Seattle, also known as the Emerald City, is a dynamic city nestled amidst mountains, forests, and stunning water bodies. This city is an epicenter of innovation, with companies like Starbucks, Boeing, Amazon, and Microsoft rooted here. Job opportunities, the growing tech scene, competitive educational institutions, and eclectic neighborhoods bring people from all over the world to Seattle, making it one of the top five fastest-growing cities in the US.
Continue reading if you’re looking to move to Seattle and would like to know what the city has to offer.
The Climate in Seattle
Overall, this city only gets a few days of unbearably hot and unbearably cold weather.
In winter, the average temperature ranges between 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with an occasional low in the upper 30s. In summer, the temperature can hit the upper 70s. Spring and fall temperatures range between 50 to 60-degrees. In the event of a heatwave, which is very rare in Seattle, the temperature may rise to the 80s or 90s.
Seattle receives an abundance of rain, with October through January being the wettest months. In total, this city gets about 37 inches of rain annually. Generally, everyone in Seattle carries an umbrella all the time. And it’s best to have at least one pair of rain boots, waterproof sunscreen, and clothes with fabric that repel water.
When it comes to winters, the city only receives a few days of snow and an occasional snowstorm. So, you don’t have to worry about shoveling ice from your car’s windshield at 5 am before work — something most East Coast residents loathe.
Annual Events in Seattle
Seattle has plenty of fun events that will keep you out and about all year round. Here are some to look forward to:
Polar Bear Plunge: In the first week of January, Seattle residents start the year by taking a dip in the icy cold water of the local river, pond, or lake.
Lunar New Year: Seattle has a substantial Asian population that participates in the Lunar New Year festivities. It welcomes the spring’s return and chases away evil spirits of the winter with exceptional food, lion dances, and fireworks.
- Poverty Bay Wine Festival: Get together with your friends at the Des Moines Beach Auditorium for a wine tasting experience from many local wineries. All proceeds go to support local charities.
- Emerald City Comic Con: This is an annual Comic book convention held in Seattle. It draws over 100,000 people to its 4-day event to see some of our pop culture’s biggest names. Many local creators and vendors also share their work here.
Tulip Festival: This event is held between April 1 to 30th at the Skagit Valley. It’s a driving tour, where visitors get to witness millions of tulips blooming.
- Opening Day of Boating Season: Held in Des Moines Marina, this day marks the official opening of Seattle’s boating season. The festivities include a variety of water sports, like a sailboat race and a boat parade.
- Backyard Wildlife Festival: This event is held at the Tukwila Community Center and celebrates Mother Nature. It’s a day full of education from local experts about creating a backyard that supports the native flora and fauna. There’s also native plant sale, guided bird tour, etc.
- Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market: This farmers market runs all summer long until September right along the Des Moines Waterfront. There’s fresh produce, live music, and food trucks to fill your appetite.
- Highline Garden Tour: People who live in SeaTac, Burien, and Normandy Park have some of the most charming gardens. Highline Garden Tour gives you a visual display of the gorgeous gardens in Seattle.
- Seattle Pridefest: This annual event is held in Downtown Seattle and celebrates the LGBTQ+ community with parades and other events.
- 4th of July: Ring in Independence Day with a fireworks display over Angle Lake in SeaTac or Fort Dent Park.
- Park Concerts: You’ll find free, family-friendly concerts in Tukwila, SeaTac, and Des Moines Parks. Bring your kids and enjoy live music and sunshine.
- Seafair: One of the most popular Seattle summer festivals, this event is a month-long celebration featuring a torchlight parade, hydroplane races, and more. Attendees can enjoy airshows, beer, and live music.
- Hempfest: This event is an annual gathering of those interested in all things Hemp. It’s one of the largest festivals in the Pacific Northwest, attracting over 300,000 attendees from all over the country. It’s held in the Seattle Center.
Space Fest at the Museum of Flight: If you’re a space nerd, you will love the Space Fest, where brilliant minds from NASA and astronauts from former space missions come together to share their passion with the attendees.
Museum of Fright: Ring in Halloween Month with this one-day event where kids have fun making ghost parachutes, candy corn airplanes while seeing a myriad of air and spacecraft.
Squid-A-Rama: Head to the Marine Science and Technology Center Aquarium to spend a day learning all about squids. There’s also hot chocolate and chowder.
Santa’s Landing Party: Every year on Christmas, retiring his reindeers for the night, Santa makes a grand entrance at the Museum of Flight on a classic Cessna aircraft instead. It’s a fun event for the kids.
Neighborhoods in Seattle
Seattle has seven official districts and a diverse range of neighborhoods ranging from quiet enclaves to those bustling with vibrant nightlife.
Here are 7 of the most popular Seattle neighborhoods:
- Queen Anne: Queen Anne is one of the most iconic neighborhoods in Seattle and is easily recognizable, thanks to the three towers located north of Space Needle. It’s a quiet and affluent neighborhood with ornate, Victorian architecture. It’s expensive due to its proximity to downtown. Average rent: ~ $2,200 a month.
- Belltown: Belltown is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Seattle. It is the city’s unofficial entertainment capital with high-rise condos, upscale dining, and shopping spots. You will never find yourself bored here. It’s a densely packed neighborhood and very walkable. Average rent: ~ $2,500 a month.
- Capitol Hill: Capitol Hill is considered Seattle’s LGBTQ+ Capital. It has a combination of old homes with new condos. There are many indie cafes, gay bars, nightclubs, and other entertainment options in Capitol Hill. If you’re a foodie, you are in for a treat since this neighborhood hosts some of the best restaurants in Seattle. Average rent: ~ $1,900 a month.
- South Lake Union: The presence of Amazon Headquarters has made this neighborhood a tech epicenter. It’s fast-growing, with young professionals moving in at record speed and new apartments and restaurants built to meet the high demand. While busy during the day, South Lake Union quiets down during the evening as people start going home. Average rent: ~ $2,300.
- Fremont: Known as the “Center of the Universe,” this artsy neighborhood attracts an eclectic crowd. Fremont projects a bohemian vibe and celebrates quirkiness. It has plenty of pubs, yoga studios, unique cafes, and restaurants. Fremont always has events happening for its residents. Oktoberfest is the most popular. Average rent: ~ $2000.
- Ballard: Ballard’s history is deeply rooted in the Scandinavian fishing industry. This neighborhood is more than just a fishing community with fantastic restaurants, breweries, shopping centers, and music venues. Since it’s closer to downtown, Ballard is more expensive than southern or northern Seattle neighborhoods. Average rent: ~ $2000 a month.
- Green Lake, Green-Wood, and Wallingford: Each of these neighbors offer excellent residential areas favored by young families. They have beautiful parks, tree-lined streets, and small local shopping centers, cafes, and restaurants. Average rent: ~ $1,800.
Jobs Market in Seattle
Seattle residents enjoy a 12 percent higher wage than the rest of the US. The average salary in the city is $63,120, while the national average is $50,620. Seattle also has a higher minimum wage of $15 – $16.69/hour, twice the national minimum wage of $7.25/hour.
Seattle has a well-known tech industry, with Amazon and Microsoft being the top employers here, followed by Nintendo, Tableau Software, and Joint Base Lewis McChord. Seattle is very business-friendly, which is why many tech companies are trading California’s sunny skies for Seattle. But there are also many well-funded, homegrown startups, primarily in cloud computing and enterprise technology, rising in this city.
The Emerald City’s job market is highly concentrated in science and technology, business, manufacturing, financial operations, engineering, and architecture. Seattle’s top in-demand skills include cybersecurity, business intelligence, ERP implementation, Cloud security, and Cloud architecture. In Healthcare, there is high demand for talents that can help implement technology to improve patient care and privacy concerns.
Seattle also has substantial employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector. Microsoft Corporation is the largest manufacturer in the Seattle area, producing computer operating systems and a multitude of applications. Although it has offices spread worldwide, Microsoft does most of its research and product development near Seattle. Its presence has inspired many software firms to start operating in this city.
Another Company that still has its presence in Seattle is Boeing Company. Although it has moved much of its operations to Chicago, its branch in Seattle still handles most of the company’s airplane and spacecraft production.
Education in Seattle
Most of the lucrative job opportunities are in the medical, technology, and engineering sectors which require high-level degrees. So, Seattle residents immensely value education to stay competitive in the job market.
In the US, Seattle has the highest concentration of college graduates. 58.3% of the population hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher. It’s the most literate city in the United States, which is a significant reason why so many young families move here intending to provide the best education for their children.
Seattle is home to the US’ most respected public university — the University of Washington. Many of its departments constantly rank in the Top 10 for their research contributions. Other notable universities in Seattle include Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, Free Methodist University, and Jesuit University.
It also has three North, South, and Central colleges within the Seattle College District System. Time magazine once ranked Seattle Central College as the best college of the year.
How to Get Around Seattle
Seattle is infamous for severe traffic jams. Most people avoid them by getting around on foot or taking public transit. Having a car isn’t necessary to live here. Parking is not just expensive but also difficult to find.
Here’s an overview of all the available public transportation in Seattle:
- King County Metro: This is Seattle’s expansive bus network and forms the primary method of transportation. These buses go through downtown Seattle and take you as far north as Mountlake Terrace and Federal Way to the south. Getting to your destination using the King County metro might take longer than just driving, depending on whether or not it’s an express route or has stops along the way. But it eliminates any need for paying up an excessive amount for parking and dealing with traffic.
- Sound Transit: This works in tandem with King County Metro. Unlike Metro, which is a bus system, Sound Transit has express buses, Link Light Rail, and commuter trains. The Sound Transit network links DuPont and Tacoma in the South, Everett to the North, and Sammamish and Issaquah in the East.
The Link Light Rail is a popular way to skip traffic and go to the airport. And the Commuter Train is a popular option for those going between Seattle and Tacoma & Seattle and Everett.
- Taxis and Ride Share: There are many taxi companies offering services here. You will find most near hotels and airports. But Uber and Lyft cabs are also prevalent, which makes it extremely easy to request a ride. Do note you will pay higher if you book a taxi during rush hours.
- Ferries and Water taxis: Since Seattle is situated in the Puget Sound, not all areas are accessible on trains, cars, or buses. Ferries and water taxis are good options if you need to travel over water. Seattle has an extensive ferry system, which many use to commute to work. You can drive or walk to most of the ferries.
Water taxis are similar to ferries, except they only allow walk-in passengers. You can access anywhere from West Seattle to Vashon Island on ferries and water taxis.
- Monorail: The Seattle Monorail is usually taken by tourists or new residents who just moved to the city. But it can quickly take you between downtown’s Westlake Center and Seattle Center.
- Streetcars: Seattle has two Streetcar lines:
South Lake Union Line – Stops at South Lake Union, Denny Triangle, and McGraw Square
First Hill Line – Stops at Capitol Hill, First Hill, Yesler Terrace, International District, Central District, and Pioneer Square.
12 Things to do in Seattle for Fun
- Pike Place Market: Pike Place Market is the oldest Farmers Market in the US. It attracts over 10 million locals and tourists annually, with fresh produce, floral arrangements, bars, restaurants, and over 299 artisans selling everything from handmade ceramics to soaps. You will also find fishmongers selling fresh fish here.
- Space Needle: Space Needle is Seattle’s most iconic and prominent landmark in Seattle’s skyline. It is an observation tower that was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. You can go to the top of the Needle — sitting at 520 feet high — by the elevator to take in the 360-degree unbridled views of the entire city.
- Chihuly Garden and Glass: This is an exhibit located adjacent to the Space Needle. It showcases the works of Dale Chihuly, who is an outstanding glass sculptor. The structure has three components: The Garden, The Glasshouse, and exhibits of Dale’s signature glass series, personal collections, and architectural installations. There’s a breathtaking 100-foot-long suspended sculpture inside the Glasshouse that you don’t want to miss.
- The Museum of Flight: Museum of Flight is the largest air and space museum in the world. This expansive 15-acre museum includes World War I, World War II, Vietnam War, and Apollo Mission exhibits. You will find more than 175 aircraft and spacecraft here and thousands of artifacts and pictures. You also get to use a flight simulator; and see the world’s oldest fighter plane, Supersonic Concorde, and Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It also gives you a backstory on all prominent faces in aviation. End the tour by relaxing on the cafe patio with unrestricted views of Mt. Rainer.
- Seattle Art Museum: SAM has three different facilities: Main museum in Downtown Seattle, Seattle Asian Art Museum in Capitol Hill, and Olympic Sculpture Park in Central Seattle waterfront. All facilities showcase a gallery of art pieces from all over the world. Some of the exhibitions include the Aboriginal Australian Art, Monet & Mozard exhibit, African Art, Georgia O’Keeffe’s exhibit, and more.
- Museum of Pop Culture: Paul Allen, Microsoft’s co-founder, opened a non-profit museum in 2000. He called it the Experience Music Project. Over 18 years, the museum gathered dozens of pop-culture-related exhibits and then rebranded itself as the Museum of Pop Culture. It’s perfect for anyone who is a movie and music geek. There’s the Sci-Fi Hall of Fame exhibit, the Sound Lab, where you can record and mix your own songs, Indie Games, and the Pearl Jam section. You will feel real props from many well-known movies like LOTR, Dorothy’s dress from Wizard of Oz, and Walking Dead aquarium heads.
- Ballard Locks: This is one of the major tourist attractions in Seattle. You can watch large and small ships and boats up close and view Pacific Salmons and steelheads pass through the Locks between June through September. There’s The Garden at the Ballard Locks and a visitor center where you can stroll, have picnics, and learn the site’s history.
- Seattle Japanese Garden: Located in the Washington Park Arboretum, the Seattle Japanese Garden is a 3.5-acre garden designed by Juki Lida in 1960. The winding paths, bridges, plants, animals, water, lanterns, and stones make for a calming escape from Seattle’s chaos. You can also participate in traditional tea ceremonies hosted in the Shoseian Tea House.
- Golden Gardens Park: The Golden Gardens Park in Seattle’s most famous park with a stunning beach. This 87-acre park is located on Puget Sound, with Olympian Mountains in the background. It’s bustling in the summer months with people sunbathing and playing volleyball. There are also walking trails surrounding the park, some of which courses through a wetland area. If you come here, stay for the glorious sunset.
- Wing Luke Museum: This is a history museum that showcases the art and culture of Asian Pacific Americans who helped shape Seattle into what it is today. The Wing’s collection spans over 18,000 pieces and includes pictures, documents, artifacts, and books related to Asian American history. The display represents 26 ethnic groups. After visiting the museum, explore the Chinatown-International District neighborhood, which is Seattle’s second Chinatown location.
- Pioneer Square: This is Seattle’s oldest neighborhood. If you want to delve into Seattle’s history, Pioneer Square is worth a visit. The Klondike Gold Rush museum shows Seattle’s part in the 1890s mass migration to Canada. There’s also the Smith Tower, which was the tallest building on the West Coast for a long time. You can also sign up for an Underground Tour in which you will learn more about the neighborhood by walking the underground pathways.
- Discovery Park: This 534-acre park is Seattle’s largest city park. It is located on Magnolia Bluff and overlooks Puget Sound. While walking the trails, you get stunning views of Cascade and Olympic Mountain Ranges. There are also two miles of total beaches, open meadowlands, sea cliffs, forests, dunes, streams, and thickets. The mission of this park is to give Seattle dwellers a respite from their busy lives.
Seattle offers promising opportunities for those looking to move here. We hope this guide helped you get to know Emerald City well. If you’re moving and want expert packing and relocation assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to learn about your upcoming move and offer our services to get you to your new destination in Seattle stress-free.