Updated 5 months ago

Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest and is growing each year. Its location among stunning sea and mountain views, excellent schools, and solid job market all contribute to making it an appealing destination. Expats moving to central Seattle will be pleased to know that it is well covered by a public transportation network made up of ferries, a light rail, and commuter trains. This is important because Seattle has some of the worst traffic congestion in the country. And while housing costs are increasing each year, the overall cost of living remains relatively low.

For general advice on searching for a home and signing a lease in the United States, see the article Accommodation in the USA.

Neighborhoods in Seattle

Expats moving to Seattle may face some difficult choices when searching for accommodation. Housing prices have been increasing steadily, so it may be tempting to move to the suburbs to have a larger home at a more affordable cost. However, Seattle has some of the worst traffic in the entire United States, meaning that your budget and commute time are likely to be the biggest determining factors when choosing a Seattle neighborhood. Some of Seattle’s most popular areas are listed below.

Seattle’s downtown is popular among young professionals and executives who don’t need a ton of space (housing consists mostly of apartments) and want easy access to their office. Lower Queen Anne and Belltown are two popular neighborhoods in the city center and are home to some of Seattle’s best restaurants and nightlife.

North Seattle is more popular among families because of its proximity to multiple schools, as well as the mix of housing — principally single-family homes and townhouses. Ballard, in particular, is beloved for its winding, tree-lined streets, and plethora of boutiques and hip restaurants. It also offers lovely views of the surrounding mountains and Puget Sound.

West Seattle is one of the most affluent areas in the city and is home to stunning views and diverse nature. The Junction is a very walkable neighborhood with lots of family-friendly restaurants. It is popular among families but you will need a car in this area since it is a bit isolated from the city center.

Accommodation and cost of living

Most residents of the Seattle metropolitan area live in apartments and lofts. Like many urban areas, accommodation size will shrink and costs will increase as you get closer to the center. As you move away from downtown, single-family homes are also common rental options. Depending on the neighborhood, monthly rent for an 85m² (900 ft²) apartment averages from USD 2000 to USD 2500. A smaller apartment of about 45m² (480 ft²) averages between USD 1250 to USD 1750.

Generally, a Seattle apartment lease will include charges such as water, gas, trash service, and building maintenance. If you choose to lease a house, it is at the owner's discretion if these services are included or not. Most Seattle accommodations will have some kind of heating unit and most will include major appliances such as a refrigerator and stove/oven. Usually, apartments include one designated parking space, although older buildings may not.

Life in Seattle

Seattle is an outdoor lover’s paradise. All manner of outdoor adventures such as rock climbing, skiing, and windsurfing are easily accessible. Whale watching, kayaking, and deep sea fishing are also popular as well as visits to nearby Mount Rainier. Still, there’s plenty to do inside as well. The Space Needle, Seattle Art Museum, Pacific Science Center, and Experience Music Project are all popular attractions. Also, as the original home of Starbucks, Seattle boasts a vibrant coffee scene and café culture. Foodies will want to visit the many farmers’ markets, and the Pike Place Market in particular.

Nestled between the Puget Sound, the Pacific Ocean, and Lake Washington, Seattle’s climate is classified as temperate. Extreme highs or lows are uncommon — winters rarely bring freezing temperatures and summer highs are rarely above 24°C. Seattle’s cloud cover is a unique aspect of the climate — even though it is one of the cloudiest places in the United States, it doesn’t have a lot of rain. Precipitation in this region is usually a light but constant drizzle.

Useful Links: housing in Seattle
Seattle Times housing ads
Craigslist housing ads
100 free and almost-free things to do in Seattle
Seattle Police Department - Crime Map

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