Skyline of Downtown Seattle at sunset

11 Things to Know About Living in Seattle

Thinking about packing up your bags and relocating to Seattle? The largest city in Washington State is one of the best places to live on the West Coast and offers great neighborhoods for families and young professionals, outdoor adventures, fantastic job opportunities, and an environmentally-friendly culture. If you’re ready to start embracing the Emerald City lifestyle, check out these 11 things to know about living in Seattle!

Employment Opportunities for Every Field

Tree house inside the Amazon Spheres. Photo by Instagram user @curiocityseattle
Photo via @curiocityseattle

One of the main reasons to move to Seattle is all of the employment opportunities in various industries. Fortune 500 companies like Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Alaska Air Group, and Weyerhaeuser are all headquartered here with Costco, Microsoft, and Nintendo of America located in nearby cities within the metro. If you’re interested in the medical field, Providence Health & Services, the Infectious Disease Research Institute, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research employ thousands of people. And while the cost of living in Seattle is 59% higher than the national average, residents can make up for the higher price tag with a 35% higher median household income, no state income tax, and a booming job market.

When It Rains, It Doesn’t Pour

Foggy mist in a forest in Seattle. Photo by Instagram user @anna_rachh_
Photo via @anna_rachh_

When people think of the Pacific Northwest—more specifically, Seattle—they usually imagine constant rain and dreary days. However, it’s nothing of the sort! The Seattle area actually gets an average of 37 inches of rain, mostly from October to March, which is less than other major cities like Miami, New York City, and Houston. When it does rain, the forecast is usually a light drizzle or mist throughout the day. But all those weeks with cloudy skies are easily forgotten during the months of June, July, and August when Seattle experiences plenty of sunshine and average temperatures of 68 degrees.

It’s Called Emerald City for a Reason

Tiger Mountain overlooking Seattle with Mount Rainier in the distance. Photo by Instagram user @vagabondfreelancer
Photo via @vagabondfreelancer

If it weren’t for all that rain, Seattle wouldn’t be surrounded by so much lush, beautiful green space! Rain or shine, people living in Seattle love getting outside to enjoy nature and all 485 parks that Emerald City has to offer. Ride your bike, have a picnic, or fly some kites off of the mound at Gas Works Park, the setting for the paintball scene in 10 Things I Hate About You. Spend a day at the 534-acre Discovery Park lying on the beach, kayaking, hiking the sea cliffs, or taking your furry friend on a walk through the forest trails. Make your way to Golden Gardens to roast s’mores at a beach bonfire, fish off the pier, or boat along the coastline. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or want to see breathtaking views of mountains, venturing to Mount Rainier to hike, camp, or snap a few pictures is an absolute must!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Recycling bins in the Seattle airport. Photo by Instagram user @suemartin50
Photo via @suemartin50

The trees aren’t the only reason the city is so green! Being environmentally sustainable is a huge part of the Seattle lifestyle for residents. About 90% of the city is powered by hydroelectric energy, and recycling and composting is mandatory within city limits. In 2012, Seattle banned plastic bags and began the requirement for retail stores to only sell paper bags for a minimum of five cents to encourage shoppers to start using reusable bags. The city has also recently become the first city to ban plastic utensils and straws to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean.

Groove to the Seattle Sound

Woman singing and playing a tambourine at Showbox in Seattle. Photo by Instagram user @dcongerphoto
Photo via @dcongerphoto

Whether you’re a toe-tapping jazz fan or a head-banging rocker, you’ll love the music scene in Seattle! This city is considered the home of grunge music—also known as Seattle sound—and produced artists like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam in the ’80s and ’90s. Not to mention, the famous “Baby Got Back” artist Sir-Mix-A-Lot helped paved the way for other Seattle hip-hop musicians like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. And while his music career didn’t begin here, Seattle is even the birthplace of famous guitarist Jimi Hendrix! Want check out some on-the-rise local acts in the Seattle area? Head to The ShowboxTriple Door, or Neumos to see artists and bands of every genre.

Let the Arts Scene Move You

Red and yellow glass flowers at the Chihuly Garden in Seattle. Photo by Instagram user @nastasiaspassport
Photo via @nastasiaspassport

While the city might boast a huge music scene, the arts scene is just as incredible, and exploring it is one of top things to do in Seattle! Attend the 25-day Seattle International Film Festival to see more than 400 films from 90 different countries with genres ranging from horror and western to animation and avant-garde. Roam between rows of colorful blown glass that’s been transformed into fantastical shapes and sculptures at the Chihuly Garden and Glass. Check out exhibits that show the inspiration behind the biggest blockbuster fantasy films, the history of the indie music genre, props from popular horror movies, and more at the Museum of Pop Culture (often called MoPop). Let the Seattle Symphony blow you away with their performances of Mozart and movie scores at Benaroya Hall. Or watch as professional dancers with the Pacific Northwest Ballet bound across the stage at McCaw Hall.

Sports Fans Raise the Roof

Seattle Seahawks football player running down the field. Photo by Instagram user @seahawks
Photo via @seahawks

If you’re looking for some real Seattle fun, catch a game for one of the city’s many professional sports teams! Twirl your scarves in the air as you cheer on the Sounders FC (MLS) and Reign FC (NWSL) at CenturyLink Field. Fill up on ballpark franks and ice cold beer while watching the Seattle Mariners (MLB) hit home runs at T-Mobile Park. Basketball buffs can find the Seattle Storm (WNBA) dunking on their opponents at the KeyArena. Or you can attend a Seattle Seahawks (NFL) football game at CenturyLink Field! Fun fact: In 2013, Seahawks fans set the Guinness World Record for loudest crowd at a sporting event, which even started a minor earthquake!

Epicenter for All Things Coffee

Latte with a heart on it sitting on a wood table. Photo by Instagram user @gloria_fitfatfun
Photo via @gloria_fitfatfun

When moving to Seattle, make sure you know your coffee order because the area is buzzing on this caffeinated drink! Emerald City is known for their coffee culture and consumption, especially with companies like Starbucks, Seattle’s Best Coffee, and Tully’s founded and based within the area. From independently-owned cafes to big-name establishments, Seattle has it all when it comes to coffee hot spots. Sip on a handcrafted latte or watch innovators come up with unique techniques for brewing at the Starbucks Reserve. Order Fresh Ricotta Toast with Sea Salt and Honey and a delicious Cortado from Preserve and Gather. Stop by La Marzocco Cafe and try a new coffee from a world-renowned roaster every month. Get a coffee tasting flight or the famous deconstructed espresso and milk from Slate Coffee. Or cozy up next to the fireplace on a rainy day with a hot Mocha in hand at Storyville Coffee Company.

Get Lost in Pike Place Market

Horse and carriage outside of Pike Place Market in Seattle. Photo by Instagram user @nastasiaspassport
Photo via @nastasiaspassport

Considered the heart and soul of the city, Pike Place Market is a staple of Seattle culture and the oldest operating farmers market in the country. Every year, Pike Place brings in millions of people from near and far, earning it a spot as one of the top things to do in Seattle. There are more than 500 shops, produce stands, restaurants, and bars for passerby to stop in and peruse the various meats and cheeses, fresh fish, handmade jewelry, warm pastries, and more! Grab some all-natural gelato from Bottega Italiana before picking out a new comic at Golden Age Collectibles or a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers from Pike Place Flowers—just be sure to keep your eyes open so you can dodge any flying fish!

Take Your Taste Buds on a Food Journey

Beef sandwich in front of a mural at Un Bien in Seattle. Photo by Instagram user @bacontreesburger
Photo via @bacontreesburger

With so many cool restaurants in Seattle, you’ll have a hard time settling the “Where should we eat?” debate with friends and family! Take in a dinner and a show at The Pink Door, where you can watch a burlesque performance and feast on Italian-American dishes like Linguine Alle Vongole. Fill up on some fresh Salmon Roe Nigiri, Yellowtail Sashimi, or a Rainbow Roll from sushi hot spot Shiro’s. Visit Lola—one of the best places to eat in Seattle for Mediterranean food—and order Haloumi Cheese, Slow Roast Anderson Leg of Lamb, or Grandma Dot’s Greek Spaghetti. Indulge in delicious Caribbean sandwiches and cuisine like Palomilla Steak, Sauteed Prawns, Caribbean Scallops, and Fire-Roasted Corn at Un Bien. Or enjoy date night at Cutters Crabhouse, where you can drink Market Space Martinis and share the Crabhouse Sampler!

Bar Hop Around the Seattle Area

A hand holding a glass of beer from Optimism brewing. Photo by Instagram user @optimismbrewing
Photo via @optimismbrewing

Whether you’re looking for things to do in Seattle at night or you’re having a “Sunday Funday” with a few friends, there’s always a new bar, club, or brewery to try! Grab your furry friend and head to Dogwood Play Park to enjoy a beer on the outdoor patio while your pup has some playtime. Sample a variety of rotating whiskeys on tap from the Big Barrel at Radiator Whiskey. Play a round of mini golf and sip on a locally-made ice cold beer or cider at Flatstick Pub. Have a few mimosas, a Market Mary, or a Sleeveless in Seattle cocktail during brunch while watching a cabaret show at Can Can. Head to Optimism Brewing to try an I DO Brute IPA or Swipe Right Saison and peruse the different food truck options. Or play pinball, try to snatch a prize from the claw machine, attend Gayme Night, and enjoy The Mystical Mermaid cocktail at the carnival-themed Unicorn + Narwhal.

***

Moving to Seattle? Extra Space Storage has easily accessible storage facilities throughout the Seattle-Tacoma metro. We’re a great option if you need to utilize temporary self storage while moving. Find a storage unit near you!

Things to Know About Living in Seattle, WA