If you are thinking about relocating to Washington’s Emerald City, then you need to have a list of things you should know before moving to Seattle. The place will surely seduce you with its creativity, natural beauty, excellent food, and entertainment possibilities.
Before you make any final decisions about relocating to this place, take a closer look at its cost of living and determine whether you can actually afford to live here. Of course, you need to have an insight into the Emerald City’s job opportunities, weather, politics and all the other things that matter to you before you start searching for Seattle movers with long-distance moving services.
Important Things You Should Know Before Moving to Seattle, Washington
Situated in the Evergreen State (a nickname for the State of Washington), it is rightfully called the Emerald City for the abundance of green areas in and around it. Before settling in, it is advisable to explore its neighborhoods. They are small universes of their own, with their cultural perks and specific living conditions and last but not least – appropriate coffee shops.
The local population is inclined to protecting the environment to the point that you will not only be scorned by the community if you do not recycle but also fined by the competent authorities.
The Seattle Freeze
Do not be discouraged by the first, rather “icy” attitude from the locals when you arrive, because this “Scandinavian” aloofness will melt as you blend in. They are friendly and communicative, they just need some time to get to know you.
A State with No Income Tax
It is true the Washington State does not impose income taxes, but there are local taxes to pay, and Seattle sales taxes are not low.
Cost of Living
The cost of living here is not low – it is higher than the national average, but it is still lower than any other major West Coast place. The living expenses are rising with the recently growing population because higher demand boosts the real-estate prices.
General Things to Know About Moving to a Big Town
If you are not certain how moving to a big town will affect your finances, you can hire a financial advisor or do thorough research of all potential expenses, from rent to living costs, and compare them with your income. Bear in mind that big cities are rather expensive places to raise a family, so make sure you find a suitable job first. It will take time to adjust to a new town.
Local Job Opportunities
If you’re moving for a job, then you have nothing to worry about when it comes to this issue. But if you’re not, you can still find you a job in a new town. Tech jobs are very popular and available here since Amazon and Microsoft are based there. There is a variety of career opportunities in data analysis, cybersecurity, cloud computing, etc. Starbucks and Costco are also big companies that have chosen this town as their headquarters.
Not an easy job, but there are some unwritten rules. For example, the east-west direction is displayed by putting the direction first and the street name second and the opposite means it is a north-south direction.
With the traffic getting more jammed every day, the locals tend to use public transportation more often. You can get around the town and to the airport and back by monorail or busses with the use of a monthly pass. Or you can ride bikes or use ridesharing services. Busses are less regular at night, though, and they mostly operate along the main streets. Light rail and streetcars are improving the service by expanding their networks. Metro has a spread network that will get you anywhere you need. It is also a pedestrian-friendly city if you are a fan of healthy living.
Connections to Other Cities in Washington
The town is connected to all other cities in Washington, the United States, and even the world by air, as the largest international airport in the state, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, is located only 20 minutes away. It will take you about four hours to get to Los Angeles, five and a half hours to get to Miami, four hours to Chicago, five hours to New York and slightly over 2 hours to get to Las Vegas.
The combined ports of the Northwest Seaport Alliance enable huge commercial exchange via waterways as they are interconnected by railroads as well, especially with Alaska. The ferry system is very active, too.
If you are a fan of driving and intend to ship your car here, it will take you about three and a half hours to get to Portland, slightly over four hours to Spokane and three hours to Vancouver.
Even though its hilly land configuration does not make it easy, biking is very popular here. The network of bike lanes is very good, particularly the 20-miles long lane, which connects the north of Lake Washington with Puget Sound.
Finding a Home to Buy or Rent
The median sale price of houses here is rising considerably, and condos are a less expensive option. Being close to the water, it also has houseboats but they are rare, which makes them more expensive in comparison to other parts of the town. The best option might be renting, which also relieves you from high maintenance costs. However, renting a house is harder than finding an apartment to rent.
The town is more expensive than its neighbor Portland, but compared to San Francisco, its rents are very reasonable. However, protect yourself with proper lease agreement as there is no rent control, and the landlords can increase the rent as they see fit. And get proper renters insurance.
Things to Know About the Weather
The rainy season is long, but there is no heavy rain, it is more of a mist that does not even require an umbrella. Snow is also not heavy, but the problem is it is wet and turning into ice, which makes it difficult to drive and walk. Evenings are always chilly, even in summer, so if you are staying out late, make sure to have something appropriate to wear.
Be Ready for Rain
Rain is something of a landmark of Seattle, as the wet season lasts from October through May. It is not really heavy rain, but rather an annoying foggy drizzle. It even got the nickname Rain City for its famous rainy weather. As regarding the rainfall per year, it is less than in New York, for example. So the bigger problem is the gloom coming from clouds pressing down on the town 220 days per year on average.
There are Sunny Days
You can expect sunny days from July to August or sometimes until September. That is the outdoor time for citizens as they have to make the most of it. The short summers are warm and dry and most importantly – with low humidity.
According to statistics, it is the fourth safest place in the United States, so even the pettiest of crimes such as jaywalking are fined regularly.
Sustainable living is becoming a must everywhere, and Seattle is no different. The South Lake Union neighborhood is fast becoming a high-tech and biotech hub. It attracts organizations dealing with global health by allowing them to build taller buildings and place the needed laboratory equipment on rooftops.
The idea of the city management is to participate or even lead in finding solutions to some of the biggest problems of the community, as well as to apply the biotech achievements to make the place a sustainable community.
Apart from the usual tourist sites, people enjoy watching killer whales being trained. For people who prefer technology over nature, there are tours of the Boeing production facility, the Seattle Center featuring the Space Needle and other facilities.
The downtown area is packed with theaters, shops, and restaurants, out of which we can mention the Westlake Center and 5th Avenue Theatre, one of the landmarks.
The Seattle Art Museum offers art lovers numerous art pieces, both ancient and contemporary, with all-year-round exhibitions.
The waterfront area is known for various sites, such as the Pike Place Market, the Olympic Sculpture Park, etc.
This observation tower is considered a landmark and even an icon. It was built for the 1962 World Fair and is 605 feet tall. It features a 360-degree view of the town. It was the tallest building in the city at the time of its construction, but it has since been surpassed by others, including the Columbia Center, which is over 900 feet tall.
Pike Place Market
Situated in the waterfront area of the town, overlooking the bay, Pike Place Market is a very popular public market and one of the oldest farmer’s markets in the United States. It doesn’t only offers fresh produce, but it also has some entertainment spots. Among those spots are the Gum Wall – where you can leave your gum mark and Rachel the Pig – a sculpture you can actually feed with money which is collected to fund the Market’s social services. If you visit the Giant Shoes Museum, you will see the largest collection of giant shoes in the world.
Politics and News
The town is politically inclined to the left option, or to be more precise to progressive leftism, but it is above all a tolerant community allowing other opinions. The local population is politically active and does not restrain from protesting for their rights, as they did during the 1999 World Trade Organization protests.
Prepare for Earthquakes
There is a latent danger from the surrounding volcanoes, which are known to activate every 500 years, but there is also an imminent earthquake danger. The experts say it is not a matter of if but when and strongly suggest earthquake insurance which will cost you some hundred dollars on top of your homeowner’s insurance policy but will help you recover if you suffer any material damage.
The town has six professional teams in the major leagues: Seahawks in football, Mariners in baseball, Sounders in soccer, Storm in women’s basketball, Reign in women’s soccer and NHL in hockey. The place may not be very successful in sports, but they are still enthusiastic about it. When there is a game, you better find alternative routes home or stay in.
Popular Festivals and Events
The town cherishes its enthusiasts in any field and features festivals such as Norwescon for sci-fi fans, PAX Prime for gamers, Emerald City Comicon for comic book fans, but also Seafairs, Beer fests, LGBT prides and many more.
Nature and Outdoor Activities
The advantage of this town is that you have outdoor opportunities within the city limits and close to it, such as in the Discovery Park along the shores of Puget Sound, where you can enjoy hiking, biking or having picnics or just relaxing at the beach.
Other Places in the State to Enjoy
The tallest mountain in the region is Mount Rainier, rising 14,417 feet above sea level with its snow-covered peak. It is an active volcano with magnificent beauty, offering an array of winter sports opportunities.
If you enjoy the nightlife, Belltown is your place. It is a trendy district packed with excellent rooftop restaurants and bars, nightclubs, microbreweries, and wine bars. It may not be as vibrant as New York, but it definitely has some quality nightlife to offer.
Home to the Grunge Music Scene
Hometown of Jimi Hendrix and Quincy Jones, the town has not settled for those celebrities but moved on to create a totally new and authentic sound called the grunge music, the representatives of which are famous bands Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains.
Welcome to Seattle
Seattle has made the welcoming official – the town issued a resolution by which all immigrants and refugees are welcome because of the impact they can have on the economic growth of the place and cultural enrichment. Gender and sex equality are cherished. Furthermore, 129 languages are spoken in public schools, and according to some research, almost every sixth citizen is a newcomer.