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Are you wondering what it’s like living in Seattle?
You’re not alone.
Thousands of people are moving to Seattle each year, making it one of the top five fastest-growing cities in the United States. And with all that the city has to offer, it’s no wonder that so many people want to start living in Seattle. Whether you’re looking for a growing tech scene, a dynamic neighborhood culture, highly-rated universities, or flourishing farmers’ markets, you’ll find all this and more in Seattle WA.
Continue reading to learn 30 things you should know before living in Seattle.
Living in Seattle, Washington: 30 Things To Know In 2021
Seattle is a special kind of city. With its often frequently overcast skies, grungy atmosphere, and emphasis on good food and third-wave coffee shops, there’s little to dislike about the Emerald City.
Since you’re thinking of moving to Seattle, you deserve a realistic picture of what living in Seattle is actually like — spoiler alert, we love it here, and think you will too!
Continue reading to learn more about the top 30 things that you should know about Seattle before making your relocation decision or get in touch with On The Go Moving to speak with a professional moving company and start planning your move.
1. It Doesn’t Rain As Much in Seattle As You’ve Heard
To start off, let’s get the big Seattle rain myth out of the way.
While you might move here expecting never-ending days of rain, what you’ll quickly see is that living in Seattle comes with over 150 days of sunshine and only 92 days of precipitation. If this still sounds like a lot of rain, you’ll be surprised to learn that Chicago, Boston, Houston, and New York City all receive far more rain than the jet city.
Another perk of Seattle’s weather is that despite the rain, you probably won’t need an umbrella. The rain here falls as more of a light sprinkle, due to the small size of the raindrops, making umbrellas optional (unless you’re a local, who take pride in not relying on umbrellas).
So if you’re planning on moving to Seattle you can forgo packing your umbrella — a simple, light rain jacket will do the trick.
2. The Summers Are Glorious
If you like warm summer days, low humidity, and incredible views, moving to Seattle will be one of the best decisions you could ever make. With the average summer temperature resting right at 75 degrees and with some of the lowest humidity in the U.S., summer days in Seattle are perfect for any kind of outdoor sport or activity.
One of the many benefits of living in Seattle is how many things there are to do during the summer! If you like hiking, there are hundreds of trails within an hour’s drive of the city. If you prefer water sports, you can go kayaking, water skiing, or parasailing around the Puget Sound. Or, if you are into festivals, there are dozens of art, music, and food festivals around the city.
3. Seattle Has Abundant Green Spaces
Seattleites like spending time out of doors enjoying the mild temperatures and basking in nature.
If you are planning a move to Seattle, Washington in the near future and want to get a taste of the lovely parks and green spaces that dot the city, make sure you visit these eight parks when you get the chance:
- Kerry Park (excellent views of the Space Needle)
- Volunteer Park
- Washington Park Arboretum
- Green Lake Park
- Gas Works Park
4. Seattleites Love Their Dogs
If you are moving to Seattle with a furry family member or two you will feel right at home in the northwest, as Seattle is one of the most dog-friendly towns you could move to. It seems that no Seattle home is complete without a dog or two.
This gives new Seattle residents something to bond with their neighbors over and a lot of opportunities to make new friends.
From Seattle Center to Ballard or any other neighborhood
Amazon is well known for its pet-friendly policy which allows dog parents to bring their fur babies to work at the company’s headquarters campus every single day. According to Amazon’s about page, on any given day the headquarters may have up to 7,000 dogs on the premises.
This is just a small reflection of how pet-friendly Seattle truly is.
If you are looking to adopt a furry best friend, start here.
5. Seattle One Of The Nation’s Tech Capitals
Seattle has recently taken second place on the list of the nation’s greatest tech cities, surpassed only by San Fran, and each year finds more and more tech companies making Seattle their home.
While Seattle’s own tech giants (i.e. Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing) already employ over 160,000 Seattleites, recent additions to the region are companies like Google, Adobe, Dropbox, Apple, Facebook, and Snapchat.
Seattle is full of opportunities within the tech world, so if you’re passionate about technology, relocating to Seattle could prove to be the best career decision possible.
6. Seattle is Home to Amazon
Being home to the headquarters of Amazon, don’t be surprised at how often you’ll meet people who work for this company in Seattle. The Amazon Go stores and the Spheres are reminders of Amazon’s presence in the city.
Amazon Go is a chain of convenience stores around Seattle where you can buy food and other items without having to wait in line. These stores are mostly automated (they operate primarily without human staff) and are where busy Seattleites can purchase convenient items on the go.
7. It’s Still One Of The Fastest Growing Cities In The U.S.
Don’t worry about being the only new guy in the room when you move here — lots of people are moving to Seattle. The city was ranked by Forbes and The Seattle Times as the second fastest-growing city in the U.S. in 2018.
The growth finally slowed a tad in 2019, but still, a visible sign of this growth are the dozens of tower cranes spread out across the Seattle skyline, earning the city the nickname “The Crane Capital of the U.S.”
If there’s one key message that can be found throughout this article, it’s: “move here before the cost of living skyrockets even more!”
8. Seattle’s Cost of Living isn’t as High as Other Major Cities
Seattle is by no means cheap, but the cost of living still lower than in New York City, San Francisco, and LA. So while it is still expensive, it could be so much worse.
Cost of living is a big factor to consider if you’re planning to live in a home or apartment in the U-District and attend the University of Washington as Downtown Seattle tends to be more expensive than some surrounding areas. Nevertheless, you still can find affordable housing around the outskirts of the city if you’re committed to the search.
If you want to know what it’s like living in Seattle neighborhoods, then check out some of the local neighborhood guides on our blog. We have posts introducing downtown Seattle, Ballard, Capitol Hill, or West Seattle, and more!
9. Prepare For Bad Traffic
One downside to the massive growth in population is that Seattle’s aging infrastructure hasn’t caught up with the population boom. So when packing for the next season of life, make sure to get your audiobooks ready, because traffic in Seattle is 7th worst in the country.
Construction of the Sound Transit LINK light rail system started in 2003 and the expansion of it continues today, but in the meantime, most people still commute via car versus public transportation, which causes long drives home for daily commuters living in Seattle.
10. Seattle has Public Transportation
Moving to Seattle Washington and already dreading the horrible traffic? The good news is, Seattle does have public transit (read more here about public transportation options) that enables residents to skip out on driving if they want.
While the LINK light rail and Seattle Streetcars don’t make everywhere accessible, it makes the city manageable without a car. The light rail is a very convenient and affordable way to get around Downtown Seattle.
11. Seattle’s Food Scene is Diverse
Seattle has a pretty diverse population of residents. One of the many perks of this is that the city has a very diverse culinary scene.
You will never lack delicious dim sum, creamy boba tea, savory curry, and authentic street tacos for as long as you’re living in Seattle. Residents that have lived in the area for a long time can still find new places to eat due to the abundant (and growing) number of restaurants.
While you’re out, make sure that you try some locally caught seafood to christen your relocation to Seattle.
12. Seattle is America’s Greatest Coffee Town
For coffee drinkers, living in Seattle is like being a kid in a candy store. Whether it’s tasting coffee history at the first Starbucks next to Pike Place Market or enjoying a handcrafted brew at one of the city’s many artisan roasting rooms, Seattle’s massive coffee culture has something for everyone.
Seattle has the nation’s largest number of coffee manufacturers per capita, and for good reason, as Seattleites consume more coffee than any other U.S. city.
Seattle also has some of the country’s most affordable coffee, tied with San Diego, San Francisco, and Portland for the most affordable and highest-rated coffee shops in the nation.
Each of Seattle’s neighborhoods has its own specialty coffee shops.
If you’re in Pioneer Square, make sure to stop by Slate Coffee Roasters for some of the best Kenyan roasts you’ve ever had. Or if you’re in Fremont, visit Milstead & Co. for a refreshing cold brew made by some of the highest-rated baristas in the city.
13. Seattleites are Health Conscious
Seattle is a very progressive city in terms of health consciousness. You won’t hear people complaining about eating their greens but rather excitedly mentioning that they plan on having a salad for lunch.
Because health is a huge priority, local farmer’s markets and health food stores can be found in abundance all over Seattle. Grocery stores such as Whole Foods Markets, Sprouts Farmers Markets, and PCC Community Markets are not hard to find throughout the city, making access to healthy foods more convenient than ever for people living in Seattle.
14. Seattleites Love Their Beer
For many Seattleites, it’s coffee in the morning and then beer in the evening. And with the wealth of taprooms and breweries scattered throughout the city, you have a lot of options for your after-work drink.
From Capitol Hill to West Seattle, every neighborhood has its share of breweries.
Want some suggestions?
If you’re passing through Fremont, stop by Brouwer’s Café with its sixty-four taps and 300-bottle list.
Or if you’re getting off work in Queen Anne, make sure to visit Holy Mountain Brewing for hoppy pale ales and innovative new beers. Be prepared for a crowd, as Holy Mountain Brewing is one of the most popular breweries in the city.
15. The “Seattle Freeze” is Real
Maybe it’s the weather or perhaps it’s just the fast pace of life. Whatever the case, people who move to Seattle often claim that residents aren’t very friendly. As Seattle is a very busy city this is likely just due to Seattleites having rigorous professional lives.
However, once you meet Seattleites in their natural habitats or “tribes” (a concert, rock climbing gym, a craft beer brewery) you’ll find that the Seattle freeze quickly melts away. Seattleites are quite warm and happy to break the ice — just don’t talk to us on the street!
If you want to make a community fast in Seattle, try joining one of the many meetups that Seattleits attend on meetup.com. There are meetups for every type of hobby and interest including sustainable living, language learning, meditation, and more.
16. Seattle is Diverse
To give you some encouragement to counter the last point, many diverse communities call Seattle home. This is especially evident at the University of Washington.
While meeting people initially when you move to Seattle might be difficult, you need to know that once Seattleites clock out of work and turn to their hobbies, it can be easy to find your tribe. Whatever your interests, background, or passions you will find a community in Seattle who are also passionate about it.
17. It’s A City Built On Hills
Seattle is surrounded on all sides by mountains, so while it may be a challenge when biking to work in downtown Seattle, it only seems appropriate that the town itself is built on hills. Seattle has a dynamic feel due to the hills rather than a flat geographic feel such as New York City.
The hills here are not as in-your-face as in other cities, like San Francisco, rather, the hills of Seattle seem to meander here and there around the city, often hidden behind the many buildings until they spring themselves on unsuspecting newcomers.
If you drive a manual car some see the hills as an annoyance, but for the thousands of avid joggers and bicyclists in the city, taking on the hills is just part of the morning routine. You can also catch a beautiful view of Mount Rainier while you are out.
Read more about the Seven Hills of Seattle.
18. Seattle is A City Dedicated To The Arts
Before the shift to tech, Seattle was most famous for its contributions to the performing arts and popular music.
Beyond being the birthplace of grunge rock, the city is also home to one of the world’s most recorded orchestras, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, as well as the distinguished Pacific Northwest Ballet, and the Seattle Opera.
As for popular music, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Kenny G all got their start in Seattle. The city is also known for its jazz clubs such as Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley.
If you’re considering the Seattle area and are in the mood for music or art, you’ll be able to choose between more than 140 theater companies, over 100 art galleries, and the beautiful Benaroya Hall where the Seattle Symphony performs.
19. The Emerald City Has a HUGE Music Scene
Famously known for artists like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains, the Seattle music scene is grungy as well as varied. There are music venues that have been hosting events since the 80s and 90s that are still in business today.
20. Seattleites are Politically Active
While Portland may make more headlines for its marches, Seattle is an equally politically active town.
Seattle is passionate about politics and the residents display this through hosting marches, rallies, and other displays of political activism.
If you are relocating in the near future and are like investing yourself in politics, living in Seattle will provide you with more opportunities to become involved and make your voice heard.
21. Seattleites Love The Water
While most cities stick to water sports, Seattle takes its love of the sea to a whole new level with its landmark houseboats. The city is second only to Asia in the number of houseboats it contains, and for many Seattleites, the hundreds of houseboats floating on Lake Union are as much of a landmark as is the Space Needle.
The city is built around the body of water called the Puget Sound (it’s why the word “sound” is everywhere), which you can see here. Seattleites live in the water by renting kayaks or paddleboards and paddling down past West Point Lighthouse, or by taking a ride on one of the city’s famous Ride The Ducks tour for an exciting tour on a bus which then drives into Lake Union and becomes a boat!
You could say Seattleites even take it too far by driving on the water over the world’s longest floating bridge over Lake Washington!
22. Seattle Has No Shortage of Activities
Seattle is packed with activities for singles, couples, families, and friends. Whether it’s exploring Seattle Center and riding up the Space Needle or visiting one of our world-class museums, Seattle living offers something for everyone!
Want to get out of the downtown and neighborhoods? Don’t worry, nature is just a short commute away.
Love hiking? What about kayaking? Or maybe you enjoy fishing or rock climbing. Whatever your hobbies are, Seattle has activities to match and a group of people who are ready to do it with you.
This beautiful state offers an abundance of outdoor activities for every type of nature enthusiast.
Or, if you aren’t an outdoor enthusiast or you just feel like spending the weekend indoors, take a couple of hours to explore Pioneer Square and do some shopping!
23. Seattle Has Great Day Trips
One unique aspect of living in the Queen City of the Pacific Northwest is you are in an ideal spot for numerous day trips.
Portland is less than three hours away, Leavenworth is a two and a half-hour drive, and the beautiful Olympic Peninsula and Washington rainforest a four-hour drive/ferry ride away. On top of that, if you’re feeling international, Vancouver, Canada is under three hours away by car (depending on the border crossing wait time).
24. The Emerald City Goes to Bed Early
Seattle is famously known for shutting down early, so if you are looking for a city that is bustling well into the wee morning hours, Seattle might not be the city that you should move to.
If you go out past seven on a weeknight you will be hard-pressed to find an open establishment depending on where in the city you are. That being said, Seattle does have some nightlife, but it is mostly geared towards live musicians versus DJs.
That’s why Seattleites love their summer concerts or festivals such as Paradiso or Bumbershoot (when they definitely don’t go to bed early).
25. Seattle Is For Wine Enthusiasts
Seattle isn’t far from Woodinville or Walla Walla, two areas of Washington that are known for their vineyards and top-notch wine production. So naturally, some of the enthusiasm for wine spills over and has found its way into Seattle culture.
If you are looking for a cozy place to tantalize your taste buds and feed your affinity for the vine, here are seven of Seattle’s best wine bars.
- Purple Cafe and Wine Bar
- The Tasting Room
- Le Caviste
- Poco Wine + Spirits
- Locol Barley & Vine
- Vif Wine
26. Seattle Is Environmentally Aware
Another thing you should know before moving to Seattle is that this town is very eco-conscious. You are no longer able to get plastic bags at the grocery store so you should always bring a reusable tote or be prepared to pay for a paper bag when you go grocery shopping.
Seattle’s environmental-consciousness is reflected through the city’s emphasis on organic products, limited product packaging, and bulk food stores.
27. Seattle Is Student Friendly
Seattle is known for being a great place to learn. Whether you’re a parent and are looking for good K-12 schools or you’re a student, Seattle has the schools, colleges, and universities to reflect the city’s passion for education.
According to a US News & World Report, Washington State ranks fourth in the nation for education, scoring a 2 for higher education and a 19 for pre-K through 12th grade.
Three of the most prominent universities in Seattle are:
- University of Washington (UW)
- Seattle Pacific University (SPU)
- Washington State University (WSU)
28. Seattle’s Job Market Is Exploding
Thanks to the many Fortune 500 companies that have made their headquarters in Seattle, the jobs market is booming!
So if you are hoping to get into tech, aerospace, engineering, or travel, then Seattle is the place to be.
Some of the companies that are headquartered in The Greater Seattle Area include:
- Expedia Group
- Alaska Airlines
- PCC Natural Markets
Besides the booming local economy, Seattle is also a good place for start-ups. With the innovation that many Seattleites are always surrounded by, new businesses are constantly being born.
29. House Prices Are High in the Emerald City
Unfortunately, the rapid city and economic growth that Seattle is experiencing don’t come without a few downsides — one of the most prominent being the high cost of housing.
In the United States, the national average house cost is around $284,600. This is nearly $200,000 below the average home cost in Washington State ($470,304) and a third of the cost of buying a house in Seattle, which averaged around $778,500 in 2020.
While Seattle may not be in the top five or 10 most expensive US cities to live in (yet), climbing housing costs are apt to get Seattle on that list soon.
30. Many Seattleites Believe in BigFoot
Washington State is the supposed home to the legendary Bigfoot. If you are relocating to Pacific Northwest this year, just know that you will likely meet more than a handful of Seattleites who believe that Sasquatch is out there.
If you yourself are not a believer in Bigfoot, you should tread lightly when the topic is addressed when you first move to Seattle as you never know who is an avid believer.
Making the Move to Seattle
So should you move to Seattle? If you love the outdoors, coffee, art, mountains, and music, then you will love living in Seattle, and may agree with US News and World Report that Washington is the #1 state to move to.
If, however, you can’t stand overcast weather and passionately loathe traffic, then you might be better off finding a different city to move to.
If you’ve made the decision to relocate to Seattle, we here at On the Go Moving & Storage would love to offer our assistance. With over a decade of experience and local knowledge, we can help you have the easiest move of your life. Our moving professionals can help you with everything from storage, to packing, to transportation.
Contact us today to learn more about our moving services in Seattle or to book our reliable team of moving professionals.
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