8.5 out of 10

Seattle

Ranked 1st best city in Washington
47.5735533537348 -122.332866379695
Great for
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Internet Access
  • Clean & Green
  • Public Transport
  • Neighborly Spirit
Not great for
  • No ratings yet
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Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish

Reviews

5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Nov 08, 2016

"A beautiful and diverse city with something for everyone!"

Seattle, so aptly named "The Emerald City", is a true gem of the Pacific Northwest. With a culture all its own, it's a melting pot of Native American roots, music iconography, famous authors, world reknown chefs, and home to some of the nation's best outdoor hiking and camping options. With so many charming neighborhoods, it's no wonder Seattle has longtime been one of the best cities to visit as well as live. Seattle standards you shouldn't miss: The EMP museum, Chihuly Museum, Pike Place Market with a stop at the original Starbuck's, and ride the historic Monorail to see a stunning view of Seattle from the Space Needle.
Pros
  • Outdoor activities
  • Beautiful city
  • Strong job market
  • 4 distinct seasons
  • People are socially conscious
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
5/5
Mar 24, 2016

"Seattle suburbs are good for families"

We are very happy with Seattle as our home. Coming from China, it’s a big change. But little by little it is starting to feel like home.

Our daughter is growing up here, so it will always be home to her. And I’m glad it will be her home. Seattle is a good place to raise a family. Though we do miss our family, at least being on the west coast it’s not as far as other places.

I think for families the best is not in the downtown area. There are more good homes for families in the suburbs. Also some of the Seattle neighborhoods outside of the city center are good choices too.

There are lots of activities for children, like parks, festivals, and museums. The neighborhoods seem to be safe. The health care also is high quality. We have the Children’s Hospital in Seattle, which is very good. Also the Swedish Medical centers, and the University of Washington health care are high quality.

Based on our research, the schools are good, but we will know more next year when our daughter enters elementary school. The highest ranked high schools are in Bellevue, however.

Though we live in Shoreline, it still seems part of Seattle. You cannot see clearly where Seattle ends and Shoreline begins. It all blends together. We are very happy with our decision to live here.
Pros
  • Family activities
  • Outdoor activities
  • Beautiful city
Cons
  • Traffic
  • High cost of living
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
Mar 02, 2016

"Skier’s paradise—sometimes"

For the outdoor enthusiast, Seattle is a dream. You are simply so close to everything. Hiking, skiing, and biking in the mountains. Kayaking on Puget Sound or Lake Washington. Mountaineering on Mount Rainier. And plenty of biking and walking trails within the city itself. You see mountains in almost every direction. The Cascade Mountains are east and south of the city. The Olympics are to the west.

For skiers like me, you have lots of options within 3 hours. Snoqualmie Pass (30 min), Steven’s Pass (2 hours), Crystal Mountain (2 hours), Mount Baker (3 hours), and Mission Ridge (3 hours). There are some small, local hills too like Leavenworth Ski Hill, Echo Valley, and Loup Loup.

I must admit though, the weather patterns have been worrying here lately. When people think of climate change on the west coast, they picture drying-up lakes in California. But we are also facing changes here in Seattle. The last two summers we’ve had some of the worst wildfires in state history. This is part due to hotter, drier summers, and in part due to lack of snowpack. Luckily, this year we’ve had excellent snow. But last winter, the Cascades received only 10% of their regular snow, and the Olympics only 1%. Climatologists claim this is what to expect in 70 years—hotter all year, and more rain, rather than snow, in the winter. Except it may be happening faster than anyone anticipated. As a skier, that is discouraging. I’m hoping this pattern is only a fluke, and we’ll see many, many more snowy winters. In any rate, it’s better than the icy hills on the east coast. Plus, this year’s ski season has been excellent, with a lot of snow.

Seattle is also a very dog-friendly city, for the most part. There are plenty of off-leash dog parks, and lots of trails and parks for walking. There are even a few doggie day cares, which is helpful for the unexpected meeting.

One thing that’s not great are the roads. It’s quite odd, because there’s a lot of wealth in Seattle, but there seems to be a lack of funds for infrastructure repairs. I would not recommend getting a car with low clearance, because there are lots of big potholes. I finally gave in and got one of the typical Seattle BMWs with all wheel drive. You’ll need something like it to get up some of the mountain roads around here, anyways.
Pros
  • Close to ski resorts
  • Outdoor activities
Cons
  • Traffic
  • High cost of living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
Feb 18, 2016

"Different vibes in different neighborhoods"

Seattle’s a fun place. There’s a lot happening, and besides rent, it’s pretty affordable overall. Shows aren’t too much, and going out is the same cost as any city.

The music scene is awesome, obviously. And I like how you can go to different parts of the city to find a different vibe. Capitol Hill for DJs and clubs. Fremont for funky smaller shows. Ballard for a more hipster scene.

Some of my overall favorite music venues:

The Tractor Tavern in Ballard. This is a locals place, and their shows often get sold out. They have good taste in who they show.

Columbia City Theater. Columbia City is really unique as a neighborhood, and you can see that in this venue. They have a ton of shows, with up and coming local artists.

The Crocodile Café in Belltown. They have had a lot of moderately famous bands here, even though it’s a small place. So you can see people up close, which is awesome. Hard to get tickets sometimes though.

If I didn’t work at Microsoft, I would definitely rather live here than Bellevue. But the commute would be brutal. That’s the worst part to Seattle—traffic is HORRIBLE. So if you move here, try to find a place to live that’s close to where you work or you’ll spend half your life in your car. Better yet, try to get a job with flexibility and work from home sometimes.

The only other reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because of the internet situation. Basically, the only options are Comcast and Frontier in most places. Both terrible options. Seattle talked about installing fiber optics, but it didn't happen. Pretty weird set up for a tech city.

Other than that, this city is awesome!
Pros
  • Great music
  • Outdoor activities
  • Beautiful city
Cons
  • No good internet options
  • Traffic
  • High cost of living
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Feb 11, 2016

"A Foodie’s Dream"

Moving from Eastern Washington, where I was absolutely deprived of delicious food outside of strip mall chain restaurants, Seattle is heaven sent with wonderful eateries; making the Emerald City this foodie’s dream come true.

Seattle is squeezed on either side by water, so it spreads out north and south, but most of its core neighborhoods are within a few miles of the city center. My go-to neighborhoods are Downtown (work), Pioneer Square (sports and food), Capitol Hill (fun and food), Fremont (fun and food), Ballard (fun and food), Green Lake (fun) and Upper Queen Anne (fun and food). Nearly every one of these neighborhoods have living options, some more than others. I myself, call Upper Queen Ann home.

Seattle is in the midst of a tech BOOM. Amazon is completely changing the landscape, taking over where Microsoft left off. Facebook, Google, Zillow and Expedia all have major offices in the area.

The boom has brought in a lot of new faces to the area, which has made housing prices rise. Traffic is terrible, one of the worst in the entire country. Thankfully the city recognizes this and is making big strides with the Link Light Rail (subway) and with its network of bike lanes.

Another bonus of so many new people is the abundance of new and noteworthy places to eat and drink – my favorite hobby!!!


Here is a list of my short list of must visit dining spots. Be sure to check each and every one off your list:

Revel – Chef Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi’s have 3 amazing restaurants that are divine. Revel in Fremont is my fav.

Marination Ma Kai – Sitting on the water on West Seattle, this casual Hawaiian/Asian fusion spot has one of the best patios in the City.

Westward – Another place on the list of best patios in Seattle. Westward has a breathtaking atmosphere with views of SLU and Downtown. The seafood is the right choice here.

Matt’s in the Market – Located in Pike Place. Matt’s is pricey, but worth every penny.

Un Bien – The family that created Paseo, Seattle’s famous and delicious sandwich shop, open the real-deal in North Ballard.


Tourist Traps I avoid:

The Pink Door – Cool atmosphere, but over rated food.

Pike Place Chowder – Pretty much avoid all the mainstream places in Pike Place Market.
Pros
  • Amazing Food
  • Outdoor activities
  • Strong job market
  • Beautiful city
Cons
  • Traffic
  • High cost of living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
Feb 10, 2016

"Strong economy, excellent outdoor activities"

I adore living in Seattle. It’s got a wonderful blend of interesting residents, good jobs, and outdoor activities.

For being a major city, it is incredibly easy to get outside and be active in Seattle. There is ample hiking nearby, in both the Cascade and the Olympic mountain ranges. I love how close we are to dozens, if not hundreds, of unique trails. My only qualm is that you have to own a car to access any of them—there isn’t much in the way of public transit to access them (apart from urban trails). This means that quite a few people are unfortunately left out.

As a road biker, the city also does relatively well, though it could use some improvements. There are better road biking options on the Olympic Peninsula, but it is not far. You just have to bike on the ferry. Close to home, the best options are the Burke-Gilman trail, and the loop around Lake Washington.

Coming from India and being relatively involved in the social justice and immigration scene here, I must admit that Seattle has some odd quirks, as a “liberal” city. Though it holds many liberal values, such as environmentalism, it needs to have a serious conversation about race and equity. I see that beginning to happen, but people here are quite uncomfortable talking about even basic historical facts—like how the city is essentially segregated.

Despite this, there is a strong international community here that I enjoy being a part of. And being in the legal field, I appreciate that the culture isn’t as “eat or be eaten” as in some cities on the east coast. That’s not to say that Seattle isn’t sophisticated, but the culture isn’t one that places status and rank above all else. It allows room for being human, and doesn’t require 80 hour work weeks, which is not something to take for granted as a lawyer. I’d venture a guess that this attitude is present in other fields as well, based on the overall casual attire, and what friends have expressed.

Overall, the economy is relatively strong here. It is also growing quickly, as some of the tech companies and startups grow. Steady employers like Boeing, though not growing so quickly, keep the economy stable with a good amount of high-paying jobs.
Pros
  • Outdoor activities
  • Strong job market
Cons
  • Traffic
  • High cost of living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
Feb 09, 2016

"Good people, beer, and activities. Bad transportation and homeless problem."

Seattle’s a pretty decent city overall. The people take a little time to get to know, I guess that’s what people call the Seattle Freeze. But so far I’ve liked living here.

The good things:

There’s lots of good food here, and of course the microbrew scene is epic. I didn’t realize that Washington was one of the top beer scenes in the country. But there are so many small breweries here.

As a runner, I like the city, but it could improve. There are some paved paths that are good for running and staying off the streets to avoid cars and traffic lights. But they could definitely use some more. Luckily it seems like they are always building more, so I think it'll be even better in a couple years.

The people are really outdoorsy here. I kinda like that. Maybe I’ll try out some more outdoor stuff besides trail running, because it’s all really close to the city. There's also great trail running in the mountains super close by, mainly in Issaquah.

The bad things:

There are too many homeless people in Seattle. I mean a LOT. I don’t know what the problem is, but Seattle doesn’t seem to be able to deal with it very well. Most of the homeless people are in Pioneer Square and downtown, but there are lots in each neighborhood too. It’s kinda sad to see that all the time.

The other thing is transportation. It’s crazy. You basically have to drive everywhere because the city’s pretty disconnected when it comes to public transportation, at least a lot of the places where I need to go. Then the traffic is so bad you end up sitting in your car all the time.

So Seattle’s pretty good, but I’m not 100% sold. I’m also from Eastern Washington, where the culture’ pretty different, so it takes some getting used to. Not sure if I’ll stay here for life, but it’s fun for now.
Pros
  • Lots of craft beer
  • Outdoor activities
  • Strong job market
Cons
  • Too many homeless
  • Traffic
  • High cost of living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Jan 18, 2016

"Queen Anne - An Oasis in the City"

I moved to the top of Queen Anne (south side, right across from old Queen Anne high school) back in 2007 after I graduated and it was the most ideal situation and place to live for a recent college grad.

First let me start off by saying that this is no longer an affordable place to live (like much of Seattle) unless you really have a great job or a fortunate financial situation. Back in 2007 rent was nearly 1/2 of what it is currently here. If you want to live in this part of Queen Anne now expect to pay between $2-$3k per month for studio or 1 bedroom (or maybe 2 bedroom in an older building). Anyhow, if you can afford it you'll be pleased with the area. My friends and I used to call it an Oasis in the city. The hill getting up Queen Anne is quite steep. If you're driving on a rainy day, and especially if you have an older car, you may experience skidding up the hill especially when trying to climb the hill in stop and go rush hour traffic. I experienced this on a regular basis with my older SUV...even with new tires. And on the off chance there's a snow day, forget about it. Your car isn't going anywhere. In fact, most of the time the city will shut down Queen Anne Ave which is the main street going up and down the hill and buses won't even make the attempt. The benefit of this though is that the top of Queen Anne is largely cut off from most of the rest of the city...you'll pretty much only find residents on top of the hill which gives it a quaint smaller town feel even though you're walking distance from downtown. Walking to any bar or restaurant in lower QA is very easy as well. And while I lived there we had season tickets to the Seattle Super Sonics (Seattle's old NBA team) and we walked to EVERY home game at Key Arena from our house which was awesome.

You don't have to travel off the hill for entertainment either as there are a bunch of very nice bars and restaurants along Queen Anne Ave. They're mostly old houses that have been converted to commercial buildings but it gives the Avenue a nice charm!

Within walking distance are some of the best parks Seattle has to offer. Kerry park (or postcard park) is a quick walk away and features amazing views. As you can imagine from the nickname Kerry Park is where they take the majority of the Seattle post cards that you'd see at the airport or anywhere else. In fact, the majority of the south end of Queen Anne is filled with amazing views just while walking along the streets and neighborhood. If you're a biker or runner, this will also be a paradise as the streets all feature great views and plenty of sidewalk room to run on.

The cons, other than price, are that no major highway other than highway 99 even come close to Queen Anne and getting from i-5 to Queen anne in rush hour can be a nightmare. They are, however, widening the main street (Mercer) from I-5 to queen anne and adding some new lanes... so this should help out.
Pros
  • 4 distinct seasons
  • Beautiful city
  • Outdoor activities
  • People are socially conscious
  • Strong job market
Cons
  • Traffic
  • High cost of living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
Dec 05, 2015

"Imperfect, but worth it."

Somehow, Seattle is simultaneously exactly what you’d expect, and the opposite of what you’d expect.

For example, what you’d expect: there’s a booming tech market. Microsoft, Amazon, Nintendo, Zillow, etc.

Not what you’d expect: That boom, though great for those who hold those jobs, is causing the cost of living to quickly become unaffordable for a lot of people. Rent is skyrocketing. My rent increased by $400 after the first 6 months lease, then by another $250 after the second 6 months. This is not uncommon right now, especially since rent control is illegal in Washington State.

There’s no denying that the natural landscape is absolutely stunning. With two mountain ranges framing the East and West horizons, Puget Sound glistening right next to the city, and Mt. Rainier towering above everything, you really can’t beat it. You could grab your backpack and be hiking or skiing (if there’s snow) in the mountains within an hour. What you might not know, though, is that the climate is changing here, and quickly. We’ve been hitting record temperatures in summer, and the dwindling snowpack means that skiing is less reliable, and wildfires are getting worse each summer.

The geography right around the city itself is very unique. Between Puget Sound, Lake Washington, Lake Union, and the Duwamish River, there’s a lot of water nearby, which is gorgeous. But that also means that we depend on bridges, which bottleneck traffic, and are often under construction. For example, all the traffic coming from I-90 (the main east-west freeway) has to condense into one lane to get onto I-5 north (the main north-west freeway). ONE lane, in the middle of the city, where the two biggest freeways in the state merge!! And this is a permanent feature, not due to construction.

Public transportation also needs a *lot* of work. Currently, buses, trams, light rail, and commuter train are all relatively disconnected, and the entire system is convoluted and confusing, even for locals. Hence Uber becoming very popular.

But Seattle’s still a relatively small city, so hopefully that Uber ride won’t be too expensive. You can walk the entire length of downtown from where the skyscrapers start in Pioneer Square to where they end in South Lake Union in about 45 minutes. From there, to the North, East, and South, residential neighborhoods sprawl out across the hills.

The makeup of the neighborhoods is also something you wouldn’t expect in Seattle. In many ways, we are a very progressive place. We passed the $15 minimum wage. We’re pretty LGBTQ-friendly. But we also have a little-talked-about history of racial division. Seattle used to have “red lines” drawn through the city neighborhoods to divide where people of color could and could not live. The legacy of those red lines lives on today, with North Seattle and West Seattle being mostly white, and the neighborhoods South of Downtown being more diverse. And, true to color, the tech companies are setting up shop mainly in North Seattle, as well as Redmond and Bellevue, two mostly-white suburbs.

But you wouldn’t know that unless you lived here for a while. Because Seattle’s culture is one that is very polite and laid back. This is great in a lot of ways. But it also means that we sometimes fool ourselves into thinking that we’re more progressive than we actually are, and we really, really, don’t like to talk about it. That’s uncomfortable and we’d rather just talk about the Seahawks, thank you very much. Hence surprising things like one of the nation’s worst gender wage gaps. And the silent neighborhood segregation.

That being said, there are some amazing things about those same neighborhoods. One is that the city did a great job creating a ‘downtown’ area in each one, with shops, restaurants and services, which makes the city very walkable at the neighborhood level. There are also an abundance of parks (my favorites are Green Lake and Discovery Park), and sandy beaches right in the city.

Finally, there are plenty of amazing people in Seattle. True, it can take awhile to build up a community if you’re new. But it’s totally worth the effort, because there are so many caring, creative, thoughtful people here.

So Seattle is a place that’s gorgeous, casual, confused, polite, messy, colorful, and imperfect. For me, I’ll take it. The pros definitely outweigh the cons. I just hope I can continue to afford to live here.
Pros
  • Gorgeous scenery
  • LGBTQ-friendly
  • Beautiful city
  • Outdoor activities
Cons
  • Traffic
  • High cost of living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Dec 01, 2015

"The Emerald City Shines..."

WHAT I LOVE – There is SO much to do here. I love the outdoors and Seattle allows me to have a great job and play outside. In fact during the winter I can work an 8 hour day and go snowboarding at Snoqualmie Pass and be home by 11pm. Cycling is great here, the city and surrounding area is very bicycle friendly.

My next favorite thing is the food and the amazing options we have. There is too much to list, but a few of my favorites are: Paseo, Tats, La Carta De Oaxaca, Ma’ono Fried Chicken and Whisky, and Marination.

The people are friendly, I’ve met so many great people living here. I do believe in the ‘Seattle Freeze’ though, Seattleites are very passive and people will be very polite, hold the door open, smile and such, but many don’t like to dive into conversations with strangers.

All and all, after living here for 8 years Seattle feels smaller than it is, and I would recommend living here to anyone. Some of my favorites are:

My favorite neighborhood: Ballard – away from downtown with lots of food and options.
My favorite getaway: Bainbridge Island for a bicycle ride and Stevens Pass to snowboard.
My favorite team: The Seahawks – Seattle has a devoted fan base for the Seahawks and the Sounders, out MLS team.
My favorite park: Golden Gardens – amazing sunsets with mountain views and sandy beaches.
My favorite secret spot: The Russel Investment Center – this high rise has an outdoor patio on the 17th floor open to the public, which has amazing downtown and water views. When a Seahawk game is televised at night the building lights up a giant ‘12’ facing the water.


WHAT I DON’T LOVE – Real estate and rent is quickly approaching San Francisco levels of prices. The average apartment rents for $1,834 as of October 2015. According to Zillow, the average home is $521,000 and that’s for an old fixer upper. My girlfriend and I pay $2,100 for a 720 sqft apartment with parking for one car and a storage unit.

The reason it’s on the rise is because tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Expedia, and Zillow call Seattle home. There is also a thriving start-up culture that draws a lot of talent; not to mention companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Apple and more have satellite offices in the city.

Besides affordable housing Seattle suffers from the same problems as any other fast growing city, such as homelessness and crime. But traffic and parking are at the forefront of Seattle’s problems. The city is working on its bus program and will soon add a subway system to connect several neighborhoods.

HOW ABOUT THE RAIN? – Yes it rains here, but come in the summer months and you’ll be blown away. We even have our own beaches! The rain here is more of a drizzle than a downpour so most locals will forgo an umbrella. Even with the rain it’s common to see droves of cyclists commuting downtown.
Pros
  • Beautiful city
  • Outdoor activities
  • 4 distinct seasons
  • Strong job market
Cons
  • Traffic
  • High cost of living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
Nov 30, 2015

"Cool city, but has growing pains."

I spent the last ten years living in Seattle and have lived there off and on through the mid-late ‘90s. It’s a great community and hands down one of my favorite places in the Pacific northwest. It is a city surrounded by water with dozens of national and state parks and recreation lands nearby. It has a healthy economy, a thriving music and film scene, and a strong job market.

A decade ago, it was a prime place to nurture a career in almost any field. In some ways, it still is. But in recent years, Seattle has grown a lot and the city has changed. This change has been both good and bad.

The Good

Meeting new people is easy. Population growth means there are always new people to meet and making friends is a breeze. Seattle neighborhoods are tight communities and finding the right one is key. Each neighborhood has a different vibe. If you’re on the same wavelength, you’ll bump into a lot of folks with similar interests around town. If not, you'll find yourself spending more time in another neighborhood.

Music, film, and literature are thriving. Seattle has a robust music, film and literature scene. The Seattle International Film Festival fosters a rich community of filmmakers and film lovers. The city incubates indie music. A large number of indie groups have roots in Seattle including recent greats such as the Fleet Foxes and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Seattle authors are prolific in every genre, especially Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

The city is reinventing digital media. Seattle is at the cutting edge of online and mobile technology. The tech sector employs thousands of bright minds at tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Hulu and tons of startups that are at the forefront of wearable tech, artificial intelligence, and mobile tech.

The Bad

Traffic is terrible. It was never easy to get around Seattle in a car. The city has always been more pedestrian and bike friendly than car friendly. But the traffic has gone from bad, to worse, to absolutely terrible. The city has taken some steps to ease traffic with public transportation improvements, but they all seem to be too little and too late.

Recent changes to the bus services combined multiple routes into a handful of mainline buses called “Rapid Ride”. Don’t let the name fool you. They are not fast by any stretch of the imagination. For instance, my commute time downtown from Ballard doubled since the arrival of Rapid Ride D line. The new line weaves through Ballard then Queen Ann instead of heading straight downtown like the express buses did.

The light rail is a similar story. It is taking years to construct and is bypassing some of the most congested areas of the city. The first line to open goes from downtown to the airport, but it takes 45 minutes to make the trip. Why? So it can weave through South Seattle and stop in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. You would think this would be a good thing, but in reality, many of the residents can’t afford the steep fare and get around town on the buses instead. The next line slated to open will serve some neighborhoods north of the city, but only those east of I-5, leaving half of North Seattle out of the loop.

The art scene is dwindling. All the growth that Seattle has experienced has been a boon for developers, but growing housing prices and higher living expenses have pushed out many of the artists and musicians who made the city’s neighborhoods as cool as they are.

Twenty years ago, I rented an efficiency apartment in an old house on Capital Hill. My rent was less than $500.00 a month. At the time, my barely-over-minimum-wage job was enough to cover rent, bills, and groceries. I ate well, supported an expensive coffee habit, and went out for a show and some drinks a couple times a month. Today, that would be impossible. A studio on Capital Hill will cost you $1,200 a month, if you’re lucky, and while minimum wage has gone up, living expenses have outpaced it.

Diversity is falling. Seattle is a community that embraces people of all races, genders, sexes and orientations. It is a liberal place that tolerates more than most cities in the United States, but the higher cost of living has pushed out the city’s poorer populations. Gentrification of Seattle neighborhoods has transformed many of them from funky mixed communities to wealthy white communities.
Pros
  • Strong job market
  • People are socially conscious
Cons
  • High cost of living
  • Traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
Nov 30, 2015

"Socially conscious, green, with a thriving startup community"

I studied at University of Washington from 2001-2005 and lived in the city (Queen Anne) from 2006-2010 while working at Zillow, and after 5 years living as a nomad, I'm back in Seattle to set some roots. I wouldn't have moved back if Seattle wasn't a fantastic city to live in.

The festivals at Seattle Center are great - Folklife, Bumpershoot, Bite of Seattle. Beerfest in July is another great event. For a good bar scene, head to Queen Anne and hit Ozzies, Pesos, Great Nabob, and Toulouse. Pesos has an amazing brunch.

There is a thriving tech startup community, and a growing social entrepreneurship scene. Amazon, Zillow, Expedia, Microsoft, Costco, and Starbucks are among those that call the area home. The city contains a great blend of passionate, driven individuals who also know how to let loose and have fun.

A few of my favorite spots:
Buckley's (Belltown) - great spot to grab beers and watch a game. For the remote workers, excellent option if you want beers with your wifi instead of coffee.
Ohana (Belltown) - best happy hour in the city, particularly for sushi fans.
Uptown Expresso - numerous locations including Belltown and Queen Anne. Great spot to get some work done. Coffee is decent.
Cafe Pho (Downtown) - Amazing vietnamese for those downtown for lunch. Gets packed between 11:45 and 1.
Phuket Thai Cuisine (Queen Anne) - amazing Thai food at decent prices. Can't go wrong with Cashew chicken nut.
Tats (Downtown) - best cheesesteaks in the city.

There is certainly no shortage of outdoor activities in the area -- hiking, skiing, and boating are all readily available within an hour of the city.
Pros
  • 4 distinct seasons
  • People are socially conscious
Cons
  • Traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"The Emerald City - What Not to Love"

Seattle has it all, nearby ocean beaches, excellent shopping, world-renowned restaurants, and entertainment upon entertainment. What is there not to love about Seattle? Perhaps the weather? That is my only beef after spending time on the eastern side of the state where the sun shines three-quarters of the year, but I still love Seattle!
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
SeattleRobert
SeattleRobert Aw, SeattleGirl, you clearly don't love Seattle enough. The weather is the model of perfection! All the rest of the world is trying to give you skin cancer! The clouds and rain are what makes Seattle the greatest city in the entire world!
2yrs+
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3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
2yrs+

"Yah, sure, you betcha, it's a great place to live!"

You can still find the old-school Scandanavian fishing families in Ballard, but the gentrification of the past fifteen years or so is expanding through the neighborhood, spreading out from 15th Ave and 65th St. As far as I can tell, it's all about the easy access to Downtown and to Phinney Ridge. It used to be about the local flavor, too, but I keep seeing locally-owned shops closing down or moving out, and being replaced by national chains. Market Street isn't quite the adventure into another world it was when I visited there as a kid.

In any case, it's still a great place to live, at least for a while. The condos and apartments have brought a younger and more mobile population to the area, so the night life has improved in the past decade. And there's still plenty of great retail therapy available on a walk down Market St.

I guess I'm just caught by a bit of nostalgia, and I worry about the long-term future of the neighborhood. I don't see as many families as I used to. But maybe I just need to wander further into the residential streets beyond the commercial core.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"City, Beach and Mountains...All Within 20 Minutes"

There are very few places in this country that have it all in such a small geographical area. Seattle offers big city entertainment, sandy beaches and all-season activities on the gorgeous mountains, all within 20 minutes of each other. Downtown Seattle offers great history and beautiful architecture in Pioneer Square. The shopping district includes stores to suit everyone, not to mention the famous Pike Place Market. With no fewer than six ski resorts around the city, summer and winter outdoor enthusiasts find plenty to do on the hiking, skiing, biking and walking trails. If you haven't visited Seattle, it's worth adding to the top of your vacation destination list.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
3/5
2yrs+

"A little bit of everything"

Located just across Elliott Bay from downtown Seattle, West Seattle offers its residents tight-knit communities within four main neighborhoods: Admiral, Alki, Fauntleroy and Delridge. The salt-water air and beach charm of Alki is a favorite, with first-rate views of the city, Puget Sound and the mountains. Fauntleroy offers pretty much the same but with a view of the islands rather than the city.

West Seattle living is a mix of traditional mid-century bungalows, single family homes, large craftsman style homes, and modern, million-dollar condominiums that line up along Alki Beach.

For dining and entertainment, California Avenue is one of the main strips, with a wide assortment of shops and restaurants. If you want to get to Seattle, it’s a quick trip across the West Seattle Bridge. Or, in the spring and summer months, hop on the passenger ferry that transports riders across the bay. Don’t forget to breathe in that fresh salty air!
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5
2yrs+

"Good for you"

i have traveld to seattle manny times enjoyed it verry much, dont really want to live there, the streets are confusing, the government is bad and just overall to big.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids

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