7 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Washington

October 26th, 2022

7 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Washington

Living in Washington

Are you considering moving to Washington? Find out what it's like living in Washington!

Washington state is located in the Pacific Northwest region of the country and is an excellent place to live for families, retirees, and young professionals. Home to a population of 7.5 million people, Washington is most famous for its multiple national parks, snow-capped volcanic mountains, and agricultural lands.

Bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, Oregon to the south, Idaho to the east, and the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north, Washington is well-known for being eco-friendly and a hot spot for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Also referred to as the Evergreen State, Washington features a mixture of bustling city life and beautiful scenery.

So is Washington right for you? Since deciding to move to a new state can be overwhelming, we have gathered all the information you need to know about moving to Washington in one place to make your moving decision easier. Covering everything from its booming economy to its stunning natural beauty, find out everything you need to know in this Washington moving guide.

Welcome to Washington sign and Mount Rainer in Washington State

Here are seven things to know before moving to Washington!

Cost of Living

Affordability is arguably the most crucial factor for people that are moving. Luckily, Washington state is an affordable place to live, but it all depends on what area you are in. Cities like Seattle, Bellevue, and Sammamish are all considered to be more expensive than living in Olympia, Quincy, or Auburn, for example.

Overall, the cost of living in Washington is 13% higher than the national average and 7.8% higher than in Oregon but 6.9% cheaper than in California. Housing is 22% higher than the national average for those looking to buy a home, making this the most costly expense. Due to low supply and high demand, housing prices remain out of reach for many people.

According to a recent study from Purdue University, the minimum salary needed to be happy and comfortable living in Washington is $117,180. It is estimated that a single person spends about $1,167 per month without rent, while a family of four is estimated to spend about $4,262 per month without rent.

Since Washington relies on sales tax, property tax, and business and occupation tax, Washington is among the nine states that do not have a state income tax. This means that residents do not have to pay taxes on the money they earn, which is a huge benefit, especially for high-income earners.

cost of living in Washington state graphic

State Economy and Job Market

According to Wallethub, Washington state ranked as the country's best economy in 2022 based on economic activity, economic health, and innovation potential. The top three economic sectors by total employment in Washington are information, real estate and rental and leasing, and retail trade. Leading the nation in the net percentage of new tech positions, Washington employment has grown by almost 34% in the last decade, specifically in the tech sector. Some top companies to work for in Washington include Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Google, and HomeStreet Bank.

Washington state flag on a sunny day blowing in the wind

Weather

Did you know that Washington has two climate zones? While western Washington experiences frequent cloud cover, fog, and rain, Eastern Washington has warm summers and cool winters. In western Washington, summer days rarely rise above 79 degrees Fahrenheit, and winter days rarely dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, in eastern Washington, summers are around 87 degrees Fahrenheit and the average daily high temperature is rarely below 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

The average total precipitation in Washington ranges from 70 to 100 inches over the Coastal Plains to upwards of 150 inches along the mountains and in portions of the Olympic Peninsula. The city of Tacoma is known to have the best weather in the state and the country since it receives less rainfall each year on average. Regarding snowfall, Washington can receive between 50 to 75 inches in the lower elevations. Mount Rainier and Mount Baker are the snowiest places in the United States since they can receive up to 645 inches of snow annually.

Colorful wildflowers and evergreen trees with fog in Washington state

Explore the Great Outdoors

Washington is considered to have some of the most dynamic and breathtaking scenery in the country. Home to more than 8,000 lakes and three national parks, Washington is a beautiful state with many outdoor activities and natural areas. Covered in hiking trails, serene forests, picturesque mountains, and sandy beaches, Washington is the perfect location for adventure seekers and nature lovers.

Whether you love hiking, biking, kayaking, picnicking, or simply enjoying a peaceful sunset, there is no better place to enjoy the great outdoors than in Washington state. No matter which city you reside in, there is always a new natural area to explore.

Check out these must-visit parks and natural areas in Washington:

  • Olympic National Park: Located on Washington's Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest of Port Angeles, this beautiful park is home to the peaks of the Olympic mountains, including the summit of Mt. Olympus, a popular destination for hikers, rock climbers, and backpackers.
  • Mount Rainier National Park: Located southeast of Seattle, this 369 square-mile reserve surrounds glacier-capped Mount Rainer, which is famous for its picturesque mountain views, miles of hiking trails, and summertime wildflower meadows. The highest point reachable by car is located at 6,400 feet.
  • North Cascades National Park: Found in northern Washington, this national park features a vast landscape of glaciers, conifer-clad mountains, and lakes. Comprised of more than 500,000 acres, this is a popular destination for amazing hikes and photography opportunities. Grey wolves, grizzly bears, and more than 200 bird species reside here.
  • Mount Saint Helens: This active stratovolcano is located in Skamania County, 52 miles northeast of Portland, Oregon, and 98 miles south of Seattle. Most famous for its catastrophic eruption in 1980, Mount Saint Helens has an elevation of 8,363 feet.
  • Mount Baker: Also known as Koma Kulshan or Kulshan, this active glacier-covered stratovolcano in the North Cascades of Washington is the second most thermally active crater in the Cascade Mountain Range just after Mount Saint Helens.
  • Snoqualmie Falls: This 268-foot waterfall is located east of Seattle on the Snoqualmie River. Recognized as one of the most popular scenic attractions in the state of Washington, more than 1.5 million people visit these falls every year.
  • Ruby Beach: Famous for its red sands, sunset views, and large rock islands known as sea stacks, this is one of the most well-known beaches along the Olympic coastline just 27 miles south of the town of Forks.
  • Stevens Pass: This ski area in the Cascade Mountain Range is 4,061 feet above sea level, with its highest peak at 5,845 feet. This is a must-visit during winter, featuring a 1,125-acre winter sports area with 37 runs and night skiing options.
  • Palouse Falls: This breathtaking natural wonder and waterfall is located on the Palouse River and drops 200 feet into a winding gorge. Many people come here for picnicking and birding.
  • Cape Disappointment State Park: Located in Pacific County on the bottom end of Long Beach Peninsula, this public recreation area is worth visiting for its scenic hiking trails, golden beaches, and mixed-use campsites.

beautiful forest in Washington state on a foggy day

Education

Named fourth in the nation for the Best States for Education according to the USNews, Washington is known to excel in public education. Home to multiple high-performing school districts, including The Snoqualmie Valley School District, which is recognized as the best school system in Washington based on test scores and graduation rates, Washington prioritizes educational excellence.

For those searching for higher education opportunities, Washington is home to six public four-year colleges and universities and more than 300 independent colleges, universities, and career schools that offer various degrees and programs. Some of the best schools in Washington state include the following:

Name Location Tuition and Fees
University of Washington Seattle, WA

$40,740 (out-of-state)

$12,242 (in-state)

Gonzaga University Spokane, WA $50,735
Seattle University Seattle, WA $51,274
Washington State University Pullman, WA

$28,385 (out-of-state)

$12,701 (in-state)

Seattle Pacific University Seattle, WA $37,158
Whitman College Walla Walla, WA $58,622

Data Sourced from USNews.

Dining Scene

Known for its fresh coastal seafood, vineyards, and agricultural prowess, Washington's thriving dining scene uses fresh and local seasonal ingredients. While Washington may be most famous for its coffee culture thanks to Starbucks, its state produce and locally owned restaurants are certainly something to celebrate.

Since Washington is a leading producer of some of the country's delicious foods, including apples, cherries, salmon, and crab, choosing to dine out no matter where you are in the state is guaranteed to be a tasty experience. From five-star dining establishments to cozy cafes, Washington has endless options for satisfying your taste buds.

Dine at these popular restaurants in Washington:

  • Altura: Located in Seattle, this four-dollar sign Italian restaurant is known for its delicious handmade pasta, tasting menus, wine pairings, and cozy dining room. With a menu inspired by the bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Altura creates dishes inspired by the season's ingredients.
  • The Herbfarm: Located in Woodinville, this highly-rated restaurant has a fixed price and serves nine-course menus with local wine. This is the only AAA five-diamond restaurant found west of Chicago and north of San Francisco.
  • The Pink Door: Featuring beautiful views of Elliott Bay, this Italian restaurant is located only a three-minute walk from Pike Place Market in Seattle and is famous for its homemade pasta, burlesque shows, and trapeze entertainment.
  • Alder Wood Bistro and Wood-Fired Pizza: Beloved for its great atmosphere, fresh New American fare, desserts, and beautiful garden out back.
  • Matt's in the Market: This Seattle favorite serves Pacific Northwest cuisine with seasonal specials and a large selection of wine options.
  • Over the Moon Cafe: Add this fine dining establishment to your bucket list for excellent food, outstanding service, and a romantic atmosphere.
  • The Dining Room at Salish Lodge and Spa: Enjoy some of the best flavors of the Pacific Northwest with menu items that are inspired by the beauty of the surrounding area and made with fresh, local, seasonal ingredients in Snoqualmie, Washington.

Sports

Even though football is the most popular sport residents follow in the area, Washington is home to many other professional sports teams with dedicated fans. From hockey to basketball, cheering on the local team is one of the best ways to become acquainted as a new Washington resident.

While most of the professional sports teams in the state have been around for a while, the Seattle Kraken National Hockey League team had their first season last year in the 2021-22 NHL season. All of the professional sports teams in Washington are based out of and play in Seattle.

Sport League Name
Soccer Major League Soccer Seattle Sounders FC
Soccer National Women's Soccer League Reign FC
Hockey National Hockey League Seattle Kraken
Baseball Major League Baseball Seattle Mariners
Football National Football League Seattle Seahawks
Rugby Major League Rugby Seattle Seawolves
Basketball Women's National Basketball Association Seattle Storm

Pros and Cons of Moving to Washington

Pros:

  • No state income tax
  • Perfect summer weather
  • Breathtaking Pacific Northwest beauty
  • Plenty of job opportunities
  • Lots of dog-friendly things to do
  • Washington is environmentally friendly
  • Diverse culture
  • The locals love to stay active
  • Strong sports base

Cons:

  • There are lots of rainy days
  • Home prices are high
  • High sales tax
  • People are known to be reserved
  • Threat of natural disasters, including wildfires
  • There is tons of traffic near Seattle and big cities

Mount Baker in Washington with snowy peaks and evergreen trees

Moving to Washington - Final Thoughts

It is safe to say that Washington is an excellent place to move to. Even though the state has its fair share of pros and cons, there are more advantages to living in Washington than disadvantages, in our opinion. Whether you choose to move to Washington for its breathtaking scenery or a job opportunity, our team at UpHomes is here to help you find your dream home in this great state. If you are ready to search for homes for sale in Washington, contact us today to connect with one of our talented Real Estate Specialists.

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