Are the high prices and booming population in New York City wearing you down? Are you looking for a change in scenery without giving up the city life? Perhaps you have completed your education in the Big Apple, or you’re ready to take a new step in your career. Moving from NYC to the Emerald City has been a popular move over recent years, because of the vast opportunities and exciting atmosphere in Seattle. There’s a place for ambitious singles, growing families, and retiring seniors in diverse neighborhoods throughout the city.
You can compare these two big cities by reading our “What to Know Before Moving to Seattle” section. In the next section, you can learn about the best neighborhoods in Seattle. Finally, you can explore our comprehensive list of pre-moving tasks. Now, let’s dive into the details of Seattle so that you can get a better feel for your potential new home!
What to Know Before Moving to Seattle
The U.S. Census shows that Seattle ranks as the 4th fastest growing metropolitan area in recent years. That’s because there is more to Seattle than just clouds and hipsters! Transplants to Seattle are sometimes surprised by the unique yet inviting vibe of the city.
Read on to learn about why so many people are attracted to living in Seattle, as well as what you should know before you move!
It Gets Less Precipitation than NYC
You might be surprised to know that Seattle gets less rainfall than New York City each year. There may be more rainy days in Seattle, but there isn’t as much overall precipitation—just enough to make Seattle one of the most beautiful cities in the country, with lush forests and towering trees. You’ll see Douglas Firs lining the streets and bright flowers blooming in the spring. The vegetation alone makes Seattle an appealing place to live! Yearly snowfall rate is also much lower than New York City’s, and temperatures are more consistent in the Emerald City.
Many tourists and residents love the warmth of Seattle summers, with average highs in the 80s. The days are warm, dry, and sunny. However, it doesn’t get as hot as other parts of the country, so everyone can stay comfortable while hiking and exploring! While Seattle can be gray during the rest of the year, many Seattleites argue that the gray days fuel the culture and inspire the people living in the city.
Seattle’s Traffic isn’t the Best
We’re going to be perfectly honest: traffic in Seattle can be painful! Make sure you develop some patience and dial down any road rage before the big move. Traffic can be bumper-to-bumper during peak weekday hours.
Both the City of Seattle and Washington State have worked hard to monitor Seattle’s transportation and make improvements as the city grows. They strive to continue to reduce the traffic by 1) providing public transport options and 2) improving road and highway efficiency through construction.
Want to skip the long hours in the car? The new light rail lines are an excellent public transportation option, and a great substitute if you are used to taking the subway in NYC. You could also opt for the Metro buses or trollies in the city. And don’t forget about the Sounder train. While the train doesn’t travel at the speed of light, it makes for a quiet and relaxing ride. For just getting around Seattle itself, you will see electric scooters and bikes all over the city that you can rent inexpensively. You don’t ever have to buy a car – there are also plenty of rental car options for people who only want to drive occasionally.
On the bright side, if you’re relocating from New York City, you’ll find the traffic in Seattle considerably better than what you usually see. New York City recently ranked at the #2 worst traffic in the country while Seattle was ranked at #9, as cited by Fortune.com.
But the Food is Amazing!
Now we’re getting to the good stuff! You can find anything from cheap street truck eats to scrumptious high-end dining in the city.
Some of the foods you absolutely must try in Seattle include:
- Breakfast (their breakfast cafés are to die for)
- Seafood and sushi
- Vietnamese cuisine
- Fresh produce from the Farmer’s market
- Fast food (yes, even fast food is fantastic)
And here are some of the best spots for feasting in the city:
- Dick’s: You should know this about Seattle: Everybody adores Dick’s burger joint. You’ll be shocked by the quality of these burgers and milkshakes. The place stays open past midnight on the weekends to cater to the hungry younger crowd.
- Pike Place Chowder: This is one of the only great places to get chowder outside of New England. You’ll experience freshness every time!
- Pho 99: Seattleites love a hot bowl of Pho in the winter. This Vietnamese dish is delicious and one of the most popular in the entire city.
- Hot dog stands: Nope, we’re not kidding. Seattle hot dog stands are different than other hot dog options throughout the U.S. For example, they offer cream cheese as an optional topping, and you might love it!
- Fran’s Chocolates: Fran’s is famous as one Barack Obama’s favorite dessert spots of all-time! They have been selling hand-crafted artisanal chocolates for over 30 years. Grab a salted caramel, gold bar, or some chocolate-covered fruits.
- Beecher’s Handmade Cheese: Seattle is home to some of the best dairy in the country. You can watch the cheesemakers at work or try out some of their world-famous mac & cheese. Alternatively, you could check out Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream for a mouthwatering treat.
There Are Lots of Things to Do
Seattle is known as the Emerald City, for its green, pristine beauty. There’s plenty to do in this verdant metropolis:
- Parks and Rec: There are over 400 well-groomed parks in the Seattle area alone! They are both kid- and dog-friendly with striking views. Enjoy a walk, a bike ride, or a quick workout. Perhaps it is Seattle’s outstanding green initiatives that make the city’s parks so incredible. For an excellent hike, we recommend Discovery Park, located along the shore of the Puget Sound. Other options include jumping on a ferry ride or a seaplane to visit the San Juan Islands.
- Explore the City: There’s always something to do in the heart of Seattle, and it’s ranked the 8th most walkable city in the United States. You can discover dozens of shops and coffee stops. Of course, you must see all the iconic landmarks, like the Space Needle, the Pacific Science Center, and Pike Place Market. You’ll also find quirky options like the Duck Tours, where you ride in vehicles that drive both on land and in water.
- Art Scene: see the Seattle Symphony or the Pacific Northwest Ballet. There’s also the Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Art Museum, or 5th Avenue Theater. Or, you can check out the Art Walk at Pioneer Square on the first Thursday of every month, where local galleries display new artists’ work.
- Beach Day: West Seattle offers the best activity for your pleasant Seattle summers. Enjoy a cute little beach town complete with outdoorsy bars and restaurants, and of course, a peaceful, sandy shore.
Business is Booming
It’s no secret that business is booming in Seattle. Over 50% of Seattleites have a bachelor’s degree or higher, making it an excellent place for growing startups seeking top-tier talent. Along with new companies, you’ll also see plenty of well-established ones, including several Fortune 500 companies. Some of the biggest industries in the city include electronics, travel & tourism, agriculture, food, aerospace, and forestry, while the most prominent employers include:
- Alaska Airlines
- University of Washington
- Providence Health & Services
Endless opportunities are waiting for you in the Emerald City. It’s an excellent place for both work and play!
Best Neighborhoods in Seattle
Seattle’s population has been multiplying rapidly since 2015, making it one of the hottest housing markets in the country. With prosperous startups, successful tech companies, and teeming city life, it’s no surprise that Seattle has become such a favorite spot.
Are you seeking a stable family-friendly neighborhood? Or are you looking for a more temporary and exciting location? Perhaps just something close to work, or an area with a little bit of everything. We have picked out some of the most high-regarded neighborhoods in the Seattle area to help you start your search.
Queen Anne is one of Seattle’s largest neighborhoods, marked by the Space Needle itself! Here, you’ll also find museums, the ballet, the opera, and the famous Key Arena. The median home price in the area is around $560,000, while the median rent is $2,387. In Queen Anne, you pay for proximity to some of the most electrifying attractions in Seattle.
Not only is Queen Anne a Seattle landmark and essential destination, but it is also a thriving residential community. You can find homes, multiplexes, condos, and apartments. A lot of them even feature beautiful water views. Queen Anne residents usually find their neighbors friendly and open, accepting of dogs and children. You can see some stunning views from Highland Drive, or maybe stop by Chocopolis for incredible free chocolate tasting. Some Seattleites choose to work off the day at the old-school Seattle Gym.
We recommend Queen Anne to family-oriented individuals or small business owners. Transit can be a little tricky out of Queen Anne, but the city is working to improve public transport options and highway systems.
West Seattle’s population is around 10,000, with a median home value of over $600,000. Known to be more tranquil than the city center, West Seattle feels a little bit like an old beach town, complete with waterfront condos, apartment options, and craftsman-style homes. Perhaps the only drawback to living in West Seattle is that the only way back to the city is via the interstate and the bridge, both of which are notorious for traffic.
In this quaint neighborhood, you can bite into a sandwich or ice cream cone from the Husky Deli or visit the respected Seattle Brewing Company. Enjoy a quiet stroll in Lincoln Park or visit the jumping Alaska Junction. Do you love the water? Check out Alki Beach Park. Fishing enthusiasts spend their days seeking silver salmon or clams. Or you can bring your little ones along to discover the sea life sitting in the tide pools.
West Seattle is an excellent option for young families. Home prices are still considered reasonable for the area, and West Junction is walkable and convenient for all your errands and shopping. Best of all, you can get away to the beach at any time and feel separated from the rest of busy Seattle.
Ravenna is an iconic Seattle neighborhood with plenty of history, infused with new activities and residential communities. If you’re looking for a combination of city life and a quiet suburban area, Ravenna may suit you perfectly. Here, you are within walking distance to the best coffee houses and shopping stops, but you can quickly escape to your home on a quiet residential street.
There is a true spirit of community and fellowship in Ravenna, which strengthened after the Café Racer shootings that occurred in the area in 2012. You will notice volunteerism all around Ravenna, with great efforts being made to support many causes, from illness to helping community members with particular needs.
What are the best things to do in Ravenna?
- Take a walk or a bike ride through the forest-like Ravenna park (watch out for the live action role players!)
- Walk across the 20th Avenue footbridge
- Enjoy diverse shopping at boutiques, bookstores, and bike shops
- Munch on the best eats at cafés, Peaks Frozen Custard, or original Whole Foods
- Explore one of the busiest and largest shopping centers in the city, University Village
- Wander through over 50 acres of woods, many of which have walking and riding trails
- Fire up an outdoor grill and bring the whole family to a grassy park for a barbeque
People love U-Village because of the outdoor shopping mall with some of the most well-loved stores, from H & M to the Gap. There is a play area for children as well as a delicious Trophy Cupcakes shop. U-Village also provides outdoor evening concerts during the summer to increase the fun!
As you can see, Ravenna is an excellent place for Seattleites of all ages. Both families and singles love the area.
Interested in a fabulous beachfront community? Madison Park is one of the priciest and most luxurious spots in Seattle. The median home sale price is $1.8 million, with a standard monthly rental rate of $3,753. Why? You’ll understand when you see the area’s breathtaking beachfront mansions and Tudor-style homes lining the white sand. Madison Park incorporates both classical and modern architecture, along with historic homes. The neighborhood faces Lake Washington and gives Seattleites a break from the busy city life. Who knew you could enjoy the beach life on the lake?!
Madison Park is known as a safe place to live, where neighbors look out for one another. You have access to groceries, dinner stops, and clothes shopping within walking distance. Many seniors enjoy the area, as well as families. There are also many residents who live here only during the summer months.
After work, Seattleites retire to the grassy Madison Park, layout by a small lakeside beach, or tuck into a cozy coffee shop. There are also lots of beautiful trees to see at the Arboretum. Wherever you are in this community, you’ll be blown away by some of the most incredible views in all the Pacific Northwest! There is only a single neighborhood pub, so it may not be the place for you if you enjoy a buzzing nightlife.
People in Madison Park say they feel like they have some distance from Downtown Seattle, which they love. However, Madison Park neighborhoods are only minutes away from the city, making commuting a breeze.
Looking for an exciting neighborhood in Seattle that’s still safe and homey? Check out Kirkland, a lovely little lakeside town just outside of Seattle. There are micro-neighborhoods within Kirkland with a median home price of about $750,000 and rent of under $2,000. Kirkland’s population is close to 90,000 with a crime rate of about 25 per 1,000 residents.
Outdoor activities are boundless here, with miles of running trails, dozens of parks, and plenty of water activities. You’ll see active people out everywhere, running, biking, or boating. For new residents and tourists, we also recommend an Argosy Kirkland Lake Tour, where you can see some of the outdoor views as well as the grandest estates in the area, including Bill Gates’ home.
For those rainy days, there are also plenty of indoor activities and dining. Check out the unique indie shops or shop bargain priced items at consignment stores. Others may want to tour some of the art galleries or shop and dine on the famous Park Lane, a spectacular downtown street. You can see a Bollywood film, take an art class, or visit the Howard/Mandville Gallery. Grab a bite at some of the best eateries, like Trellis or Volterra.
Kirkland shows a strong economy, with a declining unemployment rate. Some of the top employers include Google and Microsoft. There are also vast opportunities in the realms of retail, healthcare, and education.
How to Move to Seattle from NYC
Don’t want to forget anything during your cross-country move? We want to refer you to our helpful moving suggestions list. We hope this guide can help you feel put-together while you relocate.
How long do you need to complete an organized move? Probably about two months, give or take.
First Things First
Once the move is official, get the following in order:
- Home Swap: If you own a home, contact a real estate agent in your area and begin the selling process. If you are in an apartment, provide your landlord with notice of your moving date.
- Research New Digs: Research new communities near your workplace or in your preferred residential areas. You can look online or speak with friends and family who are familiar with Seattle. You might also choose to contact a realtor in the area. Some factors you may want to consider when looking for a new home include quality of school districts, your average salary, cost of living, and the local crime rate.
- Discuss Employment: If your employer is paying for your move or transfer, discuss details with them. If you are leaving your current job, give your employer notice. If you have not secured employment in Seattle, begin your job search.
- Initial Cleanup: The more time you give yourself to minimalize clutter, the less stressed you will be on moving day and in your new Seattle home! Set aside a half day to go through the whole house (or work on one room each day for a week) and get rid of things that you do not use or love. Host a garage sale, sell items on apps, or donate to charity.
About one month before the move, the following tasks should be on your to-do list:
- Find Movers You Trust: Do online research or talk with friends and family who have been pleased with their movers in the past. Look for movers who care about your unique needs and can provide you with the packing supplies you need. When you have found the movers that will reduce your stress, schedule them in advance. Great Guys Moving is the best place to start your search for licensed, insured cross country moving companies.
- Make Final Real Estate Decisions: Purchase that new home or sign a lease for your apartment. Arrange to finance if needed and make sure you have a place to go when you arrive.
- Change Your Mailing Address: The easiest way to do this is to go to usps.com/move and enter your new address.
- Educational Arrangements: If you or the little people who are moving with you are in school, organize necessary transfers.
- Update Insurance Policies: Call your insurance agents. Make any needed changes to home, auto, and health policies based on your new residence. Don’t forget about auto registration, either.
- Contemplate Financial Changes: You may also need to move your money to a new bank if your current bank doesn’t have Seattle locations.
- Check Records: You might want to let your medical and dental providers know you will be moving and get referrals for new providers.
- Storage Prep: If you need to leave some things in NYC, rent a storage unit.
- Second Cleaning Run: Start organizing and packing up closets, lesser-used cupboards, and drawers, guest rooms, etc. Don’t forget to minimize your possessions.
- Meal Plan: Work out a way to use up most or all the food you have left so you can save money and reduce waste. You can always donate non-perishables to your local food bank.
Weeks Before the Move
You’re getting close now! It’s time to get serious about moving day.
- Extensive Packing: You might choose to set aside things like toiletries, appliances, and clothes you use daily and weekly. Everything else can be packed up in well-labeled boxes. Some people hire professional packers if they are swamped with work or other responsibilities.
- Set Aside Important Documents: Make sure you know where your all-important personal records and documents are. Put your most critical items in a special box and keep them safe.
- Schedule Utilities: Call and schedule for a utility disconnect in your current place. Be sure to arrange it for the day after moving out, so you’re not in the dark while you move! Call and set up utilities, internet, and other services in your new home to begin the day before you move in.
- Consider Cleaning and Repairs: Depending on your current living situation, you may need your place to be spotless after the move. A few weeks before the big day, you might want to hire any professionals you may need, like a maid service or carpet cleaners. Going the extra mile when cleaning out your apartment could make all the difference in getting your security deposit back.
- Arrange Care for Kids and Pets: Figure out what to do with kids and pets on moving day and throughout your travels.
- Make Travel Plans: Speaking of traveling, what do you need to get from point A to point B? Some people have their cars towed or driven for them. You may be driving your car or a moving truck, or you may fly while an auto transport company ships your vehicle. Get all of this set up for moving day. Also, make sure you have access to the keys for your new home or apartment when you arrive in Seattle.
- Final Moving Sales: You only have a few weeks left to sell or giveaway possessions you won’t be bringing with you.
- Service Car: We recommend checking alignment, antifreeze, tire pressure, oil, and the overall function of your car before the move, especially if you will be driving.
- Transfer Other Documents: Other documents you might choose to transfer include prescriptions, newspapers, etc.
A Week Before Moving Day
Make your final preparations. Your house should be looking somewhat empty by now!
- Pack a Travel Kit: What will you need while you fly or drive? Set aside your wallet, checkbook, ID, toiletries, medications, and entertainment. You may also want to pack a suitcase to live out of for the days just before and just after the move.
- Complete Packing: You or your packer should complete packing all boxes at this time. Everything should be packed away aside from the few things you need daily.
- Confirm Arrangements: Check with family, realtors, movers, hotels, flights, rental cars, and anyone else involved to ensure all goes smoothly on moving day.
- Clean Home: Deep clean appliances like your fridge, stove, and dishwasher. Start deep cleaning the home (or wait for the professionals to arrive). You can begin to dismantle and move furniture at this time if you are relocating on your own.
On Moving Day
It’s time for the heavy lifting! If you have movers, confirm the paperwork and monitor your inventory as they move. Double-check that nothing is left behind, and then you can be on your way to Seattle!
We hope your move is smooth and low-stress. Your movers will take good care of you!