Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. Many people move here to go to the University of Washington or one of the other universities in the area, while others are drawn to the area for the jobs, as Seattle and surrounding cities are home to a number of Fortune 500 companies. Still others end up here for entirely different reasons, but the fact is that the Seattle area is an appealing place to live.
But should you move to Seattle? That all depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a city with a fairly healthy job market, tons of outdoorsy things to do, beautiful scenery, year-round festivals, a great beer and wine scene, and more…then Seattle might be the place for you. Still, like any place, the area has its drawbacks too. For instance, if you're looking for cheap real estate, then just keep right on looking.
Here are a few things to take into consideration as you ponder a move to Seattle or the Northwest.
Seattle does not get rain nonstop year round, much to the contrary from what you might hear. If you’ve ever known someone who lived in Seattle and moved away, they’ll likely to mention the rain. Even some residents don’t love it. However, Seattle actually gets less rain than many other U.S. cities in terms of total inches. Usually, the rain also falls during late fall, winter and early spring (if we’re lucky, not every day). Summers are usually warm and dry. In fact, the beautiful summers may just win you over enough that the rain doesn't bother you at all.
Still, some people are sensitive to rain. The local weather does affect some people more than others, especially in the winter. Seattle’s winters also see the sun setting around 4:30 to 5 p.m., which means not only are winters rainy, but they’re also dark. If rain bothers you or you know you have a tendency toward seasonal affective disorder, Seattle might not be the best city for you.
With an unemployment rate at about 3.2 percent (as of mid-2019), the Seattle-area has lower unemployment than many areas of the U.S. This is in part due to the several large Fortune 500 companies based in the area, which include Microsoft and Boeing. Seattle is especially attractive to workers in the tech field with Amazon, Nintendo, Microsoft, Boeing and other companies that seek techie workers of all sorts and recruit from around the country. Of course, it’s always best to land a job before a big move, but there is no shortage of all types of jobs in Seattle. If your dream is to be a barista, this is also a fine market to hone your skills!
Seattle is a fairly expensive city, but not as expensive as San Francisco, New York City or LA. Apartments can range greatly in price, especially if you’re willing to live a bit outside of the city center. Right in the heart of the city, you’ll most likely be looking at $2000 and up for apartment rentals, and the average cost of rent is $2100+ for a small apartment. The median home price is about $715,000 in the city, and both rent and home costs have risen steeply in the past few years.
You can find lower rates in neighborhoods outside of the city center, but you won't be the only person commuting into town. Because real estate is expensive right in the city, Seattle has many commuters and some of the worst traffic in the country. It also has a fairly strong public transportation system, though.
Gas, food and other living expenses are higher in Seattle, but again if this is an issue in your decision to move to Seattle, you can always look toward suburbs to the north and south to find lower cost living.
Seattle Is Awesome
Seattle is a great place to live for many reasons. If you leave your house for any reason at all, chances are Seattle has something to do that you’ll love. The city is filled with theaters and venues—concerts and headliners regularly stop by on tours. If you don't live right downtown, many of Seattle's neighborhoods have their own vibe and thriving neighborhood cores with lots of restaurants, shops and things to do, too. The local parks have great hiking trails and shorelines right within the city limits—and just outside of town is Mt. Rainier, Olympic National Park and other amazing outdoors destinations. From the city center to the many communities and cities to the north and south of Seattle, the entire area is a pretty amazing place to live.