The City of Dragons is on the come up

For a couple generations Renton was Boeing mechanics and engineers, and the people who supported them. Somehow despite these strong union jobs the reputation of Renton was negative. The rest of the 425 felt like Renton wasn’t worthy of the area code.

Down here on the southern tip of Lake Washington there’s a little boom.

Over the past 15 years, Renton has been doing things a bit different. The economy has shifted, the dining improved, and the reputation is tired. The City of Dragons is also the City of Seahawks and the City of Sounders.

The Seattle Sounders are building their training center on the old Longacres property. Additionally the property will also have over 500,000 square feet of office space, around 3,000 units of housing, and some light retail space right at a transit hub.

That’s not the only modern tech hub. Directly on the water is Southport, which combines great office space and a high-end hotel with views of both Bellevue and Seattle. There are also restaurants directly on the lake, something rare in the other ‘burbs surrounding it. Maybe someday there will be a water taxi connecting Southport to UW and South Lake Union (and maybe later up along the eastside).

The Dragon Erasmus looks out over Renton

The City of Dragons is also host to the billion-dollar division of Hasbro, Wizards of the Coast. For this, and other reasons, Renton has a statue of a dragon downtown, little dragons to indicate parking lots in the core of the city, dragon art on retail spaces awaiting tenants, and my heart.

Tucked in Renton is a top ten steakhouse in the state, a home converted to wine library and eatery, at least four waterfront restaurants, great sushi, a Korean-burger fusion place, and is the originator of what has become the Puget Sound family-style Mexican experience.

Located in the mountainous region of southeast Jalisco, Cuautla is a small community of about 3,000 people. Fundamental to the special connection between Renton and Cuautla, are Cuautla’s “Absent Sons,” of which many live in or near Renton. The “Absent Sons,” as they are referred to in Cuautla, are a band of greater Puget Sound Region restauranteurs who left Cuautla when they were young men, came to the United States, and opened the majority of the Mexican restaurants we patronize today: Azteca, La Fuente, La Hacienda, Las Margaritas, Mayas, Mazatlan, Tapatios, Taqueria Guaymas, and Torero’s to name just a few.

City of Renton

Also, in this 8th largest city in Washington are;

  • Three Breweries (Bickersons, Dub Town, Four Generals)
  • Two Gaming Stores (Wizard Keep Games, Shane’s Cards and Games)
  • A library built over the river
  • A taproom and a wine bar
  • Half of the Cedar River Trail stretching from Lake Washington to Lake Wilderness
  • A museum that tells the stories of Renton and South King County
  • Two theaters, for plays, not movies
  • Renton Memorial Stadium, that once hosted the Sounders in USL play
  • River Days

Once upon a time I moved away from Renton, thinking I’d never come back. I saw the world. Now, I own a home here and have realized that my city continues to grow into a place where I want to be — diverse, welcoming, friendly, with walkable distinct neighborhoods.

And dragons.


2 thoughts on “The City of Dragons is on the come up

  1. Pingback: My 2022 writing in review | Full Moon Storytelling

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