Moving to Federal Way

Welcome to your comprehensive guide to moving to Federal Way, WA! Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Federal Way possesses a captivating blend of serene natural beauty, rich cultural diversity and a robust economy. A little offbeat, yet exceedingly warm and welcoming, Federal Way is not just a city, it's an alluring escapade. As you delve deeper, you'll uncover that each corner of the city is a delightful surprise waiting to be explored. So, whether you're enticed by its picturesque landscapes or the unparalleled sense of community, pack your bags, because Federal Way beckons.

Moving to Federal Way, WA landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Federal Way

1. Say Hello to Natural Splendor

Get ready to be wowed by the sheer abundance of natural beauty in Federal Way. Nestled between Seattle and Tacoma on the gorgeous Puget Sound, Federal Way offers panoramic views of majestic snow-capped Mount Rainier. If you're an outdoor enthusiast who loves to hike, kayak, or simply lounge in the park, Federal Way is calling your name.

2. A Multicultural Melting Pot

The city is a true celebration of diversity. With an assortment of cultures cohabitating harmoniously, Federal Way features a wide range of international cuisine. From Korean BBQ to Hawaiian Poke, Punjabi curries to Mexican carnitas, your taste buds will embark on a never-ending adventure.

3. The Name Has a Story

Ever wondered how Federal Way got its name? If you've conjured grandiose stories of historic acts or famous pioneers, well, sorry to disappoint. The city was named after Federal Highway U.S. 99, which ran from Canada to Mexico and passed through the area. So, Federal Way is literally a way on the Federal Highway!

4. Less Rain Than You Think

Yes, Washington State has a reputation for rainfall, but Federal Way gets less rain than areas like Seattle or Olympia. And when it does rain, it's usually a misty shower--rarely the torrential downpour seen elsewhere. Plus, all this moisture gives us lush green landscapes and stunning flower displays. So, keep that umbrella at hand, just in case, but don't expect to be singing in the rain every day.

5. Fame for All Things Green

If your thumb is even a little bit green, you've probably heard of the Pacific Bonsai Museum--home to some of the most exquisite bonsai trees in the world. Federal Way boasts this museum, along with Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, making it a must-visit for plant enthusiasts. From minuscule marvels to larger-than-life blooms, the city is an Eden for greenery galore.

6. The World's First Theme Park ... for Waterslides

Ready for a fun confession? Federal Way is home to Wild Waves Theme & Water Park, the first combined theme and water park in the world. So, whether you're craving the thrill of a roller coaster or the excitement of a waterslide, you're in for a treat. Just don't forget to pack your swimsuit!

In sum, Federal Way is more than just a stop along a federal highway--it's a vibrant city with a wealth of culture, natural beauty, and fun. Boasting less rain than its neighbors, an Eden of greenery, and the world's first theme and water park, this city definitely has its own special charm. Plus, who knew you were moving to the namesake of a highway? So, get ready to embrace the adventure that is life in Federal Way.

What to know before moving to Federal Way, WA image
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Pros and Cons of Living in Federal Way

Pros of Living in Federal Way

Proximity to Seattle and Tacoma

Federal Way is conveniently located between Seattle and Tacoma, both of which are just a short drive away. This means residents can easily commute to these larger cities for work, and also have access to their amenities, such as restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.

Availability of Recreational Activities

There is no shortage of outdoor activities in Federal Way. The city has beautiful parks, such as the Dash Point State Park, which offers hiking, biking, and beach activities. Plus, there's the lush 50-acre Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden for nature lovers.

Rich in Cultural Diversity

Federal Way has a diverse community, offering a rich blend of cultures. This brings with it a great diversity of food, festivals, and community events that celebrate the multicultural makeup of the city.

Strong Sense of Community

In Federal Way, there is a strong sense of community spirit. The city often hosts community events such as farmer's markets, festivals, and parades that provide opportunities for neighbors to get together and form strong connections.

Lots of Retail and Dining Options

Federal Way boasts of a variety of dining and retail options, including The Commons at Federal Way. From chain restaurants to local eateries and boutique shops to major retailers, there's something for everyone here.

Cons of Living in Federal Way

Crowded Rush Hours

Due to its proximity to Seattle and Tacoma, Federal Way can experience heavy traffic during peak commute hours. While there are public transportation options available, residents who commute by car may find rush hours rather challenging.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Federal Way can be higher compared to other Washington cities. Things like housing, health care, and transportation costs can be higher than the national average, which should be considered when planning to move here.


Federal Way, like much of the Pacific Northwest, experiences damp, gray winters with a lot of rain. If you're not fond of such weather, this might be a downside for you.

Less Nightlife

While there are ample dining and shopping options, Federal Way does not have a very vibrant nightlife. Those seeking a bustling nightlife may need to travel to Seattle or Tacoma.

Crime Rate

Like any city, Federal Way has crime. The rate is comparable to the national average but prospective residents should be aware and research neighborhoods carefully before deciding where to live.

Modern day picture of Federal Way, WA highlighting pros and cons of living in Federal Way, WA

Is Federal Way a Good Place to Live?

Federal Way, WA is a great place to live because of its stunning natural beauty, including the picturesque Puget Sound and Mount Rainier views. Plus, with an array of outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking, and bird-watching at the extensive park systems, and a thriving arts scene with performances at the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center, life is never dull here! To top it all, it has access to high-quality education and robust job market making it not just fun, but also a practical place to call home.

What Is Federal Way Famous For?


World's First Steel-and-Glass Rotating Car Wash

Did you know Federal Way is the birthplace of modern car wash? National Car Wash opened in 1951 and was declared as the first automated car wash in the world. Its most distinctive feature was the steel-and-glass rotating washer that became a trendsetter in the car wash industry.

Weyerhaeuser Corporate Headquarters

Federal Way was home to the former Weyerhaeuser Corporation's headquarters. The 425-acre campus was lauded for its gorgeous landscape, which included a world-renowned Rhododendron species garden and Bonsai collection. Though the company relocated, its legacy as one of the largest pulp and paper companies in the world is not forgotten.

Wild Waves Theme & Water Park

Buckle up for a wild ride! Federal Way hosts Washington States's largest amusement park, Wild Waves Theme & Water Park. With over 70 acres filled with roller coasters, water slides, and wave pools, this park is a major destination for thrill-seekers and families alike.

SeaTac BMX Track

If you are a fan of BMX racing, Federal Way on the map! The SeaTac BMX track, one of the oldest tracks in the nation, hosts races for all ages and skill levels. It's a muddy mecca for bikers and provides a great way to spend a day outdoors for spectators and participants!

``` Capital building of Federal Way, WA in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

In Federal Way, WA, as of 2023, property taxes are set at approximately 1.01% of a home's assessed fair market value. This is lower than the national average, which is around 1.07%.

Sales Tax

The combined sales tax rate for Federal Way, WA, as of 2023, is about 10.1%. This rate is significantly higher than the average combined sales tax rate under 10% in other parts of the US.

Income Tax

As of 2023, Washington state, including Federal Way, does not levy a personal income tax. This makes it one of only seven states in the US to not impose an income tax.

Housing Market

The Federal Way, WA housing market is somewhat competitive compared to other parts of the US. The median home value stands at approximately $425,700, a value that has seen an increase of 11.7% over the past year. Renters, on the other hand, can expect to pay a median rent of about $1,800 per month. While home values are projected to continue rising, the rental market is also seeing a steady increase. The area presents a good investment opportunity with a balanced supply and demand, making it attractive for both buyers and renters.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Federal Way, WA is relatively lower compared to other large cities in the area such as Seattle or Bellevue. This can be seen in aspects like housing, where Federal Way averages much lower. However, compared to national averages, Federal Way does exceed in some areas like healthcare. Regardless, its proximity to various job markets, as well as its plethora of amenities, can make it an ideal middle-ground for those seeking a balance between affordability and lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Federal Way, WA boasts a temperate marine climate filled with mild, wet winters and warm, relatively dry summers. Winter temperatures usually fall between 33-47degF, while summers tend to range from 52-76degF. The city receives approximately 40 inches of rainfall annually, often with more during the winter and less in the summer months, making it a location with high humidity. Snowfall is rare and usually light. Basking in around 152 sunny days, Federal Way offers an alluring weather personality. As for natural disasters, Federal Way is prone to flooding, earthquakes due to its proximity to various fault lines, and occasionally, severe windstorms. Despite these potential threats, Federal Way's enchanting climate alongside its breath-taking landscapes make it an inviting location for residents and businesses alike.

Typical weather in Federal Way, WA

Economy & Job Market

Aerospace and Aviation Industry

Information Technology and Telecommunications Industry

Healthcare Industry

Agriculture and Food Manufacturing Industry

Maritime Trade and Logistics Industry

Federal Way, WA has a varied economic landscape that is deeply rooted in the heritage of the Pacific Northwest. Historically, the city was a hub for traditional industries such as timber and fishing, but today, Federal Way has diversified and modernized its economy significantly. The city is now recognized for its presence in aerospace and aviation, with big names like Boeing having a considerable impact on the job market. The information technology and telecommunications sector is also very pronounced, bolstered by the proximity to Seattle, a major tech hub. Healthcare, agriculture and food manufacturing, and maritime trade also hold substantial shares in Federal Way's current economic pie.

If you're moving to Federal Way and planning to hit the job market, there are a few things you should know. Firstly, the city showcases a lower unemployment rate as compared to the national average. This can be attributed to the diverse and booming industries present in the state. Also, healthcare and information technology sectors are among the fastest-growing industries in the city, offering numerous job opportunities to newcomers. Additionally, living in Federal Way puts you close to other bigger cities like Seattle and Tacoma, expanding your potential job market. However, remember to pack your umbrella because in this lively part of the world, job opportunities pour just like its famous Pacific Northwest rain!

Traffic and Transportation

Welcome to the hustle and bustle of Federal Way, WA! Hop in your car and you're looking at an average commute time of around 33 minutes. But hey, that's ample time to listen to your favorite podcast or catch up on that audiobook! Not a driver? Fear not! Federal Way boasts plenty of public transport options. You can easily navigate town on our trusty King County Metro Transit buses or zippy Sound Transit trains. Fancy something a bit more high-tech? Hello Future! Federal Way Link Extension, our new light rail service, is set to open in 2024. And if you're keen to spread your wings outside of Federal Way (we promise we won't take it personally), Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is just a short 15-minute drive away. Transportation in Federal's a wild ride!

What is the traffic like in Federal Way, WA?

Best Neighborhoods in Federal Way

1. Twin Lakes

Sporting an impressive collection of trees, parks, and large houses with yards, Twin Lakes makes a strong argument for being one of the best neighborhoods in Federal Way. Golf enthusiasts will fall in love with the neighborhood's popular Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club, featuring an 18-hole course. For those into more physical outdoor adventures, the Twin Lakes trail offers a fun route for jogging, hiking, or just tranquil evening strolls. Culturally diverse, with a friendly vibe, Twin Lakes offers a pleasant neighborhood for families and couples alike.

2. Dash Point

If you're water-oriented, Dash Point should be first on your list. Situated right on Puget Sound and home to Dash Point State Park, there's an abundance of aquatic activities all year-round. From boating and fishing to picnicking and camping, this coastal neighborhood provides endless opportunities for fun. Dash Point also offers a great mix of quiet suburban living with exceptional quality of living--the calm, serene setting makes it perfect for those wanting to settle down in a peaceful environment.

3. Redondo

The charming seaside community of Redondo never fails to captivate its visitors. With its beautiful boardwalk, relaxed beach atmosphere, and the picturesque Salty's restaurant with views of the Sound, it's easy to see why locals love Redondo. This neighborhood is perfect for those who thrive in a relaxed, leisurely environment with a soul-soothing view of the water. Plus, Redondo Beach's amazing marine wildlife makes whale watching a frequent backyard activity. How cool is that?

4. Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake is a hidden gem of Federal Way that attracts those who want a strong community atmosphere. With its namesake lake, it offers residents a chance to partake in a plethora of water-based recreational activities. This neighborhood also prides itself with the Mirror Lake Elementary School, praised for its high educational standards and nurturing environment. It's the perfect place for growing families or anyone in love with the allure of the water.

5. West Campus

West Campus is a charming and dynamic neighborhood in Federal Way. Known for its shopping centers, restaurants, and wonderfully landscaped homes, this community is bustling with life and activities. Conveniently located near the Federal Way Community Center and the BPA Trail, it offers various recreational activities and fitness options. The lively yet relaxed vibe of West Campus makes it ideal for anyone from young professionals to retirees.

From waterfront vibes to golf club communities, Federal Way, Washington, is a city of neighborhoods, each offering its own unique charm and lifestyle. Above are just a few of our favorites. No matter what you're looking for in your new neighborhood, you'll likely find it right here in Federal Way. So pack your bags and find your own personal slice of the Pacific Northwest. Your move to Federal Way promises to be filled with exploration, adventure, and the creation of wonderful memories.

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Things to Do

Welcome to the enthralling city of Federal Way, Washington! This fascinating city nestled in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area is full of surprises that are sure to keep you entertained, attracted, and engaged. Here are seven top things to do in Federal Way for a newly-minted local or a soon-to-be resident.

1. Revel in the Pacific Bonsai Museum

Step into a whole new horticultural world at the Pacific Bonsai Museum. This hidden gem features more than 150 bonsai trees, from tiny shohin bonsai to massive 100-year-old junipers. It's a serene and genuinely unique activity you shouldn't miss.

2. Experience Adventure at Wild Waves Theme and Water Park

Considered the largest amusement park in Washington, Wild Waves Theme and Water Park delivers a combo of rollicking rides and splash-tastic water slides. This is a sure-fire hit for all family members, especially during balmy summer days.

3. Visit the Famous Farmer's Market

The Federal Way Farmer's Market is no ordinary market. This vibrant affair brims with locally grown farm produce, beautifully handcrafted items, live music, food trucks, and even a petting zoo! It's a perfect weekend afternoon escapade for fresh, fun, and farm-filled expeditions.

4. Enter The Enchanted World of PowellsWood Garden

This three-acre private English-style garden is an enchanting corner of Federal Way. PowellsWood Garden's trails wind through beautifully manicured garden rooms, each with a distinctive character, offering a kaleidoscope of colors, scenic vistas, whimsical garden features, and murmuring fountains.

5. Appreciate Culture at Performing Arts and Event Center

Unleash your appreciation for the arts at the Performing Arts and Event Center. The venue regularly hosts world-class performances from ballet and opera to music and drama. Plus, they also run educational programs and workshops for burgeoning artists.

6. Paddle or Picnic at Steel Lake Park

This 52-acre park is Federal Way's recreation hotspot. From swimming and picnicking to fishing and boating, Steel Lake Park is brimming with recreational activities. And don't miss the summer-only pedal boats. It's a delightful way to relax and soak up the lake's serenity.

7. Take a Trip on the Federal Way Historical Society's History Cab

You might think you're in for a regular cab ride but the History Cab, run by the Federal Way Historical Society, is quite the surprise! The cab takes passengers on a journey through Federal Way's rich history, presenting historical sites and sharing tales. It's a highly original and immersive way to get to know your new hometown.

So that's it! These are just the top 7 of numerous exhilarating and offbeat things to do in Federal Way. This city is an amalgamation of delightful surprises, enchanting culture, and thrilling history. So, get ready to buckle up and delve into all the amazing activities Federal Way has up its sleeves.

Things to do in Federal Way, WA?

Find Movers for Your Federal Way Relocation

As you map out your exciting journey to Federal Way, WA, remember that relocating doesn't have to be overwhelming. For a stress-free move, let Great Guys Moving do the work for you. Our trusted team connects you to the best, most affordable movers in the business. Servicing your move is made easy: input your job's basic details and receive fast, free quotes from our network of insured and licensed movers. Don't wait another moment, begin your new chapter in Federal Way with confidence. Request your free moving quote from Great Guys Moving today.

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