Guide To Moving to Seattle


Dynamic, varied, and gorgeous, Seattle is fast becoming one of the most popular cities to move to. Whether you are a student looking for an exciting college experience, a family wanting great schools and activities, or an individual looking for adventure, Seattle has got it all.

Before packing up and settling down in one of the most highly-rated cities, there are a few things to know. To answer some of the questions you may have, such as the best areas to live in Seattle, the cost of living, things to do, and pros and cons, keep reading!


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The Best Places to Live in Seattle

The best place to live in Seattle depends on who you are. From students to seniors, every person has unique needs. Luckily, Seattle has many different neighborhoods and areas with a variety to offer different residents.


For students

Since Seattle is home to many highly respected and ranked universities and colleges, there are many students arriving and searching for the best place to live. Some of the most highly recommended areas for students include:

  • Ravenna
  • The U District
  • Capitol Hill
  • Green Lake
  • Wallingford
  • Fremont
  • Ballard

Seattle is great for students because it hosts many events in addition to having tons of study spots, such as cafes!


For Young Couples

Young professionals and couples will find numerous benefits living in Seattle. With a solid job market and good school systems, it is a great location to build a career as well as plan long-term for a family. Areas popular with younger couples are:

  • Ballard
  • Capitol Hill
  • Fremont
  • Lower Queen Anne
  • South Lake Union


For Families

Seattle is a wonderful city to raise a family in—there is something for every age group! The natural environment offers a plethora of activities for families. Camping, canoeing, and hiking are just a few of the options for outdoor fun. With no shortage of museums, events, and sports and arts clubs, there is no shortage of opportunities to spend family time together.

Additionally, Seattle has a great school system, providing a quality education from preschool through college.

A few of the areas popular with Seattle families are:

  • Wallingford
  • Laurelhurst
  • Ballard
  • Queen Anne and Lower Queen Anne
  • Greenwood
  • Sammamish

Sammamish is technically a suburb of Seattle, and it is not the only option for families wanting to live a bit further out. There are a number of suburbs that are safe and interesting, with plenty of room to grow.


For Retirees

Compared to many other cities, Seattle is fairly safe. The public transportation, the safety of the city and suburbs, and various community activities make it a fantastic place to retire. Mild weather, including the winter, means less to worry about and a comfortable home.

Recommended Seattle areas for retirees include:

  • Bellevue
  • Lynnwood
  • Normandy Park
  • Woodway
  • Belltown
  • Mercer Island


Things To Know About Living in Seattle

Before moving here, it is helpful to know some of the realities of living in Seattle. Every city is unique, and Seattle is no different. With each and every resident having a varied experience of the city, it truly is what you make of it. Keep these notes in mind when thinking about moving to Seattle as they are sure to impact your decision in a positive way!


The Weather Is Glorious

There are several misconceptions about Seattle, and the biggest one is that there is constant rain. The city actually sees less rainfall than other major cities, including Houston and Chicago. In fact, Seattle has very mild weather一especially in the winters! Good news for those who enjoy outdoor activities all year round.

Speaking of which, Seattle summers are not only gorgeous, but they are also longer than in most other places. Low humidity combines with warm days and cool nights to create the perfect opportunity for summer fun. Camping, hiking, swimming, golfing…anything you want to do, summer in Seattle is a great time for it.


Seattle Has Abundant Green Spaces

There are nearly 500 parks in Seattle. Discovery Park is the largest and has an iconic view of Puget Sound. With beautiful views of water and mountains, most parks in Seattle offer an oasis away from the city and a chance to connect with nature. It makes living in Seattle feel very balanced and refreshing.


One of The Nation’s Tech Capitals

Famously, Seattle is a hub for tech giants and start-ups alike. From Amazon to IMDb to Zillow, hundreds of companies are finding a home in this Pacific Northwest paradise. Having this fast-paced growing job market means your skills and experience are valued as they should be, and that there is always a new opportunity around the corner.

Additionally, start-ups have a higher chance of succeeding in a tech capital like Seattle compared to other places. Small businesses and start-ups form the bedrock of creative industries like tech, so a supportive city like Seattle is a great place to set up shop.


Getting Around Is Easy…If You Plan

There is no getting around it: Seattle has horrible traffic during rush hours. This is a reality most people living in bigger cities face, but luckily Seattleites have a solid public transportation system in place to lighten the load. Between the metro, light rail, and fun streetcars, you can maneuver your way around with no problems.

The best way to explore the outer edges of the city and its many parks would be by car. Having a car is extremely useful, despite the traffic. Be prepared to pay the parking fees, but try to avoid hotel parking一 it can get as expensive as $50 a night! Taxis are also available in the city if you need a quick ride.


A Creative and Diverse City

Seattle may be famous for its tech and business giants, like Amazon and Starbucks, but its arts and music scenes are flourishing too. Museums and galleries dot the city, and they always have new and interesting exhibits from different global cultures, local artists, and famous classics. Some outstanding favorites include the Frye Museum, the Pacific Science Center, and the Museum of Pop Culture.

Music is deeply entrenched in Seattle. As the home of Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, and other famous musicians, there is no shortage of theaters, clubs, and performances. Music festivals and local indie bands will keep music enthusiasts busy all year.


The Cost of Living in Seattle

Like many other big cities, Seattle is a bit expensive (the downside of having so many well-paying jobs!). General utilities usually cost Seattleites around $200 per month. Housing will likely be the highest expense. Rent varies greatly depending on what your individual needs are; a family of four or more will naturally incur a higher rent amount, living with friends will lower costs, etc.

A benefit of living in Seattle: there is no state or city tax on groceries! On average, groceries are estimated at $400 per month, but this obviously depends on your personal eating and shopping habits. Besides food, transportation is another regular monthly cost for residents. Thanks to the available public transportation, there are many options cheaper than a car and gas. If you plan to take public transportation often, a monthly pass costs $99. It sounds hefty, but since a one-way ticket is $275, it saves money in the long term.


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Seattle Moving Tips for New Residents

Moving to a new home is one of the biggest changes you can undergo. As such, it can be easy to forget some pretty obvious things一 like applying for a new driver’s license. To help you fill in the gaps, here are some tips to keep in mind as a new resident of the Emerald City:

  • Update your driver’s license. As mentioned, this is really important to do as soon as possible. Switching your license and plates over to Washington is an important step to getting settled. Plus, Seattle residents may receive discounts at certain places, including the Space Needle and the aquarium!
  • Obtain a pet license. Dogs and cats (and goats and pigs) are required by Seattle law to have a license. It would be prudent to check leasing laws simultaneously, as most parks do ask for pets to be leased.
  • Utilize the Newcomer’s Guide. The municipal government has compiled a guide for new residents to help them become acquainted with local requirements. It also has links to forms necessary to register licenses and other necessary paperwork.


Pros and Cons of Living in Seattle

Although Seattle comes close, nowhere is perfect. As with anywhere else, there are some downsides to living in the city. The downsides are definitely outnumbered by the benefits, but ultimately it depends on your personal preferences.

Some drawbacks of living in Seattle:

  • Expensive. As expected, the cost is often the number one complaint, especially for renting and buying houses.
  • Cloudy. While the clouds help keep the weather temperate throughout the year, some people prefer more sunshine.
  • Traffic. As mentioned before, the city sees some thick traffic, particularly during rush hours.

Some of the benefits of living in Seattle:

  • A flourishing job market. Thanks to the tech companies, space for small businesses, and creative spirit of Seattle, there is no shortage of solidly paying jobs around.
  • Close to nature. If you love the advantages offered by a city but don’t want to lose your proximity to nature, Seattle is a wonderful choice.
  • Safety. Seattle is safe for a city of comparable size.
  • Huge diversity of cuisine. Seattle is a place of much international exchange, including in its food scene.
  • A temperature climate. As you’re aware by now, the weather is mild year-round.
  • Reliable public transportation. Voted one of the best public transportation systems, Seattle’s got you covered from one end to the other.
  • …And much more!


Things To Do in Seattle

One of the major advantages of living in Seattle is the seemingly endless number of things to do. In addition to seeing the Puget Sound, taking pictures of Mount Rainier, and wandering the famous Pike Place Market, here are some fun suggestions that can be revisited over and over.

  • Visit the Space Needle. One of the most iconic aspects of the Seattle skyline, the Space Needle makes a great rainy afternoon activity, complete with magnificent views of the city and beyond.
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass. One of the more unique options, Chihuly is a showcase of a local glass artist, Dale Chihuly’s, work.
  • Have a cup of coffee (or two!). Seattle is known for Starbucks, but the zeal for indie, high-quality coffee is deeply entrenched in Seattleites’ daily routines.
  • Pioneer Square. A great place to learn Seattle’s history, this square has museums and local tours abound.
  • Check out the Museum of Flight. The Museum of Flight is an aviation museum, perfect for anyone interested in science.
  • Take a tour. Seattle has tons of tours, such as the harbor tour, underground history tour, and food tours.


Is Seattle A Good Place to Live?

The ever-growing population would indicate: yes! Seattle has proven to be a comfortable, fun, dynamic, healthy place for all sorts of folks to put down roots. From families with young children to students, to retirees, Seattle has something to offer everyone.

Ultimately, your priorities will determine if you take the leap and decide to move to the Emerald City. However, its advantages and what it can offer are undeniable.


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Ready to Move to Seattle?

There are enough things to think about when moving to a new place. Jordan River Moving and Storage aims to help alleviate some of those concerns. Check out our packing guide for some tips on how to pack most efficiently and safely. We offer everything from local to international moving services.

Our services are comprehensive, ensuring you get from your old home to your new one comfortably, safely, and in good time. Storage is also available, just in case your house schedules don’t quite overlap.

Jordan River Moving and Storage have a team of friendly professionals who know Seattle well. If you have any questions or would like a quote, contact us today!