Very OT: MGoBloggers of Seattle, any advice/tips on moving to the area?

Submitted by rainingmaize on August 24th, 2017 at 12:21 PM

Last day of OT, might as well get this in, but I just graduated with my masters, got my first real big boy job out in the Seattle area (job is in Bellevue) and could use any tips from those of you familiar with the area. What are some good areas to live in? Areas to avoid? What are good things I should see/do/get involved in? Any other tips you feel are noteworthy. Thanks for any help!

EDIT: Thanks everyone for your help! I was shocked to receive this much quality information. Go Blue!



August 24th, 2017 at 12:48 PM ^


But living by the main campus of the University of Washington is always good, especially as they recently extended their light rail out there and they are already contstructing to extend it even further.  

Marley Nowell

August 24th, 2017 at 12:38 PM ^

Congrats! I would recommed staying on the same side of the city you work on. Bellevue is east of the city so I would live on the East side because its hard to get through or around the city pretty much all the time.


August 24th, 2017 at 12:53 PM ^

Agreed -- crossing Lake Washington for your commute means you will have a really long commute. Each town/area is pretty different, I'd recommend just finding a place near your work to rent at first and seeing which city or area gives you what you want. 


August 24th, 2017 at 12:51 PM ^

  I agree that if you are working in Bellevue, then living on the Eastside will make your life easier, since traffic in Seattle is atrocious.  Like, serious Hulk Smash road rage bad, and its not getting any better.  With that, living in Issaquah, or Snoqualmie are solid areas.  Seattle is terrific and the Pacific NW rules for all kinds of outdoor activities.  Good luck!


August 24th, 2017 at 12:57 PM ^

Agree with the comments above re: living where you work due to traffic. Look into bus routes to your job as well, as I understand parking in Bellevue is expensive. As far as things to do, Sounders tickets are a blast if you are a soccer fan. Lots of great hiking around as well.


August 24th, 2017 at 12:53 PM ^

So I've visited some, and we're eventually planning on moving up there full time in a couple of years. There are some great National Parks close by, especially Ranier and Olympic (haven't yet been to Cascades), and some good state parks. Depending on where you're moving from, you may also notice a real change in culinary offerings. There is a lot more emphasis on fish, obviously salmon, than maybe elsewhere (I noticed this coming from southern California).  

Leroys Horde

August 24th, 2017 at 12:56 PM ^

Seattleite here.  I would second what Marley Nowell said about living on the east side.  Kirkland is nice and reasonably priced (for this area), and Issaquah isn't bad either.  Bellevue is great, but extremely expensive.

If you do live on the west side, I'd suggest Fremont/Wallingford/Ballard/Phinney Hill.  Easy access to 520 (the bridge to the east side), and nice neighborhoods.  I'm in Fremont myself.

I would not recommend living by UW.  It's very expensive, but also one of the worst areas in town.  I lived there for 3 years, and woke up to sirens frequently (and once to a giant bonfire in the garbage area of our apartment complex).


August 24th, 2017 at 1:00 PM ^

I lived in Seattle from 2005-2016.  A few things are starting to get hazy but here are my tips:

1) Real estate prices are skyrocketing.  Seattle has about the highest rate of increases of anywhere in the USA; homes are still significantly cheaper there than in, say, California, but the gap is rapidly closing.  Therefore, if you have the ability to buy something, I highly recommend doing so ASAP.  You are almost assured to make money when you sell it later, and the longer you wait the more you will have to pay to break into the market.

2) Traffic is a real bitch, especailly on the expressways and north of the ship canal.  If your job is in Bellevue, you will need to live somewhere that getting back & forth to Bellevue every day isn't going to make you beg for death.  You could obviously live IN Bellevue, but I am guessing you are in your early-to-mid 20s and probably single--and Bellevue is hardly the place to be for that.  So that means you need a 'hood that's in a fun area of Seattle but still a reasonable commute to Bellevue. I know they are planning on putting a light rail line across the I-90 floating bridge but I think that's still a good 4-5 years off.  Some good options, then are: 

  • Columbia City: has a great commercial stip on Rainier Ave S. with good bars, restaurants, a PCC (sort of like a local PNW Whole Foods), a movie theater, etc.; rents are definitely high but not as much as Capitol Hill, First Hill, or other really pricey areas; sort drive up Rainier  Ave S. to get on I-90 and across to Bellevue, has light rail access to the rest of the city;
  • Hillman City: just south of Columbia City, with a lot of up & coming stuff.  Area is rapidly gentrifying but still an area where you can get a good place at a decent price.  I believe they are putting in (or maybe already have put in) a light-rail stop at Morgan/Angel & MLK--that will be a game-changer for the neighborhood;
  • N. Beacon Hill: Mhy favorite neighborhood in Seattle, has a light rail stop, the best Mexican restaurants in the city (not counting White Center, which is technically unincorporated King County), a Red Apple grocery store, a few bars, and is just up the hill from the I-90 ramp.  Can be difficult to find a place there though because it is small and stuff that comes on the market gets snapped up quickly.
  • Capitol Hill: has everything, is awesome--worth it if you can afford it.  Rents there are approaching Bay Area levels and to buy something you'll likely need a six-figure down payment.  Maybe a wee bit trickier getting to the I-90 ramp from there but still not that big a deal.
  • Central Area: not quite as walkable as the other areas, but less expensive.  Stuff is kind of scattered around though; there are some great pockets (like the Hiawatha Street area or the vicinity of King & 20th)
  • First Hill: dominated by Seattle U and two major hospitals (Swedish and Harborview); it's pretty expensive and, I don't know, just kind of not-that-special.  But it's right next to lots of things (downtown, the ID, Capitol Hill).  

3) I would probably not recommend living anywhere north of the ship canal (Ballard,Greenwood, Fremont, Wallingford, any of those).  Those are some great neighborhoods, but the traffic in those places is horrible.  The one thing that might cause me to reconsider is if there's any regional bus lines you could take--say from Fremont to the 520 and then to Ballard that way.  Might not be so bad.  But I don't really know--you might want to look into that if you are thinking of living on the north side.  Ditto West Seattle, Georgetown & White Center--those are all great areas but will be very difficult with your commute.


August 24th, 2017 at 2:22 PM ^

Good summary.  North of the canal is great, but you'll never make it to work.  I would avoid I-5 at all costs.  If you have to live on the west side, find a neighborhood where you can take side streets to get onto 520.

As far as the eastside goes, I'd personally do downtown Kirkland.  Downtown Redmond is growing like crazy and is an easy commute.

Sammamish is suburban hell. 

Issaquah isn't a bad option.   

You're probably too young for Woodenville. Don't go further away from Bellevue than Woodenville in the north or Issaquah in the south.



Leroys Horde

August 24th, 2017 at 6:22 PM ^

North of the canal is great, but you'll never make it to work.

Disagree, I live in Fremont and can be downtown in 15-20 or on the east side in 25-30.  It's all about learning the back roads.

All that being said, if you work in Bellevue then Kirkland >>>>>>>> the west side, and same with Redmond.  Just don't get north or south, because 405 is a parking lot 24/7


August 24th, 2017 at 1:13 PM ^

Don't live in Bellevue, for the love of God.


Seattle is by far the much better living option.  Bellevue is basically one massive shopping mall, and is a vapid, soulless suburban dystopia (yes I am using a bit of poetic license, but its pretty true).  Seattle has culture, sports, music, bars, and arts - its a fun place to be, and very walkable.


Now the drivers here suck deep-fried donkey balls.  You will want to murder them (literally) at times.  So if you have to drive everyday, it might make sense to live closer to work.  But if you have the option to take some kind of public transit, like a bus, or the dope private shuttles that Microsoft runs (called the Connector), then live in Seattle and commute.


Oh, and come watch games with us at Buckley's in Belltown!  We pack the place, have trivia with prizes, cowbells, and we sing the Victors after every score.  Come stop by the table at the front corner if you want to say hi - that's my reserved spot for gameday.


August 24th, 2017 at 2:28 PM ^

First of all, fuck the Seattle Times.  They're the Seattle version of the Freep.  And who the hell reads comment sections of newspapers?  I'd rather staple my face to a horse.


And no its not about homeless people.  It's about having some awesome old music venues, like the Crocodile, where grunge was born (Nirvana and Soundgarden played some of their first shows there).  It's about being close to Safeco and the Clink, which are some of the nicest venues in the country.  It's about being around the best restaurants in the city, like Shiro's, a sushi place that was founded by Shiro, who was Jiro's apprentice.  Or going to fun dive bars like Targy's in Queen Anne, where you can walk in at 1 AM, still get a couple rounds, play jams on the jukebox, and shoot darts or pool until closing.


August 24th, 2017 at 2:51 PM ^

My top 3 sushi restaurants in Seattle are (1) Wabi Sabi in Columbia City (chef beat Bobby Flay, love the Spicy Tuna Poke roll), (2) Tsukushinbo (used to be a secret but now everbody goes there; best lunch in the ID), and (3) Manecki (still the best, but you do need a reservation).

Diaspora D

August 24th, 2017 at 1:21 PM ^

Lots of good info above. I live in Lake City (Northeast side of Seattle) and have to commute to Bellevue infrequently. The commute around Lake Washingto to on the dreadful 405, but distances are not vast out here. Seattle/Bellevue is a tight space, so even with traffic drive times are under an hour. I've lived in LA and Chicago, so I may have higher tolerance than most. Regardless, welcome- and take up that Buckley's recommendation above. It's a riot in there on gameday. 




August 24th, 2017 at 1:31 PM ^

Have lived in a Seattle suburb for 25 years now.


Traffic is almost unimaginably bad. And getting worse. There is just a slight dip in the insanity mid-day; "rush hour" is almost all day. You'll want to try to live pretty close to work, or you're signed up for hour+ commutes each way. Many people do this every day.

Real estate is expensive compared to A2. Renting is also very expensive. Both are going up and near-national high rates.

Seattle freeze: People say it's easy to make casual friends here but hard to make great friends. I'd say that's true. My sense is that it's because there is a local tendency to keep overbooked schedules; it's not uncommon for people to have every summer weekend February.

Parking is expensive. I laugh every time I see someone complaining about the "outrageous" meter fees in A2.

Mass transit, except in some limited corridors, is bad.

Sales tax is 10%


This place is gorgeous. Even on rainy days.

The rain isn't as bad as people make it out to be, once you learn to not let it stop you from doing your thing.

If you can buy into the real estate market you'll have an excellent investment.

If you like any sort of outdoor activity, you'll likely find it here. In the spring you can snow ski in the morning and water ski in the afternoon. Hiking, road and mountain biking, mountaineering, alpine, cross-country, and backcountry skiing. Paragliding, boating, swimming, etc.

Property taxes are about 1/3 what they are in A2.

There is no state income tax.

The economy here is BOOMING.

Where to live:

Bellevue is expensive. East Bellevue is more affordable. Issaquah, Redmond, Kirkland, Newcastle, parts of Renton. North/south commutes, especially 405 south of I-90, are bad. The lakes and mountain geography here limit where roads can be built and contrict traffic. Bidding wars are not uncommon for houses. A lot of $1MM+ houses are being sold for cash, stunningly. Good apartments and rental houses (we have one) go quickly as well.

Happy to chat with you on the phone or via email. You can reach me using the contact form on


August 24th, 2017 at 2:34 PM ^

I don't think I've ever used an umbrella in Seattle.  This really isn't midwest rain.  It's just... moist.  

The lack of daylight in the winter months bother me more than the rain.

On the other hand, there's no better place to be in the U.S. than Seattle in the summer.



August 24th, 2017 at 3:14 PM ^

Hah. Actually, if you use an umbrella it's a dead giveaway that your aren't local.

In the winter months is rains often, but doesn't often rain hard. "Drizzle" is what we mostly get. People still bike, hike, ski, etc. when it precipitates. When we first moved here I thought they were crazy. Now I am one of them.

We've been through two earthquakes here now. I prefer their frequency to the frequency of tornados in SE Michigan.

160 IQ

August 24th, 2017 at 1:39 PM ^

Lived there for 7 years, cool town.  Definitely live on the Eastside.  Traffic got crazy during my time there.  Network with UM folk.  Really like the area.  Housing got insanely expensive too.  I honestly couldn't take the weather anymore at the end, always wet and dark; now live in CA.  Overall I think you are in for a great experience.  Enjoy the outdoors and culture.


August 24th, 2017 at 1:38 PM ^

As far as areas to live, depends how annoying you want your commute to be and what you want experience wise.
Bellevue - Most convenient obviously, but very expensive, especially in downtown proper.  I work there and love it, but live further east.
Seattle - If you want the downtown experience I'd suggest Cap Hill (though very loud/party heavy), South Lake Union (near Amazon headquarters), or Queen Anne.  Belletown is a decent option as well.  If you want more suburb type living I love the Montlake/U-District area.  You'll have to cross the bridges to get to work, which adds quite a bit of time during rush hour, however, there will be a light rail across I-90 in a few years, so that's nice.
Redmond - Wonderful place to live, especially downtown.  Pretty suburban in places, but enough going on that you won't get bored.  Probably the easiest commute to Bellevue.
Renton - Up and coming, undergoing a lot of gentrification.  However, I-405 commute during rush hours is death.  Is about 10 minutes from Bellevue but your commute could be 40+ mins.
Kirkland - Great downtown area near the water, lots of young professionals.  Commute can again be a bit annoying because of 405 and side streets get flooded as a result.
For things to do:
Tons of awesome hiking in the area.  I would recommend (in no particular order): Mt Si, Granite Mt, Rattlesnake Ridge/Lake, West Tiger Mtn, Mt Rainier, Mt. St Helen (specifically the Ape Caves)
Obviously you've got the Seahawks, Mariners, and Sounders for major teams.  Sounders are probably my favorite out of those to go to, because Seahawks games are just insanely expensive.  The Everett Silvertips can be fun if you're a hockey fan.
Lots of good IM sports in the area if you're into that.  Underdog and Arena sports are the two main players.  There are also a plethora of Rock Climbing gyms, and some really good indoor go karting that I like a lot.  WhirlyBall is also a blast and there are some good leagues in Seattle.
There are tons of culture type things to do as well, there is an under 35 membership at the 5th Ave theater that gets you cheap tix, as well as Paramount (more expensive, but better show catalog typically).  I had a Seattle Pops membership for a while and loved that, and the symphony is great if you're into more classic stuff.
For food some of my favorites are Jak's Grill, Din Tai Fung, Agua Verde, and the Salish Lodge restaurant.