It has more glaciers than the other 47 contiguous states put together, with a classic Pacific Northwest terrain marked by the Cascades and a treasured coast. Gallup ranks it as the seventh-most liberal state in America, so you can bet its outdoor-loving folk are a pretty awesome bunch.
This is a state you may want to relocate to if you are well loaded because the overall cost of living is a bit steep, with housing prices that many will consider to be above the roof. Here then, are the 15 best places to live in Washington State based on crime rate, school system excellence, home affordability, and growth and prosperity.
Source: Kyle_Graph / shutterstockRedmond, Washington Tech enthusiasts will recognize Redmond as the home of Microsoft, the largest employer in town. It sits at a very convenient location that is just 16 miles from the state’s largest city, Seattle, and a home here will set you back $485,100 on average.
Apart from Microsoft, other notable tech firms include Nintendo, Solstice, AT & T and Genie Industries. The town also has a distinguished school system which has made the AP District Honor Roll several times.
Source: Dan Lewis / shutterstockSammamishSammamish is a city in King County bordered by Lake Sammamish where 50,200 people call home. The town has evolved from its rural roots and into a booming suburb that is within convenient location of Seattle (25 miles).
The Sammamish Commons area guarantees acres of outdoor fun, with wetlands and hiking trails, golf courses and grounds for festivals such as Shakespeare in the Park. As with most suburbs in King County, the public school system is outstanding, from elementary right through 12th grade.
That’s LOW for an area that has won numerous national awards and received honorable mentions for its beauty. If you are looking for a town that is affordable and has a college vibe with dozens of parks and natural areas, Pullman is an excellent choice.
Source: Joe Mabel / Wikimedia Issaquah Issaquah is a suburb of Seattle that is a popular hiking destination, thanks to its rich network of mountains and lakes. Source: locksmithtricities.com RichlandParts of Washington can be darn expensive, and finding places with both low home prices and crime rate can be daunting.
The isolated suburb of Seattle continues to live up to its billing with a wealthy diversity and bustling online business community. Bainbridge Island has an A-one public school education system and promises a range of family-friendly outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, sailing, Little League baseball and many more.
Home values are reflective of the state’s high cost of living, averaging $548,100 (with some even breaching the $3 million-dollar mark. Snoqualmie may be small, but it has an award-winning school district that continues to grow as more and more residents are lured to its scenic surrounds.
You will find it in King County near Lake Washington, a popular tourist destination that offers plenty of parks (a minimum entry amenity in Washington), beaches, outdoor activities, art exhibits, unique shops, bars and restaurants with live entertainment, and more. The city has been playing host to the Little League Junior Softball World Series in Everest Park for close to two decades now, going back to 1999.
Source: RESTOCK / shutterstockBellevueBellevue is a French name that means “beautiful view”, and that is exactly what this city in King County is. The city of 135,000 residents is set against the backdrop of Olympic and Cascade Mountains, and the natural scenery is one many neighborhoods in the area revel in, providing many hiking and bicycle trails for everyone to enjoy.
Source: FloweringHearth at English Wikipedia / Wikimedia WoodinvilleWoodinville is another suburb of the big city, with a population of 11,400. But even amidst the growth that has seen more and more schools and businesses pitch tent in the area, the town is keen to hold on to its small-town charm, and that can only be good news for anyone looking to live here.
Case in point is the Joinville High School which has added a performing arts wing, with a technology and special education building opened in 2017. Source: RESTOCK / shutterstockMaple Valley the outdoors are a special factor for you when choosing a place to live, then Washington’s Maple Valley will blow you away.
Okay, the state’s topography makes the entire lot of it an outdoor haven, but some places like Snoqualmie and Maple Valley take it a step further. Speaking of education, the public school district in Maple Valley is outstanding, just like every other entry in this list of 15.
There are plenty of ways to get involved in the community through the various organizations that support creative arts, golfing, and of course, Lake Wilderness Park. Kenmore promises an array of recreational pursuits for the outdoor enthusiast, spanning from biking trails to summer concerts.
The city has also started planning an eco-friendly and walkable town square in the heart of downtown as it tries to retain its natural splendor amid the inevitable growth. Source: John T Gallery / shutterstockOlympiaIf you are looking to secure a government job in Washington, your best bet would be to try Olympia.
As with most cities, the crime rate in Olympia is wanting, but it is generally deemed a great place for not just young professionals, but families as well. With a population of just about 50,000, the city based in Thurston County will appeal to anyone looking for an affordable place to live in the state of Washington.
What else makes Olympia an appealing proposition is the presence of parks and forest reserves that are more than enough for the small population. The Fish Brewing Company, the Olympia Family Theater and Centennial Station are other popular attractions in the capital, as well as the Washington Center for Performing Arts among a host of others.
Seattle is not all roses and fairies, but there is a reason its larger metropolitan was ranked sixth on the 2017 Best Places to Live in America by the U.S. News & World Report, up one spot from the previous year. Median home value in Seattle is $452,800, and the city remains desirable to both young professionals and families.
A great school district, buzzing nightlife, outdoor activities, short commute times, an iconic public market, thriving art scene, shopping and restaurants are some of the biggest draws in the big city. The only state named after a U.S. president, we define Washington as being a phoenix of sorts, a lovely living breathing place that never ceases to rise again from its ashes.
Or, at least we don’t think so… considering the last major eruption in Washington took place thirty-nine years ago. Back in 1980, Mount St. Helen's erupted making history violently… overnight Washington became home to the deadliest most destructive volcanic eruption in the United States, ever.
On that day, the volcano spilled out 540 million tons of ash and took the lives of fifty-seven people. Three cities we recommend you pack your bags and move too immediately.
Washington is home to some splendid cities, many of which we will be touching on in this article. We recommend paying a visit to Ch elan, if you want to sip from twenty different wineries while enjoying over 50 miles of lakefront.
But, if beer is more your jam, take a look at Leavenworth (located two hours east of Seattle), known for its Oktoberfest… who doesn’t like Oktoberfest. Seattle, Washington lands first on our list because it is a city of transplants, a rainy but vibrant haven for travelers, dreamers, creatives and entrepreneurs looking for a place to call home.
Margaret O’Mara, the University of Washington History Professor told The Seattle Times that like San Francisco, Seattle is a gold-rush city… that it takes off like crazy during economic booms. In the words of Charles Dickens, “It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.” While Seattle Natives aren’t necessarily thrilled with all the changes and transplants, the city presents an exciting opportunity for young professionals looking to take the world by storm.
And, if you are one that struggles with seasonal affective disorder (or notice lack of sun has a massive impact on your overall mood) we would recommend you don’t touch Seattle with a ten-foot pole. Like, Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco expensive.
No, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to make friends, but you will definitely have to pay your dues until you’re accepted as a “native”. With that said, it really is hard to beat the opportunity present in Seattle, especially if you’re a young professional looking to make a name for yourself.
It’s growing, at a more modest pace and offers a more laid back culture than what can be found in Seattle. Back in 2014, Tacoma was ranked by Forbes as being one of the top cities in the United States for young professionals.
At $1,200/ month for an apartment, young professionals won’t find themselves blowing every bit of their paycheck to simply get by. Your jaw will drop as you look at Mount Rainier overlooking the city like a giant sleeping titan.
Tacoma is for the transplant that wants to experience Washington and all of its greatness without having to fuss with the high costs (and perhaps stress) of living in a much larger city like Seattle. Not to mention, we would say that Tacoma offers an even better view of Mount Rainier than Seattle does.
So, it offers a small town feel that transplants grow to really appreciate. Of the three best places to live in Washington, we would say that Spokane gives residents the best access to the state’s beautiful outdoors.
Spokane is for those looking to live in arguably one of the prettiest cities in the United States. It’s a city that feels more like a small town and in our opinion, the perfect jumping off point for folks wanting to get their toes wet in Washington.
We love states like Washington because they offer so many great cities to choose from. In fact, there were so many, that we had to kick things off by giving you a list of three towns worth checking out, too.
With that said, we imagine you’re experiencing a bit of analysis paralysis right now… with all the great places to choose from, where does one call home? But, if you’re open to living in a slightly smaller city, you can rule out Seattle and go with Spokane or Tacoma.