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Living in Seattle, Washington:
Tips for Moving and Visiting

41 local experts

If you've been wondering what it's like to live in or visit Seattle, the Crowdsourced Explorer community can help. We asked 41 people living in Seattle what someone who is considering moving to or visiting there should know. Here are their pros and cons, tips, and advice:

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41 comments on “Seattle”

If you’re moving to Seattle, you’re going to love the summer season.

Seattle is a good city to live if you have a tech job or other very high paying job. If you’re introverted and indoorsy, you’ll love it year-long, especially if you’re somewhat alt and fit in one of the many subcultures present here. If you like hiking, you’ll love the PNW, but it’s rainy and dark for most of the year, so don’t forget your vitamin D pills.

Nassim, says: 2023

This is a working class city with authentic bones that has turned into a modern tech metropolis. The mashup allows you to experience many different neighborhoods and tucked away corners. It’s not all the same here! There is great diversity in the population and the food.

If you’re moving to Seattle, be sure to bring a quality raincoat, durable pair of waterproof boots, and a love of cloudy skies and rain. However, bear in mind that there is no shortage of sunshine in the summer months, so don’t forget the sunscreen and sunglasses. The people here are friendly and very helpful, and the transportation system can take you anywhere you want to go. Be sure to plan your stay, so you don’t miss a thing. I highly recommend the Museum of Pop Culture, or MOPOP, as we like to call it. And don’t forget about Pike Place, Gasworks Park, and the Woodland Park Zoo! Enjoy your stay in the Emerald City.

Barbara, says: 2023

Nestled in the beautiful and picturesque Pacific Northwest, living in Seattle means you are only 20 minutes in any direction from extravagant forests, mountains, coastlines, and other scenic outdoor activities. First inhabited over 15,000 years ago by indigenous tribes of Native Americans, Seattle is an iconic center of culture, enjoying lovely waterways, ocean views, and endless activities. However, be aware that this is one of the most expensive places to live in the entire United States. Housing, education, childcare, among others, are generally higher than the national average. Corporate behemoths like Amazon essentially control the city, to the extent that many of the hip areas formerly dominated by young people and bohemians are slowly (read quickly) being taken over and transformed. Despite the rising costs, the city is absolutely breathtaking, boasting many popular entertainment activities including theaters, festivals, world-class shopping, restaurants, as well as a bustling nightlife. The downside is the exponential growth of income inequality that has become quite visible, especially in the downtown areas. The city is very diverse and has some of the best Indian food on the West Coast of the U.S. The University of Washington is also headquartered here (considered the Ivy League of the West Coast), so there is an abundance of youth as it is a preeminent college town.

We have the most beautiful mountain range across our state. We are on the Pacific Ocean. It doesn’t rain as much as you’ve been lead to believe but it does stay cloudy more in winter. We have something for everyone here. Restaurants to hiking trails to hot air balloon races. Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing are our biggest employment resources. The traffic is hell but the people are diverse. It’s one of the most beautiful places to see from an airplane on a sunny day.

if you’re moving to Seattle, bring your rain coat, umbrella and galoshes because, like everybody says, it rains in Seattle… a lot. And for some Seattleites, they even have moss growing between their toes. But the area also has access nearby to incredibly lush forests, mountains, lakes and waterways, so outdoor adventures are near. So, when the sun comes out, oh my, Seattle and the surrounding scenery is out of this world beautiful!

If you’re moving to Seattle, you need to know how to adapt. Seattle is a beautiful city surrounded by beautiful Puget Sound where the whale watchers hang. Everybody is “important” and busy. But there are the occasional bon vie bons sitting in one of the cafes with a laptop. The city is divided by diverse neighborhoods, each with its own character. The hilly neighborhoods–all claiming to be the best. Fremont is the artsy-fartsy neighborhood that has a sign that says “Center of the Universe.” Queen Anne is affluent. It sits on a hill overlooking the city, always a little better than hoi-polloi. Then Capitol Hill, the center of the gay world and proud. The tech people who work in places like Microsoft and Amazon, are either making their own craft beer or traveling with two kayaks on the roof of a Subaru. The city is surrounded by the Cascade Mtns., various volcanoes about due to blow any time now. This is the ring of fire. Paradoxically, the city is referred to as ‘the Seattle Freeze’ because the people are known to be cool and aloof. The best way to get to know people, and the city, is to stop into any of a zillion cafes and order an espresso or overpriced cup of coffee. If you want to go incognito, bring your laptop and pretend to be busy.

It rains 9 months out of the year, has a mass transit system, friendly welcoming city, has plenty of tourists attractions, malls, shopping centers, hiking, ski resorts, casinos, museums. The ethnic diversity of the city’s population is comprised of many nationalities from all over the world. Seattle is surrounded by many lakes and streams providing fishing, water sports, boating, diving and swimming. It is the perfect location to start and raise a family. Seattle is home of professional sports… Seattle Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders, Hockey. There are more than five universities and junior colleges, vocational colleges.

Christopher, says: 2022

Seattle is a very expensive city when you consider things like the cost of housing and the cost of food. But, weighing this against the natural beauty that surrounds you almost makes it worth the cost! People say it rains here all the time, but that is not true. There is often a rain shower, but it is not everyday, and not during all four seasons. I prefer this weather to the east coast heat and humidity – a little rain never killed anyone.

Seattle is a city with many exciting attractions. The metropolitan area, which includes a number of interesting and distinct neighborhoods, is both sprawling and approachable. The University District is full of quaint parks and restaurants. The Downtown and Capitol Hill areas are home to well-known tourist destinations like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. If a visitor desires experiences in the outdoors, Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier are both an hour away.

Leslie, says: 2020

While Seattle is certainly one of the most beautiful places to live in the United States, anyone considering moving here should be aware of the high price of living. However, the vibrant city life, excellent coffee, and stunning wildlife just outside the city make it well worth the cost. It’s an excellent place to raise a family, as well, with a strong public school system as well as a network of green areas and parks. Politically, Seattle is fairly far to the left, which anyone with fierce political opinions should take into consideration.

Samantha, says: 2020

Seattle has amazing summer weather that attracts visitors from all over the world. It has amazing coffee and of course, beautiful greenery and scenery. People often move to Seattle during the Fall after their summer visits, but then reality hits. Seattle is one of the rainiest cities in the United States; on average, it rains about 19 days a month. However, even after living in Los Angeles for three years and D.C. for another three years, I still chose to come home to Seattle for its charm and warm hospitality.

Nicole, says: 2020

Living in Seattle during the winters is lovely because of the cold temperatures and soft snow. Oftentimes the snow does not stick, so it is like being inside a snow globe. The few times the snow does stick, it piles just high enough for snowmen and sledding. You can often find children and adults alike sliding down a nice snowy hill.

Crockett, says: 2020

Seattle is growing and innovative, with an attraction to tourists. It is culturally strong, with attractions throughout the week, including bustling weekends. However, I prefer to avoid the crowds and spend my time out during the week. It is quite expensive to live in the area, but wages are competitive and the labor force is union friendly.

Seattle is a city full of amazing views and creative and quirky people. There is an abundance of activities available year-round from kayaking and hiking to skiing and sailing. Seattle is a bike friendly and walkable city so there is no need to own a car. Last but not least we have an exciting coffee and beer scene! Wherever you decide to live in the city you are always a short walk to a local coffee shop!

Seattle is be known for its rainy days. Between October and November, it can rain up to 30 days straight. There are a lot of great coffee shops that are locally owned. If you are a sports fan, you can catch a Seattle Seahawks football game. The Space Needle is also a great tourist spot.

Veronica, says: 2020

Someone moving to Seattle should be prepared for windy and rainy weather, plenty of weekend hikes to nearby State and National Parks and one of the country’s best public transportation systems. Seattle has an abundance of lakes, water bodies, trails and is one of the most dog-friendly US cities. There are coffee shops all over the city, and one will almost always have a Starbucks location within walking distance.

Shelley, says: 2020

Seattle is a remarkable city that comes with two significant drawbacks. The setting and scenery are unparalleled with mountains, oceans, high desert and forests all nearby. The food and cultural offering are equally spectacular. On the less appealing side, the financial costs are extraordinary, and the Seattle Freeze is real.

The movies and shows that show it raining all the time in Seattle are not correct. We have very beautiful days with sunny skies. Also, the Space Needle cannot be seen from everywhere in the city, however the famous Mt. Rainier can be seen from all around the area!

Lishelle, says: 2020

If you’re moving to Seattle, you should expect… exactly what you’re expecting; at least in terms of weather.it does rain as often as anecdote would suggest. The people and the culture, however, more than make up for whatever gloomy feelings you may have about damp and overcast weather. Seattle is full of artists, dreamers, and bold-spirited individuals. This manifests in breathtaking architecture, inspiring art fairs, and your next favorite independent café.

Angeline, says: 2020

Though I have only lived in Seattle for a short while, I would wholeheartedly recommend it to any of my friends; in fact, I have already done so on several occasions, unprovoked. The scenery here is vastly more impressive than that in my native Florida, and summer weather far more enjoyable. However, those moving to Seattle should know Seattle’s reputation as a rainy city is certainly not unfounded. In winter, when the skies turn gloomy, perhaps my disposition toward Seattle will become slightly less positive.

Andraine, says: 2020

Seattle is a great city for tourists. Tourists should be prepared to spend a lot of money when visiting the city. Tourists can enjoy great food in Pike Place Public Market. Afterwards, they can take a bus to the Space Needle where they can enjoy the beautiful view of Seattle.

Elaine, says: 2020

Seattle is a very busy city, similar to Los Angeles but with obvious differences. There are many lakes and several famous landmarks to be visited. The weather is quite bipolar.

Mackenzie, says: 2020

Seattle, Washington, experiences all four seasons and has plenty of festivities to go along with each weather change. Contrary to popular belief Seattle rains a lot less than people think. It gets its fair share of rain but typically has short showers with occasional down pours. The driest time of year is the summer. Temperatures are mild with only a few hot days a year.

One of Seattle’s selling points is all of the nature it has to offer, which is best experienced in the warmer months. There are a lot of wonderful hikes which often lead to beautiful views, waterfalls, rivers, and streams. Throughout the state there are plenty of bodies of water that allow for swimming, boating, water sports, and picnic areas. The lakes and waterfalls are cool and refreshing hangout spots that are surrounded with a lot of wildlife.

CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders, gets transformed into ‘Enchant Christmas Seattle’ (ECS). ECS is a large light maze, ice skating rink, holiday shopping center, and eatery. Families go to ECS for holiday photos and family fun. Once the holidays have come to an end, there is a lull until summer starts again. Most people are nice and friendly.

Andrew, says: 2020

Despite its reputation for rain, Seattle has a wealth of activities that are sure to entertain. From foodies to nature-lovers, music fans and fitness junkies, newcomers will find no shortage of friends and communities to welcome them upon arrival.

Angela, says: 2020

Seattle is a beautiful city, from its constant and somewhat depressing weather to its evergreen scenery. The city itself has a lot to offer and it holds a warm and welcoming vibe to anybody who enters. It has a lot to offer as far as business and tech and science.

Melissa, says: 2020

Seattle is known for its rain and cloudy skies, but it’s actually an ideal place for about four months of the year. Between June and September, the temperature stays around 75 degrees, and Seattle residents regularly flock to parks and beaches to enjoy the pleasant weather. I’ve noticed that Seattleites never let a sunny day go unappreciated. You could say that we live for summer!

Mikaela, says: 2020

You must be prepared to face what many transplants call “The Seattle Freeze.” Many who were born in Seattle and the surrounding areas, are not the biggest fans of small talk. To many, this comes off as cold and standoffish. Though, when we do open up, many of us can be quite friendly!

Meagan, says: 2020

Although Seattle is known for its gray skies and rainy weather, outdoor recreation opportunities abound. The Puget Sound, Lake Washington, and the Pacific Ocean are within arm’s reach of those who seek the water. Similarly, the Olympic Mountains, the Cascade Range, and Mount Rainier are equally accessible to hikers, climbers, and camping enthusiasts. Finally, Washington Wine Country is only a few hours away for those who appreciate the art of vinification.

Aolani, says: 2020

The single most important thing I have learned living in the sprawling city of Seattle is that it is absolutely crucial to own a car. Before Seattle, I resided in New York City for a number of years; perhaps my time traversing the subways with ease has made me overly reliant on public transport and oblivious to that most cities, Seattle especially, are lacking in said department.

Someone moving to Seattle should know it does rain a lot; perhaps not as much as people say, but certainly a great deal. They should also know that it is a beautiful city, filled with parks, beaches and forests. And finally it is superb coffee!

Michael, says: 2020

moving to Seattle? The Puget Sound region, and the Pacific Northwest in general, are known for a social phenomenon called the “Seattle Freeze”. While passing somebody on the street, you may notice that local Seattleites will not not acknowledge you. No “Hey”, no subtle head nod, and certainly no eye contact.

It’s beautiful. Seriously, it really is. It’s clean (due to ocean air and rain). It’s lush. You’re surrounded by mountains (including volcanoes that you can see form the city). The sunsets are gorgeous. It’s very hilly, so you have good viewpoints from all over the city.

Great food (There is a serious ‘foodie’ scene here, though not a ton of variety. Most of our food is fancy comfort food or locally sourced fish/veggies. We do have a little Asian food scene, but, I’ve been told my multiple sources that it’s not the best Asian food. Good news though, you’re 2. five hours from Vancouver BC! They know how to do sushi/pho/ramen very well.)

Lots of outdoor activities and close to the city (you can work up a sweat hiking around Discovery Park 10 min from Downtown, kayak in the city, swim in Lake Washington 10 min outside the downtown core (clean water too!), bike the Lake Washington loop (100 miles or so) or the Burke Gilman trail (40 miles from Fremont to wineries RT) etc) or outside the city (too many options to list! Ski, backpack, hike, hang-glide, you name it basically).

Seattle is notoriously known for being cold and rainy, however there isn’t a more picturesque place in summer and fall. With beautiful snow-covered mountains and lush green trees, the city is just a short distance from plenty of outdoor recreation. Pike Place Market is an iconic place to visit and allows locals to play tourist in their own city.

Seattle is a very wet city so be ready for rain. Traffic in the city can be somewhat congested and the amount of hills make an automatic transmission very useful. Overall the people are rather pleasant and there is a good mix of local and chain businesses for food, leisure, or almost anything you can think of.

Kelcey, says: 2020

The word on the street is that the Seattle social environment is pretty frosty, and the word on the street is right. The “Seattle Freeze” is actually well documented phenomenon, with symptoms primarily attributed to Seattle’s citizens allegedly not valuing friendship as much as the average American city. As a resident of Seattle, I can vouch for the reality of the situation.

Johana, says: 2020

Seattle is a cultural and technological hub. Companies such as Boeing, Starbucks, and Amazon are centered in the city, giving Seattleites a unique advantage when searching for jobs. Additionally, the northwestern environment is perfect for outdoor exploring. Many locals enjoy hiking, paddle-boarding, rock-climbing, and camping. All are welcome in Seattle. Capital Hill is a cultural hub for members of the LGBTQ+ community, seeking solace or a sense of celebration surrounding their identity. The Pride Parade is an annual event in downtown Seattle, in addition to Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March.

Seattle is a great city, and has many nice things. There are many tasty restaurants, diners, and pubs, and people are friendly. It will occasionally get very foggy without any warning, however, and does rain a lot. You should keep an umbrella in your car. Seattle is a great city and I fully recommend you moving there.

Vanessa, says: 2020

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