Thinking about living in Seattle? Emerald City is one of the best places to live on the West Coast thanks to its eco-friendly culture, outdoor recreation, and strong job market. With all this and more to offer, it’s no wonder Washington’s largest city is popular among everyone, from singles and young professionals to families and retired military. Here are 15 things to know about living in Seattle!
Live & Work in Seattle
Emerald City’s diverse employment opportunities are a major draw for many people moving to Seattle. This West Coast city is one of the best in the nation for jobs and is home to several Fortune 500 company headquarters—like Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Alaska Air Group, and Weyerhaeuser. Meanwhile, Providence, Access to Advanced Health Institute (AAHI), and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center employ thousands of local healthcare workers. Seattle also has the fastest-growing tech industry in the country, so job-seekers in this field will have a wealth of options. As remote work opportunities in Seattle’s expanding job market continue to grow, Jet City becomes a more popular city for telecommuters. Access to big-city opportunities often comes with a price, so though Seattle has a high cost of living, the median household income is 35% higher than the U.S. average. There is also no state income tax in Washington, which further establishes Seattle as a good place to live and work.
Seek Higher Education at Seattle Colleges
Many of Washington state’s best colleges are located in the Seattle metro area, so Emerald City is a great place to live for students. Pursue a degree in Business Economics, Nursing, or any of the other 63 undergraduate programs available at Seattle University. Learn about green technology, medical innovations, and other ways to shape the future at the University of Washington. Prepare yourself for a career in the arts, whether in dance, design, or film, at Cornish College of the Arts. Enroll in a two-year program for affordable, hands-on education at Seattle Central College. Get your graduate or undergraduate degree at one of America’s top research universities, Washington State University, which has esteemed programs in everything from Veterinary Medicine to Biotechnology. Or pursue one of the 72 available undergraduate degrees and dozens of graduate programs available at the faith-centered Seattle Pacific University, which has ranked as one of the nation’s top institutions for several years in a row.
It Rains, But it Doesn’t Pour
Though Seattle has a reputation for rainy weather, the reality is that Emerald City only receives an average of 39 inches of rain per year, mostly from October to March. This is barely above the national average and is significantly less than many other major U.S. cities like Miami, New York, and Houston. Instead of heavy downpours, Seattle usually sees a light drizzle or mist. Then, during the summer months, this West Coast city remains mostly warm and dry, with an average daily temperature of 72 degrees. So if you prefer living somewhere with mild summers and winters, the Seattle climate may be perfect for you!
Enjoy Emerald City’s Green Space
Living in Seattle means having easy access to all of its natural amenities and outdoor recreation. There are over 489 public parks in Emerald City, where Seattleites can ride their bikes, enjoy a picnic, or take in Pacific Northwest views. Go kite-flying on the hill, jog along the Burke-Gilman trail, or let your kids explore the play barn at Gas Works Park, one of the filming locations for 10 Things I Hate About You. Spend a day walking the sea cliffs, kayaking, or lounging on the beach at the 534-acre Discovery Park. Roast s’mores over a beach bonfire, go fishing off the pier, or boat along the coastline at Golden Gardens. And don’t forget to visit Mount Rainier National Park, a major Seattle attraction, for breathtaking views and amazing hiking opportunities.
Live in a Big Eco-Friendly City
Sustainability is woven into Seattle culture. Seattle City Light, a major local energy provider, receives 86% of its power from hydroelectric energy. Another way Seattle promotes green living is by mandating homes within city limits recycle and compost. The state of Washington has also banned single-use plastic bags to encourage retailers and shoppers to adopt more sustainable practices. In 2018, Emerald City became the first in the nation to ban plastic utensils and straws in an effort to protect marine wildlife. In addition to these measures, eco-conscious Seattleites can join local groups like Sustainable Seattle or Got Green to help save the planet.
A Great Place for Cyclists & Pedestrians
Like most large metros, Seattle traffic is denser than what you’d experience in a smaller city. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean getting around Emerald City is difficult—Seattle is highly walkable, and with so many bike paths throughout the city, Seattle’s bike culture continues to thrive. For longer commutes in the Seattle metro, public transportation is also available! The Sound Transit Link Light Rail or the Seattle Center Monorail can get you around Seattle and beyond, as can the city’s bus system. Or for a more sustainable public transportation option, try the Water Taxi, a unique twist to your typical commute.
Shop at Local Boutiques
Seattle is full of unique retailers and boutiques for clothes, home goods, beauty products, and more. Grab your reusable shopping bags and browse sustainable clothing, featuring comfortable, eco-friendly basics and trendy accessories from Pipe and Row. Get into the Mod aesthetic and find everything from outerwear to kitchen utensils at Prism. Shop fun and fresh Emerald City styles, including whimsical jewelry pieces and bold house-label clothing, at Sway and Cake. Find the perfect gift, locally-made art, or artisanal home goods at The Handmade Showroom. Or invest in one-of-a-kind furniture pieces from the curated, vintage collection at Space Oddity Vintage Furniture.
Find Music Anytime in Seattle
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 Showbox, Triple Door, or Neumos to see artists and bands of every genre.
Marvel at Seattle’s Amazing Art Scene
Seattle has a ton of things to do for art lovers. Attend the Seattle International Film Festival for genres ranging from horror and Western to animation and buddy films. See blooming flower displays and colorful blown glass sculptures at Chihuly Garden and Glass. Explore traveling exhibits like “Our Blue Planet” or browse permanent collections of international art at the Seattle Art Museum. Check out exhibits featuring movie props, costumes, and other pieces of pop culture history at the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP). Experience classical music and moving theatrical scores from the incredible Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall. Or watch the Pacific Northwest Ballet company perform at McCaw Hall.
Get Tickets to Emerald City Comic-Con
Celebrate your favorite franchises, meet up with fellow fans, cosplay, attend panels or events, and so much more at Emerald City Comic-Con. Inspired by the original San Diego Comic-Con, this annual Seattle event brings all the same fun to the heart of Emerald City. Pop culture lovers flock to this event each summer dressed as superheroes, video game or anime characters, and stars of all fandoms. Join in on tabletop gaming tournaments or buy original fanart from a vendor in the Artist Alley. Whether you’re a regular convention-goer or a first-time attendee, this all-ages event is a must-do while living in Seattle!
Cheer on Seattle Sports Teams
Love sports? Emerald City has multiple professional sports teams! Cheer on the Sounders FC (MLS) and OL Reign FC (NWSL) as they score goals at Lumen Field. Or attend a Seattle Seahawks (NFL) game instead and see where fans once set a Guinness World Record for the loudest crowd at a sporting event! Fill up on ballpark franks and ice-cold beer while watching the Seattle Mariners (MLB) hit home runs at T-Mobile Park. Watch the Seattle Storm (WNBA) dribble their way to victory at the sustainable Climate Pledge Arena. Wear your proudest white-and-blue fan merch and head to Kraken Community Ice Plex to see one of Seattle’s newest sports teams, the Seattle Kraken (NHL). To further boost Seattle’s sports scene, Mayor Harrell has shown interest in continuing the city’s years-long efforts to bring the Sonics back home.
An Epicenter for All Things Coffee
The Coffee Capital of the World is the home base for major companies like Starbucks, Seattle’s Best Coffee, and Tully’s, so it’s safe to say coffee culture is a big deal in Seattle. Along with nationwide companies, Seattle also has countless small and independently-owned coffee houses where you can get your caffeine fix. Wake up with a drink from Fulcrum Coffee Roasters at Preserve and Gather. Try the Deconstructed Espresso and Milk, served in three flight glasses, or warm up with a flavorful cup of house-roasted coffee from Slate Coffee. Cozy up next to the fireplace on a rainy day with a hot Mocha in hand at Storyville Coffee. Go to Pioneer Square for unique roasts, private cupping taste tests, or brewing classes from Elm Coffee Roasters. Or sip house blends like the Streamline Espresso Blend or Empire Blend from Victrola Coffee Roasters, one of the best coffee shops in Seattle.
Explore Pike Place Market
Considered the heart and soul of the city, Pike Place Market is one of the top things to do in Seattle. As Seattle’s original farmers market and the oldest operating public market in the country, Pike Place brings in millions of people every year. There are more than 450 shops, produce stands, restaurants, bars, and pop-up vendors for visitors to stop at and peruse 363 days a year. Though the market’s main hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, some places are open past midnight. Visit the famous Pike Place Fish Market and try to “catch” fresh fish that vendors toss to you. Pick up the latest edition of your favorite comic book or buy a figurine from Golden Age Collectibles. Purchase a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers from Pike Place Flowers. Peer into the Giant Shoe Museum, a literal hole-in-the-wall display featuring a whimsical collection of oversized shoes. Or take a photo in front of the famous Seattle Gum Wall.
Experience Unique Seattle Restaurants
Seattle is full of great places to eat, including beautiful waterfront restaurants, intimate cafes, and hidden dives. Enjoy dinner and a show at The Pink Door, a Pike Place Market restaurant known for burlesque performances and Italian-American dishes like Linguine Alle Vongole and Penne al Fumo. Fill up on fresh Salmon Roe, Yellowtail Sashimi, or a Rainbow Roll from Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant. Visit one of the best places to eat in Seattle for Mediterranean food and order Haloumi Cheese-Fig Kebabs, Anderson Valley Lamb Burger, or Greek Spaghetti at Lola. Indulge in delicious Caribbean plates like a Palomilla Steak sandwich, Sauteed Prawns, Seared Scallops, or Smokin’ Thighs at Un Bien. Or get authentic Seattle seafood like the Crabhouse Sampler and drink a Blood, Sweat & Tears cocktail while enjoying waterfront views of Elliot Bay at Cutters Crabhouse.
Socialize in a Thriving Bar Scene
Day or night, the bars in Seattle are diverse, vibrant, and offer plenty of things to do for any mood. Have cocktails like Absinthe Fairy or Big Richard Energy during a brunch cabaret show at Can Can. Enjoy a beer, wine, or cider on the patio with your pup at Dogwood Play Park. Sample a variety of rotating whiskeys on tap or signature cocktails like the Market Mule and Diablo’s Flamenco at Radiator Whiskey. Head to Optimism Brewing to try a Daredevil pint or Raspberry Solarpunk sampler, then head out to the beer garden for a snack from a visiting food truck. Or play pinball, snatch a prize from the claw machine, attend events like Gayme Night, and enjoy whimsical cocktails like The Mystical Mermaid or Sassy Belladonna at carnival-themed, LGBTQ-friendly Unicorn & Narwhal.
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