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Living in Washington - EVERYTHING You Need to Know

Downtown Seattle with Mount Rainier

Welcome to Living in Washington State!

Are you wondering if Washington State is the right place for you and your family to live? You're in luck! The state offers a unique and diverse living experience and has plenty to offer its residents. Washington has something for everyone, from the majestic mountain ranges, lush evergreen forests, and awe-inspiring Islands to its vibrant cities and quaint towns.


So read on to explore what living in Washington looks like. Or, if you're interested in a particular city, click the "Cities" tab on the menu bar, and you'll see info on all the cities we have available. Check back often as we grow the list daily. With all the great information available, we will paint a good picture of what living in Washington looks like and help you figure out where the best place in Washington would be for you to live! And we'll hopefully answer the question, "is Washington a good place to live?"

What is Living in Washington Like?

Washington State is a great place to live, with a diverse economy, abundant natural beauty, and a strong sense of community. The state has a high quality of life, excellent healthcare, education, and transportation systems, and is known for its outdoor recreation opportunities, arts and culture scene, and progressive values.

Washington State is geographically diverse, with several distinct regions. Western Washington is characterized by its mild, rainy climate and proximity to the Pacific Ocean. The area is known for its lush forests, rugged coastline, and cosmopolitan cities such as Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia. Eastern Washington, on the other hand, has a drier climate and is known for its agricultural production, including wheat, apples, and wine grapes. The region is home to several major cities, including Spokane, Yakima, and Walla Walla, and outdoor recreation opportunities such as skiing, hiking, and fishing.

Other regions of Washington include the Olympic Peninsula, with its stunning mountain scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities; the North Cascades, with its rugged mountain peaks and alpine lakes; and the Palouse, with its rolling hills and fertile farmland.

The climate in Washington can vary significantly depending on the region. Western Washington is generally mild and rainy, with cool temperatures in the winter and warm temperatures in the summer. Eastern Washington is drier and hotter in the summer, with colder temperatures in the winter. The state's mountainous regions have cooler temperatures and more precipitation than the rest of the state.

If you're considering moving to Washington State, the lifestyle and climate vary significantly by region, but no matter where you move to, living in Washington has something for everyone, from outdoor enthusiasts to city dwellers to those looking for a peaceful rural lifestyle.

The Moving to Washington Team

Let our team of trusted professionals help you buy or/and sell a home in Washington. To connect with a local expert/real estate professional in Washington, CLICK HERETo start receiving emails with homes that match your criteria anywhere in Washington, CLICK HERE and sign up for Listing Alert. With a little info on what, where, and how much, you'll get newly listed homes matching your criteria sent to your inbox as they hit the market. This can give you a big leg up in your home search.

The first step in the home-buying process is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Todd Davidson is an experienced mortgage broker and can help you get the best financing option for your home purchase. Not quite ready yet? Todd can help you put together a plan to get you there. Whether you're thinking a few months or a year or more if you want to buy a home, reach out to Todd and he can help. CLICK HERE to email Todd and set up a call to get the process started or just call him at 971-275-2465. 

Todd Davidson Headshot.JPG

Todd Davidson

Mortgage Broker

A Brief History of Washington

Washington State's rich and diverse history stretches back thousands of years. The area was home to several indigenous tribes, including the Coast Salish, Chinook, and Makah, who lived off the land and sea and had rich cultures and traditions. In the 18th century, European explorers and traders, including Spanish and British explorers, arrived in the region. In 1792, American explorer Captain George Vancouver sailed into Puget Sound and claimed the area for Great Britain.

In the mid-19th century, the Oregon Treaty of 1846 established the border between the United States and Canada along the 49th parallel, and Washington became a part of the United States. In 1853, Washington Territory was created, and Olympia was established as the capital. Washington played a significant role in developing the Pacific Northwest and the nation. The state was a major player in the timber industry, and Seattle became a major port city, with the Klondike Gold Rush bringing thousands of people to the area in the late 1800s. The state also played a significant role in World War II, with Boeing producing aircraft for the war effort.

Washington Today

As of 2023, the estimated population of Washington State is approximately 7.8 million people, making it the 13th most populous state in the United States. The state covers an area of 71,362 square miles, making it the 18th largest state in the country. The largest city in Washington is Seattle, with an estimated population of over 735,000 people. Other major cities in the state include Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, and Bellevue.

The state has a diverse economy, with major industries including aerospace, technology, healthcare, and agriculture. Several Fortune 500 companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks, are headquartered in Washington.


Washington is known for its progressive politics and environmental consciousness. The state is a leader in renewable energy, with over 70% of its electricity coming from renewable sources such as hydroelectric power.

The state also has a high quality of life, with excellent healthcare, education, and transportation systems. The cost of living in Washington can vary depending on the region, with cities like Seattle being more expensive than rural areas.


Top Businesses & Employers in Washington

Washington state boasts a thriving and diverse economy, offering numerous opportunities for businesses and employees alike. The state is home to a variety of industries, ranging from high-tech manufacturing to agriculture and forestry. For those currently residing in, or planning to move to, Washington, below are ten of the state's largest employers and companies:

  1. Amazon - Headquartered in Seattle, Amazon is the largest employer in the state, with over 100,000 employees.

  2. Boeing - The aerospace company is also headquartered in Seattle and is the second-largest employer in the state, with over 70,000 employees.

  3. Microsoft - The technology giant is headquartered in Redmond and has over 50,000 employees in the state.

  4. Providence Health & Services - A healthcare provider with hospitals and clinics throughout the state, Providence has over 40,000 employees.

  5. University of Washington - The state's largest public university is located in Seattle and employs over 30,000 people.

  6. Starbucks - The coffee company is headquartered in Seattle and has over 20,000 employees in the state.

  7. Kaiser Permanente - A healthcare provider with facilities throughout the state, Kaiser Permanente has over 16,000 employees.

  8. Fred Meyer - A supermarket chain with stores throughout the state, Fred Meyer has over 15,000 employees.

  9. Swedish Health Services - A healthcare provider with hospitals and clinics throughout the state, Swedish Health Services has over 14,000 employees.

  10. MultiCare Health System - A healthcare provider with facilities throughout the state, MultiCare has over 13,000 employees.

Top Destinations, Attractions and Events in Washington

There is no shortage of incredible destinations and attractions in the beautiful state of Washington. Listed below are 5 of the most popular destinations, attractions, and events in Washington. They are all must-see if visiting or living in Washington:

The Space Needle

The most visited attraction in Washington State is the iconic Space Needle in Seattle. It was built for the 1962 World's Fair and has become a symbol of Seattle and a major tourist attraction. Visitors can ride up to the observation deck 520 feet above the ground and enjoy panoramic views of the city, Puget Sound, and the surrounding mountains. The Space Needle includes a revolving restaurant, a gift shop, and exhibits. It attracts over one million visitors annually and is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Seattle or Washington State.

The Space Needle in Seattle Washington

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market in Seattle Washington

Pike Place Market is a world-famous marketplace located in the heart of downtown Seattle, Washington. Established in 1907, it is one of the oldest continuously operated farmers' markets in the United States. Pike Place Market is a popular destination for tourists and locals, attracting over 10 million visitors annually.

The market features several levels of shops, restaurants, and stalls offering a variety of goods, including fresh seafood, produce, flowers, crafts, and artisanal products. One of the market's most famous attractions is the fish-throwing vendors at the Pike Place Fish Market, where the staff tosses large salmon and other fish to each other and customers with incredible showmanship.

In addition to food and shopping, Pike Place Market also features street performers, artists, and musicians who perform throughout the day. Visitors can also take market tours to learn more about its history and meet some local vendors and artisans.

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park is a stunning natural attraction in south-central Washington state. It is one of the most popular national parks in the United States, attracting over 2 million visitors annually. The park is named after Mount Rainier, the highest mountain in Washington, and the Cascade Range, standing at 14,411 feet tall.

The park encompasses over 236,000 acres of alpine meadows, glacier-capped mountains, old-growth forests, and subalpine lakes, offering a diverse range of outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, mountain climbing, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching. The park is home to over 25 glaciers and snowfields, including the Emmons Glacier, the largest glacier in the contiguous United States.

Visitors can explore over 260 miles of hiking trails in the park, ranging from easy walks to challenging backcountry treks, and enjoy breathtaking mountain views and surrounding landscapes. Mount Rainier National Park is also home to diverse wildlife, including black bears, elk, deer, mountain goats, and over 200 bird species.

The park is open year-round, although many areas are only accessible during summer. In the winter, visitors can enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding in the park's designated winter recreation areas.

Edith Creek at Mount Ranier National Park

Washington Cultural Celebrations

Several popular events occur in Washington State yearly, including music festivals, and cultural celebrations. One of the most popular annual events in Washington is the Washington State Fair, held each September in Puyallup, located about 35 miles south of Seattle. The Washington State Fair, also known as the Puyallup Fair, is the largest fair in the state and one of the ten largest fairs in the United States, attracting over 1 million visitors annually. The fair features a variety of attractions, including carnival rides, concerts, animal exhibits, food vendors, and agricultural displays. It also hosts a range of competitions, from baking and gardening to livestock and 4-H projects.

Washington also hosts many other events throughout the year, including the Seattle International Film Festival, Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival, and the Cherry Blossom Festival in Seattle's Japanese Garden.

Washington Pro Sports

Washington State is home to several professional sports teams:


National Football League > Seattle Seahawks won one Super Bowl in 2014. They play their home games at Lumen Field in downtown Seattle.

Major League Baseball > Seattle Mariners play their home games at T-Mobile Park in downtown Seattle and have yet to win a World Series.

National Hockey League > Seattle Kraken. The Kraken was established as an expansion team in the NHL and played their inaugural season in 2021-2022. The Kraken plays at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, in the heart of Seattle's vibrant South Lake Union neighborhood.

Major League Soccer > Seattle Sounders FC is the state's professional soccer team. They play their home games at Lumen Field in Seattle and have won several MLS Cup championships, including in 2016 and 2019.

Pros and Cons of Moving to and Living in Washington

The Pros of Moving to and Living in Washington

  1. Natural Beauty: Washington State is home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country, including rugged coastlines, majestic mountains, and pristine forests.

  2. Outdoor Recreation: With its abundant natural beauty, Washington offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, camping, fishing, skiing, and water sports.

  3. Strong Economy: Washington has a strong economy driven by technology, aerospace, and healthcare industries. This has led to low unemployment rates and high wages.

  4. Culture and Arts: Washington has a vibrant arts and culture scene, with world-class museums, theaters, and music venues.

  5. Quality of Life: With a high quality of life, excellent schools, and a strong sense of community, Washington is a great place to raise a family.

  6. Progressive Values: Washington is known for its progressive values, including a commitment to environmental conservation, social justice, and equal rights.

  7. Mild Climate: Western Washington has a temperate climate with relatively warm summers and mild winters, making it a comfortable place to live year-round.

The Cons of Moving to and Living in Washington

  1. High Cost of Living: Housing, transportation, and other expenses can be relatively expensive in some areas of Washington State, especially in the Seattle area.

  2. Traffic Congestion: Seattle is one of the most congested cities in the country, making commuting a stressful and time-consuming experience.

  3. Rainy Weather: The western part of Washington State is known for its rainy weather, with some areas receiving over 150 inches of rainfall each year.

  4. Natural Disasters: Washington State is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and wildfires, which can be a significant risk for residents.

  5. Limited Sunlight: The Pacific Northwest region is known for its cloudy and overcast skies, which can lead to a lack of sunlight and vitamin D for residents.

  6. Homelessness: Like many other urban areas, Seattle and other parts of Washington State have a significant homeless population, which can impact the quality of life for residents.

FAQs About Moving to and Living in Washington

What is the weather like in Washington?

The weather in Washington State can vary widely depending on the region. The state has two distinct climate zones: a marine west coast climate in the western part of the state and a semi-arid climate in the eastern part.

In the western part of the state, which includes cities like Seattle, the climate is generally mild and rainy for a good amount of the year. The region experiences cool and wet winters with average temperatures ranging from the mid-30s to the low 50s, and summers are mild, pleasant, and sunny with temperatures from the mid-60s to low 70s.

The climate is generally drier in the eastern part of the state, which includes cities like Spokane. The region experiences hot summers with average temperatures from the mid-70s to mid-80s and cold winters with average temperatures from the mid-20s to low 30s.

Are there lots of job opportunities for those living in Washington?

Yes, there are plenty of job opportunities available for anyone looking to move to Washington. The state's economy is strong and growing, and several industries are booming, including technology, agriculture, and tourism. Some of the biggest companies in the world are headquartered in the Seattle area as well.

What are the biggest cities in Washington?

The five largest cities in Washington are Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, and Bellevue. At the time of writing, Seattle is the largest city, with a population of approximately 735,000. Spokane is the second-largest city, with a population of about 223,000. Tacoma is the third-largest city, with a population of about 221,000. Vancouver, located in the southwestern part of the state, is fourth, with a population of about 190,000. And last but not least, Bellevue is the fifth most populated, with approximately 149,000 residents.

What is Washington known for?

Washington is known for its natural beauty and diverse landscapes, technology-the birth place of Amazon and Microsoft, wine-the second leading wine producing state in the US with more than 1,000 vineyards, music-the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana, and coffee-Seattle is often referred to as the "Coffee Capital of the World" and is the birthplace of Starbucks. 

What is Unique About Washington?

The state is home to several active volcanoes, including Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Baker. These volcanoes have had a significant impact on the state's landscape and history, and their eruptions have had devastating effects on local communities. The Mount St. Helens eruption on May 18th, 1980, remains the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in U.S. history.

Mount St Helens in Washington

Where is the best place in Washington to live?

The best place to live in Washington State depends on individual preferences and priorities, as the state offers diverse landscapes, climates, and communities. However, here are five places that are often cited as great places to live in Washington State based on various factors such as livability, affordability, and quality of life:


  1. Seattle: Seattle is Washington State's largest city and a vibrant cultural hub. It offers a thriving economy, diverse neighborhoods, and access to natural beauty and outdoor recreation.

  2. Bellevue: Located just east of Seattle, Bellevue offers a high quality of life with excellent schools, parks, and amenities. It is also home to several major employers, including Microsoft.

  3. Spokane: Located in eastern Washington, Spokane offers a lower cost of living than many other cities in the state, a growing economy, outdoor recreation opportunities, and a strong sense of community.

  4. Bellingham: Located near the Canadian border, Bellingham offers a picturesque waterfront setting, access to outdoor recreation, and a thriving downtown with shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.

  5. Olympia: As the state capital, Olympia offers a rich history, beautiful parks, natural areas, and a laid-back vibe. It is also a center for education and healthcare, with several colleges and medical centers in the area.

These are just a few of the many great places to live in Washington State, and many other communities offer unique and attractive features depending on individual preferences.


I want to live in Washington.  How do I go about moving there?

If living in Washington seems like it might be right for you and you're thinking you might want to move to Washington, research and preparation are essential. Between the information and contacts on this website and the question and ask forum in our Facebook Group > Moving to Washington, you should have access to a lot of information and be able to get a lot of questions answered to help with your decision and planning. Once you've made your decision, lining up a job, if you aren't retired, and finding a place to live would be important next steps.

Is Washington State a good place to live?

The answer to this is different for everyone and depends on your circumstance and what you want. For many living in Washington is amazing. Hopefully the information in this article has answered the question "is Washington a good place to live?" for you.

If you're looking to move to Washington and buy a home, getting pre-approved for a mortgage would be the first step. For Mortgage Info, reach out, and I'll be happy to help as well as make a connection to a top realtor in the area you are considering. I would love to help you move to Washington.


So, what do you think? Are you ready to pack your bags and move to Washington? Living in Washington has something for everyone, from the pristine coastline and towering mountains to bustling cities and charming small towns. Living in Washington is truly special! And don’t forget the incredible employment opportunities, world-class outdoor recreation, and amazing attractions. Washington residents are truly blessed. There are certainly lots of reasons to love living in Washington.


Hopefully, this information has helped you better understand what living in Washington is like and what moving to Washington has to offer and answered the question "is Washington a good place to live?" If you have any questions at all about moving to Washington or living in Washington, reach out. We are here to help you in any way we can and answer any questions you have about moving to and living in Washington.

Moving to and Living in Washington, Other Resources

Living in Washington is here to provide the information and contacts you would need if considering a move to Washington. There's a great deal of information on living in Washington and the various cities in our great state that can help you move to Washington but also help you get settled once you're here.

Are you thinking of moving to Washington and buying a home? Look at the Mortgage Info page. There's a lot of great information on obtaining a mortgage in Washington, and we can help you get started with the process. Know what city or cities you might want to move to? To get added to home tracker and get alerted when a home matching your criteria comes live on the market CLICK HERE. Need to sell a home before moving? CLICK HERE to sign up and receive a free market analysis to see what your home is worth. 

Need more information on moving to and living in Washington? Our Facebook Group > Moving to Washington has a collection of experts throughout the state who are eager to help and answer any question you have about living in Washington or moving to Washington. A lot of our experts are people who have recently moved to Washington themselves. Nobody is better to provide a good perspective on living in Washington than someone who has recently moved to the state. The better than anyone might be able to answer the question "is Washington a good place to live?"

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