Magnolia is as close as a place can be to being a suburb while still being within city limits. Isolated from the rest of the city by geography, it is also isolated by choice, as residents like to be a part of their own small community. It is actually the largest Seattle neighborhood in area, however, that is because it encompasses a huge amount of park and other public land.

Magnolia has only three points of entry, which contributes to its isolation. It is but a tip of land, sandwiched between Elliott Bay to the south, Puget Sound to the west and the Lake Washington Ship Canal to the north. Along the east side of Magnolia run a set of railroad tracks, over which the three bridges that serve as entry points run: Magnolia Bridge being the largest, Dravus, and moving north, Emerson.

Magnolia as a neighborhood is a fairly wealthy area, especially along the bluffs that face over Puget Sound, though evidence has shown these not to be particularly stable places to have a home. Further along the bluffs is Discovery Park. Built on an old Army fort, the park encompasses huge swaths of land that are reserved as hiking trails, offering a bit of wilderness in the city. There are also plenty of open beaches for strolling, and amazing views off the cliffs over the water. Adjacent to the park is the West Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse dates back to 1881 and is surrounded by more public beach lands. The lighthouse shares its name with the West Point Sewage Treatment Plant, another famous landmark of Magnolia, be it a less touristy one.

On Magnolia’s north side is Fisherman’s Terminal, one of the main ports for local fishing boats. On Saturdays and Sundays, residents can come down to the docks and often find fishermen willing to sell their wares directly to the public. This area is also the southern side of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.