features fireworks on the east side of the island, a two-day street fair, a parade through the Downtown neighborhood, a basketball tournament, local entertainment, food provided by local vendors, boat rides, outdoor theatre and so much more.
An enduring tradition in the Mercer Island community is volunteerism. Mercer Island has its own Rotary, Kiwanis and the Lions Club chapters. Local organizations with volunteer opportunities include Mercer Island Youth and Family Services, the Mercer Island Historical Society, Mercer Island Visual Arts League (MIVAL) and the Mercer Island Craft Guild.
The Miller-Hull Partnership designed Mercer Island Community and Event Center (MICEC) gets a heavy work out from local clubs and the city’s parks & recreation department. The Mercer Island community also supports an active roster of senior activities and services, which often includes transportation services to senior events. Other noteworthy island organizations include the three membership country clubs, Boys & Girls Club, Youth Theater Northwest and the Stroum Jewish Community Center.