SeattleCity Guide

Seattle is the largest metropolitan city in the nature-lovers’ paradise that is the Pacific Northwest. And it’s only getting larger — for three consecutive years, Seattle has landed in the top five big cities for population growth in the country.1 Locals credit the wealth of job opportunities and above average work-life balance for bringing people to Seattle in droves, and subsequently, keeping them there.

Local Perspectives

Get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to live in Seattle, as told by locals.

Local Perspectives

archetype Carolyn Hogan

Finance Associate at Starbucks Headquarters

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City guide: Moving to Seattle - Carolyn Hogan

Time spent in Seattle

The better half of my life! About 15 years. Although I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, I was adopted by Seattle in late 2001, and it has yet to give me a reason to leave!

Why Seattle

Originally, Seattle wasn’t necessarily a choice. My family and I moved out to the Pacific Northwest (PNW) to be closer to family. But, what has kept me in Seattle? First, nature: Where else can you find a sandy beach, a mountain, a lake, a sound, and a bustling city all within a 30-mile radius? Second, the food — especially fish, and coffee — is exquisite!

I’m also drawn in by Seattle’s innovation ecosystem. With superheroes like Microsoft and Amazon in the area, there are tons of start-ups spinning out with new exciting ideas. This attracts a lot of young talent and has created a Silicon Valley-feel to the PNW.

Best place to live

I live in Capitol Hill, a trendy, lively, and energetic neighborhood that’s walking distance from the heart of downtown Seattle. Capitol Hill is exploding with eclectic restaurants with delicious cuisines, juice shops, dance clubs, workout studios, and small retail boutiques. In my neighborhood, the crosswalks are rainbows and the shop lights are neon! Another good area is Fremont, which is close to the water and a bit more secluded then Capitol Hill. It offers a full view of the Seattle skyline and has a great food scene. South Lake Union area also has great views, retail, and restaurants, but right now it’s the prime place to be in the Seattle market, so it’s incredibly expensive.

City guide: Moving to Seattle - Space Needle

One of Seattle’s most well-known skyscrapers, the Space Needle


Getting around

Around 7 a.m. every morning, the Link Light Rail will seem like a mini London underground! Inner-city commuters typically take the Link to work, and certain companies like Amazon and Microsoft provide shuttles to and from work. The bus is also popular for college students. There are also bikers galore, and if it’s nice out, people will walk without hesitation. Most people do own cars but traffic is awful!

Surprises about Seattle

It’s not as rainy as everyone says! Sure, we do have three or four months out of the year where the sun never asserts itself through the gray clouds, but once you make it to March, you will understand why people live here. Seattle summers are our secret! I think people in the PNW, and Seattle especially, truly appreciate the outdoors. Everyone is outside in their free time — sipping a refreshing beverage in Gas Works Park, walking the Leschi Lake Washington Boulevard, shopping at the outdoor University Village mall, walking through Pike Place, eating brunch on rooftops … you name it. Rain or shine, Seattle people are grateful for fresh air.

You’re not a local if…

You’re carrying an umbrella! Invest in a durable — and fashionable — raincoat.

Local Perspectives

archetype Steve Kane

Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft

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City guide: Moving to Seattle - Steven Kane

Time spent in Seattle

Three and a half years.

Best neighborhood, IMO

Capitol Hill. Most people who are transplants working for Microsoft or Amazon, in their early-to-mid 20s, find themselves living in Capitol Hill. The hill is where most of the fun and excitement is for the going-out scene. There are a lot of restaurants, and it’s just a super diverse area — different ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations, a lot of different types of people. Other neighborhoods I’d recommend would be Belltown, Ballard, Fremont, and South Lake Union.

Surprises about Seattle

I’m surprised that I’m still here. I think a lot of people originally move here viewing Seattle as a holding period — somewhere that would be transient. But between working for a really good employer and having a really great work-life balance, Seattle has an amazing set up so it’s hard to leave. I think in the almost four years that I’ve been here there have been a lot of fun, exciting, cool people that have moved here. Everyone just has a really positive impression of Seattle. If they haven’t been, they’ve heard really good things about Seattle; or if they visit, they love it here.

City guide: Moving to Seattle - Pike Place Market

Seattle’s Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets in the U.S.


Finding housing

It’s the hottest housing market in the country. In terms of finding an apartment to rent, you’re not going to have any trouble. But if you want a nice place, a one bedroom, you’re looking at around $1,800 here. You do get a pretty good value for your buck — I’m paying $2,000 a month for a one bedroom, but I’m in the middle of Capitol Hill, I have nice finishings and amenities, and I feel like I live in a beautiful place, whereas $2,000 in San Francisco or New York would be a serious downgrade.

Favorite day-trip

There’s an amazing number of things to see that are very close to the area that not a lot of Americans get to explore. Portland is three hours south and very easy to get to. Whistler is a great ski option a few hours north in Canada. In the summer, there are amazing concerts at the Gorge Amphitheater three hours east. And the entire West Coast has so much to explore. There’s a ton of nature in Oregon, California, and Arizona. All of my friends have done a bunch of National Park trips, and there are a ton of hiking options.

The West-Coast vibe

The type of person who moves to Seattle, especially out of college, is very individualistic. There’s no judgment in this city; there’s a lot of headspace to just be who you are. And I feel like there aren’t a lot of cities in the world that just let you grow into yourself that organically.

Text by Emily Yates