Is Moving to Seattle a Good Idea? (Probably not…)

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Seattle, often referred to as the Emerald City, is a unique blend of opportunities and challenges that attract thousands of people each year. Known for its beautiful natural landscapes, thriving tech industry, and vibrant cultural scene, it’s no wonder people consider moving to this fast-growing city. However, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision, as the city has its fair share of drawbacks as well.

Before relocating to Seattle, it’s important to consider factors such as the city’s high cost of living, notorious rainy weather, and traffic congestion. We will explore these elements and more to help you determine if moving to Seattle is the right choice for you. By taking all these factors into account, we can provide a well-rounded perspective on the pros and cons of living in the Emerald City. Keep reading to learn more about the opportunities and challenges that await you in Seattle.

Moving to Seattle

We’ve noticed that many people are considering moving to Seattle, as it has become one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. There are several factors that contribute to the attractiveness of this Washington state city. In this section, we will provide some essential information that could help you decide if relocating to Seattle is the right choice for you.

First, Seattle boasts a booming job market, particularly in the technology sector. The city is home to numerous startups and tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, offering promising job opportunities for those in the field. According to Forbes, Seattle is the top city in America for technology jobs.

However, it’s crucial to consider the cost of living in the Emerald City. The average house value in Seattle is currently $783,969, with a predicted 8.7% rise over the next year. The median home price is slightly lower at $673,874, but it’s still a considerable investment for those looking to buy a house in the area, as mentioned in this relocation guide.

Seattle’s weather is an essential factor to consider. The city is known for its cold, damp conditions, especially during the winter months. If you are not fond of chilly, dark weather, Seattle might not be the ideal destination for you. You can find more information about the living conditions in Seattle here.

Another aspect to consider is the steadily growing population. Seattle has seen a significant increase in its population over the past two decades, currently sitting at over 730,000 residents, as stated in a SmartAsset article. This may lead to increased competition for housing and other resources, as well as potentially impacting your daily commute.

Finally, if you enjoy outdoor activities, Seattle offers a range of options for you. The city boasts a fairly extensive network of trails and bike lanes, including the 20-mile long Burke-Gilman path that spans between Lake Washington and Puget Sound. This Nationwide Auto Transportation article offers more insight into the recreational opportunities in Seattle.

In summary, there are several factors to consider when deciding if moving to Seattle is the right decision for you. We hope the information provided here helps in your decision-making process.

Culture, Art and Activities

Art, Music and Festivals

In Seattle, we pride ourselves on our rich and diverse culture, expressed through a variety of art, music, and festivals. Our city is home to numerous art galleries, museums, and public art installations that contribute to a vibrant and creative atmosphere. The Office of Arts & Culture works tirelessly to promote the appreciation of arts and culture throughout the community.

As music enthusiasts, we cherish Seattle’s rich history of famous local musicians like Kurt Cobain and Nirvana who shaped the iconic grunge scene during the late 1980s. Our city has become a hub for emerging talent and music festivals, drawing thousands of fans to embrace the eclectic sounds and performances.

Outdoor Activities

We are fortunate to have a close network of parks, forests, and waterways in Seattle, which allow for various outdoor activities that cater to diverse interests and skill levels. Our nickname, “Emerald City”, highlights our year-round greenery, thanks to the evergreen forests encircling the city.

For those who enjoy hiking, there are numerous trails that showcase the breathtaking landscapes in and around Seattle. Kayakers and paddleboard enthusiasts can take advantage of Lake Washington and Puget Sound, while our extensive network of bike lanes and the Burke-Gilman Trail provide an enjoyable experience for cyclists. Sailing enthusiasts can also find plenty of opportunities to set sail and explore the waters.

Overall, the culture, art, and activities available in Seattle create a vibrant and dynamic environment for residents and visitors alike. It’s no wonder people are drawn to the unique experiences that our city has to offer.

Cost of Living


In Seattle, the cost of housing is significantly higher than the national average. The overall cost of living is 50% higher, with housing prices being 111% higher than the national average ¹. The median home price is nearing $1 million, which can be quite daunting for newcomers ².

When it comes to renting, apartments in Seattle average around $2,800 ³. However, it is important to note that while Seattle might be expensive, it is still not as costly as San Francisco .

General Expenses

Apart from housing, the general expenses in Seattle are also higher compared to the national average. According to Payscale, the cost of living in Seattle is 49% higher, with some examples of everyday expenses being an energy bill averaging at $206.39, a loaf of bread costing $4.22, and a doctor’s visit at around $137.50 .

Despite the higher cost of living, it’s worth mentioning that the average income of Seattle residents is around $75,000, which helps offset these expenses .

Job Market

When considering a move to Seattle, it’s essential to evaluate the job market. We can confidently say that the city offers a variety of career opportunities, especially within the tech industry. Seattle’s thriving technology sector features well-established global companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, creating an abundance of employment options.

In addition to the big tech giants, Seattle houses numerous startups and small businesses in sectors ranging from sales and marketing to research and development. The city’s business ecosystem is diverse, providing job seekers with a range of options to suit their skills and career aspirations. Moreover, the city is known for its highly skilled workforce, which contributes to its robust job market.

The availability of jobs across various industries, along with the region’s economic growth, make Seattle an attractive destination for professionals seeking new opportunities. However, it’s essential to note that competition can be tough, especially within the tech sector, where high demand for talent has pushed up salary expectations.

Finally, while we can’t predict the future, the current job market indicates that moving to Seattle for employment prospects remains a good idea for those in search of diverse career opportunities within a thriving, innovative environment.

Tech Scene

Seattle is a thriving hub for technology enthusiasts, with many well-known and emerging tech companies choosing to call the Emerald City home. As one of the fastest-growing tech cities in the United States, it boasts a lively tech scene that offers numerous opportunities to those considering a move to Seattle.

Major Tech Companies

Some of the world’s most renowned tech giants have established their headquarters or main offices in Seattle. Among these companies are Amazon and Microsoft, which have long-standing roots in the city, contributing significantly to its tech-driven growth on both a local and national scale. Other major names such as Google and Facebook have also expanded their operations in Seattle, providing a wide range of career opportunities for those skilled in the tech industry.

Besides offering an array of job prospects, these prominent tech companies have also fostered a supportive community for tech workers, making Seattle a desirable destination for professionals in the field.


Seattle is not only home to large tech corporations but is also a flourishing hotbed for innovative startups and small tech companies. The city’s startup scene continues to grow, with numerous new businesses forming each year, covering diverse sectors such as software development, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and more.

The presence of major tech companies and startups in Seattle has led to a vibrant ecosystem that enables entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts to collaborate, network, and bring their ideas to life. For those looking to join a fast-paced, innovative environment within the tech industry, setting their sights on Seattle is a compelling choice.

Public Transportation

Light Rail and Buses

We understand that public transportation is an important factor in deciding whether moving to a city is a good idea. In Seattle, the LINK light rail and buses serve as the primary modes of public transportation. The light rail connects various neighborhoods, downtown Seattle, and even the airport, making it convenient for both daily commutes and occasional trips. Buses in Seattle cover a wider area, filling in gaps where the light rail does not reach, thus providing reasonably comprehensive coverage throughout the city.

Seattle’s public transportation system is continuously expanding, with plans to extend the light rail and improve bus services. This means that living and working in Seattle without a car is feasible, albeit it may require some planning and reliance on these services.

Cycling and Walking

Seattle is known for being a city with numerous outdoor recreational opportunities, and this extends to its provisions for cycling and walking. The city boasts an extensive network of bike lanes, some of which are protected, making it safer for cyclists to commute and navigate the city. In addition, dedicated bike shares and rental services are available, promoting the use of bicycles as a viable alternative to cars.

Seattle’s walkability is also an attractive feature; many neighborhoods feature pedestrian-oriented designs. Some popular areas, such as downtown and Capitol Hill, offer high walkability scores, making it easy to access amenities without the need for a car. This combination of public transportation, cycling, and walking options provides a diverse range of commute choices for people considering moving to Seattle.

Weather and Climate

We can all agree that the weather and climate are crucial factors when considering a move to a new city. Seattle is often known for its rainy weather, but there is much more to it than just precipitation.

In general, Seattle’s climate is characterized by mild winters and temperate summers. Winters are relatively cool and wet, while summers tend to be warm and dry with low humidity. The presence of water from the nearby Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean contribute to the city’s reputation for dampness, but it might not be as bad as you think.

Rain is a significant part of Seattle’s weather pattern, but the city receives less annual precipitation than some might expect. It is not uncommon to experience drizzle or light showers throughout the year, especially during the winter months. However, heavy rain is less frequent, and climate change could potentially increase the need for umbrellas.

Summers in Seattle are quite pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to mid-70s (Fahrenheit) and relatively low humidity. This comfortable weather often makes outdoor activities enjoyable during these months, and it can be a nice respite from the grey skies of winter.

Speaking of winter, temperatures in Seattle are usually mild, with average lows in the upper 30s to low 40s (Fahrenheit). Snowfall is not a frequent occurrence, so residents can generally expect moderately cool and wet conditions during this season.

Overall, Seattle’s weather and climate may seem on the damper side, but the mild temperatures and pleasant summers can make it an appealing choice for those who prefer a more moderate climate.


Capitol Hill and Ballard

When considering a move to Seattle, it’s important to explore the city’s different neighborhoods to find the one that fits your lifestyle and preferences. Two of the most popular neighborhoods in Seattle are Capitol Hill and Ballard.

Capitol Hill is known for its diverse community and vibrant nightlife. It’s a great area for those who enjoy a variety of cultural experiences and a bustling social scene. The neighborhood boasts unique shops, bars, and a wide variety of restaurants. Additionally, Capitol Hill is home to many beautiful parks, making it an ideal location for nature enthusiasts.

Ballard, on the other hand, is a more family-oriented neighborhood with a strong Scandinavian influence. The area offers a more relaxed atmosphere, plenty of small businesses, shops, galleries, and an up and coming food scene. Ballard is an ideal choice for those who are looking for a neighborhood with a strong sense of community and a more laid-back lifestyle.

Other Noteworthy Neighborhoods

While Capitol Hill and Ballard are often top choices for newcomers to Seattle, there are several other neighborhoods worth considering. For those who value a suburban feel and proximity to outdoor activities, neighborhoods like Green Lake, Wallingford, and Phinney Ridge may be more suitable. These areas offer a combination of residential and commercial spaces, providing residents with a comfortable mix of city life and nature access.

For families seeking a neighborhood with good schools, safe communities, and easy access to amenities, West Seattle, Magnolia, and Queen Anne are worth considering. These areas offer a range of housing options, from charming, older homes to contemporary, multi-family residential buildings.

Lastly, for those who enjoy living in the heart of the city with close proximity to the bustling downtown core, neighborhoods like Belltown, South Lake Union, and Pioneer Square are prime locations.

In conclusion, Seattle offers a diverse array of neighborhoods to fit a wide variety of lifestyles. Take the time to explore the different areas and find the perfect fit for you and your family.


Parks and Trails

In Seattle, we are fortunate to have access to numerous parks and trails, offering a variety of recreational opportunities. The Emerald City is surrounded by evergreen forests, which contribute to its natural appeal. Hiking enthusiasts will appreciate the fact that there are countless trails in the area, ranging from leisurely strolls to challenging treks up mountains.

City parks such as Discovery Park and Green Lake Park offer expansive green spaces, perfect for picnics, sports, or simply unwinding in nature. A little further from the city, the Pacific Northwest is famous for its vast network of trails, which can be found in both the Cascades and Olympic Mountains. These trails encompass varying difficulty levels, ensuring outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels can find their ideal adventure.

Lakes, Mountains and Forests

One of the many reasons people consider moving to Seattle is its stunning natural surroundings. Nestled between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, the city offers stunning views of both the water and surrounding mountain ranges. The majestic Mount Rainier can be seen from numerous vantage points across the city, serving as a constant reminder of the region’s awe-inspiring beauty.

The Pacific Northwest is known for its diverse landscape, which includes everything from dense forests to snow-capped mountains. The nearby Cascades offer a plethora of hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking opportunities, making the region a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. In addition, the countless lakes, rivers, and coastal areas provide ample options for water-based activities such as kayaking, boating, and fishing.

Throughout the area, we have access to many natural gems that create a unique and unparalleled living experience in Seattle.

Economic Aspects

Income and Sales Tax

In Seattle, we enjoy some financial advantages when it comes to taxation. For instance, Washington State does not levy an income tax, which means our wages are not subject to it. This can be an enticing aspect when considering a move to Seattle.

However, it is important to be aware that Seattle has a relatively high sales tax. Both the state and local sales tax rates are combined, resulting in a total sales tax rate of around 10.25%, which is among the highest in the United States. This can affect your overall cost of living and budgeting, so it is essential to keep this in mind.

Population and Economy

Seattle’s population has been growing rapidly in recent years, attracting a diverse and skilled workforce that contributes to the city’s thriving economy. Major industries in the area include technology, healthcare, and aerospace, with prominent companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing having a significant presence in the region.

The job market in Seattle is competitive, but it generally offers higher wages compared to other parts of the United States. In fact, Seattle workers make 32% more on average than their counterparts in other regions. This might be one of the reasons you are considering a move to Seattle.

However, it is essential to note that the cost of living in Seattle is relatively high. Although it is not as expensive as San Francisco, it is not exactly low either. The rapid population growth has led to an increase in living costs, which might be something to consider before making the decision to move here.

Overall, the economic aspects of moving to Seattle present both opportunities and challenges. While the lack of income tax and high wages are attractive points, the high sales tax and living costs must be considered to make an informed decision.

Trade-offs of Living in Seattle

Traffic and Crime Rate

While living in Seattle, we must consider its traffic and crime rate. Being a busy city with a high population density, Seattle sees its fair share of traffic congestion. This can be a significant inconvenience for those who commute daily, as it might lead to longer travel times and frustration.

Another aspect to consider is the city’s crime rate. Although not extraordinarily high, Seattle’s crime rate is above the national average and varies depending on the neighborhood. It’s important for us to be aware of our surroundings and potential risks when living in this vibrant urban hub.


Homelessness is an ongoing issue in Seattle. With a large homeless population, it’s not uncommon to see people living on the streets or in makeshift encampments. The city has been working to address this issue by investing in resources and services for the homeless community, but it remains a complex and persistent problem that is present in many areas of the city.

As residents of Seattle, we should be prepared to encounter homelessness in our day-to-day lives and understand its impact on the overall living experience in the city. This may affect our perception of Seattle’s safety and quality of life, but it also presents an opportunity for us to engage with the issue and contribute to solutions in our community.