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10 Things to Know About Living in Seattle

Are you considering a move to the Emerald City? It's not surprising, given that living in Seattle is an experience like no other. The population of Seattle increases by approximately 2.5 percent every year for a reason.

However, just like everywhere else in the world, there are perks and drawbacks to calling Seattle home. Let's explore the 10 things you should know if you're interested in living in Seattle.

1. Seattle costs a pretty penny

Seattle's overall cost of living is 57 percent higher than the national average when you factor in groceries, utilities, transportation, health care and housing.

And, you'll see that reflected in rent prices:

  • A studio apartment in Seattle averages $1,734 a month
  • The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is about $2,468
  • Two-bedroom apartments in Seattle average about $3,767 monthly

Some neighborhoods are more costly than others. The closer you live to Downtown Seattle, the more expensive your monthly rent will likely be.

  • Queen Anne, known for its 19th-century homes, is a favorite with families and senior citizens, but it's a tad bit expensive, averaging $2,549 for a one-bedroom apartment
  • Twenty-somethings love the vibe of Capitol Hill, which is a major entertainment district, but apartments come with a high price tag, averaging $2,427 for a one-bedroom apartment
  • You can get a similar experience for a lower cost in Interbay, which averages $1,808 for a one-bedroom apartment

seattle rain

2. There's a reason it's called Rainy City

Often referred to as Rainy City, Seattle experiences rain about 152 days a year. That being said, many Seattleites don't own an umbrella. In the off-chance that they do, you'll rarely see them carrying it around with them. The rainfall in Seattle is typically a drizzle, so umbrellas are often unnecessary. Most people put on a windbreaker and call it a day.

3. There are no fair-weather sports fans here

Nothing brings people living in Seattle together quite like sports. Seattleites are diehard loyal supporters of their sports teams, even when they aren't winning games.

Major League Baseball's Mariners play their home games at T-Mobile Park. Meanwhile, Major League Soccer's Sounders' matches and National Football League's Seahawks' home games take place at CenturyLink Field.

Seattle also has a noteworthy college sports scene. The University of Washington has the most celebrated athletics department. Most people root for UW's Huskies, but there's also a lot of love for Seattle University's Redhawks.

4. Who needs cars? Public transportation rules

One thing you'll discover is Seattleites avoid driving. Some folks have lived in the city for so long that they've shed their cars in favor of mass transit. And for good reason: Wallethub recently ranked Seattle No. 1 in the nation for best overall public transportation.

The lack of free parking also deters a lot of Seattleites from frequently driving. It's much easier to call an Uber or a Lyft than to drive your own car — especially if you want to avoid rush hour, which is heaviest between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., as well as between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

seattle public market

5. Food options are endless

The culinary options in Seattle are extensive. No matter what you're hungry for, there's a restaurant somewhere in the city that will satisfy your cravings. Pike Place Market offers an incredible seafood selection, as do many restaurants along the water. Chinatown and the University District are jam-packed with excellent Asian eateries. And Greenwood and Ballard are home to must-try Mexican restaurants.

6. You'll get your fill of local music and culture

Music is a major component of the culture in Seattle. The underground music scene is impressive, and you'll find small shows happening all over the city on any given night. Prominent modern-day artists Macklemore and Odesza are only a couple of the many musical talents originally from Seattle.

Seattle also has great museums, which provide an excellent porthole to the city. A great example is the Seattle Art Museum, commonly referred to as the SAM, which consists of the main museum downtown, the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill and the open Olympic Sculpture Park on the central Seattle waterfront. There's also the Museum of Pop Culture, or the MoPOP, which has hosted exhibitions on tattoo culture and Nirvana.

7. Seattleites dress for comfort

For people who aren't hip to Seattle's vibe, the fashion of Seattleites might be confusing. But it all boils down to comfort. Think Birkenstocks (with socks) topped off with threads from brands including Lululemon, Athletica, Patagonia and North Face. The frequent rainy weather and overcast skies play a significant role in the desire to wear athleisure, sweaters and waterproof jackets all the time, no matter what season.

8. Seattle is an outdoors oasis

The American College of Sports Medicine ranked Seattle No. 2 among America's fittest cities. Nearly every neighborhood offers a handful of parks and even beaches in backyards.

Some of the most notable adventure sports spots in the city include Lake Washington, Green Lake and Lake Union. You can also venture beyond city limits and hit nearby Snoqualmie Pass for snow sports or Olympic National Park for rainforest trekking.

seattle living coffee

9. If you don't already drink coffee, Seattle will change that

Everyone knows Starbucks originated here. While there are Starbucks stores on nearly every corner of the city, locals also flock to a number of smaller, neighborhood coffee shops. A few favorites include Milstead & Co., Café Umbria, Ladro and Slate Coffee Bar.

10. Seattle is a safer city than most

Seattle is a relatively safe area to live in compared to other major cities. Even so, certain parts of the city are safer than others.

The safest neighborhoods in Seattle include:

  • Ballard
  • Fremont
  • Green Lake
  • Laurelhurst
  • Madrona
  • Magnolia
  • Montlake
  • Phinney Ridge
  • Queen Anne
  • Ravenna
  • Sunset Hill
  • Wallingford
  • Windermere

Even in these neighborhoods, it's important to remember that Seattle is a big city, and crime can happen anywhere.

Living in Seattle

While it's definitely not the sunniest place to be, Seattle percolates with opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Are you ready to drink it all up? Find your new home today.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and's multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. Data was pulled in October 2020 and goes back for one year. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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10 Things to Know About Living in Seattle


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