Living in Seattle: A Complete Guide
Planning a move to the Emerald City? Check out our guide to living in Seattle
If you’re feeling called to live in the Pacific Northwest but San Francisco and Portland aren’t the right fit, Seattle in King County could be the perfect city for you. With vibrant neighborhoods to suit every lifestyle and taste, easy access to what’s been called “the best public transportation in the nation,” and a wealth of fun and exciting things to do, Seattle residents are happy to call this U.S. city home.
Looking for the answer to the question, “What’s it like living in Seattle?” You can explore our guide to living in Seattle to discover why so many people have decided to settle in the Emerald City. After learning about all the benefits, you’ll likely be convinced to become a Seattle resident
Is Seattle a good place to live?
The simple answer to this question is yes. U.S. News frequently ranks Seattle as one of the best places to live in the United States. This city in Washington state brings together the best of urban living and natural beauty.
Located on Puget Sound, this city is surrounded by mountains, water, and lush forests, offering beautiful views and a plethora of outdoor activities to enjoy during Seattle summers. And contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t rain all the time. In fact, Seattle gets less rain than cities like Boston and Miami. All the natural beauty has inspired an eco-friendly and laid-back lifestyle among its residents. As a result, coffee shops and relaxed bars tend to be more popular than wild nightclubs.
When it comes to getting around Seattle, the city boasts some of the best public transit in the entire United States. The Emerald City offers bike-sharing, bus lines, light rail, monorail, and even streetcars. For those who prefer to drive their own car, the average workday commute is about 30 minutes. As more people opt to use public transportation, the hope is that this commute will decrease.
However, living in Seattle isn’t cheap. As is the trend with big coastal cities in the United States, the cost of living is higher than in regions such as the Midwest. As a result, the higher average rent and home prices can come as a surprise to people from other parts of the country. However, the salaries in the city’s hot job market tend to be higher, which makes living in Seattle easier. If you’re curious about how the cost of living index in Seattle compares to where you’re living now, several websites offer cost of living calculators that allow you to compare how much money you’ll need to live in different cities.
What are the best neighborhoods in Seattle?
Finding the perfect place to live in Seattle is easy because there are so many different neighborhoods. Some communities are perfect for young professionals, while others are a better fit for young families. With a little research and self-reflection, you can find the best Seattle neighborhood for you. Here are some of the best neighborhoods
West Seattle has been popular for the last decade and its popularity has continued to grow because it offers several benefits to its residents. It’s located on an expansive waterfront that combines Seattle charm with the feel of a California boardwalk. West Seattle is away from the city noise but it doesn’t compromise on city living. The average monthly rent is $1,832 and the median home price is just under $600,000.
Beacon Hill is south of the downtown Seattle area, and it’s a great place for foodies to live because the area is home to the top restaurants in Seattle. The area offers great views of the city skyline and a light rail provides easy access to Seattle’s central neighborhoods. The average monthly rent is cheaper than in West Seattle at $1,634, which makes the area a bit more affordable for its residents. If you want happy hour spots within walking distance and beautiful outdoor spots to enjoy Seattle summers, then Beacon Hill could be perfect for you.
Capitol Hill offers variety to its residents and visitors. Looking for things to do in Capitol Hill? You’ll find everything from a thriving countercultural scene to families living in beautiful mansions. The nightlife scene also offers something for just about everyone, including metal clubs, premier cocktail bars and enticing street food. Daily activities include walks to a local coffee shop, a stop at a new artist space, and a happy hour bar visit. The area is very walkable and offers convenient access to public transit. The average monthly rent tends to be higher than some areas at $2,070. However, house prices tend to be lower than other areas in the Washington housing market at a median sale price of $567,500. Additionally, Common Living offers microunits in the area for those seeking out affordable housing.
South Lake Union is another hot Seattle neighborhood. It offers an urban feel, as over 83% of the residents rent rather than own in this area. You can find a wealth of restaurants and bars with happy hour specials as well as coffee shops and parks. This neighborhood tends to attract liberally minded young professionals. The median monthly rent falls at $1,889, while median home prices are higher than several other parts of the city at $625,597.
What are the best places to see and the best things to do in Seattle?
As you might have guessed, exploring nature is one of the most popular activities in Seattle. However, as you’ll see from this list, Seattle offers something for everyone, from fans of the great outdoors to bona fide foodies.
Many people who enjoy hiking make their way to Mount Rainier to enjoy some outdoor fun in the mountains. At a little less than a three-hour drive, locals and visitors alike agree that Mount Rainier is always worth the trip. At 14,410 feet above sea level, this mountain and active volcano is a Washington state icon that spawns five major rivers. During your visit, you can hike trails that allow you to take in the natural beauty that includes subalpine wildflower meadows, ancient forests, and breathtaking waterfalls.
If you prefer to spend time on the water, Lake Washington, between Seattle and Bellevue, is a great option. Lake Washington is the second-largest lake in the state, and the lake is home to events that range from dinner cruises to hydroplane races. There’s a perimeter path for walking and bicycling to the south of the lake, and you can also find places to swim and launch a kayak. If you don’t have a watercraft of your own, the University of Washington allows you to rent canoes and rowboats by the hour in Union Bay.
Another beloved Seattle outdoor destination is Green Lake. As the name suggests, the park combines water and green space in the center of an urban neighborhood. Thousands of people from all over the city come to this park every day to enjoy everything from the 2.8-mile walking and biking path around the lake to the athletic fields and opportunities for boating and swimming.
If you’re looking for ways to enjoy Seattle summers, you’ll want to make your way to Alki Beach Park on Elliott Bay. This long beach strip is a great place to take a walk any time of the year, but it really comes alive during the warm weather months. The area attracts bicyclists, joggers, skaters, sunbathers, and volleyball players during the summer. While at the beach, you can enjoy amazing views of Puget Sound and the nearby mountains.
No discussion of Seattle would be complete without mentioning Pike Place Market. More than a market, locals view Pike Place Market as its own community of farmers, small businesses, and craftspeople. This iconic public market is one of the nation’s oldest farmers’ markets, and it spans nine acres that delight visitors with an array of sights, sounds, and aromas. You can buy everything from farm-fresh produce to local crafts as you listen to live music. You can even see the famous Pike Place Fish Market in action, as they throw the fish.
In addition to these activities and attractions, you can also find many different museums to explore in Seattle. The Seattle music scene also offers live performances and unique sounds that you won’t find anywhere else. On top of that, the city boasts a renowned food scene that offers flavors from the culinary cuisines of the world.
Start enjoying the best things about living in Seattle when you become a resident
When you move to Seattle, you gain the opportunity to become part of a one-of-a-kind city that’s full of friendly people, incredible food, breathtaking natural beauty, and no shortage of things to do in your spare time.
Want to find out more about living in the Emerald City? An apartment in Seattle may be exactly what you’re looking for. You can enjoy city living for an attainable price by renting a beautiful micro-unit by Common. Explore Common Terry and Common Broadway in Seattle to begin your life in the Emerald City today!