16 Pros and Cons of Living in Seattle, WA

Updated On October 9, 2023

Being the northernmost tip of the lower 48 states comes with plenty of positives.

Many are attracted to move to Seattle for the beauty and flourishing businesses.

However, there is more to the coffee and tech giant than meets the eye.

Come along with us as we get a better understanding of what makes Seattle both special and nerve-wracking for those who call it home.

Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA

Pros of Living in Seattle, WA

1. Unending Scenery

Not only is the downtown one of the most recognizable skylines, thanks to the Space Needle, but Seattle is also only a backdrop for the beauty surrounding it.

You are a ferry ride from Vancouver, Canada, a two-hour drive to Mount Rainier, and a two-and-a-half drive to Mount Saint Helens.

We are just getting started with all the green space in Washington.

Truly an adventure for hikers who love the city.

2. Business Hub

Thanks to Microsoft, it would be an understatement to say big tech like Seattle.

With the computer giant leading the way, many others have moved to the area to be closer to their influence.

That, of course, allows more business to come up from behind that are from a wide variety of genres.

So, the unemployment rate is basically the lowest in the country, around three percent. 

3. Proximity to Asia

One massive pro for travelers is Seattle’s proximity to LAX, the airport of Los Angeles.

The cheapest flights in the US out to Asia happen from LAX.

Heck, even flights to Hawaii are quite budget-friendly from LA.

You might be thinking, “Why not fly out from Seattle?”

Sure, you can.

It will save you around 50% to take the trip from LAX, though.

Even adding on the added expense of getting to California, you’d still save.

4. Freshest Seafood

From movies to MTV’s Real World, Pike Place Fish Market has been a cultural icon for years.

The way the fish is tossed around and people can come take a look at the freshest catch is something most traveling to the area look out for.

Just to say they saw it.

This is one of the big benefits of living on the ocean.

No longer will you have to wonder where your fish came from if you sit down at a Seattle restaurant.

5. Healthy Citizens

Speaking of fresh food, the people of Seattle ranked in the top three US cities for their health.

With all the money flowing into this coastal town, it makes sense that the quality of everything ticks up a bit.

The air is clean and green space is accessible.

Like those who live in Colorado, Seattle citizens lead a healthier lifestyle when compared with other major cities.

6. Safety Rating

In a place that is continuously growing, you might be surprised to learn that Seattle has one of the lowest crime rates of the biggest US cities.

In the past couple of years, there has been a slow rise in violent crimes, but the authorities are working to come up with solutions to that problem.

However, the fear of being a victim is the lowest it has ever been in the area.

7. Being Caffeinated

The most well-known coffee shop in the world, Starbucks, is from Seattle.

As is Seattle’s Best, once a competitor to Starbucks but is now owned by them.

The Emerald City may not have the most coffee shops per capita, but what it does have is the highest quality.

At least that’s how the score tallies up, anyway.

That might also have something to do with the people being some of the most caffeinated in the country.

8. No State Income Tax

Less than 20% of states have made income tax a moot point.

Taxes are one of the biggest points of concern across the land.

Lucky for those in Washington, state income tax is one less worry.

For Seattleites, this is a huge benefit.

The cost of living is pretty high, so the fact that they do not have to pay the state for the money made is a win.

Perhaps it can be saved and some used for trips when it gets a little too gray.

Cons of Living in Seattle, WA

1. Cost of Living

This is definitely a situation that can be best defined as the good comes with the bad.

As stated, Seattle’s job market is popping.

That means it is a city that many are moving to for better opportunities.

As encouraging as it is, an influx of people can cause a surge in prices, especially when it comes to housing and transportation.

Seattle is currently dealing with the impact of keeping life possible for all walks of life.

2. Overpopulation

Speaking of a surge in prices, not only is the housing market impossibly tight, but it is also impossibly expensive for most people.

What is happening is, that people with lower-paying jobs are unable to afford to live in the city where they work.

That is going to start having more and more influence on those jobs as time moves forward.

Citizens are not going to be willing to travel from the suburbs for low pay.

Either the pay will have to increase substantially or some housing will have to be made accessible for a variety of budgets. 

3. Traffic

If you have ever traveled to any major city, along with the first two cons on the list, this is unlikely to shock you.

The reality is, with so many people crowding into Seattle, there are only so many roads it can handle.

Locals might be more willing to walk, but the area is a bit sprawling.

The likelihood of living close enough to even bike to work is low.

Then, because of many workers being pushed further out, the highways become a bottleneck in the downtown. 

4. Weather

Surprisingly, Seattle is not the rainiest place to live in the US.

Despite being portrayed as such, it is not even in the top five.

It might be more noticeable, though, due to people coming from drier areas and experiencing the rain.

Seattle is also in a rain shadow and gets a lot of mist because of the mountains close by.

Seattle is the cloudiest city in the continental US.

Sunshine is appreciated here more than in other places, for sure.

5. Mental Health

Dreary weather is not just a bummer for outdoor activities.

Seattle ranks the highest for depression in the nation.

It is important to note that even though the lifestyles are healthier, that does not necessarily have as much of an impact on mental health as some would think.

People have to deal with overcast skies, increasingly higher rent, and the stresses that come with a city bursting with newbies. 

6. Unfriendly Neighbors

Seattle is not alone when it comes to long-time locals not being excited about a city’s growth.

Austin, TX is notorious for not wanting anyone to move there.

So, it is not surprising that making friends is not the easiest task in the last city before hitting Canada.

You would have more luck becoming friends with other implants than finding someone who can show you the ropes.

7. Public Transportation

With traffic being a massive pain, you would think city budgets would be pouring into other ways for citizens to get around.

Unfortunately, that has not been shown to be the case.

Perhaps that is part of why the traffic is so bad.

People will do anything to avoid dealing with delays or canceled routes.

Being late for work or other events is too much of a concern to regularly take the train or bus.

8. Lack of Diversity

The population of Seattle is broken down to 66% European descent, 17% Asian American, 7% African American, 7% Hispanic, 1% Native American or Pacific Islander, and 2% other.

To be fair, there is a mix.

It is just not as much of a mix as you get in other big cities.

There is also a healthy and thriving Asian population in Seattle that many are proud of. 

Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA

Pros and Cons of Living in Seattle, WA – Summary Table

Pros of Living in Seattle, WACons of Living in Seattle, WA
1. Unending Scenery1. Cost of Living
2. Business Hub2. Overpopulation
3. Proximity to Asia3. Traffic
4. Freshest Seafood4. Weather
5. Healthy Citizens5. Mental Health
6. Safety Rating6. Unfriendly Neighbors
7. Being Caffeinated7. Public Transportation
8. No State Income Tax8. Lack of Diversity

Seattle Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Seattle Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Seattle lean politically?

This technology hub is classified as a liberal city and leans heavily left during elections.

You can expect a majority of citizens to vote democrat across the board.

This is a very open-minded place, so alternative lifestyles are welcome and there’s an active LGBTQ+ community.

Does Seattle have a good nightlife?

There is a wildly popular night scene that might be more unique than most people give it credit for.

Jazz clubs and speak-easies are all the rage, in addition to a plethora of bars to check out.

Yes, it is the 20s, just not the 20s you’re probably thinking of.

That might make you want to visit, no?

Can you go swimming in Seattle?

There are several great beaches with sand that you can enjoy in the metro area.

Pudget Sound is one of the most popular places to hit the water, either on your own or in a boat.

Outside of that, there are plenty of lakes and rivers around to keep you busy.

Does it snow in Seattle?

A few times a year, there is enough cold and precipitation to create an accumulation of snow.

When it happens, it can get heavy.

No snow does not mean it is not freezing or not full of ice, either.

If you are traveling or thinking of moving, take a good look at the average temperature variances over the course of the year.

What is Seattle best known for?

Aside from Starbucks and Microsoft, Seattle is famous for the birth of grunge music.

A multitude of successful musicians has come from the area, such as Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, Layne Staley, Jimi Hendrix, Dan Peters, Mia Zapata, and Sir Mix-A-Lot to name a few.

1 Comment on 16 Pros and Cons of Living in Seattle, WA

  1. Seattle has many positive aspects such as beautiful scenery, a thriving business hub, proximity to Asia, fresh seafood, healthy citizens, low crime rate, and no state income tax, but it also has its drawbacks like high cost of living, overpopulation, traffic, dreary weather, mental health issues, unfriendly neighbors, limited public transportation, and lack of diversity.

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