Is Seattle a Good Place to Live? – Pros and Cons of Living in Seattle

aerial photography of Seattle skyline

If you’re considering living in Seattle or already living in Seattle, this guide will help you. In this article, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of living in Seattle.

Sounds helpful? Read on.

Life in the Emerald City

Living in Seattle is an adventure — both from the place and the people.

Seattle, Washington has had a couple of tags. It has been called the Rain City, the Jet City, and even the Coffee Capital of the World. Each of them says something about this great city. However, its greenery has given it a name that has sustained it for a long time now — The Emerald City.

Besides making great coffee, Seattle’s nickname says a lot about its scenery. Its lush, green forests have been a wonder both to residents and visitors. Of course, this is traced to large depths of water in Seattle.

Seattle has the world’s largest population in its houseboats. As of 1920, the city had about 2,500 floating homes in different waterways. Thanks to Lake View water which seemed to improve its quality regularly.

Seattle also has the oldest floating bridge in the world. The Evergreen Point Floating Bridge stretches across Lake Washington and is famous for its width.

Seattle is the home of the original Starbucks and Microsoft. If you’re a tourist, you’ll love to see these things when you get there.

If you ask a true Seattleite to show you these monuments, expect a smirk. And that’s because true Seattleites don’t care about those things.

Did You Know?

Seattleite” has become a slang used in a mildly derogatory way for someone who consumes excessive amounts of coffee.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Living in Seattle

There’s more to Seattle than viewing the Space Needle and sipping coffee.

We’ve put together details that’ll either encourage you to live in Seattle or deter you from the same. But first, a summary.

Pros of Living in SeattleCons of Living in Seattle
Great EducationHigh Cost of Living
Great Food and CoffeeSeattleites are an Unfriendly Bunch
Seattle is Animal-FriendlyIt’s Not 100% Summer Weather in Seattle
No State Income TaxTraffic is Frustrating
Temperate WeatherThere’s Not Much Fun in Seattle

Pros of Living in Seattle

1.   Great Education

A city with over 50% literates? Must be Seattle! Being one of the most educated cities in America, Seattle models greatness for students.

In Seattle, over 50% of residents above 25 years can boast of University degrees. That’s something in my opinion.

If we’re going to compare the number of the educated populace in other cities, Seattle beats them by far. This explains why Seattle boasts of having the highest cluster of brainpower.

2.   Great Food and Coffee

What’s a pro list without this legacy? Seattle is famous for its good coffee. There’s an array of restaurants with top-notch coffee options to try out.

With about 2,300 of them, Seattle has the greatest concentration of restaurants in all of the United States. You’re sure to have many places to try out a variety of cuisines.

If you love good food and coffee, you can choose to live in Seattle because of the variety.

3.   Seattle is Animal-Friendly

Seattle lives by the “A dog is man’s best friend” adage. If you’re sensitive, the first thing you’ll notice in Seattle is the attachment to cats and dogs.

Couples can choose to not have children, and decide to rear cats or dogs. Safe to say pets are more preferred than children in Seattle.

And don’t be discouraged, this is not a ban on having kids. It’s only a preference.

4.   No State Income Tax

Washington is one of the 9 states in the United States without state tax. And this is a big deal when you calculate it.

Let’s say you earn $50,000 monthly and you have to pay state income tax of 10%. This is asides from all other expenses you’ll have to handle for the month.

Remember tax is progressive too. You earn more, you pay more. However, states with no state income tax rely on sales tax. So you also have to watch out for your purchases.

Since there’s no state income tax, they make up for it through sales tax. But you can be smart about it. Instead of picking up things in bits, buy supplies in bulk to evade heavy sales taxes.

5.   Temperate Weather

It’s never too hot or too cold in Seattle. The weather is just perfect for all body types. Above all, Seattle is the best city for those with allergies.

Cons of Living in Seattle

1.   High Cost of Living

Life gets hard in Seattle, especially when you don’t have the means. A great necessity as housing is most expensive in Seattle. A budget of $300,000 may not even cut it.

It gets worse if you’re looking to live downtown (since it’s most interesting there). If you really want to live in Seattle, then go for houses farther away from downtown. It’s much cheaper there.

2.   Seattleites are an Unfriendly Bunch

Seattle may not be the best place to make new friends. Everyone seems to have the clique spirit — “You’re either in my circle or not”.

And this is the general Washington attitude. In 2019, a poll of 1,200 respondents in Washington and Oregon was held. Results showed that 40% of the respondents said making new friends is not important to them.

People in other cities fear missing out on key activities. On the contrary, Seattleites experience the opposite— joy. They’re not just interested in what you’re offering.

In the same poll, 49% responded not to be interested in interacting with people they don’t know.

Well, if you’re going to live in Seattleites, don’t take it personally. Maybe it’s just the city.

3.   It’s Not 100% Summer Weather in Seattle

Wait up. I know Seattle has been praised for its awesome weather, but there’s a dent. Though the weather gets everyone comfortable, it experiences a lot of annoying gray skies.

You know those dark skies that can’t decide whether it’s going to rain or not? Yes, that one. According to some residents, it gets very depressing, especially between October and early May.

So if you decide to live in Seattle, get ready to start saying good night from 4:30 pm.

4.   Traffic is Frustrating

Seattle is one of the cities with bad congestion in the United States. Its congestion history can be traced to Seattle’s rising population.

In 2022, Seattle boasts of 3,489,000 residents which is a 0.8% rise from its number in 2021. Since Seattle is a major Washington city, there’s an influx of commuters going into the city for daily work.

If you stay in the greater Seattle area, you’ll have to deal with the traffic daily.

5.   There’s Not Much Fun in Seattle

Compared to bustling cities like California or Canada, Seattle doesn’t offer much fun. There are several residents leaving Seattle in search of fun.

If fun means so much to you, Seattle may not give you the satisfaction you crave.

Frequently Asked Questions About Living in Seattle

Can I raise a family in Seattle?

Why not? A greater part of Seattle tends to be safe. In addition, there’s a truckload of social amenities available to all ages. From resources to social services, you name it.

Is it safe to live in Seattle?

Yes. Statistically, Seattle has a low crime rate when compared to other bustling cities.

Where is the safest part of Seattle to live?

Based on feedback from residents, Lake City is the safest neighborhood in Seattle. But it’s not all there is. Some other safe places are:

  • Bryn Mawr-Skyway
  • 28th Avenue SW
  • Magnolia Boulevard
  • 3rd Avenue NW

Where is the most dangerous part of Seattle?

Though Seattle has a low violent crime rate, the theft and property crime rate is quite high. The property rate in Seattle is up to 53.5% of the 83% general crime rate. Here are the most dangerous neighborhoods in Seattle:

  • Rainier Beach
  • Riverview
  • University District
  • Capitol Hill
  • Ballard
  • Burien
  • Beacon Hill
  • South Lake Union
  • Brighton

Is Portland Friendlier than Seattle?

Yes. Portlanders are one of the friendliest people you’d ever meet. In 2016, Portland ranked 14th most hospitable city among southern cities.

Why is homelessness a problem in Seattle?

Mainly because of the high cost of living. The cost of living in Seattle is 56.8% higher than the national average. Houses are unaffordable and the basic wage is low. Because of the number of homeless people on the streets, the rate of property crimes seems to increase.

Is Seattle safe from natural disasters?

Seattle, like many other cities, is not immune from natural disasters. Nonetheless, natural disasters are quite uncommon in Seattle.

There could be smaller occurrences like flooding and mudslides. Full-blown disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis are not common.

Finally, Seattle is Always a Good Idea

Beyond the cons of living there, Seattle is first a state of mind. In the end, it becomes what you make of it.