Seattle

Should You Move to Seattle?

Every year, thousands of people move to Seattle, cementing its position as one of the five fastest growing cities in the United States. While some cities are easy to characterize by a single trait that draws people in, that’s not true of Seattle.

Whether you’re looking for a thriving tech scene, dynamic neighborhood cultures, or a highly rated higher education scene, the area is a wonderful option for you.

With a population of just under 777,000, most of whom are couples without children, Seattle is a rapidly growing city that is incredibly appealing to young professionals and other people who are drawn to a city with a thriving cultural scene.

One of the most appealing aspects of life here is the mild weather. 

While the city has a reputation for non-stop rain, that’s simply not the case. In fact, on average, there are only 92 days of precipitation every year. Additionally, many people are drawn to the area because of the thriving tech industry, creating jobs in one of the most popular industries in the United States.

There are plenty of interesting historical notes about Seattle, but one of the most fascinating is the fact that it was home to one of the first gas stations in the world. This station was opened near the corner of present day Western Avenue and Holgate Street in 1907.

Seattle Economy and Job Opportunities

When settlers first came to modern day Seattle in 1851, they actually referred to the area as New York. However, these settlers quickly recognized the viability of a protected deep water harbor on the other side of Elliot Bay, and shifted their plans towards that area. In honor of Duwamish Indian Chief Si’ahl (1780-1866), the settlers named the area Seattle.

Built in 1853, Henry Yesler’s lumber mill was the most important part of the city’s early economy. In fact, much of the lumber that went to the rapidly growing San Francisco, California, was milled at Henry Yesler’s.

It’s also interesting to note that even though the lumber industry was thriving, Seattle would not incorporate as a city until 1869, and Washington wouldn’t even become a state until 20 years later, when it officially became the 42nd state in 1889.

While timbering and the lumber industry still have a presence in Washington, Seattle itself has become one of the most important areas for the technology industry. 

Though many people recognize Seattle as the home of Starbucks Coffee and the grunge-rock music scene of the 1990s, it is also home to Amazon, the largest online retailer in the world.

However, Amazon isn’t the only tech business that is based here, as the city’s proximity to Silicon Valley has encouraged the growth of multiple technology-based companies. Obviously, as technology continues to become more prevalent in every other industry in the world, the demand for jobs in the tech sector will continue to grow, making the city a long-term hub for jobs in the United States.

Finally, there is a thriving startup scene here, ensuring that entrepreneurs, especially those who are focused on the tech industry, can connect with likeminded business owners to start their own companies.

Seattle Real Estate and Cost of Living

The median list price for a single-family home is $854,500, while the median list price for a condo is $599,950, with the average number of days on the market at 64 for houses and 80 for condos.

According to Altos Research, Seattle is a strong sellers’ market as of December 2021.

The average rent for a 692 square foot apartment is $2,169 per month, according to RentCafe.

Three of the top neighborhoods are Fremont, Belltown, and Pioneer Square, thanks largely to the number of cultural attractions ranging from art to music in the areas. The allure of these areas is only increased when you realize how close they are in proximity to virtually all of the job opportunities in Seattle. 

However, if you’re looking for a more suburban experience that isn’t too far from the city center, you might want to investigate Clyde Hill, Redmond, and Sammamish.

The kind of homes that you will find here include Victorian, Tudor, and Craftsman Bungalow. However, there is also a type of architecture known as Seattle Box that is very common in the area and provides a modern look with two stories and a nearly perfectly square shape.

Short-term rentals are heavily regulated. In fact, if you plan on offering a property as a short-term rental, you will be required to obtain a business license tax certificate and a regulatory license for short-term rentals.

High speed internet is available from Xfinity, Wave, and CenturyLink starting at $19.99 per month.

Utility costs such as electricity, gas, water, sewer, and trash are generally a little higher than the national average.

The overall cost of living score is 156 as compared to the US baseline at 100, while the livability score is 65 on a scale of 0-100 according to AreaVibes.

Seattle Food, Drink and Entertainment

There are tons of great restaurants all over town, from Cafe Juanita, to Addo, to Off the Rez Cafe, including coffee shops and breweries like Elm Coffee Roasters and Rooftop Brewing Company.

Some of the town’s most iconic eating and drinking establishments include Beth’s Cafe, Serafina, and Cafe Flora, known primarily for its expansive vegetarian menu.

Seattle has plenty of nightlife options, including Bathtub Gin and Co., which was transformed into a 1920s-era speakeasy in 2009.

Moviegoers also enjoy the Regal Meridian & 4DX as well as the SIFF Film Center when looking for somewhere to watch movies.

Grocery stores such as Ballard Market, QFC, and Metropolitan Market are easily accessible from every neighborhood.

The town is also home to a number of wonderful shopping options, including the Pike Place Market which is situated Downtown, Westlake Center, Elliot Bay Book Company, and Fremont Vintage Mall.

Seattle Attractions and Things to Do

The city is home to a number of fascinating tourist attractions including Seattle Center, a gorgeous park with playgrounds and attractions where you’ll find the Space Needle, the Chihuly glass garden, and a fabulous collection of eateries.

There’s also the waterfront, Pike Place Market and the underground attractions in the Pioneer Square Historic District.

Seattle is home to a thriving art scene, including theatre, dance, and music. For theatre lovers, a show at the historic Paramount, or an improv show at Unexpected Productions are must-see. There are a number of live music venues, which have been a part of the city’s culture for more than 30 years.

Finally, there are plenty of art museums all around the city, including The Royal Room, Vera Project, and The Showbox.

If you’re a sports fan, the city is home to several professional sports teams. The Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League, the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball, and the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer have called the Emerald City home for years. Most recently, the Seattle Kraken became the newest member of the National Hockey League at the start of the 2021-2022 season.

The city is home to more than 485 parks, so there is never a shortage of outdoor recreational activities including hiking trails, biking trails, jogging and more. Some of the most popular parks include Discovery Park, Seward Park, and Green Lake Park.

Seattle Transportation

The city is served by Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), which is incredibly easy to get in and out of while offering a number of international nonstop flights. Many travelers agree that the best part of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the number of dining and shopping options that can be found inside.

Getting around on public transportation is easy, thanks in part to the number of quality options available. In addition to King County Metro Transit bus lines, you can also take advantage of Link Light Rail, Seattle Streetcars, and the Seattle Center Monorail.

Of course, the city is also home to a thriving rideshare scene, allowing travelers the option to get around the city via Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare platform.

You won’t necessarily need a vehicle, but if you have one, it’s important to note that parking varies depending on where you’re at in the city. In addition to limited parking options, some areas are more expensive to park in than others.

Also, keep in mind that car insurance rates here tend to run around 15% higher than the national average.

Seattle Schools

The city has numerous colleges and universities, many of which have rigorous admission standards to ensure that they can continue to offer another wave of highly intelligent, well trained professionals.

The public school system has been rated as exceptional by Great Schools.

There are also many highly regarded private schools to choose from including Villa Academy, O’dea High School, and Our Lady Of The Lake School. You can also find multiple high-quality homeschooling groups if you prefer to educate at home.

The library system is very good, with locations all around town that offer programs like Story Time, Museum Pass, and Job Resources for both kids and adults.

Seattle Community Groups

If you’re religious, you will find a vast array of churches and religious centers to choose from, including those who practice Catholicism, Protestantism, Scientology, Buddhism, Islam, and more.

If you are a member of the LGBTQ community, you will find plenty of resources and groups, including Capitol Hill, which has long been the epicenter of Seattle’s LGBTQ community.

Seattle also has numerous neighborhood and community programs and organizations that you can be a part of, including Salish Sea Expeditions, Valley Animal Partners, and Big-Brained Superheroes Club.

Other good options for newcomers who are looking to make connections with their new neighbors include Facebook groups and Meetup.com.

Seattle Health and Wellness

Currently Seattle has a vaccination rate of 82% with businesses now permitted to run full capacity.

There is a statewide mask mandate regardless of vaccination status. King County requires proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter certain indoor and outdoor events and establishments, including bars & restaurants, indoor events, and outdoor events with over 500 people.

As these rules are always changing, check with official sources before making plans for Seattle.

In addition to some world-class gyms such as X Gym, Pro Club-Bellevue, and Studio 3 Fit, there are a number of top yoga studios including Bindi Yoga, Modo Yoga Seattle, and Seattle Yoga Lounge.

Seattle is home to some of the best hospitals in the nation including the University of Washington Medical Center, Virginia Mason Medical Center, and EvergreenHealth Kirkland. For health issues that don’t require a hospital visit, there are urgent care clinics such as ZoomCare and Multicare Indigo Urgent Care.

The city is also home to several world-class assisted living facilities including Truewood by Merril, Queen Anne Manor Assisted Living and Memory Care Community, and Providence Heritage House at the Market.

Finally, for pet lovers, Mercer Street Veterinary Hospital and Aurora Veterinary Hospital provide high-end vet services, while Seattle Dog Boarding can take care of your four-legged family member should you be out of town for a while.

Seattle Climate and Safety

While Seattle has long had a reputation for constant rain, that’s simply a stereotype that isn’t true. In fact, it rains roughly 92 days per year here. Overall, the climate is considered very mild, as summertime temperatures average 75 degrees, and wintertime temperatures generally stay at or slightly above freezing.

Unfortunately, Seattle’s crime rate is significantly higher than the national average.

The city recently slashed police budgeting after protests to defund the police became more common, and now violent crimes and property crimes have both increased.

Additionally, homelessness is a serious issue in Seattle, as there are upwards of 11,000 homeless people in the city. Officials are planning to add 2000 more housing units by 2023 to help address the issue.

There are several naturally occurring pests and predators here, including raccoons, skunks, mice, rats, coyotes, and various types of snakes.

Seattle Politics, Government and Taxation

Based on a detailed study of anti-corruption laws, Seattle’s city government seems to be considered uncorrupt.

However, the fiscal condition is lacking, as the city struggles to overcome mounting debt.

Voters here skew heavily to the left based on data collected during the last election cycle. 75% of voters voted Democratic while only 22.2% of voters voted Republican. Additionally, 2.8% of voters voted Independent.

While Washington does not have a state income tax, it has a sales tax of 6.5% imposed by Washington State.

However, within Seattle, that sales tax climbs to 10.1% since the city adds 3.6%.

Seattle spends more than $650 million each year to improve infrastructure.

However, due to recent slashes to some first responder budgets, its police response time exceeded 60 minutes in recent studies.

The Bottom Line

If you’re single and looking for a rapidly growing city with nearly unlimited job opportunities… Seattle may be the right choice for you. However, if you want a small town with a more intimate feel, you may be better served by looking elsewhere.

If you’re a couple with kids looking for an opportunity to expose your children to cultural activities and some incredible educational opportunities… Seattle may be a good place for you. Conversely, if you’re concerned about crime rates and cost of living rates, you may want to keep looking.

If you have a family and you want to live in a community where there’s always something going on, unlimited sources of entertainment, and some world-class shopping… Seattle is a great choice. However, if you prefer a slower pace, you may want to consider another location such as nearby suburbs Clyde Hill, Redmond, and Sammamish.

Where to live in America is a personal choice, because what’s important to us may not be important to you.

To help you find your perfect place, we recommend using a spreadsheet with weighted scores to help you clearly prioritize your choices. Our free template below can save you hours of time as you weigh your options.

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