Seattle is an amazing city. It is perfect for food and coffee lovers, bookworms, technology geeks and of course nature lovers. Known as America’s Queen City, Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of the USA and it is one of the busiest ports. Nowadays the city is known for its environmental friendly industry, its tolerance and liberal views. Seattle population has been rapidly growing in the past years. Keep reading and you will understand why.
Things to know before moving to Seattle:
It rains … most of the time, not all the time!
Yes. It rains. A lot. The city averages 37 inches of rain per year, which is not a high amount compared to other US cities, but in Seattle it tends to be a constant drizzle instead of heavy down pours. Yet, you won’t notice people using umbrellas. Weird right? Most people who have lived for a long time in Seattle say that they never use an umbrella unless it’s dumping rain or they have to walk a very long distance. So, if you are a newcomer in Seattle, you will definitely get noticed by others if using an umbrella. But don’t worry, after some time you will get used to rain too and it won’t be long before you reach for a hoodie instead of an umbrella.
Seattleites own a lot of shades
While I am pretty sure that you will get used to the rain, I am not quite sure you will get used to Seattleites’ overuse of shades. Despite the lack of sunshine, Seattleites are known for their need of collecting sunglasses. In fact, Seattle buys about 50 percent more sunglasses per capita than the national average according to this Seattle Times article.
Seattle’s summers are awesome!
It is true that it rains a lot during the year, but all those rainy months are totally worth it because they are followed by a lovely summer where the weather is perfect and days are long. Usually summer season starts the beginning of July and lasts until the end of August, but if you are lucky enough, it might continue to be sunny until the end of September.
Summer in Seattle!
The Seattle Freeze
Most people living in Seattle don’t realize it because they are used to it. For newcomers, however, the city offers an icy welcome that is believed to be caused by the Scandinavian factor. You see, a long time ago, Seattle was a Scandinavian town, and it was home to Swedish and Norwegian people.
Seattle is not made for snow
Ironically enough, the city is allergic to snow because snow in Seattle turns really quickly into ice, which then makes it very dangerous and almost impossible to drive. That’s why whenever it snows in Seattle, as a newcomer, you will notice that you might be the only one there walking down the street because everyone else has locked themselves up in their homes. You will get used to this too. In fact you will get so used to it, that you will look forward to snow because you can use it as a very good reason to stay home.
More on moving to Seattle
Seattle is the hometown of Jimi Hendrix and Quincy Jones
Locals are very proud of their city’s rich music history and if you too are a Hedrix fan, or just enjoy good music, Seattle is the place for you. The city is also the hometown of SubPop records and KEXP radio station which covers a wide variety of genres like hip-hop, indie, and reggae.
Seattle is a foodie’s dream come true
Seattle is well known for its best northwest restaurants like Lark, The Walrus and The Carpenter, Revel, Hitchcock, and Sitka & Spruce. Its cuisine is unique and delicious, and it showcases the best northwest’s seafood and award-winning wines. Moreover, if you are a coffee lover, you have one more reason to move there because Seattle is America’s Best Coffee City and home to the first original Starbucks and its corporate headquarters. Besides restaurants you will discover many small places hidden in the side streets, or showcased in the public market.
Take a look at what I am talking about.
And there is more of simply everything.
Be careful though. Being surrounded by delicious food everywhere you go might help you gain a few extra pounds without you even noticing it. But, even if you gain a little weight, do not worry too much. Seattlias are an athletic bunch and they like to keep healthy. Seattle’s great strategic location makes it an ideal city for outdoor activities and there are tons of activities you can explore that will help you shed those pounds.
Seattle is high on tech
If you are moving to Seattle to find a job in the tech industry, you in luck. In 2012 Forbes rated Seattle the best city in America for tech jobs. Seattle is home to major corporations like Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing. This means that the city is basically full of smart, nerdy young poeple. Actually, Seattle was ranked number 3 on top 10 nerd-cities in America.
Seattle is a very liberal and politically active city
Seattleites pride themselves about their tolerance, their legalized same-sex marriage and almost legalized marijuana. I say almost legalized because, even though Washington State voted to legalize marijuana, it is not officially legalized yet. Seattle is also known for its political rally and marijuana festival, Hempfest, which takes place every August.
Seattle is America’s #1 Most Literate City
Being a book lover, I would personally love to live in Seattle just because it is America’s number one most literate city. The Seattle Public Library system has the highest percentage of library card-holders per capita in the country. If you are a bookworm as well, being surrounded by other people who also read a lot would be like a dream come true for you, wouldn’t it?
There are many districts and neighborhoods in Seattle. Click this link and you can find the map of Seattle and a list of all its neighborhoods which are divided into 3 groups: good, average and below average neighborhoods. It is always safe to check the neighborhoods before you move. On the same site, when you scroll down you will find a table that can help you find homes for sale, apartments and roommates. This Seattle Neighborhoods Guide is also helpful. It can help you find a lot of information about neighborhoods history, a list of various attractions and in-depth information on housing and schools.
Cost of Living
Currently the cost of living in Seattle is 24% higher compared to the national average. If you are moving from a less pricy city be prepared to pay more for the same. But if you are moving from San Francisco or New York, Seattle would seem a bit cheaper.
Washington is one of the nine U.S. states that doesn’t have a state income tax. That is why the sales taxes are relatively higher compared to other states. Right now Washington sales tax is 9.6 %, but it might be slightly higher in some cities that add an additional city tax.
Seattle has an amazing public transport system. The city’s transportation system was once dominated by railways and streetcars. Nowadays you can find all kinds of transportation modes. The streetcar lines and light rail routes are being rebuilt and remodeled. Automobiles and buses are the most common way of transportation, but bicycles are also widely used. In fact, there are plenty of bicycle clubs and tours such as the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, Cascade Bicycle Club and Seattle Bicycle Club. Walking tours such as the Public Art Walking Tours, Seattle Underground Walking Tour, Seattle Walking Tours and Pike Place Market Tour are also popular. Seattle is pretty walkable, just like Boston.
Relocating to Seattle
If you think you have done most of your job by picking the right home and location, you are wrong. Your relocation has just started and you will have more to do. Of course it will be easier for you if you are moving to Seattle alone as you will not have a lot of things to relocate. But if you are married, have kids and you have almost an entire home to move, your case is a bit more complicated. But don’t stress out! You are about to move in one of the most beautiful and safest cities in the USA. Hire a professional moving company and you will have peace of mind. If you have a car you can contact us by phone or get a car shipping quote online on our website and we will help you ship your car to Seattle.
Some of the best things you don’t want to miss when you first arrive in Seattle are the Seattle Great Wheel, Original Starbucks, Bill Gates House, EMP Museum and of course, the Space Needle.
And one place you don’t want to miss is the Pike Place Public Marker. Let me show you why:
Find out more about the public market here. Besides visiting the best places in Seattle, you also want to enjoy some of its best views so make sure to include these ones on your list:
- The observation deck on the 73rd floor of Columbia Tower
- The Smith Tower Observation Deck
Now check out some more photos of Seattle to get an idea of where you will be moving to.
Finally, congratulation on your moving to Seattle. If you are moving to Seattle alone and don’t know anyone there, Couchsurfing.org and Meetup.com might help you meet new people. I hope you enjoyed this little guide, and please let us know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions. Thank you!