Seattle's compact downtown area is the heart of its business district and home to the famous Pike Place Market. Around the market and adjacent piers you'll find plenty of shopping and dining options, and the area is always full of tourists. Once you get a few blocks away from these sights you'll mostly find office buildings and the area can be quiet and empty at night.
For housing, take your pick of high rise condos and apartment buildings which will likely give you a great view of the surrounding mountains and waterways.
Bellevue: 10.2 miles / 20-35 minutes by car / 35-40 minutes by transit
Redmond: 15.4 miles / 20-50 minutes by car / 40-45 minutes by transit