Seattle, also known as the Emerald City, is a stalwart of the Pacific Northwest, US. This is the land of bookstores, NPR, farmers, and corporate behemoths like Amazon. Seattle is unique in that and has the vibe of a busy metropolitan and a small town at the same time. Thousands of people are moving here yearly, making it one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. 

If you are looking for reasons to move to Seattle, read on. We will introduce you to 7 of the most important strata of Seattle. We will explore the housing market, cost of living, the best neighborhoods, and other critical information that you should know before moving to the city.

Seattle

1. Seattle’s Cost of Living is Affordable

The Emerald City is not cheap, but living costs are still lower than other major cities like NYC, LA, and San Francisco. If you are moving here to attend the University of Washington, know that finding an apartment in the U District or downtown Seattle will cost you more than the other areas. But you can still find affordable options in the outskirts if you’re committed and don’t mind commuting. The largest expense is housing, which we will get to in a bit. 

Transportation is also expensive, but in other areas such as food, groceries, and healthcare, Seattle is comparable to many other cities. Basic utilities (electricity, gas, garbage pickup, and water) costs around $203 per month. The high expenses tend to be offset by the high wages Seattle residents enjoy.

2. Neighborhoods of Seattle

Seattle has several enclaves, each with its distinct personalities. Whether you’re an introvert craving serenity, an avid biker or hiker, or a social butterfly, there’s a neighborhood where you will fit perfectly. 

Neighborhood for students

  • The University District: The U-district is very popular among students. 46% of the residents here are in their 20s. It’s full of cafés, pubs, and hip restaurants. It also has an excellent transportation system for students. Know that the housing in this district is very competitive and expensive.
  • Wallingford: Wallingford is located close to the U-district. There are groups of cozy coffee shops and other spaces to group and study or get your caffeine fix. There is also a public park known as Gas Works that frequently hosts free concerts and fitness competitions.
  • Capitol Hill: Diverse and fast-paced, Capitol Hill is one of the most popular Emerald City  neighborhoods and is home to the Seattle Central College. It is LGBTQ-friendly and has a vibrant nightlife with plenty of bars and clubs. If you have a dog, you will be happy to know that Capitol Hill has a dog park that your furry friend would love.

Neighborhoods of Seattle

Neighborhoods for Families:

  • Greenwood: Greenwood is a budget-friendly and family-oriented neighborhood. Greenwood Avenue houses have incredible restaurants, cozy coffee shops, and galleries; they are part of the Phinneywood artwork. You can explore the whole neighborhood on a bike or by walking. Communicating to work in downtown Seattle is also easy because it’s close to several bus lines.
  • Magnolia: If you want an escape from bustling city life but don’t want to move into the suburbs, then magnolia is the perfect alternative for you. It’s a quaint, secluded neighborhood that’s ideal for raising a family. Depending on where you live, you’ll be able to see Downtown Seattle, the islands of Puget Sound, and the Olympic Mountains from your window or backyard. This neighborhood also gives you quick access to beaches and local parks.

Neighborhoods for Retirees:

  • Bellevue: Located between Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish, Bellevue comes from a French word that means beautiful view, which it does have. There are botanical gardens, museums, and gorgeous parks which are perfect for nature lovers. You will also have quick access to Cougar Mountain, Regional Wildland Park, Mercer Slough nature park, and Squak Mountain State Park. 
  • Lynnwood: Retirees comprise 15% of the population of this neighborhood. Since the Emerald City  is only 15 miles away, you can still take vantage of its amenities while not paying an excessive amount in expenses. Lynnwood has spacious houses, decently sized yards, beautiful parks, and good infrastructure. Plus, you are only about 25 minutes from all the best spots in Washington, including downtown Seattle.
  • The Housing Market: Let’s not beat around the bush here — Seattle’s housing market is very competitive and expensive. A one-bedroom apartment downtown will cost you $2,200 on average. Rent, thankfully, has stalled around the same rate because new apartment complexes are popping up, keeping the demand in check. The average price of a home here is $863,058, much higher than the national average. 

That said, the most affordable neighborhoods where you can find homes around $400K are Puget Ridge, Upper Rainier Beach, Kenmore, South Newcastle, Pinehurst, and Kingsgate.

3. Seattle’s Job Market is Thriving

There’s plenty of jobs here, especially in the tech sector. Some of the most popular industries inundated with job opportunities are SaaS, retail, e-commerce, IT services, and consulting.

The Emerald City’s unemployment rate is lower than the national average since major conglomerates like Amazon, Microsoft, Zillow, Costco, REI, Starbucks are clustered here.  It also has top companies in industries like healthcare, biotech, manufacturing, and computer technology. Seattle offers a higher minimum wage of $15 per hour, and its average salary is more than $80,000.

4. The Housing Market

Let’s not beat around the bush here — Seattle’s housing market is very competitive and expensive. A one-bedroom apartment downtown will cost you $2,200 on average. Rent, thankfully, has stalled around the same rate because new apartment complexes are popping up, keeping the demand in check. The average price of a home here is $863,058, much higher than the national average. 

That said, the most affordable neighborhoods where you can find homes around $400K are Puget Ridge, Upper Rainier Beach, Kenmore, South Newcastle, Pinehurst, and Kingsgate.

5. Schools and Universities in Seattle

It’s  one of the most literate cities in the US. Four out of five people who move here have a college degree. Since most of the jobs reside in technology and engineering, having an advanced degree helps. There are more than 500 schools, private and public, in Seattle.

Seattle School

There are seven colleges and universities within Seattle, and another 14 are located within 40 miles. It’s home to one of the most respected public universities in the US — The University of Washington. It has over 40,000 students and is one of the largest educational institutions in the Pacific Northwest. Most of its department ranks high for its research capabilities and contributions. Other good universities in this area include Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, and Seattle Central College.

6. Seattle Has a Well Connected Public Transit

Seattle’s transportation system is the best in the US. While many Seattlites rely on cars, its public transit is the safest and efficient way to get around, and you can also save money on expensive tolls. Also, Seattle is on the road to cut carbon pollution in half by 2030 by replacing buses with electric vehicles. Here’s an overview of the transportation option in Seattle:

  • Link Light Rail: These trains make trips from Angle Lake Station to the University of Washington, with 14 stops. They arrive every 6 to 15 minutes.
  • King County Metro Transit: Provides buses in downtown Seattle and other neighborhoods in King County.
  • Streetcars: Different streetcar lines are available between South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, and International District Stations.
  • Seattle Center Monorail: Travels between Westland Center and Seattle Center.

Seattle Public Transit

7. Cool things to do in Seattle

  • Visit the Discovery Park: Set along the shores of Puget Sound, Discovery Park is a nature lover’s sanctuary spanning 534 acres. It has 12 miles of walking trails with beaches, meadows, and tree groves. 
  • Shop at Pike place market: This is the biggest Farmers’ Market in the US. It spans 9 acres and has stalls and shops where locals buy fresh seafood, artisan goods, and cheese. It also has some fantastic restaurants and gourmet food stalls.  You will find fishmongers, homemade jewelers, bakers, artisans, florists, and many more vendors. 
  • Visit the Iconic Space Needle: The Space Needle is easily one of Seattle’s most notable landmarks. Built-in 1962, this 605-feet tall tower is the easiest building to spot in the Seattle Skyline. You can go to the tip of the needle for a remarkable 360-degree view of Seattle, including islands, bridges, forests, mountains, and skyscrapers. After visiting the peak, don’t forget to stop by The Seattle Center with the city’s best museums, theaters, and restaurants. 
  • Explore Seattle Art Museum: If you are an art lover, Seattle Art Museum is a must-see. The paintings are well-curated and very nicely positioned throughout the museum. From the temporary exhibits to the permanent pieces, the works feed your craving for masterful creations. 
  • Take a Stroll at the Kubota Garden: Kubota Garden is 20 acres of Japanese gardens located in South Seattle. It was first started in 1927 by Fujitaro Kubota and is now part of Seattle’s Public Park system. You’ll spot fountains, koi fishes jumping out of ponds, bridges, northwest flowers, trees, and shrubs paving your entire path.
  • Marvel at Chihuly Garden and Glass: Seattle’s Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibits the works of Dale Chihuly — a world-famous American glass sculptor. It has eight galleries with mesmerizing colorful glassworks. You can even see the Space Needle through the glass roof of this museum.
  • Visit the Fremont Troll: This is a unique sculpture located under a bridge in the Fremont neighborhood.  Fremont is a striking art illustration in Seattle. The artwork is an 18-feet high troll, clutching an actual Volkswagen Beetle in his hands (yes, it’s a genuine VW!).

Need assistance moving from Boston to Seattle? Don’t hesitate to give us a call for premium packing, loading, and transportation help.

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