Seattle is a beautiful port city on the Puget Sound in the northwestern U.S. state of Washington, 100 miles south of the Canadian border.
As the largest city in the state (and the Pacific Northwest for that matter), Seattle is heavily endowed with natural resources. It boasts freshwater and saltwater, hills, meadows, mountains and forests—gorgeous by any stretch of the imagination!
This hilly city earned the nickname Emerald City because of its natural beauty and the rich, green forests and parkland. With its campaign to further beautify the city with seasonal flowers came the moniker, City of Flowers.
The phrase, Gateway to Alaska, also rings true because of the many cruise lines operating out of Seattle with an Alaskan destination.
Below are 12 key factors you should know before moving to Seattle, Washington.
Table of Contents:
- 1. Busy highways, seaport and airport
- 2. Diverse population equals variety in attractions and activities:
- 3. Moderate climate appeals year round
- 4. High praise for Seattle’s standard of living
- 5. Highly acclaimed healthcare
- 6. Universities and schools highly rated
- 7. Job market and local economy going strong
- 8. Entertainment and activity options galore
- 9. Emerald City pros than cons
- 10. Will I find the right neighborhood?
- 11. Seattle home values have appreciated for a decade
- 12. Experienced realtors as a trusted resource
1. Busy highways, seaport and airport
As the eighth busiest airport in the United States, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, affectionately known as Sea-Tac, is served by 31 passenger airlines. This 80-gate airport is operated by the Port of Seattle and served almost 8 million passengers in 2018.
Its busiest passenger carriers are Alaska and Delta. The Port of Seattle not only serves the cruise industry but also manages heavy cargo container services, making it a gateway for trade with Asia.
The city is served by major interstates I-90 and I-82 with construction to be expected during the season. With heavy traffic daily, I-5 and I-405 run (or stall) with north-south traffic. The highway system can definitely get you where you want to go but perhaps not as expeditiously as desired.
As the 20th largest city in the U.S. hemmed in by the mountains, hills and water, it is difficult to increase the highway grid in this lively city. Urban planners are continually working toward increased mass transit solutions to relieve the inevitable congestion.
The capital city of the United States has a reputation for being a busy political and business hub, but there is a lot more to discover and enjoy for residents of this diverse city. Washington, DC is consistently ranked among Business Insider’s and Niche’s top 50 cities to live in, and there are…
2. Diverse population equals variety in attractions and activities:
With a population of over 700,000 residents, Seattle attracts millennials, career professionals of all ages, and nature lovers. The city is a hub for educational, technological, medical and scientific fields, and creativity and diversity are becoming more apparent.
You’ll find many Native Americans and residents with Scandinavian, African and Asian heritage. The city is also home to a growing LGBTQ community.
According to areavibes.com, 37% of Seattle residents were born in the state of Washington, 42% were born out of state, 2% were born outside the United States and 18% were foreign born.
You won’t get bored when living in Seattle. There are plenty of attractions and activities, many with an ethnic flair for added interest.
You can head to the International District for an authentic Asian meal or to South Park for flavorful Latino cuisine. You’ll find cultural events, festivals and seasonal outdoor activities for a laid-back casual outing or a competitive adventure.
Recommended for you
3. Moderate climate appeals year round
This hilly city has something for everyone: a moderate climate, water, beaches, mountains and forests. It’s known as a rainy city with an average of 38 inches of rain annually.
That seems standard since it’s equal to the U.S. average, except that half of that rainfall occurs in November, December and January, therefore the reputation for rain and more rain. Stats show that, as a rule, Seattleites experience some form of precipitation about 155 days each year.
It’s not all rain, however. You can look forward to an average of 152 sunny days each year. Compared to the national average of 205 sunny days, it’s not overwhelming, but perhaps enjoyed even more as a luxurious treat.
Temperatures are comfortably pleasant with summer highs around 76 degrees Fahrenheit and winter lows around 37 degrees.
You can typically expect snow to total less than 7 inches each winter. Compared to a national average of 28 inches of snow per year, that’s not much snow to contend with for a northern state—hardly warrants owning a shovel! For snow lovers, you can reach the mountains quickly to enjoy the snowfall and wintertime activities.
Oregon is a study in contrasts. It has 363 miles of the most breathtaking coastline you’ll encounter anywhere in the world. But it also has dense forests, mountain ranges, and high desert country. Here’re the 10 Best Cities to Live in Oregon…
4. High praise for Seattle’s standard of living
The cost of living in Seattle is 104% higher than the U.S. average, making it much more expensive than other cities. Housing is often the culprit, but you can find some very nice, less expensive housing options. Seattle’s sales tax rate is 10.1%, also higher than the U.S. average of 7.3%.
The good news is there is no personal income tax in the state of Washington; however, in 2017, the Seattle City Council enacted a law to collect income tax from higher income earners which is still under heated debate.
U.S. News & World Report ranked the State of Washington as #1 in the Best States in 2019, followed by New Hampshire and Minnesota. For 2019, Niche.com ranked Seattle #3 in the Best Cities for Young Professionals category, #2 for Best Cities for Outdoor Activities (behind Portland, Oregon), and #7 for Healthiest Cities in America.
With year-round warm weather and over 8,000 miles of coastline, it’s no wonder Florida is a prime vacation destination. Filled with wildlife, beaches, lakes, rivers, amusement parks, diverse entertainment options and much more, the population of Florida is growing with people that want to call Florida “home,” soak up the sun…
5. Highly acclaimed healthcare
Seattleites have access to excellent healthcare facilities and physicians. Here are just a few:
- A. Seattle Children’s Hospital is ranked as one of the best U.S. children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World. Report and serves as the University of Washington School of Medicine’s principal education and research site.
- B. University of Washington Medical Center was rated #1 by U.S. News & World Report in nine adult specialties.
- C. Virginia Mason Medical Center ranked regionally and nationally as a high performing facility by U.S. News & World Report.
- D. Cascade Valley Hospital & Clinics provide a full range of services.
- E. Minor & James Medical touts a multi-specialty approach with locations in Seattle, Bellevue and Mercer Island.
- F. The Polyclinic has multiple locations offering dozens of medical specialties.
- G. The VA Puget Sound Health Care System serves veterans with primary and specialty care.
Recommended for you
6. Universities and schools highly rated
Whether you’re looking for public, private, charter or alternative schools, you’ll find them in Seattle. With over 200 schools to choose from and ratings that are publicized, many options are available. The area is also home to over 20 four-year colleges and universities.
Here are some recent Niche.com ratings for the Best Colleges in Seattle:
- a) University of Washington #1, with dominant majors in psychology, communications, biochemistry and molecular biology
- b) Seattle Pacific University, a private Christian college, was #3 with majors in education, business and nursing
- c) Seattle University rated #6 as a private Catholic university with popular majors in nursing, finance and marketing
Once a farming and milling community, Edina has blossomed into a preferred suburban city with all the most desired amenities. From upscale, boutique shopping and exquisite dining to consignment shops and casual bistros, residents and visitors are enamored with the all-American lifestyle. You can enjoy the many parks, golf courses…
7. Job market and local economy going strong
With its strong economy, Seattle’s unemployment rate remains low (3.1%) compared to the national average of 3.9%. Top industries are technology, scientific, professional, education, healthcare, hospitality and retail.
Several major employers that are headquartered in Seattle are: online retailer Amazon, coffee shop icon Starbucks and the customer-centric department store Nordstrom.
REI and Boeing also have roots in Seattle, although Boeing has moved its headquarters to Chicago. Alaska Airlines is based at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport, and the Sea-Tac Airport itself employs well over 87,000 people, with thousands of additional workers in related fields.
And, let’s not forget that native Seattleite Bill Gates and his team created a booming Microsoft business in nearby Bellevue. The robust technology presence has naturally created a multitude of related business opportunities as well.
As these high-profile businesses continue to grow, as do others, the city grows with them. Plans are continually underway to improve mass transit and local amenities.
As expected, there is some urban sprawl, but the average commute time is 27.5 minutes (comparable to the national average of 26 minutes), meaning that most employees live fairly close to their workplace.
This city has all the advantages of small-town living with proximity to big city amenities. New Prague earned the No. 2 place on our list of the Five Best Cities for Families in Minnesota with good reason. The city is peaceful and safe with a lovely downtown, beautiful lake and opportunity for outdoor activities…
8. Entertainment and activity options galore
With the thousands of acres of parkland in and around Seattle, outdoor activities are exceptional. There are magnificent trails for hiking and biking. Try the scenic, 2.8-mile long Discovery Park flat trail.
Or, enjoy views from Olympic Sculpture Park’s Elliott Bay Trail. Higher elevation trails are accessible and available for all levels of hiking ability.
If mountain climbing is your thing, Mount Rainier and the National Park are close by. Get there for an early climb, make your descent and enjoy the grounds and hospitality café when you return. The park has beautiful sites including the Grove of the Patriarchs Trail with its amazing 1,000-year-old fir and cedar trees.
And, with water everywhere you look, you can participate in your favorite water sport or relax on the beach or commons. Enjoy the saltwater of Puget Sound (gateway to the Pacific Ocean) and fish for trout, bass or salmon on Lake Washington, the second largest natural lake in the state.
In the city, undoubtedly, the most well-known landmark is the Space Needle, an observation tower built for the 1962 World’s Fair, and a draw for tourists every year since.
It is located in Seattle Center, the large area originally designated to accommodate Fair visitors and now the perfect spot for entertainment, art, education, socializing and hospitality.
You may have heard stories (the good, the bad and the unbelievable!) and you’re intrigued with finding more information on the city and all its wonders. You’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll discuss some of the common themes about Minneapolis for standard of living, climate, housing, education, business, healthcare and recreation…
Here are a few more of the wonderful places to visit:
- a) Close to the Space Needle, be amazed at the colorful glass works of Dale Chihuly and possibly catch a “yoga under glass” experience or a summer concert
- b) The Seattle Art Museum with three facilities of special exhibits and collections of current and historic work
- c) The 92-acre Woodland Park Zoo in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood, with 300 species, a carousel and summer concerts
- d) The Seattle Aquarium with underwater viewing, coral-reef tank, touch tank, marine mammals and weekend diver shows—located on Pier 59 on the Elliott Bay waterfront
- e) The Sky View Observatory—Columbia with scenic views of the water, islands, city and mountains from its 73rd floor observatory and café. It’s taller than the Space Needle and, at 902 ft., the tallest observatory in the Pacific Northwest
- f) Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet
- g) Seattle International Film Festival—a 24-day film celebration
- h) At Pier 57, an observation Ferris wheel overlooking Puget–the Seattle Great Wheel
- i) Take the Seattle monorail to visit the Museum of Pop Culture, a non-profit museum with dozens of exhibits, some of which go on tour domestically and internationally
- j) The popular Pike Place Market, a bustling, downtown farmers’ market for an unforgettable experience with a view of the city’s harbor—beautiful Elliott Bay
- k) The bizarre Market Theater Gum Wall—a brick wall covered with used chewing gum. You have to see it to believe it, but you might not want to touch it!
The popularity of the waterfront can mean high housing costs and consumer prices. Luckily, for those willing to look past the likes of Malibu and Venice Beach, there are plenty of scenic spots along the country’s lakes and oceans where retirees can make a nice home even with a reduced…
If sports are your thing, you might enjoy:
- A. NFL football: Seattle Seahawks
- B. MLS soccer: Seattle Sounders FC
- C. MLB baseball: Seattle Mariners
- D. NWSL soccer: Seattle Reign FC
- E. WNBA basketball: Seattle Storm
- F. Roller Derby: Rat City Rollergirls
- G. WHL hockey: Seattle Thunderbirds
- H. MLR rugby: Seattle Seawolves (2018 champions)
Collegiate sports? Yes—at the University of Washington, Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University and Washington State University.
No matter your reason for considering relocating to Los Angeles, you will find a lot to love in this sunny, warm, sprawling, diverse city. In this article, we will give you a feel for L.A.’s standard of living, climate, housing, education and more. Here are 12 Key factors you should know before moving to Los Angeles, California…
9. Emerald City pros than cons
Are there negatives to living in Seattle? Depending on your perspective, negatives could be urban sprawl, higher crime rates than the U.S. average—especially property crime rate—or summertime heat, humidity and poor air quality.
There’s also the tax rate issue and the high cost of housing. And yes, Seattle is in a major earthquake zone and has suffered damage in the past, though residents don’t blow that possibility out of proportion.
Many people would say it’s all about the pros: good water quality, lots of recreational options, arts, culture and an extraordinary natural setting. There’s economic prosperity, excellent education and a promising job market.
Home values have typically increased nicely, neighborhoods can be found to fit your lifestyle and priorities, and real estate investments can be rewarding.
Recommended for you
10. Will I find the right neighborhood?
There are 162 neighborhoods in Seattle, so you might want to narrow that list down a bit before getting serious. A local real estate agent with experience in the area will be able to help you with that. Yes, housing is expensive. Still, there are charming neighborhoods for every budget. We’ll mention only a few as examples:
- a) Greenwood is a family-friendly spot with a nice blend of older and newer homes.
- b) Madison Park is expensive turf with gated mansions and luxurious manors.
- c) South Park houses a mainly Hispanic community with the culture and cuisine to match.
- d) West Seattle offers a casual, beach-town personality.
- e) Capitol Hill is an active center of arts, music and an emerging LGBTQ population.
- f) Chinatown/International district displays a distinctly appealing Asian heritage.
- g) Pioneer Square dates back to 1852 and is rich with history, art and architecture from the late 1800s and early 1900s. You’ll also find a 22-ft waterfall at Waterfall Garden Park.
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and for good reason. From some of America’s largest and active metropolitan cities to the host of recreational activities for people of all ages across the state to the many bigger-than-life personalities who call Texas home, Texas has plenty to offer for everyone. here’s the list of 10 lowest cost of living places…
11. Seattle home values have appreciated for a decade
This northwestern city offers a variety of housing options. There are high-rise apartments and large apartment complexes to accommodate the high numbers of renters in the city (45%). Why so many renters? Many people are students who rent, and some people prefer to rent because houses are higher priced than in other cities.
Median rent is $2700—also higher than in many other cities—but may be offset by higher compensation in the tech and professional workplace.
For those who buy, the median price of a home is $640,000. Keep in mind that there are some extremely high-value homes that contribute to the higher averages. You can still find homes that can be purchased at well under that dollar figure.
It’s the 3rd largest city in the state, situated in southeastern Minnesota on the Zumbro River. Home of the renowned Mayo Clinic, the city is often noted on the “best cities” lists as one of the best overall or one of the best in the Midwest. With its scenic setting, outstanding healthcare and highly rated educational systems, Rochester appeals to many…
Homes have been appreciating handsomely (as of 2019) and that trend seems to be slowing. Whether you’re looking for a real estate deal or a celebrity-style villa, you’ll find it in Seattle. There are also ample selections for senior housing, independent living and assisted living, with amenities to suit.
Because the cost of homeownership is high, this is a great market for real estate investors. The Seattle market is still a hot spot, and there are plenty of students, millennials moving to the area for career advancement, and people who prefer to rent.
Find the right neighborhood for the renters you prefer, and you’ll find investment opportunities to match. It’s a great time to become a landlord or expand your real estate portfolio.
Given the outdoors benefits – the cost of living in Colorado is still one of the best values in the country. Here’re the 10 most affordable places to live in Colorado, taking into account the cost of living, median housing price, average crime rate and other factors that make the place unique…
12. Experienced realtors as a trusted resource
Now that you’ve had an overview of what it’s like to live in Seattle, you can dig a little deeper into the topics that interest you the most. Check on local Seattle realtors that understand the market, the neighborhoods and values. They have a wealth of information to assist you and can guide you through a successful transaction with minimal stress.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and are inspired to check into it more seriously. Feel free to share this Seattle information with friends and family who might also enjoy it. Thank you!
Houston, Texas is a vibrant city with much to offer. U.S. News & World Report ranks Houston #30 in its Best Places to Live assessment and #26 in Best Places to Retire. There’s much to love about this southern city, nicknamed Space City in the days of the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center (now known as the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center)…