Moving to Seattle: Complete Moving Guide 2024

Discover everything you need to know about moving to Seattle in 2024, from the city's unique weather patterns to its diverse population and beyond.
Top 9 Things to Know Before Moving To Seattle

Table of Contents

Getting to Know Seattle

Seattle is nestled in the scenic Pacific Northwest. Renowned for its stunning natural beauty, thriving tech industry, and rich cultural scene, the Emerald City offers an enticing mix of urban living and outdoor adventures.

Whether you’re looking to set down long term roots or just thinking of living there for a few months, it’s a good idea to learn all you can before heading up north.

1. About the Weather

While it may rain frequently, Seattle’s rainfall is typically light to moderate, rarely resulting in heavy downpours or thunderstorms.

Despite the jokes about the weather, Seattleites actually enjoy a year-round temperate climate. The winters are mild and wet, and the summers are relatively dry, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-70s.

2. About the People

Aside from the weather, Seattle is home to a thriving population. As of 2021, the city had just short of 770,000 residents. The greater metropolitan area sits around 4 million people, from all walks of life and all kinds of cultural backgrounds. Visitors and residents alike can enjoy a vibrant and diverse arts and culture scene, too.

3. Get Informed and Make Your Move

Whether you’re drawn to Seattle for its natural beauty, its thriving job market, or its many cultural offerings, there’s a lot to offer for any newcomers.

Through the rest of this article, we’ll take a closer look at what it’s like to survive and thrive in the Emerald City, and we’ll walk you through how you can make your Seattle move a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Why Move to Seattle?

If you’re thinking of making the move, Seattle offers has a lot to offer.

Here are a few good reasons you should pack your bags:

  • Thriving Job Market: Amazon, Microsoft, and a constantly growing startup scene – if you’re into tech, Seattle’s the place for you. Aside from big (and small) tech, Seattle also has plenty of job opportunities in various other industries.
  • Natural Beauty: With its stunning landscapes (including Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, and the Olympic National Park) Seattle offers breathtaking views and abundant outdoor activities.
  • Cultural Scene: Seattle boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene, with world-class museums, theaters, music festivals, and a strong coffee culture.
  • Education Hub: The Emerald City is home to renowned universities and colleges, including the University of Washington, providing excellent educational opportunities.
  • Food and Dining: Seattle is a food lover’s paradise, offering a diverse culinary scene with fresh seafood, farm-to-table dining, and a thriving craft beer and wine culture.
  • Green Initiatives: Known for its eco-consciousness, Seattle prioritizes sustainability and green initiatives, making it an ideal place for environmentally conscious individuals.
  • Outdoor Recreation: From hiking and skiing to kayaking and sailing, Seattle’s proximity to nature provides ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore and enjoy.
  • Sports Enthusiasm: Seattle residents are passionate about their sports teams, including the Seahawks (NFL), Mariners (MLB), and Sounders (MLS). There are plenty of games to catch and a great fan turnout.
  • Community Engagement: With such a beautiful city, it’s no wonder Seattleites actively engage in their communities. With a strong emphasis on volunteerism and civic participation, the locals really take pride in their city.

Seattle is an attractive destination for anyone looking for career opportunities, natural beauty, cultural experiences, and a vibrant community spirit. There’s plenty more to see and enjoy, but we’ll leave the rest for you to discover.

How Much Does it Cost to Move to Seattle?

Before you start packing your bags, you should understand how much your move will cost. From housing and transportation to daily expenses, take a look at your how much a Seattle move will set you back:

Distance 1 Bedroom 2 – 3 Bedroom 4 – 5 Bedroom
Local (Less than 100 Miles) $349 – $800 $750 – $1900 $1200 – $4464
100 miles $1090 – $1500 $1250 – $1700 $1500 – $3400
250 miles $1200 – $2000 $1500 – $3500 $2,000 – $4800
750 miles $1400 – $2900 $2100 – $6900 $5500 – $7900
1500 miles $1600 – $3200 $2600 – $7400 $6700 – $9500
2500 miles+ $1900 – $3700 $3900 – $8200 $12500+

Our Most Recommended Long Distance Movers for Moving to Seattle

To make your long-distance move to Seattle a little easier, we did the research for you.

Here’s a list of our top recommended moving companies, each chosen for their exceptional service and professionalism.

Best Long Distance Movers - Moving APT

Moving APT

Best Long Distance Movers - Adams Van Lines

Adams Van Lines

Best Long Distance Movers - Native Van Lines

Native Van Lines

The Pros and Cons of Moving to Seattle

When considering a Seattle move, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of heading up north.

Here are the pros and cons of moving to Seattle:

1. Thriving Job Market1. High Cost of Living
Seattle is home to major tech companies and offers abundant job opportunities in various other industries as well.Seattle has a relatively high cost of living, including housing, utilities, and transportation expenses.
2. Natural Beauty and Outdoor Recreation2. Frequent Rainfall
Seattle’s stunning landscapes, including Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, and nearby national parks, offer endless opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration.The city experiences frequent rainfall throughout the year.
3. Cultural Scene and Arts3. Traffic Congestion
Seattle boasts a vibrant arts and cultural scene with world-class museums, theaters, music festivals, and a strong coffee culture.Like many major cities, Seattle experiences traffic congestion, especially during peak commuting hours. Planning transportation accordingly is important.
4. Education Hub4. Grey and Overcast Weather
Seattle is home to renowned universities and colleges, providing excellent educational opportunities across various fields of study.Seattle is often gray and overcast. The lack of sunshine may impact your mood and well-being.
5. Outdoor Recreation5. Population Growth and Increased Competition
Seattle’s proximity to nature offers abundant opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, including hiking, skiing, kayaking, and more.Seattle’s popularity has led to population growth and increased competition in various aspects of life, such as housing and the job market.

While Seattle offers many advantages, there are also potential drawbacks to consider. The high cost of living, frequent rainfall, and traffic congestion may be a drain, but if you’re okay with gray skies and you’re making that Microsoft money, you may be able to take everything in stride.

The Cost of Living in Seattle

The cost of living in Seattle is relatively high compared to the national average. While it may not be as expensive as parts of California and New York, it’s still important to prepare your wallet accordingly.

1. Housing

The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can range from $1,800 to $2,500, while outside the city center, it can be around $1,500 to $2,000. Buying a house in Seattle is also costly: the median home price is about $830,000.

The cost of housing is one of the most significant contributors to your overall cost of living. Renting a house or apartment in desirable parts of Seattle can be expensive, with prices varying based on location, size, and amenities.

2. Utilities

On average, utilities for a typical apartment can cost around $150 to $200 per month. Keep in mind, your exact neighborhood and your use of your utilities will affect how much you end up paying for heating, cooling, electricity, water, and more.

3. Transportation

Gas in Seattle is not cheap. It generally sits at around $5.00 a gallon. Fortunately, Seattle also has a relatively robust public transportation system, which includes buses, light rail, and streetcars. Monthly passes for public transportation can cost around $100 to $120.

4. Food and Groceries

The cost of food and groceries in Seattle is a little pricier than other major cities in the United States. You’ll be able to get by comfortably with $400 a month, but if you decide to dine out more often, you’ll end up spending a lot more. (Seattle has tons of great places to eat, though, so we can’t blame you.)

5. Healthcare

Seattle offers a range of healthcare options, including hospitals, clinics, and specialized medical centers. The cost of your healthcare will vary based on your insurance coverage and specific medical needs. Fortunately, many employers offer comprehensive health insurance plans for their employees.

Seattle may be more expensive than other cities, but it has a lot to offer. Plus, if you choose your neighborhood wisely, you may end up enjoying Seattle on the (relatively) cheap.

What are the Best Places to Live in Seattle?

Seattle offers a diverse range of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm..

Here are just a few of our picks for the top neighborhoods in Seattle:

1. Ballard

Located in northwest Seattle, Ballard has a distinct maritime and Scandinavian influence. Ballard features a thriving arts scene, trendy boutiques, and a wide array of restaurants and breweries. Ballard is also known for its beautiful parks and the historic Ballard Locks.

2. Queen Anne

Perched on a hill overlooking downtown Seattle, Queen Anne is known for its stunning views of the city skyline, historic homes, and tree-lined streets. This part of town offers a mix of residential areas and commercial districts, including the popular Queen Anne Avenue with plenty of shops and restaurants.

3. Fremont

Often referred to as the “Center of the Universe”, Fremont is a quirky and artistic neighborhood you won’t want to miss. With a distinctly bohemian vibe, Fremont boasts colorful public art installations, a bustling Sunday market, and a thriving arts and music scene.

4. Green Lake

Green Lake is a highly sought-after neighborhood, especially for those who enjoy outdoor activities. The highlight of the area is Green Lake Park, a beautiful urban oasis with a 2.8-mile walking and biking path around the lake. There’s also a wide range of single-family homes and apartments for you to pick and choose from.

5. West Seattle

Situated across Elliott Bay, West Seattle offers a more relaxed and suburban atmosphere while still being conveniently close to downtown. West Seattle also features stunning views, beautiful beaches, and the charming West Seattle Junction with local shops and restaurants.

6. Belltown

Located in the heart of downtown Seattle, Belltown is a bustling neighborhood known for nightlife, gastropubs, and its close proximity to iconic attractions like the Pike Place Market and the Seattle waterfront. There’s also a great mix of high-rise apartments and condos if you’re looking for your new home.

Seattle offers a lot more than just these neighborhoods, so we definitely recommend spending some time exploring the city to find your niche. You’ll definitely find a hidden gem or two.

How’s the Seattle Job Market?

If you’re looking for work, you’ll find it in Seattle. The Emerald City has a thriving job market, particularly in the tech industry. Aside from major tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft, you’ll also find with numerous startups and established companies in various sectors.

The technology sector offers a plethora of opportunities in software development, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and other cutting-edge fields. But if you’re not a computer nerd, you can still find plenty of work. Seattle has a strong presence in several other sectors such as aerospace, healthcare, biotechnology, and clean energy.

Seattle has a highly educated workforce, and people come from all over the country (and the world) to work there. While it’s a great sign for the industries that call Seattle home, it can make finding a job pretty competitive for first-time job-seekers and veterans alike. Fortunately, there’s plenty of networking events and job fairs for you to look into.

If you’re ready to pack your bags and get moving, it’s a good idea to do some research ahead of time. Look into the jobs you want to work, send out some applications, and score a few remote interviews before you really commit to your relocation.

What is Seattle Most Known For?

Seattle has a global reputation for good reason. Here are some of the sights and experiences that put the city on the map.

  • Space Needle: The iconic Space Needle is a symbol of Seattle, and a must-visit attraction for locals and tourists alike. Get to the top for breathtaking panoramic views of the city and surrounding landscapes.
  • Coffee Culture: Seattle is synonymous with coffee culture. As the birthplace of Starbucks, the city has a rich coffee heritage and is home to numerous independent coffee shops and roasters.
  • Music Scene: Seattle has had a significant impact on the music industry, particularly in the 1990s with the rise of grunge. The city’s music scene is still going strong: you’ll find live music, renowned venues, and a supportive community for musicians.
  • Outdoor Activities: Surrounded by natural beauty, Seattle offers a wealth of outdoor activities. From hiking and skiing in the nearby mountains to kayaking in Puget Sound and exploring the numerous parks and trails, outdoor enthusiasts are spoiled for choice.
  • Pike Place Market: Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets in the United States. It’s famous for fresh seafood, colorful produce, local artisans, and the iconic fish throwing at the Pike Place Fish Market.
  • Microsoft and Amazon: Microsoft and Amazon are Seattle’s tech industry giants, and their presence has cemented the city’s reputation as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Cultural Diversity: Seattle embraces cultural diversity, with a rich tapestry of communities representing various ethnicities and backgrounds. This diversity is reflected in the city’s vibrant arts, culinary offerings, festivals, and cultural celebrations.

Seattle’s attractions, activities, nightlife, and culture all contribute to a vibrant and unique identity. Whether you’re looking to move or looking to visit, there’s something for everyone.

What are the Best Schools and Universities in Seattle?

Seattle is home to several esteemed educational institutions, offering a range of educational opportunities.

Here are some of our top picks:

  • University of Washington: The University of Washington is a prestigious public research university known for its excellent academics and diverse programs. There’s a whole range of undergraduate and graduate degrees available across every field.
  • Seattle University: Seattle University is a private Jesuit university known for its strong academic programs and commitment to social justice. SU offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in business, law, education, nursing, and more.
  • Bellevue College: Located in nearby Bellevue, Bellevue College offers associate degrees and professional certificates in several fields. It also has a strong transfer program in case you want to head to a four-year university after getting your associate’s.
  • Lakeside School: Lakeside School is a renowned independent college-preparatory school in Seattle. It provides a challenging curriculum and a supportive learning environment for students from elementary to high school.
  • The Northwest School: The Northwest School is an independent school offering education for students in grades 6-12. It emphasizes intellectual growth, creative expression, and social responsibility.

Seattle has a lot to choose from, and education is no exception. While we’re big fans of the schools on our list, there are even more you can find with a little extra research and exploration.

Embracing Seattle: A City of Opportunities

Moving to Seattle presents a wealth of opportunities and experiences. From a thriving job market and breathtaking natural beauty to a vibrant cultural scene and renowned educational institutions, Seattle has plenty to offer for residents and newcomers alike.

If you’re ready to make the move, get in touch with some of our top picks for long distance movers, and we’ll see you in the Emerald City!

PS: At Pricing Van Lines, we’re always publishing new guides and great information on local and long distance moving. Don’t forget to back in with us for tips and info to make moving day even easier!

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