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Ultimate Guide: Best Places to Live in Washington for Every Lifestyle

Thinking about making a move to Washington? Great choice! It's a state packed with beauty, from lush forests to bustling cities. But with so many awesome spots, figuring out the best place to call home can be a bit of a head-scratcher.

Tobi Miles
April 4, 2024
Ultimate Guide: Best Places to Live in Washington for Every Lifestyle

Don't worry, we've got you covered. Whether you're all about the city vibes or you're looking for a quiet spot surrounded by nature, Washington's got a little something for everyone. Let's dive into some of the top places to live in this gorgeous state, making your decision a tad easier.

Key Takeaways

  • Seattle: Offering a vibrant job market, especially in tech, Seattle ranks high for young professionals, families with its top-notch education system, and retirees seeking quiet neighborhoods and excellent healthcare. Its weather is perfect for those who love mild summers and cozy, rainy winters.
  • Spokane: Known for its affordability, Spokane appeals to retirees, young adults, and families alike with great healthcare, a booming job market, and highly-rated schools. It boasts four distinct seasons, offering a variety of outdoor activities and community events.
  • Bellevue: This city combines a progressive vibe with a strong job market in tech, outstanding schools, and safe neighborhoods. Though costlier, Bellevue provides quality of life and a wealth of activities, making it suitable for all ages and lifestyles.
  • Bellingham: Ideal for those looking for peace and a close-knit community, Bellingham offers affordable living, vibrant job opportunities, and a range of activities. It stands out for its mild weather, less crowded setting, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Overall Living Experience: Washington State offers diverse living options catering to different preferences and needs, from bustling city life to serene neighborhood settings, all enriched with natural beauty, cultural events, and robust job markets.


When you're scoping out the best places to live in Washington, Seattle's gotta be on your radar. It's the kind of city that has something for everyone, no kidding. Let's dive into why it's such a catch, whether you're about to retire, just kicking off your career, or looking for the perfect family-friendly spot.

For Young Adults and Professionals

  • Vibrant Job Market: Seattle's not just about coffee and rain. It's a tech haven with giants like Amazon and Microsoft. Plus, the startup scene is buzzing.
  • Nightlife and Culture: From live music at the Crocodile to art walks in Pioneer Square, boredom's not in Seattle's vocabulary.
  • Living Spaces: Sure, it's not cheap, but neighborhoods like Ballard and Fremont offer some cool, more affordable options.

For Families

  • Education: Top-notch schools from K-12 to universities like UW make it a smart choice for the kiddos.
  • Outdoor Activities: Got an adventurous family? Kayaking, hiking, and skiing are at your doorstep.
  • Community Events: Local farmers' markets, neighborhood festivals, and family-friendly museums keep the social calendar full.

For Retirees

  • Quiet Neighborhoods: Places like West Seattle and Magnolia offer peace away from the city buzz, still with access to all Seattle perks.
  • Health Care: Some of the best medical facilities in the state are right here, ensuring you're in good hands.
  • Activities and Clubs: From gardening clubs to golf courses, staying active and social is easy peasy.

Considering the Weather

Seattle's weather can be a bit of a wild card. If you love cozy, rainy days and can't get enough of that fresh, crisp air, you're in for a treat. Summers are outright gorgeous, not too hot but just right for exploring the great outdoors.

Avoiding Crowds

Prefer to steer clear of the masses? Capitol Hill and Queen Anne get a lot of hype, but neighborhoods like Greenlake or Ravenna offer a chill vibe without sacrificing the cool factor or access to amenities.

  • Bumbershoot: This iconic music and arts festival is a must-visit for culture vultures.
  • Seattle International Film Festival: A paradise for movie buffs.
  • Pike Place Market: Not just a tourist spot; it's a lifestyle. Fresh produce,


Heading over to Spokane, you're looking at a place that's got a little bit of everything, and then some. Here’s the scoop for all walks of life, whether you're just starting out, looking for a nice spot for the family, or eyeing a cozy place to enjoy the golden years.

Why Retirees Love Spokane

  • Affordable Living: Your retirement fund's gonna stretch further here. Spokane offers a lower cost of living compared to many other cities, meaning you can enjoy more for less.
  • Healthcare Facilities: Top-notch healthcare options are within reach, ensuring you're covered for any medical needs.
  • Peaceful Neighborhoods: Looking for quiet? Spokane's got plenty of serene spots where you can enjoy your peace and quiet without feeling isolated.

Young Adults Thriving in Spokane

  • Vibrant Job Market: Fields like healthcare, education, and tech are booming, giving you plenty of opportunities to kickstart or advance your career.
  • Nightlife and Activities: From breweries to live music, Spokane’s got an ever-evolving nightlife scene. Plus, there's a ton of outdoor adventures waiting right outside your door.
  • Affordable Housing: Whether you’re renting or looking to buy, you’ll find that your money goes further here, making it easier to live on your own or with friends.

Families: Making a Home in Spokane

  • Excellent Schools: Education is key, and Spokane delivers with a range of highly rated public and private schools.
  • Outdoor Fun for Everyone: Parks, hiking trails, and lakes are just a hop, skip, and a jump away, perfect for family outings and adventures.
  • Community Events: From fairs to festivals, there's always something happening, helping you bond with the community and create lasting memories.

Considering the Weather, Crowds, and Lifestyle

  • Best Weather: Spokane enjoys four distinct seasons, offering a beautiful display of colors in fall, a winter wonderland, a refreshing spring bloom, and sunny summers.
  • Avoiding Crowds: Opt for neighborhoods a bit off the beaten path like South Hill or Perry District for a laid-back vibe away from the hustle and bustle.
  • Festivals and Activities: Don’t miss out on local favorites like Hoopfest or Bloomsday Run. There’s always a way to dive into the local culture and have a blast.


Moving on, let’s dive into Bellevue. If you're on the hunt for a place that’s got its arms wide open for everyone regardless of age, lifestyle, or weather preference, Bellevue might just be your next home sweet home.

For Retirees

  • Peaceful neighborhoods with waterfront views? Check.
  • Top-notch healthcare including Overlake Hospital Medical Center.
  • Plenty of parks and walking trails for that morning jog or evening stroll.

Young Adults & Singles

  • The job market’s buzzing, especially in tech. Companies like Microsoft and T-Mobile are nearby.
  • Nightlife and dining scene in Downtown Bellevue? Always something happening.
  • Affordable condos and apartments make it easier to find your spot.


  • Award-winning schools make Bellevue a no-brainer for those with kids.
  • Safe neighborhoods and tons of kid-friendly activities all year round.
  • Did we mention the parks? Perfect for picnics, playdates, and everything in between.

For Every Pocket

  • Sure, Bellevue isn't the cheapest. But, you've got options from luxurious villas to cozy condos. It’s all about finding the right fit for your budget.
  • Eating out and entertainment can add up but hey, picnics in the park are free and just as fun.

Gender Considerations

  • Bellevue's progressive, welcoming vibe means everyone’s bound to feel at home.
  • Community centers and groups across the city offer a safe space for conversations and connections.

Best Weather

  • Craving sunshine? Summers here are gorgeous. Not too hot, not too cold—the Goldilocks zone.
  • Winters are mild. A bit of rain, but that’s what brings out the green, right?

Avoiding Crowds

  • Prefer the road less traveled? Explore the hidden gems like the Bellevue Botanical Garden on weekdays or the less frequented trails at Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.

Festivals & Activities

  • There’s always something on the calendar. Bellevue Arts and Crafts Fair, Strawberry Festival, and the Magic Season with ice skating and holiday lights.
  • Outdoor enthusiasts, don’t miss kayaking at Mercer Slough Nature Park.

Cost of Living

  • No sugarcoating—it’s higher here, mainly due to housing. But, many find the trade-off for quality of life, amenities, and job opportunities worth it.
  • Art


Nestled up in the northwest corner of Washington, Bellingham's got its own vibe that's hard to beat if you're looking for a spot to set up shop. Whether you're about to retire, just starting your career, or juggling family life, this place has got something for everyone. Let's dive into why Bellingham might just be the next place you call home.

For Retirees:

  • Bellingham is peaceful with a capital P. Imagine living where you can actually hear yourself think. Sounds nice, right?
  • Healthcare? Top-notch. You won't have to trek far for your check-ups or medical needs.
  • Love being outdoors? There are parks and trails galore. Perfect for those morning walks or biking adventures.

Young Adults Looking for a Buzz:

  • Job opportunities are growing, especially in tech and healthcare.
  • The nightlife is alive and kicking. A good mix of bars, live music, and eats can keep your weekends interesting.
  • Living here won't drain your bank. Rent and essentials are more affordable compared to Seattle.

What About Families?:

  • Schools here make the grade. You're looking at some of the best in the state.
  • It's the kind of place where neighbors look out for each other. Safety isn't just a word here; it's a way of life.
  • Kid-friendly activities are everywhere. From museums to parks and a zoo, boredom's not an option.

Seeking Diversity and Inclusion?:

  • Bellingham is welcoming, celebrating all genders and cultures with open arms. Background and identity are respected and appreciated here.

If Weather Is Your Dealbreaker:

  • Expect mild weather. Summers are warm but not hot, and winters are cool but seldom bitter. And yes, it rains, but it's just part of the charm.

Hate Crowds?:

  • Bellingham is less crowded than big cities but still has all the amenities. It's the sweet spot of having your cake and eating it too.

Festivals and Activities:

  • There's always something going on. From music and beer festivals to farmer's markets, you'll find your weekend plans filled up quickly.
  • Let's be real—living here isn't dirt cheap, but it's reasonable, especially when you factor in the quality of life. Dining out,


Choosing where to live is a big decision but Bellingham's unique blend of community, culture, and natural beauty makes it stand out. Whether you're looking for a peaceful retirement spot, a dynamic place to kickstart your career, or a safe and enriching environment for your family, Bellingham checks all the boxes. It's not just about finding a place to live; it's about finding a place where you can truly belong. So why not consider making Bellingham your next home? It might just be the perfect fit for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Bellingham, Washington, appealing for retirees?

Bellingham, Washington offers retirees a peaceful setting with access to exceptional healthcare and a variety of outdoor activities, making it an attractive location for those looking to enjoy their retirement years in tranquility.

Is Bellingham suitable for young adults?

Yes, young adults can benefit from Bellingham's growing job market, vibrant nightlife, and more affordable living costs compared to Seattle, making it an appealing place for young professionals and recent graduates.

What makes Bellingham attractive to families?

Families are drawn to Bellingham for its excellent schools, safe neighborhoods, and a host of kid-friendly activities. Its emphasis on safety and education makes it an ideal place for family living.

How does Bellingham stand out in terms of diversity and inclusivity?

Bellingham is known for promoting diversity and inclusivity, welcoming individuals of all backgrounds and identities. This commitment to creating a welcoming community adds to its appeal as a living destination.

What can residents enjoy in Bellingham regarding weather and activities?

Residents of Bellingham enjoy mild weather, which complements the city's less crowded feel compared to big cities. It also hosts a plethora of festivals and activities, offering something for everyone to enjoy.

Is living in Bellingham expensive?

While living in Bellingham may not be considered extremely cheap, the quality of life, amenities, and the comparative affordability to big cities like Seattle make it a reasonable and attractive investment for many.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
April 4, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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