If you’re considering moving to Washington, you’ve come to the right place. Washington is truly a gem in the Pacific Northwest… and not just for its breathtaking natural beauty.
In this state guide, we’ll cover everything from the stunning landscape that makes Washington so lovely, the booming economy that is beginning to give the rest of the nation some Silicon Valley deja vu and a few cities that are worth considering if you decide to actually make a jump here.
Grab a cup of coffee and settle in, we’re about to give you everything you need to know about moving to the wonderful state of Washington (oh, and by way of introduction, we’re Bellhops—movers in Washington and throughout the country).
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a more macro look at the state of Washington as a whole by looking at the actual state itself. Washington, not unlike so many states we offer our moving services in, has a lovely canvas.
The Pacific Northwest, often referred to as Cascadia, is quite possibly the prettiest region (or bioregion) of the United States. Though, that’s difficult to say because so much of the United States is intoxicatingly pretty.
Cascadia is made up of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of both Montana and Wyoming. While 16 million people live in Cascadia, nearly half of them live in the state of Washington alone –– that’s a pretty sizeable chunk.
Why is this noteworthy? Because of the fact that Cascadia’s landscape is known for being unparalleled in natural beauty.
The Cascade Mountain Range knifes through the state of Washington dividing it into two parts –– Western Washington and Eastern Washington –– the pair are very diverse in both features and weather.
The states most heavily populated cities like Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma and Vancouver land on the Eastern side of the mountain.
Perhaps, the crowned jewel of Washington’s landscape is the colossal 14,411 feet high Mount Rainier that can be seen by half of the state… take a moment and think about that.
With that said, Washington’s landscape isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. It’s also home to five active volcanoes (Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, Glacier Peak, Mount Baker, and Mount Adams). Don’t worry, though. It’s been about four decades since the last eruption.
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Washington, like so many other states, has some great things about it and some not so great things about it, too. We’re optimists here at Bellhops, so, we’re going to kick things off with the things we love about Washington. Then, we’ll share a few no so great things you might want to consider before moving here.
As we mentioned earlier, Washington lucked out with a pretty gorgeous canvas. With this naturally comes both a higher quality of life and plenty to do in the great outdoors.
With Washington being home to over 100 mountains, it’s safe to say (or not so safe to say) that it’s a paradise for the outdoor enthusiast that adores hiking, mountain biking and climbing. But, if you’re the type of individual that feels more comfortable in the water, Washington has a lot to offer in this department too.
With it being in such close proximity to the Pacific Ocean and too many lakes, streams, and rivers to count… surfing, wind-surfing, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, fishing, and just some good ole fashion swimming is always an option. And, finally, if you get an early enough start to your day, you might even find time to get a run or two down one of Seattle’s many slopes.
And, while the cost of living is quite a bit higher than other parts of the United States (more on that here momentarily)… some might argue it’s a fair trade to have such incredible access to the great outdoors.
Make no bones about it. Washington is an expensive state to call home. The state’s most popular city, Seattle, will cost you a whopping $2,100 for a two bedroom apartment… if you were wondering… that is a mind-boggling 80% higher than the national average.
While other cities in Washington are slightly cheaper to live in, be prepared to pay a little more than you are probably paying in your current city (unless you’re living in New York City, Los Angeles or San Francisco).
Fortunately, the average salary in Seattle is right under $70,000 a year, making it a little easier to cough up the two grand you will owe your landlord each year. And, speaking of money, let’s discuss Washington’s economy. Afterall, you’ll need a job once you get there.
Unless you are one of the fortunate few that either has a remote career or plenty of money staked in the bank account, you’re going to need a job once you get all packed up and officially move to Washington… we can help with that by the way. We have dedicated this section to Washington’s economy, job market, and growth.
Washington, believe it or not, was America’s top state for business back in 2017. It grew by 3.7% back in 2016, which was roughly two and a half times the national average. So, it’s not only winning the race; it’s dominating it. With this, the state of Washington is massively innovative, too. It followed right behind California back in 2016 with the most patents filed by any state.
It is certainly safe to say that over the past decade, Washington has lived up to its nickname, The Evergreen State. Though, we are pretty sure they were referring to the state’s vast evergreen forests when it was given this nickname.
The state’s thriving economy makes it the perfect place for professionals looking to chase down an opportunity. And, the best city to do this in is…
They say all good things must come to an end. We aren’t entirely sure who “they” is (or are rather) but they have a point.
For decades now, Silicon Valley has been our nation’s trailblazer for all things tech and innovation. And, while it certainly isn’t going anywhere, there seem to be some new players in the space… like Seattle.
As Bay Area engineering centers are expanding at a breakneck pace, they are pushing to Seattle… making it one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the United States.
In 2016 and 2017, no city added more tech jobs than Seattle. Take a wild guess at how many jobs they added during this two year period… seriously, go ahead. 33,803. And, what’s perhaps even more awe-inspiring is that these software engineers rock an average salary of $130,000 a year. So, if you’re an engineer… Seattle might not be such a bad place to be.
Along with this rapid growth in the tech industry, Seattle is also home to giants in business like Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks.
We suppose what we are trying to say is that there are some interesting things happening in Seattle from a growth standpoint. And, while you’re certainly going to pay a heck of a lot more here than in other cities around the United States, the opportunities might be worth the price tag.
Okay, so perhaps the most obvious answer here is Seattle. After all, we just praised it for the past few minutes. It’s growing by leaps and bounds and presents some amazing opportunities for professionals of all ages looking to get in and make some serious moolah. With that said, Washington is a vast state, and there are some other smaller cities to choose from, too.
There are some pretty obvious reasons to choose Tacoma over Seattle. For one, you might have a better view of Mount Rainier (do yourself a favor and Google the city, your mind will be blown). For two, the rent in Tacoma is way cheaper than Seattle at just $1,200 a month… still expensive but chump change when you consider it’s almost double in Seattle. And, finally, don’t let Tacoma’s size of just 213,000 residents fool you… it’s still a great place to do business and was ranked by Forbes for being one of the top cities in the United States for young professionals.
We’ve seen a ton of cities — a ton. And, we’ll be honest, Spokane might be the best looking of any city we’ve laid eyes on and others seem to agree… it was ranked by US News as one of the best places to live.
Better yet, Spokane is right around the same size as Tacoma… clocking in at 217,000 residents. So, it offers a small town feel with some big city opportunity.
And, we’d argue that Spokane just might give residents the best access to the states lovely outdoors. It’s within an hour drive of 76 lakes, a dozen or so rivers and one of Washington’s true gems… Lake Coeur d’Alene.
If you love the great outdoors and aspire to make a name for yourself in the tech space (or at the very least build a strong career), Washington is a pretty obvious choice. Yes, it certainly has some drawbacks. We’re still scratching our heads at the rent. But, we think the opportunities waiting there might be worth the price you pay for living. We’ll let you decide that though.
Washington is a gorgeous state with several wonderful places to live in. We're here to help you find the perfect spot with our 2019 guide to the best places to live in Washington. Enjoy.
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