You're about to move to Seattle because you've just heard about all the niceties that go along with living there. Whether it's going to be just across the state or if you're from across the country, all that excitement might be clouding your thinking processes. Moving day is drawing near, and you might still have no idea where to start.
What's the weather like?
Is it expensive to live in Seattle?
What are great places to eat and where should I visit first?
Can I get by with just my bike or do I have to own a car to go from place-to-place?
These are the questions (and more) that might be going through your mind right about now. But before panic seeps down into your very core, you need to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and calm down first. The information you seek to start living in Seattle can be found here.
- Seattle Weather
- Seattle Culture
- Cost of Living in Seattle
- Seattle's Popular Jobs and Industries
- The Various Neighborhoods of Seattle
- Cost of Owning a Car in Seattle
- Seattle's Public Commute System
- Walking and Biking Around Seattle
- Seattle's Real Estate
- Sights to See in Seattle
- Other things to know before moving to Seattle that doesn't fit into any other category
One of the things that you've been thinking about is Seattle's weather conditions. Let's start with the month of June; while the rest of the US heads off to the beach to get a nice tan, the Northwest areas don't see much of the sun. It's the "June Gloom," as they would call it, and it's cloudy with accompanying rain on some days. But when the sun does take a peek, the parks, grills, trails, and beaches will be filled with the populace and tourists alike to savor every warmth they could get as they know it's very precious.
Once July arrives, it can truly be called the Summer season in Seattle. It's not humid, and you can go out and enjoy yourself with friends and family to revel in the majesty and warmth of the sun's rays without having to worry too much about air conditioning. During this month, festivals loom in different corners of the city, so there's always something new to see and enjoy. You can also opt to go to the beach or hike to the nearby mountains.
In 1996, Seattle topped 50 inches of precipitation for just the third time—good enough for the second-soggiest year on record. By contrast, a mere 25.13 inches was recorded in 1985, making it second only to 1952 in terms of dryness. (Source)
The warm months continue with August, and then the temperatures start to shift down until it gets to December. December and the next two succeeding months are considered to be the coldest months of the city with average lows of 36 to 38F.
You might've also heard of the popular "Seattle Rains," and although the amount of rainfall varies from year-to-year, the wettest days can be seen in the months of November, December, and January with averages of 5 to 5.43 inches of rainfall.
Still, it is a good idea to pack your raincoat and umbrellas to prepare for those really rainy days.
Seattle has a reputation of a city flourishing with great arts. You can relive the classics such as listening to Symphonies and the Opera or perhaps go for a visual representation by watching ballet performances. There are also public art collections that display over 400 works to liven up public locations such as streets, bridges, and parks.
However, the city is not just all about the arts as there are scientists who flock to Seattle as it has a booming biotech industry. It is accompanied by several excellent hospitals, along with the popular Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. With Seattle's focus on health and science, it led the city's government to ban smoking in public locations, such as bars and restaurants.
For the Coffee Lover
Even though Seattle is the home of the worldwide coffee shop sensation that is Starbucks, it doesn't mean that the city's java population is limited to that brand. Many cafes and restaurants in the metropolis roast and serve their coffee. You might want to check out the following:
- Uptown Espresso
- Espresso Vivace
- Caffe Ladro
- Diva Espresso
- And so much more
Seattle's Music Scene
Seattle is thriving with lively venues, clubs, and other locations filled with musical excitement. Locations range from stadiums to holes-in-the-wall. To start your musical adventure in the city, you might want to look out for the Crocodile Café, the Triple Door, the Showbox, and Chop Suey.
This city that sits in the Northwest area of US is also the home to many famous musicians and bands, including Harvey Danger, Macklemore, and Jimi Hendrix. It is also the home of popular rock celebrities such as Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. You might even want to stroll down Kurt Cobain's neighborhood to see and learn where grunge rock originated.
If you're a big enthusiast of music, then there's no shortage of shows here.
The locals of Seattle, or Seattleites, are tech-savvy, practical, casual, and politically-minded. Many of them like to try out new things, and will most of the time wait in line for long hours just to gear up to experience a new Xbox or a band trying to make it big into the music scene.
There aren't many luxurious vehicles on the road, even though there are millionaires from Microsoft living within the city's borders. Instead, many of Seattle's locals prefer to take public transportation and AWD vehicles instead. It is because these types of transportation are best suited for the city's rainy climate.
When you take the bus, you might even get to see a local Nobel Prize winner sitting right next to you.
Due to the cold climate, the people of Seattle would enjoy bursting out of their houses to bask in the sun's glory once spring arrives. As summer gets close, you'll notice the days do get longer while you're in the city. As such, you can spend more time doing outdoor activities such as jogging around the Burke-Gilman trail, or perhaps you might fancy picking blueberries in Mercer Slough.
Farmer's Markets do pop up in many Seattle neighborhoods, and they offer a good range of activities. You can take part in Seafair's hydroplane races, or you can enjoy Bumbershoot's film and alternative music festival which takes place in September.
However, these long hours are short lived especially when September rolls in because the sun will set as early as 4 PM.
Cost of Living in Seattle
If you're planning to move to Seattle, then you might want to prepare your wallets and bank accounts because it's not going to be cheap. You can make use of the Payscale's cost of living calculator to prepare for the possible increase of expenses, as well as the level of salary you need to maintain.
To give you an idea of how expensive it is to purchase a home in Seattle, you can take a look at Smart Asset's table below:
It is even estimated that if the prices of Seattle will keep growing at a 20% rate per five years, then the average prices of homes will surpass $1 million within the next 25 years.
Now if you're not planning on purchasing a house in the city, you can always opt to rent instead. However, it isn't cheap still as according to apartmentmap.com, the average rent to stay in a one bedroom apartment in the city is $1,547. That amount is already 60% higher than the national average.
There are even some neighborhoods that are more expensive than others. Some areas can have you shelling out approximately $1,900 for a one bedroom apartment.
Seattle's Popular Jobs and Industries
Many of the jobs in Seattle are located in tech sectors. In fact, Amazon is based in the city. According to Jobr, here are the most popular jobs in Seattle:
- Sales Director
- Marketing Assistant
- Product Manager
- Field Service Engineer
- Security Officer
- Business Analyst
- Graphic Designer
- Software Engineer
- Mechanical Engineer
As for the famous industries in Seattle, here is a short list taken from The Business Journals:
- Management Occupations
- Legal Occupations
- Computer and Mathematical Occupations
- Architecture and Engineering Occupations
- Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Operations
- Business and Financial Occupations
- Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations
- Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations
- Construction and Extraction Occupations
- Education, Training, and Library Occupations
The items in the list above are ranked by average annual pay in Seattle. You can click here to look at the entire list.
But if you're still about to look for a job in Seattle, then you might land one sooner than you think. It is because according to the Q3 2014 report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the city was only at 3.3%, as compared to the national percentage of 5.5%. The rate of unemployment has been seen to go lower since 2010.
The Various Neighborhoods of Seattle
The city government has broken down Seattle into 13 major districts, and they are:
- Central Area
- Greater Duawmish
- Magnolia or Queen Anne
- Lake Union
There are a total of 78 neighborhoods in Seattle, and if you're looking at living in an area with the highest livability score, Area Vibes ranks Laurelhurst to sit at that top spot. If you're looking at the neighborhood with the highest population, the crown is being held by Beacon Hill.
While Seattle still holds a spot as one of the safest places to live in the US, there are still some neighborhoods you might want to watch out such as Highland Park, South Park, and Delridge.
Education System in Seattle
If you're looking to get your child or children into one of the many educational institutions in Seattle, then you need to know which of them can offer the best education the city has to offer.
According to greatschools.org, the following are the top-rated schools in Seattle:
- Eckstein Middle School
- Fairmount Park Elementary
- Whittier Elementary School
- Genesee Hill Elementary School
If you're considering returning to school to seek a higher degree of learning, then you might want to attend the University of Washington as this educational institution was ranked the 16th best public university in the world, as per US News in 2016. The university is also quite strong in the Computer Science division as it was ranked #11 in a national scale. If you're planning to get a degree in Primary Care Medicine, then UoW is ranked as #1.
An alternate option to attending classes at the University of Washington is going to the Seattle Central Community College. This particular college was recognized by Time Magazine's "community college of the year" back in 2001.
Cost of Owning a Car in Seattle
According to the 2000 census for cities with the most households without an automobile, the majority of the Seattle population, or Seattleites, do own at least one car.
Average Car Insurance Rates in Seattle
Just like looking for a place to stay in Seattle, insurance rates in the city are no joke. Many drivers pay a lot more for car insurance in Seattle as compared to a lot of other cities in the US. According to the Quote Wizard, the average cost of keeping a car insurance policy in Seattle is $1,453 per annum for men, and the amount is higher for women as it is recorded to be $1,639.
For comparison's sake, the amounts mentioned above is nearly twice than what a person would normally pay for auto insurance in other Washington states. The national average cost for car insurance is $866.31.
Prices do vary depending on the zip code, as well as the total number of claims filed in a specific category. These categories include age, type of car, zip code, coverage, driving history, policy limits, and the points found on your driver's license.
Image source: https://quotewizard.com/auto-insurance/seattle-washington
As per Quote Wizard, the following are the most requested quotes for car makes and models owned by Seattleites from last year.
- Honda Accord EX/LX
- Toyota Prius
- Honda Civic DX/EX/LX
- Ford F150
- Toyota Camry LE/XLE
- Honda CR-V EX
- Ford Ranger
- Ford Explorer
- Ford Focus SE
- Toyota RAV4
If you're looking to start owning a car in Seattle, or perhaps looking to acquire an insurance policy for a vehicle you already own, then there is no shortage of insurance companies within the city. You can check out Geico, Progressive, Farmers, AAA, or American Family as they have offices in the area.
Gas Prices in Seattle
When it comes to owning a car in Seattle, you need to constantly know the current trends in the city's gas prices. Gas prices increased over the past year, so you might want to think about using your bicycle for now if you plan on traveling near distances within the city. You might even want to take public transport to get to work and wait for gas prices to go down.
Seattle's Public Commute System
When you're still new to the city, commuting around Seattle might be confusing, but soon enough you'll realize that the public transportation system in the city is thoughtfully designed.
According to Seattle Times, the city became the second most bus-reliant metropolitan areas in America, as per an article from 2016. It is because one out of five residents use the city's transit system when they go to work. The costs range from $2.50 to $3.25 for normal adult fares, but you can also take advantage of $8 unlimited regional passes. If you want to take the extra mile, there are also unlimited monthly passes that can be acquired for $90 to $117.
If you don't want to take the bus, then know that it's not the only option to get around the metropolis since you can also take advantage of many RapidRide lines. There are also various rail lines, as well as a streetcar line which connects different suburbs and neighborhoods together. You can even opt for a water taxi if you plan on traveling to-and-from Vashon Island, West Seattle, and the city's downtown area.
Walking and Biking Around Seattle
As per WalkScore.com, the city of Seattle is "rapidly becoming a world-class walkable city." Scores for public transportation, walking, and bicycling around the metropolis is above average.
If you want to take your bicycle around town, then you'd be happy to know that Seattle has been ranked as the 13th most bikeable city in the US in the year 2015. The top 10 most bike-friendly neighborhoods in Seattle are as follows (in order of bike-friendliness).
- University District
- Central District
- Capitol Hill
- South Lake Union
- Green Lake
- Portage Bay
However, it doesn't mean that all neighborhoods in Seattle are bike-friendly. There are some neighborhoods you might want to watch out for before you try bicycling there. Some not-so-bike-friendly neighborhoods are the following:
- North Beach-Blue Ridge
- Rainier View
Seattle's Real Estate
As mentioned earlier in a previous section, looking for a house or apartment in Seattle is by no means cheap. Housing prices are surging, despite prices declining during the year 2013. One of the reasons for the high costs of owning a home in the city is because there's a lot of demand.
There are, however, real-estate agents that can help you out if you're looking for a home that fits your budget. Some well-known real-estate agents in the city include Matt Warmack, Ian Bell, and Jonn Mcynturff. Aside from searching for a valuable real-estate agent, you should also prepare yourself for moving quick enough as there is not much time for dawdling around.
Many condominiums are also being constantly booked, and they are getting occupied at a quick rate. One of the reasons is because many workers in the technology sector who are relocating to Seattle are looking for condos located in walkable neighborhoods. These people are choosing condos over renting apartments or houses found in less central neighborhoods.
Sights to See in Seattle
When you're moving to Seattle, it doesn't mean that you're just going to go there for work and nothing else. There are a bunch of places to visit while you're in the city. Here are 5 of the many wonderful attractions you can find in the metropolis.
Pike Place Market
Seattle's Pike Place Market has been around since the year 1907. Farmers gather here all-year-round, and they offer different kinds of produce, cheese, seafood, and even flowers to their customers. There are also many choices of handicrafts and homemade knickknacks you can purchase for your home or as souvenirs for friends and family. Let's not forget the Pike Place Fish Market as fish vendors show off their skills as they toss salmon to each other while keeping the crowd alive by cracking jokes. It's not difficult to locate as the stall is located by the market's main entrance.
But if you don't want to be part of the crowd, you can opt for a quieter place by taking the stairs to head towards "Down Under." This is a maze with a wooden floor and small shops to browse through. Just like its name, it is located underneath the main market. You can even find and grab a cup-of-Joe at what is deemed to be the "original" Starbucks.
Olympic Sculpture Park
The Olympic Sculpture Park lets you gaze upon world-class sculptures. Walking around the park allows you to enjoy different views of the city, including the harbor and the mountains surrounding the metropolis. Perhaps one of the best things about this park is it's completely free to enter for all.
This particular park spreads across 9 acres of land, and it is located north of the city's downtown area. The lot has been transformed from an industrial wasteland to the home of numerous artwork. In here, you will find the "Eagle," which is a six-ton steel sculpture made by Alexander Calder which looks like an abstract bird soaring across the sky. Then there's also the "Wake," which is made by Richard Serra.
Museum of History & Industry
Seattle is not just known for its tech business sectors as it is also the home of many who are into arts. Even though the Museum of History & Industry doesn't have the most exciting name, it has exhibits on the different cultures found in Seattle. There are pieces of art and information that cover from the maritime past to the city's modern tech culture. One adult admission is worth $14.
Outside of the museum is a waterfront park, and here you can watch boats roam across the lake, as well as float planes take off towards the skies. There are no admission fees if you're just going to visit the lake area.
The Seattle Space Needle is a very popular attraction in the city, and it is clear right from the onset as to why it became so famous over the years. This vertical icon stands large enough for just about everyone in the city to see. Furthermore, if you ride the elevator towards the top, you will get a breathtaking view of the metropolis.
The tower stands 605 feet tall, and it looks like a giant spaceship of sorts. It towers over the Seattle Center. To get to this landmark, you can ride the Seattle Center Monorail from Westlake Center. It will only take a few minutes to reach your destination if you choose this mode of transportation.
Seattle's Space Needle is open seven days a week and has admission fees starting from $19 for adults. You can even get a meal at the Skycity Restaurant if you're hungry while taking in the grand view of the city.
Seattle Art Museum
There is no lack of arts in Seattle, and the Seattle Art Museum is an excellent way to just marvel at many artworks made by different individuals. In here, you can see pieces of art coming from ancient Asians to European art masters.
The establishment is located right at the center of the city's downtown area, and you can also enjoy a gift store and a restaurant while inside. Admission fee to get inside the museum is $17 for adults, but you can get in for free for every first Thursday of the month.
Other Pieces of Information About Seattle
Where to Get Furniture
Moving to Seattle can be difficult, but some companies can help you. For instance, if you're planning on getting new furniture for your new home, apartment, or condo, you can check out McKinnon Furniture, which is located in downtown Seattle. This store dedicates itself to offering sturdy handmade wooden furniture.
You can also check out the Kasala Outlet if you're into modern-looking pieces of furniture and other household accessories. There's also an IKEA in Renton, which is an approximate 20-minute drive from the heart of the city.
Where to Get Tools and Equipment for Repairs
Sometimes, renting an apartment or purchasing a house requires you to make repairs to make it look as good as new. If you're looking to get tools and equipment for repairs, you can start with Pacific Supply Co., which is found on Capitol Hill. This establishment is rated as the best hardware store in the city, as per Seattle Weekly.
There's also Hardwick's Hardware, which is a family-owned hardware store near, and McLendons Hardware.
Seattle's Local Sports Teams
Seattle is also home to different sports teams. So if you're a fan of the local sports scene, then there's plenty to go around.
To start, the city is home to the Seattle Seahawks, which is the local NFL team. The Seahawks have already been in 3 Super Bowls. If you're planning to go to a game wherein the Seahawks are a participant, then you'll enjoy yourself as part of the crowd, or you might want to prepare a pair of earmuffs. It is because the team has already earned two spots in the Guinness World Records for having the loudest crowd at a sporting event.
Aside from the Seattle Seahawks, the city is also home to the Seattle Mariners. It is the local MLB team, and they have already set a record for the American League back in the year 2001. The team has already won 116 games. However, the Mariners are one of the two MLB teams that have never played in a world series.
As for the local Soccer club, there are the Seattle Sounders and the Seattle Reign teams. The former is the men's national soccer team whereas the latter is the women's team. The Sounders have already won three US Open Cups in a row in the years 2009 to 2011. They have already won four times in total as they had also won the US Open Cup back in 2014. For the Reign, they're still fairly new as the team was founded back in the year 2013, but they have already won a National Women's Soccer League Shield twice (2014 and 2015).
All of these might be a lot of information to go through, but we do hope you'll feel more prepared as compared to before. Once you've successfully moved, you might be able to feel more confident as you'll know where to go and what bus to take. All that's left is to experience the city firsthand.