Moving to Seattle

Picture stunning seascapes, majestic mountains as backdrop, and a bustling city brimming with exciting opportunities - that's what you get when you dream about moving to Seattle, WA! Known for its Emerald City allure, top-notch tech jobs, and world-famous coffee culture, Seattle is an amazing place to set down roots. Living here might have more to offer than you think. We've put together this comprehensive Seattle relocation guide to help you plan your move, so get ready to don your rain boots and immerse yourself in the uniquely vibrant culture of this Pacific Northwest paradise!

Moving to Seattle, WA landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Seattle

1. Welcome to Rain City

Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't rain all the time in Seattle. But, it sure does rain a lot. A gentle, constant drizzle will be your trusted companion during the fall-winter months, while the summers are dreamy with clear skies and sunny days. Consider investing in a nice pair of waterproof shoes and a compact umbrella to easily fit in your tote. This magical rain also paints lush, evergreen landscapes for an escape into nature anytime you want. Now, that's a fair trade!

2. Experience Coffee Like Nowhere Else

Seattle is the birthplace of Starbucks, but the obsession doesn't stop there. The city is brimming with eclectic, cozy coffee shops where java is considered an art form. Whether you're a fan of cold-brew, pour-over, or old-fashioned drip coffee, you're sure to fall in love with the unique coffee culture here. Get ready for aromatic encounters at every corner!

3. Say Hello to a Multifaceted Culinary Scene

Foodies rejoice! From innovative food trucks to Michelin-starred restaurants, Seattle's culinary scene is vibrant and boasts a diversity that is bound to tickle your taste buds. Seafood here is the star, naturally. Don't leave without trying the city's signature clam chowder or freshly shucked oysters. You can't say you've lived in Seattle until you've had a late-night hot dog dressed with cream cheese either, a weirdly delicious local favorite.

4. Embrace the Tech Boom

Home to powerhouses like Microsoft and Amazon, and a host of budding tech start-ups, Seattle is a buzzing tech hive. This makes for an exciting and dynamic work environment that offers incredible opportunities but also brings with it a high cost of living. Relocating here might mean having tech-savvy neighbors who speak in code, both literally and figuratively!

5. The "Seattle Freeze" Phenomenon

Locals are known for being polite but, often aloof--an attribute often known as the "Seattle Freeze." It could be a bit challenging making close friends initially, but breaking the ice is a rewarding experience. Seattleites are passionate about their city, love their dogs, enjoy a good outdoor adventure, and genuinely help out in the community! Maybe the fault is not in our stars, but in our approach?

6. A Secret Trash Landmark

This is one of Seattle's quirky unknown secrets. Behold the Wall of Gum, also known as the Gum Wall--a brick wall in an alleyway entirely covered by chewing gum in vibrant colors and grotesque-yet-fascinating shapes. It might not be on the typical tourist trail, but it's definitely worth a one-time visit, if only for a unique selfie!

7. The Home of Mystery Soda Machine

This is going to sound outright bizarre but there's a peculiar soda machine in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. What makes it special? Its drink selection buttons read 'mystery' and for a meager 75 cents, you get a surprise soda! The identity of the person replenishing the supply remains unknown, adding to its allure. Moving to Seattle means embracing the quirky and flavorful mystery it offers, one soda at a time!

So, if you're excited about mastering the art of layering wardrobe, discovering new coffee flavors, navigating through rain showers, and surprising yourself with mystery soda machines, Seattle awaits you with open arms. Dive into the Emerald City's unique lifestyle, abundant natural beauty, and vibrant culture. After all, the more you know, the better it gets!

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Pros and Cons of Living in Seattle

Pros of Living in Seattle

Nature and Outdoor Activities

Seattle boasts of beautiful landscapes, surrounded by mountains, forests, and bodies of water. The numerous parks in and near the city like the Discovery Park, Kerry Park or Olympic National Park offer ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, boating, or simply enjoying a picnic with a view.

Thriving Food Scene

Seattle is known for its vibrant culinary scene featuring an array of restaurants serving everything from seafood, ethnic cuisines to farm-to-table dining. Add to this are the city's numerous breweries, cideries, and coffee shops like outposts of Starbucks Reserve, and you have a foodie's paradise.

Education and Career Opportunities

Seattle is an educational and career hub, housing world-renowned institutions like the University of Washington and companies like Amazon and Microsoft. This provides a myriad of opportunities for personal growth and career advancement.

Rich Arts and Culture Scene

From independent bookstores, world-class museums, vibrant music scene, to performing arts venues, Seattle has a rich cultural landscape. It is the birthplace of grunge music and home to famous museums such as The Seattle Art Museum and The Museum of Pop Culture.

Eco-friendly Practices

Seattle is committed to sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Residents enjoy clean air, numerous farmer's markets offering locally-made produce, and are encouraged to cycle or use public transportation. It's a great city for those conscious about their environmental footprint.

Cons of Living in Seattle

Cost of Living

Given its desirability, Seattle does come with a high cost of living. From housing to groceries, residents may find that daily expenses are higher compared to other cities.

Traffic

Despite the city's efforts in promoting public transportation, Seattle still struggles with traffic congestion. It's not unusual to experience delays during peak commuting hours in popular routes.

Weather

Seattle is known for its grey, rainy weather. Even during the summer, the city's climate remains cool and cloudy. This may not be appreciated by those who crave ample sunlight and dry weather.

Affordability of Housing

Given the influx of people moving to Seattle, the housing market continues to be competitive and pricey. Rent and real estate prices can be quite high, making it hard for some to find affordable housing.

Increased Homelessness

Seattle has seen a rise in homelessness in recent years, leading to visible encampments around the city. While efforts are being made to address the issue, it remains a concern for residents and potential movers to the city.

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

Is Seattle a Good Place to Live?

Seattle, WA is a great place to live because of its vibrant cultural scene, stunning natural beauty, and progressive, eco-friendly attitude. The city is home to a dynamic tech industry and offers a multitude of outdoor activities with mountains, forests, and water all within reach. There's always something fun to do in Seattle, whether it's exploring the eclectic Pike Place Market, catching a performance at the iconic Seattle Opera, or cheering on the Seahawks at a lively NFL game.


What Is Seattle Famous For?

The Space Needle

The iconic Space Needle is Seattle's most famous landmark. Towering 605 feet high over the city, this astounding structure offers an observation deck and a rotating restaurant, offering panoramic views of the downtown skyline, Elliott Bay and Mount Rainier.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is a favorite with both visitors and locals alike. From fresh fish and flower stalls to quirky craft booths and eclectic curio shops, it epitomizes the city's vibrant and diverse culture. And who could forget the market's most famous resident, the original Starbucks coffee shop?

The Seattle Underground

Seattle's Underground Tour offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the city's past. The tour takes you beneath the City's streets to the remnants of the old town, which was buried and built over following the Great Fire of 1889.

Music, specifically Grunge

Seattle is celebrated as the birthplace of the Grunge music movement during the early 90s. Famous musicians such as Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, and Chris Cornell of Soundgarden all emanated from this rainy city, leaving lasting impressions in the world of music.

Capital building of Seattle, WA in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

In Seattle, the property tax rates are approximately 0.929% of a property's assessed fair market value as of 2023. This is considerably lower than the national average of 1.07%, though still higher than certain other states.

Sales Tax

The sales tax in Seattle as of 2023 is 10.1%, which is among the highest sales tax rates in the United States, with the national median being at 6.88%.

Income Tax

As of 2023, Washington state, including Seattle, does not impose state income tax. This is contrary to the majority of states in the US, which levy an average state income tax rate of about 4.6%.


Housing Market

The Seattle, WA housing market remains one of the most competitive markets in the US, contributing to a notably high median home price approximating $725K, considerably above the national median. Especially noteworthy, over half of homes in Seattle sell for over list price, indicating a strong sellers' market. For renters, the market reflects the overall dynamic with Median rent hovering around $2,200 per month, higher than the national median. Knowledge of these factors is essential for both potential renters and buyers considering the Seattle market.


Cost of Living

Seattle, Washington is considered to have a higher cost of living compared to most US cities. Housing is the key factor driving this, with median home prices significantly exceeding the national average. Other contributors include increased costs for necessities like utilities, food, and transport, though these are less extreme. However, despite this higher cost of living, Seattle boasts strong job prospects, particularly within the technology sector, and a high quality of life factors such as recreational opportunities and cultural venues. Thus, while more expensive, many residents find the benefits of Seattle life outweigh these costs.


Weather & Natural Disasters

Seattle, Washington, features a temperate marine climate, typified by wet, mild winters and warm, relatively dry summers. The average high ranges from 46degF in January to around 76degF in July. Precipitation varies dramatically, easing up during the summer months while peaking from November to January. Rain, often in the form of drizzles and light showers, is a staple on Seattle's weather menu, though the city receives less annual precipitation than many other US cities and less rain than some might imagine. Seattle's proximity to the Pacific Ocean contributes to its high humidity and coastal weather patterns. While not common, Seattle can experience natural disasters like earthquakes, due to its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Flooding and landslides also occur, particularly during heavier rains, and occasional windstorms may sweep through the region.

Typical weather in Seattle, WA

Economy & Job Market

* Aerospace and Defense Industry

* Technology Industry

* Advanced Manufacturing Industry

* Life Sciences & Global Health Industry

* Clean Technology Industry

Founded on the hardscrabble industries of forestry and fishing, Seattle, WA has dramatically evolved into a high-tech, high-skilled economy. At the heart of this transformation: the aerospace and defense industry, where the giant Boeing plants produce around half the commercial jetliners flying today. But peel back a layer, and you'll find a deftly varied economy bustling with world-class tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft. Pioneering the fields of cloud computing, e-commerce, gaming, and artificial intelligence, these businesses have literally changed the world we live in. Alongside, the Emerald City also boasts a vibrant advanced manufacturing sector, a blossoming life sciences and global health industry, and a booming clean technology sector, all making it a commercially diverse metropolis.

Now, if you're planning a move to Seattle, WA, your job prospects look rather rosy. As one of the fastest-growing major cities in the United States, Seattle dishes out high employment rates, with a 2019 unemployment rate of just 2.6%. Be warned though, it's competitive! With over 1,000 people pouring into the city each week, you can expect to hustle. Your best shot? Hit the thriving tech industry. Both Amazon and Microsoft offer enviable tech career opportunities, with a reputation for fat salaries and attractive benefits. But don't forget about the healthcare industry or professional services - they're meaty chunks of the job market too. Also, keep an eye on clusters such as South Lake Union and the Eastside, known for their booming tech hubs. All are excellent hunting grounds for anyone seeking work in Seattle, WA.


Traffic and Transportation

Alright folks, let's talk about the hustle and bustle of Seattle, the city that never stands still! Our average commute time hovers around the 30-minute mark, maybe just enough time to power through a podcast or two! Wanting to let someone else do the driving? No problem! We've got options aplenty! King County Metro Buses, Sound Transit Light Rail and the iconic Seattle Streetcar are the go-to public transport heroes of our city. For jet-setters, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, affectionately known as Sea-Tac, is your gateway to the world! It hosts a dizzying array of airlines that'll whisk you off to wherever your heart desires. So whether you're cruising down I-5, hopping on a bus, or jetting off to far-flung places, Seattle's transport scene is one rockin' ride!

What is the traffic like in Seattle, WA?

Best Neighborhoods in Seattle

1. Ballard

If you're a fan of all things vintage and quirky, you'll fall head over heels for Ballard. Once a historic, Scandinavian fishing community, this neighborhood has transformed into a bustling hub of cool eateries, funky boutiques, and hip coffee shops. On Sunday, you can scan through the Ballard Farmer's Market for some fresh, organic, local produce. Or, if you're more of a history buff, the Nordic Heritage Museum is the perfect place to learn about the Scandinavian influence in Seattle. For nightlife, Ballard offers everything from sizzling jazz bars to fun-filled breweries to keep you entertained till the wee hours.

2. Queen Anne

Envision panoramic views of Seattle's skyline, the Space Needle, and the beautiful Puget Sound. That's Queen Anne for you. Situated on a hill, this neighborhood boasts stunning architecture with its charming historic houses. A walk through the tree-lined streets is a feast for the eyes. Queen Anne is also home to the famous Kerry Park, a popular spot for capturing postcard-worthy shots of the city. Munch on delicacies from around the globe at the various eateries or explore local boutiques for unique fashion finds.

3. Capitol Hill

If diversity and energy is what you're after, Capitol Hill has got your back. This vibrant neighborhood is well-known for its lively music scene, colorful murals, and thriving LGBTQ+ community. Pike and Pine Streets are buzzing with trendsetting cafes, bars, and boutiques that exude a youthful energy. For those who crave a quieter side, the Volunteer Park offers a tranquil escape with its beautiful Conservatory and Asian Art Museum. Don't forget to visit the 'mystery soda machine' on John Street for some unexpected fun!

4. West Seattle

Desire a beach town vibe in the heart of a bustling city? Look no further than West Seattle. It offers a laidback atmosphere with beautiful beachfront homes and fantastic views of the city and mountains. The main attraction here is Alki Beach, a hotspot for beach volleyball, picnicking, and sunbathing. Stroll along California Ave to discover a wide variety of shops, or head to the West Seattle Farmers' Market to grab fresh locally grown produce. Bonus: Whale watching - an occasional treat for the lucky resident.

5. Fremont

Welcome to Fremont - the self-proclaimed 'Center of the Universe', where creativity flows as freely as the Fremont Canal. This neighborhood is known for its unexpected public art installations such as the giant Fremont Troll under the Aurora Bridge. You can't miss out on the Sunday market which features a mix of antiques, crafts, and street food. Fremont is also home to a number of tech startups. Throw in a handful of breweries, coffee shops, boutiques, and some fun-filled annual events like the Solstice Parade, you have a neighborhood that's always buzzing with life.

In the end, your perfect Seattle neighborhood is likely to be as unique as you are. From the quirky eccentricity of Fremont to the laid-back beach vibes of West Seattle, there's a pocket of perfection waiting for you in the Emerald City. So, grab your raincoat and embark on the adventure of finding your own Seattle niche!

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Things to Do

So, you're moving to Seattle? Great choice! This bustling pacific northwest gem is famous for rain, coffee, grunge music, aerospace, and tech companies. But Seattle offers so much more than its cliches suggest. Its combination of natural beauty and vibrant urban life offers an eclectic mix of experiences that cater to every taste. Here are seven must-sees to enjoy your Seattle journey.

1. Witness Solar Glory at the Rainbow Crosswalks

First stop - Capitol Hill. A neighbourhood known for its vibrant LGBTQ+ community and cultural diversity, Capitol Hill radiates with colour - quite literally at the intersection of 10th and Pike. Here, you'll find crosswalks painted in all colours of the rainbow, an ideal photogenic spot where you can enjoy this celebration of unity and diversity.

2. Delve Underneath the City at Bill Speidel's Underground Tour

Next, journey to Seattle's past and literally go underground to explore the city's original storefronts and sidewalks built in the late 19th century, now hidden beneath today's streets. The 75-minute guided walking tour starts in Pioneer Square, the city's oldest neighbourhood. Prepare for an experience both eerie and fascinating.

3. Bask in the Views from the Space Needle

Perhaps the most iconic symbol of Seattle, the Space Needle offers breathtaking panoramas of the city's skyline, mountains, waters, and more. Why not try dining with a view? The rotating SkyCity Restaurant lets you enjoy the view while savouring tasty meals.

4. Catch Fresh Fish at Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market harbours rich history and unique curiosities. Opened in 1907, this public market boasts eclectic stalls that sell everything from fresh local produce, seafood, unique crafts to antiques. Don't miss out on seeing the fishmongers hurling fish to each other - a spectacle you won't see anywhere else!

5. Immerse in a Silent Reading Party at the Sorrento Hotel

It might sound peculiar - but yes, Silent Reading Parties are a thing, and they're delightful. At the Fireside Room of the Sorrento Hotel, people gather with books and cocktails (or coffee), and simply read in companionable silence. It's a haven for solitude seeking city-dwellers who relish the air of community.

6. Wander in Kubota Gardens

Seattle shines green with its myriad of parks, but the Kubota Gardens are a true hidden gem. Traverse the paths of this 20-acre Japanese garden where hills, waterfalls, ponds, and rock outcroppings come together to create a sense of tranquility that's hard to find in the bustling city.

7. Mingle with the Dead in Volunteer Park

Get ready to meet Seattle's old settlers. The historic Lake View Cemetery, located in the gorgeous Volunteer Park, is the final resting place for many Seattle pioneers, celebrities - like Bruce Lee - and other colourful characters. Join a thrilling ghost tour and learn about the city's captivating history.

Seattle is a city that blends the hustle of urban life with the serenity of nature, history with modernity, silence with vibrant cultures, and the normal with the downright quirky. There are as many experiences to be had in Seattle as there are raindrops in its drizzle. Whether your aim is to just enjoy the essentials or to venture off the beaten track, your next adventure awaits you in Seattle!

Things to do in Seattle, WA?

Find Movers for Your Seattle Relocation

As you finish planning your exciting move to Seattle, remember to secure a professional moving service to ensure a smooth transition. Great Guys Moving can connect you to a network of highly reputed, licensed and insured movers, offering quality service and fair pricing. By simply providing the finer details of your move, Great Guys matches you with the ideal moving service for your needs. Save time, reduce stress and keep your relocation cost efficient by requesting a free moving quote today from Great Guys Moving for your Seattle adventure.

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