Hey there! Welcome to Seattle – a city known for its rain, green spaces, and tech giants. This dynamic city can be a dream come true, but there are some challenges too. At AOA Moving Services, we know what it’s like to navigate a new city, so we’ve put together this guide to help you out before moving to Seattle. Let’s explore Seattle, the «Emerald City»-, together!

Why Seattle?

Seattle is a dream destination for techies, city lovers, and coffee fans. But what really makes it stand out, though, is its breathtaking natural beauty.

Moving to Seattle Collage

As one person writes on Reddit:

«If you want to experience a diverse culture filled with more opportunities, amazing food and different perspectives then you’d like it in Seattle. It has it own problems but overall it’s a good city compared to other popular ones.»

The first thing you need to know about Seattle is its tech soul. It’s home to Amazon and Microsoft, and it attracts tech pros from all over the world. That means other industries are also booming in Seattle, like culture, entertainment, and everything in between. Seattle is a really cool city that has a lot going on. If you’re into tech, you’ll love it. And if you’re not, there’s still plenty to do and see. It’s a great place to live and work.

Now about nature. The Pacific Northwest is a great place for outdoor activities! The landscapes are incredible and there’s always something to do. If you live in Seattle, you’re close to nature. It could be the beautiful city parks, or the challenging trails of Mount Rainier.

And, of course, coffee. The coffee needs to be mentioned separately! You can’t live in Seattle and not love coffee. You won’t find so many coffee shops anywhere else. Here coffee is not just a drink, it is a way of life.

New residents often talk about how amazing and sometimes funny it is to live in Seattle.

  • «Dark, raining sideways, and cold. Rinse and repeat,» comments RipArtistic8799, capturing the quintessential Seattle weather.
  • Seefoodinc shares, «Moved here only after visiting 4 days for a conference, all spent only downtown. Downtown area is okay, but the surrounding area is incredible. The mountains, the lakes, the islands – I’ve gone on probably 25 road trips in the 3-4 years I’ve been here, and I feel like there’s an endless amount that I still need to complete within a few hours. Have lived all over the US. No where that I’ve been compares imo.»
  • And here is the experience of a newcomer from the South, he found the long winter dark surprising, «The rain I expected, but, damn, going to work and it being dark at 9 am and leaving at 4 pm and it being dark threw me for a loop». He also rave about the seafood, especially the oysters, which they find unparalleled compared to other places around the world. Driving habits and the use of ‘tabs’ over ‘tags’ for license stickers were other quirky observations.

Preparing for the Move To Seattle

Seattle Cost of Living

The main problem in Seattle is that it’s so darn expensive! The Seattle cost of living is way above the national average, and that’s a big deal. Housing is the biggest expense, with apartments in the city center going for around $2300 on average, and places outside the center being a little cheaper at around $1800 (Source). Compared to other big cities, housing in Seattle is like 111% more expensive than the average in the US (Source).

With soaring home prices and high-interest rates in Seattle, potential buyers are facing a tough time. According to a recent study by Zillow, a family needs to make $213k to afford a house in the city. That’s just a little bit more than the figure for New York, which is $214k.

Utilities for a typical 915 square foot apartment can run you about $242.55 a month, while a cell phone plan with lots of data might be around $63 (Source). Groceries and eating out are also more expensive in Seattle. A meal at a cheap restaurant averages around $21, and things like milk and bread cost $4.52 per gallon and $4.04 per loaf, respectively (Source).

USA Map Infographic. Source: Zillow Research (https://www.zillow.com/research/buyers-income-needed-33755/)
These are the most expensive houses in the USA!

Seattle Job Market Overview

The job market in Seattle is booming, especially in the tech industry. It’s a magnet for tech pros from all over the country. With giants like Amazon and Microsoft calling the city home, Seattle has become a hotbed for innovation and growth. The area around Seattle, including Tacoma and Bellevue, is seeing a huge increase in demand for developers, marketers, and project managers. Software developers are projected to grow 25% between 2022 and 2032. Marketing managers are also projected to see 25% growth during that same period (Source).

But its not only about tech. The city’s economy is booming and getting more diverse and bigger. According to the latest data, non-farm jobs have increased by 1.1% (Source). Although the unemployment rate went up slightly to 4.8% last February, the job market is still strong. This is because of sectors like manufacturing, education, and healthcare, which are all growing. For example, manufacturing has seen a 3.4% growth over the last year (Source).

🔍 Average Salary in Seattle, WA

The average monthly net salary in Seattle is pretty competitive, coming in at around $6,343. Most salaries in Seattle are somewhere between $55k and $95k a year.

Source: Ziprecruiter.

How to Moving to Seattle

If you decide to move to Seattle, you need to be prepared. First, you need to decide how you are going to move.

⚒️ DIY Moving

Going DIY for a move can be cost-effective, giving you full control over everything. But it takes planning, getting rid of stuff, and getting the right gear. First, sort out what you don’t need. Not only will it lighten your load, but it might even get you some cash if you sell it. Then, get moving boxes, wrapping materials, labels – and most importantly, a moving truck. Don’t be shy about asking friends and family for help. They can make the whole thing go smoother and have more fun.

🚚 Professional Moving

Professional Moving

Moving to Seattle can be tough, but professional movers can make it easier. At AOA Moving Services, we take care of all the heavy lifting and logistics so you don’t have to. We pack, load, and deliver your belongings safely to your new place, so you can focus on getting settled.

We recommend choosing professional movers if you have a lot of stuff and/or you are moving from a fairly large apartment with a family.

Moving Resources from AOA Moving Services

To help with your move, we’ve got a range of tools set up to make it as smooth as possible. Check out these tips for moving to Seattle:

  • → Moving Checklist: A comprehensive checklist to ensure nothing is forgotten in the chaos of moving. Get your checklist in Google Sheets!
  • → Packing Guide: Tips and tricks on how to pack your items securely, saving you time and preventing damage.
  • → Decluttering Guide: Tips on how to effectively declutter your house in order to make moving easier and more budget-friendly.
  • → Cheapest Days to Hire Moving Services: Insights into the most cost-effective times to book professional movers, helping you save money.

Settling In: The First Month

Settling In Seattle

Housing Hunt:

When moving to Seattle, you need to decide on a neighborhood. We recommend considering these 4 neighborhoods:

  • Capitol Hill: Known for its awesome music scene and tons of restaurants, as well as its coffee culture, it’s a creative and bohemian area that’s great for people who like a buzzing nightlife.
  • Downtown Seattle: The heart of the city is a great place to be if you want to be near all the big name stores and different businesses. But be prepared for higher rents because of its prime location!
  • South Lake Union: A tech hub packed with great restaurants and right next to the Space Needle and Lake Union, perfect for tech and biomed professionals.
  • Queen Anne: This place has some amazing scenery and really nice houses. It’s close to Seattle Center and it’s great for families who want to live in a friendly neighborhood.

Also another good idea is to live in the suburbs of Seattle. Living in the outskirts of Seattle has some great financial and lifestyle perks compared to living in the city center. For example, on average, families living in the city have to spend over 9k more each year on basic housing and child care costs (Source).

So, if you’re looking for some affordable suburbs in the area, Tukwila, Mountlake Terrace, Renton, and Shoreline are all great options.

  • Tukwila is especially nice because it’s about $300k less than Seattle (according to BestPlaces).
  • Mountlake Terrace has a small-town vibe with a cute downtown.
  • Renton has a lower population density, which is great, and it’s known for things like the Jimi Hendrix memorial.
  • Shoreline offer affordable living and easy access to the outdoors and cultural events.

Living in the suburbs can be a great option, not only because it can save you some cash, but also because it offers a different lifestyle. There’s more space, less crime, and you get that community feeling, all while still being close to the city for those urban perks.

Banking and Finances:

So, if you’re in Seattle and want to get your finances sorted out, it’s important to understand the local taxes. There are a lot of options for banking in the city, so choose the one that’s right for you. Maybe you want to go with a local bank or a big national chain.

Now to the specifics. Let’s talk about taxes!

🔍 Washington State does not have an income tax

Yes, Washington State has the benefit of not having state income tax, so residents can save a lot of money every year. But Seattle makes up for it with a high sales tax.

For businesses in Seattle, there are different business and occupation tax rates, depending on what you do. These rates can be as low as 0.0022% for things like selling stuff to people or as high as 0.00427% for services and other businesses. If you’re thinking of moving to Seattle and starting a business, it’s important to know about these taxes so you can make sure you’re following all the rules. Additionally, Seattle has a Payroll Expense Tax for businesses with significant payroll expenses.

For more detailed information on Seattle taxes, you can visit the City of Seattle’s official finance page and the Seattle Taxes page.

Healthcare Registration:

So, registering for healthcare is another important step. In Seattle, there are lots of great healthcare places, like Harborview Medical Center and Swedish Medical Center and Virginia Mason, especially in the First Hill area which is known as “Pill Hill” because there are so many healthcare places there. To find a general practitioner, you can use websites like Zocdoc to schedule appointments based on your insurance plan.

Embracing Seattle’s Community

Diving into the Cultural Scene:

Seattle is a city that’s always buzzing with cultural activities. There are so many museums, theaters, music venues and annual events that enrich the city’s atmosphere. From the Museum of Flight to the Museum of History and Industry, every museum has its own unique story to tell. The Klondike Gold Rush Museum is another great place to learn about history and science (Source). Seattle also celebrates diversity and creativity with festivals year-round. The Moisture Festival and NFFTY are just two examples of the many festivals that take place here. Seattle Restaurant Week and the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival are also popular events for foodies and nature lovers (Source).

Outdoor Adventures:

If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, Seattle is not going to disappoint. The natural beauty of the area is unmatched, offering endless opportunities for hiking, cycling, kayaking and more. With the surrounding mountains, lakes and Puget Sound as a backdrop, it’s the perfect place for adventure seekers to explore. Joining local groups and communities is a great way to meet like-minded people and find your next outdoor adventure.

For those interested in outdoor activities in Seattle, here are some groups to join:

  1. 20 & 30 Somethings Seattle: Focuses on outdoor activities for young adults.
  2. Seattle Outdoor Adventurers: Offers a range of outdoor activities.
  3. Pacific Northwest Hiking & Adventure Group: Caters to a variety of outdoor interests.
  4. Seattle Transit Hikers: Ideal for those who prefer to access hiking trails via public transit.

These groups are great for exploring Seattle’s natural beauty and meeting like-minded adventurers.

Coffee Culture and Dining:

Seattle’s coffee scene is legendary. It’s the birthplace of Starbucks, after all, and there’s a ton of local coffee shops and coffee roasters where you can get a wide variety of coffee experiences. Every neighborhood has its own unique coffee spots, so you can explore and find the one that suits you best. And then there’s Seattle’s food scene. It’s a foodie’s paradise! There’s all sorts of local seafood restaurants, farm-to-table places, and international cuisines that reflect the city’s diverse culture.

For coffee and dining, explore these spots:

Navigating Transportation

Seattle has a ton of options for all kinds of lifestyles and preferences, so whether you’re new to the city or just visiting, you’ll be able to find your way around easily.

  • 🚈 Public Transit: Seattle has an awesome public transportation system. There’s the Link Light Rail, which connects all the major places, like the airport, downtown and the university. And then there’s the Seattle Center Monorail, which takes you through the heart of the city on a scenic route, going from the Seattle Center stop to the Westlake Center Mall stop every 10 minutes or so.
  • 🚎 Streetcars and Shuttles: The First Hill and South Lake Union trolley lines are great for getting around the city, connecting different neighborhoods. And there are also shuttle services that can take you straight to the airport or other major destinations.
  • 🚗 Driving and Parking: Seattle is a pretty good city for public transportation, but if you want to get to some of the more remote areas or go on an outdoor adventure outside of the city, it might be worth having a car. You can save money with pay-per-mile insurance options like Metromile if you don’t drive a lot.
  • 🚲 Biking and Walking: If you prefer to take things at your own pace, Seattle has got you covered. The city is super bike-friendly with detailed bike routes and maps provided by the Seattle DOT. Plus, walking is a great way to see all the unique sights and hear the sounds of the city. You’ll get a personal, up-close experience of Seattle that way.
  • 🛴 Ride-sharing and Bike-sharing: Uber and Lyft are easy to use – just a few taps and you’re on your way! Bike-sharing programs like JUMP and Lime offer great options for short rides around town.
  • 🛵 Scooter-sharing: If you’re in Seattle and need a quick and convenient way to get around, the scooter-share programs are a great option. Companies like Lime, LINK, WHEELS, and SPIN provide rental scooters that are available for short trips.

To get around Seattle, you’ll need an ORCA card. It’s a smart card that you can use to pay for public transportation fares in the city. With an ORCA, you can ride buses, light rails, ferries, and even streetcars across different transit agencies. You can get an ORCA online, at vending machines at transit stations, or from authorized retailers. Once you have it, just tap it on a reader when you get on a bus or train. It makes it easy to pay and saves you time waiting in lines.

Socializing and Networking

Socializing and Networking in Seattle

Navigating the social scene in a new city can be as challenging as figuring out its streets. At first, Seattle might seem intimidating. But, its cool exterior can melt with a little warmth and initiative. Just be prepared to drink some coffee!

Join the Fray with Local Clubs and Meetups

Diving into common interests is a great way to break the ice. Seattle has tons of clubs and meet-ups for all kinds of hobbies and interests. Whether you’re into tech, hiking, or arts and crafts, there’s always a community for you here. Websites like Meetup are full of local groups that are always looking for new people to join.

Volunteer Your Way to New Friendships

Volunteering can not only benefit the community, but it can also be a great way to meet new people and make friends. Seattle has a really active nonprofit scene, with lots of opportunities to get involved and help out. From cleaning up parks and beaches to attending charity events, there are lots of ways to give back to the community while having fun.

Professional Networking: Not Just Business as Usual

For those who are looking to start a career, the job market in Seattle is a great place to network. There are lots of industry meetups, technology conferences, and coworking spaces where you can connect with other professionals in the area. LinkedIn local events and industry groups are also a great way to make connections and potentially turn them into friendships.

Moving to Seattle is a great opportunity, not only for your career, but also for personal growth and making new connections. If you put in a little effort and are open-minded, you’ll see that behind the city’s sometimes cold exterior is a warm and welcoming community that loves welcoming newcomers.


In summary, moving to Seattle is a journey full of opportunities, community, and an amazing mix of urban and natural beauty. Despite its reputation for being cold, the people there are as welcoming as the coffee they drink. Whether you’re into the tech scene or the arts, or just want to be closer to nature, Seattle has something for everyone. So, if you’re looking for a new opportunities, Seattle could be the place for you.