Living In Seattle – A Great Experience So Far!

We’ve been living in Seattle for about 5 months now! To say we like it would be a bit of an understatement. LOVE IT would be more appropriate. Seattle combines the things we love about large and small cities into one great place to live.

Seattle is the 3rd city my husband and I have lived in together. Before this move we lived in Chicago for about a year and a half, and then New York for two years. Separately, we have lived all over the country and have tried to travel quite a bit. I would say we have a good idea of the type of place we like and living in Seattle suits us!

Nature

OMG. Trees, mountains, water…so much water. The parks in this city are really amazing…especially the ones on the water. I am not an outdoorsy person in the least but I LOVE a good view and a good walk through some trees. Who doesn’t? When you’re living in Seattle, in the summer you can hang at any of the multiple beaches within the city limits or head a bit further out if you want somewhere less crowded. In the winter there is great skiing an hour outside the city (traffic permitting) or you can always go to Canada for world class snow sports.

Food

The food here is awesome! I know New Yorkers will be amused at the idea that there are other places with a great culinary scene but Seattle definitely has a lot to offer beyond Starbucks. One of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had, ever, was from Paseo in Fremont Un Bien in Ballard (be sure to check them out if you ever visit). BEST burger, Uneeda Burger (another place to check out). The options here might not yet be as diverse as a place like New York, but I’m sure someone is working on fixing that as more people move into the city.

Housing

Seattle is in the midst of a construction boom. You can’t throw a Seahawks jersey around without hitting at least 3 construction cranes. The rent in the downtown area is not as low as other cities but if you move from New York/San Francisco you will love the cost of living in Seattle. Newer apartments seem to be following the “Manhattan model of housing” (less square footage, more rent) but the difference is that the amenities/views you get here (may) justify the rent. The good news is, the further you get from downtown Seattle the more affordable rent generally becomes. We live close enough to downtown to enjoy it, but not too close to make our rent crazy high. I love our apartment and neighborhood. You also don’t have to live in the downtown area to enjoy Seattle. Much of what makes this place so great is spread out around the city and there is public transit. Which brings up the one gripe I have about Seattle.

Transportation

There are buses. Lots of buses. So many buses that sometimes the buses cause traffic and a 10 minute trip takes 30 minutes. Despite this, you may quickly learn that the one bus YOU need to get around is rarely on time or doesn’t run when you need it. I actually don’t know how King County Metro manages to accomplish this. As a former rider on, arguably, the world’s best public transit system (the MTA in NYC) I first found Seattle transit amusing and adorable. It’s fine if you are a tourist or visitor. However, when you need to get to work in the morning and have to transfer buses, the transit issues are no longer amusing. So we gave up and got a car. Now we’re contributing to traffic. Sorry. I will say that having a car makes things so much easier here. We have a lot more freedom to go exploring and running errands is a breeze. The commute generally takes the same amount of time as the bus but there are some BAD traffic days that are inescapable.

Work

My favorite thing professionally here is that there is a real sense of innovation and entrepreneurship. Of course, the big players in the Seattle area job market are some of the largest companies in the world: Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Costco. But there are several up and coming companies in the area that are already household names with the potential to become even bigger: Zillow, Expedia, Tableau, Tesla, Docusign, Redfin, etc. Plus other companies like Facebook, Google, Comcast, HBO, Salesforce, etc have large offices in the area. Then there are the startups that you may not have heard of but have great potential. If you are not “in tech” or “tech adjacent”, there is a large healthcare industry presence in the Seattle area as well. There’s a lot of cool stuff happening here if you’re in the right industry. If you are thinking of moving here, I cannot stress how important it is to secure a job BEFORE moving. Your job search might take longer than you expect if you arrive unemployed.

Weather

Whenever people think Seattle, they think rain. I have news! It’s not that bad. It really isn’t. Seattle actually gets the same amount of rainfall as some other US cities. The rain is not the issue. The problem here, for some, is that the sky is overcast a lot more in the winter. This overcast weather can last for months in the fall/winter. For example, this week the forecast is basically cloudy with a chance of rain for the rest of the week. Not so in other US cities. This can get depressing. That’s why people invest in UV lamps. We will this winter. The summers here though…wow. It never gets insanely hot with the humidity of places like New York. You can almost get through a summer here without air conditioning. Crazy, right?!

In Conclusion

For an idea of how serious we are about staying here, we’ve started thinking about saddling ourselves with a mortgage in the near future. We’ve never really thought about that in any of the other places where we have lived. We genuinely like it here and plan to stay. Poor RJ probably wouldn’t be able to handle a move to another state anyway. If you’re thinking of living in Seattle, I’d suggest visiting first. Definitely visit in the winter because a summer visit here is sure to be misleading with all the beautiful weather.

As a recent (return) transplant I am also happy to help anyone else considering the move. Email any questions if you have them.

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