Moving to Washington
So, you've decided to take the plunge and move to the mesmerizing state of Washington? Welcome aboard! With its enchanting natural beauty, vibrant culture, and growing opportunities, you'll undoubtedly fall in love with your new home. But, we understand that relocating can be a tad overwhelming. Fret not, adventurer! Our comprehensive Washington relocation guide is here to make your journey as seamless as possible. From Seattle's iconic skyline to the lush, green landscapes of the Evergreen State, let's embark on this exciting new chapter together!
What to Know Before Moving to Washington
1. Say goodbye to scorching summers and hello to mild temperatures
The Pacific Northwest, specifically Washington, is known for its temperate climate. That means you can escape those sweltering 100-degree days and embrace a more mild climate. In the summer, temperatures range from 60-85°F. Winter temperatures mainly fall between 35-50°F. But keep in mind that the western part of the state experiences more rain and cooler temperatures than the eastern side. So if you prefer a colder winter, you might want to choose a home in Spokane over Olympia.
2. Be prepared for some seriously stunning landscapes
If you love the outdoors, Washington is the place for you! Lace up your hiking boots and trek through the North Cascades National Park or Mount Rainier National Park. Get your camera ready for picturesque views of the Hoh Rainforest and Olympic National Park. And don't forget about the Puget Sound, where you can spot orcas and other marine life while exploring the beautiful coastline. With so many breathtaking landscapes, there's never a dull moment for those who love exploring new terrains.
3. Get your caffeine fix with ease
Washington is well-known for its coffee scene. With numerous local coffee shops and coffee roasters, you can easily explore unique blends and flavors. Plus, you'll be living in the birthplace of Starbucks, which was founded in Seattle in 1971. So you'll never be too far away from your favorite cafe latte or caramel macchiato. With an almost cult-like following of neighborhood coffee shops, you'll never get bored of trying out new caffeine concoctions.
4. Your neighbors may be four-legged and furry
Washington state is known for its high population of wildlife, which can often be found in your backyard! Deer, elk, foxes, and even bears roam the area. It all adds to the outdoor charm and earthy vibe of the region. With the expansive green landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, construction has taken care to avoid disturbing natural habitats as much as possible, so humans and wildlife may peacefully coexist. Just be mindful of wildlife safety tips, and you'll be thrilled to share your new home with the magnificent creatures of the great outdoors.
5. Become skilled in umbrella etiquette
Although Washington is famous for its rainy weather, true locals pride themselves on not using an umbrella. It's a unique and somewhat baffling part of the Pacific Northwest culture. Navigating the city with an umbrella in hand is considered a surefire way of outing yourself as a tourist or transplant. So, if you want to fit in with the locals, leave your umbrella at home and invest in a good rain jacket or waterproof hat instead. You'll feel like a true Washingtonian in no time!
6. Explore your artsy side with unique cultural finds
Washington state is home to some obscure yet intriguing cultural gems. The Fremont Troll, lurking beneath Seattle's Aurora Bridge, is a beloved local oddity. Washington is also home to the famous Jimi Hendrix Shrine, a quirky display of artifacts in a tiny building. And don't forget to visit the peculiarly charming town of Leavenworth, an entire Bavarian village tucked into the Cascade Mountains. As a Washington transplant, you'll have endless opportunities to explore and experience these unconventional cultural finds.
In conclusion, Washington state has a unique mix of scenic beauty, outdoor adventures, quirky culture, and a great cup of coffee. If you're ready to embrace the mild climate, share your space with fascinating wildlife, and ditch your umbrella, moving to Washington could be the perfect decision for you. There's so much to explore and experience in this majestic and captivating corner of the United States. So pack your bags and get ready for your Pacific Northwest adventure!
Pros and Cons of Living in Washington
Pros of Living in Washington
Scenic Beauty and Outdoor Recreation
Washington is famous for its stunning landscapes, including the Cascade Mountains, Puget Sound, and the Columbia River. These natural features provide abundant opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and boating, as well as simply enjoying the picturesque views.
The western part of Washington experiences a moderate climate with mild winters and cool summers, which many people find comfortable and enjoyable. Although it can be rainy, this climate encourages lush greenery and helps maintain the state's beautiful landscapes.
Economic Opportunities and Growth
Washington is home to major companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks, providing numerous job opportunities and contributing to a strong local economy. The state has also experienced significant population growth in recent years due to its thriving tech industry and other factors.
No State Income Tax
Washington is one of the few states that does not have a state income tax, allowing residents to keep more of their hard-earned money. This can be an attractive financial perk for those considering moving to the state.
Access to High-Quality Education
Washington is home to top-ranking universities like the University of Washington and Washington State University. In addition, the state's public school system consistently ranks highly in the nation, providing access to quality education for residents of all ages.
Cons of Living in Washington
High Cost of Living
The cost of living in Washington, especially in cities like Seattle, can be quite high compared to other states. Housing, in particular, can be expensive, making it difficult for some individuals and families to afford living in the state's most popular areas.
Traffic and Transportation Issues
With increasing population growth, especially around the Seattle metro area, Washington has seen a rise in traffic congestion on highways and city streets. Public transportation options also remain limited in many areas, making it challenging to commute without a personal vehicle.
Gray and Rainy Weather
Washington is known for its gray skies, especially during the fall and winter months when daylight hours are shorter. The frequent rain can also take a toll on one's mood and mental wellbeing, making it difficult for some to adjust to the state's climate.
Washington is located on the seismically active Pacific Coast, putting it at risk for earthquakes. While devastating earthquakes are rare, the possibility of experiencing one can be a concern for some residents.
Diversity and Inclusion Challenges
While Washington generally has a reputation for being a progressive and accepting state, some rural and small-town areas may not be as diverse or open-minded, which can pose challenges for newcomers from different cultural backgrounds or with unique lifestyles.
Is Washington a Good State to Live In?
Washington is a great place to live because of its diverse landscape, opportunities for outdoor activities, and thriving job market. Additionally, the state offers a high quality of life, an innovative art and culture scene, and a strong commitment to environmental sustainability.
What Is Washington Famous For?
The Space Needle is a world-famous icon in Washington, representing the state's rich history in aerospace and innovation. Towering at 605 feet, this Seattle landmark offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city's skyline, Mount Rainier, and the Puget Sound.
Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park is a popular natural attraction in Washington, covering over 236,000 acres of diverse ecosystems. The park is home to the mighty Mount Rainier, an active volcano standing 14,410 feet high, and offers unforgettable outdoor experiences such as hiking, wildlife viewing, and winter sports.
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market in Seattle is a bustling public marketplace famous for its colorful assortment of vendors, enticing the senses with fresh produce, seafood, and artisanal goods. Founded in 1907, it's also known for the world-renowned Pike Place Fish Market, where fishmongers toss fresh fish in a delightful show for visitors.
Washington State Wines
Washington is the second-largest wine-producing state in the US, boasting over 1,000 wineries and 13 American Viticultural Areas. Its unique terroir and climate contribute to the production of exceptional wines, particularly Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, which are enjoyed by wine enthusiasts worldwide.
Overview of Tax Rates
Washington state has an average property tax rate of 1.03% in 2023, rank 24 in the United States. Counties in Washington each set their own property tax rates, leading to some variability in rates across the state, but overall, they are generally near the national average.
As of 2023, Washington has a combined state and local sales tax rate of 7 to 10.5% (depending on the area). This rate ranks Washington as the 4th highest in the nation for sales tax, with only California, Louisiana, and Tennessee having higher combined rates.
Washington is one of nine states that do not have a personal income tax for residents. This means residents of Washington do not pay state income taxes on their wages and salaries, making it one of the more favorable states for earners when it comes to income tax rates.
The housing market in Washington has experienced significant growth over recent years. With a median home value of approximately $414,000, it stands above the national average. In fact, it is ranked as one of the top 10 most expensive states in the U.S. for homebuyers. Additionally, renters face higher-than-average rents at around $1,600 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. Despite higher costs, the market remains competitive, driven by the strong economy, demand for housing in major cities like Seattle, and attractive natural landscapes. Buyers and renters in Washington should be prepared for a competitive market with rising prices.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Washington is comparatively higher than many other states in the US. Being home to thriving cities like Seattle and Bellevue, Washington experiences high costs for housing, utilities, and transportation. Despite these expenses, the state does offer some benefits such as no personal state income tax, competitive wages, and a relatively affordable cost of living outside metropolis areas. Overall, the cost of living in Washington varies depending on the region and personal lifestyle choices, but it remains an attractive destination for many.
Weather & Natural Disasters
Washington State features a diverse climate, primarily driven by its varied topography and location. The climate ranges from coastal temperate rainforests in the west to semi-arid regions in the east. Western Washington experiences a mild, marine climate with moderate temperatures, high humidity, and regular precipitation throughout the year. Summers are typically cool and dry, while winters are cool, wet, and with occasional light snow. Eastern Washington, on the other hand, has a continental climate with hot summers, cold winters, and significantly less precipitation.
Washington's weather is relatively stable but can be affected by occasional storms and extreme weather events. Natural disasters that impact the state include earthquakes, floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions, and wildfires. Washington is particularly prone to these hazards due to its location on the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire and proximity to the highly active Cascade Range, which includes notable peaks such as Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens.
Economy & Job Market
Aerospace and Aviation
Information and Communication Technology
Life Sciences and Global Health
Throughout its history, Washington has grown into a diverse and robust economy, with many major industries to support it. Historically, Washington's economy has been supported by the lumber and agriculture industries thanks to the state's vast natural resources and fertile land. As time progressed, the state started to become an increasingly significant player in the nation's aerospace industry. Today, the Evergreen State's economy has evolved even further as home to the headquarters of numerous well-known corporations such as Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Boeing. With such economic diversity, Washington has become a hub for industries spanning from aerospace to biotechnology, with many start-ups and established businesses alike.
When moving to Washington and scouting its job market, a few important factors should be kept in mind. Washington's employment rate has been better than the national average over the past few years and as of 2020, unemployment rates hover around 4.4%. The primary locations for job opportunities are the state's largest cities, Seattle and Spokane, as well as some of its thriving smaller cities like Bellevue, Redmond, and Tacoma. Job seekers interested in pursuing careers in aerospace, technology, or life sciences should expect to find more opportunities in the Greater Seattle area, where companies like Boeing, Amazon, and Microsoft are based. Meanwhile, the maritime industry has a strong presence in coastal cities like Bellingham and Everett. Overall, Washington provides ample opportunities for job seekers to enter into its dynamic and thriving job market.
Traffic and Transportation
Oh, Washington! The land of majestic mountains, lush green forests, and...traffic? While the Evergreen State is known for its scenic beauty, we can't ignore the urban jungle of its big cities. In these bustling hubs like Seattle or Vancouver, the average commute time can range from 30 to 60 minutes. Talk about daily bonding time with fellow travelers!
Worry not, for Washington has a way out for the restless commuter! The cities offer a fantastic concoction of public transportation options, such as buses, light rail, and even ferries (all aboard, matey!). With ample choices at their disposal, the eco-savvy Washingtonian can zip around the city public transit-style.
For those looking to soar higher (literally), Washington's air travel options are impressive. From the bustling Sea-Tac Airport to the tiny Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport, you're bound to find a suitable flight that will have you jet-setting across the state or around the world. So strap in, enjoy the ride, and embrace the beauty Washington has to offer - from the ground or the clouds above!
Things to Do
So, you're moving to Washington state, huh? Well, strap yourself in for a diverse mix of natural beauty, bustling cities, and unique off-the-beaten-path gems. The Evergreen State has so much to offer, and we've narrowed down seven of the top things you need to do when you arrive. Let's dive right in, shall we?
1. Hike Mount Rainier National Park
If you're a fan of jaw-dropping views and a myriad of hiking trails, Mount Rainier National Park is your place to be. With over 260 miles of maintained trails, even newbies can find the perfect route to soak in the breathtaking scenery. Be sure to visit during wildflower season (July-August) for explosions of color across the meadows.
2. Explore the Quirky City of Seattle
Seattle is Washington's largest metropolis and home to iconic landmarks like the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and ferries traversing Puget Sound. But don't forget to dive into lesser-known spots, like the colorful Fremont Troll lurking under a bridge or the vibrant urban art of Gum Wall Alley. Just remember to bring your umbrella – this city is known for its drizzle.
3. Sip Your Way Through Woodinville Wine Country
Wine lovers, rejoice! Just a 30-minute drive from Seattle, Woodinville Wine Country boasts over 130 wineries and tasting rooms. Enjoy the charms of small-town life as you sample exquisite vintages and pair them with scrumptious bites from local eateries. Make sure to visit Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington's founding winery.
4. Witness the Power of Mother Nature at the Ape Caves
Head south to the Ape Caves in Gifford Pinchot National Forest and prepare to be amazed. This lava tube system is one of the longest in the contiguous United States, spanning over two miles! Grab a flashlight and don your hard hat as you venture into this fascinating underworld created by a volcanic eruption 2,000 years ago.
5. Get Artsy in the City of Bellingham
Located near the Canadian border in Whatcom County, Bellingham is a cultural hotspot brimming with creativity. This city presents an engaging fusion of art galleries, museums, and sculptural gardens. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the eclectic Mindport – an interactive art and science museum, and the breathtaking Big Rock Sculpture Garden for some fantastical art installations.
6. Take a Dip in Tiny Lake City's Ancient Lakes
Ready for a unique experience not many people know about? Make your way to the Ancient Lakes area, located within the Quincy Wildlife Recreation Area in Central Washington. Surrounded by stark basalt cliffs and rolling sagebrush, these quaint lakes provide a refreshing oasis amidst the desert landscape. Bask in the serene atmosphere and take advantage of this amazing swimming destination as you cool down from your hike to the lakes.
7. Pay Tribute to an Icon at the Jimi Hendrix Memorial
Rock music aficionados must visit the unique Jimi Hendrix Memorial in his hometown of Renton. Regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of rock music, Hendrix's larger-than-life memorial is a fitting tribute to his legendary status. Pay your respects, snap a selfie, and connect with the spirit of a music icon.
And there you have it – a whirlwind tour of seven must-visit destinations in Washington state. From breath-stealing hikes to discovering hidden gems, there's something for every adventurous soul in the Evergreen State. We hope this list kindles your excitement and jump-starts your explorations. Good luck, and remember to always embrace the unexpected!
Find Movers for Your Washington Relocation
Now that you have a wealth of information to help you with your move to Washington, it's time to take the next step toward making your relocation a breeze. Discover the perfect moving company for your needs with Great Guys Moving. By providing a few details about your move, they will connect you with top-rated, licensed, and insured movers, ensuring an efficient and cost-effective experience. Don't wait any longer, click here to request your free moving quote and start your seamless transition to Washington today!
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