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Pros and Cons of Life in Seattle

From its booming industries to its beautiful natural landscape, it’s no wonder Seattle is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. With so many people moving to Seattle in recent years, you might be asking, should I move there, too? 

While every major metropolitan city has its own distinct pros and cons, Seattle’s unique characteristics offer plenty of reasons to move to this distinct metropolis. 

Pro: Growing Industries and Blooming Job Market

Seattle’s burgeoning tech industry has greatly enriched the Emerald City and expanded its job market. A CBRE report shows that Seattle had the highest growth of any high-tech job market, adding 34,000 jobs for a 25.7% increase in 2017. With some of the best companies to work for in Seattle, the unemployment rate hovers between three and four percent as the number of available jobs continues to go up. 

Con: Expensive and Confusing Housing Market

A thriving job market is always a positive, but such rapid expansion can have adverse effects. And, although there are many affordable and attractive furnished apartments in Seattle, much of the housing market is quite expensive. With only one additional unit of housing for every 3.3 new jobs, the real estate market may struggle to keep up with an increasing population. This supply-and-demand imbalance contributes to the rising housing cost a growing homeless population. 

 Seattle consistently ranks in the top ten most expensive cities to live in—currently seated at number five—with housing cited as the most significant expense. According to a report by not-for-profit Up for Growth, nearly half of the Seattle metropolitan area is spending more than 30% of their monthly income on housing. Although, you can find great places by browsing our Seattle neighborhood guide

The Pro within the Con

Available housing inventory is steadily growing. This should mitigate the current competitiveness and slow the spike in prices. Seattle also has relatively low property taxes, and Washington is one of seven income-tax-free states, although residents pay for it with higher-than-average sales tax. 

Pro: Food From Around the World Right At Your Fingertips 

Seattle secured the #8 spot on Insider’s list of the best U.S. cities for foodies, ranking sixth in “diversity, accessibility, and quality.” 

Whether you’re craving tacos, curry, dolma, cheeseburgers, or dessert, you can find an outstanding Seattle restaurant that serves exactly what you’re looking for. Two of its best and most notable culinary genres, however, are seafood and Asian-fusion. 

With its proximity to the water, it’s no surprise that Seattle seafood is as popular as it is. From oysters at The Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard to seafood chowder at South Lake Union’s White Swan Public House, Seattle seafood is bound to entice foodies. 

Some of Seattle’s best food can also be found at Vietnamese pho bar, Dong Thap Noodles, or legendary sushi restaurant, Maneki. Teriyaki has become increasingly popular throughout the large city, with some of the richest and tastiest offerings at Ichiro Teriyaki. 

In addition to the creativity and innovation found in Seattle’s culinary scene, the temperate climate also means plenty of fresh produce year-round, enhancing the flavor and quality of each dish. Pike Place Market is among the best farmers’ markets in the U.S. 

Con: Steep Prices

The price of food in Seattle isn’t drastically higher than its counterparts across the country. And with a high overall cost of living, most other expenses become inflated as well. Food is no exception. 

According to Insider, Seattle’s food scene ranked 168th in affordability. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a casual lunchtime meal for less than $15, and the cost of groceries is 27% higher than the national average. 

The Pro within the Con

As with anything, though, you get what you pay for. Because it’s more expensive to cultivate and grow fresh, organic meat and produce, Seattle residents pay for quality over quantity. Seattleites expect premium ingredients in their meals, which results in increased expenses and higher subsequent prices.

But Seattle residents may reap an extra benefit with their “expensive” taste. Seattle was recently ranked the 2nd most healthy city in the US. It’s not too far of a reach to assume the higher quality produce and meals available in this foodie haven may play a major role in the healthy lives and lifestyles of Seattle residents.  

Pro: Proximity to Other Major Cities

Seattle is only a three-hour drive from Vancouver, British Columbia to the north and Portland, Oregon to the south. Despite sharing the Pacific Northwest identity, both cities still have plenty new to offer.

Vancouver’s natural beauty rivals Seattle’s with English Bay, Whistler mountain, and an abundance of trails, rivers, and parks. Plus, shopping in Vancouver offers a cost-effective solution for Seattle shop-aholics. The last time the Canadian dollar was on par with the U.S. was in 2008. Today, an American dollar is worth 1.3 times a Canadian dollar, meaning every penny will get you about 1.3 times as far as in Vancouver than it would in Seattle. 

Portland is a fun and quirky destination, known for its breweries, coffee shop varieties, hipster thrift stores, and tattoo parlors. It also houses Powell’s, the world’s largest independent bookstore, covering an entire city block, plus the original Voodoo Donuts and Salt & Straw ice cream. 

Whatever their interests, residents in Seattle’s neighborhoods are a quick road trip away from a new city and a new adventure along the Pacific Northwest. 

Con: Traffic

The I-5—the west coast’s major north-south Interstate highway—runs right through downtown Seattle. The I-5 conveniently takes you to Vancouver, Portland, and through the major cities in California if you keep following it south, but it also makes getting into and out of the city at rush hour a pain in the neck. The congestion makes Seattle traffic some of the worst in the continent

The Pro in the Con

Luckily, Seattle has the country’s best public transportation, according to a recent study from WalletHub. You can even bypass most car traffic using specific modes of public transit, such as the Light Link Rail and the Water Taxis (like buses utilizing the large city’s waterways). 

Pro: Lush Greenery & Picturesque Landscapes

They don’t call Seattle the “Emerald City” for nothing. Seattle regularly ranks high on lists of the most beautiful destinations, the best places to live if you love the outdoors, and the most environmentally friendly cities in the U.S. 

It has nearly 500 parks that span 6,400 acres. There are hundreds of miles of trails to walk or bike along. You can stand on the beach and still enjoy breathtaking views of the mountains. 

Rather than suffering through sweltering heat in the summer and frigid winds in the winter, residents enjoy Seattle’s temperate climate all year long. Average temperatures are a pleasant 72°F in the summer and a moderate 53°F in the winter, hardly ever dropping to 32°F even in the coldest parts of the year. With such mild weather, you likely won’t have to give up spending precious time outdoors. 

Con: The Perpetual Drizzle

Why do you think it’s so beautifully lush and green in Seattle’s neighborhoods? Because “April showers bring May flowers.” Although in Seattle’s case, “April” showers start in November and last until nearly June.

The Pro within the Con

Despite its reputation, did you know that Seattle doesn’t even rank in the top ten of the rainiest cities in the US? That’s because Seattle rainfall is mild but consistent. It rains about 156 days per year, but all that rain only amounts to 37.7 inches. Seattleites can expect a modest sprinkle or an overcast sky more often than not. 

Moving to Seattle? Keep Your Options Open with Landing

Similar to any major city, there are distinct pros and cons of living in Seattle. If you’ve made it through the list feeling confident that you can handle a little bad with the good, Landing is ready to get you settled in a matter of days. If you’re still on the fence, Landing’s flexible leases and relocation housing allows you to test out Seattle living short-term, without the pressure to commit. 

With no long-term leases, zero hassle, 24/7 concierge service, and fully furnished apartments, Landing renders the decision to relocate much less daunting. With that on your mind, keep reading to determine if Seattle’s abundant benefits outweigh its most significant drawbacks.  

And once you’re there? 

If you can handle a little rain, a lot of tempting food, and the occasional Mariners upset, you might find yourself without a reason to leave.

Sources:

CBRE. 2018 TECH-30: Measuring Tech Industry Impact Across North American Markets. https://www.cbre.us/research-and-reports/Tech-30-2018

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Local Area Unemployment Statistics. https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LAUMT 

GeekWire. Cost of living study ranks Seattle as fifth most expensive U.S. city to live in. https://www.geekwire.com/2019/cost-living-study-ranks-seattle-fifth-expensive-u-s-city-live/

Up for Growth. Housing Underproduction in Washington State. https://www.upforgrowth.org/sites/default/files/2020-01/HousingUnderproductionInWashingtonState2020-01-10.pdf

GeekWire. Seattle is second toughest housing market in the U.S. for first-time buyers, Zillow reports. https://www.geekwire.com/2019/seattle-second-toughest-housing-market-u-s-first-time-buyers-zillow-reports/

Insider. The 25 best US cities for foodies. https://www.insider.com/best-cities-in-the-us-for-foodies-2019-10

KomoNews. Seattle’s traffic is among the worst in North America, study says. https://komonews.com/news/local/seattles-traffic-is-among-the-worst-in-north-america-study-says

WalletHub. Cities with the Best & Worst Public Transportation. https://wallethub.com/edu/cities-with-the-best-worst-public-transportation/65028/

Seattle.gov. Parks & Recreation. https://www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us

SeattleMet. The 15 Best City Trails in Seattle. https://www.seattlemet.com/travel-and-outdoors/2019/03/city-trails

WeatherSpark. Average Weather in Seattle. https://weatherspark.com/y/913/Average-Weather-in-Seattle-Washington-United-States-Year-Round.

TripSavvy. The Truth About the Weather and Rain in Seattle. https://www.tripsavvy.com/does-it-really-rain-in-seattle.

PayScale. Cost of Living in Seattle, Washington. https://www.payscale.com/cost-of-living-calculator/Washington-Seattle

Patch. Seattle is 2nd-Most Healthy City in U.S. https://patch.com/washington/seattle/seattle-2nd-most-healthy-city-u-s-study-says#:~:text=SEATTLE%2C%20WA%20%2D%20Kudos%20to%20anyone,in%20terms%20of%20healthy%20behavior.