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Located in the Puget Sound region in the state of Washington, Seattle is a picturesque city surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges and lush forests. With a lively arts scene and rich history, it makes for an interesting and culturally rich lifestyle.
Living in Seattle as an expat
Newcomers in Seattle are able to strike a healthy balance between work, relaxation, entertainment and family time. Downtown Seattle is the city’s economic and social hub and the primary industries that make up the city’s economy are internet and technology, service, design and industrial companies. The Port of Seattle is a major trade hub with links to Asia and Alaska.
Young professionals are drawn to the Downtown area as it provides a vibrant, fast-paced lifestyle and is in close proximity to most office buildings. But there are plenty of neighbourhoods to cater for every taste and budget, along with a huge variety of housing options, from slick apartments and quirky loft conversions to family homes.
Most expats living in Seattle will find that a car is not a necessity, as buses, trolley-buses, light rail and commuter trains are at their disposal when it comes to getting around the city, not to mention the excellent ferry system (the largest in the US). It's also not uncommon to cycle or walk to work.
Cost of living in Seattle
Seattle’s booming economy means professionals can earn more than the average American salary, allowing them greater spending power. Their situation is helped even more by the fact that healthcare and utilities are cheaper by 20 percent and 30 percent respectively. Groceries cost about the same as they would around the country. That said, housing doesn’t come cheap in Seattle, and this raises cost of living considerably. The cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment is almost twice the national average. The factors behind the high prices are a boom in the construction of expensive, luxury apartment buildings and an influx of young, affluent tech workers who can afford them.
Expat families and children
The city offers plenty of excellent schooling options, state-of-the-art healthcare and a safe environment. The city has plenty of sights to delight young and old. During the summer months, Seattle families love to get outdoors, and the city has plenty of natural splendours to enjoy. From lush forests and crystal clear lakes, to beautiful city parks and rich wildlife reserves, expats will find there is much to discover in this city.
The Emerald City is bordered by lots of water and it provides a unique way to enjoy the city. From sea kayaking to spending a weekend on a houseboat or having sundowners on a luxury yacht, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the surrounding ocean. Families often enjoy taking a drive out to Lake Washington to enjoy a picnic by the water.
Climate in Seattle
Seattle if famous for its wet conditions, and this might take some getting used to for newcomers. But it's also beautifully green as a result of all the rain, and the city does enjoy its fair share of sunny days too. Temperatures are wonderfully mild, with July and August being the hottest months. The average summer temperature is 75°F (24°C), while winter temperatures rarely drop below 32°F (0°C), with little snowfall.
All in all, Seattle is a beautiful place to live and is constantly growing in its innovation and culture. Its cost of living might be on the rise, but most newcomers to the city report that it is well worth it.
"The locals are friendly. It’s easier to connect if the family has kids as there are a lot of extra-curricular activities to be involved in." Indian expat Padmaja shares her experiences of living in Seattle.
Are you an expat living in Seattle?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Seattle. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
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