5 Best Places to Live in Washington

October 26th, 2022

5 Best Places to Live in Washington

Best Places to Live in Washington

Are you searching for the best places to live in Washington? Check out these five great cities in Washington!

Home to many big-name companies and popular businesses such as Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, and Boeing, Washington state is an excellent place to live for families and young professionals looking for new opportunities. Located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, Washington has become an increasingly sought-after spot to live since it has no state income tax, moderate temperatures year-round, majestic outdoor spaces, and a strong economy.

If you are moving to Washington and are wondering where in Washington state you should move to, then you are definitely in the right place. Whether you are looking for the most affordable place to live, the safest place to live, or the place with the best weather year-round, Washington is home to several beautiful cities that will meet all of your expectations.

Since finding the city of your dreams can be challenging, we have put together this list of the five best cities in Washington to help make your move and home search a little easier. No matter your lifestyle or where you are moving from, Washington has plenty of fantastic places to live, with popular activities and favorite local attractions to explore. That said, read on to learn more about where you should move to in Washington state!

Moving to Washington state sign and Mount Rainer

Here are the five best cities to live in Washington!


The exciting city of Seattle is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the country for its strong economy centered around technology. Located on Puget Sound, Seattle is the largest city in Washington that is surrounded by water, picturesque mountains, and beautiful evergreen forests. As the home of large companies Microsoft and Amazon, headquartered here, Seattle is most famous for its grunge music scene, Starbucks coffee, Pike Place Market, and outdoor lifestyle.

Known for being environmentally friendly and paying its resident's above-average incomes, it is no wonder that Seattle is a sought-after place to live for young professionals, couples, and families. While its cost of living may be 109% higher than the national average, its fantastic career opportunities, especially in the tech industry, make Seattle a famous urban center in the Pacific Northwest. Providing its residents with a stunning coastal setting, a top-rated dining scene, thriving nightlife, and a diverse atmosphere, Seattle is an ideal location for anyone moving to Washington state.

The city of Seattle, WA on a sunny day with the mountains in the background

Local Favorites:

  • Space Needle: This iconic Seattle landmark is a 650-foot tall spire at the Seattle Center that features an observation deck and a rotating restaurant. Currently open with limited capacity, visitors can reserve tickets online. This is also a popular Seattle CityPass attraction.
  • Pike Place Market: Known to be one of the oldest running markets in the country, this landmark daily market is home to some of the best restaurants in Seattle, seafood vendors, produce stalls, and other popular shops. Located in the heart of Seattle's downtown district, the best time to visit this market is generally in the mornings before noon since there are fewer crowds.
  • Museum of Pop Culture: Dedicated to contemporary popular culture, this museum in the Seattle Center was founded in 2005 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Generally, visitors spend about one to three hours in this non-profit museum with hands-on experiences and in-depth exhibitions.
  • The Seattle Great Wheel: Located at Pier 57 on Elliot Bay in Seattle, this 175-foot tall Ferris wheel is the tallest Ferris wheel on the west coast. Open since 2012; this giant Ferris wheel features climate-controlled gondolas and perfect views of the city's most famous buildings and landmarks. General admission costs $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $9 for kids ages three to nine.
  • Kerry Park: This small public park overlooks Downtown Seattle and is famous for having some of the best views in town. A favorite destination for photography, this park is located in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle and features plenty of free parking along the streets.


Spokane is located in eastern Washington state and is known as the birthplace of Father's Day. Nicknamed "Lilac City" for its beautiful lilac bushes planted throughout the city, Spokane is an excellent place to live in Washington for its affordable cost of living, high-quality public school system, and vibrant arts and cultural scene. Some of the best things about Spokane include its many beautiful parks, exciting museums, waterfalls, and unique activities that are great for all ages. With a river running straight through the city's downtown district, this popular riverfront destination offers plenty of outdoor recreation and entertainment for everybody.

Spokane, WA in the fall with colorful trees and river

Local Favorites:

  • Riverfront Park: Located in Downtown Spokane, this public urban park attracts about three million people annually and is home to the second-largest waterfall in the United States. Dogs of all sizes are allowed in the park as long as they are on a leash.
  • Manito Park: This 90-acre public park features an arboretum, botanical gardens, and a conservatory. First established in 1904, this park is located in the South Hill neighborhood in Spokane.
  • Spokane Falls: Recognized as a sacred place to Native American tribes for thousands of years, Spokane Falls is known as a gathering place and center of life and culture. This beautiful waterfall is a must-visit for breathtaking views in the central business district in Downtown Spokane.
  • Arbor Crest Wine Cellars: Located just a few miles from Downtown Spokane, this winery is one of the oldest wineries in the state of Washington producing award-winning wines. Providing a large selection of red and white wines, this is the place to enjoy tastings, events, and live music.
  • Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture: Learn about the region's history through exhibitions, collections, and programs. Founded in 1916, this museum is one of Washington State's five Smithsonian affiliates.


Olympia is best known as the capital of Washington state and is celebrated as a cultural hub and a popular tourist destination. Located 60 miles south of Seattle and Bellevue, Olympia is found at the southern end of Puget Sound. While Olympia may be a smaller city in Washington, it is full of unique history and beauty. Definitely, worth the visit, there is no shortage of things to do here any time of the year, from its many fantastic museums to its outdoor attractions. Named after the Olympic Mountains that can be seen to the North on a clear day, Olympia is a beautiful city that offers its residents a comfortable place to live and retire.

Olympia, WA with snow capped mountain and purple pink sky

Local Favorites:

  • Washington State Capitol Building: Home to Washington's governors since 1909, this is the oldest building on the capitol campus. Free, guided tours are open to the public daily for anyone interested in seeing the home of the government of the state of Washington.
  • Percival Landing Park: Located on the east side of Budd Bay which is on the southernmost tip of Puget Sound, Percival Landing is known as one of three waterfront parks in Olympia. Celebrated as a hub for gatherings and public celebrations, visitors will enjoy the boardwalk, playground, and picnic areas.
  • Hands-On Children's Museum: This is the largest and most visited children's museum in the Pacific Northwest. This museum encourages children and families to learn, explore, and play by featuring over 150 exhibits, ten beautiful galleries, and an art studio.
  • Bigelow House Museum: This historical museum in the Bigelow neighborhood of Olympia was built in the 1850s and designed in the Carpenter Gothic style. This museum features historical artifacts and original furnishings.
  • The Olympia Farmers Market: Home to over 100 vendors, this famous market in Downtown Olympia is open year-round and is a great place to shop for local produce, cut flowers, baked goods, and handcrafted gifts.


Tacoma is located 40 minutes south of Seattle on the banks of Puget Sound. Named an excellent place to live in Washington state for young professionals, families, and retirees, Tacoma offers its residents an affordable lifestyle in a bustling area of the Pacific Northwest. Also, a great place to live for students pursuing college degrees; there are a total of 13 colleges in the area, including six private colleges and universities, six public colleges and universities, and one community college. Considered to be similar to Seattle in many ways, Tacoma's live music scene and beautiful natural areas set the two cities apart. With more than 200,000 people, Tacoma is a growing urban area in west-central Washington, full of culture and creativity.

Tacoma, WA near the water with evergreen trees and mountain in the background

Local Favorites:

  • Mount Rainer National Park: Well worth the visit; this 369 square miles national park is famous for having the highest volcanic peak in the contiguous United States.
  • Museum of Glass: Completely dedicated to the medium of glass, this 75,000-square-foot art museum in the heart of Downtown Tacoma offers dynamic exhibitions, live glass-blowing exhibits, and make-your-own glass experiences.
  • Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium: Home to over 9,000 specimens representing 367 animal species, this combined zoo and aquarium in the Pacific Northwest takes about two to four hours to go through. General admission costs $17.95 for adults, $16.95 for seniors, $13.95 for kids, and $9.95 for young children ages three and four. All children under the age of two can enter for free.
  • Point Defiance Park: This 760-acre urban park is free to access and features beautiful gardens, beaches, and an old-growth forest.
  • Chambers Bay Golf Course: Designed by golf architect Robert Trent, Chambers Bay is one of the top public golf courses in the nation and has even hosted the US Open. This is a walking-only course that is proved to be challenging.

Ocean Shores

Ocean Shores is the perfect destination for people looking for laid-back, coastal living. This small coastal city in Washington state is located two and a half hours from Seattle, two hours from Tacoma, and one and a half hours from Olympia. Providing fun for the whole family, Ocean Shores is best known for its long Pacific beach and network of lakes and waterways that are fun to explore. Offering its residents a sparse suburban feel where most residents own their homes, Ocean Shores is home to many delicious restaurants, trendy coffee shops, lively bars, and picturesque parks. With a population of over 6,000 people, Ocean Shores may be on the smaller side, but it has been ranked as the fourth-best place to retire in Washington for its low crime rate, a strong sense of community, clean atmosphere, quiet streets, and coastal charm.

Ocean Shores, WA during the sunset with rocks and water

Local Favorites:

  • Damon Point: Located in Grays Harbor County, this 61-acre park offers four miles of beach walking and water on three sides. Since high tides have been known to strand beachgoers, all dogs must be kept off grassy areas past the half-mile part.
  • Ocean City State Park: Located two miles north of Downtown Ocean Shores, this public recreation area is known for its long, sandy beaches and year-round campground.
  • Duck Lake: This peaceful lake is perfect for anyone wanting to relax by the water and go fishing. While swimming is allowed, toxic algae blooms in the water can make swimming unsafe.
  • North Jetty: Found at the entrance of Grays Harbor, this small beach offers romantic ocean views and whale-watching cruises.
  • Bottle Beach State Park: This 64-acre public recreation area consists of 6,000 feet of shoreline on the southern shores of Grays Harbor.

Best Places to Live in Washington - Final Thoughts

From the lively city of Seattle to the coastal town of Ocean Shores, there are tons of excellent cities and towns to live in across the state of Washington. No matter what property type you are searching for, our team of knowledgeable and friendly Realty Specialists is here to help you along your home-buying journey once you decide to move to the Pacific Northwest. Once you have decided on a budget and a city, contact us to kick-start your home search in Washington. We are always here to help and are ready to answer any questions about the home-buying process.






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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.