Author Topic: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State  (Read 3226 times)

BaldingStoic

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 84
Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« on: July 25, 2019, 03:02:51 PM »
Greeting fellow Mustachians.  I just got approval to work remotely, and plan to move out of San Francisco (where I pay $3800/month for a 1 bedroom) to Washington state.  This leaves me in an enviable but somewhat overwhelming position of being able to move anywhere in Washington state - so I'm hoping to crowdsource the recommendations. What are some of the cities (and specific neighborhoods) that I should consider?  Desirable traits include:
  • Cost of Living, especially housing
  • Outdoor vibe - bike-ability, hiking trails, walkability
  • Culture - farmers markets, coffee shops, restaurants etc.
  • Proximity to airport - I'll fly back to SF at least once a month
  • Proximity to wilderness
  • While I love the outdoors, I'm definitely on the urban-side
 
Both Vancouver and Tacoma are on my radar, though I'd welcome insight from locals, along with other cities that I should be looking at.    Thanks in advance for your recommendations!!!

EricL

  • Guest
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2019, 03:19:17 PM »
Walla Walla is a really nice area with access to urban and rural areas.  Itís got a wholesome midwestern vibe and last I checked wasnít too expensive.  Certainly not as bad as Frisco. 

Downside: Itís cold in the winter and land routes can be cut off by snow.

seemsright

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 227
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2019, 03:24:59 PM »
If Vancouver is on your list run your tax numbers and see if living in Portland area would be cheaper. Just make sure you fully understand the tax implications. Keep in mind OR has income Tax. But we do not have sales Tax or Personal Tax.

PDX is a great airport and is easy to get though.

jps

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 174
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2019, 03:30:31 PM »
Consider Spokane. It's smaller than what you'll find in Western WA (1/2 million, probably), but is growing quickly and doesn't share as many drawbacks as what you'll find in Seattle metro.

Cost of Living, especially housing Yep. Median rent for a 2br/2ba is probably like $1,100
Outdoor vibe - bike-ability, hiking trails, walkability Many neighborhoods with this centered around downtown
Culture - farmers markets, coffee shops, restaurants etc.Yes, and continuing to develop. Food scene is growing, several farmers markets in neighborhoods close to downtown that are neat.
Proximity to airport - I'll fly back to SF at least once a month Airport is 10 minutes from downtown, and not very crowded, but still has direct flights to SFO.
Proximity to wilderness Spokane's motto was "Near Nature, Near Perfect" up until about a year ago. But yeah, it has that. I think there are something like 30 lakes within 30 miles, and excellent wilderness for hiking not far.
While I love the outdoors, I'm definitely on the urban-side Spokane is not close to the size of SF, so, consider that.

I'm happy to share more in DM's if you'd like to hear a little bit more or specifics.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1388
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2019, 04:13:42 PM »
At least consider Bellingham, WA... though admittedly it may not meet your low cost of living checkpoint, it should meet your others.

Cost of Living: We rent out both sides of our 850 sf Duplex 2bd 1ba for $1,250/mo.  You could probably get a 2/3bd, 2ba house for right around $2,000/mo (would have to verify this, things are changing quickly).

Outdoor Vibe: Bellingham has a massive outdoor screne/vibe.  A little research will show tons of hikes, mountain biking, kayaking, rock climbing, skiing/snowboarding at Mt. Baker, etc.  Portions of the city have dedicated bike lanes and there is a very large inner-urban trail system.  Dozens of beautiful parks.

Culture:  Lots of culture, you certainly would not run out of interesting cultural things to do in Bellingham.  Very Liberal.  It is a university town (western Washington), so all the good things that go along with that too.

Proximity to Airport:  Bellingham International (BLI) is the kind of airport you can show up 30 minutes before your flight and have zero worries missing your flight.  Allegiant Air is a low cost airline that has daily(?) non stops to to Oakland for under $200 .  You can also fly direct to Hawaii for super cheap on Alaska Airlines.

Proximity to Wilderness:  Yes that too.

Not a huge fan of Tacoma at all.  Pretty rough in areas and not really all that LCOL.  I would say Bellingam is leaps and bounds better than Tacoma.

Bellingham is pretty good, but avoid the Roosevelt and Birchwood Neighborhoods, in my opinion.  I can answer more questions if need be!
« Last Edit: July 25, 2019, 04:35:02 PM by v8rx7guy »

FIPurpose

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1045
  • Location: WA
    • FI With Purpose
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2019, 04:23:22 PM »
I also have a work remote position and am deciding to move to Washington state in a couple of weeks. I love the Vancouver, WA area. Housing is reasonable compared to Portland or Seattle. No income tax, and you can buy your big ticket items over in Portland for no sales tax. You're within distance of the beach, mount Hood, St Helens, and McAdams. And you have all the attractions of Portland, PDX, and the Amtrak. The winters are also the standard Seattle mild.

I've never been to Walla Walla, but I remember not being impressed by Spokane. Though I guess it's some peoples' cup of tea.

pdxvandal

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 299
  • Location: Earth
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2019, 04:31:12 PM »
Lots of options here.

I like Walla Walla and Wenatchee, but I wouldn't call them urban by any means. Walla Walla has gotten quite a bit more expensive with the wine industry blowing up there (Washington is the nation's second-leading wine producer, mostly thanks to WW). I haven't been to Spokane in a while, but never been much of a fan. I'm sure it's improved since I last visited and the airport is easy to fly in and out of.

Olympia is a pretty cool town and the state capital, hour from Seattle and 2.5 hours from Portland. If you want to be closer to PDX, look at Vancouver, Ridgefield or Camas/Battle Ground area. I also hear great things about Bellingham. Good luck!

fuzzy math

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 933
  • Age: 37
  • Location: PNW ---> Midwest (for now)
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2019, 05:14:31 PM »
If you're thinking north of Seattle, look up the new Paine field airport in Everett, which has direct flights to San Fran.
https://www.painefield.com

katscratch

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1334
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2019, 05:55:03 PM »
There is a huge difference between the west side of Washington and Oregon and the east side. You probably are more likely to like the west side.

Bellingham and anywhere between it and Seattle are accessible to all the things on your list. I'm super biased toward that end of the I-5 corridor though; hiking in the North Cascades and on Vancouver Island was my soul fuel.

markbike528CBX

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1153
  • Location: the Everbrown part of the Evergreen State (WA)
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2019, 09:04:12 PM »
Tri-Cities area, Kennewick-Pasco-Richland (KPR in Craigslist).

Low cost of living.
Our biggest (only) traffic slowdown is about 1/2 miles.
Still 200,000 metro area.
PSC airport, I think there is a direct SFO flight.
Bicycle culture is here and getting bigger, I see bikes roll down the street outside my house.
Richland and Pasco have farmers markets.

Dry land wilderness around, water sports on the Columbia, skiing < 2 hours in the blues or Cascades.

https://www.tridec.org/wp-content/uploads/2018-Fact-Sheet-Updated-October-2018-Website.pdf

Edit to add fact sheet.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2019, 09:11:29 PM by markbike528CBX »

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4608
  • Age: 11
  • Location: USA
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2019, 09:25:54 PM »
Everything is going to seem cheap compared to SF. Fancy 1 bedrooms go around 2k/month in the best Seattle locations, then down from there.

If urban living is your vibe, there is really only one city in Washington, and that's Seattle. And it's not even that big of a city, but it's the only place in the area with a national pull. Traffic is irrelevant unless you have a car-centric lifestyle, which it doesn't sound like you will.

Tacoma/Everett/Spokane are the sort of cities that technically have an airport but are irrelevant to anyone outside of Washington. That doesn't mean they're not great places to live, but you will not get much of a city vibe. Spokane is in the "dry" side of the state, but next door to the Idaho panhandle which has glorious summer outdoors.

Check out wta.org for an idea of where the big trail areas are.

My recommendation is to start in Seattle itself for a year or two, see what you like and you don't like, and take it from there. If that's not realistic, do an extended stay in multiple locations before committing to anything.

jpdx

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 413
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2019, 12:54:09 AM »
Why have you chosen Washington? If you are considering Vancouver, WA, you might as well consider Portland, OR which offers a higher quality of life and at least 6/7 of your list.

jps

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 174
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2019, 09:11:41 AM »
Everything is going to seem cheap compared to SF. Fancy 1 bedrooms go around 2k/month in the best Seattle locations, then down from there.

If urban living is your vibe, there is really only one city in Washington, and that's Seattle. And it's not even that big of a city, but it's the only place in the area with a national pull. Traffic is irrelevant unless you have a car-centric lifestyle, which it doesn't sound like you will.

Tacoma/Everett/Spokane are the sort of cities that technically have an airport but are irrelevant to anyone outside of Washington. That doesn't mean they're not great places to live, but you will not get much of a city vibe. Spokane is in the "dry" side of the state, but next door to the Idaho panhandle which has glorious summer outdoors.

Check out wta.org for an idea of where the big trail areas are.

My recommendation is to start in Seattle itself for a year or two, see what you like and you don't like, and take it from there. If that's not realistic, do an extended stay in multiple locations before committing to anything.

This is probably the only good advice if you value the urban feeling.

koshtra

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 668
  • Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
    • Mole
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2019, 09:37:46 AM »
Crossing from Vancouver to Portland is miserable for much of the day. Two freeway bridges that are both often at a standstill. No passenger trains. So if your idea is to nip over to Portland frequently for the fun city stuff... not so much. (This is an expensive and complicated political problem involving seven or eight local, state, & federal governmental agencies, so the obvious solution -- throwing a high-capacity rail line over the river -- is not likely to happen any time soon.) On the other hand, Vancouver itself is a very pleasant town.

honeybbq

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1218
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2019, 10:03:57 AM »
The far suburbs of Seattle are reasonably priced compared to SF. And it will have all the outdoor feel and liberal vibe you are looking for.
Plus proximity to the airport, which is important. All the other cities (except for the mentioned Paine field in Everett) will require a stop.
I'd check out distant suburbs like Maple Valley, Federal Way, Renton, Kent, etc. There are some nice areas there that'll still get you to the airport in an hour.
You can always drive downtown for your culture and hip vibe and then out to the countryside again.
If you go the East side of the state you will lose the liberal vibe. Just FYI if that is important to you. It's more about trucks and rifles than peace and love. It's still a good place though, especially Spokane or Wenatchee.

https://www.niche.com/places-to-live/maple-valley-king-wa/

Laserjet3051

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 754
  • Age: 91
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2019, 10:14:16 AM »
I would donate my left kidney to be able to relocate to Olympia WA. It has everything i'm looking for in a new location.........except a job in my specific field. Gateway to the Olympic Range, proximity to Rainier, endless mountain biking, climbing, hiking, backpacking, fishing opportunities. Proximity to Tacoma/Seattle. Only bad thing I've detected from my visits is that, despite being out kind of in the middle of nowhere, the traffic on the I5 between Tacoma and Olympia is horrendous. Where are all these people going to/from?

Noodle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1194
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2019, 11:37:56 AM »
I think your first big decision is whether to live on the East or West side (of the Cascades.) The west side, where Seattle is located, has more rain and clouds and more moderate temperatures (although climate change seems to be affecting that somewhat). It's also more at risk of earthquakes, although there is a lot of debate as to the size and imminence of that threat. The civic temperature leans much further to the left, and the cost of living tends to be higher, with Seattle proper being very expensive and costs diminishing with distance to the city. The east side is much sunnier. It gets hotter in the summer and colder in the winter, and the northern part in particular gets snow (although to someone born in New England, the winter temperatures and snow seem moderate). The politics are more conservative, although the larger communities tend to run moderate due to transplants; Northwestern conservatism has traditionally tended to be more about gun rights and low taxes rather than the religious/cultural concerns of the South--Washington is not heavily churched anywhere. Democrats dominate the state legislature and have held the governor's office for awhile, so state-level policies and budgets will tend to be progressive wherever you live. Both areas have wonderful access to nature...Seattle of course with the Cascades and all the water--the Sound and the lakes--but I think eastern Washington is beautiful too--I love the Palouse around Spokane in the summer, and if you land in the northeast, you will have access to some really beautiful country in the Idaho panhandle. I am told that the most popular trails and natural areas on the West Side can get very crowded because there are so many outdoor enthusiasts in the area; I don't know if that's true on the East Side. The West Side definitely values diversity more highly in terms of civic values, but in terms of actual lived experience, I found the East Side was more diverse than I expected and the West Side was less so (the West Side is still more varied, though.)

If you can tell from this description that one or the other area attracts you, then the Seattle suburbs, Bellingham, Tacoma, Olympia and Vancouver are probably your best bets on the west side--Spokane, the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and maybe Wenatchee or Pullman (home of Washington State University) on the east side. Seattle is the only really urban city and major airport, but many other communities in both areas have farmer's markets, arts venues, etc at a more modest scale. Spokane is pretty solid on the medical care front, but Seattle has the state's only Level I trauma center and the most medical specialists, if that's important. As a moderate Democrat, I would happily live any of these places (outside of the health care/airport thing) but YMMV.

I definitely encourage you to do some visiting, look at local media, etc. A lot of these communities have changed quite a bit in the last 10-15 years as prices have driven people out of Seattle and Portland, and as remote work makes it more possible to live in a variety of places; also a number of communities on the East Side have added amenities and community features like farmer's markets that previously would have been found more on the West Side to please their new residents and to attract more transplants. On the flip side, places like Tacoma which used to be less expensive and more blue-collar are seeing changes as Seattle residents look for cheaper housing.

I hope you find somewhere you love. Washington is a great state and I miss it.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1388
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2019, 12:22:15 PM »
I think your first big decision is whether to live on the East or West side (of the Cascades.)

This is very much the the biggest decision...  The sides of the state are night and day different from one another.  When most people think of "Washington" they are thinking of the West side.

cloudsail

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2019, 01:36:09 PM »
PTF.

Incidentally, why is real estate in Bellingham so expensive??

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1388
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2019, 01:58:51 PM »
PTF.

Incidentally, why is real estate in Bellingham so expensive??

Most likely because it is just a really popular city to live in.  It always ranks high on Best place to Live / Retire city lists due to all of the things mentioned above.  It's kind of like Bend, OR... not necessarily a huge booming industry to justify HCOL, just a really popular place to live due to it's outdoor adventure, culture and 'fun' / 'cool' (hipster?) vibe.

stoaX

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 517
  • Location: SoCal
  • 'tis nothing good nor bad but thinking makes it so
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2019, 02:34:13 PM »
Consider Spokane. It's smaller than what you'll find in Western WA (1/2 million, probably), but is growing quickly and doesn't share as many drawbacks as what you'll find in Seattle metro.

Cost of Living, especially housing Yep. Median rent for a 2br/2ba is probably like $1,100
Outdoor vibe - bike-ability, hiking trails, walkability Many neighborhoods with this centered around downtown
Culture - farmers markets, coffee shops, restaurants etc.Yes, and continuing to develop. Food scene is growing, several farmers markets in neighborhoods close to downtown that are neat.
Proximity to airport - I'll fly back to SF at least once a month Airport is 10 minutes from downtown, and not very crowded, but still has direct flights to SFO.
Proximity to wilderness Spokane's motto was "Near Nature, Near Perfect" up until about a year ago. But yeah, it has that. I think there are something like 30 lakes within 30 miles, and excellent wilderness for hiking not far.
While I love the outdoors, I'm definitely on the urban-side Spokane is not close to the size of SF, so, consider that.

I'm happy to share more in DM's if you'd like to hear a little bit more or specifics.

This thread: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/mustachian-relocation-guide/  has asked for a brief write up about Spokane from the mustachian perspective.  If convenient, please share your knowledge there.  What you've said above makes it sound quite attractive, at least to me. Thanks!

jps

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 174
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2019, 02:45:23 PM »
Consider Spokane. It's smaller than what you'll find in Western WA (1/2 million, probably), but is growing quickly and doesn't share as many drawbacks as what you'll find in Seattle metro.

Cost of Living, especially housing Yep. Median rent for a 2br/2ba is probably like $1,100
Outdoor vibe - bike-ability, hiking trails, walkability Many neighborhoods with this centered around downtown
Culture - farmers markets, coffee shops, restaurants etc.Yes, and continuing to develop. Food scene is growing, several farmers markets in neighborhoods close to downtown that are neat.
Proximity to airport - I'll fly back to SF at least once a month Airport is 10 minutes from downtown, and not very crowded, but still has direct flights to SFO.
Proximity to wilderness Spokane's motto was "Near Nature, Near Perfect" up until about a year ago. But yeah, it has that. I think there are something like 30 lakes within 30 miles, and excellent wilderness for hiking not far.
While I love the outdoors, I'm definitely on the urban-side Spokane is not close to the size of SF, so, consider that.

I'm happy to share more in DM's if you'd like to hear a little bit more or specifics.

This thread: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/mustachian-relocation-guide/  has asked for a brief write up about Spokane from the mustachian perspective.  If convenient, please share your knowledge there.  What you've said above makes it sound quite attractive, at least to me. Thanks!

Thanks for the tip. Sure thing

honeybbq

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1218
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2019, 02:47:04 PM »
PTF.

Incidentally, why is real estate in Bellingham so expensive??

Because it's cheaper than Seattle. :)

College town, high demand, near Canada. Lots of good things going for it.

legalstache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 47
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2019, 02:49:33 PM »
Have you ruled out Seattle? It meets a lot of criteria on your list and you could find a 1 BR for much less than $3800/mo. I'd probably begin by really analyzing whether Seattle meets your needs. If it doesn't, I think the reasons it doesn't will help shed light on what other cities to consider. If you like SF and want the Washington city with the most parallels, Seattle is the obvious choice.

Lichen

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Location: PNW
  • Just another dharma bum
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2019, 04:31:32 PM »
I personally would advise against Spokane unless you enjoy poor city planning/corrupt local government, having to drive a long way to get to trails that aren't littered with needles and refuse, bad property crime, and horrible bikability (drivers will try to run you off the road for fun). Spokane is urban but the people generally are not. Spokane is evolving, but it is a slow and painful process that isn't supported by many of the long term locals -- the hatred for west coast transplants is palpatable in some areas of the city, particularly for those from Seattle and Portland. You will also be told there are four seasons, but there are often only two -- winter and wildfire smoke season. I lived there for 13 years and moved just this summer, and while there are some beautiful areas around there and some great restaurants opening up, it is very much a backwater town and the basic education level seems to be very low (yep, checked. Spokane ranks lower for bachelor degrees than the US average, and significantly lower than the WA state average). It's improving, but it is at least 10 years out from reaching it's potential. I lived in what was considered a desirable north side location, and we received on two separate occasions in the last year white supremacy flyers stuck in our mailbox. There are good things about Spokane, but for me the bad far outweighed the good.

Whatcom county (outside of Bellingham) is not nearly as expensive as Bellingham itself, but the entire region is far superior to Eastern WA (in my humble opinion) for outdoor pursuits. The city of Bellingham is decently urban with two downtown cores, but it is a smaller town. Of course, both Seattle and Vancouver are close by for when you want to spend time in more urban settings.

MaybeBabyMustache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1888
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #25 on: July 26, 2019, 05:17:34 PM »
Top votes:
Vancouver (I wouldn't do Portland, do the taxes & traffic, personally)
Olympia
Bellingham
East side of Seattle (way pricier, but love that area)

Less familiar with Eastern Washington.

Jealous & good luck finding a place to call home!

lookingforadelorean

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 157
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2019, 06:06:10 PM »
Bellingham is absolutely gorgeous, and it has such a funky vibe. I consider it the Austin of Washington. ;-)

If you don't want to live in Seattle, but you want walkability, I think several cities north of Seattle would fit the bill for you. Kirkland has an awesome downtown, and Edmonds also. We recently discovered Downtown Park in Old Bellevue, and if we didn't have children, I'd be renting an apartment near there in a heartbeat. I think Everett has a lot to offer, especially in terms of walkability, and we flew out of Paine Field this past April. It was HUGELY preferable to SeaTac, and especially for jaunts to SF, it would be ideal. I've been looking at apartments in Everett myself, and they are in the $2100 range (plus more for parking) for a 2/2.

https://bellevuewa.gov/city-government/departments/parks/parks-and-trails/parks/bellevue-downtown-park

http://visitoldbellevue.com

Roland of Gilead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1842
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2019, 10:47:37 PM »
We have our sailboat up in Blaine, WA and damn if this whole area up near the Canadians isn't some of the nicest around.

Bike trails, views of Mt. Baker, can wave to Canada and watch them be so jelly of our fireworks over the water, them wishing they had declared independence too...

There is a small community between Blaine and Bellingham called Lynden which is undergoing all sorts of development, coffee shops, multi cultural restaurants, etc.   Houses are getting expensive there but nothing like house prices in Seattle or Bellevue. 

Bellingham itself isn't bad although they have some of the homeless problem that Seattle does.   I hate Meridian street too..takes 30 minutes to get through those traffic lights.  We are constantly going there to the marine store though, because, boat.

Edit:  Also, we have some mountain timber land in eastern Washington (tax is $28.72 a year for about 30 acres!).  Eastern Washington is awesome for hiking and winter fun...absolutely sucks during the summer.  Right now we were sailing out of Blaine and it was 76 degrees on the water while in eastern Washington it was 94!  Eastern Washington is one of the cheapest places in the USA though for housing.   We rent a 1 bdrm apartment there for $500 month (including utilities!).

« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 10:58:42 PM by Roland of Gilead »

kenmoremmm

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 280
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2019, 12:05:26 AM »
seattle itself is a shithole. the homeless population is unreal and the city literally does nothing about it (told the cops to not ticket and not enforce laws). unfortunately, seattle is truly the best access to the whole state. if you're north of seattle, you'll be in the north cascades more (hwy 2, hwy 20, hwy 542). if you're south, then you're in the olympics and rainier. water access better to the north as well.

as a peakbagger, north is where it's at. you don't want to be driving through the city to get to your peaks during any kind of traffic (not a bid deal if you're kidless since you can wake at 4am and get back at 10pm).

twisp and wenatchee are my picks for E WA, though twisp is decidedly small town. fire danger and smoke issues for anything on the east side of the state.

the entire i-5 corridor is being filled in starting in olympic (exit 100-ish) to mt vernon (exit 230-ish). so picture 130 miles of bumper to bumper traffic in the not distant future. if you keep things hyper local, then you're good, but if you're trying to get to real mountains and real natures, you can't stay too local.

kirkland is probably your best option. very liberal, trendy, affluent (fake b/c of "old money" from microsoft folks that swarmed in 30 years ago), clean, safe, quiet enough.

Roland of Gilead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1842
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #29 on: July 27, 2019, 08:26:33 AM »
seattle itself is a shithole. the homeless population is unreal and the city literally does nothing about it (told the cops to not ticket and not enforce laws).

This bears repeating.   There are more tents under just one overpass than are sold at REI during an entire summer.   More needles than on a fir tree.   Police will do nothing.   You will get a ticket for parking your newer car in the wrong spot for 5 minutes but a 1972 rusted out camper with a bucket of shit on the sidewalk beside it can stay parked in front of Lake Union on the street for months with no recourse.

Its lovely.

AccidentialMustache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 236
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #30 on: July 27, 2019, 09:01:46 AM »
I think your first big decision is whether to live on the East or West side (of the Cascades.) The west side, where Seattle is located, has more rain and clouds and more moderate temperatures (although climate change seems to be affecting that somewhat). It's also more at risk of earthquakes, although there is a lot of debate as to the size and imminence of that threat.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one

The important parts being: "when not if" and "lack of seismic standards" (in the PNW building codes) which you'll have been benefiting from in SF, because of the 1906 earthquake. Call it inspiration and questions to ask (what earthquake codes is this built to) when you're looking at a house/rental there.

Not that the rest of the country is strictly that much better -- if the New Madrid system lets another big one rip, there's going to be a world of hurt in St. Louis and across the midwest -- maybe further. I don't know of any significant seismic standards in my region of the midwest. We're in theory out of the worst of the danger zone according to the USGS, but maybe not of more powerful earthquakes.

Broadway2019

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 294
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #31 on: July 28, 2019, 09:27:38 AM »
Everything is going to seem cheap compared to SF. Fancy 1 bedrooms go around 2k/month in the best Seattle locations, then down from there.

It is cheaper than SF but studios less than 500 sq ft are maybe $2000, more like $2500 when factoring in parking. 1 bedrooms go up to around $3000-3500 with parking. I just moved here and ended buying a condo because all the 1 bedrooms we looked at were $3000+ for 700 sq ft. This was queen anne, westlake, captital hill areas. It is cheaper in south seattle, however, I would never live there. It's not as nice and a little sketchy, but to each their own.

fuzzy math

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 933
  • Age: 37
  • Location: PNW ---> Midwest (for now)
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #32 on: July 30, 2019, 02:28:53 PM »
I would donate my left kidney to be able to relocate to Olympia WA. It has everything i'm looking for in a new location.........except a job in my specific field. Gateway to the Olympic Range, proximity to Rainier, endless mountain biking, climbing, hiking, backpacking, fishing opportunities. Proximity to Tacoma/Seattle. Only bad thing I've detected from my visits is that, despite being out kind of in the middle of nowhere, the traffic on the I5 between Tacoma and Olympia is horrendous. Where are all these people going to/from?

JBLM

fuzzy math

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 933
  • Age: 37
  • Location: PNW ---> Midwest (for now)
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #33 on: July 30, 2019, 02:31:55 PM »
OP, I didn't properly answer here my first time, but I've lived in both Tacoma and Vancouver.

Tacoma is great (but higher crime). Its a very up and coming city. There is a downtown, there's light rail and there's tons of stuff being built. Prices are going up quickly.

Vancouver to me felt like hell. Summed up in a bumper sticker that I saw while doing the awful commute from Portland back to Vantucky one day. "Keep Vancouver normal" (in response to Keep Portland Weird). Lots of uptight ladies with big hair in fancy imported cars. Living there is nothing like living in Portland and you will curse every day of your life trying to get in to OR or get back to WA.

@Roland of Gilead -- not sure I've ever laughed harder than imagining that shit bucket!!

Telecaster

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1905
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #34 on: July 30, 2019, 02:51:35 PM »
Tacoma is great (but higher crime). Its a very up and coming city. There is a downtown, there's light rail and there's tons of stuff being built. Prices are going up quickly.

The Old Town section of Tacoma is actually quite charming.  The waterfront right below it was contaminated, so it was undeveloped for many years.   Stuff is just now creeping in, but you still accessible waterfront that is easy to get to. 

I love Seattle, but real estate has gotten so expensive all the cool stuff has pretty much gotten rubbed out and replaced with corporate stuff. 

Laserjet3051

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 754
  • Age: 91
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #35 on: July 30, 2019, 04:03:37 PM »
I would donate my left kidney to be able to relocate to Olympia WA. It has everything i'm looking for in a new location.........except a job in my specific field. Gateway to the Olympic Range, proximity to Rainier, endless mountain biking, climbing, hiking, backpacking, fishing opportunities. Proximity to Tacoma/Seattle. Only bad thing I've detected from my visits is that, despite being out kind of in the middle of nowhere, the traffic on the I5 between Tacoma and Olympia is horrendous. Where are all these people going to/from?

JBLM

JBLM was my best guess, but I just cant imagine that they employ THAT many people! I'm sure you know the volume of traffic I'm speaking of.

markbike528CBX

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1153
  • Location: the Everbrown part of the Evergreen State (WA)
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #36 on: July 30, 2019, 05:36:36 PM »
At JBLM essentially all traffic goes through I-5, with no alternatives.

JBLM is Joint Base Lewis-McCord.  Army and Air Force bases.

Zamboni

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2493
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #37 on: July 30, 2019, 06:03:03 PM »
These descriptions of Seattle are priceless.

North of Spokane towards the northern Columbia River valley is truly beautiful country. There are regular direct flights from Spokane to LA, SF, Denver, etc. . . . so it's pretty easy to get in and out of there.

The summer fires are a definitely a thing, though, and I'll agree there is a bit of a "country bumpkin and proud of it" vibe among the people who have been there for generations.

Nothing is going to fully compare to SF, though. You are definitely getting something unique for that high cost of living. Good luck with your decision!

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1388
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #38 on: August 01, 2019, 03:35:15 PM »
This video came out about 8 years ago but gives you a taste of Bellingham to the sound of "Empire State of Mind".  A lot of local insider jokes, but it actually sums up the city pretty well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVpfYJyO1qI

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4608
  • Age: 11
  • Location: USA
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #39 on: August 01, 2019, 03:59:06 PM »
Clearly we scared OP... he hasn't logged on to the site for a week.

Evgenia

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 160
  • Location: California
    • Evgenia Got FI
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #40 on: August 02, 2019, 04:01:26 PM »
Walla Walla is lovely. I also love and would someday like to live in Ellensburg (more town than you might expect, nice university, possibly not urban enough for you) and think it's seriously underrated. It has a small airport, but it may not be the sort you need. Wilderness, though? Phenomenal.

aspiringnomad

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 810
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #41 on: August 04, 2019, 08:48:47 PM »
We're city folk who will likely end up in Washington state for some period of time due to family needs. Also due to family, I've spent a ton of time in Seattle and its surrounds over the past 20 years. 10-15 years ago my answer would be completely different, but now I don't think I'd live in the city of Seattle given the cost of living and other negatives. This is coming from someone who currently lives smack in the middle of a HCOL city on the east coast and is accustomed to living close to a lot of people and I accept that high real estate prices are a trade off for proximity to highly compensated jobs. As others have mentioned, Seattle's most charming qualities have fast faded away, while real estate prices have simultaneously shot up to near SF levels. So IMO, value for money in the city has plummeted. We'll be looking into Bellingham and other walkable areas far enough away so that we're not competing with Amazon and Microsoft employees for apartments. If we can find a town within a couple hours drive of Seattle that is walkable, moderately liberal, and doesn't rain half the year, we'll move there.

Roland of Gilead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1842
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #42 on: August 04, 2019, 08:54:47 PM »
If you really want nice weather, look at Sequim, WA.   They are in a rain shadow and get a lot more sunshine days than Seattle does.

Lichen

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 423
  • Location: PNW
  • Just another dharma bum
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #43 on: August 04, 2019, 09:40:33 PM »
If you really want nice weather, look at Sequim, WA.   They are in a rain shadow and get a lot more sunshine days than Seattle does.

This is exactly what I was going to recommend!

Gerard

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1400
  • Location: eastern canada
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #44 on: August 07, 2019, 01:50:01 PM »
I suspect that Bellingham and north are getting more expensive because Canadians are buying places as weekend/vacation homes (and having tiny downtown Vancouver places for during the week).

I echo the (overt and implied) stuff so far about things seeming very location-dependent within the state: wet side dry side, red county blue county, etc. I also noticed that my Canadian/easterner suppositions (stereotypes?) about how lifestyles and politics correlate didn't really work there.

bacchi

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3931
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #45 on: August 07, 2019, 02:02:37 PM »
I suspect that Bellingham and north are getting more expensive because Canadians are buying places as weekend/vacation homes (and having tiny downtown Vancouver places for during the week).

And telecommuters moving from Seattle.

Sequim is sunny and has affordable housing but the median age is 58. It's not exactly a happenin' town though it is close to the ocean and fantastic hiking.

GreenSheep

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 651
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #46 on: August 07, 2019, 02:48:37 PM »
This may not appeal to you if you're dead set on an urban atmosphere, but it ticks many of your other boxes and might be useful to anyone else considering Washington... the Olympic Peninsula. Of which Sequim, mentioned above, is a part. There are other towns on the OP, and each has its own sort of culture. Another town to consider is Port Townsend, which is small but vibrant, with a nice little downtown area on the water.

I don't live in Sequim or PT, but I do live on the OP, and I drive to the airport once or twice a month. I don't find the drive cumbersome at all. There's no traffic until you get pretty close to the airport, and I've only experienced bad traffic if I happen to be passing through during rush hour. It's not a short drive, but it's low-stress, so I just put on some podcasts and go.

My husband and I moved to the OP from Phoenix a couple of years ago, and we pinch ourselves on a regular basis. The area is gorgeous, and the changing weather (daily and seasonally) is awesome. Trees for miles, mountains, water views. Driving home from the airport over the Hood Canal bridge, you get a breathtaking view of the Olympic mountains beyond the water and now, to us, it feels like the gateway to home.

My husband is a a city boy, having grown up in Phoenix, but he has found that he loves living more remotely. YMMV, but he has really blossomed outside the city.

I hike the same beautiful mountain trail every day just for general fitness, which is so nice compared to the sidewalk runs I used to do in Phoenix. And of course there are tons of other hikes within easy reach when I have more time. Blackberries are so abundant that they're considered a nuisance, but we allow some to grow on our property so we can pick a dozen or so gallons of them each summer and freeze them. There's also a beautiful berry farm in Sequim where you can pick your own raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, loganberries, and lavender. Berries are $2.50/pound. Each town of any reasonable size has a farmer's market. There's a great health food co-op in PT. There are wineries, cideries, breweries, and distilleries for those so inclined. Plenty of unique and delicious non-chain restaurants. PT has a great coffee shop called Better Living Through Coffee. You can sit outside or by the window, right over the water, and watch the seals swim by the shore. Sequim has most of the big box stores you might need/want, whereas PT is more mom-and-pop stuff, though it does have a Safeway and a big hardware store.

The cost of living is not dirt cheap, but it's miles better than SF, although I guess that's true for most places. In our case, for the cost of a standard 3-4 bedroom house in Phoenix on a postage stamp of land, we now have 3 acres and a view to die for.

Whatever you choose, welcome to Washington! It's a really fantastic state.

Eurotexan

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 166
  • Location: Texas
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #47 on: August 22, 2019, 07:42:45 PM »
PTF. Looking to get out of hotter than hell Texas when my DD goes to college in a few years. Just got back from a trip to Whidbey Island which was just lovely. Seems itís just far enough away from Seattle to be reasonably priced but itís certainly not cheap. The views are to die for though.

tweezers

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 189
Re: Advice Needed...Where to live in Washington State
« Reply #48 on: August 23, 2019, 12:14:35 PM »
Anacortes.  Island living, but without the inconvenience of catching a ferry to get off island.  Housing is pricey, but not SF pricey.