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Seattle Moving Guide: A Journey to the Emerald City

April 12, 2023 · 14 min read

Venturing into uncharted territories can be an overwhelming experience, particularly when you're headed toward a colossal urban hub like Seattle. But for those seeking new job opportunities and a change of scenery, it can also be an exciting journey full of possibilities. If you're considering relocating from a smaller town to the bustling Emerald City for a new job, there are many factors to consider. In this article, we'll explore the challenges and opportunities of relocating to Seattle, and offer tips for making the transition as smooth as possible. 

Whether you're a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, this guide will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about relocating to Seattle for a new job.


Cost of Living

The cost of living in Seattle is generally higher than in smaller towns. Housing is one of the biggest expenses in Seattle, with the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center around $2,200 per month. Transportation costs can also be higher in Seattle, especially if you own a car and have to pay for parking or use toll roads. Food prices can also be higher, particularly if you eat out frequently or buy organic or specialty foods.

here's some more information about housing in Seattle:

  1. High Cost of Housing: As I mentioned earlier, housing is one of the biggest expenses in Seattle, and it can be challenging to find affordable housing in the city. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around $2,200 per month, and the average cost of a home is over $800,000. The high cost of housing is due to a combination of factors, including high demand for housing, limited availability, and the city's strong economy.
  2. Different Neighborhoods: Seattle has a variety of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and culture. Some popular neighborhoods for renters include Capitol Hill, Ballard, and Fremont. When choosing a neighborhood, consider factors like proximity to work, public transportation options, and local amenities like grocery stores and restaurants.
  3. Rental Market: Seattle's rental market can be competitive, with many renters vying for limited available housing. It's important to start your search early and be prepared to act quickly if you find a place you like. You'll likely need to provide proof of income, a credit check, and a deposit to secure a rental.
  4. Rent Control: Currently, Seattle does not have rent control, which means that landlords can increase rents as much as they want each year. This can make it challenging for renters, especially those on fixed incomes, to afford housing.
  5. Shared Housing: One option to reduce housing costs is to find a roommate or live in shared housing. Seattle has a few co-living spaces and roommate-matching services that can help you find compatible roommates and shared housing options.
  6. Alternative Housing: If traditional housing options in Seattle are too expensive, consider alternative housing options like tiny homes, houseboats, or RV living. These options can be more affordable and provide a unique living experience, but they may not be for everyone.

Overall, housing can be a significant challenge when relocating to Seattle, but with some research, planning, and flexibility, you can find housing that meets your needs and budget.

To prepare for the higher cost of living, it's a good idea to research the cost of living in Seattle before you move and create a budget plan that takes into account the higher expenses. You may need to adjust your lifestyle or spending habits to accommodate the higher costs. For example, you could consider finding a roommate to share housing costs, using public transportation instead of owning a car, or cooking at home more often to save money on food.


Traffic and Commute

Seattle is known for its heavy traffic, especially during rush hour. You may need to plan your commute and give yourself extra time to get to work. Consider using public transportation, carpooling, or biking to avoid traffic and save money on transportation costs.

  1. Heavy Traffic: Seattle is known for its heavy traffic, especially during rush hour. The city has some of the worst traffic congestion in the country, which can make commuting frustrating and time-consuming.
  2. Public Transportation: One option to avoid traffic and save money on transportation costs is to use public transportation. Seattle has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, light rail, and ferries. The King County Metro Transit operates the buses and light rail, and the Sound Transit operates the commuter trains and buses. You can purchase tickets or passes at vending machines, online, or through a mobile app.
  3. Carpooling: Carpooling is another option to save money on transportation costs and reduce traffic congestion. There are several carpooling services available in Seattle, including UberPOOL and Lyft Line. You can also try finding a carpool partner through your workplace or community groups.
  4. Biking: Seattle is a bike-friendly city, with over 200 miles of bike lanes and trails. Biking is a great way to save money on transportation costs, stay active, and reduce your carbon footprint. You can rent a bike through bike-sharing programs like Lime or buy a bike at a local bike shop.
  5. Telecommuting: Some employers in Seattle offer telecommuting options, which allow you to work from home or a remote location. If your job allows for it, telecommuting can be an excellent way to avoid traffic and reduce your commuting time.

Overall, traffic and commuting can be challenging in Seattle, but there are several options available to help you avoid traffic, save money, and reduce your carbon footprint. Consider using public transportation, carpooling, biking, or telecommuting to make your commute more manageable.


Finding Housing

Seattle has a competitive housing market with limited availability, which can make finding a suitable place to live challenging. Consider working with a real estate agent or searching for apartments online to find housing that meets your needs and budget.

Finding suitable housing can be challenging in Seattle, but there are several ways to make the process easier. Here are some tips:

  1. Start Early: It's a good idea to start your housing search as early as possible, especially if you're relocating from out of town. Give yourself plenty of time to research neighborhoods, rental prices, and availability.
  2. Use Online Listings: There are several online platforms that list available apartments, condos, and houses for rent in Seattle. Some popular websites include Zillow, Apartments.com, and Craigslist. You can use filters to narrow down your search by location, price range, and other features.
  3. Work with a Real Estate Agent: If you're having trouble finding suitable housing, consider working with a real estate agent. A local agent can help you navigate the Seattle housing market, provide advice on neighborhoods and rental prices, and schedule viewings of available properties.
  4. Attend Open Houses and Tours: Many property managers and landlords hold open houses and tours of available properties. Attending these events can give you a chance to see the property in person, ask questions, and submit an application.
  5. Check Social Media: Some rental properties may be advertised on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Join local groups or follow local pages to stay up-to-date on available properties.
  6. Be Prepared: When you find a property that you like, be prepared to act quickly. Rental properties in Seattle can be competitive, and landlords may require a credit check, proof of income, and a deposit to secure the rental.

Overall, finding suitable housing in Seattle can be challenging, but with some research, preparation, and persistence, you can find a place that meets your needs and budget.


Cultural Differences

Seattle is a diverse city with a unique culture, which might be different from what you're used to in Chittenden. Here are some tips for navigating cultural differences in Seattle:

  • Be Open-Minded: The first step to navigating cultural differences is to be open-minded and willing to learn about the local customs, values, and traditions. Seattle is known for its diverse population, and you're likely to encounter people from different ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds.
  • Learn About Local Customs: Take the time to learn about local customs and traditions, such as local festivals, celebrations, and holidays. This can help you better understand and appreciate the culture in Seattle.
  • Try New Foods: Seattle is known for its diverse food scene, with restaurants serving everything from seafood to ethnic cuisine. Try new foods and be willing to step outside your comfort zone to experience the local culture.
  • Attend Local Events: Seattle has a vibrant arts and culture scene, with events and festivals happening throughout the year. Attend local events, such as music festivals, art exhibits, and cultural celebrations, to immerse yourself in the local culture.
  • Respect Differences: Seattle values diversity and inclusivity, so it's important to respect differences and avoid making assumptions or stereotypes about people based on their background or culture.
  • Make Connections: Seattle is a friendly city, and making connections with locals can help you feel more comfortable and connected to the local culture. Consider joining local clubs or organizations, attending community events, or volunteering to meet new people and make friends.

Overall, navigating cultural differences in Seattle can be an enriching and rewarding experience, but it's important to be open-minded, respectful, and willing to learn about the local culture.


Noise and Crowds

Seattle is a bustling city with a lot of noise and activity, which can be overwhelming if you're used to a quieter environment. Here are some tips for navigating noise and crowds in Seattle:

  1. Find Quiet Places: Seattle has several parks, gardens, and waterfront areas that offer a break from the noise and crowds of the city. Take some time to explore these quieter areas and find a place where you can relax and recharge.
  2. Use Earplugs or Headphones: If you're sensitive to noise, consider using earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to block out the sounds of the city.
  3. Take Breaks: If the crowds and activity in Seattle become overwhelming, take breaks as needed. Find a quiet coffee shop, bookstore, or museum where you can escape for a little while.
  4. Avoid Peak Times: Seattle can be especially crowded during peak times, such as rush hour, weekends, and during major events or festivals. Consider adjusting your schedule to avoid these times, or finding alternative routes or transportation options.
  5. Explore Off-the-Beaten-Path: Seattle has many hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path destinations that are less crowded and offer a quieter experience. Consider exploring lesser-known neighborhoods, parks, and attractions to find a quieter side of the city.
  6. Embrace the Energy: Seattle is known for its vibrant and energetic culture, and it can be exciting to be part of the hustle and bustle. Embrace the energy of the city, and use it as an opportunity to try new things, meet new people, and experience everything that Seattle has to offer.

Overall, noise and crowds can be a challenge in Seattle, but with some planning and adjustments, you can find ways to navigate the city and enjoy everything that it has to offer.



If you're used to having a small-town doctor or healthcare provider, transitioning to a big city like Seattle can be a challenge. Here are some tips for navigating healthcare in Seattle:

  1. Research Local Providers: Seattle has many healthcare providers, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. Take some time to research local providers and find one that meets your needs and preferences. You can use online resources like Zocdoc, Yelp, or Google Maps to find local providers and read reviews from other patients.
  2. Check Your Insurance: Before seeking healthcare in Seattle, check with your insurance provider to see which providers are covered under your plan. You may need to find a provider in your insurance network to avoid out-of-pocket expenses.
  3. Consider Urgent Care: If you need medical attention but don't have a regular doctor or primary care provider, consider using an urgent care center. Urgent care centers offer walk-in medical care for minor illnesses and injuries and can be a more convenient option than a hospital emergency room.
  4. Emergency Care: If you have a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room. Seattle has several hospitals with emergency departments, including Swedish Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, and Virginia Mason Hospital.
  5. Mental Health: Seattle has several mental health resources available, including counseling services, support groups, and crisis hotlines. If you're struggling with mental health issues, consider reaching out to one of these resources for help.
  6. Alternative Medicine: Seattle is known for its alternative medicine practices, such as acupuncture, naturopathy, and chiropractic care. If you're interested in trying alternative medicine, research local providers and find one that meets your needs and preferences.

Overall, navigating healthcare in Seattle can be a challenge, but with some research and preparation, you can find a provider that meets your needs and preferences. Don't hesitate to ask for recommendations from friends or colleagues, and always make sure to check your insurance coverage before seeking healthcare.



While Seattle is generally a safe city, it's still important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to stay safe, especially if you're not used to living in a big city. Here are some tips for staying safe in Seattle:

  • Stay Alert: When walking or traveling in public, be aware of your surroundings and stay alert to any potential dangers. Avoid wearing headphones or talking on the phone while walking, as this can make you less aware of your surroundings.
  • Use Well-Lit Areas: Stick to well-lit and populated areas when walking at night, and avoid shortcuts through alleys or dimly lit streets.
  • Lock Your Doors and Windows: Make sure your home or apartment is secure by locking your doors and windows. Consider installing a security system or getting a deadbolt for added protection.
  • Use Public Transportation: Seattle's public transportation system is generally safe and well-lit. Consider using public transportation instead of walking alone at night, especially in unfamiliar areas.
  • Avoid High-Crime Areas: Some areas of Seattle are known for higher crime rates. Avoid these areas when possible, and stay alert when traveling through them.
  • Personal Belongings: Be mindful of your personal belongings, especially in crowded areas like tourist attractions or public transportation. Keep your wallet and phone in a secure place, and be aware of pickpockets or thieves.
  • Emergency Contacts: Make sure you have emergency contacts stored in your phone, and know how to call 911 in case of an emergency.

Overall, staying safe in Seattle requires vigilance and awareness of your surroundings. By following these tips and being cautious, you can enjoy all that Seattle has to offer while staying safe and secure.


Moving from a small town to a big city like Seattle can be a major change. Here are some pros and cons to consider:


  • More Job Opportunities: Big cities like Seattle have a wider range of job opportunities, including in high-demand fields like tech and healthcare.
  • More Cultural and Entertainment Options: Big cities offer a wider range of cultural and entertainment options, including museums, theaters, music venues, and sporting events.
  • More Diversity: Big cities tend to be more diverse than small towns, with a wider range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds represented.
  • Better Public Transportation: Big cities often have more extensive public transportation options, including buses, trains, and subways, making it easier to get around without a car.
  • More Opportunities to Meet New People: Big cities offer more opportunities to meet new people, through social events, clubs, and networking events.


  • Higher Cost of Living: Big cities tend to have a higher cost of living than small towns, with higher prices for housing, food, and transportation.
  • More Crowds and Noise: Big cities can be crowded and noisy, which can be overwhelming if you're used to a quieter, more peaceful environment.
  • More Crime: Big cities tend to have higher crime rates than small towns, which can be a concern for personal safety.
  • More Stressful Lifestyle: Big cities can be more fast-paced and stressful than small towns, with a higher demand for productivity and efficiency.
  • Less Personal Space: Big cities tend to have smaller living spaces, with less personal space and privacy than you might be used to in a small town.

🙋‍♀️ Overall, moving from a small town to a big city like Seattle can be a major change with its own set of advantages and challenges. It's important to weigh these factors carefully and consider how they might impact your lifestyle and well-being before making a decision.

by Eugene Smirnov

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