The Best Places to Live in Seattle, Washington

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Ask anyone in Seattle how they like living there and they’ll either wistfully say “This city is changing rapidly,” or “Why are you asking me? I just moved here!” But if you’re driven, love the outdoors, and work hard so you can play hard, too, living in Seattle will put you at the center of a fast-paced lifestyle.

Some of the best places to buy a home in or near Seattle combine a lot of the “best” of what you can find elsewhere. If you’re a young professional, have a family, or are retired and seeking a change of pace, you’ll be able to buy a home that suits whatever lifestyle you’re after.

And while yes, it rains on average 150 days of the year in this Pacific Northwest city, it doesn’t actually involve all that much precipitation and the pros far outweigh that one famous con.

Seattle and its surrounding metropolitan area are not only full of jobs — the tech industry here is booming, with Amazon, Microsoft, and others headquartered here or nearby and bringing in lots of hungry talent — but these neighborhoods and suburbs are full of grungy character, amazing restaurants, and breathtaking scenery.

If you’re a young professional trying to buy a home and push yourself in your career, or a family looking for a place to raise healthy, happy, smart kids, look no further than this Pacific Northwest city.

The best neighborhoods to live in Seattle

The influx of the tech industry (built and bolstered by Amazon, of course), means that neighborhoods in Seattle get flipped quickly, and condos are more plentiful than single family homes (or at least more affordable).

Consider buying a home in the city if you want a quick commute, are single and trying to meet other work-focused weekend warriors, or have kids but don’t feel ready yet to give up the urban bustle.

Seattle of course has a reputation for being the birthplace of “grunge.” While the music genre was born here and it’s where Nirvana and Pearl Jam cut their teeth, the city is definitely more polished now than it was in the 90s, and you can expect any of these neighborhoods to have hip restaurants, exciting cocktail bars, and classy sushi spots right alongside cozy coffee shops and record stores.

Queen Anne

Queen Anne is divided into four quadrants and the “Lower” takes the cake for being one of the best places in Seattle for young professionals to buy a home. A third of residents here have a master’s degree or higher, and that level of education is felt in the “work hard, play hard” mentality. 

Renters and owners alike are driven and putting career over family for the time being, and you won’t find a lot of babies in strollers on the main drag. Instead, you’ll meet young transplants looking to expand both their stomachs and their minds with a night of film at an art-house movie theater followed by dinner at the newest chef-driven hot spot. A handful of tech companies are based in Queen Anne, making it ideal for people who value a short commute and being at the center of the action.

Median home value in Lower Queen Anne sits at over $680,000, a price tag built for tech workers who love the grind and want to live a comfortable lifestyle.

Fremont

The vibe in Fremont is similar to that of Queen Anne. Renters are plentiful and home prices are high, but young professionals looking for a spot to find their bearings (and a condo) will love the pace and the liberal, fun-loving tech workers who populate this bustling, hip neighborhood.

Outdoorsy weekend warriors will especially enjoy the Burke-Gilman Trail, which is a great place for runners and cyclists to blow off steam or just get some exercise. The Sunday Market is a hub for antiquers and food truck junkies alike.

If you’re excited about being centrally located but don’t want to lose the sense of art and grunge that put Seattle on the map, don’t worry: Fremont is still the home of lots of public art, adored restaurants, and indie boutiques. Prepare for weekends that give you as much to do as your work week!

Ballard

Ballard is a hip neighborhood on the bay with a little bit of all the things that makes people fall in love with Seattle. If you’ve ever visited the city as a tourist, you’re likely familiar with the famed Chittenden Salmon Locks (a.k.a. Ballard Locks, a.k.a. The Locks) and caught a mountain view in this charming, trendy hood. 

Seattilites based here get a constant visual reminder of the outdoors plus an abundance of breweries, fun shops, and coffeeshops with prizewinning espresso. The neighborhood has proud Scandinavian roots and pride themselves on a happy lifestyle accordingly. 

Expect single family homes on quiet, leafy streets on the northern side of the neighborhood (above 65th) and bigger, newer developments on denser blocks toward the southern end of the city. 

South Lake Union

South Lake Union immediately comes to mind as an ideal hub for young professionals looking to buy a home in Seattle. Condos are the move here, and if you purchase one you’ll be at the center of the industry. Amazon headquarters bring a lot of traffic but also, of course, a lot of jobs. Prepare for your surroundings to change drastically as the retail tech behemoth continues tear-downs and new developments.

If that last sentence freaks you out, don’t worry, South Lake Union could still be a perfect spot for you. Despite the corporate takeover, it’s still a cool and livable neighborhood, with less of a nightlife vibe and more emphasis on healthy living. An abundance of well-stocked grocery stores and gyms for every type of workout make the day-to-day here pretty perfect for anyone with work ambitions and healthy habits.

The Museum of History and Industry (MoHAI) is also here in South Lake Union, and their events roster alone will keep a resident busy and entertained.

Green Lake

Green Lake is home to…Green Lake! This charming neighborhood is full of folks who feel pride in their lakeside hamlet. 

While there’s a good number of renters, Green Lake feels quite residential. Restaurants and bars are sure to keep you entertained, but it’s not as bustling as some of the other noted neighborhoods. If you don’t mind living outside the center of the action, or, say, you have a baby on the way and like the idea of strolls around the lake, consider seeking out a home here. 

Not sure what’s in store for you but like the idea of an active community? Look for one of the newer condo buildings here and meet friends for weekend runs or kayaking.

The best suburbs to live near Seattle

You don’t need to live in the city to reap the benefits of Seattle’s culture and scenery. Some of the best places for families, retired people, and professionals are actually outside the city limits, in the suburbs. 

Are you choosing the Pacific Northwest because you prize the mountain peaks and beachy summers more than the tech industry and cool bars? Are you retiring and want a leisurely pace? Or do you just want a mellow place to raise your kids? 

No matter the reason, these Seattle suburbs are great places to buy a home and settle down. Not only will your commute to the city stay reasonable, it’s just as likely your new job will be headquartered in your very own suburb.

Bellevue

Bellevue is a gorgeous and practical choice for families looking to settle down outside of the city without making many sacrifices. There is tons to do here. 

Got kids? Spend weekends getting playful at the KidsQuest Children’s Museum, exploring plant life at the Bellevue Botanical Garden, or gathering inspiration at the Bellevue Arts Museum. There’s culture here, but also an infrastructure to support families with kids of all ages.

Plus, if you’re one of the many employees at T-Mobile, Expedia, or Eddie Bauer (all of which are headquartered here), you’ll enjoy a quick commute and tight knit community.

Median home price hovers around $800,000.

Redmond

You might have heard the name of Redmond come up in the context of a little company called Microsoft. The tech behemoth is headquartered here, and if you choose to buy a home here, chances are your neighbors will be employed there. 

Unlike some developing areas in and around Seattle, Redmond has an emphasis on calm, natural beauty. There’s not a lot of nightlife and it’s a haven for families who want incredible job opportunities, a great quality of life, and don’t demand the bells and whistles that come with more urban density.

Plus, Redmond is relatively diverse, with a large Asian population.

If you choose to buy a home here, expect roughly a $700,000 price tag. And if it’s important for you to keep up with the Joneses, that might mean driving a Tesla.

Kirkland

If you’re looking for more of a small town vibe and like the idea of running into friends and colleagues downtown but would rather avoid the bustle of Seattle proper, consider Kirkland, a more residential suburb outside the city. Residents here also likely work in tech, but have opted for a lifestyle that prioritizes farmers markets, public art, and waterfront parks and beaches.

The marina is the center of culture in Kirkland, where summertime means volleyball tournaments, sunbathing, and boating.

Families with teens will love the Kirkland Teen Union Building (KTUB), a unique youth center with recording booths, darkrooms, events, and activities just for local teens.

Is the name “Kirkland” ringing a bell? Well, Costco fans will love knowing they live in the very city where the company was founded, although the warehouse chain is no longer headquartered here. Much like Costco though, residents here value high quality, high value, and the best of everything.

Everett

If the suburbs listed so far feel cost prohibitive, consider Everett, a gorgeous suburb on an inlet of Possession Sound with views of the Cascade and Olympic mountains. If you want to see the trees as much as the mountaintops, the Everett Arboretum houses themed gardens, sculptures, and, of course, trees!

The Schack Art Center is a huge arts center with exhibits and classes, and the Imagine Children’s Museum is a perfect weekend spot for families with young kids on those especially rainy days.

Homes here will cost around $320,000, about half the price of many neighbors.

Not bad for a suburb with an emphasis on the outdoors, staying active, and excellent education.

Want to make the most of living on a sound? Try taking the ferry to Jetty Island!

Renton

If you’ve got a family, or are retired and looking for a quiet place to spend your days, Renton is a beautiful and reasonably-priced suburb full of parks and green space. Spend your afternoons and weekends walking the dog on one of the many trails, or take a boat out and enjoy the breezy summer weather. 

Median home price here is around $400,000. While that’s still over the national average, it’s definitely lower than other suburbs in the Seattle metropolitan area. 

Travel often for work? Renton is just a 15 minute drive to the airport. 

While the lack of nightlife might frustrate some young professionals looking to get out and meet people, families and other folks looking for a chill yet active vibe will love everything that Renton has to offer.

Plus, Renton is home to a wide spread of tech, healthcare, and manufacturing companies (IKEA and Kaiser Permanente to name two).

So, whether you’re looking for wide open spaces, a bustling, urban living, or a calm but fun place to raise kids, you’re sure to find a great place to buy a home in or near Seattle. There is so much to see and do in this pocket of the Pacific Northwest, and the tech industry means there’s lots of change and newcomers. Join their ranks and get ready for a big adventure!

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