Seattle is a vibrant city located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is known for its rainy weather, coffee shops, and outdoor activities. If you are considering moving to Seattle, there are several things you should know to make your transition as smooth as possible. In this blog post, we will cover the following topics:
Table of Contents
- Seattle Neighborhoods
- Cost of Living
- Job Market
- Pros and Cons of Moving to Seattle
- Tips and Advice
With over 100 unique neighborhoods spanning rainforest to bayfront, Seattle offers incredible diversity in local communities and lifestyles. Selecting the right area can make a big difference for new residents.
Capitol Hill is a vibrant neighborhood popular with young professionals and artists for its LGBTQ+ culture, nightlife, and café scene. Ballard charms as a former fishing village turned hip hub of cafes, bars, and shops, with a relaxed vibe. The tech crowd flocks to South Lake Union, home of Amazon headquarters. And scenic, family-friendly Queen Anne entices with its beautiful historic homes and proximity to top schools.
Other notable neighborhoods include Fremont, known for its funky free spirit and home to the Fremont Troll statue; Columbia City, a diverse southside community with independent shops and global dining; and West Seattle, a peninsula enclave feeling more suburban that’s still close to downtown.
Getting to know Seattle’s diverse neighborhoods before committing allows picking the right home base. Factoring priorities like commute time, amenities, recreational options, housing stock and community vibe can make finding your perfect neighborhood match easier. There’s a place for everyone within Seattle’s eclectic collection of charismatic neighborhoods.
Cost of Living
As one of the fastest growing American cities, Seattle has seen housing costs and overall cost of living rise steadily. However, salaries also tend to run higher to compensate.
According to Apartment List, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle is around $1,900 per month. However, popular neighborhoods like Capitol Hill and South Lake Union tend to be more expensive, while areas like Columbia City and Northgate offer more affordable rents.
Other major expenses like groceries, transportation and utilities also run higher compared to national averages per cost of living indexes. For example, a monthly transportation pass runs around $100 and groceries cost 1-2% more than the U.S. average.
However, don’t let the high costs deter you. With smart choices like opting for an outer neighborhood, taking advantage of transit, and sticking to a budget, you can enjoy a high quality of life in Seattle. The key is researching prices specific to neighborhoods and lifestyles to find options that fit your budget.
Seattle’s Arts and Culture Scene
Seattle is home to a thriving arts and culture scene, with many museums, galleries, and theaters throughout the city. The Seattle Art Museum is one of the most popular cultural institutions in the city, and it houses a collection of over 25,000 works of art from around the world. The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) is another popular destination for art lovers, and it features exhibits on popular culture topics such as music, film, and video games. The Seattle Symphony is one of the most respected orchestras in the United States, and it performs a variety of classical and contemporary music. In addition to these major cultural institutions, Seattle also has a thriving independent arts scene, with many small galleries, theaters, and performance spaces.
Seattle offers new families exceptional educational opportunities, from top-rated primary schools through higher education.
The Seattle Public Schools system serves over 50,000 students across 104 schools and is consistently ranked among the top public districts nationally. Options include sought-after magnet programs for STEM, international studies, and more. Seattle also has 38 charter schools and many excellent private schools at the primary and secondary level.
Higher education institutions also propel Seattle’s reputation for academic excellence. The University of Washington, ranked in the top 50 universities globally, is the primary public research university in the state. Seattle University provides private Jesuit education to over 7,000 students on its centrally located campus. Seattle also houses satellite campuses for colleges including University of Phoenix and Antioch University.
With such high quality public and private offerings at the K-12 level plus research powerhouses like UW and Seattle University, families moving to Seattle can feel assured of finding strong education options. From specialized technical institutes to liberal arts colleges, students have diverse paths to academic success in Seattle. The city’s culture of education makes it a desirable destination for those looking to put down roots.
Seattle is home to some of the top healthcare systems and medical facilities in the United States. This gives residents access to world-class doctors, cutting-edge treatments, and top-tier patient care.
Several major hospitals and medical centers can be found throughout the city. The University of Washington Medical Center, ranked among the best hospitals in the country, provides advanced specialty care and clinical trials. Swedish Medical Center operates multiple campuses in Seattle, offering comprehensive healthcare with cancer, neurology, cardiology and ER services.
Virginia Mason Medical Center is also recognized nationally for innovations in integrated healthcare delivery and operates a network of clinics across Seattle. Other standout facilities include Harborview Medical Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
For those relocating to Seattle, the wealth of high-quality healthcare options is a strategic advantage. The city’s reputation for medical excellence and abundance of skilled doctors provides peace of mind. Whether seeking a primary care physician or needing specialty treatment, Seattle’s healthcare landscape is equipped to meet diverse healthcare needs.
Sports are a central part of the culture and community in Seattle. As home to several major professional franchises, the city boasts an enthusiastic and dedicated fanbase.
The Seattle Seahawks of the NFL have their home at Lumen Field downtown, where the crowd is known for creating an intimidating roar for opponents. With recent Super Bowl appearances, the Seahawks continue to be top contenders each season. Baseball fans cheer on the Mariners MLB team at T-Mobile Park, hoping this will finally be the year they reach the World Series. Soccer enthusiasts fill Lumen Field to support the MLS’s Seattle Sounders FC, one of the league’s most successful teams.
Beyond the pros, Seattle residents have a wealth of opportunities for recreation and fitness. Facilities like swimming pools, tennis courts, soccer fields, and golf courses allow participation in sports of all kinds. The city’s picturesque parks also encourage outdoor activities like jogging, cycling, and hiking. From water sports on Lake Washington to winter activities in the mountains, Seattle’s landscape caters to active lifestyles year-round.
With a calendar filled with sports events and plenty of facilities to stay active, Seattle keeps residents engaged and moving. The city’s passion for sports, both as spectators and players, is contagious. Those moving to Seattle will quickly find themselves caught up in cheering for the home teams with locals who bleed their team colors.
When the sun goes down in Seattle, the city comes alive. Seattle is known for its vibrant nightlife scene thanks to an eclectic mix of bars, clubs, performing arts venues, and live music spots found throughout the various neighborhoods.
The bustling Capitol Hill district caters to night owls with a high concentration of bars, ranging from lively sports bars to laid back pubs to dance clubs pulsing with DJ beats. Just north, Belltown beckons those looking for a more upscale sophisticated atmosphere in its cocktail lounges, wine bars, and swanky nightclubs. Pioneer Square is renowned as an entertainment hub, with its many restaurants, bars, comedy clubs, and busy dance floors.
Beyond the bar scene, Seattle serves up an array of performing arts at stunning venues like the Paramount Theatre, the Moore Theatre, and Benaroya Hall where you can take in concerts, plays, dance, and more. For live local music, Ballard and Fremont are go-to neighborhoods, where indie bands and artists perform nightly.
No matter your taste in nightlife – craft brews, fine wines, classic cocktails, live entertainment, or just letting loose on the dance floor, Seattle delivers options. When the sun sets, residents head out to experience the city’s come-alive culture and nightlife energy.
Seattle offers abundant retail therapy opportunities for shoppers of all interests. The city boasts a dynamic mix of local boutiques, major chains, vintage stores, and sprawling shopping centers.
The iconic Pike Place Market dating back to 1907 is a must-visit, spanning 9 acres and housing hundreds of vendors selling produce, artisanal foods, unique crafts, and more. Those looking for luxury brands flock to downtown’s Pacific Place or University Village North of the city. Westlake Center in the core of downtown provides 4 levels of stores like Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Apple.
Seattle is also a haven for niche and locally-owned shopping. Book lovers peruse the shelves at independent bookstores like Elliott Bay Book Company. The Seattle Antiques Market is a trove of unique vintage and collectibles. For handcrafted goods or artsy fashions, neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Fremont, and Ballard house boutique shops galore.
Even outside the city, outlet malls like Seattle Premium Outlets provide savings on top brands. With such an eclectic blend of retail options from funky to high-end, it’s easy to understand Seattle’s reputation as a shopper’s paradise. The abundance of places to browse, discover local makers, and splurge makes shopping an adventure.
Parks and Recreation
Seattle residents enjoy an abundance of green spaces and recreational areas integrated throughout the city, making it easy to connect with nature.
Iconic parks like Gas Works Park offer views of Lake Union and the Seattle skyline from its location on a former gas plant. Green Lake Park is a popular spot for walks along the 2.8 mile trail encircling tranquil Green Lake. For a dash of wilderness without leaving the city, Discovery Park’s 534 acres include forest trails, meadows, sand dunes and beachfront.
Along the Puget Sound waterfront, Alki Beach stretches for miles, giving locals a fun summer hangout. The area’s many hiking trails on mountains like Mount Rainier provide an active challenge. Mile after mile of bike lanes promote cycling as recreation and transportation.
Seattle’s parks system also maintains facilities like community centers, swimming pools, basketball courts and more for year-round activity. The abundance of green space and waterways make experiencing the outdoors convenient in Seattle. Exploring the city reveals one beautiful park and public space after another.
Founded in 1851, Seattle has transformed from a frontier town into a leading metropolitan city, leaving behind a rich history. Exploring sites around the city allows you to step back in time.
The Space Needle, built for the 1962 world’s fair, is an iconic landmark and symbol of Seattle’s futuristic vision. Pike Place Market dating back over a century continues to connect farmers and artisans with shoppers. The Museum of History and Industry chronicles Seattle’s growth from the 1800s to today through exhibits and archives.
Pioneer Square preserves the original downtown with its late-Victorian architecture and Underground Tour revealing historic storefronts and sidewalks buried after the Great Seattle Fire. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park commemorates Seattle’s role as a gateway to the Klondike gold fields.
Through landmarks, museums, tours and preservation, Seattle honors its past. Newcomers can trace the story of Seattle evolving from frontier origins into the vibrant hub it is today. Learning this rich history deepens appreciation for the Emerald City.
With its booming economy, Seattle has seen robust growth putting pressure on the housing market. However, options exist for renters and buyers at different price points if you know where to look.
Many young professionals and recent grads flock to Capitol Hill and Belltown for their lively social scenes and access to downtown. Condos and apartments for rent abound, alongside clubs, restaurants, and transit. Further north, South Lake Union near Amazon’s headquarters houses sleek high-rise apartments, though prices tend to be higher.
On the buying side, neighborhoods like Queen Anne offer scenic single-family homes along with condos. Magnolia appeals to families with its residential feel, waterfront parks, and good schools. West Seattle provides more affordable detached homes removed from city buzz. Condos remain plentiful downtown and continue to rise in hot areas like South Lake Union.
Navigating Seattle’s real estate landscape can be complex. Working with an experienced agent who understands different neighborhoods and price points is highly valuable in finding the ideal fit based on your budget, lifestyle and space needs. From vibrant rental communities to quiet residential enclaves, Seattle has diverse living options if you search strategically.
Seattle certainly lives up to its “Rain City” nickname, with precipitation occurring on average 152 days per year. But the moderate Pacific Northwest climate keeps temperatures pleasant year-round.
Winters are generally mild, with average highs in the mid-40s Fahrenheit. Brief cold spells sometimes drop temps into the 20s, with low-elevation snow uncommon. Summers enjoy dry, sunny days with average highs around 70 F, though heat waves do occur.
While days are primarily overcast and rainy from fall through spring, actual rainfall amounts are lower than many assume, averaging 37 inches annually. Drizzling “Seattle mist” is more common than heavy downpours.
It’s wise to always have an umbrella on hand and wear moisture-wicking layers when out and about. But the temperate climate means enjoying outdoor activities is possible year-round. Seattleites embrace the weather rather than hide from it, enjoying sights like glistening rain on evergreen trees.
Though the cloudy skies may feel gloomy to some at first, locals know the moderate temperatures and lush greenery resulting from the rain are what make Seattle so livable. Getting through the “Seattle Freeze” is doable with the proper mindset and rain gear.
With a flourishing technology sector and major corporate headquarters, Seattle offers an abundance of employment opportunities across industries.
As home to tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and Expedia, the city enjoys a thriving professional services and IT job market. Other major employers include the University of Washington, Boeing, Starbucks, and various biotech/healthcare firms. Seattle also hosts growing startups, with venture capital funding ramping up in recent years.
The city also sees strong demand for roles in healthcare, education, finance, marketing, hospitality, and green energy. Major industries like aerospace manufacturing, logistics, and maritime business leverage Seattle’s port location and natural resources.
Unemployment sits below the national average at around 3%, indicative of Seattle’s diversified, resilient economy. There is high demand for skilled tech professionals as companies jockey for talent in the competitive hiring landscape. Outside of tech, openings exist in nearly every sector.
Overall, Seattle’s dynamic mix of corporate giants and emerging innovators creates a job seeker’s market with options in traditional industries and new frontiers. The Puget Sound region expects to add over 160,000 new jobs by 2022 – welcoming news for those relocating.
Pros and Cons of Moving to Seattle
- Booming job market
- Thriving startup scene
- Mild temperatures year-round
- Proximity to nature
- No state income tax
- Incredible food scene
- Cozy coffee shops
- There is always something to do
- Seattle is dog-friendly
- Thriving craft beer scene
- High cost of living
- Expensive housing
- Rainy weather
- Constant traffic
- High rate of homelessness
- Lack of public transportation
Tips and Advice
- Research neighborhoods before choosing a place to live
- Invest in a good raincoat and waterproof shoes
- Take advantage of public transportation and bike lanes
- Network with locals to find job opportunities
- Join local groups and clubs to meet new people
- Explore the city’s food and drink scene
- Take advantage of the city’s outdoor activities
- What is the cost of living in Seattle?
- The cost of living in Seattle is high, with housing being the biggest expense. According to [Apartment List]5, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle is $1,900 per month.
What is the job market like in Seattle?
Seattle has a booming job market, with major employers including Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing. The city is also home to a thriving startup scene, with many tech companies choosing to set up shop in Seattle.
What is the weather like in Seattle?
Seattle is known for its rainy weather, with an average of 152 rainy days per year. However, the city also experiences mild temperatures year-round, with an average high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 47 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter.
What are some popular neighborhoods in Seattle?
Some of the most popular neighborhoods in Seattle include Capitol Hill, Ballard, Fremont, and Queen Anne.
Is Seattle a bike-friendly city?
Yes, Seattle is a bike-friendly city with many bike lanes and trails throughout the city.
What are some tips for finding a job in Seattle?
Networking with locals and joining local groups and clubs are great ways to find job opportunities in Seattle.
What are some outdoor activities to do in Seattle?
Seattle is known for its outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, and kayaking.
Moving to Seattle can be an exciting adventure, but it is important to do your research and prepare for the high cost of living and rainy weather. With its booming job market, thriving startup scene, and proximity to nature, Seattle is a great place to call home for those who can afford it. By following the tips and advice in this blog post, you can make your transition to Seattle as smooth as possible.